Amira Al-Zuhair, Arab models turn heads on the runway
Updated 27 February 2024
DUBAI: Part-Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair, alongside British Moroccan star Nora Attal and Moroccan Italian model Malika El-Maslouhi, turned heads at a futuristic Missoni show in Milan before heading to Paris Fashion Week.
The Italian luxury fashion label’s runway showcased an abundance of printed designs featuring lines in various orientations over the weekend.
From horizontal stripes on flowing dresses to diagonal lines adorning tailored jackets and vertical stripes enhancing structured coats, the collection offered a diverse array of patterns.
Each garment exemplified Missoni’s expertise in knitwear, with the interplay of lines adding depth and dimension to the pieces.
Al-Zuhair, born in Paris to a French mother and Saudi father, made a striking statement in a black, white, and grey ensemble on the runway. Her outfit comprised vertically striped tights, diagonal striped shorts and a printed cover-up.
The leggings were integrated into her shoes, adding a unique twist to her ensemble.
Completing the look, she adorned a headpiece that echoed the leggings and accessorized with brown and white shades.
Meanwhile, El-Maslouhi captivated in a black-and-white dress featuring a short cape and a thigh-high slit, elegantly paired with the same vertically striped tights worn by Al-Zuhair.
Attal also showed off a sophisticated black-and-white ensemble, wearing tailored trousers paired with a cropped fur coat.
In addition to the monochrome ensembles worn by all the aforementioned models, the Fall/Winter 2025 women’s collection showcased a burst of color without fixating on specific hues. From vibrant purple and pink to earthy brown, fiery orange, cool blue and every shade in between, the collection embraced a diverse spectrum of colors.
According to the brand’s website, the stripes symbolize “a new beginning” and intertwine “to create the drawings of the renowned (fashion) illustrator Brunetta (Mateldi).”
Al-Zuhair has made her mark on the fashion world by walking for an array of esteemed brands beyond Missoni. Her runway presence has been felt in shows for renowned fashion houses such as Maison Alaia, Brunello Cucinelli, Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana, Giambattista Valli, Giorgio Armani, Elie Saab and many more.
In addition to her runway appearances, Al-Zuhair has been featured in campaigns for various high-profile brands including Prada, Chanel and Carolina Herrera.
All three models will no doubt hit the runway at the ongoing edition of Paris Fashion Week, with past appearances suggesting they will walk for a clutch of high-end fashion houses during the event that wraps up on March 5.
Aziz Ansari, Tom Segura to headline first-ever Abu Dhabi Comedy Week
Updated 27 February 2024
DUBAI: The first-ever Abu Dhabi Comedy Week is set to kick off in May this year, with Aziz Ansari and Tom Segura announced as headliners for the inaugural event, to be held from May 18–26 at the Etihad Arena.
Ansari, who rose to fame for his role in “Parks and Recreation,” as well as his Emmy-winning Netflix show “Master of None,” will take to the stage on May 18.
US actor-writer Segura, one of the biggest names in the comedy business, will take the stage on May 25. He is best known for his Netflix specials “Ball Hog,” “Disgraceful,” “Mostly Stories” and “Completely Normal.” In July 2022, he released his New York Times bestselling book, ‘I’d Like To Play Alone, Please,” which was described as “laugh out loud funny” by Forbes.
“We are thrilled to be a part of Abu Dhabi Comedy Week, the capital’s new annual celebration of joy and laughter, underscoring our commitment to presenting premier entertainment offerings to the vibrant community of Abu Dhabi,” said James Craven, president of Live Nation Middle East.
“With an incredible line-up featuring some of the biggest names in the industry brought to the festival by Live Nation Middle East, Abu Dhabi Comedy Week will offer unforgettable experiences for comedy fans across the region. Having already established ourselves on the comedy circuit, hosting the biggest comedy show seen in the UAE last year, this is another incredible step in our live entertainment journey.”
Meghan Markle filmed cooking with Afghan female refugees in US
Footage released on Archewell Foundation website at ‘evening of cooking and storytelling’
Event held with Mina’s List, which helped evacuate over 2,000 Afghans to US after Taliban takeover
Updated 26 February 2024
LONDON: Footage has emerged of Meghan Markle, duchess of Sussex, cooking with a group of Afghan female refugees in the US.
The video, published on the website of her Archewell Foundation, shows her making traditional Afghan cuisine, including dumplings, with the 15 women.
The meeting, described as an “evening of cooking and storytelling,” took place on Feb. 10 in partnership with the Southern California Welcome Project, set up by the duchess in 2023, and Mina’s List, a New York-based organization that has worked with female Afghan activists and politicians since 2014.
Archewell said in a press release that the women shared “their personal stories” and discussed “the support they find from this intergenerational group of women.”
It added that in 2021, Mina’s List helped secure the evacuation of more than 2,000 Afghan women and their families from the country after it fell to the Taliban.
Subsequently, Mina’s List and Archewell “joined forces to provide community and support to these remarkable women as they begin to rebuild their lives in the US.”
Archewell said the Southern California Welcome Project is “a safe haven and inclusive environment for women who have recently resettled in the US from Afghanistan.”
