• 11th June
    2014
  • 11
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This Devil Went to Pradasphere…

I’d like to begin this post by clarifying that my sullen expression in these photographs is due to jet lag. I seem to be brooding in a very 90’s Calvin Klein grunge fashion and though Babe Walker might say, “chic,” I think my scowl betrays a deeper sadness. I unfortunately missed Diane Von Fürstenberg’s Journey Of A Dress exhibit in Los Angeles by only a few days! But lesson learned, and I therefore made going to Pradasphere at Harrods an absolute priority when coming to London.

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This free exhibit was open to the public between the 2nd and the 29th of May. For those of you that didn’t make it, the pieces on exhibit were sensational, spectacular, weird, superb and absurd. The ready-to-wear was divided into six typologies: Modernity, Figuration, Continentalism, Excessivity, Animality, and Femamasculinity. I am aware, as both Prada and Harrods are I’m sure, that those are in fact not real words. However, that’s just the sort of thing you can do in fashion. Invention and creation isn’t limited to ready-to-wear, accessories and beauty products. As Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” The culmination of ideas in the collection created an eerie but fantastical atmosphere; like the Jabberwocky, a creature born out of the mind of Lewis Carrol, it was quite the beast to behold. It was both grotesque and beautiful and I certainly felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

I spent so much time lost in Prada’s centennial history and the exquisite and unique craftsmanship of their designs, I unfortunately did not make it to the adjoining first ever PRADASPHERE Café. I did however manage to get a photograph of it. Speaking of which, all photographs were taken by yours truly.

This was certainly an afternoon well spent. Xxx G

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  • 6th June
    2014
  • 06
Post

Good Vibes Only…

Not only is this outfit so Southern Californian but it is also so luxe. I suppose everyone feels happiest in their element and this is me in mine.

I love casual luxury and I grabbed some of my favourite pieces and topped the look off with a hat I bought at Club Monaco within 24 hours of being home. If home is where the heart is then Santa Monica, Venice- the Westside is my home and this look is all about those good vibes.

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Hat: Hat Attack available at Club Monaco, Cardigan: Massimo Dutti, Tank Top: James Perse, Shorts: Abercrombie & Fitch, Watch: Cartier, Bangles: Forever21, Handbag: CHANEL and Shoes: the Samarkand in Marine Blue by Lalla Alia.

I think that the photographer has a lot to do with why I love this look and these photographs so much. Mansour and I never fail to have a laugh and he never fails to bring out the best in me.

I also love this look because it’s really versatile. I could be going on a shopping spree on Main Street or Abbot Kinney, grabbing mimosas and brunch at Firehouse, or rocking out at an outdoor Twilight concert on the Pier. However, I must admit that as much as I love my Lalla Alia Samarkand’s, I would have to consider switching my heels for flats for an outdoor concert. 

In any case, this is definitely one of my favourite looks. Tell me what you think in the comment section below! Xxx

Photography by Mansour Mozafari. Follow him on Instagram @mansourmozafari.

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  • 2nd June
    2014
  • 02
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When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Lunch On 3rd and Shop On Melrose.

As Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Shopping is my cardio.” I would add that it is also my passion, my prayer and my therapy. It’s the new “American” pastime. However, I would argue that Americans certainly do not have the monopoly on materialism.

Part of the fun of shopping in Los Angeles is the cruise to the boutiques. My friend and I detoured slightly to get a glimpse of one of my favourite LA landmarks, the Urban Lights at the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA). While it’s still a beautiful sight during the day, its full magical effect cannot be experienced until nightfall. But nightfall be damned, this girl was ready to shop.

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It’s definitely no secret that I love good food and to shop, especially in combination. Now, it will no longer be a secret that I think the best place to do both is West Hollywood. I know it’s trendy and everyone raves about Toast but personally I prefer the far more indulgent DOUGHBOYS. Seriously, it’s not for the faint of heart! Neither is MILK on Beverly Boulevard, if you just fancy something sweet. Joan’s on Third also happens to be one of my, but also everyone else’s, favourite places in all of Los Angeles. 

I love Melrose because I think Melrose perfectly encapsulates L.A. fashion. But when I talk about Melrose, I’m not talking about Fred Segal. While I do love Fred Segal, I’m spoilt and can shop in my very own backyard of Santa Monica at Fred Segal. When I refer to Melrose, I’m referring to east of Fairfax. I am not referring to several of the larger stores. Yes, I do sometimes shop at American Apparel or Urban Outfitters; and although I very much appreciate the strategically placed Starbucks (coffee!), what I love about Melrose is its treasures hidden in plain sight. 

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Joyrich might be one of my favourite stops on Melrose. It’s unique flavour combines the highlights of The Prince of Bel-Air era with today’s more modern sportswear look. Bad girl Riri is a huge fan as well as Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora, and triple threat actress, singer and dancer Kat Graham. I had the privilege of briefly meeting designer and creative director David Melgar at Dripped a few seasons ago. He was incredibly cool and down-to-earth much like the brand itself. On this particular trip to the store, I found myself obsessed with the Cuddle Currency pochette that I had no use for but absolutely needed.

