Saudi stars, Arab designers steal the show at Cannes Film Festival

Saudi stars, Arab designers steal the show at Cannes Film Festival
Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair, French actress and director Maiwenn, US actor Johnny Depp and French actor Pierre Richard pose as they arrive for the opening ceremony and the screening of the film ‘Jeanne du Barry.’ (Instagram/AFP)
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Updated 19 May 2023

Saudi stars, Arab designers steal the show at Cannes Film Festival

Saudi stars, Arab designers steal the show at Cannes Film Festival

DUBAI: Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair stepped out in a custom-made pink gown by Lebanese designer Rami Kadi at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival.

Al-Zuhair, who was born in Paris to a French mother and Saudi father, wore a corset style off-the-shoulder gown dress with puffy skirt to the 76th edition of the prestigious festival.

The model attended the opening screening “Jeanne du Barry,” which marks Johnny Depp’s first major role since his high-profile defamation trial.

The movie was backed by Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival. 

“Opening ceremony of the 76th Festival de Cannes with the movie ‘Jeanne du Barry,’ the first Saudi international co-production by Red Sea International Film Festival with France!” she wrote to her 46,000 followers on Instagram. “So proud to witness this special moment as a French and Saudi woman!”

Johnny Depp seemed back in full celebrity mode on Tuesday, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans before the premiere of his movie. Fans in the French Riviera city were seen hoisting signs that read “Congrats, Johnny” and “We are sorry” with a heart.

The festival delivered on its glamorous reputation with a parade of stars including Mads Mikkelsen, a blue-haired Helen Mirren and John C. Reilly making their way across the red carpet.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

Michael Douglas, accompanied by his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their daughter, did not stop to sign autographs as he made his way into the Grand Theatre Lumiere, where the 78-year-old actor was given an honourary Palme d’Or.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

Zeta-Jones and her daughter Carys both wore gown designed by Lebanese couturier Elie Saab. The mother opted for a red gown that featured a plunging neckline and a long cape, while Carys wore a sheer white gown from the designer’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

Brazilian model Alessandra Ambrosio also attended the opening ceremony wearing a vintage Elie Saab gown with a hood from his 2005 haute couture collection.




Honayda Serafi wore a pink form-fitting gown. (Getty Images)

Celebrity-approved Saudi designer Honayda Serafi turned heads on the red carpet in her pink form-fitting gown that also had a hood attached to the sleeves. She accesorized her look with jewelry from Swiss luxury label Chopard.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aseel | أسيل (@aseel)

Saudi actress and singer Aseel Omran wowed fans with a glitzy maroon Dior dress, while Saudi TV presenter Eleen Suliman opted for a light green dress with voluminous sleeves and a thigh-high slit by Beirut-based label Sara Mrad.

Lebanese actress Razane Jammal also attended the opening ceremony. She wore a white Dior gown embellished around the neckline.

Lebanese singer and actress Maya Diab shut down the red carpet in her black ensemble by Lebanese couturier Jean-Louis Sabaji. The backless dress, with a daring neckline, featured a high slit that revealed the star’s studded sheer stockings.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Maya Diab (@mayadiab)

Egyptian actress Mona Zaki wowed fans wearing a voluminous multi-colored Zuhair Murad gown.




Mona Zaki wore a Zuhair Murad gown. (Getty Images)

Indian actress Esha Gupta wore a Nicolas Jebran gown. “The stunning @egupta in a sensational white collection dress at Cannes tonight,” the designer shared on Instagram.

Netflix’s “Dubai Bling” star Farhana Bodi donned a custom-made lemon-colored feather gown that featured a big bow on the back and three-meter train by Omani label Atelier Zuhra.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by FARHANA (@farhanabodi)


Abu Dhabi pavilion wins big at London Design Biennale

Abu Dhabi pavilion wins big at London Design Biennale
Updated 03 June 2023

Abu Dhabi pavilion wins big at London Design Biennale

Abu Dhabi pavilion wins big at London Design Biennale

DUBAI: The Abu Dhabi pavilion has been named one of three winners at the London Design Biennale, and were awarded a medal for the most inspiring interpretation of the theme of global collaboration.

