Arab designs and Gaza ceasefire pins spotted on Oscars red carpet

Maitreyi Ramakeishnan wearing a dress by Lebanon’s Zuhair Murad at the Oscars red carpet on March 11, 2024. (Getty Images)
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Updated 11 March 2024
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Arab designs and Gaza ceasefire pins spotted on Oscars red carpet

  • Oscars often a moment for political activism, Gaza war was on minds of some A-listers on the red carpet
  • Designs by Saudi label Waad Aloqaili and Lebanon’s Zuhair Murad were also seen on the red carpet

DUBAI: Hollywood’s top stars hit the Oscars red carpet at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday night, with a handful of attendees dressed in creations by Arab designers while others sported pins calling for a ceasefire amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Canadian “Never Have I Ever” star Maitreyi Ramakeishnan opted for a Spring/Summer 2024 ready-to-wear look by Lebanon’s Zuhair Murad in a monochrome color palette.  Meanwhile, Marvel star Danai Gurira showed off a coral gown from the same collection at the Vanity Fair After-Party, complete with matching semi-sheer opera gloves.




Maitreyi Ramakeishnan opted for a Spring/Summer 2024 ready-to-wear look by Lebanon’s Zuhair Murad. (Getty Images)

Content creator Ashley Yi attended the Academy Awards in an all-white gown by Saudi label Waad Aloqaili boasting a ruffled wraparound which she playfully posed with on the red carpet. For her part, US model Molly Sims chose a pink Georges Chakra dress from the Lebanese designer’s Spring/Summer 2024 Couture line.




Ashley Yi attended the Academy Awards in an all-white gown by Saudi label Waad Aloqaili. (Getty Images)

The event is often a moment for political activism, and this year the conflict in Gaza was not far from the minds of some A-listers on the red carpet.

Several nominees, including Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell, wore red Artists4Ceasefire pins in support of “an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel.” US Egyptian star Ramy Youssef and US filmmaker Ava DuVernay also wore the red pins while “Anatomy of a Fall” stars Swann Arlaud and Milo Machado-Graner wore pins bearing the Palestinian flag.




Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O'Connell wore red Artists4Ceasefire pins. (Getty Images)

When it came to fashion, German actress Sandra Hueller, a best actress nominee for “Anatomy of a Fall” and the star of “The Zone of Interest,” was ready for her Oscars close-up in a stunning black Schiaparelli gown with a wide sculptural neckline.

Colman Domingo — a best actor nominee for “Rustin” and one of the definite style stars of this awards season — looked sharp in a double-breasted Louis Vuitton tuxedo with slightly flared trousers, ornate silver buttons and lots of jewelry, including a stunning brooch in his bowtie.

“High School Musical” actress Vanessa Hudgens made a big statement with her black long-sleeved body-con gown — it showcased her baby bump as she announced her pregnancy with baseball player husband Cole Tucker.




Vanessa Hudgens made a big statement with her black long-sleeved body-con gown. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Dubai-based US movie star Lindsay Lohan made a strong comeback to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, along with her Kuwaiti husband Bader Shammas. The “mean Girls’ star wore a shimmering Balenciaga gown to mark her first appearance at the party since 2006.




Dubai-based US movie star Lindsay Lohan made a strong comeback to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, along with her Kuwaiti husband Bader Shammas. (Getty Images)

One of the best ways to ensure attention on the Oscars red carpet is to dress a bit like the golden statuette — metallics are a timeless sure bet.

Anya Taylor-Joy, who presented an award, took that to heart and stunned in a silvery strapless Dior gown with plenty of sequins and sparkle.

America Ferrera, a nominee for best supporting actress for her turn in “Barbie,” combined two hot red carpet trends with her form-fitting sleeveless Versace dress that was both metallic and pink.

Presenters Cynthia Erivo, a two-time Oscar nominee, and pop star Ariana Grande — who will soon star in a two-part film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical 'Wicked' — brought their Oz energy to the Academy Awards stage. Grande channeled her inner Glinda in a strapless pink cloud of a gown with voluminous sleeves from Giambattista Valli Haute Couture.

Erivo meanwhile struck a very Elphaba chord in a dark green leather Louis Vuitton gown with a plunging neckline and ruffles down the back.


Hoor Al-Qasimi appointed artistic director of the Biennale of Sydney

Updated 18 May 2024
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Hoor Al-Qasimi appointed artistic director of the Biennale of Sydney

DUBAI: The Biennale of Sydney announced this week that Emirati creative Hoor Al-Qasimi will become its artistic director for 2026.

The 25th edition of the biennale will run from March 7 to June 8.

