Originally printed in the November 2017 issue of Vogue Arabia.
Lebanese blogger and designer Samar Seraqui de Buttafoco knows the power of a great coat and smudged red lip. Here, she takes Vogue Arabia on a personal tour of her wardrobe.
WORD TO THE WISE
Samar Seraqui de Buttafoco may be known for her blog, Une Libanaise à Paris, but the former political journalist is setting off on a new journey: she’s launching her own label of unisex T-shirts and sweatshirts, called Das Mot. The brand, which is made in France, harks back to its founder’s love of words, with organic cotton tees reading “Habibi,” “Womanist,” and “Belle de Jour.” “My brand is all about words and I love wearing cotton. My cat’s name is even Cotton,” says Seraqui de Buttafoco with a smile. “I want anyone who wears Das Mot to have fun and to express their story.” How will she style her narrative? With gray Levi’s jeans and green Roger Vivier loafers.
THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT
Seraqui de Buttafoco may stand only 1.5m tall but her petite stature doesn’t stop her from experimenting with ultra mini hemlines as well as floor-sweeping silhouettes. “I like very simple cuts with sharp tailoring,” she explains. “One of my favorite short dresses is a yellow Courrèges mini that’s covered in sequins. I love everything that glitters, and the spirit of the 60s.” Her answer to modern maxis is a pink-and-white striped, sleeveless dress by Maison Rabih Kayrouz and a long peach skirt from Blumarine.
“I like coats, especially if they are cashmere and in pastel colors,” she says as she pulls out a calf-crazing salmon number with beige lining. “I love this one because it’s very easy to wear. It’s oversized, and I like my coats to be loose.” She reaches for a belted, camel Max Mara silhouette: “This one is a classic. For me, it’s the perfect piece, because it’s not too heavy.” Her collection includes a baby blue Donna Karan design and a roomy marshmallow pink Carven cover-up. “I like light colors, because they help make an easy transition from summer to fall. If you have the right coat, you are the right girl.”
“A hallmark of Seraqui de Buttafoco’s closet is her suits. “They are a big part of my style. I prefer to keep the look monochrome with solid colors. I don’t like a lot of prints, because they generally don’t fit my mood.” Her bold-colored collection of coordinates includes tuxedos from Pallas Paris in white and hot pink, a dusty rose two-piece from Racil, and a flaming red number by Max Mara that she pairs with a red pussy bow silk blouse from Valentino. She wears her suits “anywhere and everywhere,” she states. “I can put one on in the morning to have breakfast with my girlfriends at La Belle Ferronnière or to attend a wedding. I don’t need a particular occasion.” One of her biggest fashion regrets is not owning an original Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo but, she says, “I’m always on the hunt to find one.”
IF THE SHOE FITS
With her tiny frame, Seraqui de Buttafoco struggles to find shoes. “I’m a size 35, and it’s really difficult to find shoes that I like and that fit,” she laments. “Every summer, when I travel to Italy or Greece, I return with a handmade pair of flats for fall. When I went to Capri for the first time, I found the cobbler where former American first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis bought her open-toed shoes. The owner made me a custom pair. I still get most of my flats from there.” Her shoe collection includes Gianvito Rossi heels, thigh-high Stuart Weitzman boots, and Gucci platforms, which are “absolutely wild.” She inherited her love for Sergio Rossi from her late mother, and also gravitates towards Roger Vivier shoes. “They are a Parisian classic and they have sizes that go down to 34.5.”
“I like a bag that can live with me season after season,” she says, as she reaches for a pink Roger Vivier shoulder bag. “I’ve been carrying this one since spring. I don’t like traveling with a big tote full of things I don’t need.” In addition to the structured silhouette, she rotates a quilted Chanel bag, a Miu Miu design, and a wooden box clutch from Sarah’s Bag.
Ask about her go-to accessory and the answer comes quickly: “My Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Shocked.” She applies her lipstick by pressing a finger saturated with color onto her pillowy pout. “It’s sensual, but at the same time classy. I like to apply it with my fingers to get a smudged look. If you start doing it this way, you can’t go back.”