Lifestyle – Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Mon, 23 Apr 2018 11:47:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Bambah celebrates Ramadan with colourful flora kaftans https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/23/bambah-celebrates-ramadan-colourful-flora-kaftans/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/23/bambah-celebrates-ramadan-colourful-flora-kaftans/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 11:30:55 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=657656 With all eyes fixed on the Middle East, modest fashion is crossing the borders between the east and the west in order to become a global form of dressing. Meanwhile, international designers are starting to experiment with this direction; evidently, regional designers are taking the front seat as leaders of this particular move. Bambah Boutique …

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With all eyes fixed on the Middle East, modest fashion is crossing the borders between the east and the west in order to become a global form of dressing. Meanwhile, international designers are starting to experiment with this direction; evidently, regional designers are taking the front seat as leaders of this particular move.

Bambah Boutique is one of the key names that have been changing the fashion industry, one garment at a time. From starting as an advocate for vintage-inspired clothes to becoming a synonym of modest fashion, the Dubai-based brand is once again ready to celebrate the new season with a distinctive combination.

For the rapidly approaching holy month, the extraordinary brand launched a new collection with distinctive florals. The statement pattern takes different shades of pastel lavender, peach, champagne, and baby blue, among others, in order to appeal to the upcoming hot season. The capsule collection includes 24 different looks that would make great companions for Iftar and Suhour outings.

Being a true fan of classic Egyptian movies, Maha Abdul Rasheed, founder of Bambah Boutique, has always been fascinated by vintage silhouettes. Her eye for retro extravagance often reflects on her designs, as she tends to borrow popular elements from well-known trends that rose to fame between 1930 and 1980.

The Ramadan 2018 collection remains faithful to the brand’s characteristic puffed sleeves and voluminous cuts. Meanwhile, it takes the traditional kaftan one step further with a colourful rainbow of patterns incorporated with minimal designs. Furthermore, the collection also features a modernised abaya, made out of lace and accessorised with a statement bow. The practical design comes in seven different colours, including red, mint green, and pearl pink.

According to the designer, luxurious fabrics and unapologetically lady-like silhouettes are the two staple features of the collection which distinguish Bambah from any other brand on the market. On the other hand, this particular collection is no exception in terms of the memorable, striking floral patterns that aim to add a playful touch to every woman’s wardrobe.

The collection was already launched online for immediate purchase a few days ago, and nonetheless, a couple of designs have already run out of stock.

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Shahira Lasheen recruits bees for her SS18 collection https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/18/shahira-lasheen-recruits-bees-ss18-collection/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/18/shahira-lasheen-recruits-bees-ss18-collection/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 11:00:45 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=657249 ‘The designs are a tribute to bee colonies, including their relentless production techniques, the notorious queen bee, and the strict rules that govern the colony,’ says the designer

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On perfect sunny mornings, surges of energy charge around in the air, giving many the power to resume yesterday’s work and aim for grander results. While many consume their lifetime working toward greatness, no one can ever show dedication as unwavering as a bee.

Despite its small size, a bee colony is a well-detailed kingdom, which operates based on an elaborate hierarchy. Ruled by the royal queen, who is also the honey producer, interrelated levels of labourers work together every morning to achieve the colony’s strict targets. Meanwhile, the queen takes on the most crucial task: overseeing the administration of the production cycle.

The SS18 collection pays tribute to the hardworking bee colony†
(Photo Handout to DNE)

With her eyes set on the goal of getting the job done, the ancestral dedication of queen bees has always been the subject of many admiring artistic forms of expression. Songs, films, and plays have paid tribute to the hardworking creature, which refuses to give up on high standards and appreciates dedication.

Much like the marvellous being, Shahira Lasheen is an haute couture designer that considers adherence a valuable currency. The designer’s work is often identified by her flair for exaggerated silhouettes and voluminous layers of tulle. Furthermore, Lasheen’s classic cuts always bring a timeless sense to her poetic sources of inspiration.    

For the new season, the designer chose to bring the glory and diligence of bees to the alluring world of haute couture. Her grandiose SS18 collection turns the colour of honey into skirts as dreamy as clouds and memorable sleeves with distinctive personalities. Consequently, Lasheen also brought her friends along the way as one dress embraces a pearly embroidery of bees while another turns beehives into trendy embellishments.

Daily News Egypt met the designer to learn more about her latest collection as well as talk fashion, bees, and haute couture in Egypt. 

What was your main inspiration behind this collection?

We are firm believers in the power of a group; team work and operating within big families is a guaranteed path to success. Accordingly, we decided to shed light on the life of bees.

We were highly inspired by their morals. The designs are a tribute to bee colonies, including their relentless production techniques, the notorious queen bee, and the strict rules that govern the colony—for example, if a worker bee does not fulfil its task, it will be automatically eliminated out of the colony.

Designers often choose bright colours for their spring and summer collections. Why did you decide to follow a light colour pallet?

Utilising a bright colour pallet for a specific season has never been an actual rule, especially when creating couture collections. We have a specific storyline to follow; therefore, we used a gold palette, including shades of white, off-white, and light grey.

How long did this collection take between design and implementation?

This collection took about eight months to come to life. The process included creating the mood board, designing, perfecting the embroidery patterns, designing the metal details, and putting all the details together before going through quality control, finishing, model fittings, and finally shooting.

The most intricate phase was certainly the embroidery. Sadly, we have a national shortage in terms of skilled embroiders. We have a few of the best embroidery craftsmen in the country; nonetheless, they are a small team, who require a relatively long period of time in order to finish handmade embroidery of a high calibre.

The SS18 turns the color of honey into dreamy silhouettes†
(Photo Handout to DNE)

How would you describe the woman who would choose to wear this collection?

She is a mature woman who is self-assured and confident. She is considered royalty, not because of her bloodline that reaches back to nobility, but because of the way she carries herself and the way she treats her surroundings; a modern royal.

If you had to define this collection in one word, what would you say?

Sophisticated.

How would you define the current status of haute couture in Egypt? 

Haute couture will always suffer in Egypt, unless we establish a specialised entity to define this form of art and regulate all its related matters. Haute couture is high-end fashion that is constructed by hand from start to finish; made from high-quality, expensive, often unusual fabrics and sewn with extreme attention to details then finished by the most experienced seamstresses, often using time-consuming and hand-executed techniques.

The term is currently being used loosely to describe all forms of high-end fashion. In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and defined by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de région Paris.

To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term in its advertising or any other media, members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture must follow specific rules.

Designs must be made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings. The fashion house must have a workshop (atelier) that employs at least 15 full-time staff members. On the other hand, the team must also include at least 20 full-time technical individuals working from at least one workshop (atelier).

With that said, the designer must present a collection of at least 50 original designs between both day and evening garments to the public every fashion season, which is twice per year: January and July.

We might possess the required criteria. However, we are still struggling to build the required team of Egyptian workers who can share an haute couture culture. Most of the workers cannot meet our couture standards at Shahira Lasheen; they have been raised according to a commercial and mainstream aesthetic.

I cannot really blame them since it is a matter of correlation between national culture and economic status.

We have a strict vision to maintain our positioning as a true haute couture fashion house in Egypt. Meanwhile, we have faith in our customers to value the art of couture as well as the tremendous effort exerted to create each dress inside Shahira Lasheen atelier.

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Sold introduces local millennials to vintage https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/11/sold-introduces-local-millennials-vintage/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/11/sold-introduces-local-millennials-vintage/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 13:00:47 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=656610 Trends are a vicious rollercoaster that praise and obsess over certain silhouettes until people can no longer stand the sight of them. With social media accelerating the speed of fast fashion, the young generation is used to bidding farewell to last week’s hot item in a blink of an eye. Together, Yahia Karali and his …

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Trends are a vicious rollercoaster that praise and obsess over certain silhouettes until people can no longer stand the sight of them. With social media accelerating the speed of fast fashion, the young generation is used to bidding farewell to last week’s hot item in a blink of an eye.

Together, Yahia Karali and his sister Aseel take their regular seats, where he is behind the wheel while she navigates the route. Road trips have been a family ritual for them, until they decided to turn their shared passion into business.

After a long road, their destination promises patterns, fabrics, and details that have turned time into an asset. Her eye for fashion searches for pieces that would take centre stage at any event; meanwhile, he hunts for rare and valuable stitches.

The Karali siblings are always on a quest to create a community of individuals who refuse to blend in. Frustrated by the clones created by fast fashion, the duo provides a seasoned fashion alternative. Through their peculiar approach, they are guiding the local market through its baby steps to embrace vintage.

“My brother, Yahia Karali, was studying for his master’s in London. While living in Camden, where vintage clothing is quite the norm, for his thesis, he chose to focus on consumer behaviour in regard to vintage clothing,” Aseel Karali said. “In 2011, this topic, especially when applying it to Egyptian customers, was such a taboo.”

As a family, the two enjoyed many summers visiting vintage markets around the world. Accordingly, they were inspired to bring the concept home. However, even their parents questioned the idea, labelling vintage as used clothing.

Even though they have never viewed themselves as fashion experts, their belief that thrift shops are where cool items could be sourced enforced their determination. 

Yahia’s thesis took him all the way to the most distant ports, where he interviewed a number of people involved in this industry. Naturally, he grew his database to include the best suppliers of vintage clothes. Nonetheless, it was only after he acquired his MBA from France, and failed to find a satisfying nine to five job back home, that he took the leap.

As an alternative, he decided to put his valuable contacts to use. Even though his earlier research showed negative results, Yahia was confident that the economic changes would open a door to vintage. On the other hand, he was also inspired to help people become individuals. “As a generation, we are always seeking ways to stand out against the tyranny of trends,” said Aseel with determination. 

Sold provides a wide range of distinctive vintage attire

By the end of 2016, he was already filtering and picking garments from his suppliers, while his sister was stationed behind her computer, handling the finances. With the help of his friends, Sold started organically from his own apartment in Garden City.

“For our first public exposure, one of Yahia’s friends got us an opportunity to display his picks at an event. The unexpected reaction made us further believe in this concept. Afterwards, we both decided to run with this brand and take it to the next level. I quit my job and he moved in with me, so we could expand our collection and grow the label,” said Aseel as she reminisced about the early days. 

Despite their humble beginnings and their under-the-radar method, Sold suddenly became a phenomenon in the local market. The millennial brand broke a well-cemented stereotype. Overnight, an expanding circle of fashion-forward men and women stopped making fun of their parents’ retro wardrobe; instead, they started looking for the same vibrant patterns and oversized cuts. After a couple of pop-ups, the so-called used clothes became trendy vintage.

According to the Karalis, the young brand is finding its way to establish a concrete identity. However, it already operates based on three key values: the vintage haven is organic, collaborative, and transparent.

Meanwhile, Yahia’s database was their starting point to find their way to thousands of items. Through trial and error, they discovered that their tool to identify what sells best is in fact their personal style.

“It started as our circle of friends at first, then when word travelled around, our clientele base expanded at the speed of light,” Aseel said. “We never wanted this to turn into a rigid business. Instead, we are keen on remaining organic.”

As firm believers in the impact of a community, the two never resort to marketing stunts that address the masses. Aside from their desire to constantly move forward, they plan to keep their filtering process tight and their base of clients exclusive.

“We currently keep an intimate relationship with our customers, as we let them into our house in order to show them our personal selection. We are quite grateful to our clients for embracing a new concept and fuelling it to expand,” said Aseel with a subtle smile.

On the other hand, Sold is also collaborative. Their sticker changes on a monthly basis as they regularly collaborate with local artists to reinvent the brand’s visuals. Through incorporating their standard logo with local art, the siblings demonstrate a new aspect of their identity every month.

With that said, transparency is an additional cornerstone. Vintage items require special treatment and professional input to fix any damage. Therefore, they keep an honest dialogue with their clients regarding the state of each piece. “We select the garments because we like them; if they have a rip or a missing button, we will tell you beforehand,” stated Aseel.

According to the founders and their car’s odometer, restocking is a tiresome task. At the beginning, road trips used to be a monthly ritual; however, now they hit the road every two weeks.

Pre-loved garments get packaged in Dubai before passing through Egypt on their way to the other side of the world. Accordingly, their trips often target ports in cities such as Safaga, Port Said, and Suez in order to go through the containers and acquire their favourite pieces.

“Before fluctuation, the filtering process used to take six hours. However, nowadays prices have increased significantly. Suppliers saw how interested we are and how it turned into a business; therefore, they changed their prices,” Aseel said, adding, “now we also know out of experience what our clients prefer. Accordingly, our process has been cut in half.”

Depending on suppliers to source their garments has made them bond to the pop-up strategy. Therefore, they do not constantly post their new collection on social media. Instead, every time they have new items, they simply pop up, whether on ground or through Instagram stories.

The founding siblings aim to open a new market for vintage; against
the negative stereotypes

“There are always mothers who would come with their children to our house; due to their safety concerns,” Aseel said. “Meanwhile, one of our regular clients always shows up at each flea market before insisting to put down our items for the sake of bargaining. Nonetheless, with time, she has become our friend and by now we are used to her comments.”

Shortly after being a questioned concept, Sold became the inspiration for many homegrown vintage brands. According to Aseel, word about similar concepts have already found their way to them.

“We have met Grandma’s Closet, for instance, at an event. They are quite friendly, and we love their aesthetic. However, there are also other brands that manufacture new shirts, which take after a vintage style. I believe these brands defy the purpose. However, they are still very stylish,” explained Aseel.

Nonetheless, despite the novel competition, the founders behind Sold remain comfortable and confident that they are already a step ahead. In spite of starting with only shirts, they presently offer a wide selection of items, including trench coats and bomber jackets.

“Vintage is a lot more than patterned shirts. We never wanted to limit ourselves and overconsume the floral shirt. If everyone ends up wearing the same item, then we go back to square zero, where everyone looks the same,” said Aseel with an assertive grin. 

As part of their expansion, the Karali siblings plan to expand their supply database to include offshore sources. Meanwhile, they would also love to start experimenting with accessories and bags.

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The Sahara Collection saves paws https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/11/sahara-collection-saves-paws/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/11/sahara-collection-saves-paws/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 12:00:48 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=656607 Stray animals are a staple element of the bustling streets of Cairo. A pack of dogs could casually be seen around every corner, while the rare shade of trees is often shared by several furry friends. On the other hand, the quality and comfort of local cotton has always made it the perfect candidate for …

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Stray animals are a staple element of the bustling streets of Cairo. A pack of dogs could casually be seen around every corner, while the rare shade of trees is often shared by several furry friends.

