I’m excited to revive my women of substance series today (it’s been on hiatus for nearly a year!) by showcasing Laura Gelfand of the gorgeous knitwear label Le Lion. Laura is a fashion and textiles veteran: she earned a degree from Parson’s and has worked for design houses as impressive and varied as Ralph Lauren, Catherine Malandrino, and Figue. In 2017, Laura set out to establish her own brand after falling in love with a sweater she scored on TheRealReal decorated with sequins on the left chest. She recalls that it was in fact an ill-fitting sweater but that she couldn’t find anything just like it — and she was in love with it. She went to her friend Martha and asked, “Why don’t we make these?”, adding that including some element of personalization felt in line with where she perceived the clothing industry to be going (i.e., away from “fast fashion”). And so Le Lion was born — a collection of sweaters adorned with “embroidered interpretations of traditional heraldry” and “personalized with whimsical monograms and zodiac constellations.”
Below, Laura’s answers to my modified Proust Questionnaire:
Your favorite qualities in a woman.
Strength, honesty, and kindness. I so admire strong women, and strength can come in so many different forms: strength in determination, in point of view, in work, in love…Honesty is incredibly important to me in all facets, and I think it often takes incredible strength to be honest.
Your favorite heroine.
I love any woman that goes against the grain, that has a point of view, that doesn’t just accept things the way they are. My maternal grandmother was really my heroine. She was fiercely independent, which I just loved, AND she drove a red Porsche and wore leather pants until she was in her 80s! She had incredible style and I have a bunch of pieces from her that I wear all the time.
Your main fault.
I put far too much pressure on myself!!! It can be debilitating.
Your greatest strength.
I am a doer of all things! When faced with an obstacle, I’ll learn whatever I need to in order to master it. In starting this business, I have encountered so many challenges and have learned so much about business, the industry, relationships, and so on to overcome them.
Your idea of happiness.
I am a real homebody. I love curling up and watching a movie (or two!) on the couch. But I am at my happiest when traveling somewhere that completely takes me out of my element — it is so exhilarating!!
…or Paris, always.
Your idea of misery.
Anxiety thinking about the future. I constantly work on trying to live in the moment!
Currently at the top of your shopping lust list.
TOO many things! But to list a few…
I love pairing skirts with my sweaters and there are a couple of whimsy ones on Net-A-Porter that I am lusting over, like this printed satin one from Marni and this mixed-print Dries Van Noten. I also just discovered Le Nine crystal basket bags and I need one! I love anything that sparkles and I think straw bags are so fab year round. Finally, I am a shoe-addict and I adore Rochas flats. They are so feminine and whimsical. I love this simple pair with the sweet bow!
Desert island beauty product.
Last thing you bought.
A great new pair of AGOLDE jeans at Cabana in Dallas. Merry’s stores Cabana and Canary are my favorites!
I feel most empowered wearing…
One of my sweaters. They make me feel incredibly proud, not only because they represent something I have created but because they are personal. It makes me feel so proud to see other women wearing them and to hear how special and personal they are to them. I have tried so hard not to just put more stuff into this world and to create something that feels special to people and brings them joy. A customer recently ordered a sweater with her deceased father’s initials in the heart and it was just incredible to see her reaction when she received it. I want everyone to feel that way when they wear them!
Favorite Magpie post.
I love ALL of your beauty posts. I am such a beauty addict and just love reading about and discovering all of the products you find and review. I have ready every single one! I love “Words I Hate + Makeup I Love” because it is just genius and perfect.
Some Laura Gelfand-Inspired Shopping Picks…
+Le Lion puff-sleeved sweater (swoon).
+Indie Lee cleanser. (People rave about this! I just bought a tube and can’t wait to give it a try.)
+Velvet bow flats (!!!!)
+Chantecaille x De Gournay highlighter. (Swoon!!! I love this label and especially this limited edition product…)
+Mignonne Gavigan seahorse earrings (ZOMG).
P.P.S. My spring lust list.