Arsenal's Héctor Bellerín curates his own menswear collection with H&M

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The minimalist collection comes with a hefty side of sustainability

Hector Bellerin has made no secrets of his love for fashion. Having previously graced the pages of Esquire and his Social Media feeds dripping with strong looks and statements, perhaps the biggest statement is his latest collaboration with the high-street giant H&M.

The Arsenal and Spain defender has recently curated a collection of menswear with the Swedish retailer, creating a capsule of accessories and apparel with an emphasis on sustainability with the clothes made from either recycled cottons, nylons and polyesters.

Speaking to Hypebeast, Bellerin praised the "creative freedom" that he had working on the project. "The exchange of ideas from different people with different point of views and merging it together into one is also always one of my favorite parts of the creative process," he said.   

The item-wise, the collection includes a light grey parka jacket and boxy beige blazer, as well as graphic-treated fleece sweatshirts and poplin button-up shirts.

According to Bellerin, a lot of the inspiration for the collection came from his everyday style. "I wanted it to feel comfortable and light and the earthy colors are inspired by nature," he said. "During quarantine I spent a lot of time outdoors and I’d often go for a walk and be inspired by the plant patterns."

As the footballer's fashion resume continues to grow, we're pretty certain this is just the first of several future collaborations.


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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 31, 2021 - 16:04

Even Jared Leto is intimidated by The Little Things co-star Denzel Washington

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For Denzel Washington, it's The Little Things that matter, from who he works with to how he approaches each role.

There’s a lot you can learn about a man and his stature not just by how he behaves, but by how others react to him. Take Denzel Washington, for example. When fellow Oscar-winner Jared Leto, his co-star in the new film The Little Things, is talking about his collaborators, he can’t bring himself to say Denzel’s first name. It’s always Mr. Washington.

“Yes, like Mr. Washington says…” Leto says at one point on the Zoom call.

Washington lets the first one go.

“Yes, like Rami and Mr. Washington both…” Leto says later.

Denzel!” Washington corrects him. “Denzel!”

“If you watch—” Leto pauses, before finally getting it out. “—Denzel in his movies…”

You get the feeling, in watching him, that the amount of reverence that people show the two-time Oscar winner and legendary performer of stage and screen is both appreciated and taken as an inconvenience, as it often gets in the way of just being able to have a normal conversation about the thing he loves so much—film, and the often-mystifying process it takes to make a good one.

The Little Things, his latest, has him returning to familiar ground—a detective on the hunt for a serial killer, with a few added twists we can’t discuss without spoiling it that make it well worth seeing. When asked how his Little Things character is different from the cops he has portrayed before, Washington gives a deadpan answer.

“About 35 pounds,” Washington says.

All jokes aside, the character’s weight was a focal point for Washington, who used that note in the script to figure out who his character was.

“You just start asking questions and questions lead to more questions and hopefully lead to answers. You get specific. ‘What does he eat? Why does he eat it? What time does he eat it? Why, why is he so heavy? Why is he this? Why is he that?’ You know, all those kind of questions,” says Washington.

Before filming, Washington spent hours each day sitting in writer and director John Lee Hancock’s office, asking these questions as the two of them came up with answers together, getting to the heart of the tale of a disgraced detective trying to find redemption by finding another killer. The tidbits that came from those conversations slowly formed the character, a process that Washington follows for each of his roles. The ‘little things’ indeed.

It’s not all soul-searching, of course. Washington also focuses on the people he surrounds himself with, vetting each person’s track record before taking a role, both in front of and behind the camera.

“You know, I'm the IMDb Pro master. I'm always just looking everybody up and what they've done,” says Washington.

Washington recognizes the accomplishments of those around him, but when he points them out—as he does at one point during the call—he doesn’t do so to flatter anyone, he does it because that’s what he thinks. He doesn’t seem to want to be thanked for a compliment either.

When he brings up the pedigree of the film’s producer, Mark Johnson, and how impressed he’s been with his career, Johnson looks genuinely taken aback hearing that sentiment expressed by the esteemed actor, interrupting him to thank him for his kind words.

“Say that again?” Washington asks, not hearing it the first time.

“I’m so honored to hear you say that,” Johnson repeats.

“Oh,” says Washington.

After 2020, Washington seems equally as focused now on the state of the world, seeing the pandemic as a moral reckoning of sorts that has tested each of us. When talking about what’s been on his mind for the last year, it’s hard not to think of Washington in his performance in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X.

“We have to deal with ourselves, our families, our loved ones. We have to reassess who we are. How did we get here? Once you go back outside, if you don't look out for your fellow man, it can not only kill your fellow man or woman, but it could kill you. Through a spiritual lens, it's a sharp and a harsh world or reckoning, whatever the word is, that we have to deal with. But I think, hopefully, prayerfully, we will come out of this more united,” says Washington.

“We have all had time to think about our part. And I believe that, as we go back outside, if we don't look out and take better care, and treat our fellow men and women as we would want to be treated, we will all be destroyed. It's already happening. It's a great opportunity for us to make a turn. And if we don't…”

The Little Things is in theaters now across the Middle East


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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 31, 2021 - 14:49
Article Relations: 
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The re-reinvention of Bassem Youssef

Lead Text: 
Having been chased out of Egypt, the one-time scourge of the political regime has rebuilt his career by improving the health of those back home

September 15, 2013. Bassem Youssef is sitting in a café in El Gouna, Egypt. He has just taken a bite out of a double cheeseburger. Instinctively he closes his eyes, savouring the taste of that juicy meat-filled bite that his body had become so accustomed to over the years that his mouth started salivating with an almost Pavlovian response to him picking it up. Across the table his friend, Nader Montasser, watches him relish eating the burger with a smile on his face and chuckles softly.

The two men have known each other for over twenty years. Both keen athletes in their youth, they played on pretty much all the same sports teams together throughout Middle and High school: basketball, football, volleyball, track and field. Montasser had even represented the Egyptian national team at water polo.

But as the way of most childhood friendships go, life had gotten in the way and they had grown apart. Montasser had gone on to set up a successful business, while Youssef, well, he went on to become ‘Bassem Youssef’—the surgeon-turned-political-satirist who dared to be the irrepressible voice of the people, as Egypt spiralled into a political power struggle in the aftermath of the Arab Spring movement. But more on that later.


Suit and shirt, both by Berluti

Their lunch is somewhat of a reconnection and, unfortunately, one that was triggered by some upsetting news. Youssef had reached out to Montasser after hearing that his friend had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis—a brutal, debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system—of which there is no cure. Except, as Montasser explains, that was not the case for him. Over the course of the lunch, he explains to his old friend how following the diagnosis he dramatically changed his lifestyle and diet to a strictly plant-based one, which had a life-saving impact on him recovering from the disease.

As a qualified doctor, Youssef is initially skeptical but, as his friend explains the affect it had, something deep inside him clicks. “After I finish eating this burger, I am never going to eat meat again,” Youssef declares, making sure to look his friend in the eye. Holding his gaze he says, “I am going to change my life, and the lives of so many other people for the better.”

Montasser chuckles and warns him: “That is what most people say!” The thing is, Bassem Youssef is not like most people...

***

Bassem Youssef must hate filling out forms. Especially the box that requires you to write your profession. For 19 of his 46 years he was a medical surgeon—and a respected one at that— but he could also add salsa and tango teacher, stand-up comedian, kite surfing instructor, TV host, children’s author and, of course, scourge of the Egyptian military regime.

The remarkable thing about all these elements is that they all happened to Youssef as an adult. He may very much be the quintessential polymath, but he is a late bloomer. Born in Cairo, Youssef was raised in a very middle class family. His father was a judge, and his mother—the matriarch of the family— was a university professor.While he was lively and loud as a child, growing up he tended to be more disciplined than his older siblings, and by his own admissions, not especially funny.

