My Favorite...Evil Eye Dress

The Eyeko creative director and founder shares the tale of her favorite dress—one that happens to be festooned with eyes.

Source: Nina Leykind

Nina Leykind, creative director and founder of London-based, eyes-only beauty brand Eyeko, shares the story behind this Kenzo shift dress that features a very appropriate print: eyes, of course.

How did this dress come into your life? "I bought it last season, forever I've been really into evil eyes—and Eyeko is all about eyes. I have a ton of evil-eye jewelry. Everyone gifts me evil eyes. I have no idea where that even started. I think it was my school friend who’s half-Greek. We went to Athens together and bought up all the evil eye jewelry. It’s so ubiquitous now but used to be really hard to get a hold of! So, last November we were having our first official launch at Selfridges here in London, and it was our first public outing with Alexa [Chung], who's our creative consultant, so of course I had to go see if I could find something fabulous to wear. I just saw that Kenzo dress, and was like, 'Oh my god, could anything be more perfect than a dress covered in eyes.'"

My Favorite...Evil Eye Dress
Source: Nina Leykind

Do you wear it often? "I wear that dress so much, which normally I wouldn't do, but I love it so much, I wore it to our New York event, I wore it on my birthday, I'm never out of that dress. I'm actually not that attached to clothes in general. I'm very good at having that cull every season, and having everything pared down. I don't really keep much, but I've already archived that for my daughter when she's older. And I'm definitely going to wear it again, [especially with] the whole mod trend. And when we have big events, you get really nervous at those things, so just to have something nice to wear makes you feel confident but now it's sort of become a lucky dress, which is what the evil eye's all about anyway—having a lucky charm!"

My Favorite...Evil Eye Dress
Source: Nina Leykind

What do you love about its style? "I'm not very tall, I'm about 5'3", so I do always gravitate towards that '60s look anyway, and I love a little shift dress. It's the perfect length, and it has this kind of ribbon braiding around the bottom, and I never wear black, I only wear navy blue. So the fact that it's more navy and it has long sleeves, which is quite unusual in a dress, and they have little zips on the cuffs which is cool as well because you can roll them up. I have over-the-knee Stuart Weitzman blue boots that I like to wear with it. It's a shift dress, so it's so easy to dress up and down, and I like having that versatility. And I'm not sure there were that many around in the first place, because every time I wear it people are like, 'Oh my god.' Sometimes with designer pieces they're a bit too known and you end up not being yourself somehow, and this dress went under the radar a little bit."

Sounds like quite a conversation piece. "Yes, completely, which allows me to whip out my business card subtly telling them the story about what I do! In London, you would never say to anyone you first meet, 'What do you do?' It's more normal in New York, so it's quite good in that way that it is a conversation starter."

My Favorite...Evil Eye Dress
Source: Nina Leykind

So you've been into evil eyes since childhood? "My mother has always gifted me evil eyes, she's actually from the former Yugoslavia. Her father, my grandfather, was a diplomat and she spent her formative years in Damascus, where she got into the whole evil eye thing; then my best friend at school was half Greek, and she was always giving me evil eyes. It was quite funny, I wear it on-air when I do TV shopping stuff as well, and one of the models there brought me a necklace that had the little evil eye, it was so sweet, and she was saying, 'As your business is growing this is going to protect you.' It's for protection not only luck, which I thought was quite interesting."

What other evil eye pieces do you have? "I'm telling you, I have so many different variations. Our graphic designer gave me a whole load of safety pins with the eyes on it. You can pin them into clothes in your wardrobe or onto blankets and stuff like that. So I have a ton of those, and I have necklaces, bracelets, rings and then a key ring, and then little china pottery ones that you hang on the door. Even my sister-in-law, actually she's a jewelry designer, she's half Greek, and makes me [things] with the eye or the hand on it. So I have a lot of that iconography, which feels like a connection to family and friends. And my children for Christmas, they bought me a bracelet with an eye on it. They were proud, it was the first thing they bought with their own money that was a real present. I wear it every day."

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