GT – Apr 01-15 2017


By Afshan Shafi

At first glance, Saudi-French Sakina Shbib’s creations convey a feeling of sheer grace. As the eye roams over the faultless details, one is awestruck by the joy and decadence of her vision. There’s a sense of an unruffled sensuality as well as pure fantasy to each of her garments.  Her latest collection shot in collaboration with the fine jewellery house, Piaget, is a study of scarlet and marries boldness with shimmering glamour in each hem. Sakina speaks to Afshan Shafi in an exclusive interview about her passion for design and provides fascinating insights about life as a couturier

How did your passion for design begin? What do you think was a defining moment in your fashion journey?

My mom used to be a tailor in the French countryside, in a small town deep into the South-West, called Villeneuve-sur-Lot. After school, I would help her with the easy parts: cutting ruffles, gathering the material, cutting threads, etc. Any training starts with your capacity to observe. By the time I had reached 12 years of age, I was able to make a dress on my own. My mom would give me the responsibility of the finishing, which I would do after school. It gave me a sense of responsibility at an early age. After I graduated from the University of Bordeaux with a Masters in foreign languages, I got a grant from the government to study in Paris. This was one of the most fortunate instances of my life! I was a very shy teenage girl, but determined. I applied for the famous school L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and graduated in 2012 as a pattern drafter.
The defining moment of my young career was to present my first collection last year during Paris Fashion Week. It is such a big step to cross. And seeing yourself in fashion magazines is such a reward. It is a validation. It is the proof that the industry recognises your hard work. What is funny is that I used to read Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie-Claire magazines as a kid and I had no clue that I would eventually be featured in all of them later on.

What does the term luxury mean to you especially in regard to your training in renowned couture ateliers?

Straight after I graduated from L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, I got my first internship with Alexandre Vauthier in 2012. I worked for one year with him, doing the embroideries, beading work and ornaments of his haute couture dresses. Later, I was appointed seamstress at the Givenchy atelier for another year. By the time I entered the Chanel ready-to-wear team in 2014, I had matured and was able to think critically. My experience at Chanel made me aware of the demands of an elite clientèle and the requirements regarding the quality of a garment. We spent considerable amount of time in the studio drawing sketches, experimenting with colours, cutting new shapes, etc. Every pattern changes from one collection to another. What people don’t know is that the research part for making a single garment can take one month. This set of experiences has taught me to technically challenge myself and approach design through a strong set of skills. Courtesy these positive experiences, I consider myself to be a craftswoman: the roots of my job require me to work with my hands, from stitching to doing hand embroideries and the delicate details of finishing. When 80 per cent of designers nowadays do mostly sketching and technical drawings, and delegate the work of production to their team, I am my own seamstress. I have 5 employees working under my supervision, but I am clearly the head of my own atelier and I have mastered the techniques of a couturier, of which I am proud. I have learnt through the years that luxury is all about precision, with a strong focus on details. Clients are looking for some sort of exclusivity.

Who do you feel is the embodiment of the Sakina brand?

Fashion is both a work of introspection and a work of observation. You have to look into yourself in order to create your “signature look” with which women will identify.. But you must also understand the culture of your time. I spend a considerable amount of time traveling the world and observing what women like and how they want to be perceived before I get the inspiration to design. I have a high number of customers from the Gulf countries asking me to design their wedding dresses, and in this case, the cultural concept matters: they want to feel beautiful and, at the same time, honour their religion, which, for instance, prompts me to create a dress with no skin exposure.

My haute couture collections are mainly designs with pure lines, volumes and delicate details handcrafted on high-quality fabrics such as Dentelle de Calais, silk organza, silk satin, silk crepe and silk taffetas, all made in France. The most recurring motifs are guipure appliqués on organza bases, and flower embroideries paired with beading work. As for my ready to wear collections, they have a pure and modern touch, which is more coherent for everyday life. I would define my style as chic and appropriate. I have in mind a timeless vision of beauty with a strong focus on details. I care more about making women beautiful rather than following trends. Elegance is basically the embodiment of Sakina Paris.

Which artists, writers and other creatives inspire your romantic aesthetic?

There is a language of fashion that depends on the fabrics and the colours you use.

When I design a dress, I look at the balance between the front and the back, and the proportions of the whole body, the structure of the garment, the color matching. I love the sculptural details of draping. This is my vocabulary.

It is very important to be open to the world and be contemporary. Artists have to be aware. You have to know the culture of the day. I read books, read newspapers and watch TV. I use Instagram and I am a part of contemporary society and hope that people can relate to me in a way. But fashion is more an act of the senses rather than a surge of intellectualism. There are no right or wrong answers, it is all about intuition, the feeling of the moment. When you design a collection, you have to look into yourself and ask yourself: “Who am I? What is my story?” Journalists always ask, “What is your inspiration?” There is no direct response to this. Sometimes I feel a certain way, and as an artist, you should feel rather than think. My collection was a feeling of the moment. For instance, for my second collection, I was inspired by my favorite French writer Marcel Proust and his vision on young women becoming adults and exploring blossoming love and infatuation. It was a very romantic perspective, and definitely the state of mind I was in when I started designing this collection. And then my latest collection is more about melancholy feelings and the force of Autumn. I love Autumn because it is forcefully symbolical. It means change and renewal, through the poetry of changing colors. The colour code is red, ranging from burgundy to dusty red and vermilion. Red means passion, intensity. The leading piece of my collection is a corseted dress made of 7,000 flowers cut in 6 different types of leathers and embroidered by hand with beadings. I imported the leather from Italy and it took 5 workers to cut every single piece of flower and stitch them together by hand to create different shapes and volumes. Haute couture means pushing the limits of creativity. This dress is a recreation of an autumnal forest that looks like an architectural work. I am very proud to finally present it after two months of research.

