Dubai, United Arab Emirates - August 23rd, 2017: Dubai based fashion designer Lama Jouni, at her studio. Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 at The Design District, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Dubai based fashion designer Lama Jouni, at her studio. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Luxury and liberté: Lama Jouni on her new collection



Inside fashion designer Lama Jouni's Dubai studio, white walls are crafted from luxurious panels reminiscent of Parisian interiors, and clothing is displayed on black bars suspended from the ceiling. The right side of the room is sectioned off to house the designer's production facilities and a fitting room, while Jouni's office is situated at the back, bordered by glass walls. It is decorated with Plexiglas picture frames, a black and gold trinket box adorned with a tassel, and a trio of white candles. A vintage sewing machine sits in a corner, next to a mood board covered in faint sketches.

It's a juxtaposition of contemporary and classical styles, and this element of contrast is also reflected in Jouni's designs – specifically in her latest collection, which was inspired by the history of her home country, Lebanon. "I wanted to embody how the colonisation of the French affected Lebanon and the identity of the Lebanese people," she says.  

Asymmetry and ruffles are given a grown-up edge in her autumn/winter 2017 range, which comprises both street wear and formal wear, from hooded sweatshirts to gowns. "In the collection, you have a lot of contrast between the florals and greens of Lebanon, and a lot of the other side of Lebanon, where you're in your car and you look around and the houses are really messed up," Jouni says.

Inspired by a war-torn community that has famously managed to maintain its spirit, and is known for being fun-loving, glamorous, creative and ambitious, utilitarian cuts are brought to life with glamorous gold touches, while embroidered floral motifs sprout from hemlines of sheer black chiffon. The colour palette is mature and sober, with crimson red and sage green breaking up the jet-black attire. Slouchy black hoodies are embroidered with "Mille Neuf Cent Quarante Trois 1943" – the year that Lebanon gained independence from France, and white T-shirts are emblazoned with "Liberté!".

They're sentiments intended to evoke a celebratory mood, perhaps loosely inspired by Dior's range of feminist T-shirts that have launched a worldwide style craze since debuting on the runway in September last year.

Minimalism is at the heart of Jouni's aesthetic, and it shows in her personal style. The ­designer wears an all-black three-piece outfit consisting of a V-neck T-shirt, wide-leg trousers and an asymmetrical blazer. Black and white Converse Chuck Taylor shoes, a handful of silver rings and on-trend red-orange eyeshadow complete her look.

Jouni says she designs for women who seek clothing that is simple, minimal and practical, with a hint of glamour. "I'm trying to create a brand that caters to women who work, who are independent and who spend their own money, and that's why the clothes are affordable. The most expensive piece is Dh3,000 – and it would be a gown, or a cocktail dress that has a lot of work," she says.

Jouni moved to Paris at the age of 17, where she studied fashion at Esmod, Parsons and L'Istituto Marangoni. "I was really young – 17 – when I moved, and I had no background in street fashion or art or anything. So I got to learn a lot more about history, photography and styling," she says. She remained in Paris and interned with multiple brands such as Reed Krakoff and Rad Hourani. She also worked at Balmain as an assistant patternmaker in the label's atelier.

"I got to know everything – to draft an entire collection, from sketching, to digging into the archives, to seeing it on the runway and assisting on the catwalk I literally saw the entire process," she says. "And that's when I felt like okay, enough. I spent two years doing unpaid internships, and it takes a long time to build a business, so I thought, let me start now while I'm still young."

Jouni, who was raised in Saudi Arabia, now had to decide where to base her brand. "I'm Lebanese, and honestly my country is not very stable. Staying in Europe is very difficult for a Lebanese to start a business there, not because its competitive but just because of paperwork," she says. "My family lives in Saudi Arabia, and there is no way I would go back, especially after living in Paris for eight years. In Dubai, the industry was growing, and I wanted to grow with it."  

Jouni set up her base in Dubai Design District (d3), participated in four seasons of Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD), and was selected last year as the winner of an initiative that enabled her to show at London Fashion Week. The contest was a partnership between FFWD, FAD Institute of Luxury Fashion & Style Dubai and Fashion Scout, and was a part of FFWD's Epic X Samsung programme, which aims to empower emerging designers in the region.

"It was crazy – my first European runway show. The exposure was great, and it opened a lot of doors for me."

She won't be participating in October's edition of FFWD as she is travelling to Paris to showcase her spring/summer 2018 collection in showrooms after Paris Fashion Week. Although she is based in Dubai, Jouni's aspirations point to the creation of an internationally-recognised label.

"My vision for the brand is to build and create an e-commerce [platform] that can reach customers inter-nationally, and then set up my first shop in the UAE or Lebanon," she says.

"Then, one day, I'm hoping I can sell the brand to a private equity company that will turn it into a franchise, and have it everywhere in the world. That's the end goal – to have Lama Jouni in every corner, in every place in the world."

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A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Company profile

Date started: Founded in May 2017 and operational since April 2018

Founders: co-founder and chief executive, Doaa Aref; Dr Rasha Rady, co-founder and chief operating officer.

