Dubai’s emergent fashion scene, creative designers and influential fashionistas have collectively inspired the imminent rise of boutique culture within the city. Alia Korayem, a young Egyptian entrepreneur, aware of the excitement in the industry decided Dubai would be the perfect location to establish her latest venture. After living in Jeddah and Los Angeles for most of her life, Korayem’s opportune move to the city, prompted her first foray into the world of fashion, the opening of her West L.A. Boutique on the 24th of March 2012 in Sunset Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road.
Appearing as though it has been uprooted straight from Robertson Boulevard, a street renowned for its distinctive boutiques, habitual celebrity spottings, swarming paparazzi, hip hangouts and eateries, West L.A. Boutique carries brands reflective of the contemporary and eclectic spirit of Los Angeles. Korayem’s attuned penchant for L.A. fashion and celeb-inspired looks, handpicks the boutique’s clothing, accessories and shoes from young L.A. and Australian based designers, bringing together trendy, unique and exclusive pieces to those looking to express a more individualistic and signature style.
West L.A. Boutique boasts a new collection every week, introducing a new concept to Dubai, ensuring high-quality looks that are fresh, innovative and on the cutting-edge. Capsule collections from a trove of young designers and labels give a modern approach to the laid-back California style, the range offers Bec & Bridge, Blank NYC, Cameo, Chaser, Finders Keepers, Friend of Mine, For Love & Lemons, Jessica Hart Pencey Standard, Keepsake, Maurie & Eve, Mileti, Mink Pink, Motel, Nanushka, Naven, One Teaspoon, Lauren Conrad’s Paper Crown, Pencey Standard, Shakuhachi, Stylestalker, Sophomore, Unif and Nicole Richie’s Winter Kate.
Modeled after the boutiques Korayem fell in love with in L.A., West L.A. Boutique promises shoppers a personable experience, with accommodating and trendy staff members ready to provide clients with exceptional customer service. The boutique has made high-street fashion looks from Santa Monica and Beverly Hills accessible to shoppers, with affordable designer pieces sold at bargain prices, ranging from two-hundred to no more than two-thousand Emirati dirhams. Presently a part-sale is being held on selected items at the boutique, so make sure you stop by and pick up this season’s latest must-haves, whether you are looking to pull a fun ready-to-wear outfit or rock a glamorous late-night look.
Imbued with bright and balmy tones, the boutique interiors conjure a myriad of senses of a picturesque L.A., the sound of breaking waves lapping the shore, a play of lights as the sun glistens on the ocean-blue, a soft breeze blowing through the palm trees, and sun-kissed surfers and bathing beauties dotting the golden beaches.
The boutique is open and spacious, with concrete flooring and walls lined with backlit walnut wood shelving units that hold clothing divided according to their designer label. Clothes are found in a variety of styles leaving it up to the client to mix and match their outfits. Styles vary from fun and flirtatious floral and animal prints, to edgier spiked and bold detailed finishes, from sophisticated silhouettes, clean shapes and wearable couture, to vintage, punk-rock and street style.
Display tables with Plexiglas cases exhibit ACB, Pascal Mouwad and Kim Kardashian’s collaborative effort in Belle Noel, Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow, Low Luv and Vanessa Mooney accessories, alongside Blank NYC denim, Soludos espadrilles, Matiko and Senso shoes. Accessories are the fastest moving items in the boutique, and are designed in a variety of materials and styles, which include amulet and charm jewelry, necklaces, chains, cuffs, bangles and chunky rings with geometric designs and mother-of-pearl accents, as well as GAIA floral head bands, oversized HOH sunglasses and Beracamy, Cleobella and J.J. Winters bags.
The boutique’s curved back wall spotlights the West L.A. Boutique logo in aluminum block letters, secured onto a stretch of Astroturf, echoing the eminent Hollywood sign flanking the Santa Monica Mountains in the Hollywood Hills. Dressing rooms are tucked away in the back, with hanging shelves displaying Jeffrey Campbell and House of Harlow shoes and racks of Mileti swimwear and Tkees on either side.
One is easily infatuated by the Californian cool factor that West L.A. Boutique brings, with designs inspired by the freedom and effortless ease with which L.A.’s celebrities and bohemian denizens piece together their own ensembles.
I caught up with Alia Korayem to learn her insight on West L.A. Boutique’s style and latest trends.
How do you think L.A. fashion will appeal to the public in the region?
L.A. fashion introduces a new concept of style and comfort to the region. It is highly accessible and easy to achieve, with its laid-back approach to fashion, together with a hint of Hollywood glamour that makes the L.A. trend perfect for all occasions and all budgets.
Describe the West L.A. girl in a few words.
The West L.A. girl is fun, hip, spontaneous, easygoing and the life of the party!
When selecting pieces from a variety of designers, is there a theme that unifies the collection? How is the selection process in terms of designers and individual pieces?
We don’t focus on any specific designers as much as we focus on individual pieces. We make sure that our selections go well with each other, in other words, you can choose a piece from Unif and pair it with an item by Nanushka, shoes from Jeffrey Campbell and accessorize it from the range of lines on display, all pieces are from different brands yet they complement each other well.
Would you be interested in working with designers from the region if their design aesthetic reflected the look you are going for?
Of course! I believe fashion in the region is inspiring. When I come across a regional designer that reflects the West L.A. girl, I will be the first on board.
What piece from this season’s collection is a must-have for every girl’s wardrobe?
Oh, come on! That’s not a fair question. We have studded shirts from Unif that are a must have, scarf print shorts that are to die for, as well as fun dresses by Mauri & Eve every girl needs, just to name a few. Now you see why it’s so hard to pick just one piece?
West L.A. is located in Sunset Mall, Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE. Tel: (+971) 4 3944248
– Nadine Fattouh