The model hit the runway wearing a beige knee-length skirt, that seems to be making a fashion comeback this season, and a collared camel-colored sweater from the brand’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection.
Her look was completed with a pair of black boots.
“Thank you, Tory Burch for letting me open your show,” the model wrote on Instagram, sharing a picture of her outfit.
Bahia was not the only Arab star modelling for the brand. She was joined by British Moroccan model Nora Attal who graced the runway in a khaki cut-out shirt, also with a collar, and a black blazer.
Bright green satin trousers finished off the polished look.
They walked alongside US model Emily Ratajkowski and Russian catwalk star Irina Shayk.
Ratajkowski wore a black-corset style top paired with a calf length skirt, fishnet stockings, and black pointy-toed heels, while Shayk wore a black dress with a white blazer embellished with a single bright red button.
The catwalk presentation toyed with the notion of perfection, with a number of looks sent out in purposeful states of disrepair — think skirts being held together by large safety pins, broken heels and lopsided hardware on the leather accessories.
“I wanted to challenge the concept of traditional femininity and beauty and twist it,” Burch said, according to Vogue US. “I don’t think women want rules anymore.”
US Somali model Halima Aden sat front row alongside US catwalk star Ashley Graham, US actress Lana Condo, US actress and dancer Maddie Ziegler and US YouTuber and actress Claudia Sulewski.
Other A-list stars in attendance included American actress Bella Thorne, British model Suki Waterhouse and British actress Claire Foy.
For her part, Paris-born Bahia is quickly becoming one of the most in-demand models in the industry, having become a runway fixture after a breakthrough spring 2022 fashion month, where she walked in 65 shows.
She has taken to the catwalk for a multitude of prestigious fashion houses, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Valentino.
International stars grace the red carpet at RSIFF’s closing ceremony
Updated 07 December 2023
Shyama Krishna Kumar
JEDDAH: The Red Sea International Film Festival hosted a glittering closing night gala with A-list stars posing on the red carpet in Jeddah.
The likes of Henry Golding, Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Nicolas Cage, Adrien Brody and Andrew Garfield hit the red carpet, with “Crazy Rich Asians” star Golding telling Arab News “it only keeps getting better and better. I think it’s so smooth tonight and it’s just been magnificent to be on the red carpet here and share this space with Nicolas Cage, Baz Luhrmann and Frieda Pinto ... I feel very lucky.”
The festival wrapped up its third edition with a screening of “Ferrari,” a biopic directed by Michael Mann starring Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley and Patrick Dempsey. Although Thursday night marked the closing ceremony and Yusr Awards, the festival will continue its slate of screenings until Dec. 9.
Mohammed Al-Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, previously spoke about “Ferrari” in a released statement, saying: “This exhilarating film has been close to the festival’s ‘heart,’ as it has been supported by our Red Sea International Film Financing, a vehicle for us to champion acclaimed storytellers and create the opportunity for cultural exchange. Michael Mann’s powerful film shows true craftsmanship and empathy for the ambitious genius behind one of the world’s most desired works of design.”
During the gala night, the festival unveiled this year’s Yusr Awards, which “recognize and celebrate boldness and innovation in film, awarding the biggest prizes in the region to both emerging and established voices across the formats of fiction, documentary, and animation,” as stated on the festival’s website.
This year’s jury was presided over by director Baz Luhrmann, who was joined by Swedish American actor Joel Kinnaman (“Suicide Squad”); Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire”); Egyptian actor Amina Khalil (“Grand Hotel”) and Spain’s Paz Vega (“Sex and Lucía,” “The OA”).
The Red Sea International Film Festival kicked off on Nov. 30 with a gala screening of Dubai-based Iraqi director Yasir Al-Yasiri’s “HWJN,” which is based on a YA novel by Saudi writer Ibraheem Abbas. Set in modern-day Jeddah, “HWJN” follows the story of a kind-hearted jinn — an invisible entity in Islamic tradition — as he discovers the truth about his royal lineage.
Meanwhile, German actress Diane Kruger, Bollywood star Ranveer Singh and Saudi actor-writer Abdullah Al-Sadhan received career honors at the festival this year.
The Red Sea International Film Festival features 11 categories of films: Special Screenings; Red Sea: Competition; Red Sea: Shorts Competition; Festival Favorites; Arab Spectacular; International Spectacular; New Saudi/ New Cinema: Shorts; Red Sea: New Vision; Red Sea: Families and Children; Red Sea: Series and Red Sea: Treasures.
