Sunday, November 20, 2011

Food for Thought…

Middle East Fashion’s Nouvelle Vague: Aramco World Magazine

Launched in 1949, Aramco World Magazine is one of the longest running English language publications dedicated to the Middle East and its Diaspora. Circulated amongst universities and embassies alike, the publication has long provided a much needed literary bridge between the Middle East and the West. As a child I would wait for each issue, which provided a diverse and faceted perspective on the region and its links to a larger world.

I recently had the opportunity to write a piece for Aramco World exploring a new generation of Middle Eastern designers, who are redefining the region's fashion scene today. Far from being a fashion piece it addresses issues related to education, design awareness and the challenges in establishing a credible fashion industry in the region.

You can read the piece here

From the Archives: Tehran in Vogue

In 1969 Vogue sent the photographer Henry Clarke to Iran to photograph models Marisa Berenson and Lauren Hutton amongst the historic monuments of Persepolis and Shiraz. But for Diana Vreeland, at the time Vogue’s Editor in Chief, a trip to Persia wasn’t simply about capturing the latest fashions in an exotic location, but an occasion to showcase its contemporary arts and fashion scene. Vogue first featured Iran in 1965, yet this time around the publication seemed to capture a youth quake movement which mirrored its counterparts in the West.

Vreeland’s cosmopolitan and sophisticated approach to showcasing Iran within Vogue’s pages included an interview with its Empress Farah Diba, photographed by Clarke wearing antique gold Persian jewelry and a dress “like those worn by women in the south of Persia.”

Flipping through the December 1969 issue one comes across a rare advertisement for Iran Air, promoting its flight service from London to Tehran. While it’s regular “Boutique” page (edited by a young Carrie Donovan) featured Vida Zahedi’s chic Tehran store “Number One Avenue Sanieddoleh.” 
Shahbanou Farah Diba photographed by Henri Clarke for Vogue, 1969.  

Tehran’s bright young things at “Number One Avenue Sanieddoleh,” Vogue, 1969.

Iran Air advertisement, Vogue, 1969.