The lady wearing my clothes has good taste, and is proud of her femininity. She is elegant in all aspects of life, in her wardrobe choices but also in regard to her graceful and polite manners. She masters all the codes elegance is a result of being educated rather than a matter of possessing wealth

I don’t dictate what women should wear, I just follow my instinct. I am inspired by strong women who embrace their femininity, but also maybe with kids, a job, and a life. Women have different ages and body shapes. It is about individuality. Fashion also depends on how you style the pieces. Sometimes you see two different ladies wearing the same outfit, but because one of them knows how to accessorise it, she is instantly more fashionable. Fashion is a balance of everything.

What has been your most memorable fashion show?

My first memorable fashion show as a guest was attending Armani Haute Couture show in January 2015. It is very meaningful to me as it is the date when also I launched my own label. His collection was outstanding, and I had the chance to meet actress Sonam Kapoor and her sister Rhea backstage. They are absolutely adorable! And then, Mister Armani himself came to me and complimented me about my dress that obviously, I had made myself!

But as a fashion designer, my most memorable moment was when I did my first presentation last year in Paris, it really meant something. The first time a designer makes a presentation during a Fashion Week is a huge moment. It is a big challenge to create a collection and put yourself out there for people to judge your work. Especially because the standards in Paris are really high. There is no higher metric in terms of quality than Paris. In this business, people are really quick to judge you and won’t give you a second chance. Fashion journalists will come and take a look during your showcase, and if they think you are talented, they will support you. But if they think that there is no big potential, you can be over very quickly. In this way, for a young designer like me, showing people that you have something to offer is a really huge moment. And there is a huge amount of pressure throughout the three months of preparation. A presentation requires a lot of disparate elements to come together. It is no longer about pure designing, it is about staging an event. The crowd in Paris expects to be entertained. It is the place where you enjoy the most spectacular shows. Each single element has to be representative of the brand. It depends on the image the designer wants to convey. It also requires scenography and decoration. Beauty – in all aspects of life – can perfectly express my values. I remember staying up until 2 a.m. to discuss the flower arrangement with my team, or do some champagne selection for the guests. Every single element is significant and give you credit in the eyes of future customers or the press. Being a part of the couture hub is also a huge advantage because when you grow bigger, you start attracting other luxury brands for partnerships. I had this wonderful collaboration with the high-jewellery house Piaget for a series of pictures starring supermodel Kristina Krayt. Having big names noticing you is such a reward.

How do the cultures of the Middle East and Europe intersect in your vision?

For haute couture, I attempt to merge the delicacy of the French tradition with the sense of luxury of the Oriental culture. The French signature look is elegance with a certain amount of minimalism. On the other hand, the Arab signature look is a strong expression of beauty with a genuine power of seduction. My style is definitely a mix of the two cultures. I like the classic codes of beauty – typically Parisian, which is a natural expression. But what I admire about Middle-Eastern women is their uniqueness. They are aware of being beautiful and it seems like they put a lot of effort in celebrating beauty everyday, through fancy makeup and exquisite smell of Oud for example. They have a very sharp sense of luxury and detail that I appreciate.

My customer is elegant and modern, but she can come from any cultural background. Fashion and culture should merge together. And we have to celebrate individuality. For example, I love my Arab customers. But religion has a certain impact on the way women dress in the Middle East, which is another form of beauty. On the other hand, the modern way of life in Europe makes woman feel more liberated in the way they want to look. In France, there is a very natural sensuality. The makeup looks fresh, the allure is simple but elegant at the same time. On the contrary, Arabs like to adorn themselves with beading, gold and glitter. They are more extravagant. It is fascinating to see that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As a fashion designer, I am sensitive to all kinds of beauty.

Who would be your ideal client?

The lady wearing my clothes has good taste, and is proud of her femininity. She is elegant in all aspects of life, in her wardrobe choices but also in regard to her graceful and polite manners. She masters all the codes. Most of my clientèle comes from the Middle East, with a small portion of local French customers and Chinese as well. I feel that elegance is a result of being educated rather than a matter of possessing wealth. The typical Sakina Paris lady is feminine but modern at the same time. However, she remains classic in her wardrobe choices. I would describe my style as appropriate and chic. It is made for a woman who wants to empower herself without being too bold or too eccentric. Clients who come to me to place an order understand my signature look: a fitted structure. I like a dress to beautify the female attributes, and to make the waist look smaller. We use gros-grain in order to prevent the dress from riding up and stay fitted to the body. The waist line is the strategic part of the female body, it balances all the proportions. Making a structured dress might look neat and simple, but it actually requires specific dress-making skills. What it means to have a VIP clientele is that you have to overcome technical challenges to deliver a perfect product and the clients are aware of that.

What are your future plans for your brand?

