Fashion is about fantasy – and no designer does it better than Newton, Massachusetts born, LA bred designer Leetal Platt. After a career in the film business, Leetal transitioned her love of all things film into dreaming up a high-fashion futuristic fantasy. After studying at Parsons in Paris and FIDM, Leetal launched her brand to become the beautiful thorn in fashion’s side starting with a delightfully decadent capsule collection, ‘Garden Party Pt. I.” Today, we chat with Leetal about the film behind her inspiration, sex-kitten heels, and fashion’s global economy.
So we heard you started in film!?
Yes! I started my career working in the film industry because I loved movies so much and wanted to be a filmmaker. I particularly gravitated to the energy of the set, and ended up in many creative positions like set dressing and art department, and eventually ended up in wardrobe doing alterations even though I didn’t know how to sew. I realized I liked it and then took up sewing as a hobby. It took less than a year to realize that I loved it so much I wanted to dedicate myself to it and I started a career change and went to design school. It was only through designing that I realized I had been doing it all along – even as a kid – by imagining such clear fantasy worlds and sketching characters with particular emphasis on their clothing. I had been collecting fashion photographs and following magazines since I was ten, and I was the worst to shop with because I always had very specific opinions about clothes in stores.
Wow! Sounds like you are creative in all forms!
Ironically enough, growing up I was an artist in so many different mediums and the one material I avoided was fabric because I decided we just didn’t get along!
What is your fashion philosophy?
Fashion isn’t about being other people, it’s about being the best version of yourself.
Also, I’m obsessed with this nugget from Christian Louboutin “the foot in a heel takes the position of a foot in orgasm” and it is the truest statement about the unconscious effect of fashion I think I’ve ever heard.
What is your brand aesthetic and what makes your brand unique?
My brand’s aesthetic is a kind of futurist elegance, creating soft, elegant, sophisticated pieces that use hard clinical sci-fi elements. My brand is for the woman that wants to still be elegant but is no bloom – she’d rather be the thorn – and shouldn’t be underestimated.
How has your design changed over time?
Coming from LA, I used to love vintage and rockabilly, that was what I specifically designed. After studying in Europe and learning more about the contemporary and avant-garde movements, my work took a decidedly more modern edges. I’m doing better at designing what I want rather than what the culture around me wants.
What inspired your latest collection?
Garden Party is kind of a sense memory collection. The fabrics, colors, and silhouettes remind me of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland particularly her blue dress, white apron, and black ribbon headband. The relaxed, almost sleepy feel of it all reminded me of a nap among flowers, and that is how Alice finds herself waking up out of Wonderland anyhow… it falls somewhere along those lines.
A true film inspiration! What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?
Sales and the manufacturing pipeline, with increased inequality in the US in particular, expensive clothes aren’t so much people’s priority, and in order to lower cost you have to invest more in manufacturing many units. Navigating the give and take between sales and inventory is so hard for a small brand that’s still finding its audience.
What do you think about fashion today?
I don’t have many complaints because I feel we’re at a changing point, however I worry about how politics and public policy affects our industry more than most. Most people I interact with in fashion seem to ignore the macro movements of the world, not realizing that we are directly affected by that ecosystem, from customers’ disposable income to whether cotton had a good harvest to our country’s trade relations with China affecting delivery speeds. We are in a global economy.
Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
I love research and I fill pages of sketchbooks with cut and paste collages of collection inspirations, but I find I’m particularly inspired by weather, emotions, and sometimes grand concepts.
Any tips and tricks of the trade?
Let the fabric speak before you make up your mind.
Shop Leetal’s first collection ‘Garden Party Part 1” and follow her and Alice down the fantastic fashion rabbit hole!