As we celebrate the Arabian craftsmanship that is beginning to influence the global luxury industry, we would additionally like to remind ourselves of the Arabic style icons in MENA (Middle East North Africa) who are known internationally as stars of fashion. Here are five of our picks:
Queen Rania of Jordan
Rania Al-Abdullah is internationally known as the queen consort of Jordan but her standing extends far beyond her title. Because of her extensive advocacy for human rights and education, she is an avid user of social media to highlight issues important to her. Through her online profiles, audiences are also invited to witness her clean and minimal style styled with her signature long brown hair.
This former model made waves in the 1980s by being the first Algerian model to make a name for themselves. Arabic style icon Farida Khelfa was a beloved muse to big artists such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa and photographer Jean-Paul Goude. Her mane of curly dark hair and waif-like frame solidified her career as a model but Khelfa increased her influence by leaving behind her camera-ready career to land respectable positions in various haute couture studios.
Although this Italian-Egyptian singer never pierced the English-speaking bubble of pop culture, Dalida is an instantly recognisable name in France, where she spent most of her career. After having won the Miss Egypt title in 1954, Dalida became one of France’s most successful singers from the 1960s-1980s. Her big hair and striking profile made quite the impact on stage, where she sang in French, Italian and Arabic.
Sheikha Mozah of Qatar
The former queen consort of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser is a familiar name in haute couture, an industry which she has helped sustain by being one of its most high-profile clients. Always seen in a turban, she is known to customise her couture pieces to accommodate her taste for modest fashion.
French-Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaïa was a respected master in his craft. His affinity for seamless design and construction earned him a spot as one of France’s most celebrated dressmakers. His vision was versatile; he initially gained visibility because of his form-fitting dresses but it is impossible to pinpoint Alaïa’s signature style as it saw constant evolution throughout his unorthodox career.