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October 23, 2017
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Chere Di Boscio

From immigrant to celebrity stylist to jewel thief to the toast of Arabia, Derek Khan is a master of reinvention.

By Chere Di Boscio

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Chere Di Boscio

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Chere contributes lifestyle editorial to The Genteel from Paris. Her publishing experience spans more than a decade, and she has lived and worked in Cape Town, Buenos Aires, London, Toronto and currently resides in Paris. She is the Features Editor at Velvet Magazine, Dubai and believes her current neighbourhood of St Germain de Pres is the coolest place on Earth.

When I first met Sheikha Hend al Qassemi through a mutual friend in Doha, she wanted to show me some of her favourite art in the city. Unfortunately, the gallery that held the art was closed, but no matter; with a few kind words and a persuasive smile, we were soon admiring the works she was so keen to share. If Hend really wants something, she makes it happen.

Despite their astronomical price tags, haute couture creations are rarely profitable, and only a handful of women can afford to buy them anyway. So what's the point?

Since graduating from Central St. Martins in 1993, Hussein Chalayan has demonstrated a sharp, intellectual design esthetic and has never held back from experimenting and innovating. Combining art, technology, design and architecture, this maverick is more Dali than Dior; more Alvar Aalto than Azzedine Alaia - and his best is yet to come.

Given that representations of living beings has been forbidden in many forms of Islam for centuries,  Saudi Arabia is more well known for its oil than its oil paintings, and creative voices have often been discouraged in what is often perceived as one of the most culturally oppressive regions in the world. Princess Nouf bint Bandar al Saud of Saudi Arabia has set out to challenge that.

Over 60 years of occupation has put the livelihood and culture of Palestinians at serious risk. The vast majority of Palestinians live abroad, a significant number in refugee camps, where conditions are crowded, unstable and frustrating. Among a myriad of other problems they face, many professionals there often find themselves unemployed, living hand to mouth. A certain young Palestinian woman became increasingly distressed by what was happening to her people, and decided to do something about it: thus Palestyle was born.

I thought Zadig & Voltaire founder Thierry Gillier may be a bit snobbish. After all, I'd read that his father founded Lacoste; he studied politics at university and named his company after a French Enlightenment philosopher and, of course, he owns one of the coolest labels in all of France.  

TASCHEN's new book on Marilyn Monroe may be a feast for the eyes, but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

With the creation of the famous Hen Egg at the bequest of Tsar Alexander III, Peter Carl Fabergé became the jeweler and goldsmith to the last Imperial Russian Court and remained so until the Bolsheviks not only brought a violent end to the Romanov Dynasty, but to the House of Fabergé as well. September 9, 2009, marked the birth of contemporary Fabergé collections. 

Although we may not consider the Middle East as the most erotic place in the world, poet, translator and cultural crusader, Joumana Haddad knows better.

From the garlicky Gallic to Pepé Le Pew, Anglo culture has imposed a myriad of stinky stereotypes on the French for centuries - despite perfume being of utmost importance to the French since the 17th century. Today, wearing perfume is perceived as sexy and seductive, stamping the wearer with a personal signature. In the wake of celebrity fragrances and market domination by large fashion houses, is it still possible to sport a scent that truly is one's own? Chere di Boscio makes the rounds at Paris' bespoke perfumeries.

After participating as a finalist in Finland's first ever season of Project Runway when he was only 18, Mert Otsamo has gone on to construct a gothic-meets-punk aesthetic within his collections. Chere Di Boscio speaks with the stylish designer to find out more about who this mysterious, spike-studded force emerging in the fashion world really is.

According to architect Philippe Daher, a century ago there were some 20,000 traditionally architected homes in Damascus. Today, however, less than half of these remain. Chere di Boscio interviews Daher about why this is happening, and what could be done to preserve the architectural history of this culturally rich city.

After centuries of living in nomadic poverty, women in the Persian Gulf have now become some of the world's biggest spenders on couture. This has influenced designers around the world, and raised some interesting questions in the process.

Once synonymous with the trashy, flashy glamour that exemplified the boom years of the '80s, the House of Versace was suddenly thrown into chaos with the shocking murder of its founder, Gianni Versace. After almost two lost decades, Atelier Versace made an emotional return to the pool room of Ritz Hotel in Paris. The question on everyone's glossy red lips was: after a few disastrous collections and poor reviews, could his sister actually pull this off?

Robert Mapplethorpe is best known for his controversial, erotic photographic work. Sofia Coppola shares a gentler vision of Mapplethorpe's work at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris.

Have you ever wanted a vintage Balenciaga or Dior dress but couldn't afford it? If you pay a visit to Charlotte Bialas, you're halfway there.

For 5,000 years, Indian men and women have adorned themselves with superlative jewellery. After the end of the Mughals and with the beginning of a newly prosperous era, Chere Di Boscio uncovers the revival of the high-end Indian jewellery atelier.

From Da Vinci's anatomical drawings to Damien Hirst's Pharmacy installation, art and medicine have long shared a close relationship. As a trained medical doctor, Ahmed Mater takes this connection even further by adding the one further element he believes is necessary to fill the space between scientific knowledge and the mortality of the human organism: god.

A lack of solid role models and constant media pressure seem to be creating a generation of seriously spoilt Bratz.

A poor boy with rich talents, René Lalique branched out from his humble roots to become one of France's master jewellers and glass makers. Today, there are museums around the world dedicated to his work.

Green wall architecture is beautifying buildings in cities across the world. But these technically sophisticated designs are more than just aesthetically pleasing. Chere Di Bosico lets us in on the benefits of these planty features.

With the likes of Prada, Max Mara and Zilli sponsoring art collections and Louis Vuitton and Hermès employing artists to design handbags and scarves, the relationship between high fashion and high art has long been close. On June 12, it became even tighter, with the exhibition of Salvatore Ferragamo's Cruise collection at the Louvre in Paris.

Westerners often envision Arab women as burqa-clad phantoms in black. The reality, however, is shockingly different: underneath their abayas, Arab women sport some of the world's most opulent haute couture.

Although sustainable and ethical clothing has been a hot-topic within the fashion industry during the past few years, the question of where high-quality jewellery originates from is often overlooked. 

The lines between fashion and art have oftentimes been ambiguous, but they are being blurred even further with the latest collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Belgian artist François Cadiere.

Can comic books be valuable resources of knowledge? Chere di Boscio investigates the authors and academics mobilising the medium.

Think of an architect. Any architect. With the obvious exception of Zaha Hadid, internationally lauded female architects are unusual, and all-female partnerships even rarer, so the discovery of Hariri and Hariri may come as a bit of a shock, for not only are these two Iranian-born, New York-based architects partners, they are also sisters.

This week, Paris was teeming with interior decorators, buyers and journalists who packed into interior design shops in St Germain des Pres and the Marais district of the city. Chere Di Boscio veers away from Haute Couture Week in the French capital for the day and dives into Paris Déco.

For many fashion photographers, the perfect magazine shot is theatrical, involving elaborate lighting and a polished, posed model. But then, there is Emmanuel Sarnin. Chere Di Boscio met with Sarnin to learn what really goes on behind-the-scenes of the world's most important fashion weeks.

When Chere Di Boscio first met artist Aurèle, he told her, "We are all lost dogs." Now she understands what he was trying to say a little better.

Paris' Musee d'Orsay is notorious for drawing throngs of tourists, but this time, it's not just the art inside that people want to see: the former train station turned art gallery has undergone a major facelift. Chere di Boscio reports from Paris.

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