Designer Leona Edmiston talks Brisbane style, diversity in fashion and why magic happens in the change room.

When you’ve seen your designs draped over celebrity beauties such as Drew Barrymore, Elle Macpherson and Melissa George it’s fair to say the bar has been set pretty high when it comes to professional excitement, but when famed designer  Leona Edmiston touched down in Brisbane she had a whole new reason to smile in delight.

Edmiston had only been on Queensland soil for a few moments when she spotted a lady walking through Brisbane Airport wearing one of her dresses.The designer immediately stopped to chat with the lucky lady and invite her to her VIP store opening event that night. For her, seeing that moment was better then viewing one of her designs on any movie star silhouette.

In her new boutique nestled within Queens Plaza, with cupcakes bearing her name and rose petals floating lazily in flutes of champagne, Edmiston greeted the hoards of women who filed into the store. Women who were just as excited to greet and snap a photo with the designer as they were to lay eyes on her new Spring/Sumner collection. As one keen shopper remarked “everyone’s got their Leona on, it’s like a fashion show with every different season mixed in.”

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Leona Edmiston greets fans at her Queens Plaza Boutique

“I always love coming to Brisbane,” Leona says, perched on a red velvet chair over looking her new boutique. “Accessories play a big role in fashion here, Brisbane girls love to accessorize and that’s great. They seem to be a little bit braver and more fashion forward than other cities, they just love playing with style. Which is lots of fun and exactly how it should be. It’s all about the joy in getting dressed.

“I’m excited for everyone to see the new collection.I love prints and I always feature a lot of them. Many archive prints have been used in this collection and some of them date back to the mid 1800’s.I like to use prints that actually have a story and a history.

“I love the idea of giving them a second life, instead of knowing they are stuck in a drawer somewhere.”

Despite winning this years InStyle and Audi Women Of Style Fashion Award, expanding an empire that already includes eye-wear, sunglasses, jewellery, footwear, handbags and purses, sleepwear, hosiery, candles, home-wares and launching a swim wear line, Edmiston admits that like any busy women she never stops to take a breath and celebrate her success.

“I don’t ever think about it all because I’m so involved in my deadlines,” she says. “I’m always thinking ‘I’ve got to get this done’. I don’t stop enough and say ‘hey, this is great’. I don’t ever do that. You get bogged down in everyday life and the role you’re in.”

The parade of women filing into the store were as diverse as you’d see on any given morning strolling down Queen Street Mall and that’s no accident. Edmiston prides herself on diversifying her collections and offering her dresses in a variety of sizes so that most women are catered for.

“We stock an XXXS  and up to a size 20, not every style but as many as we can,” says the designer, who has previously designed dresses up into the 22 plus range.”The dress is such a mainstay of fashion and of my collections so I like that to be available to anyone who wants to wear it.

“I think it’s important that we make the collections as broad as we possibly can. In that, we try to make the clothes ageless because we don’t want to be age specific either. It’s about making women, whoever they are, feel good.

“Being in the change room and trying on a dress is a very emotional thing, you just have to trust how you feel.  We can advise you, but ultimately you know when you feel beautiful.”

The new Leona Edmiston Boutique is now open in Queens Plaza.

Click through the gallery for a sneak peek into the opening night and a look at the new Spring/Summer collection.