I have a very small team of 5 workers who have so far embarked with me on this journey and who will continue going further. We still have a long way to go. Seeing my company grow bigger would be such a dream come true. Success lies in the team. We have to be really connected to reach a perfect image. Expanding my brand internationally is a target for the upcoming five years: signing contracts with ready-to-wear distributors and concept stores is one of the top priorities of Sakina Paris. And developing our VIP clientele for haute couture too. And our next project for May is to launch a collection of luxury bags with hand embroideries on leather, the Sakina touch! We are working hard on it and the patterns are ready for production.

What is your favourite city in the world and why? 

Dubai! I love the unstoppable energy of Dubai and the cultural melting pot that it is. Everything is moving so fast in this city. Every time I come back, Damac or Emaar are building something new.

Your favorite designers?

Elie Saab, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent

Women who you admire? 

Queen Rania of Jordan, Sonam Kapoor, Malala, Angelina Jolie

Favourite shoes? 

Classic stilettos. I hate flat shoes, sneakers and anything too urban. High heels are always feminine and make women’s legs look longer.

Most adored jewellery? 

The 2017 Piaget collection. Rubies are my favorite gemstone. The colour is so powerfully expressive. And, in the words of Marilyn Monroe, “diamonds are a girls’ best friends!” Piaget offers the perfect combination. They offer the very expression of fine luxury. Our recent collaboration was one of the highlights of my career.

Oh Areeba!

It takes a bubbling and fiery creative energy to create across various disciplines. The young and zany blogger, YouTuber and artist, Areeba Siddique does just that. Her take on various Pakistani girl quandaries are spot on! She has contributed to Rookie magazine and has been interviewed by Affinity magazine as well as various other digital platforms. The future is bright for this self declared “Art child!”

When it comes to Hair are you following your Nani’s Totkas (Old wives tales)? following some of these age-old myths may well be damaging your hair.

All types of hair, from lustrous long locks to sassy and chic shorter styles, have their own set of challenges. separating hair myths from facts might help you on your way to catering to your specific hair-type.

Let’s debunk these trickeries and achieve healthy and= gorgeous hair

Shampoo is the reason for hair fall!

Address the real problem rather than blaming shampoo for your thinning locks. Women often face the horror of having to deal with meshes of hair that clog the drain. Hair fall is more noticeable in tubs or on tiles of your bathrooms, but if you start observing carefully, you might find comparatively more hair on your pillow covers. In fact, you are doing more damage to your hair than doing good if you are not washing it regularly, as build-up is a cause of inflammation, which in turn exacerbates hair fall.

To have it looking lush, just go ahead and brush!

The only thing over brushing does to your hair is that it makes it lusterless. Overbrushing does NOT boost blood flow to the scalp, nor does it aid the process, instead it vitiates the growth and damages the cuticles. So brush them once, maximum twice to make sure they look healthy and nice!

Colouring hair = Damage Alert!

People believe that colour treating hair is the second name for hair damage. However, products available for colouring hair these days have more conditioners, making hair more glossy and manageable. Bleaching hair, on the other hand, does make it thinner and brittle. Knock knock! Bleaching and colouring is not the same thing!

Best way to rinse: ice ice baby!

Though taking super hot showers is not good for hair nor the scalp, that doesn’t imply that ice cold water is especially beneficial. It might be a good way to shower in the morning to stay more alert and active but solely doing it for the sake of making your tresses shinier is not a good idea. Better to wash it with lukewarm water as the result won’t be any different.

Trimming often is the key to rapid hair growth!

Cut it or not, your hair will grow approximately half an inch per month. So the only benefit of frequent trims is giving your hair less split ends!

Switching shampoos makes your hair better!

A change is better but not in every case. People believe that prolonged use of a particular brand or variant of shampoo makes it less effective for your hair. Total gibberish! Although you might keep trying different brands to see which one works the best, hair never becomes immune to any product. So if you are happy and satisfied with the one you are using now, carry on with it.

Air drying is better than blow drying!

Let us blow your mind away with this amazing info. By comparing blow drying with air drying, we concluded that as perceived blow drying can cause “some” damage to your hair while air drying too can damage your hair. Experts say that the interior of hair swells if exposed to water for longer periods of time, thus, resulting in more damage than heat styling/drying. If you are running late and want to dry those flicks in an instant, then do it guilt free!

Flat hair can never have a voluminous solution!

People with flat and fine hair seem to give up on the road to thicker and bouncier hair. But don’t lose hope because the equipment today is so advanced that a good 15 minute twirling around with large hot rollers or a curling tong can make your hair go full volume. So if you have resigned on your dream of having voluminous locks then buckle up, get the right equipment or visit a good stylist and your hair can get the bounce and thickness it craves.

Plucking one gray hair brings back two!

A gray hair signifies that your hair has entered the phase of graying but people strongly believe that plucking that one gray hair will double the growth of gray strands. We will recommend you not to launch that plucking war on your hair, not because it will gray more rapidly but because plucking it harms the hair cuticle and root.

Dandruff signifies a dry scalp only!

Newsflash: Dandruff is not just a sign of dryness ,although we have long associated it with a dry scalp only. Dandruff tends to grow due to the type of yeast that overgrows in an oily environment, so to get rid of those dry flakes, look for hair masks or treatments specifically for dandruff and not just for a dry scalp.

