Designer Lulu LaFortune’s boisterous premiere collection of home goods celebrates joie de vivre. And this fall, she doubles down with even more interior goodness on the way.
Designer Lulu LaFortune atop her Madox cabinet
Let’s talk background. How did you get your start in design?
It started with my decision to study furniture design in college. While doing that I also decided to minor in interior design and textile design. I am very passionate about these three areas of design. Post-grad, I was automatically drawn to interior design companies that also designed and produced furniture, which led me to Kelly Wearstler. Being in the industry, even for a short time, confirmed what I had been thinking, which is that I want to design my own line of furniture and create my own brand, and, thus, here we are.
How did your time with Wearstler influence your work?
My time at Kelly Wearstler is a chapter in my life that I am forever grateful for. I was constantly inspired by Kelly’s kindness and determination. I learned a lot about working in a design studio environment, and that has allowed me to develop professionally.
The Morris armchair, part of Lulu LaFortune’s Joie de Vivre collection
Can you put a name to your aesthetic?
I would say my style falls into the category of Grand Millennial. While I support the return of fringe, bed skirts and floral wallpaper, I also hope my work brings a fresh take to these styles that has never been done before. So, maybe, Grand Millennial 2.0.
What was your inspiration for your premiere collection, Joie de Vivre?
I looked toward anything that brings me joy. But let me narrow it down to three: the first, Copenhagen street style. The essence of cool and bright meet wonderfully here. There is a display of clothing items that alone might be read as bougie (fur coats, formal dinner gloves and sequined ballgowns), but when paired with sneakers or a pair of corduroy pants, the rules of those formal garments are broken. This youthful energy and contrast of styles is a concept I try to weave into my furniture designs. The second, the concept of giving a second life to old styles. I researched many old styles or methods of craft to incorporate into this collection. This can be seen in the usage of stained glass, the incorporation of French treillage and fringe. These beautiful elements of design deserve another time to shine! And lastly, Parisian flair. The idea of over-the-top abundance inspired the photo shoot and marketing of my collection, hence why I had a dessert tower of French pastries, bowls of strawberries and a massive display of flowers. Pizazz, gusto, oomph, zest, zing, zip—these are all words I want someone to think of when they see my work.
The Watts table lamp
You have a new collection debuting this fall. Give us the scoop.
My fall collection thrives between the contrast of today’s trends and yesterday’s. Hence the name Le Passé est Présent. In their designs, I draw inspiration from 1800s craftsmanship and revive them with modern color palettes and fresh materials. Creating my pieces, I strive to go against the thought that certain styles or colors can’t be paired together. I love pairing designs with deep history and today’s street-style trends. For example, in this collection you’ll find a set of club chairs upholstered like this season’s puffy coat and a stained-glass lampshade paired with a polished chrome base. ... The trends of 1821 and 2021 are brought together, because why not?
Beyond your own work, of course, divulge your “secret” sources for furnishings and decor.
I’m a huge fan of going down the Instagram rabbit hole and finding online antique and vintage stores. My latest favorite, which I found on Instagram, is Obsolete. A second favorite is a shop curated by Stacy London called @small_beautiful_things_ny.
For the rest of 2021 I am working on producing some accessories, so everyone can have a moment of my brand in their homes without having to commit to big pieces of furniture.