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ANTI-GLOSSY. INDEPENDENTLY OPINIONATED.

ALI F. MOSTAFA Cynthia Sakai Natalie Tabbara Julien Macdonald Jad Matta Hans Neumann Callaghan Walsh SANAZ ASKARI AYAAD DAMOUNI CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN DEUS EX MACHINA VIVIENNE BALLA

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ANTI-GLOSSY. INDEPENDENTLY OPINIONATED.

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

ALI F. MOSTAFA CYNThIA SAkAI NATALIE TAbbArA JuLIEN MACDONALD JAD MATTA hANS NEuMANN CALLAGhAN WALSh SANAZ ASkArI AYAAD DAMOuNI ChrISTIAN LOubOuTIN DEuS EX MAChINA VIVIENNE bALLA

Our publisher and editor in chief on this issue: Ayaad: So they say life is a journey. As cliché as it sounds, it’s so

true. Our journey seems to begin the minute we are formed in our mother’s womb. From thereon it’s a journey of learning, of soulsearching and it doesn’t stop - that’s what makes life beautiful.

COVER

Meredith: I think the thing about a journey it that it’s one way -

only forward. Every relationship, every experience, is knowledge that becomes imprinted on you like a mark, unshakeable. Ayaad: Very true - this is why I believe it’s important that we go through

life with an open mind and take each experience as a part of a puzzle that is bigger than ourselves and that may or may not be finished in our own lifetime. Things happen sometimes and we wonder why they have happened. Sometimes the reason is larger than our own life. Meredith: I like to think appreciate that we are so small - part of something bigger. I

feel that the city that we live in is on its own journey. We as residents are living, breathing cells - a part of the city. Each of us important - moving along with the city as it develops. Ayaad: Dubai has developed so much, even since we’e been here over the past eight

years. For Dubai, it’s a supersonic journey and it’s nice to be a part of that intense speed and change. The beautiful thing about the journey of our lie is that we cannot stop it - we can, to a certain degree, speed it up or slow it down. Dubai is at peak speed, moving like a rocket. Perhaps one day we will move to a farm and slow things down to a calmer speed - something like a horse and carriage. Meredith: Perhaps time is the only real measure of anything. When it comes to

the journey of life, I don’t know how you can calculate a real beginning or an end - all I know is it’s important to savour every little moment.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY

Ayaad Damouni @ D the Agency

STYLE DIRECTOR

Meredith Taylor-Damouni @ D the Agency

HAIR & MAKEUP

Samira Olfat for Max Factor

PRODUCTION & POST

Capital D Studio

All fashion by BURBERRY

TEAM PUBLISHER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Ayaad Damouni Meredith Taylor-Damouni

editor@D-journal.net

ART DIRECTOR

Tamas Szabo

INHOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER

Marvin Caibal

SENIOR RETOUCHER

Shijar Mohammed

PRODUCTION HOUSE

Capital D Studio

PRODUCTION HEAD

Ziad Georges

TALENT BOOKINGS

Shefki Nawaz

ADMIN

Diana Austria

Ayaad: Very true - every moment that has gone by, has gone forever.

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Grocer, Comptoir 102, Bambah, West LA, DIFC: Art Space Gallery, The Capital Club, Cuadro Gallery, Mahini (Emirates Towers), The Grooming Company (All outlets), XVA (Bastikiya) Wafi Mall: Etoile La boutique Sivvi.com: delivered with purchase We are also distributed through suites in many 5 star hotels and directly through privately managed consierge entities.

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Current distribution is 5000 copies bi-monthly. The magazine is not for sale so if you see it - pick it up, take it home and love it, If you are interested in becoming a distributer for D-journal, please contact collaborate@D-journal.net The digital version can be found online at www.D-journal.net


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Ali is dressed by Burberry, Bike by Deus Ex Machina Grooming by Samira Olfat for Max Factor

The journey so far... We chat candidly with Emirati director Ali Mostafa about being a film maker and not taking yourself too seriously. Interview by Meredith Damouni Photography by Ayaad Damouni at D the Agency

How do you describe yourself? An ambitious, passionate, spontaneous, disorganised, creative.

