DUBAI: It was quite the year for the Italian makeup brand KIKO Milano, which just celebrated the fact it has 1000 stores globally with an event in Dubai.
The brand’s choice of destination to celebrate a milestone event speaks to the importance of the Middle East for the label. Arab News talked to Simone Dominici, global CEO of KIKO Milano, about their presence in the region and why Saudi Arabia is one of the brand’s most significant growth drivers for the Middle East and Africa region. “The people in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, love KIKO. So we plan on opening more stores in the Kingdom – going from 25 to 54 stores. We’ve seen a huge attraction from the Saudi customers in our stores — in terms of traffic and all the KPIs that we measure in the stores — that’s why we want to grow here,” says Dominici.
Another potential reason for the demand in the Kingdom is how the brand has successfully tapped into the country’s youth – 36.7 percent of the population is between 15-34 years of age. “We engage the younger population earlier and maybe even better than our competition. In countries like Saudi Arabia, people want to co-create with the brands,” he explained.
Their immediate expansion plans include opening 140 stores in the Middle East and Africa region in just 2023 and launching a direct-to-consumer eCommerce platform.
“We’ll keep growing because we want to make this premium experience that KIKO offers accessible to everyone, which is the key characteristic of KIKO,” he noted. The premium experience he refers to includes a large assortment of high-quality products primarily made in Italy in a vibrant range of colors. This, combined with in-store beauty experts advising customers on which products to select to express their creativity further, has proved to be a winning formula for them.
“We don’t just give a product and disappear — we understand together with you which product fits you better, and we coach you with our knowledge on how to use it. As a result, the clients return because they believe we enrich their lives,” Dominici said.
“Having Georgina walk into a boutique and pick our abaya off the rack and wear it for such an important event means that we have managed to reach that goal in making the abaya versatile and wearable. She picked one of our signature abayas the palm sage green,” she said.
Rodriguez wore the design with a figure-hugging black dress, silver heels, and a white Chanel bag.
1309 Studios is grounded in a contemporary bohemian aesthetic. At the heart of the brand is a minimalist, feminine look that merges seasonal trends with traditional Qatari elements.
Clean silhouettes, bold colors, artful prints, and carefully considered details are hallmarks of the brand. The designer draws inspiration from art, nature, and global culture to create pieces with a contemporary edge.
“When I was a teenager, I found myself exploring fabrics and creating styles that weren’t available in Qatar at the time. I began designing kaftans for family and friends during college and that’s where it all started,” Al-Subaey added.
Before she launched her brand in 2015, she ran her small business from home and relied on word of mouth to increase the hype around her designs.
She said: “That was when I conceptualized and worked on launching my own brand. I saw that there was a gap, there was a need to create a community in Qatar where women can turn to take care of their emotional wellbeing and leave no stone unturned to make it into a reality.”
The brand name 1309 is a nod to Al-Subaey’s mother.
“13/09 is my mother’s birthday. The name is dedicated to my mother, as I got my fashion sense from her. I used to watch her stitch and cut when I was younger, I learned all about fabrics and stitching from my mother,” she added.
Al-Subaey’s designs, which are shipped worldwide and are available in stores in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Qatar, are tailored in Qatar. She uses sustainable, natural, and vegan fabrics, as well as biodegradable packaging.
She said: “We also recycle scrap fabric and turn it into furniture. We rely on human skills and avoid the use of machinery as much as possible.”
And her designs are not just sketches that she brings to life, she puts thought into the design process to understand how the pieces she is creating will emotionally affect the person wearing it.
“I want people to feel relaxed and most like themselves while wearing a 1309 piece of clothing. A lot of times when people are not comfortable in their clothes, they are not themselves.
“The idea behind the 1309 studio woman is to create a safe place for women. A place where women come together to empower and uplift each other professionally and otherwise; to develop a platform where women feel free to speak up and support and take a moment to heal from the daily challenges of life in today’s fast-paced technological world.
“The clothes they wear should not be a restraint. The fabrics, colors, and cuts that I choose make the girls feel fun and alive. It should feel like an outfit, rather than a covering for an outfit.
“The fabric we use at 1309 is meant to complement various body types and shapes,” she added.
Al-Subaey is working to grow her brand globally.
She said: “I want to change this stigma around abayas. I want abayas to become as respected globally as kimonos and to see everyone around the world wearing them; not necessarily to cover the body, but instead as a fashion statement.
