Dolce & Gabbana unveil tribute to Italian artistry at Expo 2020 Dubai

Each tile is made from a mixture of clay and Sicilian lava stone powder. (Supplied)
Each tile is made from a mixture of clay and Sicilian lava stone powder. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 October 2021

Dolce & Gabbana unveil tribute to Italian artistry at Expo 2020 Dubai

Each tile is made from a mixture of clay and Sicilian lava stone powder. (Supplied)

DUBAI: Italian luxury fashion label Dolce & Gabbana has designed an installation that celebrates Italian artistic heritage at the country’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The undulating baroque-style structure is typical of the architecture of the 18th century gardens of southern Italy and it stands near the pavilion’s botanical garden.

The elegant octagonal columns and the seats are made from brickwork covered with 1200 finely crafted and hand-painted majolica tiles by Sicilian master potters with images of floral interweaving, bougainvillea fronds, citrus fruits and bucolic landscapes.

Each tile is made from a mixture of clay and Sicilian lava stone powder and decorated with natural colors obtained from mineral oxides.

The installation aims to be a symbol of the skills of Italian artistic masters — something the founders consider to be a priceless intangible heritage that is under threat of being lost with the advance of new technologies.


Indie, alternative rock come to Diriyah E-Prix as Script, Two Door Cinema Club announced

The Script and Two Door Cinema Club will bring the curtain down on the 2022 Diriyah E- Prix, with Craig David joining the Jan. 28 line-up. (Supplied)
The Script and Two Door Cinema Club will bring the curtain down on the 2022 Diriyah E- Prix, with Craig David joining the Jan. 28 line-up. (Supplied)
Updated 20 January 2022

Indie, alternative rock come to Diriyah E-Prix as Script, Two Door Cinema Club announced

The Script and Two Door Cinema Club will bring the curtain down on the 2022 Diriyah E- Prix, with Craig David joining the Jan. 28 line-up. (Supplied)
  • Rock legends The Script and Two Door Cinema Club to electrify fans on 29 January as Diriyah E-Prix adds to its star-studded line-up
  • Craig David announced as the third act to join James Blunt and Wyclef Jean on 28 January

RIYADH: The Script and Two Door Cinema Club will bring the curtain down on the 2022 Diriyah E-Prix when they perform at the after-race concert on Jan. 29.

The Script, who are one of Ireland’s most celebrated rock bands and will be making their debut in Saudi Arabia, have a long list of achievements over the past decade that includes five previous platinum-selling albums, six billion streams, 30 million single sales, 11 million album sales, 13 million monthly Spotify listeners and two million tickets sold across headline shows globally.

Alongside The Script, Northern Irish Indie Rock band Two Door Cinema Club will be playing some of their biggest fan favourite tunes including “What You Know” and “Something Good Can Work.”

Multimillion record selling artist Craig David will also be appearing in the Kingdom for the first time, performing some of his biggest hits including “Walking Away”, “7 Days” and “Rise and Fall”, as he joins singer James Blunt and rapper Wyclef Jean on the Friday set-list on Jan. 28.

The Diriyah E-Prix kicks off the eighth season of ABB FIA Formula E Championship in style with a double header of back-to-back races across two days. It also features the opening of Allianz E-Village, which will host cultural festivities, food, and retail experiences for fans.

In accordance with the latest health and safety protocols, the organizers have said daily attendance will be limited to ensure all fans have a safe experience, and those interested in enjoying the events live are encouraged to purchase their tickets early.

General admission tickets start from SR150 and provide access to E-village, while Grandstand tickets grant access to the E-village and the after-race concerts, and can be bought at this link.


A farwa offers a ‘warm embrace’ for Saudis on cold winter nights

A farwa offers a ‘warm embrace’ for Saudis on cold winter nights
Updated 20 January 2022

A farwa offers a ‘warm embrace’ for Saudis on cold winter nights

A farwa offers a ‘warm embrace’ for Saudis on cold winter nights

RIYADH: Winter has well and truly arrived and so the people of Saudi Arabia are adding a layer or two to their outfits to help them cope the colder temperatures.

