Sydney-based luxury womenswear brand Leo & Lin has a very sexy-boho-feminine aesthetic with an emphasis on creating original prints. Founder and creative director, Leo Lin, makes the most of his love for his new home, Australia, by delving into a variety of artistic and cultural concepts.
Lin describes his brand as “Modernistic Nostalgia” explaining that it is a style that “perfectly resonates through time, mixing modern and the past era design elements”. What this means exactly is unclear, but it is interpreted via a combination of tailoring, leisurewear shapes, and bits of floof – ruffles and draping, handkerchief skirts and a touch of Victoriana in the use of lace details.
The Leo & Lin look can kind of be described as something a boho princess would wear. Fabrics range from silk-linen mixes, lace, linens, and spandex, and the pricing is firmly in the contemporary range with dresses costing from around AU$400 up to AU$700 or more depending on the materials used.
What is most interesting about the pieces is the use of original prints. Lin creates a series of new prints for each seasonal collection, based on his source of inspiration. For the Spring Summer 2020 collection entitled Rebellious, Lin was inspired by a nighttime stroll.
“Creative Director Leo Lin looked up and saw wondrous stars blinking ‘I’ve always been mesmerised by the beauty of Australian night sky, it is just pure magic and serenity’. It is this Aussie magic that led him to the world of tarot cards, and the creation of the Spring Summer 20 REBELLIOUS collection,” states the collection description on the brand’s website.
This concept was further translated as creating “a unique world that fills the wearer with this sensational, celestial space”, as well as the addition of another theme, that of the “conflicting concepts of Astronomy and Christianity”.
That’s a lot of ideas going on in one collection. What it translated to in the prints was placing a star chart print on top of an image of cathedral glass to create the central print, called The Baroque. Additional prints like The World features a lion’s head; The Lover is a mix of snakes, a woman, and a cross; Starry Night is a print that mixes all the others up with a celestial map.
The colours range from monochrome black and white, to dark browns, and a pale yellow, and they are all printed on silk, linen and cotton. An additional pattern and texture is added via the use of a checked shiny vinyl fabric – described as adding a sense of juxtaposition.
Does it all work? Yes, for the most part. The Leo & Lin brand could be described as being an acquired taste for some, it is more nostalgic than neutral, more maximalist than minimalist, and very definitely shows some links to the rising Victorian aesthetics showing up on social media thanks to movements like #cottagecore.
Is this a sustainable fashion brand? Hmmm … hard to say. There is not a lot of information available about where the products are made, or by whom. Nor is there any information about sustainable practices in-house or packaging or delivery. It could perhaps be described as being ‘slow fashion’, but again, this is unknown since it is not clear on how many products are produced per collection.
Still, Leo & Lin is an interesting outlier in the Australian fashion market. Less organic and girly, more sexy and womanly; dare I say even glamorous.
You can shop Leo & Lin online at www.leoandlin.com/collections/shop-all.