In pale pastels, a floral crown, and tattered and lace-trimmed Victorian frocks, designer and stylist Elena Kanagy-Loux is the living apparition of an anime Little Bo Peep. A materialization of a childhood spent in Japan and Amish country, this princess of frothy fantasy is religious about making Harajuku glam her own mannered uniform.
As for Laila Gohar, her Egyptian and Floridian roots are reflected in her warm, tribal, and richly colored clothing statements.The Sunday Supper founder's outfits are centered on a whimsy for eclectic layers and a spontaneous rainbow of emotions. Besides the occasional utilitarian overall or an avant-garde designer curiosity, Laila's closet is mostly a mishmash of African pants, worn denim, and free-and-easy tee shirts. She makes a Maasai wedding choker as casual as sneakers, and can pull off showing up to her dad's film premiere in a white tank and jeans.
"Colors don't scare me, tight clothes don't scare me, loose clothes don't scare me. It's just something you wear for a little and then take off," asserts Laila. But her confidence turned out to be seriously overstated. Longing for her own "skin" and loathing the spectacle that she'd become, Laila, became apoplectic and put up a big fight over her refusal to remain in Elena's pink satin Mary Janes, sheer bolero (tied together with a purple ribbon and trimmed in tinsel), lollipop swing skirt, and lace chapeau.
Meanwhile, Elena, who finds silk casual, went into full-on dread mode about going under-dressed to her friend's dinner party in Laila's jungle green Nikes, which put my persuasion skills to the test at 12:10. Go to 15:18 to see how the party gets gradually tenser as Elena, in Laila's white tank, tribal necklaces, neon yellow skirt, and navy head-wrap, feels increasingly alienated from her clan of friends who were decked in dyed eyebrows, fishnets, and platforms. Then check out 17:40 to see how her boyfriend's comment sent the already vulnerable Elena over the edge.
After the dust settled, Elena discovered that while she herself can let go, fitting in with her friends and their Galliano-esque costumes had much more of an influence on how she felt than she expected. As for Laila, she realized how integral her capricious uniform was to her identity, and could not continue to be anyone but herself.
Stay tuned Monday for our next Second Skin!
Music by Draemings, Kenyon Phillips, Unisex Salon, & Lovely Liar
Video edited by Adaeze Elechi