THE BREAKDOWN: Syrian designer Dania Douaidari discusses ‘Calligraphy Chair’

THE BREAKDOWN: Syrian designer Dania Douaidari discusses ‘Calligraphy Chair’
“Calligraphy Chair” is a collaboration with a Syrian calligrapher called Hazem Kurd Ali. (Supplied)
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Updated 26 November 2021

THE BREAKDOWN: Syrian designer Dania Douaidari discusses ‘Calligraphy Chair’

THE BREAKDOWN: Syrian designer Dania Douaidari discusses ‘Calligraphy Chair’

DUBAI:  The Syrian designer discusses the chair she showcased at Downtown Design in Dubai this month. 

Design wasn’t really a part of my childhood or education, but I always loved our house and I was constantly moving things around inside it.

I left Damascus for Beirut during the war and lived there for five years. I was studying interior design at the American University of Beirut, and on one of the courses we were doing free-hand sketches.

I sketched a chair and my teacher told me, “You should become a furniture designer.” I came back to Damascus and now I’m doing furniture design with a modern twist. I’m inspired by Damascene traditional handcrafts and some unique materials, like mother of pearl.




They used three materials to make this chair: Steel, walnut wood and rattan. (Supplied)

“Calligraphy Chair” is a collaboration with a Syrian calligrapher called Hazem Kurd Ali. I met him by chance and loved his way of writing. We’re using Arabic calligraphy because it’s our tradition, our language. The Arabic language is very rich and very powerful. The way it’s written has a beauty to it.

We used a verse from the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, who is a symbol of Syria and means a lot to us, especially to women, because he spoke of their beauty in the most profound way. It reads, in Arabic, “Letters die after they’re said.” Its notion of silence meant a lot to me, because, as women in an eastern society, you can’t always express yourself.

We used three materials to make this chair: Steel, walnut wood and rattan. Rattan is a traditional material that they used to make old chairs, but it’s become trendy again.

The chair was designed and made in Damascus. Behind every piece, there is a long story. What was difficult was that I had to be present every step of the way — from the carpenter to the carver.

We live in complicated circumstances and people are somewhat in despair, saying, “I can’t do this because I don’t have electricity.” Or, “It just won’t work.” During these tough times of sanctions and the country being closed off, the process was actually not easy at all, but we made it.


Lineup of Arab stars unveiled for MDLBEAST SOUNDSTORM festival in Riyadh 

Lineup of Arab stars unveiled for MDLBEAST SOUNDSTORM festival in Riyadh 
Updated 07 December 2021

Lineup of Arab stars unveiled for MDLBEAST SOUNDSTORM festival in Riyadh 

Lineup of Arab stars unveiled for MDLBEAST SOUNDSTORM festival in Riyadh 

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s MDLBEAST revealed on Tuesday the lineup of Arab pop stars who will perform at its music festival, SOUNDSTORM.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @mdlbeast

Eleven singers will hit the stage throughout the four days of the festival, from Dec. 16-19, in Riyadh.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @mdlbeast

Elissa, Majid Al-Mohandis, Rashid Al-Majid and Mohamed Hamaki will perform on Dec. 16, while Asala, Balqees and Myriam Fares will entertain fans on Dec. 17.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @mdlbeast

 

On the third day, Tamer Hosny and Wael Kfoury will perform, while Amr Diab and Nancy Ajram will close out the event. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @mdlbeast

“SOUNDSTORM 21 will bring together 200+ artists that tailor to the taste of all festivalgoers attending,” said Talal Albahiti, COO and head of talent booking and events at MDLBEAST. “Announcing this exceptional line-up of Arab pop stars is an exciting moment for fans who are keen to experience this unique blend provided by electronic dance music global headliners with the Arab world’s most popular artists.”

 


Huda Beauty named top beauty brand of 2021 in Cosmetify ranking 

Huda Beauty named top beauty brand of 2021 in Cosmetify ranking 
Updated 07 December 2021

Huda Beauty named top beauty brand of 2021 in Cosmetify ranking 

Huda Beauty named top beauty brand of 2021 in Cosmetify ranking 

DUBAI: US-Iraqi entrepreneur Huda Kattan’s brand, Huda Beauty, has been named as the biggest cosmetics label in 2021, according to a recent report by Cosmetify. 

The Cosmetify Index ranks the world’s biggest beauty brands based on search volume, increase in searches, Instagram followers, hashtags and engagement.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Huda Kattan (@huda)

This is the second time Kattan’s Dubai-based label has topped Cosmetify’s list. 

MAC Cosmetics ranks second, Anastasia Beverly Hills is third, Avon is fourth and The Body Shop is fifth.

 


Nicole Scherzinger, Halima Aden head to the UAE 

Nicole Scherzinger, Halima Aden head to the UAE 
Updated 07 December 2021

Nicole Scherzinger, Halima Aden head to the UAE 

Nicole Scherzinger, Halima Aden head to the UAE 

DUBAI: US singer Nicole Scherzinger is set to head to the UAE for the Global Citizen Forum, which will take place in the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah on Dec 12. and 13. 

And she’s not the only star slated to attend the event — US-Somali model Halima Aden landed in Dubai on Monday ahead of the forum, and promptly took to Instagram to share snaps with her 1.4 million followers. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Halima (@halima)

The two-day event invites artists, entrepreneurs, economists, changemakers and leaders to discuss “human mobility and steps towards a more sustainable future.”

Aden, 24, shared a sneak peak of her beach view at the Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah hotel in Dubai on her Instagram Story on Monday. 

