Laurie Mallet was the cofounder and president of WilliWear. Mallet and Smith established the brand together in 1976, with Smith serving as vice president and lead designer. The pair met while Mallet was on a break from school at Institut d’études politiques (Institute of Political Studies) in Paris, and Smith was working as the lead designer for the junior sportswear label Digits. The two instantly sparked a friendship.
“When I met Willi, I was immediately in awe of him: handsome, funny, extraordinarily stylish, not fitting any of my social classical criteria. He asked me to become his assistant at Digits and I entered into a new world.” —Laurie Mallet