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Caroline Belhumeur: A Quiet Sophistication

3 weeks ago by

Photos Kate Berry
In Partnership With Vince

Caroline Belhumeur is the creative force behind a brand we love, Vince. Her designs are like her – quiet and powerful. As you’ll hear in our conversation, I’ve known her for a few years and each time I see her, I feel that I uncover a new layer of her personality.

This time, we’re in her house in LA, where she moved recently. From her window we can see the whole city. We sat down and talked about how you build a life of a peaceful force.

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Caroline Belhumeur: A Quiet Sophistication

Pardon My French with Garance Doré
Caroline Belhumeur: A Quiet Sophistication

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On her mother’s influence
She was very natural, did all the gardening and grew vegetables and she taught me how to spin, weave and how to knit. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it was a very important building block and foundation to the things I became interested in.

On how she became interested in fashion…
I had no idea what I wanted to do, like most kids. My mum had tickets to go to a fashion show at Bristol University. I remember the fashion show really blew me away. The models came out and they were wearing these crazy costumes and all in black and white, and David Bowie’s “TCV15” was the music for the runway. And I thought, “Oh, I’d like to do this.”

On deciding to study fashion…
I was talking to the career counselor and said I’d like to do something creative, she says, “Well maybe you could do cake decorating or flower arranging” and I said “No, I think something different from that.” I looked into different catalogues for schools and Kingston had a free trip to Paris as part of your experience and I was like, “Oh well, there’s a free trip to Paris, I guess I’ll go to this college!”

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On getting scouted by the Calvin Klein…
I was still at college and he was going around colleges scouting talent and luckily he wanted me to come and join him in New York. So I went straight from college to New York City!

On moving to New York City…
It was very gritty. I arrived at Newark Airport, which I thought was called New York Airport and I couldn’t understand why I was in New Jersey. I arrived at Port Authority in the 1980s. Driving along in a cab on 42nd Street to go to the hotel and there were potholes and cars on fire on the side of the street. I was like, “What am I doing??”

On the creative energy of LA…
I love the idea of it being a city that has built itself on people creating things – movies, music. Much of the success of people here has been because of creative things.

On what sets Vince apart…
When we’re designing, we’re also thinking about those little details that make it feel special. You know, how a tie on a blouse might drape down effortlessly or the slight shape of a sleeve that is there, but you’re not really aware of it. We spend a lot of time creating it, but you’d hardly notice. I think that is something that sets Vince apart. It’s carefully worked on and designed, but quietly.

Caroline Belhumeur: A Quiet Sophistication

On staying relevant…
Vince is very much that quieter brand where we don’t have a lot of graphics, and that’s my personal style. I think for any brand to stay relevant or even just as a creative, I constantly want to know what’s going on. I strive to see new exhibits, music or movies because I think it’s part of the creative process to be absorbing these things.

On how she stays tuned in to the customers…
Sometimes I really hang out in the changing room so I can hear what they’re saying. They’ll say, “Oh I really like this, but the fits not quite right,” and I’ll be like, “Damn! What did we do wrong?” Or they’re really into something and that’s really thrilling. I love going to the stores and talking to the managers there or meeting customers.

On her vision for Vince in the future…
To me what’s important is to communicate the Vince story and narrative, which I think is quite unique. We are this California brand on a very luxe level. It’s not a surfer brand, it’s beautiful cashmere, wools and silks, but born in a very comfortable, relaxed, effortless way. The store we just opened in Palisades Village, I hope, reflects all of that.

OTHER THINGS DISCUSSED
Rei Kawakubo
West Country, UK
David Attenborough
Spinning

A special thanks to Caroline for letting us record in her home in Los Angeles. Stay tuned into Vince‘s latest here and you can check out their newest store in Palisades Village here.

10 comments

Add yours
  • I cannot say this enough: I LOVE Vince. The Vince aesthetic speaks directly to an intimate and intelligent style that is so quiet and beautiful. I am a huge, huge fan. Thank you, Caroline for creating fashion that speaks directly to my desire for architecturally perfect simplicity. You are wonderful!

  • Another big Vince fan here. Lovely home!

  • L’elegance dans la simplicite des lignes, le luxe des matieres et les couleurs que j’aime.
    D’ou vient cette magnifique lampe sur pied au-dessus du sofa ?

  • Pourquoi des articles rédigés en anglais et d’autres en français ?

  • Linne Halpern November, 28 2018, 9:50

    Bonjour! Notre traductrice a pris des vacances (bien méritées!), mais la version française du site sera disponible à nouveau dans les jours à venir, promis! xx Linne

  • I love Caroline. So happy to see her at Vince!

  • Hello Garance,
    I would love to hear a podcast Pardon my french with you and the writer Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat Pray Love & Big Magic! Her next novel City of Girls is out June 2019 ! First, I think you will get along so well and second I love her, she fallows her dreams, all her dreams! She divorces twice and then fall in love with Rayya her female best friend when she discovers that she had cancer and couldn’t live without her. Unfortunately Rayya passed away this year. I’d love to hear a conversation between the two of you about Love, life & style ! XoXo Julia

  • I love the new format of the podcast! And this house!!! <3

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