Salama Al-Shamsi, director of cultural sites at Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism, and House of Artisans curator Azza Al-Sharif accepted the award.

House of Artisan’s immersive installation, “Formation of Soof,” highlights the relationship between Emirati crafts and architecture.

Under the theme “The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations,” the art center showcased Emirati crafts, including the traditional Bedouin weaving technique known as Sadu.

In 2011, UNESCO added Sadu to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Using raw wool to create intricate designs and distinctive patterns, Sadu often reflects issues regarding social identity and the surrounding environment.

In a statement published on social media, House of Artisans explained that highlighting the craft “is a key part of creating awareness on its importance” in order to preserve it for the future.

The House of Artisans pavilion also displayed weaving items, such as wool and the spindle, and explained the technique practiced by Emirati women.


Hollywood star Eva Longoria stuns in Elie Saab at Hollywood luncheon

Hollywood star Eva Longoria stuns in Elie Saab at Hollywood luncheon
Updated 03 June 2023

Hollywood star Eva Longoria stuns in Elie Saab at Hollywood luncheon

Hollywood star Eva Longoria stuns in Elie Saab at Hollywood luncheon
  • The Lebanese couturier, most recently, designed Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein’s wedding gown

DUBAI: Hollywood star Eva Longoria, who accepted the Trailblazer 2023 award at a recent luncheon for notable members of the film industry in Los Angeles, looked elegant in a black number by Lebanese designer Elie Saab, who made headlines for dressing Jordan’s new Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein as she wed Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II.  

The second annual Raising Our Voices luncheon brought together the industry’s most influential executives, storytellers and thought leaders to focus on the state and future of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in Hollywood.

Hollywood star Eva Longoria, who accepted the Trailblazer 2023 award at a recent luncheon for notable members of the film industry in Los Angeles, looked elegant in a
black number by Lebanese designer Elie Saab. (AFP)

Acknowledging trailblazers that came before her like Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins and Patricia Riggen, Longoria said: “It shouldn’t be this hard, and sometimes I don’t like the word (‘trailblazer’) because I don’t understand why we can’t just use the other trails that have been there for so many other people. So, the fact that we still have to do this to me is crazy because clearing this path is exhausting and I feel like we deserve a clear path. Why is the path clear for some but not all?

“I personally want cleared paths to be paved with the stones of the successes of my sisters in this industry, so that the women that come behind us can just walk down this paved path,” she continued. “And so, for anyone in this room in a position of power, please give us the space to focus less on the fight and more on the purpose.”

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez called Longoria an “inspiration” after meeting her at Cannes in France.

Rodriguez uploaded the photo of her meeting with the actress on her Instagram story, captioning it: “My inspiration. The most beautiful of them all.”

Lebanese designer Saab has been at the center of global fashion this past week.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

On Thursday, in Jordan’s biggest royal event in recent years, Crown Prince Hussein married the Saudi-born Princess Rajwa.

The bride, formerly Rajwa Al-Saif, wore a classic white gown by celebrity-loved Lebanese couturier Saab. The full-sleeved gown featured a dramatic veil that trailed for several meters behind her, while the neckline stood out for its chic draping.  

Meanwhile, the UK’s Kate, Princess of Wales was among the high-profile royal guests at the ceremony.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

For the highly anticipated occasion, she wore an elegant Saab gown from the brand’s fall/winter 2017 couture collection.

The pastel piece featured a high neck, full bell-shaped sleeves, as well as embroidery and lace detailing.


Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein shows off surprise Dolce & Gabbana gown at wedding reception

Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein shows off surprise Dolce & Gabbana gown at wedding reception
Updated 02 June 2023

Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein shows off surprise Dolce & Gabbana gown at wedding reception

Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein shows off surprise Dolce & Gabbana gown at wedding reception

DUBAI: Jordan’s new Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein, who is from Saudi Arabia, stepped out in a surprise second look at the state reception after she wed Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II on Thursday.

