It takes courage, determination and several leaps of faith for one to follow their dreams. But Larisa Terblanche of Larisa MODA, moda translating to fashion or in style in Spanish, did just that. As a full-time designer, Larisa is somewhat of a fairy godmother to the clients who value her opinion and her craft. Living in South Africa for the past nine years, she has also managed to admirably create a reputable and highly sought-after brand in the fairly smaller fashion industry of Durban – a feat not to be scoffed at.
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She was born with a love and affinity for beautiful things, starting to draw dresses in pre-school and developing a love for clothing over the years. Coming from a family that was not well-to-do, she designed and sewed her own matric dress. Attention to detail and achieving the highest possible quality is a trait that has always been inherent in Larisa and that is a characteristic of her garments that she has become known for and that she has honed over the years. Her philosophy when it comes to the garments that she creates is that just as a woman should not only be beautiful on the outside but also beautiful on the inside, so should clothing be. The way in which a garment is created is of utmost importance to Larisa and she says that one could even wear her dresses turned inside-out!
It was love that brought Larisa to Durban, having met her husband, a South African, while he was on holiday in Russia. Having now relocated here and also being a mother to two beautiful little girls; it is the love for her family, South Africa and fashion that has made Umhlanga her home. Larisa, like many working mothers, takes special care to balance her family and work so that neither of these priorities is neglected.
Larisa’s speciality is creating custom-fitted and client-specific wedding gowns, evening wear, matric dance dresses and special occasion outfits. Of course her dream is to grow and expand her brand but Larisa’s heart lies with her one-on-one work with clients and she derives great pleasure and satisfaction from giving her clients the gift of looking and feeling beautiful through the creation of a distinguished garment.
Some of Larisa MODA’s career highlights have been achieving second place at SABIA’s (South African Bridal Industry Association) Couture category for the K.Z.N. province; being selected as a K.Z.N. designer for the Fashion Design Capacity Building Programme, "21 STEPS TO RETAIL" in 2013; and also showcasing her Autumn/Winter 2014 collection at S.A. Fashion Week in Johannesburg in 2013.
Larisa was also a part of Project Trinity last year and this year she rejoined Lee Folkard Photography for the unmatchable underwater concept shoot for the Top 6 shot at the Endless Horizons Hotel in Umhlanga. She graciously offered for the girls to wear her garments, achieving the effect of making our stunning Top 6 appear as if they were mystical creatures emerging from a submerged paradise. Thanks to Larisa, Phase Ten of #ProjectScouted was one for the books. She has been an integral part of creating something incredibly beautiful.