How important is the business side of film in your daily life? Well, if I want to feed my family, very important! My bread and butter is producing or directing commercials, corporates etc. I wish I could do it more, but if you want to make films, it takes up a lot of your time.

What is happening right now? Finally found an hour break to sit on the beach and answer these questions :) Now with your second major film project under wraps how have you changed as a film maker? I guess I’ve matured. If you don’t, something’s not working

How does it compare to the more creative aspects of what you do In terms of weight and value? I always want to balance creativity and commercial value. I think of what I would like to see, then build it on how it could sell.. As Woody Allen once said, without “Business, it’ll just be Show Show”.

How has being from the Middle East affected your career? If anything it’s helped it. There aren’t that many people making films compared to the west or east. So if you do, it’s a little easier to get noticed.

How do you choose your next project? It chooses me! No, just kidding. It’s actually a really hard, long, and painful experience trying to figure that out. Luckily I’ve been given a script this time round.

What do you enjoy most about being a known figure? I get given stuff. No, seriously, representing the country is obviously a proud feeling, so getting asked to do things to support those causes. Also becoming a friend of Oxfam was an overwhelming experience. Visiting Mali, being able to raise money, soul fulfilling stuff like that. But sometimes I wish there was a loop hole to being able to do those things without being “known”. Oh, and being told by people they truly appreciate your work and representing top brands like Range Rover is quite special.

What is the single most important human quality that you value the most? Humility. How do you feel about digital technology and film - how is this changing your industry and how you view your work? I think it’s great. The more viewership the better. People make films for it to be seen. So if you watch it in the cinema or on your mobile phone it still gets out there.

What do you appreciate most about your career so far? That myself and a few fellow Emirati filmmakers are paving the way for the new generation while still being the new generation. It’s kind of strange and cool at the same time!

What is your view of new talent from the Middle East becoming recognized internationally? It’s important for our voices to be heard. Middle Eastern filmmakers could have a chance to change the perception on how news networks depict us.

Which defining moments have let you know that you are moving forward towards your goals? Milestones that I’m blessed to achieve. City of Life was the first Emirati film to have a red carpet Gala at Dubai Film Festival. And my latest From A to B is the first Emirati film to open the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Scared to think of what’s next!

What can we all do to increase the speed of this? I think the speed is an organic one, but if I could suggest one thing, it is to support us when we hit the theatres. The less tickets we sell, the less chance of us making more films.

Go online to D-journal.net to watch the video interview with Ali. 4


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Do you do anything to nurture young talent? What ever I can, when ever I can. Whether it’s long talks, panels, having them intern on set, or mentoring them in competitions. It’s important to pass it on, and help this industry grow! Describe the journey from A to B in your film? It’s a journey of 3 childhood friends, who grew apart, and decided to do this trip in honour of their deceased friend, who initially wanted to do this trip 5 years earlier. It’s about how they’re trying to reconnect, and find themselves at the same time, on a trip that goes from Abu Dhabi to Beirut.

Trying to take life with a pinch of salt but still fighting to make a difference in our industry. How different has this film been to making City of Life? Quite different. First off the budget was much lower than City, and secondly I didn’t have a “studio” type authority looking over what I was doing. At first, it seemed quite daunting. But when we settled in it was such a blessing and productive experience. We had a great team! What can we expect from you next on your life journey? Hopefully a movie sooner than every four years! How is Ali Mostafa changing and growing? Trying to take life with a pinch of salt but still fighting to make a difference in our industry. I say that one with passion, patience and perseverance always prevails!

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In a world where accessory designers are part of the view - how do you create a space for a brand that is unique and inspired? We speak to Cynthia Sakai about the steps she has takent to forge a place for Vita Fede to exist.

