Harper’s Bazaar Arabia: Describe your spring/summer collection in five words...
Roberta Ventura: Alhambra-inspired, hand-embroidered with love.
HBA: What are five things that inspired your mood board for the S/S16 collection?
RV: An exclusive holiday resort; the boardroom; women with beauty and brains, like Angelina Jolie and our brand ambassadors Mary Nazzal-Batayneh and Veronica De Piante; Arabian tales and geometric Islamic patterns: the closest man has come to portraying perfection.
Clutch, Dhs515, SEP at Boutique 1
HBA: If you could invite five people to a dinner party, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
RV: One: Malcom X. A wise man and a visionary who dedicated his life to equal rights and dreamt of a fair world. He is a constant inspiration to us. Two: Angelina Jolie. She is both beauty and brains. At SEP, we love the deep connection she creates with refugees in her role as UNHCR Ambassador. We would love to work with her one day. Three: Amal Alamuddin. I'm impressed with how she manages to juggle her work as a human rights lawyer and her role as a style icon. Four: Queen Rania. Her speeches are so inspiring and she is a role model to women throughout the Middle East. The artists that we work with love her and the empathy that she displays in her public appearances. Five: Coldplay's Chris Martin. I love what he does and hope that one day he will come to visit our workshop.
HBA: Who was your style icon in 2006? Why?
RV: Bianca Balti. Her career had really just begun then. Effortlessly chic, Bianca topped our rankings when she announced her UN collaboration in November of last year. Her words at a fundraiser in December went straight to our heart :"after a 10-year career, I am delighted to associate my image to such an important cause: refugees."
HBA: What has been your career highlight so far?
RV: The Landmark Hotels Amman collaboration. As of this year, select rooms will feature SEP hand-embroidered art works, along with the personal story of the artists who created them. With this initiative, we set out to bring the refugee camps to the world and the world to the refugee camps, and this is a memorable example of exactly that. The 5-star travellers will be hypnotised by the SEP work, creating a connection between the artist and the onlooker. We love these out-of-the-box collaborations.
HBA: Who are some of your favourite accounts to follow on social media?
HBA: Where do you see your business five years from now?
RV: By 2020 we would love to be a household brand sold in prime locations worldwide, while changing the lives of thousands of refugees. By then, we hope we will be working on the launch of our first flagship store and that we will have delivered five more years of mutual happiness to our customers and to the SEP artists and their families.
SEP is available at Boutique 1.