“It didn’t take off immediately,” said Jasmin Larian Hekmat of Cult Gaia’s signature “Ark” purse.
It took two and a half years, she said, before the accessory — an airy, semicircle-shaped bamboo clutch — became an “It” bag and major hit for the label.
“Instagram was a huge part of it,” she continued. “I think gifting, too, making sure people are seen wearing it. Our things are so objet d’art and so sculptural that showing how people wear it is a huge thing.”
The brand founder and creative director was at her family home in Beverly Hills, Calif., where she hosted an intimate dinner — a multicourse Persian meal, an ode to her roots — on Thursday night to toast Cult Gaia’s 10-year anniversary.
“I’m so excited to be able to show everyone my heritage,” said Hekmat (who’s expecting), before introducing a menu that included Tahdig, traditional stew, kabobs with saffron rice, followed by pastries with mint tea, inside a Japanese-style tea house in the estate’s back garden. The space overlooked a man-made lagoon, filled with vibrant flowers and floating candles.
Guests — many in colorful, head-to-toe looks by the brand — included January Jones, Marianna Hewitt, Langley Fox, Dani Michelle, Grace Johnson, Ebonee Davis, Rhude’s Rhuigi Villaseñor and Behati Prinsloo, the cohost for the night.
“We’ve never met until tonight,” revealed Prinsloo of Hekmat. “But I’ve always been a fan of her stuff.”
Their relationship developed after Prinsloo had her agent reach out to the Cult Gaia team. She had her eye on a green dress.
“But I could not find it anywhere,” she went on. “You know when you’re obsessing about something? That was me.”
After connecting, Hekmat suggested they team up for the dinner.
“She said, ‘I love the tequila. I saw you guys just came out with a tequila. It’s beautiful. I feel like it’s on brand with my brand. Let’s do a dinner together,’” recounted Prinsloo, who, alongside husband Adam Levine, launched a tequila company this year, Calirosa — the liquor of choice for the evening.
“Me and Adam, we’ve had this dream,” she explained. “I mean, this has been such a passion of ours — ground up, all us. We didn’t get in with a company…We started it. We found the distillery. We found our whole team. We did everything.”
Three years in the making, it’s produced in Jalisco, Mexico, where the tequila is aged in red wine barrels, creating a pink tint.
“It’s only aged 30 days,” said Prinsloo, who opted for a nude-colored, midriff-baring Cult Gaia dress and cropped jacket for the night.
“It’s just the cut of all of her stuff, the colors,” she said of what makes her a fan of the brand. “I feel like whenever I have a party, I always think, like, ‘Oh, I wonder what Cult Gaia has.’”
Who is the Cult Gaia girl today?
“She’s me,” said Hekmat with a smile. “She’s the friends you’ll see here. She likes unique, exotic things that she’s attracted to. She doesn’t mind being stopped in the street. In fact, she prefers it.”
Next, Hekmat plans to expand into retail in L.A., she said.
“Giving people in real-life experiences,” she added. “Nailing that, to me, is really big. And then also building out the lifestyle. I want you to be able to live the Cult Gaia life, you know? Like, how does this brand go into all different parts of your life?”