Jordanian designer Meera Toukan uses colorful work to promote peace, freedom

Jordanian designer Meera Toukan uses colorful work to promote peace, freedom
Meera Toukan grew up in Amman but moved to London to study fashion business at the University of the Arts London. (Supplied)
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Updated 07 October 2021

Jordanian designer Meera Toukan uses colorful work to promote peace, freedom

Jordanian designer Meera Toukan uses colorful work to promote peace, freedom

DUBAI: Meera Toukan waves her hands as she speaks, a glint of turquoise blue flashing on her ring finger. She’s wearing a ring from her latest collection for her eponymous label: a colorful array of jewelry adorned with beautiful Arabic calligraphy carrying the words “Love,” “Freedom,” and “Peace.” 

“I call it the ‘OG’ collection, a focus on these three pillars that spread a message of peace and positivity from our region,” says the young designer. “And I love to use color.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Meera Toukan (@meera_toukan)

Toukan’s work blends Middle Eastern and Western influences to form a new hybrid style. The Jordanian designer is adding to her existing repertoire of plexiglass clutches that have a cult following in the region. Made out of delicate material, the compact, fragile clutches are true works of art with Arabic calligraphy, Palestinian keffiyeh designs, and candy hues. The bright pops of color, along with the messages of harmony, have propelled her to popularity as a designer of regional accessories. Each of her designs is handmade by artisans in Jordan, with locally sourced materials, and custom orders take three-to-five days to make.

Toukan grew up in Amman but moved to London to study fashion business at the University of the Arts London, going on to attend Regent’s Fashion School London, where she specialized in fashion marketing. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Meera Toukan (@meera_toukan)

“There weren’t a lot of other Arab students in my classes, so I felt this mix of East and Western influences was unexplored in the international fashion market,” she says. “This was my chance to stand out.”

She began to experiment with streetwear, including hoodies with snappy slogans, cheeky emojis, and Arabic words.

“I enjoyed creating this line of clothing, but the idea of developing accessories using plexiglass never left me,” Toukan says. “It’s an innovative material that can be used in jewelry and clutches, so when the pandemic hit and plexiglass became easier to source, I knew it was time to try.”




Toukan’s work blends Middle Eastern and Western influences to form a new hybrid style. (Supplied)

Although she continues to offer seasonal hoodie designs, her main focus became the unique plexiglass clutch designs available on her own website and on e-commerce site Kinzzi.com. The designer also showcases her collections at pop-ups across the region, including at Homegrown Market in Jeddah, and Filtered in Dubai. While her entire collection is available online, Toukan displays highlights at the pop-up locations, focusing on trademark pieces carrying messages of love, freedom and peace.

“I felt that during the pandemic people wanted to feel a little normalcy — wearing a nice clutch even for a quick supermarket run or a beautiful ring around the house,” she says. “It was a great time to experiment and ultimately confirm that accessories are an exciting market, especially as we all recover from the pandemic and start going out regularly again.”

Her family is supportive, with her older sister sharing her creative flair. Rather than fashion and accessories, her older sister ventured into home décor, however. She also creates custom pieces, handmade in Jordan by the same artisans.




The Jordanian designer is adding to her existing repertoire of plexiglass clutches that have a cult following in the region. (Supplied)

“We both work hand-in-hand with local artisans,” Toukan explains. “Our artisans do intricate, custom embroidery, beaded flowers, all made to order.”

Meera Toukan clutches are sustainable. Her team makes each custom piece, never in bulk except for occasional samples for customers to see. She hopes to expand internationally. Some of her designs, including clutches that bear the word ‘Hob,’ or ‘Love’ in Arabic, are particularly popular with customers in London.




Each of her designs is handmade by artisans in Jordan. (Supplied)

“My focus for now is the GCC, but I hope to expand my brand’s presence to European cities and experiment with other materials, including wood,” she says. “I found Dubai to be a great place for a fashion start-up.”

Toukan always carries a blue spiral notebook with her so that she’s ready to note down regular inspirations from her daily life. She says that she loves when customers order her clutches as personal gifts, particularly brides who carry them on their special day. Her only word of caution is to be careful with the plexiglass clutches, as they could easily break if they fall off a table.

“Fragile, yet bold, just like love,” Toukan says with a laugh.


