Wandering around the galleries of New York’s Museum of Modern Art is on many people’s bucket lists. But for lucky Dana Farouki, MoMA was once-upon-a-time her second home. “Working there was a dream,” smiles the art aficionado. “Being able to roam the halls every lunch hour certainly made it the best office in the world.”
Both a collector and curator, it was while working at her next job – at The Guggenheim in New York – that she became an integral part of the initial team put in place to plan The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project. Unsurprisingly, a position of huge honour to Dana.
These days, however, you’ll find Dana working on the launch of her own company, Bilbareed.com, a start-up that offers bilingual e-vites, announcements and greeting cards. “They’re a curated collection of cards, designed by the Arab world’s most creative talents,” the mother-of-two explains. “Users can visit the site, choose a design, customise a card and then track its delivery.”
Although she’s still busy with her role on the board of MoMA and is chairperson for the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dana says it was living back in the region that encouraged her to get the ball-rolling with Bilbareed. “I had been wanting to start a business for some time and the entrepreneurial spirit in Dubai is contagious.”
While her new take on the art and design world is indisputably modern, Dana’s personal style is steeped in family history. “My style icon is my grandmother,” she says. “She always appreciates innovative design and good craftsmanship. She also knows what suits her and won’t stray from that.” Also sharing icon status for Dana, is her mother. “She’s my ultimate shopping partner; she took me to haute couture shows in Paris when I was a child, and she has the most genuine appreciation for beauty
and great design.”
While listing Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Thakoon among her favourite designers, and counting Zac Posen as an old friend (“He ended up designing my wedding dress – a treasured item!”), it’s clear that for Dana, style is a way of life. “I work in a creative field, so style and taste do matter. I value fashion as a way to express yourself; attitude and the way you carry yourself go a long way.”
Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Kerrie Simon-Lawrence. Hair: Marissa for Soh Art + Beauty. Make-Up: Sarah-Jane Thompson for Shiseido. Location: Meydan