One of Azadeh Majlesi’s most treasured memories is of when she was a young girl, welcoming her father back from his European business trips. “He would come home with beautiful items for all of us. And for himself, ties that he had lovingly chosen. My father passed away nearly 10 years ago, but my mother still has cupboards full of all his ties, which I love to go through whenever I’m in Tehran.”
Azadeh says her father’s appreciation of fine craftsmanship, and her mother’s own creativity (“She used to make all of mine and my sisters’ clothes”), are what led her to develop a lifelong interest in fashion.
The owner/operator of various fashion franchises in the region, along with her husband Bijan Sheibani and son Shahryar, Azadeh has built an empire based on the principles her parents taught her. “You must always be yourself; never copy or imitate,” the Dubai resident says.
While Azadeh isn’t a big fan of online shopping, preferring to experience what the UAE’s boutiques have on offer, she admits there was a time that Dubai wasn’t the shopping hub it is today. “When we moved here in the early 1980s, there wasn’t much in the way of shopping. But our very loved friend, Gaby Shariat, was actually one of the first boutique owners in Dubai, with her mixed-brand store of beautifully tailored Italian women’s clothing. It was in the Hyatt Regency. I will always remember Gaby advising me to wear something a little younger than my age, saying, ‘There’s lots of time in the future to look old!’,” Azadeh recalls, laughing.
While Azadeh favours Emporio Armani “for its wearable elegance”, and agrees it’s always fun to take fashion risks, she says style is something different altogether, advising, “What makes a woman stylish has less to do with what she is wearing, but how she holds herself and the presence she has in a room. That comes from being comfortable in one’s skin, which is then reflected in how she dresses.”
Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Kerrie Simon-Lawrence. Hair: Marissa for Soh Art + Beauty. Make-up: Sarah-Jane Thompson for Shiseido. Location: Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach