INSIDE THE STUDIO WITH LA DETRESSE    

We go behind the seams with Emily Perlstein and Alana Hadid, the power-duo behind LA loungewear label, La Detresse

WORDS BY REBECCA RHYS-EVANS

If there’s one thing we love at KOIBIRD, it’s colour. True to our ‘Never Boring’ slogan, when it comes to buying for each season or edit, we’re drawn to vibrant hues, playful prints and one-of-a-kind pieces. Which is why when we launched KOIBIRD Breaks a Sweat, a new take on activewear, we knew we had to have La Detresse. Founded by best friend stylist duo Alana Hadid (of the Hadid Dynasty) and Emily Perlstein, La Detresse offers signature loungewear pieces and denim that can be easily elevated from hike to home office, beach to bar with a change of shoes. Known for their bold use of colour and tie dyed garments that ooze laid-back LA living, we catch up with the them to get a little insider into the inner-workings of La Detresse life!

Since the pandemic loungewear has grown in popularity exponentially. Hate to be those that do the whole 'we did it first', but really, you guys did! Do you think comfortable casual clothing is the future of fashion?
Alana Hadid & Emily Perlstein: Of course we do! Not only do we make comfortable clothing, but we think that fashion is becoming more about comfortable fashion, designer loungewear and things that make you feel good when you’re working from home or finally able to sit down to an outdoor dinner. The future of fashion for us is about feeling good and we are definitely trying make fun clothes that feel as great on our body as your body feels in them.


Describe La Detresse in 3 words.
AH & EP: Unisex, Los Angeles, Unique


Ok, let's get cute a second. How did you both meet? Were you friends a while before starting the business, or did you meet and just know you had to create something together?
AH: Emily and I were both stylists and personal shoppers when we met. I knew I had an idea for a clothing company and over the years of knowing her I saw she had a keen business sense as well as an organisational skill that I wished I possessed. Emily and I are Ying and Yang, but with a drop of each other in ourselves. We really are the perfect partners. What we love the most about our business is that we were friends when we started and now we can’t imagine life without each other! We didn’t KNOW we needed to create something together, but we have worked hard at making it work and it has been really awesome to see how that has translated into our company and personal relationship.

Behind the scenes in La Detresse office, LA

You say on your site your 'intent is to fuse your love of vintage and androgyny', why was it important to you to offer unisex sizing? Have your collections always been unisex or is this something you've moved in to in recent seasons?
AH & EP: One of the first things that we decided was that we wanted to be unisex. We truly believe that not only is fashion moving towards comfort, but everything should be unisex. We both, no matter how different our individual taste in clothing is, believe in androgynous fashion.

 Which decade would you say you're both most inspired by?
AH: Truly? All of them! I gather inspiration from everything, even the 80s inspire me lol EP: Mostly the 60s or 70s. People were free and its was an explorative time in fashion when things weren’t so rigid – that inspires me.



"One of the first things that we decided was that we wanted to be unisex. We truly believe that not only is fashion moving towards comfort, but everything should be unisex."


 At KOIBIRD, we're huge advocates for colour, it seems La Detresse isn't shy of a vibrancy either! How do you choose your palette each season? Are you both drawn to similar colours, does it depend on the inspiration?
AH: When it comes to colour, I truly look at what’s around me. I think about seasons and how you want to feel in the spring as opposed to winter. I was never taught trend forecasting, I open my Pantone book, I look at nature, I decide on a theme and let myself do what I like.

 If La Detresse was an emoji, what would it be?
EP: Swirl lollipop

 Let's talk Tie dye. Have you ever done it [tie dying] yourself with a bucket and packet dyes?
EP: All the time when I was younger, I would get the Hanes shirts in middle school and do it!
AH: I do it all the time, it’s such a fun, creative process, and it’s insane when I think that the fun thing that I do in the back yard is now my job AND that we have these amazing dye houses that can bring the things in my head to life.

Would you consider tie dye a trademark for La Detresse? Being from and based in LA, there's quite a rich history for the kind of tie dye surfer aesthetic. Is that your inspiration, or does it come from elsewhere?
AH: I think that creative dying is our signature. Tie dye is such a massive thing in LA, we had to do some. The inspiration was a picture I had seen of a really great tie dyed jacket from the 60s, and I wanted to make a denim version, which then turned into a sweatsuit and the rest is kind of history. It’s crazy that we did our first two tie dyes almost 3 years go and they still some of our best sellers.



"I think that creative dying is our signature. Tie dye is such a massive thing in LA, we had to do some. "


 Who are the ultimate La Detresse style icons?
EP: Anna Dello Ruso, Rhianna, Gilda Ambrosio, and mostly all the people we see everyday on Instagram and social media wearing our clothes!

 Tell us some of your favourite LA haunts
AH: Well at the moment all my favourite place to go is my home lol, just kidding I usually get out more. Emily and I are both obsessed with Marvin a restaurant on Beverly in LA. My boyfriend makes this amazing vegan cookie dough and that’s my favourite right now @20twentykitchen. I also spend a lot of time hiking in laurel canyon and on any beach that will allow my pup Fillipo.
EP: Malibu… Taverna Tonys there, the farmer market in Brentwood, Felix in Venice is delicious, Sushi Enya in Weho and I love my boyfriend’s Salmon in my living room.

 If La Detresse was a food, what would it be?
AH & EP: Tequila lol

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