BACK TO SCHOOL
A conversation with Astrid Regout, CEO of Rue Blanche
It’s a sunny afternoon when we arrive in Astrid Regout’s house in Saint-Gilles, a vibrant and multicultural southern district of Brussels. The neighbourhood is known for its relaxed artsy atmosphere and cobblestone alleys. Astrid swings open the door with a big smile. The first thing you notice in the home is how beautiful and at the same time perfectly family-oriented it looks. Daughter Aline greets us with a bonjour when we enter, then runs back to her mother, giggling. In the living room we meet baby Alfred who is contentedly playing and crawling around on the rug. “Sorry for the mess,” Astrid apologises, pointing at some scattered children’s toys and books. “We just came back from a family holiday.”
“Sorry for the mess,” Astrid apologises, pointing at some scattered children’s toys and books. “We just came back from a family holiday.”
How was the summer holiday for you, Astrid?
We were able to spend some quality time with friends and family, which was a real pleasure. In August we visited Sweden and Portugal. My husband grew up in Stockholm, which has a special place in my heart. It’s truly an inspiring place, it instills a certain calmness in me. Quite special for a city that size. I also treasure the crazy long summer days up north. If I didn’t love Brussels so much, I would like to live in Stockholm. And we just arrived back from another family holiday in the Acores in Portugal, with the Regouts. My sister Aude was there too. It was perfect to wind down together after the busy year we had.
Are you a summer child?
I love hot days. Ever since I was a kid, I adored being around and in the water. Swimming and surfing mostly. Summer creates a lighter context. And that is true also with the kids. You don’t have to constantly wonder if they are too cold, for example, having to drag along ten thousand layers in ten thousand bags. My kids don’t have a problem with hot days either. Aline is crazy about playing in the water and Alfred seemed to simply enjoy being naked on his towel.
“It’s a challenge to separate private time and work sometimes, so I actively try my best to keep the weekends work-free and fully focused on family and friends.”
What are your children like?
Aline who is three-and-a-half years old is already a prolific artist and performer: she’s always drawing and singing. My god, I would have made a fortune if I got a penny every time I was forced to listen to “Let it Go” (from Disney’s Frozen). She also loves making people laugh. I have to point out here that I really think her sense of humour is quite advanced for her age. But perhaps all mothers think this of their children. Alfred, who is eleven months old, is a pretty joyful kid, with that big smile of his. He completely idolises his big sister who is constantly putting on a show for him in return for his attention.
How was the summer for them?
Our kids loved these holidays. It went so well. But traveling with kids is obviously different. If you want it to pass by smoothly, you need to be extremely organised. You also can’t plan too much, as you don’t want a tired toddler or a baby that didn’t nap. Stress-free kids equals stress-free parents, you know. That is the reason that we choose kid friendly museums or restaurants. And the occasional zoo visit, obviously. But “resting for real”? Forget about it! For that I could use another holiday I’m afraid. With my husband alone (laughs)!
Is your daughter looking forward to going back to school?
Throughout summer, Aline kept asking me when school would start again. She is in kindergarten and super eager to go back. I think the world of the school she attends. The teachers are very kind and take into account the individual needs of the child. It’s amazing! Aline is creative, and they stimulate her to work on the things she likes: drawing, painting and theater... Great school!
“Occasionally I set aside me-time: taking a stroll, having a massage or just reading a book with a nice cup of coffee.”
You are running a company with your sister while juggling so much other things. How do you keep yourself energised?
Running a company with Aude is mostly energising in itself. We love what we do and we love our team. Of course it’s a challenge to separate private time and work sometimes, so I actively try my best to keep the weekends work-free and fully focused on family and friends. Occasionally I set aside me-time: taking a stroll, having a massage or just reading a book with a nice cup of coffee. Or small things like picking up flowers, you know.
You and your sister grew up in fashion since you were children yourself. How do you manage to get through busy periods “in style”?
I have my personal staples. I always go for a striped top. When I get up at seven in the morning, I don’t have a lot of time to myself – the kids are waiting – and I know a striped top will always get me through the day feeling good. Juggling Rue Blanche, a relationship and two kids requires planning. Luckily in fashion, you know when it will be busy.
What are your go-to-pieces from the new AW22 collection?
Let’s see: a cotton shirt that I can start wearing in August. Guess what — I chose the striped Ery shirt which has this cool boyish look with its dropped shoulders and oversized body. I pair it simply with a white t-shirt and jeans to complement that androgynous style. I also want the dark denim Priska pants, which I will match with this season’s Underlux cm in grey and black. Tucked in, it comes together. It’s a classy but simple look.
astrid's kodak moments