Horse races are more than a sporting event. They're also a chance for fashionis-tas to show off their sense of style.
Twin sisters Gulnaz and Nazgul Nejmi are designing and creating their own hats for the second consecutive year, giving women attending the Dubai World Cup on Saturday the chance to look different.
Based in Dubai, the 29-year-old half-Turkish-Cypriot, half-Pakistani sisters launched their hat collection two years ago when they attended the races and couldn't find original hats suited to their personalities and taste. "We don't like the typical horse race derby hats. So we wanted to provide our designs to people who think like us," Nazgul said.
After buying fabrics, accessories and raw materials in Satwa, they transformed their living room into a workshop and started creating their hats from scratch. "Our minds go crazy when we go to Satwa. What you don't find in a mall, you find there," Nazgul said.
The hats, ranging in price from Dh300 to Dh2,000, are available in six styles — Audrey Love, Vietnam, National Pride, Bow Collection, Roses and Avant Garde.
The milliners' motto is timeless elegance and they're inspired by Audrey Hepburn's style, which they believe will always be a hit, and the Chanel black and white look. Some of their designs are also inspired by Vietnamese straw hats, which they accessorise with flowers. "We like to mix elegance with a little out-of-the-box thinking," Gulnaz said.
This year, the sisters are particularly keen on using fabric flowers, including loads of roses. "It's spring time on grass at the new Meydan Racecourse venue," Gulnaz said.
Other popular materials are satins, sinamay fabrics, net and stones. As for colours, they like purple, royal blue, black and white, and black and red. "Colours are always in," they said.
The sisters make about 40 hats a month. "We want to slow down to concentrate on custom orders," Gulnaz explained.
Over the last two years, the sisters developed their own business, Gul & Naz Make Over Mansion, which focuses on hat designs, make-up, photography and makeovers — Gulnaz does the make-up while Nazgul takes pictures for weddings, evening parties and events.
Their goal is to take their enterprise international and sell to celebrities and royals. "We know there's a long way until we get to that, but we're aiming at that," they said.