“Welcome to the City of Angels,” Karla Welch told Nili Lotan.
Welch was tapped to cohost Nili Lotan’s dinner at Gigi’s in Los Angeles on Thursday night alongside the brand founder.
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“Nili and I met six or seven years ago, maybe eight,” explained Welch. “We were on a panel together talking about the modern woman’s wardrobe. I basically sat there and was so in awe of Nili. I called my husband after, and I was like, ‘I met the coolest woman in the world.’”
The Israeli-born designer, who founded the namesake New York-based label in 2003, was in town to celebrate the brand’s 20th anniversary, as well as open her first West Coast store on the same block — buzzy Sycamore Avenue. Located at 927 North Sycamore Avenue, the 1,242-square-foot boutique carries women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, handbags and small leather goods. The shop was designed in collaboration with Eleni Petaloti and Leonidas Trampoukis of Objects of Common Interest (who previously worked on the brand’s Palm Beach and Meatpacking locations) to create a “minimal, serene and introspective” space.
For Lotan, opening in L.A. — her second-largest market after New York — was “a longtime vision come true.” She shared her excitement with the crowd, which included Welch’s celebrity clients like Olivia Wilde, as well as Michelle Monaghan, Adwoa Aboah, Zoe Lister-Jones, Stephen Galloway, Luke Gilford, Whitney Port, Clara McGregor, Nick Wooster, Nikolai Haas and Djuna Bel.
From the start Lotan’s aim has been to create timeless pieces for today’s woman (and now man), focused on tailored suiting, silk dresses, denim and accessories like calfskin belts and bags. Working in earth tones, with rich pops of color, the well-crafted collections are full of easy-to-wear staples.
Moving to New York in 1980, after graduating from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv, Lotan led design teams at Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne and Nautica before branching out on her own. Her first launch was a six-piece capsule with three pants — including the bestselling Cropped Military Pant — two jackets and a skirt.
Welch said learning about Lotan’s design process was “just eye opening,” referencing Lotan’s DNA of providing luxury and functionality of an everyday uniform.
“You can see it around the room,” Welch said of guests, all wearing Nili Lotan.
Cocktail hour had extended by then, and the bunch was ready to sit for the meal — starting off with shellfish towers, steak tartares and gem salads, paired with wine and vodka martinis.
“Now let’s eat!” exclaimed Lotan.
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