Date04/21/15

The Leonard Look: Powerful Prints

Date04/21/15

If there is one thing in life I love, it’s a classic Emilio Pucci print (especially with good weather just around the corner—those prints always remind me of a summer day!).   Equally as wonderful (and perhaps not as widely known) is a little something I like to call the Leonard Look. The Leonard Look is bold, colorful, and flowing. There are florals and swirls, paisleys and geometric shapes, all with this ease about them that for the most part makes me want to grab as much as I can and head to the beach.

The Leonard fashion line was initially started in 1958 with a partnership between Jacques Leonard and Daniel Tribouillard. By 1960 Tribouillard had developed a new process for continuously printing English weaves (which were popular at the time, but thought to be “unprintable”) called Fully-Fashion and a patent was taken out on the technique. From there, clients and customers around the world were sold on the brand.
Tribouillard decided on an orchid as the brand’s emblem, believing the delicate flower was “without geometric limits.” In addition to the designs and prints he used for his clothing, Tribouillard experimented with different sorts of fabrics.  In 1968 he debuted his first collection of printed silk jersey dresses and marketed the garment (and its incredible lightness) as “The Leonard Dress: 150mg of Happiness.” (Side note: I love this marketing idea. What a great justification to purchase that dress—you’re not just purchasing a well-made dress, you’re buying a little [150mg, to be exact] slice of happiness, as well. I’m in!)

Leonard 1971

Leonard 1971

By the 1970s, the line had grown to include lines of ties, scarves, and fragrances. Leonard joined the Comité Colbert, an association aimed at promotion the concept of luxury—their members include around 75 French fashion houses and more than a dozen cultural institutions. In 1983 Daniel Tribouillard was commissioned by the Japanese government to update the kimono—let the importance of that commission (he a Westener, the kimono tradition one that spans thousands of years…) sink in for a moment. The result was complete accolades from the Japanese community, and the Leonard brand suddenly found themselves a success in an area of the world where many fashion houses have a difficult time making a name for themselves in.

written by Heather Cox for Rice and Beans Vintage

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