A Magazine, Issue 88

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Rana Salam and Pop Culture. Music from Yasmine Hamdan. Miami Street Art. Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior

no.88 Apr/May '17 LL10,000

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fakhry bey street, beirut souks aĂŻshti by the sea, antelias chloe.com

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88 No.

April/May 2017


The Now Issue


FRONT / 46 Who’s Who / 48 Editor’s Letter An emotional return to A Mag / 50

Editorial Introduction The inspiration behind this issue / 52 Contributors A brief selection / 56 This is Our Time Creatives setting pop culture trends / 70 The Edit

Where we’ll be this spring / 92 Objects of Desire Bags, shoes, tops and more / 110 In

the Studio with Rana Salam / 116 The Runway Goes Pop Bold prints for the season’s collections / 124 Driving Dior Christian Dior’s new monarch / 130 Trends Looks,

ideas, accessories / 136 Trending in Technicolor The urban transformation of Miami’s

Wynwood / 144 Soviet Street Cred The ugly-chic streetwear is all the rage / 150 Muse

Trendspotting / 158 Pantone Power Pop-inspired accessories / FASHION / 176 Sunday

Girl Adriana shot by Emilio Tini (cover shoot) / 186 Into the Groove Photography by Stefan Giftthaler, styling by Amelianna Loiacono / FEATURES / 198 The Accidental

Hotelier Jasper Conran’s luxury riad in Marrakech / 202 Subject In Conversation

with Mariana Wehbe / 204 Art to Change the World Addressing social change at the

Whitney Biennial / 210 Floating Above the City Beirut Terraces and a new way of living

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April/May 2017

/ 218 I Was Feeling Epic Vampires and love triangles / 220 Caribbean Cool Designers go native at the Kimpton Seafire Resort / 224 Yesterday When I Was Young Nostalgia in the Arab world / 228 Now I Won An artistic vision by Marwan Chamaa / 238 Keep It Real Jimmy Dabbagh and Makram Bitar blend fashion and pop culture / OPINIONS / 256 On Travel Stargazing in the Maldives / 258 Where We’re Staying / 260 On

Happiness The meditative effects of sound baths / 262 Where We’re Detoxing / 264

On Food Sampling the Impossible Burger / 266 Where We’re Eating / 268 On Drink

Beirut’s most delectable cocktails / 270 Where We’re Drinking / THE END / 272

Millennial Beirut An intimate approach to Beirut’s coveted and secret spaces / 284 The Last Page Yasmine Hamdan



On the Cover Eccentric, colorful, totally pop. Our cover girl Adriana is wearing a spaghetti-print dress, because the

NOW Rana Salam and Pop Culture. Music from Yasmine Hamdan. Miami Street Art. Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior

no.88 Apr/May '17 LL10,000

unconventional always stands out. Shot in Milan by Italian photographer Emilio

Tini. Her look is by Dolce & Gabbana and

Prada / Styling by Amelianna Loiacono

/ Hair by Andrew Guida and makeup by Katja Wilhelmus

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People/Style/Culture/Art Publisher Tony Salamé Group TSG SAL

Editor-in-chief Marwan Naaman Editorial director Ramsay Short

Creative director Mélanie Dagher

Senior art and production director Maria Maalouf Junior art director Sarah Ashley Mrad

Associate editor Rayane Abou Jaoude 46

Coordinating editor Stéphanie Nakhlé Digital editor Nour Saliba

In-house fashion photographer Raya Farhat Senior photo editor Fadi Maalouf Contributing writers

Fashion photographers

Salma Abdelnour

Stefan Giftthaler

Charlotte Edwardes Felix El Hage

Kate Finnigan Tala Habbal

Lucille Howe

Michael Karam Niku Kasmai

Goufrane Mansour Michelle Merheb

Warren Singh-Bartlett Angel Solomon

J. Michael Welton Folio artist

Marwan Chamaa

Emilio Tini

Feature photographers Jimmy Dabbagh Tony Elieh

Marco Pinarelli Stylists

Amelianna Loiacono Makram Bitar

Advertising director Melhem Moussallem Advertising manager Stephanie Missirian

Chief marketing director Karine Abou Arraj Printing Dots: The Art of Printing

Responsible director Nasser Bitar

140 El Moutrane St., Fourth Floor, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon tel. 961.1.974.444, a@aishti.com, aishtiblog.com

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Coming Home After three years away, I have returned as editor-in-chief of A Mag. I previously held the position for 12 years, from 2002 to 2014, founding the publication (it was first called Aïshti Magazine) and watching it achieve regional and international success. When I left, I really didn’t believe that I’d ever return – I was ready for new adventures and ended up spending the next three years working in London, San Francisco, New York and even Saudi Arabia, in fields as varied as writing, marketing, social media, insurance and medicine. But sometimes the pull of home proves impossible to resist. Deep down, the love I felt for both Aïshti and A Mag, two essential parts of my life for so very long, never went away. So it seemed only natural to reprise my former role at the helm of this publication. British poet TS Eliot once wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” It was my time, then, to return where I started, and get to know A Mag all over again, my time to come home. Marwan Naaman @marwannaaman

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Now and Then Welcome to the Now issue of A Mag, my last in the role of editorial director. Just over two years ago Tony Salamé, CEO of Aïshti, approached me to revitalize his signature publication, a job I took on with gusto. With the incredible new Aïshti Foundation for the arts and world-class luxury shopping space in a city bubbling with inspiring designers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, craftsmen and architects, A Mag needed to capture the zeitgeist, reflect the vibrancy of Beirut and its people and tackle the ever-changing world of fashion with new urgency. An exciting larger format was introduced using a variety of different paper textures; we created an eye-catching new cover style and a contemporary design. We brought into focus Lebanon’s creatives using the best new photographers and nurtured writing of quality and insight, covering the local and international food, drink, travel and nightlife scenes with passionate columns and reviews. It is an achievement I am immensely proud of. I remain on board as editor-at-large, so you’ll see plenty of me in the future, and I leave A Mag in the capable hands of its founding editor, my esteemed friend and colleague Marwan Naaman, and a creative team who are second to none. Their time is Now. Beirut’s time is Now. A Mag’s time is Now. With love... Ramsay Short @ramsayshort

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Marwan Chamaa Marwan Chamaa was born in Beirut, raised in Munich, Germany, and lived in the United States at various intervals of his life. This cultural diversity turned him into the eclectic, versatile artist he is today, viewing the world and interpreting it through diverse mediums. Chamaa’s art, which he describes as “predominantly Pop Art,” spans over two decades of thematic interpretations. It’s a fundamental view of the world as he sees it, with an ironic and sometimes sarcastic undertone. The artist has had various solo and group exhibits in Europe, Dubai and Beirut. He created six images for A Mag, beginning on page 228.

Tala Habbal American-born Tala Habbal has been working in the fashion industry for the past 10 years and has written for publications like Brownbook, Bespoke and A Mag. The Parsons and London College of Fashion alum has her own handbag label, and also founded an e-commerce website called Nine.Six.One.London that specializes in selling trendy, contemporary women’s clothing and accessories. London-based Habbal recently decided to fulfill a lifelong goal of becoming a lawyer and is currently a full-time law student at BPP University. She wrote two fashion pieces for A Mag, on pages 116 and 144.

Stefan Giftthaler Born in 1982, Stefan Giftthaler studied photography in Milan and Zürich and has had his work featured in major publications, including Style, GQ, Elle, Tatler, L’Officiel and others. When he’s not shooting, he loves to wander around looking for new places to photograph, and is usually attracted to spaces and objects that have a connection to the past. “I love places that show their past. It’s like they have a stronger personality in comparison to new ones,” he says. Check out his work on page 186, which was shot in an old ballet school in Milan, “a place that looks like it came out from a Hollywood movie from the 1950s.”

Salma Abdelnour Salma is a writer and editor based in New York City. When she’s not out chasing down New York’s hidden culinary treasures – and insisting that yes, there are some left – she writes about food, travel and lifestyle for a variety of publications. She loves to eat her way around Beirut, New Orleans, Tokyo and other favorite cities whenever possible. Her writing has appeared everywhere from BravoTV.com to Food & Wine, The New York Times, Forbes and Flow Magazine, and her articles have been anthologized in multiple editions of The Best Food Writing. She’s the author of Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut (Broadway Books/ Random House). For A Mag, Abdelnour sampled the Impossible Burger. See her article on page 264.

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In the creative industry, popularity is a relentless game of one-upmanship. To make it you need to take risks, be unafraid to fall, and fall hard. It’s about going with your gut, despite the criticism. It’s about influencing the world and making an impact – right now. A Mag meets Lebanon’s trailblazers – musicians, designers, artists, actors, chefs and designers setting pop culture trends today – as they share their thoughts on what they think is great about Beirut, what home means to them and what it takes to succeed

Words Rayane Abou Jaoude

Photography Marco Pinarelli



Odds are you’ve caught a glimpse of architect Karim Bekdache’s residential projects around the country, and of his renovated theaters, restaurants and art galleries. Bekdache’s studio also specializes in staging art exhibitions and encompasses a design and vintage furniture store displaying iconic designer pieces and 20th-century classics. A true Beiruti, Bekdache, 46, says there are many corners of the city he loves. “One of my favorites is Gordon’s Café’s terrace in Downtown, facing two magnificent ficus trees moved from Martyrs’ Square, from where you can also see the port and the snow-covered mountains” Best work experience? Working together with international botanist Patrick Blanc to integrate a 350- square-meter green wall in

a three-floor residence I was designing in the middle of Gemmayze Your favorite childhood memory My strongest childhood memories are very much related to the Civil War in Lebanon and do not really qualify as “favorites” Who is someone you currently admire? Kurdish female fighters defending their land and identity against fundamentalism In your opinion, what’s the hippest trend right now? The hippest trend is not to follow any, but to create your own Piece of clothing you can’t live without Not very attached to clothes Home is Facing the Mediterranean Sea Summer holiday plans? Taking the family to New York Your life mantra Make things happen To succeed in life you need? Motivation



By now you probably recognize her from her lead role in the acclaimed Lebanese film Listen. Ruba Zarour, 27, began acting in high school, and took a big leap by moving to Los Angeles at 22 to pursue a career in filmmaking and acting. “I’ve had a few good work experiences in my life. My very first jobs in LA were the craziest and most challenging,” she says. “My recent acting experience in Listen was absolutely one of the best as well.” What’s her recipe for success? “To follow your curiosity, be persistent, and if something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it” Your favorite childhood memory I remember I was swimming; I was maybe seven or eight years old. I was holding my breath underwater, and at one point while I was still under there, I tried breathing with my teeth closed, and it worked. I believed I was a fish for a very long time What’s on repeat on your iPod? “Definition” by Capricorn featuring Thomas Gandey. When I’m working, the soundtrack for The Theory of Everything Who is someone you currently admire? Elon Musk A Beirut corner you love Off & On Home is Everywhere Your life mantra We are all stories in the end... And while you’re breathing, no one gets to tell your story but you. So take your life and make it the best story in the world What makes Beirut great? Family, friends, nightlife and food




YTAA co-founder, name partner and architect


YTAA co-founder, partner architect and general manager Youssef Tohme, 47, and Anastasia Elrouss, 34, are founders of Youssef Tohme Architects and Associates (YTAA), an international architectural practice located in Beirut with offices in France and Romania, and which creates some of the most innovative contemporary architecture. The architects’ favorite work experience? “Designing Villa T,” says Tohme. “We were only three architects at the office. After a long theoretical thinking on architecture, we had the impression that we owned the world when the concept was ready.” It’s the Bordeaux-Brazza project for Elrouss, who says that “accepting the challenge and designing this neighborhood was very intense and thought-provoking, even breathtaking at times.” What does it take to succeed? “Taking risks,” she says. But for Tohme, it’s really all up to “chance” Your favorite childhood memory YT: Surfing the sea waves, discovering the underwater world by putting my head underwater

AE: Hiking from Ehden to Qornet el Sawda every week during summertime. The repetitive change of nature through altitude in no time amazed me A Beirut corner you love YT: All corners that overlook the sea, like Sporting Club AE: Gemmayze sidewalks Piece of clothing you can’t live without YT: My Dr. Martens and my hoodies AE: Black leggings and a plain white T-shirt Home is YT: Silence AE: Where the heart is Summer holiday plans? YT: Argentina, I hope AE: Indonesia Your life mantra YT: To keep dreaming AE: Wish, be positive and never give up What makes Beirut great? YT: Its intensity AE: People’s energy


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Walk into any gallery and Ayman Baalbaki’s work instantly stands out. The artist himself, who “can’t live without his turban,” is easily recognizable as well. Born during the Lebanese Civil War, Baalbaki creates artworks often influenced by the 15-year devastation, depicting issues of displacement, destruction and wreckage. Baalbaki, 42, studied painting and sculpture at the Lebanese University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and went on to study art in Paris before returning to Beirut. What makes this city so great? “Sundays,” he answers. Baalbaki holds solo exhibitions and participates in group exhibits in Lebanon and around the world. An experience that particularly marked him, he says, was working with the late Syrian artist Marwan Kassab-Bachi. Your favorite childhood memory When I used to think that the world was made up of only three streets What’s on repeat on your iPod? Right now The Tiger Lillies Who is someone you currently admire? “Pepe Mujica” or José Mujica In your opinion, what’s the hippest trend right now? Everything seems trendy at the moment A Beirut corner you love The garden of AUB Home is Wherever I have more than three friends Your life mantra Love without doubt. Strength without guilt To succeed in life you need? More joy



Sarah Beydoun

Founder and creative director at Sarah’s Bag

Malak Beydoun

Brand development and designer at Sarah’s Bag Sarah Beydoun’s path is an unorthodox one. Her label, Sarah’s Bag, has become internationally renowned, but the designer didn’t study fashion or design. Beydoun is a sociologist by training, and had been conducting research at Dar al Amal, an organization that rehabilitates women at risk and female ex-prisoners, during her final year in graduate school when inspiration hit her. Determined to help the women she was working with, she decided to create a business that would train and employ the at-risk women she had met. Sarah’s Bag was created in 2000, and it’s been uphill from there. Her sister Malak joined as a partner after several years in advertising and publishing: she was an art director at ad agency Leo Burnett for seven years, and she spent eight years as group creative director at Aïshti, where she created advertising campaigns for the company and oversaw the creative operations of A Mag, Gossip and L’Officiel-Levant. Sarah Beydoun’s recipe for success? “A positive attitude, perseverance and passion for what you do.” The best work experience? “Starting over again,” says Malak Beydoun Your favorite childhood memory SB: The summers I spent with my sister in my grandparents’ beach house in Southern Lebanon

