When Grazia met Megan

As The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi unveils its collaboration with Megan Hess, Grazia meets the much sought-after fashion illustrator to talk modesty, mystery and the Middle East
When Grazia met Megan

Previous campaign stars have included Rosemin Manji, Natalia Shustova, Ali Mostafa and Maha Gorton, and this season, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi has enlisted the talented Megan Hess to bring its luxury fairy tale to life. Zainab Talati, Marketing Director of Gulf Related tells Grazia, “We are excited to have collaborated with the internationally acclaimed illustrator, Megan Hess for our latest campaign. The synergy is evident through Megan’s previous work with some of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands, such as Dior, Fendi and Cartier, all of which can be found at The Galleria. We continue to evolve our annual campaigns by working with renowned influencers to produce award-winning creations. The illustration created by Megan really captures The Galleria lifestyle and this only further reinforces our positioning as the ultimate luxury shopping and dining destination in the UAE.”

Megan adds, “Art and fashion has always held a unique synergy, and this creative collaboration with The Galleria on Al Maryah Island embodies that perfectly. The Galleria lives and breathes the world of luxury and high fashion, and I am certain that together we have created a beautiful campaign that will resonate with the community of Abu Dhabi and beyond.” Grazia meets her to find out more...

Your fashion illustrations are instantly recognisable. How did you find your style?

If you just keep drawing your style will actually find you. It’s not something you can look for in a sense, I think because I’ve drawn so much for so many years, it’s that thing when someone’s playing an instrument you can’t even actually remember that you’re playing it as you’re playing it. It just comes naturally to you. I think over time, the characters I draw have just become my language of drawing. They all have a similar look to them even though they vary and it’s just that style; when I’m drawing a face that’s the one that comes to mind. The amount of line work that I would draw in something has just become second nature to me. I hope that it will keep going on a path somewhere that in the next ten years when I look back at it, it will get to a point where I love even more than I liked it before. Over time, it just evolves and you just go with it.

How did this collaboration with The Galleria on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi come about?

I had the pleasure of working with The Galleria on Al Maryah Island last year on a beautiful collaboration with Prada for its Made to Order service. It was my first time visiting The Galleria and I was so completely blown away by how beautiful the shopping and dining experience was.

Did you draw on your experiences in the Middle East to inform the illustration?

Yes, I have now done quite a bit of work in the Middle East and I have really grown to love working in that region. I think the fashion direction is very bold and forward thinking. No one looks exactly the same and there is a huge sense of confidence when it comes to luxury fashion and styling. Each year I do a world-wide book tour and I always say that the best dressed people who come to my signings are from the Middle East - they even out dress Paris which is pretty hard to do!

We’ll take that as a compliment. Is this the first time you’ve illustrated one of your girls in a shayla?

No, I have actually drawn several illustrations of girls in shaylas but this was the first time I had incorporated so many beautiful luxury looks into the one illustration.

Did you dress your characters in this season’s collections fromThe Galleria for the campaign?

I did. The Galleria has the most incredible showcase of luxury designers and I really wanted to show a diverse range of looks but it was also very important that it all tied together. I stuck to a strict colour pallet of cream, gold, black and white. I love the idea of different designers all being shown together and giving each character an individual look. When people see the finished illustration I wanted them to wonder, “Who are these characters?” I wanted a sense of mystery to each one.

When you’re at The Galleria, what’s your first stop?

This is funny because there are so many covetable boutiques in The Galleria that it’s hard to know where to start! After my experience of working with Prada, I would have to say that would be my first stop. 

What’s your favourite memory of The Galleria?

My dining experience [at Coya] was pretty incredible. I loved that you could actually sit outside while eating and enjoy the beautiful views. The Dining Collection’s choice of cuisine was also amazing. There’s nothing as enjoyable as sitting down to a delicious meal after a morning of luxury shopping! 

Photos: Supplied