The Individualists

BY Georgie Bradley / Oct 19 2017 / 18:47 PM

Fashion comes and goes. But true style has staying power. Bazaar chats with three young women who are side-stepping the standardised aesthetic and are doing it their way

The Individualists

Photography by Mox Santos

Anum Bashir, Rhea Jacobs, Nour Arida

From Left: Anum wears: Top, Dhs2,985 Marni at The Modist. Rhea wears: Jacket, Dhs1,630, Isabel Marant at Boutique 1. Earrings, her own. Nour wears: Blouse, Dhs3,500, CH Carolina Herrera, Bow, Toby by Hatem Alakeel

Influencers Anum Bashir, Nour Arida and Rhea Jacobs have each gone in their respective directions, exploring fashion through a refreshing and captivating lens.

Anum Bashir, 31, American, Creative Consultant

Anum Bashir

Anum wears: Sweater, Dhs3,945, Missoni at Boutique 1. Shirt and sunglasses, her own

I have more blazers than my husband, I always joke about that!” laughs Anum Bashir.

On that token, you can confidently confirm her style is androgynous. But that is just an umbrella term for Anum. The GCC-born and bred creative consultant has a way of curating a melange of boy-meets-girl in a riot of colour and an unassuming pairing of pieces. 

“My style was more androgynous in the past, but it’s definitely evolved and changed to someone who wants to dress like an older version of herself but right now. I still keep to a bit of Middle Eastern flash, but I think the styling and manner in which I put an outfit together is different to what you would typically see here.”

A perennial advocate for smart women in fashion, she makes measured choices. “Being interesting is very important to me. I want people to say, ‘Wow, that’s so cool, where did you get that?’ not ‘oh I saw that on page 36 of a magazine.’”

You could easily say Anum is experimental by nature (“life is too short for boring clothes”) but is not fair-weather about it. The level of conviction with which she brings together a look says ‘I know exactly who I am’ and she always “stands by the sartorial choices I make”.

Ultimately, Anum’s individualism rests on expecting the unexpected: “Basics will always live on in my wardrobe. But would I pair a larger-than-life cocktail dress with tennis shoes? Absolutely.”

Nour Arida, 28, Lebanese/American, Style Influencer

Nour Arida

Nour wears: Jacket, Dhs4,415, Sara Battaglia at Boutique 1. Dress, Dhs5,550, Ellery. Necklace, Dhs2,800,  Monica Sordo, at The Modist. Rings and bracelet, her own

We’ve all got a friend like Nour Arida. The girl-next-door who can effortlessly appear both cool and chic in equal measure.  She has an endearing quality of being able to look just as good eating a stack of French fries (a favourite for a Friday lunch, @nouraridaofficial) in a clean grudge double denim ensemble or attending the Miss Lebanon 2017 pageant in a billowing masterpiece by Ashi Studio. What differentiates her from the fold is the fact that everything else is quiet compared to the loudness of the dress. Nour grew up in a world where fashion mattered and entered the industry as a head buyer for a big retail company in Beirut. “I realised through understanding trends that if something doesn’t reflect who I am, you will not see me wear it.”

This defiant attitude translates into her “biker boots and leather jacket” staples and complements the fact that her style has an edgy bite of “raw and masculine” touches but is offset by a warmer side of femininity too “which I adore”.

Nour is a self-proclaimed messy person “in the sense that I throw everything around me into a pile.” But she fine-tunes her style with effortless and expert skill. And as the region continues to see a flurry of style influencers coming in their droves, Nour knows “I will evolve with time but my style will always remain the same.”

Rhea Jacobs, 24, Indian, Artist and Content Creator

Rhea Jacobs

Rhea wears: Coat, Dhs4,740, Ellery; top; Dhs1,385, Petar Petrov, both at Boutique 1. Trousers, Dhs5,500, Monse at Ounass. Earrings, her own

Rhea Jacobs loves extravagance “and I’m not afraid of it because it’s who I am”. She uses the word “fearless” a lot to describe her look – @therjacobs on Instagram certainly testifies. Even a plain and simple close-up shot has a sprinkle of glitterati, courtesy of a pristinely applied bold lip, dangling diamond earrings, a faux fur red shawl and a caption that reads, “When in doubt... WEAR RED.”

Having grown up in Dubai and completed her BA fashion honours from Heriot-Watt University Dubai last October, Rhea profusely thanks the city for how she’s able to be her true self. “There is a very accepting attitude here and you’re able to be whoever you want to be.”

Everyday pieces translate differently for Rhea next to the rest of us. She doesn’t own
a pair of jeans or T-shirt. “For me, there are no rules in fashion but I’ll always gravitate towards bigger, louder pieces. I can wear an amazingly extravagant dress for lunch and not care.”

Her mother proffered some firm style advice in her youth. “Your style should talk about who Rhea is and not who everyone wants Rhea to be.” In a society where the more brands you wear is often a marker for your socio-economic standing and a way to be ‘in’, Rhea defiantly goes against that. “I don’t see brands for their name. It’s about the individual pieces.”

Rhea’s trademark beyond style, is beauty. Her black winged, Cleopatra-esque eyeliner, which was what caught the attention of Marc Jacobs and landed her a prestigious beauty ambassador role earlier this year as part of the #CastMeMarc competition, is faultlessly applied. She definitely meets the region’s aesthetic criteria but has written a new level of individuality into it.

Rhea Jacobs, Anum Bashir, Nour Arida

Rhea wears: Top, Dhs1,670; skirt, Dhs1,200, both +Kenzo. Belt, Toby Hatem Alakeel. Shoes, Dhs6,280, Giuseppe Zanotti. Anum wears: Shirt, Dhs1,050, Diane Von Fustenberg at Bloomingdale’s. Trousers, Dhs1,745, Tibi at Symphony. Shoes, Dhs3,030, Giuseppe Zanotti. Nour wears: Shirt, Dhs1,850, Alice + Olivia. Skirt, Dhs1,065, MSGM at Bloomingdale’s. Boots, Dhs4,050, Christian Louboutin. Bag, Dhs6,500, Alexander McQueen

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia

Photography by Mox Santos