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: Health-tech

Size: 22 employees

Funding: Seed funding 

Investors: Flat6labs, 500 Falcons, three angel investors

Astroworld
Travis Scott
Grand Hustle/Epic/Cactus Jack

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Ten10 Cricket League

Venue and schedule Sharjah Cricket Stadium, December 14 to 17

Teams

Maratha Arabians Leading player: Virender Sehwag; Top picks: Mohammed Amir, Imad Wasim; UAE players: Shaiman Anwar, Zahoor Khan

Bengal Lions Leading player: Sarfraz Ahmed; Top picks: Sunil Narine, Mustafizur Rahman; UAE players: Mohammed Naveed, Rameez Shahzad

Kerala Kings Leading player: Eoin Morgan; Top picks: Kieron Pollard, Sohail Tanvir; UAE players: Rohan Mustafa, Imran Haider

Pakhtoons Leading player: Shahid Afridi; Top picks: Fakhar Zaman, Tamim Iqbal; UAE players: Amjad Javed, Saqlain Haider

Punjabi Legends Leading player: Shoaib Malik; Top picks: Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan; UAE players: Ghulam Shabber, Shareef Asadullah

Team Sri Lanka Cricket Will be made up of Colombo players who won island’s domestic limited-overs competition

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier

ICC Academy, November 22-28

UAE fixtures
Nov 22, v Malaysia
Nov 23, v Hong Kong
Nov 25, v Bhutan
Nov 26, v Kuwait
Nov 28, v Nepal

ICC T20I rankings
14. Nepal
17. UAE
25. Hong Kong
34. Kuwait
35. Malaysia
44. Bhutan

UAE squad
Chaya Mughal (captain), Natasha Cherriath, Samaira Dharnidharka, Kavisha Egodage, Mahika Gaur, Priyanjali Jain, Suraksha Kotte, Vaishnave Mahesh, Judit Peter, Esha Rohit, Theertha Satish, Chamani Seneviratne, Khushi Sharma, Subha Venkataraman

How The Debt Panel's advice helped readers in 2019

December 11: 'My husband died, so what happens to the Dh240,000 he owes in the UAE?'

JL, a housewife from India, wrote to us about her husband, who died earlier this month. He left behind an outstanding loan of Dh240,000 and she was hoping to pay it off with an insurance policy he had taken out. She also wanted to recover some of her husband’s end-of-service liabilities to help support her and her son.

“I have no words to thank you for helping me out,” she wrote to The Debt Panel after receiving the panellists' comments. “The advice has given me an idea of the present status of the loan and how to take it up further. I will draft a letter and send it to the email ID on the bank’s website along with the death certificate. I hope and pray to find a way out of this.”

November 26:  ‘I owe Dh100,000 because my employer has not paid me for a year’

SL, a financial services employee from India, left the UAE in June after quitting his job because his employer had not paid him since November 2018. He owes Dh103,800 on four debts and was told by the panellists he may be able to use the insolvency law to solve his issue. 

SL thanked the panellists for their efforts. "Indeed, I have some clarity on the consequence of the case and the next steps to take regarding my situation," he says. "Hopefully, I will be able to provide a positive testimony soon."

October 15: 'I lost my job and left the UAE owing Dh71,000. Can I return?'

MS, an energy sector employee from South Africa, left the UAE in August after losing his Dh12,000 job. He was struggling to meet the repayments while securing a new position in the UAE and feared he would be detained if he returned. He has now secured a new job and will return to the Emirates this month.

“The insolvency law is indeed a relief to hear,” he says. "I will not apply for insolvency at this stage. I have been able to pay something towards my loan and credit card. As it stands, I only have a one-month deficit, which I will be able to recover by the end of December." 

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

SERIE A FIXTURES

Saturday Spezia v Lazio (6pm), Juventus v Torino (9pm), Inter Milan v Bologna (7.45pm)

Sunday Verona v Cagliari (3.30pm), Parma v Benevento, AS Roma v Sassuolo, Udinese v Atalanta (all 6pm), Crotone v Napoli (9pm), Sampdoria v AC Milan (11.45pm)

Monday Fiorentina v Genoa (11.45pm)

Essentials

The flights

Emirates and Etihad fly direct from the UAE to Geneva from Dh2,845 return, including taxes. The flight takes 6 hours. 

The package

Clinique La Prairie offers a variety of programmes. A six-night Master Detox costs from 14,900 Swiss francs (Dh57,655), including all food, accommodation and a set schedule of medical consultations and spa treatments.

INVESTMENT PLEDGES

Cartlow: $13.4m

Rabbitmart: $14m

Smileneo: $5.8m

Soum: $4m

imVentures: $100m

Plug and Play: $25m

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 201hp at 5,200rpm

Torque: 320Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km

Price: Dh133,900

On sale: now

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

SPECS

Engine: Dual electric motors with 102kW battery pack

Power: 570hp

Torque: 890Nm

Range: Up to 428km

On sale: Now

Price: From Dh1,700,000

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates


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