Laure Pariente is, apart from a self proclaimed serial mom and huge fan of Karl Lagerfeld’s work for Chanel, the artistic director – the creative brain – behind American Retro. Together with her husband David, she started the über cool French label exactly ten years ago, but her love for fashion took off way earlier.
“It all started in my childhood. My mother used to make me all my clothes, from embroidered dresses to sequined miniskirts, she made me everything and always took me to go shopping. When I met my husband David, we were always talking about fashion and were both so in love with it, that we knew we had to create something together. He studied finance and I studied business economics, but his family comes from the industry so he learnt me everything that I had to know. We really wanted to do our own thing and express ourselves”, she tells me in an interview, while drinking a cup of tea.
In 2004, Laure and David opened their first store in the ever hip Le Marais in Paris, which is now their biggest store. In 2007, Terry Richardson shot their first campaign, starring Johanna Preiss.
“The most exciting part of my job is the elaboration of the collection. To collect inspiration, set up a theme, choose the fabrics, really the whole process of making a collection.”
Laure describes the typical American Retro girl as a girl who likes being positive and fresh. “She likes to be trendy, but not total look trendy. She would mix our pieces with designer pieces and add something vintage.” She mentions she would love to see Charlotte Gainsbourg wearing one of the pieces and also Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moss and Erin Wasson. “I like those kind of girls. Really cool without any effort. All natural.”
The Parisienne’s own style is very eclectic. One day you could bump into her wearing something very feminine and modern, the next day she could look like a teenager or wearing her favorite jeans jacket full of holes. “I get my inspiration from all the girls around me, I like to mix everything and be different.” What her wardrobe looks like? “It is a mess, a big mess, but an organized mess. I know exactly where to find everything. It is full of jeans, vintages t-shirts and tons of shoes.”