Emirates Woman - Feb 2021

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A MOTIVATE PUBLICATION

FEBRUARY 2021

UAE DHS25 OMAN RO2.70 BAHRAIN BD2.60 KUWAIT KD2.10 SAUDI ARABIA SR25

emirateswoman.com

THE LOVE ISSUE

Follow Your Heart

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Obaid Humaid Al Tayer MANAGING PARTNER AND GROUP EDITOR Ian Fairservice EDITOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Amy Sessions amy.sessions@motivate.ae SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Olga Petroff DIGITAL EDITOR Olivia Morris JUNIOR DIGITAL STYLE EDITOR Sarah Joseph WEB DEVELOPER Firoz Kaladi DIGITAL DIRECTOR Sabir Khodabux GROUP MARKETING MANAGER – DIGITAL Anusha Azees GENERAL MANAGER PRODUCTION Sunil Kumar ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER Binu Purandaran PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Venita Pinto CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER Anthony Milne GROUP DIRECTOR Andrew Wingrove GROUP SALES MANAGERS Bindu Gupta bindu@motivate.ae Chaitali Khimji chaitali.khimji@motivate.ae SENIOR SALES MANAGER Neha Kannoth neha.kannoth@motivate.ae

HEAD OFFICE Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE, Tel: (+971) 4 4273000, Fax: (+971) 4 4282261, E-mail: motivate@motivate.ae DUBAI MEDIA CITY SD 2-94, 2nd Floor, Building 2, Dubai, UAE Tel: (+971) 4 390 3550 Fax: (+971) 4 390 4845 ABU DHABI PO Box 43072, UAE, Tel: (+971) 2 6772005 , Fax: (+971) 2 6770124, E-mail: motivate-adh@motivate.ae LONDON Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER, UK, E-mail: motivateuk@motivate.ae

Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai

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Editor’s Letter

Welcome to The Love Issue. woman to climb Mount Everest, in The Adventurer on A year ago, I had a clear vision for Emirates Woman. page 28. With comfort as key post-pandemic, we look Thanks to a lot of hard work from a dedicated team and at luxury loungewear and the latest brands emerging in some incredible partnerships, we’ve shown that when the space driving retail sales with exclusive interviews you love what you do, focus on your goals from Ru & Rocka in Lounge Lover on and stick to your guns, magic happens. page 44 and Old Sport Society in Old For this month’s cover shoot we School on page 46. DO WHAT YOU partnered with Saint Laurent, a brand Beauty wise, we focus on the best LOVE AND very close to my heart in Timeless Appeal products to boost your 5am Club routine LOVE WHAT on page 16. This cover is something I in Early Riser on page 62 and the ideal envisioned twelve months previously investment buys to relax, unwind and YOU DO. and with the support of two very special take time out for yourself this month in people T & R and a lot of mutual love, Self-Care on page 64. it’s manifested into reality. I couldn’t be prouder to have We look at the benefits of Rapid Transformational you as our cover partners for The Love Issue, thank you. Therapy in The Power of Self-Love on page 78 and we Our cover star Yasmin Sima is every inch as smart asked some of the most inspiring women we know, what as she is beautiful, something that became clear to love means to them in The Power of Love on page 88. us during the shoot and is perfectly depicted in her Throughout this issue, a clear pattern emerged in interview Head & Heart on page 25. speaking to brands and individuals alike; that what is We also partnered with Gucci X The North Face to done in love is done well. So, do what you love and love shoot incredible woman Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi what you do.

Amy Sessions EDITOR / ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

T H E H E R O B U YS

Sutro tinted sunglasses Dhs698 Oakley

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Sweatpants Dhs330 Old Sport Society

Santal 33 - Eau De Parfum 100ML Dhs1,020 Le Labo

Oversized double-breasted houndstooth wool-blend blazer Dhs3,923 Magda Butrym

Suzanne medium leather shoulder bag Dhs8,833 Saint Laurent

emirateswoman.com

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There’s beauty in simplicity Totally natural. Totally different. Camel milk skincare. naturalskinrescue.com

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@naturalskinrescue


CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2021

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THE MONITOR

Monitor News p.12 Social Listings p.14 Cover Shoot – Timeless Appeal with Saint Laurent p.16 Head & Heart – Exclusive interview with cover star Yasmine Sima p.25

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CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2021

The Adventurer – Exclusive interview with Raha Moharrak p.41

Do What You Love, Love What You Do – Interview with the founder of Wood Culture p.82

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58 BEAUTY

Hot New Buys p.60 FASHION

Gucci X The North Face p.28 The Edit – Silk p.42 Lounge Lover – Interview with the founder of Ru & Rocka p.44 Old School – Interview with the founders of the Old Sport Society p.46 Alexander McQueen SS21 p.50 Sportmax SS21 p.54

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Early Riser – Love 5am Club p.62

The Cover

Self-Care – Relax, unwind and take some time out for yourself p.64 Red – An edit of the best red lipsticks p.66 Beauty Shelf – Cartier’s Press & Celebrity Relations Executive, Nadine Shahin p.68 AM/PM Beauty – Cover star Yasmine Sima p.70

Double-breasted jacket in cashmere flannel, Maillon black leather shoulder bag, all SAINT LAURENT Spring 21 by Anthony Vaccarello

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The Love of Craftsmanship – Exclusive interview with the designer and founder of AERON p.72

One of a Kind – Interview with The Odd Piece founder, Arwa Hafiz p.84

Island Love – There’s no place more romantic to play castaway than the Maldives p.92

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92 LIFESTYLE

The Wanderlust – The most romantic places around the globe to add to your travel list p.94

FEATURES

The Power of Self-Love – Rapid Transformational Therapy p.78 A Luxury Escape – Interview with the founder of NARA Desert Escape p.80 Dream Team – Karen Wazen tells us what it takes to create a power partnership p.86 The Power of Love – We asked some of the

most inspiring women we know what love means to them p.88 True Passion – Yasmin Al Mulla, Hanan Mazouzi Sabati and Alia Al Neyadi tell us about following your passion in life p.90

Amore – Interview with Il Borro’s Head Chef Fulvio Opalio p.98 The New Hotspot – Dubai’s new Japanese restaurant, Clap. p.100 The Full Package – Interview with the founder of The Bunch Box, Maryam Al Noori p.102

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The Dream

THE HERO BUYS

Koh Sui Resort is the newly launched collection delivering pieces that evoke dreamy, endless summer days and long tropical nights. Drop 0 – The Dream, comprises of clever cover ups and the perfect beach dresses that double up for after hours www.kohsuiresort.com

Le Bob Gadjo cotton-canvas bucket hat Dhs360 Jacquemus

Boxy cotton-terry shirt Dhs675 Terry available at NET-A-PORTER

THREE

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Iris metallic rope and faux leather sandals Dhs2,220 Serena Uziyel available at NET-A-PORTER

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Small 14-karat gold bracelet Dhs26,237 Lauren Rubinski

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Opera metallic leather sandals Dhs3,435 Gianvito Rossi available at NET-A-PORTER

Mini knotted leather tote Dhs5,124 Bottega Veneta

WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS; IMAGES: SUPPLIED

Cruise cotton-terry shorts Dhs589 Terry available at NET-A-PORTER

THE MONITOR – NEWS

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Social Listings

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@aeronstudio

@cartier

@thepangaia

@tuscanbistrodubai

Budapest-based brand AERON creates timeless, minimal pieces, for a community of refined minds.

Cartier’s iconic pieces stand the test of time, making them the perfect investment.

A company on a mission to design a better future with one tree planted for every product sold.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Tuscany with Il Burro’s outstanding menu.

@theartsclubdubai

@gucci

@jolovesofficial

@ruandrocka

The first international outpost of the private members’ club The Arts Club founded in London in 1863.

Gucci X The North Face is the latest partnership from the brand and an outstanding example of the power of collaboration.

Signature scents make this brand one to welcome into your home.

The perfect new addition for all lounge lovers.

@theoldsportsociety

@salamamohammed

@ysl

@thehundredwellness

Creating a society of sustainable, classics-inspired pieces with a touch of ‘90s nostalgia.

The UAE-based content creator shares her journey towards finding self-love.

Elevating fashion since 1961, Saint Laurent needs no further introduction.

Taking a contemporary and holistic approach to wellbeing.

emirateswoman.com

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COMPILED BY: SARAH JOSEPH

A curated list of who to #follow this month

THE MONITOR

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Words & Creative Direction: AMY SESSIONS

Photography: GREG ADAMSKI

TIMELESS APPEAL Effortless ease at Saint Laurent Spring 21 by Anthony Vaccarello

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COVER STORY

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Previous page: Short tuxedo vest in grain de poudre, Pleated pants in Grain De Poudre; This page: Double-breasted jacket in wool gadardine, Fitted shirt in cotton poplin, High rise pleated shorts in lambskin, LA 16 mules in smooth leather and mink, Round crocodile buckle belt in suede; Right page: Double-breasted long jacket in wool twill, Maillon black leather shoulder bag, Jodie platform sandals, all SAINT LAURENT SPRING 21 BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO

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COVER STORY

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One shoulder dress, Black Tribute mules, all SAINT LAURENT SPRING 21 BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO


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COVER STORY

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Left page: Embroidered cropped jacket, Velvet mini shorts, Screen buckle belt in lacquered python, plunging V-neck bodysuit in fern medallion lace, SL 51 Shield sunglasses, Maillon black leather shoulder bag, Tribute mules; This page: CarrĂŠ green crossbody bag, all SAINT LAURENT SPRING 21 BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO

COVER STORY

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COVER STORY

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Left page: Double-breasted jacket in cashmere flannel, Maillon black leather shoulder bag, all SAINT LAURENT SPRING 21 BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO

Head & Heart

Cover star Yasmine Sima discusses self-love and following your heart

VIDEOGRAPHER: STEVE ERANA; FASHION ASSISTANT: SARAH JOSEPH; HAIR & MAKEUP: MELANIE MEYER AT MMG ARTISTS; WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO AL FAYA RETREAT, AL BATAYEH, SHARJAH FOR LOCATION

WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

collaboration? I have always tried to focus on working with brands that I align with aesthetically. I was fortunate to be able to work with brands and designers I love such as Saint Laurent and Valentino. I also tend to look for projects where I am able to use the platform to speak about organisations and causes that I believe in. Sometimes I hit the jackpot and get to work on projects that offer both. Do you have any mentors in life or business who help Last year was a challenge in many way and travel was less possible. you navigate the right path? Definitely. I very randomly met a performance/mental coach, named Rob How did this affect you both positively and negatively? Last year Brinded, around 3 years ago in London who absolutedefinitely stopped everyone in their tracks. For me personally, ly changed my life. It was fate! He helped me realize staying healthy became a priority. Of course, the sudden change my full potential and taught me how to maximize my of pace and the uncertainty made me very uncomfortable at first, abilities and use them towards achieving my goals. I but I slowly began to take advantage of this time alone, and used wouldn’t be where I am without him today, and he is it to better myself. One of the biggest decisions for me was decidabsolutely a huge influence in my life. I have sessions ing to go to law school and this time and break in schedule defiwith him whenever I need clarity on a situation and I nitely helped me prepare myself for it in the best way. absolutely feel surer of myself after each call. How does living in LA affect your aesthetic and what do you love Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiraabout living there? What I love most about LA is that it is easy going and accepting of everything. I have definitely kept my Lontion? I love @aoi and @digitalf33ls. don aesthetic in terms of style though. The one thing about LA What advice would you give to your younger self, startthat feels different to any other city, for me at least, is the peace of ing out? Everyone finds their path and achieves what mind and clarity it gives you. they were meant to achieve in their own time. I used to stress so Tell us about pursuing Human much about wanting to accomRights law? I have been wanting to pursue human rights law since plish so much at a very young age, I was little. During my years in but everything has its own timing. London I did a lot of work with In learning that, everything you’re different organisations such as meant to achieve will present itRefugee Crisis Foundation’s Yeself to you. I realized that trying men Container Appeal, in sendto rush to achieve just for the sake ing aid to refugees. I also spent of doing it usually means you’re most weekends at The Soup not doing it for the right reasons! Kitchen for almost three years. A correct mindset is everything. I think these definitely made me This issue is ‘The Love Issue’ – realize that this is what I wanted what is love to you? That is a to be doing. After I left London great question. Last year has and started living in LA, everydefinitely been the year of selfthing came together and I started love for me. It has been a difficult preparing for it. I am very excited year because of the pandemic, to start law school in the fall. but being able to focus on myself like never before has been amazWhen working on current projing and I’ve never felt better. ects – what do you look for in a

“Everything has its own timing. In learning that, everything you’re meant to achieve will present itself to you… a correct mindset is everything.” COVER STORY

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F A S H I O N F

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GG canvas long sleeve bomber, T-Shirt, Midi skirt, all The North Face x Gucci

Words & Creative Direction: AMY SESSIONS

Photography: ŽIGA MIHELCIC

THE ADVENTURER With passion for adventure since she was young, Raha Moharrak has never taken no for an answer when it comes to doing what she loves

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FAS H I O N

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Green jumpsuit, Large backpack, all The North Face x Gucci

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Blue mountain parka, Pants, T-Shirt, all The North Face x Gucci


Floral long dress, GC canvas long sleeve bomber, all The North Face x Gucci

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Green jumpsuit, Large backpack, all The North Face x Gucci

FAS H I O N

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Long skirt, Sweatshirt, all The North Face x Gucci



Blue outerwear, long skirt, sweatshirt, all The North Face x Gucci



Large belt bag, T-shirt, all The North Face x Gucci

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VIDEOGRAPHER: STEVE ERANA; FASHION ASSISTANT: SARAH JOSEPH; HAIR & MAKEUP: MELANIE MEYER AT MMG ARTISTS; LOCATION WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO MLEIHA ARCHAEOLOGICAL CENTRE, SHARJAH (06) 802 1111

WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

voice and help others. Sometimes it really hits me when I get messages from people all over the world that I’ve touched so many lives – it’s truly an honour and humbling. What are your hopes for women in the future? Call me a hopeless optimist but I have lots of aspirations for women in this region. I truly think that my generation, we have just scratched the surface. We have just cracked the ceiling, just opened the doors. It’s the next generation’s responsibility to go through those doors, to shatter those ceilings, to make my accomplishments and my records seem like nothing. I can’t wait for the next generation of women to have an incredible leap forward. I have so much hope – the future is bright! What do you love about being a role model? I love that I get to change the story. I love that I have a hand, however small, in changing the story for women. I love that I can help those that are like me, that come after me, so they don’t have to suffer like I did. I took all the hits, I took all the bullets in order for them to pass freely. So, I love that about my life and being a role model. I love that I’m able to pave the way for the next generation of women behind “There’s nothing wrong with failing, the only shame is not trying someme. It’s the same for me, I couldn’t have gotten to where I am thing new,” says record-breaking climber Raha Moharrak. As a pioneer now without the women who came before me. I really take it for Arab women, Moharrak truly is paving the way for change for future to heart whenever someone says I’m a role model, it’s such a generations in the region in whatever field it may be. big responsibility for me and I don’t take it for granted. With a keen love for adventure since she was young, Saudi-born Moharrak has gone on to become the youngest Arab and the first Saudi What advice would you give to young women in this region? woman to climb Mount Everest. She’s also conquered the Seven SumMy advice for everybody is to not fear failure. Don’t see it mits – the highest mountains of each of the seven continents around the as an ending, see it as a beginning. See it as a challenge, world. Truly passionate about being a role model and changing things for not as a put down. There’s nothing wrong with failing, the the better, Moharrak spoke to Emirates Woman about her love for climbonly shame is not trying something new. I always encourage ing, the huge responsibility she feels being a role model and her hopes for people to go out and try something new. I would rather have a bright future for women in the Middle East. 100 failures, than no failures, no attempt, no chances, no new experiences. Most people don’t even start something because they are riddled with fear, and that’s a terrible Can you talk us through your climbing expeditions? I started at a very thing that you could do to yourself. So, don’t fear failure! young age to dream of going on crazy adventures. I never imagined that my level of adventure would take me to this crazy life I have now – I’m so What have been three hurdles you have experienced in grateful for it. I just started by doing whatever I could. Being active by doyour career? I have more than three! I would say breaking stereotypes, breaking stigmas, proving people wrong ing scuba diving, horseback riding, swimming – anything I could. Then I when they have the wrong idea about me. Challenging mystarted this crazy mountaineering career which slowly snowballed into an self. Believing in myself when less than a handful of people awesome adventure. I started with Mount Kilmanjaro which was my first believed in me. And staying motivated, happy and posiofficial mountain and then from that I slowly finished the Seven Summits. tive. I know it’s corny to say, but staying positive doesn’t In short, I just started as a child always dreaming of adventure. come easy at all. What ignited your love for climbing? I’ve just always had a love of adventure and it just happened to manifest into climbing as an adult. For as long as I What have been three major milestones in your career? A lot can remember I’ve just always been very adventurous and very bold in my of people would assume it’s conquering many mountains quest to live a life that was driven by curiosity. So, my love for mountaineeraround the world, which is partly true. But it’s also staying true to myself; being a rebel and unique and original and ing just evolved as I grew up. Mountaineering was the perfect answer to my still having my parents’ love. It’s being content in who I am love of adventure. It was s outdoors, it was athletic, it was unknown to me, and not conforming to anyone else’s standards. There’s so it took me to different countries. It ticked all of the boxes I wanted. It’s an many things I’m proud of and, to be honest, the majority evolution and manifestation of my deep desire to travel the world and live of them can’t be put on a mantle or in a frame, because it’s with an insatiable appetite to discover new places and things. down to mindset and the acceptance of oneself and having What do you love about what you do? So many things! I’m always driven a love for life. Of course, I’m very proud of my sports career by a passion. I’ve never been the type that follows a paycheque or anyand all of the records I carry, but the ones I’m proud of the thing like that, I’m driven by passion. That’s what I love about my life, most are hard to touch and can’t be quantified. I’m always learning something new. I’m always going to new places, I’m always challenging myself and that’s what makes life beautiful to me. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what does love mean to you and This love for the unknown, this love for learning. I never get bored. Whenhow do you plan to instil love into your life throughout 2021? I ever I get a little bit tired or a bit jaded, I go back to the essence which is think human beings have decided to coin the word love for the deep love I have for advetnrue and that feeling it gives me – it fills me anything that they cannot describe, or have a hard time dewith joy and that’s why I love it so much. scribing. Love is the moments that can never be described to anybody, besides the person you shared that moment You’re a woman of many firsts. What is it like being a woman in this region to with. Love is the words with the eyes and not the lips. Love pave the way for others? This is a tough one! I feel such a huge responsibilis the moments that define us, that make us who we are. ity. I feel a huge weight on my shoulders knowing that people look up to me, Love is what makes me wake up every morning trying to be that young girls look up to me. It also feels incredible and I’m honoured. hopeful, positive and happy, even though sometimes it can Every time I think about it I actually get a little bit nervous and I get goosebe difficult. But I have a love of life and a passion to live a bumps thinking about the impact I have because we all have responsibility. memorable life, to live happy and true to who I am. Love is This is especially true if you have a platform where you have people followwhat you give yourself. It’s hard to describe, but it is defiing you, and if you have the space to share your voice make sure you use it for good, for something positive. Don’t just be a passenger in life. Have a nitely the essence of what makes us human.

FAS H I O N

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THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE: SAINT LAURENT

SLEEK

Delicate silk in butterscotch feels born for something wild

Lavallière-neck blouse in silk charmeuse Dhs5,750 Saint Laurent

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Love heart pendant earrings in metal Dhs1,850 Saint Laurent

Silk satin and lace panties Dhs4,700 Saint Laurent

St Sulpice square chain-buckle belt in suede Dhs2,550 Saint Laurent

FAS H I O N

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SILK WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS

SL 364 Dhs1,660 Saint Laurent

Turtleneck blouse in silk satin crepe Dhs4,600 Saint Laurent

Becky double-zip pouch in quilted lambskin Dhs5,050 Saint Laurent

FAS H I O N

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Bleach slides in mink Dhs4,750 Saint Laurent

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Lounge Lover Founder of cult loungewear brand Ru & Rocka, Katherine Barlow tells us why timing is everything when it comes to success 44 emirateswoman.com

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IMAGES: SUPPLIED

WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? I kick-start every morning with a coffee – I can’t survive without my morning coffee. I then get myself ready to head to the office. I am a skincare & makeup lover so I sit for around 20 minutes each morning to ensure I feel my best before heading out the door. This sets me up with a good mindset for the day. What is at the heart of Ru & Rocka’s DNA as a brand? I wanted to create a brand that incorporates everyday loungewear basics with a twist. We love anything to do with palm trees – they make us feel happy and remind us of that summer feeling. We knew we wanted this to be a key part of our brand. For our first collection it was important to start with the basics – black, white and grey – we think everyone needs a staple pair of grey joggers in their wardrobe. What has been the biggest hurdle since launching and how did you overcome it? One of the biggest hurdles we have faced is trying to predict stock levels and being able to restock sold out products, fast. We know there is nothing worse than going to add to cart and seeing ‘sold out’. How do you think last year affected the growth in popularity of loungewear brands? We launched our collection in June 2020 during the first lockdown in the UK. Due to it being the year of ‘staying at home’ loungewear has grown massively within the fashion industry and we feel so lucky to be a part of that. I think it has changed peoples view on fashion and comfort has become key! The price point of Ru & Rocka is accessible – was this a key factor from the outset? Yes. I wanted to create a brand that was affordable yet great quality. We are currently working on a new collection for Summer 2021, we are always looking to grow and improve yet maintain an accessible price point. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? I wouldn’t say I have a mentor or guide as such however I have met many people within the industry, some of whom have now become good friends. It’s good to talk and discuss thoughts and ideas and help each other through the journey. Where do you produce the pieces and how challenging was the process to refine this process? Our products are currently finished in the UK. It took months of samples before getting to the end product. We are always learning new things and experimenting with new designs.