MB: Not having to worry about cellulite What’s on repeat on your iPod? SB: 1980s music MB: Maggie Rogers, Syd Barrett and Nick Cave Who is someone you currently admire? SB: My mom is the person I’ve always admired and looked up to MB: My mom and my sister In your opinion, what’s the hippest trend right now? SB: I try to stay away from trends MB: Feminism A Beirut corner you love SB: The Corniche. It’s our slice of the sea, it’s where Beirutis come to breathe and it’s my favorite place to go for a run early in the morning MB: Anywhere you can kick back and enjoy the sunset Summer holiday plans? SB: I’m planning to spend more time in our beach house in Batroun. I love the sea, and I need a retreat from the madness of the city MB: In progress but definitely a lot of beach time Your life mantra SB: Believe you can and you’re halfway there MB: Keep it easy What makes Beirut great? SB: Despite everything else going on in the country, Beirut is great for its dynamism, its openness, the collective energy and resourcefulness of its people, the celebration of life, the good food, the music and the arts MB: For all obvious reasons and because it can all be so impermanent

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Samer Kobeissi

Pastry chef/owner of Des Choux et Des Idées Samer Kobeissi’s passion for patisserie began in his mother’s kitchen. In fact, his favorite childhood memory is “the smell of cinnamon and apple that filled our house when my mom used to bake apple pies on Saturday, especially during winter.” While Kobeissi, 36, ended up pursuing an engineering degree, he spent most of his free time learning pastry techniques and recipes, and his passion finally caught up with him. He went on to study at École Grégoire-Ferrandi and trained at the Hotel Four Seasons Georges V (his best work experience, he says) before returning to Beirut and creating “pastry laboratory” Des Choux et Des Idées. What makes Beirut so great? “I like the fact that Beirut has so many different faces. From one point it’s modern and edgy and has a lot to offer when it comes to culture, art, fashion. From another point it’s very chaotic and lacks a lot of elements that define modern cities” What’s on repeat on your iPod? Early in the morning, while preparing croissants, I listen to Fairuz Who is someone you currently admire? In the world of pastry I love the work of Cedric Grolet, the pastry chef at Hotel Le Meurice In your opinion, what’s the hippest trend right now? At a certain point in time, everybody was mad about macarons. Now it is choux and éclairs. Personally I love working with pâte à choux because it’s very versatile A Beirut corner you love Any place that has a certain kind of authenticity when it comes to concept and mood Piece of clothing you can’t live without I can’t think of a particular piece, but in general I love shoes Home is A place where I can be at peace with myself To succeed in life you need? You should be talented and passionate about your work. Luck plays a role as well




If you haven’t listened to their music yet, you’re seriously missing out. Mayaline Hage, 34, and Marc Codsi, 38, better known as electrorock band Lumi, have been a part of the Beirut music scene since 2006. Singer and guitarist Hage has a degree in clinical psychology and is the director of a center that caters to adults with disabilities. She became involved in experimental and improvised music when she was 19. Her favorite childhood memory is “dancing alone to loud music.” Codsi studied banking and finance, eventually quitting a job in stock trading to dedicate himself fully to music. He also works on film composition and production, and divides his time between Beirut – his favorite corner is Ain al Mreisseh, “one of the only authentic places left” – and Paris. Someone he admires? Greek hero Ulysses, “because he was able to reach his home and his wife, but to do that he had to overcome countless dangers and traps”

Best work experience? MH: Every time we’re improvising and I experience the first minutes of the birth of a song, and a project I’m currently working on

MC: Getting to know the world by touring and playing music What’s on repeat on your iPod? MH: Podcasts, Max Richter’s Sleep (at night). David Bowie’s Blackstar this last week MC: I have a few albums on my phone that I only listen to when I’m in a train or a plane: Max Richter, Beach House, Moondog, John Lennon and Plastic Ono Band Piece of clothing you can’t live without MH: I’m not sure MC: My red socks Home is MH: Home MC: Where I can finally listen to Leonard Cohen Summer holiday plans? MH: Hopefully different beautiful sceneries, in Europe probably MC: Not to be in Beirut in August What makes Beirut great? MH: Its diversity, a lot of people doing many great things MC: The wild green plants that grow in all the abandoned places To succeed in life you need? MH: Depends on what you mean by success. I would place it somewhere amid fulfillment, generosity and love MC: To know yourself

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the edit Hockney at 80_____ The David Hockney show at Tate Britain is London’s hottest ticket of the moment. Although the works of the Bradford-born artist with the large glasses and dyed blond hair (“blonds have more fun,” he once joked) don’t seem radical today, back in the 1950s and 1960s, as this retrospective shows, they were. His wonderful 1967 work, “The Room, Tarzana” for example, depicts a man (Hockney’s lover) lying on his stomach, naked from the waist down but for a pair of socks. It is exciting and erotic and brazen, and significantly, appeared in the year homosexual acts were decriminalized in the United Kingdom, highlighting his gay rights activism. Hockney’s brilliance lies in the way his works brings us to a new way of looking. From his paintings of shimmering LA swimming pools to those of the rolling Yorkshire dales where he grew up, Hockney has a knack for capturing our imaginations, bringing 3D to flat images and bold color into our lives. Until May 29, tate.org.uk

David Hockney


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p. Paola Naone - ph.Andrea Ferrari

Baxter flagship store Al Arz street, Saifi Beirut Lebanon +961 1 563 111 baxter@vivre.com.lb Vivre Dbayeh internal rd & Congress Center bridge inters Antelias +961 4 520 111 inside@vivre.com.lb vivre.com.lb

Frieze and the 20th century_____ Frieze New York is back for its sixth year at Randall’s Island Park, and it’s bigger than ever, with over 200 galleries from 30 countries participating. The focus this year is on iconic as well as rediscovered 20th-century art, presenting rare and insightful juxtapositions across art history and featuring first-time exhibitors like London’s Bernard Jacobson Gallery, Antwerp’s Axel Vervoordt and New York’s Castelli Gallery. “Frieze New York continues to evolve, and this year galleries are bringing presentations to greater breadth and quality than ever before,” says director Victoria Siddall. May 5-7, frieze.com/fairs/frieze-new-york

Zapping With the Stars_____ It’s exactly as the title suggests. Lebanese nonprofit organization Heartbeat, whose mission is to treat children with congenital heart disease, is holding a concert in tribute to seven of the greatest English, French and Arabic-speaking artists spanning over five decades – Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Dalida, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Beyoncé, Coldplay and Zaki Nassif. Made to appear like a TV advertisement, the concert will use music hits as bridges from one artist to the other. The show, held at BIEL, will also include music by other artists such as Sia, Justin Bieber and Hozier, performed by over 20 singers, the Heartbeat Dance Troupe and the Caracalla School of Dance. Tickets tend to sell out fast, so get yours now. April 22-23, heartbeat-lb.org

Surfing the Japanese wave___ Few Japanese artists have captured Western imaginations like Katsushika Hokusai. And the British Museum’s new show “Beyond The Great Wave” is set to bring his sublime and beautiful work even more into focus. Hokusai was born in 1760, and his life and work spanned the 18th and 19th centuries until his death at 90. The London show takes particular interest in his last 30 years, during which he produced many of his masterpieces. His landscapes dominated by the Great Wave and Mount Fuji are the most popular, but his incredibly intimate domestic scenes, capturing fleeting moments in private lives, and his innate skill in portraying the natural world with his images of flora and fauna, are just as important. With prints, paintings and illustrated books on loan from across the globe, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see such a superb collection of Hokusai’s works together in one place. May 25-August 13, britishmuseum.org

Heartbeat, National Museum of Ethnology, Samson Young/Galerie Gisela Capitain


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the edit

Celebrating Love_____ There’s a reason why Brandon Maxwell is celebrated for his flawless tailoring and perfect fits. The brand’s spring/summer 2017 collection is all about elegance, sharpness and sexiness, but most importantly, “love” he says, as he admits he was looking “to make a bit more of a wearable collection.” And indeed he did, introducing olive, beige and “petal pink”-colored hem dresses and pleated trousers, combined with black silk tops and white blazers. Impressive, considering Maxwell launched his company a mere two years ago after working as a stylist for Lady Gaga (now his biggest fan and personal cheerleader). Available at Aïshti

Sneaker Style_____ Intended for a morning run? Definitely. Going through the office grind? You bet. It’s called the 247 because it’s designed for a 24/7 life. Blending form and function, and drawing inspiration from its iconic models while remaining true to the brand’s DNA, the New Balance 247 Sport includes a contemporary take on the classic saddle strap for increased support, an integrated neoprene sock and a tongue label borrowed from New Balance’s performance running – except it’s made for the urbanite’s everyday wear. Available at Aïzone 74

Beirut on a California Beach_____ New boutique Aleph, set in Newport Beach in Southern California, offers the best of Lebanese design in sleek surroundings. Owned by Maryam El Zein and Zaid Omran (she’s Lebanese and he’s of Lebanese/Iraqi origin), the store sells carefully selected objects, furniture and home accessories created by the likes of Nada Debs, Karen Chekerdjian and Nathalie Khayat. Aleph also carries fashion items, such as Lebanese designer Dina Kamal’s DK01 line of jewelry. The stark white interior – the walls, tables and counters are all white – serves to highlight the unique features of the items on display, most of which are handmade and one-of-a-kind, reflecting the owners’ desire to offer something that’s truly out of the ordinary. facebook.com/alephgallery.newport/

Aleph, Boucheron, Brandon Maxwell, New Balance

Snake Eyes_____ Eyewear is your most visible accessory, so might as well make it a good one. Boucheron’s Serpent Bohème collection features round, oversized sunglasses, modern with a hint of retro, that come in gold-plated metal and Swarovski crystal. Creating a link between jewelry and eyewear, the Serpent Bohème model is a symbol of love and protection, embellished with the drop motif and gold beads crown. The campaign, shot in Paris by Sebastien Coindre, stars the beautiful Aliane Uwimana Gatabazi wearing the glasses, made even more flattering with the elliptical outer ring of beaded gold. So grab your sunglasses and go somewhere fabulous this spring. Available at Aïshti

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Redefining the Itinerant Showcase_____ It’s a new traveling design showcase, and it’s in Monaco. Need we say more? Nomad takes place at the beautiful Villa La Vigie, one of the oldest in Monaco. Thirteen international galleries are showing their contemporary designs, including Beirut’s own Carwan Gallery, and are exploring the boundaries between architecture, design and art. Living up to its name, the showcase will relocate to a different (and architecturally relevant) location each year. We’re off to Monaco. April 27-30, nomadmonaco.com

Fashion at Your Feet_____ Lebanon’s outpost of The Rug Company has moved from its original location in Tabaris to splendid and more expansive digs on Abdel Wahab al Inglizi Street, near the Albergo Hotel. The move coincides with the launch of a stunning new collection of rugs designed by Elie Saab. The three rugs include “In Bloom,” featuring Saab’s oversized florals in tones of teal, gun metal and green; “Lace Leaves,” depicting leaves in raised silk yarns; and “Brushstrokes,” an abstraction of painterly movements. Woven by hand in Nepal, the Elie Saab rugs are available exclusively from The Rug Company. therugcompany.com/int/showrooms/lebanon/

ensæmble, Hiro, Jochen Holz, Valerie Mannaerts, The Rug Company

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Fashion’s Not Dead_____ “It’s the end of Fashion as we know it,” wrote fashion trend forecaster Li Edelkoort in 2015 – and she wasn’t the only one who thought so. Now, Manhattan’s Museum of Arts and Design is finding new ways to redefine the term. The exhibit “fashion after Fashion” (in lower and upper caps) features the work of six designers (Eckhaus Latta, ensæmble, Lucy Jones, Ryohei Kawanishi, Henrik Vibskov and SSAW magazine), who are calling into question contemporary fashion’s entire nature through their site-sensitive installations, which focus on body types, waste, gendered dressing, commoditydriven products and the star designer. Questions worth asking. April 27-August 6, madmuseum.org/ exhibition/fashion-after-fashion


Balenciaga in the Spotlight_____ Dubbed by Christian Dior as “the master of us all,” Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga was always a bit of a recluse – but not anymore. The retrospective “Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion,” at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, revolves around the work of the Spanish “master” in the 1950s and 1960s, showcasing over 100 garments and 20 hats, plus films, crafts, drawings and photographs crafted by Balenciaga himself as well as his protégées and contemporary fashion designers. With the brand’s current success, the timing couldn’t be better. May 27-February 18, 2018, vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/balenciaga-shaping-fashion

the edit First Time in Color_____ American photographer William Eggleston revolutionized photography when he unveiled his colored photos at New York’s MoMA in the 1970s. With his breathtaking shots, he was able to legitimize color photography as a powerful artistic medium. Foam Museum in Amsterdam is highlighting that specific moment in time by hosting “William Eggleston – Los Alamos,” a show that focuses on images taken by Eggleston on various road trips through the southern United States, between 1966 and 1974, beginning in Memphis and then continuing to New Orleans, New Mexico and Las Vegas, before ending at the Santa Monica Pier in Southern California. “Los Alamos” includes Eggleston’s iconic first color photographs. Until June 7, foam.org

Eggleston Artistic Trust/David Zwirner



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Miami Sets the Shopping Mood_____ The recent opening of Brickell City Centre has transformed Downtown Miami. Built by Swire Properties at a cost of $1.05 billion, the massive development includes residential towers, offices, a wellness space, a hotel and a splendid shopping center that houses over 100 shops, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Acqua di Parma, Giuseppe Zanotti, Chopard, Valentino and Armani Collezioni, among many others. The shopping area stretches over three city blocks, and one of its most stunning features is an innovative climate ribbon that shades visitors from the sun as they shop, while cooling them with sea breezes. One more reason to visit sunny South Florida. brickellcitycentre.com


Automotive Jewels_____ Thirty years back, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris hosted “Hommage à Ferrari,” a landmark exhibit that highlighted the iconic Italian carmaker. Three decades on, the foundation turns its attention to cars once again with “Autophoto,” examining photography’s relationship to the automobile. Over 500 images are on display, by such names as Jacques Henri Lartigue, William Eggleston, Justine Kurland and Jacqueline Hassink, highlighting the aesthetic, social, environmental and industrial impact of automotive culture. “Autophoto” attempts to explain how since its invention, the car has reshaped our landscape, extended our geographic reach and altered our concept of time and space. A dream of a show for car lovers. April 20-September 14, fondationcartier.com

Luxury Goes Street_____ The street is where it all comes together for Brunello Cucinelli’s spring/summer 2017 collection, capturing both the spontaneity and the spirit of “street style couture” in masculine-feminine patterns and sporty influences. Luxurious yet young and modern, and donning a light palette of beige, white, gray, black and red, masculine bomber jackets are paired with wide, striped trousers and asymmetrical and feather maxi skirts. Cardigans are coupled with red jogging pants and snakeskin trousers, and wide-legged jeans with simple, striped shirts and mules, all effortlessly androgynous, while retaining an elegant and functional charm. Available at Aïshti

Atelier Zad Moultaka/Association Sacrum, Brickell City Centre, Brunello Cucinelli, Collection Beijing Silvermine/Thomas Sauvin, Pink Floyd

