Bella Hadid dons statement ‘Palestine’ jewelry

Bella Hadid dons statement ‘Palestine’ jewelry
Chvker Jewelry created a set of custom-made necklaces for Hadid. Instagram
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Updated 18 January 2022

Bella Hadid dons statement ‘Palestine’ jewelry

Bella Hadid dons statement ‘Palestine’ jewelry

DUBAI: Bella Hadid is proud to be Palestinian — the part-Arab model, who was born to US-Palestinian real estate developer Mohamed Hadid and Dutch reality television star Yolanda Hadid, often declares her love for her heritage. When she is not using her platform to raise awareness about pressing humanitarian issues in Palestine, the 25-year-old can be found rolling grape leaves and stuffing whole vegetables to make dolma with her father and older sisters on Instagram Stories. This week the catwalker decided to sartorially embrace her roots and let her jewelry do all the talking by stepping out wearing a Chvker Jewelry necklace bearing the text “Palestine,” custom made by the brand’s designer Nazlia Yunus.

Hadid stepped out in West Hollywood for media artist Alana O'Herlihy’s birthday celebrations at The Nice Guy restaurant. For the occasion, the model wore a brown, backless halter dress with an asymmetrical hemline and a pair of white knee-high leather boots. She accessorized the look, which features a plunging neckline, with a gold Palestine necklace, which she paired with a nameplate “Isabella” chain, also from Chvker Jewelry.

The designer revealed that Hadid has asked her to create about eight customized necklaces for her, including “Pizza Queen,” “Libra Angel,” “Hellz Bellz,” “Baby Bellz,” “Bella Hadid” and “Khair,” which is her middle name.

Uzbekistan-born Yunus immigrated to Texas, where she went on to study psychology at Blinn College. Keen to escape the mundaneness of exams and papers, the 25-year-old decided to pursue her first passion, jewelry making. Yunus began by making chokers on online marketplace Etsy, before opening a store on Shopify, where she sold necklaces and earrings.

The jewelry was an instant hit. It wasn’t long before influencers and It-Girls on Instagram took to the photo-sharing platform to showcase Chvker’s playful gold vermeil-plated sterling silver jewelry in the form of heart-shaped hoop earrings, butterfly-emblazoned chokers and evil eye anklets.

Hadid is the latest celebrity to don Chvker’s pieces. Everyone from British actress Millie Bobby Brown and “Euphoria” star Alexa Demie to beauty mogul Kylie Jenner and her three-year-old daughter Stormi have been spotted wearing Yunus’s delicate, handmade designs.


New survey reveals GCC residents’ travel intentions as world opens up post-pandemic

New survey reveals GCC residents’ travel intentions as world opens up post-pandemic
Updated 32 sec ago

New survey reveals GCC residents’ travel intentions as world opens up post-pandemic

New survey reveals GCC residents’ travel intentions as world opens up post-pandemic

DUBAI: As Joni Mitchell observed: “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” That has certainly proved true for travel since the onset of the COVID-pandemic saw worldwide restrictions on movement cause the industry to grind to a halt in early 2020. 

Many feared airlines and hotels would be struggling for years to come, but at this month’s Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, experts were bullish about the near future, with recovery looking extremely healthy. The ability to hop across borders for a long weekend or a summer vacation, or even a work trip — has now become something precious; the chance to escape everyday routine has become more alluring than ever. 

“Travel has moved from something that we took for granted to something that, now, we really need,” Paul Kelly, managing partner of Dubai-based consumer-insight company D/A, told Arab News. “That’s something that came through in this analysis: This huge pent-up demand — the emotional side of traveling has changed a lot.”

Residents of the GCC are eager to get travelling again, as research that D/A presented at the travel market proved. The company assessed millions of social media and online posts with its AI-driven “Sila” tool to discover the travel intentions and desires of more than 2.2 million Arab speakers across the GCC. What D/A found was that while many of the favored destinations remain the same (with one major exception — more on that later), the reasons for visiting them have changed significantly. It seems people are longing for relaxation in natural surroundings, along with cultural experiences, more than they are looking for shopping destinations and material acquisition.

“Visiting cities for shopping used to be much (more popular). It was never as big as the ‘Beach Holidays,’ category, but ‘Shopping’ was always number two,” Kelly said. “It’s now the lowest. Beach destinations are still number one — for instance, since the pandemic, visitor numbers to the Maldives from the GCC are higher than ever. But the ‘Nature and Mountains’ category — so, lakes, for example; think Switzerland more than the Maldives — has become much more popular. And cultural tourism — say, music festivals, art events, and general cultural experiences — has also become far more important, especially among younger people.”

Here are some of the main findings from D/A’s research.

SAUDI RISING 

One country has seen a major increase in interest over the past three years: Saudi Arabia. While the glitz of the UAE — and particularly Dubai — remains in high demand, the Kingdom is now the second-most desirable destination for travelers from the GCC, according to D/A’s research. “Saudi has become a really big destination. That was never the case previously, except for pilgrims, but this research discounts religious travel,” Kelly explained. Clearly, the Saudi authorities’ efforts over the past few years to position the country as an attractive tourism destination have been a huge success. More and more Saudis are looking to take short breaks in their own country, and travelers from the Emirates, Oman and other GCC countries are taking the opportunity to explore the rich culture and stunning landscapes that had previously been all-but-impossible to access.

