At just 17, Hanan Khaddam was the youngest female presenter in the history of Syrian television. But she is also the author of a successful book, Abirat, which explores the lives of Middle Eastern women. It’s a topic that’s close to her heart. “I’m a Syrian woman, strongly attached to the land I come from. I always wanted to help my country through my work, especially helping to shed light on women and the problems they face in the Middle East. And although I don’t work anymore, I’m still a strong advocate for women’s rights.”
The mother of three girls, Hanan aims to instil both her societal and sartorial passion in her daughters. “I would say my style is classic. I don’t like to experiment with fashion trends. I feel that every age has its merit and 50 is the time to settle down and make peace with what God gave you. I’ve been through almost every trend, and today I can say that I found myself in classic pieces.” One such classic is Chanel’s tweed jacket. “I’ve got quite the collection that I’ve accumulated through the years, there are too many to count, they take up most of my wardrobe. Each and every jacket holds a special memory as they come from a different city, a different collection, a different year and a different story.”
Hanan sometimes struggles with the offering here in the region. “The collections here are limited to a certain style so I always find myself going back and forth to Paris in order to rejuvenate my closet. Not that I’m complaining.” The thing that annoys her most? “I don’t care for the ultra-skinny jeans. Most women, especially here in the Middle East, are curvy by nature and I hate it when some big brands impose the skinny look on us by filling their entire collection with clothes that can only be worn by a woman with the frame of a hair pin.”
For Hanan, there’s a designer for every occasion. “People who know me know that I’m a Chanel-on-Chanel kind of woman, as it never goes out of style. I wear Dior when I’m feeling fresh – I love mixing its items with other brands because Dior gives it that feeling of ‘je ne sais quoi.’ Versace is for when I’m celebrating or in a festive mood, Dolce & Gabbana is what I wear a lot of in the summer as nothing says Capri or the French Riviera like a good D&G ensemble, and Ralph Lauren is what I wear daily as it’s comfortable and chic.”
To differentiate herself from the crowd, instead of purchasing normal leather, Hanan always goes for exotic skin. “My obsession has been going on for a while, and I can’t even remember the last time I bought a Togo or a lambskin.” As for how her insatiable appetite for fashion began? “As far as I can remember, I would always arrive late because I insisted on never repeating my outfits. Once fashionably late, always fashionably late.”
Hanan Khaddam wears gown by Ralph Lauren Collection. Necklace and bangle, Chanel. Watch, Chopard, all her own. Photography: Ethan Mann. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning.