A MOTIVATE PUBLICATION
NOVEMBER 202 1
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THE TIMELESSNESS ISSUE Incredible women powered by
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Obaid Humaid Al Tayer MANAGING PARTNER AND GROUP EDITOR Ian Fairservice EDITOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Amy Sessions email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Chaitali Khimji email@example.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER Neha Kannoth firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org LONDON Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER, UK, E-mail: email@example.com
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serpent bohème collection
Building the Future
Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner and Group Editor of Motivate Media Group, explains how the media business he started in the UAE over four decades ago has scaled and flourished, alongside the region which provided the environment to do so
How has being based in the UAE supported you in being able to scale the business? The magazine has been growing along with the country. There was no competition when we launched What’s On in 1979. It was the first independent English magazine in the whole region. Emirates Woman was launched two years later, and was similarly the first women’s magazine in the region. The expectations were not that high at the beginning from the public. And I think that we surprised them with the quality of what we were able to produce, even when the magazine was in its infancy. We could grow the magazines as virtual monopolies for the first few years, and it’s grown from strength to strength along with the nation. What has been a massive advantage with our titles is that we’ve employed experienced editors. So many magazines haven’t lasted the course because they have been launched and edited by people without the required experience. We make sure that all our editors and journalists come to us with good qualifications and great pedigrees. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this over the years? The UAE has been a great supporter of new ideas and an advocate for entrepreneurs. People with those ideas have found support from the local and national government to turn those ideas into a reality. With the media business that I started, it was a two-way street. The country needed media and there weren’t a lot of entities fulfilling that need. Gulf News and Khaleej Times,
Ian Fairservice and Mariam Beham
the country’s first newspapers, were launched around the same time as What’s On. It’s been less straightforward to scale the business to other countries in the region, because unlike the Emirates, there were, in the past, quite a lot of administrative obstacles to get into some of the other Gulf states. We weren’t looking to expand regionally in the beginning. In fact, the first magazine that we took outside the UAE was What’s On in Oman, because we found that we had support in that country and also we were able to drive the copies there. Over the last more than 40 years, all of our magazines – whether Gulf Business, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – or any of our other titles, are now regional. And of course, they’re more than
regional by dint of the fact that all of the titles – or brands, as we now refer to them – don’t really refer principally to magazines anymore. We don’t even refer to ourselves as publishers any longer. We’re Motivate Media Group. All of our brands have three essential components: strong print content; a steadfast focus on digital innovation; and lastly, a dedicated set of events associated with each. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years. Do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in businesses based here? Yes, it’s quite remarkable. What has been achieved in 50 years in the UAE would have taken 100 to 150 years almost anywhere else in the world. In the time that the Dubai Airport
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was first launched – and now grown into one of the busiest airports in the world – besides a world-class homegrown carrier like Emirates becoming the world’s biggest airline, it just amazes me that the UK, for example, has spent all of that time trying to decide where to add another runway in its capital – and they still haven’t made up their minds. In addition to Emirates, Etihad and other airlines such as flydubai and Air Arabia were launched too – and all of this has happened because of the lack of chronic red tape and politics that are involved in the so-called developed world. And of course, no one could possibly suggest that the UAE isn’t now a first-world, ultra-modern and highly-developed country. What the UAE has which other countries that have lagged behind it in the last few decades don’t, is the consistency of government. They don’t swap the governments every four years so that the incoming administration can cancel everything the previous government has done. Here, we have a system of government that has continuity – continuity of objectives and continuity of policy. That makes a huge difference in terms of nation-building. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? When I arrived in the Emirates, I was 21. And now the worst kept secret is that I’m 65. I’ve spent these almost 45 years here watching the development of this remarkable country. What makes it unique to me, is really the privilege and the great experience of being able to witness the change, and with our business, to play a small part in documenting the history of this country. We launched our first publication in the late 1970s, a few short years after the formation of the UAE. What was the catalyst for launching Emirates Woman? Well, I need to come clean on this. It wasn’t our idea and neither did we launch Emirates Woman. Emirates Woman was conceived by a dear friend, the late Joan van der Merwe, who was an editor at Khaleej Times. She came up with the concept but I don’t think she could get anyone in her own company to take it seriously. So she went to an independent publishing house in Ajman, Hawk Publishing, which produced the UAE telephone directory. Hawk Publishing launched Emirates Woman in 1981 as a quarterly magazine – edited and predominantly written by Joan van der Merwe. It was a year-and-a-half later in 1982 when I approached them and asked if we
Presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jocelyn Henderson in 2014
could buy the title from them because we wanted to expand our stable. They were basically directory publishers, so although what they had done was very good, mainly due to Joan’s talent, the idea of us taking the magazine over and making it monthly appealed to them. We negotiated a very equitable deal with them and we bought the magazine in 1982. This year we celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary and the launch of Emirates Man. How would you now describe the brands? I think everyone involved with Emirates Woman over the last 40 years, all the way back from Joan to today when Amy Sessions is editing the magazine – have, along with their teams, made sure that Emirates Woman has remained relevant and has not just
been a source of fashion pictures or beauty products, but really created a community of its own. The interesting thing which we learned early on is that our readership is spread right across the board and very heavily supported by Emiratis. And of course, we’ve had numerous events that have developed over the years including the remarkable Emirates Woman, Woman of the Year Awards which was launched in 2004 and have honoured such luminaries in the past as the late Mariam Beham and Jocelyn Henderson who was honoured as Woman of the Year in 2014. Jocelyn still lives in Abu Dhabi and celebrated her 100th birthday this year. Off the back of the successful launch of Emirates Man this year, the bi-annual title has moved to four quarterly issues as the solution to the market’s desire for a smart approach to content for the modern gentleman.
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Welcome to The Timelessness Issue. In this issue we have exclusive interviews with a long In a year that celebrates the 50th anniversary of an incredible list of incredible women, one of whom is Nisreen Shocair, region, we are also privileged to be celebrating 40 years of CEO Middle East at YOOX NET-A-PORTER who discusses Emirates Woman. steering the brand in the region with precision in A Clear It is an absolute pleasure to be at the helm of the brand as Direction on page 32. Beauty mogul Huda Kattan discusses it celebrates such a key milestone, and never before do I feel as what it takes to grow an empire from scratch in The Billion though we have championed our own incredible women, not Dollar Empire on page 60 and Amna Al Habtoor, Founder of only from the region but on a global scale of relevance than we Arcadia, highlights the importance of precision in scaling a do today. I am incredibly proud of all that has been achieved brand in Culture & Growth on page 62. by the team and I during the last 22 months in terms of We also spoke to the women behind the scenes of the Dubai driving Emirates Woman in a direction that focuses on growing Future Foundation and Museum of the Future in Looking to the globally and supporting locally through a laser Future on page 86, Nouf Omar, the youngest focus on quality over quantity in every form female Emirati pilot in Soaring High on page from strategy and vision to partnerships and TIMELESSNESS 100 and Founder of Arabian Gazelles, Hanan execution. I am also very grateful for the trust Mazouzi Sobati in Breaking Barriers on page IS INTEGRITY. of both Ian Fairservice and Andrew Wingrove 101. Finally, some of the most incredible women in being able to do so – thank you. who champion us shared their messages in As Emirates Woman hits this 40-year anniversary celebration of EW’s 40th anniversary in An Ode to Emirates milestone, it felt like the perfect time to partner with a brand Woman on page 80. also aligned with championing incredible women on a global When we asked many incredible women we know what scale for the cover, NET-A-PORTER. As an ode to all women timelessness meant to them, the resounding answer related of the region we chose a piece from Judith Leiber designed back to values of integrity, something you will see throughout exclusively for NET-A-PORTER to celebrate the UAE’s 50th this issue. With special thanks to two dear friends N & Y, who anniversary and that evoked a sense of timeless elegance, supported to make this issue happen. Thank you for having our quality and uniqueness – the very same we see in those back as we have yours. When women (and men) support women, magic happens. incredible individuals we champion.
Amy Sessions EDITOR / ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER
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CONTENTS NOVEMBER 2021
Ride or Die – Interview with Amy Zurek, the Founder of Savette p.26
Monitor News p.16 Social Listings p.18 An Ode to NET-A-PORTER p.20
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A Weekend Well Spent – Launched in 1983, Weekend Max Mara has evolved as a considered curation of timeless classics p.36
Hot New Buys p.56
Serious Buy-In – Exclusive interview with Lea Cranfield, Chief Buying & Merchandising Officer at YOOX NET-APORTER p.34
56 The One – Dolce&Gabbana’s The One Gold celebrates timeless elegance p.68
Perpetual Style – Interview with Emirati designer and Founder of ODEEM, Fatma AlOtaiba p.40 FASHION
Timeless Investments – The classic bags that don’t date p.22 Camel – The new neutral p.24 A Clear Direction– Exclusive interview with Nisreen Shocair, CEO Middle East at YOOX NET-A-PORTER p.32
Carré Club – Hermès breaks the rules by innovating with bold pattern and colour for AW21 p.44
Timeless Creativity – Exclusive interview with Salama Khalfan p.48 Masters of Time p.50
Timeless Vision – Interview with Dr Ahmed Elborno, Founder of Elborno Clinic p.64
Clear Cut – Serrb FW21 collection p.52
An Ode to the UAE – EX NIHILO p.66
Middle Eastern Aromas – The best oud-inspired scents p.58
A New Vision of Beauty – Interview with Hind Sebti, Founder of whind p.70
Power Sleep – The power tools you need to get a good night’s sleep p.74 Beauty Shelf – Emirati model Minwa Al Hamed p.76 AM to PM Beauty – Nadya Hassan p.78
Judith Leiber UAE 50th Anniversary exclusively designed for NET-A-PORTER
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CONTENTS NOVEMBER 2021
The Billion Dollar Empire – Exclusive interview with beauty mogul Huda Kattan p.60
Bouclé – Tactile investments that feel timeless p.114
Culture & Growth – Interview with Amna Al Habtoor, Founder of Arcadia p.62
An Ode to Emirates Woman – Incredible women share messages in celebration of EW’s 40th anniversary p.80 Lifetime Investment – The expert guide to investing in a Hermès bag p.84 Looking to the Future – Incredible women behind the scenes of Museum of the Future p.86 An Environment to Thrive – Inspirational
women celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary p.92 The Women of Firsts – Inspiring Emirati women who have shaped the nation p.98 Soaring High – Interview with Nouf Omar, the youngest female Emirati pilot p.100 Breaking Barriers – Interview with the Founder of Arabian Gazelles, Hanan Mazouzi Sobati p.101 The Winning Mindset – How inspiring women set themselves up to succeed p.102
The Delicacy – Caviar Kaspia p.116 Going Global – Interview with Joey Ghazal on taking The MAINE Group global p.118 The Legend – Rainer Becker, Founder & Owner of Zuma Dubai p.120 The Making of a Megacity p.122 The Wanderlust – An edit of the timeless classics you need to visit in a lifetime p.124
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CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? THE NEXT LEVEL OF LUXURY
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WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
THE HERO BUYS
The launches, new openings and hero buys POWER & MYSTERY Bridging fantasy and luxury, ESSENCE OF GOLD STURGEON is the latest innovation from Valmont, a brand at the pinnacle of skin care. Remineralized by rare marine oligo-elements and super-charged with precious sturgeon DNA, your skin will glow with a recovered luminocity. lamaisonvalmont.com
Hanah oversized squareframe gold-tone and acetate sunglasses Dhs1,865.76 Chloé
Organic cotton-jersey tank Dhs382 TOTÊME
PORCELAIN was created in 2019 by natural perfumer Stine Hoff. Gathering inspiration from around the world, the natural perfume brand focuses on high quality, 100% natural ingredients while reviving the age-old tradition of porcelain perfume bottles. With a citrusy opening, this scent builds up on ethereal spiciness. Uplifting and energizing notes of nutmeg and black pepper invite you to get your natural high on Myristica. Dhs1,032 PORCELAIN available at porcelainperfumery.com
Padlock metallic leather sandals Dhs4,519 Tom Ford
Pleated silk-satin tapered pants Dhs4,473 Rosetta Getty
THE MONITOR – NEWS
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Eternal Style VILEBREQUIN’S CRUISE 2022 COLLECTION IS THE EPITOME OF TIMELESS CHIC
With travel re-instated for many, that postcard-perfect vacation is just around the corner. Ensure you’re swimwear ready with the timeless classics from Vilebrequin’s latest Cruise 2022 collection. The latest collection showcases creations that pay homage to both its past and future. With the revolutionary swimwear offering an air of avant-gardism, each piece is synonymous with St. Tropez, a quaint town located in the South of France. Whether a
tunic dress or a timeless one-piece, the collection embodies the true essence of the Vilebrequin brand DNA. Representing freedom in a new spirit, the Riviera-look trikinis, bohemian dresses and swimsuit cuts represent the woman of now with influences of the ’70s deeply infused in its design. Season after season, Vilebrequin’s collections promise nothing less than elegance complemented by a hint of casual charm. This is evident in the latest collection for
the brand, where women have taken a front seat since 2013. Born to celebrate generations of women who value collections from a bygone era with modern finesse. By staying faithful to the label’s reputation for sea-inspired romance, the latest collection is a warm reminder that the house isn’t done perfecting the art of living in the sun all year long and will continually strive to do so. For more information visit vilebrequin.com.
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A curated guide of all the timeless accounts to #follow this month
Eternally the epitome of cool yet classic chic.
The brand celebrates traditional leather craft in a new and modern form.
A decadent fragrance line born to infuse a sense of nostalgia.
Evocatively potent skincare inspired by the heritage of Morocco.
The optimal place to shop pe-loved luxury.
The daughter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Her Highness is all about empowering the next generation of young women from this region.
Alshamsi’s strong identity as an artist influences her contemporary designs.
The Emirati designer known for her fine jewellery brand is the epitome of timeless elegance.
Trend forecaster, stylist and content creator with an eye for timeless investment pieces.
The award-winning beauty entrepreneur who’s created a global brand that goes beyond makeup.
The Director General of the Dubai Government Media Office and media manager for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
A timeless icon, Christie’s is one of the world’s leading auction houses.
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C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H
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Modern Magic SWA R OVS K I C O N T I N U ES TO C R E AT E T I M E L E S S M A G I C W I T H COLLECTION II DESIGNED B Y T H E H O U S E ’ S C R E AT I V E D I R E C TO R , G I OVA N N A E N G E L B E R T With a rich history spanning over 126 years, Swarovski continues to create timeless collection after collection as the house leads the world of crystal craftsmanship. Collection II by the Swarovski Wonderlab, designed by the group’s creative
director Giovanna Engelbert, continues to pay homage to the house’s heritage. As described by Engelbert herself, this combined with a modern twist, playing with colours, textures and cuts, creates Collection II as it dives “further into our world of wonders”. “From a closer look into the muses of the Bohemian movement to the design aesthetic of our Austrian heritage, we’re able to enrich our brand story with a modern twist,” Engelbert further explains. “In this way, each crystal item becomes a microcosm of our world.” As the successor of Collection I, Collection II not only includes pieces that are a direct evolution from the previous, but also entirely new pieces which embody the noble presence of crystals as it continues to tell the story of Swarovski as a timeless brand. Amongst the latest additions to the Collection II pieces is the ‘Stella’ family, which directly draws on Swarovski’s Austrian heritage. Pay-
ing homage to one of the most iconic pieces from the Austrian region ever – the stars of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known as Sissi – the Stella family contains true constellations of geometry, magic, and heritage. Two families which directly evolve from Collection I are ‘Millenia’ and ‘Dulcis’. This evolution of Millenia sees a genderless style, incorporating new cuts, colours and sizes for everyone to be able to wear. Meanwhile, the Dulcis family is created through a modern art lens, exploring new ways of wearing art in the form of corded chains, hair accessories and cushioned crystals. These families from Collection II, as well as the other unique pieces, are perfect for giving a timeless gift. Collection II is now available online and in Swarovski stores across the region. You can also now visit Swarovski’s only Wonderlab concept store in the region, located in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. For more information visit swarovski.ae.
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AN ODE TO NET-APORTER We asked some of the most incredible women we know what superlative qualities make NET-A-PORTER timeless as a brand
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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
Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan
FOUNDER OF MKS JEWELLERY @mksjewellery “Creating timeless pieces that can be passed down through the generations is something we care about, and we’re always looking for ways to expand our vision and share our passion. Our pieces are unique, designed to be cherished for a lifetime, and most importantly, they are for every woman. When a piece moves from one person to the next in this way, it becomes a timeless memory that never fades. NET-A-PORTER is a unique platform that allows the opportunity to connect creatively with a modern brand that has its roots in the present and a vision for the future. NET-APORTER embodies the sense of discovery and wonder. You always find exactly what you want. The result is something truly timeless.” Sheikha Dana Al Khalifa
FOUNDER OF THE OVERDRESSED @theoverdressed “NET-A-PORTER is a timeless brand because it is not affected by the passage of time. It’s updated, streamlined and easy to use. A value that stands the test of time is the care the brand puts into its customers and that care will never be outdated.” Salama Khalfan
FOUNDER OF SALAMA KHALFAN FINE JEWELLERY @salamakhalfan “As someone who pays great attention to detail, NET-A-PORTER’s service is aligned with my own approach towards building my brand where we focus on providing exceptional quality and a superlative experience.” Sheikha Al Mheiri
EMIRATI ENTREPRENEUR & FOUNDER OF MAD (MAKING A DIFFERENCE) HOSPITALITY “NET-A-PORTER as a brand has created its own narrative by adopting and representing
established and emerging brands. A brand that has been able to achieve the perfect balance between technology, fashion and culture. Fashion and culture are timeless factors which are embodied through different time periods, NAP as a brand is able to celebrate this trilogy perfectly and timelessly.” Asma Hilal Lootah
FOUNDER OF THE HUNDRED WELLNESS CENTRE @thehundredwellness @asmalootah “I believe kindness, individuality and creativity are truly timeless. Making the time to share our love and care with others and ourselves is a value that I hold very close to my heart. Our self-care is often found in our routines, and in the moments that we accept our true selves. Beginning and ending the day with a skincare ritual using products that I love, and dressing in quality, crafted clothing that expresses my uniqueness and personality, brings me so much joy. I am proud and excited to celebrate 50 years of my home, the UAE, with NET-A-PORTER and I feel very grateful for the innovation, style and beauty found within both.” Sara Tamimi
FASHION DESIGNER & FOUNDER OF SARA TAMIMI @saratamimiofficial “NET-A-PORTER to me is the classic of all ultimate luxury e-commerce platforms. The absolute first garment I ever purchased online was from NAP, and it is a great memory filled with feelings of excitement which I remember until today.” Oumayma Elboumeshouli
CONTENT CREATOR & STYLIST @oumaymaboumeshouli “I’m a huge NAP admirer and customer. NAP always has timeless pieces and brands on the site, the jewellery is also always timeless which you can wear and pass down through your family. NAP is for every woman out there, the more edgy and playful one but also
the classic and minimalist woman. That’s why I can relate to the brand so much because it’s the same as my personal style. I’ve been working with the brand for the past few years and I am proudly a NAP woman.” Amna Al Habtoor
FOUNDER OF ARCADIA @arcadiabyamna “Since 2000, NET-A-PORTER has curated incredible fashion and has set the bar for latest and upcoming trends. It’s only fitting for them to partner with Emirates Woman’s – The Timelessness Issue, because like NET-A-PORTER, they uncover what’s current and everlasting in the world of fashion and beauty.” Ilke Shah
FOUNDER OF LIMELITE JEWELLERY @limelitejewellery “I love the way NET-A-PORTER evolves with my life. From a single girl living in London 20 years ago, becoming a wife, then as a mother of two, and of course as an entrepreneur – as my style and preferences have changed NET-A-PORTER has kept up! Now I’m living in Dubai and looking forward to the next 20 years with the pioneer of online shopping. However much my life or my style changes, my love for NET-A-PORTER never does!” Saira Farhat
CONTENT CREATOR @fashky “Timeless means authenticity to me, sticking to one’s true self. NET-A-PORTER has always stuck to very classical brands but at the same time provides a foundation and opportunities for emerging talent to showcase their authentic selves.” Nadine Kanso
FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF BIL ARABI @bilarabi @nadkanso “NET-A-PORTER is a timeless brand because it’s forward-moving and when you have that, it can only be a winner.”
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TIMELESS INVESTMENTS The classic bags that don’t date
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FAS H I O N
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FAS H I O N
WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
01. Neo Classic City small textured-leather tote Dhs7,398 Balenciaga; 02. Loulou medium quilted leather shoulder bag Dhs9,300 Saint Laurent; 03. Hermes Kelly 25 Vert de Gris Epsom GHW LX1271 DhsPOA Luxury Promise; 04. Peekaboo (Medium) Dove grey leather bag Dhs17,290 Fendi; 05. Nikita Croc DhsPOA ODEEM; 06. Symmetry Pochette leather tote Dhs4,159 Savette available at NET-A-PORTER; 07. Baguette bag Dhs12,350 Fendi; 08. Le Monogramme bucket bag Dhs5,850 Saint Laurent; 09. Uptown Small leather-trimmed clutch Dhs2,260 Saint Laurent
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Camel Faux Leather Trench Dhs182 Pretty Little Thing
CAMEL The new neutral
WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
Kiota double-breasted camel wool and silk-blend jacket Dhs9,080 MaxMara
Cutout stretch-knit bodysuit Dhs2,779 Zeynep Arcay
Manon pleated faux leather shorts Dhs620 Frankie Shop
Diane leather sandals Dhs2,473 Chloé available at NET-A-PORTER
Phoebe foldover cashmere clutch bag Dhs7,690 Gabriela Hearst
FAS H I O N
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Loulou Puffer small shearling shoulder bag Dhs12,450 Saint Laurent available at NET-A-PORTER
Sunglasses Dhs438 Fendi
Shearling slingback sandals Dhs3,485 Miu Miu available at MATCHESFASHION
Monogramme leather-trimmed printed canvas bucket bag Dhs8,000 Saint Laurent
FAS H I O N
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RiDe OR DiE WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
Inspired by both modern and Renaissance art, Savette is the brainchild of designer Amy Zurek. These sleek pieces are handcrafted using traditional leatherwork techniques in an atelier outside of Florence making them a fine and timeless investment
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“I began with the idea of a bag so timeless and classic that it could be passed through generations of
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women and get better with age – a new kind of heirloom.”
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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? In our industry, every day is different, but I try to carve out time for myself every morning before diving into work. Whether it’s going for a walk to the park with my dog, sitting down for breakfast with my husband, or sometimes just lying in bed for an extra 30 minutes. How long has Savette been in the making and what was the final catalyst for you to launch the brand? Savette has been over a year in the making. My background is in design and development, so the myriad other elements of the business were still a big question mark. I started to develop the bags back in 2019, and I wasn’t really sure where the project would lead. I got the samples made, and I got what seemed to be an authentically positive reaction yet then the pandemic hit and I put everything on pause. Obviously, handbags are a product we only need outside the home. In fact, they’re essentially a way of bringing a little bit of the comfort of home with you wherever you go, so if you’re not going anywhere, ipso facto no handbags needed. A few months into quarantine, I started to feel that women were looking for products to be excited about and covet, ways of connecting to the world they missed, even if they weren’t able to put them to use yet. As with so many things, they didn’t want to return to the same traditional wasteful trend-driven consumption but were looking for fresh improved takes on how to add to their wardrobes, which presented a perfect opportunity to launch Savette. What is the DNA of the brand, its core values? I began with the idea of a bag so timeless and classic that it could be passed through generations of women and get better with age – a new kind of heirloom. This is an uncommon design philosophy today when we’re inundated with newness season after season, but it’s one that I hope will resonate at a time when women are reconsidering their buying priorities. The silhouettes of Collection 1 were inspired by the purity of geometry: parallel and perpendicular lines and easy organic curves, realized in high-quality leather using heritage craftsmanship techniques. I wanted the bags to be minimalist in design without feeling anonymous. The hardware elements echo the forms of modernist sculpture and jewellery, and I hope they will become a subtle signature of the brand. Do you have a favourite go-to piece from the collection? I love and wear on rotation all three styles as they all offer something different, but if I would have to choose one it would be the Tondo 22. It offers substantial capacity and functionality, making it an elevated option for everyday wear. One of my favourite elements is the three-way convertible strap. It can be worn crossbody, doubled to become a shoulder strap, or tucked under the flap to become a short handle. How challenging was it to find the right production initially to achieve the level of quality Savette is known for? It wasn’t easy to find partners that were willing to work with a new independent brand. Through research and countless trips to Italy, I was fortunate to find a factory that loved and believed in our product as much as I did and was equally passionate about unparalleled craftsmanship. Located outside Florence, it’s run by an incredible woman whose father
founded the company, and whose brother and son also work there. The colourways for Savette are beautifully classic. Was this the intention from the outset? Collection 1 is intended as a core, evergreen collection of timeless classics, so the colours and materials needed to be fundamentals. We are offering one style in black leather with the option of either gold or silver hardware. This may seem redundant, but the two hardware tones yield bags with completely different sensibilities, and the decision to offer both speaks to the brand’s attention to detail and nuance. The saddle brown leather with contrasting ivory stitch is a reference to traditional saddle stitching. Savette is a timeless investment piece. Do you see trends in which pieces clients invest in globally and how does this apply to the Middle East? Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a growth of the resale market, women reconsidering how to direct their buying power for good. I think another facet of that same impulse is making fewer, better purchases, investment pieces that women will love for years to come. I’d like to think a Savette bag is just that. You’ve partnered with ecommerce brands such as NET-A-PORTER. What challenges and what benefits are introduced by such a partnership in terms of scaling production for example? NET-A-PORTER was an amazing partner to launch with. They instantly understood our value proposition and ideas behind the brand, which was very important to us since the brand’s positioning is quite unique – the ambition behind Savette is to disrupt the luxury handbag market by being a new kind of modern luxury handbag brand that has that true heritage DNA, yet is digitally savvy and predominantly DTC and is more attainable compared to traditional fashion houses. NET-A-PORTER was extremely supportive of the brand from the very beginning and helped to introduce us to their customer in the perfect way. What have been the largest challenges in creating the brand to date and how did you overcome these? My experience and background are in design, yet so much more entails running the business – production, business management and team building. For me, working on Savette every day is an ongoing learning process that I feel grateful for and excited about. This is The Timelessness Issue – what or who is timeless to you? My grandmother’s and mother’s styles. My grandmother’s style is irreverent and modern, she introduced me to modern art and collected modernist jewelry – Georg Jensen, William Spratling Sterling from Mexico, and various others from her travels. My mother’s style is more traditional. She wears large leather goods from houses such as Hermès, Gucci and Goyard – those products made an impression on me when growing up, the exuding luxury, sophistication, and craftsmanship. To this day, I feel influenced by both of them. In fact, the brand name ‘Savette’ comes from my mother’s maiden name. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? I find the UAE’s uniqueness in how international and diverse it is. It makes a great place for new ideas. In terms of fashion, I find it very different from anywhere else in the world.
