Emirates Woman - Feb 2022

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A MOTIVATE PUBLICATION

FEBRUARY 2022

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

emirateswoman.com

THE FUTURE ISSUE

A New Generation

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V


BIG BANG ONE CLICK 18K King Gold case set with diamonds. Self-winding movement. Interchangeable strap using patented One-Click system.


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 GENERAL MANAGER PRODUCTION Sunil Kumar ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER Binu Purandaran PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Venita Pinto CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER Anthony Milne GROUP DIRECTOR Andrew Wingrove DIGITAL SALES DIRECTOR Sabir Khodabux GROUP SALES MANAGERS Bindu Gupta bindu@motivate.ae Chaitali Khimji chaitali.khimji@motivate.ae GROUP MARKETING MANAGER Joelle Albeaino WEB DEVELOPER Firoz Kaladi

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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HAPPY SPORT - Handcrafted in Ethical Gold -


Editor’s Letter Beauty wise, we take your routine to the next level Welcome to The Future Issue. with high-spec tools in Hi-Tech on page 84, look at This is an eye-opening issue, from features on new ingredients with Juana Skin in The New Power crypto currency and NFTs in The Future of Art & Play on page 86 and speak with advanced aesthetic Image on page 100 to everything you need to know doctor Dr Marwa Ali on what optimisation will look about the metaverse in The Metaverse on page 102. like in The Future of Beauty on page 88. Our cover is one of the most striking to date and for which we had The Virtual Frontier on page 98 the pleasure of driving the beast that allows us to discover what the future of is the new Rolls-Royce, Black Badge connection and commerce in the luxury CREATE THE Ghost. An ode to post opulence and industry will look like in an exclusive FUTURE designed for the daring, the brave and interview with the founder of Ordre, the outliers – every inch of its DNA is Simon Lock. Closer to home, Oliver felt in The Dark Side on page 14. Ripley, co-founder and CEO of Habitas We look at the future of fashion with exclusive AlUla speaks to sustainability and the future of the interviews with global private shopper Gabriel hospitality industry in A Conscious Future on page 110. Waller in The Secret Weapon on page 44, founder We hope this issue is a tool that drives knowledge of Sourcewhere, Erica Wright in The New Network and in turn sparks conversations and ideas that will on page 46 and founder of DREST, Lucy Yeomans shape the future. The best way to predict the future in Changing the Game of Fashion on page 72. is to create it.

Amy Sessions EDITOR / ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

T H E H E R O B U YS

Oversized D-frame acetate sunglasses Dhs1,434 Celine Eyewear

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Latex leggings Dhs426 Commando

Azuki #2881 9.99 ether (Dhs93,662) available at Open Sea

Limited Edition Pewter DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro Dhs1,644 Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare exclusively available at NET-A-PORTER

Oriel 95 Boots Dhs3,850 Jimmy Choo available at OUNASS

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CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2022

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THE MONITOR

Monitor News p.12 Social Listings p.13 The Dark Side – Rolls-Royce Cover Shoot p.14

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The Runway Report SS22 p.24

Dare to Dream – Exclusive interview with emerging designer LaQuan Smith p.74

Hot New Buys p.82

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The Future of an Icon – Exclusive interview with Max Mara’s Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti p.62

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The Future of Footwear – Interview with Level Shoes’ General Manager, Elisa Bruno p.64

BEAUTY

FASHION

Redux – Prada SS22 p.68

The New Power Play – Juana Skin p.86

The Secret Weapon – Gabriel Waller is the A-list secret weapon in tracking down the rarest pieces in fashion p.44

Changing the Game of Fashion– Exclusive interview with the founder of DREST, Lucy Yeomans p.72

The Future of Beauty – Interview with advanced aesthetic doctor Dr Marwa Ali p.88

The Future of Diamonds – Labgrown diamonds are gaining serious traction in the jewellery space p.78

Beauty Shelf – Inge Theron, entrepreneur and Founder of FaceGym p.90

A Thoughtful Future – Ashlyn SS22 p.50 The Path Ahead – Gabriele Colangelo SS22 p.54

AM to PM Beauty – Fatma Almheiri p.92

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CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2022

The New Network – Exclusive interview with the founder of Sourcewhere, Erica Wright p.46

The Wanderlust – The best luxury hotels set to open in 2022 p.114

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108

FEATURES

The Future is Now – We look at the new generation set to drive the next 50 years of the UAE p.94 The Virtual Frontier – Interview with the founder of Ordre, Simon Lock p.98

Hi-Tech – Take your beauty routine to the next level with these high-spec tools p.84

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LIFESTYLE

The Pad – Futuristic additions for the home p.108

The Future of Art & Image – NFTs, blockchain and new currencies p.100

A Conscious Future – Interview with Oliver Ripley, co-founder and CEO of Habitas AlUla p.110

The Metaverse – Everything you need to know p.102

The Next Chapter – Beefbar makes a return to Dubai p.118

The Cover

Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost

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COMPILED BY AMY SESSIONS

A Fresh Spirit

THE HERO BUYS

The launches, must-haves and hero buys THE

FUTURE

FA N TA S T I C A L

Loewe launched their Spirited Away capsule this quarter with all eyes on the fantastical creations embellishing accessories and RTW alike. Animated characters and playful whimsy mark the second collaboration with Studio Ghibli. Metaverse, here we come…

NFX2 mirrored ski goggles Dhs1,008 Dragon

Belted quilted iridescent ski vest Dhs3,030 Jetset available at NET-A-PORTER

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Chihiro Small Hammock bag in textile and classic calfskin Dhs10,500 Loewe

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TO

OWN

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Susuwatari Mini Puzzle bag in classic calfskin Dhs8,850 Loewe

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Chihiro oversize embroidered T-shirt in hemp and cotton Dhs3,200 Loewe

Glance metallic rubber snow boots Dhs605 Moon Boot

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THREE

THE MONITOR – NEWS

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Social Listings

A curated guide of inspiring accounts to #follow this month

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

@rollsroycecars

@chloe

@drest

@ordreofficial

Sophisticated designs created as an expression of the exceptional.

Inspiring femininity since 1952 with timeless styles.

The first luxury styling mobile game app.

Bridging the gap between leading fashion designers and influential fashion retailers.

@facegym

@sourcewhere

@apple

@laquan_smith

Facial massage that fights ageing.

The new fashion sourcing network.

Groundbreaking tech at every turn.

The new one to watch.

@lymalife

@habitasalula

@juana_skin

@museumofthefuture

Scientifically proven products built to disrupt the wellness industry.

A precision-designed bolthole in the heart of AlUla.

The first GCC -based brand to harness the powers of CBD as the future of skincare.

An exhibition space for futuristic ideologies with an edge.

THE MONITOR

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The Dark Words & Creative Direction: AMY SESSIONS


Side

Rolls-Royce debuts Black Badge Ghost, the dark side of post opulent design Photography: GREG ADAMSKI


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COVER STORY

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COVER STORY

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COVER STORY

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VIDEOGRAPHER: JOACHIM GUAY; MAKEUP & HAIR: MELANIE MEYER AT MMG ARTISTS; PRODUCTION: OLIVIA MORRIS; FASHION ASSISTANT: SARAH JOSEPH; MODEL: TAMSIN OLDROYD AT MMG MODELS; ALL FASHION AVAILABLE AT OUNASS; WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO 1484 PURO AND JEBEL JAIS


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THE RUNWAY REPORT SS22 WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS

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LOEWE

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FAS H I O N

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RICK OWENS

THE METAVERSE Metallic detailing, oversized shoulders and the addition of outsized hoods felt other-worldly across the runway for SS22. For a less out-there approach, Alaïa adopted a refined, hooded silhouette that felt subtle and sleek.

BURBERRY

BOTTEGA VENETA

VICTORIA BECKHAM

VETEMENTS

ALAÏA

FAS H I O N

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ALTUZARRA

BACK TO BUSINESS

VETEMENTS

Suiting, blazers and tailored pants carved out a cool shape for the season from Alexandre Vauthier’s mannish cuts reminiscent of wall street to cut out detailing at Roksanda.

VICTORIA BECKHAM

PETER DO

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

FENDI

ROKSANDA

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FAS H I O N

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ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER

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FAS H I O N

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T H E R U N WAY R E P O R T S S 2 2

THE HERO SHADES Oversized aviators as seen at Rick Owens were one of the standout shapes championed for the season, while Balmain and Stella McCartney channeled a futuristic feel with angular lines and a sport’s inspired aesthetic. Summer is also the perfect time for a tinted lens as seen at Marques’ Almeida.

SAINT LAURENT

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MARQUES’A LMEIDA

BALMAIN

FAS H I O N

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STELLA MCCARTNEY

RICK OWENS

FAS H I O N

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VICTORIA BECKHAM

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MISSONI

BALMAIN

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LOW RIDER High waists have reigned for several seasons. However, for SS22 the low-rise pant took centre stage. Balmain and Missoni felt relaxed and undone while Miu Miu opted for a pulled-together feel in suiting fabric.

MIU MIU

SPORTMAX

BALMAIN

BALMAIN

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FAS H I O N

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BALMAIN

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FAS H I O N

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T H E R U N WAY R E P O R T S S 2 2

PETAR PETROV

SAINT LAURENT

ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER

COLOUR SHOT Brights were a strong influence for SS22, from accent details at Saint Laurent and Loewe to head-to-toe chartreuse and fuchsia at Alexandre Vauthier and Valentino respectively. If colour feels alien to you, invest in a great accessory to switch up a neutral wardrobe.

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VICTORIA BECKHAM

VALENTINO BALMAIN

PROENZA SCHOULER

VALENTINO

LOEWE

FAS H I O N

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ALBERTA FERRETTI

CHLOÉ

GLOBAL VIEW Patchwork detailing, crochet knit and high tech fabrics took on a worldtraveller approach to dressing for SS22. Fendi embodied this in an elevated collection with bohemian jackets and silk pants that felt Orient inspired. GIVENCHY

ISABEL MARRANT

ETRO

MISSONI

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FENDI

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FAS H I O N

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HERMÈS

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FAS H I O N

CHLOÉ

Every season there are standout pieces that become the anchor for your wardrobe – this season the oversized clutch was a favourite as seen at The Row. Oversized shapes were also seen at Chloé and Balmain while Hermès chose the small but perfectly formed approach.

THE HERO BAG

BALMAIN

THE ROW

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T H E R U N WAY R E P O R T S S 2 2

PETER DO

CELINE

FENDI

SILK

JIL SANDER

Summer nights felt effortlessly chic with carefully tailored silk in the softest tones of pastel and ivory. Wide leg, silk pants as seen at Peter Do will be a staple you’ll have for years to come.

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FAS H I O N

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SAINT LAURENT

PURE PALETTE It’s no surprise that there was a focus on white in all its forms for SS22. Nothing feels fresher whether you’re city side or vacation bound than a crisp, head-to-toe blank canvas.

HERMÈS

ALAïA

FENDI

THE ROW

FAS H I O N

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CHRISTIAN DIOR

BURBERRY

MIU MIU

SHORTCUT Historically summer is the season we see shorts take centre stage. Whether you’re admiring these from afar or adopting them into your SS22 wardrobe; take a tailored, outsized approach for a flattering, less obvious feel.

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WORDS:AMY SESSIONS

The Secret Weapon

Founder of Gabwaller.com, Gabriel Waller is the A-List secret weapon in tracking down the rarest and most covetable pieces in fashion. We ask her what the future of personal shopping looks like 44 emirateswoman.com

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What time do you rise and what do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine? Mornings are always the busiest period for me. Since relocating to Los Angeles, I’m waking up to my Australian team being online overnight, in addition to several of my global sourcing assistants, so my first priority is to catch up on all information that has come through overnight from my team and action accordingly. It may not be the best habit currently, but I can’t get started on my day until that has been ticked off. From there, I jump into my everyday morning routine, ready for my LA-based team to start. My alarm is currently set for 6.30am daily. What was the moment you realised you had to make the leap and start your own brand and how did your previous roles pave the way for this? I’ve always had the entrepreneurial desire within me, so I do feel that I was set from an early stage within my career to pave my way into building a career where I could work for myself. I’m so grateful for my previous roles that I did prior to launching my own company, especially my time working within the government, prior to making the leap into the fashion industry. That season within my life certainly shaped me into who I am today, and I continue to implement skills that I learnt during that time into running my own business today. What is at the core of Gabwaller.com, the DNA and business model? My immediate thought jumped to kindness. That is who I am as a person, and naturally that filters through to every part of the business. It’s very important to me that the team I build feels that also, and I know that our clients appreciate that. Kindness and being personable would sum it up in two words. You’re direct to consumer. How did you keep up with the demand as you scaled and what was your big break? After Rosie HuntingtonWhiteley posted thanking me for my services back in January 2019, it truly was an overnight explosion of new requests. I remember feeling excited, nervous, and overwhelmed all bundled into one. My life changed at that moment and I needed to act fast to ensure that I could keep up with the sudden demand that my business now had. I stopped at nothing to ensure that happened. Which brands or pieces drive sales season after season? Chanel, Chanel, and even more Chanel. It is our most requested brand season after season and going by the requests that I have already received for SS22, their upcoming Spring Summer 2022 collection will be one of our most requested collections yet. Which brands are on your radar or are you personally buying into for 2022? I have a very close eye on Prada and Miu Miu currently. In particular, Miu Miu’s upcoming Spring Summer 2022 collection is set to be a very popular one. Those low-rise mini skirts! Who supports you – do you have a team? I have an incredible team that I wouldn’t be where I am today without. I have two direct assistants that work alongside me, one focuses more toward client communication (it is very important to me that we uphold fast replies), and the other focuses on operations. They are the backbone of the business. In total, we have a team currently of 10. What has been the biggest challenge since launching the brand, and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge earlier on was managing the sudden demand that we received, whilst still upholding

the personal service that I am extremely passionate about to this day. There were certainly months where I felt that I couldn’t keep up, that I may crash. I knew that I had to work extremely hard, at an extremely fast pace to get through it, which I did. Building my team has been the most important part of overcoming that challenge and season within the company. The last year was a time that saw brands change strategy. Have you had to pivot as a business? If we rewind back to March 2020, I remember very vividly our first team call where we sat down and discussed the potential impact that this may have on us. With stores suddenly closing, how were we to source our items? Thankfully with a lot of brands pivoting quickly earlier on, they were able to continue to conduct remote sales, which was our saving grace. One other area that we pivoted in was to commence sourcing in regions that perhaps we hadn’t touched before but did remain open due to lighter Covid restrictions in their country. Australia is a great example of that, it was a country that remained open for a huge part of 2020 and we were able to conduct a lot of our sourcing from there. Which products have you had most requests for to date? Currently, our most requested brands continue to be Chanel (dad sandals, loafers, and the upcoming Spring Summer 2022 collection), Prada (they’re just about to release a new skort style which is set to be very popular), and Louis Vuitton. What effect do you see social media having on the growth of the brand? Social media has been paramount to the growth of my business. Currently, my business is conducted entirely through Instagram DM, without that channel, I don’t believe I would have reached a global audience as quickly as I have. How do you stay in optimal form for performance – do you take supplements/follow a healthy diet? I love living a healthy lifestyle and my latest ‘addiction’ here in LA is Pilates. I do a mix between Forma Pilates (reformer) and Hot Pilates (the best sweat session). I’ve been vegetarian going on six years now, I’m a strong believer in treating food as medicine for ultimately feeling my best. You recently moved to LA, tell us about the strategy behind this and how long was it in the making? This was over two years in the making, and I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally be here. The original plan was to relocate in March of 2020, but Covid placed a slight spanner in the works. I relocated in September 2021 and have not looked back since. The US is my fastest growing client market, and it was a natural progression for the business to relocate over here to focus on the US as a whole. How do you deal with working across so many different time zones? A lot of organisation and time management, I would be lost without my world clock. This is The Future Issue – what do you think is the future of the luxury industry and how do you see the brand being part of that? I truly believe the future of luxury shopping is sourcing. I have seen a massive shift in the personal shopping space over the past three years, with a significant increase in sourcing. It is both easy and quick, which are both important to today’s luxury shopper. It is very important for me to continue to pave the way for this area in the industry, and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months (and beyond) brings.

