Arab ladies drop those abayas! Will Vogue's new Saudi chief incite a regional unveiling?

Published September 25th, 2016 - 12:31 GMT

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Middle Eastern women have become the world's biggest buyers of high fashion.  Shocked? Just because they are wrapped in conservative hijab and abaya, doesn’t mean they’ve stifled their sartorial sensibility.  So it makes perfect sense that in July, Condé Nast International crowned Saudi Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz as editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia, the latest territory in their stable of 21 region-specific fashion rag mags.

Familiarize yourself with the lavish lifestyles of wealthy Arab women, particularly in Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. With an annual social calendar full of private parties and dozens of lavish weddings (each lasting up to five days!), wealthy women from royal or industrial families demand haute couture, often provocative and revealing – most of which will never be worn in the presence of men.  But make no mistake, Saudis can be fashionistas too.

Last year the Saudi Council of Chambers banned companies and independent designers from organizing fashion shows to promote their products, according to Al-Watan. This year, 50 Saudi men were arrested for wearing "western" garb during Ramadan. But in light of changes happening now in KSA relating to women's rights, with ladies chomping at the bit to drive the crusade forward, could this be the start of the end for conservative Islamic women's dress? Continue reading below »

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The daughter of a Saudi economist, Deena Aljuhani she grew up in southern California and Saudi Arabia, giving her a native understanding of both Middle Eastern and Western cultures, specifically as relates to fashion.  She does not don hijab or abaya, and is an unabashed fan of sleeveless, sheer, and short garments.
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Image 1 of 8:  1 / 8The daughter of a Saudi economist, Deena Aljuhani she grew up in southern California and Saudi Arabia, giving her a native understanding of both Middle Eastern and Western cultures, specifically as relates to fashion. She does not don hijab or abaya, and is an unabashed fan of sleeveless, sheer, and short garments.

(Source: ThisIsGlamorous)

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In an industry packed with “fashion queens”, she is bona fide royalty. Abdulaziz earned her crown when she married Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, whom she met in London is 1996. The newlyweds initially lived in New York’s Upper West Side, later relocating to Riyadh where they now raise their three children.
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Image 2 of 8:  2 / 8In an industry packed with “fashion queens”, she is bona fide royalty. Abdulaziz earned her crown when she married Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, whom she met in London is 1996. The newlyweds initially lived in New York’s Upper West Side, later relocating to Riyadh where they now raise their three children.

(Source: BrightSide)

Enlarge
In 2006, Addulaziz founded retail boutique D’NA as an exclusive member’s-only shopping venue in central Riyadh stocking fashion-forward couture from international designers. She opened a second shop in Doha, quickly emerging as an independent fashion voice in the Middle East where ladies are just as hungry for fashion as in Paris and London.
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Image 3 of 8:  3 / 8In 2006, Addulaziz founded retail boutique D’NA as an exclusive member’s-only shopping venue in central Riyadh stocking fashion-forward couture from international designers. She opened a second shop in Doha, quickly emerging as an independent fashion voice in the Middle East where ladies are just as hungry for fashion as in Paris and London.

(Source: DNA Riyadh)

Enlarge
Abdulaziz knows MidEast fashion isn't just black (abaya) and white (thobe), using her personal experience to meet the needs of her regional clientele. “This is my turf. There are so many differences, between women in Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, and different cities in Saudi Arabia where I live — they’re as different as D.C., NYC, and Vegas!”
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Image 4 of 8:  4 / 8Abdulaziz knows MidEast fashion isn't just black (abaya) and white (thobe), using her personal experience to meet the needs of her regional clientele. “This is my turf. There are so many differences, between women in Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, and different cities in Saudi Arabia where I live — they’re as different as D.C., NYC, and Vegas!”

Enlarge
“Over the last decade women in the Middle East have become incredibly fashion savvy. As a result, luxury brands today are increasingly...creating pieces specifically for the Middle Eastern market. That is why I spend a lot of time working with designers to customize their runway looks for my [Muslim] clients,” she told Business of Fashion.
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Image 5 of 8:  5 / 8“Over the last decade women in the Middle East have become incredibly fashion savvy. As a result, luxury brands today are increasingly...creating pieces specifically for the Middle Eastern market. That is why I spend a lot of time working with designers to customize their runway looks for my [Muslim] clients,” she told Business of Fashion.

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She told American Vogue, that her customers “march to their own beat. I know them. So, sometimes I’m the only retailer in the world who has bought the runway piece, because I know who will buy.  She has the pulse of so-called 'Muslim tastes' which it would seem leave no trend off-limits.
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Image 6 of 8:  6 / 8She told American Vogue, that her customers “march to their own beat. I know them. So, sometimes I’m the only retailer in the world who has bought the runway piece, because I know who will buy. She has the pulse of so-called 'Muslim tastes' which it would seem leave no trend off-limits.

Enlarge
For Middle Eastern women, couture is a symbol of social and financial status. At parties and weddings (often segregated), clothes are a way to impress potential mothers-in-law scouting for brides. Dubai-based Vogue Arabia will fuel the fancy frock frenzy. Could this sartorial seduction ignite a backlash against modest attire in the staid Kingdom?
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Image 7 of 8:  7 / 8For Middle Eastern women, couture is a symbol of social and financial status. At parties and weddings (often segregated), clothes are a way to impress potential mothers-in-law scouting for brides. Dubai-based Vogue Arabia will fuel the fancy frock frenzy. Could this sartorial seduction ignite a backlash against modest attire in the staid Kingdom?