“The ambition behind Savette is to disrupt the luxury handbag market by being a new kind of modern luxury handbag brand that has that true heritage DNA.”
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
A CLEAR DIRECTION
What has changed since you took on the role of CEO Middle East YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP both in terms of YNAP and the region? Each one of our four leading multi-brand online stores: NET-A-PORTER, MR. PORTER, YOOX and THE OUTNET has its own leadership position. My goal is to further strengthen each of these by growing new markets. We do this by adding new and exciting products and services to our offering in line with our customers’ local preferences and standards. As a business, we are currently focusing on tuning into the regional customers’ needs by offering them brand exclusives and unparalleled customer service in Arabic. We are also looking at amplifying our localization efforts and driving brand value proposition across our portfolio. How do you uphold the DNA of the brand and its core values whilst continuing to drive a clear direction of newness? YOOX NET-A-PORTER connects the most discerning customers with the joy of lasting luxury and fashion. We combine a curated edit of the world’s most coveted brands with personalised end-to-end service, all shaped by more than 20 years of insights into the modern luxury shopper. This commitment remains at the forefront of all our work. It will never change, and it’s reflected across all of the new directions that
the business takes. An example is during the localization of our NET-A-PORTER website for the Middle East. We maintained our personalized services, our unparalleled editorial and roster of coveted brands by curating everything in the region’s language. It was our highest priority. Another aim is to continuously bring Middle Eastern talent and key opinion leaders to share their stories and accomplishments through PORTER Arabic. You’re a champion of home-grown brands in the UAE. How do you hone in on those which will be relevant for a global market and how do you partner in order to support them to be able to scale? We champion regional designers through our NET SUSTAIN edit that reflects NET-A-PORTER’s unique and exclusive offering of more consciously crafted fashion. This has struck the attention of local designers in the region. Having a local office with a local team also speeds up the process considerably as there is a pre-qualification process in terms of quality and design. For example, we recently launched Benchellal’s couture-worthy creations on NET SUSTAIN earlier this month. His designs offer eveningwear that is also sustainable, marking a long-term commitment to creating opportunities that contribute to a more circular and sustainable fashion system, in line with YOOX
NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s 2030 sustainability strategy, Infinity. We rise together as an industry with designers and retailers keeping each other strong to continue growing. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? I have set up over seven businesses in the UAE and what I find to be essential is establishing a full ecosystem that allows a company to get going. Whether it’s a startup or multinational, being seamless means that it is legally protected, ensuring the business can think about maintaining roots in the Middle East long term. This includes obvious set-up laws and exit laws, logistics, supply chain and employment laws. Whether it’s in media or broadcast, creative service agencies, or retail or digital, I found that the different jurisdictions that carry the support systems are vital, i.e. lawyers, government entities, freelancers, and up and coming designers. What have been the challenges to building or scaling a business in the region and how did you overcome them? From a business perspective, the key element for YOOX NET-A-PORTER Middle East was not just attracting talent but the right talent, especially that as a business we are digitally driven and would require the matching skillset in our employees. As the
IMAGE: WALEED SHAH
Nisreen Shocair, CEO Middle East YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP is an incredible woman, not least in her acute understanding of how the Middle East ticks in terms of content and commerce. We discussed creating clear direction in a very special region and guiding the growth of a super brand
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market became more mature and the customer became more selective what has helped solve the problem of the scaling and growth was the environment that the UAE was able to create, to attract emerging talent in the top of their field from across the globe. The UAE gives businesses such as ours a wider talent pool that has a relevant global viewpoint to tackle the multiple issues that we face in multiple countries. The UAE supports those who decide to take a new turn in life. How has being based in the region allowed you to re-invent or change the direction of your life or career? Since I started in the region, showcasing Middle Eastern talent and building the next generation of inspirational talent has been a mission close to my heart. In a more mature market like the US, you find that foundations are already established in businesses. However, here in the region, you
have to take on the responsibility of building the retail landscape for consumers. Managing a business in the face of adversity is a challenge but an exciting one to overcome. Another key element for me is sustainability. It is pretty incredible to see how fast we’ve adopted sustainability in the region. Whether it’s laws to protect our environment or helping the Middle Eastern consumer become more aware and educated. Joining an incredible organization like YOOX NET-A-PORTER with its high standards around diversity, inclusion and circularity initiatives as exemplified in our Infinity strategy for a more sustainable and circular future by 2030, really drew me in. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here? Without a doubt. The development that has
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taken place in the last five years is remarkable in terms of the infrastructure that has been put in place to support foreign investment as well as supporting local entrepreneurship. The focus on IP, brand and tech protection has come a long way for both established and new brands. This is The Timelessness Issue – what or who is timeless to you? Each one of the royal families in the UAE represents timelessness. The unification of the UAE happened through them. They worked so well together to build that timeless benchmark that anyone from the region should strive towards. Respect, a sense of understanding and hard work are all key pillars of timelessness for me, and they’re reflected every day in the UAE. I also find that the foundations, i.e. of the infrastructure created to build this great nation, are timeless. You can always bank on the UAE. What I also learned during my time so far at YOOX NETA-PORTER is that style is eternal. Classics and essentials that are passed down between the different generations hold a great deal of value. It also ties in with being sustainable and circular as we keep our cherished pieces in use for longer and reduce waste! This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? I am from the Middle East. I am very passionate about the UAE’s vision and ability to attract the best talent to move to the UAE and the region, alongside retaining them with a quality of life that is hard to compete with. I want to bring the Middle East to the world. I want to turn us from consumers to creators, with financial success attached to it. I am very emotional and passionate about the youth of the Middle East. We have a lot to do still to help build a stage for them to learn what they love and do what they are passionate about in order to succeed. I want to see more talent recruitment from the region globally and see local stars playing on the international scene across fashion, sports, tech, and media. This year we celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary. How would you now describe the brand and how does it support women in the region and beyond? If there was a tagline it would be ‘Always here for us’. Emirates Woman has been there for us from the beginning. From highlighting the introvert and the extroverts amongst us to pushing women to new heights and showing that the Middle Eastern woman can be a fashion maven, a businesswoman, a dedicated mother and partner all at the same time. Emirates Woman also shows the vulnerabilities that are specific to us in the region.
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
Lea Cranfield, Chief Buying & Merchandising Officer at YOOX NET-A-PORTER has come full-circle, rejoining the ecommerce platform to drive the direction of buy on a global scale. We discuss taste-making, market trends and supporting emerging brands 34 emirateswoman.com
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How do the core values of NET-A-PORTER transition into the buy each season and what is the most challenging aspect of the role? As the world’s leading luxury e-tailer we strive to continuously offer our customers the very best curation of fashion, beauty and lifestyle from across the globe, bringing emerging brands and power designers together into one seamless shopping destination, resulting in a fresh yet varied assortment, so there really is something for everyone. We always consider our sustainability and social impact which really shapes everything we do from a product perspective and beyond, and so with each seasonal buy we consider all these principles to ensure we are delivering the most inspiring and immersive shopping experience for our customer. Understandably this comes with challenges due to having a very specific criteria our brands and products must meet each season, especially with our dedicated sustainability edit, NET SUSTAIN, but we thoroughly enjoy the process along the way! We work hard to seek high quality items that support current trends and cultural movements, all whilst having an element of longevity, and of course never compromising on quality or style. How do you discover new brands and what do you look for in terms of a brand you know will be globally relevant? Our incredible buyers have a strong eye for new talent, and we discover these brands from a variety of outlets, from social media, to word of mouth, Fashion Weeks, and more. We carefully consider a brand’s ethos and values, and if they align with ours – but also offer the customer something they haven’t seen before. There is also now this huge desire to focus on global cultural movements to remain relevant to our customer and we believe shopping with a purpose is truly the way forward. Our commitment to a more positive and sustainable future
is always front of mind, and we often work collaboratively with brands, offering our expertise and advise on how to withstand and respond to the latest pressures and demands, and so helping brands reach that level of relevance worldwide. Which new brands are you most proud of discovering and bringing to the platform? At NET-A-PORTER our discerning edit places special emphasis on new talent, highlighting the creativity and promise of the next generation of fashion designers. Our mentorship programme, The Vanguard, champions emerging brands and helps shape the future of the fashion industry by highlighting their unique and individual stories, as well as the diverse creative communities around them. In September we presented our Class of ʻ21 Vanguard designers, including KHIRY FINE, Renaissance Renaissance, Sindiso Khumalo, Connor Ives, Interior and Lukhanyo Mdingi. We are proud to provide these brands with a platform whilst watching them evolve and gain a global presence. We also recently introduced The Vanguard Education Fund in partnership with British Fashion Council (BFC) which aims to foster greater diversity for final-year university students across multidisciplinary creative courses by offering financial support. Are there brands which consistently drive sales season after season and do these differ in terms of trends you see relating to the Middle East? We want our buy to reflect the very best from the runway shows, and so brands such as Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, The Row and Loewe consistently perform incredibly well globally. And then there’s the more contemporary designers such as Peter Do, Khaite and Totême which are also hugely popular each season. When it comes to the Middle East, we have identified unique patterns in our customers’ shopping habits, reflected in the top performing brands in the region such as Chloé, Valentino, Gucci and Zimmerman. Our GCC shopper loves to stand out with confident and classic looks, whilst purchasing the more niche pieces alongside (uniqueness is a key purchase driver). How do you hone in on brands which will be relevant for a global market and how do you partner in order to support them to be able to scale? As a business we have access to incredible insights from a forecasting perspective and a unique window into what’s selling globally. We can anticipate what’s next in terms of worldwide trends and how the industry is shifting, and so we use this wealth of knowledge to help guide brands in the right direction. Our talented designers are the leading creative forces behind
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the fashion industry, however our input on what sells can help inform their product offering each season. Our exclusive capsules are even more collaborative, and our teams will often fully emerge themselves in the design journey which is very exciting. This is The Timelessness Issue – what or who is timeless to you? My answer is time itself… To have quality time, to travel again and to spend time with the people you love. But from a product and fashion standpoint, investment pieces like a classic Saint Laurent Trench, a gorgeous Manolo Blahnik shoe, the perfect Wardrobe NYC blazer and a great pair of jeans – but really there’s too many incredible brands to choose from. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? It goes without saying that the Middle East is an extremely unique and valued market for NET-A-PORTER. We have experienced so much success built on tailoring the shopping experience specifically for this region, which involved localising and nurturing communities around each of our brands. We also have some incredible new and local talent such as our new Vanguard brand, Renaissance Renaissance, and new NET SUSTAIN brand, Benchellal, that recently launched and evidence how exciting, unique and interesting the region is to us. This year we celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary. How would you now describe the brand and how does it support women in the region and beyond? We would describe Emirates Woman as a slick exhibit of luxury and talent, bringing Middle Eastern women the most desired fashion, beauty and lifestyle. We love the title’s ongoing dedication to elevate women, bringing more joy into their everyday lives through expertly curated editorial content and sharp visuals. Like the ‘Incredible Women’ featured in our PORTER editorials, Emirates Women interviews strong female leaders globally and from the region, focusing on their personal journey and celebrating their unique talents.
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Launched in 1983, Weekend Max Mara has evolved as a considered curation of timeless classics
P H OTO G R A P H Y: S A LVA LO P E Z
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
We discuss timeless style and creative vision with Emirati designer & Founder of Odeem, Fatma AlOtaiba
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This is The Timelessness Issue – what or who is timeless to you? Style and confidence is timeless. Knowing your style and feeling confident, rather than following trends as they come and go. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? This region has been the centre of the world, connecting the East and West for centuries. Through its rich history and culture, the UAE has shaped its growth by embracing a lot from the Western civilizations whilst still keeping true to our roots. Our region is a melting pot of cultures. Can you describe how Odeem is a timeless brand? We are a timeless brand that designs effortless pieces with the Odeem women in mind, de-
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signed by women and supported by a full team of women. How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? UAE has always empowered women. This allowed me to dream, pursue my passion and transform this dream into a reality. Being based here, I was exposed to talented women that took the step towards starting their own business – to see is to believe. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? Having visionary leaders that have shaped and continue to shape the UAE to a prosperous future. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Vision, Determination and Excellence.
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CARRÉ WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
P H OTO G R A P H Y:O L I V E R H A D L E E P E A R C H
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H E R M È S B R E A K S T H E R U L E S , I N N O VAT I N G W I T H B O L D C O L O U R A N D PAT T E R N F O R AW 2 1
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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
Salama Khalfan, Founder of her namesake fine jewellery brand is the epitome of timeless elegance. Here we discuss the inspiration behind her new Starflake collection and how she believes jewellery always has a story to tell
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Why did you decide to launch your own eponymous brand? I’m someone who believes that everything is possible. This belief has enabled me to do whatever I wanted. After I finished my education, I joined a financial organization and focused on strategy – it’s something I enjoy very much and it keeps the mind switched on. But success in my professional life meant less time for my art, and after a couple of difficult losses and experiences, I realized that I would have to honour the truth of my soul. This comes with understanding the things you did naturally as a child – things that were never taught to you. Art was one of them, and it was very important in leading me to design. Starting my own brand was always something that I wanted to do. It was just a matter of time till I felt that the idea had matured enough and I was able to do it. Can you talk us through your latest collection? The Starflake collection is easy to wear, easy to layer and is lots of fun. With many of the earrings sold in singles, you can add stars, play with asymmetrical designs, connect chains and more. It’s all about adding your own individual taste and style. The journey from idea to the release of the Starflake collection was over three years. Why did now feel like the right time to release it? To me, jewellery is a form of art and art is always about expression. The inspiration of this collection started three years ago but it really took that long to manifest and become wearable jewels. I felt that this is the right time to release it because the inspiration is complete. How do you believe jewellery tells a story? Jewellery is always about storytelling, we don’t buy jewellery for what it is, we buy it for how it makes us feel. Jewels tell the story of their designers and makers, how the designer sees beauty and how she or he wants to express it. You’re a leader in the jewellery industry in this region – what’s it like paving the way for so many women in the GCC & Arab world? The diversity of cultures and backgrounds of people, availability of talent and resources, and the support for the creative sector and SMEs make this region a fertile ground for entrepreneurs, especially women. Every day we see examples of women who continue to shine in their own industries and sectors leading the way for all of us. In business, what is a philosophy that you live by? Hard work and consistency are more important than talent. What are some of the key lessons you have learned that you can share with other entrepreneurs? Always be trend-aware and ready, and I don’t mean this from a design perspective (that is easily achievable),
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CREATIVITY I mean it from a business infrastructure way. For example, a lot of small entrepreneurs underestimated the importance of e-commerce and having a website that is fully functional as an e-store. When COVID-19 hit and the world was shut down, some companies stayed afloat solely because they were able to conduct business online. Ask yourself, what is the next big thing out there? What is the direction and what are the big bets we have
to take today to remain relevant in the future? Do you have any mentors who have helped guide your career? I am lucky to be surrounded by many friends and individuals whom I draw inspiration from, they are my sounding board at times, and my lighthouses in others. This is The Timelessness Issue – how would you define this? Timelessness is universally relevant to every time and generation. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th An-
niversary – what makes this region unique to you? If there was one thing that constitutes the DNA of this country to me, it would be possibility. Here, everything is possible. We also celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary. How would you now describe the EW brand and how does it support women in the region and beyond? Congratulations, 40 years of aspiring, and inspiring in this region. I wish you the best for the next 40.
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
Masters of Time
Private Label London-Dubai specialise in three areas of luxury: Create, Source & Invest. We spoke to Founder Daniel Henderson and Commercial Director Alys McMahon to find out what it takes to drive uniqueness in the industry What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? DH: I get up at 4am and respond to all messages I have received through the night as our network is live 24/7 then I work out for 30 minutes on the Peloton. This time is important for me to set myself up for the day ahead. AM: I usually get up at 7am and walk the dog with a coffee. I enjoy my time first thing to be quiet. What are the pillars of the brand and how did you define why these were important? AM: Creating and sourcing are our two main pillars of the brand and everything we do falls in to either the create or source element of the business. Whether it is research and development, design or procurement, the pillars are essential for us to focus on as we evolve our brand and services. How did you know it was the right time to make the leap in doing something yourself and how did it come about? DH: Having spent 15 years in corporate arenas, I always wanted to have my own business and do something I enjoyed. So, combining a hobby and a business was key. Today it is more of a
member at Threads Styling (a shopping service accessed through personal chat) taught me so much about outside the box thinking. You need to be aware of what motivates you and simultaneously be able to recognise key success indicators within the business as well as understand clearly what your clients’ needs are. If you have these, this is ultimately what drives the decisions when developing a strategy that supports scaling. How challenging was it to secure the sourcing side and why did you decide to focus on this first? DH: When driving a business that supplies high value items, there is of course an inherent risk in dealing with these and to start, this was a challenge especially whilst I built the supply network. I decided to focus on this as a priority. You may have the largest client base but without good product and delivery there isn’t really a sustainable business. I knew that if I could secure a solid supply chain then clients would soon build trust with us. What’s the most interesting custom piece lifestyle choice and has allowed me to meet you’ve made, and which region was it shipped many like-minded individuals. to? AM: Developing our first custom collecHow did your previous roles prepare you for tion of Spekt Sorbet watches (a set of 7 coloured ceramic watches that are a global exthis leap and is there ever a right time? DH: Spending 10 years in the financial market, clusive) was something that we spent a long the stakes were high and there is no room time developing. The orders we fulfilled for for error. Mistakes cannot be made. We now this collection were delivered to essentially work in an industry trading with high value every corner of the world and this was a really items and you have to be aware of the risks positive affirmation of clients believing in the associated with this. I quickly learnt that uniqueness of our designs. We also continue attention to detail and delivering the best to create several entirely bespoke options for product possible is what will set you apart. clients, and this includes jewellery too. But if you wait for the right time to set up on What has been the biggest challenge since your own, it may never come. launching and how did you navigate this? How does being able to think outside the AM: The biggest challenge is scaling. We have to ensure that with everything we do, box equip you to build a strategy that scales we challenge the full idea to understand how the business? AM: Being a founding team
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it can scale. We are constantly reprioritising as a business to ensure we maintain growth. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? DH: Having the ear of key people in the industry is what helps inspire me and keeps me on track. I can always rely on them for support and this was especially needed in the earlier days. AM: I have a couple of mentors within the industry and I try to speak with them regularly to understand if what I am thinking is crazy or inspired. I can rely on them for incredibly candid feedback which I am always thankful for. Which attributes in terms of Horology are most important when considering investing? DH: Buying something that you enjoy is the key attribute to any watch regardless of the level of investment. We work with clients to build their collections and it is important to ascertain their reasons for investing before advising on the right piece for them. Do you see any particular buying trends driving sales in the Middle East and how does this differ from the global appetite? DH: Clients in the Middle East really like Urdu dials and separately the colour green, whether it is a coloured stone or a base dial colour. There is also a growing appetite for rainbow pieces
which shows the fun you can have when designing a watch. AM: Our clients love colour and recently we created a rainbow bezel watch with a full diamond set case, bracelet and pavé dial which is fast becoming very popular. With even a slight change to the finished design, it continues to be one of our bestsellers. We also offer it in a DLC coated (black out) finish. Which watches you’ve invested in are special to you and why? DH: I bought an Audemars Piguet yellow gold Royal Oak with a boutique blue dial (ref 26331BA) at $92k and within 6 months I sold it for $120k. The current market is now at prices of $150k. AM: I bought my first Rooverall. AM: Remember to learn from your lex DateJust 36mm Yellow Gold and Steel in my early 20s and this will always be signifisuccesses as well as your mistakes. There are many successful elements in new businesses cant to me. I have always loved watches but that occur by coincidence and recognising for me, this represented growing up. what worked from these allows you to develWhat is luxury in today’s market? AM: Today, service and convenience play a very large op an understanding as well as gives you an part in luxury. We want clients to experience opportunity to duplicate a similar scenario the ease of shopping with us. We also service again that will aid further success. several large-scale global businesses and This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anthe transfer of knowledge from us to them is niversary – what makes this region unique to key in the story telling around a collection or you? AM: The UAE has always been a driver of individual watch. This helps to make watch luxury goods, especially remotely. There is no buying with us a luxury convenience. other market that is as progressive when purWhat advice would you give to your younger chasing high value luxury goods online. This means that we can pilot new ideas focused self starting out? DH: Self-belief is everyin the region and gain thoughts from this key thing, making mistakes isn’t a bad thing and audience too. DH: The UAE region has a keen failure is inevitable. There were some early speedbumps that were very significant to me appetite for the newest product and we know at the time, but these experiences have conthat we can show pieces that are of interest for both male and female clientele. tributed to making me a better businessman
“There is no other market that is as progressive when purchasing high value luxury goods online.” – Alys McMahon FAS H I O N
Inspired by the structure of geometrical elements, Serrb embodies its minimalist essence in their latest FW21collection
WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
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ALL AVAILABLE AT SERRB
FAS H I O N
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Hot New Buys C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H
A curated edit of all the cult beauty classics to invest in
The Hero Formula The most comprehensive serum for radiant, even-toned skin. 50ml Dhs424 Estée Lauder
Lacquered A classic of shades that feels eternally chic for the ultimate lacquered result. Dhs140 Chanel
A lactic acid treatment to instantly plump and remove the look of fine lines to reveal naturally brighter, even-toned skin. 30ml Dhs330 Sunday Riley
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Pure Power This powerful antioxidant removes pollution for a healthy-looking glow. 60ml for Dhs1,300 La Mer
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Natural Volume This device is designed for multiple hair types to curl, wave and dry without any heat. Dhs2,099 Dyson
PARISIAN CHARM This aromatic compound infuses floral notes with a lemony zest for a scent to last you all day. 70ml Dhs937 Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Scalp Health This restorative shampoo leaves your hair super soft thanks to omega-9 oil. Dhs132 Rahua
This all-in-one mascara delivers endless length and intense volume in just a single stroke. Dhs147 Hourglass
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Infused with black diamond extracts to result in a smoother complexion. Dhs2,350 111SKIN
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C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H
Middle Eastern Aromas
The best oud-inspired scents made to last Oud Wood Eau de Parfum
Oud Rosewood Fragrance
Prive Oud Royal Eau de Parfum
Oud Satin Mood Eau de Parfum
An even more masculine take on oud wood’s rich and compelling power. 100ml for Dhs966
Woody notes of oud are layered alongside floral notes for full impact. 125ml for Dhs1,050
A captivating scent harnessing the mystical alchemy of Arabia.