By Staff Writer


Power Rangers

This blast from the past is sure to pull oldies and youngsters alike to the cinemas. And for those that grew up imbibing the stories of the Power Rangers it’s like taking a time machine back to the days of innocence. This remake follows the story of five ordinary teenagers that band together to form an extraordinary team when they learn that their small town is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. They soon discover that the fate of the world lies in their hands alone. Not only must they battle Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), a powerful witch and former Power Ranger, but also their inner demons to come together as a team.

With a young cast and Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad fame) as their mentor Zordon, this film is all set to be a blockbuster. It will release at the end of March, and was produced for a budget that crossed the $100 million mark.


Samsung Presents the QLED TV

There’s nothing more relaxing than zoning out in front of the TV. And now this will become even more pleasurable. Samsung Electronics recently unveiled its state-of-the-art TVs: QLED and The Frame at a global launch at the Carrousel de Louvre in Paris. “We wanted to present our masterpieces surrounded by Old Masters,” Samsung executives said.
The QLED TV is like no other TV on the market. The colours, picture quality and 3-D effect are life-like. Furthermore, in one marvelous leap, they have designed a TV with only one thin wire and voice-controlled remote for all your devices. The TV itself is curved and can be placed even in the center of the room or hung right next to the wall with no gap. No more are there messy wires dangling, a plethora of remotes needed or are you restricted to place a TV near a wall limiting your furniture placement. If you are looking to upgrade, QLED TVs will be available in Pakistan after Eid. Best of all the price is not prohibitive. They are competitively priced and at a similar price point to regular TV sets.

The Frame is another remarkable new television. When it is turned off, it displays digital art on your wall. Nobody can tell that it’s not a painting, but a TV hanging on your wall.

With these achievements, Samsung has demonstrated their leadership in defining the future of home entertainment with advanced cutting-edge technology. Be sure to keep an eye out for these when they hit the Pakistani markets and enhance your TV viewing pleasure.


Spoils — Bryan Van Reet   

The War in Iraq has off late been producing literature, and this super debut from a US army veteran, about a young female soldier taken captive at the start of the war in 2003 is all the rave. The novel begins in April 2003 with American forces having taken Baghdad, but there is insurgency simmering. The author explores the lives on both sides of the battle lines; Cassandra, a nineteen-year-old gunner who is captured during a deadly firefight by Abu Al-Hool, a life-long mujahid beset by a simmering crisis of conscience, struggling againsts enemies from without and within. The book depicts a war spinning rapidly out of control, and covers the human cost of combat.

What is a typical day/week like for you?

Zeb: I start my day with riyaz (vocal exercise) and a huge breakfast. The rest of the day varies with work and travel.

Explain your sound in five words.

Zeb: The five words that inspire me musically are: genuine intent, honesty, unique, subtlety and first and foremost sureelapan (melody).

If I were to turn on your iPod right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?

Zeb: Probably a Begum Akhtar thumri, an old Beatles tune, songs of Mali, Iraqi Oud and Zayn Malik

How do you describe your music to people?

Zeb: I try not to describe my music or think about these things too much. Also, since I work in many different styles and genres I typically just direct a listener to my songs and let them decide.

What are your long-term career goals?

Zeb: To keep creating new music and to keep growing musically. Also to have a lot fun and travel the world!

How would you define success?

Zeb: To be musically successful would be to express oneself with honesty and to always be open to learning and maintaining a curious outlook.

Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?

Zeb: It varies. Long walks help.

What are the five things you can’t live without?

Zeb: People I love, chai, food, meditation and music of course!


Sana Zehra


Arsalan Bilgrami of a.bilgrami studio

By Afshan Shafi

True luxury begins with customization. When a client’s power of imagination meets the taste and craft of a professional designer, artful magic happens. Handpainted bags caught the attention of a global audience in the early 2000’s when Kanye West gifted Kim Kardashian a nude portrait of herself painted on to a camel Hermes Birkin. Though the latter was a lurid depiction, it set off a trend that is firmly here to stay. Locally, niche labels like Penguin Pop by Saadia Gardezi and Flora Ruba are satisfying appetites for distinctive and characterful accouterments. Read on for our picks of the finest wardrobe keepsakes

Heart Evangelista with a Kelly she painted herself


Khloe Kardashian with a Birkin painted with the Monopoly Icon

Flora Ruba


Kim K with a Kelly painted on by her daughter North West

Penguin Pop

By Afshan Shafi

This Swiss-Russian fashion entrepreneur is not only dazzling but fluent in 6 languages. Xenia’s bold and exhilarating sartorial sense and undeniable natural beauty have made her one of the biggest style bloggers on the planet with 1.1 million followers. She regularly collaborates with the likes of Ferragamo, Dior and Vogue, and has shot fashion editorials with  ELLE, Vanity Fair and L’Officiel and several others. She has also presented a TEDx talk about female leadership. A true Intagram star, we can never get enough of her ultra glam aesthetic!

By Mahlia Lone

I first saw Salma Hayek on the big screen in Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado in 1995 starring opposite Spanish heart-throb Antonio Banderas and was blown away by how smoking hot the leading couple was. Their heavily accented English, their tanned good looks, her overtly feminine curves, his Old World machismo—this film made breakout stars of all three, the actress, the actor and the director. It was a precursor to the growing significance and relevance of Spanish-speaking stars in American mainstream movies. While promoting the film, Ms. Hayek appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and said that she had given up a career as a top Mexican soap opera star to make it in Hollywood and recounted how she had driven herself over all the way from Mexico City to Los Angeles and roughed it out there. She appeared peppy, confident, ambitious, exotic and had oodles of star quality and sex appeal. Her self belief paid off. Not only did she make it in Hollywood, but also married one of the richest, most well respected men in France.

