As the creative director and founder of her namesake accessories brand, Sofia Al Asfoor knows a thing or two about style, and for her, the key is keeping things simple. “Simplicity is elegance. I believe a good pair of shoes and a great handbag makes for a standout look.” It comes as no surprise then, that her most treasured item is a diamond-embellished handbag she made for herself. “Creating my own, one-of-a-kind piece was a lifetime treasure for me. This bag reminds me of where I am today and the work it took for me to get here; nothing is more valuable than that.”
Having grown up in a creative family (her father Mohamed Al Asfoor has his own luxury goods brand, Designer Shaik), Sofia says her interest in fashion developed at a young age. “It happened without me noticing. Fashion and design were always just part of life.” Sofia describes her personal style as “always comfortable with a bit of glamour” and names the legendary Audrey Hepburn as her ultimate style icon. When it comes to what makes a woman stylish, Sofia believes it isn’t necessarily what’s on the outside. “When a woman feels good on the inside, it reflects in her personal style with confidence.”
The designer admits, however, that her journey to being a stylish businesswoman was not without its disasters, such as “trying to look like a Spice Girl back in the day – we all have our phases,” she laughs.
When it comes to the region’s approach to style, Sofia says she appreciates the effort that goes into dressing and looking good here in the Middle East. She tells Bazaar, “I am very proud of the way our women dress. Each one has their own individual style. Women here are very chic, glamorous and feminine. I like that they take pride in their appearance and always stay very well put together.”
Sofia travels a lot for her work and it’s on these trips that she likes to expand her wardrobe with hard-to-find pieces. “I always manage to find special pieces in local boutiques when I travel. The stores that cannot be found anywhere else are my favourite. When travelling, you always create memories and the pieces I buy remind me of these, so it makes it more special.”
Rhea Costa and Alexis are her current favourite designers – “I’ve found some great jumpsuits that fit really well on the body” – and as a self-confessed shoe addict, DSquared2’s ‘Riri’ thigh-high, lace-up sandals are on the top of her wish list for the new season. “I have a shoe obsession,” she confesses. Sofia has almost 100 pairs in Dubai. “When I’m in the mood for shoes, it’s dangerous.”
Sofia Al Asfoor wears top by Johanna Ortiz at Ounass.com. Trousers by Bonnie Young. Earrings; bracelet, and ring, all de GRISOGONO. Bag, Sofia Al Asfoor, her own. Photography: Ethan Mann. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Hair & Make-up: Blowout & Go. Location: W Hotel - Al Habtoor City