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'Beach, bar, boat': Lelloue's ultra-luxe take on swimwear

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Beaches in Cannes, yachts in Miami and Swedish ski resorts form the glamorous underpinnings of luxury swimwear brand Lelloue.

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Amy Molyneaux (left) and Helen Johnson

Amy Molyneaux (left) and Helen Johnson, founded the swim and resortwear brand Lelloue in 2016, based on a mutual desire to create versatile, glamorous beach clothing.  Designs are inspired by retro looks, including 1970s prints and riviera style, and the brand’s tagline is “beach, bar, boat”.

The brand has 15 stockists, including Selfridges in the UK.

Their first collection launched with a opulent bang for spring 17, with the duo putting on a showroom during Miami’s Cabana trade show. Far from crowded convention centre halls, Lelloue’s showroom took place with champagne flowing on Johnson’s yacht, moored in the nearby marina. 

Highlights from the autumn 19 collection include dramatic stripes and eye-popping florals on flattering V-neck swimsuits and luxurious silk shirt dresses. All products are made in Como, Italy. Wholesale prices range from £70 for a bikini to more than £400 for a dress.

The brand is based between Johnson’s home in Cannes and Madrid.

Molyneaux, Lelloue’s creative director, talks Drapers through her fashion life.

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Lelloue spring 19

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Helen and I both wake up at the crack of dawn, so the first thing I do every morning is give her a call. I go through my emails and get back to as many people as possible before anyone else in the house wakes up.

What was your first job?

My first job was at [fashion agency] Gimme 5: I worked with Michael Kopelman’s team on the brand Hysteric Glamour. At the time Japan was a very popular territory for British designers. I then started the brand PPQ and we sold the brand throughout Asia for roughly 10 years.

How would you describe Lelloue in one sentence?

Lelloue is based on Helen’s lifestyle. A very “now” approach to combining beach and eveningwear –  a “follow the sun” mentality.

What is your coffee order?

Black coffee and croissants with a huge amount of Tabasco.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

In my fabric collection. I generally make my own garments and then I buy the pieces that I can’t make, such as jewellery and shoes. I look odd in other people’s clothes: they generally don’t fit, or I find that the colour isn’t quite the shade that I would like.

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Last fashion purchase? 

Orange patent penny loafers from a bespoke leather maker in Madrid. They are so classic and so orange.

Emails or phone calls?

It depends – you need personality with people on the phone. However, when you need to make sure that certain things are documented I prefer email.

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Most important lesson you have learned during your career?

Always listen to what people are telling you.

What would be your ideal office/meeting space?

The terrace at Helen’s home in Cannes with a view out over Côte d’Azur.

What’s your favourite part of the creative process?

The lightning bolt of ideas when you are sleeping or doing something passive. Vanni and I will draw up the collection – it’s very print-orientated, and very personal to the travel that we do.

What has been your proudest moment since you started the brand?

One of our proudest moments was actually launching. I met Helen skiing in northern Sweden at her holiday home. Helen took the initiative to invest and launch the brand, and within a year we had formed the company and officially launched it in Cannes.

What is the last book you read?

[Comedian and satirist] Peter Cook’s biography.

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Last holiday?

Last year. I went to LA for the launch of my husband’s art exhibition.

Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?

There’s a store called Ekseption in Madrid and its window displays are to die for, simply beautiful. It stocks the show pieces that no one else can handle – the buyers get it so right there.

One piece of advice would you give your younger self?

I don’t believe in hindsight, but more shoes is never a bad idea.

Who do you turn to when you need advice?

I often think of women like my grandmother, who had very strong and outrageous opinions if she didn’t agree with someone or something. She was known for her “lipstick in bed” look, or would be seen wearing a full cashmere outfit for a walk to the shop.

What would we find you doing at the weekend?

Probably talking to Helen for hours about the new season and what looks we should work on next. You would also find me eating tapas in the sunshine with my family.

What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?

My daughter, who is due to be born in May.

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