fashion q&a

Fashion Features Editor Olivia Phillips answers this week’s pressing fashion questions from how to do style in the desert to finding the perfect dress and how to ooze specs appeal.

Q.) I’ve just emigrated to the UAE and only brought one suitcase of clothing with me. What are the essentials that I need to buy for life in the sandpit?

A.)  Firstly, one suitcase?! Ok, no judgement. You’ll need a fabulous bikini for starters – there’s a lot of pool time involved out here. London-based fashion editor Ursula Lake knows a thing or two about great swimwear and her brand Violet Lake offers a ‘bikini mixer’ element, allowing you to choose from umpteen different styles of tops and bottoms. Genius!

Violet Lake

Chic workwear can be tricky in this heat so a clean, boxy shift dress will be your new best friend in the office. Roksanda Ilincic’s colour-blocked style is a great choice and is made a little quirky with the addition of a floating white collar.

Roksanda Ilincic

Dress, Dhs5,150, Roksanda Ilincic at Boutique1

Lastly, I recommend you invest in an amazing bag. Saint Laurent’s cherry-red Emmanuelle is a standout choice – luxe but not too try-hard, trend-led but with a slight retro appeal and in a colour that will make every outfit pop.

Saint Laurent

Bag, Dhs7,993, Saint Laurent at



Q.) I’m constantly losing my sunglasses (a side-effect of having to literally take them everywhere with me!) so I don’t want to spend a small fortune on my next pair. What brand do you recommend that’s cool, looks luxe but I won’t cry if I sit on them/ drop them in the sea/or leave them in the taxi?

A.)  Sounds like you need to check out Le Specs, asap! Rihanna, Beyonce and Lady Gaga are all fans so you’ll be in very good company. Stocked on and, they’re as cool as they are affordable (around Dhs250).

le specs



Q.) I often have to head to events straight from work and I need a dress that will work for that purpose. Can you help? 

A.)  Peter Pilotto is a perfect brand to address this sort of dilemma. Their prints are bold but not overwhelming, which means they can be worn seamlessly from day to night. The Nova dress is a great case in point; the A-line shape means that it’s flattering to wear with flats during the day (add a structured tote for the office), but then looks totally cocktail-ready with the addition of some sky-high sandals and a colour-clash clutch.

Peter Pilotto

Dress Dhs3,545, Peter Pilotto at BySymphony


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