– By Naïke Bravo.
Structured cuts, fluid materials, an elegant look: that’s what Mademoiselle L, a Swiss ready to wear brand, offers. Launched in 2008 by Laurence Imstepf, Mademoiselle L changes focus in 2012 and choses minimalist sportswear style. Luxeday invites you to discover the hidden inspirations behind the chic and casual Mademoiselle L through an interview with Laurence Imstepf, founder and fashion designer of the brand.
WHERE DOES THE NAME MADEMOISELLE L COME FROM?
The idea of the name came to me when I was in college. The “L” obviously stands for Laurence. Behind “Mademoiselle”, many things are covered. First of all, I only do women’s fashion. I work with women’s emotions and posture. I also really love Gabrielle Chanel’s saying that only women can dress women because they understand them. I find it quite true and it reflects my work in many ways. The word “mademoiselle” also carries a chic old-fashioned dimension. As the word is often questioned, it is quite rock’n’roll. I love those little single old ladies that still wish to be called “mademoiselle”, it’s touching and unconventional at the same time.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE MADEMOISELLE L IN THREE WORDS?
For the technical side: “individualism, functionality and creativity” Otherwise, I would say “minimalist, chic and laid-back”. I really try to match functionality and creativity altogether while working on the design aspect.
WHAT DOES MADEMOISELLE L LOOK LIKE?
She is plural. She’s a city dweller, an urban woman, very fashion wise. She needs an outfit that helps her to stand out, but that is comfortable at the same time, an everyday look.
HOW DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS DEVELOP?
First of all, a brand has its own constructed identity which frames the creative process. In my case, I start by looking for a posture, a fit, while keeping in mind comfort. Once the frame is defined, I work with my instinct. Often, my creative processes follow one another, as a chain, even if they can be very different from one another. intuitively, after a collection, I still have things to explore. I draw my inspiration from everything graphic, architectural with a glimpse of minimalism. I also try to find a balance between all my contradictions: between the fluid and the structured, for instance. For my last collection, I have to find the balance between a masculine sportswear universe and a more feminine one, while still keeping a touch of rock’n’roll. This also regularly happens when I work with rigid cuts and fluid materials.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MATERIAL?
Not really. I chose my material according to their “touché” and their fit. Regarding the quality of the materials, I often work with cottons, jeans, silks, and woolens for the winter. I also look for brilliance. I can work with plasticized materials, but they also have to have that special “tombé et touché”. I never work with polyester because my skin does not tolerate it. I can get obsessed with a material for a season. I have to explore it until I drain everything out of it. I have worked a lot with plasticized… I also love leather, but I don’t often use it because it is hard to work with.
Photo by JAMES BANTONE and JAY LAND
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SWISS FASHION SCENE?
There are many designers, especially in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and Lausanne. Nonetheless, it stays a very individual environment; there is no structure that assists Swiss fashion. There are some private organisms organizing events, but we would need a cantonal or federal impulsion to affirm everything, and why not, create the Swiss fashion federation. It lacks an impulse that allows people to say Swiss fashion exists and is worth it.
Photo by JAMES BANTONE and JAY LAND
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SUMMER COLLECTION 2015?
The summer collection 2015 is inspired by the human body. Various visuals inspired me, from Yves Klein’s Vénus bleue to radiographies and cuttings of the human body. The next collection, winter 2015, takes its inspiration from sportswear and extends the summer 2015 collection. Indeed, I realized that the skeleton of the human body was like an internal shell, an internal protection. So, I thought about external protections of the human body. A lot of my inspiration comes from sports cuttings such as the ones we see in ice hockey and in american football.
FINALLY, WHAT ARE YOU THREE NEVER-ENDING SOURCES OF INSPIRATION ?
Very cold and harsh geometric shapes, graphical and rough, the sportswear look (mixing the street and sports) with an almost invisible touch of repressed punk.