Increasing up in Paris, Alexia Leleu listened to tales about the fantastical Maison Leleu, an interior layout and home furniture dwelling established by her fantastic-grandfather Jules Leleu and his brother Marcel in 1910. “Our dinners had been punctuated with anecdotes of outfitting the non-public residences of President Eisenhower, Prince Pierre of Monaco, and Brigitte Bardot, and crafting the eating room of the Elysée Palace,” she claims. Jules’s kids André, Paule, and Alexia’s grandfather Jean all worked in the family small business, taking on this sort of ambitious initiatives as luxurious ocean liners and the United Nations office in Geneva. Maison Leleu home furniture and models adorned properties all over the earth, together with royal residences. Then it abruptly shut, in 1973.
As a youngster Alexia recognized the tales as just that for a job, she went into the pharmaceutical business. But in her early thirties she puzzled, Why did a organization as profitable as Maison Leleu shut its doorways without so substantially as a whisper?
No one in her loved ones experienced the answers (her grandfather died just before she was born), so Alexia commenced tracking down former Maison Leleu workforce and piecing jointly its regrettable destiny: In 1969 the shah of Iran hired Maison Leleu to produce an installation at Persepolis celebrating the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire. It was to be a grand affair—Lanvin designed the royal workers uniforms—and Leleu put in a few yrs realizing a splendid exhibit of 51 tents. But the shah never paid the bill, and, with the Iranian Revolution impending, he would under no circumstances be in a position to. Maison Leleu shuttered to steer clear of bankruptcy.
“The subject was silenced,” Alexia says. “Why that is will keep on being a overlooked key with my grandparents. All I was equipped to uncover is that they ended up devastated. They shut the workshops on Rue Saint-Sabin in Paris and threw every little thing absent.”
Or so they believed. Alexia was capable to find her wonderful-grandfather’s secretary, Françoise Siriex, in 2017, and, she claims, “after numerous interviews with Françoise, she revealed a magic formula.” Siriex had long gone via the rubbish bins and salvaged pretty much the overall archive. “She gave me everything she had: materials, wallpapers, carpets, home furniture, sketches. I realized I experienced to provide Maison Leleu back again to lifetime.”
In 2018, Alexia reopened the household and found that the entire world was much more than completely ready for Maison Leleu’s return. In just two years she has garnered a new generation of nicely-heeled clients: LVMH, Cartier, Claridge’s, together with superstars including “one of the Kardashian sisters,” Alexia suggests coyly. So far two sequence of rugs have been introduced, and this year she introduced household furniture and lighting collections. Every little thing is meticulously manufactured in confined editions, with bespoke offerings for her customers. Alexia is choosing correct up exactly where her grandparents remaining off, and half a century afterwards Maison Leleu is finding the satisfied ending it usually deserved.
This tale seems in the October 2020 problem of City & Nation. SUBSCRIBE NOW
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