For our fashion editorial in the March issue of Luxury magazine, The National's monthly lifestyle supplement, we had the privilege of flying to Paris to shoot pieces from the latest haute couture collections.
This is the clothing that you see on the Paris runways, if you’re lucky, but never in stores because only royals, celebrities and the super-elite can afford to book private viewings with the brands and get their hands on the exquisite pieces.
While our all-night flight to Europe wasn’t the most lavish of transport, exiting the hamster-cage maze of Charles de Gaulle airport and breathing in the frosty air of Paris was invigorating.
On the day of our shoot, we rose bright and early at 6am (well, not really bright since the sun had yet to rise), and headed to the iconic location that was the backdrop for our shoot — the Imperial Ballroom at The Westin Paris, Place Vendôme.
Aside from atelier Versace's white net and blue glitter mini skirt-and-vest ensemble reminiscent of Britney Spears's Toxic tour, the clothes were what you'd expect of haute couture — breathtakingly sublime.
The day was filled with stressful pacing and panic attacks — we were only allowed to keep each piece for two hours, since they were needed back at the showrooms for VIP client viewings and fittings.
We are used to having clothing samples all day, and shooting at our leisure, so this time pressure was new to us. We were out of our comfort zone but had a lot riding on this shoot — after all of the months of preparation, we had to return to the UAE with an outstanding editorial.
There were highs, and there were lows. Towards the end of the day, we realised we had not yet received the look from Dior. Since the Paris office had closed and we had no local contact number, we frantically e-mailed the Dubai pressroom — at midnight in the UAE. Astonishingly, we received a reply within minutes — the courier had left the delivery at the hotel concierge.
After the final look was photographed — a Saint Laurent ensemble — we packed up our set, left the hotel at midnight, and staggered exhaustedly to bed.
The next day, we made our way to photographer Roc Chaliand’s studio to review and shortlist the images. Though exhilarating, the process was draining and lack of sleep was catching up with us. By 3am, our brains had turned to mush, and we were not looking forward to our return flight to Dubai five hours later.
We didn’t quite have time to purchase any designer bags in France — where they are up to 20 per cent cheaper than in the UAE — but we certainly had huge bags under our eyes when we arrived in the office the next day. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat.
See the results for yourself in Luxury magazine, free with today's edition of The National, or click here.