Miaou's "Brigitte" jeans.
Prepare to gain a new appreciation for grommets.
The story of Alexia Elkaim's new denim label Miaou (pronounced "meow," in case you were wondering) is a bit like the plot of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. "I wanted to make a pair of jeans that fit all of my friends," says Elkaim, who was inspired by a pair of jeans she picked up a flea market in Paris. "I thought 'let me see what I can do with this pattern.'"
Elkaim, who previously worked as a music editor at CR Fashion Book and then as a casting agent, is quick to admit that she's not a "denim girl," explaining that her jeans are meant for someone who prefers to wear dresses. "My jeans are novelty pieces, maybe you could wear them everyday, but you don't see jeans like this everyday."
Elkaim photographed her friends for the lookbook, and struck gold when her first design, the Brigitte – a high-rise, tight fitting jeans with rope and grommet embellishments – were spotted on Bella Hadid. "Celebrity seeding is everything," says Elkaim, whose Instagram DMs blew up after photos of Bella in the jeans appeared on The Daily Mail in November of last year. "She's the only celebrity I sent my jeans to, and they look great on her. I'm glad it was successful."
And what about the jeans' most prominent feature, those strategically placed grommets? Elkaim's answer is simple: "I think grommets are sexy and cool." The other standout feature of Miaou jeans is the lack of a waistband. According to Elkaim, this allows the denim to hug the body without pinching.
Elkaim is slowly working her way up to a full collection. For now, she's released the Tommy, a jean with a looser fit through the leg as well as a pinstripe pant that's very Wall Street-meets-Clueless. Each pair features those now-signature grommets, through which you can thread a glittery chain or a colourful satin tie.
When asked to give advice to anyone dreaming of starting their own line, Elkaim emphasizes focusing on one product: "Make it the best product you can, so when people look at it they will associate you with your product – that's when you know you have a brand. A brand is known for something, always."