His label, Jacques LaGrange Couture, is the sought-after go-to red carpet brand for a number of local celebrities and top entertainers. LaGrange recently showcased his work at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), the only South African designer invited this year. We chat to him about the experience and his latest range.
Tell us a little about yourself? I am a designer who was born and raised in Paarl. I am a modern storyteller and through my clothing, I turn fantasy into reality by making wearable couture for the modern classic lady, capturing their beauty, style and true class.
Tell us about the inspiration and what went into designing your NYFW collection? My inspiration for the Maarkah New York fashion week showcase was “going back to basics” - basic colour, basic silhouettes, basic cuts and basic finishing - all with a modern take, but I still wanted a classy and expensive finish. The clothes are for a modern woman with a basic wardrobe travelling the world and looking elegant and good without trying too hard effortless elegance. I played with black by mixing different fabrics and textures. The styling was simple: clean and fresh make-up with modern hair. Paired with elegant shoes by Charles & Keith ZA, thanks to my PR friend, Cathy Steed.
What was it like showcasing on an international platform? The experience did not sink in until I saw the YouTube video clip of the show afterwards. I had to watch it three or four times to believe that it actually took place. I went to New York with an open mind, not expecting too much. I was invited by Maarkah and Runway Prestige and my number one mission was to make three people proud of me - my mother, Emmerentia, Rabab the organiser of the Maarkah show in New York and myself.
What is inspiring your designs right now? I am fascinated with documentary movies about facts and events. My designs are always simple, but with what I perceive as my truth, to myself and to the brand. That is what I’m obsessed with.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt since you started your brand? Don’t believe everything people tell you. There are a lot of green monsters out there and if someone tells you, “stick with me and I will make you famous”, run! I had to stay focused in life to reach where I am today. When you are successful and everybody wants a piece of you, the opportunities are endless. I have learned to trust my instinct and my judgment. Promises don’t pay the bills. Real money does.
Your advice for young fashion entrepreneurs? Jump in and swim! If you are tired halfway, stop and rest, but don’t look around or you will get distracted by how well the others are doing Do your race of life in your time and on your terms. Learn the rules only to break them. Follow your instinct and be on time for appointments. Don’t pay too much attention to social media, real money doesn’t have time to impress people on Facebook and Instagram.
Describe the Jacques LaGrange woman? The Jacques LaGrange woman is an elegant, classy and confident woman who knows who she is and where she is going. A powerful lady who loves quality clothing. A woman who travels the world and can buy whatever she wants but chooses to wear the Jacques LaGrange Couture label. It’s the woman with a busy schedule, from a CEO to the matric dance girl to your bride.
What’s next? We are working on opening a Jacques LaGrange boutique. For now, you can e-mail [email protected] for appointments.
Or Facebook Jacques LaGrange and Instagram @jacques_lagrange_couture.