As I sit behind the screen of my laptop, typing away, I can only imagine what the first post-COVID Arab party will look like. There’s a lot that comes to mind, so let’s daydream here for a few moments. COVID-19’s over, masks are out of sight, everyone is vaccinated and nightlife is back. The feeling of being utterly present and devoid of any sense of time is a feeling many have been longing for. I know I have. I look around and I’m amongst strangers from different classes, races and sexualities across the MENA region, going through the same chaotic experience of an endless night spent dancing. Everywhere I go, I bump into sweaty individuals, but this time, I love it. I missed it and no side-eye. Maybe one or two, but that’s not the point. Amongst a sea of raised arms, people are dressed with an authentic spirit – life is back and everyone is expressing who they really are. Okay, I got carried away, let’s backtrack. How would you imagine the first post-COVID Arab party to look like? Well, I asked a few MENA creatives to daydream with me and this is what they had to say
Anwar Bougroug, creative director of Moroccan genderless label Bougroug, says: “It would have to be in Morocco, either in the desert or at some hidden beach in the North. The crowd would be mixed, open-minded and inclusive, with origins from the MENA region, flying in from all over the world. They would be wearing cool outfits with references to their origins, which would be a way of not only honoring their roots, but also taking it to the next level, looking into the future.”
Sarah and Siham Albinali, the Saudi duo behind the demi-couture label Lurline, want to dive into a “couture mosh pit head first.” Their ideal scenario would be “anywhere with laser lights, a disco ball and people hugging each other. [Perhaps] a White Tie Rave with glitter and tons of flowers everywhere.”
Jordanian-Palestinian designer and FTA 2020’s debut winner, Zeid Hijazi, imagines the night as “Diana Ross mashed up with Gessafelstein at an open venue in a desert that looks like an Alejandro Jodorowsky’s set surrounded by the new generation of Arab creative talents!”
I know what you’re thinking. The night wouldn’t be complete without the infamous one-liner we all want to hear: “I love what you’re wearing!” So what would you wear? Saudi stylist Latifa Bint Saad says she would choose the holographic Lurline suit. “I want to be in something comfortable but also chic and out there. I would also love to style my friends in color coordinated outfits in case we got lost in the crowd.” Zeid is choosing Saint-Laurent by Hedi Slimane, styled with his mother’s jewelry. Anwar is going for a tight top, short shorts and dodgy eyewear. Lebanese photographer Sophia Khalifeh wants to show up looking different and glamorous, carrying crystals to protect and uplift her energy. “There is no reason to be comfortable when you haven’t been able to party in over a year, that’s how I see it,” she says. Sarah and Siham agree, adding “full glamour is our choice! We would wear something with a lot of volume.”
While all agree that masks may not be necessary, hand sanitizers and wipes are two things everyone will be carrying. This utopian night is one we’re all aching for. There are so many memories to be made and, just like the pandemic, it would be something we will talk about for years to come. “Remember the first party we went to post-COVID?” Yes, that night. The kindred Arab spirits, finally at ease, captured through memory and a lens. “I’d love to capture the raw, odd and flirty moments through a disposable camera,” says Sophia, and I couldn’t agree more.
It’s time for me to go now. Dream on!