FAS H I O N

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Founder of new fashion sourcing network Sourcewhere is Erica Wright. With a background in luxury and stints at leading ecommerce heavyweights, we find out how different it is launching her own business and what the future of shopping looks like

Network The New

WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

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What do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine? I like to start my day as calm and slowly as possible, because from the moment my laptop opens it’s rather the opposite. I make a coffee first, then go through my list for the day and write everything down – for both work and personal life – before getting ready. I try not to look at any screens for at least the first hour of the day, although that’s easier said than done! It took a while for me to establish a routine when I started the business but ultimately learned that it’s important to take that time for yourself and set some boundaries, especially when you’re working from home. When was the moment you realized you had to make the leap and start your own brand and how did your previous roles pave the way for this? I think first and foremost, it’s important to say how much my time at various global brands gave me the opportunity to learn and experience what I was passionate about which was products and people. I think PR and Communications is one of those departments where you’re really exposed to everything – from marketing to editorial, buying and personal shopping, even

speaking to everyone who would listen, and it all went forward from there. What is at the core of Sourcewhere, the DNA and business model? Sourcewhere is a place to find and request curated luxury and contemporary fashion, or as we like to put it, “beautiful things”. We’re a marketplace that connects people to source what they’re looking for, be it a current season favourite or a rare past season find. In a digital age it seemed almost unthinkable that customers were still having to spend so much time trawling through search engines, marketplaces and even calling stores to find items that weren’t easy to locate, so it felt like the right time to create a digital tool that would make sourcing accessible for everyone. We’re solutions driven when it comes to creating a space where all these issues are addressed in one centralized place, particularly our software and logistics. At the same time, the curated focus across our content and community are key for us – it was important that what we were building had a clear purpose and solved a problem, but the execution of it had to be with a brand aesthetic that made the Sourcewhere “world” instantly recognizable. We believe that less is better, and this is really at the centre of everything we do – from how we communicate and present our visuals, to the product curation we have on Sourcewhere. How do the commercial and creative sides of the business work together and do you feel particularly drawn to one side of the business? Who supports you – do you have a team? They very much go hand-in-hand as ultimately, the user experience is what matters most. There are a lot of complexities involved in the logistics and operations of the sourcing process, so whilst those need to be addressed, it also has to be done in a way that is engaging and seamless. That’s where the creative part comes in – you can have the most seamless and considered structure for your product, but the creative and artistic direction is what keeps your brand’s point of difference clear, and your audience engaged. I loved the creative process the most when I started Sourcewhere – it felt more natural to me, but I learned so much through the technical build process and somehow, it switched to this – for now at least. Which brings me to people; I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredibly talented individuals throughout this tech and finance. Whether you’re writing process who are now core team members or a press release for an exclusive capsule, or managing interviews for key spokespeople, advisors. Whether you’re working with fullyou constantly have to be wearing different time employees or part-time freelancers, hats to effectively communicate these stosurrounding yourself with people who really believe in the vision and what you’re building ries and perspectives. I was always curious is the core factor of any and all support. and wanted to learn more – I was very lucky to work with and for some incredibly inspirWhat has been the largest challenge since ing people who gave me both the tools and deciding to build the brand and how did you autonomy to do just that. The decision to overcome it? Product development. When start a new business came about naturally, you’re building something new, there are I had an instinct that the idea I had was about a million different ways that you can worth exploring, so I started the research – do it. I learned pretty quickly that you can’t

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“Sourcewhere is the antidote to excessive choice.” get hung up on every detail being perfect – you constantly have to change things and keep moving with it. It started with an idea, a laptop, and some post-it notes, and now we have this incredible software and system that is the result of so many moving parts, hours spent researching and building, and ultra-talented people coming together. It’s a special thing to see the product start from a single line of code to people interacting with something that might seem simple, but is actually very complex. Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what has been the best advice they have imparted to you? I have been lucky to have both worked with and met some brilliant people that are experts in their indi-

the perfect one, but it’ll get you to the next step and likely teach you something new along the way. Which products have you had most requests for to date? So far, we’ve seen a lot of requests for brands such as Amina Muaddi and Bottega Veneta, to Céline by Phoebe Philo, The Row and Totême. It’s interesting to see the demand for some of these pieces that have unexpectedly sold out very quickly, especially with some of the niche, contemporary brands that are hard to find. We see a balance between present and past season vidual fields, prior to and whilst building items, which is what’s unique to our busiSourcewhere. The key piece of advice I’ve ness model and specifically, sourcing. always taken throughout this process is if What effect do you see social media having on you hear the word impossible, always ask the growth of the brand? As we’re early stage, what is possible. Building something new we’re very much focused on one channel can at times feel completely unrealistic, but only right now which is Instagram. I think you have to keep moving forward and believe in a very over-saturated space, you have to that you’ll find a solution – it might not be really pinpoint what your customers love to engage with and continually work to make that area the most exciting, interesting part of promoting your brand or business on social media. It’s definitely an important area of the business for us to grow our community and organically engage with existing and prospective customers. It’s incredibly important as a start-up to listen to your users from day one – when you’re engaging with a like or a comment, your marketing strategy is also your customer service strategy. They’re ultimately who you’re building the platform for, so their feedback via this medium is paramount to the future of the business. This is The Future Issue – what do you think is the future of the luxury industry and how do you see the brand being part of that? I think that a curated, personalised approach is going to be essential to the way consumers engage with luxury fashion in all forms, whether it’s new items, re-sale or rental. Shoppers have never had more to choose from, yet they still struggle to find what they’re looking for. Sourcewhere is the antidote to excessive choice – our aim is to significantly cut down the browsing time customers spend searching for their desired piece, but in an accessible way. Be it a onetime purchase or returning client, we’re streamlining the process of finding items online and offline and providing a space where shoppers can have direct access to a network of trustworthy suppliers who can source exactly what they’re looking for. Additionally, we want to highlight how important a less, but better approach to shopping is, not only for the individual but the impact that has on the industry as a whole. Our hope is that by helping shoppers to find the pieces they’re truly coveting, they’ll look after these investments for the long-term. The future of luxury shopping is personal, but it doesn’t have to be exclusive.

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Movement and intertwined leather straps mark out life’s non-linear journey in Gabriele Colangelo’s SS22 collection

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THE FUTURE OF AN ICON

Founded in 1951, Max Mara is the epitome of Italian quality and craftsmanship. We spoke to Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti - Omnichannel Retail Director Max Mara Fashion Group, Max Mara Global Brand Ambassador and granddaughter of the label’s founder Achille Maramotti, about taking the brand to the next stage while still retaining its heritage

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What do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine? I wake up and have breakfast with my husband or (if I am in Reggio Emilia) with my mother, and we usually talk about our day ahead and what it will look like. Then I check my first emails on my iPad and read the newspapers. A couple of times a week I either play tennis, do Pilates, or go for a walk. I am usually an early riser, a habit I’ve retained form my NY years. What is at the core of Max Mara, the DNA of the brand? Max Mara is a company which has existed for 70 years through the idea of design, craftsmanship, timeless and quality: our DNA starts from the craftsmanship, the quality of the fabrics, the garment constructions that have a tailored and impeccable cut, as well as this idea of constant evolution in order to match women’s lifestyle, to get them comfortable in their own skin, to celebrate their choices. We are always true to our DNA and I think that today the big challenge is to maintain your style and never compromise it for what can be temporary trends, because ultimately when you are an iconic brand like we are, you cannot afford to be trendy. Consistency and precision in the DNA, and the ability to evolve without moving away from what we are can definitely be considered our strongest attributes. The brand is known for its classic pieces which transcend seasons. Which key pieces continue to drive sales season after season? The quick answer (and also the right one), being COATS, COATS, COATS. The classic iconic 101801, the Manuela beautiful camel coat. Those pieces are Max Mara icons, what a woman needs to have in her wardrobe. Which piece of Max Mara is the piece you’ve had the longest and treasure? I have two, actually. One is the Manuela coat, the classic camel wrap around which works with everything. The other one is the classic black

LILIA coat, a pure cashmere coat which is ideal for travelling, especially if you’re traveling between temperature extremes. You’re direct to consumer as well as partnering with leading ecommerce platforms. How do your clients differ from those visiting physical stores? I honestly don’t believe there is much of a difference between the clients, overall it is the experience they look for which is different: I think that the physical store is lived as an immersive experience into the Max Mara world. The online customer is more proactive and uses online shopping for a practical reason. How do the commercial and creative sides of the business work together and do you feel particularly drawn to one side of the business? I think the best part of my role is to be able to combine the two sides, because they are equally important, there is no side more important than another: the goal is to make them work together consistently. You do it if the creative side thinks clearly with the client in mind, then there is no negotiation needed. Can you tell us more about the key changes you’ve implemented in your role? For sure for me it was a priority to draw a very product centric business into a more customer centric business: thinking about client needs, about how the brand is perceived to the consumer. To me the key point was ok, what we have is fabulous, is unique on so many levels. How do I make women know about it? Hence a new way of communicating, through platforms of social media, digital creators. What has been the largest challenge to date since you joined and how did you overcome it? Changes are a vital part of an industry which is built upon intercepting changes within lifestyle. I think that the only way to cope with the business arena is to understand what women want, what they value. As a brand, we built goodwill after 70 years of being on the market. Being loyal to your legacy ensures success as it does not build your success on a temporary phenomenon. Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what has been the best advice they have imparted to you? I was raised by a working woman, and my great grandmother herself, transferred to my mother the idea of this positive pragmatism, hence this idea of a woman being proactive in the contribution to a family. Today it is simply natural that the extension of such a thought process translates into designing clothes which are targeted at women’s lifestyle. Last year was a time that saw brands change strategy. Have you had to pivot as a business? Covid is something that has focused the attention on the inefficiencies or the weaknesses of the fashion industry which were already showing, particularly in terms of value chain. All of a sudden, the role of

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physical retail, with restrictions and social distancing, came into question and the drop in footfall focused everybody’s attention on the growth of their digital business. That was a trend that was already happening, but I think that has become even more relevant to customers. Post lockdown, I do believe women want to have something that is more durable, more valuable and stands the test of time. I also think that there will be a sense of sobriety in fashion in the next few years; that will be one of the biggest changes. The fashion industry will have to adapt to this new sentiment and will have to adapt quite fast. What effect do you see social media having on the growth of the brand? Digital entrepreneurs and social media are helping to generate our content. They give us a different version of Max Mara, which puts us in a place where we can be less self-absorbed. We love to partner with someone who can give us a different angle. In that way, we get an opportunity to interact with a different kind of audience and that is valuable. Ecommerce is growing yet there is still appetite for experiential stores. Do you have any specific plans for offline strategies in the future? Generally speaking, digital platforms have given the brands a great opportunity to extend their vision and to have a more personal relationship with their clients in terms of studying behaviour. Physical stores and the personal touch are still very important, and the two things must absolutely live together. I don’t believe in the fact that digital has to be an antagonism of the physical. The Max Mara Resort 2022 collection is named ‘Local Color’. How do you see the relationship between local and global in fashion? Today you need to always think about a global environment of competition and of customers. For us, it has always been this way from the outset when my grandfather founded the company. I think that to find the balance between the two is in our DNA. This is The Future Issue. What do you think is the future of the luxury industry and how do you see the brand being part of that? I think that the future is to be true to what your values are, to what your DNA is and instead adopting new ways of communicating this.

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The Future of Footwear

Elisa Bruno, General Manager of Level Shoes, expands on what it takes to drive the future of luxury and how embracing new tech platforms supports the business 64 emirateswoman.com

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What do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine? Something healthy and inspiring. I feel like my morning routine sets the tone for the whole day – working with Level Shoes, which is always fast paced due to the many brands we work with on a daily basis, I know I need to be on top of my game! I like to start my mornings by giving myself a few moments of peace and reflection, which I don’t get to do much often during the day; a 15-minute meditation session, especially now with the Dubai winter weather, is just the peace I need before the craziness of the day begins and when I find myself having the most creative reflection. Once I’ve awoken myself mentally, I always try to squeeze in a little exercise, even if it is as simple as a jog around the block to get my body moving for the day. What is at the core of Level Shoes, the DNA of the brand? Product curation, innovation, authenticity and the people. Level Shoes strives to constantly innovate and stimu-


late the customer experience through services and an unprecedented product offering. The store display is constantly changing and adapting and aims to inspire the customer to dream. Social media platforms allow the brand to express authenticity in a luxurious way, authenticity connects with the soul of consumers and luxury connects with the emotions. That being said our values are heavily embedded in all aspects of the business such as respect, excellence and leading with an entrepreneurial spirit – these are three core areas we aspire to inspire people with. Our people, the employees of Level Shoes are intrinsic to the success of the brand. I am extremely proud to be part of such a diverse and talented team. We have formed a community within the brand with shared values, vision and a true passion for what we do. The team are creating and imagining the future. This futuristic nature and inclusivity is one of the keys to our success. You’re direct to consumer. How do you approach new client acquisition and retention alike? We are constantly introducing new brands with an abundance of diverse and contemporary styles and we are constantly thinking ahead, predicting trends, markets etc. We always keep up to date with current trends and most importantly we listen to our consumers! The consumers drive the business, and we will always listen. We recently heard the demand of the KSA market and we opened our first KSA space in Riyadh Park Mall. Understanding the customer behaviour is also crucial, we do this through CRM management and monitoring data and trends. This gives us the ability to observe the culture of the consumer and what intrigues and engages them in particular content or products. Social media, social commerce and marketing are also imperative to new client acquisition and retention. Social media platforms, our App and Ecommerce site allow us to reach global consumers, creating brand awareness at worldwide scale. We offer a unique and intrinsic customer experience. Level Shoes is becoming more than just a store, it is a lifestyle destination offering a concierge team and several in store services such as the personalization hub, shoe care, shoe repairs, pampering, grooming and F&B. The result is encouraging longer visits and a diverse shopping experience that has something for everyone. We are well known for hosting pop ups, store activations and creating Insta moments for occasions across the globe, such as – for example – our Lunar Wall that celebrate Chinese New Year which is situated in the Women’s area of the store. These activations and pop ups always create that extra buzz in the store and encourages new consumers and new ways of engagement. We have also launched on several Chinese social media platforms, creating content in a whole new language and as a result reaching a whole new audience and source of interaction and engagement. Why did you decide to retail in such a way from the outset and what have been the challenges and successes in scaling this globally? Re-

tail is a growing business that has lots of challenges and I am always up for a challenge. There are many opportunities that demand different approaches, what works today may not work tomorrow – having an effective leadership to drive a business and maintain agility is key. Some of the challenges would be keeping up with the market. Your market research never stops as business conditions change constantly, and this acquires continues research and growth. Level Shoes has grown a lot since its launch and has built a global footwear destination that curates brands from all around the world which resulted in getting the global recognition it deserves. The most important thing that will drive our brand even further is our unique mix of global talent with local knowledge. The success of Level Shoes comes from acting local but thinking global. How important to commerce is content? Content is everything, it is crucial that the content reflects the brand personality, values and spirit. Level Shoes has very curated and specific content that is designed to deliberately engage consumers. Our tone of voice allows us to communicate brands in fresh ways that entice and intrigue consumers to want to know more. This results in influencing fashion decisions and purchasing culture. It builds connection, and emotional connection makes people feel that the brand listens to their needs and in turn engages them further. It additionally increases revenue through trust and loyalty, driving retention of customers. All creative content is driven by the buy. We shoot content that supports our depth areas, our hero investment pieces, and top spend brands. The buy informs both the subject matter of the content and inspires the creative brief itself. The creative team are also data driven. We can only create relevant creative content for our audience with a data driven approach. Data about who our customer is, how they respond to content, shopping habits, brand and product preferences. How do the commercial and creative sides of the business work together and do you feel particularly drawn to one side of the business? Collaboration between the commercial and creative teams is key to the success of our business. We need information from trade to know what to push via content, trade needs content to give visibility and support to the product. We could not exist successfully without one another. The business goals and ambitions are at the heart of our creative content. If the business wishes to become more diverse, we present this creatively. If the business wishes to expand internationally, we give our creative content an international appeal. The business goals and ambitions give strategy to our creative content. The content is the face and voice of the company, the commercial is the brain and heart. Each side needs the other in order to communicate with our customer. Can you tell us more about the key changes you’ve implemented since you arrived at the helm of the brand? It’s been only a year and if

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I look back I can see so many achievements. I have focused on the team first, growing our national talents, appointing more female leaders (currently 67% of our leadership team with an even gender split across the workforce), increased our team diversity and inclusion (we have now 48 distinct nationalities and growing). I have also promoted new social media in Arabic and Chinese to engage with global luxury shoppers. Authenticity in everything we do, whether it’s about my leadership or the way we communicate across different channels. In 2021 we conquered Tik Tok, with totally spontaneous videos filmed by our junior teams achieving more than 5 million views for some and this is thanks to our communication style of authenticity. How have you approached new platforms such as TikTok which are in nature less polished? TikTok has allowed us to embrace authenticity and give the brand a true personality and distinctiveness that other social platforms don’t offer. It truly allows us to build a community via shared creative content. We incorporate fun and a lighthearted content which mirrors the TikTok nature of being entertaining yet interesting. This has benefited us greatly and has allowed us to fully emerge ourselves in the current trends and as a result reaching an entire new audience globally. TikTok in nature is for a younger generation – one of the most diverse generations yet, with high levels of education, digital nativism, social and cultural awareness and high propensity to be expressive. TikTok is the channel to engage with Gen Z, who have a lot of influence over what people buy at the moment. It is our space to get our brand voice and values out to younger customers (and their families), to give them the Level Shoes experience. What has been the largest challenge to date since you joined and how did you overcome it? I think the biggest challenge to date is something we can all resonate with, which was trying to bring the brand back to its potential after the effect many retail stores have faced post COVID-19 lockdown. Our commerce was doing exceptionally well, as there was a spike in online shopping while everyone was based at home; but damage control had to be done for our retail store which had obviously suffered from a massive lack of footfall during the same time. Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what has been the best advice they have

imparted to you? I would have to say Angela Ahrendts, the ex CEO of Burberry. She is an extremely inspiring woman and leader. I would like to believe I can inspire people in the same way she did for me. She taught me a lot, personally and professionally, especially about the power of authenticity and listening to your instinct. Which brands consistently drive sales season after season? For women: Amina Muaddi, Aquazzura and Chloé! “Aminas” are truly becoming the new staple stiletto to have in your closet and the signature heel is a true statement of the brand! Aquazzura is the shoe that everyone needs and wants – we recently hosted a pop-up for their 10year milestone, and it enchanted the customers into the ethos of the brand. Chloé is a timeless brand that offers such a diverse array of footwear and accessories and does well season after season – we are currently hosting a Chloé pop up in store. For men: Magnanni is seasonless and consistently performs season after season despite the trend. And so, Burberry. Amiri, off white, Adidas and Nike are also always popular – men look for hyped sneakers and know where to find them! The last year was a time that saw brands change strategy. Have you had to pivot as a business? We have definitely had to pivot! The world is constantly changing (especially these days with Covid). We have fo-

cused more on driving the Ecommerce and encouraging online purchases, we have our app which makes purchasing fast and easy for the consumer. We have kept up to date with contemporary payment solutions, offering payment installment and payment through social channels, we are the first luxury retailer offering 90 minutes delivery within Dubai to online shoppers. We have a very naturally high footfall in The Dubai Mall store – being at the heart of the store it is no surprise, and this is excellent. However, we wanted to encourage and offer alternative shopping solutions, allowing our shoe lovers to buy where they like and the way they like. What effect do you see social media having on the growth of the brand? Social media elevates the brand and allows us to express ourselves in a whole new way. It allows creativity and possibilities to soar and reach a whole new height. It is not only crucial to keep up to date with fashion trends, it’s critical to keep up to date with social trends – these go hand in hand when growing our followers and engagement. Gen Z and millennials are the dominant driving force of TikTok and Instagram, Social media content acts as an extension of the website in terms of giving an additional space to both display and sell items online. It also gives the opportunity to gain feedback from potential and loyal customers to enhance a brand. It gives us more space to present our tone of voice to potential and loyal customers and in cementing the brand! Opportunity for an easier journey into international growth as you have already been communicating with an international audience due to the nature of social media It allows us to collaborate with content creators to grow audience and emphasize brand values. It is important to pick the correct people to collaborate with to ensure that they share the same values as your brand. This is The Future Issue – what do you think is the future of the luxury industry and how do you see the brand being part of that? The future of luxury will probably look like a social arena of immersive experiences. We will see emerging trends come to life, this includes in-store robotic fulfillment, contactless checkout, live selling and much more! We will see increased investment into the three fundamental retail pillars which are convenience, personalization and digital connection. It will impact store operations, supply chains, shopper marketing and merchandising moving forward.

