Hubert Burda Media

In conversation with Laure Hériard Dubreuil and Aaron Young

Delve into the world of Manhattan’s coolest couple: fashion insider Laure Hériard Dubreuil and her artist husband, Aaron Young.

She’s the founder of style destination The Webster – now with four stores, including outposts in Miami Beach, Texas and California – and he’s the charismatic artist whose work has been exhibited everywhere from the New York’s Whitney Biennial to the Serpentine Gallery in London. Together, Paris-born Laure Hériard Dubreuil and her Californian husband, Aaron Young, are one of the creative world’s most renowned couples. While Young has been working as an artist since attending San Francisco Art Institute in the early noughties, it was another few years before Hériard Dubreuil would find her niche and their paths would cross. A last-minute trip to Art Basel Miami Beach while en route to NYC in 2006 left Hériard Dubreuil without any sophisticated summer styles in her suitcase. This sowed the seed of an idea that would grow into The Webster – a multi brand luxury boutique with a tightly edited and beautifully curated offering – and result in the first store opening in 2009. We join the couple in conversation.

So how did you guys meet?
Laure Hériard Dubreuil: We met in Miami during Art Basel. Aaron was installing his works – he had a show at the time – and I was opening The Webster. I had a temporary store. It was Art Basel 2008, and we met through common friends.

What do you most appreciate  about each other personally and professionally?
Aaron Young: Laure has a strong head for the future. She takes her steps, not slowly, but with great precision. She has a vision of what she does today and what it will mean in the future. I’m more the kind of guy who jumps into it and starts a mess. So it’s nice to have her jump in sometimes as well. And professionally … there’s not much separating us professionally or
personally.

LHD: I feel that Aaron is my best friend, my partner, my love. We are building our life together. What I really appreciate is that he’s so curious and he opens me towards so many different things, to everything, basically. [With his] being an artist, this whole creative process is incredible: to be able to share together and grow together. So, “personally” and “professionally”
are very connected because we both run our own businesses. AY: Both parts of our lives are very engaged. This is our lifestyle together.

LHD: Aaron’s [always] thinking outside the box, and he’s so creative that it’s good because he challenges me the whole time and he helps me get out of my comfort zone.

Do you see yourselves and each other as artists and style curators?
LHD: I don’t see myself as an artist. Maybe as a curator. That’s what I do by selecting the pieces and the brands, and doing all the collaborations and the exclusive collections. AY: As an artist … it’s not only making art, but an artist is more of a way of thinking. That thinking can be brought to style, politics, business, to different things. So being myself as an artist I tend to be able to think through an artist process on different levels of creativity and business.

Have you thought on the intersection of art and style?
LHD: Fashion is an art itself, and so many artists have collaborated with fashion brands. It’s very connected. Being an artist and a fashion designer, you have to be aware of the time you live in. Our professional life is very connected. AY: I think Laure gave me new appreciation for style. What she cherishes the most is a style that’s enduring, that transcends a trend, a space, a time. Something that can reflect, but also that can be placed in the future. You know, something in the 1960s that can explode in 2017, or beyond that. What I can relate to, in art, is that the time is always changing but the essence of the style can explode in different times.

Portait: Dino Busch

What are the similarities and differences in the way you approach work and are inspired?
AY: We approach things from the same starting point: with passion and energy. And we need to have those kind of [reassurances] from each other. And that’s where we work very well: we always exchange ideas and we respect each other’s opinions. Laure is probably my main devil’s advocate, but we both push through each other’s opinions. If passions are boiling enough, we feel that we have to do something. We are two individuals that are unbridled by our own passions and if we feel we have to go there, then we have to go there. We keep things boiling for
a long time and then we execute. An idea will be boiling for six months or a year, and then I can get it done in a day. I just need to have all of the pieces put together.

LHD: I agree. And Aaron helps me push the ideas to the next level, thinking outside of the box. But I always need to pass the ideas to him and see what he thinks. And when he challenges my ideas, it’s very enriching for me. We have different perspectives and eyes. It’s amazing.

Have you found your own professional points of view shifting and changing based on each other’s likes and dislikes?
LHD: It’s constant and unconscious, but for sure we’ve changed. As I said, Aaron is always challenging me to get out of my comfort zone, and we come from two different backgrounds and two different cultures. So every day, also when we raised our child together, we had to change and to adapt and to find the middle ground between us. But it’s not difficult because we respect each other and we share the same big values.
AY: I don’t think that we’re challenging each other. I think that we’re challenging ourselves for a higher standard. And that’s what we’re always reaching for.

How do politics, culture and trends inform your work?
LHD: We have extremely strong influences on our works. Every day we’re influenced by that, especially nowadays in the world we live in, with social media. The influence is huge.

AY: Through our work we always have to acknowledge the importance of those categories you mentioned. We always try to address a place that we stand for in the world, and I think it’s extremely important not only for us, but also for our child. To know that we have a strong point of view, and that’s what we try to give him.

Has your son Marcel impacted on the way you work or see the world?
LHD: The impact is huge, and the responsibility we have towards him, in every minute of our day. But also to think about the world in general – what’s going on and how we want to take part and try to make it a better place for him, not only inside our house.
AY: Yes, being able to kind of live vicariously through a child’s eyes is probably the freest act that an adult can do. And seeing him come to different activities, I mean, I see complete art in that. I’m planning on stealing some of his drawings for my own.

Is professional collaboration on the cards?
LHD: We collaborate all the time. Personally, professionally, and it’s very natural and genuine. Aaron makes some pieces for each of our locations. We were lucky to have his pieces when we opened the store.So we collaborate all the time every day.
AY: It’s always “behind the scenes”. [But] decision-making always ends up being with Laure, officially!