Jessica Kahawaty, Yusra Mardini attend fashion show in Italy

Jessica Kahawaty, Yusra Mardini attend fashion show in Italy
Jessica Kahawaty attended the event in Portofino. (Getty Images)
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Updated 30 May 2023
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Jessica Kahawaty, Yusra Mardini attend fashion show in Italy

Jessica Kahawaty, Yusra Mardini attend fashion show in Italy
  • Italian and German firms launch collection in Portofino
  • Colorful dresses, blouses, bandanas, scarves showcased

DUBAI: Australian Lebanese model Jessica Kahawaty and Syrian Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini met up in Italy this week for an event showcasing a collaboration between Italian luxury label Dolce & Gabbana and German e-commerce luxury fashion company Mytheresa.

The two brands launched a new collection in Portofino. “The collection is a tribute to a long-standing love and adoration for the town’s exquisitely vivid colors and heart-stopping landscapes. The perfect backdrop to experience the Italian atmosphere,” Mytheresa said in a YouTube video of the event, held under the patronage of the town’s municipality.

The new colorful designs, that pay homage to the Italian Riviera, were unveiled in the town’s Piazzetta and guests, including Kahawaty and Mardini, were invited to a private dinner with views of the scenic harbor.

The collection features patterned dresses, colorful blouses, printed sets, striped bandanas and more.

“Yesterday, I lived my wildest Italian dream. I’m speechless at the spectacle that was created in the heart of Portofino. It felt like family came together to celebrate. Thank you @dolcegabbana and @mytheresa.com for having me in Portofino with you,” Kahawaty wrote on Instagram sharing videos and pictures from the event.

Mardini shared a series of pictures that included of her in a black sequined dress and printed scarf, a set of venue shots and a cheerful photograph with Kahawaty.

“Thank you for a special night,” she captioned her post in Italian.

Kahawaty has been enjoying her time in Italy. Last week, the actress and humanitarian attended French luxury label Louis Vuitton’s cruise show on the Italian island Isola Bella. She wore a green embroidered mini dress to the event.

She told her 1.3 million fans on Instagram that 2023 marks her 10th year working with the brand.

Meanwhile, in April, Mardini made TIME’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the world.

She and her sister Sarah’s journey as war refugees, swimming for three hours to the Greek island of Lesbos, to becoming Olympic athletes has been chronicled in the BAFTA-nominated film “The Swimmers.”


Saudi creatives team up with Adidas on new promotional campaign

Saudi creatives team up with Adidas on new promotional campaign
Updated 26 September 2023
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Saudi creatives team up with Adidas on new promotional campaign

Saudi creatives team up with Adidas on new promotional campaign
  • Collaborators include filmmaker Ali Kalthami, artist Noura Bin Saidan

DUBAI: Saudi talent is once again at the forefront of global culture. Sportswear giant Adidas has just launched its new global brand platform featuring 17 creatives from the fields of food, fashion, art, music and film.

Titled “We Gave the World an Original, You Gave us a Thousand Back,” the campaign enlists several of the Kingdom’s brightest stars, including movie director Ali Kalthami, muralist Noura Bin Saidan and fashion designer Mohamad Bajbaa.

Kalthami’s debut feature film “Mandoob” received rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival and is set to open in theaters across the region in December.

His work with Adidas is his fist with a global fashion brand.

“I’ve been approached several times and I’ve always felt like it was the wrong moment and held myself back,” he told Arab News.

“I was conservative and didn’t want to show my face. Now, I’m hitting my 40s. On my last birthday I told myself to have more fun, and Adidas is such a fun brand to work with.

“Growing up in Riyadh, Adidas was always such a part of our everyday, even in our elementary school days. For me, it stands for being original and innovative, as well as healthy, and all of that is something that’s integral to my life and the lives of so many people here in Saudi Arabia. I didn’t ever expect this to happen, but I’m proud to be a part of it,” he added.

The campaign, held under the Adidas Originals imprint, centers on a number of the brand’s heritage sports shoes, including the Samba, Gazelle and Superstar. Adidas earlier teamed up with Dubai favorite Ravi Restaurant, founded by Chaudary Abdul Hameed, to produce a shoe based on its Superstar brand, which was a worldwide hit.

Saidan said sneakers had become an inadvertent extension of her art, as the pair she wore while making her creations had become splattered with paint.

“Shoes are part of my artwork,” she said. “Especially because every time I complete piece, my shoes transform and get stained as if I’m wearing different shoes.”


Princess Mashael Saud Al-Shalan to talk sustainability at XP Music Futures 2023 in Riyadh

Princess Mashael Saud Al-Shalan to talk sustainability at XP Music Futures 2023 in Riyadh
Updated 26 September 2023
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Princess Mashael Saud Al-Shalan to talk sustainability at XP Music Futures 2023 in Riyadh

Princess Mashael Saud Al-Shalan to talk sustainability at XP Music Futures 2023 in Riyadh

DUBAI: Princess Mashael Saud Al-Shalan, the founding partner of Saudi think tank Aeon Strategy, will take part in MDLBEAST’s XP Music Futures 2023 conference in Riyadh.

The princess will join a session titled “Sustainable Futures: Music for Climate Action,” which will discuss sustainable event planning, carbon emissions balancing and the power of music to inspire environmental activity.

