Laurence Perrey, “Ready-to-teach”
As a child, Laurence Perrey didn't just play with her dolls, she designed and made their clothes. Her passion for fabric came at barely 2 years old, with her first memories being sitting on a beach playing with different materials.
When asked about her career, it is with simplicity and enthusiasm that she retraces 25 years of ready-to-wear in the fashion capital: Paris. Laurence Perrey did everything, and did it all in the most prestigious houses. Always behind the curtain, in the shadow of designers and art directors, she was "where the real teams work and where the collection is truly prepared," she smiles.
When she was only 20 years old Laurence arrived in Paris and her accent opened the door to the first fashion house. “If she's from Biarritz, let her in,” said the sales director for Marithé+François Girbaud. She didn't have a meeting, but she stayed for 14 years. “I owe them everything,” she says about the two geniuses who revolutionized ready to wear for over 40 years. “They taught me everything: fashion, passion, humility and above all how to survive nervous breakdowns, 7 day weeks, all nighters and humiliation.” The world of fashion is not an easy one.
She took on every position offered to her and traveled the world over. Style office assistant, technical assistant, collection manager, license manager, fashion show manager… “In the beginning I couldn't tell the difference between poplin and gabardine but I learned. I didn't have any particular talent, but I could understand what a designer wanted just from a silhouette. I was actually quite technical,” she explains.
The Holy Grail of fashion
One fashion house led to the next and after Marithé+François Girbaud she became head of women's fabrics at Aigle, then director of women's ready to wear at Jean-Louis Scherrer, under the artistic direction of Stéphane Rolland. Then, the Holy Grail. Chanel recruited her for their exclusive brand Holland&Holland. “I worked with every Chanel team and all the suppliers under the tutelage of the President of Chanel, Madame Françoise Montenay. These were my happiest days.” The experience would last for 4 years before love made her pack her bags for Geneva with new professional adventures before her.
Laurence Perrey is more of a fashion office manager with her students than a teacher. “They are my assistants. I have taught thousands of them so I know what to do and it's always the same,” she says. In the meantime she has also obtained her federal license for adult education – always a professional.
What does she expect of her students? Work ethic, curiosity, motivation, a creative streak, a solid grounding in general culture and a global knowledge of fashion today. She also goes on her gut feeling, and, as she states, she is rarely wrong when she trusts her feelings.