On the other hand, the quality and comfort of local cotton has always made it the perfect candidate for every day’s basics. A white t-shirt is rarely praised for innovation, but rather for durability, fit, and subtle opulence.

The Egyptian brand The Sahara Collection decided to create an effortless bridge between two of the country’s most distinctive features for a great cause. Their new line of t-shirts Save a Paw reserves the brand’s appreciation for modern classics, which can outlive trends. Meanwhile, it is the spearhead of a much-needed initiative.

The androgynous basics aim to encourage a larger segment of youth to take an active stand concerning street animals. Furthermore, the proceedings are set to go to a number of animal shelters in order to provide food, medicine, and homes to those in need.

As the name suggests, each piece from this collection literally saves a homeless animal from the neglect and danger it often faces on a daily basis.

With two stores around the country, Zamalek and Diplo, The Sahara Collection offers a wide variety of clothing for both genders. Meanwhile, the brand’s ethos revolves around finding a middle point between today’s need for high-end fashion and the country’s wealth of vintage elements.

With that said, quality is a distinctive feature that makes The Sahara Collection an instant favourite. The team behind the brand seeks versatility, which requires practical designs combined with comfortable cuts and fleecy fabrics.

On the other hand, their timeless designs are made to transition from day to night without losing their grace. Additionally, the stores also harbour an accessory corner, courtesy of Nomad. The sister company shares the same appreciation for heritage. Accordingly, their pieces often pay tribute to Egypt’s craftsmanship.

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All-day breakfast with a pinch of disappointment https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/05/day-breakfast-pinch-disappointment/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/05/day-breakfast-pinch-disappointment/#respond Thu, 05 Apr 2018 13:00:39 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=656238 While a lot of people enjoy having their breakfast out on weekends, there comes the dilemma that most restaurants do not serve their breakfast menus after midday. However, a new cosy place in Fifth Settlement’s The Spot mall is reshaping the weekend’s breakfast rules, allowing people to have it whenever they want. Angie’s Place is …

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While a lot of people enjoy having their breakfast out on weekends, there comes the dilemma that most restaurants do not serve their breakfast menus after midday. However, a new cosy place in Fifth Settlement’s The Spot mall is reshaping the weekend’s breakfast rules, allowing people to have it whenever they want.

Angie’s Place is an all-day breakfast and brunch restaurant. The spot serves a breakfast menu every day from 9:00 am until 10:00 pm, giving visitors the opportunity to have the early weekend breakfast experience at any given time or day.

With only a few tables in the indoor area and a large, wide outdoor space, and the quiet, soft music, white walls, and rose patterned chairs, the restaurant instantly gives a feeling of relaxation and serenity.

Despite its cosiness when empty, the small, narrow indoor space might not be so relaxing when it is filled with people. The teens hub might get extra noisy when it is completely occupied, which is usually in the afternoons. Thus, having your brunch in the warmth of the sun is recommended for most people who are looking for some peace of mind.

Now to their meals: we started with the breakfast burrito, and chicken sticks coated with pretzels.

The burrito was a mix of scrambled eggs, hash brown, sausage, cheese, red beans, and sour cream wrapped in a white tortilla.

While the expectation was for it to be roasted, the burrito was the farthest from being crunchy. Its taste was dominated by onions. Despite having several components that we expected to balance each other out and create a unique taste in one bite, the sandwich was a bit disappointing, as the taste of the sausage almost faded away beneath the strong taste of crunchy onions and sour cream.

The cheese was not as plentiful as it should have been. The expectations for how the other ingredients would make it taste were much higher than what the served plate fulfilled.

As for the garnish/dip, we ordered the babaghanoug. It was not exactly what you would want it to be. It did not exactly taste like babaghanoug, though it had most of the necessary ingredients, but it left more or less a sour aftertaste in your mouth.

As for the chicken sticks coated with pretzels, they were served chopped, small, and crunchy. Crunchy from the outside and tender from the inside, the taste of the pretzels was quite pronounced. However, they needed to be more seasoned as they obviously lacked salt and pepper.

For a breakfast, the portions of the burrito and the sticks were not as satisfying as you might think by reading about them in the menu. The portions were frankly much too small and unsatisfying.

The rocking star of their meals, and the most recommended dish on the restaurant’s Facebook page, is their pancakes.

For dessert, we ordered Nutella pancakes, which, unlike all we experienced before, was delightful.

The real reason to go to Angie’s Place is the pancakes, hands down among of the best we have ever tasted.

With a stack of five giant pancakes, stuffed and topped with Nutella and powdered sugar, the pancakes were very tender, moist, and bubbly.

Served with a side Nutella dip, the plate was considerably large and extremely tasty.

The mixture between the fluffy light pancakes stuffed with rich Nutella chocolate spread with the sugary butter on top of it, and a generous drizzle of that same chocolate on top, was heavenly.

The portions of layered Nutella were not too sugary for the mouth and the taste of the pancake dough maintained its distinctive taste to create a good balance. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, you will definitely enjoy this fluffy and rich treat.

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Inner Workings: A troupe of familiar strangers https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/05/inner-workings-troupe-familiar-strangers/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/05/inner-workings-troupe-familiar-strangers/#respond Thu, 05 Apr 2018 11:00:19 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=656161 As the line to the counter moves slowly, crawling towards their morning supply of caffeine, she sits in her favourite corner sipping her regular flavoured coffee. Some can already feel better by just uttering their order to the barista, while others drag their feet in the direction of the long-awaited styrofoam cups.  From her seat, …

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As the line to the counter moves slowly, crawling towards their morning supply of caffeine, she sits in her favourite corner sipping her regular flavoured coffee. Some can already feel better by just uttering their order to the barista, while others drag their feet in the direction of the long-awaited styrofoam cups.  From her seat, she observes her subjects of interest and all the stories hidden under their daily attire.

To her, a slight nose bump is a bold distinctive curve carved in gold; meanwhile, a thin line of a lip is a crimson heart-shaped ruby. People walk in and out, following the rhythm of her pencil against the jammed sketching papers.

Shahd Tarek is a self-taught artist, who believes in the non-verbal outreach of a simple drawing. As a woman of few words, Tarek keeps her art simple and straightforward, depending on the subtle eloquence of abstract expression.

“Growing up, I have always been interested in art. I am a graphic designer by education. Meanwhile, I am a firm believer in abstract art. I like connecting things with one straight line. One of my most favourite hobbies is sitting in cafes and drawing people,” the artist said while flipping through her monochromic pad. “I do not sketch precise features; instead, I focus on their most evident facet and draw them in one-line style.”

Inner Workings is a meeting point between abstract expression and jewellery

(Handout to DNE)

After a lifetime of tracing features with her sharpened pencil, Tarek decided to share her family of strangers with a wider circle of people, who can see the world hidden within her fine lines.

“A lot of people used to advise me to showcase my work in galleries. Nonetheless, I have never been a fan of them. I do not want my work to be seen once, or even worse, end up in the background of a social gathering. People often dress up and visit galleries to be seen there, not to appreciate the available art,” said the designer.

As someone who pours her thoughts into minimal lines, Tarek is a firm believer in the honesty of visual expression and the privacy of her nameless characters. Therefore, the notion of showcasing her work to the public has always been driven by her desire to witness people connecting with her art. Therefore, jewellery came as an obvious route to not only reach out to her audience directly but to also be able to turn her strangers into acquaintances.

“By wearing my art, my clients become a walking gallery. With time, it should become a recognisable signature that people can associate with me. Common fashion and jewellery awareness has been on the rise recently, especially earrings. Therefore, I thought of this medium as my way to go,” said Tarek while fiddling with her earring.

Despite their minimal approach, their manufacturing process was anything but simple. According to Tarek, the road to obtain a tangible interpretation of her ideas included a few barriers, detours, and crossroads. Her search for a workshop that understood abstract art took up to six months, as well as a countless number of failed attempts.

“My very early attempts to manufacture one of my designs were quite frustrating. I went to various workshops in search for the quality I had in mind. Craftsmen could not grasp my concept and just did not deliver what I needed. It was a discouraging journey of back to back disappointments until one friend referred me to a workshop run by an artisan who specialises in fine abstract designs,” said the designer with a grateful smile.

Driven by her belief that the perfect timing for this concept is right now, Tarek opted to prevent any procrastination and start following her passion. Therefore, she did not apply to courses, preferring to take the long road. Through turning her sketches into silver accessories, the designer has found the fast track to learn an intricate mastery.

“Finding the suitable workshop was a life-saving event. I currently learn through direct experience. Working with the craftsmen has taught me a lot of technicalities. Hopefully one day I might be able to start personally producing my sketches,” said the designer joyfully.

The designs are inspired by Tarek’s preference of one-line drawings

(Handout to DNE)

Following the course of all new local designers, Tarek chose to depend on social media as an awareness and outreach platform. For months, her ensemble of familiar faces remained unnoticed among the constantly expanding number of Instagram accounts. Until one morning she woke up to a continuous peep of notifications and surprising number of new followers.

“I believe in being at the right place at the right time. A couple of months after starting, I was at a party, when I met a blogger who asked to take a picture of my earrings,” Tarek said, excitedly adding, “after her post, people started noticing my account little by little, until the snowball effect occurred and suddenly, people began to acknowledge my work.”

As an introvert, Tarek is not the typical social butterfly. Instead, she prefers to keep her outings limited and her circle of friends narrow. According to her, words have rarely ever been her chosen method of expression.

For her, “Inner Workings” is not only the name of her brand, but also a philosophy. Everything is stored within and all thoughts erupt from the “inner” conscience. Meanwhile, the “workings” are led by the hands. As an artist, she tends to take everything that she sees and develops it with her hands in order to make jewellery.

“Inner also signifies personal traits such as strength and beauty; things that could only be felt and not seen. While workings is the method that each person chooses to follow in order to express that attribute,” the designer explained.

Her designs are sincere emblems of the “Inner Workings” as well as the nature of human differences. Despite displaying obvious nonconformity, the single earrings could be mixed and matched. “They are not similar, yet they go together. Just like humans, each one of us is different; however, we all find a way to connect,” said Tarek.

Her signature one-line drawings are the core of her current series of statement earrings. Nonetheless, she aims to follow this aesthetic to experiment with other forms of wearable expression. Faces and body parts will always remain essential. However, her designs might expand to accessories or even clothes.

Adorned with the likes of rubies and pearls, her silver heroes flaunt distinctive red lips and charming blue eyes. Meanwhile, they also get their own beaded earrings at times. Nonetheless, they never get obscuring skin.

“My designs are all see-through without layers to indicate skin. I like to believe that deep down we are all the same. Therefore, I would like to see my earrings everywhere; endorsed by all types of women,” Tarek concluded.

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Fairmont Nile City Spa: Escaping the city to nature embracement https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/22/fairmont-nile-city-spa-escaping-city-nature-embracement/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/22/fairmont-nile-city-spa-escaping-city-nature-embracement/#respond Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:00:59 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=654483 Escaping the crowds, stress, and Cairo’s exhausting lifestyle, through a couple of hours of pure relaxation and amusement, is one of the best ways to treat yourself after long week days; a luxury that Fairmont Nile City offers through its spa’s open doors to visitors. Overlooking the charming, glamorous Nile, in one of Cairo’s finest …

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Escaping the crowds, stress, and Cairo’s exhausting lifestyle, through a couple of hours of pure relaxation and amusement, is one of the best ways to treat yourself after long week days; a luxury that Fairmont Nile City offers through its spa’s open doors to visitors.

Overlooking the charming, glamorous Nile, in one of Cairo’s finest neighbourhoods, sits Fairmont Nile City, redefining leisure and extravagance at its spa.

Warmth and cosiness are the first feelings you will feel stepping into the spa; starting with the warmly welcoming and super friendly, smiling staff, to the sound of smoothly running water in the background, which initiates the feelings of nature embracing you, away from haunting modernism.

Dark brown wood and sandy textures are the most dominating features of the place. The spa is designed in a desert theme, aiming to spread nature vibes, which naturally gives you an instant feeling of stress relief and recovery from the city’s hustle.

The spa offers several facilities for its visitors to enjoy, including a sauna, steam room, and different types of massages upon request, with a fancy lounge are where you can take some time off and have a warm cup of coffee while swinging on La-Z-Boy-style chairs.

At the hands of a professional Thai masseuse began an hour of escaping reality and absolute relaxation. Requesting an hour-long full-body, relaxing massage, I did not expect time to fly that fast. Nevertheless, it took away all the muscle stiffness and stress knots.

The relaxing massage was among a list of diversified options: stone massage, Thai massage, maternity massage, and stress relief massage.

While filling the application, visitors are requested to ask for a body part-specific massage on one or several parts of the body. With the Thai masseuses known for mastering such massages, I could not leave the spa without asking for a foot massage, something that the masseuse perfectly applied, and I highly recommend. With selecting the strength of the pressure, Fairmont’s professional masseuses perfectly provide one of the best, most luxurious, and relaxing massages in town.

The massage provides a perfect chance for regaining one’s lost energy and calming their running thoughts. Despite separated sections for men and women, couple massages are available upon request.

Other than the diversified massage options, Fairmont Nile City’s spa offers packages of leisure through its energising rain and ice-mist showers, desert-inspired steam rooms, and refreshing ice fountains. It also serves customers a chance to try milk, honey, and sea salt baths. Moreover, it provides you a chance to pamper your body with scrubs and facials.

Fairmont Nile City’s spa is an experience of complete pamper and luxury; a highly recommended high-end destination to hit on the weekend if you’re looking for somewhere to clear your mind and recharge your energy.

Prices range from $140-200 and prior reservations are required.

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Jude Benhalim celebrates Mother’s Day with bullets https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/21/jude-benhalim-celebrates-mothers-day-bullets/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/21/jude-benhalim-celebrates-mothers-day-bullets/#respond Wed, 21 Mar 2018 11:00:46 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=654287 Mothers are often adamant on raising children who can endure the challenges of life. With women’s rights finally achieving long-awaited milestones every day around the globe, mothers are now even more determined to teach their young girls the values of strength, confidence, and perseverance. Jude Benhalim is a young jewellery designer who has been widely …

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Mothers are often adamant on raising children who can endure the challenges of life. With women’s rights finally achieving long-awaited milestones every day around the globe, mothers are now even more determined to teach their young girls the values of strength, confidence, and perseverance.

Jude Benhalim is a young jewellery designer who has been widely celebrated around the region for her strong aesthetic and precise words of power. Her eloquent fashion line is most known for geometric shapes and poetic lyrics of empowerment.

