Avec Les Filles, originally a story told by one-woman, has begun a new journey under Bagatelle International Inc. growing to a “story for all women.” And taking a cue from the success of its enormously popular outerwear collections, Avec Les Filles is bringing its signature must-have style to a whole new collection of ready-to-wear looks in Fall 2020.
Designs that appeal to all women have been a key component of the Avec Les Filles’ outerwear collections and will remain important as the brand ventures into ready-to-wear. Avec Les Filles’ first RTW drop ships on July 30th, and the first capsule titled “Antoinette,” presents a strong and powerful vibe from the past, present, and future while mixing in the three design pillars: retro, street, and runway. To see the collection styled is to recognize elements of yesterday’s structures and today’s contemporary ease.
Here, Jamie Litvack, executive vice president of Bagatelle International Inc., Sofia Wahlberg, co-creative director of Avec Les Filles, and Bradley Mounce, co-creative director of Avec Les Filles, speak with WWD Studios to breakdown the label’s first ready-to-wear drop and what will come next for the brand.
WWD: How is the RTW collection an extension of the Avec Les Filles must-have outerwear collection and how would you describe it to someone who is new to Avec Les Filles?
Sofia Wahlberg: Avec Les Filles is a brand that attracts women from all over, with its confident and cool feminine vibe. The RTW line offers the customer who loves Avec Les Filles outerwear a complete look. It’s the perfect balance between every day wearable pieces and must have statement pieces.
WWD: What are some of the hero pieces and major trends highlighted in the Antionette Collection that you are most excited about?
S.W.: We are most excited about the overall feeling of empowerment that the collection generates. We’ve really played with the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine by mixing military style elements, like unexpected shoulder pad t-shirts and bodysuits, with elements that are softer for a more romantic finish.
The vegan leather pieces are also quite chic and new. We are excited about how it has been used for the rouched mini skirt and utility dresses. The collection also includes novelty and not-so-basic denim pieces, military and vintage washed cottons in cargo pants, corseting details, two-tone jackets, abstract camo prints and vintage leather jackets. All of the elements come together to touch on every major trend of the season.
WWD: Your inspiration for the collection is women of the past, present and future. Who are some of the women from the past and present that you have found inspirational in your design process?
Bradley Mounce: It was important to us to look to strong women in history for inspiration as we dress today’s women. We were especially inspired by the women of the Marie Antoinette era, who, to us, really exemplified an extravagant, feminine way of dressing during a time of war. Similarly, we really appreciate that sort of juxtaposition that women found during the “Rosie the Riveter” movement. For these women, clothes needed to be wearable, but they also showcased a balance between the masculine and feminine.
In a broader sense, we also found inspiration from women in pop culture history. For example, we’ve utilized strong shoulders throughout the collection which draws inspiration right from Joan Crawford’s many iconic looks.
Even though elements of the collection are dated back to the 18th Century, they have been updated and elevated with street style trends so that you can easily see all of today’s influential modern muses wearing them. We were especially inspired by Kaia Gerber because of the chic ease she brings to street style and the way she effortlessly combines masculine and feminine pieces. We looked to Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid’s street style for inspiration too. With Bella we were very drawn to her hyper-feminine and sculpted looks that really emulate a high-end vibe.
WWD: What are Millennial women looking for when they shop today?
B.M.: It’s important to Millennials that the pieces they buy have that “must-have” factor, but she also looks for the perfect combination of wear-ability, price point and sense of statement. With Avec Les Filles we have found that these women are usually shopping for themselves, but we also have a lot of cross over with an older generation when our girls shop with their moms. We love that the brand is able to make the crossover and appeal to all women.
WWD: Why do buyers love the brand?
Jamie Litvack: Avec Les Filles outerwear has performed extremely well at retail. We’ve had great success, and received amazing support, in retailers like Urban Outfitters, Shopbop, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus, among others.
There isn’t much else like it out there and our customers appreciate that Avec Les Filles offers a range of higher quality products that have impulse price points. Women get excited when they see our line in stores – it provokes a refreshing “must-have” reaction – and buyers notice. The one thing that buyers always tell us is that they can’t believe trends they just saw on the runway are already in the line.
WWD: How do you plan to continue evolving the brand?
J.L.: The ideas are endless and we are just getting started! Avec Les Filles will be expanding into a full lifestyle brand, adding on footwear, swim, sunglasses and more. Each season we will drop multiple capsules that each tell a different story.
We are always expanding our direct to consumer e-commerce, influencers, brand ambassadors and community outreach going beyond the line and creating a network for the Avec Les Filles Girl Army that stays true to our values and brand. Instagram has embraced us since our initial launch and thousands of girls can be seen wearing Avec Les Filles.
WWD: What can you tell us about the second drop?
S.W.: Our second drop, “Claudia,” is far from basic. Think 1990s supermodel married with 1970s western vibes.
Picture Claudia Schiffer in cowboy boots, bell bottom denim, topped off with a fringe suede jacket and that’s your sneak peak for what’s next! “Claudia,” will drop on August 3rd.
Consumers are able to shop Avec Les Filles’ current collection of fashion-forward outerwear now at aveclesfilles.com and find teasers for Avec Les Filles’ soon-to-follow, second RTW drop on the brand’s Instagram (@aveclesfilles).