Designer Spotlight: Make Way For The Talented Kadeem Alphanso Fyffe

Kadeem Alphanso Fyffe is a fashion designer, entrepreneur, actor, and public speaker. He is the founder and creative director of MUXE NEW YORK, and currently serves as the head of design at Acumen; his first collection for the Menswear Label debuts in Fall 2020.

Educated at the University of Richmond and Parsons School of Design, Kadeem has worked in the NYC Fashion Industry since 2013 as a Fashion Designer and Visual Merchandiser for the likes of Michael Kors, Gary Graham, Lyssé, PVH, and Mark Jacobs. His last role was Head of Design at WOLACO. He is an active member of the National Black Justice Coalition, and serves as a volunteer and committee member of NYC-based LGBT youth organization, Live Out Loud.

In 2016 he launched his own clothing label, MUXE NEW YORK, with the intent of creating unisex garments that comment on gender, politics, and culture. Kadeem is a passionate advocate for change to underrepresented communities, with a specific focus on the Black and LGBTQ+ communities.

Kadeem also started working as a commercial model and actor at 19 and has since appeared in TV, Film, and Stage in the US and Australia. He has lived 6 cities across three continents, visited 22 of the 50 U.S. States, and traveled to 15 countries.

Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Kadeem to discuss his journey in the fashion industry and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the fashion industry?

My first internship was in the Women’s Collection at Micheal Kors, which I completed while at Parsons. I completed my graduate studies at Parsons in 2014 and started working professionally as a Women’s RTW designer in New York City.

What do you like most about being a designer?

I love translating my inspirations into a full collection – the whole process of collection development, bringing something from initial concept to full fruition, is my favorite part of being a designer.

The downside to being a fashion designer?

The industry can be very cut-throat at times – some people see this as a downside, but I have always tried to use the competitive nature of the industry to push me to succeed and propel me forward. At Parsons, a student once cut the thread right out of my sewing machine – the joke was on her though because my garment still turned out the best – being better is the sweetest revenge.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

I have had many memorable experiences, but if I had to pick one it would be the first time I worked backstage at NYFW while part of the design team at MK. It was the first time I saw supermodels in real life, and at one point I was 10 feet away from Anna Wintour. This was the moment I knew all my hard work had paid off, and I knew I deserved to be in the room with these people.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

The most interesting people I have met have been during my time as the Head of Design at WOLACO. I was able to meet other young entrepreneurs, fitness influencers, and professional athletes – I found them interesting because they were all hustlers who had mastered the art of self-branding and promotion – and of course, they were insanely fit and easy on the eyes.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

In the famed words of Emily from Devil Wears Prada, “a million girls would kill for this job” – so I’ve always worked my ass off, knowing full well I could be replaced with a quickness.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

Yes – my family has always supported my creative pursuits.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

At the beginning of my career, I would have focused more on networking and building and nurturing my professional and personal relationships.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

“Never give up”. It’s very simple.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I plan to continue to grow my business, while always remaining to opportunities to work as a Creative Director for brands that are meaningful to me.

Designer Spotlight: Find Out More About The Incredible Radmila Lolly

Radmila Lolly is an acclaimed classical singer as well as a high fashion designer. She presented her last album “Wonderland” at the famous Carnegie Hall. She decided to combine her talents as a singer and a designer and presented her couture collection during her concert while putting up an unforgettable show.

This inspirational woman is the sole designer of the couture fashion house Eltara Casata @eltaracasata. The largest influence on her designs is her musical exploits. For Lolly, her two artistic mediums inspire and feed off each other; the textures of her designs are innately linked to the textures of her music.

Her fashion collection has been featured at Barneys Madison Avenue Trunk Show, alongside designers such as Zac Posen, Naeem Khan, J. Mendel, as well as at the Daytime Emmy’s Ceremony, and many more. It has also been featured by Vogue Italia, and Harper’s Baazar, among others. Radmila Lolly has a huge number of requests from celebrities to wear her gowns for award ceremonies or red carpet events. In fact, we have seen several artists wearing Radmila Lolly’s dresses, such as Gayle King, Bebe Rexha, Mya, Miss Universe 2018, Miss USA 2018, Miss USA 2017, to name a few.

Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Radmila to discuss her journey in the fashion industry and here’s what went down:

Tell us your full name and something about yourself.

My name is Radmila Lolly, and I am a storyteller through different art forms. My main artistic mediums are music and fashion; I am a vocalist and composer, and I am also the sole designer for the couture fashion house Eltara Casata by Radmila Lolly.