Interview by Meredith Damouni Photographed by Capital D

Who are you? Cynthia Sakai, Founder and Designer of Vita Fede How do you describe yourself? I would describe myself as outgoing and curious. I’m particularly passionate about travel – I adore exploring new places; fashion and accessories – especially the latest tech gadgets; and the love of my life - my dog, Faith. What are the key factors about your personality that come into play when you are designing pieces for Vita Fede? I was born in Los Angeles to Japanese parents and Vita Fede is a fusion of American, European and Asian culture. The collection is designed for women that appreciate trends but interpret them in their own unique way. Vita Fede designs are a natural extension of my personal style: I like a modern look that mixes masculine and feminine elements. Describe the place where you work the best? We have just done a full redesign of our headquarters in Los Angeles and I’m obsessed with my new office. I’m constantly motivated to go into work every day and I’m feeling very inspired by the atmosphere and environment around me. It’s a very sleek and modern aesthetic designed to reflect the pieces we create. Because I’m always traveling, I don’t get to spend a lot of time with our LA-based staff so I really look forward to being back at headquarters and catching up with the team. Aside from the décor, the best part of being in our LA office is getting to bring my dog, Faith, to work with me every day. What is it that you look forward to most about your job? I am extremely hands-on with our business and spend the majority of my time in the studio in Italy where our products are made. It’s really exciting for me to see everything being hand-created and

watching the pieces I’ve imagined come to life. I also love to hear the feedback from the people who are buying and wearing our collections. I spend a considerable amount of time interacting with our fans and followers via social media and it’s incredibly rewarding to hear how excited and enthusiastic they are about our collections. Was this something that you have always wanted to do? I had originally studied acting but have always been surrounded by the fashion industry. My mother worked for the Fendi family and my father was an architect that designed stores for luxury brands like Celine. Before I started Vita Fede I ran a showroom in Los Angeles where I also had a small accessories line. I launched Vita Fede 5 years ago and have been focused on that ever since.

My focus for the next 5 years will be centered on evolving Vita Fede into a comprehensive lifestyle brand. As far as I’m concerned, the sky is the limit! Where do you see you journey moving forward over the next 5-10 years? I see us continuing to grow the brand by introducing new categories and expanding our offerings across the board. We are just now at the 5 year mark and while I’m amazed by what we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short period of time, there is so much room to grow. My focus for the next 5 years will be centered on evolving Vita Fede into a comprehensive lifestyle brand. As far as I’m concerned, the sky is the limit!

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What is your impression of Dubai? The people of Dubai are incredibly kind, welcoming and open. I appreciated that they took the time to talk to me and teach me more about their culture and way of life. They have an innate confidence and passion that is very inspiring. What did you like most about your trip? It was my first time in Dubai and I can’t wait to come back. I love traveling to cultures that are entirely unlike my own. As unique as Dubai is and as different as it is from LA, I found a lot in common with the women I met – especially in our shared love of fashion and accessories. I left feeling very inspired. Was there anything you found unique about the city? The city is full of luxury and beauty. Everything is very new and modern. I was having lunch at the Dubai Mall, when the daily prayer started playing. I was amazed at how they manage to incorporate their traditions into a very advanced world. How do you use your travels to inspire your creativity? I find that inspiration is everywhere if you know how to look for it. I am travel extensively and that has been a huge influence on my work. The different cultures, architecture, and unique styles of each city I visit provide an endless source of inspiration. Where are you going next? I am going to New York for several days and then home to Los Angeles. After that we will be visiting some of our key markets throughout the US and then it’s back to Europe and Asia right after the holidays to show the new collection. How can we follow you? I am on Instagram, Twitter as @VitaFede and Facebook at /VitaFede


COME

FLY WITH ME!

