L’a Belle Couture! First things first. The entrepreneur behind the line is Dorinne Jean-Gilles, born and partly-raised in Haiti. The entrepreneur says she was exposed to the business world at an early age through her mother who was the owner and CEO of La Colombre, a fashion and Culinary school. “On a yearly basis,” she recalls, “I witnessed a new graduating class of students [who] were taught by my mother, as well as her eclectic clientele.” But her mother wasn’t her only influence. Her father Moise, an industrial mechanic, handled all the sewing machine needs for his wife’s business. Dorinne was able to witness first-hand what solid teamwork can achieve.
In terms of early inspiration, she credits summer vacations in her grandparents’ hometown as her main tutor in terms of color spotting. Her dolls were the most fashionable in town, but outside of play-play world, it was her attending International Fine Arts College and sewing actual outfits for family members that led her towards the path of fashion designer. If L’a Belle Couture has a philosophy, it’s designing tasteful clothing for men and women while allowing them to retain their own sense of individuality and style.
Now…Read all about the designer and her journey.
Kreyolicious: I think L’a Belle Kouture is catchy and cute. Was it hard coming up with an original name for your line?
I was affectionately nicknamed la belle by a friend of mine and when I was trying to come up with ideas my roommate at the time Dominic suggested why not La belle…so I polled family members, researched the name, and came up with a creative way of spelling it to set myself apart…
Kreyolicious: Who taught you how to sew?
I have to give the credit to my mother. Although I attended art school after high school graduation, the initial process was all mom. By going to school, I learned how to combine the techniques I have learned from her and ones thought by school which helps my understanding. There are certain tricks however that cannot be taught by teachers it is better learned from the individual that does this on a daily basis.
Kreyolicious: Lots of people know how to sew, but it’s not everyone who knows how to sew who takes it to the next level.
That is so true, sewing requires a lot of patience and concentration and the willingness to start over sometimes in an effort to get it right…You not only have to sketch the garment you have to ensure that the execution is there in addition to properly finishing the garment. One must take pride in their work and makes sure that the client is getting exactly what they pay for. Your reputation and your skills as a designer depends on it.
Kreyolicious: Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?
I get my inspirations from everyday life. I remember once being inspired by a Coca Cola bottle…You know the old ones…Friends and family member often make fun of me…I can be watching just a regular movie, but I will catch a neckline that is interesting to me or sometime just the design itself. I will say things like, “Oooohhh do you see this dress?”—only to get these looks, but they are used to it by now.
The fabric store is another source of inspiration. When I walk out, I feel so recharged…[and so] ready to make something. I am an open-minded individual and very creative…so inspiration for me is not difficult…I even dream of of pieces sometimes and will wake up in the middle of the night, sketch it out and go back to sleep…Call me crazy…[Laughter]
Kreyolicious: When someone is trying to get a custom design from L’a Belle Couture, what should they keep in mind
When getting a piece customized, it’s a process. I usually ask a client to at least give me an hour to sit down[and]handle everything from measurement to customizing their wishes, undergarments needs, to fit their body type, in addition to discussing fabric and price. I attempt to always offer top-of-the-line service, so therefore I do not cut corners, I ensure I meet my clients expectations.
Kreyolicious: What was it like being part of Mimi’s Boutiq Fashion show this year?
Being part of the show for the fourth year in a row added certain stress for me as a designer…I am known for higher-end pieces and I wanted to show the audience that the everyday girl can look high-end at anytime. It’s a question of choice. I also featured men‘s wear to show my versatility as a designer…Additionally, this was Mimi’s fifth year and there were certain expectations that came with the whole show. The team—along with Mimi—worked really hard to put this whole event together…For a few months out of the year, their days are filled with countless, texts…meetings, sleepless nights just to ensure they iron out every detail…So, therefore once must do their part so we all make it great together.
Kreyolicious: What do you attribute your success to?
It depends on your definition of success…I think I have manage to accomplish my goal as far as taking this idea and making it into what it is today. I have clients. I am marketing myself, and I am trying my best for my brand to become a household name. I have to cross over, so complete success is yet to be achieved—but I am working hard at it.