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#CNILux: Ingie Chalhoub in Conversation with Suzy Menkes

The President & Managing Director of the Etoile Group and Creative Director of INGIE Paris shares her insights on the luxury industry in the Arab world

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

Ingie Chalhoub describes how she became the leading luxury retailer in the Arab world to Suzy Menkes at the CNI Luxury Conference in Oman. Photo: INDIGITAL.TV

Following the talk by HH Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Arabia, came further insights into the luxury markets from Ingie Chalhoub, President and Managing Director of the Etoile Group and Creative Director of her eponymous label, INGIE. Chalhoub is in an excellent position to define her female clients given her specialism in bringing brands such as Chanel, Ralph Lauren, and Anya Hindmarch to the Gulf region. However, Chalhoub does have a poignant perspective on making it a success and the perseverance required.

“It was just after the Gulf War and I had the business with my mother and husband – stocking Chanel and all the other labels – that we started in Kuwait. It was all about educating people about what Chanel is and what luxury is,” she recalled. “During the Iraq War we lost everything, as well as the business, but my husband said to me, ‘You have to keep going to the shows, to be seen.’ So I kept going to the shows and seeing beautiful things, even though everything was not okay in my country. With encouragement, we saw that there was a future in Dubai and the people that believed in me and saw what I was trying to do stayed with me.”

But, said Chalhoub, while times have changed and exposure is easier, the basic premise behind getting your business off the ground is the same here as it is all over the world.

“I believe that the new generation has more power than we had at the time. We needed to have financial support to do our first store and marketing. Today you can go global by Instagram and using all the digital tools. This new generation needs to know that there will be setbacks, but you need to work hard from the heart,” she concluded. “When you believe in something, you have to continue and not give up on your dreams.”

Discover what Alber Elbaz had to say at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Muscat, Oman.

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