Seeing his brother hating his university engineering course, he decided to enroll in medical school. “In the Middle East you grow up knowing only three career paths: a doctor, an engineer or a disappointment,” he quips in a deadpan manner, as if he’s used that line a thousand times before, but it isn’t any less funny or any less true.

For the next 19 years he studied and worked as a doctor, and then in 2011 everything changed.


Fluff jacket, by Tommy Hilfiger; Denim shirt, by BOSS

Together with his friend Tarek El Kazzaz (a media entrepreneur who wanted to put original Arabic content on the Internet) they created a series of five-minute webisodes that explored religious cults such as Scientology and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Youssef wrote the scripts, chose the videos and music and made all the final cuts. The videos received a positive reaction, but the political climate at the time was tense so they held off. All of a sudden it was January 25, 2011 and the Arab Spring had come to Egypt.

During the next few months and years Youssef became somewhat of a legend across the Arab world. As fighting broke out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Youssef was one of the many doctors who helped the wounded protestors in those first chaotic weeks. The reality of what he saw on the streets versus what was reported on the news at night was so different that it gave him an idea. He wanted to take on the official news broadcast, and started writing and filmed a series of YouTube videos in the laundry room of his apartment and called it The B+ Show— named after his blood type. The videos caught the attention of Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, owner of ON TV, who made a deal to take the show to television, and the Bassem Youssef-fronted political satire show, Al-Bernameg, was born.

Al-Bernameg was big. Like, really big. At its height it had an audience of 40 million people weekly. For context, that is nearly half of the population of Egypt. The show, (which translates as ‘The Programme’, hence Youssef’s habit of introducing it by saying “Welcome to The Programme programme!”) parodied celebrities and politicians from all sides, a previously unthinkable concept in Egypt.

This caused delight and outrage in equal measure, depending on the viewers’ political affiliations, but all sides would watch regardless, giving Youssef a global profile, the nickname ‘the John Stewart of Egypt’ and even a spot on Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ list.  

Unfortunately, history is littered with examples of political power hammering down the nail that sticks up, and in 2013 that hammer fell on Youssef as he was issued with an arrest warrant for allegedly insulting Islam and (then-)President Mohammed Morsi.

Five hours after the court had returned its verdict—where he was fined a barely believable 100 million Egyptian Pounds (AED23 million)—
he had escaped on a plane to Dubai, never to return. He would spend a year in the emirate, fielding various business offers—pitches to restart Al-Bernameg from overseas; offers to host TV game shows and late night talk shows; even from the Egyptian regime to return with the agreement that he would do a more watered-down version of the show—but he turned them all down.

The Egyptian media were chastising him as a coward and the sheer amount of daily cyberbullying became overwhelming. He knew that the weight of his name represented something to a Middle East audience and that any new venture would see people tuning in to expect something which they wouldn’t get, and then he would be called a failure. So he left and moved to Los Angeles to re-invent himself from scratch, again.

***

The above recap of Youssef’s journey to fame will please and frustrate him in equal parts today. Sitting on the outdoor terrace of the new plant-based restaurant Soulgreen, in Dubai’s Vida Creek Harbour Hotel, the waiter puts down a bowl of avocado salad in front of him and he tucks straight in and starts to talk. “I am hugely proud of what we did and, at the time, I loved it,” he says of the three years he spent making Al-Bernameg. “It was such a rush, the audience was so big and it felt important. But it has started to upset me that it has become the thing that has defined me. Sure, it was the biggest thing that I have done in my life—and might be the biggest thing that I will ever do—but I don’t want to let it be the only thing that defines me.”

Youssef still has the mischievous grin and piercing blue eyes that became the face of a non-violent cultural revolution, but behind the zinging one-liners and knowing winks things took their toll. The torrent of death threats, harassments, cyberbullying and arrests wore him down emotionally. After being forced to flee, commentators and critics denounced him as professionally ‘finished’. “I think people find it easy to define others by one thing, but life is a very organic 3D experience, and I think it is a constant reminder that you shouldn’t let others define you. I worked very hard to get out of the mindset that my best days were behind me,” he says.

So who is Bassem Youssef now?

“That is a very complex question,” says Youssef, who picks up on the narrative thread by answering in the third person. “I think Bassem Youssef is now a product of what he has been through over the past few years. A product of insecurities, uncertainties and maybe even a little bit of bitterness. But there is a lot of potential for growing up.”

His honesty and willingness to lower his guard is unexpected, and perhaps belies a man who has been through a lot since the last time he graced the cover of Esquire Middle East, seven years ago. “The Bassem Youssef today is someone who is very excited about the potential of doing something that he never would have thought possible when I was last in Esquire!” he says.

Part of what he thought would never have been possible is Isa’al Bassem (Ask Bassem)—a self-styled TV show where he uses his medical experience to advise audiences on the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Starting this month, the show will air exclusively on the Pan-Arab Asharq network. “It’s the first time that a show focused on a plant-based diet has ever been picked up by a mainstream network, and it is in the Arab world!” he says. “That’s crazy!”

The fact that the show (which first started on his own YouTube channel) about a fringe dietary requirement was bought by a network is a big success; the fact that it stars Bassem Youssef? Revolutionary.

“When I first looked for funding or media help, the shutdown response was always the same: ‘no, you’re Bassem Youssef, you do Al-Bernameg and people will never see you in any other light.’” And he really started to believe it, but while Youssef will admit that a short fuse is one of his negative traits, it is also what fuels his character.

“This may sound negative, but I think for a long time I was motivated by revenge,” he says. “Maybe a part of me wanted to prove to everyone who doubted me that I can come back, that I am still relevant and good and successful and then I will flip the middle finger back to them. But then another part of me says, maybe if I make it I won’t even care about having to prove myself to anyone. Who am I trying to prove yourself too? The media, Islamists, cyberbullies, the military? If you are happy, then why do you care about what these people think?”

As you probably expect, the new show is not the ultimate goal—this is Bassem Youssef after all. He tells of future plans to create a series of bigger shows: reality TV shows; health information shows; and his plans to work with governments, healthcare systems, and medical insurance companies to promote the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.

He explains how he wants his company, Plant B, to offer a ‘full-works solution’ where, for a monthly subscription, people can have a medical consultation and then have a food plan delivered to them tailored to the diagnosis. “Dietary education is a huge chance to help people reduce the cost of treating chronic disease without spending all that money in a useless way,” he says.


Blue cord suit and sweater, all by Etro

On a very practical level, Youssef puts what he is preaching into practice. In the seven years since his lunch catch-up with Nader Montasser, he has made a plant-based lifestyle the “biggest thing in my life”. Yes, he has a full-time career as an English-language stand-up comedian in his adopted home of Los Angeles, but playing in the ‘vegan space’ is where he sees the next 10 to 15 years of his career. 

“I often introduce myself as ‘Hi I’m Bassem Youssef, I am Arab and Vegan, which means I’m scary and annoying’,” he pauses, waiting for the anticipated reaction to his joke. When it arrives he continues. “Talking veganism to Middle Easterns today is like talking to Americans about it in the 1950s—but things are changing,” he says.

“Yes, I understand the reputation that vegans have about being ‘preachy’, but I’m not trying to convert anyone who isn’t already interested. I am running a series of shows and websites where people can come to learn about a plant-based lifestyle if they want. The name Plant B is a play on ‘Plan B’, because it is an alternate option. Try it, if you don’t like it, then you can go back to your burgers!”

One of the more successful parts of his Plant B network is the ‘21-day Plant B Challenge’ —a custom-built diet plan based on eating purely plant-based foods for 21 days in order to help people ‘lose weight, improve health and feel energetic’. “I have voice messages on my phone from friends telling me that their family members have improved their health simply by following the ‘21 days Challenge’... in fact, they just call it ‘the Bassem Youssef diet’!” he says with a chuckle. “People have told me that it has helped them defeated cancer, overcome IBS and even diabetes because of it. When you get this kind of feedback, you know that you are doing something meaningful.”

