n association with Tryano and sponsors Marina Home, theoutnet.com, Fabergé and Gemfields, Skin O2, Palazzo Versace Dubai, African & Eastern and Jacobsons Direct Marketing Services, around 400 guests gathered on Tuesday evening to celebrate some of the most inspirational women living and working in the Emirates today.
Among the regal purple and gold décor and glimmering crystal chandeliers of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, an impeccably dressed crowd sipped on bubbles and nibbled dainty canapés before the award-giving kicked off. Whereas last year’s alfresco event saw a little rainfall, this time the only thing guests were dewy with were diamonds and well-placed highlighter, while the Laura Ingham Jazz Trio got the party started with some soulful tunes.
The 26 nominees, each of whom are making a marked difference to the UAE and beyond in the realms of art, business, philanthropy, entertainment and more, mingled with guests before BBCtrained journalist Shahnaz Pakravan began the proceedings.
Addressing the 42 tables filling Palazzo Versace’s ivory-rose-adorned ballroom, Shahnaz noted that this year was particularly special. Not only is it the 12th annual Emirates Woman, Woman of the Year awards, but it is also the magazine’s 35th birthday.
“By my calculation, that was 1981 – many of you were not even born then,” the radio and news presenter joked, before paying tribute to a glossy that began life “way ahead of its time”. “And here today, it’s an institution unto itself, still going strong in a cluttered and noisy market.” However, we weren’t there to just celebrate our three-and-a-half decades – as Shahnaz noted, we had congregated to applaud “game-changing visionaries… energising not just their communities and their industries, but the country and the region”.
Before the chic glass trophies were given out, Group Editor Sophia Serin took to the stage to thank all the nominees for their incredibly dedicated, passionate work.
“Emirates Woman‘ s vision has always been the same: to support women in the region no matter their race, religion, or vocation,” said Sophia, clad in a gown by Lebanese designer Elie Saab, before wishing all the nominees the very best of luck.