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April 18 2014

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1 posts tagged "Shireen El Khatib"

Shireen El Khatib, Dubai’s Retail Diva

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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.”