In celebration of mothers everywhere, the designer has relaunched one of her most successful designs; yet, with a new twist. Bullets are Benhalim’s ode to women’s vigour. Her silver jewellery is dedicated to females worth celebrating as well as those in need of support.

The new collection features a revamped update of the brand’s most well-identified design. The “Bullet” includes silver charms adorned with resin stones and hand carved, inspiring Arabic calligraphy.

Each piece is designed with love in order to whisper to the wearer words of encouragement and solace. Meanwhile, the calligraphic expressions were carefully selected by the designer to convey the strength and beauty of her leading ladies.

According to Benhalim, the bullet, with its bold design and sharp edges, is in fact her interpretation of subtle strength.

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Tarun Tahiliani brings his embroidered ambassadors to Cairo  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/21/tarun-tahiliani-brings-embroidered-ambassadors-cairo/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/21/tarun-tahiliani-brings-embroidered-ambassadors-cairo/#respond Wed, 21 Mar 2018 10:00:56 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=654281 For centuries, the history of India has been embroidered on sarees, one golden thread at a time. The country’s vast population has documented revolutions, stories of love, and ventures of literary expeditions on brocade and draped silk. Being at the heart of the old world, the country has changed through history to keep up with …

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For centuries, the history of India has been embroidered on sarees, one golden thread at a time. The country’s vast population has documented revolutions, stories of love, and ventures of literary expeditions on brocade and draped silk.

Being at the heart of the old world, the country has changed through history to keep up with the shifting times; nonetheless, the intricate and extravagant outfits of locals have never obeyed the world’s constant change of mind when it comes to trends.

Fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani found his way to the fashion industry just in time, when his country was starting to embrace the newly-discovered form of art. Influenced by the elaborate European fashion on one hand and his life among the charismatic sarees on the other, Tahiliani soon found himself a creator of wearable ambassadors.

The fashion designer packed a number of his modern representatives of a whimsical heritage earlier this week in order to bring Delhi to the Nile. Tahiliani participated in the annual festival organised by the Indian Embassy in Cairo to support cultural exchange and break Hollywood-fuelled stereotypes.

Nonetheless, his active role as an advocate of textiles and embroidery started years ago through a mere coincidence. As instant as love at first sight, Tahiliani’s journey began with the unswerving lines of fine tailoring and immutable jingle of statement accessories.

“Years ago, when we had a closed economy, Pierre Cardin came to India. Unexpectedly, my wife was asked to model because they only had five French models with them.” The designer added, with a reminiscent smile, “by mere chance, I went to my very first fashion show to support my wife. It was absolutely beautiful. We were not exposed to that kind of art; precise tailoring, styling, and accessories.”

According to Tahiliani, the concept of fashion was non-existent at the time. The majority of people went to tailors. Known for their incomparable textiles, the locals simply wrapped their favourite fabrics in order to make their own personal fashion statements.

Infatuated by his first show, the designer started focusing on the local fashion scene. At the young age of 24, he came to the realisation that India’s best fashion was in fact sold abroad. Accordingly, Tahiliani took his first steps in the novel industry, when he established the country’s first multi-designer store: Ensemble.

“I could feel the market change coming even that early. No one wanted to wear the saree; they wanted to wear new things. Accordingly, I aimed to give people what they truly needed,” the designer said. “Our best work had to become available for our people; we needed to let our culture flourish. Ensemble aimed to celebrate India by Indians.”

For years after, Tahiliani has been crowned as an advocate of embroidery as well as a master of tackling the old world’s need to become contemporary. Circling around the globe, the designer has brought an air of ease and practicality to his culture-infused designs. His runways in Milan and other major cities have introduced an international audience to what used to be a traditional costume.

“I can go to work and just dedicate my time to beautiful embroidery; but, where is my relevance to the women of today? Everyone will switch to western clothes; it has already happened. In this case, traditional clothes become costumes that we only wear to weddings. It is just like the Japanese kimono; it is no longer a regular garment that younger generations opt for. At least in India, we still do not wear western designs to weddings,” explained Tahiliani in distraught.

As someone who allocates a good portion of his daily routine to studying history and art, Tahiliani is quite aware of the increasing need for practicality. According to his personal studies, while European fashion has evolved with time, reflecting the ongoing changes of eras, Indian garments have remained untouched for as long as the nation can remember.

“We have been very faithful to the beautiful fabrics and amazing jewellery for the longest period. Basically, we had to suddenly let go of our grandma’s traditional style to embrace modernity in order to survive the new millennium. Fashion needs to change; it is about the needs of the people,” said Tahiliani excitedly.

The designer identifies the need to give Indians what they need as his quest. Accordingly, it was no surprise when he decided to stop showcasing his work in Milan in order to concentrate his efforts on addressing his own people.

“When we first went to Milan, we took elements from classic Indian art and turned them into contemporary prints; meanwhile, we borrowed the statement jewellery, brocade, and tribal accessories from the heart of the country. More importantly, we added a contemporary twist on the traditional kaftans and sarees,” Tahiliani said. “We were also inspired by traditional men’s clothing. We took a few elements and incorporated them in modern cotton outfits for women.”

As the designer likes to repeat passionately, India is a goldmine for ideas. Nonetheless, he is often concerned that, due to stillness, the cultural wealth will soon disappear when millennials decide to only wear dirty jeans paired with worn-out t-shirts.

“Our brand is to keep India alive, yet, in a contemporary method. We aim to maintain our heritage while also taking into consideration our global identity. For next spring, we are working on a number of modern sarees that remain true to the brocade and rich draping; yet, anyone can still wear them around the world. I believe that the saree as well as the traditional jewellery have to become a global trend,” said Tahiliani lovingly.

Aside from fashion, Tahiliani is also quite known for experimenting with different forms of design. He has artistically turned traditional motifs into a line of carpets, which embraced his favourite colour beige.

According to him, cultures are built on layers of different decades and influences; nothing is ever shiny in the old world. Accordingly, he is often keen to add the aesthetic of mud to his interior designs. “I come from a culture quite similar to Egypt. Nonetheless, I do not want to put emphases on the expected multi-colours. Instead, interiors should be toned down to suit my modern context,” said Tahiliani while browsing through images of his own house.

His current visit to Egypt comes as part of the embassy’s annual festival, India By The Nile. Due to his expertise in this particular role, the designer was invited to help the guests grasp the core of Indian fashion, far from expected stereotypes. Nonetheless, as a devoted researcher, who has an adoration for ancient cultures, Tahiliani has also taken this week in the land of pharaohs as a chance to truly meet the country.

“We have all grown up inspired by Egyptian history. We have all sketched Egyptian-inspired art. It is a visual culture with distinctive eye makeup, gold jewellery, draping, and muslin. Just as everyone still thinks India is the maharaja and his tiger, even though they are both gone, to a foreigner, Egypt is Elizabeth Taylor playing Cleopatra. I had to come to Egypt to truly know it,” said the designer enthusiastically.

After only one day around the capital, the designer, who was still excited to explore the rest of country, was already adamant that draping is his favourite element of traditional Egyptian fashion.

Aside from the festival’s activities, he was also keen on visiting Luxor, as well as spending a week sailing down the Nile in preparation for an upcoming collection inspired by the country. “I have asked for a traditional boat and every afternoon, I will just dedicate my time to sketching,” said Tahiliani.

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Abla: Where parts are greater than the sum  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/15/abla-parts-greater-sum/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/15/abla-parts-greater-sum/#respond Thu, 15 Mar 2018 10:00:21 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=653674 When you ask for directions to Kerdasa, buried deep in the outskirts of Giza, the answer can fill two pages of a notebook. “You drive along one side of the Nile Corniche, go over a bridge, turn right, go up and up along a single-track road” and after several kilometres think, “where is this place?” …

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When you ask for directions to Kerdasa, buried deep in the outskirts of Giza, the answer can fill two pages of a notebook. “You drive along one side of the Nile Corniche, go over a bridge, turn right, go up and up along a single-track road” and after several kilometres think, “where is this place?” It’s all part of the adventure.

Once you arrive at the destination, down a dusty little road, the first thing you will notice is the odour of fried chicken liver, and on the right side of the row, lie various restaurants that claim to be the famous “Abla”, but only one of them is the original “Abla Quail.”

When it comes to poultry, white always wins for me. When it comes to reviewing meals, I try to let other members of our DNE team choose their own food. Then, usually, I choose something nobody else wants. Often, this is the chicken. I believe that this choice can be explained by a remark a friend once made recently. “I never eat chicken at restaurants,” he said. “I can make it at home.”

Obviously, everyone can, yet every time we visit a new restaurant, I always hope the kitchen may know a thing or two about poultry that I may not. Every once in a while, I am right.

Abla, a several decades old restaurant, was one of these places. I can confidently say that my search for a perfect restaurant to take people who think they can make better poultry at home to is complete.

We ordered one of Abla’s signature dishes, grilled quail. Once you order, the table quickly becomes filled with more than 10 mouth-watering dips and salads, from tahini and baba ghanoush to green salad, along with freshly baked “baladi” (traditional Egyptian) bread. Thoroughly grilled, every two birds were placed in the centre of the table in their own iron serving plates. Our eyes locked in on the crispy browned skin and tapering curves of the quail with fixed and purposeful stares that, if we had not been humans looking at poultry, could have been called lustful.

We also ordered grilled chicken pieces, which came in a large plate of deliciousness. The chicken was well marinated and spiced.

The team had never tasted something quite like it at any restaurant. The quail and chicken were well-cooked and delicious; crunchy from the outside and tender from inside.

When it came to the red meat dishes, they were as loved and enjoyed as the poultry. We ordered grilled beef kofta, along with veal chops. The meat had all the things we wanted and none of the things we did not. It was moist, but not drippy or briny; compact and muscular, but not tough; and long on deep, rounded flavour. However, the chops could have used some extra spices, as their flavour was a little bit dull.

One of Abla’s most remarkable dishes was the “mazzalika”, which is seasoned and cooked chicken or quail liver. The liver was tasty, well-cooked, and full of flavour.

On the other hand, rice-stuffed quail, a popular substitute for one of Egypt’s most famous dishes, stuffed pigeons, was served over rice on an iron plate. It had a golden baked skin, and did not disappoint; it was tasty, well cooked, and the rice was well spiced.

All in all, the Abla adventure was worth the effort and if you are looking for a delicious poultry meal, it is the place you want to be. And in terms of prices, the plates ranged from EGP 30-60 per serving; a full course meal that would leave you satisfied will not cost you over EGP 120.

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Hubert de Givenchy bids his final farewell at the age of 91 https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/14/hubert-de-givenchy-bids-final-farewell-age-91/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/14/hubert-de-givenchy-bids-final-farewell-age-91/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 13:00:18 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=653570 In the 1960s, the decisiveness of black took over the wardrobes of many women around the globe. After remaining loyal to the dreamy shades of pastel, one significant debut on the silver screen convinced many women to embrace the contemporary aesthetic of fashion. Audrey Hepburn, supported by her fashion soulmate Hubert de Givenchy, changed the …

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In the 1960s, the decisiveness of black took over the wardrobes of many women around the globe. After remaining loyal to the dreamy shades of pastel, one significant debut on the silver screen convinced many women to embrace the contemporary aesthetic of fashion.

Audrey Hepburn, supported by her fashion soulmate Hubert de Givenchy, changed the nature of everyday fashion through several memorable costumes flaunted on the sets of Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and many other box office sensations.

The man who paved the way to today’s fashion staples, one gown at a time, passed away this week at the age of 91. Philippe Venet, his life-long companion, confirmed the news yesterday. The acclaimed couturier passed away earlier this week at his residence in France.

Hubert de Givenchy was one of the most celebrated connoisseurs of taste and timeless elegance. His silhouettes gave women the chance to combine extravagance with practicality.

Along with Hepburn, who was his close friend and muse for over 40 years, Givenchy also created many unforgettable looks for the late princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, and the former first lady of the United States Jackie Kennedy.

The designer started his career working with the likes of Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior after the second world war before getting employed by the surreal Elsa Schiaparelli.

Givenchy started his eponymous brand in 1952 at the young age of 24. He later introduced the idea of separates. His revolutionary dress code depended on the feasibility of jackets, blouses, and skirts that could be restyled over and over, rather than inflexible gowns.

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Under the Abaya: Saudi’s first fashion book https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/14/abaya-saudis-first-fashion-book/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/14/abaya-saudis-first-fashion-book/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 12:00:35 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=653577 The untold sisterhood between Saudi heroines and their wafting allies

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Browsing through mass media, images of women covered in utter blackness would regularly pop up as an answer to any search associated with Saudi women. Stereotypes such as walking a certain distance behind men and never being able to freely choose a profession are salt and pepper to outdated, biased horror stories told about the seaside kingdom.

With that said, the abaya is often described as the most elaborate tool of oppression. While Japanese kimonos are often celebrated worldwide, their Saudi equivalent is repeatedly disparaged by global media.

Marriam Mossalli is a Saudi entrepreneur, who felt obliged to share her companionship with abayas in a time when social media is finally giving a credible voice to the unheard.

The fashion aficionado decided to stop the one-sided stories and shallow murmurs of empowerment with a visual love letter addressed at abayas and the women under them.

Her fashion book is not only a window into the true tales of inspiration found across the country, it is also a transparent representation of that particular piece of wardrobe. Under the abaya is Saudi Arabia’s first fashion book, which harbours impactful images of women flaunting strength and inspiration as must-have accessories.

From casual strolls around the country’s urban districts to mastering a motorbike while holding on to the burqa, the women captured in Mossalli’s book are not afraid to show their faces nor their confidence.

Daily News Egypt spoke with Mossalli to discuss the recent milestones Saudi women have achieved and the untold sisterhood shared by those unsung female heroines with their wafting allies.

What was the main incident/event that encouraged this project?

Having worked in the fashion industry for over a decade, I have always wanted to do something to highlight the diverse and insanely up-to-trend fashion scene in Saudi Arabia.

Yet, being a Saudi woman, I also knew that I wanted to do something for female empowerment even more. So when the Misk Art Institute invited me to participate in the first art books fair in Saudi Arabia, I felt it was just as good a time as any try to break the stereotypes of Saudi females often portrayed in Western media.

As a Saudi woman that often travels to Europe and the US, what is the most common stereotype that you are often faced with?

That I am filthy oil-money rich! I think the cities like London, Paris, Los Angeles, and New York are used to the “Ramadan rush” of Saudis invading their cities during summers to shop and go to Disneyland, so we kind of did this to ourselves.

