Luana Mahfouz is the creative force behind the eponymous brand Luana. Inspired by fierce, independent women and their warrior spirit, the Valkyrie is a recurring image in Mahfouz’s work. Here we talk to the talented creative about her start in design and where she plans to go.
Tell us about you Luana, the designer and the brand.
Design is just having the creativity to create new things … it can be a space, a table, lighting, pants or a bag. I consider myself to be “just a designer”, maybe specialized in interiors since that’s what I have been doing for the past 15 years … but at heart, I always dream and imagine so many designs that vary from car interiors to dresses and accessories. This is where I have realized that I should just start bringing to live every idea that comes to mind, to explore my creativity. This is why I created Luana as a brand, as a collection of realized thoughts. I have Logoed the brand with Valkyrie wings, the divine escorts that guide souls to the next realm. These wings shall guide my thoughts into reality.
Where did you go from there?
It started with a SS18 collection , where the entire concept revolved around strong women … how each and every woman can be sexy, beautiful , smart and daring. Every item reveals that side of a woman. If Valkyries existed today, how would they look? I focused on what womanhood is, and I ended up introducing the nose ring from Indian culture. I have dressed each model with an Indian nose ring and exaggerated the touch with a nose cuff.
What inspired you?
Most of my accessories are inspired by the armor of woman warriors or of their cultural attributes. For instance, the glove bag, inspired by armor, is a very practical way to hold essentials. The nose cuff and the tear cuff are inspired by Bedouin/African shamanic face tattoos that used to identify the person to his tribe or his rank. The nose element itself in Indian culture represents womanhood. I have used these elements and transformed them into a modern luxurious touch. A beautiful gold piece that was elegantly placed on the nose. The well known Arab star Maya Diab was daring enough to wear it in her video clip.
Do you have a favorite piece?
One of my favorite items is the Swarovski crystal glove. It’s made of crystal chainmail that folds beautifully with the motion of your palm. It’s an accessory that you can wear with the simplest clothes and gives you the full feel of luxury. Another item is the wrap skirt, made of leather and fabric. It’s a wrap on accessory that can be wrapped over different styles of clothing, creating different looks. Every detail I worked on has an architectural structure and flexibility.
What does the future hold?
This winter, I will be experimenting with fur. The basic warrior’s outfit, with a fur pelt on the shoulders. I’m designing a bag with a leather strap that integrates fur right at the shoulder level. I’m imaging a beautiful woman wearing a leather jacket with my fur shoulder strap. Another piece will be for men: A business clutch inspired by luxury car interiors. I have observed men’s fascination to cars and will try to create a piece that may inspire many men. It doesn’t have much of a warrior concept yet, it’s born from a fascination for this beautiful art of wood inserts and leather stitching.
I can never tell what exactly I will be working on for the future collections, but I know one thing, that whatever inspires me , I shall bring that thought into reality. There are still many furniture and lighting pieces that I want to create … so I’m just waiting for the right inspiration.