Actor, singer and style icon Jane Birkin dies in Paris at age 76

British actress and singer Jane Birkin poses in Deauville on September 12, 1985. (AFP)
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Updated 17 July 2023
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Actor, singer and style icon Jane Birkin dies in Paris at age 76

  • Star was known for her musical and romantic relationship with French singer Serge Gainsbourg.

PARIS: Actor and singer Jane Birkin, who made France her home and charmed the country with her English grace, natural style and social activism, has died at age 76.
The London-born star and fashion icon was known for her musical and romantic relationship with French singer Serge Gainsbourg. Their songs notably included the steamy “Je t’aime moi non plus" ("I Love You, Me Neither"). Birkin's ethereal, British-accented singing voice interlaced with his gruff baritone in the 1969 duet that helped make her famous and was forbidden in Italy after being denounced in the Vatican newspaper.
The style Birkin displayed in the 1960s and early 1970s — long hair with bangs, jeans paired with white tops, knit mini dresses and basket bags — still epitomizes the height of French chic for many women around the world.
Birkin was also synonymous with a Hermes bag that bore her name. Created by the Paris fashion house in 1984 in her honor, the Birkin bag became one of the world’s most exclusive luxury items, with a stratospheric price tag and years-long waiting list to buy it.

In her adopted France, Birkin was also celebrated for her political activism and campaigning for Amnesty International, Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement, the fight against AIDS and other causes.
“You can always do something,” Birkin said in 2001, drumming up support for an Amnesty campaign against torture. “You can say, ‘I am not OK with that.’”
She joined five monks on a march through the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 to demand that Myanmar let foreign aid workers into the country to help cyclone victims.
In 2022, she joined other screen and music stars in France in chopping off locks of their hair in support of protesters in Iran. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Birkin's daughter with Gainsbourg and also an actor in her own right, cut off a snippet of her mother's hair for the “HairForFreedom” campaign as Iran was engulfed by anti-government protests.
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed Birkin as a “complete artist,” noting that her soft voice went hand-in-hand with her “ardent” activism.

“Jane Birkin was a French icon because she was the incarnation of freedom, sang the most beautiful words of our language," he tweeted.
French media reported that Birkin was found dead at her Paris home. The French Culture Ministry tweeted that Birkin died Sunday. It hailed her as a “timeless Francophone icon.”
Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak called Birkin “the most French British person" and “the emblem for a whole epoch who never went out of fashion."
Birkin's early movie credits included “Blow-Up” in 1966, credited with helping introduce French audiences to her "Swinging Sixties" style and beauty.
Birkin and Gainsbourg met two years later. She remained his muse even after the couple separated in 1980.

She also had a daughter, Kate, with James Bond composer John Barry. Kate Barry died in 2013 at age 46. Birkin had her third daughter, singer and model Lou Doillon, with French director Jacques Doillon.
Birkin suffered from health issues in recent years that kept her from performing and her public appearances became sparse.
French broadcaster BFMTV said Birkin suffered a mild stroke in 2021, forcing her to cancel shows that year. She canceled her shows again in March due to a broken shoulder blade.
A return to performing was put off in May, with the singer saying she needed a bit more time and promising her fans she would see them again come the fall.


Jessica Kahawaty stars in Charlotte Tilbury fragrance campaign

Updated 16 June 2024
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Jessica Kahawaty stars in Charlotte Tilbury fragrance campaign

DUBAI: Lebanese Australian model Jessica Kahawaty has posed in a digital campaign for British luxury cosmetics label Charlotte Tilbury.

The model and entrepreneur stars in a video campaign advertising the brand’s Love Frequency perfume, which is described as a floral woody musk fragrance for women and men.

Love Frequency was launched in 2024 and the fragrance was designed by French master perfumer Anne Flipo. The top note is pink pepper; the middle notes are rose and saffron; while the base notes are musk, amberwood, patchouli and cashmere wood.

Kahawaty took to Instagram to share the sun-drenched campaign video with her 1.5 million followers.

“My love frequency summed up in 1 scent (sic),” she caption the post, which sees the model walking among flowers and tall grasses while holding the pink-hued bottle of perfume.

The model also recently unveiled her latest campaign with Boss. In March, she shared polaroid-style pictures from the shoot with her Instagram followers and wrote: “Double B, Every Me. Because there’s more than one way to be a BOSS.”

In the images, she wore a brown bomber jacket paired with a crisp white shirt, complemented by a black bag adorned with a chunky gold buckle and chain. Her brunette locks were in loose waves.

Earlier this year, Kahawaty took to social media to share images from her collaboration with Italian luxury label Versace for the month of Ramadan, days after the influencer worked on a Ramadan campaign with New York-based label CH Carolina Herrera.

The campaign featured a curated edit of modest wear from the New York-based label, combining distinctive patterns and vibrant color schemes.

The model and restauranteur — she founded Dubai’s Mama Rita eatery alongside her mother — shared a series of images promoting Versace’s Ramadan edit with her Instagram followers. Kahawaty was pictured in a pink floor-length dress with bell sleeves that boasted a neckline adorned with intricate pink, white and silver beads and crystals. Completing the look, Kahawaty is seen clutching a matching mini pink embellished purse while her voluminous brunette locks were styled in a 90s blowout.


