Since its debuts, Léonard is synonymous around the world for its originality and very distinctive motifs and prints that are produced with a real artisanal savoir-faire. Léonard arouses not only curiosity by creating prints that are like true paintings worthy of museums, but also for their daring choice of materials used to create their collections.
Recently I had the honour of being invited to visit their studio in Paris. Housed in a Haussmannian building on Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, in the golden quadrilateral the heart of the capital – it is in this prestigious location that their collections are designed from A – Z, with drawing workshops, their historic archives, offices and showroom.
Installed in a large, bright room on the top floor of the property with beautiful views over the rooftops of Paris – Four designers, silently mix dozens of inks and paints with expert precision the delicate patterns that will be part of the next collection. The source of inspiration comes from the 4000 drawings that are part of the Léonard archives that sometimes are seen in art books.
The Léonard de story began in 1958 when Jacques Leonard entrusts Daniel Tribouillard, a man of true artistic temperament, to bring to market a brand that could differentiate from the haute couture that reigned at the time.
Tribouillard created a revolutionary new process for printing patterns on delicate materials that were considered at the time “unprintable ». Tribouillard also wanted a brand that would be easily recognizable and chose the orchid as his principle symbol – a delicate wild flower “without geometric limits”- as the emblem of the brand. In 1968 when the brand presented its first collection of printed silk jersey dresses, the dresses were so light that the brand launched the slogan: “The Leonard Dress: 150g of happiness”.
His audacity was acclaimed worldwide and Leonard brand became known for its floral prints on its legendary silk garments and even kimonos – so revered in Japan that the Japanese government commissioned Daniel Tribouillard to update a kimono collection. An honour and consecration for this small French company that allowed Daniel Tribouillard to be the first occidental that was authorised to penetrate the secrets of manufacturing traditional kimonos.
Today, Léonard remains one of the most beautiful and luxurious French brands and has entrusted the young and talented Christine Phung (eg Kenzo) as the artistic direction of the brand. Phung received a standing ovation last week during Fashion Week in Paris for his first collection.
Certainly, the best is yet to come …
- 36 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75008 Paris – Tel.: +33 01 53 67 87 66
- 48 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris – Tel.:+33 1 42 65 53 53