Since its inception in 1973, the biennale has grown to become one of the longest-running exhibitions of its kind and was the first biennale established in the Asia-Pacific region.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Al-Qasimi created the Sharjah Art Foundation in 2009 and is currently its president and director. Throughout her career, she acquired extensive experience in curating international biennials, including the second Lahore Biennale in 2020 and the UAE Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.

In 2003, she co-curated the sixth edition of Sharjah Biennial and has remained the director of the event since.

Al-Qasimi has been president of the International Biennial Association since 2017 and is also president of the Africa Institute. She has previously served as a board member for MoMA PS1 in New York and the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, among other roles.

She is also the artistic director of the sixth Aichi Triennale, scheduled to take place in Japan in 2025.


Muhammad second most popular name for baby boys in England, Wales

Updated 17 May 2024
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Muhammad second most popular name for baby boys in England, Wales

  • Name ‘has soared in popularity in recent times’: Daily Mail
  • Layla, Maryam, Yusuf, Fatima, Musa, Ibrahim among popular Arabic names

LONDON: Muhammad was the second most popular name for baby boys in England and Wales in 2022, according to the Office of National Statistics.
The Daily Mail reported on Friday that the Arabic name “has soared in popularity in recent times,” having ranked 20th in 2012.
Variations of the name’s spelling, Mohammed and Mohammad, were also among the top 100 most popular baby boys’ names in 2022, ranked 27th and 67th respectively.
Other popular Arabic names for baby boys were Yusuf (93rd), Musa (99th) and Ibrahim (100th).
In the girls’ list, Layla ranked 56th, Maryam 75th and Fatima 99th.


India’s butter chicken battle heats up with new court evidence

Updated 17 May 2024
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India’s butter chicken battle heats up with new court evidence

  • Two Indian restaurant chains have been sparring since Jan. at Delhi High Court, both claiming credit for inventing the dish
  • The lawsuit that has grabbed the attention of social media users, food critics, editorials and TV channels across the globe

NEW DELHI: With new photographic and video evidence, an Indian court battle over the origins of the world famous butter chicken is set to get spicier.
Two Indian restaurant chains have been sparring since January at the Delhi High Court, both claiming credit for inventing the dish in a lawsuit that has grabbed the attention of social media users, food critics, editorials and TV channels across the globe.
The popular Moti Mahal restaurant chain said it had the sole right to be recognized as the inventor of the curry and demanded its rival, the Daryaganj chain, to stop claiming credit and pay $240,000 in damages. Moti Mahal said founder Kundan Lal Gujral created the cream-loaded dish in the 1930s at an eatery in Peshawar, now in Pakistan, before relocating to Delhi.
That “story of invention of butter chicken does not ring true” and is aimed at misleading the court, Daryaganj said in a new, 642-page counter-filing reviewed by Reuters.
Daryaganj says a late member of its founding family, Kundan Lal Jaggi, created the disputed dish when he helmed the kitchen at the relocated Delhi eatery, where Gujral, his friend-cum-partner from Peshawar only handled marketing.
Both men are dead, Gujral in 1997 and Jaggi in 2018.
Evidence in the non-public filing includes a black-and-white photograph from 1930s showing the two friends in Peshawar; a 1949 partnership agreement; Jaggi’s business card after relocating to Delhi and his 2017 video talking about the dish’s origin.
By virtue of the friends’ partnership, “both parties can claim that their respective ancestors created the dishes,” Daryaganj says in the filing, calling the dispute a “business rivalry.”
Moti Mahal declined to comment. The judge will next hear the case on May 29.
A key point of contention, which the court will have to rule on, is where, when and by whom the dish was first made — by Gujral in Peshawar, Jaggi in New Delhi, or if both should be credited.
Butter chicken is ranked 43rd in a list of world’s “best dishes” by TasteAtlas, and bragging rights about who invented it can matter, brand experts said.
“Being an inventor has a huge advantage globally and in terms of consumer appeal. You are also entitled to charge more,” said Dilip Cherian, an image guru and co-founder of Indian PR firm Perfect Relations.
Moti Mahal operates a franchisee model with over 100 outlets globally. Its butter chicken dishes start at $8 in New Delhi, and are priced at $23 in New York.
Late US President Richard Nixon and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru are among the famous clients to have visited its primary outlet in Delhi.
Daryaganj started in 2019 and its butter chicken costs $7.50. It has 10 outlets, mostly in New Delhi, with plans to expand to other Indian cities and Bangkok.
In its 2,752-page Indian lawsuit, Moti Mahal had also accused Daryaganj of copying “the look and feel” of the interiors of its outlets.
Daryaganj has retorted with photographs of restaurant interiors which the judge will review, claiming it is Moti Mahal that has copied its “design of floor tiles.”


