AN ALMOST PERFECT HUSBAND
Hello Laurent, and thank you for answering my questions at the recently reopened Lutétia bar.
Laurent, we can feel a porcelain heart under your titanium shell. Do you share my Delahoussian analysis?Dear Bernard, it's true that very early on, I was confronted with rather complicated family situations. Even disruptive.
You mean your parents were strict?Let's just say that next to them, the Vietnam War was Disneyland Paris.
That's exactly what I saw in you, this fierce determination to seek the light.Yes, and that's how I met Patricia.
Wonderful, could you tell us about it?It's all a blur. I'd had a lot to drink that day. It was the first time I'd gone on vacation without my parents. I was just eighteen. It was in Cullera, in the Valencia region.
Incredibly, it's only an hour and a half's drive from where you make your shoes, in the province of Alicante. Quite a coincidence, Laurent.Yes, it is. But then I was at a club with some friends and I see this little blonde, alone, wiggling like crazy on a pole, a sort of ancestor of pole dancing. We invited her to join us at our table. She was really nice and pretty. And since I was the most interesting of the bunch, we spent the rest of the evening together. But around two in the morning, a guy with white foam at the corner of his lips came storming in. He was pulling the club's two bouncers by the hair. He X-rayed the room so fast that Patricia had no time to hide from him. It was her father.
And what happened next? Can you tell us?Well, he took everyone to task, turned the place upside down and loaded his daughter into a van bound for Iran for a year in a boarding school.
Back then, Facebook, Tinder and even the Internet didn't exist. How did you manage to find each other?She'd had time to tell me where she lived. So every weekend, I'd go and wait for her outside her house, hoping she'd come back from Teheran. And then one day, a miracle happened: she came back, all wrapped up from Iran, to do her final year of high school. As soon as the coast was clear, I went to meet her and make her remember me. But it was as if she'd been wiped out. I was very disappointed that, after so much waiting, she hadn't recognized me. So I stole a kiss.
And that's the epiphany, isn't it?Well yes, as if my saliva had awakened her, revealed her. She came out of her torpor and melted into my arms. At last, I found the Patricia of Cullera. And every evening after that, I went to pick her up after class, making sure her father wasn't around.
So how did you end up marrying her?Well, she got pregnant.
Just like that? Without warning?Well, I picked her up one evening when she was pretending to go to her cousin's. We drove to Paris and back. We made the round trip from Paris to Deauville. But for me it was a one-way ticket to fatherhood.
Did you regret becoming a father?I didn't then, but I do now (laughs).
Could you tell us a little more about this great adventure in footwear? How did you get your foot in the door?Well, I was destined to be a race car driver. I'd started out in karting at the Jardin d'Acclimatation, and as my parents saw that I had good potential, they immediately cut my dreams short.
But did you already have this passion? Anchored to your body?Yes, I liked beauty. My father made a good living when I was young. In fact, he was the Duc de Boulogne. Indeed, he was the first, the real one. He had built nearly fifty buildings there. Then gambling and alcohol made him sink a little. He lost his footing.
Hence the transfer to shoes?I was twenty years old, and I had to work fast to look after my family, so Patricia and I started working together, and we've been together ever since.
What about working as a family? What's it like?It's a daily pleasure, of course. We're a bit like the Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz of shoes. So, of course, the tabloids are always behind us. But that's the price we have to pay for the life we've chosen.
Laurent, one last question before you take your fourth gin and tonic, would you have any advice for all the men who get behind their wives to help them realize their dreams? Even if it means getting lost along the way?Guys, be yourself. You'll find fulfillment in your next karma.
Interview by Bertrand Pivot. * Thanks to the whole team at the Lutétia who were super kawaii with us 2 - eternal love.