“I would love for my ideas and inspiration to create change. Whether it is about applying sustainable approaches in our work or utilizing environmentally friendly packaging, I want the brand to continue to make a positive impact toward the community.
“I would like to expand globally and represent the Arab world in a global fashion space,” she added.
Model Ubah Hassan shows off a custom-made gown at New York event
Updated 07 February 2023
DUBAI: Somali Canadian model Ubah Hassan took to Instagram on Tuesday morning to show off her head-turning gown from an event that took place in New York.
The TV star, who is set to star in season 14 of “The Real Housewives of New York,” posted a video of her form-fitting lilac dress with cut out detailing around the chest that she wore to the 15 Percent Pledge gala. The gown featured voluminous sleeves that were attached to a cape with a long train.
“THANK YOU for having us at @15percentpledge gala. You guys are doing amazing work supporting black business, black designers (sic),” she captioned her first post.
The 15 Percent Pledge is an American non-profit organization that encourages retailers to pledge at least 15 percent of their shelf-space to Black-owned businesses. The foundation conducts audits, shares its database of Black-owned businesses, and offers business development strategies to participating companies.
Dutch Moroccan Egyptian model Imaan Hammam was also in attendance. She wore a black gown with a long train by Italian brand Maximilian and had her hair tied in hip-grazing braids.
“Thank you @aurorajames and the entire @15percentpledge team for such a well-curated event and for bringing everyone together for such a great cause,” she wrote on Instagram.
The gala dinner was also attended by Ashley Graham, Lori Harvey, Ryan Destiny and more.
To celebrate the achievements of Black entrepreneurs, the Fifteen Percent Pledge awarded three founders with grants. The first-place winner, beauty brand 54 Thrones, received the first-ever Achievement Award, a $200,000 grant presented by Shop with Google. The second runner-up, Sergio Hudson, received $35,000, and the third runner-up, Puzzles of Color, received $20,000.
The winners all received a physical award created by designer Jameel Mohammed, founder and director of Khiry, the luxury brand best known for its afro-futurist jewelry.
Fox’s stylist took to Instagram to share the story behind her look. “Story time, when Adam shared the sketch of MGK’s look, I immediately thought of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ I wanted to find a simple classic white gown for Megan but still something that felt like her with a bit of an edge.
“I knew this was the dress the second I saw it and begged them to ship it in from Paris for me. It was exactly what she wanted and was the only thing she tried on. Tonight was his night so we really wanted to keep her look simple and classic so he could shine,” posted Maeve Reilly on Instagram.
Meanwhile, superstar Beyonce broke the record for the most Grammy wins of any artist, scoring her 32nd prize ever and fourth of the night to resounding applause.
She won the title by winning the Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for her smash “Renaissance,” surpassing the late classical conductor Georg Solti, who had 31 awards.
“I’m trying not to be too emotional,” the singer-songwriter said as her husband Jay-Z stood and applauded her. The singer thanked her late uncle, her parents, Jay-Z and her children for supporting her. “I’m just trying to receive this night. I want to thank God for protecting me. Thank you, God.”
Former One Direction member Harry Styles won the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Harry's House.” The singer said recording the song was one of the “greatest experiences of my life. It’s been my greatest joy.”
Also, notably, actress Viola Davis emerged from Sunday's show an EGOT — a term for those who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — after her win for best audio book, narration and storytelling recording.
US actress Tessa Brooks shows off Saudi label Eman Alajlan in Los Angeles
Updated 05 February 2023
DUBAI: US actress, social media star and dancer Tessa Brooks showed off a sleek look by Saudi designer Eman Alajlan at the 2023 MusiCares Persons of the Year event in Los Angeles over the weekend.
The 23-year-old multi-hyphenate showed off an all-black ensemble by Alajlan at an event that honored retired American record executive Berry Gordy and legendary Motown singer Smokey Robinson at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The pair of creatives are the architects behind a generation of soul-pop hits and they stood side-by-side on Friday night to accept a double-billed MusiCares Persons of the Year honor. MusiCares is non-profit wing of the Recording Academy and holds the annual gala ahead of the Grammy Awards, which took place on Sunday night.
Brooks opted to show off a Saudi design on a red carpet that welcomed the who’s who of the entertainment industry — performers who took to the the stage at the event included Brandi Carlile, Jimmie Allen, PJ Morton, Trombone Shorty, John Legend, Sheryl Crow, Mumford & Sons, Isley Brothers, Michael McDonald, The Temptations, Rita Wilson and The Four Tops, Molly Tuttle and more.
