UAE: How hit series Emily In Paris has influenced fashion trends locally with its bold style statements

Ahead of the release of latest season, we asked UAE-based designers and influencers how the protagonist would dress up if she were in Dubai

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Somya Mehta

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Season 3 of the Netflix series premiered on December 21
Season 3 of the Netflix series premiered on December 21

Published: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 10:02 PM

“Dress to impress” is a term we’ve often heard when it comes to making sartorial choices. However, Emily In Paris believes otherwise. When it comes to playing dress-up, Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins) is all about “Dress to express”, rather than playing to the Parisian crowd. Ever since its first season in 2020, the Netflix web series has left quite a mark on pop culture, creating memorable moments in fashion to showcase an American misfit’s journey in finding her feet in the fashion capital of the world.

Lily Collins, who plays Emily Cooper in the show, in a zebra print jacquard jacket from Dolce & Gabbana. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Lily Collins, who plays Emily Cooper in the show, in a zebra print jacquard jacket from Dolce & Gabbana. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Continuing to make bold statements through the show’s visual grammar, with neon hues, edgy silhouettes, mismatched patterns and quirky accessories, costume designer Marylin Fitoussi creates a magnificent clash of colours in the latest season, with the outfits yet again taking a life of their own. And not to forget, Collins’ freshly cut bangs are a whole new mood!

“If 50 per cent of the people loved the show and 50 per cent hated it, that means we provoked some kind of a reaction. What I did was not neutral. You can like it or hate it, but it was a real statement,” said Fitoussi in a conversation with wwd.com. She succeeded Sex and the City designer Patricia Field as lead costume designer for this season.

A still from Season 3 of Emily In Paris, with Emily and Mindy (played by Ashley Park). Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
A still from Season 3 of Emily In Paris, with Emily and Mindy (played by Ashley Park). Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Last week, Netflix Mena celebrated the new season of Emily In Paris with an exclusive premiere in Dubai, giving the show’s protagonist a Dubai makeover on a pink runway as bright as her outfits. Some of the finest fashion labels in the Arab world, including Lili Blanc, Amato, Bazaza, Bil Arabi by Nadine Kanso, Ilyes Ouali, among others, came together to showcase outfits and accessories inspired by Emily’s enigmatic persona as part of ‘Emily’s Closet’, with a Dubai twist.

Fashion labels from the Arab world came together to create Emily’s Closet at the Dubai premiere of the Netflix show. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Fashion labels from the Arab world came together to create Emily’s Closet at the Dubai premiere of the Netflix show. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

With its third season out this week, we asked some fashion designers and influencers around town how the popular series has inspired dressing trends in the city and how one can channel their inner Emily — in Dubai.

Furne Amato

Furne Amato is the co-founder and creative director of Amato Couture — a pioneering Dubai-based fashion couture atelier that has dressed world-renowned celebrities, including Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Camila Cabello and Nicki Minaj. The designer also showcased some of his latest pieces as part of ‘Emily’s Closet’ at the show’s Dubai premiere.

Furne Amato, co-founder and creative director of Amato Couture
Furne Amato, co-founder and creative director of Amato Couture

Q) The outfits donned in the show have become iconic. How do you think it has inspired fashion in the UAE?

The UAE is a nation that embraces change, trends and innovations quite seriously, and with the fashion trends that Emily In Paris set in Season 1 and 2, it is undeniable that the UAE fashion community got inspired with the chic, avant-garde looks in the series.

Q) Lily Collins’ character, Emily, breaks away from the conventions. How important is confidence when it comes to owning your style?

Confidence is the foundation of fashion. It is the attitude that makes the outfits standout, never the price tag. If the woman knows how to carry herself in whatever outfit she’s in, then the real beauty will blossom.

Q) Your style tips for people who want to channel their inner Emily and experiment with their outfits…

Do not be afraid to break the rules. Continue to experiment and find your inner Emily.

Q) Do you see similarities within the fashion landscape in Paris and in Dubai?

Absolutely. The extravagance and opulence are some of the things that are similar between Paris and Dubai. It’s not surprising that these two cities are now the top players in terms of global fashion.

Q) If Emily were in Dubai, how would she dress up?

She will definitely be wearing a couture Amato ensemble — a sweet rebel chic with edgy detail. She will definitely be a lady you wouldn’t miss in a crowd.

This look from Amato Couture was part of Emily's Closet at the Dubai premiere of the show
This look from Amato Couture was part of Emily's Closet at the Dubai premiere of the show

Q) From Emily’s ‘more is more’ vibe to Camille’s classic Parisian silhouettes to Mindy’s edgy attires, who’s style do you resonate with?

I see a little bit of myself in each of the characters but Amato as a brand is about ‘more is more’. We love big embellishments and quirky silhouettes.

