Heba Elkayal

171 Articles

Latest by Heba Elkayal


Barbie turns 50 with style in Dubai

Turning 50 with grace and style, yet not looking a day over 17, the iconic Barbie doll strutted her stuff on the runways of Dubai Fashion Week. Celebrations for Barbie’s big five-zero started taking place in March, during which big name designers in New York including Diana von Furstenberg and Michael Kors had designed outfits …

Heba Elkayal

Heliopolis says hello to Thai

Most dining ventures open in the heart of the city, and as a resident of Heliopolis, a craving for Italian or a dinner date usually has me making the trek to Zamalek or Garden City, if not further away to Giza. A chance discovery of the Fairmont Heliopolis’ Lan Tania Thai restaurant has me gloating …

Heba Elkayal

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Fashion and first ladies: Meet design prodigy Jason Wu

It was quite by chance, and some luck, that I was invited to attend a panel discussion on fashion a few weeks ago in Abu Dhabi featuring Tunisian actress Hend Sabry, celebrity stylist Brendan Cannon, American Vogue Contributing Editor Kathryn Neale and young prodigy Jason Wu. Wu’s name is relatively new, and his story is …

Heba Elkayal

Everywhere you look, perfect smiles

It’s a strange, recent phenomenon: Egyptians with perfect white smiles. Now, not to be cynical, but genetically speaking, perfect pearls are not part of Egypt’s general gene pool. Just like the English, our teeth are not our strongest asset. So what’s the cause of this all? Simply put, it s veneers, a dental procedure that …

Heba Elkayal

The neighbors from Garden City

After the success of award-winning documentary feature “El-Banat Dol (Those Girls) in 2006, acclaimed filmmaker Tahani Rached returns this year with “Neighbors, her third documentary made in her native Egypt. The film had its world premiere last week at Abu Dhabi’s Middle East International Film Festival. The story of the people who reside or once …

Heba Elkayal

SPOTTED! : Egyptian designers grace Abu Dhabi red carpet

Hend Sabry, the darling of Arab cinema, is currently in Abu Dhabi showing the world that talent in Egypt extends to more than just cinema. From the opening night gala screening to her morning duties (Sabry is a jury member at the Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi) she has been spotted decked …

Heba Elkayal

A slice of Thai in Cairo

I love Thai food. Spicy, sweet and sour, all of my favorite flavors and some of my favorite ingredients are integral to this unique cuisine. Thai basil and coconut milk. Delectable fragrant lemongrass. Succulent duck. For 10 days, Chef Supattra will be cooking up Thai delights at the Grand Hyatt’s open buffet restaurant Fontana. Based …

Heba Elkayal

Mideast Film Fest targets audiences, potential filmmakers

Now in its third year running, the Middle East International Film Festival is bringing to residents of Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE an opportunity for young UAE filmmakers to watch and learn from movies that are produced from all over the world. “We hope to make this a festival of discovery, said …

Heba Elkayal

Red carpet flair for some, flops for others

The opening night of the Middle East International Film Festival had quite a few surprises for both fashion fans and hardcore movie buffs. Organized and hosted by Abu Dhabi, and currently in its third year, the festival’s opening gala last Thursday saw several rising Egyptian stars grace the red carpet along with Oscar winners and …

Heba Elkayal

Art of Form: Where some aspire and others buy sofas

It opened its doors June 6, 2009, and today, Art of Form sits like a gleaming glass gift box on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, offering patrons modern furniture that doesn’t ignore local taste. As one store of the still under-construction strip mall Designopolis, Art of Form has firmly established itself as a veritable trove of …

Heba Elkayal

Eveningwear: a thing of the past?

Recently, I got my hands on a copy of the film “Valentino: The Last Emperor which chronicles a year in the life of Valentino Garavani. Not only are viewers treated to a study of Valentino’s character with a uniquely close eye, but they are also invited to see how haute couture really comes together. Valentino …

Heba Elkayal

Menswear trends: possible to strut on Egypt's streets?

It is an exercise in careful fashion ponderings and considerations when fashion weeks in Europe and the US start setting the trends for the seasons to come. With women, one considers whether hemlines can be lengthened or shortened? Last season’s clutch with this season’s prints? But with menswear, especially with regards to the latest offerings …

Heba Elkayal

Lifestyle Highlight: Cairo's best coffee shop

Cairo’s best franchise coffee shop, in my opinion, is located on 10 Al Ahram Street in Heliopolis. Gloria Jean’s Coffees is, literally, the neighborhood’s coffee shop where regular patrons have been coming since it quietly opened its doors last spring. They take their books and newspapers, quietly nod hello to other regulars, and get down …

Heba Elkayal

Post Ramadan dessert delight

As Ramadan ends, a sinking feeling rests in my stomach. It is a challenging month, but the emotional rewards that include relaxing with friends and family after iftar are indescribable. But one thing does make me look forward to the end of the month is kahk, those lovely powdered cookies that crumble and dissolve in …

Heba Elkayal

How to wear fall trends in Cairo

With good cool weather blessing Egyptians recently, and fall collections hitting stores from Beymen to Zara, fall fashion considerations are taking up much of one’s thoughts. As always, the question is how to translate what’s on the runways and in stores to Egyptian streets and one’s lifestyle in the city? Cairo is not a hip …

