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Laure Hériard Dubreuil Celebrates 10 Years of The Webster


Laure Hériard Dubreuil Celebrates 10 Years of The Webster

By Rachel Felder | February 25, 2019 | Style & Beauty

A decade ago, Laure Hériard Dubreuil discovered all that is magical and chic about Miami and distilled it into one uber-cool concept store. Here's to 10 years of The Webster.

When Laure Hériard Dubreuil decided to open a designer boutique in 2009, she was drawn to Miami, with one specific neighborhood in mind. “For me, there was no other place than South Beach,” she says. “It was the sunshine and the charm of the art deco architecture.”

webster.jpgDress, $1,895, by Altuzarra; earrings, $1,045, by Delfi na Delettrez; handbag, $425, by Gigi Burris. All at The Webster, Bal Harbour Shops and South Beach.

Dubreuil—who had been working in her native France handling merchandising for Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent—visited Miami for the first time a few years earlier, during Art Basel. An afternoon of shopping inspired her to open the store. “I wanted to wear something cool and edgy and fashionable,” she recalls. “I realized the level of sophistication but couldn’t find anything. That’s how I decided.”

webster-2.jpgHeels, $995, by Pierre Hardy at The Webster, Bal Harbour Shops and South Beach.

And so she renovated a former hotel on Collins Avenue that was designed by Henry Hohauser, keeping many of its glamorous period details, and turned it into The Webster, an emporium of carefully chosen, often exclusive designer items for men and women. (The boutique actually began in a temporary space a few blocks down while work on the building was underway.) The location wasn’t exactly synonymous with designerwear—“People were like, ‘Seriously? Nobody’s going to come shop in South Beach,’” she laughs—but the store quickly became a magnet for shoppers and also designers, like Alber Elbaz, who would stop by to hang out and occasionally groom the mannequins when he was visiting Miami.

webster-3.jpgOn Maxine: Top, $365, and skirt, $695, both by LHD. On Laure: Top, $395, and skirt, $695, both by LHD; earrings, $1,000, by BegumKhan. All at The Webster, Bal Harbour Shops and South Beach.

A key to The Webster’s appeal is its edit, featuring clothing and accessories that feel upscale and current but never overly trendy. “That’s the most important part,” Dubreuil says. “I go a lot with my instincts. And it’s also about a certain aesthetic—it’s about timeless pieces; it’s about classics. It’s the latest fashion, but it’s things that you don’t want to get tired of. It’s pieces that you feel like you always had them.”

webster-4.jpgTop, $750, by Adam Lippes; skirt, $3,400, by Dior; heels, $995, by Balenciaga. All at The Webster, Bal Harbour Shops and South Beach.

At the start, that included brands like Prada, Balenciaga and Alaïa; these days, you’ll find standouts, frequently including exclusive items, from Chanel, Gucci and Balmain along with edgier brands like Jacquemus. Dubreuil has learned to trust her instincts on what will resonate with the store’s discerning clientele. “When I was first thinking of the brands, there were some pieces that people at the showrooms would say to me, ‘This is so Miami,’ and they didn’t work. The brands that I loved, that you would never think would be good for Miami—because I was wearing them, embracing them and really believed in them—that’s what was working. Also, people wanted things that they couldn’t find anywhere else.”

webster-5.jpgEarrings, $1,200, by Begum Khan, at The Webster, Bal Harbour Shops and South Beach.

“Laure takes risks and buys the kind of pieces for her stores that designers love to design, which, sadly, most retailers feel are too ‘forward’ for their customer,” says Lazaro Hernandez, one half of Proenza Schouler and a Miami native. “She has cultivated a following of fashion fans that seek out the newest, most daring fashion happening globally and, as a result, lets us designers feel free when designing collections because we know that it will have a life beyond the sketch pad.”

webster-6.jpgDress, $1,095, by Tome; necklace, $20,000, by Toni + Chloë Goutal; earrings, $4,400, by Azlee. All at The Webster, Bal Harbour Shops and South Beach.

There are now six Webster boutiques: South Beach, Bal Harbour, Houston, New York, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., and an outlet in Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Fla.; a Los Angeles location is in the works as well. “We don’t produce stores that are exactly the same,” she says. “All of them needed to have their own identity and their own personality, but still feel ‘Webster.’ The thing that I love is when clients are like, ‘I bought it at The Webster in Miami—oh, no, maybe it was in New York,’ because it feels like it’s the same quality and the same service. We wanted a site-specific atmosphere and vibe, but you still feel the same DNA.”

webster-7.jpgDress, $1,095, by Tome; necklace, $20,000, by Toni + Chloë Goutal; earrings, $4,400, by Azlee. All at The Webster, Bal Harbour Shops and South Beach.

Dubreuil, who lived in Miami for several years, is now based in downtown New York City with her husband, the artist Aaron Young, and their 5-year-old son, Marcel. While The Webster has a thriving website, she acknowledges that her bricks-and-mortar boutiques have been a success in an era that’s focused on online shopping. “When I opened, people were saying, ‘Retail is dead—no one cares about going to stores anymore,’” she recalls. “On the opposite, they cared about going to certain stores that were making it an experience. I realized very quickly that the clients really believe in us.”

Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAMILO RIOS; Model: Maxine Schiff, Elite; Hair and makeup by Britney Diaz