Creating an invigorating contrast between natural oud and rose essence. 70ml for Dhs1,087
Oud Immortel Eau de Parfum
Take a journey into the desert with notes of oud wood. 100ml for Dhs1,630 Louis Vuitton
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Oud and Spice Eau de Parfum
A scent infused with tobacco leaves and moss for both depth and complexity. 100ml for Dhs964 Byredo
100ml for Dhs1,050 Giorgio Armani
An unforgettable journey of deep oud in combination with luminous citrus notes. 100ml for Dhs925 Acqua Di Parma available at bloomingdales.ae
Maison Francis Kurkdjian available at OUNASS Le Gemme Tygar Eau de Parfum
Notes of grapefruit and deep woody undertones create a fiery aroma. 100ml for Dhs315 Bvlgari
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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
The Billion Dollar Empire
three brands. With the help of my sisters, we launched Huda Beauty in 2011 after seeing a gap in the market. We launched our false eyelashes in Sephora, and they sold out in a matter of days and the brand grew from there! It’s been an incredible whirlwind and we honestly have been so grateful to have the community of all of our day one followers and supporters from the blog who have helped grow the brand into what it is today. They have been one of the incredible constants since we began this journey. Can you talk us through all of the brands under the Huda Beauty umbrella you have now? Today, we have Huda Beauty, WISHFUL, and KAYALI. WISHFUL was born from my personal quest to solve my skincare needs. With WISHFUL we’ve created an assortment of gentle, simple, and effective products that provide instant and long-lasting Can you talk us through your career? After getting fired from results. Huda Beauty is the ultimate one-stop shop for my first job out of university working in finance, my sisters makeup lovers. Our products are created with high-end convinced me to go to beauty school. I truly loved beauty formulas and textures, with the ultimate goal of helping and makeup and I took their advice to invest in my passion. everyone feel empowered, confident, and joyful. KAYALI I worked as a freelance makeup artist for several years and my is a brand born from my sister Mona’s passion and admisister encouraged me to start writing a newsletter about beauration for fragrance. The inspiration for KAYALI is firmly ty products that I loved, which I loved and would send out to rooted in our Middle Eastern heritage. We wanted to comour friends. That grew organically, so we decided to start the bine the best of our culture and our Western background to Huda Beauty Blog and the rest is history! encourage perfume layering and inspire everyone to create How did you find yourself entering the beauty space? I was their own unique combinations. always drawn toward beauty. I’d always watch my big sister, Alya, put on her makeup and was fascinated at how it could Social media has played a huge role in growing your brand. transform the way you feel. Once I started using beauty for When did you realize just how much power platforms like myself, there was no turning back and I was totally obsessed. Instagram have? Our social platforms serve as a tool for I would test and try anything that I could get my hands on. us to connect with our community. The fact that I can I even started creating my own at-home beauty remedies, connect directly with our followers, and ultimately our which I would share on the blog and have now grown to be the customers, is so unique to Huda Beauty since we were esbasis of a lot of our products. I think I always had beauty in sentially born on social media. my heart. It comes as second nature to me and I truly enjoy It’s incredible to see you build this empire with your famthe creative outlet that it is for me. ily around you. Would you say this family feel resonates You launched your blog, Huda Beauty, over 10 years ago and throughout the entire business? Absolutely. We honestly think of our teams around the world as a family. We’ve built now it’s grown into this huge beauty empire. What has the joura company that’s based on the principles of kindness and ney to get to where you are now been like? I honestly can’t befamily spirit. It’s this family spirit that we also try to mainlieve how far we’ve come. When we started the blog, I honestly never envisioned that we would have one brand – let alone tain in the way that we interact with our consumers. We
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What started as an online blog over a decade ago has transformed into a billion dollar empire. In an exclusive interview with Emirates Woman, Huda Kattan, Founder of UAE-based brand Huda Beauty, tells us what it takes to create a timeless brand that’s dominated the beauty space on a global scale
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consider them a part of our Huda Beauty fam and are a big part of the machine that keeps us going. More recently, you launched GloWish which we’re obsessed with! You’ve made a point to not retouch or edit your photos which we really admire. What led you to this decision? It has been a lot of work learning to love and accept myself just as I am, so part of this involved getting used to seeing myself exactly as I am. I think that everyone should feel beautiful for who they truly are in their rawest states, and I felt the need to be more vocal on the issue of being a part of the beauty industry
who is responsible for setting the standards for what’s beautiful. So I wanted to take a stand and speak out about this through GloWish. What are the hurdles you’ve experienced during your career? Securing our investors was one of the most challenging things that I’ve ever done. It was so hard to get anyone to take us seriously. My sister and I were literally laughed out of so many boardrooms, but once we finally found a firm that believed in our vision, that was one of the most rewarding moments of my career. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what are the milestones? Securing our investors was such a defining moment. It was such a huge milestone because many doors were shut on us, so to finally find investors that not only believed in our mission but were prepared to champion us was a special moment. What’s next for Huda Beauty? Everything! There are so many things that we’re working on not only in terms of product but also messages that we want to share with the world. Watch this space… This is The Timelessness Issue – how would you define this? To be timeless, you need to create things that are everlasting and for us at Huda Beauty, that means leaving behind a legacy. For us, we want to be known for not only creating an incredible brand experience and products but also for changing the conversation around what it means to be and feel beautiful. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? There is so much richness in our culture and that’s what I love the most about this region. The talent and tenacity are what constantly push and empower me to think big. This region is such an incredible place that really nurtures entrepreneurs from all fields, so we’re so glad to call the UAE our home. We also celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary. How would you now describe the brand and how does it support women in the region and beyond? Emirates Woman was one of the first titles that truly embraced us from the start. For 40 years, you EW has done an incredible job highlighting and supporting women, who like me, have felt like they didn’t have a seat at the table. I look forward to breaking more boundaries and shattering stereotypes with EW in the next 40 years.
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Culture & Growth
UAE born entrepreneur and Founder of Arcadia, Amna Al Habtoor discusses scaling her fine fragrance brand 62 emirateswoman.com
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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? My morning does not begin without a cup of black coffee. Once the caffeine hits my system, I’m getting my kids ready for school and I visit all the appointments scheduled for the day. What is the DNA of Arcadia, its core values? At the core of Arcadia lies scents which evoke memories, be it good or bad. Through the narrative of fragrance lie emotions and memories that are relatable to anyone, regardless of gender, social class, race or ethnicity as Arcadia is for everyone. It’s important to note that Arcadia is unisex, cruelty-free, free from parabens and toxic chemicals. How has your Middle Eastern heritage and being based in the UAE positively influenced the brand? My culture, heritage and upbringing have all influenced the brand and its ol-
WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
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factory creations. The UAE and the wider region is blessed with a variety of unique notes. These oriental notes are commonly used in Arcadia but paired with unusual notes to really give it an international appeal. How has being based in the UAE supported being able to launch a business and why? The UAE has established easy business set up procedures that enable us to operate quickly and effectively. There are also countless unique retail spaces across the UAE that attract a wide range of customers within the UAE and beyond. Moreover, the UAE has supported women in particular to aspire and achieve greatness. Arcadia’s flagship store opened this year – can you tell us how you’ve approached scaling the business to date? Arcadia’s flagship store officially opened on March 5, 2020 in Dar Wasl. The store showcases our full collection with our debut, Edition 1 collection, Edition 2 collection and a number of limited-edition fragrances that were launched. Our most recent collection is a home fragrance line featuring three scented candles. The opening of our flagship store in Dubai not only reinforces our goal to be recognized as one of the leading perfumeries in the region, but also reiterates our longterm expansion plans for both regional and international markets. You’ve grown the offering of Arcadia to scented candles – was this a response to client requests and the success of your fragrance line? My ultimate goal is to build and establish Arcadia as a lifestyle brand, so it’s only fitting to start by expanding into a home fragrance line with plans for several product extensions in the coming years. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you directly experienced this? In such a short amount of time, the UAE has established a strong foundation for all types of businesses to set up and grow. Like all brands, we are in need of several vendors to support our business, and here we have an array of options at our disposal. There are a host of businesses within each sector, which keeps all aspects of the market competitive and lucrative. What have been the challenges to building or scaling a business in the region and how did you overcome them? I would say the biggest challenge we’ve faced was the pandemic, without a doubt. We opened our store March 2020, just before lockdown. But thankfully, we were able to overcome this challenge through our online shop and international partners who mostly had different responses to the pandemic. This is The Timelessness Issue – what or who is timeless to you? Memories and emo-
“Memories and emotions are timeless to me.”
tions are timeless to me. It’s amazing how we can close our eyes, remember a particular moment, go through the exact same emotions that we experienced and relive the memory like no time has passed. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? I’ve travelled across the world, stayed in many different countries for weeks on end,
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but the hospitality we have here, is of an unmatched level. By surpassing the hospitality in hotels, it also extends to what is offered in ones’ home. I truly believe that this is one of our core values that make the UAE and the region so unique to the rest of the world. This year we celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary. How would you now describe the brand and how does it support women in the region and beyond? Over 40 years, Emirates Woman has been the platform that has highlighted women’s achievements and growth in the region. It’s content has been inspirational to women with motivating stories, latest news and trends.
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The tenacious Dr Ahmed Elborno tells us why he will never settle for staying in the comfort zone
Dr Ahmed Elborno is someone who never wants to stop learning. Throughout his impressive medical career, he has taken it upon himself to continuously delve deeper into the human body to uncover every facet there is to know. “The human body, to me, is like the universe – everything is in motion,” he explains. Through the years, Dr Elborno has worked as a surgeon, in anesthesiology, pain management, regenerative medicine and more and he is now a five-time American board-certified doctor – he holds board certifications from the American Board of Anesthesiology, subspecialty in Pain Medicine, American Board of Pain Medicine. Competence and Narcotic Certification, American Board of Minimally Invasive Spine Specialists, The American Board of Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine (ABAARM, American Board
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of Interventional Pain Physicians (ABIPP), and is also a Fellow of International Pain Physicians (FIPP). With a tenacious zest to continue his quest to learn and to help people, Dr Elborno will never reach a final destination because, to him, there isn’t one. “I learned success is a journey, not a destination,” he tells Emirates Woman also adding, “I learned the harder the problem is the more limited the competition and the greater the reward for whoever can solve it.” In our exclusive interview with Dr Elborno, he talks us through his extensive career in the medical field, why he chose Dubai to open the second-ever Elborno Clinic and the philosophies he has carried with him throughout his entire working life.
Can you talk us through your career? My career was a journey and a discovery through the human body which became more and more fascinating. To this day I continue to add to my knowledge and specialise in new fields. The human body to me is like the universe – everything is in motion. I went to medical school to study and in the first few years I learned about the normal and abnormal mechanisms of the body. I learned about how medicine works inside the body, how our body reacts to medicine and how the disease conditions started as well what it leads to. In my last year of medical school, I learned how to treat disease. I went on to achieve my goal of being a heart surgeon but my aim was to go deep inside the body and understand more so I then moved to critical care and ICU. Medicine took me deep inside the body to look at the orchestra, the symphony playing
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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
inside. I was fascinated with the fact that I can do all of this fixing without interference from the patient. The patient is completely asleep under anaesthesia and this is why I wanted to specialize in anaesthesia. I also wanted to study more about pain and to know the secret as to where this comes from and therefore undertook a fellowship that specialized in pain management. Then, I went further into anti-ageing and regenerative medicine fellowship, going deep inside the cells of our body is my goal and journey to explore the magnificent work by the creator at the level of one cell. What inspired you to go into the medical field in the first place? I was born to be a doctor. I did my first anatomy class when I was in elementary school. As a kid, I always played the role of the doctor. I was always dreaming about being a doctor – it was my destiny. You opened the first Elborno Centre in Chicago and then made the leap of faith to open a clinic in wrong, my integrity must be unquestionable. I have to be bold and Dubai. What attracted you to this region? Dubai act when the moment seems right. I will accept risk when othis a fast-growing city and it was always a place ers are cautious and take action when everyone else is frozen and where I wanted to pass my help and services to do it smartly. I always see a way to reinvent and improve myself. people here in the whole region. There is a simiI learned the harder the problem means the competition is more larity between Dubai and my continual fascinalimited and the greater the reward for whoever can solve it. Suction with the universe. cess to me comes down to rare moments of opportunity, I am alCan you talk us through what Elborno Clinic ways open, alert and ready to seize them by gathering the right does? Elborno specialises in anti-ageing and people and resources. regenerative medicine – the medicine and science that dive inside the cells of our bodies to What have been the biggest lessons you have learned throughout know the secrets of why we are ageing. It is a your career? I learned that my version of success is different from unique clinic in the centre of Dubai that takes everybody else – I never stay in my comfort zone. I learned that everybody into that journey of looking beautifailure goes hand in hand with success, I learned nothing is free in life. Most importantly, I have learned, success is a journey, not ful inside and out and feeling their best. a destination. I always learn from success, not failure. Lastly, the How do you set yourself up each day for sucone thing I believe is that one thing that can always be controlled is cess? I am always taking advantage of life’s attitude. Create a daily to-do list, formulate goals, always be honmany opportunities before they slip away. I feel est and clear and prepared, evaluate each goal separately. I was made to succeed not born to succeed. I never stop learning. I study people and organThis is The Timelessness Issue – how would you define this? Definitely that it has no definite time as this is always dependent on isations in my life that have enormous success quality and quality always changes with time by depending on and I’m open to new input whether that be many factors. from people, experiences or gaining knowledge through learning. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes In your professional life, what is a philosophy this region unique to you? This region is very unique as it is unlike any other country in the world due to the high number of expats that you live by? I have to believe in something – you can meet the whole world here in the UAE. It also has the greater than myself and my personal need, it biggest mall in the world, the tallest building in the world and a is my work to deal with any challenges. I will vibrant array of different cultures and religions. never deviate myself from a sense of right and
“Success to me comes down to rare moments of opportunity, I am always open, alert and ready to seize them by gathering the right people and resources.” BEAUTY
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TO THE UAE WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
As an ode to Dubai, EX NIHILO has created the exclusive GOLD IMMORTALS’ EDITION AMBRE. Designed by Jordi Fernández, this sophisticated fragrance evokes notes of bergamot, peony, musk and warm amber BEAUTY
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Dolce&Gabbana’s The One Gold celebrates a timeless elegance that combines the sweet succulence of juicy gold plum and the fresh blooms of rose superessence with mysterious patchouli and seductive white musks for a perpetually alluring fragrance 68 emirateswoman.com
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The new The One Gold Eau de Parfum Intense and the original The One Eau de Parfum
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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
A New Vision of Beauty
Hind Sebti, Founder of whind, has created a beauty brand that brings uncompromising potency and performance together 70 emirateswoman.com
Can you talk us through your career? After a master’s in industrial engineering, I started my career a little bit over 20 years ago at Procter & Gamble in Paris – my top pick company – as a Supply Chain and Logistics Manager. Very quickly, I was in charge of the beauty category. And whilst in that role, I realised that I had a deep passion for consumers and products and against all the odds of the functional silos at the company at the time, I was able to move into a brand marketing role in beauty and the rest is history. I moved to London in 2007 to be in charge of part of the Olay portfolio, a role that has not only provided the best training in the world of skincare but also to work on a global love brand and create a bond with that category that will stay with me. Over the following years, I grew from product to brand to general management first at Procter & Gamble where I was lucky to learn world-class brand and business building to L’Oréal where my beauty passion blossomed to the next level, in the company of like-minded beauty-obsessed talent. So in the span of the last 20 years, I was lucky to lead some of the world iconic brands such as Olay, L’Oreal Paris and Maybelline and cult ones such as Essie or Pureology. In my last role as General Manager of Maybelline and Essie for the UK&I, the entrepreneurial bug finally caught up with me with the overwhelming desire to create a brand with products that myself and consumers like me couldn’t find. A new vision of beauty. What inspired you to go into the beauty space? Growing up in Morocco, Beauty – with a capital B – was everywhere: the landscapes, the architecture, the craftsmanship, the food and of course the beauty rituals. As a born dreamer, I thrived on seeing beauty in everyday details, how to “sublime” the ordinary to make it extraordinary. Starting with personal beauty. Through watching women around me. The Hammam ritual. My mother’s vanity table. And most of all that beauty is as much about how it makes you look than it makes you feel. This was the birth of my fascination with that world that is much deeper than it appears. Through my academic journey, I grew up to also become a maker, a problem solver and an aspiring business builder. So intuitively I decided to find a career that would balance the dreamer and the maker in me. And that was brand building in the beauty industry. How did you come to launch your own brand, whind? The realisation that something was missing when it came to skincare. That the market had become increasingly performance-obsessed at the expense of the overall experience. That all brands started to fuse into a sea of sameness of minimalistic, clinical works. Which is great for the consumer who likes that. But there is another consumer that wants both performance and experience – like me
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“I love that the region had an unapologetic beauty point of view,
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a positive, confident in its own definition of beauty.”
– that isn’t catered to. And experience is key in skincare as this is what makes consumers consistently use your products every day and consistency is the key to results. So this is where the idea of an evocatively potent skincare brand came to life. When it came to the potency and performance, I relied on my 20-year experience and the best labs and chemists I knew. And when it came to sensoriality I found inspiration in my homeland of Morocco. That’s why I say that whind is powered by warm science and inspired by Morocco. For skin so healthy snd happy it glows. Beyond high performing products, I also wanted to create a brand with a different beauty point of view, a warmer one that reflects the values, aesthetics of our part of the world and bring it to the global stage. What is at the core of whind’s brand DNA? It starts of course with extraordinary products that are the perfect blending of science and sensoriality, products that make sure skin is so healthy and happy, it glows. Inside and out. That’s the reason for existing for whind. But its true magic comes from the new kind of brand we want to build. A brand anchored in warmth, unapologetic beauty and kindness inspired by our Arab values and attitude to beauty. It is unapologetically different and yet so authentic to its roots with sensoriality and warmth infused in every detail from packaging to formula to models etc. You previously told us you decided to focus on the UAE as the region to platform the brand – what was the reason behind this decision? The brand is deeply inspired by Morocco and by extension the Arab world, its beauty point of view built by me, an Arab woman who deeply believes it deserves a recognition on the global stage. I decided to not do what every other global brand does – which is come to the region when the brand is built elsewhere because this is not authentic to its DNA, vision and purpose. I built a brand that would resonate locally and I knew that consumers recognised themselves strongly in it. It was only right and true to start here. And within the UAE, I found the perfect launching pad – consumer desire, amazing infrastructure and great partners to do that with excellence. Can you talk us through the hero products from the brand? We are launching as we speak our day cream, our range hero. It is called Medina Dew Melting rose water cream. It gives weightless yet long-lasting hydration for dewy, petal-soft skin. I love it because it’s the perfect embodiment of whind’s evocatively potent skincare.
as children is that lightness, that ability to not take ourselves too seriously, an ability we tend to lose as we grow up, unfortunately. So I remind myself (and others around me) that a bit of lightness, humour is essential to keep not only living but also thriving. Personally, and professionally. To date, what have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome? The pandemic has been an unexpected challenge – both personally isolating me from my family and my home which are both key sources of balance, and professionally as the brand was in its latest development stages and having to adapt to never seen before logistic complications. But we also learn from those. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the key milestones? Trusting the timing and meeting the right people at the right time. whind – as has been my career – is a story of the opportunities and people that you have to make sure you are open to recognize when you meet them. Maybe a tiny bit spiritual but I do believe in that. This is The Timelessness Issue – how would you define this? Ancestral modernity. Anchored in authenticity, where you come from and heritage but open to the world, evolution and progress. Timelessness for me is to know where you come from to be better able to know where you are going. It’s continuous reinvention to remain relevant and connected to the time– whilst always protecting the core. For example, when I am back home in Morocco, I feel that I am in constant time travel, that the past and the future coexist in a magical state of Powered by science and inspired by Mofamiliarity and discovery. rocco. One of the Moroccan (and the region) beauty staples is Rose Water. I grew This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anup watching both my grandmothers distil it niversary – what makes this region unique at home and women around me generously to you? I am in awe of the pace of change splash it on their skin all day long to refresh and what has been built in the UAE. I was and soothe. I love that instant boost of recently in Dubai and was lucky enough to freshness and Rose gorgeousness, but I find view the opening ceremony and visit the that it always fades quickly. So I imagined expo. I was truly overwhelmed by the gena splash of rose water that refreshes and uine scale of what the Emirati women and hydrates but also lasts all day long (scienmen have built and a deep sense of pride in what an Arab country has achieved. It tifically proven to instantly boost hydration represents timelessness in all its beauty – a by up to 173% and deep hydration for up to seamless blend of ancestral modernity, an72 hours). A more modern, science-led reinvention of a timeless beauty ritual. chored in its heritage and powering through towards a bright and exciting future. How does the UAE compared to the global inWe also celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th dustry as a whole? I love that the region has an unapologetic beauty point of view, a posianniversary. How would you now describe tive, confident in its own definition of beauty. the brand and how does it support women One that is uncompromising on results and in the region and beyond? Emirates Woman experience. One anchored in rituals. is a perfect embodiment of the ambitions and achievements of women including the What is the philosophy you live by both perEmirati women. Beyond a magazine, it has sonally and professionally? Only those who been a pioneer and a timeless lifestyle bible dare to go too far can see how far they can go. for women. A source of constant forward I am a dreamer and I always felt I had that inspiration and aspiration. It has built a streak of curiosity and desire not to necespowerful vision of what women could aspire sarily go the well-travelled paths, but the to be, sharing aspirational stories of women freedom to try and build something differ– Emirati, Arab and beyond –spotlighting ent and that difference can be better. When I women-led brands, business, visions and read this quote the very first time more than even more so being a connector through the 20 years ago, it was all the signal and validacommunity they have built. Happy annition I needed to carry on and carve my own way, even if it sometimes felt a bit scary. versary Emirates Woman – congratulations on the 40 years of wonderful achievements Also, keep that inner lightness we are so far which I am sure are only the warmup born with, something which the world tries for what is to come! to tame out of us. What makes us magical
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
According to the National Institute of Aging, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most powerful tools you can harness to staying youthful. Count us in
THE SLEEP SCHEDULE Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends or when you are travelling will boost your ability to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep so you wake up feeling refreshed.
THE BEDTIME ROUTINE
Developing rituals before you go to bed help you unwind and refocus your mind and body toward much needed downtime.
THE TEMPERATURE CHECK
Keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature (no extreme heat or AC) and as quiet as possible will ensure you remove the need to wake in the night. Blackout blinds or curtains also help create a space of peace and tranquility.
Use your bedroom only for sleeping. It might be nice to watch TV in the bedroom, but this won’t help longterm. Switch to reading a book for 30 minutes and you’ll see a dramatic shift in how fast you want to fall asleep.
THE FINISHING TOUCH
Adding a topper to your mattress is a gamechanger in terms of comfort to give you that hotel bed feeling at home.
THE PROPER SUPPORT
Checking which pillows you have is not only a key way to aid sleep but ensure you’re not doing damage to your neck while you recuperate at night. Ensure they are firm enough to support. The Don’ts
THE DINNER PLAN Avoid heavy meals in the evening or eating too late as this can keep you awake while your body attempts to digest dinner.
THE NATURAL UNWIND
Stay away from caffeine late in the day, this includes the post dinner digestif. Try a herbal tea instead such as Chamomile for a slow sense of unwinding.
From top: Organic Chamomile Blossoms Dhs32 Avantcha available at avantcha.com; Stella Organic Pillows Dhs899 Paradies available at dwellstores.ae; Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, 55ml Dhs220 Aromatherapy Associates available at NET-A-PORTER; Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, 75ml Dhs90 This Works; Fill Topper Dhs1,099 Paradies available at dwellstores.ae; Sleep Dharma Pillow Mist, 50ml Dhs99 Mauli Rituals available at NET-A-PORTER
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The Beauty Shelf Emirati model Minwa Al Hamed talks us through her hero beauty buys C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H
Let’s Get Luminous Brightening Essentials Dhs175 Ole Henriksen
This works as the perfect combination to enhance my skin for daily use. This glow-boosting set of three hydrates my skin as it is rich in vitamin C. It targets any visible signs of aging and enhances my skincare routine. Shape Tape Contour Concealer Dhs135 Tarte
This is my go-to concealer no matter what the occasion is. It’s light weight and lasts the entire day by providing full coverage while keeping those dark circles concealed. This easy-to-blend formula doesn’t flake or crease. Translucent Setting Powder Dhs184 Laura Mercier
The translucent setting powder is sheer, silky and weightless. By enhancing a full makeup look, it gives a seamless finish and helps to blur any imperfections. Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain Dhs156 Benefit Cosmetics
Blush Trio Dhs184 Anastasia Beverly Hills
I love the shade Berry Adore. This blendable formula can be used as three separate shares or it can be mixed together to create a variety of looks. For onthe-go touch-ups, this compact is the perfect product. Better Than Love Mascara Dhs126 Too Faced
This intensely black formula instantly uplifts your lashes. With one sweep my lashes are defined and stretched to unbelievable lengths.
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Waterproof Lip Pencil Dhs95 Make Up For Ever
turiser for a hydration boost and use it to set your makeup.
I love the smooth liner from this brand. It’s the perfect nude to enhance my lips and it honestly lasts so long. The Aqua lip liner in 3C from Make Up For Ever is a must try.
Step-by-Step Contour Kit Dhs313 Smashbox
Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater Dhs20 Mario Badescu
To finish any look, I use the Mario Badescu spray as it lightly refreshes my skin while boosting hydration. It relieves dehydrated and lack-lustre complexions. Simply mist it over your mois-
This travel size kit is ideal for defining, bronzing and highlighting. It can easily be carried around and it helps to sculpt every face shape. Rock N Kohl Eyeliner Dhs115 Charlotte Tilbury
The bedroom black shade defines my eyes and blends effortlessly for a fierce definition. This waterproof formula can help achieve an impeccable line with a clean finish.
I love the Benefit tints. This kiss-proof colour lasts for hours and is very flattering on all skin tones. The applicator glides on effortlessly to make my lips and cheeks look gorgeous in seconds.
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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
Content Creator Nadya Hasan talks us through her beauty and skincare routine Talk us through your morning routine. My morning routine changes from time to time, but it mostly includes washing my face and cleansing it using the Fenty Skin Total Cleanser, then using the Glow Recipe Watermelon Toner, then I would mix a serum and a face cream from Drunk Elephant to finish it off. One last step would be hydrating with water and freshly squeezed lemon.
