Glowing in the soft morning Lisbon light, her radiance exudes beyond the digital screen. Laetitia Lotthé voice echoes in Parisian lilts. Embodying a cross-cultural experience – with a mother from Central Africa and father from France – she moves between spaces with adaptability and ease.
Laetitia first experienced Johannesburg at the impressionable age of twelve. After attending the local French School Lycée Jules Verne she left South Africa and returned to Paris to complete her studies in business management. However, she had already lost her heart to the city of gold.
Her pre-adolescent years are peppered with memories of playing hide-and-seek with her sister amongst reels and reels of fabric at the Oriental Plaza. A tactic used in order to resist immanent boredom at the thought of being dragged to yet another material store by the hands of her mother. As a bespoke tailor, Laetitia’s mother acted as the figure who first immersed her in fashion. She remembers reading the designer magazines scattered around the house and the bolts of material in her home-bound studio.
By the time Laetitia reached high school, she was already designing pieces for her mother to execute. Some of which still reside in her vast wardrobe. However, she soon found that her real interest was located in the business of fashion. On annual vacationing trips to France as a teenager, she would source and then buy popular breakdancing brands to sell out of a car boot to local b-boys, monopolizing the market of the sought after goods.
Her parents soon announced, “you’re meant to be doing business” a quality they recognized in her even as a young child. After an internship post-studies at Dover Street Market Laetitia’s career was launched into Comme des Garcon where she has spent the last six years. The Japanese fashion label translates to ‘like boys’. Her journey at the brand began doing wholesale, she now operates as brand manager for Gosha Rubchinsky.
Comme des Garcon follows a particular philosophy and “doesn’t follow trends”. The space runs like a family in which one is encouraged to grow organically. Employees multi-task and juggle the twenty other fashion lines at the company – including Gosha Rubchinsky. The new line has become an incredible success as “one of the hottest brands on the market at the moment”.
Laetitia reflects that, “I love the brand, because I love the designer”. She went on to say, “Gosha is such an amazing person. What I like, is that he has a specific goal – to inspire young people, especially in his environment. He grew up in Moscow where I think young people don’t really have anyone to look up to, and they don’t understand what they’re able to do or not.”
The young designer has begun to destabilise some of the perceived obstacles around breaking into the fashion industry. “He is really inspiring teenagers to start and do their thing and go for it. I think for me, that is the most important.” He navigates around the purely capitalist model of consumer goods into something more meaningful. Their casting system operates predominantly through Instagram – a space that is becoming increasingly important as teenagers online have developed a virtual community through branded identity and an affinity towards Gosha.
Fashion exists on a personal level; Laetitia uses it as platform of self-expression beyond the confines of her career. On an evening shoot with South African photographer, Chris Saunders, she was captured on the streets of Paris. Located nearby her home – the space is a central melting-pot of cultural and class experience. The road transitions from clusters of sex workers into ‘Little Africa’ further down the road – peppered with the salons Laetitia has hair braided at. A “beautiful chaos” is how Laetitia describes it. A space of in-between and everything.
Look 1 – Laetitia wears: Jacket by Ovelia Transtoto, Top by Jacquemus, Skirt by Comme des Garçons Girl and Shoes by Eytys
Look 2 – Laetitia wears: Top by Jacquemus and Dress by Pull & Bear
Look 3 – Laetitia wears: Jacket by Comme des Garçons Black, Top (vintage Tommy Hilfiger), Sweatpants by Gosha Rubchinskiy, Shoes by Nike
Look 4 – Laetitia wears: Top by Gosha Rubchinskiy, Dress by Comme des Garçons Tricot, Jeans (vintage Levi’s 501), and Shoes by Monki