By Errin Taylor Maye
The floral and nature-esque approach of Sweden’s culture, the richness and happiness of Mexico’s vibrant colors and the glamorous aesthetic of the Lebanese woman. Flor et.al – “Flor” Spanish for flower and “et al” the Latin translation for “and others” – acknowledges consequential beauty. For Design Director Karin Gardkvist, Designer Milad Khoreibani, and Development Manager Nadia Manjarrez, Flor et.al’s foundational motivation thrives solely from a global perception of beauty.
“Flor et.al seeks to give women an unconventional, feminine and fun alternative to traditional eveningwear.” The revolutionary label collaborates with artists around the world to find that one unique and hand painted artwork to accent their signature prints, notably from small artisans in India. With the help of NEST, a non-profit organization that connects artisans and designers all over the globe, the label works to create those standout hand-beaded floral designs. Inspired by red carpet mavens like Lupita Nyong’o, Zoe Kravitz, Salma Hayek, Alicia Vikander and Nadine Labaki, Flor et.al builds on the romantic and the whimsical and admirers are flocking to the label’s alternatives to traditional eveningwear. “We noticed there was a void in the market for unconventional eveningwear at a sharp price point for women with a similar aesthetic to us.” Taking note of the industry’s safe bets on eveningwear, a thorough observation into their own closets brought them a final conclusion, “We often think, ‘would we wear this for an event?’ If the answer is no, we would probably edit that style out of the collection.”
With years under their belts, luxury notches if you will, Gardkvist, Khoreibani, and Manjarrez have developed new outlooks, ideas and visions toward the development of the brand’s strategy. “We are always considering the woman who doesn’t live an ordinary lifestyle and who isn’t afraid of standing out. Our inspiration varies each season, but we always gravitate towards strong women like Marie Antoinette and Sofia Coppola who were our inspiration for our Resort 2020 collection.” With each piece exuding vibrant colors and prints, they are consistently influenced by the paintings of different artists, “we work closely with painters in Europe and their artworks to shape the style of the collection we are working on. Generally, we are drawn to vibrant color pallets and romantic florals.”
Engraved in the modern-day pop culture enthusiast’s mind, Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly uttering the infamous phrase, “Florals in the Spring? Groundbreaking,” does not seem to concern this trio from working with a tried-and-true pattern. In fact, the designers see the prints and patterns as timeless traits in the industry. “We feel prints, including florals, are easily transferrable year-round. Our goal is to give the customer fun options with a designer edge at an advanced contemporary price point. Traditional eveningwear is typically a onetime wear. We want to give our customer versatility and ‘wearability’ by offering separates that can be tied back to their wardrobe staples.”
“Our various cultures have given us each a global perspective on beauty and fashion that play a role in the development and design of the collection. Fashion is an expression of one’s individual sense of style and throughout the collection, we wanted to offer lots of separates that can be mixed and matched to create a personalized look unique to the individual wearing it.” Coming from a Latin American culture, Manjarrez often keeps curvier bodies in mind when designing. “[I] want the woman wearing the clothes to feel confident and elegant, while still staying true to herself.” For Khoreibani, growing up in Lebanon, which is known for their eveningwear and often considered the Paris of the Middle East, influenced his vision of women’s luxury fashion. Gardkvist’s Swedish upbringing influenced her love of nature and studying in London, shaping her design aesthetic. As a global design team, Flor et.al continues to source fabrics and artwork from around the world. Linking materials from India, Europe and Japan, to name a few, the brand has since included artisan work from Turkey, Italy and France.”
For Flor et.al, possessing global perspectives and views on culture and environmental protection has since proved new and innovate production. “Sustainability is an international concern, and we do our best to be sustainable in the footprint we leave and in ethical sourcing.” For the label’s Resort 2020 collection, incorporating Recycled Polyester – for several styles, as well as silk – meant re-envisioning the natural material. Working towards incorporating sustainability in a larger way, Flor et.al’s bigger picture expands from the environment to the hands producing the pieces. “Sustainability isn’t just an environmental issue, we’re also looking to sustain talent. There are so many talented artisans throughout the world with immense talent. For our Fall collection, we partnered with artisans in Turkey who hand crocheted hearts that were used as trimmings on our pieces. This partnership will continue to expand in coming seasons as well.”
With the belief that the eveningwear market is missing a spark, the label’s non-traditional bright, bold, and vibrant alternatives to a gown – formal jumpsuit, ball skirt, or tailor separates – connecting with consumers, especially Gen Z, products are envisioned with a cause. “We want to connect with them using the values that make a difference to us including female empowerment and inclusion.” Keeping their growth organic, Flor et.al ensures clear understanding behind what the customer is looking for.