But, I am hoping that as the demographics of our country shifts to a younger, more millennial generation (70% of our population is under the age of 30), that this stereotype will be replaced with a more fitting one; perhaps “every Saudi walks around with two phones and is constantly on Snapchat?”

What was the main message that you wanted to communicate through this project?

It is no secret that the media’s biased depiction tends to show an outdated version of us Saudi women, and I wanted to change that. I have always had that intention in everything I do, even in every trivial post on my social media.

I want to show the world that Saudi women are more than these unknown black figures you see on CNN. We are dreamers, pioneers, mothers, doctors, restaurateurs, students, and everything in between. We have opinions and ideas; meanwhile, we are making changes accordingly.

The book will also help create awareness around the long-term ambition of our ongoing online platform: www.undertheabayaksa.com, which is inspired by Humans of New York, where people submit their own pictures and tell us who they are, what they do, or their story.

Our hope is to create positive connotations around women and Saudi Arabia in order to counteract the negative stereotype of the Saudi female, who is “all covered in black without a voice and is forced to walk five feet behind her man.”

What were the main concerns women had regarding sending their images?

As I mentioned earlier, the concept of the book had always been something I dreamed of doing, but, two years ago, we were met with hesitation when women were wearier of having their faces published.

From a single post on Instagram, we had over 1,000 submissions in a week and in the release form, 95% of the submitters noted that not only would they be willing to show their faces, they actually preferred it!

I think Saudi Arabia is going through a transitional phase, when women are being given the identity they deserve. We are no longer identified in reference to our relationship to a man, such as um [mother of] or uhkt [sister of] so-and-so; rather, we are known by our own names and faces.

Now you turn on the local news are see HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar speaking confidently to world leaders in Davos, or Sarah Attar running alongside her fellow Olympians.

That in turn affects us women. It shows that our identity and individualism is no longer a taboo!

The abaya is often stigmatised as a tool of oppression. As a woman, who has been wearing it for a lifetime, to what extent does it present a part of your identity? 

I live in my abaya. It is the Saudi equivalent to Juicy Couture sweats; anyone who wears them should probably lie about how much they love to wear them!

I believe that it is the equivalent of men’s white thobe; a garment of national identity that allows me the freedom to focus on my work and not my appearance.

I really feel the abaya has helped women in the Arab Gulf become more confident in their intellect and achievements versus their appearance.

Do you still remember your first abaya? 

I got my first abaya way too late; I was a tall, lanky girl with no curves. Accordingly, I basically got away with looking like an 11-year-old until I was 16. But, my first abaya—which I still have—is a custom-made abaya, which my mom passed down to me from Milan.

It was a Versace abaya. I definitely felt proud to wear it because it meant I was no longer an adolescent, but rather, a woman.

It did not have connotations of oppression—it was marking a young girl’s passage into womanhood.

In your opinion, if abayas are no longer a mandatory dress code, would the majority of Saudi women still choose to wear them on a daily basis? 

I think the questions is when not if. And yes, I anticipate that many will still wear the abaya; much like the Emiratis in the UAE.

It is important to have the choice, and that is key. Yet, it will definitely stay a wardrobe staple for me, as I have even made my international friends sport it as a fashion statement!

The trend is quickly being picked up by millennials: ripped jeans, a crop top and an abaya in summer is becoming more Coachella than Native American feathered headpieces!

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Usfuur: birds of a ‘cause’ flock together  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/07/usfuur-birds-cause-flock-together/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/07/usfuur-birds-cause-flock-together/#respond Wed, 07 Mar 2018 17:00:18 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=652825 "We donate a percentage from each piece sold to help support Watanili's charity programmes, which include art therapy workshops, educational classes, and basic aid distribution," says the founder

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Seated in her favourite spot, she watches the birds as they go through their natural routine. While those feathered creatures flock together, her imagination pursues their flickering wings and her hands sketch a minimalist flight of peacemakers.

As liberated as any creature can ever wish to be, their wings gain stamina with each lingering eye that dreams of similar freedom. On the other hand, her determination to bring the same strength to those who cannot soar mounts every time she is greeted by their faith in safety and inclusion.

Born in Damascus, Syria, Yara Tlass studied international management before finding her real calling in charity work. Nonetheless, it was only a matter of time until she stumbled upon the unexpected empowering footprint of jewellery.

Inspired by her faith in birds, Tlass taught herself the means to make birds befriend women who believe in beauty and compassion. Through her precious winged miniatures, she was able to turn the mere habit of accessorising every morning into an act of benevolence.

Usfuur is a distinctive jewellery brand which embraces fashion’s subtle potential to be a method for good deeds. The designer utilises birds as a symbol for resilience. In less than three years, her minimalist warblers have carried on their dainty-wings educational programmes for a number of displaced Syrian kids.

Daily News Egypt sat with the designer in celebration of her Egyptian debut to discuss her fascination with birds abd the fine lines between jewellery and charity, as well as her early steps into the local market.

Why did you decide to depend on the symbol of birds as your main emblem?

I have a strong affinity for birds and what they symbolise—freedom, strength, and hope. They have a beautiful aura of serenity and I believe that is what the brand aspires to represent.

How did depending on one symbol reflect on the brand in terms of brand awareness and broadness in design? 

It was very well received; people love the idea of the bird and feel connected to the brand. As for the broadness in design, we always try to bring in something new, whether a new fabric, a new colour, a new material, or a new design collaboration.

Is it possible for the brand to move beyond the bird symbol in the near future? 

I think the bird motifs will always be there in one form or another—it is the brand’s emblem. However, I do see it evolving as well as taking different shapes and forms; but, the bird signature will still have to be present one way or another, even if it is just a small bird hidden in the lock’s details.

How would you define your clientele?

A strong and feminine woman who appreciates beauty and loves a good story.

What encouraged you to start your brand in Dubai?

I have been living here for a couple years. I find Dubai to be a great hub for cultural and design initiatives; it is really inspiring in so many ways and there are a lot of opportunities for small businesses.

Where do you manufacture your jewellery? 

We manufacture our jewellery in Dubai. The process starts with a mood board to get the inspiration flowing, then we sketch and iterate until we are satisfied with the piece. Next, we start by creating a sample, crafting the design, and making sure it is on point.

Once we finalise the first model, we move on to producing in quantities.

In what way is the charity percentage utilised in supporting Syrian families? 

We donate a percentage from each piece sold to help support Watanili’s charity programmes, which include art therapy workshops, educational classes, and basic aid distribution to the local community around Hatay.

How many families have benefited from Usfuur so far? 

Hundreds of families, especially Syrian women and children located around the town of Hatay on the Syrian-Turkish border, about 5 km away from Syria.

Why did you decide to stock your products at Coterique? 

We have been wanting to have a solid presence in Egypt and Coterique is definitely a hotspot. Meanwhile, it fits into our brand ethos; we love their style and the diversity of their brands.

How do you perceive the Egyptian market based on your research? 

We believe they will interact well with our brand identity and designs, especially given the fact that we are working on more elaborate design pieces—sophisticated and edgy, something that will appeal to the Egyptian market.

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Azwak makes diversity a trend https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/07/azwak-makes-diversity-trend/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/07/azwak-makes-diversity-trend/#respond Wed, 07 Mar 2018 16:00:27 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=652810 Egyptians are firm believers that diversity of taste is the greatest assurance for contradicting aesthetics to coexist. While trends often lead to identical troops of loyal followers, few still seek to remain true to their personal preferences. In a time when even the biggest fashion names are willing to take detours in order to float …

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Egyptians are firm believers that diversity of taste is the greatest assurance for contradicting aesthetics to coexist. While trends often lead to identical troops of loyal followers, few still seek to remain true to their personal preferences.

In a time when even the biggest fashion names are willing to take detours in order to float with the current, few local connoisseurs of individuality refuse to give up on their inner fashion compass.

While many fail to resist the urge to satisfy the masses, nowadays, local designers are more adamant to address this particular market gap with a wider range of choices. Azwak, which could be translated into tastes, is a local brand specialised in basics that make grand entrances a daily habit.

The fashion answer for diversification was established by three life-long friends, who never seem to agree on their personal fashion choices. Iron-welled to turn their usual arguments into a solution, the three decided to start a brand.

According to Alia Al Baker, co-founder, Azwak is based on their aim to cater to preferences as contradicting as theirs. Based on their belief that fashion is a form of expression that differs from each person to the other, the trio plans to not leave any woman excluded.

Collectively, the three tackle each trend with the purpose of exploring its three opposing angles. A morning jacket can be a velvet blazer for one partner, a satin bomber for the other, and an over-sized cardigan for the third.

On the other hand, a top worth being labelled as a fashion investment can reveal cold shoulders according to the first, or embrace the drama of a bell sleeve to satisfy the second designer.

Together, the three designers represent an entire generation that aims to maintain a smart wardrobe which could be recycled and accessorised at the beginning of every season. Azwak provides a young audience with must-have garments that appeal to different aesthetics.

Their biggest hits include a unique interpretation of the internationally trending culotte trousers. Accentuated by a knotted belt and side slits, the comfortable piece of garment is not only an obvious daily companion, but also a trusted statement, which can be paired with sneakers for the daytime or high heels for the dance floor.

With that said, their latest collection features a fashionable blast from the past. The retro overalls bring back the popular combination of plaid and suspenders. The reminiscent design features a wide-leg silhouette and two vertical sets of buttons. Whether styled with a friend from the old times or a rather contemporary shirt, the overall is the epitome of the brand’s distinctive range.

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Tavola restaurant: Mix of modern, old Italian cooking https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/01/tavola-restaurant-mix-modern-old-italian-cooking/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/01/tavola-restaurant-mix-modern-old-italian-cooking/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 12:00:19 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=652186 Spring is just around the corner in Cairo. Nothing compares to a sunset lunch over the Nile. Spending the weekend, enjoying the softest of breezes coming off the Nile with a surrounding Nile background just complements the joy of your day off. At Nile Point, one of Maadi’s venues where a series of Cairo’s finest …

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Spring is just around the corner in Cairo. Nothing compares to a sunset lunch over the Nile. Spending the weekend, enjoying the softest of breezes coming off the Nile with a surrounding Nile background just complements the joy of your day off.

At Nile Point, one of Maadi’s venues where a series of Cairo’s finest restaurants are chained together, Daily News Egypt paid a visit to newly-opened Tavola restaurant.

Tavola restaurant is famous for serving chicken and pasta dishes. Its first ever Egyptian branch opened in Fifth Settlement, New Cairo, and only a few months later, another two branches opened in Maadi and Sheikh Zayed.

The place is designed in a modern style, with the dominating colours of blue and grey giving an embracing and welcoming feel.

The service quality is one of the most remarkable hallmarks of Tavola, where waiters are at your constant service; they are constantly asking if customers need anything and the manager himself goes around checking on tables.

In fact, Tavola’s cordial welcome went beyond our expectations. We ordered a classic mix of Tavola samplers as appetisers.  The large plate came with a mix of chicken strips, fish fingers, calamari, baked potato covered with minced beef and cheese, crispy sticks, mozzarella sticks, and mushrooms with tomatoes. The large plate was served with four mouth-watering dips: honey mustard, chili marinara sauce, blue cheese, and mayonnaise with chopped pickles.

The team had never tasted something quite like it at any restaurant. The chicken was well-cooked and delicious; however, it could have been better spiced. Crunchy from the outside and tender from inside, the strips were good yet lacked seasoning, just like all the other dishes as we later found out.

While the dips added a unique taste to all the food, there was no tinge of seasoning such as salt or pepper in the food, something we found missing in almost all the served dishes.

The worst of the appetisers were the fish fingers and the calamari. The strong scent of the fish overwhelmed the overall taste, and not in a good way, leaving no room for the taste of the fish and calamari to show.

As for the main meal, we ordered a dish of chicken basil, made of a charbroiled chicken covered with smoked turkey sauce and stuffed with basil. We also ordered chicken bologna, a dish made of fried chicken breast covered with marinara sauce and green mozzarella.

Besides that, we ordered chicken with penne sauce, with sides of French fries and mashed potatoes that tasted good.

Truth be told, the main dishes were a bit disappointing to us. The fried chicken was overfired and slightly burned, leaving the chicken with a bitter taste. Despite being extremely crunchy, the lack of seasoning left the chicken tasteless. If not for the marinara sauce, it would have been quite appalling.

The grilled chicken was somewhat better; the creamy taste was sharp and tasty, the chicken was well-cooked, and the grilling taste was strongly pronounced and appealing.

It would have been better if the chicken was marinated in the seasoning for a longer time before being grilled. The taste of basil was strong, yet somehow did not go along with the smoked cream sauce well.

The mashed potatoes were also served with sliced onions, which is an unfamiliar addition which was a great treat for onion enthusiasts.

It was budget-friendly for almost any class of customer, with dishes ranging from EGP 100-350.

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Sandbox declares Specks a jewellery staple  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/01/sandbox-declares-specks-jewellery-staple/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/01/sandbox-declares-specks-jewellery-staple/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 11:00:49 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=652182 Influenced by the smooth specks of sand, which represent an element that often surrounds the everyday life of Egyptians in the most subtle way, Suhayla Al Sheikh has decided to put it under the magnifying glass in her own personal way. The founder of Sandbox drifted away from her previous inspiration by resorting to the …

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Influenced by the smooth specks of sand, which represent an element that often surrounds the everyday life of Egyptians in the most subtle way, Suhayla Al Sheikh has decided to put it under the magnifying glass in her own personal way.

The founder of Sandbox drifted away from her previous inspiration by resorting to the complete opposite. After making it snow with “Winter’s Mirage”, the new Specks collection is inspired by the circular shape of specks, turning a minor element into a powerful statement.

According to the designer, this collection represents a turning point for the homegrown silver jewellery brand. After a few experimental collections, the brand currently plans to adopt the silver sphere as an emblem of Sandbox’s design aesthetic.

Depending on the oldest rules of geometry, the unlimited potential of the spherical speck is set to become the focal point of many future collections and designs. Starting from the new collection, the brand is determined to explore the underrated range of the speck.

The collection includes a number of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, all embracing the circular shape. The designs highlight the classic appeal of a minimalist arrangement of spheres. Meanwhile, it also represents a fashion investment, which can survive the rapid turns of trends.

Following the same methods and speed with which the specks of sand travel, Al Sheikh aims to make her brand an inspiration for women to follow their own path without giving much thought to peer pressure.

