Minuit is the hottest cool-girl brand you've never heard of- until now. Spearheading the 3-year old brand is French designer and creative director, Laurie Arbellot, who is no stranger to the industry. During her 15 years of designing for household names like Proenza Schouler, Marc Jacobs and Chloé, Arbellot developed her own vision: to create high-fashion at an affordable price point without sacrificing quality.
Q: Tell us the story of Minuit. What inspired you to start your own label?
A: I've been working for amazing designers for almost 15 years and at some point I realized that instead of creating clothes for another label, maybe I should start my own. When I was younger, I would spend hours looking for the perfect dress, pants, and jackets and I realized that I was probably not the only one. I love beautiful clothes, but also realize it is hard to find quality clothes these days that are not overpriced. This is what I wanted to offer with MINUIT. I don't know what else I could have done; fashion has always been my passion.
Q: Can you share the challenges of making your brand stand out in the midst of the pandemic?
A: Launching during the pandemic was an experience that made me grow. The main challenge was to build a collection knowing that you couldn't meet people in real life and had to only communicate by Zoom calls. The first MINUIT market happened in the middle of the pandemic and none of the buyers from outside France were traveling. So we had to work twice as hard to have people noticing us… it was the opposite for the press. People were extremely curious to know about MINUIT… and we were probably the only people launching a luxury fashion brand.
Q: You were a senior designer at Proenza Schouler. How did that experience influence your own design philosophy?
A: I was working closely with Jack and Lazaro on the ready to wear design team for about 7 years and I loved working with them… it totally influenced my design philosophy. The way they design a collection – the love of colors and their sense of experimentation when it comes to jacquard, fabric development and fits. They always wanted to go further in their way of creating and it definitely stayed with me.
Q: What does your design process look like?
A: My design process usually starts with visual research, going to fabric factories in Italy to dig into their archives, going to museums and art shows. Discovering new artists is my favorite thing and I usually take a lot of inspiration from art. Then, I start building fabric groups with what I find and the process of creating a color gamme and custom jacquard and/or prints begins. Then come the sketches.
Q: Who is the Minuit girl?
A: The MINUIT girl is an active woman who's confident, and happy to celebrate her femininity.
Q: What is your process for textile development and sustainability? How much time do you spend traveling and meeting with the artisans and textile developers who create your products?
A: Organization is key. I make sure to keep the development process small and efficient. I only work with artisans in Europe… it's important to create a good relationship with them… because they work super hard and are under a lot of pressure… also to understand their needs and to see their work environment. I'm also really clear when it comes to designs to avoid miscommunication, producing too many samples or sending too many packages.
Q: Relative to other luxury fashion brands, Minuit is still the new kid on the block with only 4 seasons under your belt. Where do you envision the brand five years from now?
A: Opening a shop in Paris is my main goal, then New York would be amazing too, since it's been my second home. I'd like to stay small when it comes to collections; keep it to only two a year to avoid overproduction. I'm trying to offer styles every season that you want to keep in your closet for years. Fashion is about timelessness but also about style, that's why every collection will be a mix of carry overs but also seasonal new pieces. I want the brand to stay the same when it comes to design, Parisian and super feminine but with a touch of New York coolness.
Q: In your opinion, what will never go out of style?
A: Elegance and confidence. Fashion is not so much about what piece of clothes you wear, but about how it makes you feel when you wear it.