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HE Hend Al Otaiba Wore a Beautiful Rami Al Ali Dress To Launch New Book

To celebrate the UAE Embassy’s new book in France, Her Excellency Hend Al Otaiba opted for an elegant, and thoughtfully created ensemble by none other than Rami Al Ali.


HE Hend Al Otaiba speaking at Majlon book launch. Photo: Astrid Staes / Say Who

This June, Her Excellency Hend Al Otaiba, UAE’s first ever female ambassador to France, celebrated a milestone moment in her career: the launch of the UAE Embassy’s new book. A collaborative effort between the ambassador and UAE-based publishing house Mazara Edition, the book, titled Majlon, made its grand debut at the French National Library, Salle Labrouste, in the presence of close friends and noteworthy names including Baron Eric de Rothschild, Arab World Institute President Jack Lang, Catherine Bonifassi of Rizzoli New York, and Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Also there to meet with Her Excellency and get a first look at Majlon were Egyptian Mezzo-Soprano Farrah El Dibany, and designers Ahlem Manai-Platt and Sara Chraibi.


HE Hend Al Otaiba UAE Ambassador to France and Monaco and Jack Lang, Arab World Institute President. Photo: Astrid Staes / Say Who

For the reveal, the ambassador, who has long been admired not just for her work, but also for her timeless style, opted for an elegant ensemble that beautifully reflected her personal aesthetic and was brought to life by none other than star designer Rami Al Ali. “It is an immense privilege to dress Her Excellency, Mrs. Hend Al Otaiba, especially on such a significant occasion as the launch of her new book,” the Syrian designer — who has dressed the likes of Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Youssra — told Vogue Arabia. A creamy kaftan-inspired dress, Her Excellency’s outfit stood out for its quiet elegance, and also gave a nod to her labor of love, which will soon be available to avid readers worldwide. “I incorporated a touch of green [into the outfit], reflecting the color of the ribbon inside the book to create a cohesive and relevant connection between the outfit and the book,” Al Ali explained. Topped off with delicate embroidery along the neckline and sleeves, and styled with a gold brooch, Her Excellency’s outfit of choice served as a stylish extension of her work.

The green ribbon inside each book was taken into consideration when designing Her Excellency’s Rami Al Ali outfit. Photo: Alice Fredén

For HE Hend Al Otaiba, Rami Al Ali is more than a celebrated fashion name. In fact, the ambassador and the couturier share a long history, marked by several noteworthy outfits. “Our relationship is deeply rooted in a long history of friendship and collaboration,” he revealed. “I had the honor of being the first designer to create her wedding dress, marking the beginning of a special bond between us. Over the years, this friendship has blossomed, particularly after her appointment as the UAE Ambassador to France. My frequent travels to France and our shared love for art, culture and fashion only strengthened our connection. It is a true honor to contribute to her journey and to see her shine in my creations.”


HE Hend Al Otaiba signing the Majlon book. Photo: Astrid Staes / Say Who

Below, the designer shares more insights into the ambassador’s latest ensemble, and the process of creating magic for Madame Ambassador.

Can you share a few special details about the outfit HE Hend Al Otaiba wore for the launch of Majlon?
For the design of the dress, I aimed to create something that blended elements of a kaftan with cocktail attire, ensuring it was suitable for the occasion. I chose a beige champagne color to give a pure, clean look, and added embroidery and details from the same material to achieve a cool, modern take on traditional kaftan embroidery. The details around the neck and sleeves were designed to be significant yet subtle, striking a balance that wasn’t too overpowering. The dress was crafted from silk matte crepe with emerald green Swarovski crystals detailing the collar and embroidery around the sleeves. The entire gown involved approximately 150 hours of handwork, ensuring every detail was meticulously executed.

Sketch: Courtesy Rami Al Ali

How did you go about designing this particular look for her? What was the inspiration, and was it a collaborative effort?
The design process for the look was an exciting and creative endeavor. When discussing the design, I focused on the book’s theme and how to best represent its essence. Drawing from my understanding of the project’s goals and the personalities involved, I came up with several ideas and suggestions. My aim was to create a design that was not only visually appealing, but also deeply connected to the book’s content. I was given a great deal of creative freedom, which allowed me to fully explore my vision and bring it to life. This trust in my creative process was crucial in achieving a result that everyone was thrilled with.


HE Hend Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to France and Monaco with Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Astrid Staes / Say Who

You have dressed some of the most influential women in the world. How was the experience of dressing HE Hend Al Otaiba different from others?
Working with Her Excellency, Mrs. Hend Al Otaiba, is unique compared to my experiences with other celebrities and influential figures, primarily due to the close personal relationship we have developed over the years. Our journey began with the design of her wedding dress, and since then, she has trusted my designs for both personal and formal occasions. This trust is rooted in my deep understanding of her character, persona, and the prestigious professional role she holds. Knowing her so well allows me to consistently make the right design choices that accurately represent her. This personal connection has been the foundation of our successful collaboration and the trust we have built together.

What do you find most inspiring about HE Hend Al Otaiba?
What I find most inspiring about Her Excellency, Mrs. Hend Al Otaiba, is not just her demure beauty, but also her sophisticated intellect, strong persona, and exceptional representation of her culture and heritage. Her multifaceted qualities are incredibly motivating and drive me to ensure that my designs do her justice. It instills a sense of responsibility in me to represent her in the most fitting and respectful manner.

The books will be available in English, Arabic, and French. Photo: Alice Fredén

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