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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
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 Muhammad Asad Ullah
Muhammad Asad Ullah
Muhammad Asad Ullah is one of the brightest new crop of journalists on the Doha scene. With a penchant for showbiz stories and a rover's eye on fashion. He's the whiz kid of the team with experience of both print and digital media.
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Highmore: A culinary odyssey beyond compare

In the opulent embrace of the Waldorf Astoria Lusail Doha, Highmore unfurls like a secret gastronomic haven, beckoning diners to partake in a culinary reverie that transcends the ordinary. It was under these enchanting auspices that I embarked on a pre-birthday celebration with a close friend, an experience that unveiled a symphony of flavours and a feast for the senses.As we were seated amidst the understated elegance of Highmore, the attentive staff made us feel like esteemed guests in a private residence. The ambiance was inviting, with warm lighting and plush furnishings that exuded modern luxury with a touch of classic charm. It set the stage for a culinary sojourn that promised to be nothing short of extraordinary.Our gastronomic voyage commenced with a duo of appetizers that served as a prelude to the crescendo of flavours that awaited. The garlic bread, a seemingly simple offering, revealed itself as an artistic creation. Melted garlic, swirled with chives, adorned a canvas of freshly baked bread. Each bite was an ode to the harmonious marriage of simplicity and excellence. The garlic sang its fragrant song, while the chives added a delicate herbaceous note.The jalapeño poppers, tantalisingly stuffed with cheddar, provided a spicy kick that awakened our palates. The creamy, molten cheese oozed from within, a counterpoint to the fiery allure of the jalapeños. This playful interplay of flavours was nothing short of exhilarating.As our appetizers bid adieu, the main courses swept in, and with them, a flurry of anticipation. The Spicy Polpeta Pizza, adorned with succulent meatballs, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and a sprinkling of oregano, was a masterpiece in every sense. The pizza crust, a perfect blend of crispy and chewy, served as a canvas for the harmonious intermixing of flavours. The meatballs, tender and brimming with savoury delight, nestled against the velvety embrace of mozzarella, creating a symphony of taste that lingered on the palate.As my friend went for the Montreal Sub Burger, which was a carnivore's dream; it showcased a towering creation of Angus steak, beef pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, and Gruyere cheese. Each bite was an epicurean journey, as the Angus steak, perfectly cooked to retain its juiciness, harmonised with the robust flavors of beef pepperoni. The mushrooms and Gruyere added depth to the ensemble, transforming a mere burger into a culinary legend. My choice: the SRB (Short Rib Burger), a veritable masterpiece of culinary innovation, that featured succulent short rib meat, tender and flavourful. Nestled within a brioche bun, it was a carnivorous delight of unparalleled proportions. The flavors and textures in this burger was nothing short of alchemical, a testament to the culinary prowess of Highmore's chefs.As we savoured each bite, our celebration took on a new dimension. It was not just a pre-birthday revelry; it was a journey into the heart of culinary artistry. The staff, who anticipated our every need, ensured that our evening flowed seamlessly, adding an air of sophistication to our celebration.We concluded our feast with a decadent flourish, savoring a Deep Fried Mars Bar paired with velvety Vanilla Ice Cream. The crispy, golden exterior of the Mars Bar concealed a molten core of caramel and nougat, a dessert that transcended the boundaries of indulgence.A single candle flickered atop our dessert, its soft glow casting a warm ambience around us. With a shared smile, my friend and I made a silent wish to the gentle flame, a heartfelt expression of gratitude for the extraordinary evening we had experienced. It was a moment of magic, where culinary excellence merged with the enchantment of a wish, a perfect ending to an unforgettable night at Highmore.Highmore at Waldorf Astoria Lusail Doha is not just a restaurant; it is a destination where gastronomy transforms into an experience, and where every dish is a canvas painted with the finest ingredients and the utmost passion. It is a gastronomic gem and it beckons all who seek an extraordinary dining experience.As the evening reached its crescendo of culinary delights at Highmore, there remained one final note to strike, a sweet and indulgent coda to our gastronomic symphony.

Photo by Mark Roces
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The Feisty Rockstar

Naser Mestarihi is possibly the first musician to release a rock album out of Qatar, with a famous look to go with it. Born and bred in Doha, the Jordanian-Pakistani multi-instrumentalist — has become a rock and roll fame in Qatar, who is instantly recognisable thanks to his signature black Ts and flowing curly hair. His wardrobe staple of black shirts, and leather has been just as captivating as his stage presence as he picks up and shreds an electric guitar just like a Rockstar out a movie scene. With masterful skill and style, you simply can’t look away.Most people know him from his ‘1987’ single, and his early days with the group are certainly where his flair for grungy gear of instruments developed. It’s the dramatics in his performance that he rarely performs without one. Even as he has transversed into different styles of performances and music, his vocals have remained consistent which is a clear message that Naser is not an average bubblegum Rockstar. With his mixture of heartthrob good looks, pulsating riffs, and smooth vocals as if born with musical greatness, what more could anyone ask for? Naser is redefining the genre for a new generation in Qatar.But ofcourse, he’s all too modest to agree. Naser meets with Gulf Times to talk about his humble collaboration with Grammy Award winning musician Thomas Pridgen, loyalty to his roots and how eager he is to reconnect with his Doha fanbase, all whilst giving out a message of never giving up to young musicians.You’re one of the very few musicians in Doha who chose rock music to express themselves. How did that happen? And what is it about rock music that keeps you going? It all started out as a kid growing up in the early 90s. Mainstream music was different back then, you’d hear rock on the radio so I picked up records like Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Metallica, Nirvana and so on from older family members and instantly knew this was what I wanted to do when I grow up.Is music something you express yourself with?Music helps evoke emotions that are difficult to express verbally. Music being universal, I mean we got fans all over the world, some whose first language isn’t English but they connect to the music and that’s the beauty of it. It’s cathartic, you’re putting what you feel on a record and someone thousands of miles away can relate or connect to it.Music’s always been my outlet irrespective of my emotions, when I’m feeling good, uplifted or depressed, I mean with regards to the latter it really helps releasing that negative energy. It’s uplifting letting it out.Coming from Pakistan, do you think Coke Studio has an effect on the kind of music you do? Yes, being half Pakistani that has had an impact on me culturally and I obviously love a lot of music from that region, South Asia. Coke studio is great, really proud to see something like that come out of my mother’s country.Do you see yourself going to Pakistan and working with Coke Studio at some point? Absolutely. Being a musician there are no limits to where I’d travel or work, I’ve always wanted to tour Pakistan if circumstances allow it, there’s an awesome music scene there and incredible musicians. If an opportunity comes up with Coke Studio, then we’d be totally down to do it.Tell us how ‘Ivory Towers’ happen? Your collaboration with Grammy Award winning musician Thomas Pridgen. For years I’d been putting out records as a solo musician & after a while my touring band and I agreed to work under a band name, for several reasons, one of them being able to collaborate rather than me writing all the music on my own.So I basically picked the name Winterburn off a tune on my last solo record and started writing the material to “Ivory Towers.” Thomas I got in touch with via one of my close friends in LA who played with him in a band called The Memorials, obviously Thomas is a remarkable musician with so many big names & accolades under his belt so I stoked to work on the record with him.We tracked the album between the Gulf & San Francisco and it was a smooth process, mixed and mastered it in Europe with the Weislawski brothers and that was it really.You’re a guitarist, vocalist and a singer songwriter – but what is it that you enjoy the most doing? Definitely guitars, I became a singer by default when I was a teen because we couldn’t find a lead vocalist and eventually that just became another ‘instrument’ I took up. I’m a bass guitarist too, which is something I’m very passionate about.Who is your favourite musician, where you draw your inspiration from? Wow, that would be a massive list, I mean I listen to hundreds of artists across so many genres but I can list down my biggest influences in three categories.Guitarists I’d say Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Slash, Hendrix, Jake E. Lee, Nuno Bettencourt, Tony Iommi & James Hetfield.Singers would be Ray Gillen, Paul Rodgers, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, James Hetfield and Freddie Mercury.Bassists would be Geddy Lee, Steve Harris, Cliff Burton and Flea.Doha is becoming a new hub for musicians and artists alike. Your take on it? There’s a lot of potential but there aren’t a lot of bands putting out original music which is the one bummer about it. I mean we’ve had our own difficulties dealing with promoters who’ve basically had a chokehold on venues because they don’t want original bands, they approach things from a very corporate mindset, they see cover bands as the more lucrative approach which none of my band gets. We come from the school of nurturing and supporting original music, it’s great if you’re into playing covers, to each his own but we’ve been doing this professionally since our late teens and early twenties so we just don’t get it.I was disillusioned with this for a while but now we’re doing things on our own, our way, without someone dictating what we should play or the format of our shows.So far we’ve played quite a few shows this year with one coming up next week and the reception has been great, the crowds love it cause it’s something new and fresh and we’re really chuffed to have had such an warm reception so far.