It added that there are currently 11 Welcome Projects operating across the US, “designed to foster a sense of belonging through activities including sewing, art, hiking, swimming, photography, storytelling, and cooking.”
The foundation added: “By facilitating women-based programming, The Welcome Project also brings access to critical resources and opportunities that not only supports the women participating in The Welcome Project, but also improves the lives of those around them — their families and their communities.”
Film Independent Spirit Awards sees Arab wins, Mideast fashion on the red carpet
Updated 26 February 2024
DUBAI: US director A.V. Rockwell hit the Film Independent Spirit Awards’ red carpet in a look by Lebanese designer Elie Saab as she scooped up the award for best first feature for her movie “A Thousand and One.”
Rockwell’s green-hued gown hailed from the fashion label’s Resort 2024 collection and featured a dark-to-light green gradient color palette, a plunging neckline and a cape that was attached at the shoulders.
Rockwell’s film stars Teyana Taylor as a mother who kidnaps her six-year-old son, Terry, from the foster care system. The film had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize.
Meanwhile, Celine Song’s quiet romance “Past Lives” won two of the biggest awards at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, including best feature and best director. Other big winners were Cord Jefferson’s comedic satire “American Fiction,” with Jeffrey Wright winning for lead performer; and Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” which won prizes for Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Dominic Sessa, the Associated Press reported.
The 39th edition of the show was held Sunday in a beachside tent in Santa Monica, California, and streamed live on IMDb and Film Independent’s YouTube channels and X accounts.
“Thank you so much for letting me share what it feels like to be human, to love and be loved, and thank you for loving our film," Song said in accepting the directing prize, according to the Associated Press.
Her film was among the top nominated at the show, alongside “May December,” which won only one award (for Samy Burch's first screenplay) and “American Fiction,” which fared better.
Wright won for playing a frustrated author who becomes wildly successful by writing something he hates in “American Fiction.”
The Spirit Awards sit firmly within the larger Hollywood awards season, which culminates with the Oscars on March 10. But with a budget cap of $20 million for nominees, the show celebrates films that sometimes go unheralded, or at least under-nominated, at the bigger shows.
Last year, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” swept the Spirit Awards before going on to do the same at the Oscars. But this year, many top Oscar contenders — including “Oppenheimer,” “Barbie” and “Killers of the Flower Moon” — would not have qualified.
Kaouther Ben Hania’s film “Four Daughters,” which is nominated for the corresponding Oscar, won best documentary. And Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall,” also nominated for best picture at the Oscars, won best international feature over “The Zone of Interest.”
Charlotte Church denies antisemitism claims after singing pro-Palestinian song at concert
Welsh singer-songwriter led a 100-strong choir singing “From the River to the Sea” during a pro-Palestine fundraising concert in Caerphilly, South Wales, on Saturday
Critics say the song calls for the destruction of Israel but pro-Palestine campaigners say it asserts “the right of all Palestinians to freedom, equality and justice”
Updated 26 February 2024
LONDON: Welsh singer-songwriter Charlotte Church on Monday denied allegations of antisemitism after she was criticized for leading a choir singing “From the River to the Sea.”
Church led the 100-strong choir during a pro-Palestine fundraising concert at a village hall in Caerphilly, South Wales, on Saturday. The song refers to the land between the River Jordan, bordering the occupied West Bank and Israel in the east, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism has labeled the song and its central message “antisemitic,” saying it calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.
However, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and other activists say the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” refers to “the right of all Palestinians to freedom, equality and justice.”
Church addressed what she described as the “alarmist” reports about Saturday’s event live on Instagram on Monday, in a message in which she explained she was “fighting for the liberation of all people.”
She said: “Just to clarify my intentions there, I am in no way antisemitic. I am fighting for the liberation of all people. I have a deep heart for all religions and all difference.
“It was a beautiful, beautiful event. But unfortunately the powers that be can’t have that. (They) can’t have such a powerful symbol of resistance as what we worked towards on Saturday.”
Church confirmed the event ended with a chant of the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
She said: “Clearly, if you know the history of it all, (it is) not an antisemitic chant calling for the obliteration of Israel. It is not that in any way, shape or form. It is calling for the peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians.”
Church added that “lots of other beautiful songs … of liberation and freedom” were performed during the event, including Arabic songs, Welsh songs and South African songs associated with the anti-Apartheid movement, “the lyrics of which were adapted to the situation in Palestine.”
In video footage from the concert, Church is seen standing behind a banner that reads “Let Palestine Live.” She and the members of the choir are wearing keffiyeh scarves, a symbol of solidarity among supporters of Palestine.
In November, Church posted a video message on Instagram in which she expressed support for the Palestinian cause. She urged her followers to watch footage from Gaza and the West Bank, and to amplify Palestinian voices during “this genocide that is happening in front of all of our eyes.”
The 37-year-old singer told her fans, “Do not look away,” and expressed concern about the children “caught in this geopolitical insanity.”
In the same video she said that starting on Nov. 20 she would be offering weekly singing sessions “for the liberation of Palestine and the liberation of the Palestinian people.”