WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/978308

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Page 129 of 199

In addition to being a practicing architect living in Wellesley, Juann helps her mother build the family brand — literally. As a co-owner, she's in charge of branding, marketing, and designing the spaces, as well as merchandizing, buying, and selling for the family owned and operated business. Through her self-proclaimed "timeless modernist approach," she even designs each store. "I became aware of fashion and design during my master's degree studies in architecture at Carnegie Mellon University," says Juann of her education and how it bridges into the fashion world. "We studied mod- ernist and Bauhaus, form and symmetry, light and shadow, rhythm and movement of not only buildings but also music, poetry, and fashion. I look at a bridal gown as a reflection or extension of the bride wearing it. It's the same as a house, a retail store, or a corporate headquarters." The Beginning Working as a French teacher in Baghdad, Lebanon-born Salwa knew she wanted a change in her career path. Her oldest son, Ghassan, was attending Boston University, so the family made the decision to settle nearby. With 17-year-old Juann and 11-year-old son, Wissam, in tow, Salwa moved to America in 1982. Salwa's childhood memories of tailor-made clothing and an interest in sewing and needlework led the way. "I made silk-threaded embroi- dery, crochet, and needlework with my mother," she adds. "My eyes were trained early on to appreciate handmade clothing and details in the design and quality in the fabric." Once settled in Newton, Salwa took a job with a Greek tailor in Brookline creating custom-made clothing and alterations. Soon after, she branched out on her own, opening The Shawmut Place in the South End in 1985. In her own atelier, she saw a growing customer base restoring family heirloom wedding gowns and veils. Whether they were handed down from mother to daughter or from the frantic Filene's "Running of the Bride" sale, Salwa transformed gowns in size or style or recycled the fab- ric for all new silhouettes. A Monumental Move As business bustled, it was time for another change. Salwa moved her home to Wellesley in 1989, and her business added a sister location a year later. Welcome L'élite. This small boutique on tony Newbury Street sold pret-a-porter suits and dresses from France, Belgium, and Italy, while Shawmut continued as the tailoring and custom bridal sides of the business. "Both stores were complementary, combining the tourist and high- end shopping with a neighborhood atelier," explains Salwa. "[The name] Gisele, Salwa, and Juann Khoory C O U R T E S Y O F L ' É L I T E 128 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 8

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