"I love everything that the female lion represents,” designer Latoia Fitzgerald tells BAZAAR about the origin of the name Lionne (the French translation for lioness) over the phone—still riding the high of her first “see now, buy now” runway show. “She’s feisty but has this mystery about her that’s intriguing and walks around with her head high. But they also take care of each other’s cubs and hunt for food. So for me, I felt like it was a strong name.” As the moniker suggests, the L.A.-based brand, at its core is confident and bold while being able to hold space for a sultry side.
A longtime lover of fashion, Fitzgerald began the process of relaunching her children's line in 2018 when she had the idea for Lionne. “I was thinking more athleisure and activewear. Once I got into the mix of designing and creating, it turned into a luxury brand. I couldn’t help myself—I ended up making pieces for me,” the Philadelphia native divulges.
Perfect for those who, like Fitzgerald, “love a sexy moment," balanced with covered-up elements, there are slinky slip dresses in caftan lengths, as well as midriff-baring long-sleeved tops, second-skin fabrics, and well-tailored sets with strategically spaced cutout details. “I love a low back or a high slit, but [each piece] is always covered in the all the right places,” she explains in regard to her style. “It’s a balance of still wanting to be conservative but also look and feel sexy.”
Leaning in to Lionne’s core DNA for fall/winter 2021, the designer amped up the brand codes. Featuring an assortment of dark-wash denim that can go beyond casual occasions, Fitzgerald seamlessly balances sporty and chic. “This was my first runway show, so I needed everyone to be super clear on what it is that I’m selling,” she explains, “[The Lionne muse] is a city girl, she’s also very classy but sexy and powerful."
Both the show’s catwalk and front row featured a host of L.A.’s It girls. Top model Slick Woods opened the show in her namesake look, and Duckie Thot closed the event in a stunning white silk gown. Guests in attendance included songstress Jhené Aiko and actor Karrueche Tran, both dressed in Lionne from head to toe. “I can’t even find the words, honestly,” the designer says, through tears, on the outpouring of love. “Honestly, I get emotional even thinking about it.”
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