Aureta Thomollari in a Balenciaga shirt and Hermès bracelets in the Maldives
Collaboration is key
Aureta Thomollari’s career orbit is unique. A quick scroll through the luxury consultant and entrepreneur’s Instagram feed is a feast for the eyes, with far-flung destinations, art, and photos that jump off the grid with a certain mystique. With a number of collaborations under her belt, there are no signs of slowing down for the Albanian-American creative director. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve worked on at least five projects at the same time, each pulling me in different directions, challenging and pushing my limit,” she shares, donning white Swarovski-encrusted sunglasses from her eyewear collaboration with Alain Mikli. “The key to a healthy career is to diversify your portfolio,” she adds. Stationed at one of her favorite New York City spots, the Carlyle Hotel, Thomollari’s ensemble includes a number of partnerships she’s worked on, including a multicolor paillettes sequin puffer with Khrisjoy and a handbag created with Bienen Davis. Her emerald rings from a collaboration with Huckleberry flash while she indulges in her own Aureta Caviar from her collaboration with Marky’s Caviar.
Wearing Alaïa and Courreges in Kenya
The joy of safari
There was instant synergy when the head designer of Beinen Davis tapped Thomollari to imagine a collection. “My latest safari was the inspiration for the recent collection,” says Thomoralli, who gravitates towards all things sparkly, exotic, and ornate. “To be able to infuse my experiences, travels, and point of view means so much.” Founded in New York City, Bienen Davis handbags were synonymous with luxury from the Thirties to the Seventies and the bags were spotted on film, worn by celebrities, and included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Thomollari’s work features silver minaudières embellished with rainbow crystals and zebra print, a suede clutch with giraffe detail inspired by her stay at Nairobi’s Giraffe Manor, and colorful basket totes. “It has evolved into an ongoing creative partnership. From glamorous promotional parties at The Greenbrier to promote the collection, to hand-selecting skins at the best tanneries in Tuscany, to visits with artisans in Florence, it’s been nothing short of an adventure.”
Bienen Davis X Aureta handlebags
Jewelry by Huckleberry, Karma El Khalil, Cartier, Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co.,Van Cleef and Arpels, Kathy Rose, and Engelbert Stockholm
For Thomollari, outfitting is a visual language. “Personal style as it pertains to fashion is a physical and emotional outpouring of how you want to feel in a particular moment. It’s both a privilege and an art and I’ve been fortunate over the years to mirror my love for artistic creativity, traveling, and enjoying life through what I choose to wear,” says the fashion savant. With a curator’s eye and a penchant for high-octane glamour, her fashion fixation started early. “When I was young, my father would ask my opinion on what to wear or what cologne to pick. I remember those moments having an impact on me, and it gave me confidence that my voice mattered when it came to style.” Her closet features statement-making designs such as vintage pieces by Moschino Couture, Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, and Christian Lacroix. Dig a little further and you’ll discover her soft spot for Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo. As for her thoughts on how clothes should make a person feel, she shares, “It should elicit a freedom in how you approach the day. Sometimes it’s a shield, sometimes it’s a womb. It’s about what you want to communicate.”
Wearing a Norma Kamali jumpsuit at the Zaha Hadid designed Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan
The art of travel
Thomollari splits her time between Los Angeles, Miami, and Vermont. When she’s not renovating her new ranch-style cabin next to light and space sculpture artist Ray Howlett, she’s crafting her itinerary for her next destination. With a Rimowa bag in tow, Thomoralli has nearly checked off every continent to satisfy her appetite for inspiration and exploring the world’s aesthetic wonders. “I have yet to visit Antarctica, I’m looking forward to that,” she says with a smile. She reminisces about a visit to Bhutan, “Astonishing beauty and incredible souls that are blessed to live in such a pure land. It’s the only country in the world that has a negative carbon footprint and they don’t believe in GDP but GNH (Gross National Happiness). How can you not fall in love with such a place?” She describes her visit to an Everest base camp as a humbling experience that made her fall in love with the planet even more.
