What’s Dubai wearing #RedCarpet, #WDWD, #DIFF2106

There’s a deep emotional connection between the two industries that produce dreams: fashion and cinematography. One appeared spontaniously in a previous millennia, probably when a cave teenager refused to wear a hat to be different, the other – invented during a series of scientific experiments in motion picture photography. Yves Saint Lauren said “Les modes passent, le style est eternal…”. The same can be said of film vs. cinema, as even the oldest Brothers Lumieres cinematography is a form of immortal art. Surprisingly though the Dubai Film Festival’s style and red carpet often drew more attention than the screenings.

Divided by four popular fashion choices, tailored gowns, “mix and match” tuxedos, fantasy outfits and traditional fusion, guests and participants united in looking effortlessly glamorous guided by dress-codes, personal taste and the work of designers. I couldn’t take my eyes off fabulous Tuba Buyukustun, a female actor from Turkey, who in her dreamy long gowns created an Art Deco illusion.

Initially spotted in a crowd of admirers, it took me a day to build the confidence to approach Eileen Level. With a straightforward mission to photograph Eileen in her incredible hat, I ended up admiring her perfectly shaped face, charismatic sense of fashion and spontaneous jokes. Come back to Dubai, girl!

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Forever-young brunette Andie MacDowell made two quite remarkable appearances during DIFF 2016. Dressed in a tailored beige trouser suit, she delivered a sharp yet very personable masterclass to a demanding audience of international media reps. Later that evening, perfect in every detail, Andie was dazzling with confidence in a dark blue sequin gown at the Global Gala.

A girl who created waves and sighs of admiration from “seen it all” red carpet pool photographers and critics alike was Jordan-based influencer Hiba Assad. Being a stunning beauty she wore an exceptional black dress with a leather like corsage and flirty skirt by Dania Dahleh.

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My own astonishing fashion crush of the year occurred when mega popular Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh stepped onto the Red Carpet looking magical in a dark violet cape on top of a 3-piece earthy suit paired with gorgeous hair and a noble mustache. For the next couple of days I ran into him striking poses in completely unrecognizable looks that could be described varyingly as edgy, fancy, hipster, posh and even conservative. Wish I was quick enough to steal his stylist’s number. See for yourself!

Glowing with happiness and timeless beauty, Shirina Fotuhi, a creative mind behind Coega sunwear marketing was in high demand at Harpers Bazaar best dressed lounge. Rushing to the premier of “Rogue One: Star Wars story”, she looked fabulously daring in her “Happy Sithmas” shirt paired with tight leggings, denim jacket from Maison Clad and stilettos.

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My choice for most entertaining Red Carpet appearance would go to English actor Bill Nighy. Striking pose after pose in his sharp dark navy suit (no tie), Bill found time for every photographer in the pool, boosting energy and encouraging bursts of laughter. His speech at “Their Finest” premier alone deserved a big shiny trophy and standing applause.

Emirati photographer Ismail Hemaid looked fantastic in a traditional dishdash empowered with enthusiasm, professionalism and a great sense of humor. Can you tell he has been working loooong hours?

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Attending DIFF 2016 has demonstrated once again the importance of attracting individuals from all over the world, who inspire, provoke debates, mentor, express and create dreams. Both cinematography and fashion are charisma driven industries and watching them in action is a lot of fun! Cheers to the great people who shape the style of entertainment:

The Siren dress by Kris Jane, an emerging designer with an artistic touch brought me luck, fame  and most importantly new followers (hooray!).

 

Stalk me on Instagram or Facebook

Teach. Dance. Party – Zumba!

Secret no. 1: It was love at first sight between me and Zumba!

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We met rather randomly. They say opposites attract, so there I was a big fan of mat exercises and a quiet reader of The Economist who meditates to the sounds of Tibet, scrolling through my work mail in front of the studio. “You could use some cha-cha-cha, girl. It’ll loosen up your back”, laughed someone’s voice and a few minutes later it happened. I lost my soul to the wild Zumba moves. Forever, I’m afraid…

To my delight, Zumba loved me back! I juggled and partied through classes leaving behind work stress, the weight of deadlines and pressure from the land of business. I integrated all kinds of sneaky salsa steps into my daily walks around the office. I amused colleagues with occasional “a la cadera” routine on lunch break. I traveled with Zumba wear while my Instagram flourished with Zumba looks from all over the world…

“My moves-my rules” and on a count of four (my lucky number) one summer afternoon a passion had turned into a profession. I registered for certified Zumba Basic 1 instructor training (oh, la la!) in Dubai.

Secret no. 2: You can as well! Everyone can. Around the world  zumba.com

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Being a Zumba instructor with a license to teach for up to a year sounded absolutely awesome! It would be a flexible paid engagement that brings happiness, prolongs wellbeing, encourages traveling and socializing. Top it up with a new collection of Zumba wear every couple of weeks that turns you into a desirable trendy superstar! So without any doubt I was ready to scream “Yes!” and take my relationship with Zumba to the next level. At least spiritually. So to support my commitment with action, I sat down to obsessively study the training manual (the curse of a perfectionist) to be one move ahead and to surprise the dancing community with my witty comments (the curse of a manager).

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On the morning of the training I was ready to jam, learn and impress. Equipped with a spare outfit, water and Zumba protein shake I was fearless, no challenge seemed to be challenging enough. I must admit, I was wrong!

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My first impressions straightened me up. The Bare fitness studio in the heart of Dubai was full. Full to the limits (I had no idea Zumba was so popular in the Middle East), however it was rewarding to find out how easily fitness united people from different regions and counties, including the UAE, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Europe and the UK. There were no boundaries, just the rhythm of dance! Our instructor Steve handled a demanding crowd with a professional sharpness. In a matter of seconds I was greeted, registered and briefed. The fun has started!

Steve was truly brilliant. He had carefully constructed his training in a way that was interactive, engaging and easy to follow. He started with the free style master class giving everyone an opportunity to show off and then gradually moved to teaching the basic steps of Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, and Reggaeton. With constant repetition and friendly assurance, we all clapped, jumped, laughed and successfully followed his choreography (with variations!). At times, Steve would pause the training to mix standup humor with facts, and would talk us through the dancing routine, music, secrets of being a great instructor and that strictly confidential Zumba formula. I hardly noticed the time fly by.

Loaded with the theoretical and practical knowledge, I couldn’t wait to get home to practice my new moves and steps. Dancing was a part of me. I felt inspired and overwhelmed by the new exciting opportunities and connections. Training with Steve and with all those beautiful, talented and motivated individuals made me realize that I wasn’t alone in this journey to the greater me as a person and as a new instructor. There was more than a community of fitness enthusiasts as Zumba combined it all: people, technology, fashion, innovation, ideas, formula, choreography, music, steps, beauty, healthy supplements, spirit, you name it! Now I’m a part of Zumba too.

Secret no. 3 Here are 10 proven tricks to get through the Basic 1 successfully:

  1. Attend Zumba classes ahead of the training;
  2. Read the manual;
  3. Google your instructor and learn about them before the course;
  4. Invest in trendy Zumba outfit (20% off with antrestain at zumba.com (US));
  5. Carry business cards to connect with great people around you;
  6. Pack a change of clothes, shoes, a towel, water bottle, snacks (I opted for Zumba protein shake);
  7. Monitor your wellbeing: phase up and phase down to stay actively healthy;
  8. Bring camera and don’t go shy on photos;
  9. Try to get closer to the stage;
  10. Have fun! Your first training will be unforgettable!

Find more information about the training at zumba.com. Stalk me on Instagram or Facebook

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