Djournal Issue #8

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ANTI-GLOSSY. INDEPENDENTLY OPINIONATED. Log onto to see video content, making-of the shoots and register for news, invitations and MORE.

Our publisher and editor in chief on this issue: Ayaad: I really like the cover of this issue .

it’s another success story of an entrepreneur making it in Dubai.


Meredith: I know - she’s so beautiful, with three children at home and six

companies to run including her new fashion line, honestly she was one of the people I have met who I could not complain about anything to. Ayaad: I totally agree. I always believe that this is a testament to Dubai.

There is so much opportunity for people who can appreciate it. Meredith: She has a very lively spirit and down-to-earth nature which was so

refreshing. Also really cool in this issue was the interview with El Seed. We are dying for him to come and do a piece on the studio wall. He is travelling now and has just done a huge collaboration with Louis Vuitton, so I am not sure if we have missed that opportunity! He is such an inspiration coming out of the region. Ayaad: See this is really what this issue is about. Jelena is from the West and now

making it in the East, El Seed is the opposite. This issue is kind of a bridge.


Ayaad Damouni @ D the Agency


Meredith Taylor-Damouni @ D the Agency


AJ @ D the Agency


Capital D Studio

All fashion by Duchess


Ayaad Damouni Meredith Taylor-Damouni

Meredith: We always have an idea to theme the issue - as we set out on building the



content, it seems that the pages take on a life of their own. I really enjoy the process of the cocoon opening.


Tamas Szabo


Marvin Caibal

The process is so inherent in the final product. It’s not until you finish the issue then look back on the product that the theme becomes truly apparent. SOmetimes it’s not exactly what we though when we began. In this issue, the bridge, is the theme. Ayaad: By doing this, every issue has it’s own journey and

own cause. It’s very natural with it’s own life. Meredith: Also in this issue we have another bridge. We have the bridge

from India to Paris our interview with Manish Arora. He’s doing many things in the Middle East collaborating with Saks Fifth Avenue. He’s an incredible success story in the fashion industry internationally. Ayaad: Amongst all the glamour - there is also a very cool shoot from a brand

called Deus Ex Machina - to me this is the ultimate luxury brand in our time. The other day I was talking with someone and they noted that true luxury is time. This brand celebrates having time - enough time to do what you want, when you want. We spend so much time accumulating wealth but spending our time ... it makes you think. The Deus shoot from Bali is all about living every day to it’s fullest - surfing and riding motor bikes, the epitome of freedom. Meredith: Sound good to me ... enjoy.

Ayaad & Meredith Damouni

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An astonishing talent who has taken his bright ideas and panache for embellishment from India to Paris. We caught up with Manish Arora on his rrecent trip to Dubai.

MANISHARORA Interview by Nadia Hamidi

Who are you? I am a happy person. Somebody who believes in sharing and celebrating life. And that’s what my work is all about. I try to bring joy as much as possible to other people through my work. Where are you from? Literally or what I feel? I say I’m a global citizen. But, technically, I was born in Bombay, lived in Delhi, and now I spend a lot of time in Paris. Where do you feel most at home? Or, what identifies you? I’m kind of a chameleon – wherever I go, I just adapt. Like, I’m here [Dubai] – I just love here right now. I was in Belgrade last week and I just enjoyed it thoroughly. So, I can really adjust myself because I’m always curious. And, I’m never in one place for more than ten days – it’s been so many years. If you look at my passport, it’s this fat [shows how thick the passport is]. Yeah, so, I’m always traveling. My favorite time is when I’m on the plane. Love! I get so excited to take a flight – I’ve been taking so many flights! Even now, I can’t wait to sit in a plane, be by myself. What is it about a plane? Is there an inspiration? Some sort of spirituality? It’s just time – it’s almost spiritual. It’s about spending time with yourself. It’s about just ‘alone’ – your time. With nothing, no Internet. Now they have Internet, also, but I don’t use it. But, it’s no connection to the world. That’s what I love. What’s your idea of a perfect day? I love my work, so, I enjoy waking up and jumping straight into work. I’m not the type who wakes up and takes long. I wake up and I’m ready – mentally. And, I’m a very quick person, so I love jumping straight into work, seeing what’s happening. I open my eyes and I just look at my email, like this [raises his hand above his face] in my bed because I like to hear good news when I wake up. I’m always working but I never think I’m working because I love it. So, it’s like I’m on a perpetual permanent holiday. What are you planning for 2014? This year, especially, I’m traveling a lot to promote my brand with specific special retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, one of our very relevant buyers and it’s a very relevant market for me with the kind of work I do and the kind of customers – it’s very similar. So, I’m focusing on visiting different zones of the world that I do well. It could be Hong Kong, it could be Dubai, China, Japan. So, that’s the focus this year. Plus, of course, my regular shows that I do in Paris. How do you like Dubai and what is your favorite thing about it? I’ve not seen anything in Dubai yet! I’ve just arrived night before last, very late. What have you heard about it? Or, what are you looking forward to? What I like about Dubai is that it’s so over the top but done so well. Which kind of explains my work very well. It’s kind of… me! It’s a mish-mash, kitsch – all of that – but done really top of