Reviving the Archaic_____ Following four years of absence from the International Art Biennale di Venezia, Lebanon is back, and this time represented by composer and visual artist Zad Moultaka and his magnificent ŠamaŠ, god of the sun and justice, at the Arsenale Nuovissimo. Moultaka depicts the Babylonian god on the Code of Hammurabi, a tall stele considered the first law table, and includes music to show how technology is born from the archaic. Explains Moultaka, “ŠamaŠ is rooted mentally, physically and philosophically in the refusal of the drama that we are witnessing in this solar region of the world that is the Middle East, cradle of Eastern and Western civilizations.” May 13-November 26, labiennale.org/en/art


Their Mortal Remains_____ Tickets for the new Pink Floyd retrospective at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum are already selling like hotcakes, even though the show doesn’t start until mid-May. The fully interactive audio-visual experience travels deep into the influential band’s unique and extraordinary world and chronicles the music, design and staging of the band, from their debut in the 1960s up to the present day. Works include album cover art by band member Roger Waters, props from various gigs – check out the flower petal mirror ball from their 1973-75 live shows – and even newspaper clippings advertising early gigs. One from Melody Maker in 1966 advertises a New Year concert with the words: “A Freak-Out is when a large number of individuals gather and express themselves creatively through music, dance, light patterns and electronic sound…Come and watch the pretty lights. Pyschedelicamania.” May 13-October 1, vam.ac.uk

the edit Clutch a Bouquet_____ There are many must-have items in the spring/summer 2017 collections, and one of the most pleasing is Alexander McQueen’s Floral Table Cloth Insignia satchel, made from calf leather. This darling bag features a flat pocket, magnetic closure and suede lining, and also sports the trademark AMQ signature. It’s a floral burst right at your fingertips. Available at Aïshti

Caught in a Wild Romance_____ Bella Hadid opened Alberta Ferretti’s spring/summer 2017 show in a ruffled, ample skirt paired with a sexy, barely there leather top. This single outfit set the tone for the label’s collection, which blissfully balances soft romance with hard seduction. Other dreamy outfits included lace dresses in vibrant hues like red and purple, enhanced with embroidered floral motifs. Trust Alberta Ferretti to successfully combine casual elegance with a rough edge. Available at Aïshti

Jean Boghossian, Alberta Ferretti, Alexander McQueen, Mark Ryden/Paul Kasmin Gallery


Fire at the Venice Biennale_____ Brussels-based Lebanese artist Jean Boghossian, renowned for his work with fire, smoke and water, is representing his country of origin, Armenia, at its National Pavilion at the 57th International Art Biennale di Venezia. It’s unsurprising then that the exhibition, titled “Fiamma Inestinguibile,” is inspired by the blowtorch flame, which Boghossian uses as a flamboyant brush to create inextinguishable art. “Fire is an uncontrollable element, and the entire challenge is to be able to control it, to guide it and channel it,” says Boghossian, adding that “it’s a great honor, a great challenge, and it’s a great responsibility to represent Armenia.” May 13-November 26, labiennale.org/en/art


Good Enough to Eat_____ Artist Mark Ryden is showcasing his most delicious work to date at Paul Kasmin Gallery in Manhattan. In the aptly titled exhibit “Whipped Cream,” Ryden features dessert-inspired paintings, drawings and sketches created to accompany the new production of the same name by the American Ballet Theatre. The ballet tells the tale of a boy who feasts on candy confections at a Viennese pastry shop and then dreams the decadent desserts to life. Ryden conceived the ballet production’s costumes and set design, including backdrops, staging, props and dance costumes. His new exhibit, focusing on character studies, set drawings and his own fictional figures, blurs the boundaries between pop culture and the ballet’s cultural heights. May 20-June 30, paulkasmingallery.com

It’s All About Tailoring_____ “Tailoring, tailoring, tailoring, everywhere. That is what we do. It has to be tailoring,” says Elisabetta Canali, the fashion house’s global communication director. And this season, Canali’s tailoring looks particularly sharp. Paying homage to the iconic Kei jacket and its signature deconstructed softness, the spring/summer 2017 collection comes in the form of traditional suits and pants, but with an added modern silhouette. It’s a new chapter for the Italian fashion house as it focuses on material and intricate detail: blousons, parkas and bombers cut in soft deer, calf and lambskin, and form-fitted trench coats in light technical fabrics. Available at Canali in Downtown Beirut and Aïshti by the Sea

Smooth Operator_____

State-of-the-art, effective and virtually painless, the awardwinning Soprano Ice laser hair removal machine has made it to Aïshti’s Urban Retreat SPA. Using multiple laser wavelengths and technologies, the machine allows for the treatment of a variety of patients and hair types, offering the best results. It’s even cleared to use on tanned skin, a first for laser hair removal. Additional cooling means the patient experiences minimum discomfort, and it also boasts one of the fastest treatment times in the world. Did we mention it’s painless? Available at Aïshti by the Sea

Camper in Color_____ Spanish shoe label Camper has released two particularly fun models for men this season. The first is part of Camper’s Twins concept, in which the shoes are intentionally mismatched but then engagingly complement one another. For spring, the Twins are white, with one shoe sporting yellow and blue stripes along the edges, and the other showcasing yellow and red stripes. The other standout is the Mateo, featuring a thick sole inspired by Spanish espadrilles and available in multicolored blue, gray, yellow and white. Now you can step out in style and comfort. Available at Camper in the Beirut Souks and Aïzone

Saab Takes Manhattan _______

Elie Saab opened his first US flagship in New York last March. Located on fabled Madison Avenue, across from Tom Ford and Prada, the boutique was designed by RDAI and features four floor-to-celing windows and a dazzling sculptural, spiral staircase. The Lebanese designer’s ready-to-wear, accessories, sunglasses and fragrances are all available here, as well as his made-tomeasure service. 860 Madison Avenue, New York, eliesaab.com

Camper, Canali, Raya Farhat, Elie Saab


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firm WORKac. Other speakers included William Sawaya, partner at architecture firm Sawaya & Moroni; designer Karen Chekerdjian; Barry Bergdoll, professor of Art History at Columbia and curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Nicolai Ouroussoff, former architecture critic for The New York Times and adjunct associate professor of Architecture at Columbia; Julian Rose, co-founder of architecture laboratory Formlessfinder and adjunct assistant professor of Architecture at Columbia; Hanan Sayed Worrell, senior representative for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in Abu Dhabi; and Hala Wardé, founder of HW Architecture and partner at Ateliers Jean Nouvel. In front of an audience made up of architects, designers, artists, journalists and art and design enthusiasts, the panel discussed their varied proposals for the creation of an art and design district in Downtown Beirut. Their suggestions were the result of a daylong workshop that was preceded by a tour of Downtown Beirut and its historic and contemporary architectural landmarks. Discussions arose on the importance of pedestrian crossings and better accessibility to the city, the need for green and public spaces and the possibility to use water to connect Beirut to its outlying regions. The core of the talks focused on the importance of bringing more people to the heart of the city, Downtown Beirut. After the discussion and a Q&A session, Vietnamese-born, Danish artist Danh Vō unveiled a new installation, “Untitled,” composed of cardboard boxes from Mexico depicting motifs of beer companies. A truly iconic event.

Carl Halal

Shaping the New City_____ The Aïshti Foundation and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) joined forces last February to host “Shaping Cities Through Art and Design,” a panel discussion that focused on the importance of art and architecture for successful urban planning. The symposium was held at the Aïshti Foundation, and it featured an international panel moderated by Amale Andraos, dean of Columbia’s GSAPP and co-founder of architecture


Artist Danh Vō’s “Untitled” installation, now on view at the Aïshti Foundation

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Dress Miu Miu Shoes Gucci__________ Spring is all about pairing incongruent pieces, so we’re taking it a step further and going with green Gucci slippers and a red and white Miu Miu dress





Pants + shoes Prada____________ We’re taking a walk on the wild side with these Prada platforms, paired here with the perfect pair of poplin kiss trousers




Shoes Miu Miu____________ Don’t be fooled by their chunky nature - these Miu Miu platforms with the “commando” sole are so light we feel we’re walking on air



Boots Fendi__________ We’re living the lush life with Fendi’s high-heeled rockoko runway boots. These beauties made to hug the ankle are reminiscent of 17th-century fashion at the Palais de Versailles


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LEBANON BEIRUT SOUKS +961 1 991 111 EXT 595

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L E B A N O N 2 2 5 F o c h S t . , D o w n t o w n B e i r u t , Te l . + 9 6 1 1 9 9 1 1 1 1 E x t . 4 8 0 A ï s h t i B y t h e S e a , A n t e l i a s , Te l . + 9 6 1 4 4 1 7 7 1 6 E x t . 2 3 4

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Words Rayane Abou Jaoude Photography Marco Pinarelli

LEBANON’S MOST FAMOUS ART DIRECTOR IS A GLOBAL PIONEER WHEN IT COMES TO ARAB POP ART Rana Salam’s studio on Rue du Liban stands out amid the area’s dilapidated buildings. Colorful, dynamic and vibrant, much like Salam herself, the studio is a Pop Art enthusiast’s dream – there are gaudy knickknacks and trinkets everywhere, books, matchboxes, ribbons, vintage pictures and cinema posters, her iconic yellow Vespa and a whole lot of patterns. Salam’s reality is clearly way more fun than ours.

“I love design, I love it. I think it’s just wonderful. It’s about the brain, how you think about things, how you look at something, how you analyze it. I think sometimes, life really is an illusion. I go crazy, crazy, crazy,” Salam says, tossing her arms out. It’s noon on a Friday, and we sit on a round white table in her studio, sipping Prosecco from small plastic cups; truly shaabi-chic, a staple of hers. “When I was 15, I was given a scooter by my dad. My whole life changed,” Salam says. It was a Honda Spacy that she would use to ride around Beirut as often as she could, racing with the boys on the streets and eating shawarma from Abu Ahmad in Corniche al Mazraa. The


scooter gave her access to what was shaabi, to popular culture, which would later manifest itself in her work.

After high school, she left Beirut to pursue a degree in design at Central Saint Martins and then the Royal College of Art in London. “That’s where they asked me to go back and look at my own culture,” she says. “And I thought, ‘what do you mean, I came all the way to England!’ I had no idea. And there was nothing. What culture?”

But then she began to reminisce, thinking back to when her father would drive her around Beirut, asking her to observe the city around her. “He would show me things that were very spontaneous and naively done on the streets of Beirut: the posters. He was teaching me how to look, and look at things that were completely disregarded,” she says. So she made the trip to Burj Hammoud and met with the artists behind Lebanon’s signature posters, which she then shipped back to London. Salam used the hand-painted posters and billboards and transformed Lebanese and Arab icons into Brigitte Bardot and Bettie Page to set up luxury department store Harvey Nichols’ window

It’s an image of Layla Murad that I found on a poster. I thought, ‘That’s me in the 1950s, and I added my brooch and wrote my name

This is paper for making cakes. They’re so beautiful as objects

These are our beautiful business cards, these I love; and this tray is from HAY, a limited edition. Someone gifted this to me


This is our packaging, our famous patterns that have become a signature

This is a whole series of matchboxes that HAY designed. It’s about taking something so simple and making it beautiful

Anything to do with car graphics I like, and when I saw this I thought, Islamic has gone beyond pop, it’s gone Swarovski We’ve created Umm Kulthum’s lips, a bit like Mick Jagger’s lips, so it’s about creating iconic signatures like they did in the West

My Royal College book, whose graphics I love. Just simple graphics

I found this in LA. It’s got no significance, just beautiful graphics. Obviously I collect a lot of matchboxes I love vintage buttons. I love the pit black of the button and the graphic, très chic


This is a lovely thing that I have kept forever. I love numbers, and it’s a very clever way of displaying them in this brochure My lovely Giorgio Armani lipstick. I just love the color, and it’s my new color. I was trying to get off red

I got this when the Prince Claus Fund were giving an award to Kamal Mouzawak. I just grabbed it. I loved the whole packaging

I love anything to do with the material used for car headlights, and I love the dynamics of the graphics, it’s very pop art

I’m obsessed with Plexiglas. It’s a very modern, contemporary material. I love all the things you can do with it

I found these in London’s Portobello Road Market. I’m obsessed with numbers

That plate is the Kaaba gone pop. As an item of design I thought it was beautiful and very naively illustrated. That led to the Layla Murad project


displays in London. Shocking? Yes. A success? Absolutely. “I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew that I had this mission to export my culture in a very positive way. Nobody was really pushing things more than just what we were so comfortable with. Surely the duty of us designers is to push the boundaries.” 114

After Harvey Nichols, she got a call from British fashion house Paul Smith, who were looking for a visual line, and then luxury online store Boutique 1, where she worked with Egyptian artist and photographer Youssef Nabil. She also designed Liberty of London’s swimwear department and UK-based restaurant Comptoir Libanais.

being back in her hometown, the realities of working here were much harsher than they appeared. Others had caught up with her visual language, so much so that it appeared as though she was copying them. So she created her own brand and now sells her signature items (kitchen towels, cushions, notebooks, posters) in her shop, a project she started to celebrate stories from the Middle East. It’s been a tremendous success, even overshadowing the studio, where she works with a few young designers, throwing them “in the deep end” so they can learn on their own, like she did. Salam’s work has also certainly broken stereotypes. Her collaboration with Malu Halasa on The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie, a book of photographs and writings on the Middle Eastern’s country outrageous and exuberant lingerie, sent shockwaves across the region.

Is it fair to label her work as Pop Art? “I hate that. But it is,” she says, expressing her frustration that people link all Pop Art to Andy Warhol. “It’s the thinking of pop, yes, it’s about things that we consume and we use, yes, but they think Pop Art equals Andy Warhol. Pop Art is about consumerism and things that are equal to everybody, and inflating it,” Salam says.

And what drives her to keep at it? Her inspirations range from her morning runs to her Vespa (“it’s the best anti-depressant”), sharing her ideas with people around her and bringing the shaabi to the chic, of course. In the future she would love to work on re-branding and repackaging Lebanese companies that need a facelift. “Why should we be so apologetic about our graphics?” she asks. And why should we? Pop Art has never looked so good.

“I was trying to embrace Middle Eastern photographers, artists, anybody who was created in the Middle East. It was all done unconsciously, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted to promote Middle Eastern talent. I was looking for it,” she says.

She remained in London for 28 years, until she decided to return to her home country. An “emotional decision”, she calls it. “I never was amputated from Lebanon. I was totally connected. So I came back and forgot there was a gap of 28 years,” Salam says. And while she did love

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Aïshti By the Sea Antelias

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Words Tala Habbal



This page: Balenciaga runway show. Opposite page: Gucci runway show


Pop Art finds its way into the spring/ summer 2017 collections with bold colors, playful prints and eccentric looks

Powerful, sexy and witty, Pop Art emerged in the 1950s, when artists in the United Kingdom and the United States began using pop culture imagery from movies, television, comic books, magazines and advertising to defy Abstract Expressionism and return to a more objective, universal form of art. It was a cultural revolution and a time for artists to experiment with new, informal methods of artistic expression through irony and wit. Although Andy Warhol is generally credited with bringing Pop Art into the public eye, famous fellow pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann, James Rosenquist, Keith Haring, David Hockney and Robert Indiana also made their mark on a movement that carried its way through to the early 1980s.


