How it all started
Born in Hungary, Leona Lengyel love for art and design started at an early age. Creative inspiration and design talent led to the launch of her eponymous label in 2012, Leona Lengyel. Based in London, Leona offers exquisite silk and rayon scarves, beach sarongs, wraps and pocket squares, all of which are recognised for their exquisite luxury. Every piece from the brand is bright, colourful and unique, designed to add a striking style statement to even the most conservative of outfits.
Leona’s creations have been featured in prestigious publications such as Vogue, Marie Claire, Tatler and InStyle. The brand was also handpicked to exhibit at industry events including the prestigious Vodafone London Fashion Weekend, Pure London and Fashion’s Finest Show in the United Kingdom.
Working with Leona
I have had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with Leona and be a part of photo shoots for her website. I can tell from my experience that each scarf is extremely unique and beautiful. Leona puts all her heart into these pieces and work hard to achieve inspiring results you can see today on her website. I’m a big fan of thin long wrap scarves, so I’m extremely excited about this new velvet collection. If you want to add a touch of uniqueness to your wardrobe I would highly recommend to check out some of the pieces. Not a single scarf is made the same, so when you get one you are guaranteed to be the owner that of design exclusively. With the silk ones you can transform your outfit into romantic and elegant look and the velvet collection is perfect choice for the fun and casual outfits.
1. What are the reasons behind starting your own brand?
“My love for art and design started at an early age in Hungary where I was born and raised in a very creative family of jewellers. My artist’s name, ‘Léna’ was created when I began experimenting with painting in oil and acrylic. When I moved to London, I started working for luxury brands. Several years working with them gave me invaluable experience as to the expectations of clients choosing to buy luxury products. In the last couple of years I felt it time to put all this knowledge into practice and I launched my label in 2012.“
2. What inspires you?
“Many of my designs are based on personal experiences and observations of life around me. I express my thoughts and feelings through colours. The inspiration of my Room with a view and Rainbow Maker collection was the view from my south facing London studio. It has large windows which allow me to observe the ever-changing light over the city. Whether it is a beautiful sunrise or a storm rolling in, I am fascinated with the infinite colours and the contrast of light. When I can see a storm brewing I always look forward to see the rainbow at the end as it makes me believe that it must be someone behind the scenes who makes this magical light like Iris who was the personification of the rainbow in the Greek mythology. “
3. How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
“My brand is still developing. I am creating luxury items to be treasured so I have found it important to producing in Britain to achieve the quality standards. In 2012 I launched my first collection and opened my online store. I sell my scarves successfully and always receive very positive feedbacks. I focus on my brand awareness via social media and recently a Hungarian radio station approached me for an interview to discuss my new scarf collection and plans for the future. My future goals are to continue working on Leona Lengyel adding new designs to my scarf collection and in time adding new product lines to the brand. Recently I have launched my velvet collection which includes very vibrant skinny scarves and I have more ideas for the AW17.”
4. What sort of people you targeting with your designs and collections?
“I create exquisite luxury silk scarves for people who love statement pieces and appreciate quality, versatility and longevity.”
5. What do you think of Hungarian fashion?
“Hungarian fashion industry has grown a lot in the last few years. I am very proud to say that there are lot of talented and innovative designers. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani and Rita Ora are often wearing outfits from Dora Abodi who is one of my favourite designers. Dora’s signature style can be defined as baroque futurism; fusing past and future classical art and religious rituals with high technology.”
6. What is your definition of ‘Luxury?’
“Luxury is research, the chance to experience new routes, to find new and not predictable or already seen solutions. Experimentations are luxury. And it’s a fortune finding them and being able to have them. There are for example dresses which really give you the feeling of luxury for the way they have been made, for the quality of manufacturing. Same for jewelry, shoes, accessories. Craftsmanship is luxury. A product is luxe when it is handmade, tailored for few. Luxury meaning exclusiveness.”
7. Was it exciting to see your collection at London fashion week?
“I loved every minute of it. I really appreciate every situation when I have a chance to meet with potential clients face to face. During LFW I gave tips on how to style a scarf in different ways, clients found it very useful. I also got lots of positive feedback on my collections. They loved the vibrant colours and how unique and imaginative my designs are. I have met with very inspiring people like Jimmy Choo, Nicholas Kirkwood and Henry Holland.”
8. What is one advice you wish someone told you before you started?
“I knew from the beginning that I would like to make luxury products so the quality is very important to me. It was sometimes challenging to find the best company who could do the digital printing. I tried in other countries but I understood that the british made products are always recognised of their high standard with a reason. The research took me a year when finally I made my decision that I never regretted. I feel if someone would have gave me the right direction on this subject it would have saved me so much time.”
9. What is your biggest dream with the brand?
“I started to run private silk painting courses at my studio, I also run bigger workshops at Cass Art Islington. I would like this to become my brand’s DNA and have my own studio in central London where people would find different creative workshops to join and they would get all the support to discover their inner creativity.”
10. Do you see yourself more as an artist or designer?
“Usually it depends on the situations. When I go to networking events and I need to talk about my business I introduce myself as an accessories designer. On the other hand when I get more questions about how I am creating my scarves I am equally confident to call myself an artist. As much as I would love to focus only on creating my designs I have to admit that I work a lot front of the computer doing business emails, social media. In the past years I had a chance to exhibited my scarves at London Fashion Weekend three times in a row. To prepare everything for such an important event starts a few month earlier. I would love to focus only on creating but when you build a luxury brand you end up playing lots of different roles.”
11. What is the one piece that should be in every women’s wardrobe?
“A scarf can instantly enhance any outfit. One of my best sellers ‘Beyond The End scarf’ features a design that will easily take you from day to night, from lunch with the girls to date night at the theatre.”
12. Most inspiring place in England?
“In the Storm collection I have a scarf called Blenheim. Named after the national treasure that is the statuesque palace. In the heart of Oxfordshire this place is such a gem and I found it very inspiring, usually I visit it a few times in a year. I even had a photo shoot at the beautiful garden of Blenheim palace. The building’s regal atmosphere and gorgeous surrounding landscapes have previously acted as the set for iconic films starring Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Emily Blunt and Emma Watson.”
13. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
“I live London in the last eight years and I have to say I can’t get bored of it. I have so many favourite parks, museums and restaurants where I like to go back time to time. On the other hand there are still lots of places to discover.”
14. One advice for young designers who are dreaming on starting their own business?
“Open your mind, dream big and vividly, but think sensibly and realistically about your goals and plan of action. Ask for advice from people you respect and trust. Also don’t be too hard on yourself, creativity is something which thrives when it isn’t forced and can flow naturally, if you create something which you are really pleased with one day, just take that as an achievement and understand that you won’t necessarily better it straight away, artistic minds need rest!”
Make sure to visit Leona’s latest collection at leonalengyel.com