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DESTREE Flagship

DESTREE is Championing Women as an All-Female-Led Fashion House

Eliza Jordan

26 September 2023

A Conversation with DESTREE’s Laetitia Lumbroso and Géraldine Guyot-Arnault

Laetitia Lumbroso and Géraldine Guyot-Arnault co-founded the women’s ready-to-wear label and accessories brand DESTREE in Paris in 2016. Inspired by the world of contemporary art, its first offering was a collection of hats. Made in France, the colorful canotier line was created in natural straw with bicolor ribbons, showing timeless shapes and sizes that were quintessentially chic in style. In 2017, DESTREE began selling leather goods, and in 2018, jewelry, too. With an exclusive collection for Le Bon Marché, and through its direct-to-consumer channels, the brand also launched ready-to-wear garments in November 2021.

In the past seven years since its foundation, DESTREE has maintained a female-forward approach, creating a top-down organization supported by women. Not only co-founded by two women, DESTREE was entirely funded by women. It has hired a full-female staff, enlisting only women in all key leadership positions, and currently only partners with female-led ateliers. This focused strategy is rooted in a desire to empower and inspire future generations of successful businesswomen, as well as align with more like-minded initiatives.

In July 2022, DESTREE opened its first flagship store in Paris, designed by the New York–based sculptor Simone Bodmer-Turner. Located on rue 29 du Juillet, the postmodern 500-square-foot space features a streamlined interior of refined surfaces, pure lines, and a minimal color palette. Like its expressive nature, the store embodies an artistic ambiance. Outside, a green exterior complements a glowing white “DESTREE” sign. Inside, an up-lit and all-white interior hosts waved clothing racks, voluminous furniture, concave seating nooks, and display surfaces embedded into the room. Accenting the store are hats hung on the wall and handbags suspended from unique sculptures.

Curious about DESTREE’s connection to multiple creative universes, Whitewall spoke with Lumbroso and Guyot-Arnault regarding its focus on female energy, DESTREE’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection, and what categories the brand will offer next.

WHITEWALL: DESTREE is such a unique brand name. What does it lend meaning to?

GÉRALDINE GUYOT-ARNAULT: DESTREE is derived from a French aristocratic name associated with Gabrielle d’Estrees, the mistress and muse of Henry the Great. Known as the most beautiful woman of her time, she embodies elegance and allure.

WW: The brand was started by two women, has an all-female staff, and is fully funded by women. Of what importance is this to the overall message of DESTREE?

LAETITIA LUMBROSO: DESTREE is all about women’s empowerment. With both of us being female founders, surrounded by a team of talented women in Paris, supported by female investors (all 14 of them), and collaborating with women-led ateliers and factories, it holds immense significance for us. We strive to be role models for future generations, especially considering that I have four daughters of my own.

Laetitia Lumbroso and Géraldine Guyot-Arnault

Laetitia Lumbroso and Géraldine Guyot-Arnault, portrait courtesy of DESTREE.

DESTREE Is a Brand for the Modern Woman

WW: What do you feel this all-female energy brings the brand?

GGA: The all-female energy brings a unique perspective and strength to the brand. It fosters a supportive and collaborative environment where women’s voices are amplified and celebrated. This energy permeates our work, allowing us to create designs that truly resonate with the modern woman.

WW: In its early stages, DESTREE evolved from a hat brand to something much more. What was that process like?

GGA: Between 2016 and 2020, our journey took us from hats to leather goods, then jewelry, belts, scarves, and a world of handmade accessories. We meticulously select talented craftsmen, forging genuine partnerships with them. Starting with accessories was an incredible foundation for our journey. Timeless shapes with impeccable structure allowed us to explore the art of elevating simple outfits through the power of accessories. It was a natural and obvious choice for us, as I find immense fascination in this transformative aspect.

In 2021, we embarked on expanding the brand’s expression. We began with a small and exclusive ready-to-wear capsule for Le Bon Marché, our distributor since the beginning. To our delight, the collection sold out in just three weeks, despite being intended to last for two months. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from our clients and the media encouraged us to venture into larger collections.

“Our pursuit of timelessness revolves around creating iconic pieces.”—Lucia Liu

WW: The company was created to provide, as you said, an “offbeat but timeless wardrobe.” How through materials and European craftsmanship does this happen?

LL: Our pursuit of timelessness revolves around creating iconic pieces. Each category within our collections features signature designs that are present in every iteration. These pieces share common traits of asymmetry, structure, and vibrant colors. With each new collection drop, you’ll find these signature pieces presented in different color and fabric variations, contributing to the unique DNA of the brand. Moreover, we are not so keen to discard everything and start from scratch with each collection. We find this approach to be a bit outdated.

In terms of materials, we meticulously select our ateliers, forging long-term partnerships with them. The precision and care we put into this selection process further reinforces our commitment to a sustainable and enduring business model.

