Meet Miss Larroudé, Louisa Rechter and Alessandra Perez-Rubio
Mestiza New York—and its co-founders Alessandra Perez-Rubio and Louisa Rechter Takacs—is the moment. The New York-based, female-founded and led brand, creates architectural silhouettes that get women noticed. Discover the behind-the-scenes journey of how it all began, explore their favorite styles, and get insights into their entrepreneurial experiences.
Where do you live?
Alessandra: I just recently made the move from Cobble Hill Brooklyn to Westfield, New Jersey with my husband Anthony and two children Carlos and Dominic.
Louisa: The Upper East Side in NYC with my husband Rob, and my two children: Elliott and Clementine.
Favorite Larroude shoe for Fall?
Alessandra: I plan on living in the Ricky boot this fall. It’s the perfect day to night boot and so comfortable.
Louisa: I love the new Valerie Pump in gold metallic for its versatility and seasonality.
Favorite FW memory:
Louisa: When I was tasked with escorting swim gold medalist, Ryan Lotche, to his seat!
Alessandra: Attending my first runway show back in 2011. The excitement of the show and fashion week in general is palpable. I still get butterflies thinking about it and have big dreams for Mestiza to have our own runway show one day!
What excites you about Fall?
Louisa: I always say that New York “peacocks” in the Fall - it’s so atmospheric. I love that back-to-school feeling, reuniting with friends we didn’t see over the summer, cocktails on the Met rooftop and cozy downtown dinners.
Alessandra: I love the warmth and coziness of fall, the anticipation that the holidays are right around the corner, and of course getting to show off my eclectic fall fashion wardrobe.
Favorite restaurant/dish in your city?
Louisa: A sbagliato and bowl of cacio e pepe at I sodi
Alessandra: A martini and burger at Red Hook Tavern.
IG Account(s) you follow for Inspo:
Louisa: @ladiesofmadisonave for chic street style, @homeworthy for home tours, @hicaitlinreilly for a good laugh
Alessandra: @thelsd for her effortless style @eyeswoon for the rich interiors and @wishbonekitchen for the decadent meals (Lauren, Athena and Meredith if you are reading this, let’s be friends)
What inspires you?
Louisa: I’m inspired by women-owned businesses (especially by mothers), beautiful interiors, vintage clothing, good-for-the-soul conversations, and people who dress up, no matter the occasion.
Alessandra: I know this sounds over the top, but with designing for Mestiza I am currently inspired by the maximalism of vintage couture fashion! In life, I am also in awe of entrepreneurial mothers, it’s a very specific experience and I love seeing other women’s success stories, it gives me hope.
How did you get your start?
Louisa: I landed my dream job at MILLY, a company and a brand I was very passionate about. It was there where I learned so much about the fashion industry and business in general. I dreamed of launching something of my own; I really wanted to build a brand with purpose, that brings community together and could stand the test of time. My past experience, coupled with Alessandra’s design talent, allowed for a great foundation to take the leap of faith to start Mestiza.
Alessandra: I willed my way into fashion. Graduating in 2009, the landscape for jobs was pretty bleak so I took whatever I could get and that was as a graphic designer. For a few years after college, I felt a bit lost, but that all changed one fateful evening when Louisa and I had drinks downtown, and talked about starting our own brand. Before anything else was discussed, we had landed on the name Mestiza, and the rest is history.
Piece of advice for your younger self / One thing you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
Louisa: Following your gut is important but numbers don’t lie. When making a case, or a decision, be grounded in data, truth and heart - you can’t go wrong!
Alessandra: I gave birth to my son Carlos the same day we launched our online store. The growth of the company was very much mirrored by watching my own son grow up. I think one of the things I struggled with back then is balance. If I were to go back, I would tell myself that it is ok to feel pulled in two directions, to try and not feel guilty when I was giving too much attention to one over the other.
What does a typical day at work look like?
Louisa: I drop the kids off at school, ride the subway to our office with the hopes that I’ll spend the day in a zen head space, crossing everything off my to-do list. I’ll start making progress, but in typical fashion (no pun intended), there’s a fashion emergency! Whether it’s a new order, a customer request, a new business proposal, my day can go from 0 to 60 in a flash!
Alessandra: At any given time, I am either designing for one season, doing product development for another or production fittings for a third. Depending on the day, I will be holding fittings, approving prints, swatches and strike-offs, tweaking designs and ultimately making sure the product comes to life as close to perfect as possible.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your industry?
Louisa: The fashion industry is very much affected by external factors. Weather, the stock market and other news-worthy events can influence your business negatively or positively. Regardless of the outcome, there are some things that are out of your control. The key is figuring out how to plan for it.
Alessandra: With design, I think there is a certain pressure to “predict” what is going to sell. Of course so much of developing a collection is rooted in data and what our customer loves. But there is also a certain knack to building a collection that has a certain amount of newness to show that Mestiza is creatively evolving.
What is one of your biggest successes so far?
Louisa: When women choose their outfits, it’s more than just decorative, it is a way to communicate who you are or who you want to be. Women wear Mestiza on their wedding day, to important social events, work or other gatherings. In these moments, women want to put their best foot forward and are choosing Mestiza as a mode to represent that. To me, that’s incredibly rewarding.
Alessandra: I think it took us a long time, but I really feel like the Mestiza brand has come to life in a way it hasn’t before. People are discovering us, choosing us for the special moments in their lives, and what an honor to see them do so. When starting Mestiza, I could never have fathomed that we’d be where we are today, and yet there is still so much left to do!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Louisa: I have a hard time planning that far in advance but I’d love to see our brand expand into more product categories. Home goods and textiles would be fun!
Alessandra: I am so excited to watch Mestiza continue to grow, to watch our team grow and see us become more of a household name. Even though it has been almost 9 years, we both feel like it is just the beginning.
What’s your go-to Spotify Playlist?
Louisa: I make my own - a jumble of guilty pleasures: Fleetwood Mac, Shania Twain, Paris Hilton, Old Crow Medicine Show, Aqua…it’s like a burned CD from high school.
Alessandra: It’s called “Ale 2019 favorites” a behemoth playlist I started 4 years ago and just constantly add to. It is so eclectic and random, from classical music to EDM to show tunes.
What is your fashion uniform?
Louisa: A piece from the latest Mestiza collection paired with gold jewelry and fabulous shoes, preferably Larroude.
Alessandra: It differs by season. Spring and summer I am always in a colorful Mestiza day dress with gold slides, and in the fall usually a pretty simple jeans and boots with a statement Mestiza sweater or jacket.