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Ammanii unites women with one ‘Sa’maa’ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/01/ammanii-unites-women-one-samaa/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/01/ammanii-unites-women-one-samaa/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 10:00:58 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=652176 "Whether you are in the east or the west, you are still covered by the same sky. You do not get an extra piece because you come from a different background or believe in a different religion or have a different skin colour," says the designer 

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In the old times, long before the internet and smart technology, travellers with minimal equipment used to bid their farewells to family and friends before venturing into long journeys. For days and nights, they would forget the skill of communicating with humans and let the stars above lead the way.

While the nights got colder and lonelier, their faith in the sky would only grow stronger; letting the vast blanket spread to console them. With new inventions emerging every day, the similarities between those from the east and those from the west only dwindled, leaving two sides of the world with no common ground.

Jewellery designer, Amany Shaker, is a woman of two homes and a firm faith in communication. As the pollution of modernity is only obscuring the skies above the world’s biggest urban cities, Shaker is relentlessly keen on inching the cloak aside. Ammanii is Shaker’s method to converse with an international audience of strong and well-powered women.

“Starting this jewellery brand was driven by the desire to create something that can connect my background as a Middle Eastern woman with my present in Los Angles, California,” she said. The designer added, “I wanted to create something that can represent the positive aspect of our heritage and introduce it to the other part of my world; the states.”

Inspired by her drive to leap above cultural barriers and bring the far ends of the world closer, Shaker is always intrigued by symbols of unity and strength. For her first collection in Egypt, she looked for designs that would require no translation.

“At the end of the day, Ammanii is a wearable and artistic method to offer a glimpse of the Middle East and the strong women that live in this part of the world; it is a peek that should intrigue people to learn more,” said Shaker.

Sa’maa (the sky) is the designer’s latest ode to the shareable emblems of life. Like an author, Shaker is always keen to make each design a skilful storyteller. Meanwhile, the collection collectively features common ties and interrelated interpretations embraced across all cultures.

“My new collection is a great example of my design aesthetic. It is celestial; it revolves around the moon, stars, and the sky above us all. I wanted it to be a homage to the blanket that covers humanity. Whether you are in the east or the west, you are still covered by the same sky,” the designer explained. “You do not get an extra piece because you come from a different background or believe in a different religion or have a different skin colour. It is a universal blanket that knows no such thing as discrimination.”

Along with the cosmic motifs, the collection also showcases a number of distinctive eyes. According to the woman behind it all, they are not meant to be evil eyes; instead, they are eyes that protect. The guarding concept is a result to the designer’s conviction that despite the differences found between religions, everyone believes in a loving power that watches over humanity.

“To me, this was a common theme, which everyone could relate to. On the other hand, I also wanted to focus on women and send them messages of empowerment through this theme. Women share many similarities with the sky; they are the mothers, sisters, friends, and providers that protect, watch over, and love,” added the designer passionately.

Despite leaving Egypt over 30 years ago, the designer has kept strong ties with her hometown. Through regular visits, she was able to comprehend the similarities as well as the contrast between the two worlds. In parallel, she was also able to understand the difference between establishing a brand on either side.

 

“Every few years, I contemplated if it was time to come back. However, it was only now that I felt like it is time to connect the dots again. I am a young brand in the Egyptian market; however, I have been around in LA for a while and thankfully, it was very successful,” stated Shaker.

The move indicates a new milestone for the brand as Ammanii’s constellations are finally capable of circulating a new orbit. Meanwhile, the cross-cultural designer also seeks introducing her brainchild to those who would appreciate the stories before the intricate designs.

In addition to the universal aesthetic, the brand also maintains a strong rapport with a third part of the globe: the Far East. Due to the intricacy of the designs, Ammanii is manufactured in Hong Kong, where they use the highest technology in jewellery making.

“Trying to find the right manufacturing factory is a process on its own. Initially, I wanted someone that can understand the story or even have a connection with it to manufacture the jewellery. However, I cannot do that from a long distance,” Shaker said. She added regarding her future plans, “my goal is to actually start a small workshop here in Egypt, where I can manufacture all of the pieces. Nonetheless, that would require me to be present in Egypt, all the time.”

Enthralled by the history of Egyptian jewellery, the designer is often sad about manufacturing away from the country of the Nile. According to her, talking about local jewellery always naturally leads to iconic collections displayed at various museums around the world.

“It is not the accessory aspect of it that matters, jewellery has always had spiritual and social meanings. Therefore, for me to take all of that and ship it somewhere else is quite unfortunate,” said the designer.

Walking the same lines of her ancestors, Shaker depends on sterling silver to unravel her tales. Her choice is based on the historic fact that ancient Egyptians believed that the bones and frames of gods were made of silver while their skin was made of gold.

“To me, this was a mesmerising piece of knowledge. Silver is solid and it really represents women, it represents us. We are the foundation, we are the providers of life, and we are that frame,” explained Shaker with an admiring smile.

On the other hand, the brand also embraces the cutting-edge technology of micro plating. The advanced method steers away from the old method of dipping overnight, hoping that it would come out right.

With that said, the designer also uses several different colours: gold and black lanthanum, which is often used for its durability. The new technology allows mixing two colours, without jeopardising the integrity of either.

“This colour pallet is a signature that I plan to maintain throughout future collections. Simultaneously, all the finish and details, whether on the inside or outside, are equally important. I want people to grasp the value; it is affordable luxury,” concluded the designer while looking into her ring.

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Eden Park brings the rugby aesthetic to Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/26/eden-park-brings-rugby-aesthetic-egypt/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/26/eden-park-brings-rugby-aesthetic-egypt/#respond Mon, 26 Feb 2018 11:30:55 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=651740 It is not extraordinary to find the hallways of Egypt’s shopping malls bustling with eager shoppers. Their frantic eyes move rapidly between illuminating banners while their hands gravitate towards their favorite tags. While the past year has irrupted a number of conflicting opinions regarding the fashion industry, a certain French brand decided to go against …

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It is not extraordinary to find the hallways of Egypt’s shopping malls bustling with eager shoppers. Their frantic eyes move rapidly between illuminating banners while their hands gravitate towards their favorite tags.

While the past year has irrupted a number of conflicting opinions regarding the fashion industry, a certain French brand decided to go against the general tide and end the year in Egypt.

Eden Park celebrated the opening of its first branch in Egypt among the industry’s leading experts. The rugby-inspired brand celebrates the city of light with contemporary menswear and minimal fashion. After establishing a strong presence in the Arab region, the Egyptian capital was Eden Park’s last stop for the year.

“It is not my way of thinking; however, this time it was a mere opportunity that came our way. We have achieved a great success in Kuwait with our franchisee partner—Fashion International—and it was their idea to experiment with the Egyptian market,” said Franck Mesnel, the founder.

The former rugby player was inspired right on the field to take the sport’s spirit and build a signature brand. ” We are lucky to have a true story; accordingly, we build good-quality items around it. I would not necessarily say survive, but today, if you want to exist, you have to be unique. Of course, it is easier said than done,” said Mesnel.

According to the visionary founder, the current fashion world prioritises the human element as a key factor in commerce. His firm believes that a bad shop with an excellent team might lead to satisfying success, while the opposite situation would yield in nothing, which has made him seek partners before numbers.

Therefore, he was keen on visiting the new store personally to start planning methods of local adaptation. According to his near term plans, the team aims to utilise the iconic Egyptian cotton in the brand’s signature shirts.

“I like meeting new people and adding something new to the brand every time we enter a new market. Being an old rugby player, team spirit and sharing values is quite important to me. I have to salute Fashion International for taking a great part in the story build-up and taking care of importing the merchandise with absolute smoothness,” said Mesnel.

The sports-inspired brand is renowned for seeking quality at every possible opportunity. The founder finds it his personal duty to create a strong balance between quality and price, in spite of any economic or manufacturing challenges.

“I can see that Cairo’s population is steadily increasing; of course it is divided between several categories, but if you have a reasonable and good product, there is an opportunity to target almost everyone,” concluded Mesnel.

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Lana El-Sahely lands in Egypt with a capsule collection https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/26/lana-el-sahely-lands-egypt-capsule-collection/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/26/lana-el-sahely-lands-egypt-capsule-collection/#respond Mon, 26 Feb 2018 11:00:35 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=651732 With an airplane for a weekly mean of transportation and thousands of digital fans for daily companions, her days are marked with a structured feed of posts. As the world hides away from the snowy cold on February mornings, she struts in the streets of Paris between the star-studded runway shows of haute couture. Meanwhile, …

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With an airplane for a weekly mean of transportation and thousands of digital fans for daily companions, her days are marked with a structured feed of posts. As the world hides away from the snowy cold on February mornings, she struts in the streets of Paris between the star-studded runway shows of haute couture.

Meanwhile, she spends her mornings poised in meeting rooms, discussing the next big Instagram-able fashion statement. Lana El-Sahely is a Lebanese fashion blogger who followed a novel career path during its early days in the Middle East.

After garnering thousands of followers and working with a number of respectable fashion giants around the Middle East as well as the world, El-Sahely decided to step out of her regular route for a special stop in Egypt.

Over the course of less than a week, the fashion expert met the country’s media, designers, and fashionistas. Meanwhile, she also dedicated enough time to visit the monuments, try the mouth-watering diners, and document the visit with a few photoshoots between the walls of museums and narrow alleys of historical markets.

“I have been blogging for seven years and my work is mostly between Dubai, Beirut, and Paris. However, I have noticed that I have quite a good following in Egypt,” the influencer said, adding, “I often received questions from followers asking me about when I would visit Egypt.”

While the restaurant in the background roars with impressed praise and admiring sighs, the pregnant fashion expert explained that her visit was also encouraged by her friend, Giovenina Atieh, founder of Maison Pyramide, who assured her that there was a lot to see in the local market, as well as a good number of talented designers who could be the perfect match for her fashion collaborations.

“I launched my e-shop a year ago. It is specialised in collaboration pieces with designers and brands. Seventy percent of my previous collaborations have been with regional designers based between Dubai and Lebanon. On the other hand, I have also collaborated with international names such as Essie from L’Oréal and Fendi,” explained El-Sahely.

L’Armoire De Lana (LDL Shop) specialises in limited-edition products with accessible prices which are available only on the website. With a criteria that demands the selected designers have good experience in the market, as well as a thing or two in common with El-Sahely’s personal style, she inaugurated a quest to identify a handful of local designers that would undoubtedly penetrate her personal wardrobe before her e-shop.

“It is very risky to trust a designer with your standard of quality. I would not just feature a piece on my website that does not meet proper standards. The biggest challenge is always being able to find those who are trendy, not necessarily known by everyone, and can deliver good-quality products with reasonable prices,” the blogger said decidedly with a stern look on her face.

The Egyptian capsule collection included a few practical pieces that address a young and trendy woman who believes in the global language of fashion. Being one of the country’s most prominent and promising design talents, Mohanad Kojak contributed to the project with a t-shirt that can effortlessly seep from day to night without falter.

“This one is embroidered, unlike his previous t-shirts and more like his elaborate gowns. It is a beautiful design with pearls and sequin; he even painted certain parts,” explained El-Sahely proudly.

After deciding to join fashion forces, Kojak was inspired to illustrate El-Sahely using his conceptual sketching aesthetic. The designer gave emphasis to what he considered her most prominent features; the statement red lipstick and wide eyes.

With that said, the collection expanded to include another t-shirt. Maram Aboul Enein, who is famous for fine embroidery and sophisticated quality, took one of the influencer’s favourite quotes and turned it into a wearable mantra.

“The gold and black t-shirt embraces an empowering sentence that I have written some time ago: find your fire. Meanwhile, it also has my logo on it,” explained the blogger admiringly.

As for the local industry’s favourite sister duo, Okhtein, they added to the collection a credit card holder that is going to be available in three different colours. While the piece remains faithful to the brand’s exquisite leather and intricate Egyptian craftsmanship, it also offers an affordable solution to the fashion necessity of owning the sisters’ trademark brass rods.

Meanwhile, the design studio of Azza Fahmy introduced a pair of simple gold-plated earrings designed by a student. The versatile pair takes the shape of safety pins, a witty statement that could be styled in a myriad of different ways.

“We also worked with Ammanii Jewelry, which is one of my personal favourites,” El-Sahely explained as she excitedly gestured towards her personal pair of earrings. “We created a dainty design that can be worn either in an asymmetrical fashion or identically. I personally find it a very cool and contemporary piece.”

Subsequently, the blogger pointed to her blazer before speaking about the last participating designer. The King’s Mother added their blazer mania to the collection with two different designs. While the first design, worn by El-Sahely during the launch event, champions an earthly beige hue as well as collar details and bell sleeves, the second design supports the impact of subtle patterns.

According to El-Sahely, this experience has only encouraged her to build on it with further extravaganza and keep the door open to another group of local designers. “Today I was surprised by the amount of people who showed up to the launch event. We even have people who came all the way from Alexandria,” said the social-media celebrity proudly.

With that said, the fashion expert regards this visit as an attempt to mark her presence in Egypt, as she greatly believes in the potential of the local industry as well as the wide range of unexplored creative wealth.

“People here have an amazing energy. There is so much positivity, which reminds me of the attitude of the Lebanese people after the war. They wanted to try harder and fight; it is some kind of a small revolution. New restaurants and designers are popping everywhere,” concluded the fashion influencer.

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Dina Shaker deconstructs classics, reassesses industry  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/18/dina-shaker-deconstructs-classics-reassesses-industry/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/18/dina-shaker-deconstructs-classics-reassesses-industry/#respond Sun, 18 Feb 2018 11:00:39 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=650766 Like a surgeon, a trench coat absorbs the spotlight ahead and interacts with her frantic hands, dissecting and reassembling a design that many women know by heart. Her trained eyes can seemingly spot the unexpected similarities between a sleeve and a belt. Sooner or later, a shirt obediently follows her instructions to morph into a …

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Like a surgeon, a trench coat absorbs the spotlight ahead and interacts with her frantic hands, dissecting and reassembling a design that many women know by heart. Her trained eyes can seemingly spot the unexpected similarities between a sleeve and a belt.

Sooner or later, a shirt obediently follows her instructions to morph into a skirt. Meanwhile, a blazer can become an inseparable companion of a coat. With few craftsmen scattered across the room, she leads her personal beehive through a contentiously shifting industry.

Dina Shaker is Egypt’s connoisseur of deconstructed fashion and unexpected silhouettes. Over the course of 15 years, her brand has become one of the early home-grown ready-to-wear labels that cater to women with strong character. Her most recent collection is a celebration of every woman’s trusted classic pieces.

