A letter from Anthony Hamdan Djendeli:
Born in the south of France, in the vibrant and multicultural city of Marseille, where towering mountains touch the Mediterranean Sea, son of a Tunisian-born seamstress and a father from Lebanon, my passion for beauty was at first inspired during childhood by observing my five aunts. Seeing their various forms of femininity perfectly expressed in their different and distinct fashion choices ingrained in me an appreciation for the deep connection between character and aesthetic. The way I want all women to look and feel while wearing my creations, and the elegance, empowerment and femininity I strive to give to society through my work, are still rooted in the women who have made me who I am today.
Heavily influenced by some of the great designers of French high fashion, my desire early on in my career was to become a designer myself, and to lead one of those big named Parisian brands. Focussing my studies on draping and pattern making at La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, I would build my designing skills around learning how to drape fabrics and create patterns to bring my own sketches to life. Living and working in Paris, where the romantic, dazzling lights of the city streets contrast with the merciless, relentless rhythm of the atelier, I would create shapes out of fabric that would sometimes bewilder even my own imagination. Some of the garments that I constructed while working for celebrated designers would go on to walk red carpets, and a few would become iconic moments in the annals of fashion history.
My first experience with the seasonal repetition of fashion, which would henceforth mark the passage of time and phases of my life, was while working alongside the same designers whose work had sparked my desire for a career in making clothes. Over the better part of a decade, while working as a pattern maker and draper for brands such as Givenchy, Chloé, Balmain, Sonia Rykiel and Saint Laurent, I would encounter mentors who would shape and refine my technical abilities into artistry, one of whom would have a critical role in setting the next chapter of my life on its path to New York. There, in the city that never sleeps, I would learn to work my French savoir-faire into the fast pace and unrelenting competitiveness of American fashion, where seasons blend together into a frenzy of creation, always with an ear to the stiletto-clacking of the market.
Similarly to the endless circle of the seasons of fashion, my life has led me from my summer city of Marseille, to the autumn grey skies of Paris, and the wintry cold of New York, to now having come full circle into the endless spring of Los Angeles. Here, I have found a wellspring of creativity and infinite potential. The scenic views of mountains and beaches I have discovered here at once remind me of my origins, and ignite in me a long hidden passion to create something new and uniquely my own. My creation is born of this circle of life. It has been in hibernation - learning, preparing, reposing, and waiting for the breath of life from a city that is bursting at the seems with inspiration. Here, I’ve been drawn back to my original calling, and my first love - design.
My aspiration is to bring ethical and sustainable French fashion to California. This is not the Champs-Elysées, nor is it Rodeo Drive. My brand is what women fly to Paris especially to find, in that specific boutique they like to visit in the Marais: True, original, French couturier culture, the product of a unique creativity, expertise, and attention to detail cultivated over the centuries by the great European designers, from whom I continue to draw grateful inspiration. I believe Los Angeles, a city of dreamers so inspired by fashion, film and beauty, has the potential to be the next frontier of the fashion industry. My hope is to take part in, and contribute to, the young, fresh, artisanal movement that makes this city so unique.
To my mentors in the fashion industry, who have put their faith in me and nurtured my growth and development throughout the years, I am forever grateful and humbled to now have the chance to put all that I’ve learned into action and create something that is all my own, but which could not have existed without your unwavering support. Thank you!
- Anthony Hamdan Djendeli
"Dans la peau d'une autre..." is about reinventing yourself by being true to your authentic self, feeling comfortable in your own skin, and recognizing that no matter who you are or where you're from, your possibilities are limitless. You are what you wear. Be who you choose to be.