With an airplane for a weekly mean of transportation and thousands of digital fans for daily companions, her days are marked with a structured feed of posts. As the world hides away from the snowy cold on February mornings, she struts in the streets of Paris between the star-studded runway shows of haute couture.
Meanwhile, she spends her mornings poised in meeting rooms, discussing the next big Instagram-able fashion statement. Lana El-Sahely is a Lebanese fashion blogger who followed a novel career path during its early days in the Middle East.
After garnering thousands of followers and working with a number of respectable fashion giants around the Middle East as well as the world, El-Sahely decided to step out of her regular route for a special stop in Egypt.
Over the course of less than a week, the fashion expert met the country’s media, designers, and fashionistas. Meanwhile, she also dedicated enough time to visit the monuments, try the mouth-watering diners, and document the visit with a few photoshoots between the walls of museums and narrow alleys of historical markets.
“I have been blogging for seven years and my work is mostly between Dubai, Beirut, and Paris. However, I have noticed that I have quite a good following in Egypt,” the influencer said, adding, “I often received questions from followers asking me about when I would visit Egypt.”
While the restaurant in the background roars with impressed praise and admiring sighs, the pregnant fashion expert explained that her visit was also encouraged by her friend, Giovenina Atieh, founder of Maison Pyramide, who assured her that there was a lot to see in the local market, as well as a good number of talented designers who could be the perfect match for her fashion collaborations.
“I launched my e-shop a year ago. It is specialised in collaboration pieces with designers and brands. Seventy percent of my previous collaborations have been with regional designers based between Dubai and Lebanon. On the other hand, I have also collaborated with international names such as Essie from L’Oréal and Fendi,” explained El-Sahely.
L’Armoire De Lana (LDL Shop) specialises in limited-edition products with accessible prices which are available only on the website. With a criteria that demands the selected designers have good experience in the market, as well as a thing or two in common with El-Sahely’s personal style, she inaugurated a quest to identify a handful of local designers that would undoubtedly penetrate her personal wardrobe before her e-shop.
“It is very risky to trust a designer with your standard of quality. I would not just feature a piece on my website that does not meet proper standards. The biggest challenge is always being able to find those who are trendy, not necessarily known by everyone, and can deliver good-quality products with reasonable prices,” the blogger said decidedly with a stern look on her face.
The Egyptian capsule collection included a few practical pieces that address a young and trendy woman who believes in the global language of fashion. Being one of the country’s most prominent and promising design talents, Mohanad Kojak contributed to the project with a t-shirt that can effortlessly seep from day to night without falter.
“This one is embroidered, unlike his previous t-shirts and more like his elaborate gowns. It is a beautiful design with pearls and sequin; he even painted certain parts,” explained El-Sahely proudly.
After deciding to join fashion forces, Kojak was inspired to illustrate El-Sahely using his conceptual sketching aesthetic. The designer gave emphasis to what he considered her most prominent features; the statement red lipstick and wide eyes.
With that said, the collection expanded to include another t-shirt. Maram Aboul Enein, who is famous for fine embroidery and sophisticated quality, took one of the influencer’s favourite quotes and turned it into a wearable mantra.
“The gold and black t-shirt embraces an empowering sentence that I have written some time ago: find your fire. Meanwhile, it also has my logo on it,” explained the blogger admiringly.
As for the local industry’s favourite sister duo, Okhtein, they added to the collection a credit card holder that is going to be available in three different colours. While the piece remains faithful to the brand’s exquisite leather and intricate Egyptian craftsmanship, it also offers an affordable solution to the fashion necessity of owning the sisters’ trademark brass rods.
Meanwhile, the design studio of Azza Fahmy introduced a pair of simple gold-plated earrings designed by a student. The versatile pair takes the shape of safety pins, a witty statement that could be styled in a myriad of different ways.
“We also worked with Ammanii Jewelry, which is one of my personal favourites,” El-Sahely explained as she excitedly gestured towards her personal pair of earrings. “We created a dainty design that can be worn either in an asymmetrical fashion or identically. I personally find it a very cool and contemporary piece.”
Subsequently, the blogger pointed to her blazer before speaking about the last participating designer. The King’s Mother added their blazer mania to the collection with two different designs. While the first design, worn by El-Sahely during the launch event, champions an earthly beige hue as well as collar details and bell sleeves, the second design supports the impact of subtle patterns.
According to El-Sahely, this experience has only encouraged her to build on it with further extravaganza and keep the door open to another group of local designers. “Today I was surprised by the amount of people who showed up to the launch event. We even have people who came all the way from Alexandria,” said the social-media celebrity proudly.
With that said, the fashion expert regards this visit as an attempt to mark her presence in Egypt, as she greatly believes in the potential of the local industry as well as the wide range of unexplored creative wealth.
“People here have an amazing energy. There is so much positivity, which reminds me of the attitude of the Lebanese people after the war. They wanted to try harder and fight; it is some kind of a small revolution. New restaurants and designers are popping everywhere,” concluded the fashion influencer.