It’s hardly revealing any secret to say that Dubai is a shopper’s paradise. World-class international brands from luxury to mainstream are well represented and easily accessible, and mall shopping has been transformed into a high art form here. However, as Dubai matures, boutiques and other finely curated shopping experiences have increasingly emerged. Local creative talents are also distinctly on the rise, with Made in UAE brands proudly taking their place beside established international ones.

The annually held Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) is the busiest retail season of the year in Dubai and welcomes millions of shoppers and visitors from around the world.

In advance of DSF, Vogue has produced a series of five curated guides covering fashion, jewelry, beauty, culture, and lifestyle. First up: fashion.

If Boutique

Originally founded in Beirut by Johnny and Soha Farah, If Boutique was Dubai’s first concept store. Johnny’s niece Maya Shehadeh brought the concept to Dubai in 2006, choosing a two-story villa with gardens as the setting for her sharply-edited pieces from designers including Rick Owens, Simona Tagliaferri, and Damir Doma, with jewelry by Parts of Four, fragrance by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, and leather handbags and accessories by founder Johnny Farah’s eponymous brand.

Local cult followers visit the moment new collections arrive, and Qatari and Kuwaiti clients regularly stop off with empty suitcases en route to other destinations.

This winter’s just-in collection sees a distinctive prevalence of black.

Unmissable for serious fashion lovers.

The cARTel – the Wearable Art Concept Store

Not so much a concept store as a gallery showcasing wearable art, The cARTel sits easily amongst the hip art galleries in Dubai’s industrial Al Quoz district. Peter Richweisz and May Barber’s finely-curated showroom assembles a broad spectrum of avant-garde designers as diverse as Henrik Vibskov, Iris Van Herpen, Alexis Reyna, Hussein Chalayan, Gareth Pugh, and MM6 alongside homegrown creative talent like Hessa Al Falasi’s HF Boutique label.

The items are presented against a backdrop of fashion-themed art exhibitions and installations. Currently on display: Zeinab Al Hashemi’s ͞Fashion Landscapes, A Collaborative Installation.

The cARTel
Warehouse 6, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Street 8
Tel: + 971 4 388 4341
www.thecartel.me

Sauce

The much-loved and multi award-winning boutique Sauce is a veritable fashion institution in the UAE. And with nine locations, it has pretty much every aspect of fashion covered. Wittily reflecting Dubai’s love of the extravagant, Sauce features exuberant designs for daytime, evening, and the beach, along with an edit for fine jewelry. Sauce regularly showcases emerging talent alongside established contemporary brands, and has separate stores for kids and for the home.

New in store this winter: a limited edition collection of daywear from founder Zayan Ghandour’s Zayan the Label with the message “Love you always” delicately embroidered in Arabic calligraphy.

Sauce
www.shopatsauce.com

Sauce Dubai Mall
First Floor, Fashion Section, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai
Tel: +971 4 339 9696
website

Sauce Village Mall
Ground Floor, The Village Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road
Tel: +971 4 344 7270
website

The Design Shop
Wasl Square Shop 43, Al Wasl Road, Safa Park
Tel: +971 4 388 3488
website

Sauce in the Hood
City Walk Mall
Tel: +971 4 344 1410
website

Sauce On Sea
The Beach, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Dubai Marina
Tel: +971 4 430 4202
website

Sauce Rocks
The Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road
Tel: +971 4 344 0608
website

Saucette
The Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road
Tel: +971 4 344 0012
website

Sauce Marina Mall
First Floor, New Extension, Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi
Tel: +971 2 681 8650
website

West L.A. Comes to Dubai

Saudi Arabian Alia Korayem spent much of her life in L.A. and realized how well its affordable, urban-cool brands would translate to the UAE. Within Dubai, West L.A. is the place to stock up on fun and funky beach and streetwear from contemporary brands from California, Miami, and Australia.

The store is split into two parts: the front-facing women’s section offers the best of party dresses and beachwear by Alice McCall, Private Party, and Style Stalker, while the back-facing men’s section carries t-shirts, shorts, shoes, and accessories by brands like Deus and Duvin. The local brand House of Nomad, by creative talents Ahmed el-Sayed and Saleh al-Banna, is also a must-see.

West L.A. Boutique
Sunset Mall, Jumeirah 3
Tel: + 971 4 394 4248
www.westlaboutique.com

Boutique 1

 

The Boutique 1 experience is somewhat akin to having a glossy magazine spring to life. On request, the store offers a personal stylist to create the perfect outfit for a special event from the boutique’s sharply-focused collection of international brands ranging from Proenza Schouler, Victoria Beckham, and Peter Pilotto to Alaïa, Elie Saab, and Roksanda. The in-house makeup consultant will create the face to complement the look. Alterations are on the house.

