Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5 Minutes With James LaForce

As a co-founder of LaForce + Stevens , James LaForce directs a range of communications programs across the agency’s diverse client roster. With a nimble approach, he blends his business savvy with an insatiable interest in the trends and personalities of the ever-changing media landscape. LaForce was raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and studied English Literature and writing at Columbia University. For five years, he was mentored by the legendary fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, who is often credited with putting American fashion on the global map. As his career in communications developed, with a number of multi-year stints at top P.R. firms, he managed programs for a range of prominent brands, from consumer packaged goods to fashion and luxury products. LaForce and his partner of twenty years, writer Stephen Henderson, live in Manhattan and spend weekends on Long Island. But, he is happiest at his office sending out emails and “calling around to bug people.”

Q1. What was the first record you bought and what effect did it have on you?

The Beatles' first album. It made me feel like a grown-up and I think it made me feel gay.

Q2. How did you get into the business?

I lucked into a job with Eleanor Lambert the legendary fashion publicist.

Q3. What's your favorite moment 'fashion moment' so far in your career?

In our business: you are only as good as your last big project. So I would have to say it is helping Target launch the new Missoni for Target collaboration which will be in stores September 13- October 22.

Q4. Give us a really off the wall anecdote/story. Something that not many people will know about-could be about anything related to your work.

I launched a cosmetic surgical procedure to use a cosmetic filler to create an enhanced cupid's bow. It is the bow-shaped ridges above our lips. We called it the "Paris Lip."

Our spokesperson was Lauren Bacall, she stood at the podium at the Ritz Hotel in Paris (where else would you launch the Paris Lip?). She recited her famous line from Key Largo, "You know how to whistle don't you? You just put your lips together and blow." We got a lot of press. But I don't think the procedure ever really caught on.

Q5. How is the rapid information exchange via the Internet changing the world of fashion publicity?

On the one hand, everything has changed. And in another way, it is all the same. The New York Times, WWD and Vogue are still the essential voices in the fashion conversation. However, with hundreds of sites, blogs, YouTube channels, the conversation has become much broader, more international, and more democratic.

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