“This has all been driven by what’s currently open — festivals like MDLBEAST, the Riyadh and Jeddah seasons, AlUla, the sporting events,” Kelly said. “That stuff works.”

THINK LOCAL 

The top three destinations for GCC travelers were all in the Gulf: The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. This is a recent development, according to Kelly. “The Gulf countries were never really factors before – apart from the obvious, Dubai, which has always been a beacon for the Middle East. But what’s been interesting is the rise of Qatar, because of the World Cup, and then Saudi as well,” he said.

“Khaleejis like going for short breaks — five days or something. And a lot of people, for those breaks, are now staying within the GCC. Saudi hasn’t overtaken the UAE yet, but it’s really come up as a tourism destination,” he continued. “The whole concept of staycation within the region has really come up — people are staying for longer periods too. Shorter stays are much more valued now.” 

TURKISH DELIGHT

Turkey is one of the most desirable international locations for GCC travelers, according to D/A’s research. It’s always been popular, but what the social-media chatter suggests is that people aren’t just heading to the big cities anymore — instead it’s the country’s mixture of “beach and mountains” that is attracting attention, with its Mediterranean areas proving especially in demand.

FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTENT

While GCC travelers are eager for new experiences, they’re also looking for the reassurance of the familiar. So destinations like the UK, the US and Thailand remain extremely desirable, but, Kelly said, they are now looking for new experiences in places where they may have been several times before. 

“What we found across most of the countries is that there’s a big movement towards new experiences, even in really familiar settings,” Kelly said. “So they like to go to the same places — London, for example, is a big destination. But while they’re in London, they want to do something different, maybe be there a bit longer and go out into the countryside. There’s also an eagerness to fill out itineraries a bit more, do more things.”

FORBIDDEN FRUIT

“People really wanted to go to the countries that closed their borders early because of COVID,” Kelly said. “You want to do what you can’t do, I guess.” China and Japan were the main beneficiaries of this particular quirk of our brains, with both featuring prominently on the wishlist of destinations in the Far East for GCC travelers. China, in particular, is a desirable place for studying for GCC residents, D/A found.


Illustrator Nourie Flayhan pays tribute to reporter Shireen Abu Akleh with digital drawing

Illustrator Nourie Flayhan pays tribute to reporter Shireen Abu Akleh with digital drawing
Updated 18 min 59 sec ago

Illustrator Nourie Flayhan pays tribute to reporter Shireen Abu Akleh with digital drawing

Illustrator Nourie Flayhan pays tribute to reporter Shireen Abu Akleh with digital drawing

DUBAI: The Lebanese illustrator discusses her latest digital drawing, which pays tribute to Palestinian-American reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed in Jenin earlier this month. 

When I heard the news of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, I was in Portugal with my parents on a three-day vacation. I saw a couple of posts on social media, but it wasn’t very clear what was happening, so I went on Google Search and read a couple of very short reports, as the news was breaking. I went back on social media and my Palestinian friends were posting more and more about it. 

It was actually very shocking. I felt like I had to go back to the hotel and draw a tribute to her. Seeing her on the floor was really intense and I was deeply disturbed for a while. It took me some time to process what was happening. I feel like she’s done so much for everyone; the way she’s been reporting for so many years and has been a voice for the people — risking her life almost every day. 

‘Honoring Shireen.’ (Supplied) 

Illustration is how I can communicate my thoughts and feelings more clearly. Most of my work is digital illustrations and I use an iPad. My fingers were moving so fast, almost in rage, but I had to stop myself and give a softer emotion to it. I had to pour out appreciation and admiration of who she was. I wanted that to translate into the piece, rather than it being an angry piece. 

She was a very soft and kind person and I think that contributes to the halo around her head. At first, I wanted the flowers to be colorful, but then I wanted them to be kind of muted out and be white and very peaceful. She had an angelic face and was graceful till the end and I wanted that to be highlighted in the illustration. 

She was wearing a press vest when she got shot and part of me wanted to remind people not just about the job that she carried out until her last breath, but also that she was wronged and that hurt a lot people. 

The white, blank eyes may be disturbing to others, but to me they’re calming. It’s to remind people that, yes, there’s a human being behind that person, but there’s also a soul. 


Moroccan singer Jihane Bougrine explores mental illness in unique new single

Moroccan singer Jihane Bougrine explores mental illness in unique new single
Updated 18 May 2022

Moroccan singer Jihane Bougrine explores mental illness in unique new single

Moroccan singer Jihane Bougrine explores mental illness in unique new single

DUBAI: Moroccan singer and songwriter Jihane Bougrine this week released her latest single “Rahat El-Bal,” in which the France-raised artist explores the often taboo subject of mental health, bipolar disorder in particular.