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As a young brand, what is your approach to scaling the business? We would like to grow our product range and develop Ru & Rocka into a recognised brand globally. We love it when we get tagged in a post seeing our customers from all over the world wearing our brand. We are currently selling very well in the UAE, throughout Europe and as far as Japan. Which colourways/designs have been most popular to date and was this as you predicted? 2021 is all about green. Our best sellers have been our mint green palm sweater followed by our white zipper with green palm. We didn’t 100% know this would be the case, however we knew green has proven to be very on trend and knew we wanted to incorporate that into our collection. You have clients the globe over – do you see any buying patterns based on regions or countries? Yes, one of our strongest regions is Scandinavia. Their style is so effortless and thrown together, we think they always look super cool. We are noticing a lot of big influencers arising from Scandinavia and I think this plays a big part in brand growth as they are always posting and tagging us in their photos wearing Ru & Rocka. We also have seen a growth in sales within the UAE in recent months and also noticed returning customers which we love to see. What in this market is luxury? We feel that being comfortable in what you wear is a luxury. Being able to take a Ru & Rocka tracksuit and having the option of adding a structured blazer or coat over the top to elevate your outfit into something more. We love the effortless chic look and we believe this market is just that. How do you approach client engagement and retention? We are big on social media engagement. We like to shoot and post our products

in different ways to show our customers the versatility of each item to keep them engaged. We also like to share real customer photos wearing Ru & Rocka as well as influencers to show a more personal side to the brand. How has social media affected building Ru & Rocka? Social media for us is everything. Being able to share one photo at the push of a button and it be seen across the world is mind blowing really. The majority of our website sales are referred from Instagram. Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration? We love to follow lifestyle pages and of course fashion influencers. Some of our favourites include; @spaporterlondon, @hannaschonberg and @sofiamccoelho What advice would you give to your younger self, starting out? I wish I had started the

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brand sooner. I would say when starting out there is never a perfect time. The world changed dramatically last year and people’s way of thinking is different. I really believe small brands can now compete with more established names as they offer a much more personal service and people are realising the importance of shopping with independent brands. I would advise anyone who is thinking to start their own business to just go for it. If you had not launched Ru & Rocka, which other role would you choose career-wise? This is a tough one to answer as I haven’t given it much thought. I feel this is what I was meant to do and that’s why I have made it succeed. This issue is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? To me love is when you feel your safest and happiest. 2020 has been tough to say the least and has affected everybody’s lives in different ways. I think it makes you remember the importance of love. We get so wrapped up in our busy day to day lives that we forget to tell those closest people to us how much they mean. Life moves fast and doesn’t wait for anyone. If you love someone, tell them.

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Old School

Co-founding Canadian sisters, Alina Kupelian and Tanya Kupelian, tell us how they’ve made Old Sport Society the latest way to wear loungewear 46 emirateswoman.com

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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? TK: I always drink a glass of water first and then make myself a cup of coffee. I get ready for the day and only once I am settled, can I check my emails. I used to be the type of person to open my phone as soon as I woke up but I’ve learned that isn’t healthy. Going through your phone notifications should be the last thing you do on your list in the morning. What is at the heart of Old Sport Society’s DNA as a brand? AK: Growing up, my sister and I travelled to the west coast to visit family and appreciated how environmentally friendly they were. The idea started in the last 5 years when we both started appreciating loungewear sets and being conscientious about sustainability and the planet. The heart of Old Sport Society is the idea of a fashionable loungewear brand that is made with sustainable materials. This really encompasses who we are and what we believe in. What has been the biggest hurdle since launching and how did you overcome it? AK: Since we launched in September, the competition of standing out between many other emerging brands in a similar space has been tough. This is why we decided to take the sustainable route and have been focused on that niche market which differentiates us from everyone else. We are at a slightly higher price point than some other brands but we aren’t just selling a brand – we are recycling waste cotton in order to avoid waste in the environment. How do you think last year affected the growth in popularity of loungewear brands? AK: I think the need for loungewear and the way we wear it has changed and will continue to change. Everyone is wearing and investing in loungewear sets to wear at home, to run their errands and to do sporting activities. Moving forward, I do believe that people will continue to wear loungewear seeing that it is more socially acceptable to wear your hoodie with either leggings or the matching sweat pants. Celebrities are wearing them and so is everybody else in society seeing that this is becoming a fashion statement, especially for Streetwear brands. The price point is accessible – was this a key factor from the outset? AK: The price point is acceptable for what we are giving the customer – a beautifully heavy weight cotton which is made from sustainable materials. It was the hardest to meet this price point to which we think is a middle range between fast fashion and higher end brands. We wanted to keep the brand as affordable as possible so consumers are encouraged to lean towards sustainability.

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joy it. We are constantly inspired by what is currently out there across the world and are so lucky that we can access trends and inspiration through social media. We have goals that we set for ourselves and those will continue to change in the first couple of years, because we are so new in the game and having started a business during a pandemic. We saw the need for a product on the market and the timing was perfect. We will continue to innovate and take opportunities where they are needed to give consumers what they need and want. Which colourways/designs have been most popular to date and was this as you predicted? AK: The strongest colours for us are first our oyster colour and our green hoodie as well. Anything in the oyster is doing well on our website and green has been a strong colour in the last year in clothing and in handbags and accessories. As I mentioned, we both work in the industry and are able to call out these trends and apply them to what

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IMAGES: SUPPLIED; MELISSA MORANELLI

Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? AK: We definitely do have some guides that have helped us through the creation and process of creating Old Sport Society. We have some family in the business from whom we have received advice and second opinions when it came to decision making. We also work in the industry and I studied business processes during my undergraduate degree at university. Good to know study is never lost! Where do you produce the pieces and how challenging was the process to refine this process? AK: Some are produced in the US and some overseas. The process is not too challenging once you are set up. We love all of our suppliers and they are very understanding when we have questions or concerns. We did plenty of research to make sure we work with the most flexible and adaptable team possible. As a young brand, what is your approach to scaling the business? AK: As a young brand we are mainly doing this because we en-

we think will work in the market. There is no doubt that we are still trying different styles and colours to see if there are any other additional needs as well. You have clients the globe over – do you see any buying patterns based on regions or countries? AK: We have not seen any clear, specific patterns yet, we have customers buying mainly from Canada and USA. We have only been live for about 4 months now so we are still gathering data! How do you approach client engagement and retention? TK: We like to be as friendly as possible with everyone, great customer service is important to us. We don’t want to make it feel like we are above our customers. How has social media affected building Old Sport Society? TK: We started the launch by creating a moodboard, so that people could get a feel for the brand and when we launched we received a lot of support from our friends. Social media is our number one direct source for advertising and sales so that is pretty important to us. Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration? TK: A lot of moodboard accounts on Instagram such as: @_youthclub, @toutesttemporaire, @ullew and many influencers from Europe, we love the way they dress and are ahead of trends! What advice would you give to your younger self, starting out? TK : Advice to my younger self would be everything happens for a reason, don’t try to fight it. Sometimes I think, we should have started the brand much earlier but everything unfolds the way it should. Had we started when we were younger, we would not have all this life experience serving us as knowledge to tackle the things we have to deal with today. If you had not launched the brand, which other role would you choose career-wise? The company is a side business for my sister and I. We still work at our full-time jobs which are a wholesale buyer and a social media specialist. But if we weren’t doing this… TK: I think I would like to be a psychologist because I find the way different minds work fascinating and I always like to help others. AK: I would still be working in the wholesale business as I love managing businesses and selling products and tracking growth and success from the products I sold and believe in. This issue is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? TK: When someone else’s happiness is your happiness, that is love. AK: Love has a different meaning to everyone. Love comes in different forms of caring for someone but generally it is an unexplainable feeling, scary for most people. Some people are too scared to feel love so they avoid ever trying to feel it with someone in order to avoid feeling vulnerable. Sometimes you can’t even explain how you got there or what you did to get there but most of the time, you just know.

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PURE PROPORTIONS Shape, silhouette and volume play at Alexander McQueen SS21 50 emirateswoman.com

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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

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ALL AVAILABLE AT ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

“I believe that it is our responsibility to protect the things we love from the past, to preserve our values, signatures and history.” – Sarah Burton

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P H OTO G R A P H Y: P I E R N I C O L A B R U N O

WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

Sharp tailoring juxtaposed against ‘90s grunge at Sportmax SS21

FRESH

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FEEL FAS H I O N

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ALL AVAILABLE AT SPORTMAX

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B E A U T Y F

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L

E

BARBARA BUI

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Hot New Buys

The optimal edit of the latest luxe beauty for SS21 C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H

Total Cleanse Designed to remove pollutants, impurities and makeup, this Kombucha cleansing treatment is built with prebiotic insulin for the ultimate day-to-day clarity leaving your skin absolutely fresh and renewed throughout the day. Dhs162 Fresh

SWEET NUIT Evoking an oriental olfactory journey, Armani’s latest fragrance Sable Nuit is uncompromising in its power to take hold. Dhs1,050 Armani for 100ml, available at Sephora.ae

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Designed to even skin tone, plump and deliver a natural luminous finish, this non-sticky formula reduces the appearance of fine lines and imperfections. Dhs178 for 30ml Gucci

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Natural Finish

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Cell renewal This lightweight probiotic concentrate formula restores your skin’s youthfulness with a lightweight formula packed with powerful ingredients to fight against environmental toxins such as urban pollution to leave your skin feeling softer, smoother and fuller. Dhs406 for 30ml Aurelia Probiotic Skincare

THE SCULPTOR This targeted serum beauty treatment comes with Meno-reverse technology and a specially designed formula with a roller application to address any ageing while lifting the appearance of the skin across cheeks, jawline and neck. Dhs163 Korres

Clear Solution Formulated to treat your skin, this Micro jet clearing solution soothes sensitive skin while combating breakouts and reducing the appearance of scars and uneven skin tone. Dhs105 Dr. Jart+ available on sephora.ae

The detox

Matte Pro This light-as-air powder formulation delivers buildable coverage in 50 shades made with climate-adaptive technology resistant to humidity so pores won’t clog. Dhs175 Fenty Beauty

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Providing efficient elimination of toxins from the body benefits the skin’s complexion and radiance while acting as liver protectant to support skin health and providing maintenance of healthy skin. Dhs 220 Grown Alchemist

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Early Riser

Love 5am Club with these morning mood lifters WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

Clockwise from top left: Scalp Serum, 50ml Dhs359 Dr. Barbara Sturm; Revive Morning Roller Ball, 10ml Dhs89 Aromatherapy Associates available at NET-A-PORTER; Nano Gold Energizing Eye Cream, 15ml Dhs1,031 Chantecaille; SPF30 Vitamin Mist, 100ml Dhs247 Oskia available at NET-A-PORTER; Morning Expert Wake-Up Drops, 10ml Dhs335 This Works; Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil, 55ml Dhs224 Aromatherapy Associates