the line. And that’s what I love. You really need guts to do that, you know? I don’t think there’s another city who has so much extravagance done in style. What are you planning for Dubai, apart from your expansion into Saks Fifth Avenue and the retail industry? No plans yet, but to make the relationship with Saks Fifth Avenue even stronger. What, or who, inspires you? What inspires your designs? You know, it’s not ‘who’ or ‘what’. Inspiration is everywhere. You just have to have the eye to notice that thing which can get you excited. It’s always the execution of the inspiration which is the challenging part. So, that’s the toughest part. But, inspiration is everywhere. I’m inspired by cupcakes – for my last collection, I was inspired by cupcakes and candy. Inspiration can be anywhere. Who is your favorite designer – living or dead? For me, it’s more about favorite collection than the designer. But, I did really appreciate Jean Paul Gaultier of the ‘90s. I thought it was brilliant. It was this risk, and the sparkle – it was my favorite fashion moment. Also, Paco Rabanne was genius in the ‘70s. Today, I love the last collection of Celine, it was beautiful. Or, I used to love when Nicolas Ghesquière used to do Balenciaga. What is your favorite fashion era? The ‘60s – late ‘60s/’70s. Very open, free-minded, individual taste, individual style. It wasn’t robotic like it is today. Do you draw from that era in order to design and feel inspired for your fashion? It depends, sometimes. But, yes, I am pretty much inspired by that time, often. What do you think is missing from the Dubai fashion scene? How would you contribute? I don’t know. That’s why I’m here now – to learn, to understand, to see what the customer loves about my work, or what they like. I’m here to do all that. But, as far as local fashion is concerned, I really have no clue. Is this your first time here? Second time. My first time was 10 – 12 years ago. It’s really like my first time. What is next for Manish Arora? The show tonight and, well, I’m working on some interesting projects but I can’t say, that’s the problem. But, some very exciting big projects hopefully will come in to life by the end of the year.


Interview by Meredith Damouni

DeborahHenning Just a few minutes with Deborah Henning - fashion designer for her own line, Associate Director of Shoreditch Muse x The Press Room and beloved mentor of the local industry.

Who are you? Deborah Henning What do you do? I’m a fashion designer as well as working to develop emerging fashion labels in the Middle East How does this define you? It is my life, I have been working in this industry for 10 years and it’s what drives me everyday. As well as running a fashion label and working on the creative side, I get the consult and mentor new labels, helping them progress and build their businesses. Because I have been working in fashion for so long, everything becomes linked together, if i travel i am constantly in search of inspiration, if i shop I am looking at new designers in the market. Do you think you will ever do anything else? Never. Every year my career gets more interesting and adds a new challenges. I am building on new experiences and being exposed to great opportunities in this region, i plan to continue to build my own business and build the showroom to become the best in this region. We have great things to offer new designers and are blessed to be in a region where these expertise are needed. How did you know that you would work in fashion? When I was 15, I was inspired by my art teacher who encouraged me to continue a fashion project I had completed for an exam. After that, once i started college and then university, I began learning what the job really entailed, I never looked back. There is always something new to learn and because of the seasonality the industry in constantly refreshed, which is exciting. Name three key moments that have led you to this point? My art teacher’s 10 minute conversation about continuing something you are good at 15 years ago! Starting my fashion label in London and the huge learning curve it set me on and moving to Dubai in 2010. This city has given me opportunities only Dubai can offer and i’m very grateful for that. How do you sum up your personal style? Relaxed but defined in a Monochrome palette. I enjoy mixing tailoring with very casual elements and accessorising with masculine elements such as brogues and oversized mens watches. What kind of a person are you? A busy one! I’m always on the go and am very passionate about my life and career.. I try to utilise every experience and travel as much as I can. I love to visit new places and meet new people, you never know where saying yes to things can take you. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. What would you do if you suddenly had one hour free? Hmm, probably Skype my family. Its the one thing I wish I had more time to do and there are so many of them! And we all live in different cities so its hard to connect with them on different time zones.


Favourite places to hang out in Dubai? 40 Kong for drinks, Story Rooftop for relaxing after work, Jetty lounge for drinks with friends, ET sushi is my husband and I’s favourite place to eat and Kite beach at the weekends to relax. I love the off the beaten track places too like Bu Qtair Fish restaurant in Jumeriah where you eat on sand and plastic tables, it feels more real than most places. I also love MAKE business hub for their events and networking. What is the most important thing to you right now? My family and my work. My home life is always of most importance, I think it is vital to try to maintain a healthy work/ life balance. At work I am at a very pivotal point in my career, I am running Shoreditch Muse at The Press Room which is a concept for new designers to promote and develop their businesses, as well as re-launching my fashion label. Tell us about your brand? My brand is focused around a look of casual perfection, an effortless vibe that is very well put together without being overworked. The pieces are all very comfortable so women can look stylish without feeling restricted or uncomfortable. The brand has a nice balance of androgynous shape and feminine detailing and altogether the look becomes relaxed yet refined. For me this is a balance that is the most difficult to achieve and yet what most women want. What are the key elements that define the Deborah Henning look? An oversized crisp white shirt, with an asymmetric tailored jacket, black slim jeans with brogues and oversized jewellery. How do you think this will evolve? At the moment i work mostly in monochrome and tonal shades, once I have mastered all the elements that every wardrobe needs I will introduce more colours and textures but until then I am developing and perfecting the core items of the brand. What parts of the brand will you never lose? The mix of fabrics that I use and the quality. Each piece is a mix of tailoring and casual fabrics, this makes each piece more comfortable and is vital to the brand DNA. I want customers to love their pieces and keep them for years. Where do you see your brand fitting in the market? It sits somewhere between Helmut Lang and COS! COS is a great brand that has elements that I admire. I love Helmut Lang and the way they cut their garments.. My label is a mid range designer label and I think fits nicely between these two in terms of aesthetic and price. How do you juggle your time between your brand and also as the associate director of Shoreditch Muse at The Press Room? Its a tough grind to run both simultaneously, but i love what I do so it comes naturally to multi task and work hard. I think I have begun to master working very efficiently to juggle the two, I don’t spend too much time faffing around, I just get the job done.