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How does your evening routine differ? My evening routine is pretty similar to my morning routine, but I do add the very much needed flash nap eye cream by Fenty Skin, the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair and the Luna sleeping night oil by Sunday Riley. What are your go-to skincare products? Where do I begin?! I absolutely love the Fenty Skin Total Cleanser, the Glow
Recipe Watermelon Toner and the Wishful Yo Glow Honey Flower scrub! Are you a fan of masks? I adore masks, I try to use them at least twice a week. I usually go for the Wishful Thirst Trap or the Ole Henriksen Cold Plunge Pore Mask. How would you describe your relationship with makeup? I have a love hate relationship with makeup, but
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Clockwise from top left: Charlotte’s Lip Oil Dhs175 Charlotte Tilbury available at namshi.ae; Honey Infused Hair Oil Dhs359 Gisou available at sephora.ae; Total Cleanser Dhs95 Fenty Skin available at sephora.ae; Timeless Oud Dhs390 Lootah Perfumes; Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub 100ml Dhs186 Wishful available at mena.feelunique.com; Brow Sculptor Dhs328 Tom Ford Beauty available at OUNASS
once I get in the mood to put it on, I really enjoy the process. Removing it is another story! What can always be found in your makeup bag? You will always find my Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer, Huda Beauty Life Liner and Legit Lashes, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Lip Oil and Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out
Cream Blush in Summertime Wine. What is your go-to fragrance and do you have a different preference for evening? I have a mix of both Arabic and French perfume. But my go-to will always be Flower Bomb by Victor and Ralph, Miss Dior and Timeless Oud by Lootah. For evening, I keep it layered just so the smell lasts all night and I usually opt for something slightly heavier.
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Talk us through your hair routine. I have curly hair so taking care of my hair takes a lot of my time. I wash it once a week and I love using Gisou Products for it as it has been working wonders on my hair, I love the Gisou Shampoo and Conditioner and use the hair mask once a week. I try using silk hair ties from Slip. To keep it hydrated I use the Gisou honey infused hair oil.
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40th ANNIVERSARY C O M P I L E D BY: O L I V I A M O R R I S
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AN ODE TO EMIRATES WOMAN EW_112021_P80-83_Ode to EW.indd 81
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As Emirates Woman marks its 40th Anniversary, some of the incredible women we know and work with share their messages in celebration of this milestone
Her Highness Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum
FOUNDER OF SANA AL MAKTOUM FINE JEWELLERY @sanaalmaktoumofficial “I think the Emirates Woman brand has not only been instrumental, but integral in capturing the evolution of some truly inspirational women that have contributed to the UAE in various ways. The editors, writers, photographers, stylists and contributors have championed women from different backgrounds and have supported several women from the UAE royal family too by offering us a platform to express ourselves and what we have to offer. The legacy of the Emirates Woman brand is here to stay and I’m proud and thankful to be part of their storytelling and to receive their support in my entrepreneurial journey. Many congratulations to the amazing past and present contributors and editorial team on their success!” Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan
FOUNDER OF MKS JEWELLERY @mksjewellery “A wonderful magazine that’s always at the forefront when it comes to highlighting the latest fashion trends and lifestyle choices here in the UAE, and in the wider Middle East. It’s a great place to keep your finger on what’s happening and to stay connected with new upcoming designers.” Salama Khalfan
SALAMA KHALFAN FINE JEWELLERY @salamakhalfan “Congratulations 40 years of aspiring and inspiring in this region. I wish you the best for the next 40.” Huda Kattan
FOUNDER OF HUDA BEAUTY @hudabeauty @huda “Emirates Woman was one of the first titles that truly embraced us from the start. For 40 years, you at EW has done an incredible job highlighting and supporting women who, like me, have felt like they didn’t have a seat at the table. I look forward to breaking more boundaries and shattering stereotypes with EW in the next 40 years.”
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Amna Al Habtoor
FOUNDER OF ARCADIA @arcadiabyamna “For over 40 years, Emirates Woman has been the platform that has highlighted women’s achievements and growth in the region. Its content has been inspirational to women with motivating stories, latest news and trends.” Nisreen Shocair
CEO MIDDLE EAST AT YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP “If there was a tagline it would be ‘Always here for us’. Emirates Woman has been there for us from the beginning. From highlighting the introvert and the extroverts amongst us to pushing women to new heights and showing that the Middle Eastern woman can be a fashion maven, a businesswoman, a dedicated mother and partner all at the same time. Emirates Woman also shows the vulnerabilities that are specific to us in the region.” Asma Lootah
FOUNDER OF THE HUNDRED WELLNESS CENTRE @thehundredwellness “Congratulations – what an achievement! Having had the honour of being featured in your magazine and as an avid reader of Emirates Woman over the years, your platform has without a doubt advanced the empowerment of Arab women not just locally but globally. You have encouraged and developed the representation of Arab females and showcased their accomplishments and talents. Championing diversity, inclusivity, and the power of Arab women, Emirates Woman is a leader in integrating fashion, cultural and social topics into its content, one that is thought-provoking and relevant. You have spearheaded, recognized and celebrated successful entrepreneurs, designers, influencers and innovators in the region. Thank you for encouraging us to own the narrative and tell our story to the world.” Maria Tash
FINE JEWELLERY DESIGNER & FOUNDER OF MARIA TASH @mariatash “I am thrilled to be featured in Emirates Woman and admire what it represents in the UAE – a country that I love. EW is known
for pushing boundaries and representing the many faces of the women in the Emirates, and the Maria Tash brand aligns on both these facets. In the Middle East, I can design boldly and have an audience that is forward-thinking and brave, similar to the Emirates Woman reader for the past 40 years. I am honoured to have a line of communication to the modern Arab woman through Emirates Woman.” Amy Wilkinson-Lough
FOUNDER OF PROJECT BYOUTY @projectbyouty “Emirates Woman is the very definition of women supporting women. The entire team is gracious in glory, humble in their hustle and phenomenally proud of every story they put out – and let’s face it why wouldn’t they be, they just get better and better. I’ve lived here almost 20 years and for the first time in a very long time I see women in coffee shops, hair salons and no doubt far further afield actually reading a physical magazine; that magazine is always Emirates Woman. I’m beyond proud of Amy and the way she leads her team – she’s inspirational, being asked to do anything with the EW team or for EW in general is and always will be an absolute privilege.” Ghizlan Guenez
ENTREPRENEUR @ghizlan_guenez_ “I personally see EW as a brand that is reflective of the UAE: it’s modern, it’s forward thinking, but it has a strong DNA that is seen across its content and editorials. It’s one that has made supporting women part of their mission and I for one have experienced that firsthand. Wishing you incredible growth, continued success and all the best in your mission to combine beauty, substantial content and women empowerment.” Amna Al Qubaisi
THE FIRST FEMALE EMIRATI RACING DRIVER @amnalqubaisi_official “I really love the EW brand and their work in recognizing women in many fields. I myself gained the knowledge of many other women through EW which I never knew of before. I’m super gratified with EW raising awareness and supporting many women, strictly speak-
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ing, I’m proud of EW for making a difference, pushing and inspiring many others.” Yasmin Al Mulla
CO-FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF YNM DUBAI @yasminalmulla “I am very grateful for the indescribable opportunities and overwhelming support throughout the years. The concept of the EW brand going up and beyond to support all women from a 360 perspective is nothing but truly admirable!” Lyndsay Doran
FOUNDER OF L’COUTURE @lcoutureofficial “Congratulations on the milestone – what an achievement! Emirates Woman is a brand that is and has been the epitome of female grace, beauty and substance. It represents an array of incredible women from all walks of life, creating change in the region through fashion, entrepreneurship and representation. From shinning a light on up and coming talent to supporting small businesses, and showcasing stunning fashion features – EW is a trusted source of inspiration, that supports women who are breaking moulds and crafting a better world.” Sheikha Al Mheiri
EMIRATI ENTREPRENEUR AND FOUNDER OF MAD (MAKING A DIFFERENCE) HOSPITALITY “A local publication which celebrates women from all walks of life, in the most elegant manner. Emirates Woman creates an international echo and footprint for local and regional talents and success stories.” Julie Lemke
FOUNDER OF HER SKIN STUDIO @herskinstudio “EW is the original front runner and a true asset to our community. The EW brand is elegant, luxurious, timeless and aspiring to all women. The voice of Emirates Woman is so important and is not limited to the UAE – it can reach all borders globally and contribute to all women. You have created a beautiful platform for women to communicate their message in fashion, travel, beauty, wellness, lifestyle and everything in between. You inspire and encourage us women, to grow, cherish and celebrate our life and success
on a daily basis. And you do it in such a delicate and visual aesthetically pleasing way that makes us women proud of who we are!”
brand supports women in the region and beyond by offering a unique cultural diversity which spreads across ethnicities and nationalities.”
Alanoud and Aljazi Althunayan
FOUNDERS OF AJ JEWELRY @_aj_jewelry “EW is influential. They have always shown support and empowerment to women in the region. Thus influenced other women to stand out and follow their dreams. Empowered women empower women.” Haneen Odeh
FOUNDER OF SNOB SALON @haneenodeh “The EW brand to me embodies what it means to be a modern woman in this diverse cosmopolitan city. It’s fresh and has its finger on the pulse yet in touch with the beautiful culture of the region. I appreciate that EW always strives to shine the spotlight on women in the region and giving them a platform to tell their story. Whether it’s an up and coming talent or a society icon, EW always brings the most relevant pieces to me!” Dr Eng. Suaad Al Shamsi
THE UAE’S FIRST FEMALE AIRCRAFT ENGINEER @suaadalshamsi “First, I congratulate Emirates Woman on the passing of 40 years in the region, of support, achievement and most importantly creativity with passion. Emirates Woman has given support to me and many Emirati women through coverage and through news and articles to reach many non-Arabic speakers, their vision to empower women and make a difference in all for everyone. The most amazing part is that they show everyone how amazing the UAE truly is. With EW in each page you find passion, joy, happiness, innovation and feel the love. Zeynab El Helw
CONTENT CREATOR @zeynabelhelw “The Emirates Woman brand for me symbolises a timeless and distinctive woman that has endless possibilities. She really is the woman that we admire who connects modernity and modesty in this day and age. The Emirates Woman
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COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER AT MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE “The title of the magazine itself is something I am so proud to relate to. It is a brand that empowers women all over the region, and it makes me so delighted to see so many influential women on its covers.” Nouf Omar
THE YOUNGEST FEMALE EMIRATI PILOT @nouf.777 “Emirates Woman is a great platform that showcases everything a woman can be interested in like fashion and beauty. It’s also a platform that radiates inspiration from every article you read especially the stories of unique women from the region and beyond.” Marriam Mossalli
FOUNDER OF NICHE ARABIA @marriam.mossalli “What I love about Emirates Woman is that it truly is a platform that reflects the empowered Arab woman. It’s been an honour to be part of its 40-year journey, and I look forward to continuing to be inspired by the bold women featured within its pages.” Sara Tamimi
FASHION DESIGNER & FOUNDER OF SARA TAMIMI @saratamimiofficial “Thank you Emirates Woman for keeping us females of the region your prime focus! Over the past 40 years you have been supporting local talents and businesses with great force and unique content. P.S. We love all the exciting news on our country’s day-to-day updates.” Hanan Mazouzi Sobati
FOUNDER OF ARABIAN GAZELLES @arabiangazelles “Emirates Woman is at the forefront of publishing in the Middle East, dedicated to providing readers innovative, inspiring in-depth stories of the many faces and nationalities of women in the Emirates, celebrating and supporting them!”
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IMAGES: GETTY AND SUPPLIED
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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
The Vice President & International Senior Specialist in Handbags & Accessories at Christie’s London, Rachel Koffsky, discusses investing in a classic What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? Every morning, I make coffee with a French Press while reading emails that came in overnight from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. I check my schedule for the day and walk to work which is at Rockefeller Center through Central Park. When did you first become interested in Hermès and what was the reason it felt most special to you? I first became interested in Hermès when I was in university. In a 2011 edition of a fashion magazine, I read that Diane Kruger bought herself a Hermès Constance, a piece she had always wanted, when she was signed to a modelling agency. I too, fell in love with the Constance bag, and I wanted to learn all about it. Hermès bags are considered a timeless investment – why do you feel they hold their value or increase over time? Hermès models such as the Birkin and Kelly are made by
hand in the ateliers using very high-quality materials, by expert craftsman. They will stand the test of time, as their construction is impeccable. The design of the bags is also timeless ensuring they never look outdated. How have you observed buying behaviour during your tenure at the brand and does it differ greatly on a global scale? There are definitely several regional trends which differ by location. We have held auctions in Hong Kong, London, Paris, and New York that are curated both for the local clientele and also international bidders. What specific attributes work well for the UAE market? Clients in the UAE market are very discerning collectors. They appreciate limited edition, rare and unique pieces. Bright colours also do very well in the Middle East. The condition of each product is an important feature for clients in the UAE. Do you personally have a favourite Hermès piece and which was your first investment?
My favourite Hermès piece is the Sterling Silver Mini Kelly. My first investment piece was an Etain Sellier Kelly 25 with Palladium Hardware. What advice would you give for buying via the secondary market? The most important advice is to purchase via a reputable source. Do some research into the piece before you purchase. Also, if it appears too good to be true, it most likely is. Each bag is repairable for life making it a truly timeless investment. Can you tell us more about this approach to longevity? Please take proper care of the pieces in your collection. Not only will they retain their value, but you will enjoy using them more. Ensure proper storage and gentle use. When necessary, take your bags to the spa for a refresh. This is The Timelessness Issue – what or who is timeless to you? A Hermès scarf is timeless – one that will turn a white t-shirt and jeans into a sophisticated outfit.
“The most important advice is to purchase via a reputable source.” F E AT U R E
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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
Looking to the Future
Some of the incredible women behind the scenes of the Dubai Future Foundation and Museum of the Future AZZAH ALSHARHAN CHIEF OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS AT THE DUBAI FUTURE FOUNDATION
Having been with the Dubai Future Foundation since its infancy, Azzah AlSharhan has seen it flourish over the last four-and-a-half years. In her role as Chief of Corporate Affairs at the Foundation, she is there to oversee key departments including all corporate affairs functions, including Technology, Contracts and Procurement, facilities management and everything to do with the People & Culture at DFF. “I’m honoured to be a member of the team that is contributing to building the future of Dubai and the UAE,” she says. Sitting down with Emirates Woman, she reveals how DFF is positioning Dubai as one of the leading cities of the future, how she hopes to inspire others, how the UAE is paving the way for future generations and more. Can you talk us through your career? I started my career 22 years ago in the private sector. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work in international organizations such as HSBC and Shell. And in each of those companies, I also had the opportunity to work internationally. So I wasn’t based in Dubai, but travelling the world, learning about different cultures and how business is done outside the UAE. I have had the opportunity to visit Russia, Egypt, Syria, the Neth-
erlands, the US, and Scotland. For me, it was the biggest learning curve. Entering the private sector was the greatest decision I have ever made in my career because these companies invest so much in youth, they have amazing training programmes, and they give you the chance to step outside your comfort zone. I was also lucky to have been given Regional roles that allowed me to learn very quickly. After Shell, I joined The Executive Office of Dubai to lead the Emirates Nationals’ Development Programme (ENDP) that aimed to equip young Emiratis with skills that would enable them to find jobs in the private sector. The programme was instrumental in changing a lot of the perceptions and stereotypes about the private sector that prevailed and encouraging Emirati youth to try new careers in sectors such as retail or hospitality. I still remember what a big deal it was when we hired the first female jet-fuel operator. The change didn’t happen overnight, but it was probably one of the highlights of my career. Later, I started working at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dubai Chamber), which was going through a significant transformation. My role involved enhancing employee and customer satisfaction, increasing employee engagement, and redesigning all organizational processes. We moved from rank 13th to first place in employee satisfaction in the Dubai Government Excellence Program in two years. We also ranked first in customer satisfaction as well as in the general excellence index. After Dubai Chamber, I got ‘hooked’ on startups, so I moved from a transformational leadership role into one where I was establishing new entities. I was part of the team that was working on the Emirates Nuclear Energy Program. During that time, I managed to hire and train over 750 Emirati technicians and engineers. My task was to establish the HR department and design training programmes with our partners in Korea and the US to ensure the Emiratis were ready to lead this
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crucial national project. I was very proud when they turned on the first reactor of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant because I contributed to hiring and training the people who led that project. After that, I was invited to join the team that was founding the new National Electronic Security Authority (NESA) – in effect, establishing the cybersecurity sector in the UAE. And again, I worked with the startup team that set up all the corporate support functions, including finance, contracts and procurement, building offices, hiring and training personnel, and launching a scholarship programme that targeted young Emiratis to join cybersecurity-related fields. Finally, I came to Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), where I’ve been for over four-and-a-half years now. What are the key elements of your role as Chief of Corporate Affairs at DFF? In the beginning, DFF was another startup project for me. When I joined, a very small but enthusiastic young team was out to change the world. My role was to support them, ensure they had all the tools they needed to move faster, and establish optimized operational frameworks. My current role at the Foundation involves overseeing all corporate affairs functions, including Technology, Contracts and Procurement, facilities management, and the HR department, which we have renamed People and Culture because that’s what it’s really about. I’m honoured to be a member of the team that is contributing to building the future of Dubai and the UAE. Generally, corporate support is the same in most organizations. What makes it different here at the Foundation is that we need to be extremely agile and flexible. The projects that we deal with are futuristic – many of them are one-of-a-kind projects and mostly technologies and solutions that no one has attempted before, which means we need to be very creative in executing what would normally be a standard contract in another organization. For example, we prepare a contract for a new technology that we’re bringing to the region for the first time, and it’s a completely different ballgame. DFF is paving the way for the future success of the region. What key role do you play in helping this? DFF aims to position Dubai as one of the leading cities of the future, and we are here to attract the right talent and provide an enabling infrastructure that will help the Foundation fulfil its mission. We also create an environment in which our people can excel and leverage their capabilities to advance our common goals. How do you hope to help inspire others looking to follow a similar career path to yours? I believe in the power of teams and building one that has people with diverse backgrounds and abilities. I consider mentoring and coaching as an integral part of my role. I was fortunate to have amazing mentors throughout my career, so I try to do the same for others. As leaders, I believe we have a responsibility to make sure that we are available for younger people to talk to us and learn from us, not just during the delivery of projects but even in their daily interactions and learnings. We must help them reflect on their learning experiences and advise them how they can do things better or what aspects of their performance they need to work on. What would be your key piece of advice to those just starting their careers? For me, advice number one is: Make sure you choose a job you love and are passionate about. If you wake up every morning and you’re excited to go to work, it makes a huge difference. You don’t want to waste your time acquiring skills, contacts, and reputation in a field that you don’t really want to be in, so the sooner you find out what you want to do, the better. It would be best if you found your passion and your purpose in life. For me, it’s developing people and
helping them reach their full career potential. It’s not just about doing your job and going home; you should aim to make an impact in your community and country. And advice number two: Don’t sign up only for the brand name, the job title, or the salary, but take the time to meet the people you’re going to work with. These are the people who will help you grow and excel in your job. What are your hopes for the future of women in this country? Emirati women are empowered – there’s no doubt about that. For us, it is no longer about achieving our personal career goals; at this point, it’s about making sure we fulfil our leaders’ expectations. As women, we are responsible for delivering to the best of our abilities 100 per cent of the time. Throughout your career, who have been your mentors? First and foremost, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of DFF. The fact that they take the time out of their busy schedules to be present amongst us inspires us every day. We check His Highness’s social media accounts on a daily basis to see what’s next for Dubai. There is a joint sense of purpose that we all share. We all participate in developing the UAE as a country. And almost every line manager I’ve had has been a mentor to me. I still call them sometimes to bounce ideas off them and get their advice, so I cherish those relationships. What is the philosophy you live by in both your personal and professional life? Resilience and trusting my intuition. Never give up, no matter how tough it gets. Finding fresh approaches and flexing based on your insights is fundamental to your success. When you’re dealing with ambiguous situations, you have to rely on your intuition and have strong sense-making abilities to reinvent, innovate and solve problems. To date, what have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome? Many of the projects I’ve worked on had very tight deadlines, which meant that we were often still establishing operations while delivering services simultaneously. We had to make sure we established our systems and worked on policies and procedures whilst ensuring that we delivered recruitment, payments, and contracts daily. It’s like racing a Ferrari while changing the tires and testing them at the same time. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the key milestones? My biggest milestone dates back to when I was working in The Executive Office of Dubai, and we hired and trained thousands of Emiratis in the private sector. Another milestone was when we managed to completely transform Dubai Chamber within two years despite dealing with many intangible variables. When dealing with numbers, finance or products, it’s very easy, but once culture and people come into the picture, it’s difficult to measure progress and achieve change. And, of course, working here at DFF has been a turning point in my career. We’ve managed to build a fantastic team, and we’ve put in a lot of effort in selecting the right people, training them, making sure they have the right opportunities and creating a unique culture that distinguishes us from any other organization. This year, we celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? Everybody in this world has dreams. Our leaders in the UAE allow us to imagine our future and turn our dreams into reality. Every day, we see promises being delivered and hope for a better future for future generations.
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“Everybody in this world has dreams. Our leaders in the UAE allow us to imagine our future and turn our dreams into reality.”
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FATMA ALMHEIRI COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER AT MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE
“I honestly always feel like I have to pinch myself to make sure that it’s not a dream and that I really am part of the Museum of the Future’s preopening team,” says Fatma AlMheiri, Communications Manager of the Museum. As an integral part of the team at MOTF, she is there to ensure the core values of the Museum are portrayed to the public. In this interview with Emirates Woman, she discusses the ins and outs of her role, what it’s like working at the forefront of such an iconic project in Dubai, how her mentors have guided her along the way and more. Can you talk us through your career? I started my career when I was still a student in 2009. I was working part-time at Mashreq Bank’s customer call centre up until I graduated. I then got my first job right after university in banking and realised it really wasn’t for me. That’s when I started my Marketing and PR career in 2013 at Jumeirah Group. I oversaw the marketing aspects of eleven different casual restaurant brands, but I would have to say that the highlight of that job was preopening Trattoria Toscana in Souq Madinat Jumeirah. From food tastings to planning fun photo shoots, designing menus, creating media plans and to top it off, putting together the launch event. It was a huge learning curve for me. After Jumeirah, I moved to LEGOLAND Dubai as an Assistant PR and Social Media Manager. Working with LEGO was the ultimate dream for my inner child. I joined the company before the theme park opened to the public. I got to witness the place transform from a few building blocks in the desert to an extraordinary family-centric theme park. While I was still at LEGOLAND Dubai,
I took a month off work and flew to Koh Phangan in Thailand to become a yoga instructor since it has always been a dream of mine. I left LEGOLAND Dubai towards the end of 2019 with no job in line. I wanted to take a good six months off, focusing on myself and figuring out the next steps in my career. During that time, I made use of my yoga skills and taught private sessions. Towards the end of my break, I thought I was going to teach yoga full time, but the Museum of the Future found me, and this is where I found myself. Exactly a year after I joined the Museum, I launched my own brand ‘Venus the Label’ which gives me the freedom to be as creative as I wish to be. I only recently learned how to design patterns on Adobe Illustrator, transforming them from screen to silk sold in unique pieces online. Also, running the business on my own has been a great learning experience, there’s much more to it than just what people see as final products online. What are the key elements of your role as Communications Manager at the Museum of the Future? As a communications manager, I have the responsibility of redefining the public perception of museums. That comes with another big responsibility of ensuring that the Museum’s values are portrayed to the public. Our role is to inspire our guests and have them be active participants in experiencing and creating the future. What has it been like working at the forefront of such a major project like the Museum of the Future, which, even before opening, has become an icon in itself? I honestly always feel like I have to pinch myself to make sure that it’s not a dream and that I really am part of the Museum of the Future’s preopening team. I was driving past it when I got called for an interview to work there and was fortunate enough to get the job right before the pandemic hit. To be part of something as big and as influential as the Museum of the Future is honestly a dream turned into reality. How do you hope to help inspire others looking to follow a similar career path to yours? I hope that when people look at my work, they too feel empowered to follow their dreams, work hard and trust the journey. I also want to say that my job is not just about fancy magazine covers and glamorous photoshoots. There’s so much more effort that goes into it. It’s so rewarding because you get to change people’s perceptions in ways you wouldn’t even imagine, and you can only achieve that through the experience itself. What would be your key piece of advice to those just starting their careers? To keep dreaming even when you feel like you’re at a dead end. What are the hopes for the future of women in this country? We wouldn’t have been where we are today without the vision of our leaders. We have been brought up in the UAE to believe that we can achieve anything, to never look back, to always dream big, and continuously push forward into the future. I hope to pass this on to the next generation of women, and I hope they can do the same and even better. Throughout your career, who have been your mentors? I was fortunate enough to be guided by a strong group of women throughout my career that I will never forget. To name a few, Ahlam Bolooki, Emma Banks, and Niki Robinson from my time at Jumeirah Group. Constanze Frank, Shone Jemmott and Kaniz Urqhart at LEGOLAND Dubai. Collectively, there is nothing that I do now that was not a lesson learnt from all the amazing women mentioned above. I see a little bit of each and every one of them in me when I am working. Whether it is Ahlam’s kindness, Emma’s strength, Niki’s creativity, Constanze’s eagerness to make things happen, or Shone’s punctuality and getting things done way ahead of time, and of course Kaniz for always making work fun. At this moment, from the Museum of the Future, I have to mention our Chief of Marketing and Communication, Alia AlMur, as she was always someone I admired since she was part of Burj Khalifa’s preopening team. She is the definition of boss-lady at the Dubai Future Foundation. Saving the best for last, my mother always inspires me to do better in life; the way she
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gracefully manages situations taught me patience and resilience. She is my icon, and without her, I wouldn’t be here today. What is the philosophy you live by in both your personal and professional life? To never stop going, to take obstacles as learning steps, and to keep moving forward. I have so many dreams that I want to achieve in life, and sometimes things get in the way, and it’s important to remember that it’s totally okay. I have learned over time the significance of taking a step back and viewing things from a clearer perspective. We react so quickly when triggered emotionally, and clarity comes through reflection and strategic thought. To date, what have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome? Not knowing what my next step was when I left LEGOLAND Dubai was probably one of the most daunting challenges I faced. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to working full time or if I wanted to pursue my yoga career. The uncertainty of it all was overwhelming. Another challenge for me was my fear of public speaking, but I was able to deal with it by becoming a yoga teacher. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the key milestones? I remember planning a special event for media and annual pass holders at LEGOLAND Dubai for the Submarine Adventure ride, where we took the families backstage to feed the sharks. The next morning, I received several messages from the parents showing me handwritten letters from their children, thanking me for the best day they’ve ever had. Just seeing the joy created and the smiles on the little children’s faces made it all worthwhile. Also, being part of the Museum of the Future team counts as another huge milestone. The Museum stands for everything that I believe in. I’m so proud to be part of this journey with an amazing team of powerful women by my side. This is The Timelessness Issue – how would you define this? Timelessness to me is about embracing change and connecting it to the roots of my beliefs, fully experiencing and living but also learning, inspiring, and giving. The Museum of the Future will inspire people to act for a better future for all humanity. Together, we will reshape the reality we live in – and our understanding of what is possible. Imagination is a human superpower that gives you the ability to make a change that lives on forever. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? This is my home. I was lucky enough to be born at a time where I was able to witness the country evolve into what it is now. There is no place like the United Arab Emirates, its hospitality, it’s continuously changing for the better, and the people from all over the world who also call this place home are what make it unique to me. Dubai is the place for dreams to come true. We also celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary. How would you now describe the brand, and how does it support women in the region and beyond? The title of the magazine itself is something I am so proud to relate to. It is a brand that empowers women all over the region, and it makes me so delighted to see so many influential women on its covers.
