Lara Mead is a lycra-clad force to be reckoned with; even Forbes marvelled earlier this month at the 'extraordinary growth' of Varley, the luxury active wear brand she started in 2014 with her husband Ben. The English born entrepreneur splits her time between London and LA spearheading the company which makes luxury designer athleisure wear for the fashion conscious using premium, hardwearing fabrics and using innovative techniques. Lara epitomises the modern girl, she's cool, smart and a great multi-tasker so as the new collection lands for AW16, we asked her about her busy life and style secrets.
DONNA IDA Cashmere Jumer & IDA Downtown Dazzler
DONNA IDA: Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Varley's Lara Mead: I was born in Bristol, and moved to the North when I was a baby. I grew up in the sleepy Eden Valley, Cumbria.
DONNA IDA: How did you get started in the fashion world?
Varley's Lara Mead: My husband and I set up VARLEY a couple of years back. We were unhappy in our high pressured careers and wanted to create something together.
DONNA IDA: What inspired you to start your clothing brand?
Varley's Lara Mead: We were spending quite a bit of time in California, and I was inspired by the style of dress over here. I was also incredibly active and had been working out from a very young age, there didn’t seem to be very much stylish sports wear on the market, and I was bored of Lulu Lemon and Sweaty Betty. I just wasn’t into wearing neons!
DONNA IDA: What are your tips for a good work out?
Varley's Lara Mead: I personally LOVE to get a sweat on, otherwise I feel like I have cheated. When in LA I do Class Pass and work my way through all the boutique fitness gyms LA has to offer. In London I love nothing more than running down the Thames.
DONNA IDA: What can we expect from Varley for SS16?
Varley's Lara Mead: AW16 sees an increase in our offering, super soft sweatshirts, more sexy mesh styles, the new high rise Sofia Tights. So much more!! It’s easily the best collection yet.
DONNA IDA: What do you think of the new athleisure trend? Are people wearing sportswear even more?
Varley's Lara Mead: In LA women seem the live in their sportswear..I think London/ Europe are slowly catching up, but women still want to do it in a stylish feminine way. I think women’s lives are busier than ever and ‘athleisure wear’ allows them to be comfortable and functional, as well as feeling stylish.
DONNA IDA: What are your wardrobe essentials and how do you wear your jeans?
Varley's Lara Mead: When in LA I wear my jeans every day to work…I wear them with an oversized, slightly sheer t-shirt, with a blazer thrown over the top. Usually my jeans are light blue, and distressed.
In London, I tend to wear a slightly darker Jean, paired with a cashmere sweat and ankle boots.
DONNA IDA: Which are your favourite jeans from our shoot and why?
DONNA IDA: Who is your denim icon?
Varley's Lara Mead: It has to be Kate Moss, I feel as if she owns the skinny jean look!
DONNA IDA: Where in the world are girls best dressed? What kind of style do you admire?
Varley's Lara Mead: That’s a hard question…I love the way LA girls dress. They all look so cool, and undone in a really sexy way, but then on the other hand, I think women in Paris are so beautifully elegant and coiffed. I personally like a mixture of both styles.
DONNA IDA: What’s your favourite restaurant?
Varley's Lara Mead: Easy..Gjelinas on Abott Kinney. It does the best pizza in the world.
DONNA IDA: Where’s your ultimate holiday destination?
Varley's Lara Mead: Either the Post Ranch Inn in the Big Sur, or Portofino, Italy.
DONNA IDA: What is your favourite fashion magazine?
Varley's Lara Mead: I read them all, but I’m a bigger fan of online blogs these days. I love the Zoe Report and WhoWhatWear. I think digital magazines are the way forward.
DONNA IDA: What advice would you give to a younger you?
Varley's Lara Mead: Don’t be in such a rush!!!