City Summer Edit

A Conversation with CO Founder and Creative Director Stephanie Danan.

For CO creative director Stephanie Danan, the city of Paris is integral to who she is. Born in Morocco and raised in Montréal, the entrepreneur, designer, and mother now divides her time between LA and Europe—namely, Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France. We spoke with Stephanie about living and working in Paris, how the city inspires her designs, and the way that dressing for two different cities shapes her vision of CO’s elegant, adaptable ethos.

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Can you pinpoint key differences between dressing for LA versus dressing for Paris?

Paris is a walking city, so you’re immediately thinking about ease and comfort versus the convenience of getting in and out of a car. When I first got my apartment here, I thought about an empty closet, and what it would feel like to build it from scratch. This is when I realized that I would start with the building blocks of a wardrobe, which we created with CO Essentials. I found myself needing very little more. I also found myself getting dressed in ten minutes in the morning because of how effortless it felt to put together outfits that were classic, modern, and comfortable at the same time.

Would you say you have a Paris uniform?

I do have a uniform, and I believe in them. In fact, I believe every woman has their own version of a uniform. Mine can evolve with the city I’m in, or my state of mind. This year, I’ve really refined it, and it’s made getting dressed so much easier. Most days, you will see me in a black trouser, styled with our CO black belt, which I will style with either our thin cashmere t-shirt, a tucked-in white cotton shirt, or our silk tank top. In the evening, I will add one of our classic blazers or trench coat. During the day, if I’m running around, I will wear our new loafer. At night, I will swap that for our new Mary Jane heel or classic boot. This always looks elegant with my classic vintage Cartier watch, and a piece of jewelry from Sophie Buhai or Sonia Boyajian.

“Every woman has their own version of a uniform.”

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And it’s not a lot to pack, either.

As I get older, I want less and less; pieces that I don’t have to think about, so getting dressed becomes the last thing on my mind. Packing is always a challenge. Predicting your mood, the weather, and what spontaneous event will come up is not easy. I pack for all of it, but with pieces that can be worn for multiple occasions. The Essentials program offers great little black dresses, which we call passe-partout, meaning you can literally wear them for a dinner, an event, or even a meeting. Depending on what you style them with, they can be worn day or night.

How does dressing for summer translate to LA?

In LA, I find myself wearing the more voluminous cotton pieces. I’m more adventurous with the clothes in LA, so I tap into some of the voluminous Essentials, like the tiered cotton dresses. I think I’m more of a classic girl in Paris.

Does your Moroccan background inform your sense of design/your approach to heat?

I think of Morocco more in terms of emotional warmth. My Moroccan influence expresses itself in my home, where my love of modernism meets the warmth of Africa with carpets, vintage African artifacts, and photography. It slips into my designs when I think of draping and wrapping your body. It’s probably a reason I love knitwear so much. I think my Moroccan influence plays a bigger part in the Fashion collections than the Essentials. It also affects my choice of color palette.

What are your days in Paris like?

I spend a lot of time seeing art here. I go to museums every week. Walking while listening to music is something I love, too. Because I do so little of that in LA, I crave it immediately when I get here. Walking the city is my meditation. It’s how I regroup, refocus, and get inspired.

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What is it like balancing life and work in two different parts of the world?

After long daily walks and visits to museums for inspiration, I’m usually in my apartment, writing. Writing helps me state what I’m feeling and thinking about, emotionally and philosophically. That has a direct impact on the clothes I want to design. Once I’m done writing, I work on inspiration through research. When Los Angeles wakes up, (around 5pm Paris time), I put on my business hat and talk to my heads of department to check in on production, sales, finances, and the design teams.

I feel incredibly grateful right now to have an amazing team of women by my side. My president, Paola Corso, is my rock. She gives me the freedom I need to explore my creativity, and then gets really excited to brainstorm with me on strategy.

My evenings are spent caring for my son and seeing old friends and family. I love it when a friend calls in the middle of the day, saying “I’m in the neighborhood, meet me at the café down the street.” In Los Angeles, it all has to be planned in advance, and I find that much more contrived. I love the carefreeness and magic of finding a moment to see a friend and doing it spontaneously. There is a certain openness to living like this.

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“I love seeing a friend spontaneously. There is an openness to living like that.”