After years of speculation, the Arab world will finally have its own edition of the world’s leading fashion publication. Vogue Arabia, which will be available on newsstands March 5 throughout the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), is the 22nd edition of the magazine, according to Vogue Arabia.
“It is the first Vogue to break onto the market in digital prior to print,” writes Philippa Morgan. The publication’s digital platform launched in October of 2016.
Vogue Arabia’s first-ever cover star, revealed on March 1, is none other than social media It girl Gigi Hadid. The 21-year-old was born in Los Angeles, California to a Dutch-American mother and Jordanian-American father of Palestinian origin. She has been in a relationship with musician and former One Direction member Zayn Malik, who is of Pakistani decent, since 2015.
“Photographed by Inez and Vinoodh and styled by Brandon Maxwell, the evocative images emphasize the supermodel’s Arab roots,” according to Vogue Arabia.
“There’s no better first ‘face’ to lead the charge for Vogue Arabia than Gigi, a model who defines tomorrow’s entrepreneurial and dynamic generation,” Editor-in-Chief Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz tells Morgan.
“In one poised photograph, she communicates a thousand words to a region that’s been waiting far too long for its Vogue voice to speak.”
“The March issue, entitled ‘Reorienting Perceptions’, features established and up-and-coming designers, high fashion styled with modest flair and luxury lifestyle insights from across the Middle East with a unique Arabic twist on global high-fashion reportage,” reports Vogue Arabia.
Shashi Menon, CEO & Publisher of Vogue Arabia, tells Morgan: “With Vogue Arabia, we’re making a bold bet on the future of marquee, high-gloss content in the region—across both print and digital. The unparalleled heritage and global footprint of the Vogue brand, combined with our distinct strategy of publishing more than 90 percent original content with dual language editorial, really make Vogue Arabia stand out.”
On March 1 Hadid, whose full name is Jelena Noura Hadid, shared her Vogue Arabia cover with her 30 million Instagram followers. A notorious “nice girl” in the traditionally stand-offish fashion industry, Hadid captions the photo:
“I think the beautiful thing about there being international Vogues is that, as a fashion community, we are able to celebrate, and share with the world, different cultures. Being half-Palestinian, it means the world to me to be on the first-ever cover(s) of @voguearabia, and I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry’s desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to… & learn and grow in doing so. Thank you @deenathe1st for your vision and for having me on this cover… by the incredible @inezandvinoodh–so much love.”
Vogue Arabia will be published in both Arabic and English.
Though Hadid has a history of pride regarding her ethnic background, many Vogue readers were off-put by her Vogue Arabia cover.
“I’m bitter over the fact that Gigi only claims her Palestinian heritage when it benefits her. She didn’t deserve [the cover],” writes @starksteves on Twitter.
@__munneerraa, another Twitter user, writes in response to @VogueArabia: “Oh guys you should’ve put a proper Arab on the cover! Like the Abduls for instance!”
The Abduls are two Saudi blogger sisters, according to Vogue Arabia.
Several Twitter users, including @starksteves, shared that they wished Somali-American model Halim Aden landed the first Vogue Arabia cover. The 19-year-old immigrant, who wears a hijab, recently walked the runway for YEEZY Season 5, according to Fader; she also made it to the semifinals of 2016’s Miss Minnesota USA pageant and walked for Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara in Milan, according to Allure.
Hadid, who does not typically wear a hijab, dons an embellished one for her Vogue Arabia cover. However, she is been widely known to celebrate her Palestinian background.
“A year ago she posted a photo of herself with henna on her hands while with friends, adding a note at the end of her caption saying, ‘& before you go all ‘cultural appropriation’ in my comments, check out the last name. Hadid. Half Palestinian & proud of it,'” according to Vanity Fair.
“She also joined her sister Bella at a rally in New York in January to protest Donald Trump’s immigration policies.”
“This also marks a personal landmark for Hadid, as it is her 21st Vogue cover,” according to Vanity Fair.
“She continues to inch near the record held by Lauren Hutton with 26 covers, and told Ellen Degeneres in February that she ‘wouldn’t complain’ if she were to land a 27th. At this rate she’s well on her way.”