Miss Chanel

A few months ago Nina magazine in Belgium published a feature with the “Most Beautiful Women in Belgium”. Famous Belgian artists, actors, writers and athletes nominated not-so-famous men and women whom they believed were Belgium’s undiscovered stunners. Stylist Tom Van Dorpe, who you might know from his work at V Man, chose Laurence Morel as his muse, a 33-year old girl from Ghent with long, brown hair, soft, olive skin and a set of lips so juicy Mother Nature herself is jealous. I didn’t read the article but I’ve known Laurence for more than 10 years and it’s all true. She’s one of those genetic pure breeds and she hasn’t changed a smidgen since I met her.

Laurence is packing. In two days she’ll be on a plane to New York with her boyfriend, John. “Just visiting and shopping,” she answers when I ask what she’s got planned. “And we’re going to see Justice play at this new venue.” John is a DJ and owns a few successful night clubs in Belgium so music’s always on the agenda for the young couple. They started dating about two years ago and moved into a beautiful apartment by the Citadel Park near the Central Station in Ghent. The first thing I notice are the photos, enlarged or small, on doors, in frames and as posters, of Laurence and her 6-year old daughter Lilli. “Pictures are really important to me! They solidify a moment in time you might otherwise forget. You just need to look at the photo to be transported back to that moment. John’s really good at taking photos. We also have hundreds and hundreds of polaroids we’ll do something with one day. But my biggest obsession are those old photo booths! When I see one I flip and HAVE to do a session. One day I want to have one in my house. That said, note to self: start. saving. money. for. in-house. photo. booth.”

I knew Laurence had a thing for Chanel but I had no concept of the insanity of her collection until she started putting her outfits together. Sunglasses, belts, hair pieces, necklaces, jackets, dresses, bags, any time she opens a new drawer out comes pouring more Chanel. “I adooooore Chanel,” she sings. “Especially the accessories. I just think Laetitia Crahay knows what girls want. I love everything she does. It’s playful, girlie, chic, rock and right for any occasion!” Before she had Lilli and moved back to Ghent, Laurence worked as Laetitia’s assistant in Paris, and started collecting little pieces here and there. Now she incorporates the accessories in her every day look, which she describes as “girlie and Ibiza-chic, because I LOVE Ibiza in summer, and more rock-chic in winter.” She loves the icons of the 60s like Jane Birkin, Anita Pallenberg, Sophia Loren and Lauren Hutton. When she travels – “I LOVE city-tripping!” – she stops by as many vintage stores as possible, usually on the hunt for more Mexican summer dresses. When I ask her if there’s anything she would never wear she says resolutely: “Anything fleece, or socks in sandals, or kitten heels. Either you wear high heels or flats, but nothing in between.”

April 5, 2012

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