Where We Are Going Today: Souq Al-Hob in Dammam

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Updated 08 April 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: Souq Al-Hob in Dammam

You are likely to hear the honking cars and the bustling foot traffic intensify as you arrive at the various narrow streets in the heart of Dammam’s historic Souq Al-Hob, or the “Love Market.” The pedestrian-friendly space has been known as the first entrepreneurial haven for women vendors since 1943, some 81 years ago.

The cluster of tiny shops, the Love Market, got its name as the stores originally catered for couples by offering goods to purchase for their wedding day, or in preparation for the celebration. Today it is a place that offers deals for the whole family.

A high percentage of stores still sell perfumes, watches, jewelry, dresses, abayas and shoes, but many sell toys and other miscellaneous items. It is now an area for anyone who dares to snake between the crowds to haggle for a good deal.

We went on an otherwise sleepy night during the week, but the area still boasted heightened activity in those streets.

With so many options just a few steps away, the customer is the winner as one can easily strike up a conversation with a vendor and get the best price, especially if you plan to purchase more than one item. Many men sell the goods nowadays, in addition to the women who have always dominated the space.

Cash is still king but digital payment is queen, and both are accepted. You will find many cats roaming around and a few seating options in the form of communal round benches in the outdoor space directly behind the shops.

Many small groups congregate there to recharge, or to snack on one of the many street food options available, whether from the parked food trucks or the small window that serves fried foods and hot meats wrapped in bread.

There are also plenty of fresh juicers, coffee stands and popcorn available, in addition to candy and ice cream. A small mall, Al-Loloah, offers an indoor experience for those blistering hot days, and gives the opportunity to find a public restroom.

Parking is very limited, even with the garage near Al-Loloah mall, and most visitors park on the street or near the mosque and walk the short distance to get to the stores.

Souq Al-Hob is open all year, from morning until late evening.

 


Day 2 highlights of Red Sea Fashion Week: A historic swimwear show and elegant lace

Updated 18 May 2024
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Day 2 highlights of Red Sea Fashion Week: A historic swimwear show and elegant lace

RED SEA: Moroccan label EAU made history when it kicked off the second set of Red Sea Fashion Week shows on Friday, marking the first time swimwear has featured on a Saudi runway.

With the glistening St. Regis pool and swaying palm trees as a backdrop, the second RSFW began by highlighting one of summer’s essential pieces.

EAU. (Supplied)

The collection featured simple swimwear that ranged from one-pieces with deep V-cuts and off-shoulder motifs to bandeau tops and various sarongs. Royal blues, mustard yellows, hunter greens and maroon reds dominated the collection, setting a rather curious, but not unwelcome, fall palette for the upcoming summer season.

Some of the sleek looks were coupled with silky headwear and sophisticated handbags, including woven baskets dotted with rhinestones, straw beach bags, and fringe clutches.

Sarah Altwaim. (Supplied)

More fashion flowed as the Red Sea glowed. Sara Altwaim brought her silhouettes to the poolside runway. The collection kicked off with a number of white flowing lace and chiffon dresses, each catching the eye with individual flair, subtle beaded pearls, layered cuts or mix of fabrics.

Altwaim introduced an underwater-inspired chiffon fabric featuring sketches of seabed creatures, such as fish, shrimp, and crab, that made its way into a variety of ensembles.

Yasmina Q. (Supplied)

Heavily-layered pearl neck pieces, sarong-like skirts, bejeweled fishnets, metallic fabrics, and flowing garments also drew their inspiration from marine life.

Saudi designer Yasmina Q introduced loungewear to the mix, ending the shows with a collection of knitted rib dresses in mint greens, seafoam blues, bright yellows, corals, and more.

The signature silhouette featured flared sleeves and a fitted waist that flowed into an A-line shape, while some of the pieces were also sleeveless for a more daytime summer look. Her collection, styled with summery bucket hats and sunglasses, also showcased an array of loungewear, from ribbed bottoms to simple fitted tops, fitted ribbed button-downs, kimono tops, and loose sweaters.


Tina Kunakey fronts Amina Muaddi’s latest campaign

Updated 18 May 2024
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Tina Kunakey fronts Amina Muaddi’s latest campaign

DUBAI: French model Tina Kunakey this week starred in Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi’s latest summer-inspired campaign.

Kunakey, who has Moroccan origins, showcased Muaddi’s new BRITO slipper, a single block of plexiglass carved into the designer’s signature flared heel.

The handcrafted square-toed heels, made in Italy, come in hues of orange, purple, blue, pink, black and transparent.

The model shared pictures of the campaign on Instagram. (Instagram)

This marks Kunakey’s third collaboration with Muaddi. The model shared her thoughts on Instagram about working with the part-Arab designer once again.

“My admiration for you only deepens,” Kunakey wrote, sharing a picture of herself in the pool for the shoot.

“Season after season, each new campaign your talent shines brighter. You continuously push boundaries, and your commitment to excellence is as inspiring as it is contagious,” she added. “I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this journey and am so grateful to share this path with you, not just as your model, but as your friend.

“Thank you for trusting me since the very beginning. I love you. I am so proud of you and I am excited, and so full of love for what you’ve built and what’s to come.”

In addition to her collection of shoes, Muaddi’s jewelry and bag lines are also gaining acclaim among her celebrity clientele. The shoemaker’s label has garnered a loyal list of famous fans, including Dua Lipa, Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner and Hailey Bieber Baldwin.

Muaddi launched her eponymous footwear line in August 2018, about one year after departing from her role as co-founder and creative director of luxury footwear label Oscar Tiye.

