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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Caroline Tannous, Founder, Creative Director and CEO of Les Jupons De Tess of Paris Our Coverage Sponsored by Advanced Derma Laser

Caroline Tannous

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Born in Lebanon and raised in Paris, Caroline Tannous showed signs of being a worldwide force in fashion since birth. Genetically inclined to succeed artistically as the granddaughter of the painter Guv, famous for his oil abstract paintings, Caroline has been immersed in an artistic world since childhood. Caroline was raised by her grandfather and remarkably knew at only 9 months old all colors - even the more subtle ones like brown, violet and babyblue. Painting with her fingers since childhood, Caroline was brought up in a rainbow of colors and loved her red fascinating telephone. Along with her grandfather, Caroline put oil paintings in glasses and poured all colors creating huge abstract paintings at a young age.

Caroline's mom is an artist as well - she did a few paintings, however she did not pursue this to the degree of Guv, her father and Caroline's grandfather. At around 13 years old Caroline's life was transformed as she was entranced by the first Vogue magazine she had ever encountered. Though at that time she did not know she would end up designing lingerie, Caroline felt a strong pull to the world of fashion and the Vogue pictures impressed her and left their mark in her artistic ambition. Caroline also became enamored of photography and she bought an EOS camera, and often took pictures of people in the streets or during her travels to far East, taking photos of local faces and people's expressions. She loved picturing landscapes and Far East countries colors, especially India and Thailand, and thus learned that aspect of fashion: being behind the camera. 

Passionate about fashion, she soon started to design and make dresses for her dolls, including empire and princesses dresses, favoring crochet. She also did a small bathing suit line in crochet for the dolls. Lingerie came after because of her passion for French laces, especially Chantilly laces. In the grand french tradition of fashion, Caroline today is the designer she is because of past inspiration by Chanel, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton and today we are sure they are all smiling down at her from heaven, while wearing Les Jupons de Tess of course. The dolls subsequently became real people that wear the finest french lingerie in the world today.

Graduating in 1996 with an MBA in Luxury Brand Marketing and Strategic Management the University of San Diego Sigma Iota Epsilon, Caroline developed an acute understanding of the spirit of Couture. To Caroline, couture means Perfection and "savoir-faire;" one needs to be very detailed-oriented. From 1996-2006, Caroline worked as a consultant in Strategic Management and Marketing Communication for several high-end and luxury brands. In 2005, Caroline launched her company "Just Us" and worked as a distributor for exclusive lingerie brands. 

2006 marked a turning point in her life: “When everything that has gone before is brought together with the most wonderful perfection. The story of a young woman who, while watching the curves of her stomach develop, found herself wondering how to express the burgeoning beauty of her baby daughter Tess. Thus this line of women’s lingerie was born, like a delicately blossoming water lily." Tess has continued to blossom and helps Caroline today by inspiring her daily.

Each season, Caroline reaches her goals trying to be more and more creative and offering customers a new vision of lingerie. The brand is clearly influenced by the elegance and coquettishness of XVIII century women. Caroline readapted the styles in her own signature innovative styles. Caroline knows how to dress the modern courtesan. After a few seasons, she found out that there was a gap in the market of women that could not afford to buy the main line. So she decided to launch a more affordable line named LJT, making Les Jupons de Tess accessible to a wider public. Les Jupons de Tess has evolved to a luxury French lingerie label where elegance prevails. Les Jupons de Tess is sold all over Europe including at Daniela in Love, Emilia Cosiand Les Folies d'Elodie in France and Cazar, LB Dessous, Le Boudoir and Kastnera & Oehler in other European countries and we believe it will be the most rapidly expanding French brand in the US luxury market. It is a significant presence at the Curve Show in New York, The January Show in Paris, and Shangai show Wallau, Dortmund and Munich show. 

In the future, Les Jupons De Tess is launching a conceptual jewel bra with a back in Swarovski crystals and Caroline has many, many visions which we look forward to telling you all about in the future. Before you know it, her daughter Tess will be designing and we will be interviewing her! We are absolutely thrilled to present Caroline Tannous as our latest Mover and Shaker. Peachy Deegan interviewed Caroline Tannous for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan; What was it about the artistic activities you did as a child that gave you such fashion direction? 
Caroline Tannous: I really believe my grandfather influenced me substantially. Painting with my fingers and beeing immersed in a universe of colors really influenced my day to day life. I was since always attracted by design and knew someday I had to express my inside artistic part.

Do you believe genetics play a large role in personal talent, and if yes why and if not why not? 
Yes genetics play a role. Having two wonderful and so different children made me realize that genetics have a role to a degree. But I also believe that what you live and how you live influences your life...

What should the world know about your grandfather that they might not know yet? 
He escaped the Armenian genocide when he was 3 years old. I think his paintings are the expression of his pain.

How did Chanel, Dior and Vuitton specifically influence you and what do you admire about each and why? 
Coco Chanel had a very austere life. I like her vision and the way despite all the obstacles of the past society she triumphed. She is a really "self made woman" that revolutionized her times and subsequently, the times since her passing to this day.  I like the perfection of these "Maisons Françaises," the attention to details...

What specifically about Vogue did you love so much as a teenager? 
 The pictures were stunning. 

Did you also read the English version and do you feel the French and English versions differ much? 
I discovered the English version much later, but did not really compare them. I guess there is a cultural adaptation.

What should the world know about Les Jupons de Tess that they might not know yet? 
We hope to open in the near future our own boutiques all over the world. This will allow our clients to really discover our universe.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
My parents. I received a strong education as a child and my parents really gave me all the bases. I admire both of them.

What are you proudest of and why? 
My children, the best thing that ever happened to me.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? 
Launch our franchisee concept. We are working on it, so hopefully someday!

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
Chosen as a “coup de cœur” label by Chantal Thomass and Christine Walter-Bonini, Director of the prestigious ESMOD fashion school, at the salon de la lingerie in January 2009

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
M&M's world in Times Square

What is your favorite drink? 
Guava Juice

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
Oh my god, that's very embarrassing !

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
Buddha Bar NYC

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
A fairy ! To grant some people wishes... And change a few things in the world...

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
I'd like to open a store here for Les Jupons de Tess!

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
Running all over the city without taking the subway. A challenge we did with my boyfriend twelve years ago. I don't know how many miles we walked and ran but we felt asleep quite peacefully after that crazy day !

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
Shopping and walking in Central Park. I like the energy of the city.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? 
Marilyn Monroe

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
A Mary J. Blige concert in 2000 with my lover 

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
I like spending time helping others. I give charitable donations.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Underneath it all of course since that is where you feature lingerie!  But really, I love all of the Fashion columns in Feeling and Looking Your Best.

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not?
Not yet but as soon as I step off the plane from Paris I do plan on it!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
Mmmmm I will let you discover through the upcoming collections...

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 

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