Alexia Elkaim is not just another millennial with an Instagram account nor is she an entrepreneur who sells jeans for the sake of generating likes. As the brainchild behind Miaou, the French-born designer’s booty hugging jeans and cleavage creating tops are spotted on “It” girls from Gigi Hadid to Emily Ratajkowski. (Even Lady Gaga wore a pair of Miaou jeans on A Star Is Born!) Although it was launched 2016 with a focus on making figure-flattering jeans, Miaou achieved acclaim for its retro, yet contemporary designs. If we have to describe the brand’s aesthetic, it’s a hybrid of Brigitte Bardot‘s girlish je ne sais quoi with Paris Hilton‘s bicoastal campy glamour.
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Equipped with an ambition to make her mark on the fashion world, Elkaim expands Miaou into a full-range clothing line. However, it doesn’t stop at ready-to-wear. Recently, she launched a new collaboration with French footwear brand Carel Paris alongside an upcoming sportswear line, Miaou Sport. Never abandoning her love of retro apparel, Elkaim is planning to sell vintage wares on her website.
As Elkaim’s ever-expanding ambition shakes up the fashion industry, is it hard to believe that she was once the music editor of CR Fashion Book? We catch up about the origins of Miaou, her plans to expand the brand and the biggest lesson she learned at CR Fashion Book.
You established your clothing line around denim. What made you launch Miaou with jeans?
It started as a very personal need. I came from a world of denim – was raised by denim head-designers in the heart of Los Angeles where the denim market was in a very commercial space. It was at a time of [five] pocket skinny stretch jeans that didn’t speak to my vintage style or hour glass form. I wanted to create a pair of jeans for myself that would be both flattering and novel.
Most of your designs draw from the ’00s, ’90s and the ’70s . Why do you feel inspired by these eras and how do you connect to them?
I’m a vintage fanatic. I’ve been shopping in flea markets around the world since I was 13 years old. What drew me to vintage was how flattering the figures were for my body. Corsets, high-waisted skirts, dresses; things that don’t exist in the same way in today’s contemporary market.
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Since Miaou‘s trousers are modeled after your own physique, what challenges did you encounter when you designed for your own body?
Height. I am small, so we always need to add on a few inches for women that are not as short as me!
What was the best advice that you received while you were at CR Fashion Book?
Focus on one thing, until you’ve mastered it.
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Unlike most designers, you dabbled in journalism as a music editor at Carine’s magazine. How did it apply to your brand?
I was a music editor at CR Fashion Book at a time when the intersection of music, fashion, and culture was really impacting the fashion industry. It was here [that] I learned the importance of telling stories through cultural avenues that spoke to me. My vision for Miaou has been to build a tribe of people who are cultural pillars in their own right; helping to create a diverse and empowering community for women. One of my favorite examples of this was our video with [my[ dear friends[,] Travis Scott and The Gucci Gang.