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Alexis Mabille’s weightless romanticism with nice sense of rawness

Couture embraces worlds. The week that on one side featured Elie Saab's stolid womanliness ended with Alexis Mabille’s let loose easy-breezy collection ‘Mondaines,’ a French word for charming social butterflies with a penchant for high-flying lifestyles, and for the flirty nocturnal activities that go with it, at Christie’s headquarters, whose white-walled rooms felt like a modern rendition of a classic salon de couture. The mood was compounded by the name the designer gave the collection which was a major success on its own terms: haute couture for the Instagram generation. From the full-length black dress in gazar that opened the show to a trapeze full length coat in emerald green that tied with to the tiers of ecru lace trimmed with feathers, the clothes had the spirited dressiness that you see now in Alexis’ gals, for instance. They were saccharine, either— the black gazar sheath that underpinned a sheer dress trimmed in huge organza flowers or a baby doll in ruffled tiers of ribbon bows in a multi-coloured pastel powder pink.And look closely and it was plain to see that Alexis had done his research on classic couture shapes, however abbreviated they might be here. The clothes were surely uplifting, not only because they've been constructed to be almost weightless, but also because the designer has been so focused on his clients' pleasure.The pantsuit in the collection came in a deep blue solid, and exquisite shimmer blouse meant there was little that was workaday about their button-down blouses. Where these clothes will be getting a workout is on the party circuit. One of the first to hit the red carpet will be the white voluminous shirt with the black bodice floor length skirt. The volumes were diaphanous, countrified, like the cloud of point d'esprit scattered with organza lace cutouts. The designer sought a deep lightness. It was beautifully exemplified in dresses with up to five layers of lace and organza.That caveat aside, the collection was lovely. Romantic, but with a nice sense of rawness.Truth to tell, the show could have taken an edit, a few less of the duplicated silhouettes. But then again, Alexis has so many couture customers, maybe it just means there’ll be less of a tussle between stylists.

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In Focus: Valentino’s haute dreamscape

The collection at Valentino’s Haute Couture show at Château de Chantilly where the catwalk was woven around circular bassin d’eau, with the perfect backdrop of the elegant silhouette of the 17th century manor, signposted the week's other relevant themes: youthfulness, simplicity, ease and paradoxes. Pierpaolo Piccioli has always loved a long, fluid shift and he made the case for this by showcasing a collection devoid of pyrotechnics, superfluous gimmicks and crowd-pleasing distractions. It was simple, yet elegant. Nothing complicated, nothing too voluminous.The showcase that started with a familiar basic crisp white shirt paired with a denim, interspersed with twinkling footwear, was followed with body-hugging dresses purely for the petite-waisted, a shoulder-baring blouse and capes, perennial favourites that never go out of fashion. Here, the strength in Piccioli’s collection lay in its details. The line came glittering with swirls of dainty, meticulous embroidery, placed prettily on traditional silhouettes. It was formal-wear but never OTT and quite appealing.Examined up close, the workmanship defied comprehension. The stitching was so fine it was invisible. It signaled the heart-stopping delicacy that distinguished the collection. The use of cotton amidst the lace, organza, and filigree, as in a coral separate with tone-on-tone flower print and embroidery that felt embossed. The same approach was echoed in a billowy trapeze-shaped gown, whose circular feathered ruffles were made from 500 feet of white organza. To make the feathers even more featherlight and preternaturally weightless, they were burned one by one to achieve the right quivering cadence.All of that passes the tests of mass influence, relevance, and great timing, but it’s not the ultimate thing that distinguishes and elevates the practice of haute couture to the true dream level. That resides in the uses of technique, and the application of handcrafted skills. On those points, the Roman couture workers at the Valentino ateliers surpassed themselves. Close up, the micro fan-pleating, intricately pieced together from segments of silk and jersey, the microscopically narrow lines of silver bugle beads cascading irregularly from shoulder to floor, the encrustations of three different designs of floral guipure cut-out lace—all this and very much more was just dreamy, in every case.There were flowing pleated gowns, statuesque floor-length tabards and silhouettes that caterwauled simplicity with fabric letting lose and trailing out behind as the models walked, the dresses were astoundingly beautiful in motion. The gold and black sheaves of wheat on a white dress were simple but striking. On the contrary, a coat in gold lamé embroidered in menswear with paillettes, and silk thread was as opulent as anything on the runways this week, and the same is true of a tulle toga embroidered with yet more crystals yet sheer and chic to the core.There was an easy breezy confidence to the clothes, one honed over decades of designing experience. The fabric came draped, woven polka dots moulded into careless shrugs and jackets, slinky, seductive dresses bared from a single shoulder, designs that stood out without trying too hard. He may be one of most senior designers but Piccioli’s spirit is indubitably young.Will this new collection by Piccioli be enough to redefine women’s eveningwear? Highly likely. It was unrestricted and sexy! The influence of Valentino and its easy-to-wear silhouette is bound to be a dream-fulfiller for many, when taken up by brands further down the market.

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Dior: the classic way!

