Mona and Lamia Dahmash have called many places home. From Switzerland to London and all around the Gulf, the family has now settled back in Dubai, but for this mother-daughter duo, their life travels have cemented their own personal styles.
“I am very fascinated by London and the city’s street style,” says Lamia, who graduated from the London College of Fashion last year. “Living there for four years has really shaped my personal aesthetic. I love the sense of freedom of expression there. I will always have London in me.”
While Lamia loves to switch up her looks and take fashion risks, Mona prefers to stay true to her style. “I like to keep it classy,” the 50-year-old mother of two says. “I love high-waisted black trousers, which I’ll wear with a tank top and a cropped jacket. During the day, I always wear flats.”
Since returning home to the UAE, Lamia has set up a freelance styling business, which she sees as an extension of not only her studies, but the highlight of her day. “I look forward to dressing up every morning,” the 22-year-old says, adding that her mantra is, “Keep it simple, but significant”.
Recalling a childhood of rummaging through her mother’s closet, Lamia says it was Mona’s collection of beautiful clothes that spurred her to make a career out of fashion. But it’s not just what she saw, it was the advice she heard also.
“I have always told Lamia to wear clothes that suit her and that fit her body properly,” Mona shares. “She needs to find what works for her, which may not be the same as for someone else.”
And it’s clear Lamia – who names Jane Birkin as her ultimate style icon – took that advice on board, explaining that the biggest reward is in finding something that has her personal style written all over it. “A stylish woman has an eye,” she says, “She doesn’t just copy what she sees in a fashion magazine. She’s not afraid of mixing and matching designer labels with high-street brands.”
From Europe to the UAE, Mona and Lamia are inspiring two different generations of Middle Eastern women with their own individual takes on personal style.
Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Kerrie Simon-Lawrence. Hair: Maria for SoH Art + Beauty. Make-Up: Sarah-Jane Thompson for Shiseido. Location: Atlantis The Palm Dubai