Mouna Ayoub is a regular woman just like you and me. She once worked as a waitress, she eats egg sandwiches and sometimes she wears jeans. And also she owns a yacht, enjoys sleepovers with the King of Spain and has the largest private collection of haute couture in the world (over 1,600 pieces, each costing up to $400,000).
In a recent AP story on Ayoub, the bizarrely taut-faced 56-year-old (who is divorced from a billionaire Saudi businessman) let us peek into her spectacularly mind-boggling life. The piece is peppered with stories and quotes that are just too good not to share. Here, some of the best gems:
“Hello, daarling,” says Mouna Ayoub huskily…’
Hm, maybe millionaires really do greet each other this way. “Hellooo, daaahling, welcome to my yacht.” Speaking of yachts…
‘…her yacht scraped a rock along Corsica’s coast in 2002, and she nearly drowned. In a panic, she boarded a lifeboat with the bare essentials: a Jean Paul Gaultier gown to look chic for rescue, and a Louis Vuitton bag with $9.6 million of jewels inside.’
Obviously. What would you grab? Some matches? A canteen? Psh. But wait! Her lifeboat capsized ($9.6 million of jewels is heavy, guys) and she nearly lost her Louis!
‘Fortunately, she saw her jewel-filled bag floating meters (feet) away.
“I would have gone diving for it at the bottom of the ocean if it had sank, but luckily the bag was made from a new patent leather that floated,” she said.’
Thank GOD. Back to the clothes.
‘Each couture house, from Chanel to Jean Paul Gaultier via Christian Dior, has their very own Mouna mannequin that they can tailor the clothes to when she is not available for a fitting. (“It’s a must,” she said.)’
I wonder if the mannequins have pubic hair.
‘With so many dresses, it’s perhaps unsurprising that she frequently runs out of space in her home in Monaco.
“In Monaco, I am really suffocating. I have bought another apartment just for the couture,” she said, dead serious.’
Of course she’s dead serious. Her face doesn’t move.
Seriously, though, I think it’s great that she’s basically keeping the haute couture business alive. Even though I’ll never own a custom-fitted $80,000 gown straight off the runway, I believe there is a merit in its existence, and if Ms. Ayoub can keep the craftsmanship of haute couture from completely fading away by buying the fantastical, overwhelmingly expensive creations turned out each season, then good for her. I just hope she gets a better captain for that yacht of hers. And maybe a less enthusiastic plastic surgeon.