The stylish Emirati businesswoman and influencer shares a peek inside her high-fashion closet
Blogger to Businesswoman
Latifa Al Shamsi has always had an eye for color and bold prints. The Dubai-based influencer launched her fashion and lifestyle blog in 2010, sprinkling her feed with food, fashion, and travel inspiration for her 340 000 followers. She also recently launched an events company with her sister Fatima, called The Lounge. It provides a platform for local and regional fashion designers to showcase their collections. “More than 70 designers participated in our first exhibition in February at Madinat Jumeirah,” she shares. “Our second one took place in April and we have plans to host our third Ramadan exhibition in Mina A’Salam on May 14.”
Life in Technicolor
Al Shamsi devotes sections of her closet to abayas. “I started experimenting with styles that a lot of people wouldn’t try. I wore colored abayas early on when I first started blogging before it picked up as a trend. I gravitate towards the unconventional,” she explains. Her first colored abayas included a lavender overlay with orange details on the sleeve and a pistachio green one by Mauzan. This season, Al Shamsi filled her closet with Nafs Designs. “They are simple, but with interesting cuts. I have a beige one that’s a skirt with an abaya on top, and a deep chocolate brown silk design with pleating details,” she enthuses. Linen designs from 1988 Line and Mariam Al Mulla are her summer go-to’s.
Her style is more defined than ever, she says. “If I’m wearing a colored abaya or if it has some embroidery work on it, I will wear a dress in a neutral color like white, beige, or black. If the abaya is black, I will wear something printed and colorful underneath.” Dialed-up pieces like an illustrated Christian Dior skirt or a pair of silk floral pajama-style pants by Gucci correspond with inky abayas from Black Edition, Waad Collection, and Das.
Al Shamsi aces iftar with luxurious table decor. “I start preparing my Ramadan table three to four months in advance. From the tea cart to plates, I buy several new sets and themes every year,” she says. Each evening, her dinner table is dressed with blossoming flower arrangements and festive accents that she hand-picked in Turkey. Her wardrobe gets an update as well, with silk kaftans featuring gold and silver embroidery from Voguish Boutique and Dar Kaaf. An asymmetric silhouette with a single sleeve from AK Concepts is a favorite. She completes her looks with ornate traditional jewelry that she only pulls out for the Holy Month, along with Oscar de la Renta flats, Chanel mules, and Hermès clutches. As for traditions, Al Shamsi anticipates her annual suhoor dinner. “It’s such a special night that my sister and I host. We have nearly 40 women over, and we entertain with card games, charades, and giveaways. As for food, we like to try out local food station concepts.”
Basking in Birkins
The influencer’s Hermès collection includes Birkin bags in a kaleidoscope of colors and exotic skins. Nestled between her Mini Kelly Pochettes and Evelyn crossbody bags is the crème de la crème of her repertoire: a tri-color Hermès 28 crocodile Kelly. “It’s my most precious piece because it’s vintage and it was my first crocodile Hermès bag,” she says. “It’s a perfect size and I love the neutral color combination of brown, black, and gray.” Ask Al Shamsi just how many bags from the Parisian heritage brand she owns and she answers, “I don’t count my Birkins; it’s a bad omen. But there are plenty!”
Aside from her curated wardrobe, Al Shamsi’s jewelry speaks volumes, particularly her Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra collection. “The brand is close to my heart,” she shares. “I’ve been collecting the five motifs bracelets for years and I have all the colors.” Her most recent four-leaf clover addition is a limited edition piece in blue agate. “Since I wear the hijab, I’m more into bracelets. I don’t wear the necklaces unless they are really long,” she says, pulling out the four 16 motifs that she owns. Boucheron has also found a way into her jewelry box in the shape of Serpent Bohème bangles and rings set with colorful gemstones. “I love colored stones more than diamonds,” she says, adding that she selected a blue lapis lazuli ring for herself for Mother’s Day. She never removes her Maria Tash diamond piercings. “I have 11 ear piercings, and nine of those never come out.”
On the run
The Lounge keeps her on a tight schedule – but her heels don’t slow her down. “My favorite brands at the moment are Manolo Blahnik and Sergio Rossi. They are chic yet easy to wear. I can even chase after my two toddlers in them!” Look for Al Shamsi attending an event in one of her many Manolo Blahnik satin Hangisi heels or elevating her look for a family gathering in pointed-toe, embellished sling-back Sergio Rossi pumps in black or blush pink.