Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia went into their sophomore season for Monse on instinct, the buzz from their well-received first collection and an innate sense for who the Monse woman is. With a mix of stripes, deconstructed menswear and a pop of pink, these two Oscar de la Renta alumni showed an assertive collection that deftly mixes glamour and tailoring.
Harper’s Bazaar: What does it feel like going into the second season?
Laura Kim: We got such a good response for the first one, so I hope we're not letting anyone down.
Fernando Garcia: Yeah, I would say it's sort of getting more people to help us, and worry about the collection a little bit more as opposed to everything else. We have an incredible staff now. So it's made us focus more on the clothes. It's been the biggest difference between the two seasons.
HB: Awesome. And tell me what you had in mind for this season?
LK: We started with, like, the ideas from spring, because we didn't want to just leave it and then do something else, then it evolved into like menswear and lining and where you see the lining but the fabric we ordered for the lining was so nice, so we had to see the lining.
FG: It's deconstructing a man's suit and putting it on a woman. It's the same sex appeal that the first collection had with a man's shirt, a boyfriend shirt, but with a suit using the lining as main fabrics, wools as fabrics, buttons as details, and keeping it easy.
HB: And what about the colour palette?
FG: Well, we love black and white, and a lot of our buyers responded really well to that, so that's in there. We love a stripe. We, I think, are going to keep a stripe going for a long time, it's what we believe in. And a little bit of pink always makes everything a little bit feminine. So that's how we're doing it.
HB: Tell me about working in a duo. Why does that work for you?
FG: Well, because we're very different.
LK: Yeah, there's a lot of things I just can't do and Fernando's amazing at.
FG: And vice versa. So it's a yin and a yang. If we disagree on something, we just sleep on it, and then the next day whoever feels stronger for it will probably hit that home run with it.
LK: When one of us has to make decisions on their own, I feel one hundred percent that he probably made the best decision because I don't know that area.
HB: What challenges have you guys faced in launching this brand so far, and what have you learned along the way so far?
FG: A challenge, I think, has been just making sure that we have a lot of support on the retail side and making everybody happy. We never expected to get the response that we got, and a lot of people want exclusives and everything for themselves, and it's a balance because we have a lot of relationships that we've built through the years, and we can't sort of turn anybody down on our first shot. So that's been the biggest challenge I think.
LK: Getting it delivered to the store was a challenge. I thought it was going to be easy. So I have a new level of respect for everyone beyond design because I didn't know how hard it was.
HB: Who is the Monse girl?
FG: She has a life outside of fashion, she works really hard, she's very into having friends in the creative world, and she's very sure of her sense of style.
LK: She's more willing to look a little different.
HB: Is there a star piece for you in here?
LK: I love look 1 (the third in the picture above).
FG: Look 1 is I think our favorite.
LK: And I love the girl who's wearing it, like everything about it.
FG: It sort of gets the brand in one look because it's got enough elegance, but enough sex appeal, a strike and a balance with both, and I think that's what we want to get across.
HB: So how do you decide whether to have that be look 1 or the final one?
FG: It's very instinctual. When we were doing the lineup, Lauren and I kept saying, "I love this look, I love this look," and it wasn't look number one last night, but we just knew in our hearts that it was look 1. We were like, "Why not make it just look 1?" You know, you're thinking a blouse and a pant — is that a look 1? It just felt right.
- Via Harper's Bazaar US