Haute Muse

October 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

bonnie-wright-haute-muse-cover-twoThat’s the name of the recently launched, one and only, fashion magazine published in the Middle East. The creators of Haute Muse, which is based in Qatar, are Fatma and Noor Al-Thanis. The duo started off blogging about fashion and designer trends on the Internet. Before they knew it, both of their blogs had acquired a cult following. What was unique about the pair’s respective blog’s, “Fatma’s Haute Couturista” and “Noor’s Noorziestyle”, is that both included fashions from both the East and the West. Visitors were treated to the latest abaya creations to sweep through the Gulf region and the latest creations taking Hollywood by storm. According to the mission statement posted on the Haute Muse blog the pair reveal, “HauteMuse is aiming at bringing together all the young generations of fashion writers, photographers, designers, and stylists to bring a new unique look into fashion from a different angle than the usual perspective.”

Making the move to a glossy and stylish print publication was the savviest decision the business partners ever made. The best part about Haute Muse is that it recognizes the Middle Eastern traditions, which are absent from similar fashion magazines published in the West. Special features highlighting Islamic holidays and events is what makes the magazine so exceptional and appealing to both Muslim and non-Muslim readers alike. Homage is paid to established fashion designers in Europe and the US, such as Dolce and Gabbana and Calvin Klein. Local Qatari fashion designers and artists are also featured in the pages of Haute Muse. Qatari jewelry designer Noor Alfardan is just one of the countless artisans to be showcased within the pages of the magazine.

Proving that it has what it takes to compete with the larger than life fashion magazines, such as Vogue, Haute Muse will continue to offer celebrity photo spreads and exclusive interviews. In the second issue of the quarterly publication, Bonnie Wright (the actress who played Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter movies) graced the cover. Celebrities, both local and international, are expected to grace the covers of Haute Muse as it continues its stratospheric ascent to becoming one of the most widely read fashion magazines in the world.

The future looks very bright for Fatma and Noor. The pair has just signed international distribution deals with some heavy contenders in the publishing industry. As for what comes next, the duo plan to expand their horizons by opening up an event planning and service company in Qatar called Haute Concierge which is being touted as “the first service of its kind in the Middle East”. The service aims to make just about anyone’s dreams come true. “Whether you’re coveting afternoon tea with your favorite designer or a customized Hermes handbag, our bespoke lifestyle management company can make your dreams a reality.”

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Decadent Desserts Delight Kuwait

September 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

“Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.”  ~Ernestine Ulmer

cupcakeDozens of cupcakes topped with miles of whipped frosting and dusted with colorful sprinkles, rich cheesecakes drenched with luscious berry sauce and towering parfaits topped with plenty of fruit and whipped cream. These are just a few of the decadent desserts available in bakery shops and restaurant menus all over Kuwait.

It used to be that traditional Arab desserts like Roz Bil Hilab, which is rice pudding topped with pistachios, or Kunafa, which is crunchy vermicelli noodles filled with sweet cream, were the perfect sweet ending to a meal. However, things have changed drastically in Kuwait and the dessert menu could not be sweeter.

Many blame it on the cupcake craze that took over America and soon the UK nearly a decade ago. The same fanatical food fad also invaded Kuwait and dug in its heels, thus never leaving. Today, cupcakes are sold just about anywhere people congregate such as food kiosks strategically stationed near recreational facilities and even school cafeterias. The love affair with cupcakes in Kuwait is so fervent that a handful of young Kuwaiti fashion designers recently designed an entire clothing line around the miniscule calorie-laden treats.

Once the cupcake craze grew to the gargantuan proportions that is today, businessmen in the Kuwaiti food industry became more proactive in providing other delectable western sweets to tempt the palates, and wallets, of the unsuspecting populous of the country. The result has been nothing short of miraculous, albeit a bit scary. Some of the most popular desserts that are currently challenging the cupcake in Kuwait today include pastel-hued French macarons and designer chocolate chip cookies larger than a human head.

Restaurants and businesses aren’t the only ones capitalizing on the dessert boom in Kuwait.  Hostesses all over the country are making a name for themselves based on the desserts they serve at their gatherings and dinner parties. Some simply pick up parcels of desserts at local bakeries, however others are whipping up their own concoctions right in the kitchen. A slew of dessert-themed recipe books and cooking shows have inundated Kuwait over the past few years giving momentum to a dessert obsession that simply will not die.

The downside to the decadent dessert initiative in Kuwait is, obviously, the sugar and calories. According to a 2010 report released by the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 74% of the Kuwaiti population is overweight and 14% have already developed diabetes. The WHO predicts that those figures will rise unless individuals make more healthful food choices.

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