Dubai’s nightlife scene is looking up

A scintillating new venue by Layla Kardan is in the works.

The name Denise Faye may not ring a bell, but her accolades certainly will – the award-winning director, dancer and choreographer has been recognised for her work in the likes of ChicagoNine, and Burlesque. In fact, Faye continued to collaborate with the legendary Cher, directing and choreographing her Dressed 2 Kill world tour and Classic Cher residency in Las Vegas. As for what this has to do with you?

Well, the multihyphenate is partnering with none other than Layla Kardan on Papillon, a new nightlife venue set to launch at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina. The first venture co-created by the Iranian singer-songwriter, it will be rooted in sensual liberation and ecstasy, hosting an exploratory performance and dining experience like no other in town. Other prominent industry names joining Papillon include famed architect and interior designer Roham Shamekh, who is known for his work with brands like Roberto Cavalli and Versace. 

Shamekh will design the venue, creating a distinctly elegant yet edgy atmosphere that will set the tone for Papillon’s sensual performers. And owing to the rather apt tie-up with luxury lingerie brand Bordelle, the cast will be clad in custom handmade pieces by Atelier Bordelle. Through an epic tale of splendour and romance, Papillon will cultivate the true essence of daring creativity and a fashion-forward escape from reality, with a provocative storyline that perfectly encapsulates the flight of the female. It will also be an experience that indulges its audience through fine dining – we’re told that chef Tiger Chen of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon fame has bought his team over from the Michelin-starred outpost in Taipei to be a part of the Papillon dining team.

Dinner here will be created with an artistic eye, plates of edible stories and French-Mediterranean flavours, where diners will be presented with a choice between the tasting or à la carte menu. “I dreamt of creating a space like this since I was a little girl. My childhood visions and aspirations have come to life through the hard work and efforts of an extraordinary team of professionals and the support and trust of The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Spa. Having Denise Faye at the helm of this project has been the greatest blessing. I have always been a fan of her incredible work and performances in Chicago and Burlesque and now I get to work alongside her, which is also a dream come true. Words cannot express the deep respect and adoration I have for her,” says Kardan.

 “When we initially started talking about this project, there were limited dinner-and-show concepts available in town. Seeing so many sprout up makes me very happy. I feel there is more of an appetite for a theatrical night out and, as an artist, this is healthy for the industry. What we are doing here is special – we have a story to tell and a message that rings loud and clear. Without divulging too much, I encourage everyone to come and experience first-hand the incredible talent we have gracing the stage and of course me, waiting for all the amazing people who support me consistently on my music journey, from venue to venue,” she adds. “Now, I am here permanently and not going anywhere and can’t wait to see all the faces I’ve missed so much.”

GO: Follow @laylakardan on Instagram for more information.

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Samia Qaiyum
A textbook third culture kid with a perpetual thirst for adventure, Samia Qaiyum specialises in travel and culture, having lived in five countries and travelled to 34 others – just don't ask her to define the word 'home'.

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