Titillating silhouettes, electrifying detail and luxurious fabric pieces mixed together with gentle final touches are the order of the day for South African-based designer, Jacques LaGrange. Couture ensembles aimed at powerful, opulent and high-fashion clients are made with ease.
Whether it’s a a bride from Australia, an evening dress for a French client’s night out at the George V in Paris, or a crisp white Swiss cotton shirt for a Cape Town-based client, it has all been ticked off his swamped to-do-list.
Taking on international celebrities, he recently designed an ensemble for bubbly E Entertainment presenter, Zuri Hall, based in the U.S.A – adding that he had no idea who she was when approached by Vivid Luxury to design an ensemble for her to wear to the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Masters polo. Locally, celebrities such as Nomzamo Mbatha and Terry Pheto have been slaying in Jacques LaGrange couture to the max.
Where do you draw inspiration from to come up with new designs constantly?
I love to travel, so I find inspiration on every trip, a person I meet, the food I eat. I find digging in the past ( learning history). I end up with an overload of inspiration. It can be in a magazine article, a photo, movie or even the air I breathe. I always look up when I walk around, even bumping into people. I open myself up everyday for new adventures and inspiration journeys.
If you could design an ensemble for any other international celebrities, who would it be?
I know it may sound like a cliche, but our own Charlize Theron, or Charlene, Princess of Monaco. Both is South African, after all. I love to dress real woman, so maybe also the singer.
What are on your must-have clothing list this winter, that both ladies and gents have to invest in?
Start with a good jean ( a classic indigo one ), white shirt, a black shirt, classic black tailored jacket and a cashmere jersey. A black trench coat, scarf ( slightly bigger for ladies). Gloves are also tres chic and good black leather boots are great investments. Invest in good ones. For guys, a bow tie in your jacket pocket, you don’t know where you might end up. These are basics that will take you to any function around the world.
How do you unwind?
I love spending time with my family and friends. I am always relaxed around them. I love movies. Biographies are my favourite. I love reading, but I do fall asleep in two minutes.
A few things people do not know about you?
I hate flying. For someone that spends so much time on an aircraft you would think differently. I think it is a control thing. It gets worst the older I get. Once there was a woman next to me, she said: “Shame, is it your first time flying?”
Message to aspiring designers?
Educate yourself. Travel it is an expensive experience that no one can take away from you. I think you learn more from travel than any school or university. Open yourself up for new challenges. Don’t compare yourself with any other person! Success is a word with different meaning for a lot of people. Driving a fancy car does not make you successful.
What are your future plans?
My year is filled with private clients from all around the world such as three international trips to Dubai, France and Spain. I have to work in between Durban and Hamburg , seeing I have four God children. My year is full, but I would love to give more attention to my ready to wear collection. After 17 years in business, I have to work harder now I feel. No rest for the wicket.