The Paris-based Palestinian stylist and author on etiquette, couture, and reviving glamour for the everyday.
Currently taking up residence with her pooch Cleopatrick at Le Bristol Paris while on the hunt for a new apartment, Palestinian fashion consultant, stylist, and writer Haya Maraka does it all with a high-octane glamour aesthetic. She is presently editing her upcoming etiquette book, Modes & Manners, on a vintage pink typewriter. It’s set for release in spring 2019. “Before you put on your clothes, you have to put on your manners,” she comments. “This generation is too busy on Instagram while at dinner instead of concentrating on a proper face-to-face interaction.”
While the former consultant for Bergdorf Goodman and Christian Dior has a tongue-in-cheek approach to modern-day manners, her upbringing influenced her multifaceted career. “Growing up in Saudi Arabia, I remember walking into my mother’s closet and her friends’ wardrobes and thinking they were better than any shop I had ever been to. Those women inspired me to work in the industry,” she states. “In Saudi, women wear Chanel to have coffee. The only other place I’ve ever witnessed that is in Dallas.”
Originally printed in the December 2018 issue of Vogue Arabia
Glitz and Glamour
“I’m classic, feminine, and simple – but not a minimalist. If it’s easy and chic, it works for me,” explains Maraka, pulling out embellished couture gowns in pastel hues by Rami Al Ali. “His designs are love at first sight,” she adds, noting that she first met the Syrian couturier years ago over lunch at La Petite Maison in Dubai. She also admires London-based designer Michael Halpern.
“He has such great taste. We’ve been friends since his time at Central Saint Martins, and I’m so proud to see how quickly he found success,” she says. As a stylist to the royals, Maraka understands the importance of glamour in the region. “It’s time for us Middle Eastern women to rise and show the world who we are,” she says. “Red carpet looks can’t even come close to what we wear to weddings.” She motions to a silk Alexander McQueen gown. “This is my go-to if I have an event that calls for evening dress. I love that it looks straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I’ll simply pair it with a red lip.”
“Miu Miu is my ultimate indulgence,” says the stylist. “I always find something pink or reminiscent of Jackie O.” Recent finds include a bubblegum-colored miniskirt that she pairs with feather-accented Prada heels. “I also like Jacquemus. It’s simple enough to add your own twist to. I also have this new Paco Rabanne skirt for some glitz.” For outerwear, a black Rick Owens coat makes for an unpredictable choice. “It depends on how good of a stylist you are. You can wear it and it will look like Rick Owens, or you make it your own,”she says.“I’ve been asked about this coat so many times because I’ll layer it with unexpected, whimsical pieces like a Prada skirt or Matteo Mars heels.” When searching for tailored pieces, she makes a beeline for the men’s section. That’s where she picked up a Viktor & Rolf coat complete with fur-trimmed lapels.
The Art of Alaïa
“My first extravagant vintage purchase was an Azzedine Alaïa dress. He’s my favorite designer,” she says of the late couturier, while pulling out a plunging V-cut dress. “It’s tight, black, and simple – and it’s older than me,” she says, dissolving into laughter. “This is quality fashion that will stand the test of time. I always feel empowered whenever I wear an Alaïa piece. I also like that I will be able to give it to my daughter one day, the same way my mom gave me a lot of her clothes.” Several of her mother’s Thierry Mugler and Gianfranco Ferre pieces have laid the groundwork for her style and found a new home in her closet.
“I like Hermès because the bags are classic – but vintage Hermès,” she says, picking up her grandmother’s Kelly handbag that features her initials engraved in gold. As for new bags, she will dangle a boxed rendition from her fingers or a leather shoulder carryall by Paris-based niche brand Moynat. “I like these because there are no logos and it’s great quality. Very grandma chic.”
Little Lacy Looks
“Even when I’m wearing my Gap jeans, I have to feel sexy underneath,” says Maraka about her lingerie collection. Her essential underpinnings include lace-trimmed designs from Madame Aime and gem-hued intimates by I.D. Sarrieri. Meanwhile, vintage silk robes are her look du jour, aligned with her bygone aesthetic. “Christian Dior actually made lingerie,” reminds Maraka. “I’ve collected a lot of vintage Dior lingerie over the years – obviously not to wear, but just to look at.”