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Co-Creative Directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons focus on a stripped back aesthetic for SS22 at PRADA

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Changing the Game of Fashion

What inspired you to go into the world of fashion? After graduating from university, I decided to move to Paris for a few months and landed an internship at a small fashion magazine called Boulevard in Paris. I quickly found myself in a world that combined everything I was interested in – design, photography, art, architecture – along with an entirely new passion to me – fashion. I ended up staying for three years, having been given the job of arts editor. As it was a small team, I had to turn my hand to pretty much everything: writing captions as well as larger profiles; researching pictures as well as working on layouts, and also, excitingly, organising the celebrity covers and fashion shoots. One minute I would be writing about the latest rising star of the French ballet, then next I would be setting up a cover shoot with Kristin Scott Thomas (a Paris resident) or Catherine Deneuve. I will always remember attending my first fashion show by the designer Hervé Léger. I didn’t have a seat and was standing right at the back of the room, but the moment the supermodels – Cindy, Naomi and Christy – hit the runway in his famous bandage mini dresses made quite an impression. It was an incredible introduction to the world of magazines and fashion and I never looked back. Can you talk us through your career prior to launching DREST? After four years in Paris, I returned to England and wrote for the national newspapers before moving to be a deputy editor, firstly at Tatler and then at British Vogue. I was 29 when I accepted the editorship of a magazine then called Harper’s & Queen – I was the youngest edi-

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tor in the UK ever to edit a glossy magazine – and after a few years, led its transformation to Harper’s Bazaar in line with its international sister titles. Twelve years later, I was hungry for new challenges. The media landscape was rapidly changing, and so was the way women read and consumed fashion. I had worked at Condé Nast with Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet and while our career paths had diverged, we would often meet up after the fashion shows in Paris or Milan and discuss our idea of creating a global fashion magazine that combined content with commerce. And so in 2012, I moved to Net-a-Porter to become their global content director, overseeing the launch of their new media division: we launched a weekly digital magazine called the Edit (2013), which was followed by a global fashion bi-monthly print magazine Porter in 2014. I left in February 2019 to set up DREST, and here I am. You launched DREST in 2019 and it really is a game-changing concept. Where did the inspiration for combining gaming with fashion come from? I first became fascinated by the world of gaming over 10 years ago, watching both my nephews playing the new Harry Potter game and then also seeing my Facebook feed filling up with posts from friends inviting me to play a new game called Farmville. I was drawn to the compelling storytelling and incredible interactivity of the experience and kept thinking how amazing it would be if there were a game relevant to me and something I was passionate about and interested in. At the time, I didn’t think the luxury

fashion industry would be ready to embrace gaming, but as the years went on I saw both the number of people gaming escalating - as well as a shift in the profile of gamers (over 60 per cent of mobile gamers are now women) - and the luxury brands looking for ways to engage a new audience, and decided to pursue the idea of creating the world’s first luxury fashion game: the concept was simple: to create a game where players were given the tools a fashion stylist has access to – the latest clothes, models, great hair and makeup, the locations – and challenge them to create their own fashion looks, thus allowing them to showcase their creative talent and even get noticed by the fashion industry itself. Can you talk us through the concept? DREST is the world’s first luxury fashion and beauty game played on your mobile phone. Players adopt the role of a fashion stylist, responding to daily styling and mood board challenges inspired by real-time fashion news (think red carpet events, a specific trend, a celebrity look). They use the latest products from the world’s leading luxury fashion and beauty brands to style our diverse range of model avatars – including five real-life supermodels; Irina Shayk, Imaan Hammam, Natalia Vodianova, Precious Lee and Candice Huffine – and create unique mood boards. Our digital fashion assortment is provided by both Farfetch and brands directly and includes the likes of Prada, Fendi and Gucci and enables users to shop the content they have created and competed with virtually seamlessly in real life, should they wish to. Our beauty looks come courtesy of global

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Entering into a new realm of fashion, DREST is the first luxury convergence platform combining gamification, shopping, creative content and philanthropy. Founded by editor- in-chief turned-entrepreneur Lucy Yeomans in 2019, she discusses all facets of DREST, from its inception to where it stands today

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experts including Sam McKnight (hair) and Mary Greenwell (make-up). How have things evolved since you launched DREST over two years ago? A day at DREST is like a month in the magazine world. Everything moves so fast, with each day providing education and bringing new challenges. As a magazine editor, I was used to creating an issue and then moving on to the next. At DREST, we evolve our product every two weeks as we plan for its long-term growth and development at the same time, which makes the pace at which we work insanely fast. When we started talking to brands about the DREST concept, for many of them it was the first time they had experienced the idea of virtual products, and gaming was a world they hadn’t really considered tapping into. They weren’t aware that so many mobile gamers are women – 63 per cent in fact – and how phenomenally engaged this audience is. Now ‘gaming’ and ‘the metaverse’ is being embraced as the fashion future and our conversations with brands are not about explaining the concept, but exploring how far we can take it. The concept of DREST is definitely shaking up the fashion space. What made you decide to make the leap from editorial and e-commerce to tech? Whatever role I’ve worked in, my main focus has always been on the woman and the consumer – speaking to her, listening to her and engaging with her where she is. That has never changed. What has changed is where she is and how she engages with fashion and brands. There are 2.3 billion mobile gamers across the globe, and 63 per cent of them are female. It’s estimated that by the end of 2023 there will be 400 million new gamers entering the market. So, to connect with her in 2022 and beyond, you need to listen, learn and adapt. How would you describe the DREST woman? Creative, engaged and competitive. Our average DREST user spends on average 33 minutes a day in-app and seven minutes per session, completing five sessions a day. She loves sharing her five-star ratings with her social media followers and tagging us. And one of her biggest goals is to feature on our leadership board, where we show all DREST players who created the highest-scoring looks. How are you scaling DREST’s business model when it comes to the Middle Eastern market and what does this region mean to you? Our top five territories – where we have the most

players – are presently the US, the UK, Italy, the Middle East and France. I know from my Harper’s Bazaar and Net-a-Porter days how engaged Middle Eastern women (and men) are with luxury fashion and beauty so this territory is vitally important to DREST. We were thrilled when supermodel Imaan Hammam signed to DREST a year ago as one of our supermodel avatars – she has quickly become one of our most popular model avatars. My ambition is to have more Middle Eastern brands on DREST which we’ve been working on for some time now – maybe this feature will help make that happen. Have you seen any specific trends when it comes to the Middle Eastern market? The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is one of the fastest-growing gaming markets, with a growth rate of 14.5 per cent year-over-year in 2020 and is currently valued at $5.4 billion. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are on the frontier of this growth due to housing the highest populations of gamers. There are 21.1 million gamers in Saudi Arabia alone who have contributed $1 billion in 2020 to revenues secured by the global gaming market. Furthermore, what’s

exciting is that data tells us women and men are equally matched when it comes to playing. In mobile gaming specifically, though, women dominate with 73 per cent of players being female. It feels like gaming is about to explode in the Middle East. In business, what is a philosophy you live by? Trust your instincts. I’ve seen many incredibly talented, intelligent and competent women suffer from imposter syndrome. The feeling of not believing you are good enough to either inhabit a role, deliver a task, reach the next rung on the ladder or set out on their own. My advice is always to trust your instincts, trust your intellect and know that there are lots of successful people out there who know less than you, but whose confidence and self-belief have enabled them to thrive and lead. As a famous person once said: “Yes you can.” What are some of the key lessons you have learned throughout your career? Listen to your audience. Get to know them as much as you possibly can. That way you’ll be able to make sure you’re giving them what they need and want, as well as being able to look around corners to see what they need and want next! They are who you need to impress and wow every single day, not just the industry you are in. What have been the hurdles you’ve had to overcome throughout your career? There have been too many to list, and I’m sure there will be many more, but overcoming these have helped me to grow, to learn and to get to where I am now. The world and technology is moving so fast that there will always be challenges you have to overcome in areas where your experience and knowledge are lighter. My favourite word to add to a sentence is: “I don’t know about [insert challenging subject] yet.” This is The Future Issue – what do you envision for the future of DREST? Oh wow, where do I start?! DREST’s future is an exciting roadmap full of fashion, beauty, travel, and film partnerships as well as innovative new game features and new model avatars. We also have menswear and a ‘selfie’ avatar project in the pipeline. Most importantly, we will continue to evolve as our players and their lives and desires evolve so we can continue to serve them content, features, brands they want to see on DREST. Oh, and there’s the tiny matter of something called the metaverse?! But that’s a whole new feature entirely…

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LaQuan Smith on building his namesake brand and being at the forefront of design

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What do your first 30 minutes of the day look like? What’s your morning routine? I wake up at 5:30am every morning in my apartment located in Astoria, New York. After doing so, I thank God for all the blessings that I have in my life and pray and meditate for 30 minutes, then take a hot shower, drink a glass of water with lemon and head straight to Equinox Hudson Yards for an hour’s workout with my trainer. How has growing up in New York positively reinforced your growth as a designer and were there any challenges? I’ve always taken a lot of inspiration from New York City when designing my collections and my upbringing here makes me who I am. Growing up in the fashion capital of the US has also been essential to my progress as a designer and business owner as I’ve had so many opportunities to foster organic relationships with key players across the industry. They have helped me take my business to new heights and grow it into what it is today.

LaQuan Smith continually empowers women. Was this the plan from the outset? I have always been inspired by women’s fashion, starting from very early on in my life when I’d closely watch my mother’s dressing choices for various occasions. When starting my own collection, I wanted to create a luxury brand that all women can aspire and buy into that holds classic luxurious codes. I want my clothes to live in a woman’s closet forever, not just a season. You debuted your first fashion week at 21 years old. How has the brand grown and evolved since? We’ve come a long way since our first show in 2010. When I first started the brand, I was designing, cutting samples, and working on every aspect, all from my childhood bedroom at my grandmother’s house. I now have a solid team including sales, PR, and a studio space in Long Island City. We’re sold in major stores all over the world, working with renowned industry talents and brands, we’re

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truly on the way to building a real American fashion house. I’m so proud of where the brand has come so far and can’t wait to see where we land in the next 10 years. Tell us about the collection for SS22? From its nightlife and glamour, New York City’s energy was a huge part of my inspiration for the collection. It truly became a full-circle moment for me when we decided we were going to show my Spring 2022 collection at the Empire State Building because this city holds a special place in my heart and the brand’s. You’ll see tons of inspiration from the iconic building’s art deco decor, including jewel tones, motifs from Les arts décoratifs of the building architecture with geometric prints that mirror the storied ceilings imprinted on sumptuous leathers. I just wanted to reinforce this strong understanding that glamour and energy is back. As a global brand, do you see any buying patterns in terms of what drives sales? I think unanimously women want to invest in clothes that will make them look and feel good. Even during the pandemic and the uprise of luxury casualwear, my sales skyrocketed which made me realise that even with nowhere to go, women were still shopping and ready for a time when they would be able to return to the art of getting dressed. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to launch their own brand? Stay true to yourself and your vision. Who have been your mentors to date and how have they supported you? Andre Leon Talley was a great mentor of mine. We met when he attended my first ever fashion show at Society Illustrators in February 2010 after reading an article The New York Times put out on my NYFW debut. He believed in me from the beginning and offered so much support throughout the 11 years of our friendship. He had so much invaluable advice to give, he even once gave me the money I needed to travel to Paris for the first time in the early years of my business. Tom Ford is another mentor of mine. I’ve always admired his work and he also has been a great supporter of mine from the beginning. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from these two legendary industry figures and hope one day to have the opportunity to pass on the wisdom they’ve shared with me to the next generation of young designers. This is The Future Issue – what does the future of luxury look like to you? I want to see young designers stay true to who they are and what they believe in. To continue to break barriers and dismantle rigid conventions. Overall I want to see fashion evolve in favour of a future in which everyone can be whoever they want to be and embrace their inner power for change.

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The centuries-old process of mining the gemstones is not known for being a sustainable one. However, with ever-developing technology, lab-grown diamonds are gaining serious traction in the market

The

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irst developed in the 1950s, lab-grown diamonds are now widely used in jewellery pieces. One such brand championing the process is Dubai-based Fyne Jewellery. Founder Aya Ahmad talks us through the process of lab-grown diamonds and how they are the future of the gemstones. Talk us through your career. My trajectory into the jewellery industry did not start in a design or fashion school: Instead, I began my career in London in investment banking. After completing an MSc in real estate economics and finance, and interning at BNP Paribas and Nomura International, I felt the urge to explore business beyond corporate life. I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship, technology and sports so I moved on to the start-up scene in 2014. I cofounded a sports app for young professionals who found it time-consuming to book sports facilities and find nearby players to play with. After raising £100,000 (Dhs497,000) through an angel investor, we were unable to scale the app due to the facilities being reluctant to adopt new technologies. That experience taught me a great deal about starting and managing a business and planted the seed for the entrepreneur I am today. In 2016, I moved back to Antwerp, Belgium to join the family business specialising in wholesale diamond trading and manufacturing. I trained as a diamantaire sourcing and manufacturing rough diamonds, visiting international diamond tenders in South Africa and Botswana. How did you come to launch your own brand, Fyne Jewellery? While working as a diamantaire, I noticed one thing; for an industry that is made and advertised largely to women, my gender was largely underrepresented. That was the first push I felt to do something out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, I started creating engagement rings for my friends, and their referrals on request, as I had access to wholesale diamond prices. I found that there was a huge demand for accessible yet highquality jewellery. I also began exploring the world of design by re-purposing my old gold jewellery into something modern and minimal. That’s when I realised that there was an opportunity to create something timeless and innovative for my generation: a generation that is conscious about making sustainable and ethical choices but also one that is more price sensitive. Being of Lebanese origin, coupled with the forward-thinking mindset of the UAE, I decided to launch Fyne in Dubai in November of 2019. You’re using only lab-grown diamonds. Talk us through this decision. When creating Fyne, I wanted every part of the process to

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be empowering – from the designs to the materials to our overall brand identity and vision. After working in the industry firsthand, I felt the natural decision was to shift towards lab-grown diamonds. I wanted our choice to be an essential part of our vow to the earth – and for our jewellery to inspire women to make improved conscious choices in their everyday lives. Can you talk us through the process of labgrown diamonds? Laboratory grown diamonds were invented by General Electric in the 1950s and have been used to drive huge industrial advancements in telecommunications, optics, and health care. More recently, the technology has improved to enable lab diamonds to be created for jewellery. Essentially, diamonds are made up of one element: carbon, which makes carbon a crucial element in the growth process. There are two main ways to grow a diamond: HPHT (High-Temperature High Pressure) is a laboratory process that mimics the high temperature and high-pressure environment of a diamond formation beneath the Earth’s surface. (Typically, the temperature needed is between 1,300 to 1,600C and the pressure exerted is 5-6 GPa.) CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) is a newer technique that uses lower pressure and moderate temperature (700 to 1,300C). A rich carbon gas is placed into a vacuum chamber,

then heated with a microwave beam causing the carbon atoms to break apart and crystallise on top of a diamond seed, slowly forming a rough diamond crystal. It can take between three and 12 weeks to grow a rough diamond crystal. Thereafter, it goes through the usual cutting process to become a polished diamond used in jewellery. It’s known to be better for the planet – how is this? Earth-mined diamonds are harvested in a long and obscure process that requires them to pass through many hands. This puts more of a burden on the planet (producing more carbon emissions) and makes diamonds expensive. Because the supply chain is shorter, lab-grown diamonds are a more affordable and planet-friendly alternative that still guarantees the same (if not, higher) quality. Moreover, mining diamonds requires a huge amount of fossil fuel, water and land. In addition, the emissions produced from the traditional mining process cause both air pollution and groundwater pollution. With lab diamonds, not only is the water used almost negligible, but it does not contaminate groundwater, crops and soil. The land used to set up these growing facilities is a tiny fraction of the size of a mine. And because they can be set up almost anywhere, they will not pose a threat to the natural ecosystems that are at risk during diamond mining. It is also important to note the source of energy used to grow lab