Above: Gucci runway show. Below: Gucci campaign

This year, a whirlwind of exuberant Pop Art references parlayed their way into the spring/summer 2017 collections,



This page: Maison Margiela runway show



Fendi runway show

The men were not to be outdone this season, with collections from Fendi to Gucci portraying a slew of bold colors, eccentric prints and artsy vibes

with designers like Gucci, Chanel, Maison Margiela, Balenciaga, Olympia Le-Tan and Dolce & Gabbana infusing elegant designs with undertones of Pop Art euphemisms. The collections were fun, bold, ethereal – anything but minimalistic. Demna Gvasalia’s debut collection for Balenciaga was a balancing act of couture shapes and unusual materials like spandex, latex and rubberized leather. Spandex pant boots in shades of bubblegum pink, purple, bright turquoise and superhero green were paired with ladylike gloves, bold blazers and ruched feminine blouses. Even sans blatant imagery, the bright color blocking and sexy silhouettes exude the very essence of Pop Art culture.

The Chanel collection also explored bold summer colors and a strong 1980s vibe reminiscent of Hockney’s bright landscape works. Flowy dresses in wacky and abstract prints worn over lingerie-like slips were paired with cool baseball caps and quirky oversized accessories – a departure from the clean, ladylike aesthetic of past Karl Lagerfeld creations. Gucci’s designs for the season were pieces of exuberant artwork come to life, drawing comparisons to Wesselmann’s brand of “wholesome eroticism.” The collection was anything but basic and transported us to a time of glamour, funk and rock ‘n’ roll. The hippie-chic silhouettes channeled a Kate Moss era, with bold floral motifs, glitter,


Above: Dolce & Gabbana runway show. Left: Céline runway show

Above: Olympia Le-Tan runway show. Below: Prada runway show


leather, oversized shades and a showstopping mink coat with red intarsia script.

Always one for taking things to the extreme, Maison Margiela poked fun at fashion and played up the whimsical design aesthetic for which the French fashion house is renowned. Creative Director John Galliano’s quirky pieces – a scuba suit worn as a tube skirt, a colorful striped chunky sweater rolled up as a giant scarf and raincoats worn haphazardly inside out – draw an eerily similar vibe to Oldenburg’s playful, largerthan-life sculptures. The use of banal and everyday products was at the core of the Pop Art movement, as evidenced by Warhol’s iconic “Campbell’s Soup Cans.” No stranger to fusing art and fashion, Dolce & Gabbana took a cue from Warhol’s playbook, plastering classic Italian pasta and tomato sauce prints onto skirts, dresses and tops, encapsulating the true meaning of Pop Art realism.

Olympia Le-Tan channeled Lichtenstein in a collection with undertones of quirky comic book graphics and 1960s pop culture inspiration. The collection also included collaborations with artist Milton Glaser and graphic designer Victor Moscoso. Le-Tan even featured the work of prominent pop

artist Martin Sharp on two of the show’s closing looks – a skirt and dress reproducing Sharp’s “Magic Theatre.”

The men were not to be outdone this season, with collections from Fendi to Gucci portraying a slew of bold colors, eccentric prints and artsy vibes. Gucci had men sporting candy-colored coats, blazers and pants, while Fendi played up floral prints and fuzzy geometric lines. Bold, overstated and eclectic, the spring/summer 2017 collections were whimsical and delightful. Warhol said it best, “Everything is beautiful. Pop is everything.”

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Black Calf Hammock with Slogan Intarsia and Calla Lily Charm, 2017

loewe.com Aïshti by the Sea, Antelias

Words Kate Finnigan





This page: Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri Next page: The spring/summer 2017 collection from Dior

that at Fendi, it’s no surprise she launches into peals of tickled laughter when asked if she feels at home yet in Paris. “Home!” she exclaims. “Noooo. I feel well, but home is another thing. I speak Italian at home!”

“Mr. Toledano [Sidney Toledano, Dior’s CEO] was very brave to choose me,” says 52-year-old Maria Grazia Chiuri in her apartment in Paris. “Very brave. When I started in fashion I never imagined I’d become a creative director. Not at Valentino, never at Dior, absolutely not. No, I never even dreamt it, because in my mind it was impossible.” Indeed, until Raf Simons left Dior in mid-2016 and she was appointed, the house had been led by six men, including Christian himself in 1946 and Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, John Galliano and Simons. It’s taken 71 years from when Dior ushered in the New Look, defining ideas and ideals of both womenswear and womanhood for the mid-century and beyond, to see a woman in charge. Chiuri had been quietly making her name at Valentino as cocreative director with Pierpaolo Piccioli, reviving it, breathing life into couture for a younger generation of Hollywood stars; introducing a romantic, almost medieval aesthetic in ready-to-wear that gracefully chased the trend for short, sharp bodycon and platform heels out of the door. Simultaneously, they created the cult “rock stud” shoes and bags that became modern classics and a major commercial success for the brand. And it led to Chiuri now being arguably the most important woman in fashion.

The latter’s signature was also seen in the tulle skirts that Chiuri embroidered with tarot symbols. (Dior was profoundly superstitious and had a reading before each show.) His New Look Bar jackets, which could be a blessing or a curse to a designer, were also referenced, but Chiuri’s nonchalant versions were less overly defined waist, more fluid flick. “My approach, I decided, is like a curator in a museum. You choose what you like about this heritage, and at the same time you give your point of view. And you mix it with your vision for the future,” she says. “I really want to speak with the new generation of women. I want to move this brand.”

And move it she has. That first collection included the fencing


Having been at Dior for five and a half months, less than a blink compared with the 17 years at Valentino, and nine years before

Sophie Carre, Dior


Last September, a matter of weeks after her appointment, she showed her first Dior collection. She did it in a specially built giant wooden box in the gardens of the Rodin Museum, the new within the old. It was a functional contrast to some of the glossy modern temporary edifices and extravagant walls of flowers favored by Simons, and it marked a moment of renewal. The all-white quilted fencing jackets and trousers, an androgynous uniform that opened the show, continued this idea of a fresh start. And yet within the collection there were generous links to Simons and other Dior designers past, including a bee motif introduced by former Dior Homme designer Hedi Slimane. Though it was Mr. Dior himself who first referred to his workers as bees.

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jackets and branded underwear (adapting the J’adore Dior slogan to J’adior and printing it along bra straps) and, most noticeably, a white T-shirt emblazoned with the words “We should all be feminists,” the title of a TED talk by the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.


Chiuri says that in her interview for the job, it was pointed out to her that Dior is a “feminine” brand. Immediately, that led her to pose a question. “OK, what does that mean now? Because sometimes when you say that, it makes you think of the past, of the 1950s,” she says. “In my mind if it is a feminine brand, we have to start a dialogue with women. It’s not about describing a silhouette. It’s a message that you want to have a relationship with them. That you want to impose nothing on them but help them – like Mr. Dior said – to be happy. To be beautiful, but to be happy.” One way in which she hopes to relate to younger women is in the styling of the show, which saw those tulle skirts worn with flat fencing boots and embroidered sweaters, with leather biker jackets and cross-body bags – making the way women dress now work for Dior. “When I work on a collection I have in my mind an idea of a wardrobe,” Chiuri says. “Of course, I want to propose the look on the runway, but on the other hand I want to teach women that they can choose a piece and mix it with something they find more comfortable.” Chiuri’s mother was a seamstress. She grew up around clothes and dressmaking. As a teenager she loved vintage style and spent all her time in the Roman markets. “I was probably a little bit hippy, bohemian,” she remembers. “I was a typical teenager that loved dressing, image. But I did not know it could be a job.” She attended Rome’s first fashion college, the Istituto Europeo di Design, in its inaugural year. She liked accessories and started to sketch. “Step by step I understood that it might be possible one day to collaborate with a little company to make shoes,” she says. “And so I found my way. But for me to arrive at a brand like Fendi? I was very happy!”

She worked with the five Fendi sisters who head the house and with whom she still has a close relationship. “Oof, strong women,” she says, smiling. It’s also where she met Piccioli, with whom she moved to Valentino in 1999. Continuing with accessories over those many years, she rose through the ranks to the very top of the company. “But it was a passion. It didn’t matter about the different roles there, I didn’t think about that,” she says. “I know that others see you with a different eye, but in my mind I have always been the same girl who started to work in fashion. It’s not about your position in the company, it’s about what you do. It’s about the story you want to tell.”

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Miu Miu

Sonia Rykiel

Alexander Wang


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Michael Kors

Saint Laurent



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In this shapeshifting new film, Music is much more than mere sound and rhythm. This story casts music herself as the central character of an unfolding drama across cultures, space, and time.



Tracee Ellis Ross Jesse Williams Kelsey Lu Ish AÏSHTI BY THE SEA, ANTELIAS

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Words Marwan Naaman

TRENDING IN TECHNICOLOR It took less than 10 years for Miami’s Wynwood to transform into the city’s “it” neighborhood. The reason? An astounding collection of graffiti and street art on virtually every single building wall

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Stefanie Jasper


Left: Mural by Retna. Below: Mural by Ron English

Wynwood is something of an urban miracle. With its brilliantly colorful murals, exquisite art galleries, bespoke shopping and stylish restaurants, the neighborhood is now Miami’s most vibrant destination. Just walking around to take in the magnificent artworks adorning the building walls is a spine-tingling experience. Yet not so long ago, this formerly industrial neighborhood lying north of Downtown was rife with drug-related violence, its population mostly unemployed and its buildings derelict, crumbling shells. It took the vision of one man, the late Tony Goldman, who also revived the declining fortunes of nearby Miami Beach, to identify the area’s potential and come up with a vision that would revolutionize an entire city.

Goldman, a developer and preservationist, dreamed about transforming Wynwood into an open-air art gallery composed of murals. “Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place,” he said. He launched his project, Wynwood Walls, in October 2009, and unveiled it two months later to coincide with Art Basel, co-curating his venture with art dealer Jeffrey Deitch. He believed that he could eventually transform the entire neighborhood into a showcase for local and international street art, and he did so by inviting graffiti and street artists from around the globe to create dazzling, candy-colored murals on the walls of virtually every industrial building in Wynwood. While Goldman wouldn’t live to see his project fully realized – he passed away in 2012 – Wynwood





continues to flourish to this day. Since 2009, over 50 artists from 16 countries have created gigantic murals on building walls, including Shepard Fairey, Lady Pink, Lady Aiko, Crash, Cryptik, Fafi, Kenny Scharf, Maya Hayuk, Os Gemeos, Peter Tunney, Swoon, Tristan Eaton and Pose.


Los Angeles native Retna (born Marquis Lewis) created particularly stunning murals. The artist developed his own alphabet early on, mainly inspired from Chicago gang writing as well as Egyptian and Mayan calligraphic traditions, and he made a name for himself painting these dramatic symbols in cities across the globe. To distinguish his Wynwood murals from previous work, he painted his letters white on a vivid red background – as opposed to the black he usually favors. (Retna even made it to Beirut: in late 2016, he painted two glorious murals, one in Ashrafieh near the Byblos Bank headquarters and another in Ouzaï. While his Ashrafieh mural was quickly painted over, his Ouzaï work is still there for all to see.) Pedro Rodriguez, aka Amos, has four murals in Wynwood. “It’s always a unique experience painting a mural in the street or in public,” he says. “Sometimes you’re alone, other times there’s a crowd of civilians watching you and sometimes you’re surrounded by friends. Sometimes you start painting and 30 minutes later you start talking to someone, next thing you know two hours pass, and you’re losing sunlight. Other times you can put headphones on, zone out and just get to work.” The street artist is so passionate about Wynwood that in 2016 he teamed up with fellow artist Ryan The Wheelbarrow to launch Miami’s Best Graffiti Guide, a company that offers walking tours of

Wynwood, while highlighting its distinctive murals. “The difference between us and everyone else, is that we are the only artist owned and operated tour company in Wynwood,” says Amos. “We really do art for a living, we know the other artists, and in most cases are friends with the artists.”

Wynwood’s glorious, Technicolor murals have turned the neighborhood’s fortunes around. At last count, the area was home to 38 restaurants and bars, including the super-stylish Panther Coffee and R House, 27 retail and design stores (check out ethical fashion boutique Nomad Tribe) and 40 art galleries. There are also various high-profile companies with offices in Wynwood, including Uber. After dark, the area has a sizzling nightlife, with revelers descending upon its many bars to enjoy specialty cocktails and live music. A far cry from Wynwood’s abandoned, neglected feel just a few years back. Of Wynwood, American artist Ron English, who also left his mark on the district, said: “It’s not a neighborhood anymore. It’s the biggest museum in the world.”

Above: Mural by Erni Vales. Below: Colored mural by Retna



Above: Mural by Logan Hicks. Below: Mural by Shepard Fairey

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Words Tala Habbal





Post-Soviet streetwear gets a modern, high-end twist



Stella McCartney

It wasn’t long ago when the fashion elite snubbed the idea of track pants, sneakers or anything in the realm of sportswear being considered fashionable, trendy or runway-worthy. But the fashion times have changed and a slew of up-and-coming design talent is breathing fresh life into what some would consider a dated and conservative fashion culture. The fashion press dubbed 2016 the year of the “post-Soviet” look, which can be credited in part to influencers like Demna Gvasalia, Gosha Rubchinskiy and Lotta Volkova – three of the most influential people in fashion today, who draw inspiration from their post-Soviet coming of age. Their work is a mash-up of East-meets-West and a platform for celebrating low-brow, ugly-chic fashion. As the newly minted Balenciaga designer, Gvasalia has helped usher in a new era of high-end, low-key fashion with his hip indie label, Vetements. Born and raised in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and hailed as a leader of a new collective fashion movement, Gvasalia has been determined to redefine high fashion in a way that shuns rules and embraces realism. Splitting his time between working at Balenciaga and Vetements, the Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton alum is breaking away from convention with deconstructed styles and super casual polyester looks for men and women, albeit with a luxury price tag. His aesthetic is strongly influenced by post-Soviet streetwear and the youth culture of former Soviet states like Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine and his native Georgia. Gucci

The small Paris-based Vetements team, which includes Russian-born Volkova, one of the world’s most in-




Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. His basic pieces represent a tribe of disenfranchised youth and have become popular, not only on the fashion scene, but also with celebrities like Kanye West and Rihanna.

Gvasalia, Volkova, and Rubchinskiy can all be credited with inspiring a mainstream revolution that has seen high street brands like Zara and H&M embrace this Eastern European urban streetwear trend. Luxury labels such as Balenciaga, Dior, Christopher Kane, Prada, Gucci and Stella McCartney have also been inspired by the trend, finding interesting ways to infuse key pieces like oversized jackets, trainers, plastic slippers and tracksuits into their spring/summer 2017 collections. Basic, oversized sweatshirts, casual track pants and caps were seen on the runways of Burberry, Alexander Wang and Rag & Bone, highlighting an effortlessly chic, “just-got-out-of-bed-but-look-great” vibe. Céline’s sneaker game was strong for spring/summer 2017, as the fashion house paired white kicks with everything from sheer white dresses to loose fitting pants. Prada brought the famous Teva sandal style of the 1990s back to life, featuring colorful plastic sandal creations with their tailored menswear pieces.

