What I found most interesting during my visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, to view their latest fashion exhibit, was how my fellow visitors decided to dress for it. While Christian Dior as a brand has been known for impeccable, lady-like style since 1946, in 2019 London I was surrounded by a cacophony of sloppy, unkempt and dull outfits, worn by women who didn’t give their mirror a second look before leaving their homes/hotels/offices that day. And some men, trust me guys, you didn’t fare that well either.Read More
I’d long heard about the Rotterdam International Film Festival and yet had never personally been here. IFFR will hereafter be a much craved stop on my itinerary of world cinema events. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store.
So what makes this cinephiles’ festival filled with independent gems, languid culture-filled days and inspiring evening talks by the masters so addictive? Well, that — what I just said. Turns out there is no festival in the world quite like IFFR.
And here are a few favorites of mine from this year’s edition.Read More
The historic Kumbh Mela is now ongoing in India and so my taste turns naturally to orange, be it Pantone’s Dusty Orange or saffron, or even a darker coral tone.
So I looked at what designers showed for Spring Summer 2019 and here are a few colorful options to get into the spiritual mood. You know, wear me some saffron robes of my own. Or not.Read More
One of the most beautifully mysterious actors of our time, Mr. Ralph Fiennes will be in Cairo, presenting his latest directorial project ‘The White Crow’ — about a childhood idol of mine, ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev — and for a conversation with the audience inside the massive Cairo Opera House. Moderated by yours truly.
It’s a momentous event, but I almost missed it.Read More
Sight and sound are definitely a part of our earliest memories. They say children can remember only from the age of three and a half upward and I have to say, my first memory has to do with sticking my finger in the electric socket and feeling the jolt. I remember feeling like someone had pushed me and apparently — this is my parents’ memory of the event — I ran to the living room crying holding my index finger, utterly frightened.
But how much does scent, the smells around us, have to do with our individual memory bank? Personally, I can’t help but remember my favorite uncle Pippo every time I smell a certain brand of cigarette smoking up the air. And I go back to my childhood quickly, as soon as I step off the train in Florence and smell the city’s distinctive scent of, well how do I put it nicely, sewer… Just recently I was told why that smell is so intrinsically Florentine and it has to do with the lack of a sewage system dating back to Medici time. Apparently, every time the system fills up, giant trucks come to gather up the goodies and carry them away. There are serious studies done on it!
So it’s no surprise that the Florentines were some of the first people to use scents, ambiance fragrances and perfume to change the air around them.Read More
This year, the iconic once-a-year fragrance fair Pitti Fragranze, which is held in Florence every September, incorporated the entire city into its scent design. Thus, in the process, let the select audience of buyers and journalists that attended the event, in on the secret nooks and crannies of the great renaissance town. From the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, to the church of San Miniato al Monte, from the center to the outskirts, Florence became the “City of Fragrances” and in the process, reclaimed its scent, health and beauty heritage.
Following are a few personal highlights from this incredible journey of scent.Read More
As I sat down to meet legendary fashion photographer Bruce Weber I said "Mr. Weber, I can't say I grew up with your photographs because I'm older than I look, but I definitely grew into my sexuality thanks to your iconic images." It's true. Those NYC billboards in Times Square of underwear models for Calvin Klein, the Ralph Lauren "out of Africa" campaign, Kate Moss in the bathtub, the beach scenes, the catalogues I devoured before the advent of the internet, I grew into my skin thanks to Weber's images.
Today, Weber has helped me to rediscover the beauty and genius of classic American actor Robert Mitchum. 'Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast' screens at the Venice Film Festival in the Venice Classics section and is co-produced by Weber's wife Nan Bush. In the documentary, Mitchum is shown as never before, a singer, a lover and a poet, aided in part by cameos by Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Polly Bergen, Brenda Vaccaro and Liam Neeson, among many many more.
So why a film about Mitchum, why from Weber and why now?Read More
As of my very first steps at this year's Qumra, around the Souq Waqif, spent inside the Date Market fair and eating a bowl of fragrant Moroccan fava bean soup at a nearby restaurant, to my very last moments wandering inside the Hamad International Airport drinking an espresso with a fellow journalist, Doha gave me the very best she has to offer. And that's pretty darn sensational in a country that can count culture, fashion and heritage at the top of its list of priorities.
From the brand new, still partly in construction National Museum of Qatar rising out of the sands, and shaped like a Desert Rose, the crystallized rock that is formed when lighting hits the dunes, to the institution of the Museum of Islamic Art, where most of the Qumra events and masterclasses are held, to the leisurely, harass-free environment of the Souq itself, I felt like I was being coddled in a cocoon of culture and learning, one that would definitely remain with me for months to come.Read More
I know that a Diaries series is meant to go chronologically, yet there are moments when the rules need to be broken.
