Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali unveils latest couture collection in Paris

Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali unveils latest couture collection in Paris
His 14-piece collection is inspired by the award-winning photography series “Seduction” by Swiss lensman Cyril Porchet.  (Supplied)
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Updated 05 July 2021

Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali unveils latest couture collection in Paris

Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali unveils latest couture collection in Paris

DUBAI: Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali unveiled his Autumn/Winter couture collection for the 2021-22 season on Monday in Paris.  

His 14-piece collection is inspired by the award-winning photography series “Seduction” by Swiss lensman Cyril Porchet. 

The photographer captures opulent altars in 10 baroque churches, chosen for their architectural ornamentation and splendor.

The couturier’s designs explore the themes of Porchet’s works, portraying the same curiosity towards architecture while highlighting a sense of romanticism displayed through ornate embellishments. 

In his new collection, silhouettes vary from voluminous gowns to sleek fit-to-form varieties. His offerings also include playful tea-length dresses, elegant jumpsuits, ruffled tops, and pleated muslin trousers.

For most of his designs, Al-Ali used champagne and beige hues interspersed with varying degrees of gold, from bright metallics to vintage rust. 

As always, beading plays an integral role in Al-Ali’s creations. He added a dazzling fusion of Swarovski crystals and pearls. 

Feathers are introduced this season to create movement and provide contrast to the starkness of the gold, while also maintaining the feminine design ethos of the house. 


British presenter Maya Jama steps out in Lebanese look in London

British TV and radio star Maya Jama has co-presented several BBC shows. (Getty Images)
British TV and radio star Maya Jama has co-presented several BBC shows. (Getty Images)
Updated 31 July 2021

British presenter Maya Jama steps out in Lebanese look in London

British TV and radio star Maya Jama has co-presented several BBC shows. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: British TV and radio presenter Maya Jama showed off a creative look by Lebanese fashion house Azzi & Osta at an event in London late last week.

Jama, 26, opted for a sage green jumpsuit by the Lebanese design duo when she attended a launch event hosted by sports streaming service DAZN Boxing in London.

Featuring a ribbed bodice with semi-sheer, cuffed sleeves and a sharply tailored lower half, the creative design hails from Azzi & Osta’s Ready-to-Wear Collection 6, which “reimagines nineties grunge and glamour for the modern woman,” according to the label’s website.

The presenter showed off a jumpsuit by Lebanese fashion house Azzi & Osta. (Getty Images)

“Put my glad rags on for (the) @daznboxing event last night and I cannot wait to start this weekend,” Jama captioned a photo of the outfit on Instagram, where she boasts 2.3 million followers.

Jama’s stylist, Kyle De’Volle, paired the outfit with jewelry by designers Diane Kordas and Lara Heems.

It is not the first time the presenter, who is of Swedish-Somali origin, has stepped out in a design from the Middle East.

In February, she stunned at the Vogue x Tiffany Fashion & Film after party for the 73rd edition of the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) in another look by Azzi & Osta.

The canary-colored, bejeweled gown boasted long, billowing sleeves and a smattering of hand-embroidered purple, blue and white sequins on the bodice.

The designers, Assaad Osta and George Azzi, most recently decided to pay homage to the art of perfumery for their joint label’s Fall 2022 couture collection.

Released in June, the 23-piece offering boasts custom-made floral fabric, printed in 3D with verbena and patchouli and dresses cut in the shape of a vase, as well as gowns embroidered with precious ingredients including orange blossom, peach bud, patchouli, magnolia, fig, neroli and myrtle.

In an effort to incorporate eco-conscious practices into their designs, the couturiers opted for faux fur and feathers in the collection. Adding to this conscious practice, the couturiers also utilized raffia, a natural and renewable woven fiber, in the looks.

The label has been worn by the likes of Beyonce, Cardi B, Kendall Jenner and Queen Rania of Jordan.


5 fall 2021 couture dresses with wow factor from Arab designers

5 fall 2021 couture dresses with wow factor from Arab designers
Zuhair Murad Fall 2021 couture. Supplied
Updated 30 July 2021

5 fall 2021 couture dresses with wow factor from Arab designers

5 fall 2021 couture dresses with wow factor from Arab designers

DUBAI: The recent Paris Haute Couture Week brought with it an array of wedding dresses that brides-to-be – and even those not yet engaged – will surely have their hearts set on.

For this year’s fall, Middle Eastern couturiers have presented a range of ethereal dresses for the big day. Here are the best wedding dresses by the industry’s top Arab designers from fall 2021 couture shows.