MAITHA AL MAZROEI ASSOCIATE PROJECTS MANAGER AT MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE
“My role at Museum of the Future has really ignited my creative side,” Maitha Al Mazroei says of her role as Associate Projects Manager at the Museum of the Future. In this interview with Emirates Woman, she shares her pride of being able to work on such an iconic project and how she hopes to inspire the next generation. Can you talk us through your career? I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture Engineering from the University of Sharjah
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back in 2013 and joined Dubai Municipality in the engineering, sustainability and renewable energy field, which sparked a passion in me and led me to pursue a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Design of the Built Environment at the British University in Dubai. I started as a senior building engineer, where I conducted research and studies in the sustainable-smart buildings field. I was dedicated and passionate about raising awareness on sustainability and green buildings through campaigns, talks and events. For my work, I was honoured to receive the Young Engineer of the Year - MEE 2015 award. I then got promoted to head of research and sustainability studies where I managed the sustainability strategic plan, research and raising awareness campaigns across Dubai. This also included building partnerships with various academic, private and movement stakeholders. My journey at Dubai Future Foundation started in 2018 as an associate project manager, I was fortunate to work with amazing teams on various projects like Dubai10X, One Million Arab Coders and the Museum of The Future (Humans 2.0) when it was still an idea at the World Government Summit 2019. It was through these projects that I was able to join the Museum of the Future team, which I am truly inspired and proud to be part of. What are the key elements of your role as Associate Project Manager at the Museum of Future? My role at the Museum of the Future has really ignited my creative side. I was lucky to witness the exhibits’ content come together and develop to their final mature stages. I also managed the initial design process of the second-floor lounge area at the museum, where I developed the narrative of the floor, did a lot of research as well as got to work with Emirati and local-based artists and designers from the initial briefing, all the way to arranging site visits and reviewing final proposals. Through my role, I also directed the staff uniform designs and their production. I got to create mood boards, search for Emirati
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and local-based fashion designers and finally managed the production process. I am currently part of the exhibits fit-out final process which includes meeting the lead fit-out contractor and being part of the site supervising team. Together with this team, I work on ensuring the readiness of the exhibits for the opening of the museum. Seeing the full journey from a design on paper to the actual build-up is an inspiring experience that I will never forget. What has it been like working at the forefront of such a major project like the Museum of the Future, which, even before opening, has become an icon in itself? As an architect, this really is a dream come true. Working on a major architectural icon, witnessing it come to life and representing Emirati talent, has been an amazing and unmatched experience. What makes this experience even more special is that the Museum of the Future is aiming to become a platinum LEED-certified green building, which emphasises the message that sustainability is the future, and it is crucial to embed it in all our strategic projects and day-to-day life for the greater good of future generations. The Dubai Future Foundation is paving the way for the future success of the region. What key role do you play in helping this? I am proud to be part of the Dubai Future Foundation’s mission to make Dubai a leading city of the future. Being involved with different agile projects that create an impact on people’s lives is something that I will always cherish. An example of this would be the ‘One Million Arab Coders initiative’ that aims to teach coding to young Arabs. This will open countless opportunities especially since it’s considered the language of the future. We had a lot of successful and inspiring stories of graduates who launched their own app businesses and were able to support themselves because of these initiatives. Another project would have to be Dubai10X, where we were able to receive many disruptive ideas that could further enhance services in Dubai. Now being part of the Museum of the Future team and as our opening day is approaching, we are tirelessly making sure that we add the final touches to give visitors the ultimate experience. How do you hope to help inspire others looking to follow a similar career path to yours? Everything is possible! I believe that determination and effort can lead everyone to even the most unimaginable places and open countless doors for them. I was a simple daydreamer and a kid with a big imagination, I loved design and architecture for as long as I can remember, I used to build spaces with blocks, cardboard, and mattresses. I even used to marvel at the floor plans that I found in my dad’s office. At the end of the day, I trusted myself and that alone can be enough for you to start your journey. What would be your key piece of advice to those just starting their careers? Understanding who you really are and what you are passionate about is key. Find what excites and energises you every day. Try to learn something new and work on sharpening your skills, be around people who nourish your mind and soul, and be a supportive team player. Stepping outside your comfort zone and following your intuition can also do wonders. Lastly, cultivate perseverance, don’t be afraid to be bold and ask or propose ideas. What are your hopes for the future of women in this country? As an Emirati woman, I am proud to witness and truly feel the endless support coming from our leaders every day. Their vision and belief in
Emirati women is what drives us to dream big and to be the best versions of ourselves as mothers, sisters, wives, friends and daughters. Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, is empowering women every day through the National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women that she launched in 2015. Throughout your career, who have been your mentors? I was blessed to have inspiring people along my journey, people who influenced and paved the way for me. My mother and father are my backbones, everything they taught me is what made me who I am today. My in-line managers and colleagues have also been a huge support system as they’ve always believed in me, from the very start. Another huge inspiration would be His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai who has taught us that now even space can’t put a limit on our dreams and what we can achieve. What is the philosophy you live by in both your personal and professional life? “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” I always think of that at the back of my head. I truly believe that if everyone trusted themselves and their intuition and gave themselves the time, space, effort and most importantly had perseverance & dedication, they will be astonished by what can be achieved; where life will get them and the doors of opportunities that will open for them. As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai said and what is currently engraved on the façade of museum: “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn’t something you await, but rather create.” To date, what have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome? Aside from fast-paced projects and tight deadlines, trying to understand, balance and merge motherhood alongside my career is one of the biggest challenges that I am currently facing. I am however blessed to have an amazing support system that is my husband, family and friends who help me get through the process. Not to mention, all my thoughtful colleagues who appreciate and support me. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the key milestones? I consider working at the Museum of the Future one of the highlights of my career, I feel very blessed to be working in an inspiring place that merges the three things that I am truly passionate about: architecture, exhibition design & sustainability. Every part of this journey has been a key milestone, the final exhibits design, the moment when we witnessed the installation of the last structural component and the little celebration when the final silver-façade panel arrived. Another key milestone that we are thrilled to accomplish soon is our opening to the public. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? The possibility of making things happen! From a desert to one of the world’s most breathtaking cities in less than 50 years is truly an inspiring story. Witnessing the massive changes that have taken place all around me, ever since I was a little kid, and up until today is something I will forever be proud of.
“I truly believe that if everyone trusted themselves and their intuition and gave themselves the time, space, effort and most importantly had perseverance & dedication, they will be astonished by what can be achieved.”
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AN ENVIRONMENT TO THRIVE
C O M P I L E D BY: O L I V I A M O R R I S
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As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UAE, we asked some of the most incredible women we know, what makes the nation such a supportive environment to grow and thrive
Her Highness Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum
FOUNDER OF SANA AL MAKTOUM FINE JEWELLERY @sanaalmaktoumofficial How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Being from and being based in the UAE as well, I consider myself lucky and proud to be part of such a thriving nation. I love the strides that we are taking in different fields. There is a sense of kinship and a supportive entrepreneurial community despite being a melting pot – united by interests and the joy (and struggles!) of entrepreneurship. I love how optimistic everyone is and we’re always looking for the next best thing, which aids us to become a forward-thinking and exciting society that the rest of the world has their eyes on. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? To me, what makes the UAE unique is a profound respect for our culture, tradition, and history and yet, the acceptance and mélange of cultures and people that are becoming part of our cultural and historical fabric. I love the contrasts between the different worlds and ours which I think make it a truly special place to be. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Tolerant, supportive and fun! Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan
FOUNDER OF MKS JEWELLERY @mksjewellery How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Gold Souk in Dubai is well known and it’s been pivotal to my journey, as have the large variety of gold manufacturers here. Each one has played a part in inspiring what I do, whether they know it or not. And lastly, I’m blessed to live in a part of the world with so many visitors from different cultures, this truly is a blessing as a creative person. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? This has to be one of the most diverse coun-
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tries in the world. As a country with a rich history and a promising future, that also occupies a highly strategic location, I feel the UAE has given me so much. It’s a melting pot of opportunity, creativity, and bright outlooks for the future. Can you describe the UAE in three words? This is a difficult one. I would have to say: Inspiring Global Location. This tells you all you need to know about how I see our corner of the world and what I think it offers those of us who call it home. Asma Hilal Lootah
FOUNDER OF THE HUNDRED WELLNESS CENTRE @thehundredwellness How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I am a great believer that we are our own destiny, regardless of where we come from. I live by the motto, “If there is a will, there is a way”, I have always followed my gut instincts and have had to believe in myself and my vision. It is not always easy, but I have always accepted the challenges as a part of the journey and consider them as lessons that are here to teach me something. In the UAE you have the chance to create your own opportunities, which is incredible. It is a country where there are endless opportunities and possibilities, the unfailing encouragement, culture, environment, and belief created and established by our Leaders has been an enormous and integral influence and a constant motivation for me. My parents’ unwavering support and tolerance throughout my journey is something I will always be grateful for. When I announced that I was taking a leap of faith to leave my corporate career and become an entrepreneur in the, at that time, quite unheard-of ‘wellness industry’, they respected my passion and determination and encouraged me to succeed and helped me realise my dream. Their faith in me and unconditional love is a pillar of support that has helped me navigate. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? I am incredibly patriotic and so proud of my
country. In just five decades the UAE has managed to establish the foundations of a prosperous and advanced society, whilst preserving our culture, which is a remarkable achievement. Our country’s leadership is exemplary in their ability to embrace all cultures, nationalities, and religions in a tolerant and respectful manner, and the UAE is a role model for other countries to follow in this respect. The focus on empowerment of Emirati women in all fields and insistence on gender equality has without doubt enabled and encouraged the limitless opportunities for women to achieve wonderful things for our country and to contribute to the growth of our society. Having a day dedicated to the awareness of Emirati women and their achievements is a testament to progressive leadership and is inspirational. Women form the backbone of our society, if we look at our grandmothers and mothers before that, they laid the foundations from such humble beginnings, and without their strength and resilience, in far more constricting circumstances, none of us would have the privilege we enjoy today. I am grateful for my heritage. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Ambitious. Inclusive. Inspiring. Khulood Sharafi
CO-FOUNDER OF TINKAH @tinkah.ae How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? The UAE provides a supportive environment where people who have a dream and are willing to work for it can thrive. The country provides access to multiple opportunities that anyone who is willing to push the boundaries can achieve their goals. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The founding fathers of this nation had a dream to bring the community together for the betterment of its land and the people. The moment the UAE puts its heart and soul to achieving a goal, nothing stops it. This is very visible in how far we have come as a nation in fifty years and what we look forward to in the next fifty. UAE always strives to push the
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boundaries for the betterment of humanity. The UAE is very forward-looking in its outlook while honouring culture and traditions. The stories of who we are, where we came from and where we want to go is deeply rooted in our psyche and plays a vital role in shaping our thoughts and actions. I am grateful to be able to call the UAE my country. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Humble. Dreamer. Resilient. Amy Wilkinson-Lough
FOUNDER OF PROJECT BYOUTY @projectbyouty How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? It’s allowed me to dream, and more importantly, turn that dream into a reality. Everyone said Drake would never come to the ‘sandpit’ – 18 months later he was here and playing to 24,000 people. I didn’t make that happen on my own. There was input and expertise from Dubai civil defence, municipality, police, fire, ambulance, department of tourism and commerce – the list is endless. Essentially, I had an idea and the UAE like it always does got behind it, that’s the beauty of living here – you don’t just have to dare to dream, you’re encouraged to make it a reality. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? Where else in the world can you accidentally leave your bag, your wallet or your phone and guarantee that it will be returned one way or another? To wake up every day in a city and know you are safe is priceless and I for one am very grateful. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Home sweet home. Ghizlan Guenez
ENTREPRENEUR @ghizlan_guenez_ How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I’ve lived in this beautiful country for over 25 years, it is home for me and my family and it is where I grew up and built my life and career. Living in a city like Dubai and seeing it grow from one long empty street
with a couple of buildings to the architectural wonder that is now known through the world gave many of us, Dubaians, the belief that everything is possible when you set your mind to it and when you work at it. It is the epitome of what an entrepreneurial mindset and drive can achieve and had planted seeds of ambition and determination in many of us, certainly in me. I have started my business, The Modist, which resonated globally, from Dubai and I continue to build from this city! What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The juxtaposition of how embracing of all nationalities it is together with how it retains its culture and heritage is one that is beautiful to witness. It truly shows that you can be worldly, open, tolerant and accepting whilst maintaining your own values. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Modernity rooted in culture. Yasmin Al Mulla
CO-FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF YNM DUBAI @yasminalmulla How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I am thankful for the priceless opportunities, overwhelming support, and perpetual privileges – We are fortunate for being celebrated every single day by just living in the UAE. “We do not only empower women, but we empower the whole community through women” – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This quote describes the support women are receiving just by being women in this country. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? I feel very proud of our heritage, culture, and history – the United Arab Emirates is a captivating multiculturalism of nationalities and ethnicities all living in unity together, and this is what makes us connected, and stronger. The UAE is a country well known for its humanity and generosity and provides endless opportunities, overwhelming support, and extraordinary privileges to all nationalities. I love the concept of my beautiful coun-
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try, where your performance, talent, and education matter more than anything else, we celebrate the person before everything. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Limitless, encouraging, and magical. Amna Al Qubaisi
THE FIRST FEMALE EMIRATI RACING DRIVER @amnalqubaisi_official How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Being from and based in the UAE I felt very supported and empowered. I got so much recognition and help from my family, friends, and sponsors. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? I feel that women empowerment is the most unique as we see a lot of companies, brands, etc based in the UAE that recognize women empowerment in many sectors not just in sports. They are always striving for women to be successful and powerful and building a better future for the next generation. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Selfless, Foresighted, Devoted. Lyndsay Doran
FOUNDER OF L’COUTURE @lcoutureofficial How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I am eternally grateful to the UAE for the success I’ve achieved. As a country, it’s very supportive for startup businesses from all angles, whether it’s acquiring a trade license or setting up the company. Starting L’Couture, as the country’s first female athleisure brand, everything was built to simplify and support the process and nurture the business as it grows. It’s a place where dreams form ambition, and ambition makes dreams become reality – so a great inspiration as well, that anything is possible. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? One of the most unique aspects for me, I’d have to say is female empowerment. A country where gender equality stands as an
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important factor from the government itself is incredible. It makes women feel inspired to grow in their industries, and achieve new highs in their professions, benefitting the society and economy as a whole. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Innovative, ambitious and nurturing. Sheikha Al Mheiri
EMIRATI ENTREPRENEUR AND FOUNDER OF MAD (MAKING A DIFFERENCE) HOSPITALITY How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Responsive and adaptive regulation in the business and economic scene. Residents, locals, and travellers who come to UAE yearn for new experiences What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The UAE strives to be the most tolerant country in the world. This is a very noble attribute and aim for any country to adopt. Such a mandate for tolerance and acceptance fosters peace and normality for current and upcoming generations. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Transcendent, innovative and brave. Yasmin Baker
EMIRATI AERIALIST How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? For me personally, just to witness and hear of the changes this place has gone through is a blessing, but to be even a small part of the progress is beyond words. To not just be accepted for doing something new and different, but recognized for it, and sometimes even commended for it by my community is the greatest reward. I think the cultural foundations of the UAE have provided me with the space to explore new things and to learn and grow as a person, and in doing so, gain positive lessons that I can relay to others and may-
be, just maybe make a small positive change. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? I am so incredibly proud to be from the UAE for so many reasons! Firstly, despite the young age of the nation, it has prospered so rapidly and in doing so, has really opened the door for the community to explore and seize new opportunities. This place is literally fresh ground to pursue so many new and exciting ventures and opportunities. The UAE has made the absolute best of its resources, and most importantly, it has focused on the development of its people. It has not arbitrarily set up regulations, systems, and institutions. Instead, it has incorporated the peoples’ voice from the start to the end to make sure that they know that their wellbeing is the top priority and that “impossible” is not an accepted term in the fabric of this society. This is a testament to the humble, forward-thinking and visionary nature of our leaders, who lead by example and who paved the way for a brighter tomorrow. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Vibrant, flourishing, home. Sibylle Arnold-Shish
MANAGING DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER OF THE COBBLER @cobbler.ae How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? We are about to celebrate the 10-year Anniversary of The Cobbler, and when I look back at the journey, I remember every milestone that brought us where we are today. We were only 2 when we opened our 1st shop, we are now more than 50, operating 4 shops, a repair workshop, and an e-commerce platform. As a woman entrepreneur, I always felt empowered and supported along the way, especially during the business setup stage. Thanks to the dynamic market, I was also able to identify opportunities and with work and dedication, to achieve my goals. COVID-19 has obviously impacted
most of the businesses like anywhere else, however, thanks to the opening of Expo 2020, the energy is back if not greater than ever. The UAE is definitely the place to be right now. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The mix of an ancestral tradition, a rich culture and a modern and dynamic vision of the future is what makes the UAE so unique. There is a constant buzz. I can see that more and more SMEs and startups are created in the UAE, which greatly contributes to the growth of the market. Finally, the UAE is a hub, and this ideal geographical location is obviously another great strength. At The Cobbler, our customers – whether they live in the UAE or are only visiting – come from different horizons and we learn from them every day. This is fascinating! Can you describe the UAE in three words? The UAE is a place where you can follow your dreams! Sara Tamimi
FASHION DESIGNER & FOUNDER OF SARA TAMIMI @saratamimiofficial How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Accessibility. I am so grateful. There is no doubt that our country offers great accessibility to all the needs of multiple business ventures. Convenience and availability of services and talent is at hand. We are in a widely diverse country with intelligibility to knowledge and experience from across the world. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? Opportunity – It is the land of opportunities, on top of being granted with great access, we are a booming country where various opportunities arise. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Opportunity, prosperity and justice. And Sheikh Zayed as our founding father.
“That’s the beauty of living here – you don’t just have to dare to dream, you’re encouraged to make it a reality.” – Amy Wilkinson-Lough
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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
THE WOMEN OF FIRSTS
As the UAE celebrates its 50th year, Emirates Woman looks at some of the most inspirational women who have shaped the nation to become what we know it as today
Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi is a groundbreaking female figure in the UAE. In 2004, she became the first woman in the country to hold a ministerial position after she was appointed Minister of Economy. Throughout the years, Sheikha Lubna has held a number of ministerial positions in the UAE government including Minister of Foreign Trade, Minister of International Cooperation and Development and Minister of Tolerance, a position which she held until 2017. “The UAE has established itself as a role model for the region in this field, opening the door for women to invest in business and establish their own enterprises,” she said in 2017 at the Women’s Economic Empowerment conference held in Dubai. “Today, we have thousands of businesswomen running investments worth billions of dirhams. We look forward to sharing our experience and insights with participants at this important global event.”
HER HIGHNESS SHEIKHA FATIMA BINT MUBARAK AL KETBI Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi is one of the leading female figures in the UAE. As the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed, the Father of the Nation, Sheikha Fatima is known as the Mother of the Nation. She has always been passionate about evolving women’s rights in the UAE, even from the unification of the emirates. So much so, she sponsored the establishment for the first-ever dedicated women’s society in the UAE – the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association, which launched on February 8, 1973. Two years later, in August 1975, the General
HER HIGHNESS SHEIKHA MANAL BINT MOHAMMED AL MAKTOUM As the eldest daughter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed Al Maktoum has followed in her father’s footsteps to ensure she’s making a difference. In 2003, Sheikha Manal – wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs – founded Dubai Ladies Club, which is located in Jumei-
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Women’s Union was established and Sheikha Fatima was appointed chairwoman, a position she holds until this day. Since then, Sheikha Fatima has gone on to establish over 30 other organisations and initiatives aiming to support the development and growth of women in the region. “The women of our nation should be proud of the vital role they play in the service of our country,” she has previously said. “Women are partners in the struggle, in the past, present and future. There is nothing achieved by the Union of our State that has not benefited women.”
rah. She went on to launch the Dubai Women’s Establishment in 2006, an organization that encourages and facilitates the participation of Emirati women in the workforce and society. Her most recent role in championing the role of women in the UAE is as Chairperson of the UAE Gender Balance Council. The main aims of the Council are to reduce the gender gap across all government sectors and to enhance the UAE’s ranking in global competitiveness reports on gender equality.
IMAGES: GETTY AND SUPPLIED
HER EXCELLENCY SHEIKHA LUBNA BINT KHALID AL QASIMI
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MARIAM AL MANSOURI A truly iconic woman in the modern history of the United Arab Emirates, Mariam Al Mansouri is the first female fighter pilot in the country. She completed her pilot training at the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College of the UAE Air Force for pilots, graduating in 2007 before joining the country’s air force. In a heroic moment in 2014, seven years into her career as a fighter pilot for the UAE, Al Mansouri led an airstrike mission against terror group ISIS. Prior to completing this mission, Al Man-
souri told CNN it had always been her dream to become a fighter pilot, but at the time such opportunities were not available. “At that time, the doors were not open for females to be pilots,” she revealed. “So, I had to wait almost 10 years for the decision to be taken.” Al Mansouri has become an inspiration for many to enter the aviation field, including her sister Aisha Al Mansouri who became one of Etihad’s female pilots and the first woman in the UAE to become an A380 pilot.
HER EXCELLENCY DR AMAL AL QUBAISI Her Excellency Dr Amal Al Qubaisi became the first woman elected to the UAE’s Federal National Council in 2006. Then, nine years later, in 2015 she became the President of the FNC, making her the region’s first female leader of a national assembly. She held this position until 2019. While she was still in her role as President of the FNC, Dr Amal made a speech at the Eurasian Women’s Forum, highlighting the importance of women in the UAE. “As a female leader in my country, the UAE, I am proud of our strategic and lifelong partnerships with men,” she said. “To me, peace is like a graceful eagle that needs both of its two wings; women and men, to soar high in the sky to reach its destination.”
OHOOD BINT KHALFAN AL ROUMI In a short period of time, Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi has carved an impressive career for herself as an Emirati politician. She was previously the Director of Economic Policy at the Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and then has gone on to hold a number of leadership positions in the UAE federal government. In 2016, she was appointed Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing and then in
2020 she was appointed Minister of State for Government Development and Future. She is also the Chairwoman of the Federal Authority for Government Human Recourses (FAHR). Her Excellency also has roles on an international scale. She is a member of the UN’s Global Entrepreneurship Council (GEC), a position she was appointed to in 2015 by the United Nations Foundation. She is the first Arab member to hold such a position.
