Sometimes great ideas come out of unlikely beginnings, such as a casual conversation over a holiday dinner. Amy Molyneaux, former creative director and co-owner of British womenswear label PPQ, was at a winter holiday retreat when she met business developer Helen Johnson, an inveterate traveller whose CV includes event management and interior design. Both have what Molyneaux calls a “follow the sun” mentality and, as they struck up a conversation, they agreed on their disappointment with the hippy-chic offerings of many resort ranges and websites. Both agreed they wanted something more sophisticated, elegant and impact-making.
“We felt we had spotted a gap in the market for a one-stop vacation shop offering power-glamour co-ordinates,” says Molyneaux, and by the end of dinner their idea had taken root. Lelloue (after Johnson’s childhood nickname) was launched last year, online only. “Everyone was looking on social media for holidaywear inspiration so it made sense to launch online – and we’ve got a shoppable Instagram feed,” says Johnson. Rather than stocking a disparate range of designers, they focus on their very particular version of holiday glamour, which is not, as Molyneaux points out “for shrinking violets” but is high-octane and uninhibited in a style familiar from her PPQ days.
Molyneaux concentrates on the design, leaving Johnson to handle the business side. “We work on the same classic themes each season [with lighthearted names like Leopardisation or Love Lace],” she says, “but we do completely new collections each time, with pieces going from beach to bar.” Hits this summer include the Candy Dandy range of rich, multi-coloured stripes (bikinis, from €172, and a button-through tunic dress, €937) – which Kylie Minogue wore for a recent music video – and the Sailor Girl navy and white wrap swimsuit (€213) which, says Molyneaux, “works for women of all ages and body shapes”. Leopardisation is redolent of 1990s Miami poolside chic and includes the glamorous Dolce Vita one-piece (€276) in brown, tan and white leopard print and a figure-skimming, floor-length silk-chiffon print dress (€943).