***

The majority of people work their entire lives striving to contribute, grow and perfect their chosen profession. Some may two careers. Three, maybe. Four, rarely.

Five years ago Bassem Youssef reinvented himself as a stand-up comedian. Yes, he is naturally funny guy and jokes littered his satirical show, but having moved his family to LA he now does them in English rather than Arabic. “Growing up my English was shit, so I had to learn it as an adult,” he says. “Then when I moved to the US, I had to learn how to perform in English, which is a whole different thing. And then, I had to learn how to perform comedy in English—which is another completely different thing!”

He tells stories of when he first started doing stand-up in English in US comedy clubs, and would go home crying at how badly he would bomb. It’s not that the material was bad, but as an art form so much nuance and understanding of the craft is needed. Or as he puts it: “there is a huge difference between saying a joke, and telling a joke.”


White shirt, by Valentino

Considering the spectrum of careers (and lives) Youssef has had up to this point, we ask what the 16-year-old version of himself would think of what he has achieved. Would they be more impressed that he was a heart surgeon, a TV host or a stand-up comedian? He answers without hesitation: “Having a career in a different language. The fact that I do stand-up on stage in a language that I didn’t speak when I was 16, would have blown my mind,” he says. “What I find even more crazy is that now, after having had to re-learn how to do comedy in a different language, I can’t do stand-up in Arabic anymore!”   

This month Bassem Youssef adds (yet) another section to his CV, that of ‘children’s author’ with the release of his book The Magical Reality of Nadia. The illustrated book was written for his daughter, Nadia, about a young immigrant girl exploring the realities of growing up in a new country. Published by Scholastic—the publisher of the Harry Potter series—the book is a humorous and heartfelt story about prejudice, friendship, empathy and courage, with cultural references from Ancient Egypt weaved in.

“My daughter Nadia relates more to America than she does to Egypt, but she will always be viewed as different, and that is the story of millions and millions of sons and daughters of immigrants,” Youssef explains before mentioning that he is already in advanced talks with animation studios to adapt it into a television series.

Prospective writers are always told to ‘write what you know’, and therefore despite being a children’s story, a lot of the lessons are born from Youssef’s own experiences, particularly with regards to the issue of race in his newly adopted home.

“In the US there is still a real hang-up from both sides with being ‘American-American’ or not. People are too offended by the question ‘Where
are you really from?’, but I don’t see anything wrong with it! Maybe people are just curious and want to learn more,” he says. “When I was coming up with the idea for the book, I was inspired by my daughter’s kindergarten class in LA. There were 25 kids in the class from 18 different nationalities.
I could never give her that same experience in Egypt. I truly believe that being different should be viewed as a point of strength and not as a disadvantage.” 

If we are to run with the notion of difference as a strength, then it explains a lot about the life of Bassem Youssef. While he openly admits that part of him wishes life was a bit more predictable, there is another side of him that relishes the excitement and unknown.


Cream turtleneck top, by Tommy Hilfiger

For 37 years he worked diligently as a respected surgeon (albeit one who taught tango and went kite surfing on the side) before a tinderbox of opportunity, necessity, risk and perseverance combined to rocket the naturally charismatic man into the global conscious. From a pedestal exposed to daily cyberbullying he rebuilt his image and his lifestyle, with a goal to ultimately bounce back and benefit so many of those who previously turned their backs on him.

The life Bassem Youssef has lived since 2011 could never be described ordinary, and it is his ability to adapt, evolve and reinvent that, in fact, makes it extraordinary.“I am at a stage now where I can look back at things and appreciate them, as well as where I am right now—and where I am right now is good,” he says. “What I have come to realise is that I no longer define myself by medicine or tango or kite surfing or Al-Bernameg. If there is one thing I’ve learnt in this world, it is to enjoy the journey of reinvention every single day.”


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Matthew Priest
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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 31, 2021 - 13:15

Alfa Romeo bids farewell to its iconic 4C Spider with a limited-edition model tribute

Lead Text: 
Along went a Spider

The iconic Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is finally making its exit, with the marque announcing that it is scaling back on the production of its legendary mid-engine sportscar – but it isn’t going out with a whimper. In the grand old dame’s final flourish, Alfa Romeo has unveiled a limited-edition 4C Spider 33 Stradale Tributo in its honour.

Arguably Alfa Romeo’s most beautiful car – the original 33 Stradale was the roadgoing version of the famed Tipo 33 race car and captured all the classic Italian cool of the ’60s.

While the original 33 Stradale was powered by Alfa’s ferocious 2.0-liter V-8 engine and tuned for about 227hp, the Stradale Tributo adds ten more horses with a 1,750 cc inline-four engine. A featherweight, the little 4C tips the scales at less than 2,500 pounds, and is good for a sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.

Few cars offer as much seat-of-the-pants fun as the Alfa Romeo 4C. Once ensconced in the carbon-fiber monocoque, drivers are treated to kart-like handling and the visceral punch of a 237 hp blender motor screaming mere inches behind the seat.

Naturally, the special tribute comes with a special new colour, with the 33 models of the donning the unique exterior red called ‘Rosso Villa d'Este’. The special red looks great paired with the gold five-hole wheels and paired with a black suede and tobacco leather interior.

It also comes standard with carbon-fiber trim and Italian flag mirror caps. And it wouldn't be a limited-edition model without plaques on the dash, doorsills, and center console.


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Published Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2021 - 08:47

Panerai’s new performance watch is inspired by free diver Guillaume Néry

Lead Text: 
Celebrating 70 years of the iconic Luminor model

Guillaume Néry does not relax in the same way you or I do. He is a French free diving champion, specialising in deep diving, and a multiple world record holder. In 2002, he became the youngest ever free dive record holder, diving to a depth of 87m below the surface of the ocean using his fins alone – no tanks, no respirator, just him, his lung capacity and a watch strapped to his wrist.

“I know most people would call it ‘extreme’ but we have such a high level of safety, we can control a lot,” Néry told Esquire on a free diving trip in the Mediterranean in 2018. “But we need to accept that you cannot control everything. It’s like a sailor crossing the Atlantic. The boats are full of technology and you can predict the weather but still, you’re in the wild – and that’s the same thing for me.”

One thing that can be controlled however is the timekeeping at depth. Last month Néry, as a brand ambassador for the all-action, high-end watch brand Panerai, helped reveal a new timepiece – the Luminor Marina 44mm Guillaume Néry edition. The piece, as you would expect is seriously water resistant - up to depths of 300m.  

The new timepiece is in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the watchmaker’s iconic Luminor model, and comes with the company’s trademark “cushion” case in sandblasted titanium with a black dégradé dial. Due to the critical importance of legibility for a diving watch the dial includes patented luminescent properties allowing for an intense glow in the depths.

Since its founding in Florence in 1860, Panerai has built its reputation for high-quality diving watches thanks to a decades-long partnership providing watches for the Italian Navy and its specialist diving corps.

The design for the Luminor was developed by Panerai in that time, but were protected by the Military Secrets Act for many years before finally being launched on the international market in the mid-nineties.

Officially 70 years old, the new Luminor Marina 44mm Guillaume Néry Edition will only be produced in a limited run of 70 pieces, and will be powered by the brand’s hugely impressive Caliber P.9010, a self-winding in-house movement.

The movement is equipped with double barrels for a three-day power reserve and a quick time adjustment function that can move forward or backward in increments of one hour and is connected automatically to the date indicator. 

