Heba Elkayal

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Latest by Heba Elkayal


Art Dubai spotlights Arab talents

With 20,000 visitors flocking to Art Dubai, the region’s largest art fair — now in its sixth year — organizers and participating galleries have lauded its huge success as it wrapped up Saturday night. Dubai’s story with art is an interesting one. Though not a power player in the regional art scene when compared to …

Heba Elkayal

Bikya Book Café: A book pub for geeks

“It’s the living room one aspires for but never has,” said one client. “It’s a geek’s pub,” said another — and that succinctly summarizes that mood and feel of Bikya Book Café. Since opening in early January, Bikya Book Café has become more than what its five young female founders intended. It is not simply …

Heba Elkayal

Cairo’s ‘Complaints Choir’ sings of revolution

  I f the colloquial poet Ahmed Fouad Negm were to tone down his acerbic take on politics, and mesh it with Egyptian music and dance company Ferqet Reda, one would get something close to the “Choir Project.”   A plethora of art has been released to capture the spirit of the January 25 Revolution, yet …

Heba Elkayal

Amuse: New concept store in Cairo

I love spaces that cater to today’s contemporary woman who likes a dash of culture and a pinch of art wherever she goes and shops. Amuse is Cairo’s only large scale concept store that delivers all that. Cairo is currently undergoing a fashion revival, one that has elements of artistic individuality and creativity on par …

Heba Elkayal

Marie Louis Bishara: A woman of many hats

Two weeks ago I found myself in Paris during Fashion Week, and I was ushered backstage to take a quick peek and I find two models — with cupid lips and flawless skin — seated on the floor as controlled chaos reigned overhead. The models were napping like languid cats, waiting for their turn to …

Heba Elkayal

Nola Cupcakes continue Cairo’s cupcake craze

Ask any modern girl what she likes and she might answer with one of the four C’s: champagne, cashmere, carats or cupcakes. With cupcakes being the easiest and cheapest to acquire, though certainly laden with the guilt of calories, cupcakes in Cairo are the easiest indulgence for a girl (or guy) who wants a little …

Heba Elkayal

As the saying goes: Gems of wisdom from Azza Fahmy

“Do good and throw it to the sea,” says an Egyptian proverb; meaning do good without waiting for any immediate rewards. In Egypt, we have proverbs for every occasion — both good and bad — phrased in classical Arabic and colloquial for a touch of humor and sass, as if spoken by feisty Egyptian housewives. …

Heba Elkayal

A trove of fashionable finds

Already behind two great brands, sisters Karma and Dina Sabit joined forces together to open up Cairo’s newest boutique: KDS. Karma has been making jewelry for over fiver years now, working with gold and silver and semi precious stones. Dina is one of the women behind bohemian-chic brand El-Horreya. Not simply content with only working …

Heba Elkayal

Shibshibi: An Egyptian classic jazzed up

Rich and poor alike wear it in Egypt; it is after all as ubiquitous as the Pyramids and the river Nile. Household slippers, or flip flops, have been increasingly worn outside of the home by fashion conscious teens and youth after the trend of Brazilian Havaiana flip flops became the footwear de jour. Brightly colored …

Heba Elkayal

Gold and Doves: Fit for Greek Goddesses

Aspiring fashion and jewelry designers oftentimes argue that in Egypt, realizing their dreams of design is a sheer impossibility. Design institutes here do not offer quality instruction, and production is always a nightmare; good workmanship is oftentimes not guaranteed. But along comes a brand named Koukina by fledgling jewelry designer Chloe Hobeika. Still in its …

Heba Elkayal

Osmanly: The new Turkish delight in town

Pardon the pun I just had to, but no Turkish delight was served. I wore heels and a linen dress in an effort to appear respectful of the treat I knew I was in for when I decided to try dinner at Osmanly, the Kempinski hotel’s new Turkish restaurant. A bit of formality wouldn’t hurt …

Heba Elkayal

Lifestyle Highlight: One more week to enjoy ‘tradition’

To many, it was unconventional to fast midsummer; to curtail summer holidays; and to be back in the office mid-August. It was a summer of many firsts. Thankfully, the tradition of late night gatherings for the sohour meal has kept an usually slow month in the city vibrant with shishas, mezzeh dining, and some good …

Heba Elkayal

A healthy dose of Cairo gossip

It is often said amongst Cairo residents that the best way to promote an event is simply through word-of-mouth. Rarely does one see a poster or advertisement around town announcing a concert before first hearing the news from a friend. Gossip too is often the main source of news, and distinguishing fact from fiction can …

Heba Elkayal

Mountain hiking? How about doing it for a cause?

CAIRO: On Sept. 12, a group of 25 young people will take on the challenge of summiting Mount Kilimanjaro over the course of seven days in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the Right to Live Association. They have dubbed their initiative the Right to Climb. The Right to Live Association is based …

Heba Elkayal

Can risque text messages reveal a societal reality?

