StyleNest interview Alice Stone, founder of British luxury accessories label Lily and Lionel.
Only five years old and already Lily and Lionel has become one of the UK’s best-loved accessories brands. With stockists including the likes of Harrods and Liberty, and a wealth of celeb fans including Elle Macpherson and Kate Winslet, Lily and Lionel scarves have become instantly recognisable.
StyleNest had the pleasure of taking five minutes out with the brand’s founder, Alice Stone to find out just how she wears her Lily and Lionel scarfs, her latest charity collaboration, and just where that intriguing name came from.
The name ‘Lily and Lionel’ has a very sweet and personal history. Tell us how you came up with the name.
Lily and Lionel were my grandparents on my mum’s side. Both were really involved in textiles: my grandmother was an amazing dressmaker and my grandfather was in charge of production for London’s most prestigious high street stores. We’re a close family, and it just felt right to have them be part of the business.
You just teamed up with Marriott Hotels to launch a limited edition tote bag. Tell us a little about the collaboration.
The social enterprise SleepingBags came up with the concept of taking retired bed linen no longer used by hotels, and turning them into something useful like this tote bag, instead of sending them straight to a land fill. Marriott Hotels asked Lily and Lionel to design a print for the bag, with proceeds from the sales going to The Prince’s Trust. I loved the idea of a project helping the planet and people at the same time.
The bag comes with an eco-message and is 100% recyclable. How important is ethical manufacturing and living to you?
We’re really proud to be part of this inspiring project, and Lily and Lionel works with a number of amazing organisations each year to raise awareness and funds. Designing our scarves is a collaborative process between our design team and our fabric manufacturers – getting the right fabrics is absolutely crucial for producing the very best scarves. We have a close, personal relationship with all our manufacturers and go visit them regularly to see what developments they’ve made with fabric compositions and weaves. It’s so exciting when you see the two sides come together with the finished piece.
We love the cute bird print. What inspired it?
Since the bag is made from bed linen, we wanted a print that was ethereal and dreamlike, something that represented drifting off into a dream world and sleeping soundly. Birds represent a certain hope that felt appropriate for this project.
Elle Macpherson, Edie Campbell and Thandie Newton have all been spotted wearing Lily and Lionel pieces. Who would you love to see sporting the brand?
The two Kate’s: Middleton and Moss. Perhaps not an obvious pairing, but I think they sum up our brand style: part rebel, part lady.
Who’s style do you most admire? I love Kate Moss’ style, and Clémence Poésy’s relaxed chic is great inspiration for an off-duty look. I also love Victoria Beckham’s polished, feminine style. I like to take inspiration from different looks and put them together for something that’s a bit more ‘me’.
What’s you favourite piece from Lily and Lionel’s AW13 collection?
It’s so hard to choose as I’m in love with every piece. I think I would have to say the Papillio Moss scarf though – the colours are easy to incorporate into your wardrobe and the fabric is beautifully soft. It’s also huge, which means it’s great to bundle up in.
How do you wear your Lily and Lionel scarves?
I like to wear a scarf hanging loosely around my neck, particularly this season’s oversized pieces, as they look so striking when they are simply draped. When I’m heading out, I’ll loop my scarf a couple of times around my neck so that you can see hints of the print, and team it with biker jacket or a structured blazer.
Lily and Lionel is stocked everywhere from Liberty to matchesfashion.com. Where do you like to shop?
I find that popping into our stockists for meetings or to check out our scarves often leads to some spontaneous shopping in stores like Harrods, Matches or Whistles. I head out to Ibiza a couple of times a year for business and holidays so I visit the boutiques there to pick up a few unique pieces. The whole shopping experience in Ibiza is so relaxed, I love wandering along and seeing what they have.
How would you describe your personal style?
It really depends on my mood or the day I have ahead, but comfort always comes first. I usually spend my days running from one meeting to another, so I need to be able to move. For meetings I’ll pair leather trousers with an oversized white shirt. For those days when I’m working with the design team, it’s jeans and a white tee. It’s important for me to keep my look clean as I’m always wearing a Lily and Lionel scarf, which are full of colour and bold prints, so I let them do the talking.
If you had to wear one label for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would have to say Isabel Marant – her clothes always look and feel so effortless. Of course that would always be teamed with a signature Lily and Lionel scarf.
What inspires your work?
I find inspiration in obvious and obscure places. Nature, family and friends, traveling and experiencing other cultures, all find their way into our prints in some way. Just living in London provides endless inspiration: the fashion, architecture, history and everything in between. I’m a proud Londoner and love to include elements of the city in our designs.
Describe your ideal day off.
It would start with a walk across Hampstead Heath and a swim in the pond there, followed by a little pampering. The afternoon would be spent with my young nephew. The day would end with dinner with friends and family.
You’ve done some really exciting collaborations this year, from the World Land Trust to Violet Lake. Any other exciting collaborations coming up?
We have some really exciting collaborations coming up this year but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out what they are.
Marriott International is launching a limited edition tote bag with an exclusive print by British luxury accessories brand, Lily and Lionel. The print is featured on a SleepingBags tote bag made in England from 100% recycled bed linen provided by U.K. Marriott hotels. This first of its kind bag is available to purchase for £20 via www.shopmarriott.com/bedlinentote with Marriott donating at least £10 from the sale of every bag to The Prince’s Trust.