How did you get into the fashion industry?

I started by designing and creating my own gowns for my performances. People started coming up to me afterward to ask where I got my dress from. Eventually, the demand for my creations grew and I started making gowns for other people as well, which led to me starting my own couture line.

How were you actually ‘discovered’?

I don’t believe in people being “discovered”; I worked hard, stayed true to my vision, and surrounded myself with people who supported that. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the people who have supported me all along.

What do you like most about being a designer?

I love the process of it; having something in my imagination, and creating something tangible from it. It is about bringing art to life.

The downside to being a fashion designer?

There is no downside; even if I have a negative experience, it is still a positive experience overall because I learn from it, and I am still doing something that I love.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

Doing a fitting for Gayle King; she had no idea what I was bringing with me, and she is used to so many different designers giving her things to wear, but she was still so open-minded. While I was in her office, all the feedback I was getting from everyone present made me feel like they were genuinely liking the gown and the way that it complemented Gayle as a strong, elegant woman. A few months later, I received an email from her with photos of her wearing the gown at a gala and a note about how everyone loved her in it. As a new designer, seeing someone so incredible wearing my creation and enjoying it made me feel so honored.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I believe every person is very interesting in different ways, I don’t have specific names I will mention, because I believe that everyone has something special about them. It’s all part of the journey; someone doesn’t need to be famous to say something meaningful that can change your life.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry.

I have learned to always stay creative; never stop imagining, never stop sketching, never stop creating. Don’t follow the trends; create your own.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

I don’t have a big family, and who I do have are always supportive of someone who believes, works, and achieves.

What inspires you to be creative?

What drives me to be creative, is the idea that I can put something positive out into the world; even if I am creating art about something traumatic or unhappy, I hope that people can relate to that and feel a connection, both to me and each other.

Is there anything special that you do to get into a creative mindset?

To me, a “creative mindset” is a journey; it never stops, it never ends. I am always in that mindset. I believe it can be hard to start thinking like that, but once you start, you will never stop; it becomes a part of your nature.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

My upcoming self-composed 19 movement programmatic album corresponds to a novel I am also writing. This project has been in the works since I first started the novel six years ago. When the book was started, I had always wanted an album to go along with it, but at the time I did not compose at all, I figured someone else would be composing it. Since then, my musical journey has brought me to composing, and now I can tell the story of my novel in another medium. There will also be a corresponding audiobook, and of course, a couture line to accompany the album and the novel.

Meet The Model Behind The Cover Of The August 2020 Issue Of Sassy & Co Magazine: The Beautiful Liudmyla Tkachenko

Liudmyla Tkachenko is a stunning Ukrainian model who is currently based in Los Angeles. She grew up in a picturesque town stretching in the western region of Ukraine. Ever since she was a little girl, she has always dreamed of becoming an international model someday. Unfortunately, the economic situation in Ukraine was bad at the time, and since she had no connections in the fashion industry – becoming an international model seemed like an almost impossible feat. But Liudmyla was persistent though, despite her situation, she was determined to turn her childhood dream into reality.

Liudmyla’s first taste of the modeling industry came in the form of a modeling contract that was offered to her to work somewhere in China. Although China has always been considered as one of the most dynamic, and vibrant countries in the world, moving to work in China can often seem daunting because of the language barrier and cultural differences. However, Liudmyla really wanted to make things work with her modeling career hence the reason why she felt that she needed a deeper cultural immersion in the Chinese ways for the sake of her career. She decided to hone her Chinese language skills first so she started taking Chinese language classes. Eventually, she came to the point that she was actually quite fluent in Mandarin.

Since working as a full-time model in China, She has appeared in several high-profile commercials and magazines in Asia. Liudmyla worked as a full-time model for a few years in Asia mainly around Hong Kong, China, and Thailand before deciding to move to the United States to further pursue her modeling career. When she moved to the United States in 2016, she didn’t speak a word of English which was tough because she had to start from the bottom again. She, therefore, decided to study English in a New York-based language school while pursuing her modeling career at the same time.

Liudmyla’s persistence eventually paid off when she started scoring one good gig after another. Since working as a model in New York, she has appeared several times in New York Fashion Week. She has walked for high-profile designers such as Dan Liu, Terraza, and Oxford Fashion, among others, and she has also done photoshoots for high-profile fashion magazines such as the L’Officiel magazine, Marie Claire, MD Trends magazine, Imaginary magazine, and Marjen magazine. Furthermore, she was involved in several catalog shoots as well as several exciting projects. Her photos from the New York Fashion Week shows have even been featured in Vogue, Elle, as well as Harper’s Bazaar.

