fashion women

SS19 designers - An interview with La Redoute's designer talent spotter

Sylvette Boutin-Lepers, Head of Creative Partnerships and Brand Imaging, is the person behind La Redoute’s designer collaborations.

Her choices may be varied and diverse, but her passion is always consistent. Here she is to tell us more about La Redoute's exciting collaborations for this season. 

Tell us about your role

More than anything I love discovering new talent and drawing inspiration from the unusual. It’s exhilarating to meet these individuals, young and not so young, who are brimming with ideas and desires that are expressed through clothes.


Precisely, so where does your passion for clothing come from?

I get it from my mother. She adored dressing up for all occasions and as far back as I can remember her wardrobe was always open. She used to sew for herself and for me as well. She’s the person who inspired me.


How did La Redoute’s designer collaborations come to life? 

La Redoute pioneered the idea of designer collaborations back in 1969 with Emmanuelle Khanh. Over the years they have become a real forte of ours.  We’ve worked with major fashion houses such as Yves St Laurent, but we also support newcomers, by presenting new labels such as Aalto, and showcase young talent, such as Quynh Bui this season.


How do you go about selecting future collaboration partners? 

It’s essential for La Redoute and the designer to feel they can create a story. Then for me, it’s about imagination and originality.  


In your opinion, which past collaborations have been the most iconic?

If I had to choose just two, I’d say Azzedine Alaïa in 1995 - a truly remarkable character. And then Yves St Laurent and his iconic tuxedo, “le smoking”, in 1996; we sold thousands of them.

Are there any you are especially proud of?

Anthony Vaccarello perhaps. I asked him to design a capsule collection in 2012 and today he’s artistic director at Yves St Laurent. I’d also say Simon Jacquemus and, more recently, Christelle Kocher.


Are the designers always aware of the essential requirements for a collection designed with La Redoute? 

Yes absolutely, they are really attuned to this. Ultimately, the only constraint they have to work within is the rationale behind these collaborations: accessible style at an accessible price.

Exactly, and how does the creative process work? 

The designer, Marie-Pierre the stylist and I work as a small team. We decide on the pieces, the fabrics and the details. We work through the different creative stages, just as we would in a couture workshop. La Redoute takes care of everything. Our stylist’s expertise always bowls the designers over! She brings their vision to life and this establishes a genuine feeling of trust. When that confidence is there, everything becomes much easier.

This season you have decided to showcase Kenta Matsushige, Quynh Bui, and Balzac Paris. What was it about them that won you over? 

Kenta was selected to feature at the Designer’s Apartment showroom – a real hotspot for young talent. I feel a real affinity with his architectural approach to clothing and his elegant designs. He expresses a very simple femininity.

We chose Quynh Bui because she was winner of the La Redoute X HEAD prize. I fell in love with the sense of volume and proportion in her designs. I’ve asked her to interpret some of the pieces she created for her Masters catwalk show.

Balzac Paris meanwhile is a wonderfully creative and quintessentially French brand. It has attracted a huge following and enjoys genuine popularity. I like the sincerity of the brand. These choices really complement each other.

Tell us about Olympique Lyonnais

La Redoute has always tracked the major trends in society and captured the current mood. Women’s football is more than just a craze, it’s a real phenomenon. So it was exciting to create an athleisure range with members of leading women’s football team Olympique Lyonnais. Together, we have come up with a relaxed, modern and feminine wardrobe. We asked these young women what they wanted and they told us – a collection was born.


How would you define a good collaboration?

The key to a successful collaboration is mutual respect. The collection must respect the brand’s DNA, and the garments must be exclusive, imaginative and attractively priced. Ultimately, it’s about offering style rather than fashion.

Do you have further plans for the season?

Very soon, for the summer, we will be unveiling a collection from Maison Château Rouge. And as part of our support for young talent, from this April we will be featuring Casa 93. This project is very close to my heart and we’ll talk about it again in more detail shortly. 

All of La Redoute's designer collaborations for SS19 will be online to shop really soon, stay tuned!
Author Name
La Redoute,