Managing a lifestyle of fun with businesses in aviation and fashion - we loved meeting with Natalie Tabbara on her recent trip to Dubai. Interview by Meredith Damouni Photography by Marvin Caibal / Capital D

How do you describe yourself? People have described me to be like the Energiser Bunny. I quite enjoy the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Non stop action... Being a mother of 3 beautiful daughters and a wife of a handsome, loving and supportive husband, they are my secret to keeping me motivated and to being the best person I can be. Life doesn’t get any better then that! Best words to describe myself is “HAPPY” and “BLESSED”

How do you define your brand? Style, passion and value! Why are you different? With large aircraft permanently based on the Cote ‎ D’Azur, we can eliminate the ‘positioning’ costs to bring an aircraft to the client. This results in a major cost differentiation. Who is your customer? Large families whom want to take their staff with them and ‎corporate companies or individuals , concious about being cost effective and efficient. We also have Royal families, corporate titans and celebrities as clients.

What is your typical day like? My kids are my 7am alarm clock so they are the focus in the morning. Then I have some time to meditate and swim at least 4 times a week in our fabulously heated pool year round. Once my exercise routine is done, I then have time to review my email and plan my day then address the marketing needs of AviationEcosse and my other Passion project which involves fashion. I regularly travel to many exciting fashion events to keep up with trends and network with other fashion investors.

Who would you like to see using your services? Everybody! Because flying private is awesome especially with AviationEcosse. How is technology changing your business? Online internet-based scheduling allows clients to identify availability of aircraft in proximity to their requirements on a 24hr basis.

People have described me to be like the Energiser Bunny

What do you see happening in your industry in the next 5 years? Increasing differentiation based on client journey experience and proximity to market.

Homework, baths, bedtime stories are the early evening focus then when my husband is in town (he travels a lot) we make sure to spend quality time watching movies, going out for dinner and socialising with friends... ;)

How do you see your clientele? We have been really blessed and privileged with our clientele. We have flown quite a few formidable people.

Why did you start an aviation company? Our experience was that there were no large ‎ jets based on the Cote D’Azur and there was an opportunity to address this segment of the market with great service at a competitive price point.

What kind of profile are they? From Dignitaries, Celebrities, Royal Families to ‎ Cooperate leaders and even film and television crew. How do you connect with them and market to them? Our website www.aviationecosse.com and brochure are targeted to Monaco and Cannes area VIPs and businesses whom would benefit from the time-efficient and luxurious large private jet experience.

How important is the ‘journey’ to the destination? Busy people today wish to maximise every day they get away from their day role and so their vacation break starts on the way to the airport, a‎ nd so that’s the basis on which AviationEcosse interacts with clients.

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Riders on the Storm Photography: Steven Stone, Michael Valentine, Nevin Pontious, Andrew Hopkins, Megan Moore Production: Jennifer McClain, Hiroshi Kang, Andrea Lassen

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Garland Jersey by Deus Ex Machina

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Script Work Shirt / Canvas Marvin Pants by Deus Ex Machina

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Skull Fairisle Sweater / Kelso Pants by Deus Ex Machina

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Board and Cycle Tee by Deus Ex Machina

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ROAD TRIP Photographer: Callaghan Walsh @ D the Agency Documents Oman


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“I go to the Electric quite a lot and I love vintage shopping and I love antiques. I am currently looking for something to go above my fireplace and it is driving me mad. “

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Fashion moments? Julien Macdonald has had more than can be mentioned we catch up with him in Dubai to hear about the latest ones. Interview by Amy Sturgis Photograph by Marvin Caibal / Capital D