In her new song, which translates to “Peace of Mind,” the star, who is signed to Universal Music, said she wishes to send a message of “hope and optimism” by shining a light on the mental illness.

She was inspired to write the song by a family member who was diagnosed with schizophrenia 20 years ago, she told Arab News.

At the time, her family faced myriad challenges. “Here in Morocco, with the traditions and culture, it’s taboo to talk about mental health,” the singer said. “So they used to tell us he was crazy. It was very tough for the family, so I decided to write it and put a name on it to say that people should not be afraid to talk about it.”

The song, which already has more than 250,000 views on YouTube alone, is a mix between indie, electro and pop genres. 

For the music video, the singer collaborated with the French director Julien Fouré, who she said “managed to put my words into an image.

“For him, photography and cinema are a way to send important messages to change the world,” Bougrine said. “It is very inspiring and (it was) easy to work with someone like him because he is very talented.”

The four-minute clip stars Moroccan actress Mouna R’miki.

Bougrine, who has lived in multiple cities around the world, said that traveling made her “wealthy” when it comes to music. “Music is a melting pot. I can have different rhythms in my songs. I don’t have any limits. The sky is my limit,” she explained. 

The singer added that she hopes her music will offer international audiences a glimpse of life as a Moroccan. “If (my songs) can be a small window to Morocco… and make people understand what we are feeling and what we are living, it would be amazing,” she said. 


UAE museum partners with cryptocurrency exchange on ‘most beautiful NFTs in metaverse’ project

UAE museum partners with cryptocurrency exchange on ‘most beautiful NFTs in metaverse’ project
Updated 18 May 2022

UAE museum partners with cryptocurrency exchange on ‘most beautiful NFTs in metaverse’ project

UAE museum partners with cryptocurrency exchange on ‘most beautiful NFTs in metaverse’ project

DUBAI: A futuristic Emirati museum has teamed up with a leading cryptocurrency exchange to cultivate and present a collection of digital products on the blockchain.

The Museum of the Future in Dubai is collaborating with Binance NFT – the non-fungible token marketplace of Binance, a cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure provider – on a project that will start with a collection under the title, “The Most Beautiful NFTs in the Metaverse.”

The recently opened museum has already made a significant impact, with tickets and talks being sold out days in advance.

Under the new partnership deal, the museum will be positioned to develop assets within the fields of cryptocurrency, blockchain, and NFTs.

Museum executive director, Lath Carlson, said: “This exciting project is the first of many future ventures that will see us working with the world’s brightest minds and construct high-impact developments that will shape the future.”

UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications Omar bin Sultan Al-Olama, said: “The Museum of the Future’s partnership with the world’s largest cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem player makes a significant contribution toward Dubai’s plans to establish a new international digital asset ecosystem, which will, in turn, generate long-term economic growth within the digital economy.”

The museum is creating a variety of virtual assets and will lead development in the crypto-technology space. The first NFT collection set to drop will be announced soon with the assortment to be linked to the concept of “The Most Beautiful Building on Earth.”

Head of Binance NFT, Helen Hai, said: “We look forward to working with the museum to develop industry leading digital products that enhance the growth of the industry and promote adoption of blockchain within the region.”


Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi poses for Jimmy Choo

Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi poses for Jimmy Choo
Updated 18 May 2022

Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi poses for Jimmy Choo

Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi poses for Jimmy Choo

DUBAI: Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi has given her 47,000 Instagram followers a behind-the-scenes look at Jimmy Choo’s new summer beach campaign.

The model took to Instagram to share a carousel of images with the caption “summer vibes with Jimmy Choo! Campaign finally out babes! I appreciate everyone that made this beautiful shoot come true.”

The British fashion brand launched the beach capsule collection earlier this week and it is marked by bright and vibrant colors and essential accessories for beachside holidays.

The 23-year-old model posted photos of the new sunglasses range, some behind-the-scenes swimsuit shots and the set crew. The official photos include shots of the part-Arab beauty lounging by a pool and posing on the beach in pieces from the brand’s new capsule collection.

Jimmy Choo Beach Collection campaign. Supplied

El-Maslouhi has made quite a name for herself in the industry. In just the past month she has been a part of three international campaigns: Anthropologie, Zara, and now Jimmy Choo.

She is a rising star in the business and is currently signed with agencies in Paris, London and Barcelona.

El-Maslouhi was born in Milan to a Moroccan father and an Italian mother and made her modelling debut when she was 18. Since she has captivated the industry, gracing runways of stories fashion houses that most models can only dream of, including Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Jacquemus, and more.

She has also appeared in multiple international campaigns ranging from Zara and Anthropologie to Off-White and Lanvin.

In the past year El-Maslouhi has walked for fashion houses in London, New York, Paris, and Milan.

She has also become the ambassador for the luxury womenswear label La Perla’s beauty line, and was further selected to be the face of the French brand’s signature scent.

Other than being a catwalk fixture, El-Maslouhi has multiple magazine spreads under belt including Dazed Magazine and British Vogue.