What makes a women ‘best dressed’ is, of course, subjective. However, all of the women featured in the following pages marry style with substance, and their adoration of fashion enhances, rather than defines, them. Every year Bazaar presents a roll call of women who conduct themselves with grace and poise, and I am consistently grateful to these inspirational women for allowing
Bazaar a glimpse into their wardrobes and the lives beyond.
The Iraqi/British academic Dr Serra Kirdar, 41, is a pitch-perfect hybrid of accomplishment and style. A Life Fellow at St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, a lecturer, researcher, patron of the British Film Institute and the University of the Arts London, and author of Education in the Arab World, which is due for release later this year, Dr Serra still finds time to truly appreciate the artistry of fashion. I delight in the visual picture of the late Alexander McQueen kneeling at her feet while adjusting the hem of her lilac haute couture Givenchy dress that she conjures for us on page 82. Or the interplay she has with designers, challenging them to create bespoke adjustments, such as adding fringing and her initials to a leather jacket.
“I believe that true luxury is the ability to have something unique, and only for me,” Dr Serra says.
At the other end of the aesthetic scale, Iranian/American visual artist Shirin Neshat, 59, creates an iconic identity with her signature kohl-rimmed eye. “I never developed an interest in fashion per se,” Shirin tells Bazaar, “I developed an interest in finding my own style.” This translates into a Middle Eastern/Western blend of ready-to-wear in clean lines informed by the minimalist aesthetic of American sportswear worn with strong tribal jewellery, “Which I also consider as works of art,” Shirin adds.
From Princess Noor Pahlavi – the 24-year-old daughter of Reza Pahlavi, the Crown Prince of Iran, and granddaughter of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi – who is a keen advocate of cruelty-free fashion and espouses sartorial tolerance, telling Bazaar,
“I would give everyone the opportunity to wear whatever makes them feel good, regardless of religious or social norms and expectations”; through to 32-year-old Kuwaiti Awdhah Al-Moued Al-Shammari, who speaks eloquently about her desire to marry her hijab with high fashion; and on to the unfettered enthusiasm for all things shiny and new expressed by 31- and 28-year-old Emirati sisters Fatima and Mariam Abdulla Al Hendi (I doubt many mechanical engineers have a collection of Chanel ‘Boy’ bags approaching double figures), the 2017 edition of Harper’s Bazaar Best Dressed is a true showcase of diversity, strength and style.