Lifestyle – Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Sun, 25 Feb 2018 08:30:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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The Republic: a different steak and pasta experience https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/19/republic-different-steak-pasta-experience/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/19/republic-different-steak-pasta-experience/#respond Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:00:02 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=647281 Cairo’s Mohandeseen neighbourhood has been a hub for some of the finest high-end restaurants. The Republic is the latest to open its doors to those who love pasta and steak, seeking a different experience with a varied menu which satisfies people’s different tastes and cravings. The black and white retro design is the place’s main …

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Cairo’s Mohandeseen neighbourhood has been a hub for some of the finest high-end restaurants. The Republic is the latest to open its doors to those who love pasta and steak, seeking a different experience with a varied menu which satisfies people’s different tastes and cravings.

The black and white retro design is the place’s main theme, but with the addition of a classical twist. While the walls are covered with large portraits of the world’s most prominent artists, the restaurant has classical turquoise chairs that match its sea blue chandeliers.

Daily News Egypt paid a visit to the restaurant to taste its food which stirred a wide range of positive feedback on social media.

With warmth and embrace, the staff welcomes visitors by serving a bread basket with two sides of dips. The bread varied in size and flavour; made with onion and olive, it was freshly baked and hot especially when topped with their creamy old cheese dip and the other one, made mainly from cheese mixed with pickled lemon and osfor.

One of the main disappointing issues our team first noticed was the slow service, yet, it was the beginning of several others.

The place is famous for its pasta and steak, so the main dishes ordered were sweet chilli pasta and pasta with pesto sauce, rib-eye steak with coffee sauce, a steak with chocolate sauce, and a cheese burger.

Waiting for almost an hour and half before the food was served, despite having only two tables occupied in on a working day, was one of the longest time periods anyone on the team had to wait at an empty restaurant that social media users say is usually filled with people.

For the pastas, the two plates were served cold with the excuse that they were ready early and had to wait for the steak to all be served together. However, on one of January’s coldest days, the wait left the pasta almost ice cold. In both of the plates, the pasta was not thoroughly cooked

For the sweet chilli pasta, it was served with coloured bell peppers. Few traces of sweet chilli sauce were sensed in the plate. Also, the ordered spicy plate came missing all sorts of spices.

The reasonably large portions of food would have been more satisfying if the cooking of the pasta was paid more attention.

The chocolate sauce steak was one of the best dishes ordered. Made with two medium-sized steaks, topped with sweet dark chocolate sauce, the plate offered a new definition of sweet and sour. The plate is served with roasted potato wedges that were well seasoned, crunchy, tasty, and sautéed or roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes. The steak was well done upon request and it was juicy and moist.

On the other hand, the steak with the coffee sauce was a total disappointment. Almost burned, despite being ordered medium well, it was served with pepper sauce with the addition of dark roasted coffee which made the plate taste bitter and burned.

As for the burger, it is also not one of our recommendations. Dry, slightly burned, and wrapped in an old bun that was not fresh with a small portion of cheese and tomatoes, the large sized burger was an unfortunate dish to order.

The overall experience was not pleasant and our expectations did not match the place’s reputation. However, if we recommend a plate, it would definitely be the chocolate steak.

The price ranged from EGP 150-200, without the added taxes and service charge.

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Cheese and Bread: Cairo’s latest eastern and western cheese skillets https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/11/cheese-bread-cairos-latest-eastern-western-cheese-skillets/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/11/cheese-bread-cairos-latest-eastern-western-cheese-skillets/#respond Thu, 11 Jan 2018 11:00:09 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=646438 For cheese addicts, the restaurant’ over-dosed mixed melting cheese would be heaven

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For years, Alexandria’s famous skillets restaurant, “Alban Swesra”, or Switzerland’s Dairy Products, has been a famous spot for Egyptians to hit from all across the country to enjoy an eastern cuisine dipped and covered in a mix of tens of cheese types. For cheese aficionados, the small, cosy corner, which was originally a small grocery store before turning part of it into a small restaurant with only few tables, can beat the world’s most fancy restaurants when it comes to cheese dipping, portions and taste.

Cairo’s latest version of a same track follower, “Eish W Gebna”, Cheese and Bread, opened its doors to cheese lovers to try a mix of eastern and western skillets that are covered with mix cheese types.

Located in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement, the place has both indoor and outdoor areas. With a dim, comfy lamp lights, the indoor area mainly consists of high bar stools with only a few tables. While the outdoor area, on the contemporary side, offers a large wider space suitable for big groups with different sized tables.

“Eish W Gebna” mainly focuses on over-dosing mixed melting cheese in every served plate. With both eastern and western cuisines, the place adds a different kind of mixed cheese to each fast-cooked skillet.

Like typical cheese addicts, Daily News Egypt team decided to try a skillet from each cuisine, looking for a well-spent evening in which cheese plays the role of the adored diva.
From the western cheese skillets, we ordered the Ground Bound, which is a blend of several yellow cheese types, with chopped beef burger and crispy beef bacon, served with plain nachos. The combination of crispy corn tortilla chips, which perfectly replace the cheese, offering a well-balanced crunch in each bite, was found amusing. The little chopped burger pieces were all dipped and covered with melting cheese, which made them even more moist and tender. The crisp of a crunching nacho carrying the liquescent classic dish made the required balance. The taste of yellow and red cheddar cheese was quite ubiquitous, yet, it intertwined equally with other tastes.
The plate is one of the most ordered skillets as we were told, and it is one of the restaurant’s most unique dishes. For us, it was the most favourite taste among all the dishes ordered.

From the loaded potato cheese skillets menu, came our second most favourite order, the Tex Mex. Chopped pieces of roasted potato cubes topped with pieces of marinated grilled chicken, onions, coloured peppers, and black olives, all dipped and covered with a huge amount of western yellow cheese mix.

The well-seasoned potato cubes were the stunning element about the dish. With a salty crunch from the outside and a soft tender taste from the inside, the team agreed that it is one of the best roasted potatoes served in Cairo. As for grilled chicken, it was well steeped, which left a sharp taste of an untampered flavour despite the many other flavours in the dish.

The combination of all elements made perfect sense when it came to taste, consistency, and colours. The sweet taste of coloured peppers and caramelised onions, with the slight bitterness of chicken, the seasoning of the potato, and the dominating taste of the mixed cheese made a perfect blend of a rainbow coloured shining skillet. At the same time, the intensity of each sharp flavour was downsized to one complete combined taste.

From the oriental cheese skillets menu, came our third choice and least favourite dish, the Sujuk Skillet. The oriental cheese skillet consisted of sausage cooked a la Alexandrian, grilled onions, and belle peppers, served with Egyptian Fino bread, a thinner equivalent of Baguette.

As we were told, the cheese is a mix of feta, Parmesan, and creamy cheese. However, it was more of a thick white sauce. No particular taste was clear in the skillet, which understated even the taste of cheese. Moreover, intense portions of garlic dominated the taste, outweighing the sausage, onion, and cheese.
The service at the restaurant was quite satisfactory; with warm smiles and welcomes, the staff made us feel at home.
Prices ranges from EGP 50 to 100, including services and taxes.

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Amr Saad salutes the gentlemen with his first jewellery collection https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/10/amr-saad-salutes-gentlemen-first-jewellery-collection/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/10/amr-saad-salutes-gentlemen-first-jewellery-collection/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 15:00:35 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=646399 A quick flip through the month’s regional fashion magazines would most likely end with a long pause in front of a geometrical creation of statement eyewear. With silver frames and unexpected silhouettes, the handmade piece of accessory is worthy of being categorised as an independent trend. From silver-screen celebrities to regional fashion experts, the memorable …

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A quick flip through the month’s regional fashion magazines would most likely end with a long pause in front of a geometrical creation of statement eyewear. With silver frames and unexpected silhouettes, the handmade piece of accessory is worthy of being categorised as an independent trend.
From silver-screen celebrities to regional fashion experts, the memorable sunglasses crossed the borders of niche audience to walk in the streets of Cairo, Beirut, Dubai, and even Paris.

Accordingly, it was not long until the eclectic designs grew to become a cohesive eyewear range with a wide spectrum of colours and styles.

Amr Saad is a jewellery designer that preferred to associate his debut collection with a true challenge. Rather than focusing on his jewellery design specialty, the designer started his career aiming to redefine eyewear before finally diving into his magic.

“I was waiting for the right approach to go back to jewellery. I preferred to start with the bigger challenge, eyewear, before developing into a full-on accessories brand. For me, jewellery is a form of expression rather than mere pieces,” said the designer.