Why is this showroom an important business in Dubai? The showroom is vital, it is the gateway for international and local designers to get their brands to market. We work to help brands in the areas they need such as product development, look book creation, campaign building or even defining their brand in the market. Once they are ready we can begin to promote and sell them into stores. We are the one place deigners can come and utilise a wealth of experience and get their brands to the next level. How is it filling an important niche? This concept doesn’t exist fully in Dubai, but it does in the rest of the world. There are plenty of international showrooms outside of the UAE, but they don’t offer the same supporting service as Shoreditch Muse at The Press Room. There are so many emerging designers in this region and very little to support them though their infancy to being a successful business. Our showroom is the first step into creating strong brands out of this region What is on your agenda for the next six months? We are currently selecting new designers for the showroom for the upcoming season and will be visiting Paris in September to look at international brands. We are always working on developing our current brands and creating content for them to utilise. My label is due to launch in the next few weeks and I will be focusing on placing it in 2 Dubai based stores that suit the aesthetic, What is keeping you going? I love every element of what I do, it keeps me busy and alert because things are always changing. I get to meet lots of interesting and creative people too as well as finding new talent for the showroom. How do you spend the weekend - when you get one? My husband and I love to travel, so if we have the opportunity we try to get to Oman for camping or away to a desert resort to get a break. Otherwise we are with friends enjoying the beach, bbq’s and the sunshine! What do you love? My family & my job. What are you wearing? An asymmetric white tee, black jeans, silver brogues and chunky oversized jewellery teamed with messy hair!

Follow @SM_X_TPR on Instagram Get in contact with Shoreditch Muse x The Press Room:


Tell me little about yourself. (Where you’re from, your education background, you’re general professional and non professional interests) My name is eL Seed, although that’s not my real name. Born and raised in France but I’m originally from Tunisia. I have a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and a Masters degree in Business. That’s interesting, you studied Marketing and Business, why such a drastic change of fields? Ever since I was a kid I used to paint and draw. In my community there wasn’t really anybody who pushes the youth into Art and Culture. People just say find a job that you can making a living out of and so you end up living working in a job that’s killing you. I found myself in a place at some point where I didn’t want to live like that. I was always interested in creative fields and even when I was doing my Masters degree in business the school I was in gave us a profile test and they turned to me and said, “What are you doing here?” So we hear you came up with the term ‘calligraffiti’, can you tell us more about it? That’s wrong! I didn’t come up with it. People always think that but this was actually a term used since the late 70’s. Jeffrey Deitch who wrote the opening for my book “Lost Walls” had organized a show called “Calligraffiti” in 1984 with Shirin Neshat, Basquiat and other artists. So I didn’t actually come up with it. Any early graffiti memories? The first work that I did was on a wall behind where I used to live, it was a grey wall and I was playing soccer and had brought some spray cans with me. I just drew a character smoking – and I don’t even smoke. My neighbor saw me and was yelling at me, threatening to tell my mother but for me it was normal, I saw a grey wall and I painted on it. I was sixteen. How did you get into calligraffiti? Well I always wanted to learn it but there was never anyone in Paris who could teach me. When I had moved to Montreal, I met a graffiti artist called Hest in 2007 and he used to write his name in English with an Arabic style to his letters. He would always encourage me to go paint with him and so he took me with him but I told him if I’m going to paint I want to paint in Arabic and that’s how it really started. I started by painting my name eL Seed. I stopped signing my work because I was painting in the street and for me when you paint in the street you democratize Art and signing a piece of art in the street is like saying this piece is my work when actually it left for the people. It’s a gift. Tell me more about your use of quotes in your artwork, how do you choose them? I always try to use quotes and bring something that is relevant to the place that I paint. So if I paint in France or I paint in Tunisia or the US the message has to be different. It has to be relevant to the people at the same time the message has to

have this universal dimension that can speak to everybody. Your largest project to date the piece you created on the minaret of the Jara mosque in Gabes, tell us more about that. Initially I wanted to paint any wall in my hometown of Gabes. I’ve always seen that wall of the Jara Mosque minaret and it’s one of things that you always think “that would so cool to paint”, I mean I never thought I would. So I was looking for a wall and someone mentioned the Minaret. We approached the Imam and told

I wanted to show that there is a deeper history and heritage that has been pushed to the background because of the recent revolution. Why was it entitled Lost Walls? I feel like it was kind of a secret quest trying to look for something. You don’t really know what you’re looking for but you still search. Nothing was really planned, there was only one wall that was planned which was the wall at my grandfathers house but that was what was cool about it, you just drive and discover.

Was there a specific city of spot in Tunisia that you wanted to visit and create artwork in? I knew I wanted to paint on the wall of my Grandfather house; I wanted to give that wall a new life. For me, painting on that wall represented a lot although it might not mean much to others. I actually brought back my dad, my aunt and uncle to that wall to see the work, and they hadn’t been there in years so there were a lot of revisited memories. How do you think they will receive this book/Artwork? I hope they will receive it well, people

We are thrilled to meet calligraffiti artist who decided to set out on a month long personal journey across his mother country of Tunisia painting walls to create his debut book ‘Lost Walls’. Interview by Nadia Hamidi

him we would like to paint it, he said it was fine and so we started. This all happened right after the time there was a situation between the secular and religious people in Tunisia in 2012. I really wanted to paint something that will speak to everybody, just because it’s on a mosque doesn’t mean it can’t speak to everyone, that’s why I chose this verse: “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know and honor each other.” Quran - S49,v13. I think even as a non-Muslim you can find yourself in that as well. It’s an invitation for people to get together What is the process of your work, are they pre-planned or do you feel the space first? Most of the time I just go and see the space.