The new watch is equipped with a strap made from black recycled PET material with white stitching and a trapezoidal pin buckle. A white rubber technical strap, the very first to feature luminescent “Officine Panerai” personalization is included with each watch, along with a screwdriver to remove the buckle and a recycled plastic box engraved with the Guillaume Néry’s signature. The caseback also includes a rather striking engraving of the freediver’s silhouette .

Each piece now comes with Panerai’s new 70-year warranty, to ensure that if you’re going to take it for a swim, it’ll hold up just fine.


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Published Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2021 - 07:24

Collin Morikawa: "It sucks without the fans to share in the drama"

Lead Text: 
The reigning PGA Champion talks ahead of the Dubai Desert Classic

A lot has changed in the world over the past year. There's was a global pandemic, a change in US commander-in-chief, and a potential new future face in the golfing world: Collin Morikawa. 

The 23-year-old American rolls into this weekend's Omega Dubai Desert Classic as one of the favourites following the back of a standout first full year as a professional.

In 2020, Morikawa not only made headlines by winning the first Major championship (PGA Championship 2020) of his young career, but he also cemented his place as one of the sport's brightest new talents after stringing together a run of 22 consecutive made cuts - the second longest in history, and only surpassed by a certain Tiger Woods.

The future may be bright for Morikawa, but there remains so much for him to still acheive, and he is certainly not getting ahead of himself.

"This week in Dubai is an important one for me," says Morikawa, "winning is always on my mind and winning a tournament outside the US is one of my goals for the year. I'd also like to compete and hopefully win another Major championship, of course."

Making his bow on the Omega Dubai Desert Classic's Majlis course, the current world number four is aware that a lot of attention will be on him despite the crowd restrictions on the actual course itself.   

"Coming over from the US, the key thing is learning to adjust to the conditions and the golf course," he says. "As players we've had to figure out a way to play without the fans there, but it really does suck without them there to share in the drama. They bring so much life and energy into what we do and help you stay in the moment and stay present. Without them you have to find a way to stay completely focused for 72 holes so that you can play some really good golf."

With success coming early on in his professional career, Morikawa has been quick to adapt to the pressures that success brings by keeping things simple. "I love playing golf, so I don't really see it as pressure but more of a previledge to be allowed to travel the world and play the sport I love."

"Winning a Major championship at the age of 23 is something incredible and means a lot. It has opened so many doors to what I can do and what can happen to me," he says. 

With a raise in profile comes the association with an elevated level of partnership potential, something that Morikawa has also come to embrace having recently joined a clutch of other golfing stars as one of Omega's brand ambassadors.

"I was drawn to the company by what they represent, and the players that they already work with like Rory [McIlroy] and Sergio [Garcia] speaks volumes," he says. "Also, the watches are amazing!"

"I love wearing the Seamaster Ultra light, and I often wear it on the golf course for practice rounds as it is so light and versatile, and I love the Velcro strap!"

Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Emirates Golf Course, Dubai. January 28 to 31. omegadubaidesertclassic.com


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Matthew Priest
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Published Date: 
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 11:40

Hublot introduces ceramic models to its Big Bang Integral collection

Lead Text: 
The Swiss brand released its new collection at the first-ever digital LVMH Watch Week event

When Hublot introduced the world to its first Big Bang with an integrated bracelet in black ceramic last year, we knew some exciting things were on there way. And right we were with the recent reveal of three new colours for the Big Bang Integral Ceramic collection - White, Grey and Navy Blue.          

Back in the 1980s, Hublot made a name for itself by putting a rubber strap on gold watch – what seemed like a bonkers combination at the time it would ruffle feathers and set the pace for the Swiss Manufacture for the next 40 years. Fast forward to today and Hublot can claim an extensive resume of innovations in both design and material development.

One of its most recent successes was last year’s release of the Big Bang Integral range – celebrating the addition of an integrated bracelet to the brand’s iconic Big Bang watch collection, giving the already masculine aesthetic a more comfortable and flexible on-wrist experience.

Although, as we’ve all come to learn, Hublot’s spirit to innovate is rarely at rest and this year the sees the addition of three new ceramic models – navy blue, gray and white – to the Big Bang Integral range.

“Materials have always been a key aspect of for our brand,” says Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot. “We were the first brand to bring high-end ceramic to the industry, and therefore take our role in that space very seriously.”


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Published Date: 
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 11:00

Editor Choice

Unlock the extraordinary with Retail Abu Dhabi and MUSE

Shoppers in Abu Dhabi are in for a treat; the shopping season is upon us and that brings with it huge discounts across more than 20 malls in the UAE capital.

And now, thanks to luxury retail group Chalhoub and Retail Abu Dhabi, there is even more fun to be had thanks to its ‘Unlock the Extraordinary’ campaign – which gives shoppers a load of exclusive and incredible brand experiences via the power Muse, the loyalty programme by Chalhoub Group. 

MUSE has partnered with Retail Abu Dhabi on this unique campaign, that holds true to MUSE members and provides them with thoughtful and tailored experiences. Those benefits extend to nonmembers shopping throughout Abu Dhabi Shopping Season, via smartphone. 

Download the MUSE app to your smartphone before February 13, and you’ll get the chance to enjoy a range of only-in-Abu Dhabi products and experiences, as well as additional rewards via the @retailabudhabi Instagram account.

Retail Abu Dhabi

So how does 'Unlock The Extraordinary' work?

Just spend AED200+ at any participating MUSE store within the capital, and then you can enter the raffle via the app. Then, you have the chance to win one of the following six prizes:

AED 2,500 shopping spree at L’Occitane along with an at-home private dining experience for you and five guests by L’Occitane Café’s culinary experts.

AED 3,000 shopping spree at Lacoste to equip you for a sporty staycation at Le Meridien Hotel, inclusive of 6 tennis lessons.

AED 10,000 shopping spree at Max Mara with a personal shopping session on their Spring/ Summer Collection, followed by a dining experience for two at Cipriani.

AED 40,000 shopping spree at Tanagra to indulge on a dreamy table setting with masterpiece brands such as Christofle, Baccarat, Bernardaud and more.

AED 10,000 shopping spree to redeem on looks you love at Tryano, plus AED 1,000 on pampering at Maison de Joelle after a day of shopping.

AED 2,500 shopping spree at Swarovski to sparkle and shine, ending with a dining experience for four at Villa Toscana.

Be sure to follow Retail Abu Dhabi via Instagram, too. Which will be offering more prizes right up until February 13. To check out the full list of prizes, go here.


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Published Date: 
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 09:35

Graphic silhouettes and vibrant colours bring a sunny disposition to Berluti’s SS21

Lead Text: 
Kris Van Assche hits his stride with Berluti's upbeat menswear collection

High in energy and lively shades, Berluti’s spring 2021 collection is an ode to the Maison’s artisanship and know-how.

Inspired by his recent work of reupholstering and restoration - with patinated Berluti Venezia leather - of Pierre Jeanneret’s original furniture from the Le Corbusier-designed Indian city of Chandigarh, Creative Director Kris Van Assche has created a palette of earthy reds, lively blues and deep purples reminiscent of the natural colours found in the Northern Indian state of Punjab.

Shapes are generous and graphic, with structured shoulders and long tapered or pleated trousers. Worn over colourful second skin turtleneck tops, oversized, short-sleeved shirts are striped or printed over silk with a paisley motif blended with Berluti’s logo.

Suits give a subtle nod to the 1970’s through double-breasted jackets and houndstooth or Prince of Wales fabrics. Berluti’s logo and crest are overblown over cotton jacquard sweaters, and knitted polo shirts combine stripes and motifs in audacious colour mixes.

This season, a dozen of the ready-to-wear collection pieces will be available in smaller sizes so as to give women the possibility of picking and choosing their favourite pieces from the Berluti man’s wardrobe.

