Real Style with Dilara Dzafic

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Darlings, meet Dilara. Dilara, meet my darling readers. With Dilara as this week’s subject of Real Style, you could easily rename the feature to “Women I admire and am Fortunate to Count as a Friend.” But really, how could I not adore a woman who’s as poodle obsessed as I. I first met Dilara in her role as the creative powerhouse behind Le Caniche Noir and it goes without saying that I’m more that a little partial to this wonderful boutique. However, this international champagne bubble of a woman is so much more. Executive, professor, wife, mentor… the list really could go on with Dilara. She’s fearless in embracing both her intelligence and her femininity, commanding a room in towering stilettos and impeccably applied red lipstick. And for this, and really so much more, I’ve come to really admire her.

This is one interview you’re really going to want to read through and see just how Dilara balances it all. She’s also included some gems of advice for style and professional success!

pssst……you’ll also want to scroll all the way through for one more chance to enter the AMAZING giveaway that Le Caniche Noir is offering one of my lucky readers!

Tell us about yourself!

My life revolves around fashion, food, and cute dogs. As you  know, I have serious street cred.

Who are your favorite designers?

This is going to be so cliche but I don’t care, I LOVE IT. Marchesa (oh, those intricately beaded details…..), Valentino (who doesn’t like red bows? studded red bows? even better!), and  Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. He just keeps finding ways to re-invent my two favorite things: tweed and pearls! And every once in a while he throws in some leather or feathers into the mix. Those three have had a very big impact on my style.

Who do you consider a style icon and why?

My personal style icon is my grandmother Aisha. She was always so elegant and glamorous, no matter what the situation. She was beautiful, successful, confident and was never afraid to make a statement.  My love of turbans, pearls, red lipstick, tweed, and lavish fur coats comes from her.

What trend or trends are you loving for fall/winter?

We are talking about fall 15 right? Cuz this fall is so passe´, lol. This is way to difficult to answer :). I try something different every day!

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What trend or trends are you totally over?

I’m so ashamed. For a while I was into the now signature Kardashian look of body suit/matching skirt combo in nude with a draped or knotted detail….. erm, next question….

You live a rather international lifestyle and seem to always be on the go, any tips for staying chic no matter the time zone or time of day?

Yes. Fake everything. I have fabulous (and very expensive) fake hair, fake lashes, gel nails, etc. I WAKE UP LIKE DIS no matter the time zone!!!! The key is to be realistic and work with what you have. I often get caught in situations where I’m passing through a city and end up having to go to a black tie event. Once I wore a bracelet as a hair accessory and everyone was asking me where I got it. Another time I removed the fur trim from my parka and wore it around my shoulders to glam up a very plain dress. Hair is a mess? Sexy beach waves it is, and I plan to own it. Self confidence doesn’t take up any space in your suitcase, and its your best accessory.

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You juggle corporate life with the fashion industry and throw in academia as a professor at McGill for good measure, how do you balance it all?

I’m super energetic by nature. It’s always easier to find the energy and motivation to do something you love than something you have to do.  I prioritize rigorously: my well-being, sleep, eating well, getting enough love and laughs, all that comes first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will end up in a downward spiral leading to a melt down. And when I do reach the meltdown stage every once in a while, I give myself the time and space to have the meltdown.  Whenever I’m overwhelmed, I always remember – this is all a choice, and if I hate it, I change it! I really have to give credit to my family – my parents, brother, and husband who  have done some pretty crazy things to enable me to do what I have to do to succeed.

You’ve worked for some of the largest brands in the beauty and fashion industry, what is some of the best advice you’ve received for succeeding in such a tough field?

No matter how many times you get punched and fall (and believe me, you will get punched and you will fall), GET UP. Don’t look back and get up, get up, get up. Those that got punched 7 times and got up 8 times will succeed over those that got punched once and never got up.

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 What’s your best piece of advice for other young women looking for professional success whatever their field may be? 

People always tell me, you are so lucky, you have your dream job and dream husband, etc. I’m not lucky, I just really thought about what I want, made tough and sometimes scary choices, believed in myself, and worked hard and smart to get what I want. Always put yourself first and don’t let anyone tell you that you are being selfish. Girls, never, ever, sacrifice what you want and what you love because of a man. I see way too many young and talented girls I mentor give up a fabulous future because they are insecure about losing their man to that. I’ve been with my husband for 10 very happy and awesome years. For the past 4 I was living in Europe, following my dream career! You can have it all if you choose the right partner.

 You have 48 hours in Montreal, how do you spend it?!

Coffee in bed with my husband Nizar, then more coffee and chocolate lava cake with Nizar at Vasco da Gama, visit my hairdresser Christina at Pure Salon, followed by infinite martinis with Nizar at the Sofitel, followed by a shish taouk from Amir on Crescent on the way home. That’s the first 24. The next 24 hours will clearly be about regretting yesteday’s choices.