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Designer Lili Chemla Makes A Case For Wearing Cozy Basics 24/7

Fashion
Photo courtesy of Liana

Her label Liana is the ultimate in luxury comfort

It all started with Lili Chemla’s frustration with trying to find the perfect t-shirt. When she found herself displeased with what was out there (thus, cutting up whatever she did find), she decided it was time to have a try at making her own. “I made my own t-shirt sample and realized I was wearing it all the time. Then, my sisters and friends kept trying to steal it. I knew I was onto something,” she says. And just like that Liana, Chemla’s line of luxury basics, was born.

What started as a line of tees and hosiery has now expanded into a full collection of elevated, yet comfy, '70s-inspired wardrobe staples, where shimmery striped nylon socks pair with velvet hoodie-and-sweatpant sets, scalloped mock-neck tops, and mesh-paneled pants.

Her collection speaks to those who need their outfit to transition from day to night, but who refuse to sacrifice feeling good for looking good. “That’s where the elevated element comes into play,” explains Chemla. “It’s not a secret that everyone loves to be comfortable, and I think people have gotten tired of sacrificing their comfort for style.”

While the Liana girl is someone who’s busy and, as such, spends her days running from place to place, according to Chemla, there’s a little bit of Liana in all of us. “Although we definitely do fall into a category, it's hard to generalize us to one type of girl,” says Chemla. “Being a basics company, we want all ranges of people and ages to feel comfortable in our clothes. But, to be more specific, the Liana girl is one who puts comfort before anything else, and needs a cute pair of socks to spice up an outfit.”

But what’s next, long after the winter’s chill (and our desire to stay cozy and warm inside) has gone, for the brand? It seems that spring will be just as comforting. “Our number one rule is to stay cozy, but to look good doing it. I’m sure we’ll continue to expand into other categories—like little booty shorts for spring—but if it's not comfortable, you’re not seeing it from us,” says Chemla.

Currently, prices range from $15 for a pair of socks up to $250 for a teddy bear-like faux sherpa hoodie (a piece we see ourselves living in this winter). Take a closer look at the Liana fall collection, below, and head on over to the website to shop it now.

Photo courtesy of Liana

Liana, Plush Zip in Hunter, $220, available at Liana.

She considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth"

Dani Okon, NYLON's associate creative director of video, sat down with her great-aunt, May Okon, to talk about their shared experiences—despite vastly different time frames—living as queer women in New York City. Prior to retirement, May was a journalist for the New York Daily News, having first entered the male-dominated workforce when "the boys were all at war." And, of course, she absolutely killed it. Her only regret? "Retiring at 55," she tells Dani, joking, "Who the hell knew I was gonna live to 100?"

Upon retiring, she moved out to the Hamptons with her partner and bought a home. If she had to do it all over, May says "there are a lot of things I wouldn't do," but she still considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth." Get to know May in the video, above.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Marlene Colburn and Naima Green
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by: Alexandra Hsie
Camera: Gretta Wilson + Katie Sadler
Edited by: Madeline Stedman

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Lauren Morelli, the showrunner and executive producer for the new Netflix show Tales of the City, is fostering a space where multiple queer realities can be shown on-screen. She spoke with one of the cast members, trans actor Garcia (who plays Jake Rodriguez on the show), and, in the video above, they explore why it's wrong to treat queer stories as representative of the entire community. Tokenization is something that they both want to avoid at all costs, and they're on the right track.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

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In the video above, get a sense of why Smith created a genderless store, and see how important it is for people like Jones to have a space where they don't feel criticized for dressing like they want.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
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Edited by Gretta Wilson

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We put the two activists in conversation

Marlene Colburn, one of the founders of the Dyke March, and Naima Green, an artist currently working on a project and archive called Pur·suit, which will document queer people of all identities, agree that it's really hard to find lesbian spaces that aren't bars. Just as hard, it seems, is to find lesbian representation that isn't white. In the video above, the two talk about how they are creating space for queer people and what that looks like within two different generations.

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