According to Saad, jewellery always has a strong story behind it. Since it is common that people prefer to wear inherited pieces or those that represent certain milestones, the designer wanted to walk into this market with a solid concept. Accordingly, he took his time to research and settle on the right angle. On the other hand, Saad wanted to remain faithful to his already well-established eyewear line.

Despite the novelty of wearing silver-made eyewear, the designer’s refined technique and diligence to keep each piece practical in terms of weight and design, have successfully overcome the local market’s initial doubts.

“Mastering the artistry of eyewear and completely understanding the associated details were not easy tasks. However, the overall process has yielded a great experience that created the sought-after statement,” said the designer with a relaxed half smile.

After being known for his avant-garde eyewear, Saad decided to explore a new territory with his most-recent release. The “Gentlemen Collection” is the designer’s first jewellery and eyewear offering. Together the pieces show a timeless attribute; supported by minimal and geometrical silhouettes.
“The brand embraces three different themes. The new collection falls under the trendy umbrella. It addresses gentlemen, their eye for details and keenness on the versatility of unisex designs. It is made to be worn everyday rather than being a loud statement. Even the included four eyewear designs take a different approach when compared to previous ones,” explained Saad.

That said, the designer’s intensive research has also taken him as far as including a flask and a scissor in his collection. According to Saad, it was quite vital that this collection would expand to encompass each and every detail invested in the lifestyle of gentlemen.
“I personally love minimal pieces, which can still make a subtle statement. My favourite piece is this silver geometrical ring; while it is quite simple, it still has an evident persona,” said the designer while inspecting his pinkie ring.

Craftsmanship is an undivided aspect of the brand. While following a progressive aesthetic, the designer still favours classic manufacturing techniques, which depend on precise artistry and intricate details. As for his materials of choice, the designer does not plan to give up on his preference of valuable materials that can survive a lifetime.

“Gold and silver are the metals that I prefer to use for being natural. Meanwhile, other materials require different models of production that I do not necessarily embrace as a jeweller. That said, I can work with copper; but, I do not prefer it since I would rather utilise precious materials,” said the designer.
After an evident positive feedback and a number of praising media features, the designer is only occupied with his next move. Now that his brand is undoubtedly a destination for both eyewear and jewellery, he plans to start incorporating new techniques and materials.
“We have an upcoming jewellery collection, which is set to take a fancier approach. The Royal Collection will also include a couple of eyewear designs and is scheduled to come out next year,” said Saad with apparent excitement.

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Dima Jewellery introduces the future’s classics https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/10/dima-jewellery-introduces-futures-classics/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/10/dima-jewellery-introduces-futures-classics/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:00:02 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=646386 While the room bustles with frantic movement and an entanglement of noises, her posture remains unchanged; with her back hunched in a protective method, her eyes squinted in concentration and her fingers moving rapidly amid shades of stones and masses of chains. For more than a decade, her name has been associated with timeless hammered …

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While the room bustles with frantic movement and an entanglement of noises, her posture remains unchanged; with her back hunched in a protective method, her eyes squinted in concentration and her fingers moving rapidly amid shades of stones and masses of chains.
For more than a decade, her name has been associated with timeless hammered coins of gold and drops of elaborate colours.

 

The Egypt-based jewellery designer discovered her passion for precious stones right before deciding to shower women of the Middle East and the world with her signature designs.

Her personalised diamond eyes went from being a regional must have to being on the covers of international fashion magazines. Meanwhile, her colourful extravaganza has named her the Middle-East’s guru of precious stones.


Dima Rashid is widely known for starting various trends in the market as well as inspiring numerous copycats. Accordingly, it was no surprise to witness a new change in her aesthetic. For the FW17/18 season, the designer bid farewell to her signature gold chain, only to welcome a new design. Furthermore, she has also showcased statement experiments with gold solely, and without forgetting to celebrate the New Year with a rainbow of her special design.

Daily News Egypt sat with the designer at her new showroom to talk about the new season, precious stones, and staying authentic regardless of digital copycats.

Tell us about the main inspiration behind the FW17/18 collection.
I wanted to design a glamorous collection that you can dress up in splendidness for the Red Carpet. In parallel, you can also dress it down tastefully for a fancy dinner or night out.

On the other hand, I also wanted to make sure that we have the daily kind of pieces that you would never want to take off. We created a 30-piece collection, which elegantly combines all of the above in two stories; the ‘All-gold’ and the ‘Timeless Stones.’

Which stones did you depend on for this collection? 
In addition to our signature timeless selection of precious stones, which you will always find in a Dima creation, we followed the global fall’18 trend forecast when it came to colours and stones for this collection. Deep blues, reds, and dark emerald shades are evidently dominant in several of the designs.
Which piece is your personal favourite? 
They all are favourites. Each piece and stone has a special place in my heart. A lot of passion and soul are invested in every piece, so what is there to not love. The Mix and Match pieces though are always the ones that I gravitate towards first.
As a precious-stones expert, which stone(s) would you name as a must have for every woman? 
It really depends on the character of each woman I am dressing. Every woman has her stone, one that expresses who she is. Some of my clients collect a certain stone in every design and keep coming back for more. Mine for instance is Opal; I love its depth and multi-coloured nature, which combines the colours of all of my favourite stones.
What is the one piece of jewellery that every woman needs to own?
A gold hoop, something in blue or Turquoise, and something antique.
Which stone would you name the ultimate New Year gift? 
Emeralds or Rubies definitely, combined with 18K gold. They represent the essence of holidays.
How would you define the Dima woman?
A refined, fun, and fabulous woman; a jewellery collector, who appreciates art and understands the value of stones.
In terms of aesthetic, what are the main common elements between your jewellery and the new showroom?
Gold, timelessness, femininity, and creativity.
In the age of social media, how can a designer remain original?
In the digital age, while it is good to stay up to date with every trend, it is also equally important to stay true to your own identity. This is what is guaranteed to make you stand out.
How do you deal with the increasing number of copycats?
In the jewellery and fashion industry, copying is an unfortunate fact. However, you will always be differentiated by staying ahead in terms of creativity and quality. A discerning woman can always tell the difference.

What is the main obstacle(s) that you currently face as a jewellery designer?
I would not say they are obstacles; I would say they are opportunities disguised in the face of challenges that always push you to go forward. In terms of design, staying ahead in the research and design game is something we have been placing a lot of focus on and will continue to do so in 2018.
From a business aspect, creativity when it comes to branding, building long-term partnerships and continuing to connect personally with our clients are goals that remain as equally important to us.
-END-

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Petit Palmyra: hidden, cosy jewel in Korba https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/04/petit-palmyra-hidden-cosy-jewel-korba/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/04/petit-palmyra-hidden-cosy-jewel-korba/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 11:00:22 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=645904 Petit Palmyra is a restaurant that dates back more than sixty years and is a remarkable Heliopolis landmark. The place is a popular destination for people looking for fine cuisine and an elegant, cosy setting. Once you walk through the restaurant’s wooden entrance, it takes you to a corridor separating the restaurant into two sections. …

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Petit Palmyra is a restaurant that dates back more than sixty years and is a remarkable Heliopolis landmark. The place is a popular destination for people looking for fine cuisine and an elegant, cosy setting.

Once you walk through the restaurant’s wooden entrance, it takes you to a corridor separating the
restaurant into two sections. The section on the left hosts a piano, so you can enjoy a fine dinner while listening to soothing tunes, accompanied by light candles and flowers on the tables, making it a perfect fit for romantic dinners.

The Daily News Egypt team decided to start with appetizers from the menu. We chose “konafa” shrimps, basically fried shrimps but breaded with konafa dough, and a Palmyra special platter consisting of fried mozzarella sticks, onion rings, chicken strips, nachos, and Mexican sauce.

The konafa shrimps were appropriately crunchy and hot, although a little bit greasy, while the fried mozzarella sticks were nothing special, but were also not bad.

The restaurant’s main dish menu is divided into meat, poultry, and fish dishes, offering a large variety of both local and international dishes, such as chicken enchilada (Mexican grilled chicken wrapped in tortilla bread), della gazza fried chicken (chicken stuffed with smoked turkey and cheese), the classic Egyptian dish of stuffed pigeons, meat piccata, Italian grilled veal scallopini, and quell fish (fish fillet stuffed with shrimps and shrimp sauce).

As a main course, the DNE team decided to order della gazza fried chicken and quell fish. The chicken arrived hot and freshly made, although slightly low on cheese filling. On the other hand, the quell fish was superb. The fish fillet was well-seasoned and spiced, and the shrimps were equally well-seasoned and easy to chew, while maintaining their flavour and texture. The portions are very generous. Both dishes came with vegetables and French fries as side dishes.

