FASHTALKS WITH LAYNEAU

Designer Interview

By: Fashwire
Jul 31, 2020 12:59 PM

What inspired you to create your own brand? 

It all started when I wanted to find a beautiful slip to wear under a vintage dress.  Everything I found was too short, not comfortable or downright cheap feeling. I was recently divorced and wanted something that felt elevated, luxurious and dignified.  It sounds like a lot to ask from a slip, but when I put on a vintage slip from my collection, that is immediately what I felt. 

 

Did you always know you wanted to be a designer? Why or Why not?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t designing something. I grew up sewing and making my own clothes, spinning, and doing needlework. There was no single moment of ‘I want to be a designer’. It was simply always there.

 

What was your previous work experience before launching your brand?

I didn’t start the company until I was 48 years old, so I’ve had several carriers. My first job was as a design assistant for a costume designer. I also spent 15+ years in management and merchandising for Nordstrom before owning a shop specializing in antique and custom fine jewelry.  

 

What is the inspiration for your brand’s name?

We are named after Lindsay Layneau Beaudreaux. a French immigrant living in New York in 1912, who owned a luxury boutique making ladies undergarments. She is credited with inventing ‘panties’ as we know them.

 

What was the toughest circumstance you overcame when just starting out your business? 

We had an investor committed to funding us and as I got halfway through the branding process the investor backed out. I had to scramble to pay off the branding firm and just dug my heels in, using every dime I had to come up with enough to finish my first collection.

 

"The best moment as a designer is when a client puts on a piece and has an emotional reaction to it."

 

Do you feel working in the fashion industry is different today than from when you started out? Why or why not?

I think we are seeing a big change in the industry right now. When I first started, supply chains were shorter and closer. There were fewer seasons and ‘big shows’. Then the rise of ‘fast fashion’ changed that.  Suddenly, it was 6+ seasons, long-distance supply chains, too much waste and not enough quality. But I am excited by this moment, really. I think the contraction in seasons, or really the seasonless collections, is so wonderful.  Quality and enduring design are what is now modern. 

 

What is your favorite part about being a designer?

The best moment as a designer is when a client puts on a piece and has an emotional reaction to it.  It makes my heart sing. I’ll never forget the young woman who put on a piece at my first trunk show who had tears in her eyes. She said she hand never worn anything so beautiful.

 

How do you define fashion?

Fashion for me is how we embody our identity in the moment. It is how we express and communicate our identity as individuals and as cultures. 

 

How do you want your buyer to feel when wearing your clothes/accessories?

I want them to feel special.  More then special, I want them to feel elevated, celebrated, and respected.

 

Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs? 

Old movies, flowers, and history are my ‘go-to’ inspiration ports.

 

How would you define your brand's customer?

Our client is someone who recognizes and appreciates fine quality.  They value timeless design and know that comfort can be couture, quality and chic. They dress for themselves first. 

 

What makes your brand stand out from others?

Our quality, without a doubt.  All of our couture pieces are handmade.  Each piece is cut separately while each piece of lace is hand placed and stitched. Our silks and laces are of the best quality. We don’t take any shortcuts.

 

"They are pieces made to be worn and enjoyed, not put away for a ‘special’ occasion."

 

What would you like your brand to be known/recognized for?

Our timeless styling and heirloom quality mixed with wearability. They are pieces made to be worn and enjoyed, not put away for a ‘special’ occasion.

 

What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?

Learn to sew well.  Spend the time understanding how things are really made. Too many come out of design school thinking they can skip that part. Spend time on the fundamentals. 

 

What direction do you believe the fashion industry is headed to?

I think there will be a contraction and refocus on quality and craftsmanship.  Sustainability is finally being recognized and incorporated. 

 

What is the vision for your brand in the next 5 years?

We want to find a way to manufacture ethically at a lower price point. We purposely started with a small atelier and selected fabric and lace companies that were family owned and ethical.  We will also increase our assortment of products.  When I envisioned the company, I wanted to create exquisite pieces to be cherished for generations.  Loungewear, handbag, scarves are all pieces that are made to be treasured, making you feel wonderful and special.

 

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a designer to date? 

Getting a late-night selfie from Dita Von Teese in her Layneau!

 

Are you passionate about something other than fashion?

As much as I love fashion, I love cooking. I spent several years teaching cooking. 

 

How would you describe your personal style?

Unfussy femininity.

 

What other designers/brands inspire you? Why?

Madame Grès for her innovation of technique, clarity of vision. Madame Vionnet for creating the first lifestyle brand, a complete vertical business and numerous techniques. John Galliano (for Dior) who is a fantastic visionary; he made me dream. Alexander McQueen for his vision coupled with technique.

 

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Strength: I know how to make it work. From fabric to finish, I know the process of making a beautiful garment. I’m confident in my ability to envision a look and bring it to life.

Weakness: I can’t sketch to save my life and I am terrible at keeping paperwork organized. 

 

What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company?

I always look for passion and perseverance. Talent without discipline is wasted. You have to keep on track and work until the work is done.

 

What can consumers expect to see next from your brand?

We are launching our newest collection, Siren’s Song! It really erases the border between ‘lounge wear’ and evening wear. I’m very excited to share it.