Designer Spotlight: Leyendecker, Part 2

Leyendecker Los Angeles

Yesterday in Part 1 of our designer spotlight, Kathryn reported on her trip to Leyendecker’s Los Angeles showroom where she got to try on some of their gorgeous Spring 2011 pieces.  Now we’re bringing you Part 2, where Kathryn sat down with Lisa Guajardo and Jessica Moss of Leyendecker Los Angeles.  Here’s what they talked about:

The Blonde: I love your whole modernist feminine mix. In your collection you’ve captured the many needs of today’s woman with fresh colors and fabrications, what or who is your muse/inspiration?

Lisa Guajardo: We don’t ever really have just one inspiration, it changes so much – it’s like fashion A.D.D.  It always depends on the season and what things we are obsessing on at the moment.


Jessica Moss: The one thing that is a constant is our sensibility.  We always find a balance in seemingly opposing ideas, like modern and classic, femininity and toughness, uniqueness and familiarity.  That has always been the Leyendecker mantra.

The Blonde: Who is the Leyendecker “girl/woman” and how has she evolved over the past few years?

JM: We like to think that our girl has a sick sense of style and a fierce sense of humor when it comes to fashion.


LG: She is definitely not afraid to be noticed.


JM: That is so true, we always hear that girls get crazy amounts of compliments when they wear our pieces!


LG: Lately our girl has been having a feminine moment, but a few years ago she was  a little edgier.


JM: At some point, it’s edgy to be feminine in the sense that it is unexpected and therefore dangerous.  And Leyendecker is all about the unexpected.

The Blonde: What item in your fall and spring collections is the “must have” for today’s woman (who is juggling so many different roles) to add to her wardrobe?

JM: I think the Chopper blouse from our fall collection is so amazing because it can go from day to night so easily.  I love it dressed down with jeans, or dressed up with a fabulous maxi skirt.  It’s the essential chameleon: work, weekend, casual, black tie… it can go anywhere.


LG: I think a lot of our pieces are super versatile like that, which is great because you get a lot mileage out of each one.

The Blonde: What is the key accessory from your Fall and Spring 2011 collections that pulls the total look together?

LG: Our braided leather belt that came with the Suburbia dress from Spring 2011 has kind of “tied” many a look together for me!  People LOVE that belt so much they want to rip it off my bod.


JM: Yeah, we’ve had so many people buy the belt as an accessory piece from us.  We’ll be bringing it back in other colors very soon.

The Blonde: Tell us what looks your recommend for a blonde versus a brunette in your Fall Collection?

JM: I think that is the most difficult question we have ever been asked!


LG: I mean, I’m a brunette, but I have always had secret ambitions for a blonde moment in my life…


JM: And I’m a redhead!  So I don’t even know where the ginger falls into this mix!  We like to think that our collection is an equal opportunist!  Girls are like snowflakes, no two blondes are alike, and I mean, who really knows if they have more fun!  All I know is that there is something for all shades, and I would never discriminate or segregate.


LG: Amen sista.

The Blonde: You have the unique ability to integrate the look of the New York sophisticate (and her urban uniform) and the California casual lifestyle (although San Francisco channels the New York aesthetic). What styles in your Fall 2011 collection would you recommend for LA or West Coast women?

JM: Thank you!  That’s totally the balance we were talking about earlier: marrying the sharpness of east coast polish with the “undone” feeling of west coast bohemian.  It’s always interesting dressing for fall in LA because our weather doesn’t permit the kind of layering that is necessary on the east coast.


LG: And also the sun shines a lot, so it can be hard to get into that winter mentality.  We did a lot of pieces in silk chiffon for fall which is great because East Coasters can layer it up, but LA ladies can get that fall look even when it’s 70 degrees.


JM: I think the Biker dress is a quintessential LA dress.  It’s that perfect mix of boho and rock n’ roll that just seems effortless out here.


LG: I also think our Roadtrip tank in the perforated faux suede is perfect for LA because again, when it’s September and 90 degrees, she’ll be able to wear something that is not to warm and yet has the richness of fall.

The Blonde: What’s the key look for New York and the East Coast?

JM: I’m all about the Ambling lace maxi for our East Coasters – I love how it can be layered up with a loose sweater and nubby cardigan and boots for day, or stripped down with a classic pump for night.  It is so sexy, yet the long sleeve is demure.  It’s such a classic piece.

The Blonde: What is the one piece of fashion advice you would give to the contemporary woman?

JM: I think being fashionable is all about taking calculated risks.  Never underestimate the transformative power of stepping outside your comfort zone.  I think it’s important for women to dip their feet in uncharted waters every season because it motivates us to never be stationary, and always be changing.  I think that is the point of fashion: evolution.  I mean, change is inevitable, right?


LG: But it’s also important for her to feel comfortable in her skin.  I think that’s the point of calculated risks.  I don’t think girls should step so far outside their comfort zone that they literally feel utterly uncomfortable.  Insecurity is never chic, so I think there’s a balance with it.  It’s just a little shake up, because we can all get way too comfortable with one kind of look.

Here are a few quick questions (à la Jimmy Fallon):

  1. The sexiest look for a woman is…her man’s t-shirt
  2. A confident woman wears…whatever the hell she wants to
  3. If you are petite…practice walking in those 6 inchers
  4. If you are tall…you lucky bitch, you look good in everything!
  5. If you are curvy…play up them curves!
  6. If you are slim…play with prints.
  7. Blondes always look great in…pastel hues.
  8. Brunettes always look great in…jewel tones
  9. When you travel, the one key look to always pack is…a LBD.
  10. What’s the best way to go from day/office to evening if you can’t go home to change? Smokey eyeliner with a nude lip and a pair of heels.