If there’s one thing we know about Canadian duo Laurence Li and Chico Wang, it’s that they’re not afraid of colour. The Parsons-trained team created their self-titled brand Laurence & Chico in 2015 and since then, they’ve turned out some pretty incredible looks. From Big Bird-esque yellow fur to loud polka-dotted prints, every outfit is a statement piece.
When the duo announced their plans for a brand expansion, it made sense to think they’d undertake a more sartorial endeavour, but instead, the designers went with the creation of a whimsical fashion café. However, the word café might be a bit misleading, or rather, a bit of an understatement. The eye-catching space, which reimagines the duo’s vibrant designs, has the potential to send you into sensory overload (in the best way possible).
From glittering mosaic floors to a bathroom bursting with yellow rubber duckies, the textures, colours and unapologetic joy of past collections engulf the 2,082-square-foot store. It would be easy to believe you’re having tea on Mars instead of downtown Vancouver.
Split into two sections, the café, which opened its doors last week, has a to-go area for takeout, along with an afternoon tea salon which takes reservations between 12 and 6pm daily. Pastries will change seasonally and local chefs will help create menus that combine the fashion world with the culinary. Postcards, books, scarves and phone cases will also be available for purchase.
At only a few years old, the Laurence & Chico brand is pretty much a baby and you can see that innocence in their collections, but Li and Wang are hardly neophytes. Over the years, they’ve worked at Alexander McQueen, Barneys and Givenchy.
“The reason why we want to do a café, is because we find our clothing to be such a niche market and it’s very specific to that clientele, but we want everyone to experience Laurence & Chico’s culture and story,” Li said to Fashionista.com. “So you don’t have to buy our couture technique pieces, but you can buy a T-shirt or even a coffee for $3.50 with our packaging and our story.”
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