In the world of fast fashion, everything changes quickly. And the new era sometimes comes only after two issues.
In July last year, BOF announced that Nevrora, a Dubai-based publishing house, will be partnering with Conde Nást International on the launching of Vogue Arabia. At the same time, the company announced that Deena Abdulaziz, a well know style force in the region, will be appointed as an editor-in-chief of the iconic magazine.
Vogue Arabia started with a website and at the beginning of March with a print version of the fashion journal. On the very first cover, we saw Gigi Hadid, wearing a crystallized veil, laying naked and the only statement fashion accessory she was wearing were a few Juste Un Clue diamond Cartier bangles. The cover itself was controversial enough for a few reasons. Why Gigi, why she is naked, why she is veiled since women in the region fight against forced veiling, why is the veil shown as a fashion trend? Why the cover is very similar to a mood board from a blog of a group of fashion enthusiasts collecting Vogue images and credit them as a perfect example of how Vogue Orient should look like, etc. These were some of the topics people were discussing on social media. The first issue was internationally recognized, people around the globe were talking about the magazine and congratulating Deena Abdulaziz for the ever first issue of Vogue Arabia.
The first issue of Vogue Arabia under the editorial control of Vogue Arabia was very successful at least from a PR point of view. People were talking; it was all over social media, journalist, designers and fashionistas around the world were happy with the idea of Vogue Arabia and the fashion forward direction that the GCC region is taking regarding the freedom of self-expression and style. As for the editorial content; there were people with different views on the topic. Some were excited and happy about this small Arabian fashion revolution, but on the other side, many were disappointed, finding the editorial content not exciting, not relevant to the local taste and market for fashion and disrespectful to the local culture.
On the second issue of Vogue Arabia, we saw Imaan Hammam shot by Patric Demarshalier in a beautiful studio editorial. Obviously, Deena Abdulaziz had the idea to start the magazine collaborating with the top photographers, and to create a fashion fuzz using the big names of the day in the modeling industry with ArabEastern origin. Gigi Hadid is half Palestinian, and Imam Hammam is Morrocan-Egyptian.
Days after the second issue hit the market Vogue team and Deena Abdulaziz hosted a party to celebrate the launch of Vogue Arabia in Doha. At the party, we saw her is a gorgeous red silk taffeta Zac Posen dress, Naomi Campbell in Ralf and Russo, Afef Jnifen in Valentino, etc.
Two days after the party in Doha, Qatar, BOF announced that Deena Abdulaziz is no longer editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia. Conde Nast International and Nevrora still didn’t release a statement, but Abdulaziz sent an open letter to the media.
Deena Abdulaziz’s statement in full:
“I am delighted, as Vogue Arabia’s first Editor-in-Chief, to have brought a voice to women’s fashion in the Arab World. I am honored to have enabled the Vogue brand to firmly and uniquely establish itself in a way that allows a fashion magazine in the Arab World to fuse traditional values with aspirational fashion.
“I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish in such a short space of time, working alongside some of the fashion’s greatest talent, including the region’s most influential and creative women. It had initially been my intention to build this important and groundbreaking edition of Vogue from inception to a mature magazine in line with others in the Vogue stable. Having launched Vogue Arabia with such distinction, I have a clear vision for what fashion means to today’s woman.
“I stand behind my values and vision for Vogue Arabia, and I refused to compromise when I felt the publisher’s approach conflicted with the values which underpin our readers and the role of the Editor-in-Chief in meeting those values in a truly authentic way.”
We’ve heard a lot of rumors why Deena Abdulaziz was determined from her position as editor-in-chief, who will be replacing her, is the magazine going to have a new fashion director, etc. So far there is no confirmation on any of this so we can just wait until Conde Nast come out with a statment regarding the unexpected changes.
Illustration by David Downton 2016