A particularly popular item found in Saudi winter wardrobes is a traditional Bedouin overcoat known as the farwa, versions of which have for hundreds of years been keeping people in the region warm during long, harsh winter nights in the cold, unforgiving desert.

The long, oversize coat, made from thick, cozy material, is especially common in northern and central parts of the Arabian Peninsula, where temperatures can drop surprisingly low. Its lining is usually made of sheepskin or fur and its cut is similar to that of the traditional Arab cloak known as a bisht.

This new, trendy age of the farwa began with homegrown boutiques and businesses that flourished by putting a modern, stylish spin on a traditional Arab garment. (Hedra)

In the old days the farwa was a garment for men, worn by tribesmen and royalty alike, but the styles, cuts and fur linings varied depending on social class and status.

Nowadays, it is worn by both men and women and is considered by many an essential part of their wardrobes. In the modern era it is also become a fashion item among some Saudis as part of a creative winter ensemble. As a result, the farwa can now be found in myriad modern designs and bright colors, sometimes adorned with cultural patterns and embroidery.

This new, trendy age of the farwa began with homegrown boutiques and businesses that flourished by putting a modern, stylish spin on a traditional Arab garment.

“The farwa is our way of preserving our cultural identity, while offering people something new and exciting, something they can play around with by mixing and matching different clothing items and accessories,” said Manal Al-Harbi, a Saudi entrepreneur and owner of Gabba, a boutique in Riyadh.

She said the farwas sold in her store are all handmade and that most of those on the market these days are made of synthetic materials. The average price is about $370 she added, but some can sell for as much as $2,600.

Gabba, a boutique in Riyadh, sells handmade farwas at its boutique. (Gabba)

“It depends on the materials you use,” said Al-Harbi. “Real fur sourced from animals will be much more expensive, as the process from raw material to final product is lengthy, labor-intensive and very costly.”

Real fur must first undergo extensive treatment to remove the animal’s scent, she explained, then it is dyed and processed further to obtain the soft, inviting texture customers enjoy.

Individual designers and fashion houses put their own spins on the farwa. Al-Harbi, for example, focuses on farwas for women with minimalist designs that can suit any occasion, though she is also happy to accept custom orders.

“Previously women in Saudi would wear jackets over their abayas but nowadays the farwa is the abaya because it looks like it and also serves two purposes: keeping them warm while looking more stylish,” she said.

The trend toward more stylish farwas began about 10 or 12 years ago and picked up pace in the past few years, according to Al-Harbi. Almost every household in the Kingdom’s central and northern cities will own a few to wear during the cold season, she said.

Jeddah-born Hussain Abedi, 25, told Arab News that he thought he was done with chilly weather when he returned to Saudi Arabia after living in the UK. But after moving to Riyadh and experiencing its cold winters, he realized he had some shopping to do.

“I go farwa hunting with my friends, sometimes,” he said. “It’s just something I enjoy wearing and buying different designs of. It can be difficult to settle on a color or specific design pattern but, overall, wearing a farwa feels like a warm embrace.”

They also make good gifts, Abedi added, and can make a fashion statement among friends, especially when the farwa is made with real fur.


Palestinian-Chilean singer Elyanna joins Spotify program with new collaboration

Palestinian-Chilean singer Elyanna joins Spotify program with new collaboration
Updated 20 January 2022

Palestinian-Chilean singer Elyanna joins Spotify program with new collaboration

Palestinian-Chilean singer Elyanna joins Spotify program with new collaboration

DUBAI: Palestinian-Chilean singer and songwriter Elyanna has joined Spotify’s fourth Radar installment in the Middle East, the music streaming platform announced on Thursday.

Radar is an emerging-artist program spotlighting rising talent from around the globe. Some of the program’s most popular collaborations include “Is It On” by K-pop sensation AleXa and Kuwaiti-Saudi-based artist Bader Al-Shuaibi, and “Hadal Ahbek” by viral A-pop star Issam Alnajjar, featuring Canadian DJ duo Loud Luxury and Iraqi-Canadian singer and songwriter Ali Gatie.

The new collaboration sees the 19-year-old upcoming star team up with veteran Tunisian rapper and composer Balti on a single titled “Ghareeb Alay” (“A Stranger to Me”). The track, which fuses urban pop with reggae, will drop on Jan. 21.

