Saturday, June 18, 2011

Le Laboureur

Label inside Matt's new Parisian jacket

My sculptor husband works daily with large heavy machine tools, welding, hammering, painting and shaping metal. Or making plaster molds. Or dipping metal frames into a vat of bubbling tar. Or melting and casting aluminum (at 1200 degrees heat!). So he needs work clothes. He's not a Carhartt kind of guy. He says the clothes are too clunky and heavy. He'll wear the occasional Ben Davis shirt or pants, which do the job, but the style is not unique. Then there is Duluth Trading. Matt likes their lined work shirts, which are good for chilly San Francisco days. But Duluth is tailored for heftier guys with boxy styling and they don't do anything in black.

Paris street sweeper

When Matt and I were in Paris in 2000, I noticed the surprisingly chic bright green uniforms of the street sweepers and thought, if anybody has great work clothes, it's the French. We did a little research and found Adolph LaFont at a shop located near the Gare du Nord. We trekked over and Matt bought a black cotton "roofers" jacket, like this and a heavy canvas dark green carpenter's jacket. He's been wearing both for over ten years and it's time for a new jacket.

Recently I saw the Bill Cunningham documentary which is a must-see film, bursting with passion-for-creativity and an affirmation of following one's personal vision. If you have any doubts about pursuing what's meaningful to you, see this! In the documentary Bill talks about his bright blue uniform jacket that he buys at the Bazaar Hotel de Ville in Paris. I wasn't sure about Matt liking the bright blue, but I put it on my Paris shopping list.

On my list, I also had a visit to a store in the Marais carrying Adolphe Lafont. But somehow with our daily indulgences in long meals, a hike to the working man's store or the Bazaar Hotel de Ville kept getting postponed to the next day. Then one evening we were dashing up rue de Carmes to a attend a Chopin piano recital at Eglise Saint-Ephrem, we passed this shop, Aspasie et Mathieu, and a jacket in the window caught my eye. It was styled like Matt's Lafont jacket, but with dressier details and finer fabric. Ten minutes and 99 euros later, I had the jacket and the perfect Paris gift for Matt.

This shop is on my list for a longer visit next time I'm in Paris.
They carry many elegant linen and cotton items for men and women with a vintage feel.
The proprietor, Evelyne Chevalier  was helpful and charming.

The jacket was designed and made by Le Laboureur in France, which I am thrilled to learn about. From the website, they look like the real deal and have been making work clothes and traditional regional clothes for many years and are family owned. 

Matt looks great in  his new jacket!


  1. Hi, Interesting story!
    One outpost for Le Laboureur is the Scandinavian, based in Sweden:

  2. Not only do the French know what to do with stripes, they know what do with labels. Then, too, French frilly lingerie puts Vick's Secret to shame, ne c'est pas?

  3. Great tip! Will share with the working husband. Great jacket.