Transcendent Juxtapositions

LRNCE Mirrors a Designer’s Adventurous Spirit
Picture the medina quarter of Morocco in North Africa- boisterous, mazelike streets, eclectic variations of art, housewares, and textiles dyed by knowledgeable hands as the traveler watches. Now contrast this with what lies beyond the high walls. A horizon of desert land that heralds an indigenous, simpler way of living. A haven wherein the intrepid designer can meditate on color, texture, and all the possibilities beyond the vast horizon.
This contrast drew a young designer from Belgium to make Marrakech, Morocco her transient home. She is at once nomad and scientist. It is there in the medina she finds joy in discovery of skilled artisans and craftspeople, passing by an object dozens of times before it calls to her. It is there Laurence Leenart collects her findings and finds sanctuary in the comfort of her quiet studio to make extraordinary things of her varied collaborations. 
Though she first found her calling in the desert, living for months without electricity and running water. Armed with only her fashion student education, a few basic supplies, and a call to adventure, she began her work with artisans specialized in weaving, dyeing, and embroidery. Her apparel hints at Oriental influence, her wall hangings convey more abstract, almost primitive appeal. Even LRNCE’s footwear narrate two of the extremes of North African culture and craft- the fringed sandals in Mediterranean blue and desert sand reflect the sparsity of one side, yet the buyer can find other styles in rich tapestries that imagine Morocco’s storied history and luxe appeal.
These artful designs of the lifestyle brand, founded in 2013, captures the essence of Berber, Arabian, and European influence. The minimalist appeal belies the complicated process behind the accessories and interior decorations.
Leenart honors her more spontaneous impulses by sourcing production in North Africa, collaborating with the artisans she admires for their exacting and time-consuming specialties. She collects her impressions of country and culture, and imbues them in pieces like the Fatima, a handmade wool blanket that plays with graphic design and primal symbology. The Fatima can serve as either a wall hanging or a rug, appealing to the whimsy of contemporary consumers.
The LRNCE brand represents a bold undertaking by asserting that, as in Morocco, there is beauty in contrast between abundance and serenity.
Buyers can navigate expressive design pieces at NY NOW’s Artisan Resource February 4-7 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. 
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