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Self-Care

Relax, unwind and take some time out for yourself this month WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH

Clockwise from top left: Sleep mist Dhs130 for 100ml Slip; Speak Your Truth aroma roller Dhs90 Ilapothecary; Magnesium ease Dhs135 The Nue Co. available at NET-A-PORTER; Eye serum Dhs 471 for 15ml Epara; Perfect Nacht sleeping balm Dhs305 for 15ml Bynacht; Relax body wash Dhs99 for 250ml Aromatherapy Associates; Body cream Dhs152 Le Labo; B silent night-time temple balm Dhs90 Bamford; Deep Sleep Ritual relaxing and soothing Geranium body oil Dhs155 for 120ml Pursoma

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WORDS: OLIVIA

MORRIS

Red

From left: Le Rouge Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick YSL Beauty Dhs195 available at Ounass; Rouge d'Armani Matte Armani Beauty Dhs185 available at Faces Beauty; Rouge Satin Lipstick Rose Pomette Hermès Dhs301 available at Bloomingdales; Rouge à Lèvres Satin Goldie Red 25 Gucci Beauty Dhs156 available at NET-A-PORTER; Rouge Dior 999 Velvet Dior Beauty Dhs184 available at Sephora; Lips & Boys Alain oA Tom Ford Beauty Dhs138 available at NET-A-PORTER

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IMAGES: GETTY AND SUPPLIED

A signature lip for perfect polish

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The Beauty Shelf

Cartier’s Press & Celebrity Relations Executive, Nadine Shahin, takes us through her hero products C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H

For her hair mist Dhs180 Narciso Rodriguez

It’s the perfect product to add a subtle scent to my hair as it envelopes it with a beautiful aroma and keeps it feeling fresh all day. Gloss bomb lip luminizer Dhs100 Fenty Beauty

Dior Show Extase mascara Dhs105 Dior

I like to focus on my eyes and it’s the perfect combination for achieving volume and length. It helps make my eyes look more open and alive even if I’m tired. Capture Totale multi-perfection cream Dhs746 Dior

I inherited the obsession from my mother as it’s a great face moisturiser and helps me get through the day while keeping my skin hydrated and dewy.

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Crème de corps 1L Dhs544 Kiehl’s

This is definitely a must-have and one of the most important products to add to your everyday skincare routine. It provides long lasting hydration all day as it is enriched with the finest ingredients for a luxurious experience. Renewing Argan Oil Of Morocco Penetrating 100ml Dhs51 OGX

It’s an everyday product that I can’t live without as it enables perfect hair protection. Terracotta Brazilian Beach Limited Edition Bronzer Dhs336 Guerlain

It gives me the best natural tan.

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This product is incredible. There are a wealth of shades to choose from and each is designed to provide that finishing touch with a high-shine formula perfect for that day to night transition.

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C O M P I L E D BY: O L I V I A M O R R I S

AM TO PM BEAUTY

Model and EW cover star Yasmine Sima talks us through her beauty routine Talk us through your morning routine. I’m an early bird and I usually start my morning by washing and focusing on my skincare routine. After that I try to do a 20-minute meditation session, but on lazy days I sometimes skip it! However, it helps me think more clearly throughout the day. Then I head for breakfast and plan out the rest of my day. And how about your evening routine? I go to bed around midnight but start my routine around 10pm. I love evening baths and I take them frequently with magne-

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sium flakes. After that I brush my teeth, do my skincare, and then catch up on TV shows until I fall asleep. What are your go-to skincare products? I have very sensitive skin, so I try to keep it simple with skin care and makeup. I love Jan Marini Skin Research’s Bioglycolic face wash, SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Prevent Serum and the iS Clinical Active Serum. These are the products I use in my daily routine. Are you a fan of masks? I love masks but unfortunately my skin doesn’t react well

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IMAGES: SUPPLIED

Clockwise from left: iS Clinical Active Serum Dhs600 available at noon.com; Laura Mercier Caviar Volume mascara Dhs120 available at bloomingdales.ae; Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser 237ml Dhs192 available at feelunique.com; Jo Malone Tuberose Angelica Cologne Intense 100mL Dhs760 available at jomalone-me.com; SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Prevent Serum Antioxidant Treatment 30ml Dhs619 available at noon.com; Motives Long-Wear Concealer Dhs40 available at glamazle.ae

to most of what I’ve tried. Sometimes if my skin feels too dry I use an overnight water-based hydrating mask. How would you describe your relationship with makeup? I love natural looking makeup and believe that it should be used to hide temporary skin imperfections and to enhance facial features you love and want to draw attention to. I try to take care of my skin as much as I can so I can minimise makeup as much as possible. What can always be found in your makeup bag? I always have concealer! I have dark

circles under my eyes, so I use the Motives concealer – it’s my absolute favourite as it gives me full coverage. I also love the Laura Mercier Caviar Volume mascara. I use these two products on a daily basis. I’m also obsessed with the CTZN cosmetics GLOBALM, which is a lightweight balm that adds shine anywhere on the face. Let’s talk fragrance. What are you loving at the moment? Jo Malone’s Tuberose Angelica is my favourite. Talk us through your hair routine. My hair is just straight so I don’t do much.

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The Love of Craftsmanship WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

With a true passion for the details of design, AERON is the exceptional brand you need to know

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Hungary-based AERON is one to watch. Focusing on sophisticated, minimal yet timeless designs, we discuss with founder Eszter Áron her love for fashion, craftsmanship and what the brand represents. Prior to launching AERON, can you talk us through your early career? I was really lucky at the beginning as I had the chance to design for several companies. It was straight in at the deep end as I quickly became the head of the atelier. I was still learning fashion design, but my mother really wanted me to have a much more secure career, so she pushed me to start at business school. Tell us about launching AERON? It started in 2012 as an amazing opportunity I received from my friends. Collectively, we wanted to create an internationally appealing fashion brand and the whole process was quite organic. Back then we didn’t have the support of investors and several in-house departments like we have today, we did everything ourselves, from Budapest, with limited possibilities, until our investors joined us.

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Where did your love for fashion come from? Growing up with my mum, watching her involvement in the textile industry, her passion for arts, and her love for theatre really accelerated my interest. How has AERON evolved as a brand? This journey was very exciting, we started small, friends for a local market, step by step. Following support from our investors, we were able to reach a wider global market and hire an international team. AERON demonstrates a love of true craftsmanship. Would you agree? Yes, in our atelier we focus on details a lot, and how well our pieces are constructed. As our styles are very minimalistic, know-how is very important to accomplish a compelling result. Tailoring, leather separates and knitwear are our key strengths. What is at the core of the brand? A sophisticated, balanced design. Impeccable quality executed with craftsmanship to give confidence that empowers women. What do you love about what you do? Creating our world, creating our collections doesn’t feel like a job, more like a hobby to me. Working with incredibly talented colleagues and having a constant flow of ideas is really inspiring. Talking to a global audience of women is very liberating, for me what I do is freedom. You’re a woman of many firsts. What is it like being a woman to pave the way for others? Although it takes a lot of consciousness to enjoy what you do, it makes me feel proud and lucky, that I am able to show women it is possible to be a working woman and to be a mother at the same time. It is most ideal for me to do various kinds of things I equally love by finding the right balance. One role inspires the other. What have been the hurdles you have experienced in your career? When I wanted to live up to the exceptions of others but I couldn’t stand up for myself when I didn’t trust my instincts. I think these are the things that could hold you back. As time passes you get wiser, you get more experienced, and as you educate yourself on your strengths and weaknesses, you are able to develop yourself. What have been three major milestones in your career? When I got the chance to establish our brand, AERON. Right in our first season, we secured the Japanese market. It was a great match. The two later investments also brought new possibilities which enabled us to grow and tell our story. This spring we’re launching our collection with a pop-up at Printemps, in Paris, for the first time and we’re really excited about it. Also, we’re planning to move to a new office in Budapest. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what does love mean to you and how do you plan to instil love into your life throughout 2021? The purest, strongest love I have ever experienced is for my daughter, Roni. Also for my husband, my family, and my two dachshunds. I find the people around you are the most important. To take care of your friendships, your colleagues and your family are vital, and it sort of secures a sense of love. Maybe a third dog to make sure.

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“Talking to a global audience of women is very liberating, for me what I do is freedom.”

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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

The Power of Self-Love

The Hundred Wellness Centre’s Helen Pleic explains how Rapid Transformational Therapy can help everyone find self-love What do you love about what you do? I love to help people, and I really love knowing that I help people in an effective way that frees them of what is holding them back from living their best life. Having a resourceful internal dialogue which is free from doubt, sabotage, negative thoughts and feelings mean that people can show up better in their lives for themselves and others. What brought about your transition into the mental wellness space? People have always been able to naturally open up to me,

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which has allowed me to do well in my career. After doing the same thing for a while in business, I realised I loved the coaching and development aspect of my role and leading teams through change. Five years ago, I came across Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and then Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) which impacted me for the better on a personal and professional level. I knew then that it was what I wanted to do next. When I came to The Hundred Centre, I felt the space was peaceful, warm and in-

viting. It is a safe space for people to be in. When you manage people, you can often see that their performance is impacted by their confidence and lack of self-esteem, which stems from their prior personal experiences. This understanding led me to combine coaching and therapy to help each person, depending on their circumstances. Can you talk us through what Rapid Transformational Therapy can do for the mind, body and soul? RTT impacts the mind, body and soul, as it begins with and changes your mind. Our mind, body and soul are all connected, and our mind has a big impact on how we feel, which also impacts our bodies. Sometimes when we are too caught up in our thoughts, we can forget this. Our thoughts impact our feelings, which then impact our bodies. Some of our thoughts are consistent, out of habit and experience. They are like the comfort zone of our minds that we dare not deviate from. The emotions that we operate from are driven by our thoughts, which all impact our body and the actions we take. This impacts our overall life experience or psyche soul, it’s like a spiral. You will see big changes when you change your thoughts. We can use our relationship with our bodies as an example. Most people find it easy to criticise their appearance and body. If you miss sleep and you are not eating well, your eyes may be puffy, you may look tired and bloated, your body is responding to your actions. We then criticise ourselves and our bodies by saying, “I look terrible, look at how fat and bloated I am”. When in reality, it’s the thoughts that are driving the behaviour to

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not sleep and eat foods that do not agree with our bodies that we should be focusing on. In your experience, how does RTT help with self-love? RTT can help in many ways. It can address why you have low self-esteem which is critical for self-love. If you are not kind to yourself, have inconsistent boundaries, put other people on a pedestal, are always comparing yourself to other people and saying you are not good enough, then you need to address where the beliefs that are driving those behaviours come from. As children we experience love externally with constant praise and care from significant caregivers. When we become independent adults, this must shift to self-praise and self-love. No one person will be with you all the time to validate your worth and to give you love, it’s an inside job, and when you love yourself you will be able to love another and accept their love. How would you say mental wellness contributes to the ability to self-love? For me, mental wellness means being constructive and resourceful with my thoughts, which impact my feelings and actions. With mental wellness, I know that I can speak positively to myself and engage in any situation in a constructive manner. Mental wellness is also the ability to know your needs and understand your feelings. To be able to do this, you really need to sit with yourself and understand when a situation impacts you and why. When you understand and you are able to express this in a calm manner, this is a true act of self-love. What is key to truly achieving self-love? Having compassion for yourself, as well as a willingness and ability to see the truth and acknowledge yourself for where you are in the moment, against where you have been previously, then you are definitely in appreciation mode. To love yourself, you need to have an understanding of the identity that you hold yourself too, your best version of you. To be able to do this, step away from all of the external messages that depict how you should look, what you should be doing to be accepted and stop comparing yourself to them. Know who you want to be, know truthfully where you are and appreciate where you were. How has RTT impacted your life and selflove? I used to be a perfectionist, self-sabotage occasionally and hold myself and others to high standards. I have always been kind, however, RTT is allowing me to lead with this, live in the moment, improve my selfesteem and my relationship with my body. I’ve noticed a significant shift since working with RTT, most importantly it has enabled me to enjoy my life, strengthened my relationships and allowed me to develop and progress spiritually. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what does love mean to you and how do you plan to instil love

“To love yourself, you need to have an understanding of the identity that you hold yourself too, your best version of you.”

