This year, Emirates Woman’s Christmas gift guide is a tale of princesses, presents and the perfect festive season…
Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a beautiful princess was waking up the morning after her birthday. Her castle was fabulous and life was good, but she couldn’t help but long for things just out of her grasp. She dreamt of adventures in foreign lands, for daily excitement akin to a Louboutin sale, and for a knight in shining Armani to come and whisk her away. As she blew out the candles on her Magnolia birthday cake she asked her fairy godmother to grant it all, but to send her loved ones along for the ride. That, and for a Smythson diary and some Charlotte Olympias.
With a sigh, the princess arose and walked to her wardrobe to get dressed for the day ahead. There, behind her Chloé fur and Valentino gown, she spied glittering lights the likes of which she had never seen before. “Toto, what’s that?” she asked her faithful dachshund, blinking into the Narnia that lay before her. And with a cloud of smoke she found herself tumbling through the wormhole, like Alice in Wonderland, towards this strange and mysterious new land…
In all its majesty, Dubai lay before the fair maiden who stood, awe-struck, outside the souk they call Madinat. “Toto, I don’t think we’re in the castle anymore,” she told her four-legged companion, as an old mystic appeared and handed her a golden lamp. Hidden inside was a scroll; an invitation to a ball that same eve…
“Maiden fair, you will be the guest of honour at tonight’s Crystal Slipper Ball. Wear your most glamorous dress and your finest jewels. We’ll be waiting for you at the top of the Burj Al Arab at 8pm.”
Wandering through the labyrinthine passages, the princess was mesmerised. Silks in every colour, piles of Ladurée macarons and a vintage trunk from a magical place they called Marina Home. Busy dreaming of redecorating the castle drawing room, the maiden failed to see the three impeccably-dressed girls coming her way.
“Darling, are you wearing your pyjamas?” asked one. “Why yes, I am,” the princess answered sadly. “And I’ve been invited to a ball tonight and I have nothing to wear.”
“We’re going to that too! Come with us, we’ll find you the most beautiful dress in all the land.”
Before she could say ‘shukran‘, the princess found herself in a place of enchantment and transformation – the changing rooms at Harvey Nichols-Dubai. A dashing personal shopper scurried to find her the most exquisite gowns on the rails – laying Erdem, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou before her. “They’re all so beautiful but they’re still not ‘the one’,” she lamented. “#DubaiProblems,” the helper said with a wink, before emerging with the dress of her dreams, a scarlet Oscar de la Renta floor-sweeper, embroidered with gold and fitting her like a glove.
“You’re a real Dubai princess now!” said the three chic girls, “Now come and get ready with us!”
As the clock struck eight, the princess entered the palatial dining room at the top of the Burj al Arab. There, at the feasting table in all their finery sat her parents and brother, exchanging Christmas gifts and slicing off segments of Armani panettone. “There you are, darling, we’ve been waiting for you.”
The princess was dumbstruck. “You didn’t think we’d let you have all the fun, did you?” laughed her mother, Swarovksi earrings glittering in the candlelight. “We’ve been here all along. You carry us with you wherever you go.” And with that, they clinked their glasses and toasted to Christmas, to family and to the spellbinding magic found only in the desert.
Compiled By: Olivia Phillips and Carmel Gill | Illustrations: Morgwyn Fourie