The beautiful, Alessandra Lanvin, the designer of one of my favorite shoe brands of the moment – Aperlai Paris, was recently in Dubai. I had the chance to grab some time, and coffee at the Vogue Cafe in Level Shoe District. We spoke about Dubai, her change of careers, brand expansion brands, and why Bjork is her beauty icon. Turns out we are also both Barre addicts!
Aperlai Paris is available at Level Shoe District.
Is this your first time in Dubai?
Yes! I feel so stupid for not coming before…
What do you think of the city?
Amazing, amazing. Just wow. The construction, architecture, the people, the quality of life. Just amazing.
*we are having coffee at the Vogue cafe in Level Shoe District* What do you think of this place?
It has to be one of the best shoe shop around the world – I’ve been seeing a lot of shoe stores but everything from the selection to the architecture is just beautiful. I didn’t even want to leave the bathroom! The lamps are built into the sink.
On to your brand – how was Aperlai born?
I started in 2009/2010. I was actually on maternity leave as I was a head hunter for a very corporate and serious company but I worked in the luxury goods sector. During my maternity leave, I had a lot of time and energy, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to start something I loved but I wouldn’t have dared to change careers as I was in a very stable and good job. I thought, let me do 15-20 models quickly in two months, show at Paris fashion week, and see what comes out of it. I said if 10-12 good shops pick up the brand, it wouldn’t be bad. After great shops like Luisa Via Roma, Corso Como, Bergdorf Goodman, and Harvey Nichols etc picked up the collection, I decided to not go back to work.
Every Aperlai shoe is always interesting, distinct and original. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by exhibitions, art, and my mood. I was so sorry to miss Art Dubai! I have to come back and bring my husband, my son…
Any expansion plans?
We already launched belts, and I just launched a handbag range for Spring/Summer ’14.
What are your beauty secrets?
BioEffect Serum, which I stole from Bjork when reading an interview. It comes from Iceland, but if Bjork looks young, I need it. I also love a Sisley mask, Bobbi Brown’s cheek tint, and Clarins for the body.
What is your fitness routine?
I did 10 years of Pilates and after coming back from maternity, I was so depressed with my body where I discovered The Dailey Method (a Barre method), I do it twice a week at their studio in Paris, they just opened it there, it originates from the US.
How do you balance being a working mother?
Like all the other ones! I’m less well dressed than before, I shop less, I do less gym, I take care less of myself, and more of my son. You always have to give up something, it’s all about prioritizing.
Moving on to style, How would you define your style?
I’m quite classic & feminine.
Who are your favorite designers?
I’ve been wearing a lot of Balenciaga – it works for my body type. Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Givenchy, and leather pants!
What’s the best advice that has ever been given to you?
My mom, in terms of style… ‘When you don’t know what to do with color, look at art.’ You might be shocked by what colors work with each other!