Women’s Wear Daily
04.18.2014
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Royal Connections

When it comes to Washington action heroes, Rima Al-Sabah of Kuwait is the Xena Warrior Princess of the capital's social scene.

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She and her husband, a member of the ruling class, whose family sits atop one-tenth of the world's oil reserves, they met years before at the American University in Beirut where they were both studying political science. They married in 1998 and moved to D.C in 2001, just three weeks before September 11.

"If I hadn't married my husband, I would have loved to have been a war correspondent as a way to highlight the plight of people who suffer," she says, before adding that she hopes her latest dinner will have a similar effect, turning the spotlight on the hardships of the Afghan people, 70 percent of whom she says cannot read.

Al-Sabah, a regular invitee to Fortune Magazine's Most Powerful Women's Summit, also has some of her own scores to settle when it comes to establishing the sophistication credentials of Arab women. She was 13 when she and her brother were sent to live with her cousins in Paris for two years to study and avoid the worst of the fighting in Beirut. "The kids used to ask me where I parked my camel," recalls the mother of four boys.

Today, the idea that anyone would say such a thing is more than a little surprising, given her taste for the most refined and westernized designer clothes a platinum card can buy. "Nobody cuts pants like Chloé," she says. "Ungaro mixes colors like no one else, and Alexander McQueen, I love his short suits and dresses." She also favors Dior suits and Gucci bags.

"I'm not trying to convince people that all Arab woman are like me," she says a minute later. "But I would like people to see me as just one of many different types of women they would see if they visited an Arab country."
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