Firstly, so great to meet you what brings you to Dubai, have you visited before? Yes obviously, I’m here to launch some new lines in Debenhams and also to meet and to greet some of my clientele in the region. What do you think of the fashion here? Do you think it’s evolved or evolving? Well the thing is, I think Dubai is a fashion hotspot there are so many shops here it is unbelievable. When I arrived I couldn’t believe there was an actual store which bent round the corner which was so massive full of fur coats and I was like it is eight in the night, it is twenty eight degrees and there is a super fur store which I have never seen in my life, not even in Moscow – it is the biggest fur store I have seen in the world. The SS15 buying season has come to an end, have you already started to plan AW15? What can we expect? Unfortunately yes we are in full swing of it, I had one concept of what I wanted to do, we all started doing that and then a week later I changed my mind and said, “take everything off the walls, we all go back to the library, we all start again’. It’s funny because winter’s not winter anymore, now in November it hasn’t started yet. Its only a little bit cold, a little bit rainy, nobodies wearing winter coats or knitwear. So I said, “let’s change the colour palette, rip off all the velvet, all the heavy wools” – fashion has become season-less. We need to design for a market that always has nice weather. We want clothes that are always light, always feminine. You send your inspiration for your SS15 collection ‘was a mermaid living in a tropical sea trying to lure a very handsome man’. What journey did you go on to come up with this? Well, basically I love the fantasy of fashion and I think sometimes I don’t like to reference things obviously so I always tend to make up a story. It’s always a story of somewhere I’ve been or something I have thought of and said to myself if I was there what would I be doing. So last year I went to one of the most exclusive and amazing places in the world, I went to Fregate Island in the Seychelles, it’s the most exclusive island in the world. There is seventeen bungalows, you get there by helicopter, everything there is organic, the food is incredible, everyone has the own Villa, infinity pool, private butler – it’s amazing. All the Hollywood stars go there, you are on your complete private beach. You feel like you’re in absolute paradise – after this experience I came back with an idea. As a young boy I went to Capri and I went to the Blue Grotto, you go through a rock on a little boat and it is the

most amazing cobalt blue grotto. It’s really, really, really magical. I went when I was 17 and I have never forgotten about it – I’ve always had dreams of this mermaid in the sea, so when I was on the island I sat on the beach and I thought I’m going to make up a new story for the collection and it was all about a women who was a siren, she is singing in the water trying to lure a man. The man is covered in tattoos, masculine and strong - he ticked all the boxes. So in the end my SS15 collection is about this women luring a tattooed man into the sea and basically falling in love with him. How do you get inspired for your new projects is it the travelling? Yes, for me it is the travelling, I love to go to really cool places, to the restaurants, the nightclubs - to see how the people live. The thing is when I go there, you see people in all the best fashion – really dressed up. I’m always looking to see what people have on and I get inspired on the combinations of what women wear. I’m going to Art Basel in December in Miami, so there is going to be everything and it will to tick all my boxes. I’m going to see the latest artwork and the most glamorous jet-set people in the world. What more could you want. Before you went into fashion you loved dancing? How did you get from there to fashion? My mother sent me to stage school to do tap dancing, I think I was a bit of a Billy Elliot to be honest with you when I was younger, so my mother was always obsessed with that. I have always liked to dance and when I got asked to do strictly I said no, and then I thought to myself go on I might as well do this. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. I used to do my training in Sylvia Young, I was like one of the kids on fame for three months. From there fashion evolved because my mother and sister were always very fashionable - it was all bright colours, crazy prints, loads of jewellery. I just loved it! I was bought up really by my sisters, when my mother had me, I think my dad was over the moon because he had a son but I wasn’t the kind of son he expected. My father was a football player, he used to play for queens park rangers and then he had an injury, so he thought great I have two daughters, a son, I can go do all these manly things, but I was never that. I fell in love with fashion from a young age and then just went along with it. You recently posted the statement ‘Kim Kardashian empowers women and

