A fashion label by Amanda McCarthy
View recent Leonard St. collections on Australian Fashion Review Blog
Named after a small pocket in London’s East End, Leonard St is an independent fashion label based in Melbourne and founded in 2005 by Australian designer, Amanda McCarthy. The brand presented it’s first collection for Spring/Summer 2005-2006 with a contemporary take on classic retro styles and florals. Seven years later Leonard St has firmly established itself not only in Melbourne, but also internationally with its understated collections for the individualistic, urban female.
Each Leonard St collection is predominantly inspired by silhouette and colour – Amanda’s background in fine art and sculpture means that it is always the line of each piece that is the stating point in the design process, followed by fabrication for structure, and finally colour palette and print. The resultant collections are full of flattering pieces, with contemporary clean lines, bespoke prints all made from the finest fabrics.
As of 2012 the brand has 3 standalone boutiques in Finders Lane, Fitzroy and Northcote, as well as their own online boutique. In addition Leonard St collections are stocked in selected boutiques across Australia, including the Northern Territories Mixed Lollies; Victoria’s Monk House Design and Lupa; and Western Australia’s Brownies and Violet Pilot.
Back in the November of 2009, Australian Fashion Review Blog was lucky enough to chat to Leonard St founder, Amanda McCarthy to find out all there is to know about her growing fashion label.
Who is behind the Leonard St label? What is your background?
I am the designer, Amanda McCarthy, I started the label in 2005 and my background is actually in sculpture, but my father’s side has always been in the rag trade and I always worked in fashion in difference capacities after studying art.
When and where did it all begin for Leonard St?
After working in retail, management, visual merchandising, film wardrobe, styling etc, it seemed natural to combine those skills with my design training from university. Also at that time I had recently returned from overseas and had the opportunity to do something creative whilst trying to find my way back in Oz again – always a fantastic opportunity to find out what you REALLY what to do.
What do you hope to accomplish with Leonard St? What is the ultimate dream!?
The dream is always changing. I have worked very hard this year (2009); we have opened a Pop Up store at Melbourne Central which will be there till Feb next year, and a second boutique on Gertrude St, Fitzroy. I am always tweaking my business model so we have reduced wholesale to concentrate more on the retail branding and closely react to the retail and best selling styles and what they tell me about my customer.
The ultimate dream in this industry needs cash flow. I do aspire to have a tight knit, succinct, collection each season which highlight fabulous prints and offer something different from what is already available in abundance. The ultimate dream would be to open a few more stores, travel more to be exposed to the further edges of fashion world and have my product represented in them. I would like to be sitting in front of my drawing table every day instead of my paperwork pile…
If you could pick someone famous that best represents the Leonard St style, who would it be? Alternatively, what famous person/s would you want wearing your label?
I like the style of, and would like to dress:
- Sienna Miller – controversy has not dulled her fashion flair!
- Lily Allen – always looks good, even when she’s trashed
- Carla Bruni – on her days off
- Lily Cole – a curvaceous redhead
- Scarlett Johansson – we cater for a bust
- Rachel Bilson – can combine looks with natural talent
- Kate Bosworth – understated style
Who are your favourite fashion designers and what about them inspires you? What else do you draw influence from?
My favourite fashion designer is Matthew Williamson. He has the unique ability to create a completely new collection every time, that channels inspiration from anything from African culture to an art movement and make it into wearable flawlessly flattering and chic group of pieces. His use of colour I love, I’m a colour designer. He uses line, colour and print and I too embrace those elements.
I also love Kenzo, Phillip Lim, and the Brit Designers – Emma Cook, Temperley, Luella and Vivienne Westwood
Complete the following sentence: Leonard St is unique because…
We focus on silhouette and flattering lines and mix them with our own fresh colour palette and our own print designs each season. We are an independent label and pride ourselves on offering a quality product that you will not see anywhere else.