An adult fairytale, where an artificial and dreamy Los Angeles is the perfect set for unreal but so glamourous photoshoots. This is Candyfornia Studio, the crestive atelier founden by Ryan Houssari in Beirut but always looking at Los Angeles kitsch vibes. We absoultely love his works and we’re obsessed by his Instagram account images…that’s why we wanted to know Ryan a bit more. Here’s our interview!
What inspire you to create Candyfornia Studio? Why did you went for this name in particular?
I am obsessed with LA and everything California. One day I was tanning at a pool in Palm Springs, and I had this vision of bringing this little piece of heaven home. I travel a lot to California, but I always find myself back home in Beirut. So I decided to create a work space – my own little bubble – that has the best of both worlds. The name “Candyfornia” is a portmanteau of “Candy” which has always been my alter ego name as Creative Director ( he likes pink and everything sweet), and “California” – my favorite place in the world.
How would you describe Candyfornia Studio style?
It is Hyperreal. Candyfornia is an inflated version of reality. Everything you see in our photo shoots and design aesthetic is a little over the top – the colors are over saturated, the model is almost too perfect, and the concepts are created to look like a parallel pop universe. I’ve always had this vision of a surreal-looking woman in a real, everyday situation – someone who takes the garbage out dressed in couture and Louboutins. It’s a glamorised reality with tongue-in-cheek humor. But the style is also pumped with California kitsch (palm trees, pink flamingos, ’90s Malibu postcards), some Kawaii references, and a LOT of Pantone 806-C pink!
Which are the artists, photographers, magazines that inspires you the most?
I’ve always been inspired by visual magazines like V Magazine, Garage, Bullett, and Galore. But I think that the editorials by Miles Aldridge and Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia in particular are the most engraved into my memory. I’m also mainly inspired by movie directors like Wes Anderson (from whom I discovered my love for symmetry), Jean Marc Valleé and Luca Guadagnino.
What about Instagram? How does it influence your artistic journey? Are there any accounts you would like to share with us?
I love Instagram because it is a visual “salad” – you can take out the ingredients that you don’t like, but still get a whiff of common taste in the dressing. I find myself liking the accounts with similar aesthetics because I feel like we are part of a virtual art movement, part of the “squad” – the more we push it and support each other, the more it becomes an ideal or a trend that defines our pop culture now. Some accounts I like to follow are @macarons_and_stilettos, @mirandamarakoff and @lisamconniffe.
If Candyfornia was a celeb, who would it be?
A hybrid of a 90s Pamela Anderson and Margot Robbie – definitely a blonde!
Tell us a bit more about your Paradiso Ibiza project. Are there anymore projects like this to come?
It is such a beautiful hotel and I have the pleasure to co-design one of the rooms and bring a piece of Candyfornia to Ibiza. The management contacted me as they love my vision and thought it matches the hotel concept, and I love the idea of an art hotel on that scale. So stay at room 109 next time you’re in Ibiza!
I’m also very excited to launch “Candyfornia Café” which opens this month in Beirut. You get to experience the whole studio vibes while having coffee and dessert. It’s a happy place with out-of-this-world vibes that no one has seen before. I thought it’s time I share my bubble with the world and expand the brand.
What celebrity would you like to create a room for?
Is Barbie a celebrity?
What about fashion? Are there any brands/designers that inspire your work?
I studied Fashion Design in a London college and I’ve been a fashion editor and designer for the most part of my life, so it definitely runs in blood. Versace has always been a huge influence in my work. But right now I’m in love with Gucci and Balenciaga – there is no doubt that these two are ruling our fashion and Insta-world of today like no other.