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Exclusive: Balqees Fathi Gets Into the Spirit of Ramadan With MARLI New York’s New Jewelry Collection

Photo: Courtesy MARLI

Among the list of the most loved musicians in the region is the name of Balqees Fathi, more often lovingly known by her fans simply as Balqees. Over the years, the Emirati-Yemeni singer, who has also counted herself as a UN Champion for Women’s Rights in the Middle East, hasn’t just taken over with her powerful voice and strong opinions, but also her unique style. A reflection of her fiery personality, Fathi’s wardrobe comes with more than its fair share of statement-makers, and it seems like her taste in jewelry falls perfectly in line with the aesthetic. This festive season, the musician is getting into the spirit of Ramadan with a special collaboration, lending her face to the Ramadan campaign of jewelry house MARLI.

Though its home may be the dynamic city of New York, MARLI takes inspiration from Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and manages to strike a cord with women across the globe with its minimal shapes—and oh, so wearable—designs. For Ramadan 2022, founder and creative director Maral Artinian crafted what is now called the Tip Top collection, a sparkling series of earrings, bracelets, neckpieces and rings that blur the lines between traditional and contemporary jewelry. And to share the collection with the world, Balqees Fathi was a natural choice. “Balqees embodies the MARLI persona,” Artinian reveals to Vogue Arabia. “She is independent, accomplished, and carefree. Her personality and perseverance inspired this collaboration.”

Photo: Courtesy MARLI

Dressed in free-flowing modest ensembles, Balqees Fathi plays the perfect muse for MARLI’s Tip-Top collection, which feature diamonds and precious stones in blue for an unexpected twist. Describing her relationship with the brand as “magnetic”, the star shared, “I was always fascinated with MARLI creations and I have always been a MARLI client since they launched in the region. The TVC concept has an extraordinary story line to celebrate Ramadan… It was a privilege to work with the team and Angy Akly, the creative producer and director.” In an exclusive chat with Vogue Arabia, the musicians opens up about her favorite Ramadan rituals, her festive style, and of course, all things jewelry.

Congratulations on starring in MARLI’s Ramadan campaign! Can you tell us about your most precious pieces of jewelry? 

I have two pieces of jewelry that are very dear to me: a gold bracelet from my dad which I wore as a kid and see in all my childhood pictures, and the second piece was a necklace gifted by my grandmother, may she rest in peace, after I graduated from school, and I still have both these pieces to this day.

From sharp pantsuits to shimmering jumpsuits, your fans have seen you acing it all. But what is Balqees’s true personal style? What do you love to wear when you’re not out and about?

I’m a person who loves to change and you can see it even in my art. Being able to perform in different facets helped me to get closer to my audience. My personal style is always minimalistic, at a times even carefree, but always with a statement.

Photo: Courtesy MARLI

Is your style any different during the Holy Month of Ramadan? What is your ideal iftar look?

Elegant, minimalistic, and I love wearing a kaftan or an abaya.

How important is jewelry in defining your personal style?

It’s a part of my lifestyle, wherever I go, wherever or whenever I have an appearance; it wouldn’t be complete without the perfect piece of jewelry

Ramadan is a special time for all. What’s your favorite Ramadan tradition?

Being with my family, including all the beautiful the gatherings, and reunions — the whole Ramadan vibe.

The festive season helps us all come together with the people that matter most to us. How do you like to spend quality time with your family?

Family always comes first; I cherish every moment that I spend with my son.

Photo: Courtesy MARLI

It’s safe to say that music is, of course, a major part of your life. While your voice has inspired many, who are the musicians that most inspire you?

Definitely Fayrouz is my inspiration, and of course those who created change in the East and the West such as Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Celine Dion.

And finally, Ramadan is a time of self-reflection and appreciating everything in our lives. If you could gift someone a piece of jewelry from MARLI, what would it be? Who would you gift it to?

I would give the timeless MARLI Cleo bracelet to my elementary school teacher. I always remember her; she was very patient and kind to me.

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