‘Bridgerton’ star Simone Ashley flaunts Suzanne Kalan jewels in London

Updated 15 June 2024
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‘Bridgerton’ star Simone Ashley flaunts Suzanne Kalan jewels in London

DUBAI: British actress Simone Ashley took to the red carpet at the “Bridgerton” Season 3 - Part Two special screening in London in a diaphanous Del Core dress and sparkling jewelry by Lebanon-born designer Suzanne Kalan.

The drop earrings hail from Kalan’s eponymous brand. Born in Lebanon, the designer has Armenian family heritage and has been creating jewelry for the past 25 years.

Meanwhile, Ashley’s peach-hued dress was plucked from Italian label Del Core’s Fall/ Winter 2024 ready-to-wear collection.

The drop earrings hail from Kalan’s eponymous brand. (Getty Images)

Kalan’s designs have been making the rounds on red carpets as of late. US actress Jessica Chastain sported the eponymous brand’s Bold Burst Rainbow Sapphire Tennis Necklace at the 2024 National Board of Review Gala in New York in January and entertainment reporter Zanna Roberts Rassi showed off a set of rings by the brand at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards in the same month.

Also, US musician Andra Day attended the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala in New York on June 13 in extended hoop earrings by Kalan.

The “Bridgerton” cast has been hitting red carpets around the world to mark the launch of the latest season, which was released in two parts.

Irish actress Nicola Coughlan is the lead star of this season — the lead role in the hit series is revolving and season two saw Ashley take on the mantle of leading lady.

Coughlan chose two Middle Eastern labels for public appearances, including stepping out in a gown by Beirut-based label Sara Mrad at the premiere in Toronto in early June.

Coughlan donned a lavender silk organza mini-dress paired with a red mikado petal-like cape from the designer’s Spring 2024 couture collection. She accessorized with droplet-shaped earrings from London-based Ysso jewelry, which are hand-carved in Greece.

At the show’s premiere in Brazil in May, the actress wore a deep red gown by Lebanese fashion label Azzi & Osta. The gown featured an oversized hood, which she wore over her head, and long gloved sleeves adorned with gold embellishments.


Jacquemus taps Imaan Hammam for Capri show

Updated 11 June 2024
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Jacquemus taps Imaan Hammam for Capri show

DUBAI: Simon Porte Jacquemus celebrated his brand’s 15th anniversary with a runway show on the eastern tip of Capri, featuring Dutch Moroccan Egyptian model Imaan Hammam among the participants.

The catwalk star arrived at the venue in a casual look and waved to cameras while wearing a shirt from Umbro Italy’s 2023 collaboration with Slam Jam. The “Penalty Culture” capsule collection draws from football’s influence on the everyday lives and the community of people who follow it — it is a fitting sartorial choice for Hammam ahead of the June 14 kick off of the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament.

She wore a hot red figure-hugging dress with asymmetric sleeves. (YouTube)

After she sported her football-inspired look, Hammam walked the catwalk, with its backdrop of clear blue water, in a hot red figure-hugging dress with asymmetric sleeves. The midi dress featured a ruffled open back. 

Hammam’s dress was part of the designer’s Fall/Winter 2024 collection, which embraced a nautical theme with classic navy stripes adorning shirts and subtly woven into the details of various garments. 

The catwalk also featured semi-transparent dresses with dramatic slits, sailor-like tank tops, oversized and zebra-printed Bermuda shorts, deep-blue sweaters and more. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by JACQUEMUS (@jacquemus)

 

The show, titled “La Casa,” was held at Casa Malaparte, a villa designed by Italian rationalist architect Adalberto Libera for writer Curzio Malaparte in the 1930s.

The show was attended by A-listers such as Dua Lipa, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Peggy Gou. 

BLACKPINK member Jennie Kim also made an appearance at the show. Given her close relationship with the brand’s founder, fans anticipated her attendance. However, defying expectations, Jacquemus chose the songstress to close the show rather than sit on the sidelines.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by JACQUEMUS (@jacquemus)

 

The K-Pop starlet wore a flowing black dress paired with a teal clutch. 

Kim’s connection with designer Jacquemus is no secret, highlighted by her regular presence at his shows over the years. Whether in the front row or taking center stage, she has consistently backed the brand, most notably featuring in Jacquemus' holiday campaign last December.

Meanwhile, Lipa wore a floor-length, light turquoise sleeveless gown with an elevated boat neckline and a slit at the right calf. She matched her ruby red hair with Jacquemus' new purse, a rounded puffy flap bag adorned with gold hardware, which was also featured on the runway. 

Her look was completed with light blue Les Lunettes Ovalo sunglasses and strappy black sandals with ball-detail heels.