What is a fashion show but a vivacious burst of energy, a chance for designers to experiment, create magic, set trends and, above all, make inroads into retail? Did the recent Christian Dior Fall 2023 Couture fit the bill on all these counts? Yes!Maria Grazia Chiuri did what she does best — cutting and molding ball gowns like it’s nobody’s business, dabbling with the ease of a pro into draped long gowns, voluminous hems, pleats and backless numbers criss-crossed with embroidery. It was a fairytale just like every season but a notch higher as it incorporated the cultural heritage with sculptural drapes — with models serenely poised on the runway.There was substance, but there was movement. The contrast of lightness and weight was at the very core of the collection featuring dresses with vertical pleats, dryad dresses, gilded lace and lots of lattice work embroideries and the finishing of pearl beadsThe coat/cape hybrid that yielded a result as spectacular as a swingy beige crystal organza with sleeves of lustrous sable was breathtakingly beautiful. It was the construction of the silhouette that caterwauled — ‘so very classic!’.Chiuri’s take on the heritage of Dior suit was also like a breath of fresh air — she used separates and paired jackets over matching long skirts and dresses — revamping the idea of formality with ageless, modern chic.The weight of her outerwear was balanced by ethereal dresses composed of white, beige, silver and pale gold with rippling pleats. There was a reclusive purity in beige chiffon and triple organza dresses, and coats clutched demurely. But then there was an abstract chain mail layered over that purity, and the deep slits in coats and dresses translated into a deeply feminine appeal.Chiuri she doesn’t need to create dramatic silhouettes for her clothes to get attention. Her clothes step off the catwalk, directly on to the retail rack without any translation.The drama is very much within the design itself!The collection was so cohesive and inclusive that any woman in any part of the world can find something here and that can be accredited to Chiuri who has travelled across the continents to quite really understand a Dior woman. Her line-up created veritable heirlooms for the unabashedly bold, vivacious woman. It was sheer glamour with easy-breezy monochromatic contradictions. What it skipped was a sense of grandeur or build-up. There was no ball gown finale to answer the hanging question as to what Natalie Portman might wear to the next Academy Awards—though that’s usually arranged as a bespoke off-runway matter anyway.Chiuru’s been known for her radical arty streaks and it was as much fun seeing her toe minimalistic lines. Her strong eye for fashion brought in the accolades.

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Fendi: the enduring allure of craft

The models walked around a marble floored squared, an impression of Fendi’s headquarter in Rome. As Klaus Nomi’s ‘The Cold Song played out, it was a balmy evening, teetering towards Paris’ tropical summer, the cold winds are long gone. It was quite the apt setting for a fashion week dedicated to Fall 2023 couture.The elegant surroundings and even Mother Nature pitching in with the right weather quite did it well for Kim Jones who placed the creative synergy between himself and Delfina Delletrez this season with the inclusion of Fendi haute jewellery by Delfina. One thing one can be certain about is that Fendi is never droned on, their collection is always inspiring and usually in a cloud of pastel-coloured bling that never downslides towards the terribly gaudy.This critique is directed towards their couture show as well.Kim and Delfina had their minds primarily on commerce, showcasing retail-friendly clothes. This brings in the coin, especially when it is pastel coloured, embellished with winding trellises, fashion into flowing and easy-breezy silhouette.Fendi wielded plenty of sartorial clout. It was pure unadulterated fashion, draped and tweaked into avant-garde silhouettes, eschewing generic neoprene tailored furs that are often passed off as ‘design’. There was easy, masterful layering at play, drapes upon drapes, merging into a single silhouette; pure silk and handloomed fabric in black and metallic moulded into jackets, capes, slinky one-shoulder full length sleek dresses and skirts. The Kim Jones signature is distinctive and, as always, the designer raised the bar. He merged the 1990s minimalist aesthetics with the statuary of ancient Rome.At the other end of the spectrum, the workmanship on Delfina’s jewellery pieces was meticulous. It was minimal, exquisitely made, effortless high fashion. “There is an emotional relationship that I have with the jewellery in the collection that I hope the women who will eventually wear it will have too,” says Delfina Delettrez Fendi, Artistic Director of Jewellery for FENDI. The distinctive diamond earrings, brooches and necklaces studded with pink spinels and yellow diamonds, skillfully incorporated tiny geometric plays on the Fendi logo. Some of the compositions felt almost sci-fi, as if you were looking at a digital screen. Despite their innate opulence, there was a lightness and subtlety to the designs and this is what makes it timeless.Individualistic, with restrained elegance, pushing boundaries rather than simply pandering to a bling-smitten mass mentality, a Kim Jones show invariably serves as an example of what a designer collection should be all about. It also exemplifies what a fashion event should be all about. Unfortunately, not every designer venturing on to the runway manages to understand this. In a world churning with embroidery, large voluminous silhouettes, glitter and over-designing, it was a breath of fresh air.

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Balenciaga: Underlining couture with fine cuts and sheer techniques

Demna showcased, and well he conquered – but that’s what he usually does, because he’s capable of upstaging the mantra of couture. He brought his collection taking inspiration from trompe l’oeil handcrafted techniques to imitate fur, using denim and a variety of silks to create structured silhouettes in primitive colours of black white, grey and popping neons.Such an epic stroke of his genius is exactly what you could expect of Demna for his arrival at Paris Haute Couture Fashion this season. Inside his show, hilarity broke out. Numbered looks, and every one of the models truthfully looking drop-dead gorgeous — sleek, chic gowns with severe sequin columns, outsize back tailoring, not taking the humongous jacket shoulders route but actually cutting wide funneled necklines into narrow women’s coats and jackets this season. Demna knows what fashion industry is thinking — and where he can go with it.Truth be told, silhouettes featured the cutting edge luxe ethereal evening gowns and exquisite capes that paid homage to Cristóbal Balenciaga with the underlining couture techniques. Even the windswept raincoats and mufflers caterwauled a perfect balance of couture and wearability. It was like exploring the border, quite border-lined.In Demna’s fashion multiverse, the collection featured gorgeous colour palette of dresses that redefined pulled-together-chic with a big bow as a cherry on top of a multi-layered cake — a very cohesive collection.The show that opened with the interpretation of the original Cristóbal Balenciaga design, worn by delicate Danielle Slavik, who originally modelled it for Balenciaga himself, connected the past and the present; and ended with Eliza Douglas, walking in a shining, chrome-laminated 3D printed bell-skirted suit of armor — futuristic in every sense and bone.Lots of movement here and there, a taffeta neckline vividly blown to one side, unbuttoned coats, and a deep-plunge corset and draped skirt wiped the runway off with its perfection. It was less runway, more drama, a mere performance, on every level, as we’ve come to expect from one of the few fashion designers in the world who most successfully commands attention.Apart from the yarns and yarns of silk and sequins running throughout the showcase, a leather jacket with voluminous colour and high waisted seamless boxer shorts did it for me! That was the winner. Minimal, and wearable right off the runway. Even with the dresses that screamed volume and couture — it was about owning a look. Remember, you need to innovate. It might be a long step too far for normal people, but that’s surely the point. There are extremists who will gladly follow anything Demna does. And will follow anything to create a statement.For the first time, Balenciaga Couture also offered sunglasses as part of the collection, starting with classic styles recast in precious materials and ending it with chunky frames of statement.One thing I’ve noticed about Demna is that he enhances the practicality of his dresses with the tiny hidden details that are flaunted on the runway as models sashay down the ramp. He pushes way to well the elegance trend with its easy structured designs, with sharp cuts and leave enough room to breathe easy in this dire summer or at a cocktail party. He always knows how to translate well to retail and if you intend making a statement, his pieces will make you stand out all right. There’s no faking it and if you don’t believe me, all you have to do is visit the Balenciaga store near you, and witness the instant crowds and crowds of fashion connoisseurs. This is fashion fetishism in real sense and it is thrilling to say the least.