Leather is patinated in striking tones inspired by Jeanneret’s patinas: an exceptionally soft bonded nubuck leather shirt takes on a lively Shaded Orange colour. A down parka with a Brown Ebano patina blurs the lines between tradition and modernity.  And a grained deer duffle coat has a shaded effect around the edges.


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Published Date: 
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 17:09

Drift Beach Dubai unveils new pool at its private beach cabana

Lead Text: 
The classy private pool to ensure that social distancing is done right

For various reasons we have all become accustomed to an elevated level of awareness when it comes to personal space recently. Moving our sunbeds away from the one next to it, or taking the long-route round to the bathrooms to avoid crowds have become a matter of instinctive.

With an uncanny ability to read us like we were made out of tea leaves, the clever folk at Drift Beach Dubai have introduced a private new pool option to its already stacked private beach cabana offerings. Restricted to just ten guests at the time, the pool is an additional offering to private beach cabana area that is already elusively tucked away from the rest of the beach club.

Hosting a max of ten guests (AED5,000 for weekdays, AED7,500 for weekend), the beach cabanas offer guests access to all of Drift Beach’s facilities, including the pool, beach and restaurant – ideal for premium beachgoers wanting to guarantee a bit of social distance. Plus, it also helps that guests can also order from the club’s rather special ‘Provencal’ menu with dishes such as Le Carpaccio de Boeuf, Pizzetta Truffe Noire and Les Tagliatelles Aux Homards, all accompanied by a glass of bro-sé.

driftbeachdubai.com


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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 24, 2021 - 19:12

The new Mercedes-Benz S500 sets a new benchmark for luxury

Lead Text: 
A special class of S-Class

On New Year’s Eve 1879 Carl Benz fired up his stationary one-cylinder, two-stroke engine for the first time. Seven years later, patent number 73435 was granted for the three-wheeled ‘Motorwagen automobile’, model no. 1. Flash forward 135 years later to the day, and I find myself behind the wheel of the Mercedes Benz company’s latest flagship model – the W223 S-Class.  

Since its inception, Mercedes Benz has been synonymous with automotive excellence and continuous innovation – and as the old saying goes: ‘the more things change, the more things stay the same’.   

As the world's best-selling luxury sedan, motoring enthusiasts tend to pay close attention to the release of S-Class models. This could be because the Stuttgart-based carmaker tends to pack every update with the latest technological features that set the course of innovation for years to come, but mainly because they very rarely deliver anything other than excellence.

Originally called the ‘Sonderklass’ (or ‘Special class’), the S- Class abbreviation came about in 1972 with the W116 model, when the reputation of the luxurious, long wheelbase model began to make it a firm favourite with royalty and the well-to-do.

While annual technological tweaks may seem incremental in today’s models, sweeping upgrades to flagship models often come with standard-setting innovations that aim to future-proof cars for the next decade.

In terms of the Mercedes Benz W223 S-Class, some of the features include better manoeuvrability with its turning circle reduced by up to 1.9 metres thanks to rear-axle steering; an intuitive voice-activated MBUX system that supports 27 languages when you say the words "Hey Mercedes"; an advanced ‘4D’ surround sound system; 10 different massage programmes including a Hot Stone massage, and ambient lighting to make driving as pleasurable as possible.

The digital headlights are not mere lights anymore, as each includes 1.3 million micro mirrors that turn them into projectors. Apart from near-perfect illumination they can recognise road signs and pedestrians and project the former on to the road and aim a spotlight to the latter as a warning.

In terms of safety, no surprise that the company that invented the Airbag should come up with the Pre-Safe Impulse Side option, which offers added protection against a side impact thanks to the series of radars constantly monitoring around the S-Class which also analyse the drive and adjust the suspension 1000 times per second.

And Mercedes haven’t forgotten about the environment either, more than 98kg of components made from resource-conserving materials and about 120 components contain recyclates.

The paradigm breaking Mecedes-Benz W223 S-Class is currently offered in S450 and S500 both come standard as 4Matic with 3. Litre inline 6 cylinder engines producing 367 and 435 bhp respectively.


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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 24, 2021 - 18:58

The trailblazing Kuwaiti chef who is shaking up the industry

Lead Text: 
Faisal Al Nashmi is just getting started

A driving force in Kuwaiti’s contemporary dining scene, Faisal Al Nashmi's commitment, energy and passion have become a key in transforming the Gulf country’s dining scene from the inside out. As the executive chef and co-owner of restaurants Al Makan and Table Otto, he has blazed a trail for creativity and self expression within the industry.

***

What made you want to work in food?
I’ve always been an avid believer in fate. I was in the UK for my last two years of high school graduation when I was mugged by a street gang, which was a literal turning point in my life. For the next two years the trauma took over my social life and I never left home. My mother was always the best cook out of the whole family and I was essentially trapped for two years in our apartment with her and the BBC Food TV channel airing 24/7. I slowly started to develop a love for food; seeing the faces of my brothers when they tasted the first perfectly roasted chicken I cooked, I knew it was emotions that played a major role and made me appreciate what I’d been blind to my whole life. It’s always been food that made me who I am. I realized this years later when I opened my first restaurant and traced my steps back to understand when my interest started and realized that if it wasn’t for the trauma that had happened, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. This is fate.

It’s quite remarkable to see what you have achieved at such a young age. What is the most important lessons your career in food has taught you so far?
To always stay humble. No matter who you are and no matter how far you’ve reached, being humble is key in garnering respect. You can be the best chef with the number one restaurant, but if you aren’t respected, then no one will have your back in tough times. We’ve made an immense amount of mistakes over the years and the only reason people continue to give us a chance is because we have learned to respect their opinions and never impose ours.

Before working in food, you were actually studying in Film. Why did you change?
Being a creative arts degree, Film was a major that had always interested me, even before applying to University. It was also a major that would culturally allow me to pursue a job anywhere here, as compared to cooking, which wasn’t a field people got into or was as culturally accepted. But once I got my Bachelor’s degree in Film, I kind of already knew that the culinary arts was my next goal and I never hesitated to enroll, just nine months after my graduation.

How important is food to Arab culture?
Food is a cultural bond and being Arab, food is the only time of day when we gather together and commune. To Kuwaitis, restaurants have become a cultural norm, so much so that Kuwait has become one of the major touristic destinations for dining in the Middle East today. We embed food and going out in our everyday lives and is very interesting to see the variety of F&B developments that have happened over the past couple of years, which only showcases our hunger for variety and growth in standard.

You were recently selected to be in a campaign for Canon as a regional ‘trailblazer’. What do you think makes you a ‘trailblazer’?
I think it’s about having the stomach to be a risk taker. To me I’ve always wanted to be the first. I don’t mean that in a competitive way, but more being the first to push for change, the first to implement new things – and therefore strive to be the best. Although to become this, there’s a lot of risk that needs to be taken on.

How do you mitigate that risk?
Well, let’s just say that I don’t see it necessarily see it as a ‘risk’ because I know that underneath it is fueled by the passion that I carry.

What are you working to achieve?
To be the person who helped change the Kuwaiti food industry. I’ve always wanted to create a platform for everyone to speak freely and today, looking back on seven years of work, before jumping into this field, we were living in a muted industry where no creative or chef was able to use food as a form of free expression. But today, with the help of others, it’s much easier to become a chef and open a restaurant that expresses your own feelings and your own criteria. I want to be remembered as the person who helped spark a revolution in this culinary industry.

What is the secret to your success?
Knowing how to give people what they want but putting my own twist of personality and character into it. We were blessed to understand how to segment our culture’s gastronomy and in order to stay relevant you have to understand how to become the missing link. With extensive research and analysis of our market, we develop concepts that cater for what people are actually wanting. Our secret is to create it in a way that is different, new and has our own mark on it.

Faisal Al Nashmi was recently selected by Canon as a regional ‘trailblazer’ in a new campaign where they are celebrating Middle Eastern changemakers. For more visit canon-me.com


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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 24, 2021 - 18:45

The male earring is back. Embrace it.

