Leonard St founder and designer Amanda McCarthy took the leap of faith when she decided to create her own label back in 2004, and now she’s leading the way with her bright, bold, non-commercial pieces – and Katy Perry is even wearing them!
As Amanda launched her Autumn 2017 collection at her Adelaide store on Ebenezer Place last night, Glam Adelaide spoke to her about her new collection, and where it all began.
So, tell us about the new collection…
It’s got a lot of different textures in it. I’m really loving the velvet in the blush tone, it goes with everything.
Another one of the main prints in the range is the birds in flight with the ticking flight path, which is really simple and quite romantic.
And the other really strong print is the cats and dogs, and that’s inspired by popular culture. There’s a real trend at the moment for girls to get tattoos of their pets, and it also reminds me of the animation of Aardman – who does Wallace & Gromit.
It’s just meant to be something that makes you happy and makes you smile, and I don’t think that fashion should be that serious so I’m trying to make things that make people happy when they wear them. You can be light-hearted about fashion and still be cool and stylish.
There’s always a focus on the print, that’s the point of difference that you won’t see anywhere else. It’s very non-commercial.
If you could describe the collection in three words, what would they be?
Quirky, Bright and Eclectic.
How did Leonard St begin?
I was working in London for a while in the fashion and film industry and I did a lot of wardrobe, and I really loved it over there. I was a bit depressed when I got back because the fashion wasn’t as inspiring here, and I spent a lot of time on the beach crying into my UK Vogue.
Then I couldn’t get a job, which was really frustrating because I just felt like I had a lot of varied experience, but it just didn’t translate. I ended up going for heaps of interviews and thinking I wanted to do my own thing.
I then worked at a vintage shop and did a lot of other things like working for a rug company doing bespoke rug designs, and then I thought if I’m going to do this properly I’ll just open a shop and then actually pay myself.
My dad told me not to do fashion because it’s hard work, but my father’s side of the family have always been in fashion. My grandpa had a label and I spent a lot of time in that showroom when I was a kid.
We heard that Katy Perry wears some of your designs. That must feel amazing!
Yeah, she came in to the Fitzroy store in Melbourne once about two years ago when she was touring and she bought some stuff. The girls rang me afterwards and told me Katy Perry was in the store and I was like “Omg are you serious? Tell me you took a photo!” and they were like “No we couldn’t, she was in her cycling gear and she didn’t want to be recognised.” She even kept her helmet on.
She bought a lot of kidswear and bought one of my deer print dresses. But then like a week later she got snapped in Sydney wearing it, which was awesome, but of course no one knew where it was from.
But now, with Leonard St designs being stocked in the Adelaide store, multiple stores in Victoria, as well as across the USA via Anthropologie stores and online, Leonard St is becoming more noticed by the day.
Oh, and some of the designs have also graced the catwalks of Melbourne, London and Beijing. Yep, Leonard St is kicking serious goals in the fashion world.
Check out the new collection here or in-store at 22 Ebenezer Pl, Adelaide.