The theme of year’s festival was “Your Story, Your Festival.”
Abu Dhabi’s Erth eatery was awarded one Michelin star, making it the first Emirati restaurant to earn a star. The restaurants that retained stars are 99 Sushi Bar, Hakkasan and Talea by Antonio Guida, bringing the city’s total star-holding eateries to four.
Two new eateries made it to the Bib Gourmand category: Al-Mrzab and Oii. The eateries that retained their Bib Gourmand status are are Otoro, Almayass, Beirut Sur Mer and T’azal.
The Service Award went to Chandran Thanggaraja at Kopitiam by Chandy’s, the Young Chef Award was awarded to Rigers Cuka at Oii and the Opening of the Year Award was given to James Soo Yong Kim at Les Dangereux.
There were once again no two or three Michelin Star restaurants, and no restaurants lost stars.
Seventh Misk Art Week explores theme of tradition in Riyadh
Event features exhibitions, talks, masterclasses, workshops, performances and an art book fair
Updated 07 December 2023
Rebecca Anne Proctor
RIYADH: Stationed around Prince Faisal bin Fahad Arts Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, are numerous pop-up spaces selling artworks and handmade Saudi crafts. Hailing from across the Kingdom, these sleekly presented spaces constitute Misk Art Week’s marketplace, providing a platform for creative professionals across the country to grow their practices while also allowing international visitors to engage with Saudi Arabia’s growing art scene.
One artist has come from Al-Baha in the Kingdom’s Sarawat Mountains to showcase her work while another photographer has traveled from Jeddah. Other local craftsmen and women from around Riyadh smile warmly as they present their crafts — all of which reflect the traditional heritage of Saudi Arabia.
The theme of this year’s Misk Art Week is tradition, celebrating the richness of the Kingdom’s past and present heritage and culture.
“This year’s edition of Misk Art Week looks forward to celebrating art and artists, presenting rich artistic content for everyone,” Reeem Al-Sultan, CEO of Misk Art Institute, a nonprofit cultural organization under the Misk Foundation, established in 2011 by Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, said in a statement.
“It aims to stimulate and enhance cultural discussions in the region, providing the platform artists need to express themselves amidst the continuing success of the Institute’s programs in contributing to the development of the creative sector in Saudi Arabia and enriching artistic content and production through a range of programs.”
The annual week, now in its seventh outing, is taking place until Dec. 10 and has become a key moment in Saudi Arabia’s cultural calendar. The event features a dynamic program of exhibitions, talks, masterclasses, workshops, performances and also an art book fair. The latter constitutes its largest fair to date and features a range of art magazines and cultural books in both English and Arabic.
Several exhibitions are also being staged during the week. These include “Mirqab,” an exhibition that displays works by artists from Saudi Arabia and across the Arab world who explore the idea of rituals that transcend mere routines and become celebratory events on their own.
The exhibition is curated by Aram Alajaji.
“These rituals serve as a source of identity, continuity and a window into culture, uniting individuals across time and space through shared traditions and values,” the exhibition text states.
Highlights include Kuwaiti artist Farah Behbehani’s “Light Within the Heart” (2023) a mixed-media immersive installation made with hand-pierced paper, and a digital projection with audio recitation by Saudi singer Rotana Tarabzouni. The work was inspired by a poem by the 12th-century Persian philosopher Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi that explores the essence of divine light.
The work is additionally inspired by the geometric patterns employed in Islamic architecture.
Elsewhere, “The Infinite Now” (2022) is by Jeddah-based artist and poet Sara Abdu and explores, the artist explained to Arab News, “the simple act of creating a simple line. It is based on repetition, it is very ritualistic and I consider it a tool for documenting the infinite now.”
Positioned opposite “Mirqab,” artists can be found painting, drawing and sculpting throughout the week. A few steps away is a stage where musical and dance performances are taking place each night. Additionally, the Creative Forum, a talks program bringing together art professionals from the country and around the world, seeks to explore ideas relating to art creation and the art scene in the Kingdom.
Upstairs in the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall is an exhibition titled “Tracing the Absent,” celebrating the winners of the fourth Misk Art Grant, with a fund of one million Saudi riyals ($266,632) distributed among five artist from the Arab world.
As demonstrated by the theme of the exhibition, which centers on tradition, the 2023 participants were asked to reflect on notions of tradition, of an Arab’s society’s inherited rituals, practices, stories and ways of thinking, that have changed over time.