After modeling for two years in New York, Liudmyla decided to try her luck at acting by moving to Los Angeles. Since moving to Los Angeles, she has appeared in a Nike commercial, as well as a few alcohol commercials, and she also scored a role in an upcoming film called “The Nowhere Inn.” The movie is set to premiere in the Sundance film festival 2020. Currently, Liudmyla is studying at an acting school called Beverly Hills Playhouse hoping that this can be her ticket to more projects in Hollywood.

Starting from a humble background, Liudmyla was initially faced with poverty as well as other problems, but she learned how to overcome all that fate threw at her. She moved forward with a single-minded determination to achieve success. Having reached her goal of becoming an international model, she’s definitely a classic example of the results of hard work and determination.

Sassy & Co recently caught up with Liudmyla to discuss her journey in the modeling/fashion world and here’s what went down:

How did you decide to be a professional model?

I actually decided to become a professional model after I did my first photoshoot. I felt that I really enjoyed modeling so I wanted to pursue my modeling career full-time. In terms of inspiration, top model Natalia Vodianova is who really inspires me. Her success story shows that hard work and dedication to your goal will eventually lead to success.

What was your first big break in the industry?

My first big break in the industry was in New York walking for designer Dan Liu at the NYFW 2018.

What is your dream modeling job?

A photoshoot for the cover of Vogue magazine.

If you weren’t a model, what would you do?

Definitely something around the entertainment industry.

How do you stay fit and healthy?

I work out every day and I also only eat healthy food.

What’s your beauty and exercise regime?

I like going to the spa, as well as getting massages and facials. I also work out every day by going to the gym, hiking, yoga, and meditation.

Is there much work around for models these days?

With the Coronavirus situation still happening, honestly, there’s not much model work happening. But slowly everything is starting to get back to normal and hopefully, soon there will be a lot more work.

How do you deal with all the traveling required to be a model? How do you cure jet-lag?

It’s very important to drink a lot of water and get some rest if you’re traveling. I usually cure my jet-lag by going to the gym right after I arrive in a new location.

When you’re not busy modeling, what are some of your favourite things to do?

I like to go hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, and reading books. I also like getting massages and relaxing on the beach with a great book.

What are your favourite beauty products? what’s always carried in your purse?

The skincare line “Origins” is my favorite one.

What is your go-to everyday outfit?

Shorts and t-shirt are my go-to everyday outfit.

Given the competitiveness and the speed of the industry, how do you ensure you stand out?

Always be yourself and know how valuable you are. Self-love is very important.

Introducing The Stunning La Métamorphose Bridal Capsule Collection

This new bridal capsule collection explores the hidden and mysterious nature of women and is inspired by the « Balsamic moon »; this suspended moment in the moon cycle which corresponds to the « Dreamtime ». It is synonymous with the Origin of the World in the culture of the Australian aborigines.

The « Balsamic Moon » is the moon of the prophets and prophetesses, and has the power to stimulate the imagination. This moon reveals a particular vision of the cycle to come. This visionary phase requires the opening of the mind channels and its limits, to allow a new creation to emerge. This phase is asking us to surrender to the power of the universe whose dream springs from the dark, through sketches, and canvasses, defining the outlines of new possibilities. All of the fabrics are “Made in France”, and part of the collection has been produced in French ateliers.

Credits :

Photos Greg Alexander
Art director Sébastien Vienne
Hair & Make-up Carine Larchet for LaRoche Posay & Eugène Perma
Assisted de Charlotte Le Balch
Models Angeline & Kellia & Lucie @ Ava Models London
Production assistant Romane Sorin
Special thanks to Château Royal d’Amboise
www.mephistopheles.fr
© Méphistophélès Productions

Five Incredible Blind Women Who Are Breaking Barriers And Looking Good Doing It!

There are some people out there who are just gorgeous on the outside and others whose personalities accentuate their beauty. But how about those people who are just stunning both inside and out? As America celebrates thirty years having passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, we thought we’d highlight some of today’s most amazing blind women, who are not only trendsetting powerhouses but first-rate fashionistas at the same time.

