“The fashion industry has an ability to make the less visible, visible,” model Jourdana Phillips, one of five cover stars to front this issue, tells Bazaar. Alongside Lameka Fox, Grace Mahary, Ajak Deng and Nykhor Paul, Jourdana appears in April’s 22-page cover story in celebration of what has been described as fashion’s most diverse season, following the autumn/winter 2017 catwalk shows, which showcased a wider range of ethnicities, sizes, ages and gender profiles than ever before.
The inspiration for the story is the sentiment of Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, who told Bazaar after his A/W17 show, “If we are going to push the conversation forward then we have to look beyond simply talking about models on the runway, and focus instead on individuality and faces that show humanity.”
Gucci’s recent metamorphosis owes much to the label’s inclusive approach to beauty and style, which reaches around the globe. In Is Gucci Fashion’s New Rule-Breaker? Bazaar explores the Florentine house’s historic connections to the Middle East, from Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum’s patronage in the 1960s, to its period of revival under the ownership of Bahrain’s Investcorp in the early 1990s.
“The first time I saw a woman in a Gucci dress at a wedding in Kuwait about two years ago, she looked so fresh and modern compared to the glamorous red carpet looks worn by most women,” a modern-day fan of the brand tells Bazaar in the piece, adding, “When you look at Gucci’s shows online, you’re left with the impression of a fabulous fancy dress party where everyone is invited.”
In a period where the need to embrace diversity is ever more resonant, it has been fascinating to journey back to the region for Arabia In The ’60s, in which early expat life is uncovered. Now 83, Edna Carr Green moved to the Middle East from the UK in 1960, over a decade before the formation of the UAE. Her recollections of life in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Beirut and Tripoli between 1960 and ’69 – when the family had to flee Libya following the Gaddafi-led coup – are filled with colour and insights that illuminate the history of the region we live in today.
“It was an amazing decade of change, and looking back now I feel privileged to have experienced all these rich cultures and friendships with people whose backgrounds were so different from mine,” Edna tells Bazaar.
“It was the most enriching part of being an expat in the Middle East. It teaches one tolerance and empathy towards others, something the world is in need of more than ever today.”
The April 2017 issue is on shelves from April 1