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Interview with Laura Sfez, owner of L’ecole des Femmes

Laura Sfez is a clothing designer, artist and founder of L’ecole des Femmes in Los Angeles.  I initially discovered the Paris native/Los Angeles based designer on Instagram and instantly became obsessed with her online shop as well as her day to day Instagram “stories” narrative.  The style she brings is dark and sexy in a way that’s a contrast to what many think of as the typical cliched Los Angeles look and aesthetic.  I asked if I could interview her for The Gone Cat, she obliged and said “the weirder the questions, the better”.  Since “weird” is my middle name, I really enjoyed asking some of these offbeat questions and even more so receiving her fun answers:

The Gone Cat: Tell us a little bit about your background and L’ecole Des Femmes:
Laura Sfez: I started L’ecole des Femmes in 2005. It looked pretty much exactly the same as it does now except that back then I didn’t take it upon myself to photograph or be in the photos. I opened the first L’ecole Boutique in Los Angeles in 2011 simply to get rid of what had then become a mistake. I was using the store to sell off all of the overstock I had accumulated up until 2009. The business wasn’t doing well and I was merely selling off what I had in storage.
Over the span of the three years that the boutique was open – my interest in photography and styling grew very powerful and the brand became more and more successful. My luck had turned and I was designing and producing new styles again – including the Belle du Jour Dress and Oui Tee, which are still my most popular items.

The Gone Cat: If you could travel in a time machine to any era -past or future which era would you choose and why?
Laura Sfez: I would definitely be heading to the 1960’s in America. I would go to 1960 and work my ass off to make enough money to prepare for one of the greatest artistic explosions that ever took place. I would go to see The Doors of course, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, you name it – Lsd, psylocibin, marijuana, cheeseburgers, drive-ins, flower power, easy riders, early Woody Allen standup shows, Lenny Bruce and try to seduce Leonard  Cohen..
The Gone Cat: What would be your favorite thing to wear in that era?
Laura Sfez: I would still make my own little dresses but I think I would love the denim especially even though there wouldn’t be any stretch in them. I would make myself little dirndl maiden dresses and if I were lucky enough – head to Yves Saint Laurent – the greatest designer that ever lived.
The Gone Cat: What’s your favorite art museum or gallery?
Laura Sfez: I know this does not count as an art gallery or museum but I think it should and i will explain why.
Six flags theme park – yes, as mediocre looking and sounding as it is, is the home to what I call “Art installations that you can ride.”
I really strongly value experience over material. The rides at these parks are Scientific Art Installations crafted for thrilling human experience. To me that is a great art form which is overlooked.
The Gone Cat: Tell us about a recent art exhibit you’ve visited that inspired you and why?
Laura Sfez: I recently visited many shrines and temples in Japan – particularly in Kyoto. Kyoto itself was an art feast for me in so many ways. It relieved me so much to know that such a peaceful and pristine existence was possible. The level of Zen and pleasure in Kyoto inspired so much hope in me. It also inspired me to work twice as hard so I can hurry up and buy a house there!
The Gone Cat: If you could choose anyone (past or present) to wear your clothes, who would you choose?
Laura Sfez: At present I would love for Chloe Sevigny to wear my clothes. She comes across as a very headstrong artistic and stylish woman and I always love everything she wears.
In the past I would’ve loved for Anna Karina to wear my sailor dresses. She has a friendly beauty to her that is very rare for women nowadays. An innocence that I miss very much.
The Gone Cat: If you could throw a dinner party for three artists (fictional, non-fictional/past or present) who would you choose and what would you make for dinner?
Laura Sfez: I would throw a dinner party for Woody Allen, Jim Morrison and Serge Gainsbourg. I wouldn’t want any of the pressure of having to impress and stress about my cuisine  – so I would just buy an array of wonderful cheeses and breads and fruit and wines – the main entree would be pot brownies ( but they wouldn’t know this of course). The fun part of the dinner would only start once their bodies begin to metabolize the entree…

I’d definitely film the whole experience too.

www.instagram.com/lecoledesfemmes
http://www.lecoledesfemmes.com/

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