I try to have an idea of what I’m going to draw, but when I’m there in front of the wall, I’ll decide. Most of the process happens in front of the space. Most of the time I really don’t know what I’m going to create. Tell me more about your new book “Lost Walls” It’s a really cool book! It’s a book about a project that I did in Tunisia last summer. The Project was a road trip around Tunisia, I stopped in cities that people don’t really know about, and cities that have been forgotten and tried to bring attention to them and show that Tunisia is not just a coastal beach and just a place where there was a revolution.

Do you feel that you have been reconnected with Tunisia through this book? Yes, I definitely did. I felt like I discovered places that I’ve never been before, I’ve only seen pictures of. You hear people telling you stories that you’ve never heard so that was the best thing, I got to reconnect with my history, my heritage, my culture, my people and with myself. Why did you decide to take this journey and document it? It actually started as a joke! I said I was going to run around Tunisia with some spray paint and visit each city and every time I stop I paint a wall. I then started to think that I actually really wanted to do it. I spoke to my team and said I’m going. Nothing was really planned it was all very spontaneous.

What message do you hope to send out about Tunis and yourself through this book? I want people to see that Tunisia is deeper that what we see on TV, to give a message of hope to Tunisian people and to encourage people to do whatever makes them happy. In this project there wasn’t really anybody backing me, I didn’t get any funding, I paid for everything, for the book, for the trip, for the people on my team. What was the most important part of this journey for you? The Human experience, meeting all those people. It was amazing.

are expecting a book full of pictures but it’s more than that. I’ve asked five Tunisian artists to write essays about issues I faced while I was there such as the social responsibility of the artist, democratization of Art and more, which I’ve included in the book. Do you have a favourite artwork? That’s like asking someone which of their kids they prefer!! They’re all my favourite! What’s next for you? Launching the book! We’re launching it in several countries around the world!

The book, ‘Lost Walls’, had an exclusive worldwide preview in Dubai this March during Art Dubai was released internationally in April.





JELENA JAKOVLJEVIK BIN DRAI Interview by Meredith Damouni

A consumate entrepeneur, fashion designer, mother, wife and citizen of the world ... and she still spends her spare time brainstorming new business ideas.



How do you describe yourself? I would say that I am pretty determined. I enjoy a challenge and don’t shy away from obstacles. I’d rather find a solution to a dilemma than accept it as it is - this is my business mindset talking. On a personal level, I am fun loving and extremely caring. I cherish my relationships and am an open book to those I adore most in the world. My kids bring out my sillier side – they’re the best de-stressor after work. How long have you been in Dubai? I first came to Dubai on a two-week trip in 2001 when I was booked from Milan to do a modeling shoot for Paris Gallery, along with some Arabesque editorial shoots. It’s now twelve years later and I don’t think I could ever see myself leaving this city. It’s been a wonderful base for my family and a fantastic place to set up my businesses. Where is home? After twelve years I can safely say that I call Dubai my home. Serbia will always have a special place in my heart though – I was born in Zabalj, a small city in Serbia. Growing up and feeling the drastic effects of the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s deeply affected me. I credit that period and the strong mentality of my parents for instilling my strong work ethic. Describe your perfect day? My perfect day manages to balance the varied roles I take on. Whilst I rely on a close-knit team to help manage my affairs, I also love being very hands-on with everything in my life. I’m not one to sleep in and by 8am, my family’s day is already underway. After breakfast, I’ll take my daughter to Asya’s Nursery, the five-star nursery on the Palm, which I founded and then I usually head out for meetings. However, my perfect day always involves spending time with my children and my husband; they are my motivation and are a constant source of happiness. What are the most important things in your life? My family is without a doubt the most important thing in my life. I may be a businesswoman but, first and foremost, I am a mother and a wife. How do you balance being a businesswoman, a mother, a wife and your own person? Every women and mother knows the difficulty of trying to balance so many responsibilities. It’s important to never forget your value as a person. I always try to take time every week to do something that nurtures myself. That can mean anything from going to the gym for an hour a day, catching up with friends, or having a spa treatment. It’s important to strike a balance otherwise you will just burn out. What’s your favourite pastime if you have any free time? I’ve always enjoyed regular exercise and growing up I was involved in a variety of activities and sports, so even though I’m busy I try my best to fit it into my lifestyle. My children also keep me very active; I love running and playing with them. How would you spend an unexpected day off? I would probably try to fit too much into one day like I normally do but my perfect day off would be spent with my family. When the weather is cooler I use every opportunity to take the kids outside, either at our family farm in Al Awir, or on our property on the Palm Jumeirah. Growing up in Serbia, my brother and I were encouraged to lead active lifestyles and I want my kids to have the same. Where are you top five places to go out in Dubai? Dubai has so much to offer that it’s very difficult to choose five top places to visit. The One&Only Royal Mirage Resort is a spot I love and its close by; the beach and jetty views transport me somewhere else. In the evenings I enjoy the Dubai Marine Resort for its tranquil ambience. I’ve been a member for over a decade now and I often take my friends and family to Flooka, the seafood restaurant there. My family and I adore the Mediterranean cuisine they have on menu. If I’m catching up with my friends, we love going for afternoon tea - my favourite spot is the Burj Al Arab - or going for an evening meal in DIFC. What’s making you excited at the moment? At the moment I am very excited about my fashion label, Duchess. I have just launched my new collection and so it’s a very exciting time for me. I love visiting the atelier and my time there gives me a chance to interact with the wonderful women who visit me. I work by appointment only so it’s great to sit down and talk to my clients about what they’re looking for and what they hope to achieve from a look. Tailoring a look to a woman’s needs makes me happy, because I know they will value the dress even more. Do you have a five-year plan? If yes, what does it entail? The plan at the moment is to fine-tune my businesses. While I am the type of person to always need something new to work on, I only launch new ventures when I feel a need and the time is right. All of my businesses have grown from my need for something, whether it’s the perfect nursery


