PARIS FASHION WEEK
INTERVIEW WITH LÉO
Fast forward belgian fashion couple
Let’s do a quick trip to Belgium with Léo. First, a couple : she, fashion designer and he, sales director. Leonneke Derksen studied at the famous Royal Academy of Antwerp before she met Matthias Medaer, they first moved to Paris where Leonneke started to work for Balenciaga and Carven. Then she’s joined by Joelle Laederch to form the label Leo, where Matthias took the head of sales and communication. Result : a fashion forward style, somewhere between luxury and streetwear with an awkward unique twist, an energy based on attitude, authenticity and honesty. Garments that suits real women for real. For them it’s not just about aesthetics but about the story behind the person who wears Leo’s clothes. This season they did a presentation at the Bam Karaoke bar in Paris, a collection about a bad taste holiday destination like Ibiza in the early 2000’s. this was definitely a must see presentation !
LÉO, you chose a odd theme based on "bad-taste-holiday-trip" in Ibiza : did you want to share something that you experimented yourselves?
Or is it just pure fiction ?
Actually LÉO’s SS18 collection called 'EVOLUTION' embodies the atmosphere of a tacky holiday destination in memory of the Ibiza club scene and Goa trance music of the late 90’s, early 2000’s.
Searching again for a clash between high luxury versus urban underground and evening wear versus comfort wear, LÉO’s SS18 collection tells the story of a girl walking back to her hotel room from a beach party and getting lost in the city.
The ‘LEO’ jacquard knit, towel inspired terrycloth and soft rib jersey play upon hotel wear and explain the comfort side of this collection, while luxurious silks and flower chiffons define the elegant evening side.
Particular beach elements like sarongs are bonded and transformed into structured garments like a costume ensemble and a shirt.
The color palette embodies the energy of a late night party on holiday and runs from sandy off-white, burning browns and soft pinks to sun bright orange and red with touches of glow in the dark, to finally be balanced out with black and white.
Flashy accessories like colorful PVC belts complete the collection by adding a hint of Goa.
Let’s get this beach party started….
You offered us a fun presentation where people can actually also participate, almost like a kind of happening.
Do you think that your message is more understood with that kind of than with the fashion show ?
Do you consider the idea of making a fashion show for another season ?
The story and atmosphere of a collection is very important to us. We don't have the feeling that the message is understood better or worse in the way we present the clothes but we hope that it will speak to a new generation audience.
We want to keep it light and fun, there is to much seriousness already in fashion.
Also the concept of a runway show as we know them seems slightly dated to us, but it is still a very efficient way of showing garments, so we never say never ;)
You studied at the Antwerp Academy and part of this new generation of new belgium designer, can you tell us about the Antwerp energy ?
I have studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp yes, but the brand is based in Brussels, we just love Belgium !! ;) Antwerp has a great energy full of young and inspiring places and people that take initiative.
Theres also a very international vibe in this city , although it feels rather small and cosy.
I look back at my time in school with very good memories and a small bit of nostalgia as well, this school is a phenomenon because of all the people that has passed through it and you can feel this energy very strongly.
Matthias is your partner in life and also your sales director, is it easier to work with someone who knows you by heart ?
Sometimes is easier, sometimes it’s hard ;)
he good part of course is that we trust each other blindly and that we learn from each others characters. We share the same goal and direction but we do not always agree ;) this makes us think more and deeper about how we do things best.
The downside is that professional and personal life gets mixed up sometimes.. When we go somewhere together in the little free time we have, we always end up somehow talking about the brand again, it’s just such a big part of our life.
Any question you always wanted to answer, and that nobody ever asked about you or your work, or anything else?
I would love to take the opportunity to clear something out if you don’t mind ;)
As our website and Instagram account are named leobyleo, people sometimes tend to take this on as the brands name, which is totally understandable, but actually it’s just LÉO.