Style doesn't always beget sophistication, and vice versa. But in the case of Haya Maraka, she's bursting with both.
A force in the fashion world since the age of seventeen, the luxury stylist, influencer and author is a portrait of a lady, painted with a delightful cheeky wink. Having spent her life swanning about the globe, Haya's jet set course has landed her in the world's most elegant cities.
Curious how she's managed to fit in and stand out in the most enviable of environments? Well, looking stylish is just the start - one must also behave stylishly.
Easily set apart in even the most distinguished crowd by her refreshing mix of old world manners and modern day attitude, Haya's laid her fashion and etiquette secrets bare in her recently published book, A Lady Knows: Modes And Manners - the ultimate guide for any woman looking to curate her signature look, embrace her most elegant self, and polish her poise.
Where did you learn your impeccable manners?
I am the last person to claim that I have impeccable manners. I am known for being a little outspoken, but what I really want to portray for young ladies today is, yes, it’s great to move forward into the future, but don’t forget all the values, lessons and traditions of the past. The original foundation, and being more aware of your surroundings. Society has almost made it hard for women to be women today, living in a more rushed way, instead of taking time, grooming, caring for themselves and others. Especially in the historical times we are living in today, being a little more aware, polite and kind may appear like a small gesture but make a tremendous difference. Like a smile or even sharing your hand sanitizer.
What's one rule that's made to be broken?
The only rule that you should not break is to follow your heart. You feel first, then you think, then you act. Everything is triggered by emotion.
What's one rule you live by?
The more rules the more fools. Life is made for living first and foremost. LIVE LIVE LIVE!
What's one thing you would never wear, regardless of the occasion?
A sparkly leopard dress. As much as I love the idea of an elegant leopard print, it just looks tacky on me personally. Although I have seen a lot of women pull it off.
Any party pet peeves?
I don’t want to say too much as I encourage you to purchase my book and see more for yourself on just how a lady entertains and is entertained. But I would say a pet peeve is someone who cannot handle their liquor and becomes obnoxious or rude to other guests. Or someone who made other guests really uncomfortable – creating unnecessary drama is rude. Overstaying your welcome is another one.
What's the biggest dining faux-pas you see most often?
Everybody with there necks down, shoulders slouching and on there phone the ENTIRE meal (almost).
What's your best advice for navigating the dating scene?
The dating scene is tricky these days, I would say first and foremost do not navigate, just be. Let things unfold always as they are meant, and trust that it is the best for you. You never ever know where or when you could meet your next.
In your jet setter opinion, what city has the most sophisticated society and why?
Each city has its charms and certain sophistication. Zurich is very civil, sophisticated, and of course Paris is always Paris. Recently I spent a bit more time than usual in Milano, and I have to say it never fails. Italy really feeds the soul as well as the appetite. The people are so elegant yet simple in their day to day dealings it is almost a seduction, and the locals, although friendly, still protect what is rightfully theirs, but have no issues inviting you over and making friends. The people are warm, welcoming and inviting. It is safely chic. And the Italians can do no wrong when it comes to design, food, art, fashion and even sports.
How does a true lady handle topics of gossip?
It’s really hard to these days, but always try to humble down and remember we are all human and here on Earth together. Gossip also brings a toxic energy in the air whereas uplifting topics generate a better vibe. I am, however, highly guilty of being extremely sarcastic by nature, which gets me into a little bit of trouble sometimes (eye roll).
Is there such a thing as texting etiquette?
Yes there is! I have a section dedicated to it in the book, which honestly may need to be updated re: Instagram since technology is constantly evolving.
What's the biggest social media foul a lady could commit?
Excluding. It is always important to include and tag people. Another one I think is constantly justifying something that does not need to be justified, or advising everyone and then saying this really might only work for me, or only I get to do this.
What's one thing every woman needs in New York?
Manicures every Monday.
As a guest, do you recommend bringing a hostess gift, sending a thank you card, or both?
Yes absolutely. You can either bring a gift with you or send flowers and a thank you card after.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is simple, easy and effortless. I like pieces that can be worn forever, and adding a few statement pieces here and there.
Heels or flats?
That’s tough, I would say it’s a balancing act. Kitten heels and slippers.
What's your go-to nail polish color for a manicure or pedicure?
I may not play it safe in wardrobe but I definitely do with mani/pedis. My go-to is OPI big apple red.
What's your everyday uniform?
It changes as I do, but my staples are definitely ballet shoes, a right fit denim or black tailored pants, with some form of silk as a top or perhaps a kimono, and a velvet robe for winter.
What are your absolute favorite New York City haunts?
Bemelmans Bar, it’s never a dull moment and even if there happens to be one the certain magic in the air at the Carlyle clears it away. Cafe Sabarsky for hot chocolate on a winter day and some art too. The Campbell at grand central is also a special spot for me. The Crosby Street Hotel for tea. New York is constantly changing and after a long hiatus I am excited to explore.
How do you like to manage your social calendar?
It really is about prioritizing the people I want to see. The people make the place.
What can you never leave the house without?
In the book I talk about always wearing your invisible crown before leaving the house. With so much pressure for perfection on women these days, it is important to boost your feel good methods and remember that confidence is key. So never leave your house without your confidence and invisible crown ladies. Choose you daily. It takes practice but it works in the long run.
What are you most excited for next?
It is a fragile but historic moment in the world but through times of change also come innovation and opportunity. It is an exciting time for the world as a whole. I am very excited to be back in the USA and back in New York after spending the last few years in Switzerland and Europe. I have also started working on my 2nd book but more on that at a later time.
[Photos courtesy Haya Maraka]