It was the tragic loss of Mariam Yehia’s father in 2010 that dramatically altered the direction of her life. “He was ill for a couple of years before he died, which affected me badly, and made me lose excitement in life,” the 33-year-old reveals. “The day I lost him, I was the saddest, yet the strongest I have ever been. I remembered how important it was to him to see my sister and I strong, successful and independent. So I made a promise to myself and to his soul that I would make him the proudest dad.”
It was that promise that saw Mariam resign from her job three years ago as the head of outdoor media for Rotana Media Services – an industry she’d worked in for 12 years – and go back to school.
“I had minored in fashion at the American University in Cairo,” Mariam explains, “So I enrolled at Esmod Dubai on an intensive Fashion Design & Creation course, and started my own personal style account on Instagram at the same time.” With close to 52,000 followers, Mariam says her social media following grew “in no time”, and was the necessary push she needed to completely immerse herself in her new career.
“As soon as I finished my studies, I opened my own atelier and workshop and started working on my debut prêt-à-porter line, Mrs Keepa, which launches this spring and is named after my husband Bassel’s nickname, Keepa.”
A scroll through Mariam’s Instagram account reveals her to be equal parts style maven (with outfits tagged with the likes of Balenciaga, Karen Walker, Zadig & Voltaire, Roberto Cavalli and Kenzo) and proud mama, with many of her snaps shared with lookalike nine-month-old daughter Isabelle (often in her vintage-inspired Inglesina pram). Asked what advice she’d like to share with Isabelle, Mariam doesn’t hesitate. “To be herself, do whatever makes her comfortable and happy and reflects who she is.” One thing is certainly clear: Isabelle has a strong role model in her risk-taking, trail-blazing mother.
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