The Middle East seems an unlikely location for the former reality television star Paris Hilton to peddle handbags and accessories. But the woman who became prominent through the release of a sex tape has dozens of Paris Hilton Handbags & Accessories stores in the deeply conservative region, including seven stores in Saudi Arabia, where officers from the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice patrol the streets enforcing strict dress codes and the separation of men and women. The chain’s presence is not without controversy “Loving my beautiful new store that just opened at Mecca Mall in Saudi Arabia!” she tweeted in 2012. “How can someone who made such a video open a store in the holy city next to the Grand Mosque?” wondered one Twitter user. In August of 2013, she opened her forty-fourth store in Bogota, Columbia. As of November, 2015, Hilton’s official website still listed a store location in Damascus, Syria.
United Arab Emirates
Dubai: Deira City Center, IBN Battuta Mall, Dubai Festival City, Al Ghurair Centre, Arabian Center, Reef Mall
Abu Dhabi: Marina Mall, Bawabat Al Sharq, Al Wahda Mall
Sharjah: Sahara Center, Mega Mall
Al Ain: Al Ain Mall
Riyadh: Riyadh Gallery Mall,Granada Mall, Al Othaim Mall, Azizia Mall
Jeddah: Red Sea Mall, Al Salam Mall
Makkah: Makkah Mall
Damascus: Al Cham City Center
Manama: Al Seef Mall
Al Doha: Royal Plaza, Paris Gallery, Lagoona Mall
North Coast: Porto Marina
“A new public bathroom was opened on the north side a few days ago, a truly handsome place and apparently well run. The pleasant impressions lasts until one steps into the men’s washroom and finds there on the wall a contraption of glass tubes and levers and a shot for the insertion of a coin. The glass tubes contain a fluffy pink solid and beneath them one reads something like this: ‘Insert coin. Hold personal puff beneath the tube. Then pull the lever.’
A powder vending machine! In a men’s washroom! Homo Americanus! Why didn’t someone quietly drown Rudolph Gugliemo, alias Valentino, years ago?
… It is time for a matriarchy if the male of the species allows such things to persist. Better a rule by masculine women than by effeminate men. Man began to slip, we are beginning to believe, when he discarded the straight razor for the safety pattern. We shall not be surprised when we hear that the safety razor has given way to the depilatory.
Who or what is to blame is what puzzles me. Is this degeneration into effeminacy a cognate reaction with pacifism to the virilies and realities of the war? Are pink powder and parlor pinks in any way related? How does one reconcile masculine cosmetics, sheiks, floppy pants, and slave bracelets with a disregard for law and an aptitude for crime more in keeping with the frontier of half a century ago than a twentieth-century metropolis?”
Chicago Tribune editorial, July 18, 1926.
My historical fiction “Panegyre” has been published in Columbia Journal. Pictured above, the attendees of the 1990 G7 Summit: Jacques Delors, Guilio Andreotti, Helmut Kohl, Francois Metterand, George H.W. Bush, Margarety Thatcher, Brian Mulroney, and Toshiki Kaifu: http://columbiajournal.org/fiction-panegyre-by-louise-phillips/
“In this year, ” wrote W. Somerset Maugham in A Writer’s Notebook, “I was sent to Russia on a secret mission.” A secret agent during World War 1, he was tasked with helping the provisional government defeat the Bolsheviks. Among his contact were the Assistant War Minister Boris Savinkov, a revolutionary writer and assassin.
“Savinkov. Before the revolution he was the leader of the terrorists. He planned and executed the assassinations of Plehve and of the Grand Duke Sergius. Hunted by the police, he lived for two years under a British passport. He was at last run to earth at an hotel. He was taken into the dinning-room while a compte rendu was being made. He was told he could have anything he wanted. He asked for soda water and cigarettes. Soda water was brought and the officer in charge of the soldiers who had effected the arrest took a cigarette out of his case and flung it to him. Savinkov lost his temper. He took the cigarette and threw it in the officer’s face. He laughed a little as he told me his words: ‘You forget, sir, that I am no less a gentleman than you.’ It bore out my theory that men in moments of great emotion express themselves in terms of melodrama. That is why the best writers are often so untrue to life.
I asked him what he felt when he was arrested, whether he was not horribly frightened. ‘No,’ he said, ‘after all, I knew it was inevitable sooner or later, and when it came, strangely enough I felt relieved. You must remember that I had been leading a terribly strenuous life and I was tired out. I think my first thought was: now I shall be able to rest.’
…I said that it must have required enormous courage to plan and commit his assassinations. He shrugged his shoulders. ‘Not at all, believe me,’ he answered. ‘It is a business like another, one gets accustomed to it.'”
W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer’s Notebook, William Heinemann Ltd, 1949.
On the eve of the premiere of his 1995 romantic comedy Nine Months, the actor Hugh Grant was arrested and charged with indecent conduct. “The other night I was thinking: ‘I wonder if he ever thinks about that night.'” mused his co-arrestee, the prostitute Divine Brown, “I know he loved it.”
“Back then a film star getting caught with a hooker was a big deal,” Benjamin Svetkey recalled in The Independent. “Newspapers and television networks on both sides of the Atlantic covered it as if it were the fall of the Berlin Wall.” Grant’s sheepish mugshot was republished thousands of times. BK445481306-06-27-95, Los Angeles Police: HWD, was an instant classic, a mainstay of celebrity mugshot compilations. In a brief scene in Nine Months when Jeff Goldblum teaches Grant how to roller blade, observant viewers recognized the striped, short-sleeved shirt the actor was wearing when he was arrested
“What happens to the clothes/accessories that actors and actresses wear for a movie?” the Duchesse of Cookieshire wondered on Yahoo! Answers. In this case, we have an answer.