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into your life throughout 2021? To me, love is tenderness, affection and consideration for one another. To instil more love in my life is to act from thoughts of love and to live with an open heart. The book, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer explains the concept of an open heart, and describes it as being excited and energised, the feeling we get when we are in a relationship. He compares this to the feeling we get when the relationship ends, we withdraw into ourselves and become depressed as our hearts are closed. We have been conditioned to look outside of ourselves for things that give us the feeling of love, as opposed to giving ourselves the feeling of love, keeping our hearts open and living life this way. It’s like seeing a toddler walking around and hugging everyone, they know no better than to love when they are in a safe, happy home.

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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH

A Luxury Escape Founder of Nara Desert Escape, Stephanie Danial tells us the secret to creating the ultimate bespoke desert experience 80 emirateswoman.com

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I decided to create it. I wanted to share my passion for the desert and create a bespoke uplifting experience for everyone to remember. My vison was to offer a unique dining experience in the desert where restaurant standard cuisine is set in the unspoilt beauty of the Dubai desert. Nara stands for the initials of my four sons, Neil, Adam, Ryan and Adrian and I founded Nara Escape almost 3 years ago, with one tent and a dining table in the middle of the dunes and now I’m lucky enough to have not only Nara but Sonara along with future projects in the pipeline. What has been the biggest hurdle since launching and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge was finding the land to open the camp, there are very few spots available in Dubai. I was fortunate enough

news updated on our Instagram and we keep checking messages on a regular basis to ensure we haven’t missed any guest requests or questions. Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration? I follow event companies that create unique weddings or birthdays, along with inspirational women who are either entrepreneurs or work towards a better tomorrow. What advice would you give to your younger self, starting out? Believe in your dreams, build your life step by step, and tomorrow is another day. As a young brand, what is your approach to scaling the business? I take it one step at the time. I first opened Nara Desert Escape as a private and exclusive concept and then Sonara camp as a restaurant. We also offer Nara on-

IMAGE: SUPPLIED

“Believe in your dreams, build your life step by step, and tomorrow is another day.”

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? The first thing I do in the morning is to wake up my kids with a big kiss, then I either go for a walk, or do a yoga class with Nitai. I also play tennis twice a week with my coach, Michal. What inspired you to launch a bespoke desert experience? I have been living in Dubai for around 11 years and our visiting friends always wanted to experience the desert. However, I realized that nothing unique existed so

to be introduced to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and presented my project and vision for Nara. They loved the innovative and eco-friendly elements and supported me in the idea. You launched Nara first. Tell us about why you decided to launch sister brand Sonara and how it differs? Nara Escape is for our private events. This is where an individual guest or group of gusts are able to select their own cuisine, entertainment and activities. Sonara functions like a restaurant, where anyone is able to book an experience or table and will be offered the beautiful Mediterranean sharing menu prepared by amazing French Chef, Franck Sanna. Alongside the incredible dining experience guests are able to enjoy a host of other activities and entertainment alongside sunset drinks at our unique lounge bar set up high on the sand dunes. Since the initials of Nara stand for my four children, Sonara was imagined as a family destination with something special for all ages where guests can enjoy precious family time together. You’ve grown so swiftly as a brand. To what do you attribute this growth? To find the right balance between Nara and my children. When you start a company it takes 200% of your time and finding the right balance is essential. By also taking the time to realize what an asset social media is, has made a difference to our bookings with many bypassing the website and going straight onto social, making it imperative to keep all our

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the-go creating our unique settings wherever you need. I organized an amazing event in December, Nara on the Beach in RAK with amazing DJs such as Jamie Jones and Bedouin. Are there any exciting plans in the pipeline for Nara Escape? The next step is to open Nara in other emirates and then in other countries. After having created this brand, I want to expand it to the moon. You’ve included wellness and relaxation practices within the brand experience. Tell us about this? I have practised yoga regularly for 25 years and practising this in the desert gives it a completely unique dimension, more on the lines of recharging outside of the busy city. As the desert is a fresh location and the perfect retreat from the city to practise yoga and meditation, at Nara we offer yoga and meditation as part of the activities and at Sonara we can arrange morning yoga to start the day followed by our sunrise breakfast experience. As I’ve been practicing yoga for 15 years now, it helps me keep my balance when leading such a busy life. If you had not launched the brand, which other role would you choose career-wise? I used to be a Private Banker for East Africa for 18 years and having my own company was my dream. I could not imagine doing anything else now, especially since I’m so passionate about this concept. This issue is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? ‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry’ – It is a quote from the 1970 movie, Love Story.

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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? We just opened a new branch in India, so due to the time difference, my mornings usually involve answering a lot of messages from our team based there. I also try to go for a run before the working day starts. Finally, I attempt to plan for all the things I should start doing in 2021 but sometimes I procrastinate. What is at the heart of Wood Culture’s DNA as a brand? Wood Culture is an amalgamation of the arts and crafts I’ve encountered over decades of travelling off the beaten path. We strive on being recognized as a boutique sized workshop emphasising on custom and bespoke products. You come from a family in the wood business. What ignited the idea to branch into furniture

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design? My father has just crossed 50 years as a timber merchant. Having worked in the same business, I was based in various parts of the world like Romania and Malaysia, importing timber from other sources which basically summed up the components of furniture production. We started off Wood Culture as a little side project whereby we produced furniture from offcuts of wood and the positive response led me to go all in. What has been the biggest hurdle since launching and how did you overcome it? Definitely the pandemic has been one of the most unique and difficult hurdles faced in recent times. Thankfully, our early investment in an ecommerce website was timed well to launch around the lock-down period last year. We are a young brand and a rela-

tive newcomer to the industry. I do not come from a design background so every day is a challenge in reinventing yourself and staying ahead of the competition. You travel to source wood and for inspiration. Where has been the most interesting for you to date? Definitely my trip to Panama 2 years ago. It is one of the few parts of the world where one can source logs that have been lying underwater since the canal was excavated about 80 years ago. Apart from being surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Central America, the whole process of obtaining these logs involves air, road and a final push on a very questionably maintained fishing boat. What’s your favourite piece to date and why? Close to when we started, we were commissioned to create a few custom one-off furni-

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Founder of Wood Culture, Jacob George discusses a bespoke approach to furniture and pushing your boundaries

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ture items for one of the local palace majlis. Back then, we were one of the few workshops in UAE doing resin work but the scale of the job was definitely beyond our capacity. I guess every single piece of furniture we made for that job is a favourite, as apart from the end result, it just showed our resolve to find a solution for new concepts along the way and really made us push beyond our boundaries. How do you think last year affected the growth in popularity of people investing in their homes? To be honest, we did not exist in our current form two years ago so there isn’t much data to compare to but despite all the challenges we went past even our most conservative forecasts. On a more industry scale, I believe it has been a positive uptick in all areas encompassing furniture and home décor. We also see more demand for bespoke furniture, as well as an increase in vendors providing the same service. The price point is accessible – was this a key factor from the outset? Yes, yes and yes. I did not study design or any related field. I was someone who traded in the raw material and moved up the value chain. My expertise is and will always be sourcing the raw materials cheaper than the competition and this reflects in my pricing. We stay away from the ‘luxury’ tagline. We want our furniture to be

affordable regardless of where you’re based. Everyone deserves to be able to showcase a well-designed and executed piece of furniture in their respective homes. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? I take what I can gather from those with more experience than me in various aspects of life. I don’t think there is a predetermined right or wrong path but only the path that makes you truly happy. Find what brings this happiness to your own life and eventually this feeling feeds into all other aspects of your life. Where do you produce the pieces and how challenging was the process to refine this process? We have our own workshop in Jebel Ali where all our production is done. Over the past 6-8 months, we have also started production in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brazil. So currently, the split between local and overseas production is 6040. Production, no matter what the industry, is a very complicated process. We are a young company so still fine-tuning various aspects of the business where we fall below par. As a young brand, what is your approach to scaling the business? Scaling up doesn’t just mean an increase in everything but sometimes getting rid of systems that are not working. As a young brand, we sometimes make

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more mistakes than gains on a particular day but these are priceless lessons on improving and growing as a brand. The more ambitious the goals are, the higher the risk of everything going upside down but I personally thrive on these situations. For me, the combination of all this leads to scaling the business. Which designs have been most popular to date and was this as you predicted? We started during the time when demand for resin was driving the market and this still stands strong. Of late, we see a similar demand for rattan and wicker and we have been one of the first vendors to have a larger collection to accommodate this. In both cases, we were early adopters of the local trends and in our case, this has definitely paid off. New trends will come and Wood Culture will deliver as always. You have clients the globe over – do you see any buying patterns based on regions or countries? Buying patterns within the GCC remain largely the same. We receive a more diverse enquiry catalogue from our European customers. The only similarity between all the regions is the demand for these items going up. How do you approach client engagement and retention? We let our quality do the talking. We deal with numerous interior designers who have always come back for their next project. We actively showcase our work on our website as well as social media platforms. How has social media affected building Wood Culture? We are a brand that has completely gained traction due to word of mouth. To date, we have avoided paid campaigns although we love doing collaborations with individuals who approach us for their personal projects. Social media definitely is our preferred channel for sales and marketing. Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration? @watersandacland, @ibukubali and @overgaard_dyrman. What advice would you give to your younger self, starting out? Don’t waste time asking everyone for advice. Trust your instincts, no one can reconstruct the vision in your head except yourself. Things will not be smooth, things will go upside down but always know your purpose and goal. Everything will fall in place along the way. If you had not launched the brand, which other role would you choose career-wise? Owning a beach bar or restaurant, meeting travellers from across the world and for a moment each day, living their lives through their tales. This issue is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? As long as love exists, the world will continue to move forward for the better. It’s our love for people, the things we do, the places we visit, food we eat and a lot more that keep enabling us to move forward in the right direction. Love will distract us, love will engage us, love will spoil us but, in the end, this beautiful planet deserves nothing less.

