Handmade rings with a mosque carved on the centre stone using the whisker of a cat, a fox fur cushion, beautiful cars and yachts.
No, we aren’t talking about an A-lister’s shopping list. All this and more were being showcased at the Burj Al Arab as part of the World Luxury Expo two weeks ago. The event was a first of its kind in the UAE.
“Luxury for us is a 360˚ lifestyle experience and one of the main objectives of the World Luxury Expo is to give our patrons exactly that,” said James Blewman, the executive director of the expo that brought some of the world’s finest brands under one roof. “We have identified the top brands of the world and grouped them under 27 categories, from art to time pieces. It’s the first such event and we hope to take it to Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha over the course of the year. The Middle East is a key luxury market.”
Sadly, however, not everybody can check it out.
“We were invited by Swiss Gate and came specifically to check their art out. The Expo, I think, is a glittering platform of glamour in Dubai. It was fantastic,” said Maggie Miranda, one of the lucky few to score an invite.
“The expo has been very interesting — we saw a lot of unique pieces, some really fashionable items. I wish there were more exhibitors. Even though I am a man, I like jewellery and Agha Jewellers had some nice pieces. We need more expos like this, more avenues where people are exposed to luxury on a more regular basis,” said Fadi Gaith. “I don’t mind it being open to the public — the more the merrier. But you also don’t want this to become a bazaar. Having said that, I am sure there are many people who appreciate luxury even if it’s just for window shopping.”
The guest list comprises the top clients of the host venue and the exhibitors. “What this select group of people requires is a unique product, something that is one of a kind. We opt for those brands that are bespoke or provide something exclusive,” said Blewman. “There are other luxury forums in the world but what makes this different is that we’ve chosen to have it in the world’s ‘most deluxe’ hotel, the Burj Al Arab while others take place in trade halls and are open to public.”
From jewellery to art, perfumes to horse-hair beds, the exhibition had something for every discerning visitor.
“Dubai is luxury for me, especially the lifestyle that I have here,” said Lockie Gostriche, another visitor. “However just because something is expensive it should not be termed as luxurious because sometimes it’s not really good and tasteful”.
“If you get caught by someone selling bedding to you, leave the conversation immediately because more than half of your life will be wasted and you can’t take it back,” said Theo Measures. “Other than that, it’s been a good Expo.”
Box:Some of the things we saw at the expo
The superlatives used to describe the Hastens bed includes absolute best, airiest, springiest and softest. Made from horsehair, flax, pine, wool and cotton the makers promise a revolution of the revitalised. Oh, if only we had one of these to go home too. Retailing at Dh367,000, check out the Hastens store at Sunset Mall.
Possible Valentine’s Day gift for the missus
In honour of Guerlain’s iconic Shalimar perfume, Maison Gripoix, a jewellery designer, specially created a piece of glass paste jewellery in a 24 karat setting. Only seven such fragrance bottles exist worldwide, each containing 2l of the perfume. Bottle number 7 can be yours for a cool Dh43,500 at Harvey Nichols.
How about a Desvall shisha? Prices start at $60,000 (Dh220,200) for a bubbly pipe that is a work of art with hand blown glass, hand shaped ceramics, reindeer leather detailing and Swarovski crystals being some of the main features.
This platinum watch, retailing at a cool $1million (Dh3.67 million), is encrusted with sapphires and diamonds. The perfect way to say just how much you love that special one this Valentine’s day? We agree.
If we had a million dollars to spare
We’d get the original Faberge egg up for grabs at Agha Jewellers. The horse and jockey egg, ideal for the horseracing fans in this part of the world, has a pure gold setting.
Work taking its toll and want to unwind this weekend? Averaging a cool Dh250,000 a night for a two bedroom suite (that being the smallest accommodation available) at the Kempinski Hotel and Residences, Palm Jumeirah comes with the promise of “endless pampering and indulgent facilities”.
Note to self: put the brochures away, there’s no need for the self pity.