Dazed Digital

Dubai / العربية

Zayan Ghandour

October 12, 2011

We talk with the fashion powerhouse behind the city's most influential independent boutique and eponymous label

  • Text by Simone Sebastian

If the Dubai woman has a 'look’ then chances are, she acquired that look from s*uce, an institution in independent fashion retail in this city. Founded by a stylish (and incredibly savvy) trio of women – s*uce has been shaping women’s style in the country ever since it first opened its doors in 2004. Satellite Voices caught up with co-founder, creative director and head buyer Zayan Ghandour, to find out about the Middle Eastern aesthetic and to get the inside scoop on her new label Zayan.

Satellite Voices: As co-owner of the boutique s*uce - with partners Fatima Ghobash and Dina Saleh - you have played a huge role in shaping the style of this city. Are you aware that many women in Dubai aspire to dress like you?
Zayan Ghandour:
Women in the Arab world are remarkably and fabulously aware of fashion. They read their glossies religiously and are all well heeled and well travelled. We are all tapped into the same exciting aesthetic that borrows and assimilates diverse influences from LA to Tokyo, and reinterprets it as its own. That mix – the Tokyo kitsch mixed in with LA cool, Paris chic, and Dubai bling, is what has always inspired s*uce and that's what our customers have always loved. And so I think we are all inspired by each other in a way that doesn’t leave room for fashion to take itself too seriously. It’s just fun.

SV: You are a bit of a fashion polymath with a list of titles that include Boutique Owner, Buyer and now Fashion Designer. Is there any one role you prefer over the other? 
Zayan Ghandour: They all feed into each other and you learn from one as you go along and apply your expertise into the other. As a boutique owner I know what customers look for and that helps me as a designer. My experience as a buyer helps Two Scoops (s*uce’s distribution arm that I set up a year ago with Joana Samhoun) and my experience with Two Scoops also informs me as a designer. The mix of roles really works. It is a great formula because I get to bring in a little bit of everything into everything I do.

SV: Tell us about what led to the birth of the label Zayan - were you ever intimidated by the design process? 
Zayan Ghandour: I work very closely with designers at s*uce, re-shaping their collections to fit our market, or just customising and editing, and that creative element has always been my favourite part of the buying process. So coming up with my own designs grew very organically from the work that I’ve been doing over the past seven years. It felt wonderful to be able to pour all my ideas into my own label.

SV: Who is the Zayan woman?
Zayan Ghandour: She is witty, flirtatious and determinedly girly.

SV: And finally, if you could only pick one piece from the collection, what would it be? 
Zayan Ghandour: That’s a tough one. It’s a very detail oriented collection so there is something about each style that I find special… but I do love the bow girl print embroidery, and the metallic lace and silk dresses. I also love the bow tulle cutout, which is a signature narrative that will be repeated in future collections.

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