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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
Nouf Omar, the youngest female Emirati pilot on making a mark in the aviation industry and how being born in the UAE gave her wings to fly What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? When I have a flight, the day starts four hours before the departure time which could be anytime in the day or night. I start by mentally preparing myself for the flight. First, I prepare my coffee and then start reading my documents including the flight plan. I check that I have my flight bag ready with everything I need and then I’m ready for pick-up! What led you to your chosen career path? I was inspired by one of my relatives who’s also a pilot. It caught my attention as a field and after researching, I found it a role that really fits my personality, and I could really see myself in the pilot seat! Looking back over your career, can you tell us some major hurdles you’ve had to overcome? Closed-minded opinions – any thinking that being a pilot means not having a life, not being able to get married or start a family when on the other hand there are many solutions and options out there for those who prioritise these things. Yes, I fly, but I also have a social life, hobbies and time to spend with family and friends. You’ve worked incredibly hard, where do you get your motivation from? My family – they have supported me from the beginning of my journey and will continue to do so. I remember calling my brother when I had a hard time during my training and he told me “treat it as a sport, the more you practice the better you’ll become, don’t worry you’ve got this.” His words kept me going through the tough times. There are many inspiring Emirati women that have inspired me to start my own business and achieve more than just flying an airplane. What does it feel like to have accomplished so much at such a young age? It feels great and
I’m very happy to be an inspiration for the younger generation. I also had the support of my family and friends, and I am forever grateful for our leaders who believe in their youth and provide them with opportunities to achieve the impossible like the Emirates National Cadet Pilot Program which is for Emirati’s who wish to become pilots like me. Women are underrepresented in the aviation industry. How do you hope to change that? By inspiring more women to join this field and believe in themselves and their capabilities.
“The UAE’s rapid growth plays an important role in the modern change of career choices. The opportunities provided by the country are countless.” 100 emirateswoman.com
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You’re the Goodwill Ambassador for the Swedish Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, how does it feel to have achieved this title? I’m proud and honoured to be part of the Swedish Pavilion and working with the Swedish embassy and Expo 2020. Sweden has a special place in my heart and being the connection between Sweden and UAE is a privilege and I’m hoping to achieve more in the future. The UAE supports those who decide to take a new turn in life. How has being based in the region allowed you to re-invent or change the direction of your life or career? The UAE’s rapid growth plays an important role in the modern change of career choices. The opportunities provided by the country are countless when it comes to changing careers and finding new paths. The UAE’s growth has helped us discover new fields and set higher visions. This is The Timelessness Issue – what or who is timeless to you? Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the mother of the UAE. Her support till today sends positive energy to every Emirati female. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? I’m impressed with how rapidly we have grown and how quickly we’ve adapted to the universal mindset. The UAE has visions for the future that not even large advanced countries have. Our leaders are transparent and share what they want to achieve with the world and that motivates the youth to work hard and choose fields relevant to the vision of the country like space for example. There are many opportunities in the UAE and lifestyles that suit all types of cultures and people. This year we celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary. How would you now describe the brand and how does it support women in the region and beyond? It’s a great platform that showcases everything a woman can be interested in like fashion and beauty. It’s also a platform that radiates inspiration from every article you read especially the stories of unique women form the region and beyond.
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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
Hanan Mazouzi Sobati, Founder of Arabian Gazelles, is driving change in the region one luxury supercar at a time
What inspired you to launch Arabian Gazelles? One of the main reasons was my growing frustration with the automotive industry and the way women were overlooked in this male-dominated sector, nobody was doing anything about it! So, I decided to set up the club which evolved into a platform of like-minded women passionate about driving change. You first launched the group in 2017. How have things evolved since then? The industry has been slow to recognize the buying power of women, but they’re now recognizing this is a massive segment. We have a voice and a seat at the table. Luxury car manufacturers are discovering the power of women buyers, setting up female advisory boards and panels to review current and future products and give feedback to shape vehicles, the shift is also reflected in hiring women in this industry – celebrating women engineers and industry’s leaders. Luxury carmakers host female-focused events and track days. Women are also seen behind the wheels of supercars in marketing ads and campaigns. Not as passengers like we used to see before! It has clearly evolved and it’s only the beginning. How do you believe Arabian Gazelles is breaking down barriers in this region? Any collective work of empowered women will break barriers. We set up as a car club and have grown into a platform and a community of passionate women driving for change and paving the way for others to look for their passion and fuel it. We have a voice and we use it to normalize women buying, driving and enjoying their passion for supercars, banishing old cliches and tired assumptions. We now have more than 100 ladies from 26 different countries and backgrounds, ranging from doctors, artists, lawyers, pilots, housewives and CEOs and we all share this passion to connect, bond, network and build businesses together! How does it feel to have created such an iconic group so many women look up to? I feel extremely proud and humbled by the love, respect and support we have received since we set up our platform. Women and men locally
and internationally want to be part of the community we have built around our passion. Describe the Arabian Gazelles woman. Passionate, driven, confident and inspirational. What are the challenges you have faced being a woman in a male-dominated field? Challenges were inevitable, as it’s a territory long held by men and for men, we met with
“Women and men locally and internationally want to be part of the community we have built around our passion.”
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objections and derogatory comments by a few. However, they soon joined our ranks when they realised that we share the same genuine pleasure and passion driving our cars, that some of us bought our cars with our own money and some were lucky enough to afford this luxury and are grateful for it. How do you hope to help inspire others looking to follow a similar career path to yours? One of the success stories of Arabian Gazelles is how this platform inspired women, men and children to follow their passion. To explore areas that spark their interest, with enthusiasm and passion. They will be more resilient when they encounter obstacles, making them proud of their achievements and for being part of something that matters. What would be your key piece of advice to the younger generation? Figure out what brings you joy, what sparks your interest, develop your skills to contribute to something beyond yourself! What are the hopes for the future of women in this country? To realize their full potential in their chosen field. What is the philosophy you live by in both your personal and professional life? Pursuing one’s own dreams regardless of the opinions of others. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? The UAE is home. It’s synonymous with happiness and peace. I have lived in the United Arab Emirates more than I have lived in my country of birth, Algeria. I have raised a family, developed my skills, and built my career, reputation and wealth here in the UAE. I am inspired by the country’s leaders to be the best version of myself and contribute to the progress of this nation. We also celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary. How would you now describe the brand and how does it support women in the region and beyond? Emirates Woman is at the forefront of publishing in the Middle East, dedicated to providing readers innovative, inspiring in-depth stories of the many faces and nationalities of women in the Emirates, celebrating and supporting them!
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We look at how some of the most incredible women we know set themselves up to succeed WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
C O M P I L E D BY: LU CY R U T H E R FO R D
THE WINNING MINDSET THE MORNING ROUTINE Her Highness Sheikha Latifah Al Maktoum
EQUESTRIAN ATHLETE First thing when I wake up is have Canarino, it’s an Italian drink with hot water and lemon peel, and I add paprika to it. Afterwards I drink 750ml of water, staying hydrated is so important. I wake my dogs and head to the stables early to ride. Depending on the weather, I try to ride one or two horses out-
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side before riding the rest inside. Being out in the sun is so important both mentally and physically. We’ve always been around horses and my family loves horses in every sport; racing, endurance, polo, and show jumping. I realised that I wanted to take my show jumping further very early on. When I was thirteen, I saw the Dubai Show Jumping team training and I thought to myself, I want to be on that team. Realising that I had to prove myself, I worked really hard and made the team. Eventually my goal was to attend the Asian games and be on the UAE Show Jumping team, it was my first Nations Cup and UAE won their first ever medal in show jumping and being on that team was such an amazing experience and I was hooked ever since.
FOUNDER, AMINA MUADDI I usually wake up, have a glass of water, a coffee and a fresh green juice. After that, I do my beauty routine – a few times a week I include a face mask. In the meantime I play with my dog, then I’ll check my phone (messages, emails, social media and lately The Pattern, this app I’m quite obsessed with). Three times a week I go to the gym, sometimes I meditate. I’d like to do both more often. And then I start working. Alison Loehnis
PRESIDENT OF NET-A-PORTER My morning routine has remained pretty consistent for quite a long time. I get up early
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before my house gets up, just to get ahead of the day. It might be catching up on emails or messages from Asia, it might be getting ahead on admin and I still write letters, so maybe an opportunity to do that. I love running, so when the motivation hits me I will go for a run in the morning and we also have a new puppy so he needs taking out. By the time the kids get up I can be super present and I’ve got a jump start on my to-do list for the day. Newby Hands
GLOBAL BEAUTY DIRECTOR PORTER & NET-A-PORTER I never have a problem waking up and getting up which certainly makes mornings easier. I always have a cup of tea when I wake up, ideally in bed – always organic tea with organic milk. Recently I have started a proper routine of body brushing followed by Legology CelluLite oil and Dr. Barbara Sturm Body Lotion, but it’s super-fast – the brushing takes 30 seconds max, and I especially like this body cream because it sinks in so fast. It’s the same for my face as I don’t like spending ages on skincare; currently I’m using Dr Prager’s Foaming face wash, then any of the serums I have currently on the go, usually that includes Estée Lauder’s ANR and the La Mer oil – just use a few drops and it just sinks into the skin. I don’t like juicing or smoothies, I prefer to chew my food so breakfast is usually an egg and sourdough toast or yoghurt, oat bran (great for water retention) and walnuts – I don’t have any food rules but I do try to eat organic. Sheikha Amna Abdulaziz
FOUNDER, LAVA My usual morning routine starts with a prayer followed by yoga which always helps me to refresh my thoughts and give me motivation and inspiration to have a fruitful and productive day.
Pilates session. There’s no better way to feel energised and clear your mind. Gabriel Waller
CELEBRITY STYLIST I am currently using the Australian skin care brand Rationale, and it has been my saving grace over the past eight months. My skin is naturally quite red, so I opted for very calming and soothing products in my skin care range. With my makeup, natural beauty is key to me and I keep it very subtle for my everyday look. It also helps that it takes me less than 15 minutes to complete. I am all for a very quick and easy routine. Victoria Foster
CO-FOUNDER, VENUSROX The first place to start with energy is clarity and to ensure one is grounded and balanced, so I always check I am clear and grounded
CONTENT CREATOR I start off with a big cup of water followed by vitamins and coffee. I then start my day and focus on work. Amna Al Habtoor
FOUNDER, ARCADIA I wake up every day at 6am sharp. It became an involuntary habit after having my kids, but it is now important for me to start the day early so that I get the most use of out my, usually very busy days. I consider myself a morning person, so the first 30 minutes includes me enjoying my creamy coffee while getting the kids ready for school. Zahra Lyla
INFLUENCER/ GRAPHIC DESIGNER My morning routine consists of washing my face with warm water and then apply-
“THE FIRST PLACE TO START WITH ENERGY IS CLARITY AND TO ENSURE ONE IS GROUNDED AND BALANCED, SO I ALWAYS CHECK I AM CLEAR AND GROUNDED FIRST THING IN THE MORNING AND CLEAR ANYTHING I NEED TO.” – Victoria Foster
Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum
AVIATION INDUSTRY I am a very active person by nature and while I would not claim to be part of the 5am club, I do wake up early and I like to have time to gather my thoughts for the day ahead, as work can be very demanding. If I can, I try to spend some time with the horses, riding before work or doing a quick workout, all with a generous amount of coffee. Jacquie Aiche
FOUNDER OF LA-BASED JEWELLERY BRAND JACQUIE AICHE I love to begin my day with a short meditation. I find whenever I take time to meditate, I feel more grounded and present. Then I’ll check my emails, get dressed and do a quick
first thing in the morning and clear anything I need to. Mornings start early in our house, as an animal loving family, our furred and feathered family members come first and there is always a lot to do with dogs, horses, ducks and a cockatiel to care for.
ing a toner. I alternate between Sisley Paris Grapefruit Toning Lotion and the Glow Tonic by Pixi. Next, I pat on a vitamin C serum by SkinCeuticals and my favourite eye serum by La Prairie. Then I use a moisturiser, eye cream and sunscreen to finish off.
FOUNDER, KRISTINA FIDELSKAYA Usually when I wake up I get a message with a coffee emoji. Having coffee while on the phone, or catching up on the news is how I start my day. I have a busy schedule – having this time in the morning for myself helps me to prepare for what’s coming. Especially in these times it’s important to have a routine and stick to it.
FOUNDER, BARKHA BEAUTY I start my day with a turmeric, ginger and gooseberry shot along with warm water followed by my cup of tea. I’ve been doing 16 hours intermittent fasting for nearly 6 months now so I prefer to have a late breakfast/early lunch. I check my Instagram and emails upon waking up and then follow up on my son and his online schooling these days.
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FOUNDER, RODIAL Double espresso, meditation and checking my @mrsrodial Instagram feed. Dr Lamees Hamdan
FOUNDER, SHIFFA I usually spend about 15 mins lying in bed, just imagining and sorting out through my head what my day will look like. Then the next 15 mins (while drinking hot water) I quickly scan my phone for any urgent messages I have to attend to – I work a lot in different time zones Aline Marcadet
PRESIDENT, ANNE SEMONIN I usually wake up at 7:00 am. My very first 30 minutes are devoted to checking my e-mails and reading the daily newspapers while having a healthy breakfast. Eva Alexandridis
C0-FOUNDER & CEO, 111SKIN I definitely like to have a routine; my mornings are very important, and I don’t deviate too much from it. I’m up at 7am so I can have time with my older son before walking with him to the station for school and I then wake up my younger son and before he heads off to school, I spend 20-30 minutes chatting with him over breakfast. I have an hour or so to go on my run with Yannis and Sparky (a muchloved Jack Russell that is classed as the fifth family member) and then by 9am I am ready to start my working day. Stephanie Phair
CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER, FARFETCH I’ve stopped checking emails first thing in the morning, or you go down a rabbit hole, and I end up with a clearer head! If there is any-
“IT’S AMAZING HOW MUCH CAN BE DONE IN 30-MINUTES WHEN YOU ARE FOCUSED AND RELAXED.” – Maya Reik 104 emirateswoman.com
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thing urgent I would have missed calls. I get myself ready and it’s all hands on deck to get 3 children and us out of the house on time. Rania Fawaz
CONTENT CREATOR The first 30 minutes of my day usually starts with a lot of coffee – I’m not really a morning person, and it’s the only thing that gets me going! I have my green juice next and just spend it usually as my ‘me’ time. I try my best to disconnect from my phone but I don’t always succeed. Florencia Gomez Gerbi
CREATIVE DIRECTOR & CEO, GREENPACHA I like to wake up early, around sunrise, most days. I do Bowspring, a physical practice that activates the fascia and leaves my body ready to start the day, either for surfing or working creatively. Arabella MacRitchie
FOUNDER, ARABELLA LONDON I kick-start the working day with a strong cappuccino and one of the first things I’ll do is share a beautiful image on our Instagram @ arabellalondon to inspire and excite our audience. I like to think this provides a little virtual vacation and light relief from the everyday. It puts me in a summer mindset – whatever the weather – dreaming of the better times and energised for the day ahead with a clear vision for the brand right from the get-go. Selling swimwear online is not a simple operation – morning priorities for us involve working closely with customers to provide detailed fit advice and product suggestions depending on their body type. Maintaining a great brandconsumer relationship is paramount for us. Alongside this, as a small team we tackle all areas of the business in-house – from sourcing and product development, to the marketing and PR activities – shipping and sales. Those 30 minutes are crucial in mapping out the workflow and priorities for the day. Faiza Bouguessa
FOUNDER, BOUGUESSA In the morning the first thing I do is pray, then I stretch for about 10 mins and I drink about a litre of water and write down my goals for the day. On good days, when I wake up earlier, I breath, meditate, I review my long-term goals and read. Buthaina Al Raisi
OMANI ACTRESS My morning routine is the most important. As soon as I wake up, I wash my face with a gentle cleanser that is soft on the skin, then I use a day moisturizer, and you must never forget to use an eye cream. Then I apply an SPF.
CURATOR Meditations are my kind of special morning rituals, it’s something I am loyal to practicing and I cannot remove this from my morning schedule. For me meditation sets a wonderful mood for the day because it helps to clear the mind and maximize your focus on priorities. Maya Reik
FOUNDER, MAREI1998 Six months ago, my morning routine was very different to what it is today. The ease of waking up without rushing out of the door is a result of the work-from-home era we are living in. These days, I begin each morning by drinking several glasses of water and having a small breakfast, going for an early swim in the sea, taking a shower and getting to work. It’s amazing how much can be done in 30 minutes when you are focused and relaxed. Kate Blythe-Pearso
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, MECCA COSMETICA The alarm goes off at 6.15am (unless our two year old wakes us up earlier!) and then it’s go, go, go. As we are currently in London, yet relocating to Melbourne at the end of the year, most of my calls with the Mecca team in Australia are taken from 7am BST. So that first 30 minutes of the day is crucial as I have to get myself showered, dressed, makeup on, then wake up the children (we have four) and encourage them to get themselves ready for school. My husband always makes me a cup of tea (how British!) in those 30 minutes, which definitely helps to motivate me. Captain Salma Al Baloush
FIRST OFFICER PILOT, ETIHAD AIRWAYS The first 30 minutes of the day are more productive. I usually wake up, wake the kids and then have a quick shower followed by breakfast. Sophie Hill and Alys McMahon
FOUNDERS OF THREADS STYLING SH: My aim is always to wake up before my daughter who is now 10 months old and rises between 6-7am. In those moments of solitude, I enjoy a hot water & lemon while reading the news, catching up on emails, and scrolling through social media before she wakes up. AM: I wake up at around 7am and go out with my Doberman Obi for his morning walk usually for about an hour. Working from home recently has also given me the added benefit of being able to enjoy a coffee whilst I catch up on social media and emails and before I start my day.
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“MEDITATIONS ARE MY KIND OF SPECIAL MORNING RITUALS, IT’S SOMETHING I AM LOYAL TO PRACTICING AND I CANNOT REMOVE THIS FROM MY MORNING SCHEDULE.” – Khulood Thani Amalia Keramitsis
FOUNDER OF AMALIA KERAMITSIS CONSULTANCY I wake up very early around 6am most days and do a quick yoga or Pilates session. Since COVID-19 there are so many online options to choose from! I shower, have breakfast and coffee and then read through my emails. I’ll also check WhatsApp and Instagram. Since my clients are on so many different time zones I am constantly ‘on’! Gaia Repossi
FOUNDER, REPOSSI I jump straight into my yoga practice. It’s been more than 15 years that I practice yoga and I always start my day with a session. I wake up and do a traditional ASHTANGA yoga practice called Mysore. I then have a matcha latte and a bite to eat before running to the creative studio. Usually, I design or sketch in the mornings and then I have meetings in the afternoon. Salama Khalfan
FOUNDER, SALAMA KHALFAN JEWELLERY Typically what I do as soon as I wake up is rehydrate, I drink water. Then I jump in the shower and get ready either for yoga or a run. I do yoga three times a week and run three times a week, I have one day off. I then I have a big big breakfast. Maria Tash
FOUNDER, MARIA TASH I usually wake up automatically around 7:30-8am unless I have been up very late the night before. I have a large, king size canopy bed with silk chiffon drapes and satin pillowcases so I treasure my time in bed and don’t get out of it quickly! Once I do get out and into the shower, I think of what I am grateful for because I think it gives me a calm demeanor in the midst of stressful meetings and decisions later in the day. If
I have been proactive and planned what I wear the night before, then I have time to do a 12-minute arm workout video on YouTube before I get dressed, put on my makeup, and start getting into calls.
FOUNDER, MYRA SWIM My morning is quite simple. I normally get up brush my teeth, have a shower and watch the news. Then I head to the warehouse via my local coffee shop for breakfast. Twice a week I do Pilates at 6am but other than those mornings my routine is quite simple. Suman Jalaf
FOUNDER, SUMAN BROWS As often as I can, I devote the first 30 mins of the day to selfcare. That includes limiting all things digital when possible. I have a morning shower while listening to soothing nature soundscapes; then I meditate, practise yoga; have a coffee or breakfast and later, I connect with mum through Facetime so I can wish her a good day and see my baby Pomeranians. My pups give me so much joy! Asma Hilal Lootah
AERIAL ARTIST I am more Lark than Nightingale, so the morning is my favourite part of the day. I usually wake up at 5:30am without an alarm, just so that I can steal an extra hour of me time before the day actually starts, this helps me feel grounded. I always start with a large cup of English Breakfast tea while I draw as I love the history of art, so I spend my first hour in the morning sketching, shading and enjoying the quiet, while the rest of the house sleeps. I feel that positivity and productivity come hand in hand, we are never happier than when we feel accomplished, and so I always start my day this way.
FOUNDER, THE HUNDRED WELLNESS CENTRE After I wake up, I usually pray and read my morning verses after which I have a sencha green tea. I plan the day ahead and then listen to my daily affirmations while getting ready. My routine feels like a morning ritual that sets me up for the day, I cleanse and tone with the Beautycounter Countermatch range, before using the Beautycounter All Bright C Serum, which makes my skin feel rejuvenated and energised. I then use the Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich to moisturise and the Beautycounter No. 1 Face Oil. Before leaving the house, I always apply a Factor 30 SPF to protect my skin, I love the Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion by Beautycounter which provides UVA and UVB defence.
FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PALM To be completely honest, I am not really a morning person. I am usually most creative at night and tend to be the most productive. Therefore, I like to start my mornings slowly by taking my dog Reggie for a walk to the park, whilst listening to music or a podcast. I then have my first coffee of the day at my favourite cafe before heading into the studio for the day.
DIRECTOR, KIBSONS I love my sleep so much and can be a slow starter, but when I’m finally up, I’m ready for action. Being passionate and dedicated to your mission is the key to staying positive and focused. Of course, it’s also about great time management skills to prioritise and achieve as many things as possible on the “to do” list. Ultimately, it’s about doing the right thing without compromising on ethics while trying to achieve your long-term goals, I believe integrity is a huge underlying element of success.
Mayassa Al Tajir
Isabella Cavallin & Jannine Vinci
FOUNDERS, OSÉREE Every morning I try to wake up with a positive thought in my mind, and I try to incline all of the day’s energy towards reaching an objective. As soon as I wake up, I hug my dog and after a fruit smoothie I start my yoga lesson and meditation. This helps me gain physical and mental energy and to maintain a steady pace and clarity through my daily tasks and decisions, both personal and professional.
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MODEL I’m an early bird and I usually start my morning by washing and focusing on my skincare routine. After that I try to do a 20-minute meditation session, but on lazy days I sometimes skip it! However, it helps me think more clearly throughout the day. Then I head for breakfast and plan out the rest of my day.
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Maryam Al Noori
FOUNDER OF THE BUNCH BOX Mornings are precious to me, it is where most of the fresh ideas come to mind. Every morning, you have to choose what your day will look like. Having a positive day is a choice, a beautiful day is not a perfect one. It’s being aware that difficulties may come at any time but also having a mindset that I just have to do things in a different way to overcome them. Sandra Sandor
FOUNDER, NANUSHKA I start my day with a quick meditation to prepare myself for the day, followed by a morning coffee and a walk with my dog Ginie. Annie Jaffrey
FOUNDER, NOURISHED3 I typically get up around 6.30am as I love time to myself in the morning. After brushing my teeth, I drink some fresh water and then I make warm water with lemon. Hydration first thing in the morning is so essential after being asleep, it not only energizes me, but gets my digestive system going as its beneficial for my skin and health too. I then like to move my body, either by going for a walk, doing Pilates at home or occasionally I also do a workout class. After that I like to either meditate or journal depending on how I feel. I then head into the shower, wash my face and focus on my skincare routine before getting dressed, making breakfast and getting my day started.
“I BELIEVE WE MUST CONTINUE TO HARNESS THE POWER OF WOMEN FOR A BETTER FUTURE.” – HRH Princess Lamia Bint Majid Al Saud
FOUNDER, IAM MAI My aim is to start my day over a quiet coffee while journaling but in reality, most days it’s a mad rush to get my kids ready and out of the door!
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALSERKAL AVENUE My mornings are dedicated to self-regeneration and knowledge. I usually start with a workout, followed by an iced coffee and a lot of reading to make sure that I am up to date on news and current affairs. I make time to reconnect with my academic research situated across the various disciplines of urban studies.
FOUNDER, DIDON JEWELLERY First of all, I do my skin routine, then I practise gratitude, either by meditating or by doing a few yoga poses depending on the mood.
FOUNDER, THE GOODNESS COMPANY I start my morning at 5am with an Ayurvedic tea blend followed by an hour of yoga in our garden. Some days I may alternate this with
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MODEL & MUSE FOR SANA AL MAKTOUM FINE JEWELLERY I start my mornings by praying for everyone that I love, thanking God for everything that he has blessed me with in my life and appreciating everything that I have. I then grab my daily coffee and enjoy my “me” time getting ready for the day. Taking my time to focus on myself is how I express self-love.
CO-FOUNDER, NUFACE For my morning routine, I typically wake up earlier than my twin girls to squeeze in a virtual workout such as a 30-minute full body high-intensity or yoga class. Post-workout includes a hot tea or water and lemon to detox. Being able to prioritize my health in the mornings really starts my days with more energy, focus and positivity.
FOUNDER, THE ELIXIR CLINIC In my 30s, I realized the importance of a skincare regime to maintain healthy skin. I have a very strict morning and evening routine that consists of Dr. Barbara Sturm’s products. Every morning, I start with the Dr. Barbara Sturm Foam Cleanser and twice a week use the Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser. I finish off my morning routine with the Brightening Moisturizer combined with Sun Drops for sun protection.
Minwa Al Hamed
CO- FOUNDER, EX-NIHILO When I first wake up, I jump straight into the shower to feel energized, put on my daily morning mask and then look at my phone to catch up on any messages and begin planning for the day. Before I go into work, my Nespresso coffee is a must. I then jump on my scooter and head to the office.
FOUNDER, LIVE THE PROCESS I wake up around 6.30am, and drink lots of water before walking my French bulldog. Then I practise yoga or do some meditation, have coffee with goats’ milk and an Aloe Vera shake before kickstarting my day with a breakfast. Sometimes when I have time, I journal.
