Formerly a lawyer in Paris, jewelry designer Céline decided to launch her own limited collection of jewelry featuring beautiful silk ribbons. Here’s her story.
Tell us about your career path. You practiced as a lawyer in Paris. When did fashion become a reality?
I was always passionate about fashion but decided to go with a more conventional career path, which is why I went into law. A few years ago, I moved to New York from Paris with my husband and two young children. It was a lot to deal with, a lot of change. This new life encouraged me to explore my creativity, which led to the decision to pursue fashion. I enrolled in a course at FIT, which is how LEA came about..
Did you already know what kind of brand you wanted to create?
Toward the beginning of my fashion journey, I received a silk scarf as a gift. Instinctively, I wrapped it around my wrist and loved that feeling of velvety soft fabric on my skin. That was the first source of inspiration: to wear jewelry as fashion, to elevate any outfit and add a unique twist to it. You can wear LÉA pieces with almost anything, from jeans and a t-shirt to an elegant cocktail dress.
We love the ballet concept. Where did the inspiration for that come from?
I’m not a professional dancer but I love ballet. Giselle, the name of the collection, was inspired by one of the most classic and romantic ballets, and my all-time favorite. The bracelets are made with gold and luxurious silk ribbons reminiscent of the laced shoes of a ballerina. Our model for the Giselle collection, Manon, is a professional dancer.
I’m fascinated by the world of music and dance in general. To me, dance represents the expression of self via movement. I love the creativity, femininity, and beauty of ballet.
The connection between dance and fashion is a huge source of inspiration. I want to continue to explore this through the next collections, by drawing inspiration from different dance styles.
Tell us about your production process. Everything is made in New York.
It’s very important for us to be ethical and sustainable. We want to only work with partners who ensure a safe working environment and pay a livable wage. Beautiful products are meaningless if they’re not produced in the best possible conditions.
Our ribbons are 100% silk, from a Californian supplier. The hardware is made of brass and heavily plated with gold. The metal is made in New York, which is also where we assemble our pieces.
We produce our jewelry in limited series to avoid overproduction and reduce waste.
Finding a supplier willing to work with an emerging brand was a challenge, but I eventually discovered an atelier in the city that agreed to smaller minimum order quantities (MOQs). It was important that I meet with each atelier in person and see the conditions for myself. Some ateliers work in abysmal conditions right here in New York City. I’m very happy with the two partners I chose and I love that I can keep a close eye on production.
Who is the LEA woman?
She loves fashion, likes to mix textures, and is open to different styles, while knowing her own self. I like to describe her as someone who would wear sneakers with a swipe of red lipstick or pair a party dress with messy hair. She’s feminine, knows how to have fun, and lives according to her own rules.