The bride greeted international royals and dignitaries in a white cap-sleeve ballgown with a sweetheart neckline and swirling embellishments by Italian luxury label Dolce & Gabbana — however, she retained the  delicate diamond tiara, designed by Yan Sicard from Fred Jewelry, and matching earrings from earlier in the day.

The Jordanian royal family greeted guests at the state reception. (Royal Hashemite Court) 

Meanwhile, Queen Rania, who opted for a chic Dior look at the wedding ceremony, stepped into a cream-and-gold gown by Lebanese couturier Elie Saab for the reception dinner.

Guests included dignitaries and royals from around the world, including the UK’s Prince and Princess of Wales William and Kate Middleton; US First Lady Jill Biden; Qatar’s Sheikha Moza bint Nasser; the king and queen of Malaysia; the king and queen of The Netherlands; King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain; Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg; Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark; Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland; Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway and Hisako, Princess Takamado and her daughter, Princess Tsuguko of Takamado of Japan, among others.  

Princess of Wales Kate Middleton (far right) attended the state reception. (Royal Hashemite Court) 

The Princess of Wales showed off a gown by British designer Jenny Packham.

US First Lady Jill Biden wore a lilac dress, featuring heavy floral embroidery, accompanied by a light pink shawl.

UK's Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, were also in attendance. While it marked the second time that Princess Beatrice, 34, wore a tiara in public, it also marked a first for her: the first time she sported the York tiara. The special headpiece was bought by Queen Elizabeth for her mother, Sarah Ferguson, and worn by Fergie at her 1986 wedding to Prince Andrew. 

While it marked the second time that Princess Beatrice, 34, wore a tiara in public, it also marked a first for her: the first time she sported the York tiara. (Royal Hasemite Court)

Earlier in the day, Al-Hussein unveiled her wedding gown as she married Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II in Amman.

The bride, formerly Rajwa Al-Saif, wore a classic white gown by celebrity-loved Lebanese couturier Elie Saab for the nuptials and following public reception. The full-sleeved gown featured a dramatic veil that trailed for several meters behind her, while the neckline stood out for its chic draping. 

She accessorized the look with a glittering tiara and matching diamond earrings, along with white strappy shoes, as she held a bouquet with white flowers.


Review: ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’ brings a galaxy far, far away into your home 

Review: ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’ brings a galaxy far, far away into your home 
Updated 02 June 2023

Review: ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’ brings a galaxy far, far away into your home 

Review: ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’ brings a galaxy far, far away into your home 

LONDON: For as long as there has been “Star Wars,” there have been spin off computer games, all the way back to the arcade classics of the early 1980s. The phenomenal success of the franchise has meant that the games cover more or less all of the genres, from flight simulators, strategy and resource management to more epic role-playing games like “Knights of the Old Republic.” The games are in a sense both a mirror of the technology of the time as well as the culture. 

With that in mind, the latest edition, “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor,” combines the power of the PlayStation 5 with the character development of the more sensitive modern hero.  

This is the second game for lead character Cal Kestis. In the first, “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,” Cal is on the run following the massacre of the Jedi, with his initial focus on hiding his powers and avoiding trouble.

By the end of the story, he was a more fully formed leader and resistance fighter against the all-powerful Empire, which is where this game starts, and such is the scale of the narrative arc that there is a fair balance of time-watching cut sequences versus actual gameplay.  

That makes “Survivor” as close to an immersive “Star Wars” film that we have across the vast number of titles that preceded it. Beyond the stunning renditions of classic locations from the films, along with the iconic music and sound effects, the key to the title’s true homage to its cinematic peers is its combat engine.

