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Going With the Flow

By Dezhda Mountz

Intro | Celebrate | The Gallery

The gallery
Fabius and her husband occasionally visited Haiti , often bringing back Haitian art to hang in their Craftsman home in Hollywood . Friends would ask her to bring back art for them, and it soon became clear that they could actually sell art out of their house. “A lot of the dealers [in Haiti] actually work out of homes,” she says, and drawing on that idea, she and Pascal borrowed some money, took a deep breath, and opened the Galerie Lakaye in September of 1990. If you recall, that was during a pretty awful recession.

Yet, as seems to be Fabius' way, the gallery flourished. Up to 200 people showed up at the opening, and thanks to Fabius' media contacts and the gallery's homey appeal, Galerie Lakaye was featured in national publications such as “Vanity Fair” and “Bon Appetit”. They hold two or three openings a year, featuring art from Latin and Caribbean countries and islands as well as Haiti .

It seemed only natural, then, to host photos and a demonstration of Mehndi body art at a Galerie Lakaye opening in 1997. Fabius' assistant was friendly with a Mehndi body artist in New York City who wanted to spread the word about this ancient art of temporary tattoos of graceful, exotic patterns. Word was that in the city, demonstrations had people lining around the block; to house that many spectators, Fabius opened a space in West Hollywood called Galerie Lakaye on 3 rd .

The response was overwhelming. Fabius' ability to listen to fate kicked in once again. She started a henna studio at the location, inadvertently the first henna body art studio in the nation, and it was a huge success. More national exposure, an eight-page spread in “Los Angeles Magazine”, and lines out the door.

This was in January of 1998, when everyone from housewives to Madonna wore henna tattoos. Fabius knew it was an eternally appealing trend, but business was bound to taper off. Clients from all over the world were calling in requests for kits, sparking an idea. Extensive research and development later, the home Henna kit became available the world over. Three versions of the kit exist, and they still sell steadily, the only kit that passes strict industry standards.

Most important, Fabius, the writer, authored her first book. Random House commissioned a book on body art from Fabius, the first of its kind. Mehndi: The Art of Henna Body Painting is a clear, concise guide to creating body art.

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