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makes it ok to be curvy’. Do you think that skinny is out and curvy is in? I think so, I think that you know whether you like Kim or not, she has liberated women, she has made it ok for any women to go out and say I have a big ass, so what, whether you like it or not this is my body, these are my boobs, I’m not afraid of it. She happens to have both. The thing is she doesn’t care, she looks amazing. How do you stay healthy? Oh my god, I try to be mega healthy. My secrets are, I take two things: Beyonce told me about this, I take a thing called Spiriulina and Chlorella, I take 24 Chlorella every morning and I have for the last 2-3 years and I think they are really great at detoxifying your body and also helping achieve clear skin. Like everybody I also have a trainer, I go to the gym. I go to this insane workout class which is a nightmare, the hardest thing in the world it’s called Barry’s Boutique, quite mad really! What do you do in your downtime? I have a little dog, a miniature Doberman called Jake, we call him Shaky Jake as he shakes a lot of the time. I live in Notting Hill, so a lot of the time I go over the park, I go to the Electric quite a lot and I love vintage shopping and I love antiques. I am currently looking for something to go above my fireplace and it is driving me mad. I like to go to Alfie’s Antique market as they have amazing antiques and I am also a huge fan of the Talisman Gallery so I spend a lot of time there too. What has been your biggest fashion moment so far in your eyes? What is next for Julien Macdonald? It’s always hard to have a big fashion moment - there has been a few in my career. When I was young Karl Lagerfeld took me down the runway after one of his Karl Lagerfeld collections and introduced me to the fashion world. He has never taken anyone down the runway before. That was a big fashion moment! Also when I gained an OBE from the Queen, I think that was an amazing achievement for my recognition of fashion on an international basis. My name was internationally recognized and I was promoting British Fashion and talent in a healthy way. It was also great because my parents got to go meet the Queen and go to Buckingham Palace and to watch their son receive a medal, was something they could only dream of. What’s next? I have huge plans for next year but more prematurely next month I am launching a range of glasses with Vision Express. They will have fancy frames, cool lenses but I know what will happen, people will take the frames and want to make them into sunglasses! Typical!


Night + Life = ? Hospitality is an industry that seems to pick and choose who can survive - Jad Matta has built some of the most successful concepts around the region’s most spectacular locations. Interview by Meredith Damouni Photograph by Francesco Scotti / Capital D

Who are you? I am someone that likes to have fun in what I am doing, in professionally and personally...

How is the competition in Dubai? How do you keep your venues fresh and vibrant? The competition is fierce now. Dubai is over supplied with all kinds of F&B outlets; therefore, it is key to really drive service and innovation. It is important to always reinvent ourselves, even if subtlety, and implement new techniques to keep things fresh.

What do you do? I am a dreamer, which is what makes what I do so much more interesting. Whether in our lounges, clubs, beach club or restaurants, I like to oversee small details and always look to see how we can push the boundaries.

Do you bring DJs or live entertainment or prefer to keep your staple of inhouse DJs to keep the vibe on brand? Resident DJs are the backbone. Our Resident DJs know their crowd - by name, by face, by song. Nothing makes you happier than when “your DJ” plays your favorite song. International DJs help with the positioning of the venue and the drive buzz, however, the Residents make the place “your own”.

Describe your journey so far? Not boring at all. Why Dubai? Why not. Dubai is a city in the making, it’s a slogan but it is so true…we are in ‘the center of now’. Where else in the world have you worked? Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, London and the South of France and I am always looking forward to new ventures.

Describe each of your brands in 3 words: People: Wild, Fun, Vogue 40Kong: #lifeatthetop, Rhythmic, Glam EDEN: Hedonistic, Unexpected, Experiential Em Sherif: Luxury, Delicious, Authentic 

What was that like? Fun with lots of ups and downs.

What have you got coming up next? 2 big cities

Has your career been a process of building skills or did you plan this career many years ago? Nothing was planned. I think I was in the right place at the right time…you may say it’s destiny.

How important is social media in your business? Social media acts as a megaphone but word of mouth is always the best median.

How important is experience in the hospitality game? Experience is so important in the hospitality business… experience however, comes with experience. There is a lot of theory but you can only see with practice and the true driver is really passion.