We decided to test the dessert menu, which is quite basic, with ice cream, cream caramel, fruit salad, fudge, and crepes. We went for the homemade cassata ice cream, which had strong flavours, along with the fudge cake, which was not very fresh and a little bit overcooked.

Alcoholic cocktails are also available, such as a screwdriver or a bloody mary, while wine is also available, but only whole bottles.

All in all, Petit Palmyra was a very pleasant experience. The restaurant has a beautiful old design, a lovely ambiance, and, more importantly, quality service, as waiters spent time to make sure that everything we needed was fulfilled. If you are looking for a nice, typical restaurant experience, you will not be disappointed.

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Jazzy celebrates the past year with Tawasol https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/03/jazzy-celebrates-past-year-tawasol/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/03/jazzy-celebrates-past-year-tawasol/#respond Wed, 03 Jan 2018 12:00:57 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=645777 As the year rolls into a speedy end and a new year starts to promise fulfilled wishes and better beginnings, few would find themselves drawn to further understand various causes with the intention of being a part of the anticipated upcoming change. Shopping is an old ritual associated with holidays and new beginnings. However, with …

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As the year rolls into a speedy end and a new year starts to promise fulfilled wishes and better beginnings, few would find themselves drawn to further understand various causes with the intention of being a part of the anticipated upcoming change.

Shopping is an old ritual associated with holidays and new beginnings. However, with a world burdened with turmoil at every corner, goodwill is slowly but surely becoming a partner of the luxurious act. With the wide spread of local designers and the necessary culture, local fashion fanatics are starting to enjoy the best of both worlds.

For the current holiday season, home-grown eyewear Jazzy joined hands with Tawasol to further highlight the essential rapport between fashion and charity. The latter is an NGO renowned for its work in the area of Istabl Antar, where it aims to empower the residents with training, educational and work opportunities.

The collaboration yielded a colourful range of pouches. The handmade accessory was designed by Jazzy and produced by children at Tawasol NGO School.  Sourced from ethical materials, the pouches are a great match for the contemporary eyewear.

The artistic pouches accompany each purchase from Jazzy, which makes buying a new pair of sunglasses an absolute necessity. With that said, the collaboration does not only celebrate the end of 2017, but it also crowns the brand’s first year and the success it has met during the past few months.

After a lifetime of appreciating and collecting eyewear, Jazzy was founded as an attempt to create fashion-forward designs without draining customers’ bank accounts. On the other hand, Tawasol is an NGO specialised in the area of Istabl Antar, where the team works toward offering sustainable sources of income for the residents. Tawasol products are always handmade, using locally-sourced materials.

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Deena Wagdy sheds a spotlight on female originality  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/03/deena-wagdy-sheds-spotlight-female-originality/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/01/03/deena-wagdy-sheds-spotlight-female-originality/#respond Wed, 03 Jan 2018 11:30:11 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=645775 “The collection ‘Noor’ is inspired by the angles and juxtapositions of sunrays—streams of soft light stretching above the dawn, collapsing into the dusk, and clearing the horizon," says the designer 

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Image after another, a renowned woman stands under the spotlight and smiles subtly at the camera. They are all dressed in their daily attire of modern uniform. Simple silhouettes meet confident postures. Meanwhile, their glittering eyes are only matched by a number of geometrical tokens of strength.

Diamonds are said to be a woman’s best friend. However, in the new millennium women would rather be equipped with stacked bangles, statement earrings, and trendy chokers to face the roaring concrete jungle and keep pace with the professional world.

The artistic meeting between the bold silver and timeless gold highlight the beauty of contradictions. On the other hand, the glimmering elegance of stones adds life to the mix. With that said, geometry remains to be the undisputed knight; attractive, straightforward, and captivating.

Jewellery designer Deena Wagdy has once again championed women with her art-deco designs. For the Noor collection, the designer depended on the everlasting power of circles and determination of straight lines. Wagdy chose to declare her collection a podium from which she could reach out to inspiring female rebels.

Accordingly, the designer hand-picked a number of women—who have managed to speak their minds through art and hard work—to be her advocates of womanhood. The collection was launched through a simple yet powerful campaign, which celebrates diversity and outspoken femininity in the age of squabble.

While a photographer’s appreciation of picturesque frames was translated by lines bordered with rubies, an architecture was proven to be best complemented with a mismatched constellation of circles. Furthermore, the actress was teamed up with a divergent pair of earrings. Much like her diverse roles, the same earring takes several characters depending on the angle.

In parallel, women of all disciplines are approached through pieces that favour classic allure and others that celebrate millennial trends.

Wagdy has successfully found a new undiscovered territory of the year’s top jewellery trend—chokers—through incorporating her eye for antithesis. While aligning her troop of silver circles for articulation, she also kept dainty chains as borders of modernity.

Daily News Egypt sat with the designer to talk about design aesthetic and supporting maverick women.

What was your main message behind “Noor”?

The collection “Noor” (the Arabic word for “light”), is inspired by the angles and juxtapositions of sunrays—streams of soft light stretching above the dawn, collapsing into the dusk and clearing the horizon. The collection gives geometry a soft light appeal.

A mix of the finest sterling silver and 18 karat gold, adorned with a rainbow of vibrant semi-precious gems, including emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. Every piece in the Noor collection is subtle yet bold. While being utterly striking, the designs remain subtle. The new collection is simple but multifaceted.

Qualities of contradiction that reflect the women who wear its pieces—women who are their own light, women who shine their light upon the world, women who cannot be defined but whose presence is undeniably definitive.

After two collections, how would you define your design aesthetic?

Simple in terms of aesthetic with geometry as a significant signature. Nonetheless, it remains feminine with a hint of edginess. I believe my jewellery is characterised by constant opposition, blending sterling silver with gold and mixing textures as well as combining matte and shiny finishes.

Why did you choose to feature real women instead of models?

I wanted to use real women, not models, in order to reach out to my target audience and encourage women of different lifestyles to relate to the collection. The campaign #NeverTheSameWomanTwice reflects the brand’s heart and soul; an embodiment of the absolute woman, whose femininity is derived from an amalgamation of contradictions.

Her naked vulnerability is at the core of her evident strength, her wit is her beauty, and her simplicity is quite complex. She is one woman. However, she is never the same woman twice.

What was your criteria when selecting the featured women?

The quality of being a remarkable woman was key.  I chose women who represent my brand—women that have qualities of contradiction, cannot be defined, and cannot be labelled.

I sought women who embrace the many sides of their personality in order to continue breaking boundaries. I wanted women who are unafraid to be themselves, giving them the power to be everything and anything. They are EVERY WOMAN but NEVER THE SAME WOMAN TWICE.

What was your biggest obstacle when manufacturing this collection?

After sketching the designs of the Noor collection, I had to match each design with the extraordinary woman who will be wearing it. I wanted the personality of the woman wearing the piece to speak for the piece of jewellery she is wearing; I wanted to create a conversation between the jewellery and the heroines wearing it. This pairing process was indeed a bit of a challenge.

Which is your favourite piece out of this collection? Why?

I have two favourites, not just one. The Noor Choker and the Sunrise Earrings. I love the choker because it is simple yet quite versatile. I personally like the mix of 18 karat gold and sterling silver. Meanwhile, I am also a fan of layering. The Noor Choker can equally be worn alone or layered with other necklaces.

On the other hand, the earrings represent a bold statement; they are rebellious with a hint of eloquent femininity.

Out of the different characters represented in this collection, which resembles your personality?

I believe that every single one of them has something that resembles my personality. However, Aisha Alshabrawy is the closest to my character; she wears her femininity like an armour of strength.

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Il Mulino: little piece of Italy in Cairo’s Maadi https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/28/il-mulino-little-piece-italy-cairos-maadi/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/28/il-mulino-little-piece-italy-cairos-maadi/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 10:00:45 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=645292 Located in the heart of Cairo’s affluent and leafy suburb of Maadi is a blissful destination, were heavenly aromas exist. As soon as you walk inside, the aromas and warm, welcoming atmosphere will instantly win you over. And that’s before you even try Il Mulino’s fantastic, wide-ranging Italian menu. Opened in 2011, Il Mulino has …

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Located in the heart of Cairo’s affluent and leafy suburb of Maadi is a blissful destination, were heavenly aromas exist. As soon as you walk inside, the aromas and warm, welcoming atmosphere will instantly win you over. And that’s before you even try Il Mulino’s fantastic, wide-ranging Italian menu.