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diamonds: There are some suppliers we work with that are certified carbon neutral – going one step further in their sustainability commitment by using renewable energy sources in their manufacturing facilities. Overall, growing diamonds as opposed to mining them results in lower carbon emissions, no groundwater pollution, little to no mineral and land waste, and no risk to biodiversity. How do they differ from mined diamonds? Lab-grown diamonds are identical to diamonds sourced from the earth as they exhibit the same chemical, aesthetic and optical properties, which means their hardness, refractive index, dispersion, specific gravity (i.e. everything that makes a diamond, a diamond) is the same. In fact, they’re so hard to tell apart that gem labs have invested a lot into R&D to find methods to differentiate them. The main difference we see on the market is the price of lab diamonds. Just as with any commodity, lab diamonds depend on demand and supply dynamics as well as the cost of production. Typically, they are priced between 30 to 40 per cent below mined diamonds, which means price-conscious customers can buy larger lab diamonds with better characteristics for a more competitive price. When it comes to the Middle Eastern market – what is the take on lab-grown diamonds, in your opinion? I think over the last two years the landscape has drastically changed. Our main focus in 2019 was to inform the region of the benefits of lab-grown diamonds and make it clear that they are indeed, a diamond. Initially, there was some confusion that lab-grown diamonds are cubic zirconia or moissanite. However, customers are better informed now than they used to be. There’s a greater understanding of the ethical and environmental impacts of what they are buying. This is also translating into an increased demand for bespoke lab grown engagement rings… I’m definitely excited by what’s to come. How would you describe the Fyne woman? The Fyne woman is independent, sophisticated, and minimalist – she is forwardthinking and bold – making her unafraid to speak out for what she believes in. In business, what is a philosophy you live by? Authenticity is key. Business can be incredibly competitive so it may be tempting to follow the herd or cut corners to scale; however, I believe it’s very important to remain authentic and true to yourself, your values and your customers. What are some of the key lessons you have learned throughout your career? Learn to adapt, quickly. A business needs to be agile and flexible to keep up with the ever-changing digital, fashion and tech landscape that we’re experiencing today. Discipline is more important than motivation because discipline is consistent while motivation will come and go. Finally, always be open to feedback –

especially if it’s not what you want to hear. What have been the hurdles you’ve had to overcome throughout your career? Not many people are aware that I operate my business from abroad. I launched Fyne from Luanda, Angola after several trips to Dubai and Antwerp to meet with jewellery manufacturers and lab diamond suppliers. Working remotely is a challenge – both physically and mentally. I often questioned how I would be able to manage a business from abroad, design new collections or scale without being always physically present. However, not long after I launched my brand, the pandemic hit, and communities came together on social media in support of small businesses. Remote working and meetings on Zoom became the norm, while

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online shopping was experiencing exponential growth. These changes along with a reliable team on the ground have been a big factor to overcoming this hurdle. What have been the key milestones? One of my earliest milestones was being mentioned in Emirates Woman in the May 2020 Mindfulness Issue. It was our first ever print article and I was so ecstatic to be placed alongside globally renowned sustainable brands like Reformation, Stella McCartney and Veja. Another big milestone was also launching our limited-edition collection with Reem and Natalya Kanj. It was a great feeling to work alongside two other Lebanese female entrepreneurs who share the same conscious values as us. More recently, we also created an exclusive in-store collection for Tryano, Abu Dhabi in celebration of the UAE 50th National Day. The collection is inspired by Arabic calligraphy and positive affirmations using words such as love, light, hope, trust and peace. This was the only time we’ve sold our pieces in-store, so it was a big step for us. This is The Future Issue – what do you envision for the future of Fyne? We’ve been working on creating an online, customisable engagement ring collection. I believe technology improves the connection we have with our customers and how they interact with our jewellery online. So, I would like to make the entire experience more intimate by offering virtual try-ons, digital interactive showrooms, and online styling consultations. We see our brand as continuously evolving and improving as new technologies are unveiled – so innovation and a forwardlooking mindset is true to our identity.

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Hot New Buys WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH

An edit of all the latest luxe beauty buys harnessing new ingredients

Barrier-Building

REAL-SKIN

Reboot

This science-backed formula uses high-performance ingredients such as rose complex, coconut extract, a pollution defence complex and Bixa Orellana seeds for youthful looking skin. Dhs168 Charlotte Tilbury

Enhance your skin with liquid gold that helps it fight even the harshest of breakouts. 50ml for Dhs382 ALPHA-H

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A deeply reviving balm which uses active levels of hyaluronic acid as well as hints of lavender and chamomile for a soft sheen that also smells incredible. Dhs88 ILIA

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Private Blend Ébène Fumé combines notes of African ebony wood with fresh herbs for the latest in our Tom Ford fragrance obsession. 50ml for Dhs988 Tom Ford available on ounass.ae

LUMINOSITY Using Red Camellia extract this refreshing revitalizing eye cream moisturizes the delicate eye area for a brighter appearance. Dhs275 Chanel

Natural Highlight This self-adjusting blush is as smart as it is subtle. Dhs130 Laura Mercier

Acid Cleanser

Bronzed Glow Created with squalene, sunflower seed oil and vitamin C, this luxe formula gives a bronze body glow that highlights your skin. Dhs162 + Lux Unfiltered

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This Salicylic Acid Cleanser purifies the skin and minimizes excess oil. Dhs55 The INKEY List available on lookfantastic.ae

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HI-TECH

Take your beauty routine to the next level with these high-spec tools 84 emirateswoman.com

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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

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eauty no longer consists of just cleansers, serums and moisturisers. There’s now a whole world of futuristic technology within the beauty space for you to use alongside your products. As tech in beauty continues to grow and expand, we look at some of the latest gizmos and gadgets in beauty from LED masks, to at-home microdermabrasion, to high-frequency wands, to skin moisture analysers, the list is endless. The Eyes

Resembling a pair of Sci-Fiesque glasses, this futuristic device by Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare won’t help improve your sight, but it’ll improve fine lines, crows feet and wrinkles within two weeks of the first use. Implementing the use of therapeutic LED light, the DRx SpectraLite EyeCare Pro penetrates the dermis to target the sensitive area around the eyes stimulating collagen production which, in turn, improve signs of ageing. The Face

This device may look slightly intimidating, but it quite literally is a workout for your face. The brainchild of FaceGym, the MediLift High-Performance EMS Mask is designed to target the cheeks and lower facial muscles to give a lift to the face. Using Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), low-voltage electrical currents help lift, strengthen and tone the muscles in the face, hence why it’s a workout.

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The Chin & Neck

Specifically designed to target the neck and chin, this mask by UNICSKIN aims to slim the jawline, lift the neck and reduce the appearance of a double chin through LED light. Using a combination of different wavelengths, the mask targets the dermis and cells aiming to stimulate cellular energy, in turn, leaving the skin more flexible, smoother and defined.

DRx SpectraLite EyeCare Pro Dhs820 Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare available at NET-A-PORTER

wonders for your hair. The Flyaway Attachment for the Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer will give you second-to-none shine, combatting pesky flyaways at home. Harnessing groundbreaking technology used in the Dyson AirwrapTM the Coanda effect has been reformulated to work in this brand-new attachment which pushes flyaways through the hair strand leaving them completely out of sight. The result? Silky smooth hair. The Body

Using percussive therapy – which is known as “pummeling” the muscles and, in short, delivers strong pulses and vibrations into the muscle – this device will upgrade your wellness routine from the comfort of your own home. After suffering a horrific motorbike accident, Dr Jason Wersland developed an at-home device in a bid to help those suffering from pain. The Theragun Prime delivers up to 30lbs of no-stall force to enhance circulation and minimize discomfort on the body.

Flyaway Attachment Dhs150 Dyson

MediLift High-Performance EMS Mask Dhs2,092 FaceGym

Neck & Chin Mask Dhs938 UNICSKIN

The Skin

Using revolutionary skincare technology, the LYMA Laser Starter Kit includes a state-ofthe-art laser tool, a restorative serum and rejuvenating mist. The medical-grade 500mW laser can be used at home and, along with the serum and mist, helps to transform the skin by penetrating deep into the dermis improving pigmentation, wrinkles, thread veins and more.

Theragun Prime Dhs1,375 Theragun available at cultbeauty.co.uk

The Hair

What may seem like a simple attachment will do absolute

Laser Starter Kit Dhs8,540 LYMA available at NET-A-PORTER

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The New Power Play

Founders of Juana Skin, Yann Moujawaz Martini and Juana Martini, are leading the way in skincare, harnessing the power of CBD oil as an innovative ingredient. We spoke to the founders to find out what separates them from the rest of the industry and how they’re making increasingly significant headway whilst retaining quality at every level 86 emirateswoman.com

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What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like? What is your morning routine? Juana: Each step of our morning routine is indispensable and pivotal to provide us positive energy and focus. I like to start my day by preparing a fresh green detox juice, including celery, green apple, cucumber and ginger. We then perform our prayers and sit through a few minutes of focused meditation – we cannot leave the house otherwise. I then proceed to my quick beauty routine, applying a power combination of Juana Skin: the Brightening Day Cream and the Face Oil. I also make sure to practice some kind of physical activity – they vary throughout the seasons from skiing, swimming or walking. You’re a family founded brand. How did launching a skincare brand originate?Juana: The concept of wellness derived from botany was passed on to me by my father, as I basked in our olive fields in Syria when I was growing up. I loved helping him make Aleppo soap by pressing olive oil and bay laurel. That inspired me to experiment and create my own herbal formulas. Later on, as a mother of three, I always looked to natural remedies, rather than allopathic treatments, to address any skin or health issues that would come up. Naturally, a while ago, when we were on a family roadtrip throughout California, I was enticed when I saw ‘CBD oil’ everywhere and was intrigued to find out what it was. Yann: I was aware of the benefits of CBD and had my father, a surgeon in France and Switzerland, provide me with even more information about its medicinal properties. Seeing my mom’s interest in CBD’s heal-

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ing properties flipped the switch for me: we could use CBD to combine her life-long dream of having a beauty company with her passion for herbal treatments. Mind you, at the time I was a principal at the Boston Consulting Group and my stress levels were at their peak. I was on a quest for wellness too. What is at the core of Juana Skin? What is its DNA and how has it grown so quickly? Juana: Juana Skin was born to disrupt the luxury wellness market with a farm-to-skin approach. Our goal is to nurture and treat the skin’s microbiome, the ecosystem of bacteria on the skin’s surface, with EWG (Environmental Working Group) certified products, rather than to cover it up with toxic chemicals. We have clinically proven that it is possible to create high-performing formulas without compromising performance and cleanliness. The result is an earthy look and feel that will rewire your skin and allow it to glow from within. There is an education piece around Juana Skin. Can you tell us more about educating customers about the ingredients used and the quality differentiation of these ingredients throughout the industry? Yann: We’re bearing in mind the need for education and the building of a solid foundation which does take some time. We have a blog on our website entirely dedicated to providing accurate information on CBD, clean beauty, luxury wellness and understanding labels, so consumers know how to recognise the good, the bad and the ugly. There are three key points to keep in mind when choosing your CBD products: 1) Are you really buying CBD, i.e., a product richly infused with cannabinoids?

2) Check the potency. That is the amount of CBD milligrams a product contains per milliliters. It shouldn’t be too little (less than 2 to 4 mg per ml) or too high. 3) Check the soil in which the hemp strains are grown and make sure that they are ethically sourced from registered farms. You’re direct to consumer. Why did you decide to retail in such a way from the outset and what have been the challenges scaling this globally? Yann: We decided to start as D2C (direct to consumer) because we wanted to fully understand and get more personal with our clients. At this stage, our main challenge is in the decision-making process, as various opportunities present themselves to us and we have to decide whether or not they are aligned with our vision for the future. How do the research and commercial sides of the business work together and do you feel particularly drawn to one side of the business? Juana: I am passionate about the research and development of products and I let Yann handle the commercial side of the business. Yann: Both aspects are complementary; there is no point in creating a product that has no commercial value. So, we are constantly studying the market in search of innovation with a value proposition. What has been the largest challenge since launching the brand and how did you overcome it? Yann: The biggest challenge was how we break the barriers in the Middle East. As a pioneering CBD brand in the region, it is a responsibility we are ready to assume since we are quickly becoming a trusted source of information on the topic, thanks to the support of key local voices.

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Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what has been the best advice they have imparted to you? Yann: Along the way, we’ve been impacted and supported by countless people. But there is one mentor who I’d like to highlight. Ten years ago, when I was a student at the London School of Economics, Jacques Attali, a top economic advisor to the French president, sensed I had the DNA of an entrepreneur, based on a project I presented. Too young back then, I did not feel equipped to jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon and decided to pursue a career in top strategy consulting at the Boston Consulting Group. Jacques, now my mentor, advised me that acquiring skills in consulting would be highly valuable, but advised me to eventually reconsider entrepreneurship and here I am. Where do you stand in terms of investment? Would you advise entrepreneurs to avoid asking for investment at the outset of their business and is it important to remain in control of the vision? Yann: We have bootstrapped the majority of our financial needs for the last three years. We went through a limited, exclusive pre-seed round a few months back to build our credibility from a valuation standpoint – it was oversubscribed in 48 hours. I see having investors onboard as a healthy stimulant – it keeps you disciplined and structured. Also, keep in mind that it is not just about the money, it is about having interesting people with knowledge and influence. The last year was a time that saw brands change strategy. Have you had to pivot as a business? Yann: Considering that we started the brand during Covid times, our initial strategy already took into consideration the changing market, especially in terms of consumer behavior. Which is the Juana Skin hero product? Juana: I swear by the combination of the Ultra Rich Night Cream and The Face Oil. Yann: I am a heavy user of Juana Skin’s Body Butter. What effect do you see social media having on the growth of the brand? Juana: We see social media as our main tool to educate people on the natural healing powers of CBD as well as a medium to connect with our customers worldwide. This is The Future Issue – what do you think is the future of the beauty and wellness industry and how do you see yourself being part of that? Juana: Love the question. We believe the future of beauty and wellness is balance. Beauty comes from the inside first, so your skin will only truly glow if your mind, body and soul are aligned. We see ourselves as a wellness movement rooted in hemp and powered by science. The future is literally green.

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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

The Future of Beauty

Advanced aesthetic doctor Dr Marwa Ali is entrusted to look after some of the most prestigious faces on a global scale. We ask her what the future of beauty looks like, and how can you future proof your face while still looking natural?

