MauiTime Exclusive Fashion Interview with Larissa Williams of LeRu

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Gray Dress & Booties from LeRu Atelier

Larissa Williams, Owner

LeRu Atelier 

505 Front St, Ste #203, Lahaina HI




Facebook: LeRu Atelier


How many years experience in the fashion industry?



How did you get your start in the Fashion Design and/or retail industry?

I studied fashion at Columbia College Chicago. Moved to L.A. shortly after and started making small one of a kind collections for small boutiques and custom pieces for a friend that is an actor on CSIEric Szamanda.

From there stylists started requesting custom pieces for their clients. I eventually became a stylist and designer. Was interested to try both.


When was this? Did you have any formal training?

2000. Yes- concentration of art and fashion in college


How did you manage to launch your own fashion line?

Through trial and error. It doesn’t always come out like your brain pictures it. Designing is an ever changing organic process. Enjoy this process and you will begin to find your strengths. So I am still baby stepping as each small collection grows a bit bigger and a bit better.


What is your philosophy of design?

Be fluid. Have a general idea but be willing to let the piece speak to you, work with it.


Where do you draw your style inspiration from? Who is your favorite style icon?

Gypsies, bohemians, pirates, poets, dancers, eccentrics, lovers, singers.


What are the current trends in your industry?

I think the 60’s mode is having a resurgence.

The bold graffic prints are still in full effect.

As well as the hot  colors that blend oh so well with neutrals for a nice twist.

I’m happy the boho vibe is still around as well— it best describes  me and my spirit.


What are your top 5 hot trends for the upcoming Summer and Fall seasons?

Brights, Chiffons, Lace, Mock neck halters/high neck tees, Graffic prints.


What is your signature style?

Bohemian chic


Tell me about your collection. What makes your line retail store stand out from the crowd?

The styles [of LeRu] fit many body types. The prints mixed with chiffon for a flowy yet see through silhouette.

For my shop- the variety. Couture, eclectic vintage, plus the latest trends.

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Vintage jumper & sunglasses from LeRu



What is your favorite piece from your collection?

The feather print kaftan maxi and the sweetheart dress


What shapes and styles are found in your clothing designs?

Loose and draped with flow and movement, to princess line sweetheart topped dresses, to dresses with backless details.


Please tell me about the textiles you use in your designs. Any specific fabrics and colors that you love to work with?

I love silk and cotton. The hand is so important to me.


Do your designs feature upcycled textiles? Tell me about how you obtain them and your process.

I love to thrift!!! So many pieces have life left in them that is screaming to come out. It may be as simple as a hacking off the length and turning it into a sexy mini dress or perhaps cutting the sleeves and turning them into a hood.


Do you ever work with vintage fashions? with vintage are you refashioning those styles? Why work with vintage?

Yes. Yes.- but if it is perfect in its current body I won’t mess with perfection. The quality and techniques used in vintage are interesting to assess, but mostly it’s the textile prints that define the beauty of vintage.


What clothing and accessory lines do you carry in your store?

Mink pinkFree peopleBobiMiss me coutureÉlanLeRu coutureWinterkate


If we took a peek in your closet, what would we see? What is your ‘can’t live without’ item?

Shoes!! Stilettos and boots.


What is the staple clothing item or accessory every woman on Maui should be sure to have?

A great hat and boots.

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Pants from LeRu


Tell me your top 5 styling tips.

Be yourself.

If you think it’s too much it probably is.

Bring flats in your purse if you wear heels out.

Own double stick tape.

Use your fashion MacGyver to think outside the box.


Biggest fashion no-nos?

Too tight or too small clothes.

Photos by Sean M. Hower