Biography of Leïla MENCHARITunisia > Fashion : Leïla MENCHARI
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Leïla Menchari born in 1928 in Tunisia . She is the window design Director for Hermès (Paris , rue du Fbg St Honoré) the internationally renowned fashion house.
Born into a family of wealthy landowners by the sea near Hammamet in Tunisia, her curiosity for nature and the exotic were nurtured at an early age. As a child she had begun to cultivate a taste for beautiful things and materials which would one day lead her to the doorstep of some of the most august Parisian fashion houses. In October 2006 she received the Golden Dido award, the highest distinction awarded to a woman in Tunisia, for her contribution to Tunisia 's cultural influence in the world. In May 1995, she became a "Chevalier de l'ordre du mérite" of France , and in 1998 Tunisia 's President decorated her with the "Commandeur de l'ordre de la Republique Tunisienne ."
Despite such recognition from her homeland, Menchari doesn’t define herself as a Tunisian, but rather a citizen of the world. This is in part due to the multicultural upbringing she had as a child in Tunisia. In fact her life is peppered with a cast of extraordinary characters who instilled in her a sense of wanderlust and fed her creatively.
Menchari was encouraged by her family, who were very progressive. In fact Menchari came from a long line of headstrong woman. Her grandmother was one of the first Tunisian women to remove the veil in public, and began lecturing and educating Tunisian women about their rights.
After graduating from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Tunis, she moved to Paris to pursue her studies in painting at the l’école Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. It was there that she met fellow Tunisian Azzedine Alaia, who introduced her to the world of fashion. Through him she met the couturier Guy Laroche, who hired her as an in house model after her graduation from l’école Nationale. Soon after she befriended Annie Beaumel at Hermès, becoming her assistant and head illustrator at the fashion house. That was, until 1977 when she was appointed as head stylist at the prestigious Maison by non-other than Jean Louis Dumas Hermès, the president of Hermès.
Although she travels around the world regularly to source out new artisans and feed her inspirations, her attachment to Tunisia has also fed her professional career.
Last update : 11/05/2009Update this page