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05-07-2016
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Vogue Arabia launching in October 2016
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Vogue Arabia to launch with Saudi royal as editor-in-chief

Simeon Kerr, Dubai
July 5, 2016 5:00 am

Arrival of international fashion magazine to fuel Gulf states’ appetite for luxury goods

Rumoured for years, Vogue Arabia’s launch has finally been announced by publishers Condé Nast.

The first edition of the magazine is due to appear online in October under Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, 41, who is married to a member of the Saudi royal family, and has been appointed founding editor-in-chief. Print editions are to follow in the spring.

“The Arab world consists of 350m people, and they never had a Vogue,” Abdulaziz tells the Financial Times. “The time has come, and it has been a long time coming.”

“We never rush to bring Vogue into a new market,” says Jonathan Newhouse, the chief executive of Condé Nast. “We wait until we are confident there is the creative talent to produce a product at the Vogue level.”

Condé Nast International is teaming with Nervora, the publisher of affiliate Style.com/Arabia. Nervora will pay a royalty to produce the bilingual digital version of Vogue from October, followed next spring by 11 print editions a year.

While the magazine is to be based in the expat haven of Dubai, where foreigners outnumber locals by nine to one, a prized target of Vogue Arabia is Saudi Arabia, where of the 20m nationals, more than half are under 25.

Shashi Menon, Nervora’s 31-year-old founder, says developing the Arabic-speaking audience will be vital. Up to 70 per cent of Style.com/Arabia’s 500,000 readership is Arabic.

The timing of Vogue Arabia’s launch could be better: the luxury business is going through a crisis. The strong dollar has raised the price of clothing and jewellery in the dollar-pegged economies of the Gulf, slashing demands from Russian and Chinese tourists who had been bulk-buying in Dubai’s malls for years, while the collapse in oil prices has dented domestic consumer sentiment.

A slump in sales, by as much as 30 per cent for some retailers, has filtered through into advertising spend. But Menon argues that Vogue’s appeal will allow it to compete for those scarcer advertising dollars. “Vogue is a pre-eminent brand, revered in the region,” he says.

“The Arab couture customer has been around since the 1960s — way before the Chinese and the Russian,” says Abdulaziz, who fell in love with Vogue as a teenager, and has been running fashion boutique D’NA in Riyadh, where she lives.

Inspired and influenced by her mother, whom she describes as the chicest woman she knows, Abdulaziz wants to pay homage to stylish Arab women who struggle for a public voice in the conservative Gulf.

“We might not be avant garde, but we are sophisticated, and we are going to showcase this,” says Abdulaziz who hopes her Vogue will reflect the aesthetics of the elder generation of style-watchers who discreetly gather in the private salons of Jeddah and Kuwait. “Vogue Arabia will be a love letter,” says the Saudi princess.

Luxury brands are responding to demand from the Middle East: Dolce & Gabbana has sold its first collection of abayas and hijabs; Qatar-owned Valentino’s modest full-length gowns are well suited to the region’s aesthetics.

Beneath the ubiquitous flowing black abayas of the Gulf, fashionable women have for decades been sporting the latest trends. Others are less constrained but remain products of a religious environment, favouring skinny jeans while still covering their hair with the traditional hijab.

As well as promoting Arab talent, Abdulaziz says the magazine wants to develop fashion criticism, a genre in its infancy in the Gulf. Vogue Arabia will, however, have to walk a tightrope across local sensibilities. It says it does not want to offend, and intends to avoid nudity and religious symbolism; while gay designers will feature, it will be without discussion of their sexuality.

“We believe in women’s empowerment, but it’s about what’s positive — that is the way we will approach this, we don’t want to alienate people,” Abdulaziz says. “We are very misunderstood, especially in the US, where the media does not capture our full picture.”
Source: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d8d380f8-4...2b3873ae1.html

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05-07-2016
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Well, congrats to them! I'm only surprised it took CN this long to launch in the Middle East. There's loads of money in that region. Lets hope it will be a success and not another Vogue India hybrid.
Part of me still remain somewhat sceptical though, especially when I saw the piece below:
Quote:
As well as promoting Arab talent, Abdulaziz says the magazine wants to develop fashion criticism, a genre in its infancy in the Gulf. Vogue Arabia will, however, have to walk a tightrope across local sensibilities. It says it does not want to offend, and intends to avoid nudity and religious symbolism; while gay designers will feature, it will be without discussion of their sexuality.
How do you talk about Raf Simons' personal life without touching on his partner's extended family in the South of France? China and Russia actually follows a similar pattern due to various reasons, so I suppose it is doable in a way. It just sounds like such an archaic thing to say, especially in 2016.


