Lelloue, a new resort wear range inspired by 90s poolside glamour, founded by PPQ’s Amy Molyneaux in partnership with Helen Johnson, is all about living that fabulous life, remixing classic shapes with daring prints, embellishment and luxurious silks and satins.
Based on five themes, Leopard, Sailor Girl, Love Lace, Rose Rock and Black and Gold, the 60-piece collection, which is designed in Madrid and manufactured in Portugal, includes swimwear, chic cover-ups and full on sequinned gowns, designed to take you effortlessly from the boat, to the beach, to the bar.
Here, we chat with Molyneaux who will be responsible for the creative direction of the label, together with her business partner and founder of the brand Johnson, who has a background that incorporates international event management and interior design, and will take on the role of managing director, dealing with business development and production. They share with us the key to a good partnership, their top packing tips, and who the Lelloue girl is.
Tell us about Lelloue?
HELEN: Lelloue is the brand that takes you from the beach to the bar to the boat. The collection contains the perfect pieces that can be layered and co-ordinated with your swimsuit to transform into a cocktail evening, depending on your destination! Whether you want to make a grand entrance in a bold statement piece, or prefer to keep it simple yet sexy and graceful, our lavish swimwear is beautifully cut to fit elegantly with matching gowns, separate resort wear, and tailored pieces for the travelling couture-conscious women.
AMY: Lelloue is the essence of the brand Helen has dreamt of for a long time. A brand formed of real life desires and real-life loves, not just another random selection of bikinis that you cannot relate to.
Why did you choose to launch a resort wear brand?
HELEN: For a long time, I had the desire to create something that would encapsulate my ‘follow the sun’ mentality for the woman who travels the world. I love to travel and have been lucky enough to visit destinations all over the world, yet my struggle was to find the perfect pieces that work both day and night. I generally buy a special outfit for that specific event, which after time became impossible to pack for. Often the events involved beach parties, boats, and evening dinners, with no time to spare to go home and get changed. Now there is no need.
AMY: The calendar of how we dress has evolved hugely over the past few years. Much more than ever before, this is not just about fad trends like puff sleeves. There has been a shift in how we run our lives, but we must not forget that a top still needs two sleeves, therefore the need for practical solutions to even the most glamorous of wardrobes still needs to be addressed. Lelloue has the answers.
Who is Lelloue aimed at?
HELEN: Lelloue is designed for the international woman with a jet-set lifestyle. Fashion savvy and always on trend, she is the hostess of the party and has to look good whatever the occasion. She is sexy, fun, flirty, and oozes confidence. The Lelloue woman knows that with her swimsuit and gracious attitude she can be anywhere and feel like a goddess. You’ll see her dancing at pool parties in Ibiza, tanning on the beaches in the Caribbean, or masquerading on the super yachts in St Tropez. Just as easily as you would find her in a tranquil setting at a friend’s BBQ.
AMY: I think Helen has nailed it with her description, and I can just add that high cost is not the common denominator in the travel heavy designs we offer. Our collections are for strong minded women with achievable and high-end prices within each group.
What do you feel will set you apart from an already increasingly saturated resort wear market?
HELEN: The brands versatility allows you to be on the move, with minimum effort and maximum style, literally going from beach to bar. We have a strong design aesthetic which you can see reflected in our brand, and you don’t have to go looking for alternatives to match your bikini. Other brands offer complimentary beach clothing, but they don’t capture the essence of Lelloue.
AMY: Lelloue is totally unique in terms of the wide range of add-on pieces we offer. Most swim brands encapsulate kaftans and soft pieces for slipping on. We offer the much needed, more structured and sophisticated approached to post beach dressing. For example, look at our sequin translucent gowns, which are perfect for a dinner, red carpet, or a fabulous cocktail soirée at sunset.
How did you come up with the brand name?
HELEN: It was a childhood nickname given to me, which represents the carefree, fun-loving spirit of Lelloue. My family still refer to me as Lelloue sometimes now!
When you first met, did you imagine that you would end up creating a brand together?
HELEN: It was like it was destined to be. Amy and I were introduced by a mutual friend who knew I had always wanted to start my own fashion brand. After our first informal meeting it was clear we immediately clicked, both in a sense of our business vision as well as in a creative way. As such, I had to employ Amy as my creative director.
AMY: I was a skiing with friends when I met Helen at her holiday home. Helen had the only English accent in a room full of Scandinavians, and when we spoke I had an immediate connection with her and her ideas, which doesn’t happen very often. You have to pursue this kind of gift.
What is your favourite thing about each other? What do you respect most about each other?
HELEN: I love both Amy’s inherent sense of style and fun, she is such a great designer and we share many of the same passions.
