Deena Ali bin Talal Aljuhani and Manal AbdulAziz Al Rashed are scientists of fashion, who have concocted a unique mix of Saudi class and Western fashion to produce the ideal concept store: DNA Boutique in Riyadh.
“Everything I pick is a combination of what I think is fabulous and amazing and what I Childhood friends, the duo said it was a very natural instinct to team up and start this endeavour together. Businesswise, Deena states, “Manal is the Robert Duffy to my MarcJacobs.” While Manal is the more business-oriented one and Deena takes the creative lead, both share a common vision for fashion. “We compliment each other,” confesses Manal, “since we were young, we’ve always been very similar stylistically.” “I would buy an out fit and she [Manal] would’ve had already bought the same exact ensemble,” reveals Deena, on their uncannily parallel tastes.
The brands sold at DNA reflect the eclectic genes that both women undoubtedly possess. From universally known designers, such as Christian Louboutin and Miuccia Prada, to emerging newbie lines, like The Row and Three As Four, the girls are introducing Saudi to a new and improved strain of glamour and luxury. “I could easily get what everyone wants, but I want to introduce novel styles here,” which is overtly evident in the unfamiliar, yet aesthetically creative brands sold at DNA.
DNA isn’t just a member-exclusive boutique that sells clothes to its high profile clientele. It aims to bring women together who share the same passion for everything related to fashion, from old Hitchcock films, to rare, unreleased photos of Um Kalthom. It’s an institute of fashion that not only showcases the latest trends from the Western world, but also acts as a forum for fashionistas to meet and gossip over Crocodile Birkins and its diamond-encrusted counterpart.
The Saudi market is the oddest, luxury market in the world,” explains Deena when discussing the unpredictability of her Saudi consumers. Therefore, when attending buying conferences, Deena reveals, “Everything I pick is a combination of what I think is fabulous and amazing and what I think they’ll [the Saudi consumer] understand and appreciate.”
With this cross-cultural aesthetic being their main muse, it is no surprise that you’ll find custom-made Abayas, made in collaboration with renowned designers, such as Cher Michel Klein, or floor-length versions of Diane Von Furstenberg’s signature wrap-dresses, on the display floor.
Collette, located in Saint-Honore in Paris is not just one such boutique; it’s the concept boutique—an archetype for those to follow. And Sarah Lerfel of Collette is “the ultimate” concept lady, as well as Deena’s main role model.
“These women do there own buying just like me,” reveals Deena, “And so when I saw Ms. Collette [Sarah Lerfel] buying without an assistant, I felt validated.” Both share a passion to go beyond just clothes and visually stimulate all senses, including taste and sound. Thanks to DNA, Saudi now has its own “Collette” to brag about.