When Savoir Flair was first launched in 2009 by Founding Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Haleh Nia, not only did it become the first digital publication in the Middle East, but she also became the youngest Editor-in-Chief in the region at the age of 24. Little did she know at the time that the culmination of her and her team’s vision would one day result in SFX: The Little Magazine That Could and Did – a luxury coffee-table book published by none other than Assouline.
Although Savoir Flair has been digital from day one – a fact that proves how forward-thinking Haleh was in foreshadowing the seismic change that would come to take over the world – our journey wasn’t simple. The landscape of fashion, especially in the Middle East, was a lot different when we first started. As Haleh puts it in the foreword of SFX, “Savoir Flair was born before Instagram or Snapchat existed.” There was no social media, no influencers, no existing foundation upon which to build a fully realized digital product, and yet, we prevailed. Not only did we prevail, but we became the leading publication in the region, taking both a global and local view of fashion, beauty, and culture, and working with the top luxury brands in the world through our white-label agency and sister company, Halo Studio.
After a decade of digital excellence and innovation, it was time to celebrate our successes. Our idea was singular: we wanted to publish an archival coffee-table book with Assouline. When Assouline agreed to the partnership, it was off to the races. Not only did we want to represent our past and present, but we also wanted to orient ourselves to the future, which meant shooting many never-before-seen editorials just for the book with the top names in the industry.
In SFX, you’ll see our history organized by the sections Then, Now, and Forever. The first section highlights our audacious firsts; for instance, we were the first digital publication in the world to shoot haute couture collections, setting a standard for others worldwide. You’ll also find a selection of our favorite archival shoots from our history. In this section, you might notice that the dominant look of our editorials matched that of global fashion publications in that they were very Eurocentric in nature. This forced us to take a look at our identity, and our desire to stand out. A shift occurs in the next section, where we begin to shoot incredible regional talent, making us the first digital publication in the Middle East to shoot Arab women of substance like Noor Fares, Razane Jammal, and Nancy Ajram.
This section also celebrates three icons who are vital to the landscape in the Middle East. Here, you will find our Guest Edit by the godfather of Lebanese couture Elie Saab, which stars Cindy Bruna, our incredible shoot with Oscar-nominated director Nadine Labaki, and our homage to the late, great Karl Lagerfeld, who was responsible for introducing luxury brands to the Middle East when he opened the first Chanel boutique in Kuwait in the 1980s.
In the final section of the book, you will find Savoir Flair’s future, with shoots that look vastly different from the archival editorials at the beginning of the book. The first set celebrates our 10-year anniversary with five gorgeous shoots created specifically for that milestone starring the likes of Shanina Shaik, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem, Ana Beatriz Barros, Olivia Palermo, and Hilary Rhoda.
Finally, the book closes with four incredible shoots starring Alanna Arrington in the Tiffany & Co. ‘Blue Book’ collection, Ikram Abdi Omar in Riccardo Tisci’s iconic Burberry trenches, Marie Meyer in Dior’s ‘Marrakech’ collection — shot by the inimitable Ellen von Unwerth — and Tilila Oulhaj wearing Nabil Nayal, shot by the talented photographer Abdulla Elmaz.
In summarizing this incredible feat of creative ingenuity, fashion talent, and pioneering vision, Prosper Assouline himself says it best: “It is an honor to celebrate this incredibly innovative publication not only for the rich content it has produced for its readers, but for having done it successfully for the past decade. During Savoir Flair’s special tenth anniversary, we couldn’t think of a better way to pay homage, than with a beautifully made book that captures the very essence of this proudly woman-led online magazine.”
While Savoir Flair experienced its inaugural launch of the book at a special three-day, invitation-only event at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai last month, it’s now available worldwide for sale, starting today.
You can shop SFX: The Little Magazine That Could and Did on Assouline.com below.
SFX: The Little Magazine That Could (and Did) by Savoir Flair