With Leonard celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2018, it seems apt that we write about the Parisian brand that has a achieved much commendation in the world of haute couture. Founded in 1958, Jacques Leonard invited a young and fresh-faced Daniel Tribouillard to helm the new brand. Mr Tribouillard would later grow to become one of the most influential haute couture designers of his generation.
Photo credit: Leonard Paris
Within 2 years of its founding, Mr Tribouillard launched a revolutionary new process for printing English weaves: a print that was extremely fashionable at the time but said to be “unprintable”. This earned the Leonard brand wide admiration, and together with the use of Tribouillard’s much-loved floral prints, the Leonard brand was brought to the world.
Exquisite silk and floral-prints combine to form Leonard’s DNA and dresses, scarves and neckties form the brand’s core products over the past 6 decades. Given the brand’s expertise in silk accessories, it made a natural progression into men’s silk ties and pocket squares.The brand transposed its design ingenuity and intricate craftsmanship into making silk accessories for men, and like its womenswear, does not shy away from the use of bold colours and eclectic prints.
The same striking designs that make a Leonard design so recoginisable has led many uninitiated gentlemen to sniggle upon first look. Comments like “where will I wear this to” and “would anybody wear this” are not uncommon. Sales associates have mastered the art of replying these (frankly ignorant) comments with a measured amount of proud indifference.
We venture to say that it is Leonard’s polarising use of colours and prints that makes the brand so elusive. The question then is simple, who is the customer of Leonard ties?
Quite simply, the Leonard customer is a gentleman who is both confident and a collector. He is not your average Joe, that’s for sure. One needs to have an air of panache and self-confidence, but not arrogance, to wear a Leonard tie with a crisp white shirt and dark suit. One needs to walk into the board-room or the ballroom, with his chin up and be ready to deliver, in order to avoid that the tie does not wear him.
The Leonard tie is simultaneously a “collector’s” tie. The brand’s philosophy is that each design should be truly unique and sees through this commitment by tastefully printing a unique series number at the back of the tie. Much like a Patek, a gentleman familiar with this haute couture designer would identify a Leonard design by its series number.