Refugee choir performs at UK’s Glastonbury Festival

The choir, which was founded in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, is made up of 50 people. (Instagram)
The choir, which was founded in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, is made up of 50 people. (Instagram)
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Updated 26 June 2022

Refugee choir performs at UK’s Glastonbury Festival

The choir, which was founded in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, is made up of 50 people. (Instagram)

DUBAI: The Citizens of the World Refugee Choir performed at the UK’s Glastonbury Festival on Sunday.

The choir, which was founded in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, is made up of 50 people.

Becky Dell, the musical director, told PA that the choir is a 50/50 split of refugees and non-refugees, and calls itself a “rainbow tribe (because) none of us look the same as each other – it’s amazing.”

She said the choir hopes to “elevate the narrative around refugees; too often the story is ‘poor refugees,’ it’s sending them far away. We wanted to show refugees in a different way. They are displaced human beings first and foremost.”

The choir opened the festival’s Avalon Stage on Sunday with a solo 40-minute set.


Actress Jameela Jamil talks about her supervillain character at ‘She-Hulk’ premiere

Actress Jameela Jamil talks about her supervillain character at ‘She-Hulk’ premiere
Updated 17 August 2022

Actress Jameela Jamil talks about her supervillain character at ‘She-Hulk’ premiere

Actress Jameela Jamil talks about her supervillain character at ‘She-Hulk’ premiere

DUBAI: Actress Jameela Jamil — who shot to fame for her fan-favorite role as Tahani on “The Good Place” — was all smiles at the Los Angeles premiere of Marvel’s latest Disney+ entry, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” set to premiere worldwide on Aug. 18.

The British Pakistani actress took to social media to give fans front-row seats to all the action at the star-packed event. Also present were Tatiana Maslany, who plays the fourth-wall-breaking titular character who is a lawyer/superhero, and the actor who plays her onscreen cousin, Mark Ruffalo, reprising his more recent Professor Hulk iteration.

Jamil wore a custom Monique Vee low-cut dress with a high slit, paired glamorously with black Christian Louboutin pumps. The gown itself was an homage to comic books with action words like “BANG,” “ZAP” and “WAM.”

In “She-Hulk,” Jamil plays supervillain Titania, whom she has herself dubbed “the most annoying MCU character ever.”

In the trailer that was released as part of Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con panel, Jamil’s Titania is shown bursting through a courtroom wall. Like She-Hulk, Titania possesses super strength, durability and stamina, but the character obtained her powers differently in the comics, having been exposed to alien technology.

Among the many snapshots from the premiere, Jamil posted a clip from the red carpet on her Instagram Stories, in which she gives some insight into her character. “She’s just very messy, very chaotic, very mean, very annoying, very easy for me to play. And she’s deeply insecure and just out to destroy She-Hulk’s life, out to destroy everyone’s life actually,” she said.



“And in order to make her more accessible to the modern world, [creator and writer] Jessica Gao has fully redone her storyline from the comics. And so, she’s more of a modern-day fitness influencer online and everything about her is fake…And I got to play just a funny, tongue-in-cheek caricature of an influencer, who can also just beat the (expletive) out of you,” Jamil added.

The series also marks the return of Charlie Cox (of Netflix’s “Daredevil” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”) as Matt Murdock — better known as Daredevil — a fellow lawyer and superhero. The cast of characters also features Tim Roth as Abomination, Renée Elise Goldsberry (of “Hamilton” fame) as Mallory Book and Ginger Gonzaga (from TV series "Kidding") as Nikki Ramos.

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” premieres worldwide on Disney+ on Aug. 18.


Michael Jackson tribute show headed to Dubai Opera

Michael Jackson tribute show headed to Dubai Opera
Updated 17 August 2022

Michael Jackson tribute show headed to Dubai Opera

Michael Jackson tribute show headed to Dubai Opera

DUBAI: Fans of the King of Pop, rejoice. A Michael Jackson tribute show is one of four major concerts headed to Dubai Opera in September, the venue has announced.

