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The Simple Life

Olivia Phillips Armani Exchange

Dress: Armani Exchange, Trainers: Adidas, Sunglasses: Salvatore Ferragamo

Even as a fashion editor, there are some brands which can sometimes escape you. Some brands which, through no fault of their own, fly a little lower under the radar than they deserve, and really need a bit of flag-waving and a hearty pat on the back. Armani Exchange is one such store, and not because it’s unlikely to be killing it in the sales department, but because, magazine-wise, it’s one of those shopping stalwarts that can get overlooked in the shouty, shiny fashion landscape in which we find ourselves currently residing. Back in the real world, however, it’s a never-ending pool of real-world clothing. Allow me to me elucidate…

Dress and bag: both Armani Exchange, Sunglasses: Salvatore Ferragamo, Earrings: Maria Black at dulaab.com

Dress and bag: both Armani Exchange, Sunglasses: Salvatore Ferragamo, Earrings: Maria Black at dulaab.com

In true Armani style (its older sister), AX is defined by its quiet elegance and dedication to quality, but with a really affordable price point which allows it to inhabit a magical land we fashion folk like to call ‘Contemporary’ or ‘Bridge’. Think Reiss, Whistles and Karen Millen – even your Sandros, Majes and Kooples are part of that clever club that we can’t get enough of. I remember when you could furnish yourself with an It Bag for £700; £500 if you were a Mulberry girl. *gazes nostalgically into the middle-distance* No such luck these days – you’re lucky if you can walk away with change from a grand and a half. Enter legions of Contemporary brands which perfectly reflect the philosophy of many a modern-day shopper. Hands up who wants to pay £600 for a top? Anyone? Anyone?? Didn’t think so. Add this to still-pervading normcore movement (the cult product of S/S16 was a DHL T-shirt. Just saying) and the genuine need for simple, chic clothing you actually want to put on your back, not just prance around in for an Instagram photo before flinging off 20 minutes later because it turns out sequins are really bloody itchy. AX always knew they were a winner – this is just a gentle, whisper of a reminder. Nothing too aggressive, though. That’s really not their style.

Olivia Phillips Armani Exchange

Bag: Armani Exchange, Bracelets: Monica Vinader at Boutique 1 and La Marquise

Olivia Phillips Armani ExchangeOlivia Phillips Armani Exchange

Armani Exchange can be found in The Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Centre and City Centre Deira.

Halloween DXB: Dressing To Distress

Alongside sample sales, Douglas Booth and a nice cup of tea, one of life’s greatest pleasures is dressing up. Lucky for me, then, that Halloween in Dubai is something they don’t do by halves. Not that I’d expect anything less from a city where big is good but bigger is best. Last year’s debauched Last Tuesday Society ball in London was going to take some beating, but the 5,000-strong shindig at Zero Gravity was happily up to the challenge. With a Dhs5,000 prize in the balance, I decided to get the big guns out, looking to make-up empresarios Inglot and the best hair stylist in Dubai, Jehnna Mahoney, to help me on my mission to become a Dia de los Muertos princess. And yes, that is a Barbie in my hair. Subtlety? Er, no thanks.

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Pretty Much Everything I’ve Worn To Work In The Last Year

Previously governed by a need to arrive at work a) not crippled, b) not dishevelled and c) not riddled with pneumonia, my London officewear was less ‘fashion’ and more ‘contamination suit’ of sorts. Leather trousers (waterproof, wipe-clean), trainers (helpfully enjoying a resurgence among the fashion community, but, foremost, footwear you can bomb up Oxford Street in. Get out of my way, I have a very important avocado to eat at Cecconi’s! and soforth), slogan sweatshirt (providing warmth yet allowing a small amount of personality) and enormous coat (keeps heat hermetically sealed in, at expense of maintaining consciousness on the Northern Line. Is it hot in here or it it just m- *faints onto scared man*). Happily, these are concerns of yore – I now nearly faint on the way to work, but for entirely different reasons. Mostly, the 45-degree, 9am power walk I do from my flat to the office. It takes approximately 2 songs, one-and-a-half cigarettes, and alot of fanning myself dramatically, but at least my sartorial choices get to be a bit more adventurous.  If you go to emirateswoman.com, you can see the rest of the girls in my office, too. The stylish so-and-sos.

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Forty degrees, you say? Get me a fur, and make it Fendi. And while you’re at it, wrap me in tinfoil leather. Nope, still not as hot as that Central Line bit between Bank and Tottenham Court Road.

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There’s very few things I’ve ever worn that made me feel how this full Chanel look did. Absolute proof that some clothing can make you feel untouchable.

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I won’t lie to you; when I first arrived in the sandpit, I assumed all local design talent would be lacking. This fringed Bedouin dress is a key example of how wrong I was.

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Part of a roadtest that I did for Moschino’s Barbie-inspired SS15 collection. Not seen: that I had to be wrestled out of this outfit. Jeremy Scott, you give me life.

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Half Axl Rose, half Flinstones (note Pebbles-style topknot), this Moschino dress was an attempt to get taken seriously at work. It has tailoring aspects therefore is practically a suit.

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An ode to London Taaaan, here I was about to go home for Christmas and celebrating said fact with a black cab jumper and jeans by fellow Brits Markus Lupfer and Henry Holland.

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I’m wearing Gucci to the Emirates Woman of the Year Awards in November. If I look insufferably smug, it’s because I was and am. Sorry not sorry.

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Getting my Phillips of Arabia on in Emma Cook camel-print trousers. A little bit of desert humour. Probably not that funny but don’t care, I have camel-print trousers on.

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If I look like I’m concentrating it’s because, despite approximately 16 years of walking in heels, these were still a bit beyond me.

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Hiding in the bushes carrying an oversized neon cassette clutch and dressed like Beetlejuice. The jury’s still out on this one but my sunglasses game was tight, regardless.

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I always was and always will be a raving Wangette. Alexander Wang for H&M, then? Some pretty sexual sportswear in my book.

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Some more local love in the form of Zena Presley’s paint-print top, paired with a Karen Millen skirt which is a bit butter-wouldn’t-melt, but in the best possible way, obvs.

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This picture makes me look like I’m playing grown ups. Which, basically, I am. Osman shift dress, Loubie bag and heels.

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Mental skirt + denim shirt = totally acceptable workwear attire. Think I was channeling Jenna Lyons here, albeit in a bit of a shoddy manner.

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Dinz – more local fabulousness. Love a peplum – a really good styling trick for balancing out proportions. Also anything with a vague Alice in Wonderland reference works for me.

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Altuzarra for Target, on a press trip in NYC. Channeling Carrie from Sex & The City because my pop-culture references are about 15 years out of date.

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Is it a maxi, is it a mini, who knows, but this Of Love And Lemons dress got me so excited that I fell over in it. Smooth.