Come Dine With Me: Racil
We caught up with the designer behind eponymous label Racil over a bowl of truffle pasta and chatted about everything from holiday dressing, to gift giving, and of course food.
Photographer: Jonathan Middleton
Interview: Emma Hargadon
Location & food: Chucs Westbourne Grove
On why she became a fashion designer…
It was a childhood dream - it all started when my mother took me to a fashion show when I was 10 years old in Paris, she took me backstage and I remember watching the show and thinking OMG. I was so small surrounded by all of these tall models and amazing big dresses and I remember thinking, this is what I want to do. However, it took me a while to realise my dream; my parents wouldn’t actually let me study fashion design so I studied interior architecture instead. About a year and a half into it I switched and studied fashion design and marketing. When I graduated I wasn’t ready to take the plunge yet so I opened a concept store and was on the buying side for a while before I went for it. I had reached a cross-road in my career and I was looking at different paths and things that I wanted to do. While I was on holiday, I was compiling my wish list and realised I really wanted a tuxedo jacket so when I did a bit of research and realised there was nothing that I liked or that fit my lifestyle, I said okay maybe this is it, maybe it’s time for me to start my own. Maybe I could create a new world around it.
My creativity is driven by my instinct, my mood, the women around me, and everyday life. My mom is at the centre of most of my moodboards, she’s one of my biggest inspirations - she’s the most elegant woman.
On how her background has influenced her designs…
I was born in Lebanon but I moved to Paris when I was one. When you grow up in Paris you can’t help but fall in love with the world of fashion because the women are so elegant and it’s just the city of chic. Living in London gives you such an amazing open mind because the people are really free to express their personality with their style, more so here than in any other city. Living in different cities has opened my mind up to understand how women think or dress.
Who are your muses?
My mom, Bianca Jagger, and Iris Apfel.
Who do you admire most and why?
I admire people who know what they want and just get on with it.
What would you like to do now that you currently can’t?
Travel the world.
What would you like to change most about the world?
Take away the time zones.
If you could ask anyone a question, living or dead, who would you ask and what would you ask?
I would ask Bianca Jagger to describe in detail what a night at Studio 54 was really like. I’d also like to ask what Yves Saint Laurent thought of fashion today.
Describe your dream NYE…
To be with all of my really close friends at a party on the beach.
What’s your top tip for holiday party dressing?
More is more! It’s the time you can allow yourself to wear anything you want and have fun with your outfit. Wear a sequin bodysuit with denim and a cardigan. I’d wear a tux jacket day to night - be playful.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A year supply of Twix. Someone sent me that because I was addicted to Twix and I had told this person that my happy moment of the day is when I take my afternoon break and have a Twix so I received this huge box with the cutest note saying this way you can have a good day every day.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?
I designed a ring for my mother’s 70th birthday. It has my name, my father’s name and my siblings’ names engraved in Arabic calligraphy. I had it designed with a jewellery designer friend of mine in Beirut and we had it paved with diamonds on white gold.
I interned at the YSL press office.
What can’t you live without?
Describe yourself fin 3 words…
Adventurous, bohemian and disciplined.
How would your friends describe you in 3 words?
A little crazy, workaholic and fun, I hope.
Best thing about London?
It’s a melting pot of people.
Worst thing about London?
London’s hidden gem…
It won’t be hidden anymore if I tell you.
If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you be?
Right here, right now.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Make a decision and stick to it. Don’t look back.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Put music on.
Last thing you do before bed?
Tidy my living room.
Favourite piece of art?
Micky Mouse by Andy Warhol.
Karma Police by Radiohead.
What are you currently reading?
Memoirs of a Geisha, again.
Dream guest at a dinner party?
Iris Apfel, Bianca Jagger, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis de Finess, and Coco Chanel.
What’s your signature dish?
Spinach salad with tahini dressing and chilli sautéed prawns.
What would your last meal be?
A buffet including eggs, pancakes, my mom’s cooked food and a burger from In-N-Out with fries.