Princess Rajwa shows off Honayda gown at king’s silver jubilee celebrations in Jordan

Updated 10 June 2024
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Princess Rajwa shows off Honayda gown at king’s silver jubilee celebrations in Jordan

  • Saudi designer Honayda Sefari explained the meaning behind the custom-made look
  • It is not the first time Princess Rajwa has chosen Honayda for a high-profile event

DUBAI: Jordan’s Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein attended King Abdullah II’s silver jubilee celebrations in Amman alongside her husband, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, in a bespoke gown by Saudi designer Honayda Serafi.

For the occasion, Princess Rajwa, who is originally from Saudi Arabia, showed off a red, hand-embroidered gown just over a year after she wore an all-white look by the same designer for her pre-wedding henna celebrations.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

Serafi, the designer behind the eponymous brand which became the first Saudi fashion label to be displayed at luxury London department store Harrods in 2022, spoke to Arab News about the custom-made look in a written statement. 

When asked about the symbolism in the dress, she explained: “The colors used reflected on the four colors of the Jordanian flag: red, green, black and white, paying tribute to the rich Jordanian traditions (and) celebrating the vibrant culture of Jordan."

“Deep, pigmented red was chosen for the look. Red represents the Hashemite dynasty, associated with strength and passion, embodying royalty and translating the love to the land. (The gown is) tailored in a flowing georgette fabric, perfectly mirroring HRH Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein’s noble yet powerful personality.”

Princess Rajwa showed off a red, hand embroidered gown by Saudi designer Honayda Serafi. (Supplied)

According to the designer, it was the first time Jordanian women artisans had worked on a dress for the young royal.

“The house of Honayda collaborated with Jordanian women artisans to feature unique traditional Jordanian embroidery … in the design. (The embroidery was) featured on the collar and border, preserving and celebrating age-old techniques, evoking a sense of pride and connection to the nation,” she noted.

The Saudi fashion house seems to have become the label of choice for the princess’s high-profile public appearances.

In May 2023, Jordan’s Queen Rania hosted the pre-wedding henna night celebrations for the bride-to-be, who married the crown prince on June 1, 2023.

Princess Rajwa showed off a red, hand embroidered gown by Saudi designer Honayda Serafi. (Supplied)

She looked radiant in an ethereal white creation with gold embroidery that was inspired by Al-Shaby thobes of the Najd region in Saudi Arabia, where Princess Rajwa — who was formerly known as Rajwa Al-Saif — is from. 

The henna night dress was inspired by Al-Shaby thobes of the Najd region in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

“As the creative director, I am deeply grateful for her trust and encouragement, which serve as a key to unlocking boundless creativity and beauty in my designs,” Serafi said of the ongoing relationship with the royal.

“Her choice to wear Honayda creations not only highlights the elegance and cultural richness embedded in our designs, but also amplifies our mission to celebrate and preserve heritage through fashion.”

Last week, the first official maternity photos of Princess Rajwa were released ahead of the royal couple’s due date this summer.


Mideast catwalk stars celebrate Italian model Vittoria Ceretti’s birthday

Updated 09 June 2024
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Mideast catwalk stars celebrate Italian model Vittoria Ceretti’s birthday

DUBAI: Part-Middle Eastern models Loli Bahia, Nora Attal and Mona Tougaard paid tribute to their fellow Italian supermodel Vittoria Ceretti for her birthday this week.

The three models took to Instagram Stories to share moments with the birthday girl. 

Tougaard — who has Danish, Turkish, Somali and Ethiopian ancestry — wrote, “Happy bday to my other half,” and in the following picture added, “my Italian queen.”

Among the pictures she shared were two of Ceretti with US Dutch Palestinian model Gigi Hadid on set. 

Vittoria Ceretti and Loli Bahia. (Instagram)

French Algerian model Bahia shared a picture that appeared to be on set for a brand shoot, while the British Moroccan Attal posted a throwback picture of her and Ceretti from when they were younger, captioning it, “Baby V+N.”

This week, Ceretti was on a birthday getaway and shared pictures from her celebration with her 1.6 million Instagram followers.

In one shot, she posed in the desert wearing a hot red, form-fitting dress with three-dimensional floral designs on the midsection and a plunging neckline. She also shared photos of the flowers she received for her birthday, a sunset dinner, a horseback riding experience and a cozy evening by the fire.

Mona Tougaard on set with Ceretti. (Instagram) 

“Happy, grateful, in heaven and a year older,” she captioned her post. 

Ceretti, who grew up in Brescia, a small town outside Milan, began her modeling career at the age of 14 at Elite Model Look, one of the world’s most prestigious international modeling competitions. She was chosen as a finalist and signed with the agency. 

A pivotal moment in her career was securing her first beauty contract with Chanel, which appointed her as the face of its beauty line in 2018.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Vittoria Ceretti (@vittoria)

 

Since then, Ceretti’s career has been marked by continuous success.

She has walked for Versace, Dior, Celine and Louis Vuitton and has fronted beauty and fashion ad campaigns for brands like Tory Burch, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari and Prada. 

Her latest campaigns, unveiled in May, were for Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. For Calvin Klein’s summer collection, she wore monochromatic white pieces, while for Marc Jacobs, she donned a colorful pink knit sweater paired with the brand’s white “Sack Bag.”