Saudi-Lebanese designer Talal Hizami takes us back to school with latest collection

Saudi-Lebanese designer Talal Hizami takes us back to school with latest collection
Updated 7 min 22 sec ago

Saudi-Lebanese designer Talal Hizami takes us back to school with latest collection

Saudi-Lebanese designer Talal Hizami takes us back to school with latest collection

DUBAI: Fashion lovers can expect a heavy dose of nostalgia with Saudi-Lebanese-Palestinian designer Talal Hizami’s latest collection, which he released as part of his ready-to-wear menswear brand Pacifism.

His high-school-inspired offering “Alma Mater” is a sartorial tribute to the London-born creative’s educational background and is in line with fashion’s ongoing obsession with looking back.

“It’s always important for me to try to depict very vivid stories of nostalgia through my collections and my shoots,” he said.

The collection is in line with fashion’s ongoing obsession with looking back. Photographed by Cheb Moha

Y2K nostalgia is currently a huge trend in Western fashion, much of it driven by a new generation of designers who came of age in the 2000s. Hizami, who turned 29 in February, made a show of it in the lookbook for “Alma Mater,” which was shot by Iraqi-Canadian photographer Cheb Moha against the backdrop of school lockers.  

When it comes to the clothing, the designer transports us back to school with his clever take on looks you might find the average high school student wearing in a school hallway. To start, the designer reinvents the varsity jacket, a symbol of US school jocks, by his utilization of Japanese nylon fabric.

There are also casual t-shirts bearing fictional school mascots. At Pacifism University, a bird wearing a maroon knit serves as the symbol for the college team’s Peaceful Doves. The word dove is also used to describe someone who advocates for peace, or in other words a pacifist.

The sporty vibe is dialed up with ultra-cozy terry cloth shorts and high socks.

There are also casual t-shirts bearing fictional school mascots. Photographed by Cheb Moha

Having studied in both the English and US school curriculum, Hizami wanted to merge all the experiences and essence of his emotions during his formative school years.

In addition to the Ivy League hopefuls and jocks, Hizami’s new collection offers the full high school experience with pieces aimed at the science aficionados and preppy crowd. Oversized coats are emblazoned with a periodic table-inspired print on the back that spells out “Pacifism” while school uniforms get a streetwear spin in the form of loose black slacks and button-up polo shirts.

But perhaps nothing screams nostalgia more than the collared rugby shirts. Big in the mid-80s, rugby-stripe pullovers have made a huge resurgence, showing up in the collections of J. Crew, Alexander Wang, Koche, and now, Pacifism.

Oversized coats are emblazoned with a periodic table-inspired print on the back. Photographed by Cheb Moha

“This collection is fitting, in particular for me, because I wasn’t very good at writing stories in school so this is a way in which I find it comfortable to story-tell,” said the designer, who founded his brand in 2019 and made his London Fashion Week debut a year later. 

The collection is set to release via two drops at the end of the month online on Pacifism’s website and select e-tailers.


Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes
Updated 25 May 2022

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes
  • Hollywood director Brett Ratner reveals plans to visit Saudi Arabia to scout for shoot locations

CANNES: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Culture Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez visited the Kingdom’s pavilion during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, to show his support for the burgeoning Saudi film industry.

“Our role is to support the sector with everyone in it. God willing, we will see success soon. Thank you everyone and I wish you a happy opportunity,” he said to a crowd of Saudi and international actors as well as filmmakers who had gathered at the pavilion.

The deputy minister was accompanied by Red Sea Film Festival Foundation CEO Mohammed Al-Turki, Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf and US director Brett Ratner, the face behind such hits as the “Rush Hour” film series and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Ratner also produced the “Horrible Bosses” film series, “The Revenant” and “War Dogs.”

The deputy minister praised the work being done by Saudi creatives in the Kingdom and their contribution to the expanding industry, before touring the pavilion and meeting with select industry professionals.

Following his tour, Fayez addressed the press and Saudi creatives directly, saying: “You will have a brilliant future and we are ready, present and supportive of you.

“With regional programs that will come together, there will be great opportunities for filmmakers, actors, actors and actresses,” he added.

For his part, Ratner teased a big announcement, before saying that the details were being kept under wraps.

However, he did reveal plans to visit Saudi Arabia in order to scout for shoot locations.

