Global shopper Zayan Ghandour, the co-owner and creative director of S*uce, tells us what shoppers are snapping up at the moment.
Appliqué and lace and all things pretty
Anything and everything with lace has been popular this season. Prada did a whole collection for autumn/winter 2008/2009 with lace and all the designers picked up on it, interpreting it into tops and dresses and all things dainty. We have seen women coming in and asking for things with lace trims or appliquéd tops and dresses.
Brands like Vanessa Bruno and Anna Sui, who do a lot of lacework, have worked very well this season. The ethnic, boho Gypsy print that was all over the Gucci runway - the paisley prints with the chunky studded belt - has also been picked up by other designers and sold very well. We have a brand called Odd Molly that echoes this look. Anna Sui did it very nicely, too. Philip Lim's little bejewelled dresses have been selling very well for the past weeks now that the party season is here. Chunky bling embellishment is everywhere, whether it's gold studs or Swarovski crystals.
In accessories, we stock a beautiful brand called Shorouk, which makes vintage-look sequined necklaces. She used to be a designer for Christian Lacroix and they're fabulously done. All the customers love them. We've also had stackable bracelets on offer recently where you buy six for Dh100 and we couldn't keep them in stock. Literally everyone who walked in would buy one. Aila clutches, which are oversized and come in neon, tan or covered in lace, are also selling extremely well.
We have a new delivery that's just arrived from Toywatch, who make neon-coloured watches. We had to reorder them as soon as they arrived and there is a waiting list for each colour. There's also a denim brand which we're super-excited about called Current/Elliott, which is due in store very soon. As of January, I go back on the buying trail as the shows start in Paris. Buying is not a science. When you see something, you know it's for you. I go a lot by my instinct and what I think people are going to be asking for next. Winter is often much harder to buy for in somewhere like the UAE. I try to inject colour into winter collections, even though in Europe and the US it's all blacks and browns and greys. And I try to keep the textures soft, not heavy.
What we buy for S*uce is anything with detail; anything that has hanger appeal. We don't go for plains or basics. There are already so many brands that do this very well with the perfect cut. We go out looking for detailed pieces that have the wow factor. I am always surprised by how popular some items are because we do take risks on a lot of smaller brands, not just local brands. We buy from Brazil, Japan and Germany. There was this German brand called Star Styling that did huge, oversized T-shirts with fluorescent metallic printing. It's not something that you can just throw together with a pair of jeans. You would have to be very creative to know how to wear them. But they flew off the shelves. Whether people wore them as tunics with leggings or as dresses, I don't know, but I would be interested to see who bought them and what they did with them, because it takes a bit of imagination to wear something like that.
Customers these days are becoming more and more style savvy. They know what they're looking for, and they put a look together easily. People who come in are keen to experiment and take risks, which is what we love at S*uce. Now that the economy is all doom and gloom, everyone seems to want to put in that extra bit of effort to find things that are really special. People are moving away from basics and plains and looking for something a little more interesting. Luckily, that's what we do best, so we're in our element.
* Gemma Champ