When someone asks me ‘How was the Vogue Fashion Dubai experience’, it really is hard to sum up. Just a few days ago, I was in Dubai and it was a whirlwind experience. There is so much to tell! So I will try to sum it up with ’Quite a few things I loved about the #VFDE’. Here we go!
1) From the moment I arrived in Dubai, I was struck by the energy the city had, it was abuzz with #VFDE fever and a surge of excitement came over me. I arrived at the hotel, The Address Downtown, where on a daily basis, I received super cool goodies like chocolates, a spa treatment, a mini ipad, cool #VFDE swag and more! I don’t think any of my boyfriends have ever given me as many gifts as the #VFDE did, it was stellar!
2) A press conference on the 124th floor of the world’s tallest building, you say? Yes, it happens, only in Dubai! The #VFDE decided to have its first event ‘at the top’ of the Burj Khalifa. To be honest, it was hard to focus on the conference without staring out over the vast view of the city but I can’t imagine Emaar Group and Vogue Italia starting off in any other way but with a luxurious bang. Definitely the most memorable press conference to date.
3) Getting to interview Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia was immense. As soon as I got the call, I rushed over in a frenzy wondering what she would be like and I wasn’t let down. She came across quite warm, honest, intelligent and confident. She voiced her backing of the new generation, and how her and her peers must support and give them exposure. It was refreshing to hear such a person, such a publication, encourage up and coming designers and want them to have the #VFDE every year.
4) The night of the #VFDE was kicked off with the Fashion Catwalk, where international designers and emerging talent from the Middle East took to the spotlight. Each designer made their statement through a variation of beautiful gowns, dramatic shapes, intricate work and more, and did so in front of some BIG names sitting front row (Naomi Campbell, D2, Fanca Sozzani, Roberto Cavalli, Donatella Versace and more!).
5) Post the show, I had a little time to kill and made my way to ‘The Level’, which is a 96,000 sq. ft. area DEDICATED to footwear and accessories. With some 250 designers and 40 boutiques under one roof, it is enough to sweep anyone off their feet. Lucky for us, there are plenty of amazingly gorgeous shoes to choose from to soften the fall like the golden birdcage wedges from Dolce & Gabbana. Being of the Mosaic Collection, they truly are a piece of art. I WANT!
6) After drooling over the window display, I picked myself up and flashed my invite for the VIP event that was taking place there aptly called #LetTheShoeBegin. The shoe show which was ‘The West End meets The Great Gatsby’ brought together esteemed designers and a host of fun activities including a never-before-seen showcase of avant-garde dance. And guess who the DJ was?! Solange Knowles!
7) After some pre-party partying, I decided to get some fresh air and made my way outside to the Dubai Fountain. I stumbled upon some of the most incredible Vogue Italia covers across the walls of the Grand Atrium dedicated to the last 25 years of Vogue Italia. It was just amazing to see the Vogue covers over time. It was almost like a shrine for us fashion geeks. Time to head to the Burj Khalifa!
8) Attending the invitation only gala dinner & auction where Silvia Fendi, Riccardo Tisci, Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared amongst so many more celebs was unforgettable! There were many memorable moments of the evening, such as the Valentino Experience receiving the highest bid and being sold for $130,000 dollars! The Cavalli, Levant and Chanel experiences all sold for $100,000 apiece. But the most noteworthy bid was when Vittorio Grigolo (celebrated Italian operatic tenor, for those of you who don’t know, he is also cute) said he would do ‘Anything for the children’ and literally took the shirt off his back to be auctioned. And would you believe, it actually was sold for $40,000 dollars? The buyer was none other than the good spirited Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties. I loved how so many of the proceeds from the Dubai Mall and all the auction proceeds went to DubaiCares, who are working to improve children’s access to quality primary education in developing countries. At the press conference, Franca Sozzani declared that ‘Giving is the new luxury’ and the message definitely came full circle. By the end of the evening, the gala raised about 5 million Dirhams.
10) When you are around a mix of luxury, celebs and crazy good energy, talk of the night ending in a city like Dubai is unthinkable! So, of course, the after party was held at none other than the Armani Privé lounge where Naomi Campbell decided to try her hand at being DJ. With magnum bottles of champagne and vodka flowing, the Italian faction with Vittorio already showing skin, decided they should all go shirtless and show Franca some love by getting on top of the table to give her a lap dance. And trust me, when I say, no one was complaining! Especially not Franca.
Friday at last! A much needed day of rest after all the marvelous madness. There was no better way to close out the week and #VFDE than to be taken on an exclusive sunset desert safari hosted by the Emaar Group. Need I say more? Riding through the dunes, seeing Arab falconry all to the backdrop of a vast gold and pink sunset with a sky blue background. We were then taken to our luxury tent where we went for a camel ride, watched an elegant belly dancer while eating some amazing local cuisine. And to end the night, laid back like a true princess with my Shisha and watched the desert stars.
There is so much more that I could gush about but the more I do, the more I want to live the #VFDE all over again! So I will longingly look at the pictures and wait till next year, where I am sure all that are involved will manage to up the ‘WOW’ factor. Till then, thank you @Vogue_Italia, @TheDubaiMall, @EmaarDubai, @Address_Hotels for giving me one of the most amazing experiences of all time! #Dubai, here is a little dedication from me to you :)
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