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What do the first 30 mins of your day look like? What is your morning routine? I spend the first 30 minutes of my day reflecting and making a list of the things that I want to accomplish throughout the day. I’ve learnt that it’s important to ensure the list is realistic so that I don’t feel disappointed in myself if I’m unable to achieve those objectives. You’re based out of Harrods in London; how did this arise? This is a question that I get asked often. The truth is, I have reached my position by sheer hard work and determination. I put in endless hours to refine my skills, built a reputation slowly but surely and was noticed by the right people at the right time via word of mouth. There is no shortcut to success, you have to take the stairs. What is at the core of your beliefs when it comes to optimising beauty? I strongly believe that everyone is beautiful in their own way and being different makes us beautiful. I think it’s imperative to maintain our cultural and individual identity and aesthetic treatments should be used to enhance what we already have. The aim is to primarily refresh and rejuvenate the face rather than change who we are and create cookie cutter images of one other. There is no one size fits all, and everyone should have a bespoke treatment plan to achieve their objectives. I’m a huge advocate of the less is more approach. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? My biggest challenge has been breaking stereotypes and the stigma associated with being a young, female that is visibly different from an ethnic minority in the aesthetics industry which is largely dominated by our older, male counterparts. Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what has been the best advice they have imparted to you? I have had many mentors along the way and continue to seek advice from my colleagues in the aesthetics industry until today. No person is an island, so it’s important to be there for those who are new to the industry and guide them if they’re struggling. The most important lessons I’ve learnt along the away are the importance of being focused on your own business project and not to be distracted by what anyone else is doing or saying. Success is measured in different ways and with success comes a lot of responsibility, attention and envy. It’s not necessary to respond to everything that’s thrown in your direction, but it is important to remain graceful and humble. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but empires have fallen over night, so don’t ever drop the ball or get complacent. Where do you stand in terms of investment? Would you advise entrepreneurs to avoid asking for investment at the outset of their business and is it important to remain in

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control of the vision? I think advice about seeking investment for a start-up business is something that can only be given on a case-by-case basis. Some businesses need an injection of cash to help kickstart it, while others can grow without it. If you can avoid it, I would advise you not to use that funding option as you end up relinquishing a considerable amount of equity very early on while you grow the business yourself. Why not reap the rewards of your own blood sweat and tears if you can rather than handing it over to someone else who saw potential in your ideas and ability to make it big? The last year was a time that saw brands change strategy. Have you had to pivot as a business? It’s important to be flexible and respond strategically according to the changes that occur around you. The world

is continual growth and engagement. When restrictions eased, business was booming and better than ever and I was able to makeup for the losses incurred over the 9 months we were in lockdown in London’s during 2020 and 2021. Which is the most common procedure request for optimizing beauty? More and more patients are seeking non surgical treatments which give longer lasting results to ensure they feel rejuvenated, confident and their best self with minimal visits to the clinic and the least possible downtime. The most commonly performed treatments with me are dermal filler injectables, which when injected by the right hands can artfully transform and reverse the signs of ageing whilst simultaneously look incredibly natural. In addition; combination therapies using tried and tested treatment modalities have increased in popularity, such as the UltracelQplus which uses HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) and radiofrequency for lifting, sculpting and tightening the face and body as well as the intracel or Morpheus 8 which both use microneedling and radiofrequency to improve skin texture and tone. Finally, the newest addition to The Wellness Clinic, the Lumenis Stellar M22™, uses four advanced laser technologies in one platform to tackle over 30 skin conditions, (including fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, age spots, melasma, acne, scars, stretch marks, tattoo removal, IPL hair removal, freckles and many more), without the need for needles or scalpels and has been particularly successful since its introduction post lockdown. What effect do you see social media having on the growth of your own brand? Social media has been instrumental to the growth of my brand and business. My online platform has enabled me to engage with a wider audience, increase awareness of the different procedures that are available and clarify any misconceptions in the aesthetics industry. This is The Future Issue- what do you think is the future of the beauty industry and how do you see yourself being part of that? I believe the beauty industry and in particular the medical aesthetics is growing at an exponential rate and will continue to do so. A lot is constantly evolving and in order to sucis being invested into research and develceed, businesses need to keep up. During opment of different technologies to enable the pandemic no-one was able to travel or us to deliver far more non-surgically. I’m attend appointments physically, so I spent time doing online skincare consultations so excited to be part of an industry that aland dispatching skincare remotely as well as lows us to deliver incredible results without focusing on connecting with patients via my needing to go under the knife and am I exsocial media platform ensuring that there cited to see where it takes us in the future.

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The Beauty Shelf Inge Theron, entrepreneur and Founder of FaceGym, talks us though her hero beauty products C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H

Hydrating shampoo Dhs314 Pureology

For my hair, I often stick to the same haircare products as I find they really work for me. I love the aromatherapy blend of lavender, Bergamot and Patchouli as it helps hydrate dry hair making it my go-to shampoo. Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil 50ml for Dhs236 ORIBE

It’s one of my all-time favourite hair products. I run it through my hair after washing whilst it’s still damp and then after drying if there are any flyways, as it never leaves it feeling heavy or greasy. Hydro-bound Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid + Niacinamide Serum 30ml for Dhs270 FaceGym

The Multi-Molecular Ha4 and Niacinamide formula has made my skin firmer, taken away my redness, wrinkles and taken away my fine lines too. Active Blast Instant Release Collagen Booster Spheres Dhs872 FaceGym

Youth Reformer Firming Vitamin C + Nootropic Oil-in-Serum 30ml for Dhs342 FaceGym

This de-stressing formula includes active ingredients such as Vitamin C, Patchouli Extract and Microalgae to help calm the skin, reduce redness and make my complexion smoother. When I wake up in the morning it feels like I’ve had a facial. Reviving Eye Cream 15ml for Dhs425 Omorovicza

For my eyes, I like to use gel textured eye creams. I’m obsessed with this one as the water break

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is fantastic, and it actually gives you a little bit of tightening. It’s got Vitamin C and helps to reduce the overall puffiness. Faceshot Electric Microneedling device Dhs826 FaceGym

Instant Full Cover Concealer Dhs155 Bobbi Brown

Skincare tools are an essential part of my daily routine. This electric micro-needling device comes with Glycolic Acid + Vitamin F, to rejuvenate my skin in the comfort of my own home.

To cover my dark circles, this product provides full coverage. It gives a weightless feel to my skin with a natural finish.

Shade & Illuminate Soft Radiance Foundation Dhs590 Tom Ford Beauty

I love the foundation as it enhances my skin tone, making it radiant and dewy. Designed for a flawless finish, it makes the perfect base for any look, ensuring luminous skin at all times.

Hyaluronic Roller Dissolving Microneedling Tool Dhs337 FaceGym

This manual tool is made up of over 3,000 dissolving microneedles, all filled with pro-grade Hyaluronic Acid and peptides that sink deep into the skin instantly to boost your hydration levels for firm smoother and more youthful-looking skin.

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With vegan collagen that’s 200 times better than traditional collagen, this product has seamlessly been added to my skincare regime, making it life changing.

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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

Fatma Almheiri, Founder & Creative Director of Venus The Label and Communications Manager at Museum of the Future, talks us through her beauty routine Talk us through your morning routine. I always start with a cup of warm water in the morning, it helps to flush out toxins from the body and repairs skin cells which can lead to an increase in the elasticity of the skin. I’m a big believer in taking care of the inside of the body for it to show externally. Starting with Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser, I then glide my rose ruartz roller over my face to reduce morning puffiness and take a few drops of The Ordinary’s hyaluronic acid serum followed by Ole Henriksen’s Sheer

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Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer. And how about your evening routine? Pretty similar to my morning routine except I end my night with Chamomile Lavender tea. Chamomile is rich in antioxidants that help moisturize and brighten the skin. I use the Cetaphil gentle cleanser, Ole Henriksen’s Dewtopia Night Treatment and finish it off with the Sheer Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer. Less is always more. What are your go-to skincare products? I recently discovered Ole Henriksen Dewto-

pia Night Treatment from a friend and I absolutely love how it makes my skin so clear. Are you a fan of masks? Yes! I love 111SKIN face masks. My top two are the Sub Zero De-puffing Energy Mask and the Rose Gold Mask. I try to at least use a face mask once or twice a week. How would you describe your approach to makeup? I absolutely love not wearing any makeup yet I see makeup as a tool for empowerment and self-care, definitely not to cover flaws or hiding insecurities.

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Clockwise from top left: Heated Defense 150ml Dhs152 Kevin Murphy available at OUNASS; Sheer Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer Dhs175 Ole Henriksen available at sephora.ae; Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush Dhs105 Fenty Beauty available at sephora.ae; Sub-Zero De-Puffing Energy Facial Mask x 5 Dhs403 111SKIN available at NET-A-PORTER; Hypnôse L’Absolu de Noir Mascara Dhs150 Lancôme available at bloomingdales.ae; Lazy Sunday Morning Eau De Toilette Dhs525 Maison Margiela available at sephora.ae

Thanks to lockdown in 2020, I became so comfortable in my own skin after months of not wearing anything at all. I think women should always feel like they aren’t wearing makeup to impress anyone but to empower themselves. What can always be found in your makeup bag? Lancome Hypnose Mascara, Nars concealer, Huda Beauty brow pencil and Fenty Beauty’s cream blush. Which fragrance is your go-to? I’ve been layering two or more of my favourite per-

fumes – Twilly d’Hermès with Maison Margiela’s Lazy Sunday Morning and Kayali’s Elixir 11. I get a lot of questions asking what perfume it is when I’m wearing all three together. How do you choose your evening fragrance? I would go for a light and airy scent, I love Mona Kattan’s Kayali Musk 12 which I can wear by itself without fragrance layering. Talk us through your hair routine. I haven’t dyed my hair in almost five years and

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stopped doing the Brazilian blowout treatment that straightens the hair. I’m growing my curls out so it’s been quite a journey! Since I’m having to straighten my hair for the time being I cannot go without Kevin Murphy’s Heated Defense leavein treatment and Dr Teal’s Eucalyptus & Spearmint Volume & Bounce Essential Oil Shampoo & Conditioner. A dear friend of mine recommended adding a few drops of rosemary essential oil in the conditioner. It makes my hair so soft and shiny.

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“I ENVISION A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THE NEXT 50 YEARS, AND FOR THE YOUTH AND WOMEN TO HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO HAVE MANY ACHIEVEMENTS FOR THIS COUNTRY AND TO SHOW HOW POWERFUL COMMUNITY WE TRULY ARE.” – Sheikha Alya AlQasimi

WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

SHEIKHA ALYA KHALED ALQASIMI STUDENT & ASPIRING INTERIOR DESIGNER

THE FUTURE IS NOW Having celebrated 50 years of incredible vision, we take a look at the new generation set to drive the next 50 years of the UAE 94 emirateswoman.com

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Growing up in this region, there has been so much change over such a short period of time. What has it been like growing up during this time? Growing up during this time has been so amazing to see. The country’s progression over these past few years makes me extremely proud and happy. It shows that our leaders brought Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan’s – may God rest his soul – vision to life and continued his legacy. What do you love about being from the UAE? What I love most about being from the UAE is how the youth and women are so involved with some of the country’s success. It truly shows the meaning of united and it has been an amazing thing to witness. We recently celebrated 50 years of the UAE. What do you envision for the next 50 years of the nation? I envision a bright future for the next 50 years, and for the youth and women to have the confidence to have many achievements for this country and to show how powerful of a community we truly are. How do you hope to pave the way for future generations? I hope to pave the way for future generations by teaching them that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and to always have hope when it comes to your dreams. What are your hopes for the future of women in this region? For the future of women in this region, I hope to be able to show them how strong they are, how amazing they truly are and how they can really change the world. Who are your biggest inspirations in life? My biggest inspirations in life are my mother Sheikha Amal Al Maktoum and my aunt Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum. They have taught me so much about life and I owe it all to them. This is ‘The Future Issue’ – how do you hope to be a role model for future generations in this region? I hope to be a role model for future generations by encouraging them to follow their dreams and make them a reality, have self-confidence, and also be a helping hand throughout their careers. And to also show them that they have the whole country supporting them and willing to watch them thrive.

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SARAH ALAGROOBI

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ARTIST, DESIGNER & CO-CURATOR OF THE BANAT COLLECTIVE Growing up in this region, there has been so much change over such a short period of time. What has it been like growing up during this time? I spent most of my formative years outside of the UAE, so I was able to dip in and out of its transformational growth. I feel like the UAE is one of the only places in the world where you could leave for a short period of time, only to come back to a completely different landscape. It’s definitely been a source of inspiration to be a part of what the country has achieved over the last 50 years. What do you love about being from the UAE? The UAE is a multicultural and diverse nation that is comprised of so many cultural complexities. It is an honour and a privilege to be able to grow as the country is growing and to witness all of its successes. Brene Brown argues that all over the world “we are living in a culture of scarcity”, which is being “hyper-aware of the lack”. I do not believe this is true from the UAE’s perspective, I feel it is quite the opposite in that we are living in a culture of abundance. We recently celebrated 50 years of the UAE. What do you envision for the next 50 years of the nation? The UAE is a blueprint for a society that is thriving in so many industries. It is transforming at such a rapid pace and we are so privileged to be witnessing an artistic galvanisation of how we interpret identity and individuality. I envision a transformative, innovative and bright future for what is to come. How do you hope to pave the way for future generations? I do believe it is a social responsibility to contribute to civic society. After all, within the creative industries, culture is created through the lens of civic society, so my hope is to be a vehicle to open many doors for the future generation. Whatever obstacles we faced in our experiences, we grow from them and eliminate them for the people of tomorrow.

You’re an incredibly accomplished artist and creative – where do you get the inspiration for your pieces? A lot of my inspiration comes from my surroundings, I do enjoy discussing social commentary and that feeds into the topics I uncover in my art practice. Inspiration can stem from a simple conversation with a fellow artist, we are all in this journey together, so we protect each other and want the best for each other. We are each other’s inspiration. It is a cyclical process of helping each other out and building a sense of community. In particular, which piece are you most proud of to date? I am proud of everything that I have accomplished. There isn’t one specific piece that sticks out because everything served its purpose at the time in which I created it. I also invite failure because I do not see it as such. It is just a learning curve. During the early stages of the pandemic, I found myself recycling a lot of old paintings and recreating new ones from discarded material, in a way it was breathing new life into canvases so there is a reintroduction to existing works that I thought were complete. What they were were iterations of a large thesis statement that I found myself working on. What are your hopes for the future of women in this region? The women of this region are embracing the complexities of intersectionality and how being a woman plays a huge role in the way they navigate their own paths. My hope is that that path is further cemented to pave way for other women that will come after them. It’s paying it forward in order to amplify the development and creativity. My hope is that this collective continues long after we are gone and that a legacy is what drives the matriarchs of our nation to build a better future. What have been some of the hurdles you’ve experienced in your career, so far? I am contrarian by nature, so the core essence of my character is anti-conformist. That in itself presents a lot of hurdles because I follow the beat of my own drum and because we are in a society that protects itself through homogeny it is important to carve out your own sense of individuality. That can be challenging at times, but it is getting easier as the country expands in its diversity. And what have been the key milestones? Honestly, every experience is a milestone, however small it may be because it is contributing to active change. This is The Future Issue – how do you hope to be a role model for future generations in this region? I hope that my beliefs in advocating for cultural shifts are going to contribute to changes that will speak to the people, for the people, by the people. This is important for any society to thrive and as Mary Pipher writes in Reviving Ophelia: “Social change is a million individual acts of kindness; culture change is a million subversive acts of resistance.” We are just formulating our history and existing as change-makers. But we must acknowledge that we are not the subject of the story but rather the narrators of a larger story bigger than all of us.

SARAH ALHASHIMI FILM DIRECTOR Growing up in this region, there have been a multitude of changes over such a short period of time. What has it been like growing up during this time? It is always interesting to look back at my childhood growing up in a city that was extremely fast-paced. I often find myself feeling nostalgic. I could seldom hold on to anything; places, people or memories. Perhaps this is why a lot of my work revolves around nostalgia and curiosity. Why do we feel like we are constantly chasing to be the best? I know I am 27 and I still have so much more to achieve. Having said that, this quest for greatness has pushed me to try and prove myself at a young age – that I must be hungry to achieve more. The opportunities are

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“EMIRATI WOMEN IN POWER IS NOT A NEW PHENOMENON. THEY HAVE BEEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES FOR YEARS AND HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD AND THAT MAKES ME SO PROUD TO BE A WOMAN FROM THE UAE.” – Sarah Alhashimi

is not easy. You need to constantly produce work in order for people to view you as one and constantly producing films is not feasible as it takes time to produce something worthy. You’re always learning. You can start a project but by the time you finish it a year later, you’re in a completely different creative and headspace. Finding out the right message or output for films I create proves to be challenging from time to time. And what have been the key milestones? I think I’ve been able to cross the barrier of what an Emirati woman is perceived as in our society, whether it’s through my films or modelling, they’ve all been worthy milestones for me. Being one of the first Emirati women to be featured in a Gucci campaign, having directed my own short film about my family, having my first documentary receive accolades in international film festivals, they’re all milestones that make me proud. And I know I’m just getting started. This is ‘The Future Issue’ – how do you hope to be a role model for future generations in this region? I hope that future generations of women from the UAE can look up to me and relate. Whether it’s in the way that I dress or look or through my work, just as I have looked up to other women from previous generations.

