Leanne Marshall is inspired by the world around her. Nuances of nature and classic beauty caught her eye in the past, creating ethereal collections with a whimsical softness and a touch of craft. Whether it’s a glimmering crystal from a trip to Death Valley or the undulating pattern of an ocean wave, her resulting designs are organic, romantic, and soft.

Until now.

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This time around, Leanne Marshall influence didn’t stem from a natural pleasure but instead came from  a ubiquitous eye sore most New Yorkers would choose to phase out of their peripherals. We met up with her hours before her NYFW show to discuss her unique muse.

“I’m a New yorker, I’m always walking all over the city and that’s generally when I get my ideas for inspiration. There’s those green walls that every New Yorker sees everywhere because so many buildings are going up constantly, those green walls with a clear-cut diamond in the center. One day I thought to myself, ‘Okay, I can’t seem to get this out of my head, so I’m going to run with it…” said Leanne Marshall

She laughs, modestly alluding to the randomness of her inspiration.

“As I started developing this inspiration, this story had popped into my mind. On a lot of those green walls you also see those yellow and white stripe blockades that almost look like a beach umbrella. It may be because I watch too much Twin Peaks, but I had an image of those green walls not guarding a construction site, but instead a portal to another world that consists of a hidden tropical paradise, a portal to escape daily reality into utopia” – Leanne Marshall

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A pedestrian setting sparking thoughts of fantasy is more relatable than one would think. It’s the flash mob scene stuck in your head at the office or the lingering desire for a random stranger to break out in song. It’s escapism in the mundane that’s both humorous and cathartic.

It’s a concept I had yet to define until I heard Leanne Marshall’s story.

The idea translated to the designs most notably with a spree of diamond cutouts that paid a very literal tribute to mentioned “portals” on the green walls. Secondly, vibrant oranges, teals, yellows, and hot pink transported viewers to the hidden tropical paradise she envisioned beyond. Of course, flowing silhouettes and soft ruffles were also at play, nodding towards Marshall’s signature style, balancing fantasy and realism.

Most admirable was the movement within the pieces. The gowns swayed alongside the models, almost guiding them down the runway. The life within the designs only added to the reverie of it all, a rich fantasy stemming from a mundane green wall in lower Manhattan.

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Article by: Samantha Lockhart from NASENSE