LAURENCE AIRLINE: BEST MENSWEAR LABEL YOU (PROBABLY) NEVER HEARD OF..

In a recent websurfing incident I found the shot above, and could not rest till I’d tracked down the whole story. And it’s a great story…

Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud (that’s her, above) was born in Adibjan, Ivory Coast, raised in Switzerland, and is now based in Paris, where she founded her line in 2011. She called the label Laurence Airline—her name, and, well, airlines—because she says she’s always traveling. This is because the clothes are made up in Africa, because, after training at Studio Berçot, and putting in time with Marc Jacobs at Vuitton and as a trend reporter on Canal+, that’s where Laurence’s passion lies. The work is both deeply African and mulitculti high fashion —no ethnic themery or worthily eco tribal kabuki here. Scroll down and let it speak for itself. Maybe you clocked her work on the Diesel+Eden Studio Africa project last year; I didn’t—and can’t believe I missed it. Those peacock pants! Sigh.

I asked Laurence a few qs, as she prepares to launch the e-shop next week:

Refashioner: At your atelier in Abidjan, how many local artisans do you employ and did you train them? 
Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud: We have trained and now employ 10 fully qualified workers proficient in manufacturing high quality level apparel.
 
Where/how do you source the fabrics? 
We source our Premium cotton fabrics mainly from Italian companies and we complement with print materials from West Africa.
 
Do you design and have them made up or are they existing patterns?
We now start to design our own patterns. We will still use existing African patterns produced and bought locally, it is part of our DNA.
 
Why menswear?
Before launching LaurenceAirline as it is now, while showcasing my womens line,  men constantly expressed to me their desire to design clothes so they could express their own creative taste. They were sensitive to my work, I detected their desire to express more personal aesthetics. The idea of offering colorful basics in a contrasted range of colors and fabrics to men willing to express their individuality was born.  It is a challenge to propose pieces that men are ready to adopt and make their own.
 
Any plans to add womenswear?
I love to explore the minimal structure of the masculine wardrobe as a base to explore unexpected color and material associations. I imagine them as a unisex pieces.
And finally: Are you working on more USA outlets? Where can we buy your pieces? 
We would love to work with more USA stores, doing business with America is cool!
Thank you Laurence! Meanwhile, till the e-shop goes live, some highlights from the lookbooks of the past five collections…