The Badass Parisian Who’s Bringing Feminism Back To Fashion

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No matter where in the world you reside, there’s an inexplicable fascination with French-girl style—the mysterious elegance, effortless sex appeal and dead-cool nonchalance. You can’t really blame anyone for wanting a little piece of this je ne sais quoi, and no one exudes it better stateside than Laura Sfez. The Los Angeles–based Parisian has made waves on Instagram with unapologetically sexy photos of herself donning looks from her clothing line L’école des Femmes. Her signature slogan tees (“Oui”) and schoolgirl-inspired frocks have garnered a fashion following and evoked a genuine sense of body positivity that empowers women to embrace their femininity. Not only does the entrepreneur run her own company, she’s the head creative visionary of the brand, both in front of and behind the camera. We sat down with the stylish renegade to talk fashion, feminism and how to deal with haters like a badass.

Meet Laura

How Social Media Changed Her Business

Laura in the Sexual Intellectual shirt. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"The clothing business has changed so much since the dawn of social media. I am a small company—I could never afford fancy photographers and models, so this just naturally fell into place as I began to get into photography. I feel like I'm documenting my designs. Back when social media didn't exist, I struggled to keep afloat by participating in trade shows cross-country, tediously lugging my collections and desperately seeking out stores and customers. I never took photos of my clothes back then, because there were no platforms for it."

What Feminism Means To Her

Laura in the Une Femme Libre shirt. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"Being a feminist, I'm also for the equality of men. I think all people should have the freedom to voice their opinion. The comment sections on social media are just as important as the image. I love that women are very vocal today."

What It Means To Be Sexy

Laura in the chambray Brigitte Bardot dress. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"Sexiness is confidence and classiness, but those are interpretable. Class is a state of mind—kindness, consideration, courage, wit and thoughtfulness. There is sexiness and there is sexiness. Sexy is far more interesting when it's deep."

Surviving A Toxic Relationship

Laura in the Oui t-shirt. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"I'm a chili pepper from hell—that's how I got through [the split with my ex]. I was a fool to be involved for so long with someone so vicious, but I still had a fire in me that pushed me. If you want to be a dedicated artist, it can be very difficult to be in a relationship because your passion is divided. It takes a very special partner who not only loves you but is a fan of you."

Laura behind the lens. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

Her Creative Partner

Laura in Isabella's "Music to be Murdered By" video. Photo: Isabella Sfez

"When I opened my store, [my sister] Isabella was getting into photography. She would take photos of me for my Instagram and became better and better at it. We wanted to try her camera for video because it was such an impressive one. We didn't quite know what we were searching for and we were nervous about being disappointed with the footage we had poured our hearts into. But instead we were electrified. We couldn't believe that we could do this all on our own and have so much fun. We share the same vision, and Isabella has a sensibility that I get with nobody else. She knows how to chase and capture beauty. She is honest and sophisticated."

The French Femme Fatale

Model shot by Laura. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"She is not trying—ever. She is natural and elegant. She does what she wants and owns it. She is classy and her smile is real."

Los Angeles v. Paris

Model shot by Laura. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"Hollywood influences me through its film. I love movies and think in movies. Paris gives me a natural sense of femininity and beautiful fashion standards."

Her Wardrobe Essential

Model shot by Laura. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"A trench—whether it be fitted black cotton or white organza. It is the quintessential feminine and powerful piece, and that is what L'école des Femmes is about."

Her Ultimate Style Muse

Bardot look-alike Anna Ewers shot by Steven Meisel for "Pirelli—The Calendar 50 Years And More" wearing L'école des Femmes. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"Brigitte Bardot. When mentioning her name in this day and age, it's important to express that she isn't a symbol of intellect or virtue—she's a symbol of beauty in France. French people do know about her views and are disappointed. I appreciate her styling and unapologetic coquette femininity."

Her Brand's Impact On Women

L'école des Femmes T-shirts. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"I grew up in the clothing business and I am just trying to sell clothes. Somehow, it seems like I've made it turn into something else now. I never planned on that. I really love the positivity I get from women about the brand and I do want to impact women and men on a deeper level."

The Future of L'école des Femmes

Models in the Solider Dresses shot by Laura. Photo: @lecoledesfemmes

"My new store opens November 15 in Los Angeles and I'll be carrying so many new styles!"

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