You’d never know from meeting Sara that she runs an international fashion company. She’d also be the last to tell you that her weekender bag is one of the 87 products that made it onto Oprah’s Favorite Things 2015. Sara is humble and warm, easy-going and inspiring, a seasoned New Yorker and welcoming hostess, an innovator and a weekend gardener, always traveling yet totally grounded. It’s impossible not to fall in love with her and that is why there was never a question about who our NYC Local Gem would be. This year, Sara and her husband are creating their own holiday traditions by throwing a cocktail party (with lots of champagne!) and hosting both of their families for dinner on Christmas Eve. They’ll be serving their favorite cheeses alongside family Persian dishes. They have a huge tree and “lots of Diptyque candles around the house in my favorite holiday scents – Figuier and Noisetier.”
Ethically sourced, on-trend, accessible: these are the hallmarks of wildly popular accessories line Deux Lux. After spending the day with founder and consummate class act Sara Naghedi, it’s clear the brand’s prevailing conscientiousness comes from the top. An impressive multi-tasker who has built a global brand, Sara is also a gracious hostess well-versed in the art of a handwritten note. (Which is to demonstrate that success and courtesy needn’t be mutually exclusive.) As her company settles into its second decade, the fearless entrepreneur looks toward the future with the debut of NAGHEDI, a luxury line of travel-minded bags due out next spring. We met the jetsetter at her neighborhood watering hole and caught up on sustainable design, Bourbon cocktails and the one trait every aspiring boss lady should cultivate.
A gourmand’s little black book.
My perfect New York day would start with a coffee at Birch, followed by a walk in Madison Square Park with our dogs, Dylan and Otis. We’d go for lunch at ABC Kitchen and if it’s a nice day, take a walk on the High Line. My husband and I love 15 East – it’s our favorite restaurant in the city – so a dinner there is always our treat to ourselves. I’m obsessed with Broadway shows so that is how I’d end the day. We recently saw Hamilton and it was beyond fantastic.
Maialino and Marc Forgione are mainstays while Charlie Bird, Narcissa and Marta are some newer favorites. For groceries and spices, I love Brooklyn Fare, Chelsea Market and of course, Eataly – I feel very lucky to live in a place where there’s such access to incredible ingredients. For something sweet, I love the cakes at Lady M Confections. For shopping, I love SoHo but I just won’t brave that on the weekends, so Net-A-Porter is a lifesaver. I love Yogamaya in Chelsea, classes and spa treatments at Exhale, and you can never go wrong with The Met.
The world is your dining room.
The best thing about entertaining in New York is that you have endless options. We love to entertain at our house, but New York apartments tend to be on the smaller side so you have to get a little creative.There are so many great bars and restaurants, which makes it easy to rent out a beautiful space for parties or get togethers. Some of my favorites are the Wine Cellar at Il Buco and the gorgeous Gramercy Terrace. The Spotted Pig has a private dining room which is also pretty amazing.
And speaking of dining rooms…
(Sara’s lives in a light, serene and impeccably decorated NoMad residence).
My dear friend and designer Nicki at Scout Designs has the most amazing Pinterest page so I’m always looking there for new decor ideas. I love ABC for home goods and I’m currently coveting Mud Australia dishware – I have a few of their platters but they’re on my everyday tableware wishlist.
The mother of all party tips.
My mom is an amazing entertainer – anything I do well, I picked up from her. We’re Persian and have huge family gatherings. I’ll never know how she casually pulls together a party for 50 people, but she does so flawlessly! She takes time to plan the day before and does a lot of family-style cooking, and she has taught me to prepare whatever I can well ahead of time. I’ll set all the food out so people can chat and take what they want. I’ve also learned to get ready two hours before a party so I avoid hearing the first knock at the door while I’m still cooking in my robe!