For me, hearing master photographer and longtime Doha Film Institute collaborator Brigitte Lacombe talk about cinema and fashion from a photographic point of view was one such moment. I could not wait to get home and write about the pleasant afternoon I spent in her company -- along with a theater-full of attendees of this Qumra talk -- and her sister's, video photographer Marian Lacombe.Read More
Doesn't get much better than sitting in the front row of the hottest show in town, for this season's Paris Fashion Week. Yes, I'm talking to you.
Maria Grazia Chiuri has made Christian Dior hot and hip again and personally, there is nothing I adore more than her "J'Adior" ribbons, whether on shoes or bags or even worn as bangles.Read More
A movie festival is nothing without films and I kicked off my first full day at Berlinale by watching Wes Anderson's animated treasure 'Isle of Dogs' featuring puppets like you've never seen them before, beloved actors giving voices to fantastical dogs and a message of humanity hidden within a film that is so darn entertaining to watch, I may have to go back for seconds. Or thirds even. I know you've heard me talk like this before, but this time I mean it in a whole new and different way: If I went home today, I'd be happy, after watching 'Isle of Dogs'.Read More
My third and last day of Pitti Uomo 93, Fall/Winter 2018-19 collections held some surprises. Most were pleasant, welcomed discoveries of designers who hadn’t been on my radar, and now forever more will be. Yet one, at the very end of the day was a disturbing reminder that the #MeToo movement needs to evolve, and include models, young men and children. If we don’t protect every victims — not just the attractive women stars of Hollywood who are looking for a second wind in their career — we are failing allthe injured.Read More
On my second full day of Pitti Uomo, I went on a journey eastward to Egypt, Korea and Japan, thanks to the vision and wit of four fashion brands.
I’ll start with Eton, because for me Pitti Uomo always begins with Eton. The Swedish shirt brand has become synonymous with fashion with a conscience, and a symbol of how great ethics and cool designs can make for a powerful, winning combination in today’s market. While some designers with attitudes, and their ungrateful PRs can create attention for almost anything for a season or two before disappearing into oblivion, these days it’s with principles and great artistic vision that fashion houses thrive, time and time again. The inclusive atmosphere I experienced at the Gucci Garden launch party here in Florence only confirmed my theory.Read More
Fashion has become the most affordable of art forms. We could all wear a piece of Christian Lacroix while he designed for Spanish brand Desigual and even typically untouchable Christian Dior features a few knick-knacks under $200 in their current collection, courtesy of artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri — whose streetwise styles have reinvigorated the Maison.Read More
Anyone who has ever had to travel for work knows, deeply and personally, how important a hotel room can be.
For me, while I spent eight nights and nine days at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival, the Mina A’Salam hotel, in Madinat Jumeirah provided a home away from home, the perfect place to get away from it all and write, not to mention my very own soft place to fall. All rolled up into the perfectly glamorous package of a luxury 5-star plus hotel.Read More
I wasn’t a huge fan of the last installment of ‘Star Wars’ titled ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, which closed the Dubai International Film Festival in 2016. I found the chemistry between Felicity Jones and Diego Luna like a couple of fingernails dragging on a blackboard. When they were — **spoiler alert!** — done away with, I was actually kind of happy. And that’s not how you should feel about intergalactic heroes, am I right?
Fast forward one year and I found inspiration and fun in another chapters of the ‘Star Wars’ saga which has been going on since I was a child!Read More
We need more women film writers. Repeat after me. We need more women film writers and when they are published, those few random times, we need to support them.Read More
What is heritage and how important is our connection to the past in shaping who we will be in the future? And if our ideals seem to clash with what our leaders are encouraging, or we simply can see beyond the chaos — are we right? Or does that make us just different... Those are all questions that have come up in the last 48 hours for me, at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival.Read More
As the fashion tribe is getting ready to leave Florence for Milan — Pitti Uomo for Milano Moda Uomo — amidst a 24-hour transportation strike throughout Italy, I reflect back on the great things I’ve seen in the last 36 hours. While this year’s Pitti Uomo has been truly fantastic and full of personal highlights, the last day also managed to be pretty mind blowing.Read More
In the biography for Florentine-born designer Federico Curradi, his extensive experience at the helm of Ermanno Scervino, as head of menswear for Roberto Cavalli. as creative director for menswear at Iceberg and various consultancy jobs including one at Dunhill are collectively described as his “unique baggage of experiences”. I love to think of life as a journey and nowhere in Florence this year — where I find myself for the Pitti UomoSpring/Summer 2018 collections — was that concept more apparent than in Curradi’s line.Read More