Opened in 2011, Il Mulino has been more than just a typical Italian restaurant; the place offers a variety of baked goods, pastries, and pizzas. The first you notice about the place is the beautifully intoxicating aromas of freshly baked goods and the equally mouthwatering aroma of their grill and pizzas.

The Daily News Egypt team asked for items from Il Mulino’s famous breakfast menu. As a starter, we ordered the omelette with Spinach and Goat Cheese served with lettuce salad, oven baked potatoes and brown toast. Eggs are cooked almost crepe-like and rolled up with some greens and cheese, which allows the spinach to keep its flavour while the goat cheese gets nice and warm and gooey.

We also ordered the cinnamon French toast, which does not really feel much like a usual French toast. While, it had a little bit of grease from frying and the taste of egg or batter, it was overshadowed by the cinnamon flavour. Still, there was a nice crispiness.

Yet, the pan-fried, warm cinnamon French toast makes for some pretty enjoyable eating as it was soft, pliable, and very easy to cut into. And the best thing about it was that it was neither mushy nor chewy.

In terms of pastries, of course, we wanted to try everything, but we restrained ourselves. We went for both almond and chocolate croissants. Both the almond and chocolate croissants were tasty. The crust is shatteringly crisp and flaky, yet the inside lacks the airy layers. We did enjoy the crunchy frangipane cookie layer on top of the croissants, as it did add to the croissant when blended with the crunchy crust. The croissants are very enjoyable and we would order them again.

Although it was a bit early for main course,  we wanted to try a pizza. It was hard to select which pizza to order because the restaurant has a lot of really interesting options, such as Rucola grison, napoletana,  diavola, and al salmone. In the end, we decided on the diavola because you can never go wrong with a pizza with salami on it.

The diavola consists of salami picante, oregano, spicy tomato sauce, and extra mozzarella cheese. For me, these are all some of my favourite pizza toppings, so I was pretty excited. I ordered a medium pizza because the medium is the smallest size available.

The pizza came out after a short 20 minute wait. It was huge and consisted of eight wide slices that were all shining with grease and cheese. We dug in. Immediately, the cheese stood out, which might seem strange because it is just cheese––almost every pizza has cheese. But this cheese was superior.

The cheese was quite stringy, but we kept it under control so all the salami would not fall off. The meat on the pizza was also good and ample. A lot of pizza places will cheat you on the amount of meat they put on the pizza, but that is definitely not the case at Il Mulino.

The last thing to note about any pizza is the crust. The crust was crisp and well-seasoned, and definitely worth eating every last bite. The general manager kept coming to our table to ask if everything turned out okay and if we needed anything else, which is always a highlight of new restaurants—they want everything to be perfect.

All of the plates were thoroughly cooked, something we loved. Prices for the breakfast items ranged from EGP 30-90. The pizza prices started at EGP 55 and went up to EGP 153, which is quite reasonable for the served portions.

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Uncovered legends of El-Khalifa street  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/28/uncovered-legends-el-khalifa-street/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/28/uncovered-legends-el-khalifa-street/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 08:00:00 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=645281 El Sayeda Zeinab is one of Cairo’s districts with numerous local historic and religious stories to discover. A walk in El-Khalifa street will allow you to indulge yourself in a remarkable experience of Islamic Egypt; the street hosts the Ahmad ibn Tulun mosque, one of Cairo’s oldest and most well preserved mosques. According to religious …

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El Sayeda Zeinab is one of Cairo’s districts with numerous local historic and religious stories to discover.

A walk in El-Khalifa street will allow you to indulge yourself in a remarkable experience of Islamic Egypt; the street hosts the Ahmad ibn Tulun mosque, one of Cairo’s oldest and most well preserved mosques.

According to religious stories, the mosque was constructed on a small hill called “Gebel Yashkur”, The Hill of Thanksgiving.

As the legend goes, this place is where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the deluge, instead of at Mount Ararat.

Ahmad ibn Tulun, the Abbasid governor of Egypt from 868 to 884 commissioned the mosque during his governance period, as the tradition at that time was for new governors to build a mosque at the beginning of their reign.

The mosque’s design was built according to the famous Abbasid architecture, similar in style to the Samarra mosque in Iraq, but the latter was destroyed, leaving the former as the only remaining mosque built in this style.

According to history books, Ahmed ibn Tulun ordered the building of a mosque strong enough to face water and fire. He said, “if Egypt drowns or burns, this mosque will survive”

The grand congregational mosque was intended as the focal point of ibn Tulun’s capital, Al-Qata’i, which served as the centre of administration for the Tulunid dynasty. The mosque was originally connected to ibn Tulun’s palace, with a door which allowed him direct entry to the mosque. Al-Qata’i was razed in the early 10th century and the mosque is the only surviving structure.

One of the street’s prominent stories is about Khumarawayh and his legendary garden.

Khumarawayh ibn Ahmed ibn Tulun was a governor who took the crown at 20 years old and was killed at the age of 32. He was known for being a lavish ruler. He had a lion named Zora’a, which translates to bluish, because the lion had blue eyes.

Khumarawayh was suffering from insomnia, so he built a garden which included rare trees and animals. It also had a mercury lake, which he specially ordered for his insomnia. In this lake, he put a bed so the mercury would sway his bed and he could fall asleep. Mercury was the most expensive material in that era.

After wasting his father’s wealth, Khmarawayh died at the age of 32. This wealth was wasted on his daughter Qatr al-Nada’s wedding, which took place in Baghdad, so he built houses for her along the way, so she could feel as though she was home.

Moreover, El-Khalifa street was the place were Egypt’s famous historical legend about queen Shajar al-Durr took place. She was the wife of Al-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub, Egypt’s sultan during the Ayyubid dynasty, and later Izz al-Din Aybak.

Shajar al-Durr took the throne of Egypt for 80 days with the allegiance of the Mamluks, after the death of Sultan Ayyub, and then relinquished the throne to her husband Izz al-Din Aybak in 1250. She played an important role during the seventh crusade against Egypt and during the Battle of Mansoura.

The legend is about Shajar al-Durr’s grave. The story goes that she built her grave in this street, as she wanted to be buried beside good and holy people buried there.

However, she was later beaten to death by clogs and no one knows where she was actually buried.

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Coterique launches Christmas pop-up shop in Gouna https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/27/coterique-launches-christmas-pop-shop-gouna/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/27/coterique-launches-christmas-pop-shop-gouna/#respond Wed, 27 Dec 2017 12:00:28 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=645184 With the year nearing its end, relentless plans away from the capital start to take shape and form. While few might head to the desert for an offline spiritual retreat, others would take the opposite direction with an urban vacation at none other than Gouna. Abu Tig Marina has already started celebrating by harbouring a …

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With the year nearing its end, relentless plans away from the capital start to take shape and form. While few might head to the desert for an offline spiritual retreat, others would take the opposite direction with an urban vacation at none other than Gouna.

Abu Tig Marina has already started celebrating by harbouring a number of contemporary fashion brands. The scenic venue is the assigned address for Coterique during the holidays.

The e-commerce website is a safe haven for those always looking for impressive emerging talents from around the world. The fashion-forward platform serves as an international ambassador for many talents from across the globe.

In celebration of the Christmas season, the website has successfully crossed the online borders and brought more than 14 of their most prominent designers to offline shores. The list includes Dina Shaker, Papayas, RAMLA, Le Specs, Free Being, Indira, Taqat, Les Miniatures, Halo, Blank Space, and many more.

The 21-day shopping fiesta already started on 22 December for the early birds. Nonetheless, the schedule still holds a few surprises for those who still plan to follow the flock. The team aims to celebrate the holiday season with a festive spirit. Therefore, a variety of in-store events are already in the pipeline.

From a New Year’s Day community run with The Fitness Playground to daily Wine & Shop hours from 5-7pm, Coterique plans to do it all. Meanwhile, a few special guests are expected to drop by: Lou’s & The Glitter People will be hosted by Yasmine Kenawi.

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Azza Fahmy creates bridge between design, community service https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/27/azza-fahmy-creates-bridge-design-community-service/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/27/azza-fahmy-creates-bridge-design-community-service/#respond Wed, 27 Dec 2017 11:00:48 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=645157 "Our brand is deeply rooted in Egyptian culture, so it is essential for us to give back to our community and to all communities we tackle along the way," says renowned designer 

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Cultures are said to be measured by art and literature; while the first turns history into motifs, the latter listens closely to the tales of time. When generations follow, names and facts slowly intertwine, and the fine details soon fade in. Nonetheless, and no matter how long the lineage can go, a few motifs and folkloric tales always manage to find their way to survival.

