“I was always fascinated by fashion,” says Farah Saleh Al Babtain, Kuwait’s very own bohemian rhapsody. Her repertoire of achievements is as striking as the sequinned No21 bomber jacket she’s just slipped into. First and foremost, Farah is a mother to three beautiful girls, Noor, 15, Miznah, 12, and Yasmeen, who is seven. Her other roles include that of creative director of Groupxen, a Kuwaiti company owned and operated by Farah and her brothers, and founder of two fashion brands; Muhra, a collection of luxury kaftans and gowns marked by lavish embroideries; and Luna and the Gypsies, which offers a more casual approach to the luxe bohemia that Farah embodies. Farah also launched The Centre of the Arts – a hub and platform that nurtures young creative minds in the city.
For Farah, life imitates fashion and her personal style offers up as many talking points as her career. She describes her style as “bohemian orientalist” or “extreme athletic.” The latter goes hand in hand with working out and taking care of her physical and mental well-being, something that is a “vital” part of her life. The former is ruled by embellishments and accessories. “I have an obsession for rings,” she tells us. “Cartier, vintage turquoise, onyx...” the list goes on. “I collect head pieces and belts, too. I feel they add magic and complexity to my outfits.”
Motivated by a fear of being ‘average’, Farah swings in the opposite direction; she is a maximalist. “As far back as I can remember, I used to mix and match items to create my outfits. I was never afraid to stand out, in fact I loved being different,” she recalls. She also doesn’t believe in fashion faux pas, “I don’t consider any fashion attempt to be disastrous unless you intend to alter or camouflage your true identity.”
Farah cites Frida Kahlo as her style icon, the Mexican painter also well-known for her unique and multifaceted style. “She defined herself as the source of inspiration, embodying the strength and beauty of her roots.”
As for shopping, Farah exercises a free-spirited approach. “I don’t shop for occasions, I buy what I like,” she explains. “Kuwait has evolved in terms of fashion and I’m honestly proud. There are endless places to shop from Bloomingdale’s to Zara, to little boutiques, like Almadan, that carry beautiful pieces from around the world.” As well as scouring the malls for unique finds, there’s a string of designer brands she adores, “Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, Etro, Fausto Puglisi – they have this flare which takes my breath away.”
Farah believes the most beautiful part of a woman is her brain, advice that passed down from her “dearest mother” whom she also considers her muse, believing that “confidence and individuality” are integral to the success of any look.
Farah Saleh Al Babtain wears: Bomber jacket, KWD495 (Dhs6,030), No21 at Bloomingdale’s - Kuwait. Suit, top, shoes and accessories, her own