The creator also helped design the shoes for Rihanna’s Fenty collection. The collaboration received the Collaborator of the Year award at the 34th edition of the FN Achievement Awards in 2020.

A year later, she landed a spot on Women’s Wear Daily and Footwear News’ 50 Most Powerful Women list.

Her jewelry collection encompasses rings, earrings and bangles, while her handbag range includes a variety of styles, from sleek clutches with striking embellishments to bold totes and crossbody bags.

Some of the bags are embellished with sparkling crystals or intricate sequins, while others are made from satin or leather and feature metallic finishes. The color palette includes classic cream, brown, black, red and silver.


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.


Arab stars, designers steal the spotlight in Cannes 

Saudi influencer Yara Alnamlah posed on the red carpet. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 May 2024
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Arab stars, designers steal the spotlight in Cannes 

DUBAI: As the curtain rose on the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, Arab stars and designers once again stole the spotlight in the glamorous French Riviera setting.

The festival kicked off with the premiere of the film “The Second Act,” but not before Saudi influencer Yara Alnamlah hit the red carpet in a look by designer Rami Kadi. She sported jewels by Chaumet, including the Wheat necklace from Le Jardin de Chaumet High Jewellery collection.

Saudi influencer Yara Alnamlah posed on the red carpet. (Getty Images)

Shanina Shaik, the Australian-born model of Saudi, Pakistani, and Lithuanian descent, graced the opening night red carpet in a head-turning scarlet dress by Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad. Her strapless gown, featuring a sweetheart neckline and a dramatic overskirt, was from the designer’s ready-to-wear Fall 2024 collection.

Shanina Shaik, the Australian-born model of Saudi, Pakistani, and Lithuanian descent, graced the opening night red carpet in a head-turning scarlet dress by Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad. Her strapless gown, featuring a sweetheart neckline and a dramatic overskirt, was from the designer’s ready-to-wear Fall 2024 collection.

Shaik was not the only star on the red carpet championing an Arab designer. 

US German model and TV host Heidi Klum stunned on the red carpet in a bold red gown by Lebanese designer Saiid Kobeisy. The dress gathered at the waist, revealing one leg, with silk fabric draping around her. 

Meanwhile, US actress Jane Fonda donned a black jumpsuit adorned with crystal embroidery from Lebanese designer Elie Saab’s Fall 2019 collection. Completing her look, she opted for a leopard-print overcoat.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

“The Second Act” is a French comedy starring Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard. They play squabbling actors filming a movie directed by artificial intelligence.

The festival’s first lengthy standing ovation, though, went to Streep, who was awarded an honorary Palme d’Or during Tuesday’s opening ceremony. After Juliette Binoche introduced her, Streep shook her head, fanned herself and danced while the crowd thunderously cheered.

“I’m just so grateful that you haven’t gotten sick of my face and you haven’t gotten off of the train,” said Streep, who soon thereafter declared Cannes officially open with Binoche.


Couturier Gaurav Gupta on the Met Gala, dressing Beyonce and his Arab clients

Updated 14 May 2024
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Couturier Gaurav Gupta on the Met Gala, dressing Beyonce and his Arab clients

  • Gaurav Gupta flew to Dubai to showcase his latest collection just before he made his Met Gala debut by dressing actress Mindy Kaling
  • ‘We have many Arab brides coming to us for their wedding dresses,’ he told Arab News

DUBAI: Indian couturier Gaurav Gupta is no stranger to the limelight. Over the past two years, his clothes have become regular sightings at the Oscars, Grammys and the Cannes Film Festival. His celebrity client list gets longer by the season, especially since his debut on the Paris Haute Couture Week calendar in January 2023.

Last year, he was in the news globally for dressing Beyonce not once but three times during her world tour and this week he made his Met Gala debut by dressing Hollywood’s Mindy Kaling at the coveted event in New York. Arab News spoke to the designer during a recent visit to Dubai, where he was exhibiting select pieces from his Spring/Summer 2024 couture collection. 

“I don’t have the entire collection here, many of the pieces are still with celebrities in (Los Angeles),” laughed Gupta. The collection, titled “Arohanam,” embodies his tryst with sculptural garments and sees him experiment with complex garment construction techniques.

“We’ve worked with new techniques like the reptilian cage embroidery with the bugle beads on some of the clothes. It was also the first time we’ve done metal casting – and there are snakes on a metal breastplate,” he explained.

“We’ve had clients from all over the world, including the Middle East,” the couturier said, adding that bridalwear is of particular interest to clients in the Gulf.

 “We have many Arab brides coming to us for their wedding dresses, so that’s why I brought the white gown that closed the Paris show,” he noted.  

As he approaches the two-decade mark of his brand, New Delhi-raised Gupta has much to commemorate. He is the third Indian designer to be a regular on the Paris Haute Couture Week Calendar and his international acclaim is skyrocketing.

In April, US icon Mariah Carey wore a crystal gown by the designer during a performance in Las Vegas, Shakira recently sported a gown by the designer in a magazine shoot and superstar Beyonce showcased three of his designs during her “Renaissance” tour — a custom crystal bodysuit, a neon green sari-style gown, and a crystal-encrusted gown that took 700 hours to create.

“Every moment we’ve shared with her has been iconic, they’re all so unique and are almost historic. Interestingly, the neon green sari wasn’t custom-made for her, it was from our ‘Hiranyagarbha’ collection. It was selected …and was sized for her.”

Did he envision this when he embarked on his journey all those years ago?

“I always felt that something significant would happen and now it’s all unfolding at once. I’m in that overwhelming swirl of things right now,” he said.