for my daughter or clothes to suit my tastes. In the next five years I hope to be at a stage in my career where I can spend more quality time with my family. How do you qualify your happiness? The definition of happiness for me is determining what’s important and giving 100% devotion to it, whether that’s putting all my efforts into my family or my businesses. What to you is your biggest success? I separate business success from personal success; nothing can compare to raising a beautiful family and knowing I’m making them proud. In the business world I feel proud by earning the title of serial entrepreneur and being associated with a business empire. My latest venture, Duchess by Jelena, stands out as a proud milestone for me - I’ve always been naturally inclined to creative pursuits. Tell us about each of your businesses? With all of my business ventures, I was looking at what was missing in the market and once that gap was identified, I was determined to be the first to meet that need. Chocolate by Jelena and sister spa Vanilla by Jelena were my first business ventures, and they have been very successful. Similarly, AL DAS Medical Clinic, milK&HONEY and Asya’s Nursery were all developed to fill gaps in the market. Often what was lacking in franchises occupying the same niche was the quality of service and standards so we approached each venture with the mind to offer only the best to consumers who appreciate the highest quality. Do you think there will be more? If so, what? My mission is to not only maintain my businesses, but to also improve on them. After launching Duchess, which holds a special place in my heart, I believe now is the time to focus on each venture individually and continue fine-tuning them. I would never rule out setting up another business in the future but for now I’m very happy with how things are and I already have a very full plate. Is the entrepreneurial mind ever satisfied? I believe it can’t be and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I am always kept busy with each of my ventures and as soon as I feel dissatisfied, I know I’m not performing at my best. That’s not to say that as an entrepreneur you’re not always thinking about what’s next; I think that comes of being entrepreneurial. For me it’s more important that I put everything into the businesses I have before moving on to the next venture. What is your idea of beauty? My idea of beauty is confidence and happiness. After all the runway shows and beautiful girls I’ve come across, it’s the ones that shone in other aspects of their personality that were successful. I honestly believe that if you’re happy on the inside and you exude confidence then your beauty will shine through. How did you turn this into a business with your salons? Whilst beauty comes from the inside, it’s important that men and women alike remember to take care of their own needs and put themselves first sometimes. There’s a lot of pressure and stress in life and so I wanted to create an environment where people could come and unwind and invest a little time in them. This is something that I think I have achieved with Vanilla and Chocolate. What about the brands you have created makes them so unique? As a businesswoman, I am fully aware of my surroundings and use them as a constant source of inspiration. I have Western roots but have also been heavily influenced by my life in the Middle East. My latest collection speaks to a variety of women seeking the same thing, to be sexy yet modest, sophisticated yet fun. I draw upon my life for ideas and inspirations. My family, my history and my life in the Middle East influence me and this is something that goes into each of my businesses, which makes each brand so unique. Describe your perfect holiday: I cherish my memories in Sardinia and would love to visit there again. I’ve been to so many beautiful places from Croatia to the Far East, but the elegance and beautiful scenery are what capture my heart. Everything about the Mediterranean ambience and its cuisine make it a timeless favourite. What are you listening to on your ipod? I love soothing, soulful music and am currently listening to a lot of Sade classics; it’s almost meditative. I think the only thing you won’t find on my iPod is heavy metal as I find it very unsettling and harsh. What are you wearing while you answer these questions? I am answering these questions in the evening, having just spent time playing with my children, so I am currently wearing a sporty-chic outfit. This is of course very different from my day-to-day outfits that I wear for business meetings but it is also when I am at my most comfortable. Send us your social media tags. I can be reached on the following social media sites: Twitter: @JJBinDrai Instagram: @jelena_j_bin_drai1 Facebook: Duchess by Jelena

Dress by Duchess


Dorraj BY

JARROD GROSSBERG We interview Jarrod Grossberg, a London based shoe designer who is a self confessed lover of shoes. His collection Dorraj, which was launched AW13 uniquely uses beautiful exotic skins which is inspired BY his love of travel.

