Born and raised in France to Algerian parents, Faiza Bouguessa was introduced to the world of fashion very early. Faiza’s first encounter with garment making took place during her young years while spending time with her grandmother who was a seamstress herself, and who taught her the basics of knitting and sewing. What started as a hobby soon turned into a passion which, after numerous internships, led her to launch her eponymous brand. We chat with the brainchild and founder of the highly innovative label Bouguessa, and get an insight into her stylish life.
How did the idea of the global abaya come about?
From the start, my purpose was to create a bridge between two cultures, and to have pieces that appeal to any type of women who has a strong eye for fashion. I decided to use the abaya and introduce silhouettes that were unusual for the traditional garment, but at the same time very familiar to a woman’s wardrobe. This allows women from all backgrounds to wear my designs.
What was your first reaction when you saw Beyoncé wear your design?
It brought me back to the time I was listening to the Destiny’s Child as a teen, it was just incredible and hard to realise!
What are you most excited for about the future for Bouguessa?
At the moment, I am just looking forward to moving to our new offices and showroom in D3. We have worked on every detail to create a space that represents the aesthetics of Bouguessa, with a purpose to let our clients experience the brand from a very modern space contrasted with an eclectic mix of objects d’art and mid-century furniture.
Who is the woman, or women, who has inspired you the most?
I would say my first inspiration was my grandmother. I spent a lot of time with her as a child and she introduced me to the world of fashion and garment making, and she gave me that passion. My mother and my aunts were very sophisticated too and had such amazing styles. Today the women that wear Bouguessa are my biggest inspiration, they are such inspiring women and it’s such a pleasure every time I get to spend time with them.
What three films could you watch over and over again?
Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Out of Africa.
Who would play you in the film biopic of your life?
If you could invite four people, living or dead, to the ultimate dinner party?
Lady Diana, Gabrielle Chanel, Michael Jackson, and my Grandmother!
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Which are your go to, heels or flats?
Do you prefer a night in or night out?
Nowadays a night in.
What was the last piece of clothing you bought?
A pair of Levi’s jeans.
What are the failsafe items in your wardrobe?
Jeans, Repetto flats, and my Bouguessa shirt dress.
Tell us about your most prized possession?
A traditional Algerian gold belt my grandmother gifted me on my wedding day.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
Probably an artist.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
My Grandmother taking me to shoe stores and asking my opinion on the ones she should get.
What are the best and worst things about a career in fashion?
I would say there are mostly positive things for me. I am always so surprised that this is all happening. The worst is not being inspired every now and then, because the industry is pushing us to always deliver beautiful, creative, unique, comfortable, and practical designs.
Tell us the secret to your success?
Work harder than yesterday. I am in constant competition with myself, I thrive for excellence in what I do. Sometimes that means I am a little bit tough with myself, but I know when to stop and take a break.
What can’t you live without?
My husband. He brings me balance and helps me so much with the business, I couldn’t have done any of this without him.
Who do you follow on Instagram?
Many accounts! Lately I started following new accounts focusing on product design and I also became obsessed with chairs. I started following accounts like @collection_particuliere, @themodernchair but also artists like @christianespangsberg and @tatjanafarkas.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
I would tell her to have faith in what she thinks she can achieve.
Where is your favourite place in the world and what makes it so special?
I always say that my favourite place in the world is the South of France in summer. To me the atmosphere there is like nowhere else in the world, it brings me a lot of inner peace and happiness.
When packing, what are your travel must haves?
I pack my whole house, I am terrible! I would say my travel must haves are my sketch books.
Where is the next place on your wish list to visit?
I want to go back to Algeria to discover the architecture and beauty of the country, together with the desert. I always went to visit family there, and it has been a while since my last visit.
What are your beauty essentials?
I have had a lot of skin problems after trying many luxury creams and cosmetics, so now I stick to a simple routine. I use Bioderma as my day cream, then Lancôme ‘Teint Miracle’ foundation, Chanel ‘Les Beiges’ powder, Dior highlighter, a little bit of Mac bronzer and blush, eye makeup and that’s it. It takes me about five minutes!
Tell us the best advice you were ever given?
My dad always tells me, ‘keep moving forward’.
What was your life goal aged 10?
My life goal at 10 was to travel the world and be a designer.
And what is it now?
To keep doing what I love.