How many times have we just thrown on the first clothes we set eyes upon when we open our cupboards in the morning, and then regretted the choice as we go through the day, meeting people who are impeccably dressed, completely composed and professional, giving them that automatic edge?

By Anupama V. Chand

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Published: Mon 19 Jan 2004, 2:37 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:42 AM

A meeting with an Image Consultant probably still seems a far-fetched choice for people in the UAE and the Middle East, but for Montreaux-based Annabelle Utelli, image is the first thing one needs to be concerned about while changing careers, getting married, getting a new look to improve your self-esteem, hosting or attending a corporate lunch... well the sky is the limit, she says, when it comes to why people need to look and behave their best!

City Times caught up with Annabelle Utelli at the start of her brief visit to the UAE, at the Swiss Embassy in Abu Dhabi...

Annabelle says that her interest in the Emirates began sometime back, and that over the past two years, she has had over 30 students from the UAE, young women who impressed her with their kindness and their apparent courtesy, which she regrets are rapidly disappearing qualities in more advanced countries like Switzerland.

From her early beginnings as Director of a watch and jewellery company in Geneva, to her fascination with colour consultancy and workshops on savoir-faire, dress and behaviour in the workplace, which she has now been doing over the last 10 years, Annabelle is a woman who wears many hats!

Speaking of which, she believes, hats and other accessories, properly selected, may be the key to achieving a new look everyday, while retaining your own image and identity! Sporting two pearl ear-rings, a grey one in her right ear and a white one in her left ("because my right ear is slightly longer and asymmetrical when compared to the left, so I try to make the left stand out," she explains) to blend with her grey jacket, pale pink blouse and grey skirt, Annabelle is in the UAE this time to explore future opportunities for workshops and consultations. She is giving presentations to groups of young and older women, and will be moving to Dubai on January 22, for a three-day schedule there.

"Impressions are something that last a lifetime - only seven per cent of who you are is actually remembered, 38 per cent is your voice, gesture and what you say, while 55 per cent of that impression comes from the way you dress," she says.

A master at packing light, she believes that finding something to wear everyday, is all about choosing the right colours and fabrics of trousers, jackets and scarves so that you can combine them to fit different moods and occasions.

"Buy good quality stuff and colours that suit you, so that you don't need to buy loads and loads of clothes, and still grumble that you have nothing to wear," she advises fashion-savvy men and women.

Annabelle is also a qualified Visagist, who studies the morphology of the human face, and has developed her own Optical Look concept, where she is in a position to advice people what frames and glasses would best suit the person they are, in addition to training them on proper table manners, business etiquette and polite conversation.

She warns that if called in for a consultation, she would need a minimum of four hours for the first sitting, following which she could hold other sessions, where she checks out the wardrobe of the client, and suggests colours and fabrics that would best suit them, or even if called upon to do so, go shopping to help change the client's wardrobe.

Those wishing to consult Annabelle can call the Swiss Embassy for details.

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