By Mackenzie Wagoner
“People say retail is dead, but I think it’s the opposite,” says Laure Hériard Dubreuil, standing on the penthouse balcony of the new Manhattan outpost of The Webster, the fifth iteration of her retail mecca. Opened first in 2009 in South Beach against all odds, Dubreuil managed to create a powerhouse name in fashion, building a robust business and devoted following that soon demanded a second location. She selected Bal Harbour Shops for her expansion and continued to build upon that store’s success with outposts in Houston, Costa Mesa and, now, SoHo.
“If you are going to take the time to go somewhere, you want it to be something really special,” the heiress of Rémy Martin cognac explains of her inclination for the art of experience. For The Webster, the magic lay in the setting of terrazzo floors, Milo Baughman chairs, vintage wallpaper, Pierre Frey fabrics and contemporary art (including pieces by Nate Lowman, Gaetano Pesce and Dubreuil’s husband, Aaron Young), which act as insanely stylish backdrops for the best of Alaïa, Chanel, Céline, Gucci and Givenchy.
The high glamour classics are mixed with dashes of fashionable mischief courtesy of Attico’s metallic rainbow slingback sandals, Loewe’s pink leather bags resembling elephants and Sies Marjan’s plush faux fur coats in an exclusive shade of lilac. The overall effect is being invited into Dubreuil’s own walk-in closet.
“Editing and curating is number one. I scan all of the collections,” she says. “It’s a very personal eye.” One that could elevate the crew-neck sweatshirt (in this case, in high-octane magenta) and skinny jeans with bold geometric statement earrings and crisp white brogues, which, on this grey November afternoon in the Northeast, Dubreuil is defiantly wearing. Save for the jeans, each technicolor piece is part of her debut namesake clothing and accessories line, LHD, which launched late last year.
It’s about time. After years of collaborating on exclusive colors and finishes for her shops, creating a more than 200-piece collection for Target (which earned a fan in Valentino Garavani no less) and an all-white series of designer collaborations for Paris’s Le Bon Marché, Dubreuil seemed to be the last person to recognize her talent for creating. The new range of dresses, skirts, shorts, rompers, sweaters and bodysuits, as well as accessories, jewelry and swim, is designed to heed the requests from her clients for help layering patterns at price points that encourage risk taking. The resulting mix of classic silhouettes with bright, Miami-inspired prints (think alligators and tropical flora), is above all else “playful,” says Dubreuil. “And it’s versatile because you can buy a top separately or pair the pieces together and make your own look.”
To boot, she’s also launched “x LHD,” which includes collaborations with Aurélie Bidermann, Maison Michel, Eres, Linda Farrow and Pierre Hardy. In other words, for Dubreuil’s little shop that could, retail is only getting better.