Last year, Kiehl’s shined a spotlight on the Middle East with the naming of regional brand ambassadors Khalid Shafar, an Emirati designer, and Alamira Noor Bani Hashim, co-founder of The Dinner Club by No.57 and No.FiftySeven Boutique Café. This year saw the unveiling of the highly anticipated collaboration between Shafar, Bani Hashim, and Kiehl’s. Each ambassador was tasked with designing a special limited-edition label for the brand’s popular ‘Ultra Facial Cream’. In keeping with the philanthropic nature of the brand and its ambassadorship program, all proceeds from the sale of the two limited-edition designs will go to the Emirates Environmental Group, a UAE-based environmental organization.
In the interview below, Bani Hashim and Shafar talk to Savoir Flair about their journey with Kiehl’s and the meaning behind the limited-edition labels.
What were your first thoughts when Kiehl’s approached you for the ambassadorship?
Alamira Noor: I’m so incredibly honored. I’ve been a fan of Kiehl’s for a while and am such a fan of all their other global ambassadors.
Khalid: Being familiar with the brand made it quite easy for me to accept the association. I was very pleased and honored by the opportunity. I believe that I share many of the key principals of the brand, and we both have some key messages to deliver to our target audiences through this ambassadorship.
How has the experience been so far? What does it mean to you to be a Kiehl’s ambassador?
Alamira Noor: The experience has been so much fun so far. It was important for me to familiarize myself with all the products and find out what works for me and my skin. Every time I discover a new product, I can’t wait to share it with my friends and followers. Kiehl’s is more than just a skincare line, and really gives back. Its association with charities and focus on the environment make me that much prouder to stand behind the brand.
Khalid: It has been a rewarding experience so far. I have represented Kiehl’s during many occasions and promoted it to many of my contacts. It makes me happy to enter any of Kiehl’s stores around the world, as I feel like I belong to the brand and I know very much about it. Occasionally, the sales representatives think that I work with Kiehl’s, and this to me is how an ambassador should be; very knowledgeable about the brand and close to its DNA. It’s beyond a look or a face; it’s all about understanding and believing.
Talk us through the conception stage of your label. What’s the inspiration behind it? How did it come to you?
Alamira Noor: Kiehl’s as a brand represents fresh, honest, high-quality products delivered in beautiful, understated packaging, which is what led to the design of this label. For every dinner, we try to do the same – serve delicious, decadent food on an intricate, yet simple, table.
Khalid: I wanted to design a label that grabs the attention, yet remains humorous and interactive for the individual. I had this image in my mind of a carousel ride from childhood memories that always brings a smile to my face, so I thought of one of the designs I created for the French historical brand Moissonnier in 2013. It was a horse-body commode (chest of drawers), and I used this image as the main element in the design. I repeated the image circularly around the label and numbered each one from one to 12. Accidentally, the outcome and order of the horses were reminiscent of a watch, and I used the charity line copy as the hands of the watch. The final design showcases those two directions in one setting that is humorous, interactive, and definitely a collectible.
What is your favorite Kiehl’s product?
Alamira Noor: For my skin, it’s the ‘Midnight Recovery Concentrate’. It gives you such a refreshing glow and consistently delivers. For my hair, I recently discovered the ‘Olive Oil Hair Pak Restorative Mask’ and have become absolutely obsessed with it. I use it as conditioner at least once a week. It’s incredibly hydrating and makes your hair shiny and smooth.
Khalid: I use many Kiehl’s products on a daily basis, but the one that I can’t live without given the nature of my work in design and manufacturing is the ‘Hand Salve’. It is without a doubt my hand savior. It goes with me wherever I go, especially when I’m travelling to deal with weather changes.
Kiehl’s limited-edition ‘Ultra Facial Cream’ is available at all Kiehl’s outlets throughout the UAE.
Photos: Courtesy of Kiehl’s