1. Lachi

Lachi is an award-nominated recording artist, songwriter, and author who has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry. On top of releasing consistently charting songs, Lachi is an outspoken advocate for disability representation in media and entertainment. She also models for new and established Adaptive-Clothing brands. Repping New York City, Lachi’s Instagram feed is dripping with confidence and class. You can follow Lachi on Instagram via this link: Lachi

2. Molly Burke

Hailing from Canada, Molly is a Youtube personality and motivational speaker with a channel boasting over two million subscribers. An advocate for the blind, Molly’s video content centers around fashion and makeup, focusing on her perspective as a visually impaired woman. The former Miss Teen Canada always knows how to keep it glam all the time. You can follow Molly on Instagram via this link: Molly Burke Official

3. Marilee Talkington

Marilee Talkington is a Hollywood actress, director, and writer, with her most recent role in the Apple TV series “See” alongside Jason Mamoa. She is one of the few visually impaired women authentically cast in a blind role. Marilee is prolific in her activism work founding, co-founding, and advising numerous programs helping blind and sight-impaired actors. Marilee is definitely here to change the game. You can follow Marilee on Instagram via this link An Artist Warrior

4. Haben Girma

Haben is a disability rights lawyer and speaker, being the first deaf-blind woman to graduate from Harvard Law. Having been recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change, Haben remains consistent in her advocacy efforts. From a commanding twitter feed to op-eds in the Washington Post, Girma is no strange to speaking her mind on all things disability rights. You can follow Haben on Instagram via this link Haben Girma

5. Anastasia Pagonis

Anastasia is a young Paralympic swimmer touting a few competitive metals under her belt. She continues to openly share her empowering story as she embarks on a journey of advocacy. With a national debut on NBC’s George To The Rescue, Anastasia has maintained a suave public image. She is definitely one to watch. You can follow Anastasia on Instagram via this link Anastasia

Rising Star Spotlight: Introducing Emerging Designer Cristy Thapa

Cristy Thapa is currently on the verge of launching a fashion website and her fashion line. This is the latest in a long line of accomplishments from this talented woman. For example, she is a registered nurse, she has won several titles such as Ms. International Beauty Ambassador 2018, Ms. Australia International 2018, Ms. Charity International 2019, and Ms. Australia United Nations 2019 and she has also helped design outfits for multiple fashion shoots. She is the first Nepalese who has represented Australia in an international platform not only once but twice. Let’s take a closer look at this inspiring woman to find out what attracted her to the fashion industry.

She initially began in fashion by working as a creative director in various fashion shows. This meant that she was responsible for making decisions about the kind of clothes that would appear in the show. Cristy thoroughly enjoyed this experience as well as being able to meet a range of new people. Being a creative director also exposed her to a wide range of new opportunities. Because of this experience she was able to work with a popular fashion designer in her logbook shoot. Cristy loved this memorable experience, as she got an even deeper insight into how the fashion industry works.

One of the most important things that Cristy learned is the way that people are affected by fashion. She believes that the type of clothes people wear will have a big impact on both the personal and professional aspects of their lives. This is partly what has inspired her to become a fashion blogger and designer. Cristy derives a lot of happiness from experimenting with different fabrics and color choices. She discovered this passion early, dreaming of owning her fashion line when she was in high school. Through years of work, she has been able to start achieving this dream.

Cristy actually has big dreams for the future. First, she is planning to launch her website, (www.thearcreations.com) soon. Through this site, she plans to report on the latest news and events from the fashion industry. By bringing her unique perspective to these events, she’ll help people get interested in this field. She also plans to help people from underdeveloped countries better understand the fashion industry. Many of these countries make beautiful fabrics and Cristy wants to show them how to convert these fabrics into beautiful clothes. By doing this, she also hopes to make a powerful change in the lives of people in these countries. Also, she wants to start her own clothing line. Initially, she intends to focus on crafting excellent wedding gowns and eventually move on to creating high-quality men’s wear items.

Cristy wants to work for a social organisation where she can bring changes in the community. She wants to be a role model and a successful entrepreneur who can be the source of inspiration for existing people. She also wants to serve the community and be the voice of the underprivileged – she is definitely someone to watch out for in the future. So, keep your eyes open for Cristy Thapa as she continues to make an impact in the fashion industry.

Meet The Woman Behind The Latest Issue Of Sassy & Co: The Stunning Natalija Ugrina

Natalija Ugrina is a stunning actress and fashion model who is currently based in Los Angeles, California. She was originally born in Croatia and was raised by her mother, Ketrin Buljević, who’s a writer and a poet. She kickstarted her modeling career at the age of 16 by joining Elite Model Management which enabled her to work with various fashion designers and appear in notable publications such as Vogue Italia, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar as well as grace high-profile fashion shows from all over the world. Eventually, she decided to shift gears and pursue a career in acting. She moved to Los Angeles to study acting at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute which led to numerous acting gigs. Some of her film credit includes the College Ball movie, Fight of Fury, and A Life Well Lived. She has also appeared in music videos such as 5 Seconds of Summer’s “She Looks So Perfect” which garnered over 300 million views as well as Action Bronson’s music video for “Baby Blue” featuring Chance the Rapper. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she constantly works tirelessly to build her career. Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Natalija to discuss her journey in the entertainment industry and here’s what went down:

Could you please provide background about yourself and how you were discovered?