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The Vogue role brings her access to the Fashion Fund, supported by Dubai Design and Fashion Council. The  US and UK chapters of that scheme have awarded prize packages to emerging designers valued up to $250,000. Abdulaziz will be able to use that endowment to champion young fashion talent in the Arab world, such as Jean Louis Aabaji (gown below).
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Image 8 of 8:  8 / 8The Vogue role brings her access to the Fashion Fund, supported by Dubai Design and Fashion Council. The US and UK chapters of that scheme have awarded prize packages to emerging designers valued up to $250,000. Abdulaziz will be able to use that endowment to champion young fashion talent in the Arab world, such as Jean Louis Aabaji (gown below).

(Source: jeanlouissabaji)

Enlarge

1

The daughter of a Saudi economist, Deena Aljuhani she grew up in southern California and Saudi Arabia, giving her a native understanding of both Middle Eastern and Western cultures, specifically as relates to fashion.  She does not don hijab or abaya, and is an unabashed fan of sleeveless, sheer, and short garments.

Image 1 of 8The daughter of a Saudi economist, Deena Aljuhani she grew up in southern California and Saudi Arabia, giving her a native understanding of both Middle Eastern and Western cultures, specifically as relates to fashion. She does not don hijab or abaya, and is an unabashed fan of sleeveless, sheer, and short garments.

(Source: ThisIsGlamorous)

2

In an industry packed with “fashion queens”, she is bona fide royalty. Abdulaziz earned her crown when she married Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, whom she met in London is 1996. The newlyweds initially lived in New York’s Upper West Side, later relocating to Riyadh where they now raise their three children.

Image 2 of 8In an industry packed with “fashion queens”, she is bona fide royalty. Abdulaziz earned her crown when she married Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, whom she met in London is 1996. The newlyweds initially lived in New York’s Upper West Side, later relocating to Riyadh where they now raise their three children.

(Source: BrightSide)

3

In 2006, Addulaziz founded retail boutique D’NA as an exclusive member’s-only shopping venue in central Riyadh stocking fashion-forward couture from international designers. She opened a second shop in Doha, quickly emerging as an independent fashion voice in the Middle East where ladies are just as hungry for fashion as in Paris and London.

Image 3 of 8In 2006, Addulaziz founded retail boutique D’NA as an exclusive member’s-only shopping venue in central Riyadh stocking fashion-forward couture from international designers. She opened a second shop in Doha, quickly emerging as an independent fashion voice in the Middle East where ladies are just as hungry for fashion as in Paris and London.

(Source: DNA Riyadh)

4

Abdulaziz knows MidEast fashion isn't just black (abaya) and white (thobe), using her personal experience to meet the needs of her regional clientele. “This is my turf. There are so many differences, between women in Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, and different cities in Saudi Arabia where I live — they’re as different as D.C., NYC, and Vegas!”

Image 4 of 8Abdulaziz knows MidEast fashion isn't just black (abaya) and white (thobe), using her personal experience to meet the needs of her regional clientele. “This is my turf. There are so many differences, between women in Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, and different cities in Saudi Arabia where I live — they’re as different as D.C., NYC, and Vegas!”

5

“Over the last decade women in the Middle East have become incredibly fashion savvy. As a result, luxury brands today are increasingly...creating pieces specifically for the Middle Eastern market. That is why I spend a lot of time working with designers to customize their runway looks for my [Muslim] clients,” she told Business of Fashion.

Image 5 of 8“Over the last decade women in the Middle East have become incredibly fashion savvy. As a result, luxury brands today are increasingly...creating pieces specifically for the Middle Eastern market. That is why I spend a lot of time working with designers to customize their runway looks for my [Muslim] clients,” she told Business of Fashion.

6

She told American Vogue, that her customers “march to their own beat. I know them. So, sometimes I’m the only retailer in the world who has bought the runway piece, because I know who will buy.  She has the pulse of so-called 'Muslim tastes' which it would seem leave no trend off-limits.

Image 6 of 8She told American Vogue, that her customers “march to their own beat. I know them. So, sometimes I’m the only retailer in the world who has bought the runway piece, because I know who will buy. She has the pulse of so-called 'Muslim tastes' which it would seem leave no trend off-limits.

7

For Middle Eastern women, couture is a symbol of social and financial status. At parties and weddings (often segregated), clothes are a way to impress potential mothers-in-law scouting for brides. Dubai-based Vogue Arabia will fuel the fancy frock frenzy. Could this sartorial seduction ignite a backlash against modest attire in the staid Kingdom?

Image 7 of 8For Middle Eastern women, couture is a symbol of social and financial status. At parties and weddings (often segregated), clothes are a way to impress potential mothers-in-law scouting for brides. Dubai-based Vogue Arabia will fuel the fancy frock frenzy. Could this sartorial seduction ignite a backlash against modest attire in the staid Kingdom?

8

The Vogue role brings her access to the Fashion Fund, supported by Dubai Design and Fashion Council. The  US and UK chapters of that scheme have awarded prize packages to emerging designers valued up to $250,000. Abdulaziz will be able to use that endowment to champion young fashion talent in the Arab world, such as Jean Louis Aabaji (gown below).

Image 8 of 8The Vogue role brings her access to the Fashion Fund, supported by Dubai Design and Fashion Council. The US and UK chapters of that scheme have awarded prize packages to emerging designers valued up to $250,000. Abdulaziz will be able to use that endowment to champion young fashion talent in the Arab world, such as Jean Louis Aabaji (gown below).

(Source: jeanlouissabaji)

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