Zuhair Murad

The Lebanese fashion designer closed out his fall 2021 couture show with a glamorous, heavily embellished bridal gown embroidered with intricate pearls that evoked the opulent chandeliers of a palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal.

Elie Saab

The embroidered buds and petals that emerge and unfold across the princess-worthy gown are emblematic of rebirth and renewal.

Rami Kadi

Fit for royalty, Kadi’s couture bridal gown is delicately embellished with crystals, sequins, and beads in a baroque design.

Georges Chakra

The ethereal, pure white gown is adorned with symmetrical crystals and a cape nouveau pouring from the shoulders in white tulle with ribbons of satin.

Georges Hobeika

As with every Georges Hobeika creation, embroidery and embellishments played a big role in amping up the glamour on this off-the-shoulder gown.


In conversation with Kuwaiti chef Ahmad Al-Bader

In conversation with Kuwaiti chef Ahmad Al-Bader
Portrait of Kuwaiti chef Ahmed Al-Bader. Supplied
Updated 30 July 2021

In conversation with Kuwaiti chef Ahmad Al-Bader

In conversation with Kuwaiti chef Ahmad Al-Bader
  • The Kuwaiti chef and entrepreneur on cheese-melt goodness, the brilliance of butter, and taking inspiration from his dad

LONDON: On a fine London afternoon, Kuwaiti chef Ahmad Al-Bader sits in Chestnut Bakery. It is one of four successful food ventures he’s co-founded and currently co-manages — the other three being the beef canteen Habra, and Lunch Room — a “social-dining venue” — both in Kuwait, as well as GunBun in Riyadh.

Al-Bader has made a name for himself in the regional and international culinary scenes thanks largely to the consistent quality of his food, which is partly down to his systematic approach to cooking and baking. 

Al-Bader has made a name for himself in the regional and international culinary scenes. Supplied

“This is the core of success,” he says. “Things have to be written down. For the past 10 years I’ve been writing my recipes, not cooking them. When you reach this point, you have to be very experienced and to know exactly what is right. Recipes are written based on the palette — the acidity, sourness, bitterness, and sweetness; that’s how I create the balance.”

Q: What’s one ingredient that can instantly improve any dish? 

A: Butter. It’s has a fatty flavour. It’s soothing and it hits the palette. Sometimes you can have a loaf of white bread and still feel empty. But on other days you can have two or three spoons of peanut butter and some honey and feel happy.

What’s your favorite cuisine?

I love Chinese food, and Indian. Anything that (Wagamama founder) Alan Yau does always inspires me. He’s one of the ‘guru’ concept developers I’ve met. I respect how he thinks and works and I’ve learned a lot from him. The same applies to Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (co-owners of six delis and restaurants in London). I have the greatest respect for them. 

Supplied.

What’s the most common issue you find when you eat in other restaurants?

Dining out is never for competitive purposes. Knowledge is always my objective — I want to learn how to do something. But not to compete. My objective is always to build something with value. 

What’s your go-to dish if you have to cook something quickly? And why?

A cheese melt sandwich. Good cheese and good bread. It’s soothing. And you can play with it — you can put pickles, mustard, or roast beef or chicken. And use a good 60 grams of butter; that will give you a solid foundation.

What’s the most annoying thing customers do?

Customers are never annoying. As long as they’re not insulting one of the waiters or insulting us, I’ll respect whatever they have to say. I’m here to serve them. 

What’s your biggest challenge as a restaurateur?

Food handling, especially critical items like protein and fish that need to be transported. I don’t risk having a lot of them in my concept because of the heat and handling. Freshness is very important in these protein concepts. That’s why I simplify things through process cooking or curing, et cetera. That’s what I do to avoid any bacterial growth. 

Supplied.

What’s your favorite dish to cook? 

Grilling and barbecuing reminds me so much of my dad. Prepping instant salsas is also one of many things I learned from him. He’s probably been making chimichurri for 30 years but in his own way, with a lot of coriander and garlic. He’s always been a host. Hosting is very important to me. 

I also love slow cooking. I love cooking tongue — beef or lamb — and this I also got from my dad. I remember he used to slice it and eat it with mustard. And I always loved that. 

 

Here, Al-Bader offers some cooking tips and a recipe for a tasty beetroot dish (although it requires a sous-vide machine).