From Joyrich, the next stop we made was Luxury Jones where my friend purchased a very jazzy sparkly fringe bra and I debated over a pair of high-waisted, studded, L.A. and rose emblazoned denim shorts. I didn’t purchase the shorts in the end but wish I had. Alas, c’est la vie. It’s likely that they are no longer available because what makes everything at Luxury Jones so special is that each item is unique. Each piece is made from 100% recyclable materials and is handsewn right there in the back of the store. L.A. made baby and I love it. I also loved the “Girls will be girls” sign that they proudly display in store, pictured above.

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One of the latest additions to Melrose is FERRARA, an occasionally tacky but also ridiculously rad store where I found the social media bracelet pictured above. In the end, it was bit too bulky for my taste but I loved that it included all of my addictions like Instagram and Twitter.

Another one of my favourite stops is Slow. It’s brimming with brand new and vintage items. I have to tell you that it has one of the best selections of vintage accessories as well. Despite that the fact that it was not my style, I had to appreciate that the store carried a leather satchel with hand-painted African safari animals in absolutely mint condition. It must be a costume designer’s heaven.

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So lunch on 3rd and head to Melrose at the first opportunity! There’s always a cool piece to be found and an awesome day to be had. Xxx

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  • 21st May
    2014
  • 21
Post

With You On Ocean Avenue.

When I’m away from home one of the things I long for most is the sight of the rows upon rows of palm trees along Ocean Avenue. One quick listen to the song Ocean Avenue by Yellow Card will bring back a flood of high school and early college memories cruising around in my best friend’s father’s Toyota Camry, music blasting, windows down, sunglasses on and wind in our hair.

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Snapback: Eden Sky, Sunglasses: Juicy Couture, Top: See You Monday, Earrings: OreliaShorts: TOPSHOP, Watch: Michael Kors, Bracelets: Michael Kors - Brandy Melville - Kate Spade, Ring: FERRARA on Melrose, Handbag: ZARA and Shoes: Michael Kors.

We were young, not to say that we’re not still young, but we were absolutely carefree. The possibilities felt limitless. Even though now we’re a bit older with much more responsibility, just a moment spent on Ocean Avenue; even a drive by, will transport me to that perfect place in time.

This look is all about strolling on Ocean Avenue, shopping on 3rd Street; watching the game, sipping on frozen strawberry margaritas at Lula’s on Main and ice cream in the Palisades. It’s easy, breezy, Southern California bliss with your blonde best friend.

Photography by Mansour Mozafari. Follow him on Instagram @mansourmozafari.

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  • 16th May
    2014
  • 16
Post

The L.A. Fashion Blog is hosting a Tarina Tarantino Giveaway!

Tarina Tarantino will once again be featured on Haute Look this weekend and in honour of this wonderful limited-time sale event The L.A. Fashion Blog is hosting a Tarina Tarantino product giveaway!

The winner of this giveaway will be gifted with:

The Aurora Violet Storm Eyeshadow Palette, an intense colour combination eyeshadow palette with ultra-high intensity pigments that simulate the charged particles of Aurora Borealis. It can be applied wet or dry depending on the desired level of intensity.

The Eye Dream Hyperliner Eyeliner in Glamorous Thief, which on application, releases tiny spheres of jojoba oil and vitamin E to moisturise your skin. It is also water resistant!

The Fleur de Lash Mascara, formulated to thicken and lengthen your lashes without clumping, giving you soft, fluttering and flirtatious lashes!

The Eyedream Hyperlight Concealer, designed to instantly reduce the appearance of dark circles and give you a happy, healthy and youthful glow.

However, their best feature is that all of these products are paraben and cruelty-free!

The terms of the giveaway are simple; follow both Tarina Tarantino’s Instagram accounts, @tarinabeauty and @tarinatarantino, as well as The L.A. Fashion Blog @ggforlafashion. Then comment on this blog post below and tell us about your favourite Tarina Tarantino product and why you love it so much! Be sure to also provide us with your Instagram handle!

The giveaway begins today May, 16th and closes Monday, May 19th.

You must be a U.S. resident to participate.

Good luck! Xoxo G

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  • 12th May
    2014
  • 12
Post

Style 2020’s How Do You Define Style Lifestyle, Fashion and Beauty Forum and Champagne Luncheon.

Wonderful events like these make me wonder where to begin.

Let’s start with the heat. I had arrived from London on Wednesday, April 30th, just in time for a massive heat wave. Thank God! However, very little time was spent catching rays and much more time was dedicated to the beautification process. First world problems, I know; but with guest speakers such as Cindy Carrandi, Senior Executive Director of Art Production, Creative and Marketing for Sephora, and Nicole Simpson, Director of Global Education for SkinCeuticals, I had to be on my game. So the ladies at Bronzed Santa Monica gave this California girl’s tan (or lack thereof) an added glow.

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While most Californians show utter disdain for heat waves, I welcomed the warmth on my skin, the beautiful sight of rows of bright green palm trees and endless blue skies that I had longed for in London.

Style 2020, the host of the event, is a styling company that was launched in 2009 by president Kathryn Moore. The lifestyle, fashion and beauty forum was held at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Once I arrived at the gorgeous venue, the VP of the company, Lisa Marmorino, instantly greeted me with enthusiasm and appreciation for The LA Fashion Blog. Check-in was efficiently organised and I was swiftly processed and sent to enjoy champagne on the terrace by the Cabana Room.

