Arab Creatives Celebrate New Triumphs

Oman becomes the new face of Louis Vuitton

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Saudi Gazette

Louis Vuitton’s new editorial shot by young Arab creatives has earned some rave reviews on the Internet. If you have seen pictures, you will know why. In a collaborative effort, Mohammed Al Kindy, more popularly known on social media as Chndy from Oman, Mohammed Hasoon, also known as Cheb Moha who is Iraqi-Canadian and Mohammed Al Hamdan, known as Abu Hamdan from Saudi Arabia joined forces for the editorial shoot.

They may have a first name in common but the truth behind pseudonyms is that they are easily identified by their popular social media handles instead. In an inspiring journey that reflects the current state of arts in the region and the new visionaries, the shoot took place in Sohar, Al Seeb, Barkat Al Mouz and a 30-year-old ice cream shop in Ruwi. Shot using a 50-year-old camera, it was as if the prototype was abandoned and the young creatives used a new mood board that reflected their ideology with a strong concept of the prestigious brand to create a new turn of events. Abstraction, aesthetics to location, every frame reflected a vibrant image that spoke Louis Vuitton but harmoniously echoed another note, one that is synonymous with Arab culture and symbolizes youthful dynamism.

The photos narrate the subconscious tale of three storytellers who tie the cultural bond between Louis Vuitton and the Middle East in each frame.

The pictures are bold, edgy, sophisticated with a hint of supernatural gleam. We spoke to the trio about the exclusive project and found out how it all started. For the past three years, good friends and creative partners Cheb Moha and Chndy had been developing a mood board of images ‘that were considered very raw and authentic to this region’. Earlier in January this year, Moha pitched an idea to Louis Vuitton to shoot Abu Hamdan for an editorial. They said the highlight of the shoot was for a brand like Louis Vuitton to believe in a group of young creatives from the Middle East and to put forward their ideas.

Once they were given the go-ahead for an editorial, which was recently published in Sorbet magazine, they took it upon themselves to create and deliver the great task on hand.

Chndy and Cheb Moha were the designated photographers and art directors, while Moha also used his styling abilities for the shoot with Abu Hamdan as their only model for the editorial.

Chndy admitted the most rewarding experience was the thrill of shooting and showcasing his hometown. “Shooting in my hometown, my city is probably the best thing I have done in my whole life. The places we shot at are pieces of my memories growing up in Oman and showcasing my city on an international stage was most rewarding,” Chndy told Saudi Gazette.

Contrary to popular belief, Chndy said there was no pressure, given the big luxury brand, in fact, “it felt like we were just having fun and taking pictures of our outings.”

Abu Hamdan comes from a new age of models in the region that look at ethnicity as virtue and use the medium to proliferate the progressive notion. He creates content online and has a background in modeling. “Modeling started when I made friends with photographers but basically it would be me buying my own props and they would take pictures of me. In 2015 when I met Chndy and Cheb Moha we would just go out and shoot for fun and slowly this became a natural thing.” He admitted one of the ironies of the shoot was the seasonal metamorphosis. “The whole experience was extremely fun even though I had to wear the winter collection in the middle of the summer heat. But it is always fun and genuine when you work with your friends that you are in sync with,” Abu Hamdan told Saudi Gazette.

While Cheb Moha has worked on projects ranging from editorial photography to installation, even costume designs for music videos, he said his work revolves around design, visual content and styling.

“I started styling my friends and also got into personal shopping for people. It was something that I enjoyed and slowly it transitioned to being something that I did every time I did a shoot. I am responsible for the styling and so I would definitely want to pursue more of it,” Moha told Saudi Gazette.

For one of the many unconventional looks, use of traditional clothing, although spontaneous, blended beautifully with the Omani backdrop and yet proclaimed the brilliance of Louis Vuitton.

“We went to the LV showroom in Dubai and I put the looks together. We took photos of them so when it was time to shoot we had the outfits’ organized. Once we got to Oman, it was spontaneous, I added some elements to the looks, for example the Jalabiya and styled it with a jacket and pajama pants. That was one my favorite looks,” Moha reminisced.

He said he knew he wanted to shoot for Louis Vuitton the moment he saw their latest collection and collaboration with Supreme. “I wanted Abu Hamdan to model the clothing. I wanted Chndy and I to shoot it together.

The initial plan was to go to Petra and shoot there but with the time and planning it wasn’t possible. Oman was a great idea, to go on a road trip to and shoot. It was a beautiful experience to work with friends on something we are passionate about.”

He said he felt good doing exactly what he wanted to; with the people he wanted to do it with.

“It felt good, to me these are the kind of things I want to work on with the people around me, to create content for us by us. I want to say thanks to Narcy for introducing me to Dana and I want to thank Dana for giving us this opportunity,” he added. Chndy directed a small BTS (behind the scenes) video that will be part of Sorbet’s Youtube page.

Brands like Louis Vuitton are looking to explore progressive fashion that defies boundaries and we hope to see other leaders in the fashion industry do the same.

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@Chebmoha @chndy @warchieff


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