Fitting seamlessly into the minimalist aesthetic of their trendy multi-brand store DAMOY in Antwerp, Florence Cools and Artur Tadevosian launched womenswear label La Collection in 2017. And it has been beautifully executing Parisian chic ever since, with four collections of elegant, understated designs (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is obsessed). “If I ever feel uninspired, then just give me two days in Paris. It’s my greatest source of inspiration,” says Cools, but her designs tell us that before she does. Think soft silk-satin, classic oversized tailoring and muted colour palettes - AKA a label to fill that Phoebe Philo Cèline-shaped hole in your life.
The allure of La Collection is its devotion to fine craft, shaped by both Cools’ fashion tech background and the influence of her motherland, Belgium. “The appreciation of craftsmanship quality is very Belgian. Maybe that has got lost a little bit, but we’re bringing it back," Cools says, and with reputable attention to detail, the brand's luxury runs deep down to the fabrics: “Everything isn’t just sourced, it’s made especially for us, all custom-made.”
Naturally, producing fabrics specifically for the brand is time-consuming, but the designers ensure it is worthwhile as nothing ever goes to waste. Cools emphasises, “We have a lot of carry-over styles to give them time to find the right customer and we just take the piece along for as many seasons as we need to.” Thanks to their timelessly classic pieces, this approach has worked really well for La Collection. A slow fashion outlook seems to have seeped into Cools’ retail strategy at DAMOY too. She adds, “I used to have this urge to constantly have new things, but not so much now that I have my own label too. It’s really special to have the same labels for so many years.”
As well as carrying certain pieces from season to season, the pair do design new additions every season too; Cools tells ORDRE that they are currently creating a winter version of their best-selling blazer. “We’re working with a very high quality flannel wool that is being made for us, so it’ll be a little more expensive (at €780).” She continues, “La Collection’s segment is really the very high luxury boutique stores and department stores worldwide” - price points range from £300 to £900.
Foreshadowing an exciting future ahead, the emerging label has already been snapped up by online retail powerhouse Net-A-Porter, and boasts a loyal client base across the globe. Cools says, “I think overall, Europe is our biggest market, probably because it fits into that laid-back chic lifestyle. Although we have recently noticed a lot of interest from the US… and the middle-east, which makes me happy because I get a lot of inspiration from that market.”