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Industry insiders gathered in the palm tree shaded courtyard. Champagne trays floated through the air and conversation rolled like the California waves on the beach less than a mile away. A few of the event’s sponsors proudly displayed their product on white table cloth draped tables or in beautiful glass cases. Two of my favorite sponsors were Gloss Moderne and Black, Starr & Frost.

Gloss Moderne is a luxurious hair product company which was recently featured in Rachel Zoe’s new book Living In Style. The company was kind enough to gift the forum’s attendees with samples of their High-Gloss, Coco de Soleil Masque that is to die for! “Literally, I die.” Not only is its fragrance divine, but the masque is also sulfate, sodium-chloride and paraben free, and has absolutely added shine and softness to my hair.

As for Black, Starr & Frost; well, diamonds are a girl’s best friend, aren’t they? Speaking of which, Black, Starr & Frost, being one of the first jewelers founded in 1810 in the United States is actually featured in the song sung by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The company’s president, Nelson Holdo, was part of the event’s expert panel and I can’t stress enough how lovely he was; incredibly down to earth, radiating positive energy and super articulate. He answered all of speaker, stylist Ray Marsh's questions intelligently and with zeal.

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I had the most wonderful opportunity to chat with several bloggers and designers. Among them was Lorry Plaster, the designer behind STIKELEATHER, whom I absolutely adored and who, I was thrilled to see, boldly chose to wear a backless dress. Her label STIKELEATHER is a menswear line that produces pieces with a magnetic closure which provides the clothing with a sleek, smooth and effortlessly cool finish.

Inside the Cabana room, I was delighted to be seated next to the gorgeous and stylish Annette Tang of The Versastyle. While we sipped on some bubbles and munched on poulet rôti, we also chatted with the expert panelists Cindy Carrandi and Nicole Simpson, who were such dolls! I was so pleased to discuss the artistry in fashion in Los Angeles with Cindy and discover that Nicole and I held very similar beliefs as to what constitutes beauty in this modern age. Like MrNelson Holdo, it was obvious to me that these beautiful women were not only talented leaders in their respective fields but completely genuine, smart and caring individuals.

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I’d like to applaud and thank the Style 2020 team for all their efforts and the panel for sharing their knowledge. I have to say that the forum was without a doubt one of the most insightful and enjoyable events I have ever attended and I’m also thrilled to inform you that all proceeds from the event will benefit the Haiti Youth Relief Fund.

I certainly hope that this forum becomes an annual event! Stay tuned for more posts from California! Xoxo G 

Comments
  • 9th May
    2014
  • 09
Post

New blog posts coming soon from California! Here’s a sneak peek of Style 2020's How Do You Define Style lifestyle, fashion and beauty forum! It was such a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Stay tuned!

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  • 25th April
    2014
  • 25
Post

Blue Jeans and The Weekenders.

Blue jeans tend to invoke the rebel cool of James Dean and the Valley of the Dolls lustre of Lana Del Rey but blue jeans, for many of us, also embody the transition from work week to weekend.

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Sunglasses: Michael Kors. Earrings: Laura Ashley. T- Shirt: Brandy Melville. Cardigan: Banana RepublicCircle Scarf: Brandy Melville. Handbag: Louis Vuitton. Watch: Michael Kors. Bracelets: J. Crew, Kate Spade & Brandy Melville. Ring: Vintage. Denim Jeans: Mint Velvet. Shoes: Converse.

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Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana. EarringsXIV Karats. Coat: Hugo Boss. Shirt: ZARA. Handbag: Christian Dior. Watch: Cartier. Ring: Tiffany & Co. Denim Jeans: Adriano Goldschmeid (AG Jeans). Shoes: Blue Velvet

The weekenders are the lucky among us to have a set work week. Saturdays, for most, are errand days. If we’ve organised ourselves well enough, Saturdays can also be a day of indulgence. Lunch with friends, shopping and nights spent out on the town.

Sundays, on the other hand, are most likely our one day of complete rest.  It is the day we allocate for relaxation, sometimes recovery and occasionally a bit of fun hence the term “Sunday Funday”.

Personally, there isn’t a day of the week that I love much more than Sunday. There is something to be said about slow Sunday mornings, lying in bed listening to Ella Fitzgerald, with the curtains drawn back and the sun streaming in. Nothing can really beat a promenade through quiet city streets and London is quite perfect for a Sunday stroll. Hot cup of coffee in hand along the Thames, Kings Road, Motcomb Street and or Hyde Park, it is just so incredibly peaceful.

Both of these looks above fall into step with the weekend and while they’re both casual, I think it is quite clear which look reflects which weekend day. I will certainly be looking forward to this weekend as I will be packing to return home to Los Angeles for a few weeks.

While I’m back in California, I will be attending Style 2020’s lifestyle and beauty forum at the Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach on May 2nd. Register and join us to discuss all things style-related over a champagne lunch! Click here for more details.

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  • 15th April
    2014
  • 15
Post

Calling all style and beauty lovers!