The Misk Art Grant recipients this year are Abdulla Buhijji, Hayfa Algwaiz, Hussain Alismail, Maisa Shaldan and Mohamed Almubarak.
In a structure outside the Prince Fahd Arts Hall stands “Tajalat,” an immersive experience converging art, technology and culture. The room, which features live moving projections of the works of 11 Saudi artists, is a wonder in itself, prompting visitors to stay, reflect on the art and experience the colors, lights and forms as they are projected onto the screens. Like Misk Art Week, this experiential exhibition also prompts a sense of community, uniting visitors from all backgrounds and cultures in a common moment of art appreciation.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry and Baz Luhrmann talk careers, inspiration at RSIFF
Updated 07 December 2023
Shyama Krishna Kumar
JEDDAH: Academy Award-winner and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow cut a business chic look as she headlined three high-profile In Conversation panels that took place at the Red Sea International Film Festival on Wednesday night, with Australian director Baz Luhrmann and US actress Halle Berry taking part in panels on the same day.
Taking part in a retrospective conversation moderated by Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG) CEO Jomana Al-Rashed – who introduced Paltrow as a personal role model – the latter looked back on her career as a successful movie star as well as an entrepreneur, recently celebrating 15 years of her wellness company, Goop.
“Entrepreneurship and acting are very similar. Both require the same kind of energy,” said Paltrow of her decision to launch Goop.
“I’m really happy I did it because I’ve learned so much through the process of growing this company and working with this team and all of the challenges, whether it be inventory management or Excel. I never thought in a million years I would have to learn how to read a P&L. It’s been so thrilling to build this business and still do what I love to do.”
On the topic of films, Paltrow was asked by an audience member about how she felt about working in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to which she said she stopped watching the films at some point, having also never watched “Avengers: Endgame,” in which she has a significant role.
Paltrow did, however, go into some detail about the first ever MCU film she shot, 2008’s “Iron Man,” starring Robert Downey Jr. in his famous titular role.
“The first film we did was very different from the rest because the studio didn’t think it was going to be a big hit,” she said. “They hired Jon Favreau to direct who was great. And they hired Robert Downey Jr., who was un-hireable at the time. His career was at a very low point.
“And then I remember they called me one day and said, ‘Come do this thing with us.’ And I said, ‘I’m not going to be in a superhero movie.’ And then they said, ‘No, but it’s going to be like doing an indie film. We’re going to have fun and, you know, you don’t have to be in too much of the action part anyway.’”
“And so I thought, ‘Oh, okay.’ And we had such a good time. We improvised almost every scene of that movie. We would write it in the morning in Jon’s trailer, and it was like doing an independent film. Then, the movie was such a huge hit that then we didn’t make them like that anymore. But it was fun. It was a fun ride,” she added.
Paltrow, whose last onscreen role was Netflix’s “The Politician,” was also asked whether she saw herself returning to Hollywood.
“I never say never. I’m really happy and busy doing what I’m doing. But again, I can never know what the future will hold,” she said.
Here’s a look at what Luhrmann and Berry had to say at their respective In Conversation panels:
Halle Berry talks Oscars and inspiration
US actress Halle Berry, the first and only African-American actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, spoke about empowering herself as an actress, filmmaker and producer as she delved into topics like the creation of her production house, upcoming projects and possibly shooting parts of her next movie in Jeddah.
Berry, revealed to huge applause, that inspiration struck her on her flight to Jeddah for a new story she wants to direct.
“Finally on the plane coming here I saw a story, I saw what’s in my heart, and realised what I wanted to share,” said Berry, who recently launched production company HalleHolly with former WME partner Holly Jeter.
Asked by moderator and Lebanese presenter Raya Abirached to elaborate, Berry said, “It’s a love story at its core, but it deals with the supernatural and time travel and the future. It’s taken me the last few years to figure this out.”
Berry also spoke about her famous Oscar win in 2002 for her devastating role in Marc Forster’s “Monster’s Ball,” also starring Billy Bob Thornton.
About her win and speech, Berry said, “I don’t remember any of it and here’s why. I didn’t expect to win. I don’t know if anybody ever expects to win. Back in those days, usually whoever won the Golden Globe, would win the Oscars. So, any hopes I had were dashed when I lost to Siccy Spacek for the Golden Globe.
“And it was in that moment that I thought this was a good run. Look how far I got. I dared to take a chance and I took the role of ‘Monster’s Ball’ and all of my agents and everybody around me said this would be the end of my career.
