Photography by Trevor Smith

Neha Kapur Nayyar

Designer, Hensely

| Laurel Canyon

A synthesis of Japanese architecture and relaxed Indian luxury, new women’s wear brand Hensely is sort of like what we’d imagine happening if a collection from The Row were to be styled by Vanessa Traina, then modeled in-full by Ines de la Fressange or Caroline de Maigret. In other words, the clothing is irrefutably chic. So, too, is its maker: former dancer and fashion model, Neha Kapur Nayyar who envisioned a label that was timeless, yet idiosyncratic; elevated, but everyday. Glance at her F/W ’16 collection: a smattering of kimono-like tunics, floor-skimming flares and nubby knits, and it’s clear she’s succeeded. Rendered in a neutral palette of terra-cotta, stone, black and white, there isn’t a piece we wouldn’t wear— let alone covet— and what’s more, the line-up marks Nayyar’s first official season: Hensely launches exclusively with Moda Operandi this fall (of course, the refined-meets-relaxed designs caught the well-edited eye of LSD). With just one other collection under her belt (Resort ’17), Nayyar splits production between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband, actor Kunal Nayyar (aka “Raj” of Big Bang Theory). With NYFW just one week away, we can’t wait to see what the designer has in store; let’s just say, the Olsen twins may be getting a run for their money. Here, Nayyar sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on LA.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Gusto on West 3rd Street (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). My favorite dish is the tomato and basil tonnarelli and the chef’s special meatballs (he actually has a tutorial on YouTube– that’s how good they are)! I also love Craigs on Melrose (MAP IT, x) for the chicken velasco, the tuna tartare and the gluten-free buffalo pizza… and, of course, their gluten-free chocolate pizza to finish.

COFFEE OR TEA: The Hensely office for the best coffee and tea– #Madewithextralove.

ALL TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Matsuhisa (MAP IT, x). Sit at the sushi bar and order the amberjack, dry mizo sashimi and the artichoke and truffle salad.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I am a wine drinker so my favorites are Wally’s in Beverly Hills (MAP IT, x) where you can have fabulous wines and delicious cheese, Providence (MAP ITBOOK IT, x) for their special selection wines, and my house where there is always wine ready to be poured.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: My personal bar at home– some of the best conversations have started here.

GIRLS NIGHT OUT: Bouchon (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has the best caviar plate and salmon tartare. I love high tea at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills (MAP IT, x).

MUSIC PICK: I am a ’90s hip-hop fiend! I love the singers and songwriters that have emerged from this era. The best playlist is at The Pikey on Sunset (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). It’s an English-style pub with the best blues music. Hotel Cafe (MAP IT, x) is great for live music, as is The LA Philharmonic (MAP IT, x)… I heard my favorite singer Glen Hansard perform there and it was truly breathtaking.

BEST BRUNCH: Moonshadows in Malibu (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)– they have a great deck overlooking the ocean. (Also, Nobu Malibu (MAP IT, x) has some of the best ocean views.)

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Abbot Kinney (MAP IT)! The people are happy and the dogs are beautiful.

HEALTHY STAPLE: M Cafe de Chaya (MAP IT, x) for their cold soba noodles or Gracias Madre (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for delicious, vegan Mexican food.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Providence for their chef’s menu during white truffle season; you cannot eat for a week after that.

LA’S BEST KEPT SECRET: The Self Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades (MAP IT, x). This is our little getaway for some peace and quiet.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: My husband, my home, my dog and my yoga teacher. LA spoils you– it’s a good one.

REGULAR AT: Sweet Lady Jane (MAP IT, x) for the best cakes; Chevalier Bookstore in Larchmont (MAP IT, x) has a beautiful selection of English classics bound in leather; Apartment by The Line (MAP IT, x) is great for lifestyle goodies; and Tomoko Spa (MAP IT, x) is fabulous (if you book a couples’ massage, they feed you sushi afterwards).

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Gusto for some fabulous Italian, Pace (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) and The Little Door (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for super cozy, Providence if you are feeling a little glamorous and Matsuhisa for sushi and romance.


TO SEE AND BE SEEN: I would like for Hensely (x) to be worn and to be seen wearing it as well.

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: Take Sunset all the way to the ocean– it is a beautiful drive through the Hills and a perfect way to unwind.

CLOSET CHECK: My personal style is simple, comfortable and monochromatic. Barneys (MAP IT, x) is well curated, so is Just One Eye (MAP IT, x) for rare, one-of-a-kind pieces. Also, The Row (MAP IT, x) is a personal favorite– I’m a loyalist to this brand.

ACCESSORIES PICK: BarneysCartier (MAP IT), my friend’s jewelry line, Frisbees (x), The Gem Palace (x) for precious Indian jewels, Nikos Koulis (x) for modern precious jewels, IWC (MAP ITx) for watches (they just launched their women’s collection) and Patek Philippe.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I like my surroundings to be inviting and warm– be it my workspace or my home. I love old, mythological paintings called “Picchwais” from India and I have a love for Murano glass. Shopping-wise, Foundry (MAP ITx) has beautiful Murano lamps and chandeliers, Bonhams (MAP ITx) has gorgeous carpets, Restoration Hardware (MAP ITx) has some beautiful furniture, Ralph Lauren (MAP ITx) makes yummy cashmere throws and old-school scotch and champagne glasses, and Waterworks (MAP ITx) has the best towels and bathroom fixtures.


GIFTS FOR HIM: Bergdorf Goodman… they have the most beautiful selection of watches.


FIT PICK: I practice yoga four times a week with my guru, Andrea Bogart. She has changed my life.

ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: LA is so transient. It is filled with creativity and you are constantly surrounded with ideas. It is a place of dreams– some fulfilled and some broken– it allows you to be who you are. This is my LA story and I cannot wait to see where it takes me. CP

Neha’s LA

From L to R: First Row:

From L to R: First Row: High tea at The Peninsula; F/W ’16 look from Hensley; The Little Door; Concert hall for LA Philharmonic. Second Row: Abbot Kinney; Tomoko Spa; Breads from Bouchon; Yoga.


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