On secret weapons and specialties:
If I’m doing Persian food, I have my no-fail recipes like a big pot of stew with rice. Otherwise my must-have supplies are all at Eataly. If I’m ever stuck and don’t know what to make for guests, I just head to their incredible fresh pasta counter. From the seasonal raviolis to the fresh linguini or lasagna sheets, you’re immediately inspired to build an entire meal around whatever you find.
Eataly: A Girl’s Other Best Friend
A feast for the eyes as much as the belly, this food museum is a paean to life’s most wonderful pleasures and thus, much more than a common tourist attraction. Mario Batali’s respect for the world’s best can be felt in every corner, which makes it a beloved mainstay for savvy New Yorkers like Sara.
Setting a high bar.
A well-stocked bar makes everything easier. Great wines are a must – I have been getting cases of Broadside wine for years because they’re very easy drinking. I have really gotten into Bourbon lately and I think in any season, a Bourbon cocktail seems to hit the spot. It might be a little cliché, but a cheese plate is always a good idea. I own several really large platters and love to space the cheeses out and put lots of nuts, olives and one of my homemade jams or chutneys on the plate.
Just mad about saffron.
My mother and I love to make jams – they are all inspired by my grandmother. She does an amazing Quince-Saffron jam that I have yet to replicate. Another great one that may sound strange but is simply divine is her carrot and almond saffron jam. Saffron in everything is my motto.
The globetrotter’s packing secrets.
I’ve become a bit of a packing pro over the last few years. Everyone is shocked by how small my suitcase is, but I had gotten so tired of lugging a heavy bag that I won’t do it anymore. The key is literally planning outfits. I’ll take a few focused hours and lay all of my clothes and shoes out to see what I can mix and match – I don’t pack more than two pairs of shoes and the planning is really worthwhile. I always travel with a tote bag. I’ll throw my laptop and one of our zip pouches in there, which later doubles as an evening clutch. And that’s it for me: two bags total.
Bring home the best.
You’re going to laugh but when we travel, we bring home whatever the local alcohol may be! Whiskies, sake, you name it – it’s really a great way to get taste for local customs. We had these great after-dinner liqueurs in Italy, so we brought them home. I love to grab spices that I can cook with – I’ll experiment with new flavors. And pottery! I’ve bought beautiful dishes in Japan, Italy and France that have made for an amazing collection.
Inspiration is everywhere.
I draw inspiration from simply walking around in New York where most people have a distinct sense of style, as well as from my travels. I’m influenced a lot by my trips to Japan. We (Deux Lux) have a big distribution there so a lot of what I design is with the Japanese lifestyle and aesthetic in mind. That means clean, streamlined styles that are super-functional and often petite. We recently traveled to Tanzania and now officially have the bug to get back and explore more of East Africa. We also have Scandinavia on our wish list.
Begin at the beginning.
I went to law school and I knew before I graduated that I actually wanted to be doing something in fashion. I told my parents and while they were not very happy at first, they eventually decided they would support me for a year while I got Deux Lux off the ground. I started with a very small collection and fortunately, it grew. I was young and a little fearless which you need in starting a business. I saw an opening in the market for quality, on-trend designs that were also affordable and at the time, no one was really offering that at our price point. We didn’t start out as a purely vegan leather line but the faux materials became so good, it was easy to produce solely animal-friendly bags.
Take a flying leap.
It sounds simple but when starting a business, the most meaningful advice I can think of is to be fearless – refuse to be afraid. If you’re going to take the leap, go all-in and have fun with what you’re doing. If it’s fun for you, it shouldn’t be hard to be successful.
Sara’s Travel Essentials…
ARCONA TRIAD PADS
DEUX LUX POUCH/CLUTCH
CLE DE PEAU CONCEALER
KIEHL’S EYE CREAM
DEUX LUX WEEKENDER
Sara’s Entertaining Essentials…
MUD AUSTRALIA DISHWARE
ROI CARTE NOIRE OLIVE OIL
ACACIA HONEY WITH WALNUTS