Farhana Bodi

Born in India, raised in South Africa and based in Dubai, Farhana Bodi, popularly known for starring in the Netflix reality show Dubai Bling, is a social media personality and businesswoman, promoting international luxury and lifestyle ventures.

Farhana Bodi is popularly known for starring in the Netflix reality show Dubai Bling
Farhana Bodi is popularly known for starring in the Netflix reality show Dubai Bling

Q) The outfits donned in the show have become iconic. How do you think it has inspired fashion in the UAE?

Emily in Paris is colourful, bold and a lot of fun. The looks are not only on top of the trends but also extremely wearable, especially if you like to go all out. It is not only inspiring to my generation but I also notice it has made a lot of impact on the younger girls in the UAE, particularly, the Gen Z. They love experimenting with bold colours, mixing prints and statement accessories.

Q) Lily Collins’ character, Emily, breaks away from the conventions. How important is confidence when it comes to owning your style?Confidence comes from within and fashion for me is deeply personal. I feel Emily breaks all the rules and I love it!

Q) Your style tips for people who want to channel their inner Emily and experiment with their outfits…

Channel your inner Emily and wear fun colours and lots of patterns. Highlight your looks with statement accessories — cool shades, fun phone cases and for the Parisian touch, add red lipstick.

Q) Do you see similarities within the fashion landscape in Paris and in Dubai?

Both the cities have their own touch. In Paris, its chic and classic, whereas in Dubai, it’s fun and bling.

'Both the cities have their own touch. In Paris, its chic and classic, whereas in Dubai, it’s fun and bling,' says Bodi.
"Both the cities have their own touch. In Paris, its chic and classic, whereas in Dubai, it’s fun and bling," says Bodi.

Q) If Emily were in Dubai, how would she dress up?

If Emily was in Dubai, she would wear everything she wore in Paris but with more gold and a whole lot of bling.

Q) From Emily’s ‘more is more’ vibe to Camille’s classic Parisian silhouettes to Mindy’s edgy attires, who’s style do you resonate with?

Definitely Emily, she is my favourite fashionista.

Hala Owais

Born and raised in Dubai, Hala Owais is a beauty educator, influencer and makeup artist who loves to create beauty and fashion related content on social media.

Hala Owais, a Dubai-based beauty educator
Hala Owais, a Dubai-based beauty educator

Q) The outfits donned in the show have become iconic. How do you think it has inspired fashion in the UAE?

The show has inspired fashion in the region, especially amongst the younger lot. The whole concept of wearing hats really kicked off after the show made its mark in 2020.

Q) Lily Collins’ character, Emily, breaks away from the conventions. How important is confidence when it comes to owning your style?

Emily’s character showed us that you can take bold decisions and be yourself with utmost confidence. Confidence is the most important accessory.

Q) Your style tips for people who want to channel their inner Emily and experiment with their outfits…

Pick two of your favourite colours and mix them together. You’d be surprised how good it looks; it’s a great way to channel your inner Emily

Q) Do you see similarities within the fashion landscape in Paris and in Dubai?

The concept of layering jewels and accessories is common in both cities. The Parisian style includes accessorising and we love doing that in Dubai.

Q) If Emily were in Dubai, how would she dress up?

If Emily was in Dubai, she would definitely get inspired by all the cultural and traditional outfits.

'The whole concept of wearing hats really kicked off after the show made its mark in 2020,' says Owais.
"The whole concept of wearing hats really kicked off after the show made its mark in 2020," says Owais.

Q) From Emily’s ‘more is more’ vibe to Camille’s classic Parisian silhouettes to Mindy’s edgy attires, who’s style do you resonate with?

I’d be in between Emily’s and Mindy’s styles. I gravitate towards a lot of sparkle and feathers, which is something the character of Mindy does often.

Nadine Kanso

Nadine Kanso is the founder of Bil Arabi, a renowned, homegrown jewellery brand. Kanso’s pieces are inspired by Arabic calligraphy in a contemporary setting. She also showcased some of her pieces for ‘Emily’s Closet’.

Nadine Kanso, founder of Bil Arabi, a renowned, homegrown jewellery brand
Nadine Kanso, founder of Bil Arabi, a renowned, homegrown jewellery brand

Q) The outfits donned in the show have become iconic. How do you think it has inspired fashion in the UAE?

The UAE, Dubai in particular, has become a place where fashion thrives and people are inclined to what is fashionable and the latest trend. A huge following from the region watches Emily In Paris and await what she is wearing in each episode, being inspired by her diverse styles.

Q) Lily Collins’ character, Emily, breaks away from the conventions. How important is confidence when it comes to owning your style?

Confidence is vital, and more so when it comes to fashion as you are showing your character... especially if it is bold and unapologetic.

Q) Your style tips for people who want to channel their inner Emily and experiment with their outfits…

You have to first be yourself to be true to who you are. When it comes to Emily, her style has a great variety on the show, so one can choose what resonates for them, just have the love for fashion and channel your inner Emily!