Sonia Rykiel

demand stylists, started out just two years ago as a group of friends working out of Gvasalia’s apartment. The brand has quickly grown into a full-fledged fashion company worth almost $100 million, and is currently carried in 200 elite retailers around the world including Colette, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

Exaggerated silhouettes were the name of the game for designers like Balenciaga and Stella McCartney, who played up proportions on everything from leather trench coats and inflated jumpsuits for women to oversized duffel bags for men. Marni also showcased

For the spring/summer 2017 collection, the brand collaborated with 18 well-known brands including Juicy Couture, Reebok, Canada Goose and Manolo Blahnik. The brands were asked to create their own items for the collection, adding a touch of Vetements to each piece. Manolo Blahnik created an exaggerated waist-high satin stiletto boot and added a personal touch to the collaboration by autographing his classic satin pumps in bleach. Russian menswear designer Rubchinskiy, who founded his eponymous label in 2008, is another fashion influencer inspired by 1980s hip-hop and Sovietera street style. His aesthetic is a genuine portrayal of how kids on the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev dress. His contemporary ready-to-wear creations feature crewneck T-shirts and sweatshirts, with tongue-in-cheek logos combining the flags of the

Rag & Bone


extremely inflated, larger-than-life fanny packs on loose-fitting trench coats in somber shades of ivory and khaki.

Kenzo and Dior were definitely infusing elements of the “ugly-chic� trend into their collections. Kenzo featured army-green, trash-bag-inspired pieces, while Dior showed bleached denim sets and military-inspired trench coats on men. The Soviet era may be long gone, but if designers like Gvasalia and Rubchinskiy are any indication, the uglychic, post-Soviet look is definitely making a permanent mark on the fashion scene.




Some of the most influential people in fashion today have drawn inspiration from their post-Soviet coming of age


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Colorful dresses, off-the-shoulder sweaters, statement tops, backless heels, a whole lot of eye-grabbing accessories and the right hint of the classics. We bring you this season’s trend report, straight from the mavens shaping the fashion landscape here and now





6. 3.











17. 1. Burberry 2. Miu Miu 3. Saint Laurent 4. Prada 5. Loewe 6. Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini 7. Fendi 8. Valentino 9. Chloé 10. BCBG 11. Sonia Rykiel 12. Etro 13. Marni 14. Alice + Olivia 15. Alexander McQueen 16. Valentino 17. Gucci 18. Alexander Wang

18. 16.



14. 1.


3. 15.

LEILA YAVARI @filleilamignon







11. 17. 8.

5. 1. Balenciaga 2. Saint Laurent 3. Gucci 4. BCBG 5. Prada 6. Gucci 7. Jimmy Choo 8. Stella McCartney 9. Saint Laurent 10. BCBG 11. Balenciaga 12. Chloé 13. Loewe 14. Stella McCartney 15. Saint Laurent 16. Loewe 17. Fendi 18. Azzedine Alaïa

12. 9.


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3. 15.

SITA ABELLAN @sitabellan





7. 4. 17.


17. 8. 5. 1. Gucci 2. Moschino 3. Gucci 4. Proenza Schouler 5. Jimmy Choo 6. Saint Laurent 7. Gucci 8. Balenciaga 9. Saint Laurent 10. Miu Miu 11. Alexander McQueen 12. Prada 13. Moschino 14. Miu Miu 15. Alexander Wang 16. Anya Hindmarch 17. Marc Jacobs 18. Alexander McQueen

12. 9.


Aïshti By the Sea, Antelias T. 04 717 716 Aïzone Stores T. 01 99 11 11

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14. 1.


3. 15.

YASMIN SEWELL @yasminsewell







11. 17.


1. Fendi 2. Dolce & Gabbana 3. & 4. Prada 5. Fendi 6. Stella McCartney 7. Gucci 8. Proenza Schouler 9. Miu Miu 10. & 11. Prada 12. Alexander Wang 13. Balenciaga 14. Stella McCartney 15. Chloé 16. Loewe 17. Sonia Rykiel 18. Fendi


12. 9.


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AÏSHTI BY THE SE A ANTELIA S T. 0 4 717 716 E X T.297 AND ALL AÏZONE STORE S T. 01 99 11 11


Saint Laurent top and Stella McCartney bag

Loewe bag and keychains

Miu Miu bag and Dolce & Gabbana T-shirt

Dolce & Gabbana shoes

Moschino top

Jimmy Choo clutch

Anya Hindmarch bag

Prada top and Cindy Lamp by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell

Dolce & Gabbana bag and Jessica K T-shirt

Jessica K top and Saint Laurent sneakers and bag

Prada shoes

Fendi bag

Miu Miu sandals

Dolce & Gabbana bag and Gucci skirt

Dolce & Gabbana bag

Cindy Lamp by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell and Gucci bag

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She’s wearing a leather jacket and leather mini skirt, both by Diesel


She’s wearing a jacket, high-waisted shorts and sneakers, and she’s carrying three mini shoulder bags and a fur charm, all by Fendi

This page: She’s wearing a sweater, top and high-waisted hot pants, all by Prada. Her earrings are by Moschino Opposite page: She’s wearing a dress and earrings by Moschino, and Stella McCartney sandals

She’s in a jumpsuit and she’s carrying a bag, both by Stella McCartney

She’s in a jumpsuit and sandals by Stella McCartney, and she’s wearing vintage sunglasses

She’s wearing a Dolce & Gabbana dress and Prada sandals

She’s wearing a top, high-waisted pants and sandals, all by Gucci

She’s wearing in pants by a vintage Sonia Rykiel T-shirt, a Michael Kors skirt and Fendi sunglasses

She’s wearing a mini dress with long sleeves and a skirt by Dsquared2. She’s carrying a Videocassette mini bag and a Walkman mini bag, both by Sarah’s Bag Model Adriana at MP Model Management Makeup Katja Wilhelmus at Close Up Milano Hair Andrew Guida at Close Up Milano



She’s in a top, slip with marabou feathers and shorts, all by Prada

This page: She’s in a Dolce & Gabbana bomber jacket and lace embroidery slip, vintage Moschino tights and New Balance sneakers Opposite page: She’s wearing a dress and booties by Céline

This page: She’s wearing a sweater by Alberta Ferretti and MSGM sneakers Opposite page: She’s wearing a vintage bodysuit, a dress by Ermanno Scervino and socks by Fila

This page: She’s wearing a sweater by Fendi, a vintage bodysuit and booties by Céline Opposite page: She’s wearing a top by MSGM, a vintage headband and sneakers by New Balance

She’s wearing a blouse, leggings and boots, all by Balenciaga

She’s wearing a bodysuit by Moschino, hot pants by RED Valentino and vintage socks

She’s wearing a vintage T-shirt, dress by Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and sneakers by New Balance

She’s wearing a dress by Emilio Pucci and a vintage T-shirt Model Anysia at IMG Makeup Mary Cesardi at Atomo Management Hair Marco Minunno at WM

Words Charlotte Edwardes

THE ACCIDENTAL HOTELIER He’s conquered the worlds of fashion and interiors – now Jasper Conran has opened a luxury riad in Marrakech


The place radiates the sort of 1930s decadence once found in Tangier – in part because of the private-house feel, but also the simple elegance: the pinks and greens, the oil paintings of maharajas as well as Conran’s insistence that you can drink rosé for breakfast if you feel so inclined or smoke by the fire in the bar while listening to Duke Ellington on a hidden radio. Actually there’s a touch of Sebastian Flyte about Conran, too. He has ridiculously boyish looks – even at 57 – with his blondish-grey hair combed to one side, a preppy jersey loose over the shoulder and an air of cheeky mischief.

What is decidedly un-foppish is his drive. He’s wanted to be a hotelier “since the age of eight: it was a tossup between clothes or hotels.” Clothes initially won: Jasper Conran became a household name in his early 20s as the favorite designer of Diana, Princess of Wales (“None of the big sailor collars, mind. I would like to disclaim those”). The relationship was close, “although she nearly bankrupted me – I was making couture at wholesale.” Later he diversified into china and glass, designing for Wedgwood and Waterford. More recently he produced lines for Debenhams (a favorite were his £45 “bottomboosting” jeans), as well as fragrance and books.

Then two years ago he returned to his early ambition (while continuing to design clothes), “to see if I had the aptitude,” he says. “I thought I’d see whether I could do it, whether I’m able, whether I can make it into a business.” “I’ve loved Marrakech since I first came here in 1984

and harbored this idea that I’d buy a riad.” No small task, given there are already 1,200 operating in the city. Conran and members of his loyal team spent months trawling the narrow passageways of the Medina looking for the perfect place. “I looked at about 60 riads. Pretty exhausting.” He chose a building hidden behind a studded fortress door, because it had more depth than the average riad and “good bones.” The herringbone-tiled passageways are lantern-lit and staircases seemingly coil away in all directions. Conran’s touch is everywhere: from the massive orange and pink carpet in the sitting room (“made by very well-paid Berbers, judging by how much it cost”) to the green painted passageways (a color he mixed himself), the art, the rare lamps and the floor-to-ceiling Crittall steel-framed windows that have a deco feel. “I did it by instinct, really. I didn’t map it out. I sort of arrived at it. It was really good fun. Hotels bring together what I like doing best: food, textiles, interiors, gardens. I get to have fun with all the things that I like.” Today he’s here with his assistant, Jake Barrett, who has worked with him for 15 years, and the improbably good-looking Luca Ravera, an Italian who runs the riad. Tonight Pierre Bergé, co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, is coming to dinner and everyone’s excited. We eat three different types of tagine on the rooftop terrace, with Conran refusing bread because “no one over the age of 35 can eat bread without bloating.” His husband, Oisin Byrne, 32, a sweet and softly spoken artist from Dublin, joins us for lunch.

Both Conran’s parents – Sir Terence and his first wife, the author Shirley Conran – were at his wedding to Byrne. It took place first at Chelsea Register Office before “the Full Monty” at his Dorset home, Wardour Castle. The grooms wore white tie for dinner, he says, and “my mother wore pink. And feathers.” Conran was about 23 when his mother’s now infamous, racy bonkbuster Lace came out, but was far too precocious to be shocked. He’d not long returned from New York, where he attended Parsons Art College

Jasper Conran, L’Hotel Marrakech

Jasper Conran’s new luxury riad in Morocco is a cathedral to good taste – a converted 19th-century palace called L’Hôtel Marrakech (l-hotelmarrakech. com). Five suites of four-posters swathed in a total of nearly a mile of white voile, along with baths of troughshaped Tadelakt plaster are all set around a quadrangle of orange trees and a pretty tiled fountain.


Jasper Conran at his new property, L’Hôtel Marrakech

“Hotels bring together what I like to do best: food, textiles, interiors, gardens”

(aged 15) and witnessed the birth of Studio 54. “I saw the whole thing from conception. I went out with Truman Capote and Andy Warhol. Actually I wish I’d read Truman Capote then. I saw him as this absolutely sozzled person gurgling everywhere. If I’d only known what beautiful writing he was capable of, I wouldn’t have been so scornful. Well I wouldn’t have been scornful at all; I would’ve been adulatory.” Of Warhol, Conran says: “He wasn’t a laugh a minute is all I can say. To my young eyes he was a bit dull. But we now know he wasn’t really dull. He was just dull to be with.” He says he drank orange juice and watched sex on the dance floor. “I did see a lot. Your eyes were out on stalks because they weren’t holding back on the dance floor. The world was changing at that point; things were busting out. All sorts of walls were being broken down.”


As well as the riad here (which he is expanding, and he hopes to open a chain of hotels going forward), Conran has a beautiful 16th-century holiday home in Lindos, Greece, plus his country retreat in Dorset. “I did think to myself: did you just do this riad because you wanted to buy another house? I had a bit of soul-searching, and I think the answer is probably yes. I’m turning hospitality into something that pays for me.” The newly opened luxury riad, L’Hôtel Marrakech, in Morocco

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Words Niku Kasmai


ART TO CHANGE THE WORLD The 78th edition of the Whitney Biennial reflects 21st-century turmoil through powerful paintings and design-infused installations


This page: Occupy Museums, Stress, Fear and Anxiety Bundle. Artworks by artist whose collective debt totals $732,462.24 and who use the words “stress,” “fear” or “anxiety” when discussing how their economic realities make them feel. Left to right: Amy Beth Wright, Katherine Culbertson, Marc Newsome, anonymous, Lucas Berd, Claire Webb, Ben Tecumseh De Soto, Greg Scott, Bereniz Martinez and Lara Anne Opposite page: “Lyle, London” by Lyle Ashton Harris

The Whitney Biennial has taken one giant step forward this year. For starters, it’s the first time that the prestigious art show is set inside the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new Renzo Piano-designed building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, in a wide, expansive, light-filled space. It’s also the first time in a long while that paintings as well as design-minded works take center stage, pointing perhaps at a major new trend, one in which paintings and large, design-inflected installations are becoming the primary forms of artistic expression.


One of the key themes for 2017, as devised by curators Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, is “formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society,” and this theme is reflected in the work of the show’s 63 artists and collectives. “Throughout our research and travel, we’ve been moved by the impassioned discussions we had about recent tumult in society, politics and the economic system,” says Lew. “It’s been unavoidable as we met with artists, fellow curators, writers and other cultural producers across the United States and beyond.”

Political art indeed plays a significant role in this 78th such event at the Whitney. “Open Casket,” a figurative painting by Dana Schutz, depicts Emmet Till, the black teenager who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, and whose mutilated body was revealed in an open casket. This powerful work is particularly poignant, in light of the present racial tensions threatening to tear America apart. Then there’s Jon Kessler’s “Exodus” and “Evolution,” two mixed media installations that are part of a much larger work in progress, “The Floating World,” and that examine the environmental and social impact of climate change. A definite highlight of the show is “The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes,” a dizzying mirror installation by Samara Golden completed this year. A reflection on the global anxiety created by sharp income inequality, Golden’s work is an endless maze of rooms – nail salons, suburban lounges, restaurants, office cubicles, gyms, spas – that lays bare the way different social classes live in the 21st century. “Once (Now) Again,” by New York artist Lyle Ashton Harris, who says he’s been influenced by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Mapplethorpe, also provides a statement on current societal norms. The slideshow installation celebrates the artist’s gay identity by introducing the viewer to Harris’ friends and lovers. Raúl de Nieves examines death and waste,

as well as the possibility of transformation and rebirth in these turbulent times, through a magnificent, site-specific installation. Intriguingly titled “beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end,” Nieves’ artwork is really a dramatic stained glass wall that’s visible from the street and that also encompasses nearby sculptures. Incorporating wood, beads, glue and tape, and centered around a fly, the work resembles the stained glass windows adorning medieval churches. The fly generally represents death, but the graceful figures, brilliant colors and words used on the work – harmony, peace, hope – also point to an imminent rebirth. Henry Taylor makes a statement on race relations with “Ancestors of Genghis Khan with Black Man on Horse,” a colorful, energetic painting of a black horseman, seemingly being observed by two white women in the background. What are the two women thinking? Are they afraid or

This page: “Idol of the Hares” by Jessi Reaves (above). Film still from “Vokzal” by Leigh Ledare (below) Opposite page: “Shitty Disco” by Tala Madani


in admiration of the man? Taylor is able to raise these questions while infusing his work with characteristic humor.

