The hunt is on for one very wealthy sheik, to recruit 60 female stylists and fashion experts from Venice to style the women in his entourage. On top of a daily allowance of $100 – $140 there are other perks, including staying at luxury five star hotels, invitations to fashion events, all expenses paid fine dining and flights to the following destinations; Madrid, Paris, London, Stockholm, Milano and Venice.

sheikIt sounds too good to be true, and for anyone who watched Liam Neeson’s kick ass film Taken it would be easy to assume this is a trap into human trafficking. But according to the brothers Mauro and Francesco Belcaro of Padua DOC, it is actually a legitimate job serving the sheik’s family’s needs, including those of his wives and daughters.

A big priority for the sheik is to ensure all female members maintain a fashionable appearance under his name. This search for stylists is a reminder of how affluent the Middle East is for some. This sheik means business: he can afford the best Italian garments and more.

One has to wonder, however, how many wives and daughters does he have if he requires sixty handpicked English-speaking stylists? The search takes place in Venice but you can imagine ladies from all over Europe flocking to the auditions.

It seems like an easy job if you live and breathe fashion, and that includes knowing the difference between what to wear at a high society luncheon and an evening gala. There are many other things to consider. Let’s not forget that there may be the potential for the odd prima donna and diva behavior, so the right stylists need to cope with the mounting pressure of the task.

There is also the consideration that although the campaign is supposedly purely to cater to the fashion needs of female members of this family, which may look harmless, some feminists may argue that the campaign is undignified for women. If you are interested in the opportunity, you would have to be confident knowing you were signing yourself up for a very unusual task. As a stylist, one may take advantage and have a field week choosing the best fashion. But besides adding experience to your resume, you might only get snippets of the high life alongside being in high demand, told what your schedule is and where to go. In short you would be managed by the sheik, his family and Padua DOC, so if you’re looking for a once in a lifetime opportunity for, think again. It is not a holiday.

It is not so much the sheik that we should be worried about, but also Mauro and Francesco Belcaro, who have agreed to take on the job of auditioning and vetting female stylists. Through advertising the job they are actively submitting themselves and their organisation to scrutiny that some may deem as gendered exploitation. We have to ask: when these ladies turn up to the audition, how exactly is Padua DOC vetting them? Based on their knowledge of fashion, knowing Prada from Versace or based on their beauty?

Like most jobs, there are many pros and cons and here are just a few surrounding this particularly weird job. This is not a model, government representative or celebrity you are styling, it is simply for the very large family of a loaded sheik. The choice is yours. 

Mary Grace Nguyen