Dubai-based beauty entrepreneur and travel enthusiast, Reem Abou Samra, takes us on a whirlwind tour across Europe, taking in some of fashion’s finest events along the way. Here we find out more about her love for travel and the secrets behind her glamourous lifestyle…
When did you develop such a love for travel?
I’ve always loved travel, but I feel as you grow, you appreciate things differently. For me, my inspiration comes from travel – every part of it. From setting off on the journey to the destination itself, and all the little details along the way. I take inspiration from everything – the customer service, the hospitality, the décor, the food, the scenery… but mostly the people. I love meeting people and socialising and it really gives me knowledge of different traditions, nationalities and cultures.
Where did you travel in 2021 and what was your favourite trip?
Due to so many events being postponed in 2020, 2021 was very busy for me, despite restrictions still being in place in many countries. I attended a friend’s beautiful wedding in Seychelles, I went to the Gucci high jewellery event in Stresa, Italy, and I spent time with friends in Europe. There we spent an amazing four weeks dotting between Corsica, Sardinia, Portofino, and St Tropez before heading to Cannes for the Film Festival. I also visited Syria to spend time with family and had a short trip to Beirut. Paris Fashion Week is always on my calendar too! I couldn’t choose a favourite as all were amazing and so different.
And where have you been so far in 2022?
I recently had a wonderful family vacation in the Maldives, where I stayed at the beautiful Milaidhoo Resort with my husband and daughters. The crystal blue waters and the privacy is something that you don’t find often. It’s a true gem. It’s difficult for us to find the time to travel together, so when we do manage it, we cherish the memories that we make. I have also just been to Bari, Italy with Gucci for their Cruise collection show, and the Amalfi coast for the Fendi Experience. Both trips were incredible and inspiring.
And you have just returned from Cannes – tell us about that…
I really love everything about the Cannes Film Festival, and I have attended many times. I genuinely love watching the films and I love to see Chopard’s stunning showroom within the Martinez Hotel. Each year they show their incredible red carpet jewellery creations and I am very lucky to be invited to such special occasions.
Tell us about your typical day at Cannes Film Festival…
I love the whole experience. As there are events that run into the late night, I would usually sleep in in the morning, but once I’m awake I usually meditate before breakfast. I often have breakfast at Hotel Martinez, but I also love to go to Fouquet’s at the Majestic Hotel – there is a very nice vibe, and the food is amazing. I go shopping along the Croisette as the boutiques bring some exclusive pieces, especially for the occasion. My favourites are Gucci, Valentino, Dior, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Balenciaga, but there are some very nice French boutiques with unique designers also. In the afternoon I would go to the Chopard Lounge to browse the jewellery collections. The whole setting was incredible, with lots of celebrities.
The red carpet is my favourite part. It is very inspiring… everyone dresses very uniquely and makes a huge effort. After the screenings, there is usually a dinner hosted by one of the brands very exciting entertainment.
What did you wear for the red carpet?
For one evening I wore a gown by Dubai-based designer, Rami Al Ali. It was a beautiful deep orange crepe silk kaftan with pink ostrich feather trim, from the fall/winter 2022/2023 collection. I love being comfortable on the red carpet and of course when you are going to sit for two hours to watch a film, you cannot wear anything too restricting. I wore this with my limited edition Gucci Broadway heart-shaped shoulder bag in red. There are maybe only four or five in the world in this colour, so it is very special.
For the second red carpet, I wore a multi-coloured printed Chanel gown from the Spring/Summer 2022 collection. I like it as it is flowy and colourful. It feels light and very nice to wear.
And what about Paris Fashion Week?
I love Paris and during fashion week there is a great vibe and energy. There is so much happening and the outfits that you see are amazing. Fashion and beauty are my biggest passions, so I love to see what trends are coming and get inspiration from the streets as well as the runways. When the weather is good, you can do so much. I love long leisurely lunches when you sit and watch the world go by, and my favourite places are L’avenue and Costes. During Fashion Week it is very difficult to get a table at either!
One of my favourite restaurants in Paris is Mun. It is an Asian Fusion cuisine, and it is directly on Champs Elysees, with incredible views including Arc De Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower (which to me is one of the most magical parts of Paris). I’m half French so it always makes me happy to be in France.
What are your beauty travel essentials?
When I travel, I don’t do much differently from my usual routine. I usually I apply all my face creams before I travel so my skin is fully hydrated. The only skincare I use when I’m on a flight is Charlotte Tilbury Lip Balm and I like to use L’Occitane hand cream so my hands don’t dry out.
As the founder of beauty salon LALOGE, what tips do you have to get red carpet-ready when you travel?
For the preparation of the red carpet, I recommend doing a facial two days before to refresh the skin and to keep the complexion glowing. I use a special combination of products that is used at my salons… it is called the LALOGE Beauty Facial and is developed to give a perfect red-carpet glow.
I also make sure that my hair is in perfect condition with some deep conditioning hair treatments to add shine. It goes without saying that I get my hair coloured regularly, but to make sure the colour is amazing for big events, I have my stylist apply a toner to refresh the colour as the sun and swimming water can dull it, especially when it comes to blonde hair. The toner gives an extra sleek shine boost also, so I do this one or two days before a red-carpet event. When it comes to makeup, you need to have a combination of great products and a skilled makeup artist to ensure that your look is not too heavy, but at the same time the foundation must give flawless coverage. The cameras will always make your makeup look less than it is, so you need to have a balance between dramatic for the cameras and not overdone for real life.