Lead Text: 
A different kind of hoop dreams

If you, like millions of viewers around the world, tuned into The Last Dance each week this past spring, you might’ve noticed something shiny glinting inconspicuously from Michael Jordan’s evervigilant ears.

Yes, the man who singlehandedly made basketball one of the biggest sports in the world and the NBA a global superpower—ushering in the era of the athlete-as-brand in the process—unabashedly rocked an earring. And hot damn he looked cool doing it.

Sure, it doesn’t hurt that His Airness was handsome and carried himself with a swagger befitting the generation-defining personality he was, but part of Jordan’s appeal has always been how he’s presented himself, from the brazen tongue-out drives to the basket to the sneakers that still fetch shockingly high prices on the resale market today. If you finished the series and couldn’t shake the enduring image of MJ and his earring, you’re not alone.

There’s something about the earring that’s been bubbling up in the culture for a minute now, and Jordan’s tacit endorsement of the style only adds to its appeal. Some of today’s boldest dressers, led by a group of athletes and entertainers spanning a broad range of ages and backgrounds, have embraced the accessory as an everyday go-to, lending it a casual elegance a far cry from some of the, ah, less-tasteful styles of yesteryear.

And if you’re about to hit us with some nonsensical argument about earrings being too dainty for your big, manly ears or some antiquated notions of masculinity bull, we’re really not here for it, and neither is jewellery designer Maria Tash. “I don’t design with gender in mind,” says Tash. “Each piece is unique to the wearer and it’s not about masculinity or femininity, it’s about personal style and how you resonate with each piece.”

In short, no one’s forcing you to get your ears pierced, or recommending that all men everywhere should suddenly embrace the accessory without reserve. All we’re saying is that if you’ve been considering getting your ears pierced the fickle tides of fashion—scandalized friends and family aside—are very much turning in your favour.

mariatash.com


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Published Date: 
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 11:55

Dubai pubs and bars closed till end of February under new COVID-19 restrictions

Lead Text: 
Entertainment and sports venues will also be at reduced capacity for the month, with restaurants and cafes closing by 1:00 AM in response to rising violations in preventative measures, according to a new directive

Starting today until the end of the month, new measures have come into effect across Dubai as precautions against COVID-19.

While most involve reducing capacity and increasing penalties for disobeying the rules, Dubai’s pubs and bars will close fully for the month, according to directives of HH Mohamemed bin Rashid, the ruler of Dubai. The measures were announced by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management.

The measures were taken in response to rising violations in preventative measures, according to the Committee.

Most of the measures effect public recreational activities. Capacity of indoor seated venues, including cinemas and entertainment and sports venues has been reduced by 50 percent, with enhanced precautionary measures to be enforced.

For swimming pools and private beaches in hotels, the number of guests will be limited to 70 percent of total capacity. Shopping malls will also be at 70 percent.

In order to ensure that all of the measures are being followed, inspections will be intensified to ensure strict adherence, with tougher penalties to come for those who don’t.

Restaurants and cafes close each day by 1:00 am.

Members of the Dubai community are also encouraged to report any violations of COVID-19 precautionary measures by individuals or establishments through Dubai Police’s Call Centre 901 or its ‘Police Eye’ service in the Dubai Police Smart App.

People also have an individual responsibility to abide by precautionary measures to protect themselves, their families, their friends and the community, according to the committee.


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#Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announces new set of precautionary measures against COVID-19
Supreme Committee: Measures taken in response to rise in violations of preventive measures
Measures effective from 2nd February to 28th February 2021 pic.twitter.com/DmIN1ruuob

— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) February 1, 2021


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Published Date: 
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 10:59

Jack Nicklaus to design a championship golf course in Saudi Arabia's Qiddiya

Lead Text: 
The new course will be the legendary golfer's first designed course in the Middle East

Eighteen-time Major championship winner Jack Nicklaus will help design a state-of-the-art championship golf course in Saudi Arabia's Qiddiya area, it has been announced.  

The legendary golfer is the most decorated player in the game’s history, but also a globally renowned golf course designer in his own right. The latest project by his company, Nicklaus Design, looks set to bolster a growing collection of world class golf courses planned for the Kingdom.

Located 40 minutes from Riyadh, Qiddiya is considered the capital's Entertainments, Sports and Arts' district with the golf course set to be the centrepiece of an extensive private golf and country club set in the picturesque setting of the Tuwaiq mountain range.

“I am excited by this project and my first golf course design in the Middle East,"Nicklaus commented. "To be selected as one of the first international designers to work in the Kingdom is a great honour. I’ve already spent time looking at the topography of the land, images of the backdrop and terrain, and discussing with our design team a strategy for the course."

According to the proposed plans, the design of the course will integrate the natural environment and the stunning Qiddiya landscape, bringing together green spaces and mountainous terrain to create "a beautiful and challenging golf course."

Construction began on the Qiddiya project in 2019 and the golf development will include a high-end resort hotel and spa, as well as exclusive residences, that once finished will position the development as a leading Golf and Country Clubs in the Kingdom.

Commenting on Jack Nicklaus’ involvement, His Excellency Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Chairman of Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation said: “To have the greatest-ever golfer commit to making his mark upon our developing golf landscape in Saudi Arabia and at a project as significant as Qiddiya gives us great pride. To be part of the Nicklaus legacy will be something that we will always cherish, especially knowing the positive impact it will have on growing awareness of the sport at a domestic level, whilst increasing our national visibility as a vibrant new golf destination.”


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Published Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2021 - 17:25

Will Smith and Khabib Numagomedov just linked up in Dubai

Lead Text: 
The UFC champion and Oscar nominee grabbed coffee at the NAS Sports Complex's Starbucks, with the fighter calling Smith a "legend" in an Instagram post.

It seems like two of the top men in their respective fields just ran into each other at the gym in Dubai.

Khabib Numagomedov, the UFC Lightweight Champion, posted a photo of himself and Will Smith, the Grammy-winning musician, Oscar-nominated actor, and all-star dad at the NAS Sports Complex, where Numagomedov has been training over the last few months.

The official NAS Sports Complex account wrote on Instagram after reposting the photo that the two “met and caught up with each other over coffee.” The photo shows assorted Starbucks paraphernalia in the background.

“It was nice to meet you Legend @willsmith,” wrote Numagomedov in the caption. “I’m waiting for you in Degestan.”

Nurmagomedov hails from the Republic of Dagestan in Russia.

Khabib recently was in Abu Dhabi to support his cousin Umar Numagomedov, who fought at UFC Fight Island 8 on January 20 on Yas Island.

“To be honest, I am very happy,” Khabib said to RT Sport following Umar’s victory. “It really feels like a load off my shoulders. It’s a very important win for our team and our family. We will keep working. It would be nice to have one more fight in Las Vegas this March. If not, we will fight after Ramadan. We have plenty of time ahead of us. Umar is just 25. Two more fights this year would be perfect.”

While the reigning champ retired last fall after his father's tragic death due to complications resulting from Covid-19, there is still some hope he may return to fight in the UFC, though he recently signaled to UFC President Dana White that it is doubtful, with a lack of proper competition in his division.

With the amount of time the two spend in the UAE, it's perhaps only a surprise they haven't met sooner. Smith has long been a fan of Dubai, returning again and again to the emirate with various members of his family. 

"Dubai dreams the way I dream," Smith told the press gathered at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai in 2016.

Smith has often crossed off interesting activities from his bucket list in Dubai, including skydiving and skiing down the emirate's sand dunes, usually with at least one member of his tight-knit family along for the ride.

The father of three has yet to post about his current trip to the emirate, staying off the grid except to grab a picture with the popular UFC champ.