Her world is identified by emblems older than time and stones with the past encapsulated at heart. For many decades, her statement designs have served as a modern-day history guide for numerous loyal customers. Her pharaonic eagles have soared to the other end of the world, where her falahy earrings jingle to foreign rhythms.

Being one of the country’s most established contemporary jewellery designers has made Azza Fahmy a reference for traditional accessories made for a woman who greets earrings and necklaces as life-long companions. Her best-sellers have long become classics given from one generation to the next.

Azza Fahmy is a jewellery designer, currently known as a beacon of knowledge and experience. Over the years, her talent has grown to become a full-on business with an Egypt-based factory as well as a wide network of branches. On the other hand, her endeavours have also developed to include a design school, which has already contributed to the growing local fashion industry.

That said, Fahmy also has a passion for community development that, more often than not, is shadowed by her creative and educational roles. From her continuous search for long-forgotten craftsmanship to her ventures to support green technology, Fahmy has recently taken the lead part in a variety of community projects.

While she has decided to work with women of Red Sea tribes to empower their authentic artistry, she has also joined hands with KarmBuild to work on innovative solar panels.

Daily News Egypt sat with the designer to talk community service, social responsibility, and demanding causes.

In a country such as Egypt, to what extend do fashion designers have a social responsibility towards their community? 

Egypt is a country that has so many areas in need of help, anyone who can offer support or guidance will definitely do so. Our brand, for instance, is deeply rooted in Egyptian culture, so it is essential for us to give back to our community and to all the communities we tackle along the way. I can also assume that it is the same for all brands.

It is very important to be a citizen of the community, as an individual or as a brand. For us, we give back by using our know-how. For example, The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy works with organisations to help enhance the techniques of different tribes. One of our most memorable experiences took place when we worked on empowering and improving the techniques used by women of the Red Sea tribes in order for them to have more sellable products to sustain their living.

We plan to do the same in all the markets we go to. Accordingly, for the regional market, we started by being involved in the Dubai Fashion Council to be able to help map prominent designers in the region.

How can community work reflect on the creative aesthetic as well as the brand image of local fashion designers?

Community work opens a new channel for designers, and it opens their eyes to more inspiration for their designs. It definitely gives a genuine, rich opportunity to the brand by allowing bigger exposure to a lot of positive aspects. When you help your surroundings, you ought to first embrace them.

How can independent designers from various disciplines contribute to their communities? Are there certain contributions that are a necessary act of social responsibility?

Independent designers can use their know-how, craft, design, and experience in order to give back. For us, we use our resources to help and develop disadvantaged people. Contributions are definitely necessary. It it depends on what the brand consists of; it is all about developing what you are passionate about within your community

Your community work showcases a wide range of specialities and purposes; what do you look for in each project that you take part in?

I am passionate about giving back to the community in any possible way, which is why I seize the opportunities of all projects that come my way. In each project, I look for a concept that incorporates education, development, preserving the craft, innovation, and design such as our collaboration with KarmSolar.

Is there a certain cause that you have a deep interest in but you still have not gotten a chance to tackle?

Developing the craft of Nubia, by taking the vanishing local crafts and reviving them on a national scale.

Alongside collaborations, why have we not seen a jewellery collection dedicated to causes that interest you?

We have a charity bracelet that we sell the profits of which go to a different cause each quarter. In addition, we have an exciting cause that we will be supporting in 2018 for which a collection will be dedicated, so stay tuned!

What did an architecture-based project such as KarmSolar add to you as an experienced jewellery designer?

As a designer, I always look for new challenges through engaging in different interesting projects and the collaboration with KarmBuild did exactly that. Together, we attempted to create a different vision for real estate development and architecture in Egypt by combining their architectural design with my deep knowledge of Egyptian culture’s motifs and art.

We would like to expand our scope of work to become a complete design house, which entails tackling lines of design other than jewellery, such as architecture.

How would you describe this experience of not only experimenting with a new form of design, but also an innovative concept that aims to change the way we perceive architecture?

As a designer, I love to see everything beautiful around me, so I wanted to apply that to architecture as well. Solar panels need to be beautified and I used the motifs to do so.

Please tell us more about the piece donated to the Chain of Hope and the main inspiration behind its design?

We have been donating pieces to Chain of Hope for many years since we believe in their cause and we share the same values as the foundation. This year, we donated a necklace that is one of our best-selling designs from the Wonders of Nature collection.

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Capital Brunch III gathers Egypt’s top designers for a cause https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/24/capital-brunch-iii-gathers-egypts-top-designers-cause/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/24/capital-brunch-iii-gathers-egypts-top-designers-cause/#respond Sun, 24 Dec 2017 11:00:14 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=644790 While the sun rays tangoed with the clear tides of the Nile, the ‘crachindo’ of high heels ascended on the way to the sky-roof venue. Cairo’s top fashion experts and loyal supporters of home-grown brands were set to meet the country’s top fashion designers for a day of glam and charity at Capital Brunch. Socialite …

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While the sun rays tangoed with the clear tides of the Nile, the ‘crachindo’ of high heels ascended on the way to the sky-roof venue. Cairo’s top fashion experts and loyal supporters of home-grown brands were set to meet the country’s top fashion designers for a day of glam and charity at Capital Brunch.

Socialite and fashion philanthropist Heba Serag El-Din returned once again with a new fashion-forward event under her do-good initiative, Fashion Funds. The progressive concept has been associated with a number of former charity events, which aim to support both local fashion and essential causes.

For her newest edition, the fashion blogger brought a number of successful local brands and designers such as Anne Marie Kirollos, who showcased a one-of-a-kind masterpiece handmade in the heart of Upper Egypt; Papayas, the country’s favourite tassel master; and Jayda Hany, who brought along her futuristic footwear. On the other hand, the list also included renowned names such as Amina K, 7Camicie, The King’s Mother, and Reem Jano.

Aside from the spectacular view at the NOX, the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel, the event offered an offline opportunity for the most prominent talents to meet a wider spectrum of audience. According to Serag El-Din, her mission as a curator included investing a proper period of time in order to scout the country’s most allegeable brands.

Following the previous events organised by the Fashion Funds, the third edition of the Capital Brunch was dedicated to support a cause. This year, Serag El-Din chose to benefit the Burn Hospital, which received a percentage of the event’s proceedings.

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El-Chico: Tex-Mex food experience of tortilla and avocado  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/21/el-chico-tex-mex-food-experience-tortilla-avocado/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/21/el-chico-tex-mex-food-experience-tortilla-avocado/#respond Thu, 21 Dec 2017 10:00:52 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=644468 Mexican culture brought all the way to Egypt, complete with coloured light bulbs hanging on walls, embroidered sombreros, and bull heads

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Among the cuisines gaining Egyptians’ obsession nowadays is Tex-Mex. While both American and Italian restaurants have the hugest base of food enthusiasts, Egyptians have had their fair share of burgers, pizza, and pasta over the past two decades, and started showing more attraction to Mexican cuisine recently.

Discovering the latest Tex-Mex restaurants in Egypt, Daily News Egypt’s team paid a visit to El-Chico, the international restaurant chain that recently opened a branch in Egypt.

El-Chico first opened in Dallas, Texas in the United States, at the hands of members of the Mexican community there, before they witnessed a huge success in the 1960s and 70s and started opening other branches across the globe.

Tex-Mex food is a combination between Mexican food, which dominates the recipes, with some additions from American cuisine, which resembles more commonly known ingredients in the dishes.

In one of Fifth Settlement area’s largest malls, Cairo Festival City, El-Chico brought Mexican culture all the way to Egypt. With colourful light bulbs hanging on the walls, the embroidered sombreros and bull heads, the decoration of the place is great way to give you a glimpse of Mexico.

The restaurant serves nachos with fresh tomato salsa dips as a complementary welcoming gesture to its guests. Although the sauce tasted fresh and mouth-watering, it could have created a more exquisite taste if the nachos had a more pronounced flavour. Despite their crunch and large size, the nachos experience would have been richer if any spices were used for added flavour. The plain taste of the corn tortillas was missing seasoning.

We went for fried avocados as an appetiser. The plate was made of fresh avocado wedges, battered, fried, and served with jalapeno cilantro dip.

The several pieces served had a thin, crunchy texture and peal covering the greenish, large avocado pieces. Crispy on the outside, sweet and tender on the inside, the avocado was well fried and the taste of the seasoning was obvious in the seasoning and sharp to the extent of overriding the taste of the avocado itself. The tender avocado did not have an obvious aroma, it was hidden behind the fried taste. For those who love savoury and the flavour of wedges, El-Chico’s fried avocados are similar in tenderness and crisp but with a different taste.