WW: You mentioned the word “sustainable.” When working with materials or establishing partnerships, how is the brand considering sustainability today?

LL: Sustainability is a core value for us. We strive to make conscious choices in materials and production, forging long-term partnerships with ethical ateliers and factories. We believe in timeless designs that transcend trends and encourage responsible consumption. Sustainability is at the forefront of our decision-making, as we work towards a more eco-friendly future.

DESTREE Flagship

Courtesy of DESTREE.

WW: Géraldine, you were a graduate of Central Saint Martins and mentioned being inspired by the contemporary art world when approaching design at DESTREE. How so?

GGA: Art and fashion are deeply interconnected, as both engage in a profound dialogue, evident in the numerous collaborations between artists and brands today. Art serves as the foundation of my creative process, permeating

DESTREE with artistic references. Growing up surrounded by art catalogs and having the privilege of experiencing museums and galleries worldwide, I developed a keen sense of color combinations and assemblages.

Recently, I had the pleasure of collaborating with French artist Ben Arpea, whose paintings oscillate between semi-figurative and expressionist abstract forms, emphasizing the dominance of colors. I felt an immediate connection between our creative universes, making the collaboration with Ben an obvious choice.

WW: What details do you play with each season to evoke an individual aesthetic that is all the brand’s own, such as color, shape, or art movements?

GGA: Each season, I draw inspiration from various sources, constantly evolving and refining our aesthetic. I am captivated by contemporary art and vintage, but also tableware, infusing them into our designs in unique ways. We believe in continuously pushing boundaries and experimenting with new ideas while staying true to our core aesthetic. This evolution ensures that each collection brings something fresh and exciting.

DESTREE Draws Inspiration from Parisian Style

WW: How does remaining based in Paris impact your approach to designing a clothing label today?

LL: Being based in Paris is a constant source of inspiration for us. The city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and renowned fashion scene offer an abundance of creativity. The city’s effortless elegance and sophisticated style serve as an ever-present muse, influencing our approach to design and shaping the essence of DESTREE.

DESTREE Flagship

Courtesy of DESTREE.

WW: Last year, DESTREE opened its first store and commissioned the New York–based sculpture artist Simone Bodmer-Turner to design the space. What did you want this space to visually communicate that it internally stands for?

GGA: When it came to designing our first store in Paris, we sought a visually striking representation of our brand. When I first moved to New York City, I was introduced to Simone and instantly fell in love with her ceramic work after visiting her Brooklyn studio. It became evident that her artistry would beautifully complement our colorful creations. We envisioned a mineral and white environment, creating a “jewel box” that would accentuate our collections. Collaborating with Simone, who had not previously designed a boutique, was a spontaneous decision driven by our shared vision.

WW: The brand’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection was inspired by many references, including styles from Asia and tailoring from your home country. Can you elaborate on a few key aspects?

GGA: DESTREE has designed a collection that draws on a diverse range of influences and universes. Naturally cosmopolitan, DESTREE sought inspiration from abroad, beginning with an homage to traditional Asian culture and costumes. The collection features precious satin fabrics, revamped Mao collars, and shimmering prints with reflective motifs.

The English aesthetic is also showcased in this collection, demonstrating the Parisian label’s mastery of tailoring. The sharp cuts of the Andy and Amoako jackets give the silhouette a slender appearance, while the Jasper shirt and Charlotte pants create contrast through a flat stripe pattern. Asymmetry is elegantly incorporated into the Hans shirts and the sleeveless Frida sweaters with their sixties-inspired designs.

As for the color palette, DESTREE has painted the winter season with warm shades of brown and burgundy, punctuated by luminous touches of beige, green, and purple. The warmth of jacquard fabrics meets the softness of satin and is contrasted by the sparkle of glitter twill for a vibrant and colorful winter.

“Our creative process is a dynamic blend of imagination, design, and execution.”— Géraldine Guyot-Arnault

WW: What is your creative process like when imagining, designing, and executing a new collection? Is it collaborative?

GGA: Our creative process is a dynamic blend of imagination, design, and execution. We draw inspiration from art, contemporary culture, and the vibrant energy of Paris. It is a collaborative journey, where we work closely with our team to bring our vision to life and ensure that each collection reflects the essence of DESTREE.

WW: What has the label not created that it aims to?

LL: In the near future, we aspire to expand into lifestyle and tableware, including candles and a signature scent, to complement our existing offerings. We believe in creating a comprehensive brand experience that extends beyond fashion, incorporating elements that enhance and enrich our customers’ lives. Stay tuned for exciting developments as we continue to grow and evolve.

WW: What’s next?

LL: Currently, we are focused on our international expansion. We just returned from our pop-up opening celebration in Seoul, and DESTREE will soon be available at Harrods in London. Design-wise, we are incorporating new silhouettes into our ready-to-wear collection.

DESTREE Flagship

Courtesy of DESTREE.



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Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.