In fashion, there are two kinds of people: the arrogant, slightly savage ones who make the rules, and everyone else who obeys them. But once in a blue moon, someone comes along who is neither. Yes, everything you’ve heard about Laure Hériard-Dubreuil is true. She’s young, she’s French, and she’s impossibly chic, but she is also an amiable, bewitching and ineludible force who happens to be a reigning queen on the global fashion scene.
As CEO and founding partner of luxury fashion boutique The Webster, she commands her kingdom from an unlikely perch: The sandy, sovereign shores of Miami Beach. With two venues locked down there, she has set her sights on her next conquest: Houston.
Having made her mark vis-á-vis the original 20,000-square-foot Miami Beach flagship in 2009, Hériard-Dubreuil has become known for a unique sort of inventiveness honed during her time in merchandising at Balenciaga and Saint Laurent in Paris. In fact, designers the young entrepreneur carries in her stores often come to her for counsel, with many of the pieces she sells exclusive collaborations available through The Webster.
The newly constructed Houston boutique resides as a freestanding jewel box adjacent to the Galleria on Westheimer Road. Rumor has it that Galleria landlord Simon pulled out all the stops to get her there, offering up a dedicated valet and an adjacent international restaurant to seal the deal. This restaurant, it’s just been revealed, is the Michelin-starred contemporary dim sum teahouse Yauatcha — the first Hakkasan-group restaurant in the U.S. The glass-walled store will stock many designers not currently available in Houston, including Pierre Hardy, Rabih Kayrouz and Olympia Le Tan, among others.
As she has done with her other two outposts, Hériard-Dubreuil has taken an active role in dictating design elements for the boutique, lavishing it with blousy vintage wallpaper, custom and antique furniture and artwork from Houston-native artist Max Snow, as well as photography from Ellen von Unwerth and Dennis Hopper.
Houston, meet your new best friend, Laure. She will always be cooler than us, but we love her anyway.
DESCRIBE THE SOUTH BEACH STORE.
The vibe evokes the feeling of just having stepped into a chic and inviting home, coupled with classic Art Deco architecture that is so indicative of South Beach. We’ve hosted events including collection launches to exclusive product collaborations, art auctions, as well as book signings.
HOW DO YOU THINK HOUSTON COMPARES TO YOUR OTHER STORES?
My initial perception is that there is a need for a store like The Webster. We will offer a complete wardrobe for both men and women, who are looking for something exclusive and special, in the most luxurious and inviting setting. It’s important to me that when a client visits us, they receive the best service, while feeling as if they have stepped into their dream closet.
TELL US WHO IS DOING EXCLUSIVE COLLABORATION, LIMITED PIECES AND CAPSULE COLLECTIONS, THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE HOUSTON STORE.
Women’s designers Aurelie Bidermann, Edie Parker, Gigi Burress, JC Obando,Ines de la Fressange, Linda Farrow, Lisa Marie Fernandez, Maison Michel, Nektar, Olympia Le Tan, Rosie Assoulin, Saloni, Sonia Rykiel. And for men, Ami, Bamford Watch Department, Hood By Air, Max Snow, Off-White, Raf Simons, The Elder Statesmen.
HOW HAS YOUR ROLE CHANGED SINCE YOU OPENED YOUR FIRST STORE?
When I first arrived to Miami, I arrived with my suitcases and didn’t know anyone, so that was a huge challenge in itself. Now, I have established and maintained strong relationships with all of the brands I carry, which helps tremendously when discussing collaborations and Coach exclusives. I also have a much better understanding of my clients and what they need.
YOU’RE ON THE ROAD CONSTANTLY. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CITY TO VISIT?
Corsica is my all-time favorite place. While I was growing up, summertime meant Corsica, where my family has a home. I remember looking forward to our trips all year long, and it’s such a special place. I still go each summer, now with my husband and son. It’s incredibly peaceful with beautiful views of the sea, nature surrounding you and, of course, plenty of delicious food — you cannot help but relax.
WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM?
The time period of the 1950s through 1980s would be my biggest sources of inspiration.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE EMERGING DESIGNER AT THE MOMENT?
I love Estaban Cortezar, and also think Rosie Assoulin is offering a sophisticated modern perspective. Edie Parker is really great as well — her evening bags are so clever and chic with a splash of humor.
WHAT DOES THE WORD “STYLE” MEAN TO YOU?