The month-long program includes the ballet “Romeo and Juliet, The Greatest Love Story of All Time”; the opera “La Traviata”; a performance by French-Canadian singer-songwriter Margaux Sauve; and “Michael Lives Forever, A Tribute to Michael Jackson.”

The Jackson tribute show features Rodrigo Teaser, and will be staged on Sept. 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. The show includes classic hits such as “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Thriller.”

Shakespeare fans can watch his tragic masterpiece come to life with “Romeo and Juliet, The Greatest Love Story of All Time,” courtesy of the State Ballet of Georgia. Performances will take place on Sept. 9 at 8 p.m., Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Verdi's “La Traviata,” which describes the ill-fated love affair between high-class courtesan Violetta and poet Alfredo Germont, will show at the Dubai Opera on Sept. 13 and 14 at 8 p.m.

“Ghostly Kisses,” a musical project by Margaux Sauve, will be staged at the venue on Sept. 17 at 8 p.m.


Saudi fashion designer Honayda Serafi on Harrods career breakthrough

Saudi fashion designer Honayda Serafi on Harrods career breakthrough
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi fashion designer Honayda Serafi on Harrods career breakthrough

Saudi fashion designer Honayda Serafi on Harrods career breakthrough

DUBAI: From Priyanka Chopra to Lupita Nyong’o and Adriana Lima, Saudi Arabian designer Honayda Serafi has dressed many A-listers around the world. Since founding her label Honayda in 2016, Serafi has captured the attention of some of Saudi’s most stylish women and celebrities with her standout designs in elegant and sophisticated silhouettes. This month, she became the first Saudi designer to showcase her collection at Harrods in London, reaching yet another pinnacle for her label.

“I feel very proud as Honayda is the first female-led Saudi label to be displayed at Harrods. The collaboration had been cooking for about eight months, and it was a pleasure working with their team on this exciting launch of exclusive pieces available only at Harrods. It is an honor to be retailing at one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious department stores — but definitely, the journey is ongoing, and we are not stopping here,” said Serafi.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

Not only is this a major milestone for the brand, but it also serves as an inspiration for other emerging labels from the Kingdom. Since founding her brand, Serafi has always aimed to join the international fashion scene, while also aiming to inspire other female Saudi designers into believing in their potential. “I hope this brings inspiration to all talented Saudi designers. The world is full of opportunities, and there is a place for everyone. To the rising designers, I tell them to focus on their goals and to keep pushing themselves harder,” she said.

The Saudi design scene has rapidly evolved in the last few years, with talent from the region being recognized internationally, especially on the red carpet. With the establishment of the Fashion Council and its initiatives like the mentorship and incubation programs, homegrown designers can access the many resources they need to advance in the industry.

Honayda creations at Harrods, London. (Supplied)

“When I first started my brand, the fashion scene in Saudi Arabia was still young. I discovered every aspect of creating from my own experiences — starting from sourcing to tailoring and selling. Since then, I’ve seen amazing growth in the industry. By forging and implementing several programs that aim to promote Saudi fashion locally and internationally, the Fashion Commission has put a great deal into developing the sector in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Proudly wearing her Saudi heritage on her sleeve, Serafi’s mission has always been to empower women through her clothes. “I believe in women empowering women. The brand was nurtured in a way to have a cause and to be one with a voice. Stepping ahead by supporting and lifting each other proves achievable when we join forces. Women know and love Honayda because they relate to it.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

The starting point of every Honayda collection is based on the women who have inspired Serafi and those who have left a mark in history — be it from the past or the modern day. Her fall/winter 22 collection at Harrods is no different. Titled “A Charm from Afghan,” the designs are an ode to the powerful character of Afghan women, their strength and the country’s spectacular architecture.


Part-Lebanese designer Tony Ward continues a legacy of resilience

Part-Lebanese designer Tony Ward continues a legacy of resilience
Updated 17 August 2022

Part-Lebanese designer Tony Ward continues a legacy of resilience

Part-Lebanese designer Tony Ward continues a legacy of resilience

BEIRUT: Lebanese Italian fashion designer Tony Ward recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his eponymous fashion brand and the 70th anniversary of his father’s establishment, Elie Ward’s Ateliers.