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Published Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2021 - 17:02

Sheikh Mohammed tweets the countdown to Hope Probe's Mars arrival has begun

Lead Text: 
The Dubai Ruler included the hashtag #Arab_to_Mars, celebrating the upcoming Emirates Mars Mission event as the first Arab presence on the red planet.

As the UAE gears up for the expected arrival of the Hope Probe to the planet Mars on February 9, HH Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai, has sent out a message celebrating the near-completion of the Emirates Mars Mission to the red planet.

“We are nine days away from the arrival of the Hope probe to the planet Mars and the registration of the first Arab and Islamic presence on the red planet. We will be the fifth country in history to reach the red planet. The expected success rate to enter the orbit of Mars is 50 percent. But we have achieved 90 percent of our goals in building our cadres and knowledge,” wrote His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in Arabic on Twitter to his more than 10 million followers.

He included the hashtag “#Arab_to_Mars” in Arabic, further celebrating the achievement as a milestone for Arabs everywhere.

The Hope Probe was initially launched on July 20, 2020 from Tanegashima, Japan, in conjunction with the Dubai-based space mission’s control team operating out of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. The spacecraft has since travelled on a seven-month, 493,500,000-kilometre journey to reach Mars orbit.

As Sheikh Mohammed mentioned, this makes the United Arab Emirates the fifth player to reach Mars, after the United States, the Soviet Union, China, the European Space Agency and India.

The MOI, which is scheduled to occur on February 9, is the most critical part of the mission, in which the stresses on the spacecraft of all engines firing at once are far beyond those at launch. The complex maneuver will be completed with a 22-minute two-way radio delay from Earth. This requires the spacecraft to be highly autonomous.


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تفصلنا ٩ أيام عن وصول مسبار الأمل لكوكب المريخ وتسجيل أول حضور عربي وإسلامي على الكوكب الأحمر..سنكون الدولة الخامسة تاريخياً التي تصل للكوكب الأحمر.. نسبة النجاح المتوقعة لدخول مدار المريخ ٥٠٪ .. ولكننا حققنا ٩٠٪ من أهدافنا في بناء كوادرنا ومعارفنا
#العرب_إلى_المريخ pic.twitter.com/8pK5eRyhKW

— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) February 1, 2021


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Published Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2021 - 16:21

5 dress shoes that every man needs in 2021

Lead Text: 
Building the foundation of any wardrobe

Agreat pair of dress shoes isn't just a worthy investment, it's a necessity. (Yes, even now.) Sure, sneakers have their place, but there are times when even the best of 'em just won't do. Whether it's a wedding or a funeral, a job interview or a meeting with the head honchos from corporate, some occasions demand footwear that's as refined as it is timeless. Although it's definitely been a while, someday soon the time will come to bust out the sweetest pair of dress shoes in your arsenal again, and when that moment arrives you'll want to be prepared.

Luckily, there are options out there for every style. And when it comes to price, don't be afraid of laying down a few extra bucks if you're able. That doesn't mean you have to spend outside your budget, but paying more for quality means you'll have a pair of shoes you can wear for years down the line, not months.

And the best way to ensure you're spending that money wisely? Know the playing field. That way you'll find something that fits squarely within your wardrobe, and won't hurt your wallet in the process. With that in mind, here are the five dress shoe styles every guy needs to know now and always—WFH etiquette be damned

***

The Oxford

If you're going to have just one pair of dress shoes in your closet, you should consider an oxford first. It's the style that can go with your most formal options, so you'll never be out of luck for a big work event—or if you have to throw on a tux. That's thanks to the oxford's "closed-throat" construction, in which the leather around the laces (the quarters) meets at the base, where it's sewn into the vamp, the leather that stretches down your instep and towards the toe.

Honestly, though, you don't have to spend too much time on the terminology. Just look at the top of the shoe, near the eyelets. Does it form a "V" instead of a set of parallel lines? You've got an oxford, and that sleek silhouette means your going to look properly pulled-together for any dressed-up occasion.

***

The Derby

Derbies are technically a little less formal than oxfords, but don't let that worry you too much. A good pair can work with just about any kind of suit (though maybe not a tux, if you're going to be surrounded by black-tie traditionalists). Plus, the open-throat silhouette—the leather around the laces runs parallel, and over the vamp—can pull double duty with everything from jeans to tweed trousers. If you're the kind of guy who wears a suit with some regularity, but also needs a pair of shoes on hand that'll work for date night on the weekend, derbies won't do you wrong.

***

The Brogues

When we're talking brogues, we're not talking about a silhouette, but the detailing that goes on top of it. The signature perforations were originally a functional thing, designed to let water drain out of the shoes worn to tromp through Irish bogs. Now, it's ornamental, but still a mainstay of modern dress shoes.

You might also know brogues as wingtips, and there's a good reason for that. Two of the main styles you'll find have decorative "wings" fanning out from the toe of the shoe. With longwings, they wrap all the way around to the back of the shoe. With shortwings, they wrap to about mid-foot. Of course, you can also find brogueing on cap-toes and other design elements. And those elements might be on a pair of derbies, oxfords, monkstraps, or even ankle boots. With brogues, it's all a matter of personal taste.

***

The Loafer

For a while there, some folks thought loafers were too casual to wear with a suit. Just ask your dad—or maybe your granddad. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Now, the slip-on style comes in shapes sleek and stylish enough to wear with even your sharpest two-button. Penny loafers and bit loafers are the iterations you'll see the most often. On pennies, there's a strap across the shoe with a cutout that, according to loafer lore, was designed to hold a penny (it probably wasn't, though it's still a fun story). Bit loafers feature a metal piece across the foot that's purely for show, but still looks cool.

***

The Chukka

Chukkas are kind of a wild card. Some are decidedly not meant for dressy occasions, and would be more at home at a construction site than in a boardroom. Others, though? They're every bit as refined as the rest of the styles on this list. The trick is to focus on a streamlined silhouette and elevated construction. Generally, that means the shorter-than-average boots will have a narrower toe and clean lines leading up to an ankle that'll sit nicely under a pair of suit trousers. Look for that, plus a not-too-chunky sole, and you'll be in good shape.


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Published Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2021 - 11:58

Anas Bukhash: "How are you really doing?"

Lead Text: 
In his debut column the Emirati entrepreneur discusses the importance of tackling taboo subjects and asking the difficult questions

The title of my Esquire Middle East debut is a question that I have given a lot of thought to over the past few years. From the introduction line in an e-mail, to the first question we might ask someone when we walk into the office, the phrase ‘How are you?’ has become an ever-present part of everyday conversation.

But at the same time, it offers very little when it should do the exact opposite if asked with the intent to truly listen. As a society, we feel compelled to offer generic replies. We say we are ‘Fine’ or ‘Okay’, and move on to a different subject.

When I launched my show, #ABtalks, in 2018, I wanted to offer a platform that dug beneath social performance and rhetoric. I wanted to offer honest conversations with celebrities, athletes, influencers and achievers, which reveal the ‘raw’ and ‘real’ side of their lives, and ultimately, what connects us all; our common human experience. I try to do this by starting each Chapter (read: episode) with the same simple question: “How are you really doing?”

As a society I believe it is one we need to ask more often. If we each committed to one conversation a day, or even one conversation a week, in which we asked someone in our circle how they are really doing, I honestly believe we would see a ripple effect of change within our communities. I think there is a big appetite for these types of conversations. My YouTube channel has seen tremendous interest with more than 24 million total views from people all around the world which is proof that this type of ‘real’ content is much needed worldwide, especially in the Middle East. Living in the age of a pandemic, I think it’s something that has only become more relevant over the past 12 months as people are increasingly isolated and dependent on digital technology to remain connected and have meaningful, honest conversations.

