What started as a project designing miniature, hand-sewn headpieces for artsy, fashion-forward friends turned into an entire hat line for design duo Laurel St. Romain and Christopher Garbushian. I Love Factory, the Brooklyn-based label which aims to give the lost art of millinery a rebirth is having its moment in the sun. Gossip Girl featured two of the bespoke hats in a recent episode, and WWD pronounced the pieces the hot accessories to watch. We caught up with the two to talk about their inspiration, Rodarte’s tights, and the Cure.
How did you come up with the idea of I Love Factory? What were your inspirations?
Laurel: Ever since I was little, I have loved all things costume-related. I always used to wear ribbons and barrettes in my hair when I was young and noticed a complete dearth of sophisticated headpieces on the market. My inspiration comes from all over the place — from the yellow-brick road of leaves in the Green-Wood Cemetery to the little old trumpet-playing man in the second subway station.
How long does it take you to put a headpiece together from start to finish?
Laurel: Oh gosh, it completely varies. The creative process is so different from the assembly-line process. I would say, from start to finish, my entire Cure playlist!
Is there a signature piece to the collection?
Christopher: They are all signature pieces! However, “The Prospect” particularly stands out. It’s a hand-created flower. The underneath backing is made up of black taffeta with lots of satin, silks, and feathers. We have also sewn on Swarovski crystals in an understated way.
Have you worked with any designers in the past? Do you look to any designers in particular?
Laurel: I was lucky enough to intern with Betsey Johnson, whose aesthetic I love.
Christopher: I particularly admire the avant-garde, London-based milliner Justin Smith. I also love the theatrical and exquisite workmanship of Rodarte, which we aim to emulate, Zac Posen’s collections, and the way Viktor & Rolf make fashion art!
What sort of woman do you envisage wearing I Love Factory headwear?
Laurel: A woman who wants to exude elegance and confidence.
Which current trend do you like right now?
Christopher: Accessories. It’s a trend that has been brought back and blown up. I love all the chunky, bold pieces around at the moment. They can really step up an outfit.
Which trend do you wish would just go away?
Christopher: I am not a fan of the boho-chic look. There are far too many people on the street doing it and more importantly doing it wrong!
Who in an ideal world would you like to wear I Love Factory?
Laurel: Kate Moss — she can pull off anything.
Christopher: Natalie Portman.
Is there any item you are lusting after right now?
Christopher: A pair of Marc Jacobs black military lace-up boots. They are so fresh!
Laurel: The Rodarte tights from fall 2008 in black and white.
What do you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?
Laurel: A pair of heels you can run in and a black eyeliner!
Where do you shop?
Christopher: The Barneys men’s store is fabulous — I love their displays. BBlessing on the LES.
Laurel: I window-shop at Opening Ceremony!
What is the one item you can’t live without?
Laurel: Kiehl’s baby lip balm.
Christopher: Green and Black 85 percent dark chocolate. I always keep some in my bag!