Williams’ Thai driver Alexander Albon drives during the first practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix at the city’s street circuit on Friday. (AFP)
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Williams F1 team put future Gulf livery to a fan vote

Williams will let fans decide the look of their car for the Singapore, Japanese and Qatar Formula One Grands Prix with a vote on four options in the blue and orange of sponsor Gulf Oil International.The designs are titled Bolder than Bold, Contemporary, Visionary and Heritage.Williams said there would be three rounds of voting with the winning colour scheme displayed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.Formula One champions Red Bull are racing with fan-designed liveries at this year’s three US rounds, with the first used in Miami this month.Meanwhile seven-time Formula One world champions Lewis Hamilton praised Vinicius Junior for the Real Madrid striker’s reaction to the racial abuse he has suffered in Spain.Hamilton said the Brazilian international’s declarations about racism in Spanish football had been “brave”, describing the abuse as “devastating” and a reminder of his own earlier experiences.Vinicius, 22, who has faced abuse since he joined Real in 2018, was targeted with racist chants and gestures during Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at Valencia last weekend.Vinicius said La Liga “belongs to racists” and criticised the league for a lack of action after being racially abused several times over the past two seasons.“It’s devastating to think that in 2023 we’re still seeing these things and hearing these things,” said Hamilton ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.“It really hits home for me. It really brings up emotions, things that I experienced, whether it was in the UK or whether it was when I was racing in Italy or France or Spain.“It can be so hurtful the things that people say. I think he has been incredibly brave.”Earlier on Thursday, four men detained on suspicion of hanging an effigy of Vinicius from a bridge in January were banned from Spanish stadiums.The dark-skinned inflatable dummy was hung by the neck from a bridge near Real Madrid’s training ground several hours before a derby clash with Atletico Madrid on January 26.

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Valentino Escape 2023: Swirling with playfulness

The Maison Valentino is provided with an extra supply of energy coming from God knows where is a fact proved with ample evidence. On a day so hot, dropping its Valentino Escape 2023 made everything look so fresh and weightless.For Valentino Escape 2023 capsule, Maison have added new styles, fabrications, and silhouettes to the ever-growing collection. There are lots of covetable new propositions, versatile enough to cover different occasions and body types: prints and patterns that can go from the beach to the extremely happening party at the Hamptons, and hourglass-y sundresses with a Valentino monogram twist. And that’s not all. To embody the energy of the capsule, the Maison has envisioned immersive experiences across the globe, bringing invited guests on adventures that are far removed from the everyday.Valentino’s Instagram provides an account of the head-spinning schedule of collateral events they pulls off, but for Valentino Escape 2023 capsule, the Maison has gone a step ahead and has meshed enriching experiences with the collection that will both transport and inspire, melding alluring pastimes with of-the-moment adventures.For each Valentino Escape 2023 activation, the Maison has considered the local culture to create authentic and inspiring moments.In Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast, guests will be invited for a stay at Palazzo Avino, an awe-inspiring cliffside hotel that offers beachside allure and all the amenities that come along with it: dramatic pointed arches, pristine shells, cobblestone alleys and the healing properties of the Tyrrhenian Sea. To continue the experience and open the Escape collection to all, from June 9th, all visitors to the hotel will also be able to enjoy the capsule collection at a dedicated pop-up. During that same period, Valentino will also take over the hotel’s beach club, transforming the Club House by the Sea through a dreamy, Maison-inspired personalisation.Meanwhile, in France’s Saint-Tropez, those invited to the Escape 2023 experience will be driven through the area’s picturesque coastline, and into an exploration of contemporary art through an exclusive villa dinner and sculpture park tour.For guests in Forte Dei Marmi, the Maison has organised an escape into the world of art at Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj’s Atelier in Pietrasanta.While in Greece, the island of Mykonos will be host to adventures shedding a light on the island’s beauty.Beyond Europe, the Valentino Escape 2023 capsule will take hold through special activations worldwide. In Dubai and the Hamptons, the Maison will curate one-of-a-kind experiences that delve into the joy of the season and the importance of relaxation.Whether at Dubai’s Atlantis The Royal Hotel or on the shores of the Hamptons, each destination will offer a way for guests to connect with the local environment while delving deeper into the capsule.Risk-taking is obviously included in such a journey, but Valentino seems to enjoy meeting the challenges head-on. And what’s more fearless than luring into Maison’s inner sanctum.For capsule, silhouettes have a clarity and purity that are only enhanced by contrast the poetic intensity of the prints based on Valentino’s iconic prints. Even the clashing-striped oversized shirt looks had a more streamlined energy to them. For now, Valentino is keen on keeping shapes, volumes, and decorations from overwhelming the personality of the wearer. Maximizing self-expressive potential through reworked classics is what Valentino after. And we can feel in every creation and collection. That said, it is not minimalistic in the least. It’s loud but with every good intention. Bisou Bisou!

From Left: Senior Vice-President of Discover Qatar Steven Reynolds, Executive Director of the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation and CEO of Lusail International Circuit  Amro al-Hamad and Head of the Northern Areas Projects Section at the Roads Projects Department in Ashghal engineer Hamad al-Bader at a press conference on Wednesday.
Sports
Early bird ticket offers for Qatar F1 Grand Prix launched

