It’s certainly more than a wardrobe full of designer labels; indeed clothes are frequently secondary to an inherent self-confidence and spirit that breeds magnetism. All of the 45 women (and one adorable two-year-old) featured in the 2016 edition of Harper’s Bazaar’s annual Best Dressed book possess an indefinable quality that makes tearing your eyes away from them nigh-on impossible.
Some, such as humanitarian and television personality Zainab Salbi, adhere to a simple wardrobe of brown and black basics from a handful of eco-aware labels and regional talent. Others, for instance Abeer Al Otaiba, the elegant wife of the UAE Ambassador to the United States, have such a love for fashion that they have turned it into a business. Abeer’s collection, SemSem, is intended to open a dialogue about giving back between mothers and daughters, adding another layer to the surface appeal of her sophisticated designs. Or there is Elham Salamé, one of the region’s most foremost luxury fashion retailers, whose collection of major works of abstract art, housed in Beirut’s new Aïshti Foundation, is internationally fêted.
These women understand the power of clothes as much as they acknowledge the importance of being accomplished businesswoman, entrepreneurs, creatives and philanthropists, as well as mothers, friends and mentors.
Being stylishly put together may be only one very small element of womanhood, but as a visual entrée into the worlds of some of the Middle East’s most incredible women, myself, Bazaar Best Dressed’s consulting editor Rosemin Manji and the entire Best Dressed team hope that this edition proves to be as inspiring as it is alluring.