As pointed out in the October 2020 mental health issue of Esquire Middle East, men are famously not the best at talking about their psychological welfare despite it being something that disproportionately affects either gender. The statistics are striking; men under 45 years of age are more likely to die from suicide than most other illnesses, and three quarters of all suicides are committed by men. This is impacting the youth in the Middle East too. The 2020 Arab Youth Survey revealed that the majority of young Arabs say that it is difficult to access quality mental healthcare in their countries, with Palestinians, Yemenis and Syrians topping the list.

My hope is that as a community, we can start to address these issues with frank conversations and open, candid dialogue. Most of all, through starting to ask each other the question “How are you really doing?” and actually listening.

Anas Bukhash is an Emirati entrepreneur, speaker and Esquire columnist. His show #ABtalks can be found here.


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Published Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2021 - 11:20

Digital Pass to Emirates Lit Fest includes access to Malala's highly-anticipated session

Lead Text: 
The digital pass, added for those unable to attend in person, includes live-streaming of at least 10 sessions featuring Booker Prize nominees and more, from 4-6 February

For those unable to attend or preferring to social distance, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, happening from 29 January until 13 February in Dubai, will now be livestreaming some of its top sessions for the first time.

Through a digital pass on offer for AED 100, attendees will gain access to high profile appearances from figures such as 23 year old advocate for girls’ education Malala Yousafzai, who became the youngest winner of the Nobel Prize in history in 2014. Her ‘in conversation’ session will be happening on 6 February at 6 pm.

All the live-streamed sessions, including those with Booker nominees Avni Doshi (Burnt Sugar) and Oyinkan Braithwaite (My Sister the Serial Killer), as well as those with authors including Amin Maalouf, Elif Shafak, Walaa Kamal and panel discussions such as ‘Fighting the Anti-Facts Movement’, and ‘Social Stereotypes’. will be held from 4 – 6 February.

“We have a fantastic programme of live events, but with social distancing measures in place there will be fewer tickets available. We want to make sure that everyone has a chance to get a sprinkling of the wonder of the LitFest, so the digital passes allow those who cannot attend to wander in and out of a range of sessions virtually,” said festival director Ahlam Bolooki.

Tickets are still available to attend the sessions in person as well, with individual session prices starting at AED 60 for adult sessions and AED 40 for children’s sessions. 

The in-person festival stretches across three weekends and three venues: Jameel Arts Centre (29-30 January), the big middle weekend at the Festival’s home, the InterContinental Dubai Festival City (4-6 February) and Alserkal Avenue (12-13 February).

The full schedule for the Emirates Festival of Literature’s live-streamed sessions:

Thursday, 04 Feb

Writing the Future – the Cultural Visa for Creatives

HE Hala Badri & HE Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri 11:30 – 12:30

The Future of the Arabic Language

A Panel with Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi 13:00 – 14:00

Tension & Tragedy
Huda Hamed, Selim Batti & Zayed AlMarzooqi 17:30 – 18:30

Amin Maalouf: Adrift 20:00 – 20:50

Friday, 05 Feb

Fighting the Anti-Facts Movement
Jay Jayamohan, Nafea Alyasi & Rupy Aujla 14:30 – 15:30

Social Stereotypes – How the Digital World is Changing Your Reality
Max of Arabia & Walaa Kamal 18:00 – 19:00

Sridevi: The Eternal Screen Goddess
Satyarth Nayak 20:00 – 21:00

Saturday, 06 Feb

Voices of Future Generations for the Middle East Region

Book Launch 10:00 – 10:30

Are Cats Liquid or Solid? Why Silly Questions Could Save the Planet!
Isabel Thomas 12:30 – 13:30

Why is Everyone an Idiot?
Sherif Arafa & Thomas Erikson 14:30 – 15:30

Elif Shafak
In Conversation 16:00 – 17:00

Malala Yousafzai
In Conversation 18:00 – 19:00

My Days with Cairokee
Walaa Kamal 18:30 – 19:30


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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 31, 2021 - 18:18
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The first-ever Men's Arab Fashion Week makes a big style statement

Lead Text: 
The virtual showcase shone its light on some of the region's most promising menswear designers

The first-ever Arab Fashion Week - Men's, made its debut with a whole range of looks aimed at moving the needle in a corner of the fashion world that has always been crucially overlooked.

From animal print ensembles to lacy hoodies and flared silky slacks, creativity was at the forefront at the three-day virtual fashion event where the presentations and shows were conducted entirely via livestream due to social distancing protocols.  

Built as a platform to help raise the exposure and talent from the region, the Esquire was particularily pleased to see the latest works from brands including Behnoode Zar-Douz Basic, Amine Jreissati's Boyfriend the brand and youngster Anomalous.

As part of a strategic partnership between the Arab Fashion Council and the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, four emerging menswear designers from Paris Fashion Week Men’s were also selected to participate in Arab Fashion Week - Men’s.

According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, menswear dominated the UAE apparel sector in 2018, amounting to $12.3 billion in sales.

“The world around us is changing, so too are attitudes towards fashion, and nowhere more so than in the Middle East,” said Mohammed Aqra, chief strategist at the Arab Fashion Council.

“Arab Fashion Week-Men’s presents the breadth of menswear beyond formal attire and streetwear and paves the way for men in the Middle East to embrace a more adventurous wardrobe,” said Aqra.


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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 31, 2021 - 17:12

What you need to know about beards

Lead Text: 
We asked the tough questions so you didn’t have to

Dealing with questions about the hair on your head is a daunting enough task, but it is one that we have all spent most of our lives dealing with. Beards on the other hand, are a different story. We crowd-sourced some of them most common beard-related questions and asked Waseem Sendi—creator of an Arabian beard-oil range Diggn’ It—for his sage wisdom.

***

What makes a beard good or bad?
Rather than ‘good’ or ‘bad’, I’d classify them as beards that are taken care of and ones that are ignored. The secret is to treat your skin well, which then allows for hair to grow fuller and eliminate problems associated with dry skin and itching. Also, diet tends to play a role in the quality of hair since there is a connection between what you put into your body and what your body puts. 

Do I have to wash my beard every day?
It’s always a good idea to wash it every day, but also, you don’t want to use shampoos or soaps deeply in your beard daily. The reason for this is that natural oils produced in your skin are good for you, and if you wash them out constantly you will cause dryness. I suggest using a beard shampoo a couple of times a week, followed by a beard oil to help protect the natural oils in your skin that leads to healthy hair growth. 

Are face masks still effective when you have a beard?
I am not sure if enough studies have been conducted on this, but if you are wearing a face mask that covers your nose and mouth that will blocks microbes and things that are coming out of your respiratory tract—a beard doesn’t get in the way of that, otherwise it would be difficult to breathe with a beard, and that is not true.

Do beard oils actually do anything?
The main complaints people have about beards are itchiness, dandruff, acne, dry skin, and brittle and unruly weak hair. A beard oil is a combination of oils that combat these common issues by hydrating, nourishing and moisturizing the skin and hair. 

What should I do about the two-tone colour in my beard?
Embrace what makes you unique. No two beards are the same, and just as our bodies change and grow over time, so does your look and your beard. It is fascinatingly metaphorical. I suggest you love the context and unique intricacies of your own beard, and realize that too often we say “the grass is greener on the other side”. I say love your beard for what it is today, right now, and take good care of it.

What can I do about patches?
Patchy beards can be genetic, and some of them fill in over time. Patches are filled in in a couple of ways: firstly by simply allowing the surrounding hair to grow longer and fill in the gaps. But the best way to deal with patchy facial hair is to keep your skin well cared for by feeding it natural oils and keeping it clean and hydrated. Over time the follicles will thicken and fill in the patches in the same way. That, and eating well, will fill in other parts of your body. Like most things, care, patience, and persistence will get you all that you desire and more.

diggnit.com


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Matthew Priest
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Published Date: 
Sunday, January 31, 2021 - 16:54