Meet the Saudi style maven bringing luxury vintage fashion to the Kingdom

Rae Joseph is a Saudi lawyer and fashion aficionado. Supplied
Short Url
Updated 07 January 2020

Meet the Saudi style maven bringing luxury vintage fashion to the Kingdom

  • The fashion guru established her own fashion house called 1954 by Rae Joseph in 2017
  • The online shopping platform offers pieces by a select range of design houses

LONDON: Based between Riyadh and New York, Rae Joseph is a Saudi lawyer and style guru who is doing her bit to promote vintage fashion in the region. 

It all started on a summer’s day in New York in 2003, when Rae found herself in a café while taking a break from a shopping trip. Rae, along with her sisters, sat next to a sharply dressed older gentleman who eventually introduced himself as the owner of a of a private showroom specialising in vintage fashion. 

Rae’s interest was sparked when she entered the showroom to find treasures by the likes of Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Chanel. 

Almost 15 years of her first encounter with vintage fashion, Rae decided to establish her own fashion house called 1954 by Rae Joseph, which lists items for sale in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf, in 2017. 

“From an artistic point of view, owning a vintage piece is like owning a piece of history, a piece of art. The pieces carry stories and I find that fascinating,” Joseph told Arab News. 




The style maven established her own fashion house in 2017. Supplied

“Vintage pieces were made in a time where quality and craftsmanship were key, so the materials used and methods of manufacturing were of a quality that no longer exists in today’s mass market. From an environmental point of view, wearing vintage is one of the most sustainable options,” she added.

The online shopping platform offers pieces by a select range of design houses, including Celine, Prada, Cartier and Fendi, among others. 

Handbags, chic scarves and jewelry items are listed alongside their price in dollars and Saudi riyals, as well as a short description of the piece. A gallery of detailed photos show the condition of the item, including close up shots of the stitching and links in some cases. 




The online shopping platform offers pieces by a select range of design houses, including Celine, Prada, Cartier and Fendi, among others. Supplied

“The pieces are carefully curated from top vintage showrooms around the world, primarily in New York and Europe, many of which cater to Hollywood red carpets and leading fashion magazines,” the entrepreneur said.

But how has the idea been received by potential clients in the Gulf? 

 “There are people who have always loved and shopped vintage in Europe and the US. Usually those people are extremely excited to see there is a local brand that curates high quality vintage (items) in the region. The other category are people who may have heard of vintage, but don’t necessarily understand what it really means,” she said.

According to the fashion guru, vintage pieces are ideal for a woman “who is unique, has a strong sense of personal style and someone who appreciates art and is open to mixing different styles and trends to create her own independent look.”


Review: ‘A Suitable Boy’ mirrors political, personal dilemmas on an unwieldy canvas

Updated 26 October 2020

Review: ‘A Suitable Boy’ mirrors political, personal dilemmas on an unwieldy canvas

CHENNAI: One of the biggest traps when adapting a literary novel to screen is the director’s temptation to include just about everything in the text. Mira Nair’s “A Suitable Boy,” based on Vikram Seth’s 1993 1300-page magnum opus, falls precisely into this trap.

Produced by BBC Studios and now streaming on Netflix, the six-episode miniseries has a canvas too big for comfort, and Nair does not seem to be quite in command. Too many characters, some merely flitting in and out of frame, seem like a jigsaw puzzle, and it is difficult to understand how each one is related to one another. What is even more annoying is that they converse in English, perhaps a production ploy to attract a Western audience.

“A Suitable Boy” is a the six-episode series. (YouTube)

Set in the fictional university town of Brahmpur in 1951, four years after the British left the partitioned subcontinent, the series tries exploring the sense of freedom emerging at the political, social and personal levels. Even as new equations are forming among parties professing different ideologies, and the youth are experimenting with newer notions of romantic love, writer Andrew Davies’ core plot to place the life of 19-year-old Lata (Tanya Maniktala) in the context of a bewildering choice of suitors loses its way in the melange of men and women.

Her sweetly domineering mother insists that she, and she alone, must have the right to choose a suitable groom, but Lata falls in and out of love with three men, each affair accentuating her confusion. There is Kabir Durrani (Danesh Razvi), a handsome history undergrad and budding cricketer who Lata is passionately fond of. Poet and British-educated Amit Chatterji (Mikhail Sen) and disciplined, self-made shoemaker Haresh Khanna (Namit Das) also compete for her affections in a story which conveys the dilemma of a girl fighting to free herself from societal shackles. But Nair goes overboard here. Scenes of Lata kissing Kabir in a public place in the extremely conservative 1950s India appear like the director’s desperate attempt to prove a point. I am sure she could have taken the liberty to digress from the novel.

“A Suitable Boy” is set in the fictional university town of Brahmpur in 1951. (YouTube)

“A Suitable Boy” has other tracks, too. A respected politician’s son, Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter), who is infatuated with an older courtesan, Saeeda Bai Firozabadi (Tabu), plays a role in the series. Lata’s arrogant brother and sister Savita (Rasika Dugal) are part of the motley group. It is her marriage that kicks off the series mirroring the political-religious animosities of a new nation and the personal battles of the youth.

Nair’s debut into television (though not her first in literary adaptations) meticulously details the period, with Stephanie Carroll leading production design and Arjun Bhasin dressing up the characters. The street scenes in what was then called Calcutta appear wonderfully authentic, replete with its quaint trams and hand-pulled rickshaws. Refreshing performances — particularly Maniktala’s — pep up the visual appeal. Yet, “A Suitable Boy” is certainly not in the same league as Nair’s 2001 Venice Golden Lion winner “Monsoon Wedding.”