Zoe El-Husseiny, the founder and designer of handbag label Peonica London, has an outside-of-the-box style icon, in the form of 95-year-old Iris Apfel. “She is just so fabulous. I admire and adore her bold and brave statement accessories and she has the most amazing way of wearing adventurous colours.” It’s an interesting choice, given that Zoe says her own day-to-day wardrobe “is black and white,” though she explains, “I love to wear bold and beautiful accessories that make a statement and add a little bit of jazz to an outfit.”
Zoe finds inspiration for her sartorial choices and her work in Dubai hotspots d3 and Alserkal Avenue. When abroad she loves “shopping to find unusual pieces. I adore Notting Hill in London and Le Marais in Paris for vintage finds – you never know what treasure you will uncover – and Harajuku in Tokyo which is quirky and cool.” Closer to home, she lists S*uce, Boutique 1 and Harvey Nichols as her favourites, and “a stop off at Chanel, Pucci and Gucci is always essential.” Online, Zoe’s bookmarked sites include “1stdibs for vintage designer clothing, Net-a-Porter, Matches and Ounass, which I recently discovered – it has the most beautiful collections.”
Zoe says her interest in fashion began as a young girl when, “I would wake up and raid my mother’s closet, which was my favourite place in the world.” The best piece of fashion advice she’s ever received also came from the woman in whose wardrobe she would first explore the world of fashion. “Know your own shape, stick to flattering silhouettes and filter out unflattering fashion trends.” Given her day job as a handbag designer, Zoe clearly has an affinity for arm candy. “I cherish my handbag collection, which I have been collecting since I was a little girl. It’s an evolution of my own personal style and history. It’s a handbag diary of my treasured memories,” she tells Bazaar of the almost 150-piece strong collection.
“I have some fabulous Fendi, Gucci, Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton bags, and now it’s so wonderful to add my Peonica London pieces to my own collection. This is the one part of my wardrobe I’ll never spring clean.”
Zoe El-Husseiny wears Elizabeth Kennedy dress at Ounass.com. Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Hair & make-up: Blowout & Go. Location: Softitel the Palm