Lou Doillon

On the heels of designing an eponymous denim collection for Lee Cooper, Lou Doillon professes her own sartorial secrets. By Christene Barberich
loudoillon_aw08Growing up with Jane Birkin as a mom, it's not a surprise that daughter Lou Doillon would inherit at least a little of the British beauty's indelible sense of chic. Fact is, she got more than just a little. But what's even more enduring (and appealing) about the 25-year-old Doillon is that she wears her top hats, baggy trousers, and cropped tux jackets with the kind of poise that tends to come with a lifetime of dressing up. "[Growing up], everyone was so beautiful and serious in our house—I was the funny one. I'd dress up in weird shoes and my dad's jacket to make them laugh," she says. "When I get dressed, I [still] like to make people smile."
Last year, Doillon's lighthearted fashion sense caught the eye of legendary British denim company, Lee Cooper, and she's since inked a 3-year deal to design her own capsule collection for the label. More than just jeans and jackets, Doillon's recent collection (titled "The Dodger") explores the balance between high fashion and functionality and delivers high-waisted hot pants and crisply cut jackets with tails that any budding fashion ingénue would want to mix into her repertoire. "It's my idea of 'different'," she says. "A little bit me, I suppose." Here, the burgeoning designer tells us what turns her on these days when it comes to getting dressed.
Spring/summer '08 Lou Doillon by Lee Cooper looks. At top: A campaign image of Lou Doillon in the Dodger shorts from her spring/summer '08 collection for Lee Cooper
Tell us the five elements that compose your own style?
Hats, all kinds, boots, men's shirts, jeans, and anything with a high waist—I don't know why they work for me, they just do!
You have a pretty unique look. Do you have any style inspirations we might not expect?
History is a big inspiration, and then literature, paintings, and films. I like hidden references; I'll be inspired to wear thigh-high green socks by an Egon Schiele painting. For the Lee Cooper collection, my style inspiration is the Artful Dodger—my favorite character ever [from Oliver Twist]. I love uniforms, and the collection has that military influence as seen in the style of buttons and on the trimmings.

Lou Doillon backstage at her spring/summer '08 show with Lee Cooper

A Lou Doillon by Lee Cooper lookbook shot for fall/winter '08, Lou styling behind-the-scenes at a lookbook shoot
Have you noticed any philosophies or themes that seem to inform how you get dressed everyday?
As a child, I loved dressing up. And still today, I don't dress for an occasion, I dress to suit my mood. I can be dressed up for gardening and dressed down for a ball; it depends on how I feel. I also like to personalize my outfits and add my own touches to pieces, like my own buttons, etc. Fashion to me is any girl in the street with her own style and unique way of dressing. Fashion knows how to mix pieces and has a genius way of thinking about clothes.
What designers are you into right now?
I like trousers and summer coats by Ann Demeulemeester, Comme des Garçons, Tsumori Chisato, McQueen, Gaultier, beautiful dresses from Martine Sitbon, wonderful things by Yohji Yamamoto. I'm amazed by Galliano shows, and I love Westwood—her pieces have hidden codes within their designs, how the French revolution changed the shape of a humble pocket, etc.
What drew you to designing the denim collection?
I was lucky to have a proposition from Lee Cooper, so I went with it, and now I'm doing the best I can. I hate buying jeans, so I was excited to make some I'd actually want to wear. And Lee Cooper and I go back a long way, my mum did some hilarious, ultra-sexy ads for them in the '80s. Plus, I like working with denim because jeans were made for very practical reasons, and that's very much in keeping with my attitude toward dressing.
But the collection is really so much broader than just denim. Some of the pieces are beautifully tailored and glamorous without being over the top. Would you ever consider doing a full-fledged fashion line?
Lou Doillon in a look from her fall/winter '08 collection for Lee Cooper and with Mischa Barton and Milla Jovovitch at the fall/winter '08 collection party
What are your favorite looks from the jeans line?
The Dodger. I wore the Dodger shorts in the campaign and the long leg version at my launch in London, and I am torn between the two styles, I love them both. For autumn/winter '08, I've done a Dodger pencil shirt and a Dodger mini-skirt.
Your mom, Jane Birkin, epitomizes understated style. What's the best fashion item you've stolen/borrowed from your mother recently?
An Yves Saint Laurent blouse.
For more information about Lou Doillon's capsule denim collection for Lee Cooper, go to www.loucooper.com.
On the heels of designing an eponymous denim collection for Lee Cooper, Lou Doillon professes her own sartorial secrets.

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