Style 2020 is hosting a private lifestyle and beauty forum on May 2nd at the Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach from 12 to 5 p.m. It will feature guest speakers from Sephora, L’Oreal, LVMH, Thomas Pink and influential international style and beauty bloggers.

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be one of bloggers participating! I sincerely hope you decide to join us for lunch and a champagne open bar! I look forward seeing all of your beautiful faces and discussing our mutual obsessions, style, beauty and fashion!

Capacity is limited so please click here to REGISTER!

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  • 10th April
    2014
  • 10
Post

The Long and Short of It.

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Hat: TOPSHOP. Earrings: Tiffany & Co. Sunglasses: Michael Kors. Coat: ZARA. Fingerless Gloves: Club Monaco. Cardigan: Massimo Dutti. Crop Top: Brandy Melville. Handbag: Lady Dior by Christian Dior. Shorts: TOPSHOP. Shoes: CHANEL. Watch: Michael Kors. Bracelet: Kate Spade. Temporary Tattoo: Soraya Bakhtiar x Skin Feelings.

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Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana. Earrings: Laura Ashley. Blazer: H&M. Shirt: Michael Kors. Watch: Rolex. Bracelet: Michael Kors. Shorts: TOPSHOP. Clutch: Vintage. Shoes: Dolce & Gabbana.

If you didn’t already spot the black cab in the background, I’m currently in The City, the financial capital of the world, where Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II resides, London. Despite my accent, the fact that London is my city of birth, and my visits over the years, I found that I could be as much a fish out of water as any foreigner, that is, until now.

London today is far more international then you would have ever believed. When I first landed, I momentarily thought I had mistakenly boarded the wrong plane and had arrived in Paris for all the French I heard. Somehow I find myself continuously walking in circles or constantly forgetting that your safest bet is always to carry an umbrella. Oh and dear God, the things the humidity has done to my hair! However, London grabs you and faced with the city you become filled with a sense of adventure. The architecture of this city is breathtaking. Even Tudor style homes, which I ordinarily loathe, have become quite charming. Well, occasionally anyway.

In England, you keenly feel all four seasons and London finds itself on the cusp of spring. Showers are abating, flowers are beginning to bloom and, gasp, the sun is peaking out! Whether or not you live in London, as spring approaches, no doubt, you’ll be making some travel arrangements. Whether it’s for a quick weekend getaway or a much-deserved lie in the sun, packing is never a simple task.

The short of it is that when it comes to packing, I generally want to bring my entire wardrobe along with me. Alas, we do not live in the Victorian era, when a woman could justify several stylish Louis Vuitton trunks of clothing. So in the spirit of packing economically, above you will find two looks, one for day, the other for night, centered around one pair of fab faux leather shorts.

Photographs by Christine Cherry, Cherish Hope Photography.

Comments
  • 7th April
    2014
  • 07
Post
Hi guys! It’s been a while since I posted but I’m back with new posts that I’m really excited to share with you! Here’s a little sneak peak from the very first post that will be up soon! Photo by Christine Cherry in London. With love, G Xoxo

Hi guys! It’s been a while since I posted but I’m back with new posts that I’m really excited to share with you! Here’s a little sneak peak from the very first post that will be up soon! Photo by Christine Cherry in London. With love, G Xoxo

Comments
  • 15th May
    2013
  • 15
Post

Sevenly: Changing The World One Shirt At A Time…

I like to think that my love and obsession with fashion is quite obvious. However, nothing brings me as much JOY as being able to share information about fashion companies that are improving our world and the lives of others, by raising funds and awareness, literally one t-shirt at a time

Launched in 2011, Sevenly, an online fashion brand, partners with a new charity each week, promoting and selling limited edition graphic tees and other lifestyle products to benefit those in need.

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[Giving Keys Necklace - $39]

[Sevenly 3 notebook kit - $20]

This particular week Sevenly is supporting the Love Without Boundaries Foundation, a worldwide group of volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned and impoverished children in China where thousands of babies are being abandoned because of serious birth defects and or life-threatening medical conditions. Unfortunately without love, care, and the proper medical attention, the chances of these children being adopted vary from slim to none.

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[Give Collection I See Stripes Flowy Tank Top - $30]

[Wreath Flowy Tank -$28]

Love Without Boundaries cares for these children by providing reconstructive surgeries. Every purchase helps fund a surgery for a child in need. Sevenly simplifies giving back, by giving you the opportunity to both improve your wardrobe and the lives of others. They have already raised over 2.1 million dollars to date.

A few of my favorites pieces are pictured both above and below. The Give Collection hoodieand the Give Collection I See Stripes Flowy tank are great wardrobe basics; and the Giving Keys necklace, the Wreath Flowy tank and the Be The Answer crew will all add a little bit of edge to your street style

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[Give Collection Camp Zip Hoodie - $44]

[Be The Answer Crew - $24]

So please adopt Sevenly's philosophy of “people matter,” check out their website and make a purchase. Your purchase helps an orphaned child receive surgery and find a permanent homeThank you.

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  • 10th May
    2013
  • 10
Post

Meet the LA based duo behind Larkspur, Felicia Gaxiola and Amanda Bear.