Global Citizen Forum’s annual summits – previously hosted in Dubai, Toronto, Monaco and Sveti Stefan – have each welcomed more than 500 guests from more than 65 countries.

Alongside Aden and Scherzinger, there are a number of guests and speakers who will attend the event, including Grammy-nominated DJ and record producer Steve Aoki, US actress Eva Longoria, part-Saudi supermodel and philanthropist Shanina Shaik, award-winning filmmaker Craig Leeson and more. 

A fundraiser Gala will close the event on Dec. 13, where international talents are set to light up the stage, including Longoria – who has been honored with the 2021 Global Citizen Forum Award, Scherzinger, Aoki, Dutch DJ Afrojack, and Grammy award-winning artist Wyclef Jean.

The event will be hosted by British host and author June Sarpong, US journalist Richard Quest and Emirati entrepreneur Sara Al-Madani. 

Aden’s inspiring story began in a Kenyan refugee camp, where she was raised before emigrating to the US with her family at age seven.

The UNICEF ambassador went on to make headlines as the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she was a semi-finalist. The Muslim model was also the first contestant to wear a hijab throughout the competition and the first to favor a burkini during the contest’s swimsuit round.

Shortly afterwards, she made history as the first hijab-wearing model in New York Fashion Week after she made her runway debut in 2017 at the Yeezy Season 5 show. 

In November 2020, model made the decision to walk away from the industry, claiming that it did not align with her faith. She announced her return in May 2021, after adding a clause to her contract with IMG Models to ensure she would never have to remove her hijab.  


‘I’m living these stories,’ says Hind Al-Fahhad, one of the Saudi directors behind ‘Becoming’

‘I’m living these stories,’ says Hind Al-Fahhad, one of the Saudi directors behind ‘Becoming’
Updated 07 December 2021

‘I’m living these stories,’ says Hind Al-Fahhad, one of the Saudi directors behind ‘Becoming’

‘I’m living these stories,’ says Hind Al-Fahhad, one of the Saudi directors behind ‘Becoming’

DUBAI: Five Saudi female directors will present their new drama “Becoming” at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah.

The 70-minute, Arabic-language film features five short narratives, each reflecting on Saudi society and the changes it is undergoing. 

Produced by the festival, “Becoming” focuses on problems confronting female characters — from a divorced mother struggling with anxiety attacks to a middle-aged hairdresser considering an abortion.

The five filmmakers behind “Becoming” include Hind Al-Fahhad, whose work mostly portrays women and the psychological and physical challenges they face. 

“I feel that their stories are relevant to me,” she told Arab News. “I’m still living them and they’re all around me.”

Al-Fahhad launched a creative career as a photographer in 2006. “I’m attracted to images and the idea of expressing myself visually,” she said.

At the time, there were no opportunities to study film direction in Saudi Arabia, but the self-taught Al-Fahhad trained herself by reading, watching films and attending workshops. 

Hind Al-Fahhad’s work mostly portrays women and the psychological and physical challenges they face. (Supplied) 

Five years later, she began experimenting by directing short films, such as the award-winning “Basta” (“Peddlers”), showcasing her productions in Gulf film festivals.

“Every day, I’m discovering,” she said, explaining what she enjoys most about her artistic profession. “I experience a story, a situation in every film. I feel like I’ve entered people’s homes and their stories.” 

Like most film professionals, Al-Fahhad’s interest in movies began at an early age, watching videotapes and listening to stories of her grandmother visiting local cinemas in the 1970s.

Al-Fahhad is optimistic about the revival of cinema in the Kingdom, as well as the encouragement of aspiring independent filmmakers in her country. (Supplied)

This family story, in particular, inspired Al-Fahhad to work on her upcoming film “Sharshaf” (“Fitted Sheet”), which will be filmed in 2022.

She is optimistic about the revival of cinema in the Kingdom, as well as the encouragement of aspiring independent filmmakers in her country. 

“The situation is different now. We are living the dream,” she said.

“I believe things have gone back to the way they used to be. Saudi society is starting to look like other societies worldwide. It has its dreams, stories and experiences.”


Models pay tribute to Arab designers on Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet

Candice Swanepoel on the red carpet at the Red Sea International Film Festival. (Getty Images)
Candice Swanepoel on the red carpet at the Red Sea International Film Festival. (Getty Images)
Updated 07 December 2021

Models pay tribute to Arab designers on Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet

Candice Swanepoel on the red carpet at the Red Sea International Film Festival. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: From a stunning white Zuhair Murad gown, to daring looks by Lebanese-helmed label-of-the-moment Monot, models from around the world paid tribute to Middle Eastern designers at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah.

US-Brazilian model Alessandra Ambrosio took time out from her busy schedule to take in the winter festivities in the city, and shared snaps and video clips of the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Instagram before letting her 10.6 million Instagram followers in on her pre-red carpet makeup routine.

She then posted a short clip on Instagram Stories showing off her regal look — designed by none other than Lebanese icon Zuhair Murad.

Alessandra Ambrosio. (Getty Images)

The all-white look featured a peek-a-boo cut out at the waist and hip-high slit, along with gem-encrusted details on the torso and shoulder.

Meanwhile, South African model Candice Swanepoel brought her A-game to the red carpet on Monday night wearing an all-white look by Monot.

The figure-hugging gown featured a dramatic asymmetrical train.

Shanina Shaik. (Getty Images)

Portuguese model Sara Sampaio opted for a dramatic Zuhair Murad gown in black, with silver embellishments across the length of the gown, while Saudi-Pakistani-Lithuanian-Australian beauty Shanina Shaik also showed off a striking black number, this time by Monot.

Sara Sampaio. (Getty Images)