I was 16 years old when a modeling agent approached me in Split, Croatia, and immediately signed me up for the Fashion TV International Model Contest. I ended up being one of the finalists and I eventually decided to move to Italy to pursue my career. Shortly after, I signed up with Elite Model Management and worked for several fashion designers. I walked during Fashion Week in Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, and New York. I also appeared in several high-profile publications like Vogue Italia, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. Even though being 6 feet tall and slender opened many doors in fashion, I was always fascinated by acting though. I decided to get more serious about it and what’s a better place to start than Hollywood right? I then signed up for The Lee Strasberg Institute where I studied method acting.

After graduating, I booked my first acting roles and decided to continue my studies at the UCLA Extension Acting Program. I appeared in several commercials (Budlight, Nike, Kia) and even played a news anchor in the “College Ball Movie” starring Tom Sizemore. I was never into social media that much but every time I go to castings and auditions, I often get asked “How many followers do you have?” so I decided to create an account on Instagram. What started as something fun, became a huge part of my life and a full-time job. I get paid to travel, try out new things and I can really say I’m living a dream.

What does it mean for you to be a model?

To be confident with your body and project that confidence through the picture.

What’s the biggest challenge to modeling?

With the lifestyle that I have, it’s really hard for me to maintain a healthy relationship and it’s mostly because I travel all the time. Every guy I meet seems to be okay with it all at first until they are not (laughs).

Have you always wanted to be in the modeling industry?

I actually never wanted to be in the modeling industry but I’ve always been very tall (I’m 6 feet tall) so it was a logical path to take. I’m grateful I did, as I now live such an interesting life – I meet so many different people and visit different countries. But, my only true dream is acting and it’s all I want to do in life. Sometimes though, you need to take certain detours to get to where you want to be.

What sort of person usually follows you?

Usually, it’s people that are interested in fashion and travel as that is mainly what I post and that’s also why I have all sorts of people following me – I love it! I would say though, I do have a slightly higher percentage of a super young crowd, mainly because I am very active on TikTok.

What’s your personal mission in life?

I hope to be a positive inspiration for people, help whenever I can, and be the source of change. When people follow you, I think it’s your responsibility to spread a positive message and do good.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Even though I’ve met so many celebrities, athletes, politicians, etc… I find that the most interesting people I’ve met were the ones I met during my travels, especially in poor countries. I find it fascinating how some people have nothing and yet, they have the most beautiful smiles and they are willing to share the last piece of their meal with you. Those people are the true wealth of this world.

How active are you on social media?

Lately, especially since the pandemic, I feel like I live on social media (laughs). But seriously, being an influencer is much more work than what everyone thinks and it actually takes most of my day especially since I am active on several platforms. I remember not posting a story one day and my followers started asking me if I was okay and it something happened. They are all so used to seeing new content from me every day.

What is your favourite social media platform?

Even though I initially signed up just for fun, TikTok became my favourite platform by far! It’s fun, easy-going and you don’t have to think too much about the content and aesthetics. People are less judgemental there than other platforms and also very supportive! Another thing I really like about it is that you can have literally zero followers, but then when you post a video you can have a million views overnight. Everyone has a chance to be recognized and everyone’s talents can shine.

What will you advise other models who may wish to follow your footsteps?

Always be yourself and never try to fit into someone else’s standards! I remember when I started modeling, the agencies wanted us to be almost “anorexic” but look at how everything has changed nowadays. Love yourself the way you are and don’t follow the beauty trends. If you truly believe in yourself and modeling is what you want to do, then the right agent will eventually recognise you.

What are your future plans?

Other than acting and modeling, I was always interested in producing as well and I’m currently working on my own feature movie so stay tuned!

The “Lightning-Fast” Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: I can’t think of a really good movie, but my favourite show that I haven’t seen in a while is “Money Heist.” I can’t wait for the new season!

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Nothing is more beautiful to me than people who wake up with a smile – truly excited for every new day and what it has to bring, grateful for the blessings they have, and not resentful for what they don’t have. The world is a beautiful place, it’s all about the perspective and it’s better to look at everything through rose coloured glasses.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? I would love to live in the Caribbean at some point in my life and actually own an island! Dream big they say.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” jump with a parachute!

