A Fashion Statement with Yonelle

 

“Fashion is a strong statement and can have a great deal of impact on a woman’s self confidence,” maintains fashionista Yonelle Coetzee, one of the founders and creators of a Luxury Children’s Boutique ‘Amira La Petite Couture’

Like most things in life, even fashionistas, it appears, are born, not made. Yonelle Coetzee certainly exemplifies it. In her words: “I have always been into fashion…fashion is in my genes.”

She was inspired, early on, by her great grandmother who was a fashion designer in South Africa, and a stylish one at that. “Even in her old days she always dressed to a nine. I used to go through her photos when I was young and dream of wearing the same high heels, perfect makeup and hair…and oh those dresses!” she recalls, pointing out that she, in fact, found an avenue to explore her interests for fashion designing through her.

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Her granny used to have a suitcase full of cut fabrics from her clients and Yonelle, who was then in grade 1 and 2, would hand-sew these to make fashionable dresses for her Barbie dolls. “All my friends used to be so envious of my Barbie doll clothes – I had the most exquisite casual and evening wear Barbie doll clothes…” she reminisces.

Soon Yonelle developed her own unique sense of style and recalls that she would never leave the house without looking stylish. In fact, she would dress up even when she had no plans to go out and her mother would enquire, ‘Where are you going looking so fine, if I may ask?’

Describing fashion as a form of art and expression, she says, “Fashion is all about making it your own and owning that look. Fashionistas/stylists know which clothes suits their personality, what works for their body type and what doesn’t.” To her, fashion is an extension of personality. “You can immediately see if a person is creative, serious or insecure by looking at what they are wearing. Fashion is a strong statement and can have a great deal of impact on a woman’s self confidence,” she maintains.

Talking about her fashion foray in Oman, she points out that she first visited the country as a tourist in 2009, and made it her permanent home in 2012, becoming one of the founders and creators of ‘Amira La Petite Couture’, a luxury children’s boutique in Shatti Al Qurum, Muscat. In February this year, the team presented a fashion show at the ‘Oman Bride Show’ exhibition, wining an award for outstanding fashion show. “It was a huge milestone in my life to have started such an amazing venture in Oman, as an expatriate, and being only 25 years of age at the time of starting the company,” she notes.

However, in June 2017 she sold her shares in the company to start a new and exciting venture on her own, which is due to be launched in 2018. “I have so many exciting plans and ideas for the future… I never stop dreaming, for I am a go-getter and always think of new business opportunities. Failure does not scare me; I will get up and fight until I reach my goals. I am excited to launch my new company in the coming year, which I expect will be my dream come true; it is what I have worked hard for all these years of learning and growing,” she states.

 

Up Close and Personal with Yonelle

The home I grew up in…

Was very strict and conservative. Being the oldest of three girls in the house made me a responsible and a strong person that I am today. My sisters reside in South Africa, where all three of us were born to a loving father, who is a businessman, and a caring mother.

When I was a child I wanted to…

Travel the world to learn as much as possible about other cultures and religions. I feel very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to explore the world and learn about so many amazing cultures and religions in the past 8 years, especially the Omani culture.

The moment that changed me forever…

Was when I started to work as a manager for a company in Muscat called ‘Lilac Beauty Center’, back in 2013. I met the most incredible people and I am fortunate that some of these incredible people are my best friends today.

My greatest inspiration…

People inspire me in so many ways. I love how each and everyone is so unique and diverse and I draw my inspiration from everyday conversations.

My hero…

God. He has carried me through so many difficult roads in life.

If I could change one thing about myself…

It would be to stop worrying if I am good enough.

I dream of…

World peace and leaving a mark in this world. I believe we are all born to do something extraordinary with our talents and to inspire and help each other achieve greatness in life.

What I see when I look in the mirror…

My scars, which are my battle wounds; they tell a story about me. At the young age of 9 months I had a tragic accident with boiling water where I got second and third degree burns. My whole life I believed I got a second chance in life and that kept me fighting to live life to the fullest.

My greatest regret…

Worrying too much about how other people perceive me.

You may not know it but I’m no good at…

Public speaking…but I am working on that.

You may not know it but I’m very good at…

Reading people.

If I have time to myself…

I read a book, usually written by historic fashion icons, or play with my two dogs Chloe and Milo at the beach.

My house is…

Very calm and relaxing and is at a walking distance from the beach in Qurum.

My favourite haunt/holiday destination…

Bali – it is the place where I find peace surrounded by nature.

My favourite weekend spot in Oman…

There are so many, but if I have to choose one, it will be camping in the middle of the desert during winter months.

I will not leave my house without…

Hand sanitizer, Dior Lip Balm/scrub, wallet, perfume and iPhone.

Five things I like about Oman…

All the hidden gems of nature; the humble and kind hearted people; the strong religion and friendship bonds; tolerance for different races and religions; and that I am able to call this my home, for the people make you feel so welcome.

A book that changed me…

‘Redeeming Love’, a novel by Francine Rivers.

On top of my wish/bucket list is…

To be fluent in Arabic. I can speak and understand small sentences, but I wish to continue learning and make it my third language.

My success mantra is…

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, and to respect other people’s ideas and views.

In 10 years’ time, I hope to be…

A successful inspiring individual that I strive to be.

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