Q) Do you see similarities within the fashion landscape in Paris and in Dubai?

I would not compare cities when it comes to fashion, every city offers a different lifestyle. But in recent years, Dubai has had so much to offer, from emerging designers to style hubs such as Dubai Design District (D3) and institutions like Arab Fashion Council. There is a lot to be done and we are ready for it.

Nadine's collection from Bil Arabi, which was part of Emily's Closet in the Dubai premiere
Nadine's collection from Bil Arabi, which was part of Emily's Closet in the Dubai premiere

Q) If Emily were in Dubai, how would she dress up?

If Emily was in Dubai, she’d be seen donning beach outfits, wearing Kaftans and big hats, and attend events and galas in huge, chic gowns.

Q) From Emily’s ‘more is more’ vibe to Camille’s classic Parisian silhouettes to Mindy’s edgy attires, who’s style do you resonate with?

I would be 3-in-1! Bold, colourful and sometimes, ‘more is more’.

Chateau Ali

Chateau Ali is a Dubai-based fashion designer, who founded her own label in 2013. She loves creating pieces that celebrate the female figure, while pulling inspiration from classic pieces.

Chateau Ali, Dubai-based fashion designer
Chateau Ali, Dubai-based fashion designer

Q) The outfits donned in the show have become iconic. How do you think it has inspired fashion in the UAE?

With all the diversity and talent in the UAE, it’s joyful to see people combine their cultural backgrounds and individuality into their outfits, just like Emily does in the show.

Q) Lily Collins’ character, Emily, breaks away from the conventions. How important is confidence when it comes to owning your style?

There is no better way to express fashion than with confidence, it is what makes you feel and look your best.

Q) Your style tips for people who want to channel their inner Emily and experiment with their outfits…

Emily follows her own trends and portrays her personality through fashion. I encourage everyone to figure out what makes them feel their best, and not to force yourself to constantly follow trends. Experiment with colours and cuts to find a style that feels like you.

Q) Do you see similarities within the fashion landscape in Paris and in Dubai?

Most definitely. Both Paris and Dubai are home to well-known fashion brands while also being diverse hubs for upcoming talent.

'There’s no better place than Dubai for Emily to be Emily! Dubai is the city that allows you to comfortably celebrate who you are through fashion and be your true self,' says Ali.
"There’s no better place than Dubai for Emily to be Emily! Dubai is the city that allows you to comfortably celebrate who you are through fashion and be your true self," says Ali.

Q) If Emily were in Dubai, how would she dress up?

There’s no better place than Dubai for Emily to be Emily! Dubai is the city that allows you to comfortably celebrate who you are through fashion and be your true self. I think Emily would feel inspired by all the different cultures in the city, and pull elements of inspiration from each to incorporate into her style.

Q) From Emily’s ‘more is more’ vibe to Camille’s classic Parisian silhouettes to Mindy’s edgy attires, who’s style do you resonate with?

I’m definitely more of a Camille day-to-day, and Emily when I wear my own designs and dress up for special occasions.

Shanti Sur

Originally from The Philippines, Shanti Sur is a Dubai-based lifestyle influencer, who loves to dress up and be a little ‘extra’ when it comes to fashion.

Shanti Sur, Dubai-based lifestyle influencer
Shanti Sur, Dubai-based lifestyle influencer

Q) The outfits donned in the show have become iconic. How do you think it has inspired fashion in the UAE?

Emirati fashion has always been exquisite and it’s definitely one of the most fashion-forward countries in the world. I think it has evolved through the years from traditional Emirati garments to adapting to vivacious and avant-garde trends.

Q) Lily Collins’ character, Emily, breaks away from the conventions. How important is confidence when it comes to owning your style?

Confidence is everything. You can make anything look high fashion with just the right attitude.

Q) Your style tips for people who want to channel their inner Emily and experiment with their outfits…

Stay curious! Never be afraid to explore new (or old) fashion styles until you find your own.

Q) If Emily were in Dubai, how would she dress up?

The UAE is certainly one of the emerging fashion hubs. Both Paris and Dubai have the same enthusiasm for fresh new styles and breaking fashion stereotypes.

'There’s something really empowering about donning vivid pieces,' says Sur.
"There’s something really empowering about donning vivid pieces," says Sur.

Q) If Emily were in Dubai, how would she dress up?

Emily thrives in colours and bold fashion choices. She would probably style a traditional Abaya with saucy heels and a statement handbag.

Q) From Emily’s ‘more is more’ vibe to Camille’s classic Parisian silhouettes to Mindy’s edgy attires, who’s style do you resonate with?

I lean more towards Emily’s preppy and sweet style. There’s something really empowering about donning vivid pieces but I’m also not one to turn down a nice pressed suit or a camp dramatic number!

somya@khaleejtimes.com


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