To be or not to be

Anahita Adivi
3 min readJan 8, 2020

Fashion Meets Literature, Just BE BE

A Holiday Party and a chance meeting with Manny Mashouf

Dan Tana’s Resturant, West Hollywood

One Friday evening my good friend Luca and I were hanging out at Dan Tana’s, an Italian restaurant located on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood. For many years this location has been the hub to rub elbows with A list Hollywood celebrities. Even though Dan Tana’s is famous for their Caesar salads I opted for the anti-pasta which was oh so yummy. As we sat there siping on wine, and eating their infamous cheesy garlic bread a patron at the bar began speaking with us. This kind gentleman, Norman Soloman, a celeberty fashion photographer in his own right was the exclusive photographer for French brand Helmut Nut! Known in the Beverly Hills fashion and entertainment circle, he invited us to his holiday party before his departure to Europe.

A gracious, host he made several beautiful main dishes, such as: turkey, ham, and a roast followed by several wonderful sides. My favorite was the asparagus, and mushroom caps. It was a pretty elaborate spread for a bachelor who had just moved into his new condo in Beverly Hills. This was a house warming/holiday party and a gathering with good friends.

Manny Mashouf and I (Anahita Namavar).

We meet several wonderful people that evening. One of the people I contected with was Manny Mashouf, the owner and creator of BEBE stores. Back in 1976 he started the first BEBE location in San Francisco. Within a few years his boutique went nation wide. The Bebe stores dressed many young ladies during 90s. This past year he decided to close all the physical stores. BEBE is now an online store, check out their latest fashion at www.bebe. com Manny now has more time to concentrate on his love for writing and film. I’ve always loved fashion and worked in the fashion industry before becoming a full pledged writer. That’s what Manny and I have in common.

After munching away on a yummy salad and a few asparagus links I asked Manny: “why did you name the stores Bebe?”

He replied: “ I have always loved literature and read Shakespear.” He was a fan of Hamlet, specially “To be or not to be…” soliloquy. He decided to be and be!

To be or not to be: that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep;

No more: and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh in heir to, ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep ;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause.

As an avid reader of the classics I was in awh of his answer. What a profound remark. There was so much more depth behind this iconic boutique’s title. Hamlet’s soliloquy, a piece of literature that’s been translated in many languages around the world has a profound human meaning across all cultures. It’s simply asks the question between life and death. Manny picked life (to Be) twice.

Both Manny and I share two passions among others. A love for fashion and an admiration for literature. The force that is in art and the written language has the power that can unite us all. Who says you can’t live fully immersed in both! Happy writing friends. Working on my new website, tune in for new updates.



Anahita Adivi

A writer and lover of life. Fascinated with the question of “who am I?” and spaces I juggle writing and Real Estate. Living an inspired authentic life.