L’École Des Femmes Designer Spills School Girl Inspo
We spoke with the gifted French designer Laura Sfez about her clothing line L’école des Femmes, where she finds her school girl inspiration, and how she decided to create a chic sweatsuit. This woman is a force to be reckoned with, and her strong passion for style shines through her brand’s unique aesthetic. The elegant babe grew up between Paris and Los Angeles, which translates beautifully into each piece. Read our interview below:
How did your childhood and life growing up influence the woman you are today? Is there one experience that stands out?
I was the third sister of five, doing whatever I had to do to survive. I’m not saying what I did was right. Trying to break out of the ghetto was a day to day fight.
How are your experiences translated into your clothing line?
The experience from my childhood that really translated into the line are the uniforms. When I was a kid I loved the aesthetic of a school uniform. I thought it was classy and fair, because we didn’t have to worry about what to wear and could focus on other things and feel classy. When I had the privilege of attending uniformed schools, I felt sharp and good about myself. That must have stood out and carried on…
There’s a lot of school girl inspiration in your clothing. Where does that come from?
Aha, I just answered that I guess. I really want to create this school aesthetic in a more mature (and that doesn’t mean more sexual) manner. I think the aesthetic is applicable to adults depending on the cut, fabric and color of the same idea… These are designs that can suit a woman’s figure just as beautifully as they can children. Think of a suit, and then think of it for a child- they both work. It is not about perversion for me. It is sexy, but that is not the focal point.
How do you deal with that confusing time of life when you’re too old to be a “girl” yet too young to be a “woman”?
You don’t deal. Both a girl and a woman are beautiful things. I’m not confused on that front. I’m a woman. There’s no turning back. I can be a fool still, there are foolish women. And I can be a nut. I think it all naturally comes to us… They make ceremonies for such occasions, like a bar mitzvah, which I think is a wonderful celebration to mark the positivity of maturity. I’ve never been concerned about being a girl versus woman. I dress my soul, not my body.
We also see a lot of nun outfits on your Instagram. Are you religious? How do you reconcile religion with sexuality?
Religion and sexuality- they need each other because they make each other bad… and that’s sexy. I love the designs of a nun’s attire. I find its high contrast appealing. I also find the concept of a woman in a convent a beautifully peaceful one. I am not trying to achieve a naughty nun, I am simply being me, as a nun. I find it pretty and I enjoy it. My religion is a shitty topic where I come from at the moment, sadly. It’s best not to discuss it. I hope France can recover from its wounds and make itself secure and grow stronger.
What was your number 1 inspiration when you first started designing?
What advice do you have for stepping out of your comfort zone, style-wise?
You shouldn’t. If you’re really that uncomfortable wearing it, it’s not for you and you know it, or perhaps you don’t have the confidence to match it and need to work on yourself. Try new things, but when you have them on, feel good. Remember that.
“The name ‘L’Ecole des Femmes’ merely references the concept of an army of female roles donned by women throughout the many eras of fashion.” How can women avoid becoming stereotyped?
That’s a broad statement. Women will always be stereotyped, just like men, and just like different cultures. I’m into uniforms because they are ensembles I watched in movies that I wanted to wear. I like to play dress up with roles and live crazy stories…. Stereotypes shouldn’t affect your happiness.
What’s the one accessory you could never live without?
What pieces of pop culture do you embrace? Which do you avoid?
I love good movies and music. I avoid most modern music. I’m not good at finding new music, only at digging for old good music. It has a soul I connect with more, like Bobby Womack.
What gave you the idea to make a chic sweatsuit? Where do you see girls wearing it?
If you’ve ever seen La Haine‘s cast you would understand the imagery of the tracksuit. It’s a very urban, French gangster breakdance suit. I wear the jackets when I run all the time or to my spin class. I wear it when I want to feel like a pimp. I’m sporty and I think most women’s sportswear isn’t tough. I want to feel badass when I workout, it gets my dragon flame going… end of story.
What’s the perfect mid-season outfit? You know, for those days when it’s freezing in the morning and afternoon but sweltering around noon?
Ahhh yes, I recommend the cotton Laura dress, it is so comfortable and suitable or the bunny playsuit! The pink playsuit is coming out in just a week, that’s a very fun one that I can’t wait to show off against grey.
How can you make an outfit go from day to night without doing a full wardrobe change?
The black silk kimono I wear casually during the day with nude lipstick and it becomes automatically vampy with a red lip.
What’s your favorite piece you ever designed?
The navy belle de jour.
What should we look forward to in the next collection?
Denim! With a little french flag on the butt.
Interview By Stephanie Janetos