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Shireen El Khatib, Dubai’s Retail Diva


Come February 2010, shoppers in Dubai will be able to peruse the racks at the first Bloomingdale’s outside the United States. The iconic New York department store is slated to anchor the world’s largest indoor shopping center, the Dubai Mall, which clocks in at 12.1 million square feet—and which boasts the world’s largest aquarium. (You should know by now that Dubai is land of the superlative.) The woman behind it all is Shireen El Khatib, the CEO of luxury fashion powerhouse Al Tayer Insignia, which has been instrumental in bringing the likes of Giorgio Armani, Stella McCartney, and Gucci to the Middle East. In fact, Armani was the first high-end fashion designer to set up shop thanks to El Khatib convincing him to do so in 1994 after the city was getting back on its feet after the Gulf War. (Bulgari beat Mr. Armani by a year, building its Dubai outpost in 1993—also El Khatib’s doing.) At that time, she and her team had their work cut out for them in educating the clientele on international luxury standards—like the concept of not haggling for merch. But that has since changed dramatically. “There’s a young customer who watches Sex and the City and was college-educated in the U.S.,” said El Khatib of the Dubai fashion customer, on a recent visit to New York. “They want everything that’s new and trendy. And they have an interest in American fashion over European.” Bloomie’s Dubai will echo the U.S. store, particularly Bloomie’s Soho. With 146,000 square feet over stories, the department store will feature a Diane von Furstenberg shop-in-shop and a heavy presence of contemporary and denim labels, along with jewelry from Judith Ripka and Faraone Mennella and bags from Nancy Gonzalez. (There will also be a 40 Carrots restaurant, complete with its cult-favorite frozen yogurt—sure to be a hit in the desert heat.) And in addition to apparel will be a 50,000-square-foot home store, which might seem like a strange import, until El Khatib explains. “People in Dubai know that Bloomingdale’s is strong on home,” she says. “And home is very important. Just look at all the new construction. You need to decorate.”



  1. RaabZze says:

    Shirin is an inspiring woman and I admire her for all her contributions in Dubai’s luxury fashion. She was the first person that motivated me to bring my dream of launching my own label of conservaitve chic ready-to-wear line, into life. The rest as they say is history! Thank you Shirin and keep up the marvelous work of making Dubai a happening fashion hub. Thank you for this style file blog! Rabia Z.

  2. pink_lady1001 says:

    I find this article very interesting as globalisation is an absolutely vital part of this ever expanding and developing economy. Online shopping is obviously an important part of this process. It makes shopping so easy and much more accessible!

    My favourite shop is constantly changing but my favourite online store always stays the same as I can find all my favourite designers in one place and without even leaving the house! http://www.shopgoldyn,com absolutely is the best!

  3. cocorica says:

    Shireen is a homewrecker.

  4. benish says:

    i realy lke ur work iam also a fashion student and i realy wana be lke u famous lke u iam veri much inspired by u

  5. zolda says:

    I think that this story is fake because I find this women verry funny and cluelees when it comes to fashion , relly she is a kind of women that get’s everything by fu**ing with her boss ,I hope that she will not BE COUNSIDER FOR an example to young women ….

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