As it stands, Dubai already boasts the crème de la crème of shopping experiences in the region, and that offering just got a whole lot more exclusive with the arrival of Suite 1521, a members only personal shopping club. The club offers private, bespoke appointments with some of the most talented, in-demand designers around the world to its members and it has just debuted its unique shopping concept in the Middle East.
For the launch, a number of top name designers travelled specially to Dubai - also marking their first visit to the region - including Antonio Berardi, David Koma and Laura Mulleavy from Rodarte. Offering members an invitation-only chance to view straight-off-the-runway clothes, pre-order exclusive pieces and be fitted by some of the most in-demand designers in the industry, Suite 1521 is set to change the way women shop luxury in the Middle East.
Antonio Berardi with a model in his designs
First launched in 2013 in New York, the members-only club expertly delivers an immersive brand experience to its customers as the designers are able to share their inspiration for the collection and translate it directly to the consumer, as well as explain the craftsmanship and creativity that goes into each piece. Another notable perk of the concept is that customers can request specific alterations or additions to the items they shop, such as a longer sleeve length or added lining. Antonio Berardi explains, "Of course if a woman comes in and she wants to cover her shoulders or request an amendment to the hemline we're happy to accommodate, as long as the piece will work well with the new changes," adding, "As much as I anticipate an edit or two to certain items, Middle Eastern women are leaders of trends, not followers, so I know my customer here already appreciates the tailoring and look of Antonio Berardi."
Rodarte's Laura Mulleavy with a model wearing the A/W17 collection
In Dubai from March 25 to 28, both Berardi and Koma will be showcasing their entire A/W17 ready-to-wear lines straight off the runway whereas Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, minus design partner Kate, will also be bringing pieces to the region that have not yet been viewed by anyone else. As an added bonus, Suite 1521, in coordination with Wave Ventures, will give each member access to an accumulating rewards program with currency that can be used against future purchases with every order they place. Additionally, the three highest spenders with each designer will also receive a personal invitation to their next runway show.
David Koma in Dubai
Talking exclusively to Bazaar before his shopping appointments began, London-based Koma discussed what he expects from the regional launch.
Harper's Bazaar Arabia: What is your perception of the Middle Eastern David Koma customer?
David Koma: "Here, women embrace my line as much as any woman in New York or London would. The Arab woman buys for occasions and has a great perception of what looks good on her. I rarely have to push her to try something new or outside her comfort zone."
HBA: What's unique about the one-on-one concept Suite 1521 offers?
DK: "We've been working with the club for many years now in New York. These private appointments allow my clients to see the craftsmanship and work that goes into each piece up-close and shop the collection in its entirety, not just a selected edit purchased by fashion buyers from the stores."
HBA: What pieces from your A/W17 collection do you anticipate will be best received in the region?
DK: "This collection was inspired by my Georgian roots, a first for my brand. Usually I'm inspired by women, art, culture and other influences but after visiting Tbilisi last year for the first time since I was a child I wanted to create a collection that was deeply personal so there's not one piece over another that really stands out for me. Each item works within the context of the collection as a whole, the sequin dresses, for example, may just look like they had floral influences but placed with steel-toe heels and buckle-detailed jackets, you can see they are a play on the camouflage print."
HBA: Where else in the region would you like Suite 1521 to host a pop-up?
DK: "I'd love to meet more of my customers in Jeddah and Riyadh. Saudi has a beautiful history and I'd love to see the country. Dubai has been amazing so far, I was a little disappointed with the rain I have to admit, but we had an amazing tour guide who took us to the Burj Khalifa and really brought the city to life."
HBA: Has Dubai inspired your design process at all? Would you ever create a collection specifically with the Middle Eastern woman in mind?
DK: "To be honest with you I think women, no matter where they are from, want to look at their most beautiful so I don't ever make a line with only one location in mind. The David Koma woman exists all over the world."
To make an appointment email: email@example.com