Catching our eye at Fashion Forwad Dubai 2018 is Villa Yasmine. A tropical haven for resort shoppers. Tropical. Handpicked. Unique. Curated. Describe the authentic boutique. A carefully selected curation of tropical designers and brands in Dubai, bespoke for the women who love summer.


How and why did you decide to start the boutique?

I run a showroom called High Tide where I represent a number of emerging tropical and resort wear brands in the Middle East. I usually work with retailers but I also do a number of pop-ups to get the brands more exposure. Having done a number of pop-ups over the last two years, I have come to know amazing women and customers who are always asking where they can get more products. This demand resulted in the creation of Villa Yasmine.


Name your favourite brands at the boutique and why are they your favourite?

Each brand has a story to tell, from the way it is made, to the research and work in getting the final product perfect It is very difficult to choose one brand because they all offer something different, hence the curated aspect of the online boutique. Aranaz is probably one of our more known brands, having launched in 2014 in the Middle East. Ken Samudio is another brand that is amazing. The designer is a Vogue Talent, ex-marine biologist and hires a team of 12 women from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving them a livelihood by making his accessories, which are all made with sustainable material and all anti-machines. Waimari resortwear is handmade by local Colombian artisan specializing in lace and embroidery while Hannia Char artwear hats are all carefully painted by local Colombian artisans in vivid colors and tropical prints. I can keep going!


Describe the aim and vision of the boutique

The aim for Villa Yasmine is to offer carefully curated, hand-picked brands with a tropical theme to the in-the-know shoppers of the Middle East and beyond. We focus on shoppers who prefer niche and up-and-coming labels. Our mission is to offer quality, selective, tropical brands for women who love to travel in style and discover new brands from all over the world.


Tell us more about the owner of the boutique and her interest in fashion in Dubai and in general?

Mikele Ugarte, the founder of Villa Yasmine started her career in PR in London working for fashion and celebrity clients. She also grew up in the tropics and is always drawn to new designers and up-and-coming labels, which prompted her to start a mulit-brand showroom in Dubai representing resortwear and tropical brands in the Middle East. Following the launch of her showroom in 2015, Mikele created Villa Yasmine as a site to sell the brands she represents and a platform to try new brands looking to grow their presence in the Middle East.


What is the meaning of fashion and style for you?

To me, fashion and style is very much linked to personality and attitude. I am always on a tropical, I-live-on-a-beach state of mind so show me a shell or a flower and I will find a way to wear it! I like to shop for the occasion, whether it is travelling to a new city or heading to a wedding, I always get excited to wear or buy something new. Living in Dubai, where we get sunshine almost all year round, and having grown up in the tropics, I will always be drawn to tropical style!


What is the future for Villa Yasmine as a boutique?

We are just at the very beginning and very excited about our launch next week! However, looking ahead, we will continue to source brands from all corners of the world to offer new and exciting collections to our customers. We also want to build close ties with our customers and keep Villa Yasmine as the in-the-know online boutique offering quality, carefully curated edits for travel, beach and tropical lifestyles!


Images Courtesy of Villa Yasmine