How do you deal with working in the field of nightlife and hospitality? I manage small details in every department on a daily basis – it keeps the business going and helps to keep us fresh and relevant. What do you do to relax? I take short escapes for two to three days - the change of scenery clears my mind.

How do you differentiate your different brands and offerings under the Crystal Group? It’s about completing the circle. The Crystal Group brands cater to a wide spectrum of guests from lunch to dinner to high energy bars to night clubs & beach clubs - different lifestyles under one umbrella.

What is your favourite website? CNN, Euronews What is the most recent app you downloaded? Se Coucher, Moin Betes

How important is the location to the final outcome brand? Location, location, location.

How can we follow you? No need to. I will find you or you know where to find me in person…

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Social media acts as a megaphone but word of mouth is always the best median.


Photographer: Hans Neumann @ D the Agency Fashion editor: Michelle Cameron Model: Dorothea Barth-Jorgensen @ The Lions, Hair: Nicolas Eldin @ Artlist, Makeup: Yacine Diallo @ De Facto Production and casting: Quinn @ De Facto, Photography Assistants: Evgeny Popov, Izack Morales, Eduardo Valderrama. Fashion assistant: Marianne Dabir. Location: Ramapo Equestrian Center, Suffern, NY.

The Way back home

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Coat by Adrienne Landau Dress by Etro and Vera Wang Boots by What Goes Around Comes Around

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Coat, blouse, skirt and tights by Saint Laurent Hat by What Goes Around Comes Around Left hand ring by Alexis Bittar Right hand ring by Selin Kent

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Skirt and blouse by Fausto Puglisi. Vintage necklace by Cobblestones. Bracelets by AESA.

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Dress by Dolce & Gabbana Shirt by Alexander Wang Vintage necklace by Cobblestones

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Vest by Vereda. Coat by Prada. Dress by Vera Wang Boots by Whats Goes Around Comes Around

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Blouse by Saint Laurent

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Coat by Sacai. Dress by Isabel Marant Shirt by Alexander Wang. Vintage necklace by Cobblestones Boots by What Goes Around Comes Around

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Mining for talent Al Quoz is anything but ordinary - we have our eye on The Mine, one of the latest art spaces in the area. Meet Sanaz Askari, the woman behind it all. Interview by Meredith Damouni Photograph by Marvin Caibal / Capital D

How did you choose a career in arts? Or did it choose you? Art has always been part of my life in one form or another. My mother was a fashion designer; I grew up surrounded by patterns and sketches. As I got older, art became a passion. As I traveled around the world, I found that galleries, museums and artist studios were where I felt most stimulated. I recall the exact moment I chose to open an art space. It dates back 5 years, I was in Paris, on the rooftop of the Centre Pompidou, looking out on Paris’ rooftops, whose walls were filled with graffiti and street art, something you can’t see at ground level. And I thought to myself, I want to create a multifunctional space dedicated to upcoming talent solely for the love of art where I can regroup artists of the unknown and provide them with a platform without confining them to the perfect walls of a gallery, hence the reason for having kept The Mine so industrial and raw. I wanted to bridge young and emerging artists to young art enthusiasts and collectors. Something Dubai was missing. What is the most fulfilling part of what you do? Freedom. Dubai itself is an emerging platform for art and creativity which gives me room to implement what I love. I wanted to create a space where there was freedom of expression, creativity and food for thought, The Mine is exactly that, free of confinement. In world’s capitals I spend my time in galleries, museums, artist studios but in Dubai I’m at The Mine. How do you conceive your next project? I day-dream about it and it eventually comes together. When I have something concrete in my mind, I share it with my team and we go from there, we make it happen. It is very exciting because people that are like-minded also approach us with lots of interesting projects. What is the most important part of each exhibition and why? The curatorial aspect - it’s not just about the artist, it’s the coming together of the space, the artwork and the team’s input which defers from exhibition to exhibition. Inspirations are different, the story is different. Each exhibition is a story, from the moment I step in to the artist’s studio to the day of the exhibition preview. Why are your shows so unique? One of my favorite quotes: Change is the

only constant in life. We try to keep each show different from the previous. I don’t simply provide artists with walls to put their artwork on. Each show adapts The Mine to the artist and artwork and vice versa. This is one of the reasons why The Mine looks very different from month to month, whether it be lighting, flooring, partitioning. We never settle for anything. I have fun doing what I love.