Based on recommendations of the staff, we ordered the enchilada dinner, a plate consisting of spicy beef and cheese with chili con carne and sour cream sauce wrapped in tortillas. The plate was served with baked potato topped with sour cream and spicy corn with coloured peppers upon our request.

The minced beef was the dominating taste of the whole plate. The huge portions of meat almost eliminated the taste of cheese, sour cream, and tortilla, leaving no space for any other savour to compete with it. When we were asked, as all other customers were, about our opinion, the manager offered to serve the team an alternative plate with the same components, but with less meat and the addition of mixed cheese, onion, and green pepper inside the tortilla bread. Eventually, they all added a balance in taste. The changes can be applied to any plate upon request, according the manager.

We ordered another plate, chicken fajita taco, served with crispy corn or soft flour tortillas, upon request, the plate is made of grilled chicken fajitas served with Mexican salsa fresca, avocado, cilantro, cottage cheese, and sour cream drizzles. We ordered Mexican rice and sweet corn as side dishes.

The grilled chicken breast was tender and moist, but the portion could have been bigger. Yet, with the combination of other components, the dish made the perfect light, but filling meal. As for the Mexican rice, it was well sautéed, with tasty Mexican seasoning. The corn was a bit dry, though it still tasted good.

One of the most entertaining parts of the food experience in El-Chico was sharing the food with a community of other cultures.

The place was filled with people from different nationalities and backgrounds, all gathering to try the American-Mexican food from its origin.

El-Chico offered a satisfying level of service, with waiters ensuring all the time that customers are well-served and needed nothing, which came in handy in the case of the Enchilada plate.

Prices ranged from EGP 100-300.

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Kojak brings his enraged angels home https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/19/kojak-brings-enraged-angels-home/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/19/kojak-brings-enraged-angels-home/#respond Tue, 19 Dec 2017 11:30:50 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=644260 "This collection aims to address genocide as an idea in general. For me, this can expand to include any form of discrimination as well as not accepting others due to their personal beliefs," says designer

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As the door opens to lead to the main foyer, some mannequins stand tall flaunting their ruffled shoulders, while others embrace their delicate angels of pearl and sequin. Red is said to be the colour of blood and passion; however, for the SS18 season, it is also set to be the colour of current reality.

Mohanad Kojak is one of Egypt’s most prominent names in its growing fashion industry. The young designer is often associated with controversy and avant-garde fashion. After walking into many households through the renowned TV program, Project Runway, Kojak chose to build a stronger rapport with the region through taking part in the tenth season of Fashion Forward Dubai.

After a successful show, the experimental designer brought back his “Rage of the Angels” for the first exclusive collection viewing in his hometown, Cairo. The statement designs, which declared the designer’s appreciation of nostalgia and drama also addressed many modern-day trends.

While the crowd snapped pictures with the consolation of mannequins, a few items were undoubtedly major winners. The hand-embroidered denim jacket, the “No War in Kojak” t-shirt and contemporary red riding hood trench were by far the night’s most popular items, as the capital’s fashion lovers snatched them.

Daily News Egypt sat with the designer to discuss inspiration, preparing to meet a regional audience, and the importance of fashion education.

What did you plan to communicate through Rage of the Angels?

This collection aims to address genocide as an idea in general. For me, this can expand to include any form of discrimination as well as not accepting others due to their personal beliefs. As for the design aesthetic, this collection represent my favourite silhouettes and shapes; nonetheless, they are all coated in a colour that is not quite familiar for me; red.

The colour pallet speaks of the aggression and violence, which reflect the weird circumstances the world currently lives with. On the other hand, most of the lining is done in my signature shades of pink, so it is not completely red.

Which piece would you name a personal favourite?

My favourite piece is actually the red lace shirt with theatrical tulle ruffles. It has the delicacy of lace, yet, it still embraces the exaggeration carried in the oversized ruffles. Personally, anything that features exaggerated volume is good to go.

Why did you choose this topic for your Fashion Forward Dubai debut?

I did not specifically choose this collection for Fashion Forward; on the contrary, I was planning to do something more dreamy and peaceful. However, I was affected by the surroundings and the traumatic news happening everywhere around the world. Despite the bubble that I try to keep around me in order to remain moving forward; this time, it got to me.

Accordingly, the collection’s concept changed upside down; I could not create a dreamy fantasy amid such global conflicts.

How would you describe your journey to Fashion Forward Dubai?

Preparations for fashion forward were truly difficult and, to say the least, crazy! I am still a student at university; meanwhile, I have a fully-functioning business. Normally my day starts at six in the morning and ends around two in the morning. Aside from my normal schedule, I had to design 30 comprehensive outfits for Fashion Forward.

On the other hand, the short notice meant that during a very limited period of time I had to finish the entire collection while dedicating time to make sure that my team and work are operating normally. To sum up the experience, it was an absolute no-sleep couple of weeks leading up to the big day.

How did this experience reflect on you?

It was a great experience. It was in fact as influential as participating in Project Runway. Every time you travel and meet creative people from different countries, with different aesthetics, the opportunity ends up teaching you a lot; about yourself and the world around you. Meanwhile, it also gave me an opportunity to experience first-hand how different people react to my work; it gave me a wider perspective, bigger than my normal circle.

I might reflect a stubborn personality, however, I enjoy learning from others. In parallel, I would never stop learning no matter how old I get or how far my experience would expand. I would not think twice about interning after 30 years from now, once I find an entity that can add to my knowledge and feed my passion. Therefore, Fashion Forward Dubai was certainly an insightful experience that taught me a lot.

To what extent is proper fashion education fundamental for the upcoming generation of Egyptian designers?

Despite my early start before traditionally learning fashion design, I believe that having proper education can tremendously help a lot of people get to their desired targets faster and easier. Not everyone should struggle to get the fundamental information; not everyone has the required passion and will to pursue it.

I believe that it worked for me because I do not have anything else to do in life but fashion. It is an everyday relationship, it is how I express myself and how I interact with my surroundings.

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Three is a charm!  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/17/three-is-a-charm/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/17/three-is-a-charm/#respond Sun, 17 Dec 2017 11:30:08 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=644062 Third annual DDFC initiates three regional talents 

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After many online forecasts, the doors were finally open for gowns and tuxedos to sweep by. As the ballroom filled with more than 150 fashion fanatics, anticipation grew more evidently in the air. Unlike any other event, it was the end of this one that everyone looked out for.

With renowned names such as Dubai Design and Fashion Council CEO Jazia Al Dhanhani, and international judges Reem Acra, Aquazzura’s Edgardo Osorio, and Conde Nast’s Karina Dobrotvorskaya lined up for talks, it was Vogue Arabia’s Editor in Chief Manuel Arnaut’s announcement that had everyone applaud and holding their breath.

The DDFC/Vogue Fashion prize has once again returned to offer a strong boost for a number of regional talents. The nominees represented a diversity of countries and design aesthetics. After months of online hype and one long day for the jury committee to meet and evaluate each talent, a winner for each of the categories was announced amid encouraging cheers and deafening standing-ovation.

The Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai Hotel witnessed the heartfelt celebration of ready to wear designer Faissal El-Malak, accessory designer Joanna Laura Constantine, and fine jewellery designer Nadine Ghosn as they jumped and twirled in excitement, knowing that the paths of their brands are about to be turned around.

Aside from the regional and international recognition, DDFC provides a vital push for the winners. Former winners such as Hussein Bazaza and Okhtein have utilised the award to take their brands internationally as well as develop their regional production and presence.

This year’s winners are set to receive a number of prizes that collectively sum up to more than USD 250,000. They will be given a financial grant, which should reflect on the brand’s production. On the other hand, they will also receive a retail pick-up from Harvey Nichols -Dubai and Bloomingdale’s – Kuwait.

With that said, the key benefits are the mentorship period provided by one of the committee members as well as an advertising campaign to promote their upcoming retail collection.

The vogue fashion prize started with one category, ready to wear, in the year 2015, and  went to Lebanese talent Hussein Bazaza. Since then, an ‘accessories’ category was added to the festival, while this year’s ceremony witnessed the first ‘fine jewellery’ winner.

Faissal El-Malak is a cultural veteran, who uses fabrics to unite borders. The ready-to-wear outfit designer is best known for advocating local craftsmanship across the region. El-Malak personally allocates artisans in countries such as Yemen, Tunis, and Egypt.

His work is a token of authenticity that pays tribute to the region’s incomparable hand-woven fabrics. With a colour pallet inspired by the Arab world’s earthly tones and androgynous silhouettes, the Palestinian designer addresses those who appreciate art and history.

