Wednesday, March 30, 2011
LAURE HERIARD DUBREUIL INTERVIEW: PERSONAL STYLE
Fashion was not Laure Hériard Dubreuil's first love. Long before she worked "hand-in-hand" with Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga and Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent, and about a decade before she cofounded the Webster, a high-end fashion boutique in the heart of South Beach, she was fluent in Mandarin Chinese and deeply entrenched in Far East studies in Shanghai. "You should have seen me doing tai chi every day at 6:00 A.M. and translating Confucius," she says with a laugh. "Just the same Laure you see before you now!"
To hear Hériard Dubreuil, 33, explain it, fashion was the logical next step. "I fell in love with the culture, the signs, training your visual memory." These skills came in handy when she switched her Chinese calligraphy tutor for the Fashion Institute of Technology, which led to working with Ghesquière and Pilati in their merchandising departments. "Working for those two taught me so much about fashion, from the creative and marketing to business and sales." (An appreciation for quality goods could be hereditary. Many generations ago, her family founded the Rémy Martin cognac company, one of the industry's most prestigious brands and creator of such exclusive spirits as the Louis XIII blend.)
One of the owners of Miami's hottest fashion spots, the Webster, shows off her sunny, singular style. Read the interview with Derek Blasberg below and then check out all the images from her April fashion shoot.
Four years ago, she moved to Miami to open the Webster with friends Frederic Dechnik and Milan Vukmirovic. The impetus? "Being stuck in a traffic jam on a very rainy winter day in Paris convinced Frederic and me to move to a sunny place, and Milan suggested Miami," she says. It turned out to be the perfect fit. Hériard Dubreuil, who dates artist Aaron Young, says she was inspired by the high-heels-and-small-swimsuit aesthetic of South Florida ("even if you'll never see me wearing that") and loved the mix of Caribbean and South American cultures.
She describes her own aesthetic as a bit of a mix as well. "I love to combine vintage with the latest trend items, from Balenciaga to YSL," she starts, and then the retailer comes out in her as she adds, "but of course also Chanel, Céline, Alaïa, Pierre Hardy, Acne." She says her style is either very sleek and minimal or very bourgeois: "That lady-who-lunches look!"
While the Webster has fast become Miami's go-to destination--Hériard Dubreuil and her team have hosted events for everyone from Tilda Swinton to Peter Dundas of Emilio Pucci--she hasn't forgotten the Far East. Thinking back to her days as the only foreign student in her class at Shanghai University, she smiles. "Maybe I'll open a Webster in Shanghai one day."