For the longest time, Erica Pelosini Leeman, the pint-sized style star known for her eclectic fashion mix, always thought of herself as a New Yorker—dressed to the nines, wearing statement heels, riding downtown in a yellow taxi, and strutting about Fifth Avenue with an effortless urban attitude.
This all changed in 2014, when she walked into the pristine surroundings of Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, where The Last Sitting’s famous set and Marilyn Monroe’s beauty were immortalised by photographer Bert Stern for Vogue in 1962. After a six-month stay here, the allure of LA had become undeniable, and Erica realised that she wanted to call LA home. Perhaps, the modern-day Hotel Bel-Air helped sell the California dream with its pink stucco façade, glistening swan lake, the Wolfgang Puck restaurant, and sensuous interiors restored by Alexandra Champalimaud. “The synergy between the arts and film industry here is so infectious,” Erica muses. “Spending my childhood between the historical centre of Florence and the Italian countryside, I have a penchant for the big city life, while still being close to the sea.”
High up in the Trousdale Estates on Beverly Hills was where Erica and her shoe designer husband Louis Leeman found the perfect gem for their abode: a 1961 mid-century stunner designed by Richard Neutra. Overlooking the ocean on the left and the famed Hollywood sign on the right, the couple’s Beverly Hills home is an ideal mix of laid-back simplicity and urban sophistication. “Our old apartment in Paris was complete with lavish elements such as a grand staircase, vintage sparkly chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and diagonally interlaced Versailles parquet flooring,” Erica says. “But when we thought about California, we saw ourselves cozying up in a quintessential Californian home with a ’60s vibe.”