From the temples of Luxor to the pyramids of Giza, the mythical places of ancient Egypt serve as the stage for concerts, fashion shows or exhibitions, making heritage a showcase to renew the country’s image and attract luxury brands.
French fashion label Dior presented its latest collection at the Giza Pyramids on Saturday. Dior boss Pietro Beccari told AFP the brand chose the pyramids as “more of a backdrop” and turned to Egyptian astrology for its “heavenly” collection.
In October, Italian fashion designer Stefano Ricci performed at Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple in Luxor.
Prior to this, American pop groups Maroon 5 and the Black Eyed Peas performed at the Giza Cemetery, which recently hosted a contemporary art exhibition. The modern cultural impulse is a new direction for the image of Egypt.
A cultural powerhouse in the Arab world, with hugely popular singers and movie stars, Egypt is using its historical heritage to once again attract global attention.
A sign of the new appreciation of ancient culture and history was last year’s “Golden Parade,” in which 22 pharaohs traversed Cairo from an old museum to a new one in a carnival scene.
This came as part of the efforts of the government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to revive tourism, which generates 10% of the country’s gross domestic product and around two million jobs, but has been affected by instability. politics, economic turmoil and the coronavirus pandemic.
Art historian Bahia Shehab said presenting Egyptian heritage in a new context “will encourage international brands and other cultural figures to come to Egypt.”
Egypt’s luxury goods market has thrived despite years of economic instability, with its currency, the pound, losing half its value in 2016.
Despite the drop, there are 86 billionaires in Egypt, according to Credit Suisse. “The top 1% is enough to generate demand,” said Ingy Ismail, a consultant to several luxury brands.
Ismail said the shops in the malls of Cairo’s new satellite cities “are up there with international luxury brands.” The wealthy Egyptian bubble helped create a kaleidoscope of local designers whose pioneers appeared on the catwalks of Milan and Paris.
According to Ismail, the luxury clothing and jewelry market “has grown from less than 100 Egyptian brands to more than 1,000 brands today.”