Freesia has previously dubbed him the “Fashion Guru”, but since then he has moved on to even greater heights. Now dominating the fashion industry in the Middle East, we wanted to find out the secret to his success. Johnny Fadlallah is the CEO of L.I.P.S. Management and organiser of the highly successful ‘Designers and Brands’ (D&B) fashion week shows in Beirut, Lebanon, which are known for their spectacular displays showcasing designers from all over the world. We interviewed Fadlallah before the show’s much-anticipated fourth season, which will run from the 26th until the 28th of March 2019 at the New BIEL exhibition centre in Beirut.
Along with exclusive details on what we can expect from the upcoming show, Fadlallah shared with us the perks and challenges of a family-run business, and also the impact that the talented women in his life have had upon its success.
What will be different in the fourth edition of ‘D & B’?
“The team are continuously creating, and this is the first time that they have introduced two catwalks instead of one.” Concerned with satisfying the needs of their clients, they have introduced a new reception, showroom and social space for networking. It is this idea of “continuously creating” that has led L.I.P.S. to be recognised for its highly successful shows over the years, including ‘La Mode’, ‘Theatrical Fashion Extravaganza’, and of course the ‘Beirut Young Fashion Designers Competition’, which will feature as part of this round of ‘D & B’ on 28th of March.
What do you expect from the designers this year? And how can designers become international?
There will be 15 designers showcasing their work at D&B this season from all over the Middle East. They include Hanna Touma Couture and Akl Fakih, the international Lebanese designers. Also attending will be Nawaf El Bader, from Kuwait, and Alaa Sarkis, from Syria. As for Egyptian designers, Nagwa Zahran is one to watch, with Fadlallah commenting that he has high hopes for the participation of the Egyptian international fashion designer and is sure of the incredible outcome of her show in the Lebanese fashion scene.
What does the word “fashion” mean to you?
Fashion is a style or manner of doing something. Certainly, fashion extends beyond clothes and designs, and encompasses all of the ways in which a person presents themselves to the outside world, representing a personality, an attitude and the cultural influences upon the individual. It can mean the latest and most admired style of clothing. Fadlallah is clearly attuned to the fast-paced nature of fashion trends, and the ‘D & B’ shows have reflected this over the years.
What are your wife and daughters’ roles in the business?
L.I.P.S. is a family-run business, and Fadlallah was keen to point out that he is not the only star in the Fadlallah family. Zeina Fadlallah, his wife, graduated from Institute Milo and is a makeup artist, tattoo artist and instructor. Her talent is proven by the success of her own business, Splendora Beauty Studio. Within L.I.P.S., Zeina takes care of the models’ beauty needs throughout the year, and especially during fashion weeks.
Fadlallah said that his daughters are his main supporters. They have followed in their father’s footsteps and are already partners in the business. Samantha Fadlallah, 28 years old, joined the business straight after her graduation in graphic design from the Lebanese American University, and is now the concept creator at L.I.P.S. Cynthia Fadlallah, 26 years old, graduated from Esmond, Beirut and trained at Georges Chakra as a fashion designer. She coordinates the designers within L.I.P.S. and takes care of operations backstage.
What are the greatest challenges of a family-run business?
“The greatest challenge is the need to keep motivating them to produce better work.” The challenges of a family business can be numerous. From establishing boundaries to looking past the fact that your business partner is also your loved one, these are necessary steps in order to keep pushing them and the business towards success.
What are your family values and how do they contribute to your success?
Your family is always your best support system, but nevertheless, L.I.P.S. Management staff are all considered family. Family is certainly one of the pillars of Fadlallah’s success, from the natural talents and close support of his wife and daughters, to the family ethos that underpins the highly successful L.I.P.S. team.
Fadlallah’s vision and natural astuteness when it comes to matters within the fashion world have been crucial for the success of L.I.P.S., and this has been reflected by the highly successful ‘D & B’ shows. The upcoming show looks to be an exciting opportunity for new talent, creating a platform for designers to propel themselves into the fashion world.
It seems that behind Fadlallah’s success is a team of talented women. It is clear, moreover, that L.I.P.S. is not just a family-run business, but a business that embodies a family ethos. Together, these factors are the secret to Johnny Fadlallah’s success, and Freesia is excited to witness their culmination at the upcoming ‘D & B’ fashion week shows.