Follow Vogue Arabia

Lean on Me: Eight Women Discuss What Makes Their Friendships Work

To celebrate International Friendship Day on July 30, four sets of friends talk about the importance of female bonds.

Alexandra d’Ursel and Deborah Najar


Alexandra d’Ursel wears Cape, Céline; top, Marni; skirt, Fendi; belt, Bottega Veneta; shoes, Christian Louboutin. Deborah Najar wears Jacket, top, skirt, belt, Bottega Veneta; shoes, Hilfiger Collection; necklace, Marni. Photographed by Mann 

“We both come from musical families, which has always given us a strong bond. Deborah is extremely intelligent and intellectual and a wonderful friend. She’s very headstrong and always positive.”

– Alexandra d’Ursel, founder of White Linen Interiors 

“Alex never fails to inject great spirit, fun, and humor into every situation. More importantly, she is incredibly humble, always challenges herself, and never takes her incredible achievements for granted. She’s been a pillar of strength and friendship for me through thick and thin.”

– Deborah Najar, director of the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation

Nadine Kanso and Khulood Thani

Nadine Kanso wears Coat, pants, Fendi; shirt, stylist’s own. Khulood Thani wears Coat, Fendi; shirt, pants, turban, Bint Thani; shoes, Christian Louboutin. Photographed by Mann 

“I met Khulood through a mutual friend a few years back and since then we see each other nearly every day. She is very focused – she knows what she wants and she goes for it, but in a subtle way. She is elegant in so many ways and has a certain kind of calmness that is amazing. I want to be more like her. We complete each other.”

– Nadine Kanso, jewelry designer

“Nadine is a powerful woman and is very knowledgeable in her field. She is also generous in supporting her friends. When I have some doubts, she always gives me honest feedback – that is the kind of friendship I enjoy. Nadine is very direct and honest. She’s just being herself and that is something I love about her.”

– Khulood Thani, fashion designer

Shayma Fawwaz and Noora Fawwaz


Noora Fawwaz wears Top, skirt, Givenchy. Shayma Fawwaz wears Top, skirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim at Bloomingdale’s; shoes, Christian Louboutin; abaya, Mounay. Photographed by Mann for the July/August 2018

“I received an award while traveling and had to send someone on my behalf to collect it, and I chose Noora. She did a fabulous job, taking photos with everyone and speaking to members of the royal family. That was one of the moments I realized I could always rely on her. She has Down’s syndrome – people are lucky if they have the chance to meet her.”

– Shayma Fawwaz, founder and CEO of Gossip the Brand

“It’s fun working with Shayma. We also go to the gym together. We are so lucky to have each other and I wish for us to always be close.”

– Noora Fawwaz, happiness officer of Gossip the Brand

Sara Al Tamimi and Hamda Al Hosani


Sara Al Tamimi wears Abaya, Epiphany; Suit, Helmut Lang at Bloomingdale’s; turban, Sara Tamimi; shoes, Saint Laurent. Hamda Al Hosani wears Abaya, Epiphany; suit, Helmut Lang at Harvey Nichols; shoes Saint Laurent. Photographed by Mann

“Things changed a bit when we started working. We used to be spontaneous and saw each other all the time. Although we are more responsible now, I can always feel Hamda’s love from afar. I admire her as a person. She is incredibly forgiving and extremely determined.”

– Sara Al Tamimi, creative director

“Sara forces me go out of my comfort zone and pushes me to wear things that make me nervous by assuring me it will look good. I don’t know any person who has met Sara and didn’t love her. As we get older, I see Sara speaking up more and more, and that makes me very proud.”

– Hamda Al Hosani, marketer Aldar Properties

Now Read: These Celebrity Pairings Are Total #FriendshipGoals

Photography: Mann
Styling: Katie Trotter
Hair: Annesofie Begtrup using Oribe Haircare
Hair assistants: Jesus Courtuna, Julie Uledal
Makeup: Toni Malt
Makeup Assistant: Kasia Domanska

View All
Vogue Collection