x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

F1 VIP Lounge goodies

We visit the Flash VIP Lounge to find out which items were popular with the celebrities this year.

Celebrities at this year’s F1 had their own pit stop at the first-ever Flash VIP Lounge, in Cipriani’s watchtower overlooking the track, where they could browse swag with a regional or sporty twist and get their pampering from Azur Spa.

“They liked it because it was niche brands and regional brands that they hadn’t ever seen or discovered before and they got to meet all the designers who made the stuff for them,” says Katherine Raso, the director of marketing and communications for Tactical Connections, which organised the lounge.

One of the hits was Bil Arabi’s jewellery, personalised by the designer Nadine Kanso. The boys from Nickelback received their Arabic initials in gold with leather straps, while the singer Eve got a knuckle ring spelling out “bling” in Arabic, which she liked so much she ordered some more pieces to be designed before she left yesterday.

Stars also had their names translated into Arabic on splashy T-shirts from T-Junction, a creative project by two Emirati sisters.

More regional fashion brands were on show through Grafika Boutique: Eve chose a Bint Thani turban and Dannii Minogue went for a dress from Polka Dot Cat, Amal Haliq jewellery and a Nitiz clutch.

Minogue, above, who visited the Azur Spa every day, also selected a palm frond beach bag by the UAE’s Sougha, woven by Emiratis in the traditional style.

Other visitors included the Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis and Wyclef Jean, who came toting his guitar and jammed impromptu with Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes. McCoy loved his watch from C?T Scuderia, which used the lounge as a springboard to launch its luxury sports watches in the Middle East.