Edeline Lee was getting a little bored of the standard interview question, “Who is your muse?” So she invented a multi-faceted heroine of her own, dubbed “Future Lady.” On the evidence of Lee’s spring collection, Future Lady is paint box-bright colorful, crease-proof practical, occasionally sparkling, and always on the move: Lee’s models strode around a raw-concrete art gallery in Mayfair, some motoring ahead with the focus of a commuter looking to catch the 11.17 train, some multi-tasking with a phone in their hand. This wasn’t just for effect. One model was catching up on her Korean practice via the Duolingo app as she debuted a draped gold lamé-jacquard gown.
On that note, Lee was ploughing more of an eveningwear-focussed furrow for spring, working with sequins for the first time. If that sounds like a bit of a departure for a designer who has built her business largely on workwear-appropriate clothes, she still had function in mind. “The core of the brand has always been about service to women,” she said. “My dresses pack well, travel well, and suit any circumstance—the eveningwear is the same, and it fits lots of different sizes.” She pointed out a cinnamon-hued mini dress with a fitted waist and draped skirt, remarking, “This dress, the draping is almost like pleats, but it’s super controlled—it’s so flattering but aesthetically advanced.”
Function-meets-form has stood Lee in good stead from a business perspective, so it stands to reason that her customers will go to her for after-dark looks as well as C-suite dresses. The A-listers already are: actors Olivia Colman, Naomi Harris and America Ferrera have recently worn her clothes for red carpet appearances. Lee’ success is all the more remarkable when one considers her East London production unit, with fabrics cut and dyed in Yorkshire. “It’s always hard to be independent,” she says. “We are producing everything here in the UK which I think is pretty rare. We pay duties to bring the fabric in, then duties to bring it out. But I feel grateful that we have enough buoyancy to ride through.”