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.”
Hailing from a family of artists in Florence, Erica’s passion for fashion started when she was only 5 years old: “I was walking for Giorgio Armani and I realised I wanted to dictate the exact look I wanted to wear, and how my hair should have looked,” Erica laughs. Years later, Erica found herself walking through the glamorous doors of Vogue Japan in a full Prada look for her job as a fashion assistant. “The stylist looked at me and immediately said, ‘You’re not in a fashion show, Erica!’ I knew that having a role behind the scenes was hard work, but it has also given me the opportunity to travel the world with tons of trunks, steaming hundreds of dresses!” she professes. Combining her past of assisting Sissy Vian at Vogue Japan and presently as editor-at-large at L’Officiel magazines, Erica has worked with the top names in the industry including Victoria Beckham, Kate Winslet, and Jessica Chastain.