French milliners Larose combine Parisian nonchalant elegance and forward-thinking design to create hats that beautifully balance classicism and modernism.
Designed in Paris and made in Caussaude in the South of France (the country’s millinery capital) Larose’s wonderful hats and caps are unlike any other millinery designs available today. Created by Marc Beauge and Isaac Larose in 2011, Larose specialise in taking typical hat designs, such as baseball caps and trilbys, and turning them into beautiful and innovative headwear that maintain the classic elements that make a Larose hat so special. Their high-quality fabrics are sourced from around the globe by expert artisans, resulting in the finest quality hats, which are carefully crafted and expertly made. Stocked at Opening Ceremony, Hypebeast and Colette (just a small selection of the 70 shops Larose can be found in worldwide), Larose designs aren’t just for the Parisian; their designs bring together elements of style from Paris, London and New York, creating hats that keep classic designs relevant for the modern customer.
Flowing from one collection to another, Larose never start over completely, but adapt and develop for each new season from their gorgeous classic hat designs. The ageless, mixed collections (Larose is not gender-specific), commonly feature some of the most popular hat designs, including the fedora, the zip-fedora, burlap and seersucker caps and Panama’s, but they are always reinvented with new fabrics, new details and new shapes; they get better and better with each collection. Larose’s elegant use of fabrics, stylish details and timeless shapes together form unique collections of headwear, that are neither trend-driven or purely classic, but are a beautiful hybrid of the old and the new.
We talk to Larose about creating new collections, combining the classic and the modern, and fine fabrics.
Tell us how and why you started Larose – the story of the brand?
We met four years ago via mutual friends and immediately clicked. We had common tastes in arts, culture, architecture. And we were both eager to create something. A few days after our first meeting, one of us said “why don’t we try and make a product”. And do it well, if possible… We said “let’s write three ideas each of one a piece of paper and if there is one idea in common then we do it…” A few days later, it turned out we had one idea in common: “Smart caps that you could wear with a suit, and made in France”. So we went for it. That was four years ago and we could never have imagined the brand would ever be sold in 70 shops over the world. We just wanted to do one or two caps…
When you’re designing a new collection, what’s the starting point? Talk to us about the process?
We never start from scratch. There are several models, both caps and hats, that we keep doing season after season. The fedora is always there. The zip fedora also. Burlap and seersucker caps, same. But every season we try and bring new ideas. Be it a fabric, a new detail, a new shape, or a whole new piece… You have to keep on innovating. So Isaac and I are always exchanging ideas, sending pictures to each other. Then we go with all that to the factory, in the south of France. For several days, we try ideas, we check archives and we end up keeping only the best. This is how we produce a collection. There is never a big idea influencing the whole the collection. The addition of small ideas make a collection.
Fusing traditional styles and cutting edge designs is at the heart of your brand – what attracts you to this mix of old and new?
This is a big subject for us. Our target has always been to find the right balance between classicism and modernism. I am a traditionalist. But I still think that a brand has to bring something new. You can’t just look at the archives and reproduce pieces you like. You have to innovate in a way or another. Thankfully Isaac is more of modernist. So we just have to find the right balance. It may happen by adding a zip on a classic hat shape. Or by playing with eyelets. But never too much. And never at the expense of quality. We want to make hats that last for years. So the quality needs to be perfect and the design need to resist the test of time…
If you could pick one piece from this collection, what would it be and why?
In the winter collection arriving in shops in a few week, there are two new pieces that I will be wearing all winter : cashemire and silk beanie and rollable felt fedora. Both piece have taken a long while to develop, and we are very proud of what they look like. They both have that nonchalent elegance that we aim for. A hat can sometimes look costumey. But not those ones.
Sourcing fine fabrics are key to Larose, so where do you go to get them and ensure they’re unique?
We have become fabric nerds. We browse the web for new fabrics, we go to mills, we look on the vintage market, we go to supplier that usually work with tailors or shirt makers. Finding new exciting fabrics really is the big challenge for us. In our position, this is the most efficiant way to make a difference for us.
Do you design with any particular person in mind? Is there an archetypal Larose customer?
The obvious answer is us. Isaac and I don’t dress the same, He is an adventurer, I am pretty classic, but we probably represent the two extremes of our customer spectrum. A classic guy will buy our panama, while another one will dare wearing the zip fedora. One will be five panel while the other will prefer the more classic baseball look. In the end, I have found from talking to them that Larose customers are guys who care about what they wear, but also what they read, eat, drive… They seem to be aware, and not blind consumers. That makes me pretty happy.
What’s changed for you since the brand began 5 years ago? What’s the next step for Larose?
We honestly don’t want to conquer the world with an it product. We just want to last for a long time. And improve our collections season after season. We want people to trust us and find our product both beautiful and honest. Our hats and caps are all made in France. We work with just one factory and it makes it way easier to develop products, to improve quality. The factory is based in Caussade, the millinery capital of France, and has been doing hats for Hermes, Saint Laurent and Comme des Garçons for decades. They just know how to make quality hats… We also take great pride in the fact that the people working for us are well treated. The people at the factory, the people making the fabrics. We really try and care about the way people around the brand are treated. Hopefully, as the brand will get bigger, we won’t forget that.