Cal can choose from a range of lightsaber configurations — including the color of the blade and design of the handle — and can learn, by acquiring skill points, a vast array of different combat moves. Many involve combining use of the Force or whether Cal is up against one or multiple enemies. Whilst there is a balance of art against the carnage of button smashing, it tends to reward the former, which makes for a genuine sense of being in the shoes of a Jedi warrior.  

Beyond combat, the second main aspect of gameplay that needs mastering is around the gymnastic abilities Cal uses to move around the various worlds he visits. It is essentially space parkour, with Cal running along walls, flipping and sliding his way across seemingly inaccessible environments. Again, this is high-adrenaline fun, but there is a trade off as the vast worlds Cal inhabits are not truly open and accessible, but rather hide a set route that the player must take to proceed.  

The game’s main story tells of how Cal comes to terms with being one Jedi up against the Empire that has killed so many of his friends. The main character carries an aura of loss and isolation with him as he travels from planet to planet, reinforced by the fact that his best friend is the droid BD-1, who also helps with practical things like providing health top ups and hacking computers.  

“Survivor” is a bigger and more ambitious game than its predecessor, with a number of side quests and micro-missions giving variety and more choice to the player. There is humor in the dialogue, and the ability of Cal to sense “Force echoes” allows for depth and detail of this impressive snapshot of the “Star Wars” universe.
 


Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference

Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference
Updated 01 June 2023

Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference

Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference
  • Mo Gawdat: You become a successful leader because you prioritize happiness
  • Deepak Chopra: It’s good to have a timed target; on the other hand, you have to be process-oriented in the present moment

RIYADH: Authors Deepak Chopra and Mo Gawdat revealed their methods for successful leadership and embracing the future of AI at a conference in Riyadh. 

Chopra and Gawdat were among the many speakers at the Annual Leadership Conference, which explored how managers must adapt in a rapidly changing world to build a sustainable future.

In an interview with Arab News, Gawdat, a former Google employee, said he managed his flourishing company, One Billion Happy Foundation, with unconventional methods.

“You become a successful leader because you prioritize happiness,” he said. “We think that leaders are all about controlling everyone and everything. That’s not true at all. Leaders, by the meaning of the word, are in the front, chasing their vision and dream, where others want to be behind them.”

Gawdat said he created his firm seven years ago after the loss of his son, vowing to make one billion people happier. That task started with his own employees.

“We’re always happy. And the reason is because with that happiness, you create that connection, and with that connection, you achieve more success, and you become a better leader,” Gawdat said.

“You give your people reasons to find happiness in what they do, that you give your people purpose in your vision,” he added. 

Gawdat said coping with what life throws your way is all about making better choices on what we decide our stressors will be. 

“Eighty percent of the things that break us are not things that we necessarily need to have in our life. We can be very effective at weeding out the stuff that doesn’t really require our attention,” he said. 

“Everything from waking up in the morning to a very loud alarm instead of a kind alarm. Or maybe even sleeping a little early, so that you don’t need an alarm.”

The conference held a signing of Chopra’s book “The Soul of Leadership” and Gawdat’s second book, “Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World.” 

Gawdat said his work looked at the need to commit to a “dynamic, fast-moving … world with AI.”

It explored how “accepting the fact that this is upon us … and then committing to becoming the best user of it,” would allow people to get the “best outcome of this situation.”

In a panel discussion, Chopra broke down the skills needed to be a successful leader: Look and listen, Emotional bonding, awareness, doing, empowerment, responsibility, and synchronicity.

Chopra, who has written 93 books, said effective leadership in a workplace required a shared vision, maximum job diversity, and a leveraging of the strengths of team members. 

“It’s good to have a timed target; on the other hand, you have to be process-oriented in the present moment,” Chopra said. “In cognitive science, we call it awareness. It’s not in time, it’s in between every thought, breath, movement, perception, sensation, is this presence.”

Chopra is also a clinical professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California and the founder of Chopra Foundation. 

The conference, themed “Creating a sustainable and resilient global economy: the convergence of finance, business, and technology,” was held in the King Abdullah Financial District.