In a statement, Elyanna said: “While ‘Ghareeb Alay’ characterizes the story of a love song, it’s much deeper than that. It reflects change, both around us and within.

“For me, it is about being an immigrant, an artist, and a young female at the beginning of my journey. Everything and everyone feels new and strange.”

On Tuesday, the singer teased 16-seconds of the song on her Instagram and wrote to her 440,000 followers, “who’s readyyyyyy?”

On his excitement about the collaboration, Tunisia’s rap pioneer said: “‘Ghareeb Alay’ is one of my all-time favorites. Together with Elyanna, we’ve managed to bring forward a new style of Arabic urban pop backed by Spotify’s vision for local talents.”


Cardi B offers to pay funeral costs of Muslim Bronx fire victims

Cardi B offers to pay funeral costs of Muslim Bronx fire victims
Updated 20 January 2022

Cardi B offers to pay funeral costs of Muslim Bronx fire victims

Cardi B offers to pay funeral costs of Muslim Bronx fire victims

DUBAI: US rapper Cardi B has offered to pay for the funeral and burial costs for the 17 victims, most of whom were Muslim, who lost their lives in the Bronx fire that ripped through a New York city high-rise tower on Jan. 9.

Victims ranged in age from just two years old to 50.

The Grammy-winning rapper teamed up with The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to offer financial support for victims of the fire in the Bronx, where she grew up, announced New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday.

Most of the victims killed in the fire were from the West African country of Gambia, and families of several of the victims planned to bury them in their homeland. Cardi B has offered to pay the repatriation expenses for the victims who will be buried in Gambia, the mayor’s office reported.

“I’m extremely proud to be from the Bronx and I have lots of family and friends who live and work there still. So, when I heard about the fire and all of the victims, I knew I needed to do something to help," Cardi B said in a statement to CNN. "I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing, but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will help as they move forward and heal. I send my prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy,” she added.


Review: ‘Archive 81’ is big, silly and a lot of fun

Review: ‘Archive 81’ is big, silly and a lot of fun
Updated 20 January 2022

Review: ‘Archive 81’ is big, silly and a lot of fun

Review: ‘Archive 81’ is big, silly and a lot of fun

LONDON: In a world filled with new, genre-defying content, there is a tendency to dismiss simple, straightforward shows as being insufficiently innovative or ground-breaking — as if there is something wrong with doing the obvious.

“Archive 81”, Netflix’s new horror series based on a podcast of the same name, tells the story of Dan, a mild-mannered archivist (played by Mamoudou Athie) who is asked to restore a mysterious videotape from the 1990s.

In the videotape, Ph.D. student Melody Pendras, played by Riyadh-born actress Dina Shihabi, outlines her plan to chronicle the lives of the residents of a New York apartment building that will later mysteriously burn down.

It tells the story of Dan, a mild-mannered archivist who is asked to restore a mysterious videotape from the 1990s. Supplied

Dan takes the job and is transported to a remote facility in the Catskills where he must uncover what happened to Melody, and the building, by working his way through the found footage.

This might come as a surprise, but it turns out that not everyone or everything is as obvious as we are initially led to believe. As Dan watches on, Melody uncovers haunting music that drifts through the air vents, a bizarre club that meets in the basement, and a handful of other narrative devices that scream “red flag” to most viewers.

“Archive 81” is the kind of show that reveals its secrets at a leisurely pace across its eight-episode stretch. It also the kind of show that has an inordinately convoluted storyline, some rather gaping plot holes and is full of dead ends.

“Archive 81” is the kind of show that reveals its secrets at a leisurely pace across its eight-episode stretch. Supplied

But that should not count against it. For a series that pretends to be highly complex, it is wonderfully simple — there is a secret, and probably a conspiracy, but we do not know what it is yet. However, by the time the last episode rolls around, we will.

Sometimes, that is as much complexity as a production needs to be truly enjoyable. Sure, there are some hammed-up performances — though Athie and Shihabi are both highly watchable — some silly supernatural mumbo jumbo, and a few predictable jump scares. But it is also a lot of fun in its own self-aware way.