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? Speaking up even when it’s against popular opinion. I’ve been judged a lot of times for that but I’d always rather say what I think and fight for what’s right. I truly believe that one person can change the world.

Top Fashion Brands To Watch Out For In 2020: Lepou

Lepou is a boutique store with luxurious collections of the trendiest resort wear and swimwear.

Lepou was founded in 2001 by Failepou Peni. The invaluable experience gained from working within this environment and community inspired Failepou to fulfill her lifelong dream and launch her eponymous line alongside her co-workers/daughters Maisyann and Judy-May.

When Failepou is designing, she is inspired by shape, nature, and color. Every design focuses on how she can flatter a real woman’s body and thoughtfully design clothing that every body type can wear. Failepou’s technical knowledge of a garment’s proper fit and design, combined with her innate creative abilities, results in an effortless and wearable line that reflects the kind of woman she is herself; strong, sassy, fun, and fearless.

Failepou believes in the importance of community involvement, inspiring others, and giving back. When she is not designing, she is an ambassador for speaking and encouraging many young adults, in getting in touch with their ability to create and find their place in this day and age.

Failepou is of a strong Christian foundation and gives all glory to our heavenly father Jesus Christ, for her inspiration and where she was yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Failepou’s label ‘GRACE on LEPOU’ is dedicated to the fuller and voluptuous figure or otherwise known as plus size. Women who are not afraid to embrace who they are as an individual human being, no matter what shape or form but that they are strong, wise, and invincible. Women who have no desire to conform to what other fashion statements dictate in what they should/shouldn’t wear or what color is best. One who loves life, loves feeling grand, needs no introduction, and knows her worth. One who is also humble, but don’t think for one minute that you could fool her as she carries herself with GRACE while loving the finer things of life. Loves a challenge, a challenge she knows that will be in her favor. Loves to explore, share, and has the freedom to express herself. Loves to wear her fashion senses not because she needs to but because she can. Women that own it!

Failepou’s latest collection at the Pacific International Runway fashion show embraced the timeless cuts and beautiful details of the Victorian era. It incorporated stylistic structures, beautiful trimmings of lace and embroidery, and luxurious fabrics.

Designer Spotlight: Find Out More About The Talented Lucy Laurita

Lucy Laurita is a Melbourne based fashion designer who has a wealth of expertise that can only be accumulated over time. Since launching her own label Leiela in 2005, her reputation for glamorous high fashion and exceptional personal service has continued to grow.

Recently rebranding the label to Lucy Laurita, her gowns are sold through various independent boutiques – she also offers a made to order service by private consultation.

Lucy is passionate about her involvement in the creative community. Over the years, she has made costumes for various theatre productions and was proud to be selected as the costume designer for ‘TITANIC The Musical.’ She also credits her incredible enthusiasm and drive to an unending love for what she does, a sense of humour, and the ability to never stop learning.

Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Lucy to discuss her career in the fashion industry and here’s what went down:

Tell us your full name and something about yourself.

My name is Lucy Laurita, a mum blessed with two gorgeous kids while balancing life as a fashion designer specialising in Women’s Event Wear. As any creative would probably know, it’s not a career, it’s a lifestyle. You live it with all that you are.

Australian born, with an Italian heritage, I’m lucky to have such a great cultural mix. I now appreciate all the things I didn’t appreciate in my youth and I’m passionate about embracing diversity and offering a hand up to those in need. I’m also proud to be a Mental Health Foundation Australia Multicultural Ambassador.

The Lucy Laurita Gown Collection is exclusively available at Momento Dezigns, SANA Boutique, and online at Frockaholics.com. The design aesthetic is classic, simple lines that enhance the natural beauty of the female form. The gowns are designed to softly fall over the body, elegantly gliding as the woman confidently moves.

When you look at my collection, you need to live the idea that together we have created a story.

Lucy Laurita Viva Gown Silver Paloma Sequin: Model Eryn Saunders / Image by Maurice Rinald

How did you get into the fashion industry?

My young self of about 8 years old decided then that I would grow to be a fashion designer.

Did they call me a dreamer? Yes, they did. Was it going to stop me? No.

My mother was a talented dressmaker who made all our family clothes. I was always in awe of her ability and her attention to detail in each garment she made but at the same time, I was a little annoyed that she refused to do more with her talent. She refused to teach me so I could only observe as she created.

