My List | 24 Hours With Nathalie Trad

Nathalie Trad, Dubai Design District, Harper's Bazaar Interiors, My List, D3
The designer’s life in numbers

7:00 A.M. The alarm goes off. My husband, Bassam Khoury, usually gets up earlier than I do, so the last thing he does before he leaves for work is make sure I’m up. Unfortunately, the first thing I do, while in bed, is look at my phone. My phone is still my alarm. I’m looking to change that, but can’t just yet. The sequence is email first, then news, and then social media. I’ll go on Reuters to get a general view of what’s going on and I love the New York Times. I usually will have bookmarked a few articles that I didn’t have time to read the previous day and then will read them in the morning. 7:30 A.M. I jump in the shower. I’m not very product oriented, but I do use Kerastase for my long hair, because it’s the only thing that will tame the mane. I don’t really think about what to wear in the morning. I’m a casual person; we are very casual in the office, so I don’t need to dress up too much. My work uniform is jeans, sneakers or loafers, and a shirt. 8:30 A.M. I’ll grab some coffee and a banana as I head out the door on my way to work. 8:45 A.M. I’m in the car, on my way to our offices in d3. Spotify is a lifesaver, I don’t know what I would do without it.

“I love my morning playlist. The first song is Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen. It gives me energy” 

Nathalie Trad 'Carlyle' clutch, Dhs3,030, available at Avenue 32

9:00 A.M. I gather with my team and chat about what we did the previous evening. One member of the team, Rebecca, is pregnant. She’s about to go on maternity leave so it’s interesting to hear what her experiences are because none of us are parents yet. 10:00 A.M. We are now preparing for Paris Fashion Week and the theme of the Spring/Summer 2016 collection is sort of Galactic Futuristic. We plan the entire lookbook photoshoot and create all of the props ourselves. The office turns into a crime scene with plastic sheets all over the floor and piles of spray paint cans, stucco buckets and wood chips. This gives us a chance to be creative and forget about the business side of things for a while. 1:00 P.M. Once we are done with our art project, we eat lunch in the office and order something from a place nearby that delivers. My mood determines what I eat. On a tiring or frustrating day, I’ll want comfort food like French fries. But most days I try to eat healthy with a salad from Circle Café. 

Nathalie Trad 'Lenox' clutch, Dhs5,880, available at Harvey Nichols Dubai 

2:00 P.M. We get back to working on the campaign. This involves looking at and editing photos from the shoot and writing text for the look book. 3:00 P.M. I’ll have a chat with my quality control manager in the Philippines. She is four hours ahead, so I will reach her at the end of her day to get a status report of every sample that’s coming out. Depending on what has happened, the next morning we call the factory in the Philippines to follow-up and make sure everything is on track. 3:30 P.M. It’s time to go back to the emails. There’s nothing more frustrating for me than the unread emails in my inbox, they just call to me. 4:30 P.M. I manage my own Instagram account and recently I’ve loved creating the stop-motion videos for it. These can take some time. It’s about 300 pictures per video and we set up all kinds of contraptions to make it possible – a ladder, tape and boxes to prop the phone up. I don’t know why no one has created a long tripod for a phone yet. Typically, I’ll be on the floor moving my hands around, and pregnant Rebecca will be running to move the bags, and someone else will be clicking. My colleagues and I love doing these, it’s a nice little creative break during the day. We always have music playing in the office. If it’s my choice it’s more old school. But if Farah, who’s 23, chooses it will be more Top 40. Sometimes she’ll put on ‘90s hip-hop, which everybody loves. 

Nathalie Trad 'Kent' clutch, Dhs5,700, available at Harvey Nichols Dubai

6:00 P.M. I like to stay after everyone has left the office. We have an open plan set-up and it can get distracting during the day. I like to take this time to really focus on what I need to do, recap what happened and think about the future. 7:00 P.M. I’ll go for a swim in the pool in my building in the evening, it’s the best way for me to relax. The hardest thing about swimming is managing my hair, but I’ve figured out the right formula – I rub it with a bit of coconut oil and put on two swim caps. It doesn’t look nice, but it works. Generally, I don’t like to rush things. I like to take things slow and once I start something, I keep moving. So when I’m in the pool doing laps, I think to myself, “I might as well keep doing them.” 8:00 P.M. I like to cook. I try to keep it healthy for dinner. We sit down for some grilled chicken and salad with a lot of avocados. If we go out, we like some of the more casual spots in JLT because you can just walk in as you are, there’s no need to dress up. Jazz at Pizza Express on Wednesdays is fun because they have a swing band. I also like Nola and Loca on Jumeirah Beach Road. 10:00 P.M. My husband and I can both get quite addicted to television. Once we’ve started a show, we race home just to watch the next episode. Right now we are watching Making a Murderer on Netflix. We’re obsessed with it, just like everyone else on the planet.  Mozart in the Jungle is a light comedy and drama. I’ve been a fan of Gael Garcia Bernal for a long time, since I saw the movie Amores Perros.

Nathalie Trad 'Polygonia' clutch, Dhs4,180, Musk and Amber Gallery 

11:30 P.M. This is the calmest time of the day. I usually will sit with my husband to catch up and vent. There’s a lot of venting. My husband is a former McKinsey consultant, so he’ll have a lot of advice on how I can better run the business. The business side is still new to me. A lot of problem-solving and strategising goes on at night. If I go home and complain about what’s happened during the day, he’ll never just listen to me, he’ll try to come up with a solution. It takes seconds for him to whip out Excel and start creating a model… 12:00 P.M. He goes to bed early, but I like to stay up late. I really don’t know what I do during this time or where the time goes. I stay in the living room, on my laptop, sketching, or listening to music. Sometimes, I’ll just sit and look up at the ceiling for an hour. I would probably stay up until 5am if I didn’t have to get up the next morning. I really enjoy this time though, I really need it to function.  It’s the only time of the day when I’m alone. A lot of my ideas are generated at this time. 1:00 A.M. I’m in bed and ready for another day.

 As told to Nausheen Noor

All photos courtesy of Nathalie Trad

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Nathalie Trad, Dubai Design District, Harper's Bazaar Interiors, My List, D3