Bazaar columnist Carla DiBello has called the UAE home for the last two years, although she still shuttles between Los Angeles and Dubai on a regular basis in her capacity as an advisor for US companies coming to the Middle East for filming purposes, hospitality and private equity. As well as forming her geographical base, Dubai is undoubtedly Carla’s sartorial home too, with the emirate’s high-glamour aesthetic resonating with Carla’s love of fabulous femininity far more than LA’s dressed down vibe. “When I’m in Dubai I definitely dress up more,” she smiles, “even on a random Tuesday night out in Dubai everyone is in their best attire.” And while she only shops for denim on her regular trips to the US West Coast – L’Agence jeans are her current favourite – Carla increasingly turns to Middle Eastern designers for special occasions, such as Stéphane Rolland, Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad. “The Dubai Mall can sometimes be a little overwhelming, so I generally prefer smaller boutiques,” she reveals. “If I have a formal event I love Zeena Zaki at Palm Strip in Dubai.” For a quick casualwear fix, she relies on Dubai-based online retailer Sivvi for its extensive offer and speedy delivery.
Carla’s wardrobe has to flex across multiple functions – she loves to escape to the desert for relaxation, “my girlfriends never want to come as they complain it’s too dirty,” she laughs; her many social engagements demand Dubai-appropriate glamour; while her corporate life requires a professional front for which she derives inspiration from Amal Clooney and Queen Rania, “Both do a great job of looking incredibly classy and professional at the same,” Carla says.
But no matter what the occasion, Carla always remembers the advice of her closest confidant. “My close friend Kim Kardashian always told me to dress for your body type, which I always keep in mind,” she says.
In homage to her adopted home, Carla smiles, “Dubai is filled with breath-taking beauty – from the architecture to the natural landscape to the people themselves. It’s impossible not to be influenced by that on a daily basis.”
Photography: Vivienne Balla. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Louise Nichol. Hair: Anna from Soh Art + Beauty. Make-up: Sarah-Jane Thompson for Shiseido. Location: Yas Marina Circuit