“Recomposed Classics is a reinterpretation of well-known pieces, which could be found in any woman’s wardrobe. The main goal was to dissect these items before putting them together once again,” said the designer.

Despite being the only one specialised in this form of fashion reshuffling, her aesthetic is evidently becoming a global trend with many designers embracing few of her favourite details.

Sleeve belts have become a well-known emblem of Shaker’s brand. She started with classic blazer sleeves a few seasons ago then developed into borrowing a few elements from the denim jacket, especially the sleeves, for her previous collection. “I try to update my brand all the time. Now that everyone is doing the sleeve belt, my challenge is to maintain it, yet, with new interpretations,” said Shaker.

The designer’s desire to stay ahead of the curve is something that she shares with many well-known global icons of design. With customers bored of expected garments, more people are starting to embrace progressive designs for their everyday occasions.

“Fast fashion has wasted a lot of creative concepts as well as the designers’ tremendous effort. By the time the fashion show ends, high-street stores instantly showcase a replica of the same designs. Accordingly, designers are obliged to think years ahead,” explained Shaker regarding the progressive fashion forecast nowadays.

With that said, Shaker believes that production is the most difficult phase in creating any collection. As someone who is often seen with a notepad sketching ideas on the go, she finds herself investing the majority of her effort and time in manufacturing.

“Local craftsmen are very limited in number. My team is quite small; nonetheless, working on new concepts that they have never seen before makes them regard themselves as revolutionaries.” The designer added, “time is always a pressuring factor; we are obliged to work on two different timelines, one for the local market and another—one year ahead—for exhibitions abroad.”

As the world follows a hectic calendar of six seasons, Egypt only focuses on two. Therefore, Shaker believes that working in the local market has taught her multitasking. Learning from her experience, she defines her brand as a small business that has to be quite selective in terms of supply and demand in order not to suffocate under pressure.

With that said, the designer identifies foreign orders as the most organised and planned. The strong knowledge of customers makes international stores and buyers capable of accurately assessing their needs ahead of a season.

On the other hand, designers are put under the burden of limited funds when targeting the local market. “When you get an order from a foreign exhibition, you also receive a down payment with which you can start your production. However, we do not have the same concept here in Egypt,” explained Shaker.

The current retailing system depends on consignment agreements, which require designers to fund and manufacture an entire inventory without tangible projections of sales, hence keeping many brands from growing.

Simultaneously, the lack of international department stores in Egypt has always been a challenge for many up and coming designers. The local market is highly influenced by international fashion brands as indicated by the seasonal sales reports. Meanwhile, local designers are often asked to prove themselves in terms of quality and creativity.

“Local consumers think less of local brands. They are not willing to pay as much as they do for international labels. As a matter of fact, I sell my designs abroad for higher prices, because unfortunately in Egypt, the common clientele will not invest such budgets in a home-grown piece of garment,” indicated the designer.

As a designer that has been in the market for long enough to have her strong base of resources, Shaker is quite familiar with the challenges newer designers face on a daily basis in an attempt to maintain their eponymous labels. While many influencers and agencies believe in the power of social media, the designer’s experience tends to confirm the contrary.

“Local brands do need real support, not hashtags and social media campaigns. We need public awareness regarding the economic importance of fashion. People need to understand that each piece of garment is a direct source of income for many local families,” shaker explained. “Fashion design is not only a form of art. It is an industry with many interlaced factors. A lot of designers are keen on having strong social media presence. But where is the product? Where can I find it? Who is wearing it?”

While reaching a satisfactory level of demand and sustaining it is an ongoing challenge, local supply is not any easier, especially after the most recent economic changes. With the currency fluctuating earlier last year, many suppliers have decided to increase their prices suddenly and without a measurable percentage.

“During last season, I had to pay different prices for the same piece of fabric over the duration of a few weeks. I remember not accepting certain fabrics before the fluctuation, now I just take them due to the new prices and evident shortage of options,” said the designer with a troublesome expression.

According to Shaker, materials such as lining fabrics and shoulder padding are nowhere to be found because suppliers refuse to import them based on the new taxes and customs. In parallel, local craftsmanship is dying rapidly. The average age of manufacturers is currently above 50, meaning that in time, the current generation of craftsmen would mark the end of this local craft.

“Back when I first started, each craftsman used to have a young assistant shadowing him and learning during the process. However, nowadays the new generation is not interested in learning this skill. Instead, they are keener to drive a tok-tok; flexible hours and higher wage,” explained the designer regarding her constant search for talents to train.

Supported by her deep understanding of the local market and industry, Shaker believes that all solutions could be generated by the collaborative effort of those who care about this industry. While social media might not offer instant solutions, incubators could help designers and craftsmen grow simultaneously.

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Valentine’s Day massage at Nile Ritz Carlton: luxurious experience for perfect weekend https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/14/valentines-day-massage-nile-ritz-carlton-luxurious-experience-perfect-weekend/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/14/valentines-day-massage-nile-ritz-carlton-luxurious-experience-perfect-weekend/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 14:12:49 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=650524 After a long tiring week, one could not think of a better way to relax and regain his power, other than spending a day at the spa resting and escaping Cairo’s fatigue lifestyle. Looking for a perfect couple of hours of spa time to start the weekend is what I have been looking for all …

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After a long tiring week, one could not think of a better way to relax and regain his power, other than spending a day at the spa resting and escaping Cairo’s fatigue lifestyle. Looking for a perfect couple of hours of spa time to start the weekend is what I have been looking for all week.

Luckily, spas celebrate the world red day through outstanding offers that would be one of Valentine’s most appreciated gifts, and the Nile Ritz Carlton is one of the best fancy places to do so.

Valentine’s packages expand to more than just a day at the luxurious hotel. Looking at the several packages, I could not resist trying them all.

The extravagant two-hour experience started at the spa hall, where the fragrance of rose oil petals dominated the place, where I reviewed the packages and picked one of them.

For Valentine’s Day, Nile Ritz Carlton offers either a 60-minute champagne massage for couples or the second package that includes a 25-minute body rose scrub, a 25-minute chocolate body mask, and a 50-minute massage for one person. As for the third package, it offers to individuals enjoying any of the body scrub, mask, or massage separately.

In bad need for some luxury and a new experience, I went for the second package.

Sitting in the soft, giant robe, relaxing at the sauna where steam surrounds you, invading your cells, on one of the winter’s cold nights, was a great start to a deluxe, nourishing experience.

The laze journey actually started in a cosy suit containing a private steam room, a shower, and a bed, where the quiet Thai masseuse started with the rich, moisturising body scrub, made of coconut, olive oil, and roses. Exfoliating extra skin has never smelled more nice nor tasty. The mixture of the three components created a rough, yet moisturising texture, which left my skin boosted, soft, and shiny, while smelling freshly fruity and nutty.

For 25 minutes, each body part, from neck to toe, was well pampered and covered with the texture, before it was left for 10 extra minutes in the steam room to absorb the mixture and absorb the oil.

The second phase was being foil-wrapped with the dark chocolate body mask, that is used to deeply moisturise and soften the skin.

The experience was a mixture of temptation and joy. Between the smell of melting dark chocolate, and the smoothness of it spreading around one’s body, the 25-minute mask left my body’s tan shining, deeply soft, and well moisturised.

When it came to the massage, customers are left with deciding whether they want a champagne massage or a normal one with natural sweet odours.

Nile Ritz Carlton is a lounge that offers one of the best body treatment services in Cairo. While the long, soft masseuse fingers slipped over my neck and face, flying in another world of heaven was the constant feeling.

With the dim light, classic music, and sound of sea waves in the background, while her fingers lightly pressure over the stressed knots, the massage was one of the best I tried.

Generally, the two-hour experience was one of a kind and I highly recommend it.

The champagne massage for two persons was for EGP 3,000, while the mixed package is also for EGP 3,000. For the body rose scrub and chocolate mask separately, each costs EGP 1,000, while the champagne massage is for EGP 2,000.

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Vasari: The renaissance of slogan t-shirts  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/12/vasari-renaissance-slogan-t-shirts/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/12/vasari-renaissance-slogan-t-shirts/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 11:00:50 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=650081 Some walk into museums to learn about art, while others capitalise on the power of the internet to stay up to date with today’s forms of expression. However, only a niche group can see the thin lines between two opposing worlds. Those few can fancy a world where paintings come to life; not to talk …

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Some walk into museums to learn about art, while others capitalise on the power of the internet to stay up to date with today’s forms of expression. However, only a niche group can see the thin lines between two opposing worlds.

Those few can fancy a world where paintings come to life; not to talk about politics or conditions of life, but rather, the most iconic lyrics of hip-hop! The liberal concept is a statement that art is a form of revolution, which acknowledges no boundaries of time. As the founders say: imagine a world where Van Gogh and Jay Z are friends.

Bassem Basta is a 22-year-old who studied supply chain and finance in Boston. However, when he is not talking about logistics and numbers, he is often submerged in his laptop; dotting the fine bridges between the world’s greatest paintings and today’s most infamous R&B lyrics.

“Vasari is inspired by my favourite artist Giorgio Vasari, the Italian painter. It is a comfy brand that is based on the mixture of art, R&B, and pop culture,” Basta said, adding, “Vasari is my way to show my appreciation of different forms of art.”

Being a millennial himself, Basta grew up listening to hip-hop and R&B since a very early age. On the other hand, his parents also made sure to introduce him to art as they proudly fill their household with paintings.

Nonetheless, his fascination with mute paintings grew further when he moved abroad for university, as he started regularly visiting a lot of museums and naturally even taking a few art history classes. All these factors inspired him to launch a dedicated ready-to-wear brand.

“I started back in 2013 when I was still in high school. At the beginning, I was not confident about the concept. Accordingly, I started by testing the market and investing a minimal budget. I established an Instagram page and started engaging with potential clients,” said Basta.

The simple attempts of Basta, accompanied with his contemporary interpretation of the world’s most celebrated pieces of art led to unexpected online feedback. Encouraged by the non-stop myriad of comments, shares, and orders, he established a website by 2015 and started investing in ways to represent the brand.

“I do not call myself a designer because I am not. Maybe I am just a creative person who can link two of his most favourite forms of art. It is a hobby that has turned into a brand; nonetheless, it is not a job,” he said. “However, I am planning to develop it further and create a wider range of products. Maybe then I would start calling it a job.”

The locally-made t-shirts are an art-fuelled form of the decade’s biggest fashion trend; statement slogans. Using contemporary art, Basta expresses an unexpected contradiction through selecting precise popular lyrics. Whether English or Arabic, the text does not only capitalise on successful musical hits, but also sheds light on how relatable it could be when taken out of context.

“It is a constant process of studying and researching art. I cannot possibly memorise all of those paintings. However, my choices have been greatly influenced by the art courses I attended at university,” Basta said. He explained about the non-existent presence of local artists in Vasari’s designs saying, “unfortunately, I was not exposed to Egyptian painters; however, recently I have been contemplating the idea of venturing into that side of our history to utilise it.”

According to the founder, in order to be able to use a painting, it has to be at least 70 years old. Due to the international regulations of intellectual property, he cannot freely utilise the art of any living artists.

With that being said, Vasari has already embraced Arabic typography, inspired by local pop culture. On the other hand though, sales records suggest that people often favour English slogans, especially since Basta tends to specialise in modern art.

On the other hand, in spite of being an ode to popular forms of art, the hybrid designs could be categorised as too bold for the local taste. “I have received very limited negative feedback. I remember someone calling my brand degrading to women. Nonetheless, I could not see how, since I do not make it with the purpose of insulting anyone. I believe those that understand this brand are also familiar with the lyrics and the main concept behind it,” concluded the founder.

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N By Natalie: A lifetime with the right top https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/12/n-natalie-lifetime-right-top/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/12/n-natalie-lifetime-right-top/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:00:01 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=650078 Along with a charismatic white shirt, she walks into the room nonchalantly. Her collar is straight and her heart is accessorised with a dramatic bow. While the world has caught the digital fever and replaced conversations with chat boxes, her relentless fingers have never ceased to tap at the sight of rich fabrics. Others might …

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Along with a charismatic white shirt, she walks into the room nonchalantly. Her collar is straight and her heart is accessorised with a dramatic bow. While the world has caught the digital fever and replaced conversations with chat boxes, her relentless fingers have never ceased to tap at the sight of rich fabrics.

Others might favour a swaying tail or cascade of ruffles, but not her. She, on the other hand, believes in the power of the top; be it a shirt or a blouse, according to this fashion aficionado, all dream wardrobes start with the right statement basic.

Natalie Akrabova started her journey back when fashion was a novelty. The ready-to-wear designer first waltzed with the local industry in the 1980s; nonetheless, after a long break, Akrabova is once again back to the scene.

Over the course of three decades, the industry has shifted to utilise innovative techniques and survive new challenges. Accordingly, the fashion veteran had to come back with a seasoned brand, which addresses the market’s most prominent gap.

Daily News Egypt sat with the designer to talk second chances, the factor of experience, and the power of the top.

Photo Handout to DNE

When did you realise that fashion is the career you want to pursue? 

I started my fashion career in the 1980s, when I opened a high-end boutique and atelier for women, where I produced my own exclusive designs. After a long hiatus, for family-related reasons, I came back to the fashion scene with N By Natalie; a ready-to-wear brand that specialises in women’s shirts, blouses, and tops.

Meanwhile, I also work as a personal stylist.

What encouraged you to start a brand now? 

I finally had time to go back to something I love doing. On the other hand, despite all the brands currently available in Egypt, sometimes it is difficult to find the right statement top or white shirt with a twist.

Today, mass production has invaded the local market and it is difficult to find something unique or different. Accordingly, I decided to address that market gap. Being different, being exclusive, and standing out is the idea behind N By Natalie.

What was your biggest obstacle when establishing your brand?

Finding the right fabrics as well as the sad fact that high-quality finishing is still an alien concept to local craftsmen. For me, creating the design is just 20% of the process.

The remaining 80% includes the right choice of fabrics as well as high level of execution and finishing. What is a beautiful design without the right cut and perfect finishing?

How would you define your aesthetic?

Simple, elegant, reflecting the current trends, and suitable for all ages.

How did your experience and background reflect on your brand?

Through the years I have learned one thing when it comes to fashion: simplicity is key to elegance and style; meanwhile, knowledge is the main driving force behind my brand.

Why did you choose to specialise in trendy ready-to-wear?