“So, knowing all that, I didn’t write a speech. I just wanted to go and have fun and sort of bask in the moment of this achievement, being at the Academy Awards and being nominated. So, I was not prepared. So, when I went up there when they called my name, I absolutely went blank. And all I remember was Russell Crowe. Walking up there and seeing his face and hearing him say, ‘Breathe, mate.’ And I remember taking a big breath turning around and then it’s kind of a blur. And the next memory I really have is backstage, and realizing, ‘Oh! An Oscar!’ I think I saw it for the first time backstage.”
Berry also talked about her upcoming collaboration with Angelina Jolie for the action-comedy film “Maude v Maude,” which the two actresses are co-producing.
“I’m just thrilled to just work with another woman and craft a story from our sensibility, from our point of view. So many times, we’re characterised in movies, and the writers are usually men, so we’re portrayed from their perspective. And, so, there’s a female director, Angelina and I are there, and we can tell a story from our point of view.”
She also said the Warner Bros. film is a big action movie that will shoot around the world: “And maybe we’ll come back here (to Jeddah). When I was looking around the old town today, I was thinking about what we can get in here.”
Baz Luhrmann reflects on his biggest hits
Australian auteur Baz Luhrmann, known for films like “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Elvis,” sat down with Raya Abirached to look back on his 30-year-long career, reflecting on his biggest hits.
Talking about his hit biographical film “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler in the lead role, Luhrmann went into some detail about losing hope on the film when COVID-19 hit. However, Butler never gave up, he said.
“Austin carried a very precious secret with him that he didn’t tell me about until much later in the process, and that is that he had lost his mother at exactly the same age that Elvis did. And it affected him profoundly because she was the one who would go with him to auditions and you know helped him start out. His work ethic was like… Denzel Washington rang me out of the blue. I didn’t know Denzel at the time. He said, ‘Look, you’re about to meet Austin Butler.’ Austin was doing a play with Denzel on stage and he said he’s never seen a young actor work as hard as he was. ‘You’ll be all over him,’ said Denzel. And I was,” said Luhrmann.
“And then the movie went away. I told everyone to go home from Australia. But Austin wouldn’t leave. He said, ‘I’m not leaving.’ We would see him walking up and down the beach and people would think he was mad because he’d be yelling his ‘Elvis’ lines into the ocean,” he added, laughing.
Luhrmann, in an offhand comment, also said he’s considering retiring while talking about how he picks the projects he works on.
“I’ve always got so many pieces in my mind and I’ll never make all of them. It’s just so much noise out there and not to criticize anyone but there’s just so much stuff out there. I would rather retire – which I am considering doing – and not put more noise out there. If I can’t put something that’s actually useful and can be worthy of someone’s incredibly precious two-and-a-half hours when you invite them into a darkened room with strangers to look at something that they can’t walk out and either be uplifted or moved or something… It’s got to be worthwhile to do it. That’s all they care about. And if I can believe I can do that, then I would do it,” he said.
Hollywood star Michelle Rodriguez talks women in cinema at RSIFF
Updated 07 December 2023
JEDDAH: Hollywood star Michelle Rodriguez sat down at the Red Sea International Film Festival’s Talent Days forum on Wednesday to shed light on her career choices, as well as the role of women in cinema.
Moderated by Saudi actor Ibrahim Al-Hajjaj at the Ritz-Carlton in Jeddah, the pair chatted candidly on the perceived divide between old Hollywood and television, with Rodriguez stating: “There is always a wall between old Hollywood and television where there are certain people you know in the industry wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole, and that has to do with the susceptibility.”
Known for her roles in action movies, including the fan-loved “Fast & Furious” franchise, Rodriguez reminded the audience that “films are about discovery and teamwork as much as it is about vision and storytelling.”
Rodriguez also discussed her criteria for selecting movies, highlighting her commitment to avoiding projects that contain nudity, negative portrayals of women, or drug dealers.
“I can’t play any negative character that misrepresents a woman as it is forbidden and I need to give little girls something else to see. If the script has a drug dealer or something like this, I will say no,” she said.
Reflecting on the representation of women in the film industry, Rodriguez noted the positive changes both on and off screen, saying: “The representation of women has changed... there are doors opening... it’s time for women to discover what that power is.”
Speaking of Mohammed Al-Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, Rodriguez commended his support for women in the industry.
“He has got more women in his film festival than any other film festival worldwide. His support, his desire to give voice to women is unparalleled. Nobody else does that,” she said.
The Red Sea International Film Festival runs until Dec. 9.