MAITHA AL QUBAISI ENDURANCE RIDER Growing up in this region, there has been so much change over such a short period of time. What has it been like growing up during this time? Growing up in this region, there have been so many changes that have progressed us as a country so much, it makes me feel so proud and honoured to be a part of it all. What do you love about being from the UAE? What I love about being an Emirati is how wonderful our culture and heritage is. I have been blessed to have my father’s proud family heritage instilled in me. He often used to reflect on his life as a child and compare it with mine, celebrating my achievements as if they were his own. This is particularly raw for me at the moment as my father passed away just before new year and so every day I am able to draw on his profound wisdom. The Emirati culture is so deeply ingrained in us all. We recently celebrated 50 years of the UAE. What do you envision for the next 50 years of the UAE? I envision the UAE will advance in industry and commerce, putting us on the international map even more. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has ensured that the careers of women are supported and the sky is not the limit, either now or in the future. I know he has selflessly paved the way for us all to succeed. I’m also proud to share the same birthday as our beloved Ruler, I hope I too one day can make a small difference and be remembered. How do you hope to pave the way for future generations? I hope to pave the way, just like my parents did for me. My mother and father prioritised our education and experiences, including travel, so that I could achieve my dreams. They taught me always to believe in myself, be kind to people and animals, be respectful to others, no matter what their path. I hope that

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vast, and I am definitely grateful for that. What do you love about being from the UAE? I love our culture, our hospitality and the vast examples and inspiration that I can see from the leadership. It is the pride and blessing of being an Emirati. My home, my family and growing up with people from all over the world in a harmonious and collaborative state of being is something that I always cherish. We recently celebrated 50 years of the UAE, what do you envision for the next 50 years of the UAE? More art and artists, films and filmmakers. I think the past 50 years have been wonderful in terms of infrastructure and creating new milestones. I do believe there needs to be more focus on producing genuine narratives in collaboration with local creatives in the industry, in order to achieve an economically viable and flourishing industry. I think storytelling is important and having the freedom to be creative and expressive is important to push us beyond who we are right now. I hope people still remember where they came from and that while the success our country has witnessed was expedited, it still did come from a place of hard work and humility. How do you hope to pave the way for future generations? I think true representation of Emiratis is extremely important, and that is what I try to stay true to. Emiratis are varied, we are different in our ideologies, skin tone, features and we even speak different dialects. I rarely see true representations of this reality. I have been in situations where clients have been too lazy to cast appropriate Emiratis, claiming they are unable to find local women who are okay with having their photos taken or exist in the public eye. This is far from the truth. If you look around you, you will find plenty. We are growing and changing, and the industry needs to keep up with that and make sure that reality is portrayed. What are your hopes for the future of women in this region? My hope is that we continue thriving the way we have been for all these years. Emirati women in power is not a new phenomenon. They have been in leadership roles for years and have been working hard and that makes me so proud to be a woman from the UAE. My hope is that we continue to support each other and build on each other's success stories. Who are your biggest inspirations in life? I think we can take inspiration from everything around us. We are blessed to be in a place with vast opportunities and people around us from whom we can draw inspiration from, whether friends, family, or places we’ve been to. I often write down scenarios I have seen or witnessed down on my phone so I can use them later in my work. It is always the little things; from witnessing kids play by the beach to a conversation I overhear in a cafe, the beauty and inspiration is there for all to witness. What have been some of the hurdles you’ve experienced in your career, so far? I would say sometimes I feel the lines of who I am or who I am trying to be are blurred. Truth be told, I’m a filmmaker, but I also model often, even though I wouldn’t identify myself as a model. I have a day job that has nothing to do with the creative industry. Being a filmmaker

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I can inspire our society in future to think the same. What are your hopes for the future of women in this region? To be independent, have more opportunities and plenty of options in their career choice. Emirati women are so extraordinary in so many ways, I hope to make a difference in the region in my own way. I have been taught to be courageous and strong no matter what adversity lies ahead. I often draw upon my experience in endurance racing, sometimes we don’t know what the day brings. We need to take things one step at a time, keeping in mind what we know, what we don’t know, and not being afraid to ask for help for those who also want to achieve. Who are your biggest inspirations in life? My mother and my father are my single biggest inspiration. Bubba (my father) used to say I was his single biggest inspiration and from my mother, I learnt commitment, trust, inclusion and courage. My mother came to the Middle East at 21 with no knowledge of the region. I have to give them thanks for the person I am today, they’re irreplaceable in my heart and mind, I am their blood. What have been some of the hurdles you’ve experienced in your career, so far? One of the hurdles I’ve experienced so far is I’ve been thrown off by a horse multiple times and at speed. I have always got back on, sometimes to finish, sometimes to complete a 120km race only to be eliminated at a vet check. Disappointment is hard obviously but at the end of the day, my horse is the most important, he is my partner and I can’t do what I do alone. I have always been supported, encouraged, and respected by other riders, our trainer, our grooms and our vet team at F3. They carry me over the hurdles. Sport has taught me that a win for me is a win for the team. And that’s how I feel about the Emirates. Recently my father passed away from cancer and that has been one of the most difficult milestones I’ve faced to date. I hope I will continue to carry his legacy on, both in my career and in life, as my father would want me to do. This is The Future Issue – how do you hope to be a role model for future generations in this region? I hope to be a role model for future generations to show women that anything is possible and you must always believe in yourself. Whenever you fall you can always tell yourself you can do it and you get back up there and achieve your goals. Encouraging women for the future generation will make a massive difference for women in the UAE.

NADIA AL KHAJA EMIRATI ENTREPRENEUR & FOUNDER OF SMAT Growing up in this region, there has been so much change over such a short period of time. What has it been like growing up during this time? Growing up during a time of metamorphosis in the UAE has been magical. I have been able to see the region and industry change to accommodate more cultures, tradi-

“AS OUR COUNTRY EVOLVES, MY WISH IS THAT THE YOUNG WOMEN IN OUR SOCIETY HAVE THE COURAGE TO FIGHT FOR THEIR DREAMS AND JUST AS I HAVE, RECEIVE UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM OUR COUNTRY.” – Nadia Al Khaja

tions and embed those beliefs in my country. We are now a cosmopolitan nation that has so much to offer within every industry. Smat is a testament to just that, we offer nostalgic Emirati food with a modern twist. What do you love about being from the UAE? I love that the UAE is ever changing, giving businesses like mine a chance to reinvent ourselves whenever possible. Reinvention is growth, and as a young Emirati woman, I believe growth is key. We recently celebrated 50 years of the UAE. What do you envision for the next 50 years of the UAE? In the next 50 years, I would hope that the UAE continues to flourish with acceptance and growth. Our nation has been welcoming to young business minds like mine and has encouraged us to make the most of our potential. My dream for the UAE in the next 50 years is to continue to pave the way for young Emiratis and show the world what we have to offer. How do you hope to pave the way for future generations? In my journey toward expanding my business and my ongoing quest for education and picking up skills, I hope to motivate and inspire young women to do the same. I want to be able to make a name for myself and be someone that can advise and guide our youth. What are your hopes for the future of women in this region? My dreams and hopes for the future women in this region are for them to be able to conquer their dreams, no matter the size. As our country evolves, my wish is that the young women in our society have the courage to fight for their dreams and just as I have, receive unconditional support from our country. Who are your biggest inspirations in life? The biggest inspirations in my life are the women in my family. It was through them that my passion for cooking and dining was sparked. It was always around a dinner table where we would bond, discuss heartfelt topics and casual occurrences in our day. This is why I am so grateful for my mother, aunts and grandmothers for teaching me the significance of dining and cooking together. This is also why I have called my concept Smat, which translates to dining. What have been some of the hurdles you’ve experienced in your career, so far? The biggest challenge that I had faced was learning to become a restauranteur when my background was business management. I started from the bottom where I polished my practical skills in the kitchen, and even acquired my certification and became a professional barista to showcase our original Smat coffee. And what have been the key milestones? My most memorable milestone is opening up Smat in Dubai Design District in 2021, within the recovery period of the pandemic I was able to open the concept of my dreams and did so successfully. This is The Future Issue – how do you hope to be a role model for future generations in this region? I am a firm believer in community, and I think the only way to succeed is if we all come together in support of one another. In the future, I hope that the younger generations can look to me as a role model for my beliefs and my actions. My aim is to grow Smat into a destination for our community to come together and curate, dine and discuss. I hope that the future generation will look to me as an advocate for growth and remember me for the safe haven created for them.

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The Virtual Frontier

Driving a path for the future of the fashion industry, Ordre is championing one-of-a-kind technological innovation to bring new designers and the most influential fashion retailers together. Founder Simon Lock talks us through the company’s journey and how the pandemic transformed the virtual fashion space 98 emirateswoman.com

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IMAGE: SUPPLIED

WORDS:OLIVIA MORRIS

Can you talk us through your career prior to launching Ordre? I started in the fashion industry with a fashion marketing communications agency in Sydney, Australia, which quickly led to me working with a lot of fashion brands in Asia Pacific. Then we also opened an agency in New York primarily working for a lot of the emerging Australian designers at the time. I recognised the need for a fashion week to be held in the southern hemisphere, because there weren’t any at the time – there was really only London, Paris, Milan and New York. So I set about the task of establishing a new stop on the international fashion week circuit, which was an Australian Fashion Week, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary and has introduced a lot of international retailers and fans to Australian designers. It was interesting through that part of my life. We really became the goto company for developing fashion weeks around the world. And I was very proud of the fact that we were asked to assist on the development of Dubai Fashion Week for a couple of seasons. I was the creative director of Dubai Fashion Week, which was a fantastic opportunity. Then, about eight or nine years ago, we thought that the industry really needed to move much more rapidly towards digitisation, so we sold our physical businesses and started to focus exclusively on digital. And since then, the old group has launched down three technologies, specifically for the luxury fashion industry. Ordre virtual showrooms, which are day-to-day virtual showrooms, allow buyers to place orders for wholesale collections without having to fly all around the world to appointments. Also 360-degree view technology, which is now used by everyone from Louis Vuitton through to Alexander Wang, is probably the default technology in that business. And then we are just working on our new very exciting technology, which is an NFT marketplace called Authentic. And this will hopefully be the definitive fashion NFT marketplace. You launched Ordre in 2015 and it really is a game-changing concept. Where did the inspiration for the concept come from? The inspiration for Ordre really came from seeing the demise in buyers turning up at Australian fashion week come following the financial crisis, we saw the number of international buyers really plummet. And I just thought there needs to be a better way for designers to be able to present their collections to buyers, particularly when buyers can’t travel. So that led to developing web-

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based virtual showrooms. And it really took a pandemic for the industry to really embrace this new technology, because all the buyers couldn’t travel anymore. But designers still had a need to be able to present new season’s collections. So virtual showrooms are now a must-have for every major fashion designer in the world. And I’m really pleased that we’re the industry leaders in this sector. How have things evolved since you launched Ordre? The pandemic has really been a major factor in our acceleration. The fashion industry prides itself on its innovation and creativity and has been really slow to embrace new technologies. But I think when they were disconnected physically from their customers, during the pandemic bet consumer customers or their retailers that sold their products, they realised how important digitisation was in every part of the business. Thus, we’ve seen a huge acceleration in the last 24 months. How have you seen the technology being used by Ordre further enhance the relationship between designers and fashion retailers? We developed our old 360 tech which really allows buyers to come into a virtual showroom and to see products in 360 to spin them around to see every aspect and to be able to zoom in on the detail. So this is really what made the buyers feel very comfortable about placing wholesale orders. We’ve now seen a lot of designers that we work with, particularly people like Luber time, really embrace all 360 in the e-commerce because it’s just as applicable for consumers. Consumers want to understand the product and be more engaged online. What have you noticed when it comes to the Middle East and market in terms of fashion? The Middle Eastern market is a very influential market. affluent and sophisticated. There’s a great love affair with with the luxury brands, there’s a great understanding of the DNA of the fashion houses and the histories of the fashion houses and the love affair with the fashion houses. It’s a very, very important market from a retail perspective, and from a wholesale perspective. In business, what is the philosophy you live by? Just to be transparent, to have integrity, and to be enthusiastic about what you know. We’re always very excited when we’re speaking to new customers about our products. I think that enthusiasm, and our passion for what we do, really comes across well and I’m very proud of the fact that we have a great reputation with our customers. What are the key lessons you’ve learned throughout your career? I guess the biggest

“The metaverse is going to be such an exciting new place for us as humans to engage with each other. We’re not constrained by the physical world. So I’m very excited about this.”

lesson is not to be too early to market with new innovation because it takes a while for the industry to follow. I mean, right now we’re launching the world’s first global authentic fashion marketplace, and for the first time consumers will be able to come and buy wearable, digital fashion for their social media, and eventually the metaverse. It’s a very, very ambitious project. I’m really hoping that we’re not too early to market. But I think there’s such interest now in what’s going on within FTS and digital fashion that, hopefully, we’ll be able to put a stake in the ground and establish ourselves as a global industry leader in this area. What are the hurdles you’ve had to overcome throughout your career? I guess the biggest hurdles we’ve had to overcome is just the reluctance of the fashion industry to change the way it does business. That wouldn’t be the biggest thing. I mean, the fashion houses have a system, that system has been in place for a long time, they have a staff structure around that system, and there’s a status quo

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around that system. So when you come up with a new business practice, it’s hard for the fashion houses to change quickly. So that would be some of our frustrations and some of the hurdles we’ve had to overcome. What have been the key milestones? One of our first designers to sign up to Ordre was the amazing Jonathan Saunders – that was an incredible milestone. It really was a domino and we very quickly started working with a lot of the leading designers around the world including Gucci. So that was definitely a milestone. And I think when we saw Louis Vuitton use our old 360 technology that was an incredible, proud moment for the whole company, to think that that brand was embracing our technology. So I think there are two important milestones and certainly coming up in June of this year when we launch the authentic marketplace, which is definitely going to be a major milestone in our business’s development. This is The Future Issue – what do you envision for the future of Ordre? Well, I think more and more we’re going to become involved in technologies that are powering the metaverse. The metaverse is going to be an aligned universe to the physical world, which is 3D and you can create an avatar – a likeness of yourself. And you can move around in a virtual 3D world, you can go shopping, you can go to concerts, you can go to bars, you can meet people, you can chat with your friends. You can build a home and have all your family around for dinner around the table, even though they might be spread around the world. The metaverse is going to be such an exciting new place for us as humans to engage with each other. We’re not constrained by the physical world. So I’m very excited about this. And I’m also very excited about our technology’s role in helping to dress people in the metaverse and this is a terribly exciting time to be alive in fashion.

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2/1/22 11:25 AM


THE FUTURE OF ART & IMAGE 100 emirateswoman.com

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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

NFTs, blockchain and new currencies – we spoke to Suzy Sikorski, modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art associate specialist at Christie’s Dubai, to find out what we should be investing in and to discuss the rise of the new digital art space

When working with artists or selecting artwork, what does Christie’s look for? We focus on artists who have both strong international and regional market appeal, most with respected gallery representation. Our appetite is becoming much more selective for Middle Eastern art after over 15 years of sales and maturing collectors’ tastes. The market is acclimating to a transition to online and hybrid sales, where there is much higher international accessibility interacting with our auction catalogues and writing content pieces. Many times, these highly sought-after works are addressing a very specific local subject but that can also be perfectly applied to the global community. We look for fresh talent across the board and like to support emerging artists as well as therefore guiding established collectors keen to diversify their collections. Can you expand on how the art space has changed and what do you see people buying into currently? The art space has been enriched by the addition of NFTs. On 11 March 2021, Christie’s sold the first NFT ever for $69 million. An incredible sum, but the 22 million visitors who joined the final hour of this online sale was as exciting as the final price. It really showed us that there was a very large audience that was passionate about art that we had previously not communicated with. Seventy-five per cent of buyers in this category are new to Christie’s, with an average age of 42. Compared with our day-to-day business, NFTs are still a very small sector accounting for $150 million for 100 works last year, representing 8 per cent of the annual turnover of the 21st Century department. The NFT market is empowering, influential and expanding. They can bring new voices to the market, validated not by traditional institutions like museums and galleries but by independent peers in the NFT community. For the artists, they now can access a global market, retain ownership rights and benefit from resale royalties directly. Are clients currently paying for art and images in new currencies? This request is rare. Although we offer the ability to pay in crypto, this is still a minority payment at Christie’s. Are you currently selling any NFTs and what strategy does Christie’s have in embracing the popularity of these? We offer NFTs alongside our 21st Century auction or as stand-alone sales depending what we are offering. Sales of the more than 100 NFTs sold by Christie’s in 2021 totalled nearly $150 million; the historic online sale of Beeple’s ‘Everydays’ achieved $69 million last March; Larva Labs’ Cryptopunks ($17 million) and digital artwork by Fewocious ($2.16 million) attracted new and younger collectors. Christie’s first NFT sale in London took place in October and in November Beeple’s ‘Human One’ hybrid NFT sculpture achieved $28.9 million. Other NFT highlights include partnerships with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Gucci and collectibles giants Superplastic. The first-ever NFT sale in Asia, hosted by Christie’s in its No Time Like the Present online auction, achieved a total of HK$122 million ($15.6 million). Christie’s held the first-ever live auction with bidding conducted entirely in Ether during Post-War to Present sale in October in New York. The first-ever on-chain NFT auction curated by Christie’s and hosted on OpenSea achieved $3.5 million in Decem-

ber. We are waiting for the first 2022 announcement from our NFT Department with eager anticipation. What has been the largest challenge at Christie’s to date and how did you overcome it? From a corporate perspective it must have been March 2020, when the world went into lockdown and the business model had to re-adjust to a new reality. Thankfully, we had already been running online auctions for a decade and could reschedule 140 physical auctions to take place online. The other piece of the puzzle was to get our clients transacting online, not all were set-up to do so but as technology was the only communication and purchase link between family and businesses, this was quickly established. Our expertise was still available to our clients, as each lot sold online receives the same research as a live sale lot and the specialists where available for Zoom calls and seminars. Today, we have an equal balance of nearly 50 per cent live and online sales. Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what has been the best advice they have imparted to you? I interned at Christie’s in PostWar & Contemporary Art in fall 2013, working in the team for Amy Cappellazzo, who was then the former Chairman of PWC. She encouraged me to follow my gut, take the risk and come to the Middle East to pursue what I was passionate about. At the time I was following the Art Dubai, Abu Dhabi Art, and successful Christie’s Dubai sales. This internship was an incredible formative experience preparing for their November sale at a time when the Francis Bacon triptych of Lucian Freud sold for $142.4 million, and we recorded the largest ever evening sale total then at $691 million. That following fall 2014 I jumped on a plane to Sharjah and never really left the UAE after that moment, later to receive a Fulbright Scholarship there after graduation. What effect do you see social media having on driving the interest of artists or artworks and images? Social media has gained considerable leverage in influencing buying trends or interactive ways to learn art education. There’s been an incredible influx of new digital collectives that were formed during this time that are cultivating a younger audience eager to learn more about the art scene. What should we be investing in and how can anyone approach staring their own collection? To find out as much as you can about an artist you like. Speak to specialists at the galleries and auction houses to gather additional information but when you buy your first work of art let yourself be guided by your gut and choose something you love. This is The Future Issue – what does future of the artspace look like to you? A hybrid between the physical and digital. We are entering an era that is becoming hyper global and interactive. One click can bring us into a studio across the world, or into another metaverse. Not only is there more content, but also a healthy supply of incredible in-depth coverage of artists and art scenes from primary sources themselves – the artists, gallerists, scholars and curators, and the collectors who are voicing their stories and also as importantly, their critical concerns about the market and scene. I foresee compelling shows that focus on interdisciplinary material – across geography and generations and combining the physical and digital worlds will allow us a more interactive way to engage with the art itself.