The girls are running a kickstarter for their eco-friendly lingerie line inspired by their our own vintage collections as well as a 60’s bohemian aesthetic.

It’s Barbarella meets Woodstock but what I love MOST about it is that it’s organic and ethically manufactured clothing. 

Check out their website and be sure to follow them on Facebook, Pinterest and @larkspurla on Instagram! Xoxo

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  • 1st February
    2013
  • 01
Post

Angela & Roi Relaunch Their Website Focusing On Philanthropy.

Last September, the L.A. Fashion blog hosted an Angela & Roi handbag giveaway. Miss Megan Nevels was the lucky recipient of not one but two Angela & Roi handbags; the Miranda tote bag and the Gabriella clutch. Angela & Roi are now expanding on their generosity by relaunching their improved website with an announcement that their company will be donating $5 of every purchase to charity.

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I love Angela & Roi for making good quality and stylish vegan handbags affordable but even more so now that they have introduced their Donate By Color system which color-coordinates their handbags with the different causes their clients can help support.You can support anxiety, depression, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Cancer and or AIDS research simply by purchasing a functional, stylish and affordable Angela & Roi handbag.

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The company is giving fashion lovers everywhere the opportunity to both improve their wardrobes and the lives of millions that have been and will be diagnosed with these diseases. Whether or not you choose to make a purchase, please join us in supporting these causes and Angela & Roi by spreading the word through TumblrFacebook, Twitter, and or Pinterest. Thank you.

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  • 23rd January
    2013
  • 23
Post

Lalla Alia Reinterprets The Tales Of Arabian Nights To Fit Your Soles…

Last August, in the blistering L.A. heat, I pulled into the Ritz-Carlton in downtown, an hour early for my interview with Lalla Alia founder and CEO, Zeineb Souafi. I dashed through the lobby blissfully happy to be out of the car and the stifling heat but desperate for an afternoon coffee. Iced latte in hand, I sat down to review the information I had been provided with and my questions for the CEO. 

Lalla Alia, founded in 2010 by Zeineb and her business partner Pierre-Yves Cahart, is a luxury accessory brand of oriental inspiration headquartered in Switzerland. Zeineb is of Moroccan decent but has travelled far and wide and lived in Paris, New York and Geneva. She attended the Parisian Sorbonne University and the Wharton School of Business. She speaks Arabic, French, English and Moroccan fluently.

Given Zeineb’s credentials, I found myself wondering whether to conduct the interview in English or in French. It was more than likely that having attended the Wharton School of Business she would excel in English but I grew nostalgic for my boarding school days and began to hope that she might feel more comfortable in French. 

Suddenly my phone rang, snapping me out of my reverie and on answering it, Zeineb kindly informed me that she was, unfortunately, due to some meetings, “inexcusably” late. How very un-Swiss like, I teased. It was shortly thereafter that she arrived in a great flurry in her sky-high Marrakesh wedges and structured white cotton dress, apologizing profusely for making me wait. Absolutely undeterred, I sat down with her for our chat.

Now the interview itself was conducted in French, so please forgive me for any translation mistakes I might’ve made. I have also posted the interview in French as well, should you prefer.

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Now tell me, how was the company started?

I have a financial background. For ten years, I did finance and with the last crisis, well they were saying that it was the end of the world- but in finance it’s always the end of the world! So I told myself that if the world was truly ending, I might as well do what I have always wanted to do already having lived ten years in Paris, two years in New York, and now in Geneva. I always found that there was something missing in buying CHANEL, Dior… There was always a touch from where I’m from missing. I love seeing a tassel or a little something that reminds of where I’m from and that’s how it started, in doing some research that I stumbled upon other “oriental” luxury brands such Azzedine Alaia and Elie Saab- but then I found that Elie Saab was strictly clothing and realized that-

Comment avez-vous crée la companie?

Ben globalement j’ai un background finance. Pour dix ans j’ai fait de la finance et avec la dernière crise… À chaque fois c’est la fin du monde… en fait, c’est toujours la fin donc, je me suis dit, puisque c’est la fin du monde qu’il fallait faire ce que j’avais vraiment envie de faire et j’avais envie de faire quelque chose de différent ayant vécu dix ans à Paris, deux ans à New York, et puis maintenant Genève.  Je trouvais qu’il manquait toujours quelque chose en achetant CHANEL, Dior, il manquait toujours ces petites touches de là où je suis. J’aime avoir le petit «tasell» ou la petite chose qui me rappelle chez-moi et j’ai commencé comme ça, en faisant des petites recherches que je suis tombée sur d’autres «marques de luxe» comme Azzedine Alaia par exemple. Mais il manquait encore quelque chose, puis j’ai trouvé Elie Saab mais ce n’était que des vêtements et alors je me suis rendue compte que-

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That it was in fact only the name that was oriental…

Exactly! I thought to myself that there was really a niche for this sort of thing and I began to research artisans, materials … and it really kicked off that way! And why Lalla Alia? Lalla Alia because Lalla translated from Arabic means height, magnificence, and Alia is lady and/or distinguished princess. Then the following two years involved a lot of traveling, researching the best distributors, factories, etc.