“I am very excited to come to your beautiful country to film. I am going to come next week with his royal highness and friends and I am going to scout the whole country,” the producer said.

“The film is going to be unbelievable. We will be able to create a big buzz,” he added.

 


Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco
Updated 24 May 2022

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

DUBAI: Parisian luxury label Saint Laurent is reportedly set to present its spring 2023 menswear collection in Marrakesh on July 15, according to multiple reports.

Morocco was a great source of inspiration to the late Yves Saint Laurent, and a museum dedicated to the famed fashion designer was even unveiled in Marrakesh in 2017.

The legendary couturier purchased a villa in the Moroccan city in the mid-1960s and two decades later purchased the spectacular Majorelle Gardens to save it from destruction. A mausoleum was built for the designer at the site after his death in 2008.

His years there inspired many of his collections and continue to influence the storied house that bears his name.

Although it will be the first physical show that Saint Laurent will stage in the North African country, it isn’t the first time that the brand has showcased one of its collections in Morocco.

In 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and when all brands shifted to the digital world, artistic, creative and image director of Saint Laurent Anthony Vaccarello unveiled a 10-minute-long video for the spring 2021 ready-to-wear line with models seen walking on dunes in the Moroccan desert in lieu of a runway.

The men’s show in Marrakech will coincide with an exhibition focused on Saint Laurent’s longstanding relationship with Morocco. Entitled “Love,” the exhibition will run from June 5-Oct. 31 at Palácio Duques de Cadaval in Évora, Portugal.

 


Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

DUBAI: Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman jetted to Cannes this week to attend the 75th edition of the city’s renowned film festival. 

Besides walking the red carpet and attending film premieres, the singer and songwriter was spotted at the Saudi pavilion where he was welcomed with Saudi coffee. 

“Taking pride in the Kingdom’s legacy of generosity, Saudi coffee is being prepared at the Cannes Film Festival,” the Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia shared on Twitter, adding images of Rahman at the Saudi pavilion. 

Saudi coffee is heavily associated with generational hospitality and generosity, providing a close connection to the country’s customs and traditions.

In January, the Ministry of Commerce announced that the commercial name of Arabic coffee will be officially changed to Saudi coffee in the Kingdom’s restaurants, cafes, stores and roasters. 

The announcement, by ministry spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Hussein, is in conjunction with a Culture Ministry initiative in naming 2022 as the “Year of Saudi Coffee” as a way to strengthen the identity and culture of Saudi Arabia.

The record producer was spotted on the red carpet during Cannes Film Festival  opening ceremony. He attended the premiere of French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius’s zombie comedy “Final Cut (Coupez!)”


Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’
Updated 24 May 2022

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

DUBAI: Part-Palestinian catwalk star Gigi Hadid has begun filming the second season of Netflix’s “Next in Fashion” alongside British TV personality Tan France, nearly five months after the model revealed her exciting new role to fans.

Ahead of the new season, which does not have a release date, Hadid took to Instagram to share her excitement over the forthcoming episodes and gush about her co-host, calling the British reality television star her “brother” and stating that shooting the new show together has been “a joy of my life.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

The 27-year-old posted a carousel of photos on Instagram, which included a snap of her posing with France and reading the “Next in Fashion” script.

“Can’t believe we’re almost a month into making a new season of @nextinfashion. Want to say, with only a couple weeks left, that shooting this show alongside my brother @tanfrance has been a joy of my life,” the US-Dutch-Palestinian model captioned the post. “I can’t wait for you all to meet these designers — an amazing, talented, sweet, cool, deserving group of humans and for them to share themselves and their creations with the world! We have so much in store for you,” she added.

The first season of the fashion competition show, which premiered in January 2020, featured 18 designers who faced weekly design challenges to win a $250,000 prize and a chance to have their collection sold on Net-a-Porter.

France also recently lauded his “Next in Fashion” co-host and dubbed her an “amazing mom.”

In a conversation with Us Weekly, the host said he has received many parenting tips from the supermodel, who welcomed a baby girl with former One Direction star Zayn Malik, in 2020.

He told the publication: “She’s one of my closest friends. I love her so much.

“It makes the show really, really fun,” added France. “It’s probably the best time I’ve ever had on a show.”

The 39-year-old continued: “She’s an amazing mom. I’ve gotten so many tips from her,” adding that he “of course” has met her daughter Khai.