Her entry into the premier class of fashion, Haute Couture, took place through Zuhair Murad. At that time, the Lebanese designer was still at the early stages of his career, his prices were mod- erate, and his fame not yet as sprawling as it is today. Her first dress was a long, purple embroidered gown, a lavish and glamorous piece with matching bag and shoes. Very oriental and very opulent. Fortunately, Leona fit into the sample pieces shown on the catwalk, as she still does today, and after a few small changes, she was able to call the dress her own after a week, instead of having to wait the usual three months. “That is so long ago, I can barely remember the details, only that I wore it for the first time to the Le Bal de la Rose in Monte-Carlo.”
That was just the prelude to her great passion for collecting, which also led her to other houses such as Chanel or Russian Atelier Yanina Couture. “Haute Couture is a form of art to me. I visited many studios and you can see how many people are involved in creating a dress there. It also requires special creativity,” explains the Czech native in regard to her relationship with fashion’s royal discipline. One should look at their clothes and appreciate the effort and the art of tailoring which makes Haute Couture so recognizable. “Many women attach importance to the simplicity and understatement of Haute Couture, but when it comes to my gowns, you can see how much work was put into them at first glance.” Therefore, you will find mainly floor-length evening gowns that Leona likes to wear at balls or galas in her wardrobes (plural!). Whether when walking the Red Carpet at the Cannes Film Festival or attending a gala for her “Golden Note” music award that aids highly gifted children in the classical music segment, the dapper patron consistently likes to fall back on Haute Couture. Without doubt, the style of clothing has changed over the years, after all, her oldest pieces are now over ten years old and a vintage Versace top from an auction, even 15 years old. However, it is not just taste in fashion that is a factor here: Leona wears her vintage pieces with great devotion, but she also wants to tend to her duties as the mother of an eleven-year-old daughter in an adequate manner. “I’m not 25 anymore, so I wouldn’t sport a plunging neckline and a mini. I will leave that to my daughter, when the time comes.”
She is already cultivating the great joy she will experience when she will be able to take her adolescent daughter to a ball and let her wear a dress from her collection. “She was already allowed to try on a few dresses, we had a lot of fun.” Extending the pieces in her wardrobe is something that should be done with great care and meticulousness. “I do not just go shopping, I order directly from the catwalk and always have in mind how I can combine the new piece with my existing ones.” An Hermès bag is still the best investment for Leona. “On the one hand their value is steadily growing and on the other hand, my Hermès bags are divided over four residences and one must also consider different customs in the choice of clothing: in Monaco, you can be quietly opulent in the evening and athletic and short during the day, in Vienna one should dress more discreetly while in Paris, oh in Paris, you can let all the facets of elegance play out. There you really have the opportunity to get that very special piece out of your closet, says the cos- mopolite. She has the basics ready at every residence, but travels with the favourites and essentials, “otherwise you just lose your overview”. For three years now a new aspect has come to light: the business outfit. With the music award came business appointments and public appearances. The change from fashion lover to businesswoman became visible in Leona’s wardrobe. “Of course I have to appear sovereign and discreet in this function”, says the “Golden Note” founder. For these occasions, Leona also likes to draw on the creations of her friend, Daniela de Souza, who lends her clothing. To Leona, fashion is more than just clothing - it is expression and is also for connectedness. For ten years now, Leona has been living in this Paris apartment overlooking the Seine. Not only during Haute Couture week, but also on some days during the year. Part of her wardrobe there, included a mink jacket by Giambattista Valli from the Couture Collection 2017, and also an elaborate necklace by Chanel from the La Pausa collection that was a birthday present. All these items find their perfect setting in her wardrobe in Paris. The opulent dress is by Daniela de Souza, a friend with a knack for fashion.