Think it’s all big brand name dollies, OTT Hotels and Jumeirah Janes who brunch?
Well, you’re on the money, honey, but Dubai’s ritziest strip is also home to a terrific bunch of established local designers and indie boutiques. Here’s how to avoid mall-itis – just remember to book a car and a driver. Purse out, Pamela!
Begin your retail fest by directing your driver to O’ de Rose, a pretty bougainvillea-strewn suburban villa that opens up into an Ali Baba’s cave of funky fashion, furniture and trinkets. Sip on rosewater as you pore over colourful contempo artisan finds spanning embroidered ottomans, bevelled mirrors and spangly or flouro keffiyehs from Arabic luminaries like Nada Debs and Kafka Goes Pink.
Arab-boho chic box ticked, scoot on towards Umm Al Sheif St (off Beach Rd) to discover the urban, concrete guerrilla-style IF Boutique. A welcome, androgynous antidote to Dubai’s brassier boutiques, IF is home to the captains of minimalism – think Yohji, Demeulemeester and Comme, plus indie tees and studded leather paraphernalia.
Right next door to IF is standout DAS Collection for high falutin’ abaya couture. We’ve long been fans of sisters Reem and Hind Beljafla’s stylish update of the trad middle eastern cloak-dress, and here you’ll find rails of flowing, asymmetrical, vibrantly hued, silk organza pieces embellished with sequins, metal beadwork and embroidery. Modern, glam yet appropriate, there’s a good reason why their designs fly in Harrods and Saks.
Back into the motor you hop and onto Jumeirah Beach Rd to discover Bambah repping quirky vintage ready-to-wear with a girlie twist that won’t break the bank. The brainchild of Egypt-born Maha Abdul Rasheed and a hit with local fashion editors, the boutique’s specialty is glad rags from the ’30s to the ’80s sourced from as far afield as Amsterdam, Berlin and Tokyo
Crikey, by now you must be one peckish petal. Fret not, as you’re close to styley organic caff Comptoir 102, replete with macrobiotic menu and dainty three-course lunch for the Goop-esque crowd.
Refreshed, it’s a mere 400m totter to faux-med The Village Mall for S*uce, the original jewel-box of a boutique by superstar Lebanese designer-buyer Zayan Ghandour. A one-stop shop for multi-brand party frocks, wafty kaftans, cult designer jeans and rainbow coloured drifty nothings… You haven’t seriously shopped in Dubai until you’ve been, and been seen, here.
By now your credit card will have suffered some serious flexing, and so have your tired trotters, so bookend the day with some right royal pampering. The sleek, chic, women-only urban-Asian retreat SensAsia Spa has a loyal expat wife following for its superb range of massage, facials and body treatments – book in advance for the hot stone massage with cocoa butter – divine!
Afterwards, you can pop downstairs for tea and naughty treats at mock Victorian pantry Shakespeare & Co, or indulge in yet more beautification at ivory tinged salon par excellence Sisters Beauty Lounge. You’re in the city’s finest hands for a new do, blow out or pedi, with ultra-luxe treatments including a lava shell massage and La La Express lash service. For something altogether more indulgent, try the semi-permanent mink lash extensions. Ooh, you flutter-bug you.
IF Boutique, 26 Umm Al Sheif Rd, Dubai. +971 4 394 7260, ifboutiquedubai.com
DAS Collection, 16 Umm Al Sheif Rd, Dubai. +971 4 395 2427, dascollection.com
Bambah, 142 Jumeirah Beach Rd, Dubai. +971 5 5224 1538, bambah.com
SensAsia Spa, Village Mall, Jumeirah Beach Rd, Dubai. +971 4 349 8850, sensasiaspas.com
Shakespeare & Co, Village Mall, Jumeirah Beach Rd, Dubai. +971 4 344 6228, shakespeare-and-co.com
Sisters Beauty Lounge, Village Mall, Jumeirah Beach Rd, Dubai. +971 4 3420787, sistersbeautylounge.com
O’de Rose, 999 Al Wasl Rd, Umme Suqeim, Dubai. +971 4 348 7990, o-derose.com
For more bespoke itineraries and shopping insight, get your mitts on a LUXE Dubai guide…