Dubai-based designer Ayah Tabari’s 5 favourite books

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When Ayah Tabari’s clothing and accessories label, Mochi, burst onto the Dubai fashion scene in 2013, with the launch of her Jaipur collection, some wondered whether she might be a one-trick pony with a penchant for sourcing great textiles.

Over the years, Tabari has consistently proven otherwise, regularly releasing impressive new collections, each inspired by a particular place and culture.

Tabari, who is of Palestinian descent, was born in Riyadh, raised in Amman and studied in London before moving to Dubai. She specialises in the use of raw materials and draws inspiration from her travel adventures. While fashion is not often considered as being connected to literature, for her, reading provides an important balance to her busy work life.

“I love reading because it helps me wind down from my hectic lifestyle,” says Tabari – press events and client meetings take their toll, not to mention the hours that go into preparing a collection.

“Fashion is labour-intensive so I find reading a book helps to chill me out,” she says.

The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama

“Nearly every time you see him, he’s laughing, or at least smiling, and he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. This book took me a while to read but has truly taught me what it means to be happy.”

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“This is the book you go to when you want an epic, classic novel. It covers politics – but truly leaps along when it comes to war and domestic life.”

The Voices of Marrakesh by Elias Canetti

“This is a different kind of travel read, which truly captures its destination. Also, I just love Morocco.”

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“This has a truly magical plot, where fire-breathing is totally normal. I love everything about it.”

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

“I can’t explain it, but this book is transforming.”