On the other hand, Joanna Laura Constantine has strong women at the core of her designs. The accessories master juggles Swarovski crystals and pearls, while shaping rhodium to create a well-detailed, modern-day equivalent of armours for contemporary women. armoire

Constantine’s most-celebrated designs borrow geometry from tribal fashion as well as cursive doodles from abstract art. For her SS18 collection, the Lebanese designer wraps her heroines with gold-plated strands encrusted with a rainbow of crystals. Meanwhile, she gracefully turns belts into stackable gold rings and bangles.

Wrapped up in miniature fast-food boxes; diamonds, rubies, and gold in Ghosn’s collection assemble to form a precious burger sandwich, complete with metaphoric ketchup, onion and lettuce. Nadine Ghosn transforms several delicacies into fine jewellery for a young and digitally-obsessed clientele. The eclectic designer turns to food and technology for unexpected inspiration.

Due to her few years in the Far East, Ghosn is known for diamond and emerald sushi rolls as well as a number of mouth-watering pendants. The constantly-smiling designer walked home with the newest award thanks to her ability to create jewellery with the potential to document current global social trends.

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Sami Amin toys with leather and brass for 2018 https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/17/sami-amin-toys-leather-brass-2018/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/17/sami-amin-toys-leather-brass-2018/#respond Sun, 17 Dec 2017 10:30:31 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=644054 "Our heritage is rich with true Egyptian toys such as the Mouled doll and horse. These toys have a long history intertwined with our country's legacy," says iconic designer

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While the unforgettable lyrics of El-Leila El-Kebera play, boosted from the surrounding music system, some stood closely to watch the rotating installation while others reached out to interact with the showcased accessories.

In one corner of the shop, during the launch of Sami Amin’s most recent collection, “toys”, a statement necklace released percussions every time the brass clown reacted to applied pressure from visitors. Meanwhile, a bracelet attracted the attention with its rotating leather details and well-engraved doll.

Sami Amin has once again declared an early start to the upcoming year with his new collection. For 2018, the accessories designer dived back into his early years in order to announce childhood nostalgia the year’s top must have.

“The new collection is inspired by toys. Everyone fancies the idea of becoming a child once again. Who does not want to enjoy a day building sandcastles on the beach, or playing around innocently? Everyone has an inner child waiting to be unleashed at the nearest opportunity,” said Amin with a confident smile.

The theatrical collection interprets the designer’s appreciation of things he, as well as many local generations, grew up playing with. According to him, this collection aims to encourage innocent pleasure and happiness.

“Our heritage is rich with true Egyptian toys such as the Mouled doll and horse. These toys have a long history intertwined with our country’s legacy. The Mouled doll for instance originally dates back to the pharaohs; however, it was later updated to resemble Virgin Mary before it finally became associated with the prophet’s birth.” Amin added, “on the other hand, the horse originated from the infamous battle between Horus and the dark god. Therefore, our toys actually have significant input from the Egyptian history. Meanwhile, simpler toys such as the folkloric drums represent a rich reference for motifs.”

The designer, who is always keen on exploring new dimensions of the country’s well-known folklore and history was – to say the least – enchanted with all those that could dance, sing and move in order to cheer a child. According to him, his design process aimed to turn these everyday objects into a modern source of inspiration that could be moulded into a contemporary bag or necklace.

Much like his subject of interest, all of the designed accessories embrace mobility in their core as Amin made sure to borrow dynamic details from the world’s games and tricks. While he is well-known for his extended skills in the field of leather, his early start witnessed a stronger presence of brass.

“I used to incorporate metal in my designs; I have even designed few hybrid bags back in the days. However, later, I chose to focus on leather for quite some time.” Amin added “now that metal is becoming a major trend; especially when mixed with leather, I decided to go back to my old aesthetic.”

Even though this collection resembles a significant ode to Amin’s – currently known as – vintage work, it also features better manufacturing techniques and more innovative approaches that salute modern-day technology. One of the collection’s main starlets is a brass and leather shoulder bag. With intricate picturesque details, the show-stopping mini bag could already be named a best seller minutes into the launch event.

As a locally-celebrated ambassador of forgotten heritage, Amin also plans to extend his influence internationally. This collection is set to take Egypt’s toys all the way to Saudi Arabia and Australia.

“I can only hope that this collection would become a modern ambassador of our heritage. When you are proud of your country’s history, you manage to present it to the world in a modern method associated with high quality and genuine materials. This formula has the potential to make the foreign audience observe, respect and buy the product; carrying a part of the country to faraway destinations,” concluded Amin.

-END-

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Morocco’s food heritage saved and served at Marocain Moments https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/07/moroccos-food-heritage-saved-served-marocain-moments/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/07/moroccos-food-heritage-saved-served-marocain-moments/#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 10:00:05 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=643165 In the heart of one of Cairo’s most crowded areas, Mohandessin, a spot of peace, bright colours exists. With the scent of the city of Chefchaouen taking over Cairo’s overcrowded streets and unbearable car horns, in a narrow, dim, crowded street, lies Marocain Moments, a restaurant serving Moroccon cuisine. Bright colours are the main theme …

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In the heart of one of Cairo’s most crowded areas, Mohandessin, a spot of peace, bright colours exists. With the scent of the city of Chefchaouen taking over Cairo’s overcrowded streets and unbearable car horns, in a narrow, dim, crowded street, lies Marocain Moments, a restaurant serving Moroccon cuisine.

Bright colours are the main theme of the decorations, with the famous Moroccan decoration patterns, and the walls and ceiling stencilled with blue, red, purple, and green colours. Surrounded by cross-coloured victors tiles, waiters who are dressed in Morocco’s traditional costumes and pale faded portraits of elders cooking on fire stoves; people could not help but feel they have travelled in time to an earlier era and are sitting in one of Morocco’s local alleys.

When it came to exploring Moroccan culture before eating the food, it could have been better if some songs from their heritage were played in the background.

From the first steps inside Marocain Moments, people start contemplating the decorations, statues, and portraits aiming to explore as much as possible from a culture that indicate its richness in legacy, yet the scene is somehwat interrupted with some modern Egyptian songs, which one again brings visitors forward in time and place to Egypt.

In terms of food, Moroccan cuisine definitely means tajines. The Daily News Egypt team asked for the most ordered plates in the restaurant: meat with apricots and plums tajine, chicken with green olives tajine and buried chicken couscous. As starters, we went for Moroccan salad and “harissa”.

While the main course took some time to prepare, the appetisers came right after the order was placed. Moroccan salad was a combination of small chopped tomatoes, spicy preserved lemon, green olives, and green bell peppers.

It was later obvious that Moroccan preserved lemons are an essential element of most Moroccan dishes. The pickled lemons are preserved with salt, spices, and Moroccan herbs for a few weeks until the lemons soften and absorb all of their surrounding ingredients.

The taste of the lemon was quite obvious and sharp in the salad, overcoming any other flavour. For those who love pickles’ salty taste, the salad would be one of their favourites. Yet, we preferred to find another strong taste competing with the saltiness to create a balance. While some found their sought balance in tomatoes, with them chopped really small, others did not.

“Harissa” is a Moroccan hot chilli pepper paste. The main ingredient in it are roasted red peppers, “baklouti” pepper (capsicum annuum), serrano peppers, and garlic. The paste is only for those who are passionate for extremely spicy food. While only some of us are, the choice was one of the most preferrable. The fresh taste of pepper in the chilli taste created the most admiring combination for hot-food lovers.

When it came to the main dishes, buried chicken couscous was the table’s most admired superstar. In Egyptian cuisine, couscous is known to be cooked as a sweet dish. Trying it with chicken as a main, savoury dish was a first for the whole team. However, pleasure was the common feeling among all after the first few bites.

The plate consisted of chicken pieces that were seemingly melting, with caramelised onions buried inside the yellowish couscous, which was topped with small portions of sugar, cinnamon, and raisins.

While some might find the combination non-matching, as we first thought, we found it to be the complete opposite.

The sweet taste of brown caramelised onions, with the saltiness of couscous and chicken create a completely balanced ground when one eventually tastes everything clearly and strongly. The chicken was so well-cooked that it felt as though it melted off the bones, something that added a unique taste with the moist couscous.

As for the topping sugar, cinnamon, and raisins, they completed the balance of sweetness against the saltiness of chicken and couscous.

For those who love the pickles, chicken with green olives is also another recommended plate. The tajine consists of three big chicken pieces with green olives cooked in a sauce of coriander and lemon. The tajine’s smell was the most pronounced among the dishes.

