Insider Interview Dubai: Louise Nichol

By: Katie Manning

January 9, 2013

Living in the UAE city of Dubai for five years, British-born Louise Nichol is editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. She takes time out of her busy schedule to have a chat with us about the best things to do in Dubai.

Where do you love to shop in Dubai?

Being desk-bound most of the time, Boutique 1’s four-hour delivery service from is an absolute godsend. But the new fashion dome extension at Mall of the Emirates, with designers like Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg and Bottega Veneta in attendance, is every fashion girl’s favourite shop spot right now. It just oozes luxury and I could spend all day in there.

Mall of the Emirates | Dubai

Mall of the Emirates © Mall of the Emirates

What are the hottest dining and drinking destinations in the city?

La Petite Maison in DIFC is still number one (it’s basically been top of all the lists since it opened!) but with the fabulous cocktail bar Mahiki at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Hakkasan in Emirates Towers, the social set has some great places to play. The latter does the most incredible dim sum platters and it was actually the first Chinese restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star (in 2003) which it still retains. 

Are there any Middle-Eastern designers making a splash in Dubai?

Jad Ghandour, the Lebanese designer who draws from the mystery of the orient, debuted at New York Fashion Week for AW11, and Emirati shoe designer Sultan Al Darmaki is also generating a buzz. One of his designs is housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as part of its permanent collection of significant footwear through the ages. It’s a really exciting time in fashion for Dubai”¦

Petite Maison | DubaiLa Petite Maison Dubai © La Petite Maison

Where can you get the best Dubai souvenirs?

Nadine Kanso’s Bil Arabi Arabic slang jewellery is amazing – she does a ring that says “bling” in Arabic. Plus, there’s a company called Palestyle that customises jewellery and accessories with Arabic phrases of your choice.

What do international designers think of Dubai and their fans there?

They love the Middle East’s enthusiasm for glamour, luxury and excess and are generally happy to indulge the region’s tastes for crystal and colour. Diane von Furstenberg told us she’d been inspired to create an abaya (a robe-like dress) following her visit here.

Visiting Dubai? Virgin Atlantic operates flights to UAE throughout the UK


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places