23 Apr
Reintroducing Los Angeles to its dark roots

Flavie and Clay Webster, the creators of the up-and-coming luxury leather line Cerre, meld the elements loved most about this city’s history — its glamour, buoyancy and brutality. They have reintroduced Los Angeles to its dark roots, reminding us that she is anything but natural or blonde.

The auspicious birth of Cerre reads like an enchanting fashion creation myth. The two designers met at the beginning of this decade while both were on a train to Cologne for a modeling job. When the striking Flavie, of French lineage, met Clay, an untraditionally handsome Californian, it was a match made in runway heaven. The couple wed two years later amongst a lot of work-related travel and some model vagabondage. They decided to move to California to begin their first collection, as the traditionally conservative market in Paris was too limiting for the Websters. “We couldn’t be as creative in Paris as we could be here,” notes Clay, “there is a clientele [in LA] that is willing to try new things and take chances.” So in 2003 they launched their first line, Material. The line was comprised of structured jersey sport-couture and was received favorably by major stores and boutiques, such as Colette. Ultimately Flavie and Clay decided to discontinue the line after only two seasons; the couple felt that at the time it was too much in step with a lot of other collections, moving away from the sense of artisanship they were intent to convey.

There was little rest for the wicked before Cerre was created in 2005. The couple began to experiment with leather and skins, at first sporadically making simple handbags, but like many a long-haired, powdered and stockinged fashion aficionado before them, they soon fell in love with the material. It seemed only natural to move north from their temporary Orange County home to LA, truly the last refuge of the unabashedly leather-clad. “LA is kind of like the Wild West still in fashion, it feels like you can do anything,” says Clay. From the mouth of babes… especially when considering some of the biggest contenders in fashion got their start here, lines like Rick Owens and Rodarte both sprung from the Angeleno desert like Athena from Zeus. It was the medley of atomized fashion from punk rock to glamour and Parisian precision tailoring that ultimately gave Cerre their raison d’etre.

Hit the Jump to continue reading the Cerre: Trompe Angeleno feature, and for another exclusive gallery of their showroom and leather creations…

“They have reintroduced Los Angeles to its dark roots, reminding us that she is anything but natural or blonde.”

Clay and Flavie’s primary goals are simplicity and quality in all of their clothing, demanding a certain proximity to the designing process. The collection is comprised of austere black silhouettes cut out of the supplest Italian leathers and stitched purposefully to create clean lines that are both eloquent and innovative. The bespoke quality of their garments would be equally striking in an Aubrey Beardsley illustration as they would on the back of Lou Doillon. Their leather pieces are designed with intelligence and rigor, from their cashmere-lined sheepskin leather cape (which could practically double as a dress) to the black straight-legged leather and cotton jean. Also noteworthy is their collection of beautifully delicate pieces, in long languorous silks and sheer cashmeres. The contrast between the two textures gives an almost apparitional look.

The Cerre girl, or boy, is dreamy and fragile, but certainly not saccharine, as evidenced in their “come hither” presentation videos. The seductive alchemy of Paganism and Catholicism kept the Romans in business for quite a while, and I can’t imagine it being any different for Cerre.

No Responses to “Cerre: Trompe Angeleno”

  1. svarowski says:

    I enjoy your story, ok, i’ll save this website and return here in next couple of days.

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