Photographer: Ayaad Damouni @ D the Agency // Style Director: MSH @ D the Agency // Hair & Makeup: Aurimas Juodiskis @ D the Agency // Model: Laura @ D the Agency // Fashion by Essa




Tell me little about yourself. I was born in Sydney and moved to London where I graduated Fashion Management at the London College of Fashion. My biggest non-professional interest ironically turned into my career. I love to travel and admire cultural and aesthetic differences between places and people. It is these experiences that help inspire Dorraj. You have been called Australia’s answer to a male Carrie Bradshaw, why do you have such an interest in shoes? In my opinion shoes define a person. They’re a means of expression and can completely change how an outfit looks as well as how a person feels. I suppose my interest stemmed from this notion. I love to feel good. And look good. What inspired you to turn your interest into a career and start designing shoes? I found that there was a lack of quality handmade everyday shoes on the market. It was because of this that I started Dorraj. What made you decide to start your own line instead of going the more traditional path of designing for an existing label? Control. We love that your brand is your name your backwards! Is there another reason your brand is called Dorraj? Not really – I wanted a name that was unique yet not too foreign sounding. Dorraj works. What are your main inspirations for your collection? The 1930’s Rivera period. Slim Arrons captures a lot of this in his photography. You use such exotic skins to create these beautiful shoes, tell me a little more about your brand Dorraj. Exotic skins are unique, rare and beautiful, characteristics that are too reflected within Dorraj.

What has been the most difficult part of this getting this collection from concept to completion? I believe the shoe should be perfect inside and out. Sometimes aesthetic has to be compromised for comfort. Finding a healthy balance can be challenging. What makes Dorraj shoes different from the rest? They’re casual and cool without being overly embellished. They’re comfortable and of an extremely high quality being handmade in Italy. Dorraj is being designed by a lover of shoes, rather than just from the commercial eye of a shoe designer, how do you think that affects the final product? I’m a consumer designing for other consumers. I know what someone who loves shoes wants and that’s what I’ve aimed to portray in this brand. Who is the Dorraj customer? What are they like? The fashion conscious quality-seeking consumer. They are like what the rest of this world should be more like. What are your criteria for well-constructed and well-designed shoes? They have to be aesthetically pleasing, confortable and of a high-quality. What do you love about your work? I love it all! Can you tell me about a pair of shoes you’ll never forget? My first pair of Dorraj – Petrol Green Ostrich High-tops. A very proud moment. If you weren’t designing shoes, what would you be doing? Wearing shoes I’d be far less happy with. What’s next for yourself and Dorraj? Bespoke services and an accessories line. Where are you selling your collection?

Why do you use exotic skins and material? I love the texture and effect of exotic skins. The detail on every piece is unique as there are no two skins alike. And of course their quality and durability are unparalleled. How long does it usually take to create a piece? From inception to completion? What is the process? Usually around 6 months. The designs have to be created, then the skins have to be chosen and coloured. Once this is done sampling takes place and once approved production begins. Why have you chosen those two particular styles for this collection? I wanted my first season to cater to both informal and formal environments.


CRUCIANI We catch up with Luca Caprai, the founder of Cruciani. At the young age of twenty-five he had a vision to turn his family’s booming textile business into a commercial clothing line. Twenty-two years later Cruciani has two lines hosting a selection of beautiful products from leather goods to luxurious cashmere to macramé bracelets.

Tell me little about yourself. (Where you’re from, your education background, you’re general professional and non professional interests) I am obsessed with collecting art and the technological gadgets. Every time I come to Dubai, I spend hours in the galleries. I love the art here and it is hard for me to go back to Italy without purchasing something. I have multiple new iPhones, every Bluetooth headset on the market and the highest tech television.

What would you say was your biggest inspiration to start Cruciani? I had a dream to turn my family’s textile business into a commercial business in the forefront of fashion. I wanted to retain my family values of true Italian craftsmanship and specialization while appealing to a modern fashion-savy clientele. Thus Cruciani was born.

What does the brand Cruciani mean to you? What is the vision? True quality and high class luxury.

Cruciani is a brand that has values, what are they? There are two main components to Cruciani values. For our clients, we never compromise on quality. You will always have the best of the market when purchasing a Cruciani product. For the greater good, we participate in multiple charity causes. We are fortunate that Cruciani C bracelets make a perfect platform for raising funds. We design a bracelet especially for a cause and give all the profits to the charity. Over the last couple years, we have raised money for everything from Tsunami aid to nature conservation to children’s hospitals.

What was the first product you started creating? And how did you decide to evolve from there? Cruciani started out as a cashmere company. My idea was to create luxurious knitwear with free flowing forms that were modern, elegant and far from the old fashioned English countryside sweaters. We became very well-known in Italy for our cashmere but it was the Cruciani C macramé bracelets that made Cruciani a worldwide household name.

collections. Quality is our absolute priority so we will not produce anything until we can guarantee that it’s the best. I do a lot of research before launching any new product including the recent launch of the crocodile handbags.

Cruciani has two lines, the main line and Cruciani C, can you tell us more about the Cruciani C and why it was created?

The crocodile bags are designed with the Middle East in mind, why the Middle East?

Cruciani C is our bridge line that we explain as our ‘Pop Luxury’ concept line. Cruciani C pop luxury means that all Cruciani C pieces are simple with wide spread appeal but 100 % Made in Italy of high quality materials. I created Cruciani C macramé bracelets because I recognized a demand in the fashion market for wrist accessories that were luxurious but also affordable. With the bracelets great success, we expanded the line to include small foulards and leather goods which retain the same quality concept.

Last season, our exotic skin handbags sold out completely in the Middle East. I had a serious challenge to create an even better product this season. We created the special, vibrantly coloured line of crocodile bags thinking about what the Arabian woman wants. I made sure they were of the highest quality crocodile with 2.5 milligrams of real gold plated detailing and I wanted them to be available in every rich glamourous colour you could imagine. The SS2014 bag line features 100 different colours in total, not in every material by overall. I love the way the Arabian women play with colour. Colour is the DNA of Cruciani and our brightest accessories sell the best in the GCC.

What kind of items can we find in the Cruciani main line?

What is your design process behind creating these bags?

