by Lisa Stasiulewicz
After growing her burgeoning line Webster from one top to 20 pieces in the past two years, Aleksia Landeau has finally hired some help. "As of last week, I have a partner," Aleksia says. "Designing is the smallest part of [the business], so having her around to help with everything else will hopefully make things easier."
An eclectic mix of menswear fabrics and feminine shapes, the Webster aesthetic is reminiscent of vintage Tocca, Aleksia's training ground while studying acting at Vassar. There she learned the business from the ground up working for young design phenom Marie-Anne Oudejans (who launched Tocca back in the '90s), doing everything from designing to acting as fit model to developing fragrances.
After college, Aleksia moved to Los Angeles to satisfy her acting urges, but continued to dabble in fashion on the side. Inspired by the children's uniforms in her native Paris, she designed a simple top with a Peter-Pan collar and puffed sleeves—"very Bonpoint"—and promptly sold an order to Scoop. That original design is still offered in every Webster collection, along with flirty dresses and slim jackets. For spring, Aleksia worked in Italian cotton traditionally used for men's shirts giving the collection a preppy-crossed with-Desperate Housewives vibe.
"It's a hodge-podge, very mix and match," Aleksia says. "I like the way Miuccia Prada puts herself together—sophisticated, but she doesn't look too done. That's what I go for."
Even with market weeks nearly over and extra manpower onboard, don't expect Aleksia to be hitting the beach anytime soon: She is set to star with actress Julie Delpy in a movie filming in late spring and she plans to expand her Webster collection to linens and home goods soon, as well.
Designer Aleksia Landeau may be better known for her acting credits—Riding in Cars with Boys and the forthcoming Sofia Coppola film, Marie Antoinette to name a few—but her sweet-chic women's line Webster has a distinctive star quality all its own.