Her research mostly focuses on climate policy, global governance, carbon emissions and the impact of climate change. She has been involved in various international events and conferences, including side sessions at the UN Climate Change Conferences in Glasgow in 2021 and Sharm El-Sheikh in 2022.

XP Music Futures is an annual music conference dedicated to accelerating the development of the music scene in the MENA region through various initiatives while creating opportunities for the global music community.

Past attendees include Mathew Knowles, Amy Thomson, David Guetta and Elyanna. This year’s conference runs from Dec. 7-9.
 


Baz Luhrmann to head Red Sea Film Festival jury

Baz Luhrmann to head Red Sea Film Festival jury
Updated 26 September 2023
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Baz Luhrmann to head Red Sea Film Festival jury

Baz Luhrmann to head Red Sea Film Festival jury

DUBAI: Australian director Baz Luhrmann has been chosen to preside over the Red Sea International Film Festival’s features competition jury this year, organizers announced on Tuesday. 

The third edition of the Saudi festival is set to take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9 in Jeddah. 

Luhrmann will head the jury that will be bestowing awards to a competition of 17 titles from filmmakers from the Arab world, Asia and Africa.

Mohammed Al-Turki, the festival’s CEO, said in a statement: “As we work towards our third edition, we are delighted to welcome legendary award-winning director Baz Luhrmann as the head of the jury.” 

Luhrmann said: “As a child in the local cinema that we ran near the tiny country town where I grew up, I was mesmerized by the powerful historical and physical landscapes of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. 

“Since that time, I have had an abiding passion for the Arabian world, but after visiting Saudi Arabia, I felt truly inspired by the remarkable young filmmaking talent coming up across the region and to see how they are now capturing the attention of the global film community.” 

The Academy Award-nominated auteur is known for being a master storyteller across film, opera, theater and music, as well as his critically acclaimed filmography, including double Academy Award-winning “The Great Gatsby,” “Strictly Ballroom,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Elvis” and “Australia.” 


Review: Be prepared for deep story and complexity in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’

Review: Be prepared for deep story and complexity in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’
Updated 26 September 2023
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Review: Be prepared for deep story and complexity in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’

Review: Be prepared for deep story and complexity in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’
  • Latest incarnation of the 1998 series creates very human experience despite outrageous fantasy world

LONDON: The “Baldur’s Gate” series dates to 1998 and this latest incarnation (available for both PC and PS5) allows gamers into a vast and hugely complex fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons, with hundreds of customization options as you weave your story from the depths of the Underdark, to the glittering rooftops of the Upper City.

For those unfamiliar with the series, adjusting to this world, its history and lore, as well as the practical aspects of turn-based role-playing game, or RPG, combat, can be difficult. But, if you are willing to persevere, you are rewarded with a story of incredible depth all shaped by your choices.

The story begins — following significant time choosing your character’s class and appearance — with you trapped on a nautiloid ship where you witness an Illithid also known as “mind flayer” place a tadpole into your brain. One dramatic air battle with dragons later and you are free and desperate to cure this contagion.

As ever with RPGs, you balance a central quest alongside a steadily increasing number of side quests. There is a fair amount of dialogue but the choices within it, which often involve going to the role of a dice, feel substantive and the silky tones of the narrator give you greater immersion into the impressive world that you find yourself in. 

Combat is turn-based and akin to a game of chess with each of your four-person team possessing certain skills and strengths that need to be knitted together for success. Again, the pace of this style of game is very different from the quick reactions of other more conventional fighting fantasies like “Elden Ring” but again after a time complexity becomes familiarity.

Movement around the battle space is limited, jumping becomes an important attribute and enemy spells or actions like throwing grease can force some of your party to miss their turn, sometimes with lethal implications. Leveling up is a serious affair offering a host of new skills, but patience is required to read and understand each. 

The dice mechanic can seem a bit arbitrary at first but once you get to grip with the logic of a character’s developing strengths it can reinforce the sense that your choices matter. Charismatic characters can persuade non-playable characters to do what they want, whilst stronger ones can try and use intimidation to get to a similar outcome. Again, it is worth spending time slowly understanding the menus, dialogue histories and item effects to really get the most out of the game. 

The world is varied and can be fast-travelled. Music and atmosphere are both solid but one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game is the relationship between your tadpole-infected group of four. It is your choices that determine who you travel with, and the world’s history will mean some companions will not get on with each other. Time spent resting in the game’s “camp” facility offers further dialogue and the chance for your characters’ relationships to become stronger. This all means that “Baldur’s Gate 3” creates a very human experience despite the outrageous fantasy world in which it is based. 


Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini walks for Boss

Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini walks for Boss
Updated 26 September 2023
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Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini walks for Boss

Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini walks for Boss

DUBAI: Syrian Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini this week walked the Boss runway during Milan Fashion Week.

The athlete wore a grey shirt, an oversized black blazer, a knee-length skirt, leather boots and a white clutch.

She walked alongside US-Dutch-Palestinian catwalk star Gigi Hadid, Russian model Natasha Poly and Senegalese-Italian media personality Khaby Lame.

This is not the first time Mardini works with the German fashion label.

In March, Mardini, whose story of fleeing her homeland alongside her sister Sarah was made into a BAFTA-nominated film by Netflix called “The Swimmers,” walked Boss’ runway in Miami.

She also starred in the brand’s digital campaign that month, which featured a long list of Arab and international stars, including DJ Khaled, Hadid, Demi Lovato, Paris Hilton and Bella Thorne.