Leona Lengyel was born in Hungary into a family of jewellers, Leona’s love of art and design began at an early age. Her artist’s name, ‘Léna’ was created when the young Leona began experimenting with painting in oil and acrylic.
Leona’s artistic flair, creative inspiration and design talent led to the launch of her eponymous label in 2012. Based in London, Leona Lengyel offers exquisite silk and rayon scarves, beach sarongs, wraps and pocket squares, all of which are recognised for their exquisite luxury.
Here, she talks to us at House of Coco and tells us more about the brand and her plans for the future…
How did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
When I moved to London, I started working for luxury brands. Several years working with them gave me invaluable experience as to the expectations of clients choosing to buy luxury products. In the last couple of years I felt it time to put all this knowledge into practise and I launched my label in 2012. I am based in London and I offer exquisite silk and rayon scarves, beach sarongs, wraps and pocket squares, all of which are recognised for their exquisite luxury.
What’s your background?
My love for art and design started at an early age in Hungary where I was born and raised in a very creative family of jewellers. My artist’s name, ‘Léna’ was created when I began experimenting with painting in oil and acrylic. I always loved to paint for hours on end encapsulating my playful imagination.
If you could start over with the business would you do anything differently?
If I could start over with the knowledge what I have right now I wouldn’t spend time and money to find the best company who could do the digital printing for me. I would just know the best to stick to made in England quality as the british made products are always recognised of their high standard with a reason.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
Love to watch costume drama movies. My recent favourite is the War and Peace with Paul Dano and Lily James. The amazing thing about this movie that Russia is such a different world to the English one we are used to seeing on screen. The action of the story takes place at such an interesting time for fashion. It is where we see the birth of modern fashion as we understand it today. Not just the exciting story line but the lavish dresses and intricate jewels that kept me glued to the TV screen.
To date, tell us a few of your highlights since launching?
When you start your company it is important to appreciate every small success. I still remember the joy of receiving my first digitally printed scarf. I was amazed how my original hand painted design got transformed into a piece of accessories. Loved to see my silk scarves in the pages of big magazines like Vogue, Instyle. It is going to be very thrilling to exhibit my works third time in such a prestigious event like London Fashion Weekend.
Which city do you feel most at home in London or Budapest?
Whichever city I am at the time. When I came to London I haven’t thought if I ever going to feel at home in such a big and crazy city but now I have to say my feelings has changed a lot. I know so many hidden gems, places where I can relax and switch of my mind. As the city is much bigger than Budapest probably I have more options here to go out and try different restaurants, theaters and visit the beautiful parks. I love my lifestyle in London yet nothing is as powerful than to land at Budapest airport and have a sniff of the Hungarian air.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
My perfume, lipstick and hand cream.
Style is much more than your shoulder length haircut, fashionable coat, or your designer shoes. It’s the combination of the way you dress, talk, move your body, or do anything. It’s how we express our inner being outwardly. This includes all of our thoughts, emotions, and values. Everything on the outside is merely a reflection of what’s on the inside.
What is your definition of ‘Luxury?’
Luxury is research, the chance to experience new routes, to find new and not predictable or already seen solutions. Experimentations are luxury. And it’s a fortune finding them and being able to have them. There are for example dresses which really give you the feeling of luxury for the way they have been made, for the quality of manufacturing. Same for jewelry, shoes, accessories. Craftsmanship is luxury. A product is luxe when it is handmade, tailored for few. Luxury meaning exclusiveness. When V&A had the ‘What is luxury’ exhibition I really liked what the curator Jana Scholze said about luxury: “Arguably we all have a relationship to luxury; luxury may be something personal which relates to experiences of pleasure outside of daily routines. It may be the idea of something better, a bit more extraordinary, than what we already take for granted. For many people, who lead heavily pressurised personal and professional lives, time itself is the most commonly cited luxury.”
Statement shoe or statement bag?
I believe that accessories are the punctuation of an outfit and sometimes your outfit needs an exclamation point. I love to wear my scarf designs especially in bright colours to elevate my outfit and I usually pair a matching statement shoes.
Favourite love song?
James Blake – Limit to your love
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Long time I am planning to visit Barcelona. Not just because right now I could do anything for a bit of sunshine, I also admire the beautiful architecture of Gaudi.
Best place for a coffee?
I try not to drink coffee and I do my best to keep up a healthy lifestyle. My favourite place for a good smoothie is at Triyoga Soho London.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
I remember last year when I was exhibiting at London Fashion Weekend went to listen the interview with Anya Hindmarch. I have found it very inspiring and I really admire how she is handling her very busy lifestyle. Her advice was very simple yet powerful. She said the most important in the journey to achieve our goals is to stay positive. I do like this advice because sometimes it is not easy to think that ‘above the clouds the sky is always blue’ but we still we should believe in this and hold on to.