A Fashionable Life: Erica Pelosini and Louis Leeman In Los Angeles

Striking a pose with her 1967 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Pagoda. Hat; choker; bandana; earrings; bracelets; rings; dress; coat; and briefs, all from Dior. Boots, Christian Louboutin.

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.” 

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Other times, Louis and Erica relish in visiting the local farmers market in the morning for fresh produce to make their signature spaghetti pomodoro. In the comfort of their home, the couple often play host, having intimate gatherings and watching the golden sun rays slowly drop over the horizon with their closest friends. “I love entertaining and having my friends over for special occasions during Thanksgiving and Christmas. They start as small dinners, but end up becoming small parties. That’s when my chef gets angry!” she says, teasing her better half.
As a vehement visual storyteller, Erica carries her keen eye for style and design with every undertaking, more so when working side by side with her husband on their recent foray into women’s shoes. “We started the Louis Leeman empire with a simple fascination with legendary ’60s rebel tailor Tommy Nutter, who led a revolution on Savile Row with his first boutique,” says Erica. “Our story was to create handmade shoes with a twist, for gentlemen from all walks of life to wear. So, this expansion into women’s shoes is very natural.”

Dress, Valentino. Shoes, Tabitha Simmons. Jewellery, Harry Winston.

The result is a full footwear collaboration with Mary Katrantzou for her Spring/Summer ’18 collection, filled with colour-blocked sandal platforms and laced-up plastic booties. Now, the couple is working on a custom shoe collection, exclusively for Malaysian billionaire heiress Chryseis Tan’s upcoming nuptials with entrepreneur SM Faliq Nasimuddin.

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Just like Karl Lagerfeld, Erica, too, harbours a passion for photography and hopes to capture the allure of fashion through the lens of her vintage cameras. “I’ve always thought of fashion as a form of art. You can tell a story by designing shoes, creating this art piece, then watch them come to life on the runway,” Erica reveals. “Fashion creates a world that we don’t see everyday.”

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