Que c’était en fait que le nom qui était vraiment oriental…

Exactement ! De là je me suis dit qu’il y avait vraiment une niche et je suis partie à la recherche d’artisans, de matériaux, et de matières et puis cela a débuté comme ça ! Et pourquoi Lalla Alia ? Lalla Alia parce que Alia c’est hauteur, grandeur en Arabe, et Lalla c’est «Lady», ou « princesse distinguée ». Après, les deux années suivantes sont devenues un travail sur le terrain ou j’ai cherché les meilleurs fournisseurs que ce soit en Italie-

At this point, were you working alone or together with Pierre?

Pierre and I met at General Electric. I worked there for a year and a half in Paris and we unfortunately lost contact … We ran into each other again at a period where he was looking for something different on a professional level as well. It was really something that reunited us. We both attended Wharton Business School and it was in fact in their newsletter that I saw his name and contacted him about starting this venture with me. We said why not? Does it have any potential? Let’s find out. 

À ce moment, est ce que tu travaillais toute seule ou avec Pierre?

Pierre et moi, nous nous sommes rencontrés à la General Electric. J’y ai travaillé pendant un an et demi à Paris et nous nous sommes malheureusement perdus de vue et lui aussi est passé en banque d’affaire. Nous nous sommes revus à une période où lui aussi cherchait quelque chose d’autre au niveau professionnel. C’était vraiment quelque chose qui nous a réunis à nouveau, et nous sommes passés l’un après l’autre au Wharton Business School et c’est de là que j’ai eu son nom. J’ai communiqué avec lui et nous nous sommes dit pourquoi ne pas créer quelque chose ensemble, est-ce que ça aurait du potentiel.

I have to tell you that while I’ve never been, I am fascinated by Morocco.

It is a country of contrasts, a warm country that one should really visit and I would be thrilled to welcome you should you like to visit…

Je n’y suis pas encore allée, mais je dois t’avouer que je suis tout à fait fascinée par le Maroc.

C’est vraiment un pays ou il y a beaucoup de contrastes, c’est un pays chaleureux que tu dois absolument visiter et je serais ravie de t’y accueillir si tu le souhaites- 

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That’s so lovely of you!

Of course! The people are really lovely and there really is a burning desire to do a job well done. They have a beautiful cultural heritage that unfortunately they don’t really value or at least isn’t recognized internationally. You will see everything that is sewn in the look book- you give them a piece of leather, and they sew it by hand in a very unique and particular way (you’d think it was done by a machine) but they’ve been doing it for so many generations, they’ve grown accustomed to it. It’s become average, almost boring.

We also worked a lot with the Italians, who have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to leather and shoes. However for the first time, thanks to the crisis, these companies are willing to try something different. Before, these societies were entirely inapproachable working with established brands, such as CHANEL or Tom Ford.

Ah, c’est gentil!

Mais bien sûr! Il y a des gens si gentils, ils ont vraiment le souci d’accomplir  un travail bien fait; et ils ont un héritage culturel qu’ils n’estiment pas à sa juste valeur ou qui n’est pas forcément reconnu au niveau international. Tu verras tout ce qui est broderie dans le lookbook-  on leur a donné des morceaux de cuir qu’ils ont brodés à la main, de façon assez particulière, on dirait que c’est fait par des machines et pour eux, qui font ça depuis des générations, c’est devenu normal, presque banal.  On a aussi beaucoup travaillé avec les italiens qui ont un peu un complexe de supériorité dans le domaine des cuirs et des chaussures mais pour la première fois, grâce à la crise, ils sont devenus plus ouverts à essayer de nouvelles choses. Avant, ces sociétés, qui travaillaient avec CHANEL, Tom Ford, etc. étaient complètement inaccessibles.

Donc oui, durant les deux dernières années, nous nous sommes consacrés à la construction de l’identité stylistique de la marque. On voulait que notre compagnie ait une ADN très particulière avant même que l’on commence à discuter d’argent. Tout ce qui était finance n’était simplement pas sur la table.

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The last two years have really been spent constructing the stylistic identity of the brand. We wanted our company to have a very specific DNA before we even began to discuss money. Finance or financing the company was simply not on the table.

We are currently developing the first boutique in Dubaï. We hope to open mid 2013, but we are really stressing that it carries our message and has that particular DNA we envisioned. We are also in discussion with the major department stores, here in the United States, to open our first boutique in New York City by the end of 2014.

It is very exciting to meet people, and watch them get hooked, and find that fashion isn’t left or right but that ultimately there is a centre, that it isn’t always the same thing being rehashed. 

Donc oui, durant les deux dernières années, nous nous sommes consacrés à la construction de l’identité stylistique de la marque. On voulait que notre compagnie ait une ADN très particulière avant même que l’on commence à discuter d’argent. Tout ce qui était finance n’était simplement pas sur la table.

Nous sommes en train de développer la première boutique à Dubaï, que nous espérons ouvrir à la mi- 2013 et justement nous voulons qu’elle représente cette ADN particulière, et puis nous sommes en discussion ici, aux États-Unis, avec les grands magasins pour essayer, d’ici la fin 2014, d’ouvrir la première boutique à New York. 

