Glamorous and powerful: The most stylish first ladies of the East

According to the Kursiv edition

Queen Rania of Jordan

Queen Rania

When a picture of Queen Rania in Kazakh national dress went public several years ago, Kazakhstan’s media wrote (not a big surprise) that Her Majesty sparked a furor. To be fair, though, she always draws public attention whether she’s wearing jeans with a white shirt, which is an unusual look for any queen, or virtually traditional Muslim outfits. We are saying «virtually» because Rania made her position apparent many years ago. «There is no coercion in religion. I’ve made a decision not to wear a chador,» she said to a group of Western journalists who asked her why she doesn’t wear a chador during official visits of her husband King Abdullah II.

In 2019 the couple visited France and the queen caused a sensation by showing up in a black leather skirt suit by Ermanno Scervino. Her jacket and pleated lace skirt sparked much more buzz than the official negotiations between Abdallah II with President Emmanuel Macron. Queen Rania caused the same effect in 2017 when she stole the show at Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief event in Cannes. The queen in the white dress by Givenchy overshadowed even prominent models from the world’s fashion industry.

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images

That same year UFO No More reported that Queen Rania’s outfit may have cost $481,000. The website ranked her first among female members of the world’s royal families as the most prone to spending money on clothes and jewelry. However, right after this report, the Kingdom of Jordan issued an official statement insisting that the vast majority of Her Majesty’s clothes were either received as gifts from different fashion houses or bought at a significant discount. As a result, UFO removed Rania from that rating.

Sheikha Moza (Qatar)

Ten years ago Valentino, a prominent fashion house from Italy, was bought by Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C., a company controlled by the royal family of Qatar. No details of this deal were announced, but some media reported that the royal family probably paid Italians about $857.5 million. At the time, many business media wrote that the luxury fashion brand from Europe was bought by an investor from a developing country. On the other hand, fashion media weren’t surprised at all. They knew that one day sheikhs from incredibly wealthy Qatar may want to buy one of the legendary fashion brands because the most «powerful and stylish lady of the East» Sheikha Moza is one of few decision-makers in this country.

Sheikha Moza

The daughter of an opposition activist, she married Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former Emir of the State of Qatar when she was 18 years old. Sheikha Moza holds degrees in public administration, sociology and human sciences and despite being just one of the three consorts of the sheikh, she used to be the first lady and active politician. Even after her son Tamim bin Hamad Al Tani took power in the country, Moza continues to influence the way he rules Qatar. She also holds the respect of the international community as a special envoy of UNESCO and dame commander of the Order of the British Empire. She got this decoration in 2010, and the historical picture of Queen Elizabeth II in a milky-white dress and Moza in a ruby dress by Valentino is awesome.

Photo by Kieran Doherty – WPA Wire/Getty Images

Even though the Qatar royal family chose Valentino as the first fashion house to buy (Balmain is going to be the second), Moza, the «style icon of the East,» pays tribute to all other brands like Chanel, Hermès, Ralph & Russo, Stephane Rolland, Jean Paul Gautier and many others. She is a talented designer herself when it comes to mixing clothes from prominent European brands with a traditional turban. Unlike Queen Rania, the sheikha of Qatar always covers her head. «My style doesn’t reject traditions but it should be modern and comfortable,» she said.

Mehriban Aliyeva (Azerbaijan)

In 2004 Russian Vogue decided to put a picture of the first lady of Azerbaijan on its first cover and the magazine’s team spent some time being close to Aliyeva, wrote Aliona Doletskaya, former editor-in-chief of Russian Vogue in her book Picture-Perfect Life.

«My visit to Baku in 2004 was like an official visit by a high-ranking foreign official. But why not expect this given that Vogue is as big as a sovereign country? We were going to make a photo set with the first lady of the country,» she wrote.

Mehriban Aliyeva

Like many other celebrities, Mehriban Aliyeva wanted to use her clothes during this photo session. Aliyeva even invited the Vogue team to come to visit her house where she showed journalists her extensive collection of clothes from luxury brands. But Vogue has its own rules and journalists persuaded Aliyeva to wear completely new samples. They showed the first lady their portfolio and when she saw these pictures she said: «Oh, I see what you talking about. Even Jackie Kennedy did this.»

Of course, it wasn’t the first or the last fashion photo session for her. Each subsequent session sparks a big interest from those who observe the world of fashion because Aliyeve wears clothes designed not only by Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani or Ralph Lauren, but also by Azerbaijani designer Rufat Ismayil or Georgian designer Situationist. Some clothes she wears are still a mystery for fashion experts. However, there is a brand that is always close to Mehriban Aliyeva. This is a ring by Jean Michel Schlumberger from Tiffany.

Saida Mirziyoyeva

Ziroatkhon and Saida Mirziyoyev (Uzbekistan)

Last year Saida Mirziyoyeva took part in a photo session wearing traditional Uzbek and Karakalpak dresses. For millions of her followers, it was vivid proof that national clothes could be very stylish. In defiance of photography rules, she posed against a colorful background while wearing bright fabrics and it looks cool. Many Uzbek media immediately called Saida a «style icon,» although she doesn’t show any signs of being willing to meet this status. She wears elegant suits and laconic dresses and doesn’t talk about brands. Given that Saida’s professional career is linked to the public sector her humble style might be explained by her occupation. For example, she has recently been appointed head of communications and information policy under the president’s office.

Ziroatkhon Mirziyoyeva

Ziroatkhon Mirziyoyeva, the first lady of Uzbekistan, is also well-known for her tendency to wear restraint. However, she is always in public sight and many in Uzbekistan compare her with Jacqueline Kennedy as her dresses are always flawless, the right color and with nice accessories. This is not an easy task to learn what global brands the first lady likes. But there is no doubt that she loves traditional style in clothes exactly like her daughter. Born in the ancient city of Kokand, she is savvy in such things.

Read also