It has only been up and running for three weeks but a new website called Yala7wy has already sparked controversy and elicited much laughter for users and site visitors. The website is modeled on an American website named Textsfromlastnight.com whereby people send to or post on the website phone text messages they have previously received …

Heba Elkayal

Shades of summer

We can thank Amina Khalil, the young female designer behind the self-named brand Amina K., for Egypt’s first eyewear brand. Over 70 sunglasses models have been designed in collaboration with Egyptian eyewear store Baraka, catering to every possible face shape and style inclination that one might have towards the most important summer accessory of them …

Heba Elkayal

Egyptian high schoolers lead eco-fashion revolution

  Egypt is for all intents and purposes a country that loves its ads. Old TV commercial jingles are part of the country’s pop culture consciousness, and the visual bombardment of billboards is a fact of life for Egyptians that most don’t seem to mind — large billboards promoting telecom operators or fast food chains …

Heba Elkayal

Christian Louboutin: For the love of shoes

“Any woman who wants to wear one of my shoes is a Christian Louboutin woman,” said the designer in an exclusive interview with Daily News Egypt at his newly-opened Beirut boutique in mid-July, one of only two currently in the Middle East. It was the first question that sprang to my mind, and while his …

Heba Elkayal

Louis Vuitton in Beirut; eyes next on Egypt

In a two-night celebration that took over Beirut last week, the historic luxury goods house Louis Vuitton opened its first boutique in the Lebanese capital, with eyes set on expanding business to Egypt within the coming years. Many celebrities attended the event, including Christian Louboutin, Catherine Deneuve, Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki, and Haifa …

Heba Elkayal

Tanzania: Adventures in Africa for first timers

Say the word “Tanzania” and the connotations are many: safari, beaches, history. And that’s a good prompt from which to ponder what to expect from a first trip to East Africa. Tanzania sits below Kenya, and is the largest country in Africa comprising both the mainland and the Zanzibar archipelago. A roughly five and a …

Heba Elkayal

Kamala: Asian food revival delivers

When Kamala opened in the Conrad last May, like many restaurants in Cairo, it claimed to serve “authentic” Asian fare. Such a conviction was forcing me to be quite dubious. Having tried my fair share of supposedly “authentic Asian cuisine” in the city, I’ve accepted one principle when dining: rarely does Asian food measure up …

Heba Elkayal

Lifestyle Highlight: Nuniz handbags take on a summer theme

What could state a lazy summer afternoon in Egypt more loudly than wicker chairs upholstered in muted beiges or with linen pillows thrown on top? The local handbag brand Nuniz by designer Nadia Zarkani has become so popular making bags from the softest local leather and two new styles scream Egyptian summer. Zarkani’s touch often …

Heba Elkayal

A holiday jaunt in the heart of the city

I found myself roped into quasi-bridesmaid duties last May when a friend was getting married. She was having guests from out of town stay at the Fairmont Nile City hotel and I, in a (naïvely blithe) spirit of cheerful goodwill, volunteered to also stay there that weekend to help coordinate activities and show them around …

Heba Elkayal

Hubbly bubbly cool

A novice to design, Dina Shoukry debuted her shisha-inspired table at the +20 Design Egypt exhibit enthralling attendees with its novelty. Shoukry’s My Shisha table is made of colorful shisha pipes forming the legs of a wooden-topped table bordered in traditional copper upholstery nails, the blend of traditional elements and materials for use in a …

Heba Elkayal

A sunbed fit for Pharaohs

“We basically took the form of the barge on the Nile, which inspires images of the outdoors and summer, [and] turned it into an outdoor sofa,” said Hedayat Islam of design firm Eklego, which specialize in fusing different elements from both past and present, various cultures and art forms to produce unique furniture and product …

Heba Elkayal

&Cairo: Telling the city's narrative

“We grew up with wood — wood around us all the time,” said Cherif Makram who, along with brother Rami, is the third generation in a family of furniture producers and designers. The family brand is Hardwood Furniture Company, started in 1935 by their grandfather with a specialization in retro and Arab-inspired designs. Today, their …

Heba Elkayal

Shahira Fahmy: Mashrabiya magic

Once used to ventilate houses and hide women from strangers outside, the mashrabiya wooden lattice work is today played with by architect and product designer Shahira Fahmy, revealing a new use for the exquisite craftsmanship of the woodwork so particular to Egypt. Her contribution to the +20 exhibit at Beyt El-Suhaymi is a glass topped …

Heba Elkayal

+20 Egypt Design: Mixing Italian flair with Egyptian talent

In an unprecedented initiative, Cairo was suddenly a very appealing place to be for Egyptian furniture designers, design enthusiasts and curious residents of Old Cairo. The +20 Egypt Design exhibit was organized for the first time this year, in conjunction with the annual Egyptian FURNEX exhibit that displays local Egyptian furniture companies and brands. Showcased …

Heba Elkayal