What’s on offer at the international fashion houses that are setting up shop here in the UAE.
House of Fraser chose Abu Dhabi as its first destination to launch outside of the UK, not once but twice. Why? Because in terms of retail potential, in our capital, the sky is the limit. After the success of its first UAE store at Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Center Mall, a second one will open at Yas Mall in mid-2015. The British-born premium department store dates back to 1849 and stocks exclusive fashion, beauty and homeware brands. The new store will pay homage to Middle Eastern talent by housing a selection of pieces by local designers – expect the likes of Lady Fozaza and Queen of Spades. Not to mention a host of international brands making their HOF debut – including Tadashi Shoji, Monique Lhuillier, and True Religion.
Whatever your price range there’s something for everyone. HOF is about the whole shopping experience – think complimentary personal shopping service – including your own private suite to try pieces on, as well as beauty treatment rooms so you can unwind after a busy day flexing your credit card. Sweet talk children with the promise of a trip to the in-house Hamley’s toy store or visit the first dedicated mother and daughter spa by Hello Kitty. While the UAE has its fair share of department stores, House of Fraser is the place to shop this year thanks to its luxury experience at affordable prices.
French department store Tati opened its doors in Mirdif City Centre in November 2014 and the budget retailer – prices start at just Dh19 – has already been very popular amongst on-trend bargain hunters, with a whole party outfit costing around Dh100! The gold strapless dress and black heels (right) are our faves! The store caters for men, women and children and also stocks home and beauty products. With over 140 stores in France, Tati has made its name as the one-stop affordable department store.
While Dubai is known for its luxury, there are many consumers looking for an ultra-luxe look at a lower cost and Tati is all about great quality and style that won’t blow the budget. Speaking at the store’s official opening, CEO of Tati, Emmanuel Deroude, told Friday: “Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in general are perceived as super-luxury markets. However, there is a huge middle-class that wants modern goods, but at affordable prices.” There are already plans to open at least two more stores in the UAE – we can’t wait!
Tati, Mirdif City Centre
W hile UAE-based designer Reema Al Banna will be launching her ninth collection in the Middle East this S/S season, she’s still pretty new to the mass market, but we predict in 2015 she’ll become a household name. With her on-trend pop-art prints, striking colours and unusual cuts, her designs are like nothing else in the UAE.
As Reema’s former career as a graphic designer shines through, with this season’s collection using sports items such as boxing gloves, it’s all very on trend! Invest in one standout piece such as the blue printed coat (below), or pair two together for a charming statement look. Prices from Dh600. Reemami is available at S*uce, Bloomingdale’s and The Cartel.
British high-street brand Jigsaw’s understated classic style is adored by the likes of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Hollywood actress Emma Watson, and now UAE residents can buy its simple-yet-chic looks at The Dubai Mall store, which opened early last year. Jigsaw dates back to 1969 and has already expanded outside of the UK to America and Australia, but Dubai was its first step into this region. The latest collection features chunky knits, classic houndstooth prints and staples like denim jackets and pencil skirts, with polka dots, florals and checked pieces adding a fabulous feel. The day-to-night blue-green dress (bottom right) is the piece our wardrobes have been missing.
Jigsaw, First Floor, The Dubai Mall
Dadu Luxe is the newest luxury brand website to launch in the UAE, thanks to Middle East-based fashion duo Dur Fayez and Selina Neri. Dadu Luxe launched in the GCC in September 2014 and has been dubbed by fashion editors and bloggers alike as Middle East’s answer to Net-a-Porter. It started out as Dadu – an accessories boutique in Jeddah – until Dadu Luxe was created as the sister brand. You’ll find trends and tips, as well as a huge range of international designer brands such as Elie Saab, Manolo Blahnik and Mary Katrantzou. But Dadu Luxe prides itself on a very personal service – including viewings at home before you commit to a purchase – and you won’t find this anywhere else in the region. Don’t be put off by prices being in dollars – many of the pieces are sourced from the US but will still be with you two days after your order. While you won’t be bagging a bargain on this site, it’s perfect for stand-out pieces for that glam event, with none of the stress of the mall.
French brand The Kooples first opened its doors in Paris back in 2008 with its unique concept of using real couples to front its advertising campaigns. Each promotional image comes complete with details of how long the couple has been together and sees them wearing matching, or similar ensembles. While it aims to stay true to its Parisian roots, The Kooples’ grunge-meets-hipster style is very British, with each collection featuring leather pieces, skinny jeans and 1960s mod-inspired pieces (hence why Kate Moss is a huge fan). Each of the brand’s female looks has a male alternative, meaning it’s a perfect his-and-hers store. The first shop in the Middle East opened in The Dubai Mall late last year and is set to make fashion-forward street style the look to have in the region for 2015.
The Kooples, Ground Floor, The Dubai Mall
Dress $5,290 (Dh19,439),
Alessandra Rich Sandals $1,340 (Dh4,921),
Earrings $195 (Dh716), Alexis Bittar
Heels $935 (Dh3,434), Nicholas Kirkwood
Dress $10,000 (Dh36,729),
Dress $6,345 (Dh23,304),
Bag $1,760 (Dh6,464),
Book-style clutch $2,395 (Dh8,796), Olympia Le-Tan
Cuff $295 (Dh1,083),
Earrings $650 (Dh2,387), Iradj Moini