Viva Vena Cava


“No one gets anywhere without working crazy hard. Create things you love, things you love will always end up selling.” This is the advice that Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock, the duo behind Barneys Co-op staple Vena Cava, would offer every aspiring designer.

Aspiring designers have reason to take note. Once part of GenArt‘s “Fresh Faces”—a program that selects new designers to showcase at New York and LA fashion weeks—Vena Cava will celebrate their 10-year anniversary next year. To launch their Fall 2012 collection at Barneys, Buhai, Mayock, and GenArt hosted a party at the Chateau Marmont, filled with the duo’s supporters, including actress Malin Akerman and photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank.

The young label’s rise, however, was not without its crises. Earlier this year, one of their key investors pulled out and it seemed as though Vena Cava might collapse. Luckily for Buhai and Mayock—and the women who have come to depend on their print-lined, work or play, little dresses—the brand quickly found a new business partner, Li & Fung, and their aspirations only grow increasingly ambitious. “We’d love to work in many categories: home, shoes, mens, cold pressed juices, our own line of bourbons, and maybe even a hotel,” Buhai and Mayock explain.

With spring fashion weeks fast upon us, we wonder if the two are anxious to move on from their fall collection. “Right after we design a collection, we are so close to it it’s hard to even tell what it looks like,” the two explain. “It almost becomes a painting above your bed you have stared at all your life—you love it, buts it’s so close to you [that] you don’t know what it looks like anymore!”