The Creatives: An Interview with Kassie Lefakinis

Whether she is planning the perfect getaway for her chic clients, jet setting about to far off and oh so exotic places, or hopping back and forth between New York and L.A., Kassie does it with effortless style and grace.  As Marketing Director of Valef yachts in Greece, she designs and delivers excursions to paradise for the well heeled. Lucky her, lucky them. And when I want to know what is trending abroad and about, I reach out to Kas.  There is no one else I know who better combines the best of European chic with effortless downtown luxe style.

What do you see trending in fashion now?

I think we are entering a period where you can be a bit wild and playful - I see retro styles (80's and 90's mainly), kick-backs to the 20's & 40's and long gone eras (Baroque!) and futuristic/modern styles/angles all mixed up. The feminine is back in a sexy bold way - sheer, peek-a-boo cuts, bit of lace, tassels, midriffs, bold colors, texture. I sort of feel whatever goes this season. Flair pants or skinny jeans, flats or heels, cropped tops or long ones. Still the atelier clothes and shoes look is in, fine tailoring and craftsmanship. Patterned fabrics; geometric print, tribal, ornate, etc.  Plain nails. Decadent jewelry.  Wrist cuffs.  Black & gold. Wild spandex pants. I think it’s about really merging what you want to wear and having fun with that.  I’m refreshed by this 'whatever goes' and playful mood.
When was the last time you had a fashion epiphany?

You can have a total style makeover by reimagining what you already have, adding that extra thought when getting ready, and just picking up a few fresh pieces for the new season.
When my mother came to visit me in Greece, bringing hoards of magazines in tow, I flipped through the pages realizing that not much separates the apparel on the pages with pieces in my closet.  How many eclectic pieces I have that have yet to be realized in a good combo….  I should mention that in no way is my closet full of designer wear, I keep a lot of the clothes I’ve acquired throughout the years and never buy too trendy (often purchasing something I’m drawn to if a good deal that I may not even wear til some point down the road).  I began deconstructing the looks on the mag pages to see what pieces I have similar and how I would think to wear them at first glance in my closet vs. what combinations have been assembled in the mag.  The difference to a good outfit and look is all in the combinations.  However hassle free I like to be in getting ready, a little bit of extra effort is needed to make something really ‘work’ and feel better.  

What is your favorite High brand? And your low brand? How do you mix high and low?

While in the US in September I noticed various pieces that I liked from the label Bar III at Macys, low brand.  Zara is an easy go-to, inexpensive and huge variety here in Greece.  Aqua and BCBG as medium brand has always been a favorite.  I was just introduced to All Saints- I’d call them med-high brand although the prices are very reasonable.  The clothes are very sexy, edgy, and a bit rocker/biker yet quite refined and classy. Stella McCartney is a high brand I respect; she does some sporty looking stuff for everyday wear that looks at once modern and vintage and feminine (insert Millie tweed and wool-crepe dress).  I always blend high and low brand.  I don’t generally follow brands and labels so most of what I wear and compile is a mix of everything.

What is your go-to uniform for a day of work? The weekend?

A bit tricky as the season just changed (it’s been summer til now).  I know however from now it’s definitely gonna involve my new short, nude color, Frye boots.
For the office the boots with a short knitted empire waist dress with a chartreuse and gunmetal grey geometric design or my black skinny jeans, snug shirt & silk scarf. I do not see clients at this period (summer over) so my office attire really is whatever goes.
For the weekends it’s been a loose pale pink blouse with butterfly sleeves and ruffled sides, pale flair jeans or my new long pleated black skirt, boots or Tory Burch snakeskin flats, hair in tight top knot, collarless zip-up moto jacket in beige or black, and one statement jewelry piece.  I’ll add more color and texture the deeper in to autumn we go!

What is your favorite ILR piece and why?

This season I’d say the couplet ring!  I love that it’s bold and yet subtle, elegant and a bit rough.  The hand-forged metal is fabulously textured and the 14k gold goes with anything.  It looks care-free and yet you know it took time to make!  I think I like it best worn on the middle finger.

Who are your style icons?

My Great Aunt Helenitsa who recently passed at the age of 92 was always the epitome of grace and elegance.  We used to visit her in summer in her house on the hill at the island of Spetses, the big windows all open to the lemon tree scented air and the motion of sea in her step as she opened the large front door.  She was an artist and intellect and looked every bit that. She would greet us in long silky gowns with bold prints and patterns, in black and white or in bold colors and I had the feeling she dressed just so everyday, visitors or not.  She always had the most unique hand crafted jewelry on, mainly incredible large twisting rings with big rocks which accented her artistic hands.  The weight of the jewelry didn’t stop her at 92.  She painted icons and saints on stones and her house was full of them in glass cases.  Her hair, light blond towards pearl, was always down and soft and styled, above her shoulders.  Gorgeous portraits on the wall, poets photos framed in silver and trays for limoncello and mastiha liquer at the door and in the salon helped set the perfect environment for her. When I think style, I think of her, sweeping over the marble, a sharp look in her eye and grace in her step, Anne Bancroft in Great Expectations without the insanity!
Also Gwen Stefani.