Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of her fashion label Kage, designer Basma Abu Ghazaleh invites MOJEH into her Dubai home
“First stop, coffee!” Like many busy creatives, that’s how an average day kicks off for Basma Abu Ghazaleh, the Emirati co-founder and designer behind Dubai-based fashion label, Kage.
Working on her laptop, powered by caffeine and a light breakfast is how Basma, 39, starts her morning, before heading to her showroom in Dubai’s Design District, where she’ll work on executing the designs for her next collection.
Home, however, is Basma’s sanctuary, and her favourite space here, she says, is the dining room. “It’s a place where everyone comes together and gets to spend quality time with each other.”
Socialising with loved ones over a good meal is one of the designer’s favourite ways to end her day, and she’ll pour just as much effort into arranging the details and ambience of a dinner party, as she will in designing innovative and fashion-forward garments for her label.
Next up on her homeware shopping list is a new set of plates. “I have so much fun decorating tabletops with accessories while hosting, and a nice plate set makes all the difference.”
Basma’s Emirates Hills home is a haven of contemporary furniture pieces, sculptural décor and antique touches. Bold, geometric patterns cover the tiled floors, while walls are pristine, providing excellent backdrops for a variety of statement artwork.
“I love a minimal home with lots of art on the walls,” says Basma. “The wall colours are natural hues and were chosen to provide a complementary background for our art, which was designed to become the focus.”
Basma says her most treasured pieces are those by Syrian-American artist Diana Al-Hadid, whom she met while the artist was exhibiting at Art Dubai. “She’s a contemporary artist who creates sculptures, installations and drawings using various media,” she tells us.
Basma is a quintessential Dubai girl who combines luxury with tropical effervescence. A sprawling courtyard fitted with romantic pools and majestic palm trees welcome visitors to her home.
Inside, the decadent floor-to-ceiling windows, which are completed with patterned drapery, velvet upholstery, patchwork cushions, gothic chandeliers, black marble and textured woods exude stately drama – a theme that also informs Basma’s aesthetic for Kage.
“Designing clothes is in some respects similar to creating a piece of artwork,” she says. “Whether I’m drawing inspiration from architecture through lines or shapes or gathering inspiration from landscapes in nature – it’s all interconnected.”
Overall, the Kage effect is effortless yet powerful, which is why the homegrown label has managed to maintain its strong presence, with a list of returning clients and committed stockists, in a competitive retail market.
“I’m very proud to say that Kage has approached its 10-year anniversary and has been able to evolve over time, while remaining faithful to brand DNA,” says the designer.
While her home is marked by upscale artwork and understated opulence, at heart, Basma is a down-to-earth millennial who swears by online shopping, regular workouts and large cups of coffee.
Of all of her home’s swanky components, she names her cosy bed as her favourite piece of furniture. “I treasure a good night’s sleep and comfort, and my bed gives me both,” she says.
Much of her wardrobe is sourced from fashion e-tailers like Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion, and her most recent purchase was a pair of oral leggings from Lululemon.
Basma’s personal style is timeless and practical, with a subtle punch of glamour. She has a weakness for delicate fine jewellery and names the classic, oversized white shirt as the constant staple piece in her closet.
With a bit of finessing, she incorporates variations of a white boyfriend-cut button-down shirt into her collections for Kage too: the autumn/winter line features the Frost shirt, a double-layered design that reaches the thigh, with an unexpected ruffle at the elbow of each sleeve.
When the designer wears this herself, it’s teamed with leather leggings and white trainers. “I wouldn’t necessarily define my style by one particular aesthetic, rather an eclectic fusion,” says Basma. “I love to mix-and-match accessories with different silhouettes to keep my look playful and experimental.”
Her penchant for creating silhouettes that strike a balance between youthful exuberance and elegant sophistication has been proven time and again; one of Kage’s strongest assets is its voguish cuts, consisting of tunics with drop-waists and peplum nishes, skirts with overlapping ruffles, tailored playsuits, longline vests and belted kimonos.
To mark the brand’s decade milestone, the designer has launched a Cruise 2020 collection dedicated to the years gone by with some of Kage’s most iconic looks reworked in the collection entitled, the Archive.
- Words by Hafsa Lodi
- Photography by Borna Ahadi