I was shocking in my sewing classes in high school. I worked hard to put together a portfolio to end year 12, and I made it into the Melbourne Institute of Textiles (which has now been taken over by RMIT). I loved my years there, I made the most of my free time and I even got a part-time job as a workroom assistant for La Folie – a designer brand that was located on Chapel St South Yarra, Melbourne. It was here that I learned so much about garment construction. My boss was so patient with me and in hindsight believed I was capable.

How were you actually ‘discovered’?

My time at La Folie was coming to an end as the owners decided to move back to London. She asked me – “Lucy, who would you like to work for, where do you see yourself in the fashion industry?” How amazing was my boss right?

All I knew at the time was that I wanted to be creative, even theatrical in my designing but I had no idea of my niche. She made a call to Jenny Bannister. She’s an iconic Australian Fashion Designer, it just so happened Jenny was looking to hire a new design and production assistant and I fit the job description. I was in this role for 8 years till she began to wind down her production, it was that turning point in 2005 that I started my own brand, LEIELA.

Lucy Laurita Serena Gown Ivory Georgette: Model Eryn Saunders / Image by Maurice Rinald

What do you like most about being a designer?

The opportunity to make other women feel comfortable and confident wearing a gown. The way we dress and the way we feel in what we are wearing is very powerful, making a huge difference to our success hence affecting our mental state. We thrive when we feel confident and it is a privilege to see a confident woman in one of my designs.

The downside to being a fashion designer?

Not enough sleep, creative minds are always active. I do my best work overnight so when I’m in the midst of preparing a new collection or planning a runway show I’m awake till 3 or 4 am then up at 7.30 am for breakfast with my family.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

I would have to say working with director Mitchell Butel and The Sydney Symphony Orchestra creating gowns for “Funny Girl The Musical In Concert.” It was an honour to work with some of Australian’s most acclaimed talent. The cast included industry heavyweights such as Michala Banas, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Casey Donovan, Virginia Gay, Verity Hunt-Ballard, Dami Im, Maggie McKenna, Zahra Newman, Caroline O’Connor, Queenie van de Zandt, and Megan Washington. The show was held at the Sydney Opera House.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people each with their own interesting journey that has inspired me in some way. There is one that has been particularly memorable though. An intriguing gentleman knocked on my studio door in Ascot Vale, Melbourne years ago. He said he was in Melbourne for the day on a business trip and had found my designs online. He desperately needed a ‘Gatsby’ inspired gown as he was hosting a surprise party for his wife. He was a little vague about the details but very polite showing me and my assistant at the time a small photo of his wife to select a gown for her. We selected the gown and he kindly asked to have it shipped over to Sydney, so at that point, I needed to ask for his full name. He was Darryl Courtney-O’Connor AM, he was the founder of one of the biggest hotel chains in Australia and New Zealand, he was also the founder of the International College of Management Sydney as well as the Chairman of Tourist Corporation. I was blown away indeed, the reason for the ‘Gatsby’ themed party by the way just happened to be because part of ‘The Gatsby’ blockbuster movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed on one of his properties. Was his wife expecting a Gucci or Prada? I may never know but I’m sure glad he found my designs appealing.

Lucy Laurita Cameo Bubble Gown Silver Lurex Mesh Ice Blue Lining Front: Model Eryn Saunders / Image by Maurice Rinaldi

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

To believe in my ability as a designer and as an advocate for causes I’m passionate about. It took me a long time to associate myself with my brand. It was only a few years ago when I had a chance encounter with International fashion designer Henry Roth. He’s a TV presenter, a Project Runway Australia mentor and currently, in the process of authoring a book I can’t wait to read called ‘The Stories I Told My Son.’ He became my mentor and he transformed my brand to become my personal brand. With his encouragement and guidance, I was able to rebrand and introduce myself and my label as Lucy Laurita. Henry Roth gave me the opportunity to learn something that was not innate. To believe I had something to contribute, that I made a difference to others and I had earned my title as a fashion designer – to own my name as my brand.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

Yes, very supportive, they are always involved with the various projects I work on. The bonus is when my husband and kids get to get to come along to a stage show where I’ve dressed the talent. My kids gain valuable life experiences through being involved in charity events and meeting many talented Australians in the entertainment industry.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

More meaningful collaborations. I hope to continue joining forces with other creatives to do what we love and to be able to give back to our community. I am currently a Multicultural Ambassador for Mental Health Foundation Australia – I’m proudly raising awareness and helping to eliminate the stigma relating to Mental Illness. This is a cause I am deeply passionate about and will continue to support, hopefully making a difference by reaching those silently suffering.

