“Women who have a strong personality and confidence are always those who wear everything better.” No, it’s not another sassy fashion quote from Coco Chanel, but a sentence proffered by Racil Chalhoub, founder of fashion brand Racil, when we meet her in her contemporary art-filled apartment in Knightsbridge (she’s a bit of a collector). The quote particularly applies to the designer, who launched in 2015 her ultra-chic line of women’s suits. During our shoot, she switches between a bubble gum two-piece (that she wears with snowy-white trainers) and a sleek suit jacket, proving that suits can have as many different styles as the wearer. “The idea that a suit has to be black is precisely one of the fashion rules I love to break,” explains the designer. “Every season, I change the colors of my suits, especially in the summer – I create them in bright or metallic hues.”
Born in Lebanon, Racil lived in Paris until her studies in fashion design take her to London. She lives in Beirut for a while, where she launches with her best friend the concept store Kitsch, but finally choses the British capital as her home. A triple culture that has come in handy: “I hope I’ve taken the best of each city: the elegance and chic of Paris, the British twist and attention to detail of the Savile Row tailors, and the glamour of Lebanese women. But mostly you gain a certain freedom and a really open mind from such a mix.” As well as a fantastic wardrobe: Prada stilettos sit alongside Charlotte Olympia clutches, blending in with a couple of personalised pieces – an embroidered Edie Parker clutch and a Maison Labiche t-shirt bearing the designer’s first name. A love of all things eclectic that we find in her references: when we ask her which icons she dreams to see dressed in Racil, she immediately replies Bianca Jagger, Iris Apfel and… Beyoncé!