Dreaming up clothes for these contemporary young people seems to come easy for designer Michele Bohbot, who grew up in Fez, Morocco, and studied in Paris at the Sorbonne.
While in Paris, Bohbot opened several retail stores, and in 1989 launched her line of inspired by Parisian street fashion called Bisou Bisou (French slang meaning "a little kiss"). This February, Bohbot, who now calls Los Angeles home, is launching a junior line, Miss Bisou at J.C. Penney.And this mother of seven is familiar with teen fashion angst.
"I have three teenagers," she says, "and one of my daughters - Stephanie - is 17 years old and loves to talk fashion with me!" Imagine that.
"Today's teenage girls are not afraid to be individual," she adds. "It's not about being exactly like all their friends. They do like to have the hot items of the season, but then each girl mixes and matches them in her own way."
Bohbot is also inspired by teen style icons like pop star Rihanna, who is featured in the Miss Bisou ad campaign, as well as Hilary Duff's "slightly rocker vibe," "The O.C.'s" Rachel Bilson's "unique spin on fashion" and actress Jessica Alba's "cool casual style."
She combines these contemporary style statements with ideas fresh off the fashion runways and adds her own ideas to create updated looks for teens with ever-changing clothes personalities. "It's all about attitude," she says.
This spring, Bohbot concentrates on the "hard and soft" trend that is so popular with the younger crowd incorporating a balance of key design elements from military touches to feminine lace.
"Today's teen fashionistas enjoy experimenting with the edgiest looks by layering and mixing components of their wardrobes to create style statements representative of their icons, such as Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, to girls from 'The O.C.,' to Lindsay Lohan," says Bohbot.
Her best bets for the spring season ahead include graphic T-shirts in longer lengths layered and layered and layered; cargo pants with embroidered details, the cropped vest worn over the longer tees, bubble skirts, white denim and denim Bermuda shorts. Bohbot concentrates on earth-tone colors in her debut collection - olive, cocoa and sand are combined with teal and dusty rose.
"It's all about layers," she says. "Add hip-slung wide belts and long chunky necklaces to finish the look!"
And it's not all about bellybuttons anymore, either. "Every woman has inside herself the strength, intelligence and ability to accomplish all her goals," says this energetic designer. "A positive mindset will take you as far as you want to go."