We first met Racil in Paris two years ago as we shared adjacent hotel showroom suites during fashion week. She had just launched Racil, the chic collection of “le smoking”, and we loved her individual point of view: her captivating suits, in unexpected colors and beautifully tailored, as well as her own personal sense of style. She wore her tuxedo jacket with torn jeans and looked both cool and chic, and every buyer and editor who flocked to her showroom left inspired. Her pieces are like discoveries, perhaps reflecting her own life experiences, living in cities like Paris and London, and her curiosity and love of travel. Racil shares her favorite places to explore in Beirut, Mykonos and Cannes:
I’m giving you three cities that are holiday cities for me, but Beirut is also my home. I live in London but my family is in Beirut, so I always go back and I get that feeling where I am at home and being cozy. My favorite place to eat in Beirut is a restaurant called Casa Blanca. It’s housed in a beautiful authentic Lebanese house in front of the sea, and it has the most amazing fusion type of food. The owner actually has an organic garden, so everything is organic. I go there all the time, so I know the staff very well. Everyone is very friendly and it has a great vibe, great atmosphere, so every time I am at Beirut I have to have dinner at Casa Blanca at least once.
Beirut is very vibrant city with the most amazing night life, so if you actually live in Beirut, you don’t crave going out anywhere else. There is always a lot of great places, I love being there in the summer because there is always parties on the beach. They do parties at a place called Decks on the Beach, which is on one of the beaches, or infamous Sky Bar, which is on the rooftop of this amazing building, opened by a friend of mine, and you can have the best nights there. Or otherwise, you can also go barhopping in the areas of Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael, which are really nice.
Favorite place to shop is a place called Orient 499. This guy recreated a modern version of an artisanat – which is a shop that sells locally made things. You will find the most beautiful wooden tables encrusted with mother of pearl, or hand blown glasses, but also kaftans, little Lebanese slippers, little pouches, even like small stationaries. It is a beautiful place, and every time I go to town, I buy lots of presents from there, and also things for myself and home, because I also love to travel in the dresses I find there.
The island of Mykonos
Mykonos is one of my favorite island and definitely my little holiday spot. Summer is not complete without stepping foot on the island. I will eat, shop and play all over the island, that is how friendly the island is. There are a lot of really good restaurants, but I love the Greek restaurant Phos. Otherwise I love having lunches in the tavernas on the beaches. There is one on the beach of Fokos, which is really delicious. I love to go there for lunch, or at KIKIs, which is also amazing.
If you want to go out and party a little bit in the day, you can get a nice lunch at Scorpios and stay on for the party they have on the beach. You watch the sunset, which is the most amazing thing to do, and you can go back to town. If you are in town you can bar hop a bit everywhere. If anything, watch the sunset at Caprice, which is by the windmills, and have an amazing meal at the Sea Satin if you want to have a good lobster pasta, greek style. After I will always venture to this place called Guzel, but you have to wait until 4 am to go as it doesn’t happen before. That’s a great little spot.
To shop in Mykonos, I’ll shop for little trinkets. It’s just on the streets where you will find this really old little lady that sells handmade little shell necklaces which I love, and every summer I will go to her and pick up necklaces. Every summer I will have one evening where I will go out to town and do a little shopping, including evil eye bracelets and little necklaces with lots of shells and things like that are made on the island. There is also The White Shop, which is held by these two old ladies, where everything is traditionally made in Greece, and you will find these beautiful table linens and sometimes these white crochet bits.
Another summer spot is Cannes. I have been going there probably since I was born because it’s my parent’s version of their Mykonos, so when I am in Cannes it’s mostly family time. We have breakfast, lunch, dinner and the evenings together every day. My favorite place to eat is actually not in Cannes, but you take a 10 minute boat ride and onto the island that is across. It’s a place called La Guerite, with the best kind of food. That will be my whole day of swimming in the sea and eating the most amazing food. They also play music, so you can stay and party.
As I am with my parents, I will chill at the terrace of the Carlton which is where they like to stay, and we will have drinks and walk around. We will go to Juan les Pins, if there is a party on the beach. If you are really desperate to go out, then you are just an hour and a half away from Monaco, or an hour and a half from Saint Tropez, and you can get a good night out and come back.
In Cannes, I love to shop around Rue D’Antibes. There is something about Cannes that drags you to the stores everyday as there’s always something to buy. There is this shop called Le Grand Bazaar, which actually has a beautiful mix of designers, so I will pop in there quite frequently to get my shopping fix.
How you were inspired to start?
I have always wanted to design for my own brand, and it was a dream as a child that I one day become a designer. I studied fashion design and marketing, but when I graduated I wasn’t ready to start designing yet, so I basically opened a concept store in Beirut with my childhood best friend and I was a buyer for my own store for about 8 years. Every now and then I will draw a collection and say ok, I’m going to start – and then I will throw it away. Then one year I was hanging out at my parent’s house in the mountains in Lebanon over Christmas, and I felt like I was at a crossroad. I felt like there was something else I needed to do. I had the idea of a tuxedo. I’ve always worn a lot of black blazers, and I felt I needed an upgrade from that. I wanted something a little bit different, something I couldn’t find, and I shared the idea with my mum and my brothers who were all together. They said it was a good idea and I should go for it. The idea sparked there and then. My brother helped me purchase racil.com on the spot and then literally 5 days later I moved back to London full time and I started working on the brand.
So where can we find your things other than everywhere?
You can find us at matchesfashion.com and avenue32.com, and if you are in London pop into Selfridges and Browns. If you are in Paris, you can pop into Le Bon Marché and Montaigne Market. if you are in Cannes you can pop into Le Grand Bazaar that stocks Racil as well. In Beirut, it will be available at Boutique One.
How do you best wear your clothes?
I like to mix and match. I’ve always been someone who likes contrasts, so I love to wear a very dressy jacket with casual jeans or the other way round. I love wearing the blazers with a tank top and boyfriend jeans, or the trousers with a cool t-shirt. I like to wear my outfits from day to night, so I will wear the outfit in the day and slip on some shoes or trainers, and swap for heels and put on some earrings and be ready to go out in the evening.
Cover photo courtesy of Erik Melvin