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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH

One of a Kind Founder of The Odd Piece, Arwa Hafiz, shares how she turned a love for extraordinary furniture into a successful business

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Founded by Saudi entrepreneur Arwa Hafiz and located in the heart of Dubai’s dynamic art quarter, Alserkal Avenue, The Odd Piece features a wide range of interior pieces from carefully curated mid-century modern furniture to one-of-a-kind antiques. How do your first 30 min of the day set you up for success? The number one thing that sets me up for success the minute I open my eyes, is a good night’s sleep. I need a solid eight hours and when I get them, I feel happy and energised, like I can really get things done. The first thing I do in the morning is work out as that also helps jump start my day while making me feel good. What is at the heart of The Odd Piece’s DNA as a brand? We are a vintage and designer furniture gallery with carefully curated, one-of-a-kind statement pieces handpicked from around the world. We offer a refreshing change from mass-produced furniture and home accessories as we have unique pieces that can transform a room by adding that special personalised touch. How did your love for one-of-a-kind pieces and antiques develop into a business? When I was furnishing my first home in Dubai back in 2006, I couldn’t find pieces I liked beyond the basics. So, I started sourcing what I needed from abroad and realized, I truly enjoyed the process of searching for unusual, memorable, quality pieces, so I launched The Odd Piece in 2013. Do you find yourself more aligned with the creative or commercial side of the business and how do you balance the two? I am definitely more aligned with the creative side of my business, it was my inspiration for starting The Odd Piece in the first place. Learning the ropes of running the business side was initially challenging, but once I had the right team and support we worked to create systems to organise every part of the business, and now the whole operation runs smoothly. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does that help navigate the right path? I actually did not have any mentors, though I can imagine what an incredible help and support a good one can be, especially when starting a business for the first time.

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What is your most treasured piece? My favourite items right now are the amazing Yoruba beaded chairs! How do you manage to maintain that balance between modern and vintage in your own interior? I honestly do not make a conscious decision to strike a balance; The Odd Piece is a curation of the pieces that catch my eye; ones that I believe will add character and beauty to a room, regardless of where they’re from or what era they belong to. What do you look for when hiring a team? I look for people who are committed, independent thinkers, willing to work hard and also learn new things. Even more importantly, they should be passionate about the business because you can’t force or fake interest. A sense of humour is also a great added bonus! How has social media help build the brand and do you connect directly with clients through this platform? At this point in time, no brand can

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afford to not invest in social media. Over the years, our Instagram account has steadily grown and has helped us garner a global audience. We have clients from around the world that come to Dubai and visit our gallery because they follow The Odd Piece on Instagram. What’s more, this past year of lockdowns and emergency measures due to the pandemic has made social media our lifeline until things start to get back to normal. This issue is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? Quality time. I plan to stay home with my family and keeping myself and everyone around me safe; I honestly think that’s the most loving thing anyone can do at this point in time.

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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

Dream Team

IMAGES: GETTY AND SUPPLIED

Karen Wazen tells us what it takes to create a power partnership

What does love mean to you? I found myself when I fell in love. I discovered things about myself that I didn’t know I had in me when I fell in love. I grew when I fell in love and that is because the person that I love taught me how to love myself first. Love can be the most powerful feeling and that is why not confusing love with purely passion is important. Love is comfort, love is safety, love is respect, trust, support and commitment. What are the key qualities in a partner? Someone I can trust, someone supportive, someone who sets his ego aside and is proud and happy for the success of others, someone who inspires me, someone who believes in me, someone who understands the value of a partnership. How do you ensure you’re on the same page? My husband and I communicate a lot – that is one of the foundations of our marriage. We started off in a long-distance relationship so communication was key because that’s all we had. The basis of our relationship was built on that. We very often check in with one and another and if we feel there is a period which might have led to one of us drifting away, we make sure to address it and fix it. We both prioritise our relationship and understand the importance of a healthy and solid relationship for our family. What is your love language? We are both romantics, we love spending time together and share a lot of similar likes. We are affectionate and caring and I especially love hugs and cuddles and he knows that so when he knows I’m feeling overwhelmed he knows a hug works to make me feel better. How do you ensure a work-life balance with your partner and your children? It is not easy balancing all these things but because we have our priorities set, we understand how important it is to make sacrifices to make things work. We often have date nights

and we often surprise each other with little things that make each other happy. We do go through phases where we feel overwhelmed with everything that is going on and that’s when we make sure to take a step back and maybe take a family vacation or a break as we know that our wellbeing is more important than anything for the stability and foundation of our family. To you, what makes a ‘Dream Team’? Setting goals and targets together, complimenting each others’ skillsets and bringing the best out of one another. Last year changed a lot of dynamics in people’s lives, how did it affect your relationship? Elias started working from home and that actually brought us closer to each other. We give each other space but also are there for

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each other when we need each other. We also try to eat our meals together and exercise together which we enjoy. What is your advice for those looking for a partner in life? Find someone who makes you sleep and wake up with a smile. If it feels wrong, then it’s not the right relationship for you. What are the hurdles you have to overcome in love? We went through three years of a longdistance relationship and that was hard but with the right foundation, we made it work and here we are happily married with three children. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – how do you plan to instil love into your life throughout 2021? We plan to continue to grow together to build memories through the hard and good times. Always as a team.

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The Power of Love

We asked some of the most inspiring women we know what love means to them ALIA AL NEYADI

GHIZLAN GUENEZ

THE FIRST EMIRATI BALLERINA @aliaalneyadii How do you show love? I have always been a big believer of ‘doing’ rather than ‘talking’ as one action can mean so much more than words. Every conversation I have with my family ends with I love you and we know we mean it. However, actions can show us how much we mean to someone. In your life, how do you implement self-love? Acceptance. I know that I must be happy with myself and love myself for all that I am. No matter what I must love myself because we only have one life – this isn’t a dress rehearsal. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? Love is life, it is living and being in this mystery and adventure we call life. Everything we do is for love and everything we feel is because of love. All my decisions have been based on my love for my art, love makes you brave and committed to the journey ahead, because without love, we are empty.

ENTREPRENEUR @ghizlan_guenez_ How do you show love? When it comes to family and very close friends, I’m very expressive and affectionate verbally and physically. In general, I show love by being supportive, caring and loyal. I learned that each of us has a preference on how we like to receive love based on our preferred love language (there are five!), so I try to keep that in mind when it comes to people close to my heart. In your life, how do you implement self-love? It is important to understand that this is something that is ongoing. You don’t allocate one day a week to go to the spa and call it self-love. To me, loving myself takes different forms: the discipline to be healthy and workout, the ability to disengage with a toxic conversation or person, the strive to constantly grow and learn as a person. Self-love is about making the right choices for you even when they’re not the easiest. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? I’d like to think that love is the most incredible energy in the world. It goes far beyond the romantic notion and expands into all areas in life. It’s a driving force.

YASMIN AL MULLA

LYNDSAY DORAN

CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF YNM DUBAI @yasminalmulla, @ynmdubai How do you show love? Caring and being there for my loved ones is the truest example of real love. In your life, how do you implement self-love? By believing that you deserve to be happy! I strongly believe in the power of the law of attraction, therefore, treating yourself, appreciating your thoughts and embracing your hobbies are nothing but simple ways of bringing joy and love to yourself. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? Love is LIFE.

FOUNDER & CEO OF L’COUTURE @lyndsay_doran How do you show love? I show love through acts of service, at work and at home. I like to show people I appreciate them by treating them. My favourite thing to do is plan and host dinner parties for my closest friends and family. Seeing them enjoy themselves makes me happy. In your life, how do you implement self-love? I work out every day, whether it be yoga or weight training. I also love to switch off with a book at the beach and treat myself to a day at the salon. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? To me, love is unconditional support which is something that I found in my husband and my family. They supported me when I wanted to start my fitness journey five years ago which also led to me starting L’Couture.

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C O M P I L E D BY: O L I V I A M O R R I S

MONTAHA AL AJEEL FASHION DESIGNER – FOUNDER OF MONTAHA COUTURE @montahacouture How do you show love? With my husband, we love each other deeply. There are many key things you need to create a successful relationship – sacrifice, forgiveness, compassion and more. For him, as he is a top cardiovascular surgeon, I encourage him and tell him I’m proud of him for his humanitarian work by saving lives. He does the same for me – that’s why we succeed in our careers. I like to show love in actions, not words. In your life, how do you implement self-love? Self-love is medicine for the soul. I believe that the foundation of love is self-love, so we must love ourselves before we can love others as we cannot give what we don’t have. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? Love is caring, trust, loyalty and sacrifice.

RUMANA NAZIM FOUNDER OF THE EDIT DUBAI @rnazim How do you show love? I’d like to believe I show love by making time for people, whether in person or just by lending a listening ear. That might sound like a small thing but we live in a chaotic world in which quality time is fast becoming a rare commodity. This is particularly so in Dubai where the pace of life can be quite frantic. Another way I show love is

HANEEN ODEH

through food. If someone I care about is unwell or unhappy or otherwise needs reminding that I am here and that I love them, the first thing I do is head for the kitchen. I have a few ‘go-to’ recipes that tend to prove popular. Perhaps this habit stems from the fact I like receiving food from those who love me. In your life, how do you implement self-love? On an emotional level, I think the basics of being kind and listening to what your mental health and body need are imperative – it allows you to be fair, forgiving and compassionate to yourself and in turn, to others. Physically, I implement self-love through a carefully curated night-time beauty regime honed over many years of practise and exercising as often as my schedule allows me to. An evening run on days that I don’t feel great is the best gift I give myself. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? Love to me is quality time, empathy, gratitude and working together on the same page. I’m also a romantic at heart and something like a beautiful picnic in a remote place would not go amiss! In addition, love to me is also spending time with my five-year-old niece. Seeing the world through her eyes, even if only for an hour, is a great reminder of how simple and pure life can be.

