Women of Style

BY The Editors | August 29, 2016 | Feature Features National

Beyond trends or piles of designer clothing, the essence of style is substance. It is the art of self-expression. An original way of dressing. A spirited attitude. A signature look. A revelation of character. Style is, in a word, memorable, as are these six L.A. women who excel in its unspoken vocabulary and inspire so many by wearing their passion on their perfectly tailored sleeves.
Nikita Kahn

Growing up in Western Ukraine, Nikita Kahn didn’t have much access to fashion. “My mom made clothes for our entire family—everything from winter coats to summer bikinis,” says Kahn. “She’s my style icon.”

Having worked as a business analyst at architecture firm Studio PCH in Malibu, Kahn extended her reach to remodeling and interior design. The beachfront villas at the Nobu Ryokan hotel, slated to open later this year next door to Nobu restaurant, are among her projects. (Both properties are owned by Kahn’s longtime boyfriend, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.) An animal advocate, Kahn debuted the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in May to help save northern white rhinos from extinction and co-executive produced the film The Last Animals (due out in 2017) on the plight of endangered rhinos and elephants. She also runs her own residential real estate investment company and launched a lifestyle blog in July to chronicle her travels, style, workout routines, beauty finds and nutrition tips.

Her work uniform is “very comfortable white pants [often jeans by The Row] with a blue button-front shirt and simple white sneakers—a must-have. Mine are Adidas.” For handbags, she prefers Hermès; for black tie, Elie Saab’s feminine gowns. Somewhat like her life, Kahn’s style is a study in contrasts. “I love lace, but I also love a good motorcycle jacket… the feminine style of Dolce & Gabbana and the roughness of Saint Laurent,” she says. “And I think every girl collects shoes—some of them I can’t even walk in, but they are like pieces of art. I look at them, and it makes me happy—even if I can never wear them.” Talk about getting her kicks!

Since Katie Nehra moved to L.A. eight years ago, she has appeared in films such as Mr. Right and Alex of Venice, which she also co-wrote. She is currently completing her second screenplay, the story of an interracial couple, as well as heading up her jacket-focused fashion label Simone by Katie Nehra—worn by the likes of Mary-Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie and Rachel Zoe—that includes silk and leather coats with optional custom embroidery. “Most people in L.A. are trying to look like they’re someone or something,” says Nehra, pointing out the legions of stylists and glam crews. “I dress how I feel that day, and I don’t pay attention to trends.”

In her world, comfort reigns supreme. “I really love athletic influences, especially mixed with a lace skirt or a dress,” she says. “I love how Chloé is doing silk track pants. ... To me, it makes sense to invest in everyday items that you can wear to death.” Valentino’s pajama-inspired styles and Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers are other go-to pieces, as are picks from three fashion blogger brands: Are You Am I by L.A.-based Rumi Neely, Réalisation by Alexandra Spencer and Rouje by Jeanne Damas. But relaxed doesn’t mean sloppy. “I love clothes that accent or show off a woman’s figure—nothing too oversize,” she notes. “But clothes that you can sit on the floor in. Anything you wear should feel like, if we need to make a run for it, I’m ready.”

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