Boutique 1The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Dubai Marina
Tel: + 971 4 425 7888
www.boutique1.com

Mall of the Emirates, Fashion Dome
Tel: +971 4 395 1200
www.boutique1.com

Urbanist

While Dubai’s Box Park owes more than a passing nod to London ’s Shoreditch with its edgy pop-up stores in converted shipping containers, the authentic Middle Eastern creativity of Box Park’s fashion boutiques makes it unique.

This is best seen at Urbanist, with Vivetta, Love Moschino, and Olympia Le Tan rubbing sleeves with local designers Latifa Al Shamsi and Aya Khair. Don’t miss the “Cool Finds” section of locally-sourced designers, which includes the Karletena keychain dolls by Abu Dhabi designer Ladyaja, shell and mother-of-pearl jewelry, and furniture.

Urbanist
Boxpark, Al Wasl Road
Tel: +971 4 348 8002
www.urbaniststore.com

The Fashion Vault

The Fashion Vault is a treasure trove bursting with international and local emerging design talents for Muslim women. It offers possibly the widest range of traditional wear in Dubai, from the contemporary chic of ByLaha’s minimalist abayas, to Material Girl’s lavishly-embroidered interpretation, to Outré’s sensuous collection in ultra soft raw linen in subtle shades of grey, white, café au lait, or pearl gray silk, all handmade in the UAE. The Doll House beauty section carries an edit of local favorite Huda Beauty for lips and nails, with US Glam Glow skincare.

The Fashion Vault
Ground Floor, Shop #21-22, Sunset Mall, Jumeirah 3
Tel: + 971 4 321 1111
www.thefashionvaultdubai.com

Sandals with Soul at Capritouch

Italian brand Capritouch offers a beautiful, fresh range of cotton and linen sportswear for men and women in its Dubai Mall boutique. It also includes an in-store customization service to allow customers to create their own open leatherwork sandal design. The fun part is choosing a hue from the vast spectrum of aquamarine, turquoise, fuchsia, tangerine, silver, or gold leather straps, pairing it with a second or third color, or embellishing with one of the brand’s jewel designs. These are then expertly-fitted to the foot on the premises by Italian mastercraftsmen, with initials or name optionally engraved onto the sole. Pro tip: moccasins for men can be produced in tressed leather in Anacapri, which takes between 15-20 days.

Capritouch
Ground Floor, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai
Tel : +971 4 325 3313
www.capritouch.ae

Level Shoes

Level Shoes (previously Level Shoe District) at the Dubai Mall is pure luxury shoe heaven. The 96,000 square foot space is the biggest shoe retail space in the world, with individual boutiques of dizzying opulence for men and women that include Prada, Cadadei, Jimmy Choo, Malone Souliers, Ralph and Russo, Isa Tapia, Giuseppe Zanotti, and more, many of whom feature designs exclusive to the UAE.

Level Shoes
Ground Floor, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai
Tel: + 971 4 350 5333
www.levelshoes.com

The Dubai Mall

No list of shopping in Dubai would be complete without mentioning The Dubai Mall itself, a mall which directly reflects the city’s love of the extravagant, the amazing, and sheer, unadulterated fun. Not only are there thousands of brands ranging from Armani to Zara, the world’s largest shoe shop, and incredible bespoke services, but there is also an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink, a 10 million-liter tank aquarium, and an underwater zoo.

Already the world’s largest mall (over 1 million square feet in size) and next to the world’s tallest building (the Burj Khalifa), The Dubai Mall is about to get even bigger, with an expansion to its luxury quarter set to be completed in the second half of 2017. Until then, have no fear: it’s business as usual for dedicated shoppers.

The Dubai Mall
Downtown Dubai
www.thedubaimall.com

Etoile La Boutique

Owned by prominent fashion entrepreneur Ingie Chalhoub, Etoile La Boutique has received several awards including the Gulf Connoisseur award for the “Best Fashion Boutique”. The boutique offers Chalhoub’s masterful mix of international luxury brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, and Derek Lam, juxtaposed with rising stars. Her own brand, Ingie Paris , can also be discovered here. Etoile La Boutique’s sumptuous, baroque-oriental fusion interior is designed by Jacques Garcia: the walls are covered with more than 350 gold leaves, with original fine art and plush sofas to recline on whilst taking it all in. In addition to the locations in Dubai, Etoile La Boutique also has stores in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Etoile La Boutique
Mall of the Emirates
Tel: + 971 4 341 4166

Wafi City
Tel: + 971 4 327 9132

Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall
Tel: + 971 4 339 9933

The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi
Tel: +971 2 626 6922
etoilelaboutique.com

O-Concept Store

The O of O-Concept store was chosen to symbolize eternity and globalization. (That it is also the first letter of Emirati owner Omar Bin Khediya’s name was “pure serendipity,” he says.)

