Leonard Paris: A journey through the art of prints since 1958 by Georg Lux
It all began in 1958, when Jacques Leonard started the company of LEONARD. Famous for its art of hand drawn floral prints on precious fabrics. The orchid is the emblem of the LEONARD style, a delicate wildflower without any geometric limits. Maison LEONARD's originality is founded on a unique and recognizable style shared by all its designs and also the variety of the fabrics used.
Her-Age Team has interviewed Georg Lux, the Creative Director of LEONARD, to go on a journey through the art of prints.
Georg Lux - LEONARD © Alexis Jacquin & Alma Studio
Georg, can you tell us about yourself and your background in the fashion industry ?
I was born in Berlin and it was clear to me from my childhood on that I wanted to become fashion designer and live and work in Paris. Everything started with a good friend of my family, Josefine Edle von Krepl, who is a great vintage fashion collector and who had an amazing vintage fashion shop in Berlin. I went there every week to help and to learn about the periods, designers, techniques…After graduating as a fashion designer at Lette Verein in Berlin, I immediately went to Paris to finish my studies at “L’école de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne". After that I started to work for REQUIEM, a beautiful luxury fashion house (which unfortunately is closed now), which gave me the opportunity to create my first pieces shown on their fashion shows and then for TARA JARMON, where I was responsible, among other things, to create an exclusive line for made in France evening wear. I came to LEONARD in 2020 to design the pre-fall 21 collection, when it still was the last family-owned luxury fashion house in Paris. The founder’s family kindly trusted me the artistic direction over the collections, an amazing opportunity to work with the houses historic print archives which date from 1958 on!
LEONARD PRE-FALL 2021 COLLECTION - "ENGLISH GARDEN"
You are currently the Creative Director of Leonard, can you tell us about your fashion house ?
When LEONARD was founded in 1958 in Paris it was already a famous fabric printer, working for Dior and Hermès and other French Haute Couture houses. When LEONARD started its own collections in 1958 it immediately became famous for its daring and bold colored giant graphic and flower prints on silk jersey and knitwear. The houses Leitmotif is still “150g of happiness” which refers to the extreme lightness of the dresses. A favorite brand of the new born 60s jet set, LEONARD garments could be put into a small suitcase and be unpacked at the end of the world in Acapulco, with not one wrinkle on the fabric. This is still our goal, creating an easy but glamorous and fresh wardrobe for the client from today and of tomorrow.
source: Leonard Paris
LEONARD is a perfect marriage of innovative know-how and master craftsmanship. What is your innovative approach and what makes your collection really special ?
At LEONARD we still work with our own in-house design office which draws by hand new prints every season. It's an amazing challenge to respect the tradition of a house, to dive into the archives, but to add your own fingerprint and to reinvent every season the house’s language. LEONARD is known to be able to print on everything, from silk jersey to fake fur. Every season we invent in collaboration with our manufacturers new exclusive techniques, which make the collections so special. Working with traditional luxury know-how and the latest techniques is what makes this work so fun and interesting for me.
Source: Leonard Paris
LEONARD brand has developed a style by adopting the orchid as an emblem: what is the meaning behind the orchid ?
The orchid is the iconic flower of the house. Its not only because of its rareness and beauty, but it also refers to Asia, where we have our main market. LEONARD prints always were inspired by kimono prints and traditional Asian garments. Orchids are the quintessence of the desire to travel and to dream of exotic countries. Which matches so well with the LEONARD philosophy!
LEONARD presents a leo upcycling collection which shows a sustainable approach. Could you tell us more about the collection, and what are your future sustainable promises?
We have a huge stock of unused printed fabrics from previous collections. To give them a new life, we reinvent them for new garments and home objects, as cushions, notebooks and many other small accessories, sustainable and respectful to our planet. We also did a capsule upcycling collection, mixing vintage denim and archive fabrics. For me sustainability is also a question of the way we produce and the quantity. We avoid overproduction and work with local craftsmen from France and Italy. The protection of the planet is about knowhow and the respect paid to work done by humans. And luxury fashion has its role to play in this.
Source: Leonard Paris
Leonard is a brand full of history, how does this impact a brand and how can a fashion brand stay connected to its roots with the fashion rush of today ?
Especially working with handmade prints means to think several seasons ahead. The process to develop them is long, so when I work on a collection, in reality I work on three collections in the same time. Trends and moods are changing quickly today, from one season to another. But real luxury is not to run behind trends, but to define your own ones. This is what makes a luxury fashion houses as LEONARD so special.
As a specialist in the field of fashion, how do young designers use the history and archives of a brand while creating modern fashion?
I think today we have a very eclectic way of thinking and creating. Inspiration can come from everywhere and nearly everything is possible, the way we combine things, when we wear them. Creating today is an endless kaleidoscope of possibilities. Using archive prints and give them a new life on fabrics, which didn’t exist back then, on silhouettes which were impossible in another period…this is what is thrilling about this work.
What advice would you give for young designers who are just starting out their own collections ?
Always follow your dreams and stay yourself in what you are doing. Listening to people with knowhow is important. Learning from the past is creating our future.
Georg Lux x Her-Age's LaGazetta, Paris