Last edited by Benn98; 05-07-2016 at 07:20 AM.
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05-07-2016
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Whoa, i always wondered how come this didnt happen before Ukraine or even Netherlands!

I think its a smart choice, but please use, and support your own talent!

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05-07-2016
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I'm all for the launch of any new print magazine, although part of me believes it'll be like an even more boring Vogue India.

I know there's an Arabian edition of Elle already out there, but it seem to come in a mix of languages and versions, French, English and Arabic, to appease sensibilities.

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^ Isn't there also Harper's Bazaar Arabia? I think i flipped through it couple of times, and was impressed how well done it was, but not sure now....

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Dalloway View Post
^ Isn't there also Harper's Bazaar Arabia? I think i flipped through it couple of times, and was impressed how well done it was, but not sure now....
I recall such an edition! And it's actually some time back, I think it was Janet Jackson in a denim swimsuit and another another one a while after. Also struck me at the time what a good shot it was.

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05-07-2016
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Very curious about this issue because Arabian women mostly stay at home or walk outside wearing burqa

Hopefully they use International top models


Last edited by DutchHomme; 05-07-2016 at 08:56 AM.
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Originally Posted by DutchHomme View Post
Very curious about this issue because Arabian women mostly stay at home or walk outside wearing burqa
And yet they are the ones which accounts for a huge chunk of Valentino and Elie Saab's overall sales. The money must come from somewhere. Vogue isn't only for careerwomen, I think.

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05-07-2016
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I am totally excited for this! If Bazaar and Elle Arabia are any indications then I'm 100% game

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05-07-2016
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I think that's great news ! I just hope they do not turn in a Vogue India bis !

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They mentioned the website will be bilingual, how about the magazine - both Arabic and English?
I hope there will be some Arabic/Muslim influence present on the covers and pages of this edition.
The article didn't mention which countries will Vogue Arabia cover - Gulf countries, Lebanon and Jordan for sure, but what about Egypt and Maghreb countries?
I'm so curious about this mag, can't wait to see it!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DutchHomme View Post
Very curious about this issue because Arabian women mostly stay at home or walk outside wearing burqa
Not all, lots of them are all covered but with regular clothes. The rich travel a lot and wear designer stuff (specially bags).

Wasn´t there a whole issue of Vogue Italia dedicated to the arab world? I guess this was bound to happen, I just think it will be quite boring in terms of styling and photography... how restrictive they´ll be to accommodate customs?

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08-07-2016
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I'm really exited for this. I hope they will go more to HF side and not end up like Vogue India with their tacky covers...

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08-07-2016
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Harper's Bazaar Arabia is very much 'on point'. Let's hope Vogue would turn out the same. Excited to see beautiful Arabic text on the cover of Vogue!

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09-07-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DutchHomme View Post
Very curious about this issue because Arabian women mostly stay at home or walk outside wearing burqa

Hopefully they use International top models
From my experiences having lived in the Middle East and what I currently know based on Arab programming my parents watch...
it depends on the region, most don't wear burqas either, just hijabs and long loose fitting dresses. The more north you go in the middle east the less conservative it becomes (well...before ISIS). Lebanon is generally a lot looser and has a large interest in fashion. Egypt produces a lot of tv shows so their sensibilities aren't always so tight, but they're not wealthy. The gulf countries are the wealthiest and the most conservative but it depends on the place, and usually once they get out of the country Arabs tend to loosen up a little. I doubt this magazine will see the light of day in Saudi Arabia. But it will likely be popular in UAE, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, and Oman. I think it's not as bad when it's a women's magazine that's just for women.

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