There’s been much buzz about the upcoming Middle Eastern edition of Vogue magazine, conceived in part as a response to “the region’s luxury-retail sector,” which “has been booming for a few decades,” according to New York Magazine’s The Cut. First, it was announced that Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz had been named editor in chief of Vogue Arabia. Now the face that’s been chosen to launch the publication’s premiere issue has been revealed — although the selection shouldn’t be too surprising.
The magazine has chosen none other than U.S. model-of-the-moment Gigi Hadid to face the first issue, which will become available March 5 “across the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region, as well as international locations such as London, Paris, and Milan,” according to the publication’s site.
Two versions of the cover have been released, showing Hadid — who is half Palestinian, on real estate developer dad Mohamed Hadid’s side — posing provocatively, with most of her head and face obscured by a bejeweled headdress. The 20-year-old model’s lower lids are lined in heavy black pigment. An ultraglamorous shot from inside the issue reveals Hadid in a jewel-toned headscarf with matching eye makeup.
Hadid’s Arabic roots were captured in the shoot by photographers Inez and Vinoodh, and the model was styled by Brandon Maxwell, according to Vogue Arabia’s website. “In one poised photograph, she communicates a thousand words to a region that’s been waiting far too long for its Vogue voice to speak,” editor in chief Abdulaziz said about the breathtaking cover, adding, “There’s no better first ‘face’ to lead the charge for Vogue Arabia than Gigi, a model who defines tomorrow’s entrepreneurial and dynamic generation.”
Vogue Arabia is breaking a lot of ground in the Middle East. As the publication’s 22nd edition, it’s also the first to “break onto the market in digital prior to print, it is the Middle East’s first premium fashion publication in two languages, and the first Vogue to represent an entire region,” according to its site.
Hadid was seemingly picked because she fits with the issue’s specific theme, “Reorienting Perceptions.” As she shared on Instagram, “I think the beautiful thing about there being international Vogue’s is that, as a fashion community, we are able to celebrate, and share with the world, different cultures.” She continued, “Being half-Palestinian, it means the world to me to be on the first-ever cover(s) of @voguearabia, and I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry’s desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to… & learn and grow in doing so.”
Although Hadid’s casting isn’t without controversy.
The publication will feature 90 percent original content and dual language editorial, says its site. CEO and publisher Shashi Menon says that Vogue Arabia is poised to bolster “marquee, high-gloss content in the region — across both print and digital.” It is intended to “lend authority to emerging talents,” and its inaugural cover girl is the perfect face to usher in that vision.
Of course, Hadid is no stranger to Vogue covers, having graced covers of the magazine in the U.S., Paris, Australia, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Italy, and more.
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