Lucy Laurita Angel Gown Ivory georgette Back: Model Eryn Saunders / Image by Maurice Rinald

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: A Star Is Born

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Authentic Kindness. A kind heart always shines through and lights up a room.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Set up a sustainable foundation to assist disengaged youth.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” Skydive.

Lucy Laurita Suraia Top and Skirt set: Model Ruby Wilson / Headwear Viktoria Novak _CBR Fair – S2020 / Image by Eric Red Photography

Meet The Woman Behind The Latest Issue Of Sassy & Co Magazine: The Fashionably Beautiful Kaila Methven

Photo Credit: Tony Duran

Kaila Methven is the brains behind possibly the world’s most expensive lingerie label, and she’s not only successful she’s also drop-dead gorgeous.

At just 16 years old, Kaila interned at her first Paris Fashion Show and went on to earn a Master’s Degree from the International Fashion Academy – Paris. She completed advanced training at Polymodo in Florence.

Kaila has so far been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Maxim and she has dressed some of today’s sexiest stars including the likes of Demi Lovato, Katherine McPhee, The Kardashians, and more. Kaila has just released her new vivacious, ultra sexy lingerie and intimate apparel line called “Lady Methven” and it was created for the everyday woman. Combining childlike innocence, erotic playfulness, and female power, Kaila dares everyone to fall in love again. Sassy & Co Magazine recently sat down with Kaila to find out more about the luxury lingerie brand the whole world is currently gushing about and here’s what went down.

1. What sparked your interest in fashion?

I’ve always been creative since I was a little girl. After interning at Dior fashion shows, I learned a lot and I knew eventually that I was meant to be Madame Methven – the sexiest lingerie designer of all time.

2. What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

Looking at other designers like Donatella Versace and interning for Vogue, Christian Louboutin, John Charles, and John Gilliano…they all inspired me to start my own company but with a Madame Methven twist.

3. How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

My fashion has evolved as I’ve evolved in other projects, such as the EDM world. I was inspired to bring my lingerie side to enhance festival wear, seeing as festival wear doesn’t have much more than nipple pasties. As more projects and collaborations started, I learned more and pushed myself harder.

4. Are there any types of clothing that you avoid wearing?

Anything that isn’t black or gold I won’t wear, I stand by my brand. I feel that as a CEO I need to always represent my brand and look professional. I do love wearing my Disney shirts at home and occasionally for running my errands.

5. How is your work received internationally?

I have a wonderful team that helps me with generating press on various fashion outlets around the world. I feel very blessed to have this but I feel most blessed by God for letting me be known worldwide and enabling me to attend to many people all over the world as possible with my Plur Association and my Madame Methven line.

6. How do influences from outside of LA find their way into your work?

Mostly social media, Instagram, and Facebook. There are so many more opportunities out there and during this pandemic, there seem to be a lot more resources and inspirations out there to find more about.

7. What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Sage and incense always stay lit inside my house because it keeps my mind at ease so I can concentrate more. It gives me positive energy so I can continue to be inspired to create more projects.

8. What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

You must sacrifice some things in life in order to be successful. Strive in what you believe in and believe in what you do.

9. What is your current fashion obsession?

Some lace pajamas, because of the pandemic it’s what I always wear. They are quite comfortable and they can actually make you feel sexy – since bikinis haven’t been really fashionable lately due to COVID-19 anyway. I’ve never worn pajamas more then I have in the past 3 months and I wear them in the morning, afternoon, and night time.

10. How do you think lingerie is dictating fashion trends for 2020?

Lingerie has been a growing trend for the past couple of years. Since brand ambassadors of various lingerie companies have also helped with the recognition of lingerie as part of society, it helps bring more awareness. You can see a change when it comes to empowering women to feel sexy and be women again.

11. Can you give some tips to men who are looking to purchase lingerie?

To the men out there who want to purchase lingerie, try to put yourself in a woman’s Christian Louboutin shoes, then ask yourself; “what would I look sexy in?” And then visit my website: www.madamemethven.com.

Otherwise, all women love black because you can never go wrong or get dontell or lace, women love expensive lingerie like mine with custom made rubies pearls and diamonds.

12. What advice would you give to young designers?

Get ready to enter the battlefield because you’re going to have 100 doors close on you! But you should never stop knocking on doors because one day one of those doors will open and then it will really be the fight of your life. You will eventually create some magic but it’s going to be a very long journey. Sometimes you would want to cry and just stop, but Couture fashion is one of the hardest careers out there to get into. You can always reach me by dialing 1(833)MadameM.