Sandy Maaz gets paid to dictate taste – quite literally – as a dessert recipe developer by trade and the founder of SweetTalk By Sandy. Perfecting pudding flavours isn’t her only trick though, she also has a particularly sweet spot for fashion. “For me, style goes beyond how we dress, it runs through everything we do, how we furnish our homes, how we dress our kids, and particularly for me, my style is reflected through my work, and how I display my dessert tables and style my cakes,” she says.
Originally from Beirut, the 38-year-old moved to Dubai from LA four years ago, and has been winning over the Emirates with her baking skills and pragmatic approach to dressing since. “Style is so subjective but the most important thing, before anything else, is the fit. As women, we have to accept and love the bodies we have. What I fall in love with on the models on the runway, can look hideous on me. Therefore I’ve learnt to wear what flatters my shape and my body, and work my style around that.”
Mostly mood-driven, Sandy says, “During the day, I would typically be wearing a feminine, long, flowy bohemian dress, and that same night I could end up in a completely contrasting style, such as a tight black vintage lace dress.” The resounding look is always feminine. “I love Audrey Hepburn, she was such a lady in every sense of the word,” she says of her style icon.
For shopping sustenance, she relies on mid-market brands in Dubai that err on the side of cool, such as Alice + Olivia, Maje and Sandro, whilst in LA, it’s all about the cool concept stores that champion new designers. “I loved Elyse Walker and Madison.”
Two special fashion memories to date include wearing a “customised Zuhair Murad dress” to a friend’s wedding back in Beirut. “I met my husband at that wedding so it had to be the dress,” she smiles. Another was last year, when she was eight months pregnant. “It was my niece’s wedding in LA and I wore a beautiful rose-coloured Alexander McQueen dress – it just felt great.”
A mother to three girls, Leya, 13, Talia, eight, and Ella, seven months, passing pieces of fashion down through the generations obviously makes her happy, but the message she’s really trying to empower is individuality. “I try to teach my daughters the importance of not being a follower or a copycat. It’s so important that they build their own sense of style because I believe that’s part of having strong leadership skills, especially living in a world where everyone wants to be like everyone else.”
Sandy Maaz wears Diane von Furstenberg top and Alice + Olivia skirt, both at Bloomingdale’s – Dubai. Jewellery, her own.
Photography: Christos Tsamadias. Styling: Teresa Karpinska. Words: Elaine Lloyd-Jones. Hair: Blowout&Go.