Matching the decoration of the table it was served on, the colours of the plate were eye-catching as the yellow, green, and brown mixed together well.

The chicken was also extremely well-cooked to the aforementioned “melting” extent, while the green coriander sauce had a slightly sour taste. The sauce won everyone’s hearts, to the extent that even those who did not like the sharp taste of lemon loved dipping Moroccan bread in it.

The plate was quite satisfying for most of the team who are fond of pickled tastes. For the others, the chicken with sauce was also a satisfyingly tasty dish to eat with bread.

The meat with apricots and plums tajine is an eastern twist on sweet and sour. The meat was cooked with onion and herbs, mixed with dried sweet apricots and plums, creating a new taste of the famous sweet and sour category, yet applying the same concept.

The tajine contained several medium pieces of chicken, surrounded by apricots and plums. The combination between elements in taste were quite amusing to try. This is one of the most famous heritage dishes in Moroccan cuisine and one of the most ordered plates all across the world, one of the waiters said.

The sweetness of fruits overcomes the meat’s taste slightly, however, this does not affect the sour taste of the meat. The tajine is another highly recommended dish to try.

All of the plates were thoroughly cooked, something we loved. Prices for the appetisers ranged from EGP 30-70. The main dishes’ prices started from EGP 100 and went up to EGP 250, which is quite reasonable for the served portions.

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‘Wa Hekaya’ makes crowns an everyday choice https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/06/wa-hekaya-makes-crowns-everyday-choice/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/06/wa-hekaya-makes-crowns-everyday-choice/#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 11:00:22 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=643055 Tales are often told by women; mothers that aim to teach their kids a little wisdom for the life that awaits them or friends that need the companionship secured by shared experiences. Stories are said to be unfolded by the winners; however, those shared during weakness or without an apparent cause are the ones that …

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Tales are often told by women; mothers that aim to teach their kids a little wisdom for the life that awaits them or friends that need the companionship secured by shared experiences. Stories are said to be unfolded by the winners; however, those shared during weakness or without an apparent cause are the ones that sustain the test of time.

Fashion is a method as old as time to narrate chronicles. In a previous lifetime, higher headpieces indicated status while thinner sandals were taken for poor background and the examples go on and on. With every decade, rulers changed and with them the fashion guidelines relentlessly shifted.

“Wa Hekaya”, which could be translated to “and a story”, is an eloquent, newly-established brand. The home-grown label tackles the undisputed longing to dress as they do in fairytales and bygone monarchies.

Founded by social media influencer Farah Emara, the brand is specialised in headwear and hair accessories. The glamorous designs include tiaras, bejeweled hair combs, and headpieces worthy of being part of any bridal album.

According to the founder, her products are powerful self-expression tools that empower women to tell their stories and dreams without the need for words. Based on identifiable character, each piece borrows inspiration from a different culture and decade to appeal to a certain woman.

Historically, traditional headwear is an Arab and Egyptian invention. With several monarchies and ruling systems, Egypt’s museums are full of different, iconic headpieces. Accordingly, it was Emara’s main goal to start from the country’s rich history and create contemporary alternatives that are both nostalgic, yet, suitable for the current age.

From turbans and twisted fabric headbands to 24 karat gold-plated tiaras, encrusted with vibrant stones, Wa Hekaya offers a wide range of options. On the other hand, the brand also provides few luminous options that can accompany brides on their big day.

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Cairo Fashion Festival season 9: go big or go home https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/06/cairo-fashion-festival-season-9-go-big-go-home/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/06/cairo-fashion-festival-season-9-go-big-go-home/#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 10:00:17 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=643050 The ninth season unfolds over more than 7,000 sqm

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As more days get crossed off the year’s calendar, those currently known as the Cairo Fashion Festival (CFF) crowd worked on their outfits for the anticipated date. From the country’s most renowned fashion designers, to those with an army of loyal followers, hundreds marched on the green carpet under the fading sun of late November.

For the ninth season, CFF came back with a new layout, sizzling fashion, and fresh talents to celebrate the Fashion Week (FW) season. This season, the festivities unfolded over an entire weekend, starting with a local shopping bazaar then a number of fashion talks powered by the industry’s leaders before the great finale.

The biannual fiesta proved to be the country’s biggest fashion event with five presentations plus four runway shows, which took place on the festival’s longest runway to date. From those who have trusted CFF to be their launchpad a few seasons ago, to those who met Cairo’s fashion enthusiasts for the first time, it is safe to say that the event had a little something for every taste.

While the early sunset led to a long and chilly night, the first model took the stairs to walk on a fashion-forward modified container. The industrial platform was this season’s designated location for fashion presentations. First in line, Ola Azzam’s evening dresses answered many puzzling dress codes with flirty silhouettes and satin-fuelled grace. The multiple high and low hemlines, paired with hints of lace, made the collection both fresh and timeless.

Next in line, Dubai’s Three Fifty Nine had their spot inside the container. The brand’s signature vibrant colours and geometric patterns stood out against the surrounding white backdrop. The label’s modern aesthetic and carefree flair attracted the attention of many bold and contemporary women in the crowd.

The container later witnessed the work of Sara Shenawy and Heritage collection by Ahmed Hamdy. While Shenawy addressed the ladies, Hamdy favoured his own kind. For the new season, the precious sapphire stone has a significant impact on Shenawy’s thought process. The designer’s collection was inspired by the gem’s transparency and rich colour. Accordingly, her evening gowns came in a rainbow of emerald green, ruby red, and without question, sapphire blue.

The simple yet memorable collection got Shenawy to walk one more time inside the container; albeit the second round was only to pick up her gigantic ticket as the winner of this year’s fashion grant provided by London College of Fashion.

On the other hand, the gentlemen had an appointment with a fashion-forward blast from the past. Menswear designer Ahmed Hamdy chose to base his design on what he defined as the golden era of tailoring in Egypt: the 1930s.

“In the year 1925, Cairo was named the most beautiful city in the world. One of the main criteria for this award was the way people dressed,” Hamdy added. “Accordingly, I was inspired to use the best-selling fabrics from that decade; wool, cashmere, and velvet. Meanwhile, I have followed a more modern cut while maintaining nostalgic reveres.”

With that said, nothing was as intriguing as the Oppo fashion presentation competition. The presentation featured the work of many talented designers, including Malak El-Ezzawy, Ahmed Hamdy, Randa Torky, Christina Leon, and Eva Habashi. According to the brand’s guidelines, the designers would bond to use the Oppo colours as well as intertwine the new phone. The container witnessed creations as diverse as a men’s suit with a transparent breast pocket, a duo-coloured coat—half green and half white—and an evening gown worthy of a night on the dance floor.

As for the runway shows, they were a whole new ball game. Bardees Ahmed came back for a second season with CFF. Inspired by Egypt’s popular heritage, the ready-to-wear designer took florals from a spring cliché to a locally-flavoured dress code.

“Spring Fiesta is a colourful celebration of the season. It is a happy collection based on spring’s colours, flowers, and movement,” Ahmed said.

Her petals blossomed on denim outfits and summer dresses; meanwhile, she clashed and matched statement patterns to formally welcome the upcoming heat waves.

On the contrary, Maison SG by Sara Gabr focused on the current FW18 season, as well as her synchronised army of women. Her over-sized power blazers bounced supremacy with the ripped denim shirts. Further to this, the short hemlines reflected the collection’s overall confident allure.

“The Crystalline Rain was based on the manipulation of dark shapes against neutral colours,” Gabr said, adding, “rain is a unique element and each outfit is inspired by the need to standout. Each piece could be styled in many different ways in order for it to become one with the woman wearing it.”

Unlike what the name might suggest, Diva Couture is anything-but unattainable. The home-grown brand aimed to partner up with the ladies that plan to have a prosperous holiday season without (what used to be) unavoidable hustle. The FW18 collection aims to make dreamy and practical synonyms. Through matching exaggerated shoulders with flowing skirts and detailed-lace bodices with high and low satin skirts, Diva Couture created a haven for modern women.

“Haute couture does not necessarily have to restrain women; they should be able to move and have a good time while looking their best. This fall and winter collection is an opportunity to prove that femininity and practicality can come hand in hand,” said the founder, Mona Salim.

Mary Theotoky came all the way from Greece to put on a white finale for the busy schedule. The bridal designer sent down the runway a number of gowns, which were designed to appeal to every taste. From mermaid cuts, to those inspired by fairy tales, the gravel runway saw the dainty and the heavily extravagant. Furthermore, the Greek designer also added a dose of colour via a number of slick evening gowns.

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