Five minutes with… Lucy Robinson
The Francophile founder of Aurélie shares the story behind the brand, her plans for the future and what she’s wearing from the current collection
Aurélie may only be a year old, but the idea to bring affordable and authentic Parisian style to the wardrobes of Brits was born long before 2020. Founder Lucy’s love affair with French style goes back more than a decade to when she lived in Paris in her early twenties and worked in luxury fashion PR with clients like Chloe, Givenchy, Balmain, Alexander McQueen and Isabel Marant. Back in the UK Lucy moved into luxury travel and lifestyle PR and set up her own successful consultancy. And then the pandemic hit…
“I’d always dreamt of one day having a shop,” says Lucy. “During the pandemic I’d bought a few pieces from France and paid through the nose for the shipping. I had so many compliments about what I was wearing and friends kept asking me where they could buy them. At the same time Covid meant things were really unsure for the travel industry and my consultancy so I thought ‘I could do this, I could bring these clothes to the UK’.
After that lightbulb moment, Lucy sat on her idea for about six weeks before - with the encouragement of her Retail Consultant husband - she took the plunge, and thankfully for all lovers of timeless Parisian style Aurélie was born.
“Aurélie is different from other retailers because every piece is sourced from Paris, so these aren’t clothes you come across in the UK very often. It’s also a curated edit, every piece has been handpicked and they’re chosen because they’re timeless but with a unique detail, for example little pearl details at the back of a jumper or broderie anglaise on a shirt.”
Drawing on her experience living in Paris and working in the world famous fashion industry there, Lucy has a unique insight into the everyday style of Parisian women and as a Brit she knows exactly which pieces would work in our wardrobes.
“Aurélie is how French women actually dress - the timeless and classic pieces you see them in everyday - think Andréa in Call My Agent rather than some sort of French caricature,” Lucy explains. “When I arrived in France I was a bit more like Emily in Paris. I was 22, with a lot of very blonde highlights and too much fake tan and I was thrown in the deep end of high end French fashion, which is very different to fashion in the UK. Here it’s all about being extravagant and standing out, while in France it’s safer, there’s a uniform to it, a way of French dressing - everyone wants to dress like Emmanuelle Alt, Carine Roitfeld and Isabel Marant. I learnt quite quickly that I didn’t look like French women did and over time, as I fell in love with the French way of life, I started dressing more like Parisians. The very first thing I bought was a crisp white Sandro shirt.”
That very first shirt has evolved into Aurélie’s collection of stylish blouses and shirts as well as gorgeous knitwear, chic cardigans, timeless coats and effortless jackets. Every piece is chosen because Lucy loves it and knows it’s typical of what fashionable Parisians are currently wearing. When choosing pieces she’s inspired by the looks of Clemence Poesy as well as some English fashionistas like Kate Moss, Olivia Palermo and Sienna Miller.
“Some of my favourite pieces are the Aurélie jumper, which I named because I feel like it really represents the brand, the Agnés jumper, because it’s simple but it has frill and pearl button detailing, and the Camilla floral blouse - I’ve worn that loads.”
Running a fashion brand is quite different from a luxury travel consultancy, but Lucy is loving everything that comes with being closer to her customer.
“I love getting messages from happy customers, telling me they love their clothes and that they feel really stylish. It’s so rewarding having that one-to-one rapport with customers. Aurélie is all about making women feel confident and empowered and I really enjoy knowing that my clothes are helping to make everyday feel a little bit special for my customers.”
Talking of customers, there’s a lot to look forward to if you’re convert to Aurélie’s timeless Gallic style.
“I’ve got more pieces launching at the end of November, as well as bi-monthly drops, new season and collections. I’ll also be launching international shipping and in the long term I’d like to design and manufacture, which would allow me to offer a greater range of sizes.”