C’est très excitant de rencontrer les gens, de voir qu’ils accrochent, et que la mode n’est pas de gauche ou de droite mais qu’effectivement il y a aussi un centre, que ce ne soit pas toujours la même chose. Il n’y a pas qu’une seule chose qui marche.

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Until now it’s been limited to folklore and passing trends. Marrakesh is a popular theme because it’s considered cool and hip. GUCCI did a Marrakesh collection; Tiffany & Co. did a Marrakesh collection- Yves Saint Laurent moved to Marrakesh! But I regret that it hasn’t progressed. I have travelled to China, to Shanghai and I discovered extraordinary things! At the same time, I can acknowledge why there is a fear of the Chinese but they are hard workers! They really want to succeed and to defend their culture. Sadly, if one keeps purchasing the same brands, PRADA, Versace, etc., you never experience it first hand.

By 2050, 99% of the world population will come from these oriental countries and yet not one single fashion brand represents them. The Emirates, for example, are first in aviation but are severely lacking representation in all of the other industries.

Malheureusement, pour le moment ça s’était limité au folklore et aux tendances. On aime bien Marrakech parce que c’est sympa et c’est «branché». GUCCI a fait la collection Marrakech, Tiffany & Co. a fait la collection Marrakech, Yves Saint Laurent s’est installé au Maroc [c’est à ce moment que je me suis mise à avoir des «flashbacks» des épisodes de Ab Fab] et je trouve dommage que ça ne progresse pas. Moi je suis allée en Chine, à Shanghai, et je trouve qu’il y a des choses extraordinaires. En même temps, je comprends pourquoi les gens ont un peu peur mais ce sont [les Chinois] des bosseurs, des gens qui ont envie de réussir et qui veulent défendre leur culture. Mais quand on achète souvent les mêmes marques, PRADA, Versace, etc, ça ne se voit pas.

Justement d’ici 2050, quatre-vingt-dix-neuf pour cent de la population mondiale viendra de ces pays là et il n’y a pas une seule marque qui les représente. Par exemple les Émirats sont premiers en aviation, mais par contre, dans les autres industries, ils ne sont même pas représentés. 

I find it interesting that you brought up the “fear” aspect. It is my experience that while often times one finds a great divide and or political strife between the East and West, the East does not fear or feel threatened by the West culturally to the same degree that the West feels threatened culturally by the East. Do you feel that that plays into why oriental style, designs and silhouettes have not been explored? 

Je trouve intéressant que tu aies mentionné l’aspect de la «peur». Je reconnais que pendant qu’il y a une grande division politique entre l’Est et l’Ouest, l’Est ne se sent pas aussi menacé par l’Ouest que l’Ouest par l’Est au niveau culturel. Est-ce que tu penses que c’est pour cette raison que le style et les silhouettes orientales n’ont pas étés autant explorés?

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A large part of Europe colonised these countries for example England colonised India, France colonised Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and so there is a sense of superiority in regards of one culture to another. There wasn’t much consideration or appreciation of the beauty of said culture.

Morocco didn’t gain its independence until nineteen fity-

Six?

Yes very good! [She smiles. I smile too, a little smug but I always loved history.] It took thirty years to stabilize and reconstruct it and some very extreme things were done in order to maintain power. [I tangent here to tell Zeineb that I loved Malika Oufkir’s Memoir/Autobiography “Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail,” which describes some of the extremes that did in fact take place during the stabilizing of Morocco. If you have the opportunity to, pick it up. She also mentions that her family are in politics in Morocco]. It also took time for the people to become conscious of their cultural wealth and worth, for example our style of embroidery. It’s an “added value” that doesn’t necessarily belong to other cultures. Well the Arab Spring- that’s it! 

Il y a aussi une grande partie de l’Europe qui a colonisé- par exemple l’Angleterre a colonisé l’Inde; la France, le Maroc, Algérie, la Tunisie et donc du coup il y a un supériorité par rapport à une culture à un n’autre et alors il n’y avait pas de considération ou on a pas mit en valeur ou chercher la beauté de ces cultures. 

Le Maroc n’as pas eut son indépendance qu’en mille neuf cent cinquante-

Six?

Oui, ben bravo! [Elle sourit. Je souris aussi, un peu suffisante, mais j’ai toujours adoré l’histoire]. Mais il a fallu trente ans pour le stabiliser et le reconstruire, et pour préserver le pouvoir il y a eut des choses extrêmes qui ont été faites. [Je m’éloigne un peu, ici, pour dire à Zeineb combien j’ai aimé les mémoires autobiographiques de Malika Oufkir – « Stolen Lives : […] » qui décrivent les mesures extrêmes qui ont eu lieu pendant la stabilisation du Maroc. Si vous en avez la chance, lisez-le. Elle mentionne aussi que sa famille travaillent dans la politique au Maroc]. Mais il a aussi fallu du temps au peuple pour prendre conscience que nous, ce qu’on fait, la broderie par exemple, a de la valeur, c’est une valeur ajoutée qui n’appartient pas nécessairement aux autres cultures. Ben, les révolutions arabes c’est ça!

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I love the idea of breaking cultural barriers- for example I am very proud of my Irish and Polish heritages, but I like to think that I am very open to experiencing new and different cultures. It’s also the concept for L.A. Fashion. I want it to be a melting pot of luxury avant-garde design and L.A. street style.

