“Never,” Sarah Al Agroobi states firmly when asked if she’s ever had any fashion disasters. And, given her clearly innate sense of style, it’s not difficult to believe her.
The daughter of an Emirati ambassador, Sarah spent much of her early life living overseas, where she was exposed to the fashion scenes of Europe and Asia. “The Emirati national dress was never part of my daily outfits,” the graphic designer and filmmaker explains of her time abroad. “Coming back to the UAE, I had to find a happy medium where I could dress in my own style while also integrating the abaya.” And so, the Abu Dhabi resident began to experiment with silhouettes and says she pushed the boundaries of what a traditional abaya should look like.
From her Asos basics to her vintage Casio watch, Sarah describes her style as minimalist. “My wardrobe reflects an aesthetic of a muted colour palette and clean lines. This makes it extremely easy to pick an outfit for an everyday look.”
That’s not to say Sarah doesn’t pull out the stops when the stakes are high. “I wore a black form-fitting ballgown to the premiere of Mission Impossible 4 at the Dubai International Film Festival. It was encrusted with black crystals that traced the contours of the body, from a small boutique in Al Rashidiya that stocked unknown designers. My own film, The Forbidden Fruit, was also premiering at the Festival, so the whole experience had sentimental value,” she recalls.
And it’s sentimentality that weaves its way through all of Sarah’s most prized possessions. “I have jewellery that has been passed down: pearl earrings from Egypt, diamond earrings from my mother, and golden earrings from Syria that my grandmother gave me before her passing,” Sarah explains. “Most of the jewellery is not from a particular brand, but from a jeweller that has been with our family for generations.”
From ballgowns to abayas, from simple basics to intricate family heirlooms, Sarah’s style is an eclectic blend of individuality. “There’s a time and place for everything,” she smiles.
Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Kerrie Simon-Lawrence. Hair: Maria for SoH Art + Beauty. Make-Up: Sarah-Jane Thompson for Shiseido. Location: Palazzo Versace Dubai