Les Aperizes Returns With a New Take on Retail


Back in December, when we reported that Meadham Kirchhoff had taken a hiatus from producing collections, Edward Meadham and Ben Kirchhoff raised the issue of whether the current model for luxury fashion just couldn’t work for certain kinds of designers, particularly those committed to a level of hand-craftsmanship in their clothes. Now, from Los Angeles, a similar argument is being made—albeit more optimistically—by the duo behind Les Aperizes. Launched in 2011 by Laurence Nguyen and Brian Tamborello, Les Aperizes didn’t lack for acclaim (Style.com was an early supporter, for one) or for prestige retailers (the first collection was picked up by Barneys New York and Ikram). What it did lack, according to Nguyen and Tamborello, was integrity: The pace of designing, producing, and distributing clothes, season in and season out, inevitably resulted in a decline in quality between the creation of the first samples and the versions that wound up on sales floors. “That first sample was always so beautiful,” Tamborello explained recently, “but then the clothes that came back from the factory had, like, a family resemblance, but they weren’t the same thing.” Added Nguyen, “And we were working with fantastic factories. It wasn’t their fault. It was the process.”

Nguyen and Tamborello ultimately decided to shutter Les Aperizes about a year after its launch. Now, however, they’ve revived the brand, with a new model. They’re selling made-to-order clothes crafted, as they write, with “nearly 100 percent natural materials, time-consuming, hand-executed techniques and low-impact, sustainable production processes.” For their new endeavor, the pair are eschewing the traditional “season” model in favor of a design schedule they refer to as “windows.” The first so-called window, online now, debuts seven minimal takes on the black dress; another, soon to come, will see various iterations of the white shirt. “It’s all about reflecting on one category, thinking it through,” notes Nguyen. “It was really important to us to get away from that seasonal thing that felt so two-dimensional, all about concept and marketing.” That said, fans of Les Aperizes who are dying for looks from the brand’s earlier collections may be able to custom-order those, too: Certain styles will be available by request, another advantage of the bespoke model. “It’s more personal, and it’s more organic,” Nguyen said. “And we feel like this way, we can make things we believe in. We’ll see how it goes.”

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