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THE METAVERSE

IMAGE: GETTY

WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

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DERYA MATRAS VP MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA AND TURKEY AT META (FACEBOOK)

We speak to some of the Middle East’s leading figures in social media, business and education to get their take on what the future of the metaverse looks like

How would you define the metaverse? The metaverse is the next evolution in a long line of social technologies and will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions, or projected into the physical world – and seamlessly stitched together so that you can easily jump from one thing to another. And because it is immersive and engaging, it makes it easier to really feel like you are experiencing things together - through sharing a space rather than simply a screen. While nothing beats being together in person, recent months have highlighted how, when that’s not possible or practical, the digital world can still help us feel connected. The metaverse helps us answer this challenge by helping get us even closer to feeling that in-person connection. What will people be able to do in the metaverse? The mobile internet has already allowed people to work, learn and socialise in ways that are less limited by their physical location. The metaverse will help expand these opportunities even further. For example, the metaverse will enable more immersive experiences. Imagine standing on the streets, hearing the sounds, visiting the markets of places far away from where you live or could ever travel to. In the metaverse, you’ll be able to teleport not just to any place, but any time as well. Imagine learning how historical cities and buildings were built by actually seeing them get built, right in front of you. While the metaverse feels like a far-off vision, glimmers of it can already be experienced today. Virtual Reality (VR) is already letting us create immersive experiences that deepen our sense of presence online. For example, we recently launched Horizon Workrooms, which lets people collaborate in digital spaces – letting you turn your gaze to see a group of people around you, read people’s body language, and use spatial audio to hear quiet chatter, interruptions or laughter from wherever it is coming from in the room. How will it redefine society as we know it? Nothing beats being together, but when we can’t be together in person, the metaverse will help us get even closer to feeling that inperson connection. Because it is immersive and engaging, it makes it easier to really feel like you are having a shared experience even when you can’t be together. It won’t happen overnight, but over time, the metaverse will unlock new opportunities for people and communities. Immersive and engaging ex-

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perience means more people will be able to choose to study and train in places that felt off-limits because of where they live or what they can afford. And more people will be able to choose to turn their passions into careers because they won’t have to rely on access to expensive tools, vast workshops or precious materials to train, study or make digital art, games or experiences for people to enjoy. Similarly, how will it shift the way we do business? In the metaverse, as users spend increasingly more time there, it makes sense for brands to advertise in virtual reality spaces as well. Companies can take advantage of the potential of the metaverse by offering their customers a highly personalized and interactive experience. For example, Ray-Ban Stories already lets you take pictures and videos, listen to music and take calls, all while keeping your phone down, and eyes up. This is a step on the way to being able to eventually wear normal-looking glasses that allow screens to appear in front of you and that you control with your fingertips, where you can pull up holograms of your friends to sit across from you wherever you – and they – are. The metaverse is only in its early stages – when do you think it will become the norm? Our vision is for the metaverse to reach a billion people in the next decade, but for that to happen, access to hardware has to improve and connectivity across the world has to increase. As we build towards the metaverse, it will be more important to be smart than be fast. It is important to note that Meta is neither going to build, own, or run the metaverse on its own. It requires collaboration with policymakers, experts and industry partners to bring this to life. Although it’s a long road ahead, we have already launched a two-year, $50 million investment in global research and program partners to help us in this effort. Collaborating with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits and academic institutions to figure out how to build these technologies responsibly. We are also a founding member of the XR Association (XRA). Together, member organisations will help build a responsible metaverse in XR (Extended Reality), which includes VR, augmented reality (AR), mixed-reality, and future immersive technology. What role will social media play in this? Social media will play a crucial role as the metaverse will be the next evolution in a long line of social technologies and will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences. And because it is immersive and engaging, it makes it easier to really feel like you are experiencing things together – through sharing a space rather than simply a screen. For a while yet, the primary way people will experience the metaverse is through 2D

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“TECHNOLOGY ALLOWED US TO WRITE, THEN TALK AND NOW SEE EACH OTHER. THE METAVERSE WILL BE THE NEXT STEP – LETTING US FEEL LIKE WE ARE SHARING A SPACE TOGETHER. THE LAST DECADE SAW A SHIFT FROM DESKTOP WEB TO MOBILE INTERNET AND THE NEXT DECADE WILL BE ABOUT SHIFTING INTO THE METAVERSE.” – Derya Matras, VP Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Meta (Facebook)

apps. And even beyond that, we are focused on building ‘bridges’ from our apps on 2D screens into more immersive virtual experiences in the metaverse. So maybe you will be able to click on an Instagram photo of your recent holiday and it will take you into a space in the metaverse where you can see all of your holiday pictures hung on the walls of a personally curated gallery that your friends can drop in on. This year we are bringing Messenger Calls to VR. So soon you could tap a link that lets you enter your parent’s virtual living room, with photos of the family hung on the walls and familiar furnishings that make you feel at home, and continue the conversation as avatars or holograms all sharing a space. Or while watching a video of your favourite comedian in a Facebook Event you might be able to tap on an icon behind the performer and be transported into the front row of a virtual audience, where you can hear other people sitting next to you laughing at the same jokes. Just like the mobile internet started as a feature of Facebook and went on to become the centrepiece through the Facebook app, the metaverse will follow a similar path, starting off with more basic bridges and glimpses in our 2D apps, and eventually becoming central to the way we connect online. In your opinion, for those who don’t adapt, what will happen? The metaverse is the next evolution in social technologies and the successor to the mobile internet. Technology allowed us to write, then talk and now see each other. The metaverse will be the next step - letting us feel like we are sharing a space together. The last decade saw a shift from desktop web to mobile internet and the next decade will be about shifting into the metaverse.

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DR SAMEER KISHORE HEAD OF IMMERSIVE VRX LAB, MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY DUBAI How would you define the metaverse? Currently, we’re still very much in the conceptual stage of the metaverse, so definitions vary depending on who you ask and how much they ‘believe’ in the future of this concept. However, broadly speaking, the metaverse describes a vision of a parallel, fully connected, 3D ‘virtual’ reality that would exist alongside our actual reality. We would access this virtual world using immersive technologies such as VR or AR headsets. What will people be able to do in the metaverse? The idea of the metaverse is to give users the ability to connect with each other virtually as avatars. We could think of the metaverse as this virtual ‘physical’ space where people can socialise, work, play games, learn, explore new areas and even create content. In this sense, the concept isn’t new. Second Life, an online platform for people to connect and communicate with each other using avatars, has existed since 2003. More recently, VR apps such as VRChat and Rec Room provide the same functionality. However, similar to how a single website is a small part of the internet, these individual experiences will become a building block of the metaverse. How will it redefine society as we know it? This is a tricky question, but an extremely crucial one to address. As with every new technology or innovation, whether related to robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), or the metaverse, the technology itself isn’t inherently good or evil. However, the way it is used by people and businesses could potentially have a significant influence on society. Thus, this question cannot be answered just from a technological perspective but requires ethical, legal and a social psychological point-of-view as well. Issues related to data collection using relatively less complex

apps such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have already gained significant attention in the last few years. The sheer detail of user data that could be collected in the metaverse could even include personal physiological data (heart rate, facial expressions, eye tracking, emotions), posing strong ethical questions about how it could be used and monetised. While this isn’t meant to scare people away from the concept, it’s an important discussion to be had at this stage, when the metaverse is still being shaped. Similarly, how will it shift the way we do business? We are already seeing how dependent we are on the internet to communicate with each other, a fact that has been accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With remote meeting platforms such as MS Teams, Zoom and Cisco Webex driving so many industries forward, the metaverse could be an extremely powerful platform that provides an even richer experience. While we don’t have a clear vision yet on specific examples, we have already seen to some extent the potential of VR/AR technologies in various sectors such as education, tourism, business, medicine, as well as manufacturing. In addition, the announcement of the metaverse has already led to several new business avenues that didn’t exist earlier. For example, selling and buying of ‘virtual’ real-estate and other NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) that could be used in the metaverse. However, again, the question of their legality, ethical considerations and future value remains to be seen. The metaverse is only in its early stages – when do you think it will become the norm? The idea of a parallel, ‘virtual’ reality has been a recurring theme in science fiction literature and movies, including The Matrix, and more recently, Ready Player One. However, now this concept is being touted as a very real ‘successor’ to the internet by many. Especially with the interest being exhibited by tech giants, such as Microsoft, Apple, and most significantly, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), faith in the metaverse is clear to see. While it’s difficult to say when this will become the norm, or if it will even become

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the norm in the way we imagine it today, we can be sure that immersive technology (AR/ VR) will soon become a part of our lives in some way or the other. As is the case with many predictions related to the evolution of new technology, not every idea comes true. What role will social media play in this? Social media has shown to be an extremely powerful tool for shaping choices and influencing outcomes related to the next meal you’re going to have, all the way to deciding the next US president. Similar to the previous question about redefining society, we have to carefully consider the effect of social media from a user’s perspective and also from the perspective of the companies that run these platforms. Meta owns Oculus, one of the most popular VR headset manufacturers, and thus also owns all the usage data connected to these devices. More recently, there has been criticism towards them for forcing Oculus Quest users to link their Facebook account to their Oculus account. While it might seem like an innocent requirement, this kind of profile and data linking is what could potentially have a huge impact on the future of the metaverse. In your opinion, for those who don’t adapt, what will happen? Since the technology is still quite conceptual, it is difficult to say what will happen to those that don’t adapt. Some experts predict this technology will become as ubiquitous as the smartphone, so you can imagine life for someone today without one – how would a day be for someone that doesn’t have apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and Google Maps in the palm of their hands? On the other hand, some compare it to owning a gaming console, like an Xbox or a PlayStation, which is not as universal and critical in terms of impact.

BRIAR PRESTIDGE CEO OF PRESTIDGE GROUP How would you define the metaverse? Whether we feel ready for it or not, the metaverse is the future. It will disrupt and shape our society at large. To an extent, talking about the metaverse and where it is currently at today, is a bit like us discussing the internet in the 1970s. No one could really describe exactly how the internet was going to evolve and ultimately turn out, just like no one can describe what the future of the metaverse entails. It’s the next generation of the internet known as web 3.0. Though a consistent definition is yet to emerge, in broad terms the metaverse is the internet that you can go into using VR or bring to you using AR. Experiences in the

metaverse are interconnected, building a social connection and driving a new digital economy. Some virtual worlds can also be accessed through PCs, game consoles, and phones, and often users appear in the form of an avatar, a digital version of themselves that shows up and interacts within the virtual world. The metaverse also includes the digital economy, where users can create, buy, and sell virtual and real-world goods and services as NFTs, using cryptocurrency as the medium of exchange. What will people be able to do in the metaverse? Despite getting a lot more airtime lately with Facebook’s announcement to rebrand as Meta, the concept of the metaverse is not new, dating back to sci-fi series as early as the ’90s. Already there is a lot happening which is forming the future of the metaverse. More than 12.3 million people tuned in for a VR concert in online game Fortnite featuring Travis Scott. Snoop Dogg is developing property within The Sandbox (for $450,000), and a plot of land was purchased for the equivalent of $2.4 million on Decentraland. Millions of people are spending a lot of time each day in virtual social spaces like Roblox. Nike announced the acquisition of virtual sneaker creator and collectable creator RTFKT and opened Nikeland on Roblox. Bill Gates predicted that, within two or three years, most Zoom meetings will migrate to the metaverse. Since mobile phones were invented we are spending more and more time on our devices, placing huge weights on our digital identities (for teens, how they appear on social media sometimes means more to them than real life). Today’s younger generations have grown up as digital natives. The metaverse will continue to be a natural progression for how people will interact digitally in the future and it will impact all parts of our lives. Right now, as the metaverse hasn’t seen singularity and the tech is still developing, most of the platforms have their own avatars and inventories that are tied to only that platform. In the more idealistic future visions of the metaverse, your avatar and digital belongings can easily travel with you between platforms. How will the metaverse redefine society as we know it? The metaverse will completely change how we understand the concept of ‘society’. AR glasses (more sleek versions, unlike the clunky ones we see today, or even contact lenses) could be ubiquitous as they become completely necessary to shop, work, and socialise. But what happens if the metaverse becomes better than reality? Will pandemic or climate-induced lockdowns force us into the metaverse? As excited as I

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am about the future and technology evolving, a part of me is concerned about a dystopian future where humans don’t even move from their couch. Similarly, how will it shift the way we do business? The metaverse is poised to transform business by pulling every industry into a digital economy. More and more goods and services will go digital. Companies will protect them with NFTs and then trade using smart contracts. Similarly, brands who deal with consumers in live retail spaces, or through one-dimensional internet shopping sites, will now be able to interact with them 24 hours a day in live virtual retail environments that, unlike the mall, won’t simply close because it’s midnight. Just as Zoom allowed us to connect and conduct business throughout the pandemic from our home, virtual meetings and

“NO-ONE COULD REALLY DESCRIBE EXACTLY HOW THE INTERNET WAS GOING TO EVOLVE AND ULTIMATELY TURN OUT, JUST LIKE NO ONE CAN DESCRIBE WHAT THE FUTURE OF THE METAVERSE ENTAILS.” – Briar Prestidge emirateswoman.com 105

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conferences, perhaps through holograms, will continue to become the norm. The metaverse is only in its early stages – when do you think it will become the norm? We’re already seeing a move towards the metaverse by many forward-thinking individuals and companies. I foresee greater experimentation and investment this year spurred on by the ‘buzz’ that we are currently seeing about this topic. It is also suggested that a more widespread adoption of the metaverse as a part of day-to-day life would be available worldwide by 2030. What role will social media play in this? It’s hard to say at this stage how all that will play out. Certainly, discussions about the metaverse – literally whole narratives about it – are unfolding on social media platforms as they exist right now. This will shape when and how quickly many consumers move over to the metaverse. Will social media platforms continue to exist in the metaverse? If they do, it will most certainly be in new three-dimensional forms. Numerous brands, such as Gucci, Coca-Cola and Louis Vuitton, are already experimenting marketing with ‘multidimensional’ and spatial campaigns, much like what the future of the metaverse will be like. Facebook is also pushing creators to make and extend virtual worlds in the Metaverse using their new platform. This is just one example of how social media will help usher in the metaverse. Though, I wonder if Facebook will push for singularity and ownership of what’s created there because they have people’s data. In your opinion, for those who don’t adapt, what will happen? This shift will be like any other great shift in history: those who don’t adapt will find themselves ultimately shut out of business, culture and society. This won’t happen overnight, of course, but the effects of inaction or even of late adoption are considerable, just like what happened to companies that didn’t embrace the internet, social media or digital marketing. How are you implanting aspects of the metaverse into your life? I’ve got avatar versions of myself, and I spend time in virtual reality exploring what’s there. I socialise with friends around the world there – we exercise on VR Workout, have boxing matches in a virtual ring, and movie nights on Big Screen using our Oculus headsets. Our team at our personal branding and PR agency, Prestidge Group, are conducting virtual meetings, recording podcasts, and creating strategies to position its clients’ personal brands on virtual platforms. My suit label, Briar Prestidge – The Label, has created digital versions of our power suits that you can wear to virtual conferences. Remember, the only constant in life is change, so embrace it and enjoy what the metaverse brings.

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WAQAS NAKHWA CEO AND FOUNDER OF AQARCHAIN How would you define the metaverse? The metaverse is an abstract space on the internet that can be created using AR and VR. Any digital creation of space that can be accessed through the internet is a metaverse creation, the experience can be enhanced more by using AR/VR headsets and 3D characters with animation. What will people be able to do in the metaverse? Since the metaverse is virtual and not a physical space there is no limitation to what can be done – it is beyond imagination. The whole concept is new and explorations are being done on what metaverse can achieve. Primarily gaming looks like the best use case but real estate, social platforms and entertainment are evolving in developing real world use cases. How will it redefine society as we know it? It is the new change and since change in the last decade has been so fast, millennials are beginning to adopt it at a rapid pace. The first change was the use of social media which gave social connections a new paradigm, and now the metaverse will bring in another social connection in the virtual world, with many internet giants adopting the metaverse. Similarly, how will it shift the way we do business? Just like how the internet and social media made a big wave in all sectors, businesses adopt it to create a presence. For example, a construction company has a website and social media profiles. In the future it will have the metaverse to conduct business meetings, discuss projects etc. So eventually there will be mass adoption in the longer run. The metaverse is only in its early stages – when do you think it will become the norm? We have become fast adopters of change and the pandemic has taught us to adopt change much faster. Just how we have evolved from bricks and mortar to the internet, VR will be the next adoption. What role will social media play in this? Social media is a catalyst, just like spices in food. In the internet age it is impossible for any business to not have any social media presence. Which platform each business chooses depends on the target audience but a social media presence is there for sure. So therefore social media has made the metaverse knowledgeable to everybody today and it will continue to be the conduit in the real world adoption of metaverse. In your opinion, for those who don’t adapt, what will happen? There is no first comer advantage, it all depends on what use case is more practical than the other. Eventually

all businesses will have a metaverse presence. Like we have seen internet giants in the early 2000s and social media giants in the 2010s, the 2020s will see the rise of metaverse giants. How are you implementing aspects of the metaverse into your life? We will all adapt to the metaverse in our day-to-day life as the technology evolves, it becomes cheaper and more practical in real-life use cases. Today mobile phones have been replaced with smartphones and now wearable devices, so we all are implanting aspects of the metaverse knowingly or unknowingly. Today as we enter the evolution of technology from basic internet to web 3.0, blockchain and AI / ML (Machine Learning), the use of VR is becoming more accessible. With the pandemic technology adoption has increased and now in the digital age, we see immense growth in this sector.

