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Located in what was once a typical boutique hotel on Collins, The Webster has now become a beacon for high fashion in the Magic City, if not the world, with contemporary day and beachwear dominating the first floor, high-end luxury brands on the second, and a special space for events and parties on the third. Collaborations abound, as each rack, nook and cranny contains an item tagged, "____ for The Webster," delineating that CEO and owner Laure Heriard Dubreuil put her special touch on the object, be it a Calvin Klein shift dress or a jewelry set with Aurelie Bidermann.
Only she can swing the collaborations that she does, and once you meet her you'd understand why. It's not hard not to fall in love with her French charm as she talks about the now five-year-old shop with as much excitement as if it had opened its doors in January. On the heels of accepting her ambassadorship for Eres and on the cusp of opening a menswear store next to her second The Webster location at Bal Harbour Shops, Laure shows no signs of slowing her roll.
There's talk of a New York store opening, which is fitting as Laure now resides there with her husband and the latest addition to her family, a baby boy named Marcel. We caught up with her to talk about the legend of The Webster, and what's next for this little "monster,", if you consider a store that carries Chanel, Balenciaga and Maison Martin Margiela a monstrosity at all.
What's the most exciting thing happening with The Webster right now?
I think it's exciting to speak about The Webster Bal Harbour, which is big for me because it's my second location. I'm so happy and so proud that I was able to reproduce the exact same feeling, the exact same DNA and feel inside the Bal Harbour shop, and I think that it's something that I'm really proud of. I hear clients shop at both and can't get enough. It's really nice, you know?
What did you originally set out to do when you opened The Webster?
Basically it was to have all my favorite pieces from collections [in one location], especially timeless pieces, because for me, I love when I buy a piece and can think, ok, one day I can give it to my daughter, or when I'm wearing my grandmother's pieces, or my mother's pieces. It's not so much about the latest thing, or the most crazy or the most fashion-forward. It's more about glamour. I want people to feel good when they are at The Webster. I want them to stay the entire day, walk barefoot, enjoy it as if it's their own closet.
The Webster has a very distinct vintage Miami vibe. What inspired the look and feel of the store?
It's the tropical feel of Miami. Having the palms, the leaves on the vintage wallpapers, the [art deco] architecture of Miami, it's one of a kind. This building is landmarked; we made it more historical than it has ever been! But also there's a boat feel with the brass railings, Miami being a cruise destination. At the same time it's very luxurious and warm.
You're the CEO of this store, but what is your day to day involvement?
It's 24/7, you know? I have it in my blood! When I first opened up The Webster I was calling it my baby, but it actually turned out to be a monster more than a baby! I breath The Webster. There's a piece of me inside those walls and for the collections, I pick every single piece. So, you know, it's completely me.
What does a collection have to have for you to put it into this store?
It has to be beautiful, appealing, timeless, colorful and chic. But really, I want these pieces to make people feel good and look good. It's the most important part. I want people to leave The Webster with big smiles on their faces.
How did you go about making all these great relationships with designers?
It's very organic. We share the same passions for fashion and we have the same respect for each other and what we're doing. I became friends with almost all of the designers I carry. They love The Webster and they are extremely supportive of what I'm doing. And that's really wonderful, because that's what leads me to make these exclusive capsule collections with them. It's really wonderful and it's very very organic.
When you're buying, do you have a particular customer in mind?
Yes and no. I think, unconsciously, of course because I know my clients. But also, the clients are coming from everywhere in the world. I have my faithful clientele but I have new clients every day and even with the Bal Harbour opening I have people discovering The Webster every day. So, at the same time I have my dream customer in mind, which is a little bit of me, and all the men in my life! So more or less, it's my dream closet.
And out of all the years you've been working in fashion, as a merchandiser for Yves Saint Laurent and Balanciaga, what is the one thing you learned that has helped you make The Webster what it is today?
I think it's hard work, to be grounded, and be true to myself and the people around me. I had a vision and made it happen.
You have so many collaborations with designers, both established and up and coming. Which collection are you most proud of?
For sure Target. It was the American Dream! It was the first time they did a capsule collection for men. It was incredible! To see people on the streets wearing your collection all the time was really magical.
What is your favorite up-and-coming brand in the store right now?
I love Suno, and this is what I'm wearing today. I think they're amazing. We did a capsule collection with them. They are one of the LVMH designers that [are finalists for] the [Young Fashion Designer Prize] and I'm part of the jury. I've been following them and carrying them since their first collection. It's really an amazing brand.
That dress is fabulous. I want to talk about an impossible collaboration. If you could collaborate with one person that wasn't alive now, who would that be?
Yves Saint Laurent. I'm a huge fan and own so much vintage Saint Laurent. That would be my dream.
That would be any girls dream! Any thoughts on who you'd like to collaborate with next?
You know, it all comes naturally. I don't make plans. It's more like, I go to the showroom and if I see one piece in the collection that I fall in love with I try to think it up in another print or color. It all falls naturally. Right now, for example, Olympia Le Tan— she makes those clutches that look like books— made a Webster dictionary for us, which is amazing. I have a special print with Piamita with flamingos. I always have new things coming.
Speaking of collaborations, let's talk about your new ambassadorship with Eres! How does it feel to be chosen as their first brand ambassador?
I feel extremely blessed and proud. It's a great achievement for me because I've loved Eres basically since I was maybe 10, since I can remember. My mom was wearing Eres bathing suits and I always dreamed of owning my own, but my mom was telling me I was too young because it's such a beautiful piece, you know? You have to really deserve it. And I remember when I was 25 or 24 waiting for hours outside of the store when they did their sales once a year. It's a beautiful brand and it's so special with such a strong DNA. The quality is just amazing. I feel honored.
It is quite an honor. Why do you think they chose you for this?
Eres was one of the first brands I chose for The Webster, even when it was the temporary store. It made sense, opening in Miami to have bathing suits. I've also been wearing it. For example Garance Dore took a picture of me wearing an Eres bathing suit. I decided to release the news of my pregnancy on Style.com in an Eres bathing suit. It was kind of very organic as well, and they were seeing that I was really, truthfully loving the brand.
Now that you have a son, do you think there's a future for a Webster children's section?
I actually would love that! I'm starting to think about it and I have a lot of requests, so yeah!
If you did start it, what are three brands you'd probably carry?
I'd carry Bonpoint, for sure. I love! I love Finger in the Nose and I love Stella McCartney Kids. And Lanvin for little girls as well!
And now for the fire round:
New York or Miami?
Both. For the weather, to start with!
Red or white wine?
Red wine or champagne?
What was your favorite dish when The Webster did have a restaurant?
The potatoes with the caviar.
Favorite macaron flavor?
Skirts or shorts?
Gold or silver?
What is the one piece of fashion advice you'd want to pass on to your son or daughter?
Feel yourself and be comfortable. Don't wear heels that hurt, skirts that are too tight. You have to feel comfortable, otherwise you won't look good.
· The Webster [Official Site]
· All The Webster Posts [Racked Miami]
· All Better Know a Store Owner Posts [Racked Miami]