I chose to specialise in shirts, tops, and blouses because I am a “shirt” person myself. Furthermore, I am a firm believer that they are a very important part of each woman’s wardrobe; with just the right four or five tops, you can create endless combinations that will make you look on point.

The local fashion industry is young in experience and age; how does your background separate you from other designers? 

Re-entering the fashion industry at my age gives me some advantages. On one hand, I am not too old to detach myself from the current fashion trends and incorporate them in my designs; meanwhile, I am also not too young (as most of the upcoming designers today are) to limit myself to a certain age group.

Being able to see and understand the diverse needs and preferences of all age groups and accordingly designing my models is what separates me from other designers. I am happy to say that from the day I started N By Natalie, my designs have been equally liked and sought after by clients of all ages.

The beauty of it is that the same design can be worn by a girl in her 20s or a lady in her 50s and yet, it will look equally elegant and suitable on both.

Where would you like to see your brand in the future?

N By Natalie is a young brand so it needs to be firmly established in the Egyptian market first. When this is accomplished, there will be a lot of other possibilities to explore.

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Seaduction: the irresistible temptation of signature dining by the sea https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/08/seaduction-irresistible-temptation-signature-dining-sea/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/08/seaduction-irresistible-temptation-signature-dining-sea/#comments Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:00:46 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=649730 When I first noticed it, I thought the name was genius. Seaduction owes its name to the temptation of the sea, yet the taste is nothing but original. Boasting a signature ingredient and unique touch to each dish, the Dahab-based restaurant/café provides the most distinguished and classy-yet-simple fine dining experience, the best—and arguably the only—such …

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When I first noticed it, I thought the name was genius. Seaduction owes its name to the temptation of the sea, yet the taste is nothing but original. Boasting a signature ingredient and unique touch to each dish, the Dahab-based restaurant/café provides the most distinguished and classy-yet-simple fine dining experience, the best—and arguably the only—such experience in the coastal city.

Dahab is one of Egypt’s most enchanting coastal areas, blessed with a mountainous view, warm winter weather, and a chill, welcoming atmosphere and population.

 

Apart from having been a proper hippie destination in the 80s, the city has seen an internal migration wave by Egyptians seeking a retreat from the Cairo hustle.

Mostafa, one of the owners, was among those who preferred the coast location over the capital city. Seeing a dearth of Lebanese restaurants, he was sure there would be an audience for his new project in the Sinai attraction.

Seaduction customers vary from foreigners to Egyptians, and sometimes Bedouins. A small population of the friendly owners’ and customers’ dogs are also an addition to the relaxed, all-welcoming spirit of the restaurant, which comes as part of the Mirage Village, which provides a remarkable diving experience.

The restaurant comprises a fine dining area with beautifully decorated light bulbs showing a local ethnic touch and offering a romantic atmosphere in the evening. It also offers a more informal café area, more open to the air where drinks and shisha can be offered. A Bedouin floor-seating corner is also available, but is mostly left to those who wish to relax a little and mostly used by the Bedouin visitors or by-passers.

From a vastly rich menu, we tried the shish tawook and the cordon bleu. Although a customary dish, the shish was amazingly rich, and elegantly presented with two sides of fried potatoes and sautéed vegetables. The cordon bleu, their recommendation, with its cheese-filled chicken and just the right amount of creamy mushroom sauce was exquisite! What I loved more was the sauté, and the chef’s ability to turn a most ordinary—and maybe boring—side to an utterly enjoyable treat with only a small touch of spinach and garlic.

The tabboula was good, but the vine leaves, presented as a cold mezza appetizer, was both delicious and unique. A pomegranate dip and generous filling added a completely new and enhanced taste to the appetizer although, personally, I would have preferred a little bit less of the dip. All things considered, it is only to their advantage that every dish boasts a unique and tasty signature touch, even if slightly adjustable.

Chef Elias Makhoul, who takes charge of the menu and presentation, says he tests and mixes each dish based on his travels and many restaurant opening experiences. And although he worked in the Dubai Marina, his true launch was during his three years of work at the Intercontinental Doha in Qatar prior to that.

The desserts are also among the top orders at Seaduction, with the chocolate fountain being the most impressive and most valued by customers.

Besides the food, the overly friendly staff, the beautiful lighting, the comfortable seating, and the handsomely selected music make for a jazzy, chill atmosphere suitable to the lodging and an unforgettable dining experience.

You may have to be careful as you dine in the open air, as the food may go cold a little quickly. But if you get to visit this charming surroundings, what you should not miss is to enjoy the breathtaking view and fresh seaside presence, especially in the full moon!

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El-Kodwa: local spot rewriting the way koshary is made https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/01/el-kodwa-local-spot-rewriting-way-koshary-made/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/01/el-kodwa-local-spot-rewriting-way-koshary-made/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 09:00:19 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=648829 It is one of very few koshary places in Cairo that perfectly combines sausage, liver with koshary

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Egyptian cuisine is full of various mouth-watering plates that reflect the rich food culture Egypt is known for worldwide. However, if there is a plate that represents Egypt globally, koshary would top the list of eastern dishes.

Consisting of several types of pasta, lentils, rice, and topped with fried onions, koshary is one of Egyptians’ favourite meals that is not limited to a certain time of day to be eaten.

As one of the cheapest meals Egyptians make, Daily News Egypt’s team tried a new restaurant that cooks up the dish that it has been hearing reviews about for a while.

Koshary El-Kodwa is one of Dokki’s hidden gems that only a few people from outside the district have heard about or tried before.

In one of the narrow streets branching from El-Tahrir Street, where the place’s delicious savoury takes over the whole street, El-Kodwa sits as a cosy warm place always full of the neighbourhood’s loyal customers.

El-Kodwa is known for the koshary mix it masters, as well as its pasta casseroles. It is one of the very few koshary places in Cairo that perfectly combines “sujuk” (sausage) and  “kebda” (liver) with koshary; a combination that is hard to understand or accept before trying it for the first time.

As passionate liver enthusiasts, the team ordered a mix of koshary with liver, macaroni with liver casserole, a plain plate of koshary, and a macaroni with chicken casserole.

Despite not accepting the idea of mixing koshary with meat, the abhorrance faded the moment the plates were served.

For the koshary with liver, there were two sizes for the plate; when ordering the large one, we did not expect a huge full plate of koshary topped with tomato sauce with plenty of small chopped pieces of liver.

Despite large portions, the amount of each element in the plate was quite balanced. Unlike many other koshary shops where the amount of macaroni and pasta overpowers the lentils and rice, El-Kodwa served each component at equal portions, including the liver, which filled the plate. This added a different taste of koshray the team had missed, as other places that used to do the same have stopped.

The liver was tasty, well-cooked, and seasoned, making a perfect addition to the taste of the koshary.

As for the famous koshary additions:  “salsa” (tomato sauce) and “da’aa” (a sauce made of a mix of oil, vinegar, lemon, cumin, and garlic), their taste was sharp, revealing, and tasty. However, we asked for extra tomato sauce as the served portions needed to be larger.

When it came to the casserole, it was as loved and enjoyed as the koshary. Made of penne pasta, Alexandrian liver, and green pepper, it was served with tomato sauce and spicy sauce on the side.

The pasta was well-cooked and fully covered with the liver and sauce, and it was also served in large portions.

The one unlucky order was the pasta with chicken casserole; we found the chicken undercooked and not seasoned enough. Also, it was served in a small portion compared to the pasta and in contrast to the rest of the served plates.

El-Kodwa also offers rice pudding as a dessert. Yet, with the huge served portions, the team could not bare any extra food.

The prices of the plates ranged from EGP 10-20. The place is considered fairly cheap compared to other koshary places.

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The archives series: a visual walk down memory lane  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/31/archives-series-visual-walk-memory-lane/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/31/archives-series-visual-walk-memory-lane/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 11:00:17 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=648608 More than seven years ago, an ambitious designer held her breath as she observed how a crowd of strangers reacted to the debut of her emblems of self-assurance and confidence. Her tokens of strength spoke in calligraphy and swayed with the colour of silver. It was not long until her stories of capable women, who …

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More than seven years ago, an ambitious designer held her breath as she observed how a crowd of strangers reacted to the debut of her emblems of self-assurance and confidence. Her tokens of strength spoke in calligraphy and swayed with the colour of silver.

It was not long until her stories of capable women, who subtly loved themselves and the universe around them, spread across the country. Her bullets of beauty were suddenly—but unsurprisingly—the new jewellery trend.

Jude Benhalim is a young, local jewellery designer who emerged on the fashion scene years ago, accompanied by her metaphorical heroine. Her designs narrate the journey of a young woman aspiring to find her place in a vast world. In parallel, her jewellery has also managed to create a tribe of followers, who see the similarities between themselves and the mystery character.

In celebration of her best sellers, Benhalim has created a celebratory collaboration to pay homage to her most memorable best-selling designs. Benhalim chose Dalia Nsouli as an example of all brave women she strives to locate and communicate with. The archives series offers a visual stroll down the brand’s memory lane.

Daily News Egypt sat down with the designer to talk favourite designs, new experiments, and making a name early in life.

Out of your best-selling items, which is your personal favourite?

The cracked concrete earrings, because they best represent the collection “URBAN REBEL”. Furthermore, after being endorsed and worn by celebrities such as Vanessa Williams and Jamila Awad, they have created a lot of brand awareness.

Which design was restocked the most since its release?

Since their release, both the horizontal bullet pendant and the cosmic ray necklace have definitely been restocked the most. They both are concrete and statement pieces of the Jude Benhalim brand; I have been restocking them for years.

To what extent does the local standard of craftsmanship impact your design process? 

Although local craftsmanship is quite primitive, it still adds value to my pieces. Each piece is carefully handmade; in parallel, each and every step of the manufacturing process is implemented meticulously.

To what extent do you and your fans agree on your most successful designs? 

Usually, in each collection there is one design which I invest so much thought and effort in. However, the majority of clients often do not completely understand it. On the other hand, sometimes it comes out as way too complex. Accordingly, it does not always sell as well as expected.

However, when communicating with my clients, they always tell me that designs are what make them admire the brand, which is always fulfilling to hear.

What material/stone would you say is your ideal, go-to choice? 

My ideal go-to material would definitely be resin as it gives me the range to have the cuts and colours that I desire. Meanwhile, sooner or later, I would like to start experimenting with more precious stones.

What was the number one lesson that you have learned about local fashion and high-end jewellery in the past few years?

It is always a good idea to start early and plan ahead. It is all about organisation and being able to focus on the smallest details, as well as carrying out a lot of research.

What advice would you give to emerging designers?

To define their destination ahead of the journey and to have a long-term goal that they can always work towards. When you do not know what you want, you tend to lose sight and control of the whole thing.

Always stay open to suggestions and jump into whatever opportunities that are presented to you. Always believe in your talent and let failure only push you forward.

What are you planning to do in the near future?

The woman that serves as a major muse for my designs has yet to discover a lot more about herself, her journey is only just beginning. I am excited to see where she goes next. Right now I am working on expanding my brand on a global scale and to compete in the international market.

My work is already sold in Egypt, Dubai, Oman, and Bahrain. I plan to showcase my collections at more trade exhibitions around the world to expand to more selling points across the region.

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Unseen sides of Egypt  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/29/unseen-sides-egypt-13/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/29/unseen-sides-egypt-13/#respond Mon, 29 Jan 2018 11:00:48 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=648368 Top pictures posted on Instagram by amateur photographers

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Photography has always been a form of stating reality. It is the window through which people can look into the lives of others and the portrait that displays their daily life events.

While media portals are filled with pictures taken by famous photographers, many unknown talents use tools as simple as their mobile cameras to develop their passion for photography. Those, who have not found a platform on which to publish their photos seek to establish their own outlet by publishing these pictures on their social media accounts.

In an attempt to support young talent seeking a platform, Daily News Egypt publishes pictures taken by citizens displaying their daily activities.

These pictures are the best pictures posted to Instagram in December with the hashtag #DailyNewsEgypt. Each one of them reflects a unique side of Egypt—not mentioned in international media outlets—but that can be seen by the people actually living in the country.

Every month, the best pictures with the hashtag #DailyNewsEgypt will be reposted on the newspaper’s official account and published in the printed edition.

Daily News Egypt’s editorial team found that the published pictures represent the work of extremely talented young photographers. Moreover, they capture moments of pure beauty people rarely stop to enjoy amid the hurry of their daily routine.

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Retailers seek right formula to expand in local market https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/22/retailers-seek-right-formula-expand-local-market/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/22/retailers-seek-right-formula-expand-local-market/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:30:55 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=647629 "Fashion has a huge opportunity in Egypt, especially new volume brands, which are starting to expand in governorates. Few brands achieve their highest regional targets in Tanta," says Retail Group Egypt's country director

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Having a casual stroll through the hallways of any shopping mall in Egypt, it is expected to notice the changing number of stores declaring they are currently out of business as well as those promising the anticipating shoppers new tags of luxury.

Throughout the past year, few of those considered to be successful brands retracted their business from Egypt. However, with a new year unfolding, an equally new wave of brands are starting to announce their upcoming first encounter with the local market.

While price tags have noticeably increased during the past couple of months, sale offers are becoming legitimate reasons for commotion. The fashion industry was hit by the devaluation grenade earlier last year. Meanwhile, international retailers had an additional set of obstacles, namely the new customs and registration regulations.

A few months ago, many popular brands were left with empty stores, while new merchandise remained in official storage waiting to be discharged as the season passed unnoticed. Some brands threw in the towel, few managed to turn the situation in their favour, and others remained resilient.

With January ushering in a new year ahead, the hardships of coping with a new system are currently in the past as retailers gather their gained experience.

Retail Group Egypt, a subsidiary of Alhokair Fashion Retail, has been a key player in the local retail industry. The company manages many brands that specialise in a diversity of international fashions, including established brands such as Mango, GAP, Accessorize, and Aldo, among others.

Their portfolio was the first to evidently shift according to the new events, replacing troublesome names with new introductions such as New Yorker and Old Navy, which are expected to launch their first Egyptian stores in March 2018.

Daily News Egypt sat with Khalid Hamed Adnan Abu Sarriyeh, Retail Group Egypt’s country director, to discuss their procedures when filtering brands and selecting new labels that can cope with the current local market.

How would you define the past year?

2017 was a challenge; however, it was better than the year before. In 2016, consumers still did not have the culture of how to deal with inflation. They had to cope with the economic changes and start accepting the new prices. This reflected on the general buying power; the average customer currently buys less than before. But, the gap is not striking.

From our side, we managed to control our operation and rent costs. Accordingly, our net profit recovered from the year before.

