DESIGNS of excellent quality in opulent fabrics and feminine silhouettes with a special attention to detail sets Cape Town fashion designer Jacques Lagrange apart.
His label Jacques Lagrange Couture is the sought after go-to red carpet brand for a number of our celebrities and entertainers. Lagrange showcased at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), as the only South African designer invited this year. Tell us about yourself? I was born and raised in Paarl. I am a modern storyteller and through my clothing I turn fantasy into reality by making wearable couture for the modern classic lady, capturing beauty, style and true class.
Tell us about the inspiration and what went into designing your NYFW collection?
My inspiration was “going back to basics” –basic colour, basic silhouettes, basic cuts and basic finishing – all with a modern take, but I still wanted a classy and expensive finish.
The clothes are for a modern woman with a basic wardrobe travelling the world and looking elegant and good, without trying too hard… effortless elegance.
I played with black by mixing different fabrics and textures. The styling was simple: clean and fresh make-up with modern hair. Paired with elegant shoes by Charles & Keith ZA, thanks to my PR friend Cathy Steed.
What was it like showcasing at an international platform?
It did not sink in until I saw the YouTube clip of the show afterwards. I had to watch it three or four times to believe it took place. I went to New York with an open mind, not expecting too much.
I was invited by Maarkah and Runway Prestige and my number one mission was to make three people proud of me: my mother, Emmerentia; Rabab Abdalla, the organiser of the Maarkah in New York; and myself. Looking back, I think I did them proud… and South Africa.
What is inspiring designs right now?
I am fascinated with documentary movies about true events. My designs are simple, but with what your I perceive as my truth, to myself and to the brand, that is what I’m obsessed with… truth for everything real in life.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt since you started your brand?
Don’t believe everything people tell you. There are a lot of greeneyed monsters out there and if someone tells you “stick with me and I will make you famous”… run! I had to stay focused to reach where I am. When you are successful and everyone wants a piece of you, the opportunities are endless. I have learnt to trust my instinct and my judgement. Promises don’t pay the bills, real money does.
Your advice for young fashion entrepreneurs?
Jump in and swim. If you are tired halfway, stop and rest, but don’t look around or you will be distracted by how well the others are doing. Remember it’s your race, not your competitors’. Do your race of life in your time and on your terms. Learn the rules only to break them. Follow your instinct and be on time for appointments: punctuality is the manners of a modern-day prince. Don’t pay too much attention to social media, those with real money don’t have time to impress people on Facebook and Instagram.
Describe the Lagrange woman?
An elegant, classy, confident woman who knows who she is and where she is going. A powerful lady who loves good quality clothing. A woman who travels the world and can buy whatever she wants but chooses to wear the Jacques LaGrange Couture label. It’s the woman with a busy schedule, from a CEO to a matric dance girl to a bride. What’s next? A Jacques LaGrange boutique. You can connect with me via email, firstname.lastname@example.org for appointments. Or Facebook Jacques lagrange and Instagram @jacques_lagrange_couture.