I feel very charmed to have met so many wonderful people because of my work, but my most memorable meeting was with the photographer, perfumer, and art director Serge Lutens (one of his 1995 Shiseido images is pictured). It was years ago, at his house in Marrakech. He came down the long path to greet me dressed entirely in black. It must have been 100 degrees, but he didn’t have a drop of sweat.
Listening to him made me dream. His choice of words is so rich, and he has incredible stories of working with Dior and on the Shiseido campaigns—where everything was about beauty, grace, refinement, and elegance. Then he gave me the most amazing gift. I was going through troubled times then, and he could see it. He said, “Haider, do you have 10 minutes for me?” And for 45 minutes he read a book aloud to take me away from my worries.