M for Mag­ni­fi­cient!

L’Officiel Middle East (English) - - Contents -

Mother of three, art and de­sign cu­ra­tor, hu­man­i­tar­ian…. Cher­ine Ma­grabi is all that, but above all, she is the creative mind be­hind the repo­si­tion­ing of Ma­grabi as an in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned lifestyle brand.

There is a cer­tain fa­mil­iar­ity when you walk into a Ma­grabi store, prob­a­bly be­cause, as an Arab, you must have walked into one of this fa­mous eye­wear chain stores at least once in your life. To­day, I visit their state-of-the-art flag­ship store at Mall of the Emi­rates, Dubai, to dis­cuss the new shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence signed by Cher­ine Ma­grabi, creative de­signer for the brand. Cher­ine was born and raised in Jed­dah to Egyp­tian-saudi pi­o­neer oph­thal­mol­o­gist Dr. Akef Ma­grabi and a Le­banese mother, Nada Sa­madi. After grad­u­at­ing from Chateaux Mon Choisi in Switzer­land, Ma­grabi at­tended Chelsea Col­lege of Arts where she ma­jored in in­te­rior ar­chi­tec­ture. Shortly after, Cher­ine took a short de­sign course at Inch­bald School of De­sign. Upon fin­ish­ing her stud­ies, Cher­ine set­tled in Lon­don where she free-lanced and started Art2bite, a very creative ini­tia­tive where she baked cook­ies and dec­o­rated with dif­fer­ent de­signs and sell at the high-end bak­ery of Baker & Spice. Un­til it was time to move back to Le­banon in 2003 with her hus­band and their three sons.


“Ten years ago I re­branded Ma­grabi for the first time. I was liv­ing in Lon­don at the time, and then I moved to Beirut. I am an in­te­rior ar­chi­tect and at the time my fa­ther and my brother wanted me to look at our store con­cept and re­di­rect it to­wards fash­ion eye­wear re­tail­ing. And now, ten years later, it is time to renovate and an­swer what the cus­tomers want, and fix the block­ers that we had faced with the pre­vi­ous con­cept.” Sit­ting at a large ta­ble in the cus­tomers lounge area, sip­ping my cof­fee in an “M” branded pa­per cup, I could al­ready feel the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind this new and edgy con­cept. “We laid down all the touch points that we needed to tackle; one of them was to fa­cil­i­tate the jour­ney of the cus­tomers to make it eas­ier for them to find their frames. And from a re­tail point of view, not to make their ex­pe­ri­ence too clin­i­cal, be­cause we are known for hav­ing skilled tech­ni­cal team, and our clients know that they are in se­cure hands in that way, but then the fash­ion cus­tomer didn’t nec­es­sar­ily re­late to that, so we needed to com­bine art and science in this con­cept. We also chose colours that were more invit­ing than the clin­i­cal white”, says Ma­grabi. “The whole ex­pe­ri­ence had to be more en­gag­ing.

The state-of-the-art Ma­grabi flag­ship store at Mall of the Emi­rates, Dubai

So, from the mo­ment you step into our store, there is a built up to­wards what you will get at Ma­grabi. At the en­trance there are is­lands, and they are a taste of what we have in­side of the store, there are the hero prod­ucts, the new brands… This also shows the cus­tomer that we have ex­clu­sive high-end prod­ucts and en­try trendy brands. And then we seg­mented the store by zones: the run­way, the ca­sual, the tech­ni­cal, the kids sec­tion and the sports sec­tion. We also added a pack­ag­ing sta­tion, so that not only you walk out with a beau­ti­ful frame, but also a beau­ti­ful pack­ag­ing.” And that is not all, es­pe­cially for to­day’s cus­tomers who are look­ing for more per­son­al­ized treat­ment. “The cus­tomers will also ap­pre­ci­ate the free ser­vices that we of­fer, es­pe­cially fix­ing and main­tain­ing their frames, as well as per­son­al­iz­ing their case, it is a great gift­ing idea at the same time. The kids will be well taken care of at our in­ter­ac­tive play sta­tion, giv­ing their par­ents the chance to take their time brows­ing our store peace­fully. Our ‘gallery’ area speaks to the more edgy and trendy cus­tomers. Here we have new trends, and vin­tage style col­lec­tions that we have ex­clu­sively at our stores.” It was through her work for Ma­grabi that Cher­ine gained the most ex­pe­ri­ence in re­tail and cus­tomer ser­vices. “Work­ing in the store ini­tially, I learned to in­ter­act with the cus­tomers and see what they ap­pre­ci­ate and what they don’t. It made me aware of all the de­tails that need to be ad­dressed and re­cently we have col­lab­o­rated with La­banese cou­turier Rabih Kay­rouz to de­sign the staff uni­form which he found in­ter­est­ing be­cause in his fash­ion he is very in­spired by women’s uni­forms.”


Hav­ing lived in Saudi Ara­bia, Switzer­land, Lon­don, and now Beirut, Cher­ine Ma­grabi has ac­quired a mul­ti­cul­tural taste in art and de­sign, lead­ing to the cre­ation of her “The House of To­day” (HOT), which is a col­lec­tive de­sign plat­form. She has over­seen the de­vel­op­ment of its pro­gram, which in­cludes im­por­tant de­sign ex­hi­bi­tions and sub­se­quent tours and de­sign com­mis­sions. “Beirut is the hub of fash­ion and art in the re­gion; it is also a hub of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. That is why I de­cided to work with many Le­banese prod­uct de­sign­ers through my foun­da­tion “The House of To­day”. Ev­ery two years I or­ga­nize an ex­hi­bi­tion of which all the pro­ceeds go to pro­vide schol­ar­ships for Le­banese de­sign stu­dents.” Hu­man­i­tar­ian at heart, Cher­ine Ma­graby doesn’t shy of speak­ing out to de­fend and sup­port is­sues that are still con­sid­ered taboo in our so­ci­eties. “Drug ad­dic­tion is a sit­u­a­tion that un­for­tu­nately any per­son can face in any so­ci­ety, and this is how I chose with many oth­ers to sup­port ‘Sk­oun’ which is an NGO that aims to help peo­ple with ad­dic­tion prob­lems and spread aware­ness to re­duce the harm caused by drug use. I think this is a prob­lem that we need to ad­dress and to dis­cuss openly in or­der to get bet­ter re­sults.”

“Re­cently we col­lab­o­rated with Le­banese cou­turier Rabih Key­rouz to de­sign the staff uni­form...”

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