Deeply aware of the longevity of wedding photographs, Layla Sheni deploys her sharp sense of theater to stunning effect in petal-soft bridal gowns that capture imaginations both today and for generations to come.
Sheni’s glittering career path lit up as soon as she hit her teens. “I spent hours designing dresses for my dolls—at that point, I realized where my passion lay.” The go-to dress designer for many a gorgeous Gulf bride went on from early girlish creations to study grown-up design and pattern construction in Italy and Germany. She then moved to Kuwait and founded the high-end atelier, Hazar, in 1980, now located in the super-classy Jumeirah Beach shopping hotspot.
Born and raised in Baghdad, she is one of seven siblings, the only one with an interest in art and fashion. Her innovatively romantic, elegant bridal creations combine classic elements with truly modern touches—an alluring cocktail of frills, lace, tulle, and sparkle that have a succession of Middle Eastern royal brides, as well as international clients, knocking at her atelier door.
While fashion is a big passion, Sheni considers herself first and foremost an artist. “What motivates me is a desire to create dresses that are moving works of art. From design selection to fabrics and craftsmanship, we make sure that each dress is a masterpiece.”
When it comes to creating the fairytale frock, she is very clear on the criteria. “Every bride wants to shine on her momentous day. Crystals add a magical iridescence like nothing else, so using SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS for adornment is central to my vision.” Given the chance to design a crystal, she says she would create something resembling liquid, which follows every curve of the female form, changing as the light hits it.
Retaining her ‘timeless’ trademark while staying current is a tricky balancing act—it means giving her imagination free reign while maintaining Hazar’s brand identity. As her brides will all attest, she accomplishes this with consummate skill and artistry.
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