Marcela Danielova

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Mar 1 2017 / 22:04 PM

40, Czech

Marcela Danielova

Before becoming the fashion director of Dubai’s Fashion Forward, Marcela began her career in fashion as a model working with some of the biggest names in the industry like Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. “In the Nineties, I spent time with them in their ateliers while they were working on their collections. I guess at that time I did not realise how privileged those moments were and how much that time influenced me.” Fashion, she says, was not always something she was interested in – “I wanted to be an architect” – but that changed when she was scouted by a model agency in Paris. “I learned fashion, I lived it, I breathed it, it was my bread and butter and it still is today. It is just part of me.”

Despite her incredible introduction to the world of fashion, Marcela, who is mum to Elisa, 16, and Lilly Jade, 12, says she was unsure if it was what she wanted to do at one point. “I tried to run away from fashion later in my life but it kept chasing me and today I am very proud of the work that we have done with Fashion Forward and how much this platform has helped shape the fashion industry of Dubai and the region.” Given her role, Marcela is a huge advocate for regional designers, listing Tair, Bouguessa and Hussein Bazaza among her favourites. “I’ve developed a bit of a Middle Eastern designer worship,” she says with a smile. “For example, Faiza Bouguessa’s designs are so elegant and timeless and they perfectly reflect the essence of the contemporary Gulf today. At the moment, I also love my long skirts from Daneh, tops from Zayan or Nour Najem and trousers with a detachable skirt from Tair.” However, Marcela admits that she isn’t a hoarder. “In general I don’t tend to hold onto things. I have very few pieces that I keep simply out of sentiment because they were gifted to me over the years. One of them is a simple Jean Paul Gaultier evening dress that is absolutely timeless or shoes from YSL that were gifted to me after a fashion show that opened the FIFA World Cup final in 1998 at Stade de France.”

Marcela is highly passionate about the region, and she’s without want of anything here in Dubai. “I don’t think we miss anything here, but rather the other way around. For example, I miss N Bar when I’m in Europe!” And even if given the chance, the director says there’s nothing she would change about the fashion scene. “The Middle East is the Middle East; Asia is Asia, and West is West. Would I want to make Middle Eastern style more European or more Asian? No, because all the boundaries and differences will eventually disappear in the wave of globalisation. Let’s celebrate the individuality and uniqueness of this region today.”

Marcela Danielova wears jumpsuit by Self-Portrait at Clutch by Rula Galayini, her own. Photography: Ethan Mann. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Hair & make-up: Blowout & Go. Location: Park Hyatt Dubai