Heba Elkayal

Playing with colors and styles

Self-proclaimed jewelry designers are a dime a dozen here in Egypt, but few such as Sarah Abaza stand out for their creativity and unique brand identity. Abaza has been designing and making jewelry for over two years, at first with the assistance of her jeweler who would execute her designs. “I’m really taking my sweet …

Heba Elkayal

Lifestyle Highlight: Dan's Juice Bar

The concept of fresh juice drinks and smoothies is not new to Cairo, but Dan juice on Maadi’s Road 9 has a little something extra. For starters, they have the best harankash (gooseberry) juice in the city. It lacks the usual bitterness, is sweet and sugary, and is the perfect beverage to drink at night …

Heba Elkayal

A treasure trove of fashionable finds

Mona Afifi and Sherifa Mahmoud have partnered up to create Style-Treasure, Egypt’s first online boutique and the Middle East’s third. Why? Because in our frenzied city something as simple as buying milk can become a Herculean task as one navigates traffic, crowds and limited parking space at any desired shopping outlet. “I’ve been an online …

Heba Elkayal

Tailored chambray shirts exude cool sex appeal

Gap has been making a killing selling chambray shirts, wrote one New York fashion blogger. The new shirts that have been spotted in New York, Milan and Paris on men, women, children and even celebrity Mary-Kate Olsen. It’s true; Gap’s various chambray shirts are the hottest transition item for summer, especially as we start moving …

Heba Elkayal

Best fondue in town? Head to Korba

Living in Heliopolis is considered to be, by my friends, some sort of punishment for a previous life of sin. Far from downtown, far from my office, and far from them all, I struggle to find outings and good dining venues on my side of town. But no more, I think I’ve found something close …

Heba Elkayal

Coloring the city mural by mural

A drive down Maadi’s Road 9 – where coffee shops, bakeries and vegetable stalls are lined alongside old villas – is a bit more colorful these days. A mural stretches on one wall, bright and eye-catching to all passersby. One of the men behind the mural is Elhamy Naguib, a figure who is as colorful …

Heba Elkayal

Eating and relaxing: Orders of the day

Whenever friends come to visit me from abroad, we usually head over to the Four Seasons Nile Plaza for some reason or another. How can we resist? The city’s premier luxury brand store Beymen is there, as is a lovely spa filled with all sorts of wonderful treatments, and some of the city’s best dining …

Heba Elkayal

A New boudoir for the city's ladies

The Pink Powder Room, a small Zamalek boutique on 26 Shagaret El Dor Street with pink awnings outside and two window displays, houses what Egypt is so famous for abroad: great Egyptian lounge wear products. It was the idea of Sarah Makiya, a young woman who saw a niche in the market that was being …

Heba Elkayal

Defining funky Orientalism

When you first meet Amina Ghali, she is somewhat reserved and demure. The daughter of acclaimed jewelry designer Azza Fahmy, Ghali is an artist in her own right. Having recently launched her second Fashion line for the Azza Fahmy brand, the collection reflects her versatility as a designer, all the while creating pieces that – …

Heba Elkayal

Savoring history before it ends

For years, the Nile Hilton graced the corniche and stood conspicuously in the heart of downtown Cairo. Renamed The Nile Hotel, it has been under the watchful managerial eye of the Ritz-Carlton since the company’s take over in January. The hotel will close operations by the end of the year to undergo drastic renovations over …

Heba Elkayal

Four Seasons San Stefano: bringing glamor back

Heading out to Alexandria, I spent two days and one night to relax at the Four Seasons San Stefano, a hotel that continues to surprise me with each visit. The Four Seasons Alexandria now stands on the same plot of land on which the legendary hotel casino San Stefano stood. The highest in Alexandria’s skyline, …

Heba Elkayal

Taking care of history, one car at a time

Amr Hosny is a jack of all trades, and master of many. An events planner and one of the most sought after DJ’s in Cairo, Hosny restores classic cars, reviving the old tired bodies of once luxurious and iconic automobiles. Starting his hobby of car restoration in his mid-twenties, Hosny has had over a decade …

Heba Elkayal

Lemongrass and chocolate at Lai Thai

There is no other flavor I love more than lemongrass, and second to that is chocolate, so to combine the two in one meal is simply divine. Lai Thai at the Four Seasons First Residence has cuisine so authentic, an evening dining is a surrealist experience of absolute disconnect from the city. On Sundays, for …

Heba Elkayal

Tamarai impresses again with new terrace

Tamarai’s second dining and nightlife experience is undoubtedly cooler, literally and metaphorically, than anywhere else in Cairo. The terrace, which opened to the public with an all-white themed party last month, is truly an extension to its indoor counterpart: a relaxed dining experience with good food and drink in the earlier part of the evening, …

Heba Elkayal

The Moghul Room: Indian food fit for a king

While the décor at The Moghul Room may be a bit on the boring side, the food served here is second to none. The interior of the Indian restaurant at the Mena House Oberoi, in the words of a friend, is “typical of that found in Indian rest houses, but the cuisine’s lovers will surely …

Heba Elkayal