Early bird ticket sales for the Formula One Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix – the first of three sales phases – was launched yesterday by the Lusail International Circuit on Wednesday. The eagerly anticipated racing spectacle will be held from October 6-8 at the redesigned Lusail International Circuit.The announcement was made during a press conference held in co-operation with Qatar Airways, the Official Airline and Global Partner of F1 – and title sponsor of the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar, and the Public Works Authority Ashghal. The F1 racing extravaganza will ensure an action-packed weekend for fans. Race attendance will be optimised through three-day Grandstand tickets and one-day General Admission tickets, with special early bird offers up for grabs for a limited time only.“F1 Family Friday” is a chance for the whole family to experience the incredible racing action together. Complimentary Friday-only General Admission tickets, exclusively for children under 12 years of age when accompanied by a ticketed adult, include entrance and free grandstand seating. Tickets are limited and must be booked online in advance. Extending over three adrenaline-fuelled days, the Qatar GP will witness incredible racing and will be complemented by unrivalled entertainment and hospitality experiences for fans.The current remodelling of the Lusail International Circuit is set to increase the capacity of the grandstands and car parking lots. The surrounding and internal roads will be developed to provide easy access to the circuit by linking it to the main roads in the area while extensive improvements will also be made to the infrastructure of the circuit and associated facilities.Abdulrahman al-Mannai, President of the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), said: “I am very glad and proud that Lusail International Circuit will host the Formula 1 Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix. It is another international achievement to be added to the list of impressive sports achievements by Qatar. I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to the Ministry of Sports and Youth for the efforts it exerted to make the circuit upgrade project a success in the best possible way. Once completed, the circuit will be an extraordinary destination capable of hosting major tournaments and sporting events.Al-Mannai added: “We would also like to thank Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism on their relentless efforts to promote tourism inside Qatar and abroad. We will unveil many exciting entertainment programs for race enthusiasts soon. I would also like to extend my sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the Public Works Authority Ashghal for its tremendous efforts to make the project of upgrading the circuit, which is going according to schedule, a great success.”Speaking after the press conference yesterday, Amro al-Hamad, Executive Director of QMMF and CEO of Lusail International Circuit, said: “We are delighted to bring Formula 1 back to Qatar, and we can’t wait to offer fans an unforgettable racing experience. The Lusail International Circuit will be more than ready to welcome enthusiasts from all over the world. We are committed to delivering a truly exceptional Grand Prix weekend, in collaboration with our partners Qatar Airways and Ashghal. The countdown has now officially begun.”He added: “Our partnership with Qatar Airways brings great benefits to the Qatar Grand Prix, as it enhances the value of this prized race through global outreach and promotional campaigns. We are proud to collaborate with the airline to connect fans from more than 150 global destinations to come to Qatar and attend the Qatar GP.”Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar al-Baker, said: “The Lusail Circuit Sports Club is a key element of the Formula 1 Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix 2023 where the world’s best F1 teams and drivers will compete for years to come. As the Global Partner and Official Airline of F1, we are offering exclusive travel packages with Qatar Airways Holidays for the upcoming races, and experiences, which deliver a motorsport spectacle like no other.”Elaborating on the event preparations, a spokesperson for Ashghal confirmed that the circuit upgrade project is on track and is expected to be completed by October as planned.Engineer Hamad al-Bader, Head of the Northern Areas Projects Section at the Roads Projects Department in Ashghal, said: “The project aims to increase the capacity of the Lusail Circuit, develop its associated facilities and upgrade its infrastructure according to the highest international standards. Ashghal is currently implementing the project within three packages, which include developing the racetrack, constructing and renovating the grandstands to accommodate 40,000 spectators, and increasing the number of parking spaces to accommodate 10,000 cars. A number of main buildings will also be developed and constructed, and the intersections and roads surrounding the circuit will be developed and linked to the main roads.”The variety of ticket options available to fans is designed to deliver an outstanding race experience at every ticket level. These include three-day Grandstand tickets around the circuit, with prices starting at QR1,000, as well as single-day and three-day General Admission tickets, with prices ranging from QR200 up to QR600.To take advantage of the early bird offers, including the Complimentary (FOC) Friday-only General Admission tickets, and secure the best seats, fans need to visit the official website to book their tickets, at https://tickets.lcsc.qa/In collaboration with F1 Experiences, exceptional hospitality packages will be offered across five tiered categories. More information on the program is available at: https://hospitality.lcsc.qa/. The event also promises an unparalleled lineup of entertainment activities that will be announced during the next months.

Lewis Hamilton (third right)  is seen with his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff (third left) in this team photo released before the start of the 2023 Formula One season.
Sports
Hamilton to Ferrari? Intriguing, but don’t bank on it

Lewis Hamilton is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of the Formula One season and, inevitably, speculation that the seven-times world champion could move to Ferrari is again picking up speed.The Daily Mail reported on Monday that Ferrari were set to offer the 38-year-old Briton a £40mn ($50.48mn) deal to race in red as teammate to Charles Leclerc, with company president John Elkann making the approach.Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport said the speculation “would apparently have a foundation of truth” but could not confirm the figures.There was no comment from Mercedes or Ferrari but social media was buzzing.Hamilton has been linked to the Italian team before - he has at least one of their luxury sportscars in his private car collection - and in 2019 twice met Elkann socially.Speculation that he might replace now-retired four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel alongside Leclerc came to nothing then, although the German was replaced by Spaniard Carlos Sainz at the end of 2020.The situation is different now, and there are also a number of reasons why certain parties might want to give the rumour mill an extra shove with this weekend’s showcase Monaco Grand Prix looming.Hamilton has not won a race since 2021, with George Russell a rising talent within the team, but such speculation emphasises his continuing superstar status and boosts his bargaining position - even if Mercedes need no reminding.On Ferrari’s side, Leclerc is a firm favourite but the Monegasque is out of contract at the end of 2024 and, with his patience at times wearing thin, has also been linked to Mercedes.Asked in April whether he had any conversations with the former champions, Leclerc replied: “Not yet, not for the moment.”A move for Hamilton would be a timely reminder from Ferrari that they are not sitting still, although Sainz would not be impressed.Hamilton needs a winning car to challenge for a record eighth title and the coming races will be crucial in helping him assess whether Mercedes can provide it, or whether to have a last shot at somewhere else.Red Bull have won everything so far in 2023 with double champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but they are not an option. The champions do, however, stand to gain from anything that distracts their rivals.Just how seriously Hamilton might consider a move to Maranello remains to be seen, and the championship’s second oldest driver has in recent months pointed firmly to racing on with Mercedes.The manufacturer has supported him throughout his career and allows considerable personal and commercial freedom that might not be available at Ferrari.“I continue to feel very much at home in this family,” Hamilton said at the Australian Grand Prix in April.“I see myself with Mercedes until my last days, to be honest. I have amazing allies within the team, great relationships here.”While Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said in March he would have ‘no grouch’ if Hamilton felt a need to look elsewhere, he also doubted the driver would leave.

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Community
So, Cyqlone-themed spinning classes are a thing!

Strobe lights are flickering, a huge Cyqlone logo formed in a pitch dark room, a catchy rhythm builds up as your bum hovers above your stationary bike. Your eyes are fixated on the spirited instructor in front of you; your legs are going faster than the usual bike ride outdoors, and that’s completely okay. It’s what a typical session in spin class looks like at Cyqlone. And if Doha’s growing number of spin studios are anything to go by, the cult workout has long established an iron grip in the fitness realm.Cyqlone at Msheireb Downtown Doha pioneered the SoulCycle NY model in Qatar. If you’ve been a regular in NY and craving the same energy, but a little more, Cyqlone is a place for it. Its location in Mshereib makes it the most central Spin in town. Evening classes are popular.Unlike the act of running indoors on a treadmill, cycling indoors on a stationary bike is nothing short of the fun, intensity and variety commonly sought out in a good workout. While sceptics might doubt it for its club theatrics, the workout commands a full body overhaul which activates all of your muscles. The varied movements timed to match with the beats of the soundtrack are also the reasons why people in a spin class forget the pains of exercising. Instead, they actually have fun. Now the studio has gone a notch higher and is also hosting theme nights. So, if there’s a specific genre of music, you’re into they’ve got it covered. As you spin-spin-spin!But if you think it unnerves you, the anticipation of getting dressed for it, there’s nothing quite to worry about it — it’s all fun there! The focus remains on the playlist. But if you can conveniently ditch the standard gym clothes — black shorts, raggedy T-shirt — and sweat looking 100 bucks whilst enjoying, then it’s a win-win.At Cyqlone’s first Afrobeats night by Dido eccentricity was the hallmark, with Afro-futurism and retro references recurring through the class. There was 90’s Nollywood vibe and the moment you look at the instructor in a clash print shirt swirling his legs on resistance-based intervals its motivational, engaging and effective. A handful of heart-pounding pop mash-ups, 10 minutes of weights, and one climb later, I came out feeling great—inspired, even, to get back on the bike again.On another night, Taylor Swift themed bike ride with Maria was the order of the day. There are many Swifties around the world, like myself, having this fomo of missing out Ms. Swift’s Iconic Era’s Tour. Cyqlone brought the star’s music closer to celebrate and have fun. As in any cult, it was easiest to take the path of least resistance and simply follow along.To Anti Hero, we repeatedly shifted between standing upright on the bike and falling (like we’re the problems?) into second position. Arm exercises with those measly, punishing hand weights were enjoyed for the duration of “Blank Space,” which, if you don’t know, is four minutes and 33 seconds. By the encore, participants were pedaling silently and, like Ms Swift right about now, contemplating legacy.More than anything, the class reiterated the undeniable genius of Ms Swift’s score—at once complex and impossibly appealing—and I would not be opposed to a second go-round. If, in addition to taking pleasure in the music, I could manage to hit my tap-backs on tempo, it would be nothing short of revolutionary.Today (May 15) at 6.30pm Cyqlone is hosting yet another theme night, riding you back to the 80’s with Ranim Hadid, and well my clash print shirt with headband, shorts and knee length socks are ready to make their appearance! See you there!

