Double Vision

The design partners for the L.A.-based line Leyendecker go for the balance in bicoastal. By Dena Smolek
leyendecker_portraitDesigners Jessica Moss and Lisa Guajardo of the Los Angeles-based women's line Leyendecker have a decidedly bi-coastal approach to fashion. That is, they are L.A. ladies with a New York point of view. Just a season old (their first collection was launched in fall 2006), the duo set out to break away from the "rock 'n roll, Juicy, distressed, boho, L.A. aesthetic," says Jessica. "We wanted to do something that was classic but still innovative; something that wouldn't go stale in your wardrobe."
The bold collection of skirts, tops, and dresses all connected with moody, muted tones, is feminine minus the froth. The formula they've concocted yields special pieces designed with versatility in mind, those things you won't regret having bought in two years. The Exhibit top—with bell sleeves and a delicate braided collar—from the "Debut" collection was a top-seller for fall, and seems to epitomize the designers' penchant for thoughtfully pushing the envelope while keeping things classic.

Lisa is constantly pushing us out, and I pull it back in. So, we meet in the middle, and it just works."—Jessica Moss, Leyendecker

This even-flow of concept and classicism can be attributed to the natural blend of Lisa's and Jessica's design prowess. "We could not have more opposite styles," says Jessica. "Lisa is super outside the box and very artistic, which is inspiring to me because I'm more practical. I'm less conceptual, very literal. Lisa is constantly pushing us out, and I pull it back in. So, we meet in the middle, and it just works."
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Finding that middle-ground seems to come naturally for this design team, and the result is a well-edited collection with a minimalist focus and slight vintage vibe. You won't find a lot of fluff in this new line. "We're very anti-trim and embellishment," says Jessica. Instead, they concentrate on texture, tailoring, and clean but slightly sculptural lines, while borrowing vintage construction techniques in their more complicated pattern-work.
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The spring collection, Gravity, has just 10 pieces—all with a flirtier, lighter feel than the previous collection. Standouts include the Drop dress, a cotton-voile drop-waist design with a horsehair hem; the Jumper, a pretty box-pleated, square-neck dress; and the peplum-waist Rider dress with a flowing, diaphanous skirt and button-front top. The Exhibit top makes a comeback for spring, too, as the Fall, a ruffled tank with a high, braided neck. Each piece reveals the designers' focus on creating classic pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. "We don't presume that there is a head-to-toe Leyendecker girl," says Jessica. "Our approach is all about mixing it up."
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Leyendecker is available in Los Angeles at Creatures of Comfort, 7971 Melrose Avenue; 323-655-7855. For more information, go to www.leyendeckerlosangeles.com.
The design partners for the L.A.-based line Leyendecker go for the balance in bicoastal.
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