“THE METAVERSE HELPS US ANSWER THIS CHALLENGE BY HELPING GET US EVEN CLOSER TO FEELING THAT IN-PERSON CONNECTION.” – Derya Matras, VP Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Meta (Facebook)

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A CONSCIOUS Oliver Ripley, co-founder and CEO of Habitas AlUla, shares how this experience-led property is part of a wider focus on sustainable living

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LIFESTYLE

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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH

FUTURE LIFESTYLE

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sive research and site visits, we ensure the design of each project harmonises with the location’s natural surroundings. We design and build around nature, who we call our lead architect. Sustainability is at the core of our brand and thus paramount in how we design each of our homes. Whilst the design of each home differs depending on the location, we always create an aesthetic that blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. We don’t build through nature but rather around it. Everything we source and buy supports the local community and creates micro-economies. This is integral to our ethos, helping local farmers and artisans, and training and teaching the local workforce. How has Habitas disrupted the hospitality industry with its forward-thinking approach to innovation? We never set out to disrupt the industry, nor to create a global hospitality company. We were building something for ourselves, an experience that didn’t exist, and we took a commonsense approach to solving the problems we encountered. My co-founders and I have different backgrounds, both entrepreneurial and creative, but funnily enough not a history in hospitality. Building and operating a hotel tra-

ditionally has multiple stakeholders, who can have different interests and priorities which include management companies, owners, developers, architects. It follows a linear process, and a project can take three to four years from idea to opening. We do this all under one company. By designing, manufacturing, developing and operating in-house, we streamline the process. Your clients are global. How do you ensure the experience is bespoke for all? We believe in personalising the experience while adding an element of surprise and discovery, infused with local modalities. For instance, at our spa, Thuraya Wellness, we offer an alchemy bar where guests can try different oils and elixirs and apply to their spa treatments based on their preferences. You’ve created a space for people to connect. Tell us more? Nature plays a fundamental role for Habitas AlUla and when creating the property, we ensured full immersion into the natural world, comfort and space designed for human connection and sustainability throughout the entire design and execution process. For us, luxury is the ability to connect with nature. Our home is designed for human connection, with gathering spaces and panoramic views as the

IMAGES: SUPPLIED

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like? What is your morning routine? I spend my mornings taking time for myself, enjoying a cup of coffee while I catch up on emails and the news. Single-use plastic has been eliminated throughout the villas – tell us more? We are committed to eliminating single-use plastic throughout all of our homes and have been awarded the Oceanic Champion Badge for adopting The Oceanic Standard. Our priority is to partner with local vendors who provide alternatives to single-use plastics that we can apply at different levels of our operations. Additionally, we are working towards funding local plastic-free initiatives through our programmes and through education-based panel discussions. Can you elaborate on the modular-build and low-impact design of the property? Habitas uses a modular build meaning our rooms are designed, constructed, flat-packed and delivered to new locations worldwide. People have a preconception for what modular means, but in fact, every hotel is highly customised in design, detail and feel. We just employ a much more efficient building approach, which has many advantages and only enhances experiences. Through exten-

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backdrop. Our design philosophy is simple: we let nature speak for itself. You’re regarded as a philanthropist; how do you engage in social causes for a better future? Philanthropy has been a huge passion of mine throughout my life and has become increasingly important as we develop Habitas, which is built on human connection and supporting local communities. We believed it was our responsibility to create our own impact initiative, and thus Habitas Rise was born. We focus on giving back by strengthening local communities, education and promoting sustainable and conscious tourism. We set up pop-up schools to train and hire locals, as for us, hospitality is the kind of experience you receive when you come into an old friend’s home, so it has to feel local. We also look to source local materials, produce and set up and support local micro-economies. Through Habitas, we have a platform on which to encourage conscious tourism and set new standards in sustainable development. Saudi Arabia is changing at a rapid rate in terms of travel, tourism and hospitality. What

do you see for the near future as the next immediate growth area or innovation? Saudi Arabia is very unique in terms of its history and culture. It’s the gateway to two holy cities, Mecca and Medina. It has a very young population with over 70 per cent of the population below the age of 30. I’m very impressed with the way that culture is at the forefront of travel, tourism and development inside of the country. The country’s perception is still very misunderstood globally, although there is tremendous change happening. There is such a variety of locations, climates and geographies to explore from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Farasan Islands, AlFaw, to the mountain regions. There is even skiing. The success inside Saudi Arabia over the next few years politically, culturally and religiously will have a global effect on the rest of the world and its success is key. This is The Future Issue, what does the future of luxury and wellness look like to you? We believe what luxury means is changing for a growing number of us. We prioritise experiences and human connection over material possessions. For us luxury is to reconnect

with ourselves, with our loved ones and to make new friends. Luxury is about those moments that we create and share that live inside of us, long after we leave a location and come back home. We are huge advocates of responsible tourism and always consider ways to preserve our planet and give back to the local communities. It means giving back in equal measure and doing our part to ensure a sustainable future for all.

“We don’t build through nature but rather around it.” LIFESTYLE

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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

The Wanderlust An exceptional edit of the best luxury hotels set to open in 2022

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Aman New York – New York, USA

Aman is officially set to make its mark on one of the world’s most famous cities this year – New York City. Set to be an urban emblem in the heart of Manhattan, Aman New York is located in the iconic Crown Building, which first opened in 1921 and was formerly the home

of the Museum of Modern Art. Through the vision of architect Jean-Michel Gathy who designed the new luxury hotel and residences, Aman New York pays homage to the history of the Crown Building, whilst also infusing Aman’s signature style – “creating sanctuaries beyond commonplace notions of luxury”. Set to be comprised of 83 hotel rooms, Aman New York will also play host to Aman’s first urban residences. The 22 private residences will have access to all of the hotel’s

amenities which include the three-floor Aman spa, 20-metre indoor swimming pool, gym and more. Aman New York will also consist of a plethora of restaurants – a Garden Terrace & Bar with 7000 square feet of outdoor dining space, private members club, three-floor Aman Spa, Jazz Club and Wine Room. aman.com/hotels/amannew-york Banyan Tree AlUla – AlUla, Saudi Arabia

AlUla, the region in Saudi Arabia which boasts incredible heritage, culture, landscapes and more, is set to welcome a new resort that will be opened by Europe’s largest hotel group, Accor. Located 15km from Hegra, which is the Kingdom’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, it will become the firstever Banyan Tree resort in Saudi Arabia. The resort will comprise of 82 tented villas ranging from one to three bedrooms. The AlUla region is well-known for its ancient history with Hegra being built more than 2,000 years ago. The Kingdom is ensuring the ancient city is being celebrated for its past but also looking to the future with sites like the allmirrored Maraya Hall. Banyan Tree AlUla is set to open in Q3/ Q4 of this year. banyantree.com/ saudi-arabia/alula METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella – Marbella, Spain

After the successful launch of their first venture into hotels in Bodrum, Turkey, UAE-based Sunset Hospitality will open its second international property this summer. Situated on the shores of Costa Del Sol, the METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella is set to open its doors in June and will boast uninterrupted sea views and sandy beaches. Complete with 253 rooms and suites, this new resort perfectly embodies the METT’s concept of social living and resembles a “chic contemporary cortijo”. Home to five-star accommodation, as well as a wellness and fitness centre, the METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella will

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Clockwise: Aman New York – New York, USA; METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella – Marbella, Spain; The Lana, Dorchester Collection – Dubai, UAE; Banyan Tree AlUla – AlUla, Saudi Arabia

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Anantara Mina Al Arab – Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

A piece of the Maldives is arriving in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah later this year. Part of the Anantara group, the Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort is set to open on the Mina Al Arab development in the emirate later this year. The new luxury sanctuary on the Arabian Gulf will boast 174 rooms for guests and will house its very own private beach, along with an eco-reserve. In true Maldivian resort style, the new resort will also have overwater villas with their own private plunge pools and overwater loungers. The eco-resort will also house top of the range amenities including a luxury spa, health club, beach and pool bar, seafood grill restaurant, a speciality Asian overwater restaurant and more. anantara.com/en/mina-alarab-ras-al-khaimah

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The Lana, Dorchester Collection – Dubai, UAE

also house its popular Mediterranean inspired F&B concept, Folie Restaurant & Sea. Popular Dubai-based restaurant Lola Taberna Española will also go international at the METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella where guests and patrons alike will be able to enjoy traditional and classic Spanish tapas in its relaxed-taberna style restaurant. mettsocialliving.com/marbella

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The Dorchester Collection is set to open its very first hotel – The Lana – in the Middle East in the latter half of 2022. Located in the heart of Business Bay, Dubai, the stunning hotel is set across a 30-storey tower designed by award-winning architects Foster + Partners. Housing 225 guest rooms, 21 of which are signature suites, The Lana boasts impeccable skyline views of Downtown Dubai. The new luxury hotel will also have a plethora of dining experiences including a Mediterranean restaurant on the fourth floor, an Italian café on the fourth floor and an experimental dining experience like nothing Dubai’s ever seen on the 18th floor. On floor 29 guests will find the world-class spa, wellness centre and state-of-the-art gym and the top floor is home to the rooftop pool. dorchestercollection.com/en/dubai/the-lana

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The Next Chapter

Having first opened in the emirate in 2018 in the bustling dining scene of DIFC, Beefbar is back, but this time located further south at Jumeirah Al Naseem. Restauranteur Riccardo Giraudi discusses what’s different this time around and how Beefbar is set to make its true mark on Dubai 118 emirateswoman.com

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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

time this evolved, and I began to really enjoy this business and then opened a second and third and fourth restaurant in the principality of Monaco and that’s how it all started. Where does your love for food come from? It’s one of the few pleasures of life but it was always in me since I was a kid. I love to travel, I love to eat, I love to get inspired by what I see all around the world and I like to interpret world cuisines and package them in a luxurious yet relaxed atmosphere. I love contrasts, hate rigidness and enjoy good times. You recently opened Beefbar for the second time in Dubai. What’s different this time around? In the last three years, the brand took a totally new turn and that’s what made it much more appealing. I’m further away

are so many as we always evolve and create new dishes. But I would say the rock corn, the jasmine tea-smoked Kobe beef bao bun, and the pepper beef are amongst the best sellers. Not to forget, our signature Sauce Beefbar, and our unique twist on wagyu shawarma! What sets the F&B industry in Dubai apart from the rest of the world? It’s a very cosmopolitan environment where people come from all over the world. It’s also a very competitive environment. And as a famous song would say, “If you can make it there you can make it anywhere”. Describe the process that goes into curating new menus and new dish ideas. So, first of all, I cannot cook. People tend to think I am a chef, and I am not. That is my strength,

IMAGE: SUPPLIED

“I have to mix cuisine with design and music. I am responsible for creating the moment of what we call, the experience.”

Talk us through your career. After my studies in London, the only internship I could find was in a startup PR company that said they would specialize in hospitality because at that time in 1998 there was no such thing. It was also the time where restaurant brands were becoming lifestyle destinations. I was lucky enough to be given the biggest accounts in one of the largest European capitals and I learned a lot. When I came back to Monaco to take over my family business (which is in the meat business) I decided I needed a showcase restaurant for my beef and created the first Beefbar out of sheer luck. At the time, the restaurant was a simple steakhouse with great quality beef and with

from the classic steakhouse menus and developed an array of street food from all over the world. We now have many chefs from different nationalities who reinterpret their simple local cuisine with the best meaty ingredients. We also developed a large selection of vegan dishes and moved into increasing the menu with great fish and seafood selections as well. Yes, it’s called Beefbar but we can now offer diversity and also cater to non-meat lovers. You’ve switched up the location from DIFC. What’s the appeal of Jumeirah Al Naseem? In short, it’s the energy of the place. I see it as an oasis with beautiful lighting, a cosy surrounding. It also helps traffic being located in a hotel as we don’t only cater to Dubai residents and tourists but also to people who enjoy spending time in Jumeirah Al Naseem. Talk us through the concept of Beefbar. The menu is divided into a street food section to be considered as starters, and a comfort food section to be considered as mains. The street food section is divided into leaf (vegetarian) and reef (seafood) items. The main section is divided into the type of cooking. Grilled, steamed, barbecued, minced, raw and so on. I created desserts that bring you back to childhood with an amazing marbled chocolate bar, an incredible soufflé and our famous gelato. What are the hero dishes at Beefbar? There

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because by travelling and getting inspired by what I see and taste I can then envision all the new dishes with the help of my amazing team. I am more of an Artistic Director if you prefer. You know chefs and restaurateurs are two very distinct professions. People tend to forget that. I have to mix cuisine with design and music. I am responsible for creating the moment of what we call, the experience. What are the hurdles you’ve experienced throughout your career? Like any entrepreneur, people tend to see only their successes but like any human being, I’ve had a few failures that made me grow. I had many diversified companies in many industries, and I decided to focus only on a few with time and maturity. Now I focus on myself, and what I believe in. I’m glad I realized so much early on and I’m so grateful for what I have achieved so far. What have been the milestones? There have been many, but I would have to say opening Beefbar in the French capital surrounded by chefs only and not by brands was a major success. Also, obtaining my first Michelin star in Hong Kong was unexpected. The plans for expansion even though these times are tough yet extremely promising. I hope to have many more milestones in the future. What are your hopes for Beefbar Dubai in 2022? To put it on the map!

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THE DIRECTORY

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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

BACK TO THE FUTURE Nineties minimalism was en pointe at PRADA for SS22

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Articles inside

The Next Chapter – Beefbar makes a return to Dubai article cover image

The Next Chapter – Beefbar makes a return to Dubai

10min
pages 118-124
The Wanderlust – The best luxury hotels set to open in 2022 article cover image

The Wanderlust – The best luxury hotels set to open in 2022

4min
pages 114-117
A Conscious Future – Interview with Oliver Ripley, co-founder and CEO of Habitas AlUla article cover image

A Conscious Future – Interview with Oliver Ripley, co-founder and CEO of Habitas AlUla

5min
pages 110-113
The Metaverse – Everything you need to know article cover image

The Metaverse – Everything you need to know

20min
pages 102-107
The Pad – Futuristic additions for the home article cover image

The Pad – Futuristic additions for the home

1min
pages 108-109
Beauty Shelf – Inge Theron, entrepreneur and Founder of FaceGym article cover image

Beauty Shelf – Inge Theron, entrepreneur and Founder of FaceGym

2min
pages 90-91
The Future of Art & Image – NFTs, blockchain and new currencies article cover image

The Future of Art & Image – NFTs, blockchain and new currencies

5min
pages 100-101
The Virtual Frontier – Interview with the founder of Ordre, Simon Lock article cover image

The Virtual Frontier – Interview with the founder of Ordre, Simon Lock

7min
pages 98-99
The Future of Beauty – Interview with advanced aesthetic doctor Dr Marwa Ali article cover image

The Future of Beauty – Interview with advanced aesthetic doctor Dr Marwa Ali

5min
pages 88-89
AM to PM Beauty – Fatma Almheiri article cover image

AM to PM Beauty – Fatma Almheiri

3min
pages 92-93
The New Power Play – Juana Skin article cover image

The New Power Play – Juana Skin

6min
pages 86-87
Changing the Game of Fashion– Exclusive interview with the founder of DREST, Lucy Yeomans article cover image

Changing the Game of Fashion– Exclusive interview with the founder of DREST, Lucy Yeomans

9min
pages 72-73
Hot New Buys article cover image

Hot New Buys

1min
pages 82-83
Hi-Tech – Take your beauty routine to the next level with these high-spec tools article cover image

Hi-Tech – Take your beauty routine to the next level with these high-spec tools

3min
pages 84-85
The Future of an Icon – Exclusive interview with Max Mara’s Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti article cover image

The Future of an Icon – Exclusive interview with Max Mara’s Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti

6min
pages 62-63
The Secret Weapon – Gabriel Waller is the A-list secret weapon in tracking down the rarest pieces in fashion article cover image

The Secret Weapon – Gabriel Waller is the A-list secret weapon in tracking down the rarest pieces in fashion

6min
pages 44-45
The New Network – Exclusive interview with the founder of Sourcewhere, Erica Wright article cover image

The New Network – Exclusive interview with the founder of Sourcewhere, Erica Wright

7min
pages 46-49
Dare to Dream – Exclusive interview with emerging designer LaQuan Smith article cover image

Dare to Dream – Exclusive interview with emerging designer LaQuan Smith

4min
pages 74-77
The Future of Footwear – Interview with Level Shoes’ General Manager, Elisa Bruno article cover image

The Future of Footwear – Interview with Level Shoes’ General Manager, Elisa Bruno

11min
pages 64-67
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