Looking at the Whitney Biennial as a whole, co-curator Locks believes that it succeeds in addressing pressing societal concerns, while mirroring humanity’s anxiety. “Against this backdrop, many of the participating artists are asking probing questions about the self and the social, and where these intersect,” she says. “How do we think and live through these lenses? How and where do they fall short?”

ever in terms of gallery space, marks the capstone of these efforts.” The Whitney Biennial is on view until June 11 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan, whitney.org


In a time of tense race relations, economic turmoil and political mayhem, the artists featured at the Whitney Biennial incite the viewer to look at these realities and how they affect each person’s sense of self and sense of community. Paintings, installations, video-game design and activism go one step beyond art, becoming a form of protest – and perhaps a catalyst for change.


Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Nancy and Steven Crown family chief curator and deputy director for programs, sees the current show as a fulfillment of the museum’s mission and a harbinger of even better things to come. “Since we opened our new building, we’ve reignited our emerging artist program with venturesome solo premieres and ‘snapshot’ shows of new tendencies. This Biennial, the largest

Above: “Dusk (Bands and End-Points)” by Jo Baer Below: Production photograph for an ultra-high-definition video by Tuan Andrew Nguyen (work in progress)

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Words Marwan Naaman

Beirut Terraces’ vertical village offers a new way of living

For sheer, spectacular beauty, very few Lebanese buildings can compete with Beirut Terraces. With its thin platforms, stacked balconies, green walls and floor-to-ceiling, panoramic windows, Beirut Terraces offers a distinctive lifestyle, one in which the interior and exterior are seamlessly intertwined, allowing each unit to float amid vistas of sea, sky and mountains. The new residential structure, located in Minet el Hosn, just steps from Beirut Waterfront and across from Zaitunay Bay, is designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and developed by Lebanese real estate firm Benchmark. “Beirut Terraces is a vertical village inspired by Beirut, a city that is sunny, open and inclusive,” says Dr. Bassim Halaby, CEO of Benchmark. “We went back to the village concept. Each owner has his own villa and his own green space, as he would in a traditional Lebanese village.” Previous Benchmark projects include Wadi Hills Residences in Beirut’s Wadi Abu Jamil and Al Wa’ab

City in Doha, Qatar. The firm possesses years of international experience and has continuously challenged established architectural norms. “Value by Design is a core part of our DNA; one that we strongly believe any developer should adopt in order to propagate strong lifestyle values that transcend spaces, but most importantly set new benchmarks in sustainable community development,” says Dr. Halaby. In parallel, Herzog & de Meuron has brought a new typology to Lebanon’s capital city, reimagining the typical skyscraper to create a building with 130 unique units, tailored to reflect every owner’s individual taste. There are simplexes, duplexes and penthouses, with two, three or four bedrooms, ranging in size from 250 to 1,050 square meters, all offering sweeping views.

Emmanuel Andreoli, Mohammad el Kurdi


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Available at Aïzone stores T. 01 99 11 11 - 04 71 77 16


Each home has its own terrace – varying from 25 to 450 square meters – as well as outdoor curtains of greenery that function as vegetated screens to ensure privacy while shrouding the home in lush flora.


Perforated exterior slabs – reminiscent of Beirut’s dramatic mid-century architecture – are carefully designed to adjust the levels of light and sun exposure. Other features include fine detailing, premium grade materials and energy conscious engineering.

The lobby of the building – a veritable architectural jewel – is set around a sprawling body of water, accessible from four different directions and functioning as the heart of the residence. It’s here that homeowners interact with one another, in a communal space glimmering with reflected natural light from high-ceiling mirrors.

Herzog & de Meuron, one of the world’s leading architecture firms, has a number of iconic projects on its roster, including the Tate Modern’s extension in London, 56 Leonard Street condo complex in Manhattan, Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Dominus winery in Northern California’s wine country and the playfully majestic parking structure at 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. With Beirut Terraces, the Lebanese capital now has a new landmark, as it joins the ranks of the world’s most architecturally distinctive cities.

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Words Marwan Naaman

I Was Feeling Epic

Say goodbye to TV’s most delectable love triangle When The Vampire Diaries ended its eightyear run on March 10, it finally sealed the fate of its three leading characters, while perhaps closing the door on one of TV’s – and pop culture’s – most enduring storylines: the love triangle.

For those of you who never watched The Vampire Diaries, Elena initially falls in love with vampire Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), Damon’s brother, and it takes nearly three seasons for Elena to even admit that she may have feelings for her boyfriend’s brother. For those first three years, a lovelorn Damon relentlessly pursued Elena, even as she assured him that she would never have feelings for him. While the vampire storyline added supernatural glamour to the show, it was this love triangle that most captured viewers’ imagination. That Damon and Stefan were vampires ultimately mattered little: we watched to see how Elena gradually fell in love with Damon – against all rational thought – and eventually left the good, reliable brother for his wild, unpredictable sibling. It’s to the show creators’ credit that they were able to so adequately (and sensuously) depict Elena’s gradual shift away from Stefan and toward Damon – and keep viewers entranced for six years as they did so. While the love triangle has been at the core of many TV shows (True Blood, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Beverly Hills 90210 and loads more), The Vampire Diaries did it best, perhaps because fans were (and remain) divided as to whether Elena should have chosen Damon or Stefan (both were just so deliciously appealing).


The CW


Pundits were always puzzled at the show’s incredible popularity, often labeling it as nothing but a silly teenage fantasy. Yet there was so much more to the TV series, not the least of which was the legendary love story between mortal Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and vampire Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder). Few TV love stories attained the epic feel of Damon and Elena’s tale, and theirs was such a powerful, all-encompassing love that it even survived Dobrev’s departure from the show at the end of the sixth season.

While Dobrev was largely absent from the final two seasons, the two brothers kept remembering her via flashbacks. And when Elena returned for the show’s finale (spoiler alert!), she and Damon were ultimately allowed to have a happy ending, although their road to happiness was paved with great tragedy. The most heartbreaking fact for us viewers is that we will never again experience such torturous bliss, such desperate longing for one young woman to choose a man over another. With The Vampire Diaries’ end, it’s not only an epic tale of passion that comes to a close, but also TV’s most popular narrative, the love triangle.

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Words J. Michael Welton


At a new resort on Grand Cayman Island, designers let their imagination run wild

Kimpton Seafire Resort and Residences


On an island where chickens roam freely through resorts and restaurants alike, two new high-rise towers soar skyward. The chickens, set loose during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, never returned to their coops. Their existence is a free-form expression on forward-thinking Grand Cayman Island. And the two modern highrises – the Kimpton Seafire Resort and the Residences at Seafire – are very much in the now. Other resorts on the island are traditional in design, but Seafire is modern, sleek and cool. “It’s a new narrative for Grand Cayman Island,” says interior designer Dayna Lee. “Our process was to walk around the island and take our cues from it,” adds her partner, Ted Berner. “It’s a building that couldn’t belong in any other place.”

That means a combination of rustic touches against polished backdrops, all overlooking Seven Mile Beach and the Caribbean. The two opposite textures – like the first-floor glass-box lobby with its weathered timber rafters – would make it absolutely fascinating, the designers reasoned. Other native island touches abound – like an island “catboat,” once the primary means of transportation for islanders, now restored and hanging from the ceiling in the resort library. The wooden “wattles,” a primitive means of building open-air walls from reeds and saplings, are now used decoratively throughout the resort. Especially touching, though, are works of art mounted throughout the ground floor, drawn by a gifted local artist known as Dready. Strategically placed by the

designers, his drawings are bright, flat and executed in what the artist calls “Rasta colors,” a wink and a nod to the Caribbean Islands. The drawings are eccentric and playful, with a wily sense of humor. Dready once created an exhibition called “A Roomful of Happy,” because that’s the effect he wants to have on people. “I’m looking for

a little bit of whimsy, the thing that makes you smile,” he says.

The hanging catboat, the wall-mounted wattles and the Caribbean-inspired art by Dready are all part of a storytelling initiative that Lee and Berner developed for the resort and residence owners, the Dart family. Seafire is the proverbial phoenix rising from the island’s ashes. When Ivan roared through in 2004, the hurricane destroyed an earlier hotel built closer to shore.


“SEAFIRE IS THE PROVERBIAL PHOENIX RISING FROM THE ISLAND’S ASHES” The Dart family established an openair restaurant on its foundation, then proceeded to set back the 10-story, pouredin-place concrete resort and residential tower behind terraces rising 24 feet above sea level. The two structures are braced for any future hurricane winds – up to 150 miles per hour – and exceed Miami-Dade County, Florida standards.


Their design is oriented to the here and now of the Caribbean. “Ted sketched the lobby as a clear glass box so you see the view and the sparkle of the sunset,” Lee says. “He played with scale and proportion in a way that you have a sense of exploration, so everyone can find their own pocket of space.” But watch out for those chickens.

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Fitness by the Sea

It's time to get in shape Join UR Gym and enjoy Hot fitness classes Dynamic PT sessions Soothing sauna and steam rooms Open-air rooftop infinity pool Aïshti by the Sea, Antelias, Level 4, T. 04 711 940


Words Warren Singh-Bartlett Illustration Sarah Ashley Mrad



Nostalgia is more than a longing for an idealized past: in the Arab world, it’s a mass cultural phenomenon that’s creating new, contemporary identities A few years ago, I was watching an old black and white film from 1943. Shot in the lush, southern English countryside, the plot was uninteresting – some romantic wartime mishmash – but the world it portrayed was entrancing. The way people looked, spoke and interacted with one another, and their seemingly innate understanding of hierarchy and deference, was all utterly alien to me. Brylcreem-ed hairdos and A-line skirts notwithstanding, I felt like I was watching some Restoration drama and yet, ostensibly, this was the England that my father knew as a child.

No doubt intended to boost the morale of the beleaguered urban population by reminding them that there was a world beyond the nightly air raids and destruction, the saccharine tear-jerker was a paean, and if the longing was not for times past, but rather for a life that might as well be, it was nostalgia nonetheless. As a sentiment, nostalgia probably dates back to the first post-mammoth humans telling fireside tales of the supersized steaks of their youth to disbelieving youngsters. Once the preserve of the mawkish and the elderly, nostalgia has become a mass cultural phenomenon. Where once we thrilled at the promise of tomorrow, we now revel in the memories of yesterday. Even if the yesterday in question is not our own. I refer you here to the hipsters, most of whom are two, if not three generations removed from the Neo-Victorianism they affect.

For the old, nostalgia is homage, all about feeling young again. For the young, nostalgia (or Retro) is irony, all about reinvention. Even at its most laughable “would-you-like-an-artisanal-brass-foam-scraper-foryour-beard-with-that-hand-ground-deconstructedflat-white” Mar Mikhael worst, Retro is less about recapturing what is past and more about using it to create something that may look old but lives brand new. Here, and indeed in so much of the contemporary Arab world, where the past has been erased not simply from sight but also from cultural practice, whether through conflict or light-speed development, the nostalgia/ Retro trend takes on an added dimension.

The allure of the past can still be presented in sentimental terms. There are the saucy little purses from Sarah’s Bag, which seduce with their glittering visions of disco and psychedelia, and the roadside celebrations of childhood heroes and cultural icons by graffiti artists like Ashekman and Yazan Halwani, which add life to the cityscape and celebrate those being lost. A little like the Romanticism of the 18th century, theirs is aesthetic rooted in rebellion against the present. But it can also be more. Think of Gaby Daher and his huge personal collection of vintage photos of Lebanon, of Instagram sites like Old Beirut Lebanon and the renewed interest in the early regional collection amassed by Fouad Debbas, the period portraits taken at Studio Shehrazade or the mid-century archives of TéléLiban and Baalbeck Studios. Think too of the curatorial work of the Arab Center for Architecture (ACA) or Rana Salam, who are working hard to catalogue the often-overlooked achievements of Arab Modernism and pop culture.

By demonstrating that life has not always looked or been lived like this – which is easy to forget sometimes – these old photos are silent rebuttals that not only offer nostalgic solace, but also serve as calls to action, not just to prevent the loss of more of our collective heritage, but also to rethink the way we are going.

Faced with a lot of what is going on today, it can be easy to believe that the Middle East has always been either backward or else merely an imitator. By drawing attention to the intellectual and cultural achievements of the mid-century, the ACA’s city tours and Salam’s exhibitions prove this is not the case. Redrawing the regional cultural timeline is giving today’s designers and architects the keys to draw upon the past in terms of content rather than form. Given the dire political and social state of the region, not to mention the devastation of terrorism and war, it’s little wonder that so many spend so much time remembering the way things were. In that form, nostalgia is a pacifier, perhaps necessary but hardly interesting. But when ya reit-ism meets the “look back to move forward” mindset and shucks its rose-colored spectacles, the pacifier becomes a source of inspiration and strength. In that form, nostalgia is not only necessary; it is critical to the creation of new cultural identities that reflect the past without mirroring it.


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For A Mag’s exclusive artist commissions, Beirut-based artist Marwan Chamaa celebrates female superheroes and Lebanese pop culture with dazzling, playful brushstrokes. In his own words, he tells us how he gets his detective work done

NOW I WO N It’s NOW time to tell you what really goes on behind closed doors, when the spotlights are shut down, when the cameras are not rolling. I caught them red-handed, Yes! When? NOW! Didn’t you ever wonder what all these perfect superheroes do when they are not performing their superhero deeds? Well, NOW I know. I caught them red-handed, red-handed I tell you. When? NOW! Yes, just NOW! I caught them indulging in their favorite vice, I know their weaknesses NOW. Batgirl was spreading it thicker1 than you can imagine, Wonder Girl seems to believe that the best things come to those who wait2, Wonder Woman likes it moist’n easy3, Catwoman adores the Coke side of life4, and who would have thought that Supergirl is the original gourmet5? Even superheroes have bad habits, wow, NOW I feel so much better about my own shortcomings.


NOW I WO N Vegemite slogan - 2Heinz slogan - 3Betty Crocker slogan - 4Coca Cola slogan - 5The Jelly Belly slogan





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AĂŻshti by the Sea, Antelias T. 04 71 77 16 ext. 274 and all AĂŻzone stores T. 01 99 11 11 Follow us on instagram: @melissashoeslebanon

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AÏSHTI Aïshti by the Sea, Antelias, Level 3, Tel. 04 717716 ext. 133 athome@aishti.com

Home at last.