Be prepared to linger at this destination store, as the beautifully curated mix of Middle Eastern and European fashions for men and women — not to mention the jewelry, furniture, and home accessories — demand close attention. O-Concept Store also carries contemporary Saudi Arabian label Toby by Hatem Alakeel, with embroidered pastel abayas in a light linen and cotton mix from his kimono-inspired Peon collection; evening wear from Wahid Hannan’s Wahid Line; and, exclusively to the UAE, Jeremy Scott. For men, don’t miss celebrity favorite Tom Rebl and swimwear by Safe Milano.

Recuperate with a delectable espresso or cappuccino at the integrated O-Concept Café.

O-Concept Store
Shop #2, Beach Hotel Apartment, Al Hudaiba Road, Jumeirah 1
Tel: + 971 4 345 5557
Website

Sneakers Paris

Parisian cult sneakers store Sneakers Paris has just arrived in the UAE, the brand’s first venture outside France. Sneakers Paris exclusively features the limited edition of Adidas NMD in the UAE, with Adidas Nomads available in three winning styles of gold, silver, and Bronze. The store also stocks limited editions of Nike, Puma, and New Balance for men and women.

Sneakers Paris
First Floor, Sunset Mall, Jumeirah 3
Tel: + 971 4 341 2900
Website

Zoo Concept

The funky Zoo Concept store is located beside the original site of the Dubai Zoo.

It is the perfect showcase for the region’s local talent, housing an eccentric collection of limited edition indie urban streetwear, accessories, and one-off pieces for the home.

Zoo Concept
Villa 142, Jumeirah Road, Jumeirah
Tel: +971 55 224 1538
Website

An Emirati Manifesto at Amongst Few

Less of a store, more of a manifesto: Mike Taylor and Flo Moser co-founded the Amongst Few flagship store to uphold “the traditional Emirati philosophy of simplicity and function with a strong emphasis on quality.” The brand is, Taylor says, “the reflection of a city that is shaping its own identity with an authentic creative vibe at its core.” They designed the store interior in concrete and steel in homage to the industrial backdrop of Taylor’s home town of Birmingham, UK, fused with ash wood and green plants in homage of Moser’s Austrian origins.

The Amongst Few streetwear brand sits alongside Adidas Originals, Nike, Puma, Asics, and New Balance for men and women, along with lifestyle products such as Kuumba Incense, Nocs Audio, Ray Bans, Krink Paint Pens, vinyl LPs, DVDs, and magazines.

Amongst Few also collaborates with a local art gallery selling original artwork from Banksy, Damian Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Takashi Murakami.

Amongst Few
Palm Strip, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1
Tel: +971 4 386 9221
www.amongstfew.com

Human & Beings Pop-Up at Box Park

Minimalism is hardly the norm in Dubai, but Box Park’s Human & Beings strikes a blow for pared-down chic, with linen dresses, cotton pant suits, oversize shirts, and kimono dresses from contemporary labels wittily suspended from a shipping rope rail on cardboard hangers.

Simple leather sandals and rope-soled espadrilles beautifully accessorize the selection.

Must-haves include the Buwood wooden handbags handmade in Italy in walnut with camel leather trim and interiors lined in premium nappa leather.

Human & Beings
Box Park, Al Wasl Road
Tel: +971 50 918 3330

City Walk 

Located between Downtown Dubai and Jumeirah Beach, the new City Walk mall’s contemporary architecture blends seamlessly with its European-style street layout. Most boutiques open both into the mall and out onto the inner courtyard to allow for a stroll in the open air, where shoppers can take in the graffiti street art exhibition currently underway.

City Walk includes a selection of fashion and beauty outlets, as well as dining options for the whole family. Also one to check out: the beautiful new multi-story Level Kids, a whimsical sister store to Level Shoes that offers designer children’s clothing and gifts.

City Walk
Al Wasl and Al Safa road junction, Jumeirah
Tel: +971 4 317 3999
www.citywalk.ae

Mall of the Emirates 

There’s always a buzz at the Mall of the Emirates, home to the Middle East’s first Apple Store, the indoor ski slope Ski Dubai, the Magic Planet Entertainment Centre for kids, and a slate of luxury and high street brands. This month also sees the inauguration of British designer Paul Smith’s new store and Alessandro Michele’s Gucci Garden installation at the Gucci boutique. Ralph Lauren Kids is also hosting a special photo shoot with the Polo Bear.

Mall of the Emirates
Interchange 4, Sheikh Zayed Road
Tel: +971 4 409 9000
www.malloftheemirates.com

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