A Conversation with CEO and Creative Director of Marena y Sol Miriam Rihali

Breathtaking and strikingly embellished, Marena y Sol comprises elegant bejeweled kaftans designed by the brand’s Miriam Rihali. Now available at Saks Fifth Avenue in Dubai, Rihali speaks to Haute Living about her creative inspiration, the importance of travel and expanding her line within the Middle East and internationally.


What was your inspiration for the launch of Marena y Sol?

Travel. Marena y Sol is a collection of fashionable and captivating resortwear that has been inspired by artistic beauty from around the world. I am very fortunate to have travelled extensively, as I have learned to express myself through these journeys and discoveries. I use my fashion designs as a transmission of my emotions and experiences. The challenge with the collection has been to match elegant design with personal meaning. I created Marena y Sol to celebrate the cultural and aesthetic diversity of women around the globe. Much like the woman who wears it, every piece is unique. Every piece tells a story

What made you decide to incorporate the kaftan style within this collection? 

I have Arab roots, and my love for kaftans was born from exposure to the style at a young age. Its modest and graceful silhouette left a lasting impression on me, and I used it as a starting point for Marena y Sol. The kaftan style is sophisticated, elegant and effortlessly glamorous—but most importantly, it’s timeless.

Why have you decided to bring your brand to the Middle East?

As a creative director the greatest reward comes from seeing women from all backgrounds embrace the line – diversity brings the collection to life. I’ve had the honor of dressing women from Africa to Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America—and I love to see how each woman puts her individual stamp on an outfit.

What role, if any, does Middle Eastern traditional dress play within your fashion designs?  

Resort 2013 uses fashion as a medium to offer a grand snapshot of our diverse and kaleidoscopic world. I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout the Middle East, and there are pieces in the collection that channel these routes into fashionably alluring aesthetics. I want to inspire the wearer’s desire to travel.

These gorgeous kaftan-like garments have gained great success within the USA. Why do you believe they have triggered such a following and do you think the brand will receive the same following within the Middle East?

Color plays a critical role in the success of the collection, as each piece is inspired by the richness of life in its many hues. Additionally, the masterful blend of artisanal craftsmanship with ethnic motifs has resulted in multi-textured pieces that are both beautiful and unexpected. I hope the brand will be well received throughout the Middle East. The garments are striking enough to make a statement, yet accessible enough to wear everyday.

What are your hopes for the future of Marena y Sol?

I would like to expand the line to include beach bags, hats and sandals. Marena y Sol combines Spanish translations of the sea, sand and sun, and as such, many pieces in the collection are designed to echo the story of the tropical and nautical landscape. Whether sunbathing in a luxurious paradise, animal spotting on an exotic safari, or exploring an ancient civilization, the Marena y Sol woman treasures her travels. My goal is to create an all-encompassing brand for destination dressing.

Marena y Sol is available at Saks Fifth Avenue at BurJuman Shopping Centre in Dubai, Tel: +971 4 5012700.

Kim Kardashian rides a camel with her mom at the Atlantis resort in Dubai.