by Ayesha Shaikh
  • 2 minute read
  • May 11, 2020
The Victory Issue: The Story Behind Villa 88’s Latest 2020 Cover

“This issue is a piece of my heart,” I told a friend, as she inquired about the content I had been working on for days. By then, my bedroom had turned into a makeshift production room, my bed laced with magazine printouts I had been perusing day and night. This isn’t how I’d usually work, but COVID-19 has changed life in every sense of the word.

We’re collectively experiencing an uncertain world and it has been anything but easy. But there’s a flipside to the complicated COVID-19 coin—it has reminded me of our will to adapt. It has also made me think about what has pulled us through so far. As I meditated on this question, while devising the cover concept of this issue, one word kept echoing in my mind: together.

This eight-letter word suddenly carries so much weight. It’s the ultimate antidote, the thread that has bound the world in an unprecedented way. It’s also a sentiment that’s deeply attuned to the spirit of Ramadan. And so, the cover of this edition says, ‘Together’, handwritten like the rhythmic pattern of a beating heart, because that’s just the way the global community joined hands in the wake of this crisis—in a heartbeat.

Perfect strangers have become new friends, and the pull of empathy and altruism has prevailed over the push of apathy. And, that, is our greatest victory. So, Villa 88’s ‘The Victory Issue’ is a celebration, a joyful reminder of this camaraderie. On these pages, you’ll meet trailblazing regional women, illustrated by artist Alicia Goveas from Dubai. Each of them has written heartfelt stories about what keeps them going during this time.

Perfect strangers have become new friends, and the pull of empathy and altruism has prevailed over the push of apathy. And, that, is our greatest victory

From Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan helping you find your light (Pgs68-71), to Omani designer Amal Al Raisi revealing how she’s manufacturing non-medical face masks (Pgs50-51), these inspirational ladies speak the timeless language of compassion. We also make you meet an integral Emirati frontline worker, Dr Alya Al Suwaidi, who shares an insider account of the battle against COVID-19 (Pgs82-83).

This edition is also a reminder that creativity knows no Coronavirus. To encourage the idea of social distancing, most content has been generated with limited-to-no personal contact, so you can imagine the number of hours we spent in virtual chat rooms. To make you relive your jet-setting days, coveted NYC-based photographer Ana Linares, takes you on an exclusive virtual journey of the destinations that should be on top of your post-pandemic travel list (Pgs146-152).

Left to right: Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Jewellery; ILLUSTRELLA Moda 2020 collection 2 Farfalla dress; Gucci Bloom Ambrosia di Fiori; Fallon Fern Swag stud earrings; Valentino Garavani SuperVee bag; Malone Souliers Matilda mules

I dedicate this issue to the relentless frontline workers, parents who are championing multitasking, the children who miss their teachers, and the friends who can’t wait to embrace each other. As I send this magazine off, I hope that it’ll find a place in your bookshelves and, most importantly, in your hearts.

Ayesha Shaikh

Editor of Villa 88 

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