Leslie Amon Swimwear Makes India Debut
California dreaming? So is the entire fashion set! French swimwear designer Leslie Amon brings us a collection inspired by ’80s L.A. After the Central Saint Martins graduate cut her teeth in fashion at Lanvin, Giambattista Valli and Maison Michel, Amon launched her eponymous swimwear brand in June 2018. Her designs with zebra prints, metallic embellishments and romantic frills, she says, are for going out rather than taking off. Wear them as crop tops or bodysuits.
We’re stoked to announce that Leslie Amon Swim makes its India debut with Le Mill! On the eve of the launch, we caught up with the designer…
How did your time at Central Saint Martins shape your journey as a designer?
“It taught me to think outside the box and to look for inspiration in my surroundings – in people on the street, on my travels, in art, the corner of a coloured wall… everything can be the beginning of a story.”
What impact did working with Lanvin, Giambattista Valli and Maison Michel have on your approach to the fashion business?
“At Lanvin, just being in the same room as Albert Elbaz felt like a moment stuck in a time of pure emotion and passion. Seeing him sketch free-handed, or draping a piece of fabric on a model… watching it transform into a dress in a span of less than 5 minutes made me realise that everything is possible. It also taught me the importance of creating a good atmosphere for your team; he had a nice word for everyone.
My stint at Giambattista Valley taught me real craftsmanship and [trained my] eye for couture and beauty. Valli has amazing taste in everything, ranging from art to interior to fashion. He is also a true couturier which in my opinion, doesn’t exist anymore nowadays. He is also capable of multitasking, it is truly impeccable.
Maison Michel, on the other hand, taught me about production and the business of fashion. I was involved in every step, from design to sales. I learned how to create a cohesive collection by analysing an item in the Maison Michel shop, merchandising it, and presenting my research and analysis.”
Why did you choose to venture into swimwear as opposed to ready-to-wear?
“Swimwear is niche and that’s what I love about it. There are rules and specifics that you have to work into your designs – such as the fit and stretch of the fabric. Even the material should be friendly and adjustable to the ocean or chlorinated water. I see these rules as advantages, as a way to channelize your energy, vis-a-vis having to design without restrictions.
In all honesty, producing swimwear is less daunting as opposed to a prêt-à-porter collection, where you are left with a huge amount of discarded fabric. It can quickly get overwhelming in terms of cost and organisation.
Having said that, I’m happy to reveal that I am planning to design cover-ups for next year’s collection!”
What is your inspiration for the SS ’19 collection?
“My inspiration for this season is ’80s California and Whitney Houston. I was also inspired by the movie The Florida Project. The grungy-retro feeling and the vibe of the movie echoes a cool and laid-back attitude. I also wanted to incorporate a hint of eroticism in this collection, this is because I think of the ’80s and ’90s as a very sexy period. I like it when swimwear flirts with sensuality but is elegant at the same time. I am not a fan of tan-lines!
The retro pieces, colours, and the graphic zebra print call out to the ’90s, a period which I truly love. Visually, the ’90s were a strong inspiration in terms of colour. People were alluring and powerful at that time. They were confident about their bodies, about being athletic but not skinny.”
You’ve spoken about how some of your pieces can be styled differently, and worn in the day. Can you share tips on how to style swimwear for everyday wear?
“All of my bikini tops can be worn as crop tops. Similarly, my one-pieces can be worn as bodysuits. The best styling tip I can share is to style my designs with jeans or shorts for a laid-back L.A look.”
You tend to name your pieces after close friends and family. What happens when you run out of names?
“Haha! To be sure I don’t run out of names, I started mixing close friends and family names with my clientele names. I am also looking at names of the iconic, glamorous Hollywood actresses such as Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth.”
You recently visited India. What are your most memorable moments from the trip?
“Loved my time at the flea markets of Jaipur and Delhi. It was inspiring watching all those gorgeous women hand-picking the fabric for their saris. I enjoyed playing with the Holi colours but I would love to experience the actual Holi festival in Jaipur next year. The kindness and warmth of the people, and their belief in spirituality is what makes me love Indian culture. I am longing to come back to India. I might go to the Vana Retreat in Uttarakhand, or maybe visit Kerala since I am a Yoga enthusiast!”
Leslie Amon Swim Summer ’19 now available at Le Mill