A Talented Sister Act

A Talented Sister Act

02 Jun 2014

Three creative mavens chat to Ahlan! about their Tropique C’est Chic showcase

Design doyennes and style sirens have been waxing lyrical about Sarah’s Bags, The Odd Piece furniture and Nasiba Hafiz’s fashion-forward label, yet not even the most ardent fashionistas have cottoned onto the fact that this dynamic trio is, in fact, a creative sister act.

Ahlan! nabs some time with this inspiring sorority to get an insight into what they do, what inspires them, and what their plans for the future are.

What are your individual parts in this design dream team?

Sarah: My label is called Sarah’s Bag. I am a handbag and accessories designer. I think handbags are a very interesting canvas to work on as pretty much anything can be done on them.

Arwa: I operate under The Odd Piece. I have a passion and knack for interiors and home design. I handpick vintage and contemporary furniture and home accessories from around the world for my boutique. 

Nasiba: I am a women’s wear fashion designer; channeling femininity and whimsical glamour into easy beautiful silhouettes under my label Nasiba Hafiz is my passion.

What kicked off your creative flair?

Sarah: Would you believe me if I told you that field research for my Master's thesis in Sociology led me to founding Sarah's Bag?

Arwa: Interiors have been my lifelong passion. The practice run came when I furnished my new home with my husband in Dubai. I sourced pieces from Europe and the Middle East and then I decided to start a collection and create an online boutique for it. I launched The Odd Piece two years ago. 

Nasiba: I studied fashion photography and styling in London; I’m a fan of the ultra feminine 1950s silhouette and the glamour of Egyptian movie stars from that golden era. In 2012, I started by making a leopard print kaftan collection for Ramadan. It was so much fun and so well received that I expanded into a women’s wear line.

Are you close-knit collaborators or solitary toilers?

Arwa: Tropique C’est Chic is our first collaboration but I think there might be more to come. We have a similar aesthetic and each of us expresses that in her own individual way. 

Nasiba: We live in three different countries (The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon) so we usually work individually but thought it would be great to join forces. The plan was actually hatched last summer so it’s great to see this finally coming together.

Sarah: This isn’t going to be a one-time collaboration. I think the woman who buys a Sarah’s Bag would also enjoy wearing a Nasiba Hafiz dress and find a special piece for her home at The Odd Piece.

What are your secret haunts in Dubai?

Arwa: I live in Jumeirah and my boutique faces Safa Park which also happens to be a favourite family haunt; I love hanging out near The Archive. One of my favourite lunch spots is Zurna, the Turkish restaurant next to the boutique, their kunafa is divine. My husband and I also like going to The Ivy, they have very good food and a live band on weekends.

Sarah: I come to Dubai quite often- we've had launches here and taken part in Fashion Forward and Beirut Art Beat. We are also in the process of opening a boutique in Dubai. I love O de Rose, the boutique in Jumeirah. Otherwise I just tag along where my Dubai family takes me!

Nasiba: Dubai for me is more about reconnecting with family and old friends than exploring but I think Qbara is special. I thought it was high time Arabic cuisine went haute and they do it so well! I also hang out at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel during beach season.

Who or what is your creative inspiration?

Sarah: I would have to say our popular culture is great source of inspiration for me; the music we love, the poetry that moves us, the films we watch, the stars we idolize, even the street food and treats we grew up eating.

Arwa: My father: he had impeccable taste and a passion for homes and interiors that I think I got from him. Oh and classic movies in Technicolor!

Nasiba: Traveling somewhere new, the beach, music and love!

What are your favourite pieces from your siblings’ collections? 

Sarah: The Odd Piece’s masterpiece mirrors and chandeliers are showstoppers. I recently got a mirror for my family home in Beirut. I think a Nasiba Hafiz Hawaiian print dress just might be the hot item for my summer.

Arwa: I have been carrying Sarah's Bags for almost a decade. I love her pop art collection. And from Nasiba, I love the African collection.

Nasiba: From The Odd Piece there is a 1950s cabinet that I covet! I am obsessed with the All Eyes On You clutch from Sarah’s Bag.

INFO: Tropique C’est Chic, a collaboration between Sarah’s Bag, Nasiba Hafiz and The Odd Piece, Wed 7 Jun, 5-10pm, The Odd Piece, Al Wasl Square, Al Safa, Dubai, 04 388 3733, the-oddpiece.com