FOUNDER OF SNOB SALON @haneenodeh How do you show love? I love doing things for people I love. I may not be very expressive verbally with love, but if I know someone I love wants something I’ll be the first to get it done. Whether its cooking their favourite meal, surprising them with gifts, or even running an errand for them, it’s how I feel the most comfortable expressing love. Actions speak louder than words. In your life, how do you implement self-love? PutPRESENTER & SUPERCAR ENTHUSIAST ting myself first. I realized the more you give away @supercarblondie the less you have for your own self, and that’s not How do you show love? Being in the moment with the people I love is super imhealthy. So now I prioritize my wellbeing. I cut out portant. Make sure they know they’re more important than anything else by giving anything and anyone that makes me feel unhappy. them all your attention. I also invest in myself. Meditation, yoga, acuIn your life, how do you implement self-love? I’ve spent so many years giving my enpuncture, better eating habits, new experiences, ergy to everyone else to build my business. It took a mini break down for me to exploring new hobbies. Just constantly taking realise I need to put aside time for myself and what I love to do. That’s usually myself on new adventures and trying new things. spending quality time with my dogs. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? Love This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? Love is the thing that can carry you is acceptance and empowerment. When you love through any hardship. I’m so lucky to have lots of love in my life with my incredible someone, you accept them. You don’t try to funhusband, my family and friends. damentally change them. It’s unconditional.

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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

True Passion

It takes grit, determination and hard work to follow your true passion in life. We spoke to three incredible women who’ve done just that YASMIN AL MULLA

What have been some major milestones in your career? Every achievement is beautiful in itself. It’s the fruit of long Creative Director of YNM Dubai nights, dedication and hard work. I appreciate each accomplishment differently, and all of them are nothing but genuCan you talk us through your career? I studied both fashion inely dear to my heart. I treasure my collaborations, all of and politics. Although these subjects may not seem to go them – from Tiffany & Co., Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton hand-in-hand at first sight, I strongly believe they compliand Christian Louboutin. ment each other. I always make sure my designs reflect my This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what does love mean to you and culture in a modern way. I aspire to elevate how do you plan to instil love into your life our traditional pieces, yet retain a timelessthroughout 2021? Love is life. Staying concommerce platform, focusing on strong prodness – to design garments to be worn 20 nected to my family, close friends, and what ucts and high-quality tech simultaneously. years from now. makes me happy is the ultimate form of love This approach worked phenomenally, and our What brought about your love for fashion? from my perspective. debut collection sold out in less than a week, Clothes have always been a way of expressing and that was the start of our journey. myself and this remains so today. What do you love about what you do? ExWhat inspired you to set up your own fashion pressing myself through designing gives me label? I am very driven to positively represent nothing but incredible joy. the UAE within the global fashion market. What are your hopes for women in the future From a creative perspective – I try to crein this region? This region brings nothing but ate strong products, to modernize our classic magnificent opportunities on a daily basis. kaftans and to create homegrown ready-toSo, I would love for every woman to follow her wear pieces that speak to today’s generation passion, believe in herself and take every opand to focus on high-standard craftsmanportunity to fulfil her dream. ship and lasting quality. As a woman paving the way in this region, From a business aspect – my goal was to you’ll be a role model to many. What do you follow an avant-garde method in making our love about being a role model? Thank you! debut six years ago which was through an eBeing able to encourage and support women is my favourite part about the whole concept. We rise by lifting others! What advice would you give to young women in this region? You are living in a world where Founder of Arabian Gazelles women are being supported in all aspects. Take every opportunity, study the market Can you talk us through your career? I maand incorporate your passion through your jored in marketing and went on to work in the education and career. Always remember that fine jewellery industry, securing a gemology there is a room for everyone. degree in the process. This helped me assess What have been some hurdles you have exand anticipate the needs and preferences of a perienced in your career? I am a very posiniche market for luxury products and services. tive person and never look at any hurdle negaWhat brought about your love for cars? I have tively. Every obstacle is a free lesson, I always loved fast cars since I was young. Growing up make sure to experience and live each stage, watching Formula One, while playing with to observe, take my time and believe in myself my brother’s car toys. in each situation.

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HANAN MAZOUZI SOBATI

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What inspired you to set up Arabian Gazelles? One of the main reasons was my growing frustration with the automotive industry and how women were overlooked in this maledominated sector. It seemed that people just accepted it but no one did anything about it. So I decided to start the platform and find out if there were other women with the same passion who were ready to join me in building this community. We have now grown to over 100 members from more than 25 nationalities. What do you love about what you do? Breaking stereotypes and banishing misconceptions while forming strong bonds of friendship with likeminded, driven women. You’re a woman of many firsts in your career. What is it like being a woman in this region to pave the way for others? I like to see it as a collective work of empowered women who drive for change and pave the way for others to look for their passion and fuel it. Puns intended! What are your hopes for women in the future of this region? I believe in the capacity of every woman’s boldness, passion and strength. In every aspect of life, a woman’s autonomy, freedom and opportunities are shaped by the degree to which her nation’s laws uphold gender equality. We are lucky to live in a country which has made significant strides in gender equality. The UAE believes in a woman’s role in society as a leader, decision-maker and a key partner in the development process. You’re definitely a role model to many. What do you love about being a role model? I believe each one of us should see their future self as a role model. When you are your own hero, you are writing your own story and living each day building it for yourself while inspiring others to follow suit. What have been three hurdles you have experienced in your career? When I started Arabian Gazelles three years ago, the obstacles I needed to navigate were manifold, ranging from issues related to my credibility as a woman entering a man’s world; being unable to secure sponsorship for a female-only car club; the need to always prove myself to be accepted in a territory that has traditionally been held and ruled by men for men. However, all hurdles thrown at us make us more creative and resilient and in the end, we prevail! What have been three major milestones in your career? Being published in Forbes magazine; being recognised as ‘a game-changer in the Arab world’ by OSN and NBC; and being nominated for ‘Emirates Woman of the Year’. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what does love mean to you and how do you plan to instil love into your life throughout 2021? It is undeniable that it means different things for different people. But for me, love is everything that gives meaning to our existence in this world. We feel and live better when we love, our world and our existence finds its achievement in love.

it is crucial. I have always struggled to portray the message of art and expression rather than it just being “dance” as it is so much more. Dance is the combination of movement and music, whether it’s classical or contemporary you can still feel so much power. When I started, I didn’t think of it as me being first I just told my mother that I really wanted to do it. It began with five kids at the cultural foundation, Abu Dhabi where it was I and my sister and our three friends, and from there the story began and we kept growing and now we have ballet classes all over the emirate. What are your hopes for women in the future in this region? I believe it’s important to aim for something and believe in it. Only through commitment can we achieve the unthinkable. Being a woman of firsts, you’ll be a role model to many. What do you love about being a role model? I always believe it is important to stay true to who you are, only then can others feel what you do is honest and inspiring. I get many letters on how my story makes them want to do things they thought seemed unrealistic, and I know if I was able to touch some young girls out there to strive for greater things, I know I have done my job. What advice would you give to young women in this region? My advice to you is simple: dream it, work for it and live it. Do not give up when it gets tough, whatever you do will be hard but the journey is what is beautiful – I have learned that through my own long journey. All the training, difficulties I had physically and mentally sometimes paid off at the end, made me stronger. What have been three hurdles you have experienced in your career? I was around 14 when most of it began as this is when what was a hobby transitioned onto something more serious. Although, as a ballerina, the repertoire that I performed was 90 per cent from the iconic ballets that have been created centuries ago and the costumes and choreography remained the same till today. At 15, I was being criticised by those who are over 35-years-old and was The first Emirati ballerina being treated as though I had done something wrong, where all I wanted to do was Can you talk us through your career? In the dance to the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky beginning, just like any child, I wanted to take or Prokofiev. Many didn’t understand the up an activity as my mother encouraged my purpose of ballet and perhaps still don’t, but sister and I to be active from a very young age. that isn’t something we can be upset with, I I tried different sports yet the moment I tried understood from a young age that it’s okay ballet, I knew that that was what I had to do. to not agree with something, you just have to Since then, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind believe in what you are doing and love it and that this was my calling and have dedicated eventually others will see it. 20 years of my life to it. What have been some major milestones in Can you explain to us what you love about balyour career? My first milestone was my first let? It’s funny every time I get asked that quescompetition as a 14 year old where I won section, I think what is there not to love? What ond place out of 160 countries who were incan be more beautiful than expressing yourself volved. Our delegation was the only one from through movement without having to say anythe Arab world, which of course is a huge thing? In life we always aim to do rather than responsibility and definitely the goal was to talk about it, I feel dance allows me to just do show the world that there is so much more that. If I hear a beat, I know that it’ll take me the Arab region can offer. somewhere beautiful and each time it’s differThis is ‘The Love Issue’ – what does love ent which is so freeing, and if anything we all mean to you and how do you plan to instil want to feel free and be who we are. love into your life throughout 2021? If we You’re a woman of many firsts in your career. don’t have a love for what we do, for others What is it like being a woman in this region and for ourselves, we don’t have much. It is to pave the way for others? I think if you do important to always remember and love what something different you’re already paving the you do. If you do what you love then you will way, especially if you’re first it’s a responsibilnever work a day in your life, but rather live ity to be taken seriously as the message behind each day through the work that you do.

ALIA AL NEYADI

F E AT U R E

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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

Island Love There’s no place more romantic to play castaway than the Maldives

Made up of twin islands on the Dhaalu Atoll in the Maldives, Niyama Maldives is a unique luxury resort that feels as private as it does pristine. Privacy is the operative word here, whether you opt to spend time on the aptly named “Play” or “Chill” islands. On Play, you’ll find a host of activities including watersports as well as land based. On Chill, it’s all about relaxation. Unwinding in the incredible spa should be a go-to during your stay complete with steam, sauna and a garden shower that feels back to nature in all the best ways. Happily, you’ll be able to traverse between the two islands whether you take a buggy or opt to ride barefoot on the bicycle that becomes your personal transport for the duration of your stay complete with a hand-carved name tag.

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WHAT TO PACK

The Highlight Dinner in the treetops at Nest is something not to be missed. The menu extends from the freshest sashimi to grilled lobster and an incredible Pad Thai you’ll be hard pressed to believe hasn’t come straight from Bangkok. A snorkel with the turtles or scuba dive are also both something to tick off the bucket list. Here you’ll find unspoilt nature in all its glory. The Travel Niyama Private Islands Maldives sits an exhilarating 40-minute seaplane journey south of Malé. The Timing The best time to visit the Maldives is between November and April. If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day getaway, February is ideal with the least amount of rainfall yearly. If it does rain, you’ll be well placed for a round of backgammon in your bathrobe. For more information: www.niyama.com

IMAGES: SUPPLIED

From top: Majorca oneshoulder embellished bikini top Dhs435 Melissa Odabash; Majorca bikini briefs Dhs435 Melissa Odabash; Watersnaketrimmed embroidered raffia hat Dhs3,359 Gucci; Ophilia metallic braided rope and leather sandals Dhs1,636 Serena Uziyel; SPF15 Baume De Rose Lip Care Dhs224 By Terry; A Course in Miracles, Combined Volume Dhs215 Amazon; D-frame gold-tone and tortoiseshell acetate sunglasses Dhs1,412 Saint Laurent

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The Wanderlust The most romantic places around the globe to add to your travel list WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS



The Residence Zanzibar, Tanzania

This luxury resort blends modern comforts with Omani, British, Swahili and Indian influences. Set on 32 hectares of tropical gardens, The Residence Zanzibar takes privacy to a whole new level with just 66 individual villas.