Salma Hayek was born in 1966, in the oil boomtown of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico to a wealthy Lebanese descent oil company executive and businessman Sami Hayek Dominguez Hayek and opera singing talent scout Diana Jiménez Medina of Mexican mestiza (white European), Amer-Indian and Spanish descent. Her father was of some standing in the community and even ran for Mayor of Coatzacoalcos. She and her younger brother Sami Jr. were brought up in the strict Roman Catholic faith, but Salma admitted that the two siblings were spoiled rotten by her well off parents. Sami Jr. now lives in LA and designs custom made chairs that have been bought by celebrities such as Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt. But he’s mostly known for crashing Salma’s sports car in a horrific accident that killed his friend seated in the front seat next to him.

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) inspired young Salma to become an actress. Lagging behind in her school work, naughty little Salma at age 12 was sent to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, Grand Coteau, Louisiana, where she was diagnosed with dyslexia, a reading disability, and ADHD, an inability to focus for very long. She also routinely pulled pranks on the poor nuns. One time she set their clocks back three hours, disrupting their routine and was subsequently expelled. However, she was good at languages and grew up speaking fluent Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and English. After school, Salma attended Mexico City’s Universidad Iberoamericana to study International Relations and Drama.

In Teresa, a Mexican telenovela

After graduation, Salma landed the title role in the successful telenovela Teresa (1989) at the age of 23, making her a household name in Mexico. She said she could have comfortably rested on her laurels and been happy being a star in her home country but she had set her sights on Hollywood. So, in 1991, she got in her car and drove to Hollywood where she started taking Stella Adler’s acting class. Though a petite 5.2” curvacious bombshell, she spoke with a heavy accent and was typecast as a mistress, maid or stripper/prostitute in bit roles.

Looking back, Salma said, “I, a rich girl from Mexico, came to Hollywood with my designer clothes. And one day, when I was starving in an apartment in Los Angeles, I looked at my Chanel blouses and said, ‘If only I could pay the rent with one of these.’” Feeling under pressure and unappreciated by white filmmakers, Hayek vented her frustrations in a humorous manner on comedian Paul Rodriguez’s late-night Spanish-language talk show in 1992, which filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and his producer wife Elizabeth Avellan happened to be watching. They had been looking for a Latina actress for their upcoming film Desperado and were immediately struck by this not only obviously good looking but also intelligent and opinionated young woman. Their instincts were spot on! The movie made $25 million and went on to become a cult classic. In 1994, Salma returned to Mexico to star in the film El Callejón de los Milagros (Miracle Alley), which won more awards than any other movie in the history of Mexican cinema. Rodriguez then cast her in Quentin Tarantino scripted From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) opposite George Clooney in a vampy role. In this cult classic, Hayek does a memorable sexy table top dance holding a snake, which got a lot of male pulses quickening. She made some mildly successful but forgettable romcoms in the next few years and her star graph kept steadily rising.

With her mother Diana

With Antonio Banderas in Desperado

Her snake dance in From Dusk Till Dawn

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

In Wild Wild West with Will Smith & Kevin Kline

In Bandidas with best friend Penelope Cruz

With the suave Pierce Brosnan in After the Sunset

With Colin Farrell in the mediocre tear jerker Ask the Dust

The growing distance she felt from Catholicism was highlighted by her next choice of film Dogma (1999), starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, which portrays the Roman Catholic Church in an irreverent manner. She also starred in the summer blockbuster action comedy Wild Wild West opposite Will Smith. The same year her newly formed production company Ventanarosa produced the 1999 Mexican feature film No One Writes to the Colonel (1999) that was shown at the Cannes Film Festival and was selected as Mexico’s official Oscar entry for best foreign film.

 “I wish I knew (when I was younger) that I was going to fall crazy in love with the perfect man. I was so worried, and I dated some people I shouldn’t have dated. You get desperate, and you start seeing wonderful things in, like, the wrong guys. I also found some pretty good guys”

With Edward Atterton

With Oscar de la Hoya

With Edward Norton

With Colin Farrell

Salma at this time was a serial monogamist and looking for “The One!” She admitted in an interview for Allure magazine that she dated people she shouldn’t have because she was “desperate” to find her perfect soul mate. She revealed that when she was younger she was in a hurry to find the person with whom she was going to spend the rest of her life, and because of that desire, she found herself overlooking her previous partners’ shortcomings. “I wish I knew (when I was younger) that I was going to fall crazy in love with the perfect man. I was so worried, and I dated some people I shouldn’t have dated. You get desperate, and you start seeing wonderful things in, like, the wrong guys. I also found some pretty good guys.

But I wish I could say to myself: ‘Hey, chill out. You’re going to get a great husband that’s going to adore you.’ I would have saved myself a lot of personal drama.”