J’adore l’idée d’ouvrir les barrières culturelles- moi par exemple, je suis très fière de mon héritage Irlandais et Polonais mais j’aimerais bien penser que j’ai une sensibilité à la culture. C’est en fait le concept pour L.A. Fashion. Je veux que ce soit un mélange de mode avant-garde, de luxe et de «street style»…

And I love that! The fact that you can wear Lalla Alia with jeans! Being normal doesn’t really pay off! You have to be original! At the same time, it’s also great to feel elegant and beautiful! And that’s it, oriental culture is incredibly varied and it should and will have its place in this industry and that’s the message we’re trying to get across. You just need time and lots of energy because it’s not easy.

Et moi, c’est ce que j’adore ! Le fait qu’on puisse porter Lalla Alia avec un jean! La normalité ne paye pas trop,  il faut être original, mais en même temps c’est chouette de pouvoir aussi être élégant et beau! Et justement cette culture orientale est très, très vaste et elle a sa place dans cette industrie et c’est ce que nous essayons de défendre. Et il faut un temps fou, et beaucoup d’énergie parce que ce n’est pas évident d’y arriver au final.

So the design process, how and where does it begin?

Usually, we start by showing the designers materials, historical sites, textiles, and or architecture and asking them to produce a sketch based on those things. We then choose what is in line with the concept of our collection. 

I am very hands-on and I travel frequently to oversee everything. Often times, I will watch over the couturiers and impress upon them the importance of the quality of their work. It is all very personal because there is strong desire, for me, to see the brand develop the way I have imagined it in my mind. When you delegate to somebody, there is always something that does or doesn’t sit right, and its still the beginning so I am still the first and last to decide. Quality is the most important factor. I don’t want a “cowboy brand,” a brand that’s cool and hip for a hot minute and then that’s it. I stress quality because ultimately that is what remains unaffected by time.

Alors ou est-ce que ça commence?

En général, nous commençons par montrer aux designers les matériaux, les sites historiques, les textiles et l’architecture et nous leur demandons de produire une esquisse basée sur ces choses. Ensuite, nous choisissons ce qui est en accord avec le concept de notre collection.

Je suis très pragmatique et je voyage régulièrement pour tout superviser. Souvent, je veille sur les couturiers et je leur dis qui va porter ces chaussures pour leur expliquer l’importance de la qualité de leur travail. C’est très personnel parce qu’il y a vraiment ce désir, pour moi, de voir la marque se développer de la façon que je l’ai imaginé dans ma tête. Quand tu délègues à quelqu’un, il y a toujours quelque chose qui va ou qui ne va pas, et c’est encore le début, donc je suis toujours la première et la dernière à décider. La qualité, c’est ce qu’il y a de plus important pour moi. Je ne veux pas un « cowboy brand », une marque qui est sympa, qui est branchée pour un instant et qui passe. J’insiste sur la qualité parce que les objets de luxe ne sont pas affectées  par le temps.

Where do you purchase your materials?

Morocco, India, China- but in terms of China, I am very careful because for now there is still that “cheap” connotation. I’d say 90% comes from Italy, Morocco, and India especially for the embroidery- I’m trying to get the best of each country.

Today these companies want to speak face to face. Its what makes the difference, it’s what allows us to work with the best.

Où est-ce que tu achètes tes matériaux?

Au Maroc, en Inde, en Chine- mais en Chine, je fais vraiment attention parce que pour le moment il a encore la connotation «bas de gamme».  Je dirais que 90% viennent de l’Italie, du Maroc et de l’Inde pour la broderie- j’essaie de mettre en valeur le meilleur de chaque pays.

Aujourd’hui ces compagnies aiment que nous les rencontrions face à face. C‘est ce qui fait la différence, c’est ce qui fait que nous pouvons travailler avec les meilleurs.

So the upcoming collection, how many styles are there?

We have 49 models. That’s seven styles for seven groups with a variation of three standard colours. We are also discussing the possibility of opening a customization section where one can pick the colour of one’s liking. I think that’s also the advantage of being present with established connections with distributors in several countries- is the power to quickly react to the demand.

Donc la collection qui vient, combien de styles est-ce qu’il y a?

Nous avons 49 modèles. Ce qui fait 7 styles par groupe, en 7 groupes et puis il y a une déclinaison de 3 couleurs de base et on discute la possibilité de créer une section «personnalisée», où l’on peut choisir la couleur que l’on préfère. Je crois que c’est aussi là l’avantage d’avoir des contacts établis avec des fournisseurs dans plusieurs pays - c’est la force de réagir rapidement à la demande. 

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To my delight, I spent the rest of the afternoon with Zeineb discussing not only Lalla Alia and fashion, but the wonderful opportunities our work provides us with to connect with others, within and outside of our industry. There’s something very powerful about a start-up that not only wants to generate industry in countries whose talents have been, until now under appreciated or all together overlooked but, in addition, desires to improve the education of the underprivileged. Read more about the Lalla Alia Foundation here. As for me, I believe that Lalla Alia shoes will soon take the fashion world by storm. Happy hunting fashion darlings! Xoxo

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