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ABLA Presents events are panels with professionals working in various different fields of the luxury industry. 

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Having the opportunity to speak with Michael Shome was a privilege. He has had an amazing and inspirational career. During our panel, he really emphasized the importance of following your own path at your own pace. Ultimately, that is what led him to jobs at editorials like TIME Magazine, Men's Vouge, and to his current position as the global visual director of Architectural Digest. In the context of architecture and home design, Michael defined luxury as having something truly unique and deeply personal. In his opinion, the best homes are a reflection of the person and their experiences.

As a Senior Account Manager and Vice President at @christiesinc, Brian walked us through his extensive involvement in the arts space, where curiosity and dedication have allowed him to explore his own zeal and passion. From the Getty Collection to the many more he worked on, he explained his shift from being object focus (arts valuation) to subject focus (client facing). He emphasized the importance of our daily exposure and experience with art and its many facets, highlighting the profound and lasting impact it has on our human essence. Brian finally encouraged us all to pursue our artistic taste and inclination.

Speaking to Kiana Brooks was a true bliss.
From her experience at brands such as The Row, Prada, and Saint Laurent to her current role as manager of fashion buying at Chanel, Kiana led us through her entire journey and shared extensive perspectives into the luxury industry. Through her insight into all the nuances related to customer analysis, fashion buying, and sales strategies, we discovered the concrete logistics that lie behind each product boutiques around the world display on their shelves. Kiana also shared her drive in promoting diversity and inclusion, unfolding the impact greater inclusivity holds not only for individuals but for the industry as a whole.

Having the opportunity to interact with Aliona Doletskaya was a true honor. With great charm, she carried us through her journey and gave us insights into her professional and personal experience as chief editor of Russian Vogue and Interview Magazine. She shared her philosophical perspectives on life, work, and the industry, encouraging us to pursue our passions and fully embrace the artist that lies within each and every one of us. "We are artists. We paint our picture, and this picture is called life. Nobody can paint it for you. So it's up to you to choose watercolor or oil; acrylic or saliva. But this will be your picture, not anyone else's. And that's why it will be unique.

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For our second panel, we had the opportunity to hear from Julie Freeman. She is currently in charge of PR-integrated marketing at MMGY – a marketing agency specializing travel, tourism and hospitality. Through her presentation, we were able to get a deeper insight in the luxury travel and hospitality industry. MMGY has several branches that specialize in different sectors of the tourism industry including Luxury Travel & Lifestyle PR, Strategic Destination Planning, and Content/Media Services. The agency has also set itself apart by establishing themselves as the largest base of travel research in the world.

All participants were in awe of Gabrielle's visible determinism and passion for the fashion industry which inspired incredible words of wisdom and hope for Gen Z in particular planning on entering the industry. When questioned about differentiating CHANEL from other high luxury brands, she said it was their strong client relationships fostered on a foundation of authenticity and realness rather than merely fame or trending popularity. In her words, "CHANEL is more concerned with people and their values than what is the 'hottest' on the market." Gabrielle's words of advice: be open and willing to do absolutely anything and everything. To be comfortable with pushing yourself to find out what you are capable of.

Originally from France, Jean has been based in Los Angeles for 25 years now and opened his first jewelry boutique a few years ago. Although his academic background is not jewelry-focused, his sense of aesthetics and determination allowed him to establish his own engagement ring company. Jean spoke about the emotional component of his work, luxury entrepreneurship, and his futuristic movement toward using exclusively lab-grown diamonds. As his final piece of advice, Jean emphasized the importance of understanding and developing one’s taste as well as practicing patience when encountering obstacles amidst our journeys to success.

From opening up the iconic pink Paul Smith store on Melrose, to exploring the digital space by joining Net-A-Porter and now owning her own consulting business, Sogole has unfolded her entire journey and enlightened us with her insights into digital media and the power of storytelling. Drawing on her experience, Sogole encouraged all of us to have a "yes" mentality and see every opportunity as a chance to grow. While the industry is glamorous on the outside, it takes appreciation and dedication for one to understand it from the ground up. "The story gives the brand its unique soul. Although everything is changing in the modern world and we can be looking at ways to mold it, we should never change the story altogether."

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Cassidy and Kati are USC alum that now work for Sotheby’s International Realty. Cassidy and Kati spoke about how luxury and real estate are interlinked by the uniqueness and originality an individual brings to a property. They emphasized that a house is only a blank canvas and it is the building and furnishing of it that can create something one can call ‘a home’.

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Having exposure to the market, Cassidy and Kati were able to tell us about some new trends that they have observed in the real estate industry. Although many seem to be investing in more traditional property styles, there has been a much larger emphasis on self-expression through furnishing and architecture, especially among the Gen Z consumer.

We were so grateful to hear Lia Avaniessan, who spoke to us about her experience doing events for O’Gara Coach Co. This panel provided us insights about the luxury automative industry from a unique angle. During the panel she emphasised the importance of building connections to expand personal networks, being able to adapt to new trends in the industry, and creating personalised events and experiences based on specific clientele.

Meet Victoria: a trained architect, architectural historian, and Assistant Director of Exhibition Design at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). We align with her perspective that museum pieces embody luxury through their history, craftsmanship, and broader connection to society and culture. These elements are present in our current issue, Renaissance.

Busto and Sun Custom Hats is so much more than just a hat company. Enrico’s mission was to create a unique experience for his customers, and his success in doing so is what makes his product so special. His store in Topanga was specifically designed to resemble the feeling of walking into a home. Enrico’s commitment to building personal relationships with every client has helped him to create a loyal community of customers and friends, and, to this day, these bonds are still his greatest professional reward. 



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