Francis Leon’s Casual Cool
Australian designer Jo Turner, who designs under the name Francis Leon, knows her way around a jacket. Each season, Francis Leon reinvents classic cuts such as the bomber and the letterman: mixing suede and leather with linen and sweats for a jacket that is comfortable and casually cool, but with a stiff, high-fashion structure. Styles have names like “The Danny Zuko” and “The Walter Bishop” (Turner’s two favorite items from her upcoming 11th collection), and Turner sites Rooney Mara, Freja Beha Erichsen, Mick Jagger, and Charlotte Gainsburg as her fashion icons. Although the label is only four years old, curated boutiques and department stores like Barneys in New York and Liberty and Matches in London are already fans.
Turner studied fashion at university in Australia and Amsterdam before moving to London. “The market is just so much smaller in Australia, and obviously the climate is very different,” she explains. “Australia has become really well known for producing some great swim and resortwear brands, which makes sense, but that is quite different to our product. It’s rare for a brand that is reasonably niche to be very successful in both markets, working with opposite seasons, climate and lifestyle differences.”
Francis Leon began as ready-to-wear brand, before deciding on jackets as the “core product.” In spite of the label’s increasing profile, Turner remains focused on the collections ahead. “You’re always working towards something,” she tells us, “and by the time it happens, you’ve already moved on to the next thing.”