Founded in France in 1918, Le Kasha was a part of the revolution in the way women of the 1920s dressed. An innovative fabric made with Kashmir goat hair blended with a revolutionary new fiber was a fabric that looked elegant and was comfortable, while still being easy to care for, maintaining its shape and style even with constant use and washing.
After the WWI, as women abandoned corsetry for clothes that allowed greater freedom of movement, Le Kasha's fabric captured the spirit and mood of liberation of the time. Supplied to prestigious French Haute Couture houses such as Jeanne Lanvin and Jean Patou, Le Kasha was notable for the beautiful way it draped. Coco Channel cemented Le Kasha's reputation forever, when she used it to create her first suit collection.
In reviving the story of Le Kasha, Mali Marciano brings together her family heritage, her knowledge of knitwear and her passion for travel to create a luxury lifestyle brand inspired by the seasoned traveller, who cares about quality, functionality and comfort. “Le Kasha has been part of my family heritage and I have always wanted to take it over and recreate an experience of my own. My father has always been specialized in knitwear. As a child he would take me to explore new factories around the world and over the years I gained my own knowledge about cashmere. This experience has given me the ability to build this brand with confidence and to combine my heritage, my skills and my passions.”
The spirit of freedom and adventure of the 1920s persists today, and with it the enduring values of Le Kasha.
Tanja Beljanski: What was the most surprising thing you learned while creating your collections?
Mali Marciano: That the most simple style is the most difficult to produce.
TB: Tell us about your inspiration.
MM: The fabric at its base and inception gave a sense of freedom and adventure, and this remains in the fabric and brand today. Most of the items could be worn in a city or in a desert and that versatility also gives the wearer freedom. I find inspiration in travel, not only in my travel experiences but through photography, books and films. I believe it’s important to grasp new cultures and understand how other civilizations around the world use different fabrics, such as cashmere.
TB: Do you believe fashion can form bridges between cultures and nations?
MM: I believe fashion can be unifying in the sense that it doesn’t need to be the specific culture. Le Kasha can be worn by most women in most contexts.
TB: What is your design ethos?
MM: Longevity, functionality and the highest quality of material is at the core: we will only ever work with the very best quality fabrics that will make the wearer feel comfortable and luxurious, and that will also last a lifetime.
TB: How many collections per year do you have?
MM: We make three collections a year that are focussed around the noble and natural fabrics at their core: Cashmere, Linen and Silk.
TB: Tell us about your latest collection.
MM: Our latest collection is the Linen Collection, a beautiful edit of organic linens in a variety of weaves and with a color palette inspired by the colors of the Egyptian desert and produced in Paris. The pieces are true to Le Kasha in that you can wear them to the office, dress them up to an evening event, wear them barefoot on the beach… The linen has been produced to ensure that the materials don’t crease which is unusual for linen and a sign of the practicality that we insist on for our pieces that our customers invest in.
TB: Your favorite piece?
MM: It's a difficult question, but I would say the paraty (very light cashmere top) is a piece I wear every day.
TB: How do you achieve the finest quality?
MM: We work with the finest raw materials, working with unique farms and suppliers and being meticulous with every part of the process.
TB: Tell us about the production of Le Kasha.
MM: The cashmere is produced in Inner Mongolia in a Eco label factory. The silk and linen are produced in Paris in our atelier. I am happy to be able to concentrate my production in a limited place and therefore control it better.
TB: How often do you visit the farm in Mongolia?
MM: I went there before launching my first collection in order to understand the process at the heart of it all. It was very important for me to meet the helders, to comb the goats myself etc. and I wanted to be able to share this with my customers (please see ‘The Romance of Travel’ section on my website).
TB: Which countries are the biggest markets for Le Kasha?
MM: The UK and the USA are our biggest markets however our customer is international and we have women buying out product all over the world through international retailers such as Net-A-Porter.com, Selfridges, Liberty…and also our e-shop lekasha.com
TB: What is your greatest strength?
MM: I am very passionate and go for my idea.
TB: Favorite holiday destination?
Photos: Courtesy of lekasha.com
* This story by Tanja Beljanski first appeared in the July 2020 issue of L'Officiel Arabia.