With a portfolio studded with international Vogue covers, Malika Louback is just getting started. The engineer turned model combines the two professions with flair, having started her full-time modeling career after graduating in materials science engineering. Born in Djibouti, the 26-year-old moved to France seven years ago and currently calls Paris home. This leitmotiv is mirrored in her look – a mix of tailor-made fashion with Djiboutian influences and Parisian boyish chic.
Louback has been announced as the new face of Italian luxury label Loro Piana. We caught up with the model to find out what a day in her life looks like, her first fashion memory, and her ultimate style advice.
What is your connection to fashion? When did you start to work in this industry?
I have been working in the fashion industry since September 2019. It was love at first sight. This world resonates with me and I am completely charmed and captivated by it. I feel like it’s mutual as I get lots of positive vibes back.
How do you reconcile your work as an engineer with that as a model?
I always wanted to work and evolve in industries that are distinctly different. My engineering experience helps me to be more attentive to detail in my job as a model. I juggle different projects and I am constantly discussing ideas with my father, who is an engineer too. This double role inspires me to no end.
What does a typical day in the life of Malika look like?
Wake up – coffee – a moment of gratitude – reading the news – morning calls with my sisters – work – sport – dinner – film.
What are you the proudest of?
Of the woman that I am becoming, and of my successes.
As for fashion, what is your first memory?
This takes me back to when I was seven or eight years old, in my parents’ bedroom, to be precise. I loved to watch my mother get ready to go to work, to a wedding, or to other events like boat rides with my father. I would watch her choose her outfits, accessorize them, do her hair, and finish with a touch of perfume. It was such a ritual that fascinated me.
How would you define your style?
It’s a mix between my grandmother’s wardrobe and urban inspirations. When I was growing up I developed a boyish style, but I was always drawn to and fascinated by the retro cuts of the outfits worn by the women in Djibouti, where I am from.
According to you, what are the essential pieces a woman should always have in her wardrobe?
My essential and timeless wardrobe pieces are:
1. Straight cut wide-leg pants in brown or black, which enhance the natural shape of the legs. They’re very feminine.
2. A black oversized coat – a classic which brings comfort and a touch of delicacy.
3. Silk pajamas to get ready for a night just as important as a day.
4. A black roll neck which is, for me, the ultimate feminine and sensual piece.
5. A black belt to enhance the silhouette or bring a finishing touch to an outfit.
6. Finally, lots of scarves, either classic or printed, to frame the face.
What is your ultimate fashion advice?
Stay true to your heart. Being yourself is the best way. Look to your childhood and whatever you are truly drawn to and you will find your style.
What does it mean to have style, for you?
Knowing your body and accepting it as it is.
In your opinion, who is the Loro Piana woman and in which ways do you see yourself in her?
For me, the Loro Piana woman combines softness with authenticity in a very subtle manner. I completely see myself in her because her personality matches mine. She has a softness and a sensitivity which naturally leads to charisma.
What are your essential basics?
White sneakers, navy blue pants, and a sweatshirt. These are simple and comfortable pieces that you are sure to have a great day in.
What is your relationship to bags?
A bag is the final touch of any outfit. Whether it’s worn over the shoulder, across the body, or held in the hand, it naturally follows the movement of the body. Depending on the model, it can hold quite a large amount of your personal belongings. This is why I prefer rigid models like the new bag by Loro Piana, the Sesia.
Who are your style icons?
I don’t really have any. I learned to love fashion by working in this industry. When I was younger, I was a passionate student who wanted to be an engineer. Little by little, I discovered the 1990s supermodels and I loved their energy. Two of my favorites are Iman and Farida Khelfa.
Your bedtime reading?
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, a guide to daily life which resonated with me from the first time I read it. I totally adhere to the philosophy. It’s all about being conscious and getting the most out of our being and blessings.
Your culinary specialty?
A song you listen to on repeat?
“Ojuelegba” by Wizkid.
Which project are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a project that I would love to develop in Djibouti. It’s linked to my studies in engineering and it also pushes me to explore new fields at the same time. I would love to talk more about it, but I am the kind of person who prefers to let a project speak for itself once it’s finished.
Take a look at Loro Piana’s new Sesia handbag here.