UAE ambassador Hend Al Otaiba champions Emirati fashion brand for French state dinner

The government official wore an elegant evening gown designed by Ahmed Alkhyeli

French President Emmanuel Macron met UAE ambassador Hend Al Otaiba at Fontainebleau Palace. Photo: Ministry of Presidential Affairs
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Hend Al Otaiba, the first woman to serve as the UAE’s ambassador to France, wore a custom-made dress by Emirati designer Ahmed Alkhyeli to a state dinner held at the Palace of Versailles on Monday.

Al Otaiba joined a delegation of ministers and senior officials for the evening event, which was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and first lady Brigitte Macron in honour of President Sheikh Mohamed’s visit.

The elegant gown featured a crystal-lined neck, long sleeves and a fitted bodice, which led into a flowing satin skirt.

The look was paired with a bowknot brooch, designed by Joseph Chaumet in 1922.

Khyeli was established in London and describes itself as a label for women who are “strong, educated and successful while retaining a strong sense of her femininity”, it counts Lady Gaga and Lili Reinhart among its celebrity fans.

Al Otaiba has also championed regional brands during the UAE's French state visit, including a custom skirt suit by Saudi label Ashi Studio.

Speaking to The National in France, Al Otaiba said: "The relationship with France is not one solely based on agreements but also on a common vision for the world and an understanding of each other’s cultures.

"Our ties run deep, and France was one of our first allies back in the 1970s. This special relationship has developed for more than four decades, and now englobes deep and rich collaborations across political, economic, and cultural fields.

"We are proud to host the largest French and Francophone expatriate community in the Gulf, and to be part of a large-scale cooperation on culture and education with a country, for which these themes hold the same importance as they do for us.

"The Louvre Abu Dhabi and the International Organisation of Francophonie programmes are just two examples of that bond."

Scroll through the gallery below to see pictures from the UAE's state visit to France

After touching down in Paris on Sunday, Sheikh Mohamed warmly embraced the French president, describing Macron as a friend and his country as one of the UAE's closest allies.

"I was pleased to arrive in France, a close strategic ally of the UAE, and meet my friend President Emmanuel Macron," Sheikh Mohamed wrote on Twitter in Arabic, English and French.

"Our countries enjoy longstanding partnerships across many fields. We look forward to further collaborations and strengthening ties towards a prosperous future."

Updated: July 20, 2022, 1:33 PM