LE MARAIS 101 is more of a concept rather than a simple brand, conceived in 2019 to complement, revisit and recycle each and every piece that remains within our wardrobe.
Zina Khair, the Founder & Creative Director of LE MARAIS 101, and Co-Founder and Designer Angelique Tournoud are driven by a common wish to revisit the principles of fashion conceptions, in order to soften the daily expectations of the modern world with fashion.
“The idea is not to always buy the latest from a brand, but how to make each piece that you own, different and effortlessly distinctive” – LE MARAIS 101 is so much more than just an accessory line; it’s a house of collections.” – says Zina Khair
Tell us about the origin of the idea and how you developed it
Everything started when I moved to Dubai. I started going out and meeting so many artistic and fashionable people, especially extremely stylish women. High end fashion is quite huge here and everybody looks stunning however I started noticing how there wasn’t a lot of variety and everyone wore the same pieces in the same styles. So I thought I could create something with a more alternative and edgy look to it to spice up the whole scene.
That’s very smart! So what’s the mantra that drove the development of the brand?
Well it might sound boring but I just thought to myself ‘I only have a limited time on this planet and I want to make a difference. The only things I have control over are the way I present myself and the way I feel about myself so I want to go all in and I show my true colors. I want my pieces to show that I’m alive, that I accept myself, that I feel good about myself and that I care about my look!’
Such a powerful way to look at it! So you are targeting a female audience predominantly?
Well, we make handbag accessories so as long as you have a handbag you can rock them but women are our natural target I would say, yes! Let’s not forget that handbags are a must in every woman’s outfit. Bags are our universe! It’s where we keep our stuff and our secrets. You look into a woman’s bag and you see their story!
That’s an amazing line! Very true!
So I thought it would be amazing to enrich and uplift the stories our bags are telling about ourselves with rich accessories specifically designed to give our handbags a new life!
What’s the inspiration behind your designs?
I love this question! I was at a Hermes store once and saw this amazing saddle with this stunning wings design which really stuck with me. And thought ‘wow how cool would wings look on the handbags’!
Beautiful. Tell us about your very first campaign shot with Plastik in Beirut
We are still head over heels for that campaign! Eli and the whole Plastik team were lovely and really brought the whole idea to new heights.
Clearly! What’s the story behind the old lady who stars in the campaign?
I went to a fashion show once and I just saw this older woman in the crowd looking absolutely stunning and radiating style and confidence and immediately thought she should be the star of the campaign because she literally embodies our core message! So I went up to her and became friends with her and asked her if she would be willing to shoot with us and be the face and spirit of the brand.
Inspiring! That was a bold and unusual choice at the same time, though!
Oh yes! But it was needed! We wanted the very first campaign to stand out and set the tone for the future of the brand!
What kind of reaction did you get?
Overwhelmingly positive! People started really identifying with the message quite strongly! Which was the whole objective! That’s why we make wings, butterflies, snakes and other impactful designs, too! People will most likely develop attached to a certain design that might reflect their personality, or might spur a bit of inspiration and meaning when they put it on and get started with their day. That’s the whole point!
I would love for you to share some of your personal story as it’s highly inspirational. Are you comfortable with that?
Absolutely! You know, I have done a million things in my life. I grew up in Syria and worked with my dad in the TV and production industry over there and worked on amazing events, shows etc. Then co-founded an NGO to aid the blind and visually impaired which was something so rewarding and noble to do!
When the civil war started I had to leave obviously and seek asylum in Dubai thinking I would be able to see my people and my country after the war but unfortunately that could never be arranged so I had to make Dubai my new home.
That must have been quite tough but at the same time a priceless and valuable lesson!
Undoubtedly! Everything has a bright side and look at me now! Dubai is a magical place, I truly cherish it! Everyone is here without their families, so we all become each other’s family and learn how to start living and embracing life proudly again!
And wearing LE MARAIS 101 proudly and unapologetically stylish!
YES! Truly unapologetically!