She especially had a soft spot for actors during this phase: she dated English actor Edward Atterton from 1997 to 1999, followed by a brief liaison with Mexican-American boxer Oscar de la Hoya. Then came a serious relationship with American character actor Edward Norton from 1999 to 2003. Good looking actor Josh Lucas applied the salve to her heartbreak in 2003 for a year. In 2004, Irish Lothario Colin Farrell and Salma had a fling during the filming of their below average movie “Ask the Dust” (2006).

She said how she felt about men, “What worries me the most is that most men are so weak. Because of that they act like they don’t care and like machos – because they are too fragile inside. They’re scared of confrontation and afraid of so many things. And because of this they build up their life so they have to deal with their feelings as little as possible. I find feminine men unbelievably sexy. But most men are completely incapable of getting in touch with their feminine side. What am I supposed to talk about with a man who doesn’t know what it’s like to be a woman?”

First wife Dorothée Lepère

Francios Henri Pinault, one of France’s richest and most influential men

So Salma concentrated on her work and poured her passion into her labour of love, the film she co-produced about the life of the legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, whom Salma had been admiring her entire life and whose story she wanted to bring to the big screen ever since her arrival in Hollywood. Frida (2002) has great performances from Salma in the leading role and Alfred Molina as Kahlo’s cheating husband. The cast included many of her friends who wanted to support her, including Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, Valeria Golino and Edward Norton. Salma famously sports Frida’s real life one eyebrow for the film. The biographical movie is coloured with the same colour palette that Frida Kahlo used in her paintings and was nominated for six Oscars, including best actress for Hayek, who became the second Latin actress to be nominated in the category. It won the Academy Awards for make-up and original score by Elliot Goldenthal. Salma also won credibility as a serious actress and successful producer.

The next year, she reprised her role in the final of Rodriguez’s Desperado trilogy Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) alongside her buddy Antonio Banderas. Incidentally, Salma is also godmother to Rodriguez’s children.

She followed this movie up with After the Sunset (2004) opposite Pierce Brosnan. She then starred in a Western about gun toting bad ass female bandits Bandidas (2006) alongside her best friend Spanish actress Penélope Cruz. She also announced her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for Volver (2006) at her ceremony–they are that close. At this time, it’s safe to say that Salma was not broken in any way by her string of unsuccessful romances but chose to be strong and independent, concentrating on her work and friends.

Then 2006, fresh from her fling with Colin Farrell, Salma started dating divorced French businessman Francois Henri Pinault.
She revealed in an interview, “What works in a relationship of very public people is not making the relationship public–keeping it as personal as it can be. It’s the only way it is real. I am suspicious of those who have to let the world know how much they love each other. It’s a little sad when you have to brag about how much you love someone. That kind of declaration doesn’t always reflect the moment of truth between two people who care deeply for each other. When that truth is there, you don’t need others to know it. And when somebody truly loves you, you don’t even need him or her to be affectionate. Affection is fantastic, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s love – and the public display of affection is often just a show. When you open a door for others to have an opinion on your relationship, it can be dangerous. Find what you need, not what everyone else wants for you. Women have been taught that in order to have a place in the world, an identity, they must marry and have children. If that’s the life you truly want, great. But for many women, marriage is only about needing the world to know that someone desires them enough to say, ‘Here’s a contract to prove that I love you and will commit to you for the rest of my life.’ For these women, no contract equals no validation – and, thus, no reason for existing.” Salma, as it turns out, was far more traditional than she realized.

“I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day,” said Linda Evangelist in her heyday

The Hollywood mansion FHP bought in daughter Valentina’s name to woo Salma back

FHP, as he is nicknamed, was born in 1962 in Rennes, Brittany, France, in the lap of luxury. His father François Pinault founded Kering, a luxury, sports and lifestyle empire estimated at $16.9 billion in March 2017, according to Bloomberg that includes Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, and many other high end brands.

FHP graduated from HEC School of Management, near Versailles, in 1985 and completed at that time mandatory military service in the French Consulate Economic Expansion station in Los Angeles, during which he studied the American fashion and new technology sectors. On his return to Paris in 1987, he joined PPR (as Kering was then known) as a manager in the buying department. Over the years, working his way up and propelled by being the son of the CEO, FHP strengthened the sports section of the conglomerate by acquiring the German brand Puma and the French Ligue 1 football club, Stade Rennais. From 1996 to 2004, he was married to Dorothée Lepère and has two children from her, François and Mathilde Pinault. In March 2005, he succeed his father as chairman and CEO of Kering.

Newly divorced and surrounded by tall, skinny, gorgeous models, FHP started casually seeing supermodel Linda Evangelista, who had famously said earlier that she doesn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. The forty year old model’s career lifespan was at its sell-by date, and she was looking around to settle down and have children by this time. Though FHP later said he only spent seven days out of her four months with her from September 2005 to January 2006, she got pregnant. He bolted. At first, he denied the baby was his. Much later did he admit he had asked her to abort as he was not interested in raising the baby with her. With her biological clock ticking, Linda said she would raise the baby on her own. Augustin James Evangelista was born in October 2006. The father did not recognize him, give him his name, nor did he support him financially or in any other way.

