Before launching her highly successful blog, L’Armoire De Lana, in 2010, Lana El Sahely cut her teeth with one of the region’s top celebrities, former Bazaar cover star and multi-platinum artist Nancy Ajram.
“My experience with Nancy helped me to look at styling in a different way. It wasn’t only about what I liked anymore; I had to find a way to showcase how trends and classic pieces could fit someone else’s background, profile and body shape. I also learnt a lot about how clothes appear on TV and in photo shoots. I have a different vision now.”
Attending the international fashion weeks also had a large impact. “I saw how my style evolved as I participated in these events. I also learnt to respect my body and what makes me feel comfortable.” Describing her personal style as “classy and modern with a touch of edgy,” Lana says she loves “timeless and classic pieces but I always try to find the little twist that will make these items look modern.” Through her blog, Lana aims to help give other women confidence when it comes to fashion. “The most important topic on my blog is women empowerment, because of the many situations I’ve been put through in life. I believe it’s primordial that my style reflects it as well. It’s important to look confident, strong, inspiring, and empowered. I know it sounds a little heroic, but I love that my readers can sense a little positive energy just by looking at an outfit they love.”
Splitting her time between Beirut, where her office and team are based, and Douala, Cameroon where her husband is currently working, the fashion blogger says there’s only one change in her approach to dressing between the two locations. “I’m naturally quite conservative in the way I dress so I don’t really make any changes. However, I dare to go much more ‘statement’ in my make-up and clothes when in the Middle East because in our culture, it’s totally OK to be overdressed which can be fun.”
Though she wishes there was a greater selection of contemporary wear on offer here in the region, Lana is palpably passionate about the style prowess of the Middle East. “Honestly, I love the turn of fashion in our region, it’s booming and boiling with new ideas and talents. The merge between international labels and regional talents is creating beautiful fashion. I hope people will continue to read because it’s important to see something other than just social media for inspiration. And I would say we should place a greater value on our traditional pieces of clothes and mix and match them. We would stand out even more.”
Lana El Sahely wears bomber jacket and trousers, by Elie Saab. Boots by Gucci. Photography: Hana Lê Van. Styling: Aya Jammal. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Hair: Fabienne Travert. Location: Jardin Du Palais Royal- Paris