In a Khrisjoy x Aureta puffer in Lake Tahoe
When asked about her morning routine she unassumingly shares, “I say thank you over and over again.” Her habit of practicing gratitude and appreciating what she has is something she’s been doing for decades. Thomollari opened a jewelry store in Beverly Hills during her third year of business school, which she only finished “because it meant something to my parents,” she says. “I didn’t find it necessary to continue when I already had a business up and running. What pushed me to keep going was to make my parents happy,” shares Thomoralli, who graduated summa cum laude. “I wrote a long letter to my mother thanking her for always believing in me and what an extraordinary human she was. It was a beautiful moment.”
Originally published in the April 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
Read Next: 10 Beautiful Ladylike Top Handle Handbags Spotted in Kate Middleton’s Wardrobe
Aureta Thomollari in a Balenciaga shirt and Hermès bracelets in the Maldives
Halima Aden, Ikram Abdi Omar, and Amina Adan. Photographed by Txema Yeste for Vogue Arabia April 2019.
Far from encompassing solely the Muslim community, modest fashion is quickly becoming a more inclusive way of dressing for women — regardless of religious and cultural background. Around the world, modest style influencers are using their social media platforms to amplify the voices calling for more covered ensembles and the mainstream fashion industry is taking notice. From fashion week runways touting longer, loose-fitting collections to hijabi supermodels starring in leading campaign shoots, the concept of modest dressing is being constantly redefined to represent the growing influence of the modest community.
Acting as a voice for modest fashion on the streets of their hometowns and the feeds of our digital networks, these visionary bloggers boasting thousands of followers each are unapologetically themselves, shifting the global perspective of modesty with their unique personal style and signature looks. With creative layering, statement accessories, and imaginative headwraps, modest-wear has never been so accessible so it only makes sense to turn to the experts for guidance. Scroll through the gallery below for a look at our some of our favorite modest style muses that continue to welcome more women into the folds of this timeless trend and empower those who do choose to dress modestly.
This Amsterdam-based entrepreneur not only wears elegant ensembles around the world but is also the owner of Shop Modiq, a boutique touting modest designs for the contemporary woman. This Kuwaiti fashion blogger has mastered the art of power suiting with bold colors and fun accents, often transforming a classic look to a haute modern-day approach. Based in Dubai, this Emirati-Palestinian influencer provides everyday inspo for conservative dressing with a blend of affordable pieces and designer accessories no matter the occasion. Often photographed traipsing the streets of her Florida hometown in an effortless mix of stylish layers, this fashion-forward influencer is also the host of the weekly podcast Arab-American Psycho, which shares her musings on life and invites other Arab women guest stars to do the same. This Sudanese-American was one of the first few hijab-wearing YouTube stars and is continuing to make waves in the fashion industry with her elevated street style that is chockfull of statement pieces, like this mustard trench. Celebrated as a modest fashionista, this Irish-Palestinian often collaborates with leading luxury brands, presenting chic combinations that play with different textures to emulate a ladylike aesthetic that is anything but one-dimensional. A Dubai-based instagrammer who likely needs no introduction, Al Ghouti is a proponent of premium streetwear embedded with her own inimitable edge and signature over-the-shoulder black hijab. This Londoner living in Riyadh is a longtime supporter of Arab designers, donning minimalist ensembles that favorite seamless silhouettes and earthy tones, whether it’s a linen abaya or knitted matching set. Known for championing comfortable yet structured pieces from patterned oversized blazers to tailored trousers, this Bangladeshi communications coordinator in Paris occasionally complements her no-nonsense outfits with a pop of traditional accessories from hometown flea markets. An Egyptian designer with an enviable closet, Taha explores the power of adventurous modestwear with abayas and bishts rooted in the season’s hottest trends. A Syrian-American content creator with an endless collection of versatile go-to pieces for the young modest generation. This emerging Swiss-Tunisian style blogger is a model for solid color-blocking combinations and vintage-inspired motifs reminiscent of her current European location. This half-Palestinian can be found photographed throughout New York City’s concrete jungle with imaginative ensembles emblematic of her thrift shop finds and cool attitude. Featuring a palette of pretty pastels and muted neutrals in dresses and skirts made for twirling, this Pakistani influencer is a vision of modest femininity. A self-proclaimed digital creator based in Stockholm, Asry is a veteran modest blogger who opts for a simple Scandinavian style that packs a subtle punch.
Read Next: This Book is Exploring the Many Forces Behind the Modest Fashion Movement