The Australian – “Amelie star lends style to friendship”

by Georgina Safe

When you are a young French-Australian trying to launch your fashion label in an overcrowded landscape, what better way to make a splash than to have your best mate from Paris help out – particularly when she happens to be Audrey Tautou.

“Audrey is my best friend, she is here to support me,” designer Laurence Pasquier said last night in Sydney.

Pasquier and Tautou grew up in Montlucon in central France, and the film star last night took the opportunity to lend her star wattage to the budding designer while holidaying in Australia.

“I love what Laurence is doing; she is bringing a touch of France to Australia,” Tautou said.

The guest of honour at the launch of Pasquier’s new spring-summer collection, Tautou had Sydney’s usually self-composed style set in a collective petit-mal over her signature gamine chic.

A favourite among fashion folks for her stylish turns in films including “Amélie” and “Priceless”, Tautou has been cast as Coco Chanel in her next project, a feature written by respected Chanel biographer Edmonde Charles-Roux. Pasquier’s new range takes inspiration from Chanel’s beloved Paris. Named City of Lights, it features silk floral print dresses and blouses, sporty jersey separates and clean-lined shirtwaisters and tunics.

“It’s urban and slick, but at the same time giving a nod to the more feminine woman,” Pasquier said. In Tautou, she has access to the kind of publicity and product placement most young designers would surrender their sewing machines for.

“I’ve given Audrey some pieces and she wears them in Paris because she likes what I’m doing,” Pasquier said. “But it’s just because she’s a really good friend, it’s nothing more complicated than that.” Pasquier, who had worked in a Paris fashion showroom selling labels such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior, arrived in Sydney in 2001 to found her own label.

“I bring my European influences to it, but at the same time I have had to adapt myself to the Australian climate and more relaxed lifestyle,” she said.

The combination has proved popular: Pasquier’s eponymous label is stocked at stores, including Austique in London, and boutiques across Australia, including Frisk, Emporia and Bloodorange, where last night’s launch took place.

© 2007 The Australian

Have a look at Audrey wearing Laurence’s fashion at the gallery.