The Cruciani main line is purely high end luxury, exotic skins and the world’s best cashmere are cornerstones of the brand. All ready-to-wear is Cruciani main line. Cruciani also carries scarves in cashmere and cashmere blends and of course the leather goods in crocodile, ostrich, saffiano and deerskin.

My design process with these bags is the same as every Cruciani piece. I come up with the idea and then I relay to my dedicated and talented design team who I trust immensely. However, I am a perfectionist and I personally monitor the design and production process every step of the way.

You have a lot of items, which have been designed with the Middle East in mind, why have you chosen this region?

What makes the Cruciani product different from the rest?

The Middle East continues to inspire me every day. I love the region, and all the cultures and the tastes of the people here. They understand and appreciate the Cruciani brand in its promise of luxury and quality.

Why do you think Cruciani is so successful in the Middle East? We have seen wonderful success throughout the Middle East. Clients here are attracted to pure quality and luxury. They are detail-oriented and they appreciate when pieces are made exclusively for them or with them in mind. This is something that Cruciani will continue to do for our clients here whether it is the new Crocodile Bags made especially for the Middle East or a Cruciani C bracelet made in collaboration with a regional designer like Nadine Kanso as we did last fall.

How has your brand developed and expanded over the years?

Last season we saw success in the release of Cruciani leather goods, why did you choose to go in that direction?

Over the last three years, we have been working toward a full Cruciani look by expanding our RTW and leather goods

I wanted to create a full Cruciani look and we had clients who loved the bracelets and the cashmere that wanted to see


bags in the same vibrant colors and luxurious materials that they have come to expect from Crucinai.

Quality and colour.

What next for Cruciani? We are looking to open more stores throughout the Middle East, to partner with more designers like Nadine Kanso who helped us design a bracelet last fall and we want to expand our offerings of leather goods.

Where are the Cruciani Main Line and Cruciani C available? In the UAE, Cruciani is available in the boutique in BurJuman. The Cruciani C line is available in the corner boutiques in The Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Center and the BurJuman boutique.


Corcel Collective Photography: Hussain Moloobhoy Facebook: corcelcollective Instagram: corcellife Twitter: corcellife E:

Dubai’s back! Startups and new ideas are beginning to appear all around the city. Corcel opened its doors in 2014 to get you riding. D-Journal recently sat down with Christian Frealdsson and Hussain Moloobhoy, one half of the Corcel Collective, to find out who they are and what they’ve been up to: D-Journal: You boys just got started, but your bikes and logo are already popping up all around the city. Tell us who you are? What is Corcel? Corcel: We’re a lifestyle brand built for the urban biker. Our focus is on fixed gear bicycles, but we carry a range of products that compliment the culture. We offer hand-picked accessories to customize your bike. Corcel’s apparel line will include all the basics you need, hand-stitched, with the best fabrics, made with love. D: Why now? What’s right about the timing for you?

We’re looking forward to signing up additional brands during the year that represent the geography they are made in. Whether they be handmade totes from Brooklyn or high-performance bikes from Tokyo. D: What do you envision this becoming? C: You know, this really just started as a small project among friends. We didn’t know what the response would be and then we participated at Market OTB in January and sold out. There wasn’t a bike left to look at. Pre-orders started flowing in. Manufacturers started following us on social and reached out to us to see if we wanted to carry their products.

C: We live in a city that enjoys good weather for 8 months of the year. There’s a growing population of young, active riders. The city is investing its own time and money to make Dubai more biking and commuter friendly. There’s also been a burst of creative resurgence, so we really can’t think of a better time for us to get this off the ground. Everyone’s been incredibly supportive.

So the momentum has definitely altered the scale of our plans compared to where we originally started, but the goal remains the same: we want to build a community.

D: What’s your philosophy behind how you’ve picked your brands?

D: We know you recently collaborated on a pop-up store with Deus. What else can we expect to see in 2014?

C: Take BIKEID for instance, it’s a fantastic bicycle, built with great parts. But there’s also such a focus on making it a hi-design product. There was vintage nostalgia in their 2013 collection and there’s a sense of futurism in their new metallic range. We want products that have had some thought put into them; where function and design are not seen as two separate puzzles. The Californian Pure Fix range comes in a variety of color schemes, from classic to avant-garde, and the selection is forever rotating.


We also carry brands such as Brooks, an English saddle and accessory maker with a deep heritage that stretches back nearly 150 years. The attention to detail is second to none, and it’s a product that ages beautifully the more you use it.

It’s important to create ideas that bring people together in urban settings, otherwise the pace of life causes you to forget to make those connections.

C: We’re definitely going to stay busy. We’re in the process of building our E-Commerce site that will service the entire region. With in-store installations coming from May through December, you’ll be able to come and try your bike before you take it home with you. Stay tuned for Corcel HQ launching in early 2015!


playlist Compiled by Amy Sturgis

NICKTOHME Welcome Nick, firstly you arrived in Dubai in 2007, how have you seen the clubbing scene evolve since then?

You have DJ’d alongside the likes of greats Paul Oakenfold and Above & Beyond - how was that for you?

You are now resident DJ at Cirque le Soir how are you finding this? Is it cool to be associated with such a well- known franchise?