ZENO LIGHT SOFA design by Antonio Citterio

FLEXFORM www.flexform.it

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KEEP IT REAL Fashion often makes you dream, about Hollywood, movie stars, glamorous celebrities and all things unattainable. For this issue of A Mag, in which we celebrate pop culture, we gave contributing photographer Jimmy Dabbagh and contributing stylist Makram Bitar carte blanche to offer their interpretation of fashion and how it gels with pop. The duo envisioned images that would bring fashion back to the people. They chose three everyday Lebanese – designer and artist Rami Dalle, assistant stylist Sophie Safi and young schoolgirl Amalina – and shot them in Aïshti and Aïzone outfits, creating a canvas of streetwise luxury




Amalina wears a Miu Miu bag as a hat. Her top is by Azzedine AlaĂŻa

Amalina is wearing a vintage zebra-print shirt, Balenciaga flower-print top, Azzedine AlaĂŻa shorts, Dolce & Gabbana swimsuit and Gianvito Rossi shoes

Sophie wears an Emilio Pucci top, Super Yaya 100% pants, Céline earrings and Céline shoes

This page: Sophie wears an Esteban Cortázar top and Céline earrings Opposite page: Amalina (left) wears a Prada top, Azzedine Alaïa shorts, vintage leggings and Balenciaga shoes. Sophie (right) wears a Céline dress and vintage stockings

Amalina wears a Dries Van Noten top, CĂŠline pants and Balenciaga shoes. Her bag is by Anndra Neen. Rami wears a ruffled Gucci shirt, Balenciaga top and Prada shorts

Amalina wears black pants, white pants and shoes by CÊline, and a vintage swimsuit. She’s holding a Balenciaga bag

Sophie wears a vintage swimsuit and Super Yaya 100% sleeves

Amalina wears a Roberto Cavalli top, Super Yaya 100% sleeves on her legs and Azzedine AlaĂŻa shorts

Amalina (left) wears a Prada top, vintage yellow swimsuit, a fringe belt and perforated belt worn as a hat, both by Azzedine Alaïa, and Céline shoes. Sophie (right) wears a Prada top, Azzedine Alaïa skirt and Céline shoes

Sophie is wearing a Balenciaga top, vintage swimsuit, vintage stockings and Balenciaga shoes

Amalina is wearing a vintage zebra-print shirt and Balenciaga flower-print top

This page: Amaline wears a Prada top, Azzedine Alaïa shorts, vintage leggings and Balenciaga shoes Opposite page: Amalina wears a Miu Miu bag as a hat. She’s in an Azzedine Alaïa top and bodysuit, Prada pants and Céline shoes

This page: Sophie wears an Emilio Pucci hat and Dolce & Gabbana top Opposite page: Sophie wears a vintage blouse, Prada shorts, Azzedine AlaĂŻa belt, Balenciaga shoes and vintage stockings

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Words Ramsay Short

ON TRAVEL With NASA’s recent discovery of seven earth-sized exo-planets that might support life, there’s never been a better time to go stargazing. And there’s never been a better place than the state-of-the-art observatory at the luxury Maldives island resort of Soneva Fushi


Kunfunadhoo Island in the UNESCO-protected biosphere of Baa Atoll deep in the Indian Ocean, is uninhabited apart from Soneva Fushi, the original “no news, no shoes” desert island retreat. Unlike the average Maldives resort, it’s the attention to detail – eco-luxury without sacrificing any creature comforts – that makes the place so special. The island’s lush vegetation affords complete privacy, staff are “hosts” who socialize with guests and take individual care of each group. The beach villas are spectacular, all soothing neutral décor fashioned from sustainable woods and traditional fabrics, some with their own private spa treatment room, gym and free-form pools. Then there’s the sand, the coral, the sea, the diving, the dolphins, the turtles and what I’ve come for: the observatory with its impressive Meade RCX400 telescope. Waking especially early, and walking – barefoot of course, sand between my toes – to the observatory to view Jupiter rising through the telescope is an incomparable experience. Because the Maldives lie very close to the Equator, they are blessed with views of both hemispheres. Surrounded by thousands of miles of dark water and

no light pollution, they are one of just a handful of spots where you can see Orion and the Bear, the Magellanic Clouds and the Southern Cross. The telescope, 14 inches in diameter, sits in an automatically rotating observatory dome. It contains a database of more than 4 million celestial objects, including galaxies in deep space, stars, planets, comets and nebulae in our home galaxy, the Milky Way. This night – or rather early morning – I see not only the four Galilean moons (Ganymede, Europa, Io and Callisto), but Saturn and its miniature solar system of moons, and even the beautiful star cluster of Omega Centauri. There are few places more awe-inspiring for budding astrotourists than the Maldives, few stargazing destinations if any, that do luxury, sea and sun as perfectly as Soneva Fushi. So forget bucketlists and sometime-in-the-future plans. The time to commune with the heavens is here and right now. I feel a tweet coming on. Just a sec where’s my phone. Ah yes, I don’t have it. Just as well. For more info on Soneva Fushi visit soneva.com/soneva-fushi. Ramsay Short blogs about travel at hiketothemoon.com and tweets @hiketothemoon

Soneva Fushi

Amid the coconut groves and swaying palms, all is beautifully quiet, save for the odd scuttling hermit crab. I instinctively reach for my phone to take an atmospheric snap for Instagram, before remembering it was confiscated along with my footwear on arrival. Just as well – barefoot luxury beneath my feet and the rich star-atlas of the night sky above is better enjoyed free of social media and the outside world.

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BAILLI DE SUFFREN lebaillidesuffren.com

A secret hideaway set right on the Mediterranean, Le Bailli de Suffren is scheduled to reopen in May after a stylish refurbishment courtesy of interior designer François Champsaur. The designer mixed contrasting materials, including wood, terracotta, ceramic, cotton and wicker, to both highlight the hotel’s mid-century aesthetic and create a soothing, casually elegant atmosphere. The hotel’s 55 rooms, doused in shades of white and royal blue, enjoy sweeping vistas of the nearby Golden Islands. The property also offers fine dining at three restaurants – Loup de Mer, La Piscine and L’Escale – a heated freshwater pool, a spa with its own hammam and a splendid private beach. Le Bailli de Suffren is only 40 minutes away from St. Tropez for those seeking added glitz and glamour. – Michelle Merheb




THE FOUR SEASONS fourseasons.com/tentrinity

It’s not the one in Park Lane. But London’s newest Four Seasons (currently on soft opening) is as impressive, if not more so. The location at Ten Trinity Square, at the edge of the City of London, directly overlooks the magnificent Tower of London and Tower Bridge, so your views are covered. It’s within walking distance of the hip and happening Shoreditch to the north and Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe across the river Thames to the south, so your restaurant, bar, shop and arts needs are covered. Then there are the 100 highly appointed and impeccable rooms and suites themselves – spacious, high ceilings, ornate woodwork, the latest tech-gear, luxurious bathrooms, signature super-comfy beds – so your sleep is covered. And the spa, covering 1,600 square meters with a pool, hammam and various treatment rooms, takes care of your relaxation needs. Finally there’s the building itself, a beautiful huge stone edifice built in 1922 with tall classical pillars at the entrance that was formerly the headquarters of the Port of London Authority. Staying here, to the east and away from London’s usual landmarks, opens up a whole new side of the capital that is well worth exploring. – Goufrane Mansour

Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet, the design duo behind Studio MNHA, added their irreverent touch to the Sofitel Frankfurt Opera hotel. Gleaning inspiration from the French “hotel particulier,” the two men have created a space for unabashed hedonism, with features such as a double-spiral, wrought-iron staircase in the lobby, eccentric artworks by Travis Durden on the second floor and polished onyx and decorative woodwork in Lily’s Bar (named after Frankfurt native Goethe’s first love). The guestrooms feel like private apartments, and they’re fitted with noble materials like oak and suede. The quirky images adorning the walls were inspired by Goethe’s Faust and created specifically for the rooms. Steps from Frankfurt’s iconic Old Opera House (Alte Oper) and luxury shopping street Goethestrasse, Sofitel Frankfurt Opera provides the ideal setting for a weekend getaway. – Michelle Merheb

Bailli de Suffren, Four Seasons, Sofitel


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Words Lucille Howe


According to The Zoe Report, the influential blog from celebrity stylist and businesswoman Rachel Zoe, sound healing will be the big trend among California’s wellness set in 2017. And if Californians are doing it, it won’t be long before we are too. Reason enough to try it myself.


As it turns out a “sound” bath isn’t an inviting tub, but a sensory soak for your ears, and a chance to change the level of vibration in your body. The room is set up as it would be for a typical yoga class, with mats, blankets and eye masks, illuminated by candlelight and swathed in a low hanging cloud of incense. Only, our centerpiece is a duo of giant gongs. Our sound healer, Pepe, tells us that he will intuitively guide us through the next hour using these instruments, and

we are to simply relax and let the gongs wash over us. As the session begins, I consider that we listen to sound in pretty conventional ways: voices, music, traffic.

Listening to the sonic ripples of the gongs on the other hand is a psychedelic sound party. They seem to permeate my body, while the gentle rhythm allows my mind to settle on it and acts as a kind of meditation. That, or the snacks have been spiked with something. So, what’s the exact science behind sound healing? “When sound frequencies move through a space, we are part of that space, and our bodies resonate with those frequencies,” says Sara Auster, a New York–based sound-therapy practitioner. “Our body has the ability to harmonize with different frequencies. In sound

therapy, rhythms and frequencies are used [to] synchronize our fluctuating brainwaves by providing a pattern or stable frequency to which we can attune, similar to the effects of meditation.” Remember Einstein’s e = mc2? Well, that equation was all about the laws of attraction and the idea that energy can impact on energy. When one object can influence another to vibrate at the same rate, that synchronization is called “entrainment” and that’s basically what we’re doing.

After an hour of what I can only describe as a sonic trip, it feels like every cell in my body is singing, buzzing and resonating. It seems right that the human body averages 57-60% water, because it’s as if the sound vibrations have stirred it all up inside me. Do sound baths work? This one’s certainly had a vivid effect on me, and if apps for smartphones promising meditation and zone-out de-stress effects just by plugging in and listening to calming sounds are anything to go by, there’s definitely something to it.


A Mag’s wellness expert swaps her Spotify playlist for an altogether more spiritual soundtrack

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Where We’re Detoxing CORNWALL, UK

THE SCARLET scarlethotel.co.uk

“A luxury eco-hotel, just for grown-ups, on the edge of the ocean,” goes the tagline for The Scarlet. And while it’s not located in a tropical paradise, it is a paradise. This Cornish eco-friendly and design-forward adults-only retreat overlooks Mawgan Porth Beach on England’s southwest coast and sets the bar for green luxury; a living reed bed filters the natural pool; Cornish clay and indigenous herbs are used in treatments at the Ayurveda spa; native sea thrift (a type of plant) is woven into the roof, creating a habitat for blue butterflies. The Scarlet’s spa is all about holistic wellbeing and nourishment of your mind, body and soul. Spend a day slathered in rich mineral mud in the rhassoul and having a traditional bathing ritual in the hammam. Then hit the relaxation room with its fantastical cocoon-like pods that swing from ceiling to experience total calm as you listen to the distant sound of the Atlantic Ocean’s waves. – Goufrane Mansour





Picture it. Rio’s São Conrado beach stretching in front of you, a bedroom view of Two Brothers mountains beyond, caipirinhas and sunshine by an epic pool. It’s not exactly Zen-like relaxation, but it is relaxation just the same. The setting of this Oscar Niemeyerdesigned Gran Meliá hotel in the world’s most decadent city is perfect for being in Rio, but not being in Rio. It’s the place to switch off from the party scene, partly thanks to its super sensuous spa. Go for a deep tissue massage in one of the well-appointed treatment rooms or simply chill out in the Turkish bath. If you’re up for something that will really put the color in the cheeks and get your heart rate pumping, let reception organize a paragliding experience for you – along with a professional head to the top of Two Brothers and fly back down only to land on the hotel’s helipad (or the beach). It’s a singular experience. – Ramsay Short


It may be mere steps from Gran Canaria’s frenetic Playa del Inglés, but with its Asian-inspired spa and spacious suites, the luxurious Bohemia feels like a secret seaside sanctuary far removed from the sun-seeking masses. Bangkok interior design firm P49 Deesign outfitted the plush, 600 square-meter wellness center with black bamboo, Mandala-style lanterns and handwoven Thai silks for a calming space that feels more Koh Samui than Canary Island. Products come courtesy of French skincare brand Anne Semonin, and mineral clays have been scooped up and sent over from Thai shores. As for the therapists? All trained in the 2,000-year-old practice of Siam massage over in Thailand. Try the hour-long Aroma massage inside one of the resort’s five outdoor pavilions looking out to the sea. The mineral massage baths are pretty good too – there’s no better way to soak yourself to better health. – Felix El Hage

Bohemia, Meliá, The Scarlet


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www.aeronautica.difesa.it www.aeronauticamilitare-collezioneprivata.it AĂŻshti by the Sea, Antelias T. 04 71 77 16 ext. 273 and all AĂŻzone stores T. 01 99 11 11 Produced and distributed by Cristiano di Thiene Spa

Words Salma Abdelnour

WHERE’S THE BEEF? The Impossible Burger is the latest food craze. But get this: it’s plant-based and 100% vegetarian


The Hot Fudge Sundae Diet sadly doesn’t exist in the real world. But last week, as I sat down to taste the Impossible Burger – a new Bill Gates-backed meatless invention that’s supposed to give you everything you want from a burger without any of the downsides – I couldn’t help thinking about that sundae diet. The burger sounded impossible indeed, but celebrity chefs and stars like Questlove have been raving about it, so I was curious. Currently served in New York and California, the burger looks poised to go global, and head to the Middle East, in the near future. The Impossible Burger sounded fantastic: delicious, healthy, eco-friendly. Except I didn’t believe a word of what it promised. I’ve sampled vegetarian burgers everywhere, hoping to find one that would make even a decent substitute for the greasy, meaty classic I love all too much. Occasionally I’ve found a vegetarian patty to be edible, tasty even, but never has any come close to the real thing. The Impossible Burger’s investors – which also include Google Ventures and UBS – believe so strongly in the mission that they’ve pumped $182 million into Impossible Foods, its parent company. Impossible Foods kicked off in 2011 as the brainchild of Patrick O. Brown, MD, PhD, a former Stanford University biochemistry professor who wanted to reform the most wasteful, environmentally unsustainable methods of food production. Finding viable meat substitutes was an obvious starting point, since beef takes a massive toll on the environment: according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock farming sucks up 25% of the world’s fresh water, gobbles up over a third of its land and generates 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. Brown’s research team analyzed the molecular components responsible for beef’s flavor and texture, to figure out if they could duplicate them using plants. The Impossible Burger hinges on one key discovery: heme. This enzyme, which is present in all living organisms and plays a huge role in meat’s flavor, can be replicated through a meatless fermentation method and cooked with other plant-

based proteins and fats to create an uncannily beeflike experience.

“I was genuinely blown away when I tasted the burger,” superstar chef David Chang told Eater.com. The Impossible Burger is now the only burger available at his Momofuku Nishi restaurant in Manhattan, and a few other high-profile US restaurants have started serving it too. But the burger’s first big step toward global domination came in early 2017, when it scaled up production and debuted at a New York City branch of Bare Burger, an international chain of upscale burger joints. Bareburger recently opened in Dubai; can Beirut be far behind?

