Fashion Front: Happy Birthday Leone!

Noa Glow | May 2012

Canada’s ‘first family of fashion’ celebrates the 25th anniversary of their namesake store—Leone—in Sinclair Centre this month.

Back in 1987, critics scoffed at the Leone’s plan to open a 25,000 square foot emporium in an underdeveloped area of Vancouver.

“People thought we were crazy to come to Hastings and Howe,” recalls co-founder Maria Leone. “But it was a gut feeling—we loved this beautiful building and space. When something feels so right, you have to listen.”

Leone quickly established itself as a premier shopping destination, carrying exclusive men’s and women’s fashions from top designers like Versace, Prada and Dior. A thoughtful selection of just the right product lines to suit the ‘West Coast lifestyle’ has helped the store flourish.

But what really sets Leone apart is its dedication to providing an all-inclusive shopping experience, with complimentary beverages, in-house tailoring and valet parking (staff members even offer personalized service in over 15 languages).

It’s part of being a family operation. “This is what we do,” explains Maria. “Hopefully it comes through as an extension of how we feel.”

And let’s not forget Leone’s L2 Cafe, named among the city’s “best-kept lunchtime secrets.” With chef Giuseppina di Trolio serving delicacies from her family kitchen in Naples, the bistro feels like a slice of Italy in downtown Vancouver.

Several special events will mark Leone’s birthday this year, including customer appreciation days and a contest that will see 12 lucky entrants win $1,000 shopping sprees—one per month (visit to enter).

As for Maria? She looks forward to the next 25. “It’s been a long road,” she says. “There have been a lot of changes in the city and the economy, but thanks to our staff and our customers we’ve gotten through it. We’re here. I feel very grateful.”