FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO HAUTE COUTURE ...
She is still quite young but super sharp ... she’s coming into her own
T here aren’t many 17-yearolds that could sway the direction of an international cosmetics brand but for Lianna Perdis it was as simple as a chat with her dad.
Napoleon Perdis was committed to calling a new brand of his cosmetics empire Total Babe, but his model daughter was having none of it — insisting that the name had to be Total Bae.
“Originally my dad wanted to call it Total Babe,” she says.
“I told him, because of social media and things like that, ‘The lingo is a bit different now so instead of babe, people say bae.’ It was a little bit shorter, catchier.
“My dad couldn’t quite get his head around shortening words, but in my generation we like to shorten words. Total Bae is what I’ve recommended him to do but it always had to go through the boss.”
Perdis is not alone in advising dad Napoleon on potential directions for the business.
“My sisters too (triplets Angelene, Athina and Alexia) they are 15-years-old and also have an opinion on the brand.”
The input has been welcomed, though, with Napoleon impressed at the work his eldest daughter put into the project.
He says he was on eggshells early on but found working with her “flowed really well”.
“It was comforting to know that we could look at each other and understand what each was thinking and I think that was a very touching moment for me,” Napoleon tells BW Magazine.
The 17-year-old also left her father “proud and quite surprised” at her “determination and strength” in the corporate environment.
Like most teens, Perdis juggles high school school and some part-time work. Unlike most teens, however, the Australian-born, Athensbased beauty’s main job takes her around the world. In May, she returned to Australia for fashion week and to shoot the cover of BW.
She was also booked exclusively to close the runway show — a coup for any model — for Australian designer Christopher Esber. She also walked the runway for at Esber at New York fashion week in February.
“Obviously schooling comes a little bit first but modelling is very important to me and I take time for it,” Perdis says. P erdis has only been modelling a year, ar, but she has already scored numerousus magazine covers, including Greece’s’s Harper’s Bazaar and Madame Figaro ro and Australia’s Girlfriend. Esber, considered one of Australia’s brightest young design talents, is one of her biggest supporters. Perdis will be the face of his is Cruise collection campaign, to be shot in New w York next month when they are both there for r New York fashion week.
“I generally always stick to the same girls foror each sh show and have them as a starting point,” ” Esber says. “It does evolve each season and I like th that sense of consistency as these girls endd up uno unofficially being the faces of the brand, soo it’s imp important for me to keep that.
“Ev “Even when designing the next collection you ha have them in mind.
“I’m always on the lookout for women with a strong sense of personality and I feel Lianna has that. I love that she is still quite young but super sharp and ambitious. “She’s coming into her own.” Her father’s connections have undoubtedly helped, but Perdis bristles at critics’ suggestions that it is the sole reason for her success.
“I don’t really like to pay attention to that,” she says. “Essentially, if someone wants to cover me, it just doesn’t happen because of my dad. I have to be good enough to be on the covers of these magazines.
“He can help, but only to a certain extent. So I have to sustain it and go beyond for myself.
“Yes I do have to work harder so people don’t go, ‘Oh she just got it because of her dad,’ but then at the same time because of my dad I have gotten great opportunities that maybe models just starting off haven’t had. My portfolio already is quite large considering I only started a year ago.”
The Napoleon Perdis the brand has always been a family affair.
It began with a stand-alone store on Oxford St, Paddington, in 1995 and the products are now stocked at Myer and David Jones Stores across the country and 86 concept stores worldwide.
Napoleon’s wife, Soula-Marie is the chief operating offer and his brother Emanuel is the founding managing director, so it’s no surprise Lianna wants to join the fold.
After completing her International Baccalaureate next year, her plan is to study a bachelor of arts in media and communications at an Australian university while juggling modelling and the family dynasty.
“Hands down, I’ve always wanted to be part of the business,” she says.
“I don’t think that in order to be a businessperson you always need a business degree, you need to just have the knowledge and skills to adapt and solve problems and situations. I’ll see what aspect of the business I want to be in too.” F or the time being, she will continue as the creative director and face of Total Bae, as well as focusing on her modelling. This first excursion into the family business has been a positive experience, though, like her father, she had to overcome an initial strangeness. “It wasn’t that weird, I didn’t think much of it, except for the fact I had to call him Napoleon,” she says. “He did take my ideas seriously. Ever since we were little and sitting at the table for dinner, we’d always talk about the business ... it’s always been a part of me. “With Total Bae I was going to the office a bit more, working with product development, going to Milan and Japan for the manufacturing and I really enjoyed the business aspect.” The budding modelling mogul is ready to take on the business world, first she has to get through the rest of high school.
Lianna with dad and mentor Napoleon Perdis; and (right) with model Jordan Barrett.