The bigger question is: does the Impossible Burger deserve a global audience, and does it live up to the hype? Although I had a powerful hunch the answer would be no, by now you can probably guess where this is headed: I was wrong. The Impossible Burger is truly, surprisingly delicious. Eating it is a confusing experience, because this thing actually can pass for beef. Mine arrived on a brioche bun topped with American cheese and “special sauce,” and when I bit into all the components at once, it was very hard to tell this burger apart from the real thing. It even looks like a burger when you slice it up, and it “bleeds” like beef does. Sure, if you stop Instagramming your plate for a second, close your eyes and focus on the flavor of the patty without any condiments, you may notice a subtle flavor difference. But you could as easily not.

The Impossible Burger just might be the burger of the future, and the future is now. Next, the company plans to launch plant-based alternatives to fish and dairy that also taste bizarrely authentic. Will Impossible Foods also find a way to engineer a Hot Fudge Sundae Diet that actually works? This time I’m guessing yes.

Impossible Foods

Ever heard of the Hot Fudge Sundae Diet? You eat as many hot fudge sundaes as you want all week long, and you lose six pounds by the weekend.

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MEDMILES + Book your stay at www.medmiles.com.lb & triple your medmiles




Where We’re Eating



Open Monday-Saturday 12-3:30pm and 8-11:30pm. Dr. Fawzi Daouk Street, 24 Avenue du Park Building, Minet el Hosn, Beirut, facebook.com/Kaléo-Beirut Beirut’s newest restaurant is also its finest. Brought to you by Found’d Group (the people behind classics like Sô, DT and Memory Lane), Kaléo specializes in creative cuisine, with a seasonally changing menu. Current highlights include starters like green asparagus served with clementines and a delicate smoked eel mousse, and an artichoke declination, featuring raw, cooked and puréed artichokes offered in delightful bite-sized portions. Gourmands can revel in main courses that range from a particularly refined filet of sole served with a side of ginger sauce and an elegant mixture of peas and beans, to exquisite roasted lamb chops prepared with rosemary and presented with a side of potato purée topped with carrots and turnips. Desserts are a decadent affair: try the Pavlova, a scoop of passion fruit ice cream in a white chocolate shell served atop a red berry coulis, or the stylish caramel millefeuille, with its side of cocoa ice cream. The restaurant’s interior was created by design duo David/Nicolas, who astutely envisioned an intimate yet expansive space doused in soft hues of blue, pink and green, along with engaging geometric details on walls, tables and floors. A feast for all senses. – Marwan Naaman


The River Café

Open Monday-Saturday 12:30pm onward, dinner from 7pm; Sunday noon onward, closed for dinner. Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, rivercafe.co.uk 266


Le Grand Bain

Which London restaurant never goes out of style, always requires a reservation and is the perfect springtime lunch venue? If I have to tell you then the follow-up question is where have you been since 1988? Lunch by the Thames in the sunshine on the terrace of the River Café is one of the capital’s great pleasures. The food is straightforward Italian using only the best seasonal produce cooked in a neo-rustic style by Ruth Rogers and her crack team of chefs. The restaurant has spawned numerous celebrity chefs over the years, and best-selling cookbooks, and made Rogers and her late founding partner Rose Gray famous. The design, with its stylish modern glass fronted canteen, created from an old oil storage facility by architect Richard Rogers (Ruth’s husband), is perfect. What to have for your exceptional riverside lunch? Opt for the fresh nettle pasta with butter and parmesan, followed by the wood-roasted veal chop with salsa verde. Have sorbet for dessert. – Ramsay Short

An Englishman opening a restaurant in Paris? What is the world coming to? And yet the recent opening of Le Grand Bain by young British chef Edward Delling-Williams has seen rave reviews. It’s small, laid-back and located on Belleville’s hip street-art alley. As a result the clientele is generally attractive and cool, arty and à la mode, but they are not there just to schmooze. They are there to eat and eat they do. Varied tapas from jalapeños and sweet chili to pigeon with mushrooms, lardo on toast to smoked oysters, beef wellington to a butternut squash consommé with tortellini, are the main attractions on any given day. Then there are the desserts – our chocolate mousse was dreamy as was the tarte aux noisettes. Le Grand Bain is without doubt one of the places to be in Paris right now. An Englishman in Paris…who knew! – Goufrane Mansour

Richard Bryant, Le Grand Bain, Marco Pinarelli

Open Monday-Saturday 7-11:30pm, Sunday 12-3:30pm and 7-11:30pm. 14 Rue Dénoyez, legrandbainparis.com

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Words Michael Karam

BEIRUT BOOZY CITY Have you tried the Lebanese capital’s most delectable cocktails? Do so and you’ll understand why Beirut is a last chance saloon for alcoholics heading east I read somewhere that should you ever be stranded on a desert island, the best course of action to attract human attention is to start making a martini, because sooner or later, someone will emerge from the undergrowth and tell you you’re doing it wrong. Gin or vodka? Dry, wet or dirty? The drink has become not only a byword for elegance, but also attention to detail.


Welcome to the world of cocktails, the pantheon of mixed drinks with spiritual homes the world over. My favorite martinis – I’m a vodka man – are made in New York, but the best I’ve ever had was at Soho House in Berlin.

Which brings us to Beirut, another impossibly boozy city, and a last chance saloon for alcoholics heading east. Beirut is a city of spirits, and I’m happy to report that the cocktail is alive and well.

After the martini comes the Tom Collins, a venerable concoction made traditionally with three parts gin, two parts lemon juice, one part sugar and four parts soda water. The origins of the Tom Collins are shrouded in mystery. Was its creator a Tom Collins or John Collins? Did it originate in New York in the mid 19th century and make its way to England soon after? Who cares? The Tom Collins is a drink in the finest tradition of what a cocktail should be: fun, refreshing and dangerously easy to drink, and the best ones in Beirut are to be found at Kissproof in resurgent Badaro. Aperol, an Italian blend of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and cinchona, has crept up on us in recent years and placed itself firmly in the cocktail constellation. It can, and has been, mixed with gin, Pimms, tequila and bourbon among others, but the Spritz is the most famous concoction, a blend of three parts sparkling wine (the purists prefer Prosecco) two parts Aperol and one part soda just to give it that frothy yumminess. Internazionale in Mar Mikhael makes one of the best in town.

The French 75 or simply a “French” is impossibly glamorous. Three parts gin, two parts sugar (or any syrup), one part lemon juice and six parts champagne, this mule of a drink was apparently created in an American bar in Paris during the World War I. The name? Well apparently it was considered so strong that its kick was likened to that of a French 75mm artillery piece. Decadence amid the slaughter has always been an impulse of human nature. The best French 75 you’ll have is at Sax in the Beirut Souks. But you’ve been warned: this is not a drink to be disrespected.

Get 27 is a mint liqueur and the first alcohol (probably due to the electric green hue) that captured my imagination when I was a child. It is the über-cocktail staple, and my favorite is something called a Stinger, a New York staple

that is essentially two parts brandy and one part crème de menthe. Ask for it at Memory Lane in Mar Mikhael where they love Get 27.

Finally, should you ever find yourself at the Liza in Ashrafieh, ask for the signature cocktail as an apéritif. It’s a simple but devastatingly powerful combo of homemade lemonade and mastika. More intriguing, however, is the Purple Beast, made with arak, blackberry syrup and orange zest. And last but not least, we start where we began with Liza’s interpretation of the martini, made with vodka, orange blossom water and orange zest. Each to his own, I guess.

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Where We’re Drinking

Callooh Callay

Open 6pm-1am daily. 65 Rivington Street, calloohcallaybar.com It’s almost a decade old, yet it still beats all the new cocktail bars opening in Shoreditch. And it’s got its secrets. If a bar could be a Matryoshka Russian doll, Callooh Callay would be it. Inside it’s all surrealist chic and fantasy, the furniture scattered around and chosen as if at random. The music is always in the party mood (check out their online playlists for a taste), and then there are those secrets for those in the know. Notice the mirrored wardrobe at the back. It’s not a wardrobe. Open it, walk through and like in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, you’ll find yourself in a second bar, where the cool cats roam and the party really happens. But don’t think you’re too special yet. A curtain in the corner hides some steps to a third, invite-only smaller but even more exclusive bar named Jubjub. It’s accessed via a door code, so you’ll need to befriend the bar staff if you want in, but once inside the atmosphere is bubbling and the award-winning cocktails electric. – Ramsay Short


Bar Goto

Open Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday 5pm-midnight; Friday-Saturday 5pm-2am. 245 Eldridge Street, bargoto.com



Open 5pm-2am daily. Armenia Street, Mar Mikhael, facebook.com/ TreeHouseBeirut Set several steps away from Mar Mikhael’s bustling bar scene, TreeHouse offers much-needed respite from its urban surroundings by bringing you just a little bit closer to nature, while still maintaining the loud party vibes you’re looking for (and there’s lots of elbow room inside, for once). Besides the fact that its interior lives up to its name – think chandeliers confected of tree branches, ashtrays made of tree bark, a waterfall behind the bar and vines all over the walls – we suggest you head straight to the aquarium bar and grab a stool. Who knew watching colorful fish while you sip on drinks could be so entertaining? Speaking of, at TreeHouse, it’s not only about taste – it’s about presentation. We suggest the Maori Treehouse (passion fruit, sour and spiced mix, lychee and rum) served in a pink Tiki mug, and the particularly sweet Tree Generation (basil, vanilla, Skinos and Ketel One-infused strawberry), both of which are mixed with dry ice. And if you’re looking for a quick bite, go for the crab citrus salad – it’s fresh, filling and the sauce (a secret recipe) is the real zinger. If you want something a little sloppier, try the mini beef and chicken tacos – totally satisfying, and an excuse to come back. – Rayane Abou Jaoude

Bar Goto, Callooh Callay, TreeHouse


In a bar in New York, if you can clearly see the people around you then there’s too much light. Which is why the very low lit, Japanesestyle Bar Goto (and I am talking darker than any other bar I’ve ever been to in the Big Apple) is the perfect place to prop yourself up and drink good (and I mean stunningly good) cocktails. The place is named after its owner, bartender Kenta Goto, who uses clever Japanese ingredients like shochu and salted cherry blossoms to create taste sensations and supremely flavorful cocktails. Try a classic Shinshu Highball, with Japanese whisky, then go for the Far East Side, a dream concoction of sake, tequila, shiso, elderflower, lemon and yuzu bitters. If you’re hungry, the bar snacks will help soak up the alcohol – go for the Kombu celery or the fiery Gobo French fries (fried Japanese burdock roots with red chili salt and wasabi salt) and then drink some more. One thing to note: Bar Goto doesn’t take reservations so turn up early to get a plum spot at the counter. – Angel Solomon

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We’re deviating from the restaurant/bar scene and looking at something a little different, from a different angle. Somewhere between café culture, neighborhood bakery and shared workspace, the face of Beirut is changing, and we’re looking to capture just that – from a more personal perspective. This issue, through photographer Jimmy Dabbagh’s candid lens, A Mag showcases the unique (and often brushed-off) details of some of the city’s lesser-known spaces, capturing spontaneous, intimate moments of the people that both work at and frequent them. Basically, this is where you’ll want to be seen next


TUSK BAKERY In the great quest to eating healthier, organic is the way to go in Lebanon. Opened only nine months ago near both Mar Mikhael and Geitawi, Tusk offers organic sourdough bread (“I don’t want to poison myself or other people,” says founder Matt Wardi Saunders) and is also a café and pizza place. It’s a constantly evolving collaboration, meaning the menu is never the same; it changes every day. tuskbakery.com


ANTWORK The multipurpose workplace is the future, and Antwork, located on Spears Street near Sanayeh, takes the lead with its flagship campus and technology: fully equipped work desks, private offices, meeting rooms and not-so-formal huddle rooms, event spaces, culinary and maker labs, the Garden, coffee bars and the rooftop, to network or socialize with a view. Beyond the campus itself, Antwork offers the Work Cloud, an app that combines a wide range of practical admin and business service packages. antwork.com



TROIKA There’s a reason behind the name, of course. There are three partners, the space is divided into three areas (the terrace, the main seating area and the bar) and it’s a café, a bar and a fully functional Middle Eastern restaurant in Badaro using locally produced ingredients. The entire space (minus the chairs) was designed by famed architect Saba Innab. facebook.com/troikabadaro

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ROY’S PUBLIC HOUSE There’s a reason why Roy’s Public House has been around for as long as it has. An old-timer of the hip Badaro neighborhood, the shabby-chic spot is exactly what a pub is supposed to be – in every sense of the word. The public house operates as a coffee shop and a bar in the evening, with some light food to add to the mix.


DAWAWINE Chances are, you’ve already heard of (and been to) Dawawine, set on the eastern edge of Gemmayze. As a space dedicated to cinema, theater, dance and music, it’s also a bookstore and documentation space, with a quaint private screening room and a bistro, and where thematic events revolving around cinema, performance arts, sound and images are regularly held. Lots of light, lots of space and a lot of quiet. dawawine.com


ONOMATOPOEIA | THE MUSIC HUB The first of its kind in the region, Onomatopoeia, a nonprofit organization, emphasizes the importance of music and serves as a focal point for cultural activities by offering a space for musicians to come together. It boasts a cozy fundraiser coffee shop that sustains the space, and also has a library, workshop area and rehearsal studio – essentially, a place to learn, exchange ideas and share musical culture in the community. onomatopoeia.me


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Words Ramsay Short


THE SONG THAT MADE ME WANT TO SING PJ Harvey’s “Rid of Me” from the album Rid of Me. I was a psychology student in Beirut in the late 1990s and listened to this record on repeat. Her music and energy made me want to be a singer THE SONG I DO AT KARAOKE “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna. Living in Greece with my parents as a kid watching MTV, I’d try to sing and dance like Madge 284

THE SONG THAT REMINDS ME OF SOAP KILLS “Ya Habibi Taala” by Asmahan. I first heard the song at BO18 at the end of the night, when the DJ was cooling everything down. My grandma used to sing it to me, but hearing it there I fell in love with Asmahan and her voice. We, SK [Soap Kills, her band with Zeid Hamdan] did a cover of it, and it was a wake up call for me, the moment when I decided to sing solely in Arabic and do it my way and on my own terms THE FIRST SONG I REMEMBER HEARING “Bhebbak Ya Lebnan” by Fairuz. I was very young. I have a vague memory of my mother weeping while listening to it and trying to explain to me what emotion means, why this song is so sad and that my country Lebanon (we were living abroad at that time) was enduring a terrible war.

THE FIRST GIG I WENT TO It was a French singer called Gilbert Montagné. I went with my school friends, but I didn’t know him. I realized he was blind, and it was striking to see him move on stage THE FIRST SONG I FELL IN LOVE WITH “Bent el Sultan” by Ahmed Adaweya

THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT Björk’s Debut in 1993. This record made me happy. It was so unpredictable and lots of fun Al Jamilat is scheduled to be released in the Middle East in April. See yasminehamdan.com for tour dates.

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