The model and actress also recently posted about her visits to Saudi Arabia, where she attended the Red Sea International Film Festival in December before jetting back to the Kingdom to visit the historical site of AlUla in January.
“Sunrise in AlUla,” she captioned a carousel of shots on Instagram in which she can be seen basking in the Saudi sun wearing a toweled robe.
Alajlan, who has a store in Riyadh, established her label in 2007 and specializes in couture, bridal and pret-a-porter dresses. She has dressed a number of regional celebrities for international events, including the 2019 Venice Film Festival when Saudi actresses Mila Alzahrani and Dae Al-Hilali hit the red carpet in her creations.
Tunisian managing director Nadia Dhouib pays tribute to Paco Rabanne
The eponymous label he exited more than two decades ago hailed him as "among the most seminal fashion figures of the 20th century"
Tunisian managing director of Paco Rabanne, Nadia Dhouib, paid tribute to the ‘legendary’ fashion designer
Updated 04 February 2023
PARIS: Tunisian managing director Nadia Dhouib this week paid tribute to the Spanish-born designer Paco Rabanne, who died at the age of 88 on Friday.
Dhouib, who was named managing director of Paco Rabanne in March last year, shared a black and white picture of the fashion designer, best known for his metallic ensembles and space-age designs of the 1960s, on her Instagram stories, and wrote: “Legend.”
The eponymous label he exited more than two decades ago hailed him as “among the most seminal fashion figures of the 20th century.”
Rabanne dressed some of the most prominent stars of the 1960s, including French singer Francoise Hardy, whose outfits from the designer included a minidress made from gold plates and a metal link jumpsuit, as well as Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, who were pictured in matching silver outfits.
Among his most famous looks were the fitted, skin-baring ensembles worn by Jane Fonda in Roger Vadim’s cult science fiction film “Barbarella.”
The death of Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo, Paco Rabanne’s birth name, was confirmed by a spokesperson for Spanish group Puig, which now controls the fashion house.
“A major personality in fashion, his was a daring, revolutionary and provocative vision, conveyed through a unique aesthetic,” said Marc Puig, chairman and CEO of Puig.
“Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic. Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women (to) clamor for dresses made of plastic and metal? Who but Paco Rabanne could imagine a fragrance called Calandre — the word means ‘automobile grill,’ you know — and turn it into an icon of modern femininity?" the group's statement said.
Born in a village in the Spanish Basque region in 1934, his mother was a head seamstress at Balenciaga. He died in Portsall in Brittany.
Rabanne grew up in France, where the family moved after Spanish troops shot dead his father, who had been a Republican commander during the civil war.
He studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He started his career sketching handbags for a supplier to prestigious fashion houses including Givenchy and Chanel, as well as shoes for Charles Jourdan.
He then branched into fashion, designing garments and jewelry with unconventional materials such as metal and plastic.
His first collection, which he described as “unwearable dresses made of contemporary materials” were pieces made of strips of plastic linked with metal rings, worn by barefoot models at a presentation at the upscale Paris hotel George V.
The Paris cabaret Crazy Horse Saloon was his next venue, where models paraded his skimpy dresses and bathing suits while wearing hardhats.
While his innovation and futuristic designs won plaudits, his fascination with the supernatural prompted public derision at times. He was known for recounting past reincarnations, and in 1999, he predicted the space station Mir would crash into France, coinciding with a solar eclipse.
Surrealist Salvador Dali famously approved of his compatriot, calling him “Spain’s second genius.”
The designer teamed up with Spain’s Puig family in the late 1960s, launching perfumes that served as a springboard for the company’s international expansion.
“Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic. Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women (to) clamour for dresses made of plastic and metal,” said Jose Manuel Albesa, president of Puig’s beauty and fashion division.
The label has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, under the creative direction of Julien Dossena, who has updated the house’s signature chainmail designs.
“We are grateful to Monsieur Rabanne for establishing our avant-garde heritage and defining a future of limitless possibilities,” the fashion house said in a statement.
The designer’s work with metallic plastic gave a “sharp edge” to women’s clothes, an effect that was “so much more than a New Look,” fashion historian Suzy Menkes said on Instagram Friday.
“It was rather a revolutionary attitude for women who wanted both to protect and assert themselves.”