Within weeks of launching in October, a label of simple but sophisticated basics had already found its way into the wardrobes of Kylie Jenner, Kacey Musgraves and Selena Gomez — three of the most talked-about celebrities in the fashion space. That's no small feat for a brand of any size, let alone one that had just opened up for business. But Leset had a few things working in its favor.
Its founder, Lili Chemla, already had some experience in the cozy-cute design space. She had founded the industry-beloved brand Liana in 2017. Over the summer, Chemla quietly shifted gears, reimagining and refocusing the company into one comprising easy sets you could wear on the couch, in a meeting and beyond. It became Leset.
With Liana, "there was a lot of beta testing for myself," Chemla says. "I had never been in the industry. I was making my mistakes. I was figuring out what the customer wanted and what they were drawn to." Something she noticed from the beginning was how people gravitated towards matching pieces — T-shirts with socks, which became T-shirts and pants and socks. "I just want it to be head-to-toe, really, really comfortable." That planted to seed for what would become Leset's tagline, "night in, night out."
Set dressing isn’t a new concept. (Never forget the summer of 2014, when Taylor Swift reignited our obsession with matching separates.) But Chemla says that Liana confirmed to her that there's still a big market for it — and an opportunity to refine it.
Chemla suggests a very specific but familiar scenario: "Let's say I was wearing a pair of jeans that fit me really well in the morning. As I'm wearing them throughout the day, just sitting at a desk, I'm getting more and more uncomfortable. I was like, 'Shoot, I have to go to dinner after this. I can't wait to just get home and take these pants off.'" Leset offers a solution — one that’s stylish, versatile and cozy.
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Chemla describes Leset as "Liana's cooler older sister." Whereas Liana was more playful and experimental with fabrics, Leset sticks to a minimal color palette, a handful of staple silhouettes and easy mixing-and-matching — an aesthetic decision as much as it is a business one. "I knew that I really wanted to grow the business into a different realm, of things that feel far more elevated than what Liana felt like, things that you feel like you could wear at home but also feel comfortable wearing out of the house," Chemla says.
Anything Leset puts out has a companion piece of some sort. But there's still a lot of variety in terms of color and silhouette, depending on your personal preferences (sleeves or no sleeves, crop or long, pants or bike shorts). Everything's made in Los Angeles from the brand's signature jersey fabric. Socks start at $20 and T-shirts at $58; the most expensive items — oversize cardigans — retail for $275. In the new year, Leset will add new styles, including shirting (for spring) and jackets (for fall).
Pretty early on, Leset found a fan base among celebrity stylists, who placed the brand's pieces on some pretty high-wattage names not just once, but multiple times. "In a way, it gives your business a verified check mark," says Chemla. "These celebrities have access to every single designer in the world. Kylie wearing our plain turtleneck — she could have any turtleneck she wanted, so seeing her go for something [of ours] was really exciting. We basically are sold out of that turtleneck after her wearing it."
Chemla's previous venture set the tone for Leset in a number of ways. For one, Liana taught her to "always trust your gut" when it came to design: She had started introducing pieces she herself "would never wear" because she felt a need to differentiate her brand in a highly competitive market — but, in hindsight, she feels it wasn't really the right way to go about it. It also informed how Chemla went about wholesale: Leset is sold on its own e-commerce as well as on Net-a-Porter. "They obviously have an amazing customer base and an amazing business where they're able to support a business in their first year — help the business grow and meet minimums," she says. Soon, Leset will be launching its first bralette exclusively on the luxury e-tailer.
According to Chemla, Leset's customer is really just "the working woman — the woman who's going to work, going to dinner after and is, honestly, just exhausted, but wants to feel and look good doing those things." In many ways, it's really just Chemla herself. "I can verify that I would wear every single thing on the website and have every single thing in my closet," she says. "I think that's really important."