In 2014 and 2015, the market was raw and inexperienced; therefore, a lot of brands took an irrational decision to enter the local market. However, it was not long until it became obvious that some brands will not handle the inflation as well as the new importing and registration regulations. All brands had to submit their paperwork to the government to continue in the market.

Therefore, 2017 has witnessed the end of many renowned brands in Egypt. However, volume brands on the other hand have proven that expansion is possible amid such circumstances.

What were the main characteristics of the brands which could not survive?

Those that could not sustain their operations to see a new year in the local market were neither able to keep pace with the new regulations nor capable of providing frequent shipments. Meanwhile, other brands preferred to work on a buying or consignment basis and refused to collaborate with the franchisee.

Simultaneously, prices after the devaluation became a new obstacle. For example, a very well-known footwear brand had to close down because their prices jumped all the way to EGP 8,000 per pair, which is above their previous price point as well as the market’s average price for similar products.

How did the new customs regulations reflect on the retail industry?

Customs regulations had a massive impact on franchisees. For example, those who used to import three shipments per month currently bring in only one. On the other hand, the increased taxes have directly led to increased prices.

These two factors have reflected on the operation and landing costs of the merchandise. Accordingly, the franchisee has suddenly found himself between having to pay the brand and keeping prices affordable for the local market.

In parallel, the market’s buying behaviour shifted tremendously. The average customer currently buys 50% less than before.

When the new regulations were launched, many brands found themselves tangled with rigid paperwork in a bumpy process. However, now we systematically get our merchandise cleared on time and without any noticeable hustle.

Why did Black Friday manage to become 2017’s biggest retail trend?

Black Friday is gaining momentum as well as increasing popularity due to social media and the people’s enthusiasm to discover new trends. Meanwhile, it is also an opportunity to make use of reduced prices and attractive offers.

Between each season and the one after, sales multiply by 100%. Retailers currently depend on this specific day. In terms of sales, it is often equal to 10 times the normal operating day.

What is your expansion strategy for 2018?

We have a new strategy to bring new brands, which should be suitable for the local market. We have signed with New Yorker because it is a volume brand with a reasonable price-point. We are set to open three branches over 2,700 sqm with more than 100 job opportunities.

On the other hand, we are bringing the iconic Old Navy to Egypt. The two branches will occupy more than 3,000 sqm and provide 70 jobs.

What keeps international brands interested in the Egyptian market?

The local market is by far the biggest in the Middle East. Meanwhile, it is a promising market regardless of the surrounding events. Egypt’s market needs understanding of its regulations and needs. Once you have a suitable stock, you should never worry about sales and profit.

Meanwhile, almost 45% of the market is made up of youth who understand fashion, brand culture, and social media. Brands first entered the local market in 2004. Since then, the market has developed a surprising level of understanding that has surpassed the average.

When compared to the surrounding countries, who welcomed this culture at least seven years earlier, the local customer has a higher appreciation and influence on international brands.

According to the rent per metre (RPM) indicator, Egypt has better numbers. There are certain brands that sell $16,000 per metre in Egypt while only achieving $8,000 in other regional markets. These are numbers verified by Forbes, Bloomberg, and many other entities.

How do you expect the fashion industry to develop in Egypt?

Fashion has a huge opportunity in Egypt, especially new volume brands, which are starting to expand in governorates. Few brands achieve their highest regional targets in Tanta. For example, we are planning to open approximately 15 stores in Tanta by the end of 2019 in collaboration with our sister company Marakez.

Actually, the knowledge that Marakez has managed to rent out an entire mall, two years before its opening, is a great indicator regarding the governorate’s buying power. In parallel, Aswan and Ismailia are starting to attract retailers.

How crucial is the fashion industry to the recovery of the local economy?

This industry is not just about selling merchandise and opening new stores. In fact, it is also about many other depending industries. Each store requires many other supporting specialities, including shipping, customs, construction, storage, and security.

On the other hand, we bring foreign currency to the country while paying taxes and insurance to the government. Furthermore, each 30 sqm provides one job opportunity. With that said, there is an entire type of tourism that depends on retail, found in cities such as Dubai and Istanbul.

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2017 has introduced new clientele to local fashion scene: Farida Temraz https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/22/2017-introduced-new-clientele-local-fashion-scene-farida-temraz/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/22/2017-introduced-new-clientele-local-fashion-scene-farida-temraz/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:30:37 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=647627 Inspired by the gracious tales of her ancestors, she dives into history and surfaces back with daring silhouettes and intricate embroidery. The fashion historian is on a mission to bring back the victories of the past through a new medium. Her creations are stark glimpses of a glorious past and ambitious future. Surrounded by her …

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Inspired by the gracious tales of her ancestors, she dives into history and surfaces back with daring silhouettes and intricate embroidery. The fashion historian is on a mission to bring back the victories of the past through a new medium. Her creations are stark glimpses of a glorious past and ambitious future.

Surrounded by her works of art, she has marched confidently toward a large base of clients in Egypt as well as the much-respected runways of the world. As a marketing guru, she was the first to pack her dresses and aim for global participation.

Farida Temraz is a woman with a dream big enough for an entire generation. The renowned designer is well known for her frequent participation in international fashion shows as well as dressing a growing number of global celebrities.

From Carrie Underwood to Mary J. Blige, the resourceful designer has managed to successfully embark on a long mission to put Egypt on the international fashion map, one stitch at a time.

After soldiering through the past year—which inclided promising ups and shocking downs—many rules of the game have changed drastically; however, brands such as Temraza have proven that every obstacle is an opportunity waiting to be reaped.

Daily News Egypt sat with the designer to analyse the past year and talk about what 2018 may hold for the local fashion industry.

How would you evaluate the past year?

2017 was a good and bad year. On a positive side, it brought new clientele. Those who used to travel in order to get the latest international fashion were for the first time encouraged to look for local alternatives. When they took the leap, they were met with the standards they regularly seek which made them contemplate a long-term relationship.

With the devaluation of the pound and the current economic changes, we have also found a new set of clients willing to experiment. During the past year, I have dealt with foreign clients, who travelled all the way to Egypt for affordable alternatives.

This unwanted change has actually created some sort of public diplomacy, which brought different cultures and societies together. It is a newly-discovered soft power; local designers are currently introducing our country on a whole new level.

However, this has also created a bigger challenge. As artistic ambassadors, we need to be up for this task, to properly represent our country through good quality and very high standards.

On the other hand, with the currency devaluation, the possibility of going abroad is becoming more difficult. Personally, I used to take part in international fashion weeks during February and September. However, last year, I preferred to create a marketing campaign for my T-Denim collection rather than travel with it.

I believe in fashion’s ability to represent this country abroad. Therefore, I am eager and willing to give back through my brand as well as the university workshops that I currently organise at the American University in Cairo in order to grow a new generation of fashion designers.

I really want regular people to develop their fashion sense. Simultaneously, I am always looking for competitors that I can collaborate and head to international fashion weeks with.

What challenges have been imposed on designers during the past year?

Everything’s price was doubled over night, therefore, all designers were suddenly faced with the challenge to accommodate to the new prices without pushing away their loyal clients. Even after the price rises, the majority of us could barely compensate for the increased costs. Nonetheless, I am obliged to continue with the same quality—regardless of any events.

How did Egyptian participation in international fashion events develop during the past year?

The upcoming season of New York Fashion Week, which is expected to take place next February, is set to witness the work of two more Egyptian designers. I have been in contact with the organisers since my participation, and this year, I have been invited to take part once again.

Furthermore, they have already informed me that another local designer has confirmed, while the second should get back to them very soon.

On a personal level, I was humbled to be invited as an ambassador of the Egyptian fashion industry. Yet, I am still not sure about my participation, since I only have three weeks to finish the collection. Last time, I won a prestigious award and I do not plan to come back with anything weaker.

What are our main priorities in regards to international reach?

The international market does not expect us to have a fully-functioning market with qualified designers; nonetheless, they are the first to acknowledge good quality and support young brands. We only need to highlight our skill and our significant aesthetic.

At this stage, we need official fashion weeks to recognise our designers. I have been working on this task for a while now. We need to follow the pull strategy; to select the right events then showcase our best, only for those events to ask for our future participation.

Many designers tend to fall in the fatal mistake of taking part in events that are off the official schedule. It is a lot of money without sufficient exposure and media coverage in return.

In parallel, it is important to develop a strong personality away from mediocre copy and pasting. It is unethical to utilise the patterns and fabrics of other well-known brands.

What would you define as a main target for 2018?

The upcoming year is all about one goal: to maintain and develop. I remember when I studied leading and motivating at Harvard, they taught us how critical it is to maintain a certain level. At the time, I thought it was pragmatic to think about such things before even building a name and succeeding. Now I know the difficulty of keeping momentum.

During my early start, media used to grow frantic, when they spot any of my designs on an international celebrity; I had back-to-back calls for a month, when Carrie Underwood wore one of my designs. However, now they have become used to it. Therefore, you need to develop and change your marketing and business strategy every quarter. The fashion industry is very dynamic, if you are not moving ahead, you will be old news.

With all of this said, education is the key. I can only wish that we collectively bring Egypt back on the map. I am currently the North-African director of the council of international fashion design; a platform for fashion business.

I am fully committed to bring specialized education to new talents. I have already introduced a number of workshops and competitions to the AUC. Meanwhile, we are working on a 10 year plan to introduce an independent fashion major to the university, which would require patience and time.

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Places to stay in Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/19/places-stay-egypt/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/19/places-stay-egypt/#respond Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:00:51 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=647283 Egypt is a traveller’s delight as it brims with a treasure trove of sights with historical relevance. We look at some of the favourite hotels among the visitors.

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Today, the idea of travel has changed extensively. From just lazing around in island resorts, the concept of travel has metamorphosed into something more experiential in nature. The travellers of today want to experience local cultures that would enrich their intellect. And when one needs to do this within a short period, the most important thing is to stay at a place that gives you easy access to all that a country has to offer. We pick out a few hotels in the land of pharaohs that embody the spirit of the country.

Hotels listed here are based on reviews on TripAdvisor and given in no particular order, and

the price given is at the time of writing. It may change based on demand.

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract

Where: Aswan

Closest airport: Aswan International Airport, 18 kilometres from Sofitel Legend Old Cataract

Price per room: $200 per night

Located in the Nubian Desert on the banks of the Nile, Sofitel Legend Old Cataract is a Victorian building with modern rooms and suites decorated with wooden furniture. The hotel offers four restaurants with international and oriental dishes and is equipped with indoor and outdoor pools.

Since the ancient times, Aswan is popular for its environmental therapy, with people believing that its sand had healing properties for ailments such as rheumatism, arthritis, and other joint troubles. There are still places in Aswan where one might enjoy therapeutic treatments.

The rich culture of Nubians, with their music and dance performances is held at the Culture Centre for tourists. For those of interested in bird watching, the two islands of Salouga and Ghazal in the River Nile are about three kilometres north of Aswan Dam and is home to 60 kinds of rare birds. Other popular historical sites like the Nubian Museum, the Unfinished Obelisk, Tombs of the Nobles, and the Temple of Philae are only at a distance of 5kms from the hotel, making the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract an ideal place to stay in Aswan.

Dahab Paradise

Where: Dahab

Closest airport: Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, 90 kilometres from Dahab Paradise

Price per room: $50 per night

Dahab is the ultimate laid-back, low-key, budget-friendly town compared to its counterparts like Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada coastal towns. Dahab Paradise is set between the Red Sea Mountains and the Gulf of Aqaba and offers panoramic views of the Sinai Mountain. The rooms feature traditional architecture with ornate furniture and have private balconies overlooking the

ocean.

A 10 minutes’ drive will take you to the Dahab town centre. Dahab is popular for having the world’s most deadly diving spot, Blue Hole, a 120-metre-deep sinkhole. Experienced and well-prepared divers should only undertake this signature dive, as there are more chances of nitrogen narcosis to get hold of the divers at depths more than 30metres.

For the amateur diver among us, Dahab’s Eel Garden is another spot popular for snorkelling. Barracudas and rare sea grass ghost pipefishes are also spotted here.

From Dahab, there are hiking tours that will take tourists to Mount Sinai, the second highest mountain in Sinai. This place is historically relevant as it is the site where Moses received the Ten Commandments. St. Catherine, the oldest working monastery, is also located nearby. Few kilometres from there lies the Blue Desert, where rock formations were painted in blue by Jean Verame, the Belgian artist in 1980, to commemorate the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

In recent times, Dahab has become popular for adventure sports like windsurfing, kite surfing, wakeboarding, sand boarding, mountain-biking, and rock-climbing.

Four Seasons Hotel

Alexandria at San Stefano

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Four Seasons Hotel is set on an architectural landmark. A full-service spa, outdoor pool and nine restaurants with terraces serving options from Lebanese and Italian fine-dining to contemporary Mediterranean favourites, and a Shisha bar are available.

Alexandria is the most influenced by the Greco Roman period in Egypt.

After the fall of the Ancient Egyptian Empire in the 4th century BC, foreign and native powers tried to gain control over the area, but eventually, in 332 BCE it was Alexander the Great that was able to free Egyptians from the Persians who were in control then. Alexander accepted the Egyptian religion associating it with the Gods of the Greek Pantheon, and though leaving Egypt in 334 BC, the impact he had was permanent.

The Ptolemaic Dynasty, established by one of his generals after Alexander’s death, would rule Egypt for three hundred years and the influence of Hellenism influenced the area and its people for much longer. A famous example of this influence are the catacombs of Kom El Shuqafa, the largest and most important burial site dating back to the Greco Roman period in Egypt, which is located east of Pompey’s Pillar, the biggest memorial column in Egypt. Another sight to watch out for is the Roman Amphitheatre.

Siwa Oasis

If adventure still baits your mind, a must visit location is the Siwa Oasis. A seven-hour journey into the Western desert from Alexandria, it is only 50 kilometres away from the Libyan border.

The inhabitants of Siwa Oasis are ethnically Berber, and their mother tongue is the Berber language called Siwi, though nearly all Siwis speak Arabic as a second language and many can also speak some English.

With 23,000 people only, it is the most isolated place in the country. Temple of the Oracle, about four kilometres east of Siwa Town is where the coronation of Alexander the Great supposedly took place.

There is also Cleopatra’s Bath on the way to the Oracle Temple, a popular bathing spot for locals and tourists alike.

To be isolated from the outside world, Adrere Amellal is the best place to stay for the night, a lodge built completely out of mud and is solely candle-lit, overlooking an oasis.

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