Rumors have been circulating for years about Vogue Arabia launching. Now publishers Condé Naste finally announced and confirmed the launch. The first edition of the magazine is due to appear online in October with Saudi Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, a mother of three and a wife of Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, as its first editor-in-chief.
In a deal between Condé Nast International and Nervora (a Middle Eastern digital media and advertising firm), Vogue Arabia will debut online in both English and Arabic translations this fall. The operation will be headquartered in Dubai and will target places like Saudia Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. That digital start will begin with the conversion of the existing Style.com/Arabia into the new Vogue Arabia site, followed by 11 annual print issues, joining 21 other editions of Vogue.
Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz has been recognized worldwide as a fashion icon. Whilst maintaining her royal status, she’s a working royal who runs her own museum-like, members-only boutique called D’NA in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, which carries brands like Miu Miu, Haider Ackermann, M2Malletier and Maison Martin Margiela. It’s her stylish nature that makes her suitable for the job. Even Christian Louboutin would agree, who has named a shoe after her. Abdulaziz also has a history of discovering and nurturing design talents like Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, Mary Katrantzou and Erdem.
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The tricky thing about bringing a decidedly Western publication like Vogue into a non-Western territory is balancing the legacy of the publication with the new culture and that’s where she shines because she understands the delicate balance of east and west.
“There’s not just one formula to follow when it comes to a fashion publication, and I perceive Vogue Arabia as an opportunity to create innovative editorials that celebrate Arab women in our own way,” says Abdulaziz, who used to split her time between the Upper East Side and the Middle East now lives in full-time in the Middle East. “It’s true that our region is conservative by nature, but Arab women are no different than their counterparts around the globe in that we want to feel empowered and look beautiful.”
As far as sexuality, the publication gave a statement to Financial Times that they would avoid nudity, religious symbolism and the discussion of designer’s sexuality.