THE HIGHLIGHT

All villas come with their own private swimming pools ensuring the ultimate unwind and relaxation. Below:

Hôtel de Crillon Paris, France

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

A timeless and historical landmark which dates back to 1758 overlooking the Place de la Concorde, Hôtel de Crillon is a celebration of the spirit of Paris and French art de vivre.

Escape to the astonishing beauty of the Maldives at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. Just over a 40-minute yacht journey from the airport, this resort boasts 119 beach, reef and overwater villas each with their own private pool, 11 dining venues and a world-class spa and wellness sanctuary.

THE HIGHLIGHT

The carefully curated art and antiquity that was the result of an extensive four-year restoration.

THE HIGHLIGHT The resort has its very own 350,000 sq ft private island, the largest of its kind in the Maldives. Nanuku Resort, Fiji

This resort offers barefoot elegance in a lush tropical paradise situated on a private 550acre coastal Fiji estate.

THE HIGHLIGHT

Enjoy a private island romantic experience on Vatu-i-Ra – a short boat ride away from the resort – and dine on a gourmet, chef-prepared picnic with champagne.

Right:

Set in one of Venice’s eight great monumental palazzos on the Grand Canal, this exclusive hotel has just 24 individually decorated rooms and suites. The Aman Venice combines the past and present perfectly, creating authentic cultural encounters for all of their guests.

THE HIGHLIGHT

The historically significant art and architecture, including frescoes by Tiepolo.

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IMAGES: SUPPLIED

Aman Venice, Italy


Auberge du Soleil Napa, California

A resort inspired by the south of France, which is also infused with the soul of California. Showcasing breathtaking views, Auberge du Soleil is the dream of French restaurateur, Claude Rouas.

THE HIGHLIGHT

On its countryside setting in Napa Valley on 33-acres of

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heritage olive and oak trees, you can truly get away from it all and relax in understated elegance. Amankila Resort, Bali

As one of Bali’s longestrunning luxury hotels, this peaceful sanctuary is situated on the bucolic east coast with a sweeping stretch of private

beach and freestanding suites with private pools and expansive terraces.

THE HIGHLIGHT

Enjoy one-of-a-kind wellness experiences which are in secluded open-air spots and explore the outdoors to watch the sunrise over the vast mountain areas.

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Amore

IMAGE: SUPPLIED

Il Borro’s Head Chef Fulvio Opalio spoke to us about his love for Italian cuisine and why working for the brand has changed his life

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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

Can you talk us through your career history? I’ve been always curious about cooking and food so I decided to go to culinary school. After a few experiences in Italy, I went to The Bahamas at the age of 18 to work for one of the most luxurious hotels in the Caribbean. I moved back to Europe one year later and went to Spain and Greece before moving to Dubai in 2011 joining BiceMare. I then decided to try a new hotel experience in Palazzo Versace during the opening period right before moving to Roberto’s for an amazing two years. Finally, I reached Il Borro and I can definitely say that it changed my life. Where does your love for food originate? To be honest, there is not a particular time or event that happened, I’ve just always dreamt of becoming a chef since I was a child. I always thought it would give me the chance to travel the world. Then at school, I understood that it really was my calling. What eventually brought you to Dubai? At the time I was in Greece and I found an advert recruiting chefs to work in Dubai and I applied for it. After a few weeks of interviews and efood tasting, I moved to Dubai. A few years after moving here I found an interesting post on my Facebook memories from 2008. The post said, “I don’t know when, but one day I will work in Dubai.” It’s funny because that’s what happened exactly three years later. What do you love about what you do? I love the chance to work with an amazing team, to be always under pressure to make things better every day. I love the challenges. How does the food and beverage industry in Dubai differ from other places around the world? The biggest difference about Dubai is the attention to the details and the variety of influences from around the world. What are the hero dishes, in your opinion, at Il Borro? We have to have a very varied menu as we try to accommodate everyone’s taste, but we also must not forget our “traditions”. If I had to pick particular dishes I would choose carpaccio di Barbabietola, our marinated beetroot carpaccio with figs and goat cheese; polpo alla Griglia, the crispy and tender octopus with potatoes salad; tortelli alla zucca e tartufo nero, our signature homemade tortelli filled with pumpkin and a generous shave of black truffle; pici all’aglione, the traditional Tuscan homemade thick spaghetti with organic cherry tomato sauce and garlic; bistecca alla fiorentina, the queen on our menu, 1.3kg of chianina beef grilled in the charcoal oven; and last but not the least our famous cheesecake – to die for! Here’s a complete set menu for you! Who would you say your chef inspiration is? All the chefs I have worked with in previous years have been really important for me and all of them inspired me.

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What are the hurdles you’ve experienced during your career? I really consider myself a very lucky person, husband and dad. We all face challenges in our lives, it’s just a matter of how we react to them. For sure, I can say that 2020 was the toughest year ever, full of unexpected events. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what are the lifetime milestones yet,? I’m only 30 years old and have achieved no milestones yet, but I have laid the foundations of my career and Il Borro gave me this beautiful

“I love the chance to work with an amazing team, to be always under pressure to make things better every day. I love the challenges.” chance. I have many more years ahead and many dreams and aspirations to make them a reality. Only when I retire will I look back and say, “Yes, I did it!” What do you see next for Il Borro Dubai? The brightest future – we have just begun this journey and year by year we are becoming stronger and stronger. This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what does love mean to you and how do you plan to instil love into your life throughout 2021? Love is many things. Love is loyalty. Love is unselfishness. Love is family. Love is everything we want love to be. My plan is only to give more time to my family throughout 2021.

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The latest hotspot to arrive in Dubai is Japanese restaurant Clap. With its flagship venue located in Beirut, Lebanon, Clap opened its doors at the end of 2020 and is set to be a firm favourite amongst those with a palate for incredible food and aesthetics to match. Located in Dubai International Financial District (DIFC), the venue is now the largest rooftop restaurant and bar in the area and boasts incredible Dubai skyline views, including a view of the Burj Khalifa. The interiors of the restaurant include some eclectic features like the chandelier made from 2,100 toys hanging above the restaurant’s reception and bar area, which is balanced out with the natural woods and solid stone used for the seating, flooring and kitchen in the venue. The restaurant has three distinct seating areas including the wrap-around terrace, the bar and the indoor dining area. There’s also the ‘Ongaku’ – meaning ‘music’ in Japanese – which is a separate area for a live DJ. The menu is just as spectacular as the venue. Boasting an impressive 141 dishes, some signatures include the Salmon ‘Clap Cloud’ (a salmon tartare with spicy miso and poppadum) yellowtail sashimi with tosazu dressing and wagyu beef, and foie gras gyoza. There’s also a fully immersive dining experience on offer – the ‘Omakase’ menu, which is Japanese for “I leave it up to you”. The staff, the venue, the ambience and the vibe are all fantastic, which is why we’re already in love with this new Dubai hotspot.

THE HERO DISHES Bites

Padron Peppers – sweet honey miso sauce, sesame seeds

WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

Starters

Wagyu Beef & Foie Gras Gyoza – dashi parmesan cream, spicy ponzu

Oven Roasted King Crab Leg – mango gazpacho, mango salsa Sushi

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Mains

Grilled Octopus – wasabi mashed potato, dashi wasabi tomato sauce

Slow-Cooked Duck Breast

– asparagus, mixed mushroom, anticucho honey, pickled apricot

IMAGES: SUPPLIED

The New Hotspot

Soft Shell Crab – masago, avocado, shiso, sesame seeds SF Hijiki Spicy Tuna – cucumber, hot miso, rocoto, sesame seeds

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IMAGE: GETTY

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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH

The Full Package

Founder of The Bunch Box, Maryam Al Noori tells us how she managed to bring an innovative, modern approach to floristry What do the first 30 mins of your day look like to set you up for success? Mornings are precious to me, it is where most of the fresh ideas come to mind. Every morning, you have to choose what your day will look like. Having a positive day is a choice, a beautiful day is not a perfect one. It’s being aware that difficulties may come at any time but also having a mindset that I just have to do things in a different way to overcome it. What is at the heart of The Bunch Box’s DNA as a brand? Flowers are something that naturally bring happiness and joy to people and this is something that The Bunch Box aims to achieve. We want this emotion to overflow in every home through the bunches we offer. What inspired you to enter the floral industry? When I was young, my parents used to take us to Europe and I was always amazed and inspired by all the flowers, greenery and nature. This created a dream for me to bring this to our country. Last year was a challenge. How did you adapt and pivot as a business? Last year was a global turning point for every business, it made us look at things from a different per-

spective and to approach things in a unique way. I think resilience, hard work and creativity make or break a business. It is about being able to see opportunities despite the difficulties by looking at the positive side of things. After all every problem is an opportunity in disguise. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? My father told me that there is no grey area or shortcut to success, you have to work hard for it. My mother also instilled in me to approach everything you do with excellence, so in everything I do, I give my heart and soul. This is the core value of our company, we do things in excellence and we give our best to all that we touch.

How can you get the most out of your flowers in terms of longevity? Flowers are delicate by nature and you really have to know how to take care of them, that’s why it’s very important for us to educate our clients on how to make their flowers last. Inside each box from The Bunch Box is a care guide. Water has to be changed every two days and withered leaves have to be removed as these create bacteria that lessens the lifespan of cut flowers. Also, don’t forget to add your flower food, which we also provide for each order. You focus on a modern aesthetic, where do you take inspiration from? We take inspiration from everything. Our creativity is not limited to the flower industry alone. We take inspiration from the latest trends, architecture and art as well as keeping in mind the modern, clean aesthetic so many of our clients shopping online are looking for. What does the roadmap in terms of growth look like for 2021? We aim for more brand collaborations with partners who share our ideals in terms of service, creativity and beauty. How has social media help build the brand? Social media has had a huge impact in reaching a wider market. This is where we communicate to our clients directly and this is where we come to understand their needs. What arrangements can you not go wrong with? Bunches! A single bunch of flowers can go a long way. The Bunch Box has built a loyal client base because of this simplicity and elegance. This issue is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you? Everything starts with love and love should be in everything. It starts by loving yourself, your family, what you do, what you give to everyone in every way. If you do something with love, it comes back to you.

“If you do something with love, it comes back to you.” LIFE

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THE DIRECTORY

All Brandon Maxwell SS21

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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

THE KISS

Chloé conjures feminine curves for SS21

‘The Kiss’ Bag POA Chloé

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MOST WANTED

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DESERT ROMANCE Treat your loved one to something unique and memorable this month at Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa. Providing privacy and tranquility in equal measure, the Desert Romance Package includes two-night stay in a luxurious, secluded suite with your own private temperature-controlled swimming pool, exclusive VIP amenities, premium sparkling beverage upon arrival, gastronomic dining experience at Al Diwaan, romantic deck dinner and a 60-minute spa treatment for both guests. T&Cs apply FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO BOOK YOUR STAY, PLEASE CALL +971 4 832 9900 OR VISIT AL-MAHA.COM