WELLNESS AMBASSADOR, ETIHAD AIRWAYS I believe hydration is the most important aspect to start a day. I have one large glass of water and take my daily supplements. I am a big coffee lover, so I can’t start my day properly without having a freshly brewed coffee.
FOUNDER, ODEEM I’m an early riser so I like to get up by dawn. The first thing I do is brew my coffee, eat dates and pray. After that, I try to fit in a workout most mornings – I find this to be the perfect way to start my day with energy.
Fatma Al Otaiba
a mindful breathwork meditation practice. A key rule I have been strictly following for the last few years is to have the first 2 hours of my morning tech free.
FOUNDER, ANNE SEMONIN I usually wake up at 7am. My very first 30 mins are devoted to my emails and daily newspaper reading whilst having a healthy breakfast. Miriam Quevedo
FOUNDER, MIRIAM QUEVEDO Beautiful skin begins with an effective and non-aggressive cleansing ritual. To support my skin for the harshness of the summer sun, I like to start my day with a magic cleansing and pre-treatment ritual before having my breakfast. I built my personal skincare routine on three core steps which begins with using the Glacial White Caviar Precious Cleansing Foam to increase my levels of oxygen while removing impurities accumulated during the night. This is followed by Black Baccara Volcanic Cleansing Powder, a toner to re-mineralize my skin with Glacial White Caviar Toning Lotion and finally I like to blend with the Black Baccara 30% Vitamin C + 24 k Gold Booster and the BB Energizing Boosters, for a very glowing complexion. It prepares my skin to combat pigmentation
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with a dual action blend. I am obsessed with Vitamin C essentials to combat cell oxidation so I take a supplement of natural Vitamin C, in combination with Niacin (B3 Vitamin) and Iron as it’s ideal to recharge my cells during this season. I also have a quick haircare ritual where I apply the Black Baccara Scalp Concentrate from our Haircare luxe line with a very short but effective scalp massage to activate microcirculation and combat damage as it nourished my roots. An amazing day follows as I re-mineralize my body with a soft infusion of Mediterranean thyme and rosemary, anti-inflammatories, and drink tea with one piece of buckwheat toast and extra virgin olive oil. It is one of my favourite moments of the day as I enjoy it without rushing. It also gives me the opportunity to play with my two dogs. Having a complete morning ritual really helps to start the day with a lot of energy and positivity as I feel good and beautiful. Dr Vali
FOUNDER & CEO, LMS WELLNESS The first thing I practice is gratitude and meditation, before I start my day. Then it’s down to business. I’m known for makeup free skin, so my routine is simple: SPF, blush and go. Also, coffee, lots of coffee!
power of women for a better future. When you invest in a woman’s health and empowerment, it has a ripple effect, helping families, communities, and countries achieve long-lasting benefits. On the other hand, some of the challenges across the region are often exaggerated on a global scale. These cultural misunderstandings need to be overcome through greater cross-cultural collaboration. We have built bridges by promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue within Prince Alwaleed Academic Centres located at leading universities across the world. This is a barrier that requires
nessperson” and I didn’t have the formal qualifications or experience to fall back on. In fact, it took my co-founders and I almost two years to finally take the leap and launch Clever Play. At the start of our business, uncertainty was around every corner. It was definitely a roller coaster ride – and sometimes still is! Amina Muaddi
FOUNDER OF AMINA MUADDI THE BRAND I encounter hurdles every day. It’s all about your mindset. When an issue arises, I’ll get upset
“IN THE END IT’S IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES IN MIND AND FIND THE BEST WAY TO OVERCOME ANY OBSTACLES.” – Kristina Fidelskaya
FOUNDER, SLIP It starts very early with a 5am espresso, while everyone else in my household is still asleep, followed by emails and a daily meditation. I greatly value this time to myself and embrace the quiet before the craziness of my two boys and a business starts.
THE CHALLENGES & CONQUERING Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia Bint Majid Al Saud
SECRETARY GENERAL OF ALWALEED PHILANTHROPIES Changing perceptions of women and of the Middle East has always been a hurdle for us across the region. There needs to be greater participation and representation on both a global and local level. On one hand, we need to continue to address the barriers that women face, especially when it comes to tackling socio-cultural challenges and employment opportunities. We have made great strides, however, I believe we must continue to harness the
a long-term approach, by changing perceptions of both the Islamic and Western world. We are proud to be part of the conversation, and also, authentically portray the lives and experiences of people across the region. Her Highness Sheikha Hend Al Qassemi
FOUNDER OF PERFUMES BY HEND My career hurdles didn’t feel like hurdles, I chose to live my life like a river; whenever I reached a rock on the road, I either went around or over it but I acclimatize myself. I don’t believe we should survive, rather we should thrive. When you go above the wave, it means you’ve outdone yourself. I’m very proud of my perfume and I’m not ashamed of my accomplishments. A lot of people say that I have enough with whatever I’ve done. But I think God gave us this unsatiable ambition to keep going on Sheikha Latifa Al Khalifa
FOUNDER & CEO, CLEVER PLAY As an entrepreneur, I’ve faced a lot of hurdles. The biggest ones are wrestling with bouts of doubt, uncertainty, instability and balance. I doubted myself and my capabil- ities at the start because I never saw myself as a “busi-
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but then I immediately think of how I can solve it. I take things as they come, day by day. Life is not perfect, we have to take what gets thrown at us and bounce back. Often an obstacle is a signal or a blessing in disguise. I’m learning to accept things I can’t control and try to make new mistakes and not repeat the old ones. Negin Mirsalehi
FOUNDER, GISOU As someone who is very ambitious and passionate about what I do, it’s been maintaining a good work-personal life balance – the hurdles have been involved with that. Jacquie Aiche
FOUNDER, JACQUIE AICHE – LA BASED JEWELLERY BRAND Of course, there are ups and downs to everything. I can’t think of one hurdle that stands out more than the rest. When a challenge does come up, the support of my tribe makes it feel so small. Haifaa Al Mansour
FILM DIRECTOR I have faced a lot of challenges throughout my career, like losing financing for films or having to direct from a van because of
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gender segregation, but I don’t like to think about the barriers or limitations I face. I always strive to create opportunities for myself wherever I can. If I had sat back and looked at all of the limitations I faced it would have been easy to become discouraged or just give up. It is amazing that there are so many new avenues for Saudi filmmakers to create and showcase their work, but it is still an incredibly challenging and difficult career path to embark upon. It is important to set goals to ensure that you build upon each success and opportunity so you keep up your momentum. Kristina Fidelskaya
FOUNDER, KRISTINA FIDELSKAYA I have learned that you can’t control everything. In the end it’s important to keep your goals and objectives in mind and find the best way to overcome any obstacles. To stay positive is key to overcome any limitations. Ola Farahat
CONTENT CREATOR Always. I try to handle it in the best way I know how. It’s a continuous learning process for me but the most important thing is to love yourself and believe in yourself because if you don’t nobody else will. Mireia Lopez Montoya
DIRECTOR OF ACCESSORIES, BVLGARI Of course, there are hurdles sometimes and you need to work to overcome them with determination and passion. Sometimes you need to have patience. Things will work out when you are truly committed to your objectives. Amna Al Habtoor
FOUNDER, ARCADIA Definitely, the current COVID-19 pandemic. Humanity is facing is the biggest hurdle to date! But upon Arcadia’s inception, my big-
“THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH, AND THAT’S HOW YOU BUILD RESILIENCE.” – HH Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum 108 emirateswoman.com
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“I HAVE TRIED TO USE EACH ONE OF THESE EVENTS AS AN INFLECTION POINT WHERE I CAN RECALIBRATE, ADJUST AND ADAPT MY BUSINESSES TO MEET THE NEW REQUIREMENTS” – Sheikha Hind Bahwan gest challenge was creating fragrances that were not only nostalgic for me, but also for whoever smelt them. I also didn’t want to create a brand that was intimidating since Arcadia is neither male nor female but more a feeling. It is this raw, authentic emotion we all can relate to. Sheikha Amna Abdulaziz
FOUNDER, LAVA Of course building a brand takes a lot of effort and time – you need to search and understand your product, the market and your audience. I can say my biggest concern was the reaction of the audience when I introduced the first local candle brand inspired by my country and how to take it internationally. However, the results and people’s responses were very encouraging. Barkha Shewakramani
FOUNDER, BARKHA BEAUTY Beauty is a very competitive industry. The biggest challenge for any new brand is how to stand out and for any existing brand it is how to stay relevant. Rania Fawaz
CONTENT CREATOR I encountered some difficulties in the beginning but I took my mum’s advice to always believe in myself and know that this belief will get me where I would like to be. Florencia Gomez Gerbi
FOUNDER & CEO, GREENPACHA To switch industries. As a surfer, at the beginning I wanted Greenpacha to be in the surf boutiques, naturally. But it turned out to be a very expensive hat for this industry. So, I needed to move my brand and strategy to the green fashion world, which I really liked but I had no idea about. It took me some time, lots of investigation and patience to make
this transition happen in a clever and genuine way. But I am really happy I did. Arabella London
ARABELLA LONDON I’ve learnt that running a business never gets easier and ongoing challenges are part of the process. I used to think – as soon as you reach X, Y and Z – you’re sorted, but this isn’t the way it works. In the startup phase I had every hurdle to contend with – creating a brand and business from scratch without any formal background in the industry – grappling with development issues, quality control, finding factories, multiple trial and error moments compounded with the stress of being a solo founder with all responsibility entirely on my shoulders. This was a passion project I was determined to make a success. Fast-forward a few years and we’ve secured world-famous retailers and we are growing so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. With every stage of growth, new challenges arise – now we have immense pressure to meet retail deadlines, scale production, keep innovating and keep our finger on the pulse whilst balancing a social life and getting a little sleep on the side! Alison Loehnis
PRESIDENT, YOOX NET-A-PORTER I am not super reactive. I think and I digest and then I spring into action. I think it’s really important to not go it alone – your team plays such an integral role. It’s about galvanising people around you and action is super important. Identifying a clear plan, clear target and all working together. Faiza Bouguessa
FOUNDER, BOUGUESSA I have learned to quickly get back on my feet when a challenge occurs. We have had many hurdles and they’ll always be there, but what matters more is to look at the bigger picture
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and know deep inside that it will work out at the end and of course do everything in your power to overcome that hurdle. Tania Fares
CO-FOUNDER FASHION TRUST ARABIA (FTA) Managing family and career; learning how to raise funds; and not being able to have one home, but rather three homes on three different continents. Rola Abu Manneh
CEO STANDARD CHARTERED BANK Looking back over the years, a major barrier to female leadership has been organisational structure. Simply put, it’s unconscious bias, lack of equal opportunities, and the absence of your tribe. I faced a lot of challenges while climbing the career ladder. There were times when I struggled just to be on the ladder! It was not easy, but throughout my career I have always focused on business outcomes, open communication and confidence. Maya Reik
FOUNDER, MAREI1998 I’ve learned to trust myself in difficult situations. My intuition has led me to some places I only previously dreamt of. It’s important to listen to other opinions, but ultimately only you know what is best for yourself and your business. Captain Salma Al Baloushi
FIRST OFFICER PILOT, ETIHAD AIRWAYS I’ve realised I want to do more, so I decided to complete my higher education in Aviation Management, this way I can balance being on and off the ground. I’ve also learned the importance of having savings – they provide stability!
silience in times like these. With all sporting events and facilities being closed down for health and safety purposes, you need to create your opportunities and approach to these challenges. Many of us have adapted to working on our fitness at home and improving our skills. Successful and talented Middle Eastern women have been supported in the UAE through various opportunities to develop them and acknowledge their multiple contributions. Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum
AVIATION INDUSTRY, PILOT The biggest hurdle for me has been starting to pursue my dream at such a young age. It meant being surrounded constantly by people with more experience and more confidence than me and always being under constant pressure to not only measure up to them but also exceed and be the best I could be, consistently. I
hurdles I have been lucky enough to employ a bigger team and delegate efficiently. This was not so easy in the beginning as I couldn’t afford to hire anyone and was relying on myself but now that the brand has momentum, we can hire experts in the industry to support the growth of the brand. Sheikha Hind Bahwan
FOUNDER, OJAR There have been a myriad of events and developments that have occurred over the last two decades that have impacted my businesses, be they the dotcom bubble of the early 2000s, the global financial crisis of 2009, the various oil price crashes, the evolution of smartphones, e-commerce and social media, the renewable energy revolution and of course the very difficult pandemic that we are experiencing at the moment. I have tried to use each one of these events as an inflection point
“AS TIME PASSES YOU GET WISER, YOU GET MORE EXPERIENCED, AND AS YOU EDUCATE YOURSELF ON YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES, YOU ARE ABLE TO DEVELOP YOURSELF.” – Eszter Áron
FOUNDER, SUPER CAR BLONDIE Honestly, 2020 was a blessing in disguise. I went through a period where I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t feeling myself, and actually had a full burn out. When coronavirus hit, it gave us an opportunity to rest, stay in one place and rework the business. It made us realise we couldn’t keep going the way we had been otherwise we’d both be burned out. We also had the opportunity to hire people and expand the team. Now, our team has expanded from 2 to 6 people in the last 6 months. I just hired my sister and my brother in law as well this month. They flew over to join the team from Australia. It’s super important to surround yourself with people you really trust in this business. Areej Al Hammadi
FOOTBALLER & GUINNESS WORLD RECORD HOLDER It emphasized my view on approaching challenges. It helps if you have patience and re-
tackled it then the way I approach everything: Head on and with full force. The only way out is through, and that’s how you build resilience. Sophie Hill
FOUNDER, THREADS STYLING One of my biggest hurdles has been understanding the level of resilience needed to achieve an ambitious goal. The commitment is not something that can be done part time – it takes over your entire life. It becomes your life. The second biggest challenge has been funding. Only 2% of funding goes to females, it is still a very male ecosystem. Eva Alexandridis
CO-FOUNDER/CEO 111SKIN I would say once you own a business, you work non-stop but to help overcome the
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where I can recalibrate, adjust and adapt my businesses to meet the new requirements, and hopefully, with my businesses emerging stronger as a result of these events. Gaia Repossi
FOUNDER, REPOSSI I would say in every business there is a lot outside the creative that needs to be handled especially in times like these. Also, for me the best way to navigate it is to surprise people whether they are ready or not. Salama Khalfan
FOUNDER, SALAMA KHALFAN JEWELLERY I think for any brand, not only jewellery, but for any brand in a competitive market, the biggest hurdle is the beginning. To find
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“I WANT TO EMPOWER OTHERS TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS AND I AM GRATEFUL FOR EVERY SINGLE CHALLENGE ALONG THE WAY.” – Azza Skhiri people that believe in the brand especially retailers. Retailers are generally very hesitant to take on a new brand unless it is someone with appetite and foresight for new and unfamiliar. That has been the biggest challenge. I overcame this challenge with hard work, I created several collections and I did not compromise on the quality and on designs.
turn on those gym machines. But in aerials, you combine height, spinning, drops, shapes, climbs and dance in the practise, it is a very beautiful, inspiring art, where you continually progress on your journey, there is no end, and therefore there is no limit. The main challenges have been to balance strength and flexibility, you require them both, and I believe that finding the correct balance between these two fundamental elements is every ones Achilles’ heel. You need complete core to be able to lift your own body weight, and sometimes hang on just one arm or one ankle even, and you need to be able to bend, and open your heart and breathe inverted. I have never found inversions challenging, but sometimes I have said a prayer or two before doing drops. Kat Furey
FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PALM The biggest hurdle was finding the time in the day to manage all the different aspects of the brand. Because we source all of our own materials and have our own in-house studio where all of our pieces are made to order, there is a huge amount of work to do. In the early days, I had to manage all of the different aspects of the brand myself with the support of my partner, Ben and my family. As the brand has grown, I have been able to build my team and find more time to focus on what I love best: design.
Isabella Cavallin & Jannine Vinci
CEO, BOUCHERON Find a good balance between my personal life and my professional life – with two kids, particularly when they were young. Thankfully, my husband has been extremely supportive. I may not spend a lot of time with my children but what is important for me is that the time spent with them is qualitative. “Quality above quantity” is my motto. I believe that my sons have the right behaviour today because I have always made sure that we communicate a lot on all their feelings, what they are living. We share a lot.
FOUNDERS, OSÉREE We have obstacles and challenges to overcome every day. Creating swimwear, we find ourself in a very delicate context and we try to stay as close as possible to women, trying to comfort them with new products which hug every shape. We are trying to combat the stereotype that bikinis can only be worn by models, it most certainly isn’t true! For that reason we try to always portray photos across our social channels which communicate real women. No one should be embarrassed or ashamed of their body, we are all special and unique.
Mayassa Al Tajir
AERIAL ARTIST I started off with yoga, which I believe is the fundamental backbone of any kind of physical exercise. My favourite yoga practice would have to be vinyasa and arm balances, being an artist at heart. I can’t resist the beauty of the poses, shapes, the strength and the grace of the human form. Therefore aerials was naturally the next progression in the journey. I like variety and I like to feel challenged, and the real beauty of aerial arts is that it just doesn’t feel like exercise as I am not a gym person, in any shape or form. I don’t even know how to
FOUNDER, MYRA SWIM The biggest hurdle for me has been finding a solid team. This took me nearly 5 years. I have the most amazing team now and having staff who are passionate as well as loyal is something companies should not take for granted. The workflow and environment at Myra Swim HQ is invaluable. Because I am so hands on with my company, I’ve had to go through many stressful years of having to fulfill positions within the company myself and take on bigger work loads because the job wasn’t initially being done correctly.
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FOUNDER, TATA HARPER The misconception that naturals aren’t effective. When we first started, formulating high-tech, ingredient-packed products with exclusively natural ingredients was a challenge. Then, once we launched our first products, the challenge we faced was overcoming this old misconception that naturals weren’t effective. Now, as we continue to grow and are more focused on international expansion we’re facing new challenges that come with scaling a business. It has also been challenging to design sustainable luxury packaging. We’ve had to create our own moulds, rethink conventional packaging practices, and spend years researching. It has come a long way, but it is still a hurdle. Nayla Al Khaja
FIRST FEMALE DIRECTOR & PRODUCER IN UAE First, it was education. I had to travel abroad to be able to study film as there were no schools providing that here. It wasn’t easy to convince my parents, but I was able to do it! Second, it was infrastructure. Being the first female filmmaker, I didn’t have access to a lot of resources like gear or crew members which was heavy on the pocket as I had to fly it in. Equally, it was difficult to find people who believed in me and would agree to fund my film. Thankfully, I was able to overcome that by simply following my heart and the stories that I’m passionate about which was contagious, and I was able to find people who agreed to finance my projects. Last, it will be the robust TV commercial industry here, vs. an active film industry and the lack of government movie funding. It would be great to see private investors supporting Emirati talent and government funding. Raha Moharrak
CLIMBER I have more than three! I would say breaking stereotypes, breaking stigmas, proving people wrong when they have the wrong idea about me. Challenging myself. Believing in myself when less than a handful of people believed in me. And staying motivated, happy and positive. I know it’s corny to say, but staying positive doesn’t come easy at all. Eszter Áron
FOUNDER OF AERON When I wanted to live up to the expectations of others but I couldn’t stand up for myself when I didn’t trust my instincts. I think these are the things that could hold you back. As time passes you get wiser, you get more experienced, and as you educate yourself on your strengths and weaknesses, you are able to develop yourself.
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FOUNDER, NARA DESERT ESCAPE The biggest challenge was finding the land to open the camp, there are very few spots available in Dubai. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and presented my project and vision for Nara. They loved the innovative and ecofriendly elements and supported me in the idea. Sandra Sandor
FOUNDER, NANUSHKA There have been many ups and downs throughout the years, at some point I almost lost my business. However, hope, resilience and trust have helped me overcome the obstacles and allowed me to grow into the person I am today. I launched Nanushka without any business experience after graduating and throughout the years I had to learn the ins and outs of the industry and adapt to new challenges – I think surrounding myself with colleagues I trust has helped me grow. Barbara Szep
WELLNESS AMBASSADOR, ETIHAD AIRWAYS The most challenging part was getting used to wearing a face mask because it can feel like a barrier between you and the guest. We have introduced a number of these protocols and procedures which support safety including 100% PCR testing for all guests prior to departure. Fatma Al Otaiba
FOUNDER, ODEEM Our biggest challenge was launching in January 2020, as COVID hindered us when it came to brand awareness and participating in public events or pop ups that we
“WE ARE YOUNG, HIGHLY DRIVEN WOMEN WITH OUR FINGER ALWAYS ON THE PULSE OF WHAT IS TRENDING.” – Nora, Sarah & Dana Al-Ramadhan
needed as support for reaching new clients. We’re grateful, however, to social media and Dubai being a city that opened up much more quickly than others. This allowed us to be present for people to discover the brand and quality of products behind it. Mai Albudoor
FOUNDER, IAM MAI The biggest challenge is balancing work commitments with family life. Having young children means my schedule can be thrown totally off track in an instant so working around that has been challenging. Like all working mums, it’s a balancing act trying to juggle both as best we can. It’s just about setting time aside for work and then being fully present when it’s family time. If things don’t go according to plan, I always remind myself tomorrow is a new day to start fresh. Azza Skhiri
FOUNDER, DIDON JEWELLERY The journey of a startup is challenging but it’s worth it with every stage achieved and every success gained. I want to empower others to go through the process and I am grateful for every single challenge along the way. Robyn Berkley
FOUNDER, LIVE THE PROCESS I’ve had days where I’ve not known my exact purpose and what I’m here to do. Some of the hurdles I faced were the constant striving for perfection, leading to constantly being stressed out. Always trying to please people and make sure they always got what they needed also lead me to improper care of myself. After working on all these qualities and while continuing to do so, I have different tools, knowledge and a perception which enables me to be the best version of myself without sacrificing it for others. My life is about me first and this was my hardest lesson of all. Vilma Jurkute
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALSERKAL AVENUE It is never easy to be the ‘first’ or a pioneer, because there is no model or playbook you can follow. I take comfort in advice someone once gave me: “Don’t be afraid of uncertainty, it means you are innovating”. To be honest, when we started, I felt like the West didn’t know what to do with us because we didn’t fit any of their ‘boxes’, in terms of art paradigms. We began as an arts neighbourhood in the Al Quoz industrial area, then through Alserkal Avenue’s expansion in 2015 we extended our platform to welcome a curated community of entrepreneurs across various industries, acting as a building block for the creative economy locally and through our commitment to artistic production, resi-
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“OVER THE YEARS I HAVE LEARNT THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE ASSERTIVE AND FIND YOUR VOICE IF THERE ARE GOALS TO ACCOMPLISH.” – Muna Al Gurg dency programmes, scholarship and research we evolved further as an institution, forming the Alserkal Arts Foundation. It created for a context-specific and organic model that responds to our city, our history and publics. Alserkal and its initiatives are everyone’s community commons: collaborative, open, experimental and flexible by nature.’ Muna Al Gurg
MANAGING DIRECTOR, EASA SALEH AL GURG GROUP When I began my journey as a young business leader, the challenge was to be heard in a room full of men, some of whom who were also older and more experienced. Over the years I have learnt that it is important to be assertive and find your voice if there are goals to accomplish. Geeta Pahlajani
FOUNDER, THE GOODNESS COMPANY Starting a business ground up comes with its own set of hurdles daily. ∙ HR: Building a team that has the same values to see the brand flourish has been a large challenge. However, over the years we have identified a mechanism to hire for mindset rather than just skills. ∙ Unethical Practices: It is common practice for an innovative brand like ours to be copied and launched by a large player as their own idea. This has happened to us several times; now we just view this as a form of flattery and remain undeterred. ∙ Market Acceptance: The Goodness Company was launched when the market was still very nascent and conscious consumption prac-
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THE WINNING MINDSET
tices were not mainstream. Our flagship vegan chocolate range has taken 2 years to reach FMCG potential and acceptance by retail players to be launched into major supermarket chains in the UAE. Consistently educating consumers through various channels whether social media, events, popups, partnerships has been integral to overcome this hurdle. Creating demand and brand value is a long journey and takes time; this is where I have seen a lot of businesses lose patience and give up.
picking it up. We had put so much effort and research into creating something truly extraordinary for our darker skin toned clients, but we didn’t give up. Finally, it came to the point where I insisted that if retailers wanted to carry my main Molecular Cosmetics Skincare line, they’d have to carry the Darker Skin Tones line as well, and they did. I’m a doctor, so I am in the service business. Serving patients starts with listening to the patient.
I love this Mahatma Gandhi quote, ‘Every night when I go to sleep, I die. And then the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn’. I sacrificed so much when I left Romania, but I knew that I wanted to create something for myself that would give me purpose each and every day. I tried to look at each hurdle as a lesson. With lessons come learning, so you never need to make the same mistake twice.
Nora, Sarah & Dana Al-Ramadhan
FOUNDER & CEO, HOURGLASS There are a lot of unknowns when you’re starting your own brand, and I think one of the biggest hurdles I’ve faced was not giving in to those who told me not to do it. Some people brushed off the notion that my idea could compete against the biggest beauty brands in the world or told me that I was tak-
FOUNDERS, APOTHECA BEAUTY What we initially found to be more of a struggle upon launching Apotheca Beauty was ageism – young, female entrepreneurs coming into the industry and working with people who have been in the industry for decades. It was more of a challenge to gain credibility despite our education and con-
CO-FOUNDER, CULT BEAUTY I think my main hurdles have been internal, jumping over my own lack of self-confidence to follow what my gut was telling me was right. When you are trying to build things differently you come up against a lot of barriers and lack of imagination – unused paths are overgrown and inhospitable, but they can lead to amazing discoveries and once you’ve cut a way through it does get easier.