Ahmad Al-Bader’s pickled beetroot recipe 

 

INGREDIENTS:

100g boiled beetroot; 100g apple vinegar; 100g white vinegar; 30g honey; 3g roasted coriander seeds; 5g thyme; 3g roasted yellow mustard seeds; 3g whole black pepper; 3g fresh dill; 3g salt; 10g jaggery

 

INSTRUCTIONS: 

1. Set sous-vide machine to 80 C.

2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adding the beetroot last.

3. Transfer to a vacuum-sealed bag.

4. Cook in the sous-vide machine for 10 minutes at 82 C.

5. Remove and transfer into a bowl of ice.

6. Transfer to a clean container, cover, and store in refrigerator at 1 C to 4 C until serving. It can be stored for up to three days.


REVIEW: ‘Jolt’ is a whip-smart shot in the arm

REVIEW: ‘Jolt’ is a whip-smart shot in the arm
The action comedy is streaming on Amazon Prime. Supplied
Updated 30 July 2021

REVIEW: ‘Jolt’ is a whip-smart shot in the arm

REVIEW: ‘Jolt’ is a whip-smart shot in the arm
  • Kate Beckinsale unleashes her fists of fury in a silly, fun quest for revenge

LONDON: If, like most people, you checked out the trailer for Amazon Prime’s new action comedy “Jolt,” you’ll have saved yourself from sitting through the first five minutes of this entertaining, if somewhat predictable, beat-em-up movie in which an off-screen narrator explains that seemingly sweet kid Lindy suffers from uncontrollable bouts of rage and cortisone-fueled superstrength that only a self-administered electric shock (the jolt of the title) can quell. 

Flash-forward past the exposition-heavy intro and Lindy, now played by Kate Beckinsale, continues to zap herself out of flashes of unwarranted violence and fantasizes about killing her therapist, played by Stanley Tucci.

Kate Beckinsale is a blast, clearly having fun with upending the tired trope of repressed female fury. Supplied

After such a laborious setup, director Tanya Wexler eventually gets to the good stuff. Lindy meets a nice guy on a blind date, only for him to wind up dead — so she decides to stop zapping herself back to calmness, and instead punch her way to whomever is responsible.

The premise is akin to a zany “Taken” and, thankfully, doesn’t take itself too seriously. Beckinsale is a blast, clearly having fun with upending the tired trope of repressed female fury as she quips and scissor-kicks her way to the men responsible for her murdered beau. What’s more, she’s ably backed by a stellar supporting cast, including Bobby Cannavale, Laverne Cox, Jai Courtney and Susan Sarandon. 

“Jolt” is fun, rather than dumb, because, like Beckinsale, the talented cast see it for what it is — 90 minutes of ass-kicking, physics-defying, nonsensical setups for Lindy to beat the snot out of roomfuls of nameless, cookie-cutter male stooges. There’s a well-signposted twist that won’t surprise many, and a setup for a sequel (probably a franchise) once the dust has, quite literally, settled. But you know what? If it stays this silly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


Afghan-Pakistani designer Osman Yousefzada unveils world’s largest canvas at UK store

Afghan-Pakistani designer Osman Yousefzada unveils world’s largest canvas at UK store
“Infinity Pattern 1” by Osman Yousefzada
Updated 29 July 2021

Afghan-Pakistani designer Osman Yousefzada unveils world’s largest canvas at UK store

Afghan-Pakistani designer Osman Yousefzada unveils world’s largest canvas at UK store

DUBAI: Afghan-Pakistani designer and artist Osman Yousefzada has unveiled a world record-breaking new artwork for the UK Selfridges store in Birmingham, the city where he grew up.

Titled “Infinity Pattern 1,” his pink and black tessellated installation that wraps around the futuristic curved facade of the department store, was co-commissioned by the city’s Ikon Gallery and Selfridges Birmingham.

The 44-year-old was selected by Ikon art gallery as the winner of its international competition.

The gigantic, public installation, which measures in at 10,000 square meters and weighs five tons, will adorn Selfridge’s storefront until the end of the year while it undergoes restoration.

The son of Afghan-Pakistani immigrants, the designer-turned-artist said his giant canvas addressed issues of race, labor, and migration which had shaped the city’s past and present.

“Infinity Pattern 1,” Yousefzada’s first piece of public art, is also a record-breaker, having been confirmed as the world’s largest canvas.

As a fashion designer his tailored pieces have been worn by the likes of American singers Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift. In addition to his celebrity loved eponymous label launched in 2008, Yousefzada is also known for his multi-disciplinary artwork that tackles the socio-political issues of the day.

He held his first solo art show titled “Being Somewhere Else” at Ikon Gallery in 2018, exploring the links between fashion and migration.