Laurence Li and Chico Lang are the married designers behind Canadian womenswear brand, Laurence & Chico, which developed after the husbands met as students at Parsons School of Design. Originally from Vancouver, the duo has become a burgeoning force in New York City fashion, staking ground with their infatuation of all things outlandish and over-the-top.
For spring '18, Laurence & Chico dropped their Makeup Factory collection, featuring 20 campy looks inspired by Laurence's hand-drawn illustrations and their friend Cui "Masa" Xiaohong, who's behind China's Marie Dalgar makeup brand. Decked out in monstrous beehive wigs, afros and birthday bows, models wore beaded fringe, ruffled denim and glittered tweed--a retro range that looked equal parts Hairspray and Willy Wonka.
We caught up with the Canadian husbands to discuss their love for flamboyance and the ways they're queering fashion.
OUT: How did you two meet?
Laurence & Chico: We met through a gay dating app, and our relationship began from there. One day, Chico saw one of my illustrations and decided he wanted to turn them into postcards. We sold them in Soho across from Miu Miu and received a great response--they actually sold out. Chico decided to start putting my illustrations on some of his tees and sweatshirts, and that's how Laurence & Chico started.
How would you describe your brand DNA?
It's affordable luxury--fun, bold and loud. We love playing with textures and silhouettes. However, the craftsmanship is extremely detailed and intricate. All our pieces are made by hand.
Do you consider yourself maximalists?
We wouldn't consider ourselves maximalists just yet. Many of the pieces in the show are over-the-top and dramatic, but we also have more minimal, streamlined options like t-shirts and separates. Laurence & Chico only gets better and better, bigger and bigger, grander and grander--yet at the same time, wearable.
What was this season's inspiration?
This season is inspired by makeup. I drew Masa, a friend of ours who owns the Chinese cosmetics brand Marie Dalgar, as a blue creature who is the makeup queen of the Laurence & Chico world. Masa is our muse for the season. In this world I illustrated, I drew makeup brushes, powder, mascara, compacts. Chico based his designs for the season off my illustrations and put his own twist on them with fabrications like shredded, glittery tweed resembling eyelashes, pearl embellishments and feathery silk.
How do you think you're queering fashion?
Although we are technically a womenswear brand, a lot of guys wear our pieces too. People have started to care less and less about whether the clothes are for men or women. As long as it looks chic, there shouldn't be a difference. We are encouraging people to be bold and dress however they want regardless of if you are a boy or a girl.
In what ways are you embracing femininity through Laurence & Chico?
Rather than embracing femininity, we are truly embracing the Laurence & Chico lifestyle. The Laurence & Chico girl doesn't care for everyday garments. She wants to be different and knows how to make an entrance. She loves one-of-a kind statement pieces.
Describe the person you envision wearing this collection.
A person who wears Laurence & Chico truly loves fashion and embraces their individuality. They aren't afraid of prints, colors or textures.