“I KNEW THAT I WANTED TO CREATE SOMETHING FOR MYSELF THAT WOULD GIVE ME PURPOSE EACH AND EVERY DAY. I TRIED TO LOOK AT EACH HURDLE AS A LESSON.” – Anastasia Soare
ing too many risks. First, it was just the idea of starting my own business. Next, it was the concept of a cruelty-free, luxury beauty collection. Then, it was our commitment to become vegan. None of these things were easy, and people were right – we could easily have failed. But sometimes you have to turn down the volume and trust your instincts. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had listened to them and succumbed to external doubts. Just believing in yourself and going for it can be the biggest hurdle sometimes, but if you get past that, you’re guaranteed to be successful in some way. Dr. Barbara Sturm
FOUNDER, DR. BARBARA STURM A few years ago, I had just created our Darker Skin Tones line in collaboration with Angela Bassett and was discouraged by the initial reluctance of some of the major retailers in
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sumer knowledge. However, our youthfulness has actually played out to be one of our advantages and led to where we are today. We are young, highly driven women with our finger always on the pulse of what is trending. We have learnt to stay positive, work through it, ask for help when we need to, focus on the bigger picture, and do not allow ourselves to get discouraged. More often than not, when one door closes, another opens. Therefore, we always try to put in the effort to stay motivated, passionate, and driven. Anastasia Soare
FOUNDER, ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS In the beginning, it was so hard. The hours were long, and I wasn’t sure if it would even pay off. I can’t tell you the number of evenings I went home ready to give up, not sure I could continue one more day. And then I would wake up in the morning and start it all again.
FOUNDER OF MIRIAM QUEVEDO My objective has always been to pioneer the introduction of anti-aging skincare concepts to haircare also known as the ‘skinification’ of the hair movement because hair and scalp age too. Our scalp is an extension of our skin after all: both scalp and hair are affected by the same aging factors as the skin. A revolution that was not easy to launch, we had almost no competitors on anti-aging haircare treatments, thus, wide space to express ourselves, but faced big challenges to communicate this key information: take care of your scalp and understand it as an extension of your skin. We overcame it by educating, explaining, transmitting the key messages to our consumers, by taking care of them as we accompanied them with a professional diagnostic and recommendation of personal rituals. The rest was done by the product, it is so efficient and gives such spectacular results that it talks for itself with our first ambassador being our product. The second challenge was reaching excellence in all the essential areas for us: maximum performance, respect for health and environment. We search for and secure the most precious, rare, unique and effective ingredients such as gold, diamond, caviar, fresh rose stem cells and black rose extracts no matter how challenging it is to source them. Dr Vali
FOUNDER & CEO, LMS WELLNESS Like most business owners, the pandemic presented a huge challenge for us. I am used to flying globally to our 7+ concierge clinics across the world at least once or twice a month. Despite this, staying grounded during this time has allowed me to focus on the launch of my product line and create a masterplan for the future of by Dr. Vali including our new groundbreaking experimental centre.
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Childsplay Clothing. The children’s style destination. childsplayclothing.com
WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
Tactile investments that feel timeless
Bouclé Easy Lounge Chair Dhs3,527 available at thesixthresidence.com
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Left and below: Camaleonda Lounge Chair Dhs25,606 available at vinterior.co; Toio floor lamp by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni Dhs4,282 Flos
From left: Tripod Chair - Bouclé Dhs2,410 available at thesixthresidence.com; Split Armchair from Dhs35,517 Emanuelle Simon available at theinvisiblecollection.com; Bouclé Ottoman Dhs1,980 available at thesixthresidence.com; Bouclé Pouffe with Walnut Plinth Dhs1,471 available at thesixthresidence.com
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
The Delicacy Why was Dubai the location of choice for Caviar Kaspia’s first location outside Paris? I don’t believe there are many places in the world right now with as much diversity, entertainment offerings and quality of restaurants and service as Dubai. Dubai has been an epicenter of food and entertainment for many years but the pandemic and the way it was handled, has taken Dubai to another level. Since it was founded, Caviar Kaspia has been synonymous with edible luxury and has created a strong brand which is ready for its international expansion. To be considered an important international brand you need to be present were all the other important restaurant brands are and that is without hesitation, Dubai. Caviar Kaspia beautifully merges a history between France and Russia. Can you explain more about how the brand started? Caviar Kaspia was founded in 1927 by a Russian, named Arcady Fixon, who fled his motherland after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 to settle in Paris with his family. Kaspia is the story of his journey, when you enter Kaspia in Paris its Tsarist-era Russian Luxe and French Chic decoration transports you to another time and place and is a big element of the Kaspia experience. What sets the F&B scene apart in the UAE from the rest of the world? Dubai is one of the most luxurious cities in the world as well as one of the most diverse and international and has become a holiday destination for a very wealthy clientele. There are many things that sets the F&B scene apart from the rest of the world. One is the huge number of successful international concepts and brands that are here all coexisting in DIFC and hotels where alcohol is allowed. This creates healthy competition where we all do our best to have the most beautifull decoration, the best quality products and the highest level of service in order to enhance the experience and create a loyal client base and succeed. The brand was founded in 1927 – what would you say is the secret to success when it comes to creating a brand which stands the test of time? By looking into the future and adapting to the trends while remaining an institution that stands the test of time. In Kaspia Paris the Maitre D directs his team like a theatre director and every night like actors they play a different part. This creates an experience and emotional bond with our customers who are also involuntarily part of the play. Famous actors, singers, fashion designers, models, local intellectuals, the occasional politician, art gallerists
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Ramon MacCrohon, CEO of The Caviar Kaspia Group, discusses why the UAE was the ideal choice for the brand’s first location after the Paris original
and late night theatre and opera clients create one of Paris’ most perpetually interesting mixes, in the first floor, intimate wood-paneled rooms giving the feeling of being in a private club rather than in a restaurant. Even on the calm nights, there is a feeling of camaraderie that comes from knowing you are in the right place. What is the core DNA of Caviar Kaspia and how did you ensure this remained intact when migrating the brand? Caviar Kaspia has remained through time the prestigious symbol of a certain ‘art de vivre’ and we have made sure to keep its DNA while adapting it to the local environment. The soul of Kaspia Paris has been
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transported to Dubai through bringing the Kaspia philosophy to restoration, the decoration, the menu, the high-end but friendly approach to clients, the eclectic mix of the fashionable Kaspia clients, with local touches so that the experience is similar to the one in Paris but with a local flavour. How did you approach the interior of the DIFC location and was it a decision to keep the space small and private form the outset? Kaspia is the story of a journey. When you enter Kaspia in Paris you are transported to another time and place. When designing the new space in Dubai, we wanted to tell the story of Kaspia’s founder, Arcady Fixon; who fled Russia after the Bolshevic revolution of 1917 and settled in Paris to open Kaspia in 1927 – the story continues with his international travels around the world opening Kaspia wherever he went, with his Tsarist-era Russian Luxe and French Chic. This year we are also opening London, São Paulo and Los Angeles so it was very important to give each place its own unique identity, while at the same time respecting the codes of Kaspia Paris so that no matter to which Kaspia the client went to around the world, he or she would immediatly feel at home and experience the Caviar Kaspia lifestyle. Another aspect is keeping the place small and cosy with that very exclusive club feeling, but especially, to give the sensation that is very personal, like having dinner in a Pre-Revolution Aristocratique dining room. The goal is to create a space that feels special, but not at all pretentious. We were lucky enough to create Kaspia Dubai from the ground up. There was nothing in the space when we started designing it, and with the help and guidance of our local design team H&H Interior Design, we managed to create a great atmosphere composed of two floors with two separate entrances, one through the Gate Village, that gives access to an elevator that connects both floors, and the other one on the ground floor with its own exclusive valet parking. The ground floor is the restaurant were all the Kaspia values and codes are in evidence with an outdoor terrace. The top floor is the lounge and bar area with an outdoor terrace where music is playing while clients indulge in their favourite Vodka Kaspia cocktails while nibbling on our signature dishes. Is there anything specific to the Dubai branch that you won’t find anywhere else? Dubai is unique and so will Kaspia Dubai be – the menu, although carrying all the iconic dishes such as the world’s most famous baked potato topped with caviar and our Smoked Salmon with house blinis, our King Crab and crayfish salad and smoked fish there will be a selection of raw fish, pastas, risottos, fresh fish and other delicacies. The dessert menu will have some of our Paris house classics but our Chef Patissier in Dubai will create many sweet surprises. As in Paris, it will be a luxuriously straightforward menu, high-end gastronomy without being stuffy or stuck-up. Can you tell us how you approach customer retention and what sets Caviar Kaspia apart from the wealth of other dining locations? Kaspia is old world elegance with a contemporary clientele, so the hardest thing is to maintain this equilibrium. To keep up with today’s changing world, new trends, fashions and tastes without loosing our values and remaining true to our intemporel spirit and soul. Fashion by definition be-
“Caviar Kaspia has remained through time the prestigious symbol of a certain ‘art de vivre’ and we have made sure to keep its DNA while adapting it to the local environment.” comes unfashionable and even though we cater to the fashion crowd we are not and do not want to be a fashionable restaurant and never become unfashionable. The fact that it is a smaller venue with a clubby feeling differentiates it from some of the bigger, less personal restaurants. In Kaspia Dubai we want to make customers feel they are at home. What are the hero dishes on the menu? There are too many to mention but without a doubt the world famous baked potato with caviar is definitely the star.
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Going Global Having dominated the F&B space in the UAE for the last five years with The MAINE Group, Joey Ghazal is going global. Here we discuss The MAINE’s expansion to London and all of the hard work that has gone into reaching this incredible milestone Can you talk us through your career? I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to open restaurants all over the world – Montreal, Beirut, Dubai and now London. My career is the sum of all my experiences, all the people I’ve worked with and all of the concepts I’ve worked on over the last 20 years. I love to challenge myself and to challenge the people around me to dream bigger and to aim higher. Your career in the restaurant industry spans multiple regions over 20 years. What do you think it takes to create such a long-standing career in such a competitive industry? Perseverance and patience. Twenty years is a long time and it’s naive to think it was only filled with success. I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, but not being afraid to fail sometimes is a big part of competing. What first inspired you to relocate to this region? My family has been based in Dubai since the mid-70s and I myself lived in Dubai until 1995 before moving back in 2013. I have always considered Dubai home and I’m enormously proud to have contributed in small part to the dining landscape of the city. What sets the UAE F&B scene apart from the rest of the world? Dubai has one of the most competitive restaurant scenes in the world, with the highest amount of restaurants per capita than any other city in the world. It attracts the best brands, the best operators and the best chefs from around the world. You have to operate at an extremely high level to stand out. What inspired you to launch The MAINE Group? The MAINE is very much a homage to my childhood and the summers I spent on the East Coast, but it’s also a restaurant that I myself want to be a regular at. Each
of theatre and discovery. The MAINE Mayfair will have all of the elements that people have come to expect from The MAINE - excellent quality brasserie favourites, warm service and ambience, with just the right touch of revelry and mischief – always resonating with a sense of event and celebration, ensuring it’s a mainstay in the dining landscape of Mayfair for years to come. Why did you choose Mayfair as the location? Hanover Square is the bridge between Soho and Mayfair and is quickly becoming a cultural hub with art galleries, Vogue House and the Mandarin Oriental residences that borders New Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street and is a short walk from Berkeley Square. What’s the history behind the venue – 20 Hanover Square – you chose? It is the only surviving Georgian ‘Grade II’ listed building in the area, much of which was dug up for air iteration of the MAINE represents a differraid shelters during the Second World War. ent part of my personality and my journey The townhouse, which dates back to 1720, as a restaurateur. The MAINE Mayfair is was the former homestead of James Graham, the evolution of the MAINE into something the Duke of Montrose. bigger and more experiential. You now have three incredible venues here What would you say is the secret to success in Dubai. What has the journey to get to this when it comes to creating a brand which point been like? The MAINE feels like home stands the test of time in the restaurant infor a lot of people, so I feel an enormous dustry? Provenance, authenticity and qualamount of responsibility to protect the inity. Give your audience an experience. tegrity of the MAINE and strike the balance To date, what have been the biggest challengbetween growing the brand and staying true es The MAINE Group has had to overcome? to the ethos of the original brand. As if opening our first international outlet in the middle of a global pandemic was not And now you’re expanding abroad, which is enough of a challenge, the travel restrictions, an incredible milestone. How does it feel to be the global supply chain crisis, the staffing one of the first to take a Dubai homegrown conshortage in the UK and the economic effects cept global? It is a big milestone and it’s quite of Brexit have made this one of the most comhumbling. Adapting the concept to this Georgian townhouse in Mayfair was no small feat. plex times to be in the restaurant business. Can you talk us through The MAINE Mayfair This is The Timelessness Issue – how would in London? The MAINE Mayfair is located you define this? Being timeless is about alin a Grade II listed Georgian building on ways striving to be authentic. Hanover Square in Mayfair. Divided across This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anthree levels with five distinct rooms and over niversary – what makes this region unique to 350 seat capacity – each part of the house you? There’s no other country that has achas been carefully designed to evoke a sense complished as much in so little time.
“There’s no other country that has accomplished as much in so little time.” LIFESTYLE
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What does it take to create a brand that stands the test of time? “Be different, confident and follow your instinct, then find people that share the same ethos and vision as you do,” says Rainer Becker, founder and owner of Zuma. The restaurateur first opened the iconic contemporary Japanese restaurant in London in 2002, before deciding to take the risk to bring the luxury restaurant brand to Dubai in 2008, well before the F&B industry exploded to be what we know it as today. This year marks the UAE’s 50th anniversary and Zuma’s 13th year in the region. For a restaurant that has consistently stayed at the top of its game, even as new arrivals have entered the dining scene in DIFC, we asked what the secret is to staying superlative and achieving such success. According to Becker it’s “Product, consistency” and a great team “We all work towards a common goal of constantly driving the business forward.” Emirates Woman sat down with the globally acclaimed restaurateur to delve deeper into how he’s created such an iconic brand in the F&B space here in the UAE and how Zuma has paved the way for the dining scene here in Dubai.
Next year will mark Zuma’s 13th year in Dubai, which is an incredible milestone. How has Zuma Dubai stayed at the helm of the F&B industry here in this region even after such a long period of time? Product, consistency, and our team are key! We all work towards a common goal of constantly driving the business forward. I believe all elements within a restaurant hold equal importance, the design, service, food, drinks, lighting, music. We have all been out for dinner and had great food but if the service is not up to scratch you are not likely to return. We work incredibly hard as a business to ensure that all areas are of the highest standard. What first inspired you to bring the Zuma brand to Dubai? We opened Zuma London in 2002 with my business partner Arjun Waney; the success and growth far exceeded our expectations. We were only ever planning to open one restaurant. As the business organically flourished, we started to look at other cosmopolitan locations; destinations where our existing customers travelled to regularly, this led us to Hong Kong, Istanbul and then Dubai of course, where we opened in 2008. At the time, and to this day, our decision to open in a specific location is really driven by our customer base. Cities such as Hong Kong and Dubai are where
Rainer Becker, Founder & Owner of Zuma Dubai, reveals what it takes to create a truly timeless brand
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our customers travelled for work or for vacations and it made sense to follow our clients. I am very proud that Zuma Dubai has stood the test of time, every restaurant that we open has an element of risk. Dubai was a very new marketplace at the time and the F&B offering wasn’t as extensive as it is now. Zuma really paved the way to make the DIFC dining scene what it is today. What’s it been like to see the restaurant scene expand so much over the last 13 years? When we opened there was no dining scene in the DIFC! At the time there was just the Lebanese restaurant, Al Mandaloun, and us – literally. Zuma grew from strength to strength and with that success came the eyes of our competitors. Slowly, at first, then more and more restaurants started to move into DIFC. It is now a lot more competitive, but I believe competition is very healthy, it drives the business forward and forces you to strive to be better. What sets the F&B scene apart in the UAE from the rest of the world? As I said, the market has changed significantly. There has been a huge influx of international restaurant names. The Dubai market is crowded but no more so than anywhere else, it is probably just felt more because it’s happened relatively quickly. This is not a negative though, Dubai has become an international dining destination in recent years, and I believe it will continue to be. What would you say is the secret to success when it comes to creating a brand which stands the test of time in the restaurant industry? Be different, confident and follow your instinct, then find people that share the same ethos and vision as you do. The most important element of your business/brand is by far your team. I am very fortunate that we have amazing people working with us, many have been with the company 15 or more years. Our businesses would not be successful without these people – they are passionate, work long hours and put in blood, sweat and tears! Additionally, I am a chef! When we opened Zuma London almost 20 years ago, I was in the kitchen every day cooking and working on the menu. My focus is slightly different now, but my heart is still very much in the kitchen, and I work with all the teams internationally on new dishes. As I mentioned previously, the key to Zuma is product and without being a chef I am not sure I would place as much importance on it. In five words, how would you describe the last 13 years of Zuma Dubai? Exciting, challenging, educational, innovative and rewarding. To date, what have been the biggest challenges Zuma Dubai has had to overcome? For sure COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge, it was/is an unprecedented time. We had to act quickly, think on our feet, and change our operations in ways that we never saw coming. Meanwhile, what have been the key milestones? There are countless if I’m honest, we have been fortunate enough to be blessed with many awards and accolades which is fantastic but fundamentally not what it is all about for me. I am most proud about what we have built, Zuma Dubai has been key in facilitating the growth of the group – new restaurants can only open when your foundation is strong and that is based on our existing restaurants. For example, we opened ROKA in Dubai last year and we were confident to do so, due to the wonderful reception we received with Zuma. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? The rapid growth is outstanding to me. Dubai, specifically, has physically grown so quickly and when you think of the population which has grown around 500+ per cent in the last 30 years it really is mind-blowing. Today it’s an international business hub and luxury tourist destination, who would have thought!
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WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO
The Making of a Megacity Myrna Ayad’s latest book, Dubai Wonder, part of Assouline’s Travel Series, pays tribute to one of the world’s most developed and forward-thinking cities while recollecting its history and legacy too
What are your earliest memories of Dubai? Khor Dubai, Al Ghurair Mall, Gerard Café, City 2000, Sindbad, Al Nasr Leisure Land – all probably unknown to some, but they were golden years. Dubai felt like a village, everyone knew everyone, our friends were the children of our parents’ friends, and you could never go somewhere without running into someone you knew. You could buy a lot with a dirham, and you navigated in multicultural circles. Dubai taught me about the world, and really informed my knowledge about visual art from this region. What are some of the biggest highlights of your most recent book, Dubai Wonder? I am extremely proud to see this published and equally proud to see my city take its rightful seat in the Assouline Travel Series. Personally, I much appreciate the mix of the old and new images of Dubai and love the combination of voices speaking about this city. How did you decide on the direction that you’d want to take with the book? I knew from the start that this essay must start with Khor Dubai. It just seems and feels so apt to begin the essay with the very body of water from which the city prospered, and which is, incidentally, where my life with Dubai began: on the banks of this creek. From there, I really just followed geography – I literally trailed Dubai and that helped a lot with the flow. Assouline has previously published books on Miami and Amalfi Coast as part of its Travel Series. How did your approach for Dubai differ from the other books in the collection? I think every Assouline Travel Series writer has their own style and while I’ve read most of the titles in that series, I’d say that we all share a love and passion for the city we write about and are keen on offering an unseen or otherwise unknown side to it. In my case, this was the first on a Gulf nation and I was excited to delve beyond the glam that Dubai is known for. I really wanted to present My Dubai. As a long-term resident of Dubai, which are the aspects of the city that you hadn’t really noticed until you started researching this book? None really, I’ve lived here for 40 years; the essay is a personal one, so I wrote about people and places that I feel make Dubai the city that it is. The few conversations I had with some protagonists confirmed to me that Dubai is loved and appreciated by many who are rooted here. You also recently launched Sheikh Zayed: An Eternal Legacy with Assouline. Was there any research gathered from that book that made its way into Dubai Wonder? There is a brief reference in my Dubai Wonder essay about the Bani Yas tribe (when discussing Khor Dubai), which is fleshed out a lot more in the Sheikh Zayed book. However, the tone of each book, subject matter, focus, style and so on are completely different.
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There is a section in the book that deals with notable personalities from Dubai such as Huda Kattan, Khalid Shafar, Dima and Muna Easa Al Gurg, among others. How did you narrow down the list of people you wanted to feature? I presented Assouline with a list of individuals who, in my opinion, make up the fabric of the city and who have positively contributed to and made an impact in their respective sectors. The Assouline team then decided on design and image selection. You’ve explored themes such as F&B, fashion, lifestyle, architecture, art and hospitality in your book. What was your primary objective when determining which aspect of these you’d like to portray in your book? The focal point was to present the city’s best, and so I did. What was the most challenging part of putting together a project like this? The word count. I could write so much more about Dubai. Are there bits that you hadn’t included in it which you wish you had? Most times when I file an essay or article, I always wish I included this or that, and I felt the same with the Dubai Wonder essay, because truthfully, there’s so much to say about this incredible city. If there’s a single message and a takeaway that you’d like readers to take away, what would it be? This is our time. Tell us about your consultancy which focuses on art advisory, cultural strategy and publishing. I focus primarily on cultural strategy and publishing within the context of art and culture from the Arab world, Iran and Turkey. Which are the upcoming projects you are working on? More books, particularly those which tackle regional art and culture. At the moment, I’m working on Al Burda, an initiative under the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth and which focuses on classical and contemporary Islamic art. Additionally, I advise the Misk Art Institute in Riyadh, which will present its fifth Misk Art Week and second Misk Art Grant in December. I also write a monthly feature for The National titled Remembering the Artist, which tackles the lives and work of (deceased) modernists in the MENASA – this means I am always on the lookout for the children, spouses, relatives, friends or students of modernists. It’s a feature I tremendously enjoy writing – in my own way, I feel like I’m preserving that part of history.
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
The Wanderlust An edit of the timeless classics you need to visit in a lifetime 124 emirateswoman.com
Left: Aman Puri, Phuket; Below: Chateau Marmont, LA; Previous pages: (clockwise from top left) Le Bristol, Paris; Aman Puri, Phuket; Claridge’s, London
Aman Puri, Phuket
Soundtracked by the whispers of coconut palms and the sighs of the Andaman Sea, Aman’s first resort presides over its own peninsula, promising guests space, serenity, an idyllic white-sand beach, exceptional restaurants and a Holistic Wellness Centre.
Enjoy a peaceful evening paddling around the bays while the sun sets or experience the excitement of riding the world's fastest underwater vessel – Amanpuri offers watersports to suit every tempo. aman.com/resorts/amanpuri Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
For more than 145 years, travellers have followed the Chao
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Phraya River to stay at the legendary Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. A luxury five-star hotel in one of the world’s most exciting cities, it enjoys a reputation for style, service and excellence. A haven of calm on the banks of the river, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is a truly remarkable hotel. This iconic hotel has reopened the River Wing following the largest renovation in its 145-year history.
The bed-side bell for butler service makes a lazy breakfast all the more enjoyable. mandarinoriental.com/Bangkok Claridge’s, London
Set in the heart of Mayfair, Claridge’s is an art deco icon and a byword for understated elegance. Since the 1850s, Clar-
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idge’s has excelled at the finer things in life: glamorous design, inspiring dining, impeccable service. There are many 5-star hotels in London but none quite like Claridge’s.
Book an iconic Afternoon Tea, and experience an afternoon underpinned by the same impeccable service you’ll find throughout. The strawberry jam is unparalleled. claridges.co.uk Chateau Marmont, LA
Built in 1920 using blueprints drawn from a French castle in the Loire Valley, Chateau Marmont has a history as spectacular as its architecture, and a reputation as hedonistic as it is glamorous.
Book a suite. You won’t regret it. chateaumarmont.com The Peninsula, Hong Kong
Opened in 1928 and now one of the worldʼs legendary great hotels, The Peninsula Hong Kong prides itself on having the highest staffto-guest ratio, one of the lowest staff turnover rates and some of the longest-serving employees of any hotel in Hong Kong.
Above: Le Bristol, Paris; Below: (from left) Aman Puri, Phuket; The Peninsula, Hong Kong
Le Bristol, Paris
An icon of French elegance and art de vivre, Le Bristol Paris is located at one of the city’s most prestigious addresses on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The
first to receive France’s “Palace” distinction, the hotel boasts 190 rooms and suites – among the largest in Paris.
With a focus on wellbeing and fitness, experiencing a treatment at Le Bristol’s iconic spa by La Prairie is unmissable. The iconic rooftop swimming pool makes for a captivating evening swim. oetkercollection.com/hotels/lebristol-paris
Famous for its luxurious fleet of 14 Rolls-Royce extended wheel-
base Phantoms and a restored classic 1934 Rolls-Royce, a ride in one of these is ideal for the airport pick-up. peninsula.com/en/hong-kong
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
The epitome of timeless elegance Kelly 32 – 1970s pre-owned Dhs41,328 Hermès available at FARFETCH
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BORN IN LE BRASSUS
RAISED AROUND THE WORLD
AU D E M A R S PI G U E T B O U T I Q U E S D U B A I : T H E D U B A I M A L L · M A L L O F T H E E M I R AT E S