Retail Therapy: Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai

July 1, 2010 by Lila Delilah

Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock are the dynamic duo behind Vena Cava. The two designers met as students at Parson’s and revealed their first collection in 2003. Their designs are always classy and elegant but never loud or garish. Only as you see their creations up-close, do you notice the subtile details, which are always interesting and unique.

This fall, the designers are launching Viva Vena, a lower-priced T-shirt collection, which will include organic cotton and jersey Ts, tanks and dresses, all focused on signature photo collages and hand-drawn motifs. The entire collection retails for under $200 and will be in stores next month. If next month seems too far away to grab some affordable Vena Cava, check out , Saks and

Besides being amazingly creative and contagiously stylish, Sophie and Lisa are two of the sweetest fashion designers you will ever meet. And they have a great sense of humor. What do you think?

What’s your most prized deal?
Lisa: Probably the bet that my dad made with me that I wouldn’t get above a 1,200 on my SATS. I didn’t get a prize, but the feeling that I won was enough solace for me.

Sophie: I got a Hermes watch on some shady Chinese watch website years ago, when eBay was like a ghost town. It was half price! I think it must have been stolen or something, but what a prize deal!

Biggest regret that you didn’t purchase?
Lisa: Um. I don’t usually have those kinds of regrets. I have the other kind where you buy the thing that you realize hours later is really lame.

Sophie: When Lisa and I were in Udaipur, India we stumbled upon the most amazing antique jewelry store. It was filled with the most magical ancient Indian jewels. I found a diamond ring where the diamond was cut in the shape of a pyramid. It was the most exotic and mystical diamond ring, and it was totally cheap! I always wish I had paid the $300 bucks it cost. It will be impossible to find that ring again.

This season you are looking for…
Lisa: Tiny handpainted rocks. I found some on the beach recently and they are awesome.

Sophie: I’m in need of vintage tennis clothes. I recently started playing at the public courts near my house, and have yet to find cool tennis gear! I’ve been searching eBay for 70’s tennis dresses, but they are harder to find then you would think.

What’s your number one shopping tip?
Lisa: Be openminded. This helps especially in terms of clothing sizing. Sometimes when you try on something that’s like four sizes too big it can be amazing.

Sophie: Search eBay first, and use Esnipe.

What’s your biggest weakness?
Lisa: Antique sportscars. I just can’t stop buying them!! Just kidding. I fall hard for chocolate, things that are a red-orange or chartreuse color and minimalist mid-century silver jewelry.

Sophie: I basically keep collecting the same things that I love, over and over again–high waisted wide legged jeans, black blazers, vintage sunglasses, Marion Vidal jewelry, and things that were my mother’s or my great aunts. My closet is full of seven versions of the same style; it’s like an extension of my high school uniform.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
Lisa: No. Gotta Love getting a deal.

Sophie: In my opinion, things that last forever are okay to pay full price on–like a watch, a necklace or a nice bag. That’s what my grandmother always told me. These objects get passed down for generations and become heirlooms with stories. Other then that, you can get the rest at Loehmann’s!


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