Wedding festivities in Venice

Former French President Jacques Chirac & François Pinault arrive at the wedding 

Anna Wintour in Chanel

Ashley Judd

Salma’s ex Ed Norton & girlfriend Shauna Robertson

Salma didn’t merely buy a designer handbag or dress, those she gets for free. She married the man who owns the company,by showing him she doesn’t need his money

The reason FHP was desperate to distance himself from Linda and his son is because it turned out that there was some overlap–he had started seeing Salma at around the same time. She, he was serious about. According to Pinault, it was not until April 2006 that he started dating the fiery actress. The following March, she too was pregnant. However, in her case he was thrilled with the news and immediately popped the question and they got engaged. “It sounds trite to go after men who are nice but when you’ve been hurt a lot it becomes appealing,” Salma said.

While going through a difficult pregnancy, Salma finalized negotiations with MGM on behalf her Latin-themed film production company Ventanarosa of which she is CEO, and the following month, she also signed a two-year deal with ABC for Ventanarosa to develop projects for the network.

Linda with son Augustus Evangelista

The power couple at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefi

Pinault was also busy safeguarding his interests. He later admitted that he had asked his former girlfriend Linda to delay the process of legally recognising Augustin as his son because Salma was going through a difficult pregnancy. “We were told the baby (Valentina) had Down syndrome until late May 2007,” Pinault said, adding that Salma at 41, almost lost their daughter in a miscarriage that was successfully prevented. Linda was considerate and agreed to delay the process and he was grateful, the New York Post reported when the whole story came out five years later. Salma gave birth to Valentina Paloma Pinault in September 2007 in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.

We don’t know when exactly Salma found out about his son from Linda that was born the year before her own and if that played any factor in their breakup a year later in July 2008. Salma returned to Hollywood where she was the executive producer of the successful sitcom Ugly Betty that ran from 2006 to 2010. Th endless reruns of the show can be watched here, and it’s based on the hit Colombian telenovela Yo Soy Betty La Fea, the right for which had been officially acquired. Ugly Betty won a Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy Series in 2007.

Back in Hollywood after yet another unsuccessful romance, Salma reportedly had a rebound hookup with the ever willing bad boy Colin Farrell.

“I keep waiting to meet a man who has more balls than I do,” she said resignedly in an interview.

Pinault did not want to let her go so easily. To woo her back, he bought a palatial Los Angeles mansion reportedly worth between $12-$20 million and put it in trust for the baby Valentina. I’m sure he must also have vowed fidelity to Salma! He was successful in winning her back and they got married on 14th February 2009 in Paris, in the Sixth Arrondissement town hall. Two months later, they renewed their wedding vows in the presence of 150 family and friends in a beautiful ceremony at the Teatro La Fenice opera house, Venice. The 42 year old bride looked stunning in a Balenciaga wedding gown by Nicholas Ghesquiere with her hair swept back into a bun covered with a long veil. She carried a bouquet of Orchids and Stephanotis with crystals.19-month-old Valentina and Salma’s 8 year old stepdaughter Mathilde from François-Henri’s first marriage were flower girls. Among those present were actors Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend, Woody Harrelson, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Lucy Liu, Ashley Judd, Antonio Banderas, Salma’s ex-boyfriend Edward Norton, former French President Jacques Chirac, American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, rock star Bono and fashion designer Stella McCartney. The couple kicked off the festivities the night before in true Venetian tradition with a masquerade-style rehearsal dinner at the 17th century Punta Della Dogana, the canal city’s old custom house.

Red Carpet Looks

She told Allure magazine, “I wish I knew (when I was younger) that I was going to fall crazy in love with the perfect man. I’ve never been apart from my daughter for more than two weeks. And same with François. We don’t separate for long periods of time. Never. I always miss him when we’re not together.”

The story went on, “(Salma) is so enamored with her family that she actually considered giving up her acting career after giving birth to Valentina. However, when she broached the subject with François, he insisted that she go back to work, telling her: ‘We’re not putting up with some lazy girl in the house. That’s not who I married.’

In St Barts

The blended family on holiday

With daughter Valentina

But Salma explained that his seemingly harsh reaction was actually out of love and respect for her passions. ‘He said something so beautiful,’ she said of François, adding that he told her: ‘I don’t want to be deprived of your work. I want to watch it, too. And the world has not seen the best of you yet. So you cannot stop until some of that is put out.’

When he first proposed, she told him that she wanted to remain somewhat financially independent, despite his massive wealth.
‘And he goes, “I know. That’s why I want to marry you,” she recalled. ‘Maybe that’s also part of what works great in my marriage. I still have my independence. But he likes it… And I get a lot of respect from him.”

When FHP first proposed, salma told him that she wanted to remain somewhat financially independent despite his massive wealth. “And he goes, ‘I know. That’s why I want to marry you,’” she recalled. “Maybe that’s also part of what works great in my marriage. I still have my independence. But he likes it… And I get a lot of respect from him”

In 2011, she launched her own line of affordable cosmetics, skincare, and hair care products called Nuance by Salma Hayek to be sold at the drugstore chain CVS in North America.

In late June 2011, just two years into the Pinault’s wedded bliss, all hell broke loose when Linda Evangelista filed court papers that revealed to the world that her son, Augustin James Evangelista, had been fathered by Pinault. In the filing, it was stated that the child “was born out of wedlock to (petitioner) Linda Evangelista, and that (Pinault) acknowledged (her) allegation.
A source told PEOPLE magazine that “This is no Schwarzenegger case. No one was married. There was no infidelity.”

