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24 August 2017Last updated
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Sally Sarieddine’s Fabulous Friday

The LaLaQueen handbags founder would love to dine with Donald Trump – French fries would be on the menu

Shreeja Ravindranathan
16 Jun 2017 | 10:00 am
  • Source:Supplied

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

I split my time between the UAE and Lebanon, where my family is originally from. I honestly love being able to do that as it gives me the best of the two cities – Dubai and Beirut. I love the quality of life in Dubai. When I’m here I go out with my friends to events that offer some of the best networking opportunities in the [fashion] industry, I love going to places like d3 [Dubai Design District] and trying out a variety of cuisines like Thai, and Indian. What I enjoy most about Beirut is barbecuing in the mountains with my family, the sea, and just walking around in the city.

GARDEN CITY GIRL

Although I now live in Dubai, I was born and raised in Al Ain, where my family is still based. My mum founded and runs the Al Sanawbar school there. I’ve had lovely memories of growing in Al Ain – it’s a very safe, friendly and clean town. Back in the day there wasn’t much to do nor places to go to but we always had the opportunity to indulge in outdoor activities such as playing in the school basketball team, learning tennis and swimming. When I’m in Al Ain I enjoy spending time with family.

PIANOS PLEASE PEOPLE

When I was younger, my mum used to force me to take piano lessons. I didn’t enjoy it at all at the time but I appreciate it today because now I can play fragments of classical pieces and it always impresses the people I am with. I can also play the drums. My brother and I usually play music together, just for the fun of it.

LA LA QUEEN LAND

I feel great and humbled to be recognized by celebrities like Amal Clooney. LaLaQueen started as a hobby after I completed fashion design courses in Central Saint Martins in London. I didn’t know that I wanted to be in fashion until I found myself doing it out of curiosity to explore something – in 2010 I designed and produced a collection of bags that were noticed by my friend Nouf Al Saud, who invited me to Saudi Arabia to exhibit my collection. It sold out and was a huge success. Then I decided to focus my attention to starting a handbag label. To me, fashion is an artistic expression.

DOCTOR, WHO?

My collections are inspired by personal stories. For example, my main inspiration behind the Dr Bag, the iconic LaLaQueen shape, is an actual vintage doctor’s bag found in Florence. I am also a pranic healer and believe that to make the world a better place a lot of healing must be done. So I decided to convey my message in this way – through an item of fashion.

ALIVE AND KICKING

I recently started kickboxing, and I absolutely love it. I also run and do yoga. My brother just opened a yoga centre back home in Al Ain, so when I’m there I love spending time doing full moon meditations and taking dance lessons.

SAVE THE WORLD

I remain mindful about where I source all materials and I do my best to minimise waste where possible – LaLaQueen’s packaging is a 100 per cent recycled and the leather we source is from Lebanon. As LaLaQueen continues to grow, so will our focus on sustainability. I practice sustainability in my personal life too – I recycle waste and buy things that are ethically produced, biodegradable and environmental friendly. I walk to places when I can or take rides with my friends. Whenever I can, I plant trees.

PROFOUND EFFECT

Every time I read a book or watch a movie, I feel a little shift in the way that I think and live. Some of the most influential books I’ve read are by Osho [Shree Rajneesh], Neale Donald Walsch, James Redford and Robin Sharma. In terms of films, I love watching movies by directors like David Lynch and Woody Allen.

RANDOM FACTS

I can be a very shy person sometimes; my favourite colour is pink, it is the colour of love; the one thing I’ll always take with me no matter where I go is a diamond ring my mum gave me.

FRIES FOREVER

I don’t know why, but I just love French fries. I can go without chocolate for a month but I have to eat at least one plate of French fries a week along with a fresh salad or a hot soup.

THE ALLURE OF THE PAST

Someday I’d love to travel to Peru, do the Inca Trail [to Machu Picchu] and visit ancient sites. If I could travel back in time to any era and bring something back to the present I would go to ancient Egypt for Cleopatra, the pharaohs and the pyramids, bring back some interesting stories and take some selfies with everyone that was around.

SHOP TILL I PAINT

I looking forward to shopping for art supplies this weekend. When I was younger, I used to draw, paint and do mixed media art collages. I would like to do more of that now.

AGE IS BEAUTY

I believe in the growth of strength, wisdom and elegance through age. Age is growth and expansion – it is a beautiful thing to take in life and give back with more love and awareness. It’s why I feature older models in my ad campaigns. I want to appeal to women of all ages.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?

If I could invite three people to dinner it would be my mum, dad and Donald Trump. My mum and dad are my favourite people. We could exchange stories with Mr Trump about world business, and politics, over lots of organic food picked from our garden but my parents will surely brag to him about how proud they are of their children, and how fresh the food from our garden is. It will be a funny meal.

Shreeja Ravindranathan

Shreeja Ravindranathan