Samples in various states of completion consume the small Melrose Place atelier. Patterns, leather, and spools of thread are scattered across a large wood table. Co-owner Flavie Webster dons a complicated asymmetrical blazer, and her husband, Clayton, helpfully adjusts the sleeves. The former models are dressed in black from head to toe. Clayton, a Newport Beach native, has long rocker hair and a laid-back vibe, while the more reserved Flavie exudes a Parisian chic. Despite the differences, they both embody the effortless style of their luxury brand, Cerre. The couple met 12 years ago on a modeling job in France. “She hated me at first,” Clayton says. “It took a long time for her to go out with me.” But persistence paid off. Flavie eventually joined Clayton in L.A., where they launched a line of leather accessories inspired by classic European craftsmanship (think Hermès) in 2005.
It hasn’t been easy implementing European techniques in L.A. “Everybody wants to do fast fashion here,” says Clayton. “In Europe you still find a lot more people who know the old methods.” Although they still design the leather bags and belts that Cerre is known for, they’ve begun working with wool cashmere and silk to create architectural, cocoon-like jackets and draped shirts and blazers with modernist silhouettes.
They will make their second New York Fashion Week presentation this spring. To introduce print fabrics into their line, the Websters learned generative art, a way of writing codes into a computer program to create one-of-a-kind images. “We’re into new technologies,” says Clayton. “I’m a total sci-fi nerd. I just read space books all day long, and Flavie’s more grounded and instinctual. We’re both going forward and imagining how we want things to look in the future, but it’s always tied to classic beauty and the old ways of construction. If you buy a jacket, it should wear well and be something you can hold on to and pass down. We say we’re creating the antiques of tomorrow.”