Linda, who is worth $8 million and owns a penthouse in Chelsea, West Side of Manhattan as well as an apartment near her son’s school on the Upper East Side sued Pinault for child-support in the Manhattan Family Court in August shortly after her breakup with another billionaire, Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Peter Morton.

“She willingly paid all the expenses herself at first from her roughly $1.8 million-a-year income, but a big contract with L’Oreal ended in the last year or so, and she now needs Pinault to chip in,” her lawyer, William Beslow, said during the trial.
‘I need to protect him (Augie),” she told Love magazine. She wanted $46,000 per month in child support till the child turns 21. It was reported that if granted, this amount “would probably be the largest support order in the history of the family court.” According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Pinault’s annual salary in 2010 was $5.4 million. In New York, where the court papers were filed, the law requires a father to pay 17 per cent of what he earns in child support, meaning Pinault owed her $920,000 for that year.

A heavily-publicized child support trial began the next year. Evangelista’s attorney claimed that Pinault had never supported the child, while she had spent over a million dollars taking care of Augie that included armed security guards and round the clock nannies. The surprise settlement, revealed by a source to The New York Post, came three days into the court scrap that revealed some of the uglier truths about the former couple’s four-month relationship. Evangelista’s lawyer William Beslow argued that Augie deserved a lifestyle similar to that of Pinault’s four-year-old daughter with Hayek and that he spent $50,000 a month just on the taxes, upkeep and loan payments for the Hollywood house he had bought for Valentina. Taking the witness stand, Pinault admitted he could not remember what he had bought his son or how much he had spent on him. He said, “I bought him a present for Christmas. I bought it online. It was a piano thing. I also bought him a present for his birthday and ,” but could not remember what he had actually bought him.

“You’ve got to take who you are and love who you are and do the best you can with what you’ve got. That goes for the figure, and it goes for everything else. You’ve got to have a sense of humor about who you are and give yourself a break. You’ve got to be kind to yourself. And it’s not easy, you know?”

Pinault criticized Linda saying the $46,000 a month is in fact for ‘mom support.’

“Most of the expenses do not relate to Augie but they relate to Ms. Evangelista,” Pinault’s lawyer, David Aronson said in his opening statement. “It is the classic case of someone trying to bootstrap herself to something that is alimony. Is Mr. Pinault a comfortable man of substantial means? Yes. But in the four years preceding 2011, her average income was $1.8 million. These

people have more money than a lot of people, but our position is that what we understand is being asked for is just ridiculous.”
In a surprise twist, just before Linda was to present her personal testimony in the court, Pinault called her up on the phone and settled out-of-court with her for an undisclosed amount close to the sum she had asked for. Salma probably had encouraged him, so that her husband would be prevented from suffering any more public embarrassment.

Loving couple in Paris

In a rare holiday snap that she herself put on Instagram

Salma said to an InStyle magazine reporter after the trial ended, “You’ve got to take who you are and love who you are and do the best you can with what you’ve got. That goes for the figure, and it goes for everything else. You’ve got to have a sense of humor about who you are and give yourself a break. You’ve got to be kind to yourself. And it’s not easy, you know?”

She believes the secret to her decade long marriage is cutting out extra social engagements and putting each other first she told reporters at a Harper’s Bazaar event. “I married the right guy. That is probably the most important thing. We support each other in everything we do. We want the other one to strive. Makes you happy when the other one strives. And you know what, we don’t have a very strong social life, because we really like to spend time together. So we do spend a lot of quality time together.” She added that balancing motherhood and career isn’t always the biggest challenge for her, but she does find that balancing motherhood and marriage a greater task. “Sometimes the hardest things to balance are motherhood with marriage,” she said, adding that husbands can be a little overwhelming. “They take over, oh my God, they take over everything. You just have to remind yourself that you have that other big kid too to look after. He looks like he’s self-sufficient, but they need the tender loving care too. You have to keep reminding yourself.” Her biggest trick to maintaining balance is to make sure she doesn’t spend too much time away from family. “When it comes to my career, what I do is I only do roles that are shot in a way that I’m never more than two weeks away from my family.”

Mahlia S. Lone

Mahlia S. Lone

As the weather heats up and we start dressing down for it, we hit you with a glamorous shoot all the way from Paris. It’s a collaboration between the couture house Sakina Paris and the jewelry house Piaget. You also get an up close look at the Saudi-French fashion designer Sakina Shbib. Not only is she absolutely stunning to look at, but talented and intelligent to boot. Her brand embodies elegance and femininity. In an exclusive interview for GT, she tells us how we can look and feel more effortlessly elegant like the French, and more glamorous like the Arabs.

Speaking of Paris, for this issue’s Memorable Romance feature, we bring you an in depth look at how the actress/producer Salma Hayek married one of France’s richest men, Francois Henri Pinault. His family owns the luxury, sports and lifestyle conglomerate Kering, the subsidiaries of which are high-end brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen among others. Yes, she’s in designer heaven, and we tell you the story of how she got there, all the way from Mexico City via Los Angeles.

You also meet the ladies behind the super popular blog SiddySays, Sadaf Zarar and Amina Niazi. The duo have been successfully and honestly blogging about fashion, lifestyle, beauty, travel and food for quite a while now and aim to make their blog even more lucrative and influential. Zeb Bangash talks about her music and cartoonist Areeba Siddique shares her “artfulness” with us in this issue, and there’s a lot more besides.

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