Marie Laffont is a French designer and Parisian native whose hometown, with its teeming cultural diversity and unique dichotomy of old world glamour and modern cool, plays a key roll in informing her artistic vision and approach to life.
With a background in haute couture and fine art, Marie Laffont’s education is one rooted in expansive creativity. After studying under the renowned Pierre Hardy, she went on to work for fashion powerhouses Christian Louboutin and Sonia Rykiel. It was whilst working as a designer that she further delved into her interest in visual art and began producing across various mediums including sculpture, photography and painting. Shoes became a recurring theme in her work, as for Marie, they lend themselves to her artistic and personal philosophy of presence and engagement. Shoes, like art, can transport us, both physically and figuratively.
Considering that art is ornamental over utilitarian, Marie seeks to meld the ideas of aesthetics and functionality. Quite simply, she wants to create attractive yet wearable, functional works of art. Thus a year ago her eponymous label was born; a line of shoes that are both striking and practical. Not made to be sat on a shelf and admired but slipped on the feet and lived in.
Marie believes that modern women should not have to compromise; shoes should not be a matter of comfort or style. Her shoes are made to be worn by a woman who is both practical yet provocative, elegant but with an edge. Marrying a classic silhouette with modern, coquettish accents, the shoes are perfect for those who have big dreams and the confidence to achieve them. The type of woman who feels as though she can go anywhere and do anything. And with Marie’s shoes she can. The brand is a unique blend of fashion knowhow, simplicity of shapes and the unconventional mix of fabrics and materials. The shoes are very durable and handmade in Italy which Marie sees as “supporting a certain economy and lifestyle which I want to be a part of.”
Name : Marie Laffont @marielaffontofficial
Birthplace : Paris
Métier : Shoe Designer: Mood boarding to overseeing production with my factory in Firenze.
Sources of inspiration :
I try to look everywhere, but my main sources of inspiration are art and design fairs and exhibitions.
Coco Chanel used to say “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” which is why for my SS21 collection, I used news clips from the New York Times as part of my inspiration.
The mood board is an exercise I use before the design of every collection. I usually go through magazines and do research online to assemble images and colors that I consider relevant. I then organize, cut and collage them on paper. I also add fabrics from my collection and occasionally draw or paint to highlight or hide specific areas. This is done organically but leads to ideas which are then explored through the design of the future collection.
I’ve become particularly fond of Italy since I’ve started producing my shoes, and I can’t stop thinking about my team and friends there, so this particular series referring to Italian towns has a different feeling than past ones. It was all done in the last weeks, so it has as much to do with the current events and news cycle as with my next collection.
Sources of motivation :
I waited 13 years before deciding to create my brand and I am going to be honest with you, the pandemic is not the best thing for a young brand. It slows everything down. It’s harder to find retailers for the products as they are not inclined to support young designers during difficult times which is understandable. They will prioritize big luxury brands because it’s probably less risky financially.
But looking at the positive, it’s a really good exercise because it forces me to cut down the number of styles I’m bringing to the market to what I feel are essentials. I will only produce around 200 pairs in 5 different styles so the whole collection FW2020 is going to feel very exclusive.
My Factory is a source of motivation as well, they believe in me and manage to make my ideas possible.
My son is also a big source of motivation, I want him to be proud of me.
What makes you happy :
The smile of my Son.
Doing a good Job! I am a passionate person, especially regarding shoes and confection. I know “nobody is perfect” but shoes can be!
Makes me happy when people like my shoes, (that’s why during this pandemic, I asked all my clients and ambassadors to do an original picture confinement, which I started posting yesterday.)
I love the smell of leather at the factory.
The smell of a Croissant when you walk by a boulangerie in France.
Makes me happy to see people blooming, that is why I love to create teams, like during my fashion show with Andre Walker with the musicians, models and dancers. I really believe your are stronger in a team : “Stronger Together”
Makes me also very happy when I find the time to read a book at the end of the day with a cup of tea.
Favorite reads :
Le Diable Au Corps by Raymond Radiguet
Le Horla by Maupassant
L’invitée by Simone de Beauvoir, I’m reading it now.
L’étranger and La peste by Albert Camus
Aux bonheur des Dames by Zola( I love the descriptions of the fabrics.)
And of course I love American writers as well like Bret Easton Ellis Less Than Zero and Psycho.
And also Jack Kerouac On the Road
And Cent ans de Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
1984 by George Orwell
Ana Karenine by Leon Tolstoi
Favorite tunes :
I love classical music, jazz and rock.
“Romeo and Juliet” by Prokofiev N13 is my favorite classical piece – I love the mix of hope and drama.
Nina Simone “Feeling Good”
Fleetwood Mac “Dreams” which was one of the best performances I saw live, in Paris a few years ago.
Favorite foods :
Cheese plate and glass of wine with my friends
Beauty tips :
Do not use too much products and use the lighter ones.
Favorite ways to unwind :
Reading, listening to music, drawing. Drinking a glass of wine by the fire at night.
What gets you in a working flow:
A cup of Matcha tea and a little bit of exercise.
What are you working on now :
I am working on my SS 2021 collection
My shoes are already quite easy to wear outdoors as they are comfortable and light. There will be more to come with my SS’21 collection!
I think customers will begin to buy even more online, so I have made sure that the shoes are easy to shop and engaging for customers on MarieLaffont.com and via Instagram Shopping. I am working on that as well.
We are reducing our waste by not producing as many styles while still working with artisan factories in Italy. Quality, sustainability and craftsmanship are key to me.
At the same time, I have a young son to take care of during this time. I know many working parents can relate, it’s a lot of work and a bit of a juggling act. While this time has been difficult for all of us, the positive is that confinement has allowed me to refocus on what is most important. Taking care of my son, take time to meditate, create, and think about how to move forward.
Favorite motto / quote :
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” by Pablo Picasso
NO KID HUNGRY
“This terrible Covid-19 pandemic made me want to help because a lot of children depend on public schools for meals. The thought of a child without regular access to food is very haunting, especially since I’m a mom myself.”