Thursday, November 24, 2011
Since 1977, Leila Menchari has been responsible for concocting the famous window displays for the Maison Hermès, 24 rue du Faubourg Saint Honore in Paris , as well as designing some of its most iconic scarves. She was born into a family of wealthy landowners by the sea near Hammamet in Tunisia…
After graduating from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Tunis, she moved to Paris to pursue her studies in painting at the l’école Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. It was there that she met fellow Tunisian Azzedine Alaia, who introduced her to the world of fashion. Through him she met the couturier Guy Laroche, who hired her as an in house model after her graduation from l’école Nationale. Soon after she befriended Annie Beaumel at Hermès, becoming her assistant and head illustrator at the fashion house. That was, until 1977 when she was appointed as head stylist at the prestigious Maison by non-other than Jean Louis Dumas Hermès, the president of Hermès.
In 1998 Tunisia ‘s President decorated her with the “Commandeur de l’ordre de la Republique Tunisienne. “ In 1995, she became a “Chevalier de l’ordre du mérite” of France. In 2006 she received the Golden Dido award, the highest distinction awarded to a woman in Tunisia, for her contribution to Tunisia ‘s cultural influence in the world. Menchari was also encouraged by her family, who were very progressive. In fact Menchari came from a long line of headstrong woman. Her grandmother was one of the first Tunisian women to remove the veil in public, and began lecturing and educating Tunisian women about their rights.