Tima Abid’s ‘sea-spired’ collection opens first Red Sea Fashion Week

Updated 17 May 2024
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Tima Abid’s ‘sea-spired’ collection opens first Red Sea Fashion Week

  • Beadwork, satin used to mimic waves, gleaming glints on water
  • Designer lauds support of Culture Ministry, Fashion Commission

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia designer Tima Abid opened the first Red Sea Fashion Week on Thursday with bridal wear inspired, or perhaps sea-spired, by the effervescent colors and tides of the ocean.

Backdropped by the glistening and clear turquoise waters of the St. Regis Red Sea Resort on the developing Ummahat Al-Sheikh island, Abid showcased luxurious, elegant and intricately-designed evening wear.

Abid incorporated sheer chiffon, micro ruffles, and malleable fabrics to mimic an underwater experience. (Arab News)

The Jeddah-born haute couture designer told Arab News: “When I was told that I would inaugurate Red Sea (Fashion) Week at the St. Regis and by the sea, it was a beautiful idea but very challenging. I was inspired for this collection by the Red Sea and its shades of sand. I used pearls, fishnets, and elements derived from the sea like the waves. I really aimed for couture to align with the mood that we’re in.”

Abid incorporated sheer chiffon, micro ruffles, and malleable fabrics to mimic an underwater experience.

(Arab News)

Embroidered white gowns incorporating delicate beadwork and sequins on sumptuous fabrics such as elevated fishnet and satin were subtly nods to the softness of waves and prominence of fishing culture on the coast.

But the intricate and sharp designs also suggested the strength and sureness of crashing waves. As air does for sea, the silky silhouettes drifted in the wind, creating an ocean swell-like appearance. Speckled in jewels, the pieces resembled the gleaming glints on water.

Bejeweled gloves, capes, veils, and draping fringed neck pieces married traditional and contemporary bridal wear. (Arab News)

Cream and beige looks also made it out to the dock-turned-runway, featuring chic feathered accents and unconventional fabrics that mimicked the Kingdom’s coral reefs. Bejeweled gloves, capes, veils, and draping fringed neck pieces married traditional and contemporary bridal wear while also taking inspiration from the ocean’s sea creatures.

Cream and beige looks also made it out to the dock-turned-runway. (Arab News)

Several well-known guests, which included TV presenter Lojain Omran and actress Mila Al-Zahrani, were all front row for the latest collection from Abid — whose meticulous attention to detail has birthed creations that incorporate deep sentiment and luxurious elegance for nearly two decades.

“I can’t thank the Ministry of Culture and the Fashion Commission enough for this opportunity and this trust. This inauguration is truly historic for me,” Abid said.


Saudi pop star Mishaal Tamer feels ‘honored and grateful’ ahead of sold-out London gig

Updated 17 May 2024
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Saudi pop star Mishaal Tamer feels ‘honored and grateful’ ahead of sold-out London gig

  • Singer tells Arab News his fans in the city have a special place in his heart but he owes his success to people all over the world who have embraced his music
  • He says his debut album, “Home is Changing,” out in October, is a tribute to the changes and reforms that have swept through the Kingdom in recent years

LONDON: Saudi singer Mishaal Tamer said he feels honored to be performing his first headline show outside Saudi Arabia in London and is grateful to his fans there for their support.

Speaking to Arab News ahead of his sold-out gig on Friday at Camden Assembly, a live music venue and nightclub in Chalk Farm, Tamer said his fans in London will always have a special place in his heart.

“The people attending the show in London have been with me from before the starting line and I really appreciate that,” he said of the 220 people who will attend the event. “I will love those people forever and they will be in my heart forever.”

Tamer also thanked his fans in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the world, saying he owes his success as an independent artist to them.

“The kids that are back home and the ones abroad that have found me have been supporting me,” he said. “This would be impossible without them. I am grateful to the fans for listening to the music and sharing it.

He told how he was approached by two fans in a restaurant after arriving in the UK, which helped him realize how his profile was growing.

“One of them was Saudi, the other wasn’t,” Tamer said. “When I looked at that, it made me realize that not only was this bigger than I expected for me, as an artist, but that what we’re doing is bigger than me.”

His debut album, “Home is Changing,” is due for release in October and he said it is a tribute to the changes and reforms that swept through the Kingdom in recent years.

“There are so many opportunities that keep popping up, so many cool new things,” he added. “People have the freedom and creativity to make the world around them and the environment around them, to shape it into what they see in their heads.

“It feels almost like every other country is decaying whereas the Kingdom is growing and that feeling makes me proud.”

The evolution of Saudi Arabia “sets an example of always being hopeful for the future and having a positive attitude,” Tamer said. “And I think the optimism that we have right now in the Kingdom is a beautiful thing.”