As many of you know, I‘m a proponent of timeless pieces and often I select classic over trendy. I love most how a classic piece can live in your closet for many seasons and how they become the pillars of your wardrobe.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Leslie Tessler, the designer behind the stunning and luxurious capes everyone’s lusting over. As soon as I saw the vintage inspired capes and learned more about her I knew I wanted to share her story with you.
What are you inspired by?
I’m inspired every day by my surroundings and I feel so lucky to be able to soak up inspiration from two of the best cities in the world (that I also call home) New York City and Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires I’m inspired by the Latin culture, the colors, the passion and overall pleasure people take in everyday life. In NYC, my inspiration comes more from the subtleties, the understated elegance and the palpable energy of the city.
How did the cape become your signature piece?
I’ve been wearing capes for more than 15 years and it’s one of the few pieces that never get rotated out of my closet. I have vintage capes from the 1930’s and 40’s that I wear and still get stopped in the street and asked about. To me that says something! The idea of creating a line of vintage-inspired capes, with that kind of character was always something I had in the back of my head but moving from New York City to Buenos Aires in 2010 was definitely the catalyst for it all.
What’s next after capes?
I can’t even think about that because there’s so much left to explore within the realm of capes. I love the idea of focusing on something specific like the cape. As a total foodie, I often compare this idea to the process of going grocery shopping. I much prefer the way we shop here in Latin America, where I go to the vegetable man to get my veggies and the meat shop to get my beef instead of buying everything under one roof. I know my friend Jose at the local carnicería (meat shop) has the best meat in town. Nothing else, just meat and meat-related products. Basically I want to be the “Juan” of capes.
With that in mind, we’ve begun working on expanding the line. The cape is incredibly versatile and for me is a piece that every women should have in her closet, like a classic trench or a LBD. We’ve begun amplifying the line, working on new styles, new fabrications and a line of cape-based accessories. When people think of capes, I want them to think of Leslie Tessler. Until then, I’m happy here eating, sleeping and breathing capes.
Having elected to abandon the traditional seasonal model, our mission is to create classic expertly tailored pieces that never go out of style; opting always for timeless over trendy.
What is the best part about being a designer?
Getting to design pieces I love and then to actually see people wearing them on the street – it’s a total rush!
Which item(s) in your wardrobe do you cherish most?
My wedding ring! It’s new and shiny and every time I look at it I smile. But that’s too obvious an answer, no? My other would have to be my grandmother’s vintage cape from the 1940’s. It is, by far, the chicest piece I own.
You never leave the house without?
My iPod. I am physically incapable of walking in silence.
Guilty pleasure you never feel guilty about?
Watching reality TV in my PJ’s with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.
If you could live in any decade, it would be… why?
For me there’s something special about the 1950’s. I love the fact that people got dressed up to go to the theatre or fly. Men wore hats and opened doors – what’s not to love about that? Plus I grew up listening to the music of the 1950’s. At my house it was Motown, Buddy Holly, Elvis, The Big Bopper etc. Or maybe it’s just because I watched Peggy Sue Got Married and La Bamba way too much as a kid but for whatever reason, the 1950’s a period of time that is completely magical to me.
Nuts, beautiful, surprising, scary, amazing – a total adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!
What makes you StylishlyYou?
A sense of humor! At the end of the day, there’s nothing more stylish than a great smile and a good laugh.
I hope you enjoyed this interview, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!