Lana Gerimovich knows a thing or two about making women look good. As the owner of Alis Fashion Design in Old Town Scottsdale, Gerimovich specializes in bespoke, one-of-a-kind clothing – from everyday dresses to bridal – that hugs every curve and hits each angle on the body effortlessly.
With sample sizes, size zero supermodels and the behind-the-scenes magic of Photoshop being the norm in the fashion industry, Gerimovich wants to prove that fashion is for every shape and size, style and taste. Set in the ultimate luxury resort setting, Gerimovich worked with gorgeous plus size model Lexi Placourakis for a summer-themed photo shoot called “Beauty with a Real Body” to encourage all women to accept and love their bodies.
“Our goal of this project and photo shoot is to make women begin to embrace their bodies and realize that bespoke clothing exists to help them look their best and help spread a message of confidence and self-acceptance in all women,” Gerimovich said.
Read along for an exclusive Q&A with Gerimovich, and see how she uses a background in mechanical engineering to expertly custom tailor clothes, how a personal bespoke creation can transform your style and confidence, and an exclusive behind the scenes video from the photo shoot.
AFM: Could you please tell me a little bit about you and your fashion background?
LG: Prior to my graduation from Almaty School of Fashion Design, I moved to Ukraine where my enthusiasm for fashion resulted in the launch of a garment factory called “Epas” – a joint venture between Ukraine and Poland where I was a head designer. After that, I launched my own women’s and children’s clothing manufacturing company called “Alisa,” which expanded quickly and became available at major retail stores throughout Central Ukraine. Having experienced mass-manufacturing as a CEO and head designer of Alisa, I realized that the mass-produced clothing styles are not always ideal products for most women’s curvy, feminine lines, which resulted in me starting my own one-of-a-kind clothing design studio, “Alis Fashion Design” in 2002 when I moved to Rochester, New York. After I visited Arizona and got inspired by the unique opportunities it offers, I decided to move to Arizona and open my boutique in Old Town Scottsdale in 2006. What strikes people the most is the fact that I have a mechanical engineering degree, which is the key to the bespoke clothing in terms of precision, crispness, and the impeccable tailoring.
AFM: What does your boutique, Alis Fashion Design, specialize in?
LG: Alis Fashion Design is the fashion house where I create couture bespoke clothing. “Bespoke” is different from custom making in that bespoke starts from making “a new pattern” based on particular measurements of clients (it sometimes takes up to 35 measuring points), unlike “customizing the existing patterns.”
I have been making one-of-a-kind dresses from casual to evening to wedding for women in all shapes and sizes who cannot find their clothing off the rack. The process begins at the consultation with each lady with their visions and likes of their dream gowns, followed up by me going to fabric stores to source the best quality fabrics, and hand crafting them in my workshop. People often ask me, “What is the trendy color in this season?” or “What kind of dresses are in fashion?” I always ask ladies what colors and styles they feel they look the best in. I believe that clothing should be made to fit them by reflecting who they are.
AFM: What was your inspiration for this photo shoot project? Please describe the process.
LG: I have seen many ladies who are not size 0, but so beautiful. For me, a healthy body looks more feminine and attractive. Since it is my passion to create the dresses made to order for ladies, I appreciate the real body. Many girls are obsessed with the image of size 0 models on the runway and created by media; however, I think it is not me. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at the runway shows of Chanel and Alexander McQueen because it inspires me a lot.
Now, more countries have begun to take action of banning underweight models from catwalk. I believe that being healthy and not being “extreme” is the key of beauty. So I’ve been searching for a woman who is closer to the average size of the American woman, who is a size 14 with the same belief that I have: being confident and accepting who you are.
I met Lexi Placourakis, a professional plus size model, through Instagram! She liked one of my couture dresses published in a fashion magazine and we started our conversation from there. Lexi has been sending this message of empowering women through her own campaign called “Shooting for Confidence” on her social media platform. I felt that she is the perfect match of my motto for Alis Fashion Design, and decided to create summer-inspired resort style clothing designed for her body. Then, I have assembled a professional team of local Arizona women who also shared my vision. Bethany Garvey is the photographer who does a lot of shoots for high school seniors, and I thought she would be the perfect one to catch the “real body” through her lens. Also, we have asked HMUA Adrianna Brees and Stylist Jessica Edmund who brought accessories from Alixandra Collections.
AFM: How did that influence the fashion you chose for Lexi?
LG: Since this photo shoot was planned to empower women to embrace who they are, I created pieces that complement her natural beauty. The theme is luxury summer resort style that shows her curvy, feminine lines the best. Lexi knows what kind of styles she looks the best in, so I even discussed with her how many slits to put to show off her gorgeous legs!
AFM: Are the pieces Lexi is wearing in the photo shoot available at your store?
LG: Yes, they are at our boutique in Old Town Scottsdale! Please keep in mind that I do “made to order” dresses. These pieces are one-of-a-kind pieces made for Lexi, so we can custom tailor to fit you. Of course, I can create these types of outfits with different fabrics, and slightly different designs since I make “one-of-a-kind” designs that fits the best to the person.
AFM: Is this type of project something you’d like to continue with in the future?
LG: Of course! Working with “Real Body” rather than mannequins with stamp of size “0” is one of my specialties, and this is what I do every day! Regardless of sizes if you are petite or plus size, I work with real people who need bespoke clothing to fit them perfectly! I’d like to keep going with this project to show what I specialize in, what “bespoke” is, what it means to be confident with your own body accepting the best part of it and flaws because simply no one is perfect! I’d love to empower women in all sizes and ages through this campaign.
AFM: As a fashion designer and bespoke dressmaker, what advice would you give to women to help them feel and look their best?
LG: Simply knowing your own body is the best thing to do. Also, people shouldn’t be afraid and should try different kinds of styles to see what is the best for you. Be the best stylist to yourself and focus on individual looks rather than following fashion trends created by fashion market. Have fun with it 🙂
Alis Fashion Design
4151 N Marshall Way, Suite 4
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Hours: Thur – Sat | 10:00am – 6:00pm