Alice & Olivia has a strong presence in the United Arab Emirates. The brand, which is sold at Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdale’s in Dubai, operates two stores there with partner Chalhoub Group, as well as a unit in Qatar.
Stacey Bendet, creative director of Alice & Olivia, recently completed a two- and-a-half day whirlwind tour of the UAE, which included socializing with royalty and meet-and-greets with customers.
“It was so exciting to see everything we built there,” Bendet said. “There’s so much development. We’re going to open a few more stores there.”
While the economy has been slowing in the region, Bendet said, “They’re having some international traffic issues due to terrorism. Our business is very strong there. We’re the number one contemporary brand at Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdale’s.”
During her stay in Dubai, Bendet presided over a lunch for top customers of Harvy Nichols and Bloomingdale’s and hosted “an amazing event with NAMA.” The organization was launched by Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, who is also the royal patron of the Sharjah Business Women Council, and is dedicated to elevating the role of women and enhancing their opportunities.
Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, which helps women establish themselves in the luxury craft and design markets by promoting their creativity, and falls under the NAMA umbrella, was also a beneficiary of the event.
“I thought of Dubai as being more about tourists,” Bendet said. “They have a huge amount of people who just go there to shop. So many people live there now. There are two groups of women, one group is from the region and is starting to become global empowered citizens. The other, is women who have migrated there from all over the world, Lebanon, Syria and Australia.”
Bendet’s other activities in the UAE included “a photo shoot in the desert for Elle magazine, and a big brand event at the One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel at the Arabian Court.”
Bendet said she designed a caftan exclusively for Dubai. The cream-colored lace caftan embroidered with red flowers and priced at $998, sold out in two days. “The customers are a little more conservative,” Bendet said. “We have to do special pieces where we can cover their arms. We also have to think about the weight of the fabrics there. They love it when we do things for the Dubai woman.”