Djing alongside Big international acts plays a big factor in a DJ’s career and boosts self confidence, having your name on the same flyer with big Giants in the industry is an honor, and generates self confidence and self respect…I have shared the decks with many of the big names in the industry, such as Paul Oakenfold, Sister Bliss from Faithless, Above & Beyond, Steve Angello, Chuckie … and the list goes on and on, this experience made me realize that when you have a gift you can breakthrough, but to do so you need to work hard, this is how those giants earned their trophies, evolving yourself and your talent and respecting the industry is exactly what it takes to reach a certain level,…Working hard on every aspect always pays…Let’s not forget that Music Production plays a major factor as well. It is always great to be associated with big names, always a great added value, whether it was for the Club or for the DJ … Imagine the results when a Well Respected Class A club joins forces with a Respectable Class A Dj, the sky would be the limit :)

What can we expect from Cirque le Soir this season? How freaky is it going to get?

Freaky ideas are created on the go, this is how great ideas are born, they come when you least expect them … What I can say to everyone is that with all the freakiness they witnessed @ Cirque, well they haven’t seen nothing yet :)

Will you be travelling to Europe to play at all this Summer?

Im definitely going to Europe this summer, as i always do, I actually just came back from a gig in Paris ... a long tour is being prepared with the whole team for this summer … We will be giving Europe a taste of Dubai … Massively!

Finally - if you could DJ alongside anyone, who would it be?


Yes indeed, i have landed in Dubai at the very beginning of 2007, and i must say the clubbing scene nowadays is more prosperous with many options to fulfill every taste, back then the clubs were fewer and the festivals were as well, unlike now, festivals are happening all year long with the world’s biggest acts performing in Dubai, and the clubs have reached a number where the competition can be compared with the world’s leading club lands, and i must say I’m very happy to take part in 2 of the biggest names in the clubbing industry in the UAE and in the MEA in general, Cavalli & Cirque Le Soir.

Danny Tenaglia

Defined by music events which will take place across the UAE in the next month, the D-Journal Issue 8 playlist features none other than legends The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. Choosing a truly breathtaking collaboration to feature on our mix, ‘Give Me One Reason’ by Eric Clapton and Tracy Chapman sums up the versatility of these artists making us more and more excited for his gig next month! Have you got your ticket? Another tune that has creeped onto the list is Losing Sleep by John Newman who will take the stage at the first REDFEST DXB which starts on the 13th February - John raced to fame at the beginning of 2013 singing vocals on Rudimental’s number one track ‘Love Me Again’!


Cut Your Teeth (Remix)

Daft Punk, Naughty Boy Get Lala feat. Tanika + Angelika Vee (Vijay + Sofia Zlatko bootleg) Stay High Hippie Sabotage (TOVE LO FLIP) Eric Clapton and Tracy Chapman

Give Me One Reason

The Rolling Stones Satisfaction Boy + Bear

Feed Lining (FDVM Edit)

John Newman

Losing Sleep (Krazy Kat Remix)

Bob Marley Is This Love (Montmatre Remix) Exclusive: Flume

Insane (LDRU Zlatko)

Nick Mulvy Cucurucu

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THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN Photographer: Ayaad Damouni @ D the Agency // Art Director: Meredith Taylor-Damouni @ D the Agency // Hair and Makeup: Najla Kaddour @ D the Agency // Production: Capital D Studio

Suiting: Harvey Nichols Shoes and Bag: Ralph Lauren Sunglasses and Driving Gloves: Ferrari Car: Ferrari FF Shot on locations at DIFC, GAUCHO, ELS CLUB


Clothing: Harvey Nichols Watch: Hublot


Suiting: Harvey Nichols Driving Gloves: Ferrari FF Watch: Hublot


Clothing: Harvey Nichols Watch: Hublot




Photographer: Vivienne Balla @ D the Agency // Fashion Editor: MSH @ D the Agency // Make up: Aurimas Juodiskis @ D the Agency, Salma El Saadany // Model: Laura, Maryon @ D the Agency // Stylist: MSH @ D the Agency // Manicure: The Doll House


Laura wears Coat by Mugler at Mahani, Dress by Essa


Laura Wears Top by Madiyah Al Sharqi, Skit by Essa, Bracelet by Tom Binns at Mahani, Necklace by November Alpha at Mahani


Laura Wears Dress by Madiyah Al Sharqi


Laura wears Dress by Jonathan Saunders at Mahani Bracelet by Tom Binns at Mahani Necklace by Ek Thongprasert at Mahani


Marion wears dress by Madiyah Al Sharqi Bracelet by Carven at Mahani


I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night Photographed by Anthony Doods All images courtesy of DeUS ex machina follow @deusarabia







Photographer: Jonathan Bookallil @ D the Agency Hair: Juan Carlos @ Maciques Make up: Sandy Linter @ Lanc么me Stylist: Freddie Leiba Top, blazer & trouser: Sports Max Pumps: Norma Kamalli Necklace & earrings: Kenneth Jay Lane


Jacket, skirt & shoes: DKNY Bra: Calvin Klein Necklace & rings: Robert Lee Morris


Top, bathing suit & pumps: Norma Kamali Necklace: Robert Lee Morris


Dress: Derek Lam Bathing suit & pumps: Norma Kamali


Jumpsuit: Marc by Marc Shoes: Calvin Klein Necklace, bracelets & earrings: Melody Rodgers Clutch: Sonia Rykiel


we go backstage with the team from M.A.C Cosmetics to discover the beauty looks featured in the amatO show at the recent FFWD in Dubai.

Photographer: Vivienne Balla @ D the Agency






BLUE HORIZONS Photographer: Vivienne Balla @ D the Agency // Style Editor: MSH @ D the Agency // Make up: Aurimas Juodiskis @ D the Agency // Model: Ayan @ MMG Eventz // Shot at Capital D Studio








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