Being a Los Angeles-residing New York snob (although I was born in Australia—go figure!), it gives me great joy to bring as much East Coast appeal to the West as possible. I’ve only recently discovered New York ethical fashion label Chikimiki, and all I have to say is: there’s no looking back. Founder Elise Dealmeida’s designs embody both a playfulness and a feminine poise; a sense of individual female expression is what drives her collections. In the spirit of Chikimiki’s “harmonious clash of the colors appearing in the spectrum” mission, I decided to do a bit of “clashing” of my own…
The aesthetic and cultural divide between New York and Los Angeles can be polarizing. And so what fun, I thought, would it be to shoot Chikimiki in one of LA’s quintessential sandy/boho areas such as Venice Beach.
The pleats in this dress whisper memories of Marilyn Monroe fabulous, while the blades of electric colors that soar through them suggest a trailblazing woman of tomorrow.
Being of the school-of-thought that fashion shouldn’t have to be a snooty exclusivity club, I fully applaud Chikimiki’s philosophy: “Be Kind. Be Different” is a daily reminder to live life in an extraordinary way.” Also, Dealmeida supports the neighborhood fashion community by Made in New York development and manufacturing; including the intricate hand-stitched embroideries seen throughout her collections. And 10% of Chikimiki’s profits are donated to Bookfriends, a charitable organization which sends books to schools and libraries in Africa. Yay!! Fashion can be cool AND kind!!!
This green sweater is one of my favorite pieces of Chikimiki’s Fall collection. It’s at once retro and hip, casual and chic. In fact, Dealmeida’s brave use of green throughout both her Spring and Fall collections is perhaps their signature and uniting element. Green being a color that—until now—I almost never wear.
We finished our shoot on the foreshore at sunset. The final rays of sun were only just bleeding through an overcast sky. And in the spirit of saving the best for last, we shot what is almost certainly my favorite piece from Chikimiki’s Spring collection—the cotton/silk beaded “Lola Bomber” (below). Playfully embellished with purple tri-beads and Swarovski neon green pearls, its 100% silk lining so elegantly caresses the feminine form and is a gorgeous high-fashion play on the all-American gal.
“How strange,” remarked our photographer Antonio, “to shoot such an outfit on the steps of a lifeguard dock.” “Hmm…clashing, I know,” I replied. “Perfectly clashing.”
Shop Chikimiki’s range at www.chikimiki.com.
*Fashion without Photoshop.
All photography by Antonio Beliveau.