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Valentino: A Rockstud Statement

With their dainty shape and small pyramidal studs, the new Valentino Garavani Rockstud accessories that are something a little edgier than ruffles, but without the loss of delectable charm, have been given the spotlight under all-new unforgettable slogan ‘I Mean... It’s Rockstud!’ for Fall 2023 campaign.According to Valentino, this statement is nothing but an avowal of love and justification of why you should go for these iconic pieces, and rightly so – since 2009 these Rockstud accessories by Pierpaolo Piccioli have been instantly recognised by every fashion connoisseur. It’s the two tone Rockstud line that takes the way and these have been maison’s most fortuitous accessories to say the least.The stud has adorned staple Valentino Garavani accessories ever since it was introduced. Inspired by metallic details seen on Roman Palazzo, the pyramid-shaped motif has seen countless reinventions over the years, yet remains a symbol of the Maison’s powerful codes.The now iconic, studded shoe needs no introduction and has come in every shape imaginable: flats, sandals, towering stilettos and kitten heels, there was something for everyone, or ... everything for someone, quite literally there have been Rockstud addicts.The Rockstud continues the narrative, making its subversive statement atop two footwear silhouettes along with a must-have bag. Kicking off the category, the Maison reissues its covetable Valentino Garavani Rockstud pumps.Bigger and bolder, this season’s rendition is designed in shiny patent leather with tone-on-tone studs along the signature straps. With its suggestive silhouette, mix of hardedged materials and point-toe finish, the pumps boldly express personal power and confidence.Savvily banking on yet more fool-proof classics and entry level accessories Whether you have a twin, a kindred spirit, an alter ego, or none of the above, or well – you’re just a combination of all, Valentino’s sharp take on edgy elegance is made to suit any mood that strikes, day or night.Keeping with its penchant for mixing the classic with the bold, the Rockstud also stars atop a selection of ballet flats. The longtime feminine silhouette gets a dose of deviance with studded details placed along the upper. Mixing a radical spirit with bourgeois elegance, the Valentino Garavani Rockstud ballerinas are a balancing act bringing refined design in conversation with bold colors and materials.A roundup of Rockstuds wouldn’t be complete without a season-specific purse. For Urban Riviera Fall 2023 collection, the Maison presents the new Valentino Garavani Rockstud23 bag, offered in two distinct sizes. The classically structured design and bold lines ground its more proactive elements, like bold logo placements, golden Rockstuds and twist-lock hardware.Hollywood loves an It bag. Celebrities are usually the first to spot—or receive—the latest releases, and thanks to the numerous purses, pouches, and fanny packs launched each year, stars are spoiled for choice. Still, there’s always one item that attains cult status amongst performers, models, and musicians. But this season, this piece will definitely take on the sultry mainstay that’s equally at home at a Hollywood party or an underground rave at Upper East Side. Playfully punk but a sophisticated vibe is what you’ll be spotting on Instagram this season! Bisou Bisou!

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Community
Summer kind of wonderful

The quest for best hotels in New York City isn’t easy, especially when you have about more than 700 options around. And it gets even harder when it’s your first time in Big Apple, which can be overwhelming but a possibility for so many new experiences. Some trendy non-touristy, some sit in the heart of it all. Some you stay at for the scene, others ideal for not being seen at all. But the common denominator among them? They’re all, well, cool. Because it’s New York City and there’s no denying to how people and places here define the trends for hotels worldwide. Its hospitality here that is haute.I had always romanticised New York City, thanks to Gossip Girl and any other drama-show based in the town and so for me first time being in there was special: first summer abroad, studying filmmaking and in the centre of it all – finding myself weekending on the Fifth Avenue at The Langham, before even my classes kick off, was just a perfect warmup to New York. The ornery, enduring truth about New York is that it’s all always right here — the talent, the beauty, the energy, the vitality, the smarts, the grit and the peerless cinematic backdrop – “the only city which in reality looks better than on the postcards,” but it’s about how well you can absorb and take it in. And well, The Langham was just the right spot for it. To absorb the piercing skyline and the haute stilettos you notice crossing the Bryant Park. Keep your eyes open, because all it needs is a focus and a frame to know you’re in the right place and at the right time in New York.Set on New York’s favourite Fifth Avenue, which happens to be the most happening place, The Langham is located in Midtown Manhattan, between Bryant Park and the Empire State Building, featuring 234 luxury rooms, range of recreational facilities and an award winning French and Italian Riviera inspired restaurant Ai Fiori.I walked into an open lobby, a large mural behind the reception desk clutched my attention. Beautifully crafted six abstract portraits that form one art piece reflected natural sunlight against beige and navy tones — muted pastels added to a space that was expansive on a grand scale and maturely stride the line between achingly hip and just plain cool.The swift check-in, even when the hotel is almost full, had to be a highlight, because it was literally so convenient and hassle-free.At this point, as soon as I was handed the key to my Executive Club Room, all I could think of was changing into my shorts and heading to explore the city. However, as I entered my room, I realised the thought of heading out from this space instantly needed to be put on hold.The contemporary, modern room, much to my surprise, was lavishly spacious and at my disposal for the entire weekend; naturally, it seemed like the right thing to absorb the place completely before actually looking for other amenities at the hotel. Warm lighting, shades of beige, in-room workstation, a little seating area to invite some friends over, the city view, to look out over the busy streets of New York spotting some fashion and the tip of Empire State Building, a kitchenette installed with coffee/tea machine, a bed that simply hugs your body as you sink into oblivion, and a restroom with a modern, solid-base, freestanding tub, which is great for relaxation with a luxurious spa feel — in short, the room was actually a cute apartment that offered the luxury of just staying in with the views of New York City which itself is expensive in every sense.It was cosy and filled with sweet details, including the chocolate boxes and a pastry for a warm welcome, handwritten note, placed on the workstation ‘Dear Asad, Welcome to The Langham, New York! We are so happy to have you as our guest. I hope you enjoy your stay with us.’So, then I got my robe on, put my feet up in the comfortable cotton slippers as my bath tub filled with bubbles and I got my recent read out of my luggage because it was a break, at last! I felt refreshed, and the sun was almost set as I head for the evening drinks and canapes at The Langham Club while waiting for my friend to join me for dinner later. The facility is exclusively available to guests staying in one of the Club Rooms or Suites and, I must say, it was worth my upgradation. It has a calm ambience, dim lighting and lives and breathes an absolute vibe of fine dining. It’s a perfect lounge for some family bonding.For dinner, I opted for Ai Fiori, an award winning restaurant offering some exquisite French and Italian delicacies that has also introduced some new authentic dishes to the menu. With so many people vacationing in Italy on my social media, but gone are the days where you have to buy a plane ticket to visit the Italian Riviera and Paris in order to enjoy the wondrous Italian and French cuisine. And so I thought why not also be part of the experience, whilst sitting right here in New York? A city so inclusive. Everyone who’s into Italian and French food will recommend authentic places to you in New York that doesn’t involve too much fusion of cuisines and here’s why I am at Ai Fiori: it’s fantastic.Spaghetti (blue crab, lemon, bottarga, calabrian chiles) was truly a great starter to begin the meal. The crab was so delectable and lightly seasoned that, for someone who’s not a huge seafood fan, it was a tasty palate-changing moment. One can figure how it was cooked slowly to make it really tender and grilled to give it charred crispy edges.As I sipped my sparkling water with lemon waiting for my main: Pesce Spada (grilled swordfish, fava beans, ramps bagna cauda), I noticed the detailing of the beige and muted interior, the beautiful wicker lighting and the open bar that’s quintessentially true to the strand the restaurant follows.Not only was the flavour off the charts of sword fish, it was also such a healthy dish. The well marinated fish with onions and peppers along with herbs and spices does it for me —all crunchy and nicely coloured.I called it a night post dinner, and head back to my room looking forward to the next morning.The comfort of bed made me late for breakfast but morning carbs are essential for me and so I began my day with a delectable breakfast at the Club: carrot juice and full English breakfast including omelette with cheese, onions and chillis with baked beans and chicken sausages. A kind of hearty breakfast that I’d have in the comfort of my home.With looking forward to a shopping spree and a walk to Bryant Park and Rockerfeller – my day’s been all about sun tanning, getting the right dosage of summer warmth and Vitamin D.A chilled out weekend in New York is hard to find and manifest. If you’ve been to the city you’d know. So, in respect of that I called it a night, snuggled in my bed with laptop on running the new episode of Gossip Girl reboot, a franchise I have been profoundly fond of.Signing off from my staycation at The Langham New York, everyone can agree on one thing, tans fade, highlights go dark and we all get sick of sand in our shoes. But the end of a staycation is the beginning of a new season. Bisou Bisou.If you’re planning for a summer in New York, The Langham New York is a place to stay and experience.

HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali with other dignitaries at the Lusail Boulevard event Wednesday. Supplied picture
Qatar
Qatar Airways is Official Airline and Global Partner of Formula 1

Qatar Airways will also be title sponsor of MotoGP Grand Prix of QatarQatar Airways, the World’s Best Airline, is now the Global Partner and Official Airline of Formula 1(F1), the pinnacle of motorsport and the world’s most technologically advanced racing series.Qatar Airways and F1 will be partners through the 2027 season, bringing thrills and exciting speeds to fans globally, the airline said in a press statement.On Wednesday, the leading global airline announced an expansion of its sports partnership portfolio at a captivating event that brought astounding entertainment and special appearances to Doha. In addition to the global partnership, Qatar Airways will be the Title Sponsor of three Grands Prix this year: the Qatar Airways Emilia Romagna Grand Prix (May 19-21), the Qatar Airways Hungarian Grand Prix (July 21-23), and the Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix (October 6-8).This season, Formula 1 boasts of its most global racing calendar to date with 23 races across 21 countries and five continents, mirroring the motorsport’s rapidly growing footprint worldwide and the extensive global connectivity offered by the Qatar Airways oneworld Alliance, which serves over 150 countries.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said, “The best partnerships thrive because of mutual values. Both Qatar Airways and Formula 1 are global brands that share a passion for innovation, precision and luxury. As a brand, we believe in the power of sports to unite people, and as such, we have been selective with picking the most thrilling sporting events and sponsoring a variety of new and prominent sporting initiatives.”“With 23 stops in the 2023 World Championship, F1 is a global sport, requiring a Global Airline partner that offers extensive global connectivity. Hence, Qatar Airways demonstrates the perfect companion for one of the most desirable sports series in the world.”Stefano Domenicali, President & CEO of Formula 1, said: “As the pinnacle of motorsport, it makes sense for Formula 1 to partner with the World’s Best Airline, Qatar Airways. We are two brands committed to delivering the best experiences to our fans and customers, and our combined global reach makes for a perfect match. We are delighted to welcome Qatar Airways as our Global Airline Partner.”On his part, Abdulrahman bin Abdullatif al-Mannai, QMMF’s President, said: “We are pleased that Qatar Airways is joining as the Global Partner and Official Airline of Formula 1, as well as a title sponsor for both Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix and Qatar MotoGP. We strongly believe that this partnership will place Qatar at the forefront of the motorsport ecosystem through hosting such prestigious events, in addition to positioning the country as a global hub for sports and entertainment tourism. This will contribute towards pushing the wheel of our society’s growth and development and will pave the way for tremendous business and investment opportunities.”Qatar Airways hosted a special evening for the public at Doha’s iconic Lusail Boulevard Wednesday to mark the F1 announcement and raise awareness about all the motorsport events taking place in Qatar this year. HE the Minister of Sports and Youth Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali inaugurated the official partnership along with al-Mannai, Domenicali and MotoGP CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.The event featured a special appearance from the Qatari rally champion Nasser al-Attiyah, former Red Bull Formula 1 driver David Coulthard, KTM MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa, stunt rider Mike Jensen, a Red Bull drift car driven by Abdo Feghali and a static display of an FIA World Endurance Championship hypercar. Spectators were also treated to a dazzling performance by the best-selling R&B artiste Akon.For only the second time in history, motorsport fanatics will have the chance to watch their favourite teams and drivers push their cars to the limit at the Lusail International Circuit when F1 heads back to Qatar for the Qatar Airways Grand Prix from October 6-8.In addition to the Formula 1 Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix 2023, the Lusail International Circuit will host the Qatar Moto GP from November 17-19. Other motorsport events in Qatar include the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar in October and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) World Endurance Championship in 2024.To celebrate this partnership, Discover Qatar, the Destination Management Company of Qatar Airways, is the first to offer tickets to the Formula 1 Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix 2023.On Wednesday, Discover Qatar exclusively launched a comprehensive range of hotel and ticket-inclusive packages to their global retail partners, which include Grandstand and prestigious Paddock Club tickets. All packages include a free entry pass to the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar taking place in Doha from October 5-14, courtesy of Qatar Tourism.Qatar Airways Holidays further elevates the partnership with a limited number of all-inclusive travel packages, allowing global fans around the world to attend the event and partake in exclusive experiences such as pit lane walks, guided track tours and access to special events with appearances by top F1 drivers. The Ultimate F1 Experience packages include return flights with Qatar Airways, premium hotel options, race tickets and other exciting experiences and benefits. To secure packages, customers can visit the dedicated link, https://qatarairwaysholidays.com/f1Both Qatar Airways and F1 are committed to working together to reduce the environmental impact of their respective industries through responsible practices. As part of the partnership, both entities aim to collaborate on sustainability-focused initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and strive for a greener future.

