Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

If you’ve ever been to Paris, you might have been tempted to visit place de la Bastille, the site of a prison that was stormed by the peo­ple of the city, kick­ing off the French Rev­o­lu­tion. I went there ex­pect­ing evoca­tive ru­ins, a liv­ing Les Mis, in­stead, there’s an obelisk, a mod­ern opera, and the gate­way to some re­ally good nightlife. The ru­ins are gone, but the pop­u­lar­ity of the place re­mains. So in the spirit of that busy round­about, let’s cel­e­brate France’s na­tional day to­day by look­ing at now, not back. What’s France do­ing awe­somely well at, right now? Well, fash­ion – but not the su­per-high­end fash­ion it’s been fa­mous for cen­turies. It’s the high street that the French fash­ion rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies are in­vad­ing now.

In the last few years, we’ve seen a ton of mod­er­ately priced French la­bels take over our malls, bring­ing va­ri­ety to the dom­i­na­tion of the Swedish and Span­ish fast-fash­ion brands we’ve been shop­ping at. It’s a lot more colour­ful and pat­terned than you might ex­pect if your idea of French fash­ion is a beret and a lit­tle black dress – see our cover, for ex­am­ple. Fash­ion ed­i­tor Lind­say Judge went to the mall to snap up her favourite looks. Check out the out­fits she cre­ated on page 32. French de­sign­ers are hav­ing a mo­ment, for sure, but our lo­cal fash­ion scene is not far be­hind, with some in­puts from a per­haps un­ex­pected quar­ter: The lovely ladies of Dibba, who gather daily to pro­duce an­cient Emi­rati hand­i­crafts that are be­ing used in mod­ern cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories. They make tal­lis, a hand­wo­ven strip that once adorned dresses, and trousers; now, they’ve been used on a suc­cess­ful in­ter­na­tional hand­bag col­lab­o­ra­tion, and there’s an­other one lined up for next year. Lind­say went to the east coast to meet them and find out what im­pact it’s had on their lives; read her story on page 28.

I re­cently asked fea­tures ed­i­tor Anand Raj OK a ques­tion: What hap­pens when stu­dents of spe­cial needs schools grad­u­ate at age 18? Are they equipped for life after school? Find out the an­swer in his piece on page 22 about En­able, an ini­tia­tive that’s re­vealed the tal­ent and pur­pose those stu­dents have to of­fer to so­ci­ety. The ques­tion now is, what can so­ci­ety of­fer them?

Natalie Long Ed­i­tor nlong@gulfnews.com

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