A pioneer of Lebanese haute couture, Elie opened his own label in 1952 at the age of 16, dressing Lebanese high society during the country’s golden age. His timeless suits populated the wardrobes of the Lebanese elite.

Strengthened by this heritage, Tony chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and presented his first collection in 1997. Despite training in France in the most prestigious fashion houses, he never forgot his origins or the history of his family. He went on to set up his boutique and workshop in the heart of Beirut because “inspiration changes and creations evolve, but heritage remains.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONY WARD (@tonywardcouture)

A few days after the anniversary exhibition, which was held in the elegant headquarters of his Beirut studio, Tony spoke to Arab News about his father’s legacy. An eye for detail, boundless creativity and a sense for beauty are among the many attributes that Tony declares owing to his father.

“Elie Ward was a pioneer, one of the pillars of the industry during the great Beirut era,” said Tony. “Known and recognized for the perfection of his tailoring techniques, he always designed clothes according to the rules of the art.”

This is precisely what we see in the documentary entitled “Forever Forward,” screened as part of the exhibition and directed by Zoya Ward Issa El-Khoury, Tony’s sister, a renowned filmmaker. This film not only retraces the history of the Ward house, but it also presents the sewing techniques, exploring the label’s phases of evolution and reflection.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONY WARD (@tonywardcouture)

Tony does not allow himself to be carried away by his success, of course. The designer and his wife, Anna, a photographer and partner at the fashion house, are deeply invested in helping their community. In 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, they decided to transform their sewing workshop — shut down due to the pandemic — and manufacture bedding for the government hospital in Beirut.

What advice would Tony give to young people who want to get into the business?

“There is a place for everyone. You must learn, gain experience and make mistakes, and you should not be afraid of failure. You should be humble and listen to your customers,” said the designer.

Tony concluded that his biggest wish today is to “see the international clientele come back to Lebanon.”


Model Bella Hadid opens up about upcoming ‘Ramy’ show 

 Model Bella Hadid opens up about upcoming ‘Ramy’ show 
Updated 17 August 2022

Model Bella Hadid opens up about upcoming ‘Ramy’ show 

 Model Bella Hadid opens up about upcoming ‘Ramy’ show 

DUBAI: Palestinian Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid this week opened up about starring in the third season of Hulu’s “Ramy.”

The Emmy-nominated show, starring comedian Ramy Youssef, is about an Egyptian-American living in New Jersey who is determined to become a better Muslim as he grows into an adult, often stumbling along the way.

In an interview with GQ Magazine, Hadid, who stars as a “weirdo girlfriend,” recalled moments on set that made her heart full. On the first day, the crew surprised her with a shirt that stated: “Free Palestine.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

 

“I couldn’t handle my emotions,” Hadid said. “Growing up and being Arab, it was the first time that I’d ever been with like-minded people. I was able to see myself.”

Youssef and Hadid first connected when the Golden Globe winner emailed the runway star and asked if she would be interested to guest star in the show. After a long Zoom conversation, Hadid agreed.

“I was like, this is perfect,” Hadid said. “We hadn’t even met before, but I had a feeling it was going to be kismet.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

The catwalk star, who has always been vocal about her support for Palestine, said that her friendship with Youssef grew stronger during the show.

“There was one time where Ramy came over during Ramadan and allowed me to pray with him,” she told the publication. “And it was one of the most beautiful moments of my adult life.”

Hadid, who was born in Washington, D.C., said her family relocated to California when she was a toddler. “I was with my Palestinian side (of the family in D.C.),” she said.

The relocation was not easy for her, she said.

“I would have loved to grow up and be with my dad every day and studying and really being able to practice, just in general being able to live in a Muslim culture,” she said. “But I wasn’t given that.”

“I speak about (this stuff) for the elderly that are still living there that have never been able to see Palestine free, and for the children that can still grow up and have a beautiful life,” she added.