AMY: Helen has an innate sense of drive, it is a pleasure to work with someone who wants to make a change and venture into unchartered territories. I love how we are the same but different, like dominoes, she’s blonde and I’m brunette. We often buy the same pieces, we are lucky that we have never turned up into same outfits!
Tell us how you both work together, and how responsibilities are split?
HELEN: We divide the work between ourselves in a really collaborative way and according to our main skill sets. I am the founder of Lelloue and the managing director, so I therefore keep a close eye on brand building, business development, and sales from my office in Cannes. I am, by default, the unofficial muse for the Lelloue business, and everything must ultimately be signed off by myself to ensure consistency across all touch points. Amy, who has over 20 years’ experience and knowledge in the industry, oversees the design, production team, office, and showroom in Madrid. We are a very international company!
AMY: Creatively the brand comes together through a mutual understanding of what is chic and desirable and what the Lelloue woman wants. I listen intently to Helen’s ideas, and she to what we can create within that realm. Inspiration comes from Helen’s travels and our innate design skills to make this happen in a physical sense. The rest is Lelloue Magic.
What do you feel is key to a good working partnership?
HELEN: Honesty, communication, a hard-working ethic, and fun!
AMY: Most people don’t get to choose who they work with, so when you are brought together by the support of nature then you know it’s meant to be. You apply all your skills and knowledge to make that work! It’s not like turning up to a mundane 9 to 5 job that you don’t care about, it’s your life! We both provide what is required for the brand and then some, its 200% or nothing.
Do you have a favourite piece?
HELEN: I have many. One of my favourite looks is what I recently wore on a trip to Thailand. The Candy Dandy Stripes silk trousers with matching silk kaftan. Paired with big earrings and sunglasses for and early evening dinner is very chic.
AMY: The Rose Rock Collection is very romantic, yet edgy. Perfect for those candlelit dinners straight from the beach.
Who would you most like to see wearing the range?
HELEN: Personally, I would love to see someone like Beyoncé wearing the collection. She always looks sassy.
AMY: I have always loved Sophia Loren’s classic elegance, she epitomises Côte-d’Azur style for me. I would love to see her wearing one of our pyjama-sets with matching swimsuit, hopping on a plane ready to dive in the sea on arrival.
Whose effortless style do you admire and why?
HELEN: I love Prince Harry’s fiancée Meghan Markle, she is stunning and effortlessly stylish. I’m looking forward to seeing what gorgeous outfits she will dress in, and who will be her favourite designer.
AMY: I share Helens modern view of new dynamic royals. But I also have a love of nostalgic eras, with Sophia Loren being an absolute favourite.
Has travelling always been a passion for both of you?
HELEN: Yes absolutely, we are lucky enough to have had careers and lifestyles that have enabled us to visit some of the most stunning places in the world. Lelloue has already started as a global company, with headquarters in Cannes and Madrid.
AMY: Yes 100% travel is essential, if you stand still you die. Seeing the world forms your ideas, expressions, and moods, and the way you visualise things for the future.
What’s the best summer holiday you’ve ever had?
HELEN: As a family we spend a lot of our holidays on boats. Last summer we chartered a boat for 4 weeks, starting in Cannes and finishing in Greece. It was my experiences on this trip that inspired me to create what is now Lelloue. The greatest memory I have was a private dinner with friends in Zante at the ‘Smugglers Cove’ which is a shipwrecked boat on the island.
AMY: Every summer is different and amazing to me, they are all relevant.
Tell us your top tips for packing?
HELEN: At the end of the day, it’s about being purposeful with your packaging. Dress like you put some thought into it, and those around you will see that too. Plan an outfit for each day you are there, and your accessories should also be co-ordinated. Select jewellery that is appropriate to the occasion and your personal style, then remove two things after you have packed your case!
AMY: Start early, I am not the type to rush before a trip. Last minute packing is a recipe for disaster and disappointment, when you arrive at your destination and realise ‘those’ shoes are just not in your case!
What three things could you not do without on a desert island?
HELEN: My son, my partner, and chilli.
AMY: Exactly the same as Helen! We both have a son and love spicy food! And the husband is also quite important.
Can you share with us what you feel will be the secret to the growth, success, and longevity of the brand?
HELEN: Tapping into our customers and what they want to see from the brand and collections.
AMY: Always remaining true to your ideas, whilst being objective and open. Honesty is always the best policy.
What can we expect next from Lelloue?
HELEN: We are incredibly lucky to be in a position to react to what our customers want from the brand. We want to remain global and relevant for our fans and continue growing in a way that makes sense for what they want from us. Head to our website to see what comes next!
AMY: The new season will be coming soon, so watch this space.