My Style: Haleh Nia


Photo: Courtesy of Haleh Nia

Which new designers do you follow and why?

I have tremendous respect for all of the new talent coming out of London, particularly for the designers working with prints, such as Mary Katrantzou and Erdem. Prints hadn’t been done correctly for so many seasons, but these two just get it right.

Please describe your style in three words.

Uptown meets downtown.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Overthinking the process.

Do you believe in role models?

When it comes to business, yes. When it comes to style, no.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Leather, despite the fact that I live in one of the hottest climates in the world. I own far too many leather jackets for a city that’s infamous for its year-round sunshine.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

Showy-showy, 'Look-how-rich-I-am' style. We’ve, unfortunately, got it in spades here in Dubai.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

A balance of both. I make conservative outfit choices along with bold accessory choices. I’m a sucker for an insanely high pair of heels in a crazy style.

What are the rules, if any, in the way you dress?

Given the nature of the heels I just described, my one rule is to be comfortable in what I’m wearing, since my feet will be hurting so much.

Celebrities and style...

Provide inspiration, but it is not enough. Look to models, 'it' girls, the runways, and streets for thought-provoking style.

One garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

For fear of sounding like a broken record, I will forgo the jacket, and not just the leather jacket, but all manner of blazers which I depend on daily to sharpen up my office style, for the crazy heels and/or a statement necklace.

A woman should always look like...

Herself, only better.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My exceptional mother, who is perfectly dressed and groomed even on a trip to the grocery store.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

If it’s a particularly busy week, I’ll plan my outfits ahead on the weekend and will hang them outside of my closet on a rack for easy access. On other days, when I don’t have my wardrobe planned, I’ll dress from my feet up, or will just grab whatever my latest purchase is. I don’t like saving outfits for special occasions. If it’s new, I have to wear it right then and there.

What is your biggest regret?

Not starting Savoir Flair sooner. I was 23 when it launched; I wish my obituary would have read 21.

The three essential things a woman should know about style are...

Dress for yourself; dress for yourself; dress for yourself.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

Other than a late-night addiction to online shopping from my bed? No.

We will never see you wearing...

My hair up in a chignon, especially if I’m wearing a floor-length gown. If I’m dressed up, something else has to look dressed down. I have a legitimate fear of looking too 'done.'

The most stylish person you have ever seen?

My best friend Ahmad Daabas, the deputy editor of Velvet and the founder and editor of the Middle East’s first online magazine for men, He always, always looks impeccable, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s drop-dead gorgeous.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Her hair or her manicure.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

Any Alexander McQueen piece from before his tragic passing. Though I love what Sarah Burton is doing with the label now as well.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

Chanel. Clichéd but true. The collections are reinvented every season, yet somehow, magically, are true to the codes of the fashion house.

One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is...

Her under things. They are the foundation of well-dressed style.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

I know a lot of editors who would fight me to the death on this, but no. You can be both comfortable and stylish at once.

Who would you like to see next in My Style€?

I would love to see other Middle Eastern editors interviewed here. Louise Nichol from Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Sofia Guellaty from Masquerade, and Ahmad Daabas from Velvet and AMDMode are but a few.

The best word of advice you have ever heard?

Do one thing a day that scares you. And do what you love, so your job feels more like a hobby than a career.

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