He's rubbed shoulders with some of the fashion industry's most elite - Tom Ford, Victoria Beckham, John Galliano and Manolo Blahnik to name but a few - and now, Colin McDowell has lent his voice, and his unparalleled insight, to our March issue. Here, we take 10 with the celebrated author, reporter and columnist.
Name: Colin McDowell
What makes a woman "Best Dressed" and why? Knowing herself and never feeling in competition with anyone but herself. Style is all about confident self-expression. It is axiomatic that the well-dressed woman always shops for clothes alone - no husband, no female friend. And she ignores (politely, of course) what the saleswoman says to her. She neither asks nor takes advice, but she reads her favourite magazine so that when she enters a shop she is informed.
My all-time style icon is... Diana Vreeland. She had an instinctive radar for the new and always spotted the ersatz. She could balance respect for tradition with the excitement of the revolutionary and her determination was fearless. Also, Joan Burstein, who is the doyenne of fashion buyers, who is about to celebrate her 90th birthday, is still as modern and perceptive as she was fifty years ago.
My dream subject to interview is... André Leon Talley because of his instinctive understanding of fashion at all levels and his fluent way of expressing his opinions.
The designer whose clothes most inspire me... There have been many: Armani and Calvin Klein from the past; and John Galliano, Rei Kawakubo and Dries Van Noten from today. In all cases, they look at their woman and how she should be dressed and never adapt their view to how they think the press will react.
The most exciting young designer emerging today is... I think we are going through one of those poor periods in fashion when few new designers make a mark - rather like Paris in the thirties - but the one who interests me is Riccardo Tisci. Will he be seen some day as the visionary of our times or dismissed as just another clever self-involved creator?
The future of fashion in Dubai is... Strong. It is a place with style, money and new ideas of femininity emerging all the time.
The biggest challenge facing the fashion industry is... There are several that need to be addressed; over-production from colleges and also labels. An industry that needs so many landfill sites to get rid of redundant clothes has to be old fashioned and not fit for purpose. Repetition in the sense that high fashion (erroneously called couture) is largely copying designs created in the fifties, instead of looking at them, analysing them and recreating the mood for today's woman and her life. Too many mediocre art colleges set up largely to bring in money for the government. I could go on....! But what I will say is that fashion is a vibrant, life-enhancing element which, when properly controlled, can be a valuable, unifying part of our civilisations for future harmony.
Pick up the March issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia to read Colin McDowell's analysis of Dubai's ambitions to make it on the global fashion stage. On sale March 1.