By Nicole McLaren
Photography by Alex Mouganis
Accomplished entrepreneur and seasoned world traveler, Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti’s recent role as a mentor on Project Accessory capitalized on her passion for inspiring people to find their unique sense of personal style. Named one of the “10 most stylish women in fashion” by VOGUE, Jeanbart-Lorenzotti is behind the internationally recognized luxury lifestyle brand, VIVRE, that features unique accessories and home décor from around the world. The company celebrates the art of culture and storytelling, seeking to empower people on their own journey of self-discovery.
FAJO Magazine sat down with the stylish business owner in VIVRE’s New York office to talk talent, trends and what inspires her.
What are some of the latest projects you’ve been working on?
I just finished Project Accessory. I’m working on wrapping up the fall collection with New York & Company, so that is really exciting. I also have some projects in development – both products and in television – so it’s been busy.
Project Accessory, a spinoff of the popular reality television series Project Runway, features designers each week who must design accessories (ranging from headbands to bags) with different materials and inspiration. How did you enjoy working on this show?
It was great, fabulous! Mentoring 12 amazing designers and really seeing how you can influence their lives, and be a part of that process, is amazing. I really believe in talent and I’ve worked with talent my whole life. It was a really unique experience.
Are there any up-and-coming designers you think we should keep our eyes on?
There is always going to be great talent; it is about how it is being formed and how it is being articulated. It’s not always about what’s new; people are constantly reinventing themselves. It’s also not just about fashion; it’s about design, architecture. Style is what stays. When you create great fashion, you become iconic.
What was the inspiration behind establishing your own company, VIVRE?
When I came to America, I really wanted to stay. I knew I had to get the right job, so I went into banking, but I also always had this creative side. I always say: ‘Ignorance is bliss’. I thought: ‘What is this catalogue business? Why isn’t luxury a bigger thing?’ So I just sort if jumped in. Like everything in life that I really believe in, it’s a process. VIVRE has grown into something that was always very second nature to me, but it wasn’t second nature in its process.
Where did the name VIVRE come from?
VIVRE means life; it’s a word of action, not of observation. It’s the idea that we want to change, evolve and be active participants in this life.
What is the main goal of your company?
I want to give customers discovery and inspiration. I want them to feel like the pieces that they buy will be a part of them. Not in an old-fashioned, timeless way, but in a classic and personal sense.
You have a lot of very unique items in your office. Is there anything that has a story behind it that you’d like to share?
Everything here has a story. The Ostrich eggs I found in Peru, and thought we could design something for VIVRE with them. The tree I found in L.A. and worked with a sculptor to arrange it into a flower sculpture. The chakras have good luck in them. The golden pig is from a New Year’s party a few years ago.
Life is about collecting, not buying. When you collect, you actually collect stories, and those stories become a part of your life. Both in the way you dress and in your home.What do you like most about working in the fashion industry? What gets you up in the morning?
The talent and passion of people inspires me. Many years ago, I discovered this amazing designer who went on to win a CFDA award, but when I discovered him he was the Head of Digital for Saatchi & Saatchi in L.A. He was creating these beautiful hand-cut designs as his night job. That level of passion still inspires my work ethic to this day,
I also love living in a world where you are always on your toes; that element of surprise is a great feeling. Every day, when I wake up, I feel like today is going to be a number one day. I look at it as: ‘What am I going to accomplish today?’
What influences your personal style? Do you draw influences from specific designers or from your travels?
I draw from a bit of everything. I am a big believer in great architecture. I love simple, well-fitted clothes that look good on you, but everyone has a different ‘you’. And then you accessorize; that’s your playfulness and your personal touch. My accessories are something that I adore and collect, but I believe that like anything fabulous in life, there is a simplicity in something well made that really fits you well. And then you just jazz it up.
I’m inspired by the past and what’s new: old movies, museums, the streets, the food, magazines, but most of all I’m inspired by people. I always say: ‘If there are two women walking into the room, and you know everything about what one of them is wearing and nothing about the other – which one is more interesting to you? The one who you know nothing about.’
Do you have any favourite or staple items in your closet?
This ring that I’m wearing is one of my favourite pieces, and it was from VIVRE about 10 years ago. I wear it all the time. The snake cuff that I’m also currently wearing is my ‘saving cuff’ because when I need that little bit of pizazz I just throw it on.
I’m also a pants girl. I have a lot of pants in the same colour. I think they look great with a well-fitted blazer.
Do you have a process for choosing an outfit for a particular type of event?
I think of the type of event, the time of the year, what kind of mood I am in, what kind of drama I want to set. I pull things out and change my mind a hundred times. (laughs)
Any exciting events coming up?
I’m going to Beirut for a week for several events soon and then, in the fall, I’m attending the Couture Fashion Week in Paris.
In Lorenzotti’s office