Myla London’s chief operating officer, Leila Habibi, turns to her close knit team when she needs advice and is looking forward to bringing the brand to a larger audience.
Leila Habibi is the chief operating officer of luxury lingerie label Myla London. Habibi first started working in the world of lingerie in 2003, when she joined Agent Provocateur. She moved to Myla in 2017 to help rebuild and relaunch the label alongside CEO Garry Hogarth, with the aim of tapping into demand for elegant, wearable lingerie and nightwear.
Stockists include Selfridges, Net-a-Porter, Harrods, Matchesfashion and Bergdorf Goodman in the US. The brand opened a flagship store on London’s Brook Street in 2018. Bestsellers from Myla London include the French lace-trimmed Beaty Street bra (pictured above) and embroidered lace Sunbury Street bra.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Feed the dog, cat, and two children then focus on myself! I always make notes and get everything ready the night before, as mornings tend to be such a rush.
What was your first job?
I was a product coordinator for [fabric manufacturer] Courtaulds. Within the first six months I had taken over from the account executive managing the menswear account for Marks & Spencer.
How would you describe the brand in one sentence?
Myla is a luxury brand designed for woman who want to wear beautiful product for themselves without feeling restricted and uncomfortable.
What’s your coffee (or tea) order?
Earl grey tea, then mint tea after 12pm!
Where are your favourite places to shop?
For the experience I love Selfridges, Harrods and our boutique in Brook Street London. Online is my daily go-to for convenience and speed.
Last fashion purchase? Why did it catch your eye?
A fabulous long coat from Shrimps. Black faux fur which looks like crushed velvet, trimmed with dramatic cream cuffs and oversized amber sparkly heart buttons!
Emails or phone calls?
Both depending on the situation. Phone calls are best for immediacy and people do often respond better to a more personal approach, particularly when you need help. Emails more suitable when you need a more thoughtful, measured response.
Most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
Be decisive! Indecision can cause many problems. You also need to have self-belief to be able to commit when problem solving.
What would be your ideal office/meeting space?
I’d always choose open plan offices. I love being with the team and don’t like to miss anything. Lots of natural light is important when looking at fabrics and colours. I’d like us all to have enormous desks for laying out swatches and pictures, but it is tricky when office space is so expensive.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
The very beginning and the very end! I love looking at fabrics with design and get tremendous satisfaction fitting the final product on our customers and seeing their reaction.
What’s the last book you read?
Shoe Dog, which is a memoir by Phil Knight, the creator of Nike. A brilliant and fascinating read.
Athens and the Greek islands with my children. We managed to combine culture with total crashing out time.
Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?
Diane von Furstenberg is an amazing woman. I have always been a fan of her collections. Her fit and quality are consistent and distinctive. I also love she is doing a new collection with her granddaughter, Talita. I would love to do something my daughter too one day.
What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion today?
Fast, disposable fashion where people are buying more, spending less. I prefer to spend more for a piece that will last and have many great quality, timeless items that still look great. There is starting to be more recognition and appreciation of quality, premium, vintage pieces that have a longer life, but I think it will take time for this to really catch on in today’s economic climate.
One piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Take time to think about responses. In this world of ecommerce and social media, people tend to react instantly, but it is good to take time to think about responses before rushing in. Waiting till the next day can often present more options and solutions when you have time to consider.
Who do you turn to when you need advice?
My family, followed by the rest of the Myla team! We have all been together for a long time and work and travel together, so have plenty of time to share advice.
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
Driving around to sports venues or walking the dog. All about family time.
What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?
There will be more changes and more opportunities in the year ahead. Personally, my son will be leaving home to embark on his own adventure at university, which is going to be emotional but at the same time hugely exciting as he begins his own career path.
At work we are looking forward to further growth and new partnerships so we can launch the Myla brand to a bigger audience.