We sat down with the creative director of luxury fashion label ‘La Collection’ to talk about all things fashion and career. Our chat with Florence will leave you feeling inspired, as she takes us on her journey to success — reiterating that no dream is too big, all you need is determination and the right people in your corner.
Take us back to the start, how did you get into the world of fashion?
Ever since I was a young girl I’ve had a passion for fashion; I have been drawing and designing clothes since kindergarten, at the age of 8 I was making clothes for my Barbie dolls and during high school all I could dream of was a life in the fashion industry.
At the age of 22 my husband (Artur) and I opened our own multibrand store in Antwerp. We had this little idea of making a change in the existing fashion scene in Antwerp by bringing more unknown brands from all over the world — that is how Damoy (a multibrand fashion store) was born and our life in fashion started.
What made you want to start your own label?
I was constantly on the hunt for the perfect minimalist pieces and wanted clothes made in natural, high quality fabrics. Back then [in 2016] everything was still a bit bohemian and loud, it was really hard to find what I was urging for. Every time I found vintage or new fabric that had the look and feel I loved, I started to make clothes for myself.
I got so many compliments on my outfits and people wanting to buy them, so at one point my husband and I decided to just start our own fashion label … ‘La Collection’. With little plans and strategy, we had no idea the brand would grow into what it is today.
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
Everywhere I go I am constantly inspired by the people around me. It could be as little as a loose curtain flowing out of a building’s window or people on the street who are dressed in traditional cultural uniforms … There are so many inspirations to be found in a city like Antwerp.
It can also come from a painting or a movie I’ve seen. I recently watched ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ by Joel Coen and I was so blown away by the set, costumes, lighting and music! I am sure this is influencing me already while designing our next collection.
“I have been drawing and designing clothes since kindergarten, at the age of 8 I was making clothes for my Barbie dolls and during high school all I could dream of was a life in the fashion industry.”
What is your biggest career highlight?
There are so so many moments that I have had to pinch myself over the last few years. A few particular highlights would have to be our first show last September and when we first opened our own showroom in Paris. The most exciting moment however was seeing ‘a grande dame’ asJudi Dench appearing in British Vogue wearing La Collection.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Always follow your heart and nothing is impossible if you just try hard enough. That is something I have learned from Artur, just be fierce and go and do it! You are actually a lot stronger than you might think. Lately, I see a lot of people around me who have a dream but are afraid of chasing it. I think I might have been like that too when I was in my early 20’s, but then I met this fantastic person who told me nothing is impossible.
What are two wardrobe staples everyone should have in their wardrobe right now?
A perfect statement blazer that you can layer over everything — both trousers, skirts and dresses. I don’t like to have five different black blazers for example, I want one really good one that works for both winter and summer, and on all styles of clothing underneath.
Instead of the traditional little black dress, I would definitely say a maxi length dress in a beautiful quality silk that will last in your wardrobe forever! I have had our La Collection Jacqueline Silk Dress since its launch many collections ago and it is still my favourite. Whenever I need to get dressed to feel extra pretty I put that on. It is also the reason why we keep on bringing it back — it makes you look so effortless and chic wherever you go.
What is your favourite Mr. Smith product?
It’s so hard to choose just one! My daily routine consists of a combination of the Serum and Leave In — especially during these winter days, I can not survive without them! Whenever my hair starts to get dry or static I put a little bit through my hair and it instantly feels hydrated and soft … I also love the scent!
But please don’t make me choose between them, I NEED both!
Style. Substance. Simplicity.