To the Dubai-based founder of LimeLite jewellery, Ilke Shah, a timeless aesthetic is the epitome of chic. This notion of classic style is apparent in all areas of her life – from the Palm Jumeirah villa in which she resides with her husband and two daughters that she designed herself (in addition to her accessories line, Ilke also owns a London-based interior design company), to her clothing choices, treasured accessories and overall approach to style. Even her icons are some of the world’s most timeless beauties – “I admire Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy and Blake Lively. All of them are so unique, elegant and stylish,” she says.
Describing her own personal style as “classic with a bit of an edge”, Ilke dislikes looking “too done-up” and wishes that was a sentiment shared by her Middle Eastern peers. “Everything in the Middle East is a bit over the top. I’m a big believer in being comfortable in your own skin and having a sense of style that doesn’t mean you have to wear high heels and make-up. You can be very much in style in a pair of trainers and jeans.”
Ilke frequents fashion weeks across the globe to “know what is coming for the new season” and has her eye on Australian designer Zimmermann’s floaty dresses, the white sequin jacket from Chanel’s Cuba collection, a pair of Alaïa sandals and a colourful Hermès bag to update her wardrobe for S/S17.
As a jewellery designer, Ilke understandably believes that a woman can never have too many accessories, telling Bazaar, “your jewellery collection is a story of you.” In addition to her own brand, she loves “Bulgari, as I like to collect pieces from its iconic Serpenti collection” and the “amazing pair of Cartier earrings given to me by my husband on our wedding day,” both remain amongst her all-time favourite pieces.
Whilst other women may battle with the idea of ageing, Ilke says it’s helped her to feel more confident in her personal style. “As I’m almost reaching 40 years of age, I feel I am more comfortable with what I put together. I think I know my hair, body and face better than ever before.”
Ilke Shah wears dress; jacket; shoes, all Chanel. LimeLite jewellery; Maison Margiela hat, her own. Photography: Ethan Mann. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Hair & make-up: Blowout & Go. Location: Palazzo Versace Hotel