NEW YORK, August 30, 2013/ FW/ — Entitled ‘A Look Behind Leona’, Lauren Leonard is the creative mind behind the contemporary luxury line, Leona.
From an early age, Lauren has always had a passion and adoration for fashion and trend forecasting. At the age of 16, Lauren got her start in fashion working as a women’s buyer in luxury fashion boutiques. The designer then went on to pursue her fascination with fashion by majoring in Apparel Design in college. After college, Lauren made the move from her deep southern roots to the bustling streets of New York City to start her contemporary women’s fashion line, Leona.
Since Leona’s debut in the spring of 2008, the contemporary label is now sold at more than a hundred of the most renowned retailers internationally and has quickly gained a loyal following of fans and celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Giuliana Rancic.
Fashion Windows catches up with the talented designer, Lauren Leonard to discuss her Fall 2013 collection, the new unveiling of her flagship store, and her design aesthetic.
Fashion Windows: How did you first get into designing?
Lauren Leonard: I think I have been designing my whole life in one way or another. I have been sketching clothing since as early as 6 or 7 and I always altered my store bought items to my liking. I began working in fashion retail at 16 because I wanted to understand the business of fashion, and earned a fashion design degree in college.
What influences you to design?
Color and silhouette are always most important to me. I usually have color story or theme in mind for a collection before I begin. Colors tell a story on their own and usually follow that story to find my inspiration for the collection. I always have a soundtrack for each collection, and I listen to music constantly as I work! I want to create clothing that builds a strong wardrobe for our customers, giving her great items to feel fresh in the season and mix and match for versatility! My customer is always most inspiring!
What was the inspiration behind your Fall 2013 collection?
I am always inspired by mod fashion and this collection is no exception. Mod has always been my favorite historical fashion movement. There is a reference to geometry that is quite literal. It was a study of basic shapes and combinations. Squares, circles, and lines form our print. There are a lot of Jean Shrimpton influences. She was bold and flirty, and her work with Richard Avedon is simply iconic! Definitely a huge inspiration for the Fall 2013 collection.
What were your favorite materials and hues used in your Fall ’13 collection?
The Dial print is very unique and is a fresh take on Mod inspirations. It is striking and is a super luxuirous 26 mm Silk Twill!
The Glimmering Tweed later this season is amazing and will definitely stand out in a crowd! It screams luxury!
My very favorite of the season is absolutely the “On Point” print. I hand draw all of our prints and this one is no exception! This print was so fun to make. It is original but will be a closet staple for so many years. It is a chic conversation starter!
What are your favorite looks in your Fall collection?
Oh so many! Fall is incredibly personal to me and there are so many stand out pieces that I adore!
I love the Gentry Coat. It says a lot about my aesthetic. It is classic, whimsical, fresh and luxurious. The bold gold Italian buttons and the soft wool are just fantastic!
The silk twill Medford dress has a removable collar and was worn by Catt Sadler on E! News recently. It is such a perfect, day to night piece for fall and winter. It takes you so many places!
In October, our Duffy dress is just the classic holiday dress that is perfect for a wedding, holiday cocktail or even layered with a belt and turtleneck or cardigan for the office! I love taking evening wear into the day time with layers! So glamorous!
Finally the Harper Jacket in our fabulous exclusive tweed. This is the one sample I stole to wear multiple times to dinner and it is the perfect special topper for transitional weather in the fall.
What should we expect for your Spring 2014 collection?
For Spring 2014, we are all about getting back to the fabulous basics! It is a bit of a palette cleanser after a very busy Fall collection. I am completely focused on our LEONA girl. She is fresh, feminine, modern, charming and alluring! The Spring and Summer 2014 collections are all about encompassing this modern all-American girl style.
You just opened your Leona flagship store in Nashville, how was that moment as a designer?
I was present in the store our first few days open, and they were my most favorite days yet of my career. I am a true lover of retail after working over 8 years on the floor. Retail is the heart of the fashion industry. I love retail and the idea that we can serve our customers in such a special intimate way by inviting them into our LEONA home. This is why I began my fashion career. Every designer has different goals and ideas of what success means, for me, retail has always been it!
What’s next for your brand?
We are working on a lot of new product launches right now! Accessories are next for us. We are undergoing a subtle rebranding with a new, bold, striking logo that is all about exemplifying the lovely lifestyle that LEONA represents. This logo will be fully released with our Spring 2014 collection. This is a huge time for our company. We are growing rapidly and could not be more excited!
For More Information about Leona Collection, Check Out:
[Darby Radcliff] Photos Courtesy of Leona Collection