At the tender age of 4, Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz discovered Yves Saint Laurent. It was via a scent ad, showing “a model with slicked back hair, wearing a V-neck jumpsuit. It’s the kind of glamour and beauty that still resonates with me today,” she reveals. Well, having witnessed Deena’s powerful presence, I understand what she means.
Of course, I had heard of D’NA, Deena’s concept store (the ‘members only’ one in Riyadh which defines fashion forward.) Still, when I arrived on Sunday afternoon at Osman’s Paris showroom, I didn’t make the connection. All I saw was this chestnut-haired Chic – think flawless makeup, hair and a treasure trove of bracelets – who was choosing Osman’s clothes and, judging from her remarks, was beyond focused. To be honest, I became fascinated. Imagine observing a general preparing for battle and imagine Deena. Respectful as she was about Osman’s collection, she didn’t lose sight of her clients and their needs. “That story doesn’t work for us,” was an occasional refrain. Or a rather tart, “I presume that piece is going to be lined, Osman!” regarding transparent pieces.
"I truly admire boutique owners like Deena...because she can look and edit at the same time, while possessing psychic powers about the following season."
Being a hopeless shopper, I truly admire boutique owners like Deena. No doubt, because she can look and edit at the same time, while possessing psychic powers about the following season. En plus, Deena is reputed for nurturing new talent. “As a buyer, it’s my responsibility to give them feedback and let them know what works,” she says. There’s also the fact that Deena works directly with designers like Ohne Titel, Prabal Gurung and Sophie Theallet and gets them to customize looks for certain clients. “Being a small retailer, I quickly learn that I had to get something that they couldn’t get in Riyadh or during their travels in London or L.A.,” she reasons.
Text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.
Robert Beck is a former New Yorker currently based in Paris. A former classical dancer, he is now an author and illustrator, and his new children's book, "A Bunny in the Ballet", will be available from Scholastic, Inc. in early 2014.