Laure Heriard Dubreuil opened The Webster in South Beach, Miami in June 2009 after relocating from Paris with a vision for a store that offered warmth, comfort, personality and the best of international fashion.
It was an adventure. “I didn’t know one person when I moved to Miami, not one person,” says Laure, who fell in love with the city’s sunshine, iconic Art Deco architecture, connection to Latin America and energy during a trip to Art Basel. The only thing missing was the shopping experience she desired. “It’s a strong financial city on the beach, which is unique,” she says. “All the art people were coming in, the hotels were being restored, but I couldn’t find the fashion point of view.”
Laure grew up in Paris and Cognac, France. Her love of the sun and water comes from holidays spent in Corsica. Her love of fashion evolved from a longtime passion to become a nose and develop fragrances, a slow, painstaking process. Craving something more fast- paced, she turned to fashion.
After earning degrees in business and Mandarin from the University de Paris Dauphine, Laure moved to New York City to study merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She worked on Nicolas Ghesquiere’s merchandising team at Balenciaga, and went on to be Stefano Pilati’s head merchandiser at Yves Saint Laurent.
Laure’s history with the top French luxury houses initially helped her secure access to the most sought after brands, such as Balenciaga, Balmain and Celine, for The Webster. Yet it was the store’s happy, vibrant, residential atmosphere and Laure’s rule-breaking attitude toward merchandising, organizing collections not by designer but as one gigantic dream closet, that continued to lure elite brands and clients. Chanel, Gucci, Off-White and Paco Rabanne are just a few of the houses that done exclusive creative partnerships and capsule collections with The Webster. The store now carries more than 200 fashion and accessories labels, including Laure’s own line LHD and a home collection done in collaboration with Stephane Parmentier.
Laure’s French heritage remains a big influence on her style and lifestyle, but she has always been drawn to America. When asked what she likes about it, she says, “The American dream. Everything is possible and positive.”
The Webster now has six flagships nationwide, with locations in Miami, Houston, Bal Harbour, Costa Mesa New York City’s SoHo and Los Angeles. Laure lives in Los Angeles with her husband Aaron Young, their children Marcel and Marguerite. In 2015, she became an ambassador for Mothers 2 Mothers, a global nonprofit dedicated to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa through education, medical support and financial empowerment for HIV-positive women and children.
Which is the main trend you forecast for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2021 season?
With the industry evolving in response to the pandemic, we haven’t seen all of the collections yet. Thus far, there have been two common themes, one being a strong focus on more commercial pieces with updated carryover styles and then on the other end of the spectrum brands are offering very bold and exciting collaborations that bring such a sense of newness for Spring/Summer 2021. We noticed a restored balance this season between streetwear and more formal pieces, which will be interesting to watch and see how this progresses in the future collections. Almost everyone has shown their own iteration of a face mask, making this one of the season’s major trends, a compliment of both style and sensibility.
Are you changing the way to select brands and to edit the collections?
Our curation approach has always been about providing our clients with a creative and inspirational selection. Striving to have pairings of both heritage and up-and-coming brands merchandised in an unexpected way. This season, our focus will be to introduce brands and spotlight a generation of new designers. We are committed to rewiring the fashion calendar, partnering with our designers to build a healthier and more sustainable business.
Have you observed any change in customer behaviours?
We learned so much about our clients and what they desire when it comes to shopping during this time. While we saw tremendous growth in our e-commerce platform, our clients’ response to the reopening of our stores has been so positive and reconfirmed that many still want that see, feel, touch, and social interaction that they receive within our stores. As we continue to expand and build upon our omnichannel business, we have found that by launching our Private Client sector, allows us to meet the needs of both the ease of online and the attentive personal interaction that you receive in-store. Our top priority will always be about the service and curation that we can offer to our clients, no matter their shopping preference!
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