their shortlisted exhibition from 240 artists to 20. The judging panel is comprised of some of the biggest names in the art world and will select its most promising artist. The exhibition will take place in March at The Mine. Although The Mine is not a nonprofit, we always look for collaborations such as this one; in the hope to provide a platform for emerging artists and to contribute to the art scene.

How did you feel when you opened the doors of The Mine. It was very rewarding because people had warned me that Dubai may not be ready to for a place like The Mine, focusing on unconventional artists and artwork rather than what is commercially vital. But when the doors opened, people were extremely excited as The Mine is a space that doesn’t focus on art that is necessarily eyepleasing but that is thought-provoking. We’ve had great feedback ever since. The feeling that I have contributed to Dubai’s cultural growth is very rewarding.

Describe your personal style? I have never really thought about defining my style, I go with instinct and find inspiration in emerging designers. I relate to fashion that is daring yet minimal. I also like to recycle, so every once in while I go through my old stuff and refurbish, cut and bring them back to life.

Where do you see The Mine in the 5 years? Expansion – products made by The Mine (design) Make it more institutional – offer studio space, residencies to artists. Another branch in the region. How do you relate to the fields of fashion, advertising and fashion with regards to your own concept? Fashion and design were always a big part of my life growing up, which led me to take fashion design courses at Central St Martin’s in London. I never pursued it because I couldn’t imagine myself sitting drawing sketches day in and day out. But having my own line as part of The Mine’s projects is definitely in the cards. What is keeping you inspired at the moment? Dubai’s rawness, everything in the art world here has yet to be explored and I like to see and be part of the cultural development here. People’s feedback is also very important to me, for which I am very grateful. What do you have in store for us next year? In February, we will have an exhibition with GCC based emerging, Young artists which is a first for The Mine. We also have great collaborations ahead in March, including one with a non-profit organization called the MOP foundation. The Mine will house

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What is captivating you at the moment? The art world has so many subfields that have yet to be discovered. What captivates me is the search for unknown, overlooked talent, whether it be paintings, performance art or music. We are planning to throw an indie music showcase at The Mine in February which ought to be very exciting. When is your next trip? Skiing in Iran. Is it work or play? Its always play. Because work is play. Tell us about your next show? We are bringing together a group exhibition of GCC artists. This will be the first GCC focused show, which we are thrilled about. How do we follow you? We’re very active on social media, instagram, twitter, facebook, and our website. You can subscribe to our mailing list on TheMine.ae. Instagram: @TheMineDubai Facebook: fb.com/themine Twitter: @TheMineTweets


It’s not just about the artist, it’s the coming together of the space...

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Only time will tell Photographer: Vivienne Balla @ D the Agency Style: Meredith Taylor-Damouni @ D the Agency Make up: Vimi Joshi for M.A.C Cosmetics Model: Ayan @ MMG Eventz Shot at Capital D Studio

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All makeup by M.A.C. Cosmetics

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Watch the interview with Vimi and Vivienne about the shoot on D-journal.net 40


All makeup by M.A.C. Cosmetics

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Profile for D-journal Dubai

D-journal Issue #9  

ANTI-GLOSSY. INDEPENDENTLY OPINIONATED.

D-journal Issue #9  

ANTI-GLOSSY. INDEPENDENTLY OPINIONATED.

Profile for d-journal

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