"She loved mysteries so much that she became one...”
PHANTOMLOVELY is named after the childhood nickname of founder and designer Leila Marlene. The nickname was given to her by a neighbor, who would often witness her 'haunting' the 18th century cemetery beside her home, dressed in antique attire. Entirely self taught, it was an insatiable desire to travel back in time that first inspired Leila Marlene to take up sewing at age 8 in an attempt to recreate the images of a long forgotten past. Her first garment was a man's 18th century frock coat, painstakingly drafted from an antique French pattern book. The sensation that this offered; of being able to conjure forth, as though from the aether, a tangible relic from another era was, for Leila, revelatory – not unlike an alchemist transmuting lead to gold.
Founder and Designer Leila Marlene "Phantomlovely"
So many people asked to buy the clothing Leila was wearing that in 1996 she started a small company under the label Tenebrae (Latin for "shadows" or "darkness") to make her designs available. Launched with a collection of garments and parasols recalling antiquated atmospheres, yet re-imagined for a modern age, Leila sold her designs worldwide thorough the official site Tenebrae.com and at old school alternative retailers Religious Sex in New York City, Retail Slut in Los Angeles, Gypsy Moon in Boston and Siren in Toronto. Tenebrae was featured in The Goth Bible by Nancy Kilpatrick in 2004. Leila Marlene put her manufacture of parasols on hold in 2006, but continued to make custom clothing for private clients, eventually forming her eponymous fashion label PHANTOMLOVELY in 2011.
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