Our city may be more synonymous with Cali-cool vibes than French-girl nonchalance — that is, until you meet Une Heures. Though it channels Swingin' Sixties-era Paris, the local label's got LA devotion sewn into its Italian-spun silk by producing everything in the City of Angels.
Launched just a few weeks ago by founder and designer Chrissy Leavell, the brand's debut range is comprised of four vintage-inspired wardrobe essentials ($295 to $325), including a short-sleeved crew neck in monochrome hues, a collarbone-grazing long-sleeved top available in gray and bright red, and two mock-neck styles in short- and long-sleeved options. Each silhouette is designed to contour the body and can be worn tucked in or not — so you can pull off that laid-back je ne sais quois sans speaking a lick of French. (Oh, and a flick of cat-eye liner is definitely encouraged, but not required.)
The goods are currently in production and available for pre-order in limited quantities online; orders will ship by the end of the month and shoppers can also expect to find it at "favorite shops here in Los Angeles," Leavell says.
Here, we chat with Une Heures' creator to find out what inspired Leavell to create the line, the story behind the brand's name (and yes, Leavell is well aware of the subject-verb disagreement), her favorite way to style the pieces for LA, and more. Read on below, then pre-order your favorites at Une Heures' website.
What's your professional background, and what brought you to creating Une Heures?
After attending four years of proper training at FIT in New York City, I worked in the apparel industry for over 11 years, with designers such as Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Jeremy Scott, and Band of Outsiders to fine-tune my eye as a designer and head pattern maker.
My deep love for vintage took over anything I'd end up putting on my body — I didn't want new garments. I knew the beginning-to-end path of creating new garments, each step of the way, like the back of my hand. I started to feel like I could do it with my eyes closed, then I began getting drawn to knit: a part of the pattern, cut, and sew step-by-step of the industry that I knew nothing about. It's a whole different creation. A cone of yarn and technical planning creates this sculpture [and] the end result is almost a surprise. It's an incredible process. I started to collect silk knits from vintage shops, but the fit was never quite right, and this was something I wanted in my own closet, from now until I'm a very brittle, old lady.
What inspired the brand's name?
The brand name translates to "One Hours," which doesn't make logical sense in English or French. On a very long drive alone, I saw signage that said "1 Hours" and I kept looking, I was drawn to it. It's always stuck with me. Une Heures embodies the woman of film and music, in, near, and around the 1960s, a favorite decade of mine.
Who are your design/style muses?
I'll begin with Anna Karina. I went to a screening of "Une Femme Est Une Femme" and she was there, with a stiff drink and deep raspy voice as if no time had passed at all. To her, it was still 1961. Also, Marianne Faithfull for her role in "Girl on A Motorcycle," and Françoise Hardy and Jane Birkin are women of the '60s I have eyes for.
When it comes to design influence, I look to directors like Jean-Luc Goddard, Jacques Tati, Ingmar Bergman, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch — the list goes on. Film and music have more effects on my mind with design than tangible objects or people.
Why was it important for you to produce the brand in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is a strange place; it's a city that forces you nose around to find what it has to offer. There's a lot going on here, but it's not always so obvious. It's a charming approach, really. It's where I currently reside, and it's important for me to have close relationships with the people that are creating the garments that are very special to me. I want to be able to hug the factory folks when something exciting happens, instead of only being able to write an email with a happy face.
What are your favorite ways to style the pieces for LA weather?
If it were up to me, I'd probably wear winter fabrics all year around — I supposed I'm living in the wrong place, huh. I've been pairing Une Heures knits with trousers of all sorts, usually high-waisted, and also skirts and denim — they are so versatile, they can pair with anything really. Since they are 100% silk, they contour the female figure so nicely and feel so lovely against the skin — they can make an outfit feel very dressed up, or down, but overall well put-together, and easy.
What are your plans for Une Heures' future; will you be expanding beyond sleeved silhouettes?
Oh gosh, who knows what will happen tomorrow! It's hard to predict where this trail will take Une Heures, but I see an evolution, as well as continuing with classic short and long sleeve silhouettes that are the root of the brand. A woman's figure is so gravitating, and should be seen. Stay tuned!