From the Paris Fashion Week.
International
Valentino: Instinctually redefining couture

A rousing fashion week from Paris this season it was, in one way or another — about ardour through originality. The sturdy, clear-cut voices that obtruded in the melee of shows were from designers who dared to be themselves and thus offered clarity with choices. Couture this season was filled with a sense of spring awakening. It seemed everyone wanted to spread their wings, mix and mingle – all whilE creating a statement of their own. And well, Pierpaolo Piccioli this season quite literally took his couture to the club, setting free, letting lose and breathing in the fashion and haute couture in every form with Le Club Couture Haute Couture Spring/Summer 23.It was a lineup of pieces and silhouettes that caterwauled forward energy, rejecting negative thinking and challenging the ideas of what couture can be: wearable. The venue of the runway was a famous Paris joint under the Pont Alexandre. A bridge, little far for people who had been working at the shows, but perhaps Valentino’s full attendance proved that distance did not matter when it came to quality on the display. And, of course, who wouldn’t like to be a part of Valentino’s clan and party. It is the continuous, concise romanticism of the Valentino brand that pulls the crowd.At the apex of the pyramid, you have the couture gowns with eccentric and unpredictable volume of silhouettes with feathers, wildly clashing colours and an unbridled sense of fantasia. A few floors down the Valentino pyramid, you have the frilly, girly, easy romance oversized garments: a popified cordial of Italian glamour, et voila, you have a lineup of boucle skirt suit variations, jaunty debutante dresses, popping colours, long skirts and a casual couture of heavily gilded gowns. Piccioli pretty much did these with his eyes closed as the runway flowed timelessly between past and present.Valentino was unpretentious this season. It was modern, sleek and all about silhouette frills that caterwauled feminine appeal. It was here more effortless-looking couture outings – that is, managing to keep supersize volumes down with some ready to wear twist. There was plenty of work behind even the most deceptively simple looks. The draping that echoed its sculptural inspiration looked terrific in billowing dresses with minimal delicate bows and big ruffles.Pierpaolo Piccioli definitely intended this collection to be young in every sense, as he introduced his new emerald green oversized jacket and pants, one could see the vastly popular Pink PP either popping here and there or simply taking over the ballgown, coats or lycra tights. Known for its conceptualism, Valentino took more instinctual approach. Though there were repeated silhouettes, but the pieces themselves were very diverse taking ‘anything goes’ approach. Tiny pelmet skirts, the mint green tights paired with pastel pink billowing organza top, barely any jewellery pieces and mere scraps of fabrics to create new looks was the order of the day.The 89 looks were like tiered and layered candy floss creations. Cutaway bodysuits implanted with giant bows worn with floor-trailing capes, white shirts and ties styled with micro minis and unisex suiting taking up its own space – all came in electric blue, emerald green and yellow with jacquard and metallic beaded embroidery. Two of the most striking looks from Valentino’s showcase were the most minimal: one a white jacket with a dramatic coral bow, the other a jacquard coat, tailored to perfection, with Pink PP tights and a metallic bow holding the silhouette together. Well, Piccioli did it right – he opened the show with this piece. Each line had its own high points: Valentino’s crepe, sequined gowns were unquestionably pretty, as were the taffeta ball gowns with bodices covered in ruffles.Encouraged by experience, Piccioli stuck to his guns and dedicated this unusual season to the volumes close to his heart. When you sketch ready-to-wear, you have to be a designer but when you create haute couture, you have to be a sculptor, that’s who he was! The bias cut, 'dégradé', miles of taffeta - he worked every one of them to achieve the formidable dimensions that embodied this collection. It was a homage to the six decades of Valentino’s classic approach to luxury fashion, '80scouture gorgeousness that could draw the eye anywhere, anytime with giant ruffles in lavender or white.

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Moschino Resort 2023 Womenswear: Sugar and spice and everything nice

Moschino’s Resort 2023 Womenswear eased its way into more democratic proposal with a chiseled floor-length dress featuring a vivid cut-out above the neckline: a clear statement that ‘affordable’ isn’t the same as bashful, and it’s time to celebrate the classic glamour with a touch contemporary cuts. Tailoring and shirting, either nipped or magnified in all the interesting places, with prints in whimsical patterns for a tropical cocktail party – there’s nothing boring here that you see, but just retro elaborately constructed silhouettes that are two-piece ensembles as well, very girly and feminine in every sense.In Moschino’s world nothing’s dark at the moment. The brand embraces so much colour that only few of designers can match it for exuberance. Colours sell, so why not lean into that success, why not say yes to happiness of happy customers and girls. These clothes are sexy, not conventionally, but make a woman feel sensual, and in her body and in her skin.Between the heels, pantsuits and coral prints you can magnify well on the bear and happy face formations printed on both garments and bags – you’d be inclined to call it a holiday collection, which it is in every sense.The collection starts off with a cherry print, though these little fruits are sugared and green, adding a visual garnish to the tropical cocktail. The groove starts to emerge: It’s a look that’s slightly hippie, slightly disco, and slightly formal, with an emphasis on long silhouettes alongside go-go miniskirts and short-shorts.Crochet pieces add to the vintage vibes – in some cases, they’re quilted together, depicting flowers, smiley faces, and a version of Moschino’s teddy bear. Mixed in retro airport upholstery patterns, wavy jacquards and polka-dot embroideries enhance the atmosphere across a maxi-dress, leggy trousers, a beret and much more.

Lusail International Circuit will be hosting the very first sprint race at night on October 8.
Sports
F1 confirms 23-race season; Chinese GP won’t be replaced

London: Formula One will have 23 races this season, still a record and one more than last year, with the sport facing a four-week gap in April after deciding not to replace the cancelled Chinese GP. The race in Shanghai, originally scheduled for April 16 as the fourth of 24 rounds, was axed last month for the fourth year in a row due to strict local measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.Formula One had said then that it was assessing alternative options, with various venues touted in the media including Portugal’s Portimao circuit that was used as a replacement in 2020 and 2021 for races cancelled during the pandemic.That will leave a gap between round three, Australia’s race in Melbourne on April 2, and Azerbaijan’s Grand Prix in Baku on April 30. Sources said the Chinese GP organisers had sought a reinstatement after Beijing relaxed Covid controls but that was ruled out for logistical reasons. Bringing the race in Baku forward by a week was also considered. The 2023 calendar features the return of Qatar in October, a debut night race in Las Vegas in November and six sprint weekends.Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen will be chasing his third championship in a row when the season starts in Bahrain on March 5 after pre-season testing at the Sakhir circuit in late February. The season ends in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 26.2023 Formula One season scheduleMarch 5: Bahrain, SakhirMarch 19: Saudi Arabia, JeddahApril 2: Australia, MelbourneApril 30: Azerbaïjan, BakuMay 7: Miami, MiamiMay 21: Emilia-Romagna, ImolaMay 28: Monaco, MonacoJune 4: Spain, BarcelonaJune 18: Canada, MontrealJuly 2: Austria, SpielbergJuly 9: British, SilverstoneJuly 23: Hungary, BudapestJuly 30: Belgium, Spa-FrancorchampsAugust 27: Netherlands, ZandvoortSeptember 3: Italy, MonzaSeptember 17: SingaporeSeptember 24: Japan, SuzukaOctober 8: Qatar, LusailOctober 22: United States, AustinOctober 29: Mexico, Mexico CityNovember 5: Brazil, Sao PauloNovember 19: Las Vegas, Las VegasNovember 26: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina