When we discovered Lagom, a brand that is all about balancing style, seasonal trends and practicality for every woman (just like our wardrobe staple, the little black dress!) we just had to know more. So Team LBD sat down with head designer, Irena Lane, to find out about how Coco Chanel inspired Lagom’s sense of style and the hectic schedule of Pinto the office dog!
Lagom is an interesting name. What does it mean and what does it say about your brand?
Lagom is a Swedish word that does not translate to English directly, but in context means ‘just right’ or ‘perfect balance’. We started the label when we recognised the need for women to dress comfortably, fashionably, elegantly, but above all individually, following their own unique sense of style and not a trend fad.
How did Lagom start? What part do you play as the head designer?
For a few years before the full launch of Lagom we ran a boutique offering an edited selection of brands alongside a few limited edition lines of our own designs, but sensed that our customers were ready for a full collection with a choice of accessories and jewellery to match. I am heading the design side at Lagom making sure that the collections are as balanced as the name suggests! My background helps with the creative direction – I have worked mainly as a fashion designer, but have also been a creative agent, organised catwalk shows, fashion shoots and even worked in graphic design and photography so I understand many aspects of the business.
Who is the Lagom customer?
Lagom’s customer is an independent woman who values quality, comfort, versatility and uniqueness. She is not of a specific age as style is ageless and lives by Coco Chanel’s principle: ‘Fashion fades, only style remains.’
Our customer does not conform to rules preferring to create her own looks, expressing herself in clothes she wears. The clothes we design are versatile, timeless with plenty of retro references, quirky elements and touches of eccentric charm. We also bring in unique bags and jewellery working with artisans and designers to complete our inimitable ranges, helping the customer to stand out. The customer really is at the centre of Lagom – we always start by analysing what she would want, how she would think, why she would choose Lagom over another brand. This is important and makes us understand her lifestyle, therefore creating desirable and useful items, which she can wear during the day, but also make them work for special occasions and evenings out.
What is an average day like for you?
There is never a day that has the same routine. Even our resident dog Pinto has adapted to changing timetables! A day may start with an 8am walk in the park followed by a breakfast meeting discussing new ranges or training shop staff. It could then develop into a tranquil designing session or maybe a research trip to a current exhibition or new pop-up shop/market. Other days are full of appointments and travel around London or UK or the world….! Pinto usually insists on another walk at some point during the day, whilst I’m always on the phone catching up on calls, emails and news. If the day finishes in reasonable time a home-cooked meal and a drink (or two) with friends is a great way to wind down.
What do you wear at work?
If I am meeting clients or customers I wear Lagom in a smart way – dresses are usually a good option as they are an instant outfit. Other days are all about comfort when you can’t refuse a pair of jeans and a leisurely top. High-heels are great, but running around so much means I am mostly in flats.
Who else is wearing Lagom?
Lagom is still a young brand, but already it has created a buzz. In the shop we had visits from Dame Helen Mirren, Daisy Lowe, Natalie Cassidy and Myleene Klass amongst others whilst we’ve spotted various TV presenters from both the BBC and Sky wearing our pieces.
Who would you most like to see in your designs?
We like independent style at Lagom so seeing any woman dressed in our pieces, experimenting and making herself look fabulous is exhilarating and wonderful. Real women are who we’re really designing for.
We love that Lagom is about more than dresses- your jewellery and bags are fab! Is it important to you that your customers can get the complete Lagom look?
Absolutely! We want to offer our customers a comprehensive range that they can mix and match to their own individual requirements, whilst keeping everything in ‘perfect balance’!
Which are your favourite Lagom products at Littleblackdress.co.uk?
At the moment, I love the Petra Dress in the A/W 12 collection– a simple, yet detail rich LBD fit for any occasion. The Envelope Clutches in bright colours bring fun to evening dressing, whilst the Tattoo Necklaces are true show stopper material!
We love the chic and simple Lagom dresses and letting them speak for themselves but how would you accessorise your designs?
A dress is an instant outfit and often does not need anything else, but accessorising elevates it into different dimension – adding a statement necklace and a great bag will make it stand out. And make it your own! For those of us who have their Saturday Night Out in the middle of the week, sometimes the ideal outfit is something you’ve been able to wear to work during the day, and then just accessorise to make it evening-ready.
Do you own a LBD?
I have a number of LBDs. They range from simple shifts to elaborate gowns. The occasions to wear them are as varied as the designs – from simple work days to nights out and glitzy events- which are of course a favourite for any girl.
Who is you LBD icon and why?
It has to be Audrey Hepburn – she is the queen of all LBD wearers!
What’s your first fashion memory?
I remember digging a sun dress out of my mother’s wardrobe. It was red and white polka dot print trimmed with black and white daisies on the hem. I was hoping to grow into it, but by the time I did fashion changed and my taste too…
Describe your perfect night out in an LBD.
Chic beachside party, bare feet, starry skies and a glass of champagne!
What are your three favourite pieces from our other fabulous brands at Littleblackdress.co.uk?
I am head over heels for the Kat Maconie Camilla Shoe in Black, £200. And I also love Elliot Claire’s Valentine Asymmetrical Evening Dress, £255, and the Alison van der Lande Jacqueline Clutch in Black, £195.
Shop the Lagom collection at Littleblackdress.co.uk here.