Earlier this month, Florentina Leitner debuted the sequel to Midnight Vertigo with her AW21/22 collection, The Royal Leitners. Accompanying the lookbook is a short fashion film directed by Athos Burez that follows the Leitner family on a journey through their home. Although its members are technically fictional, Leitner based them after the people she knows best:
“We always had a wiener dog in our family, and my dad loved reading the newspaper in the morning, so the snowy landscape scene was very much a normal day in my childhood. Also, the grandma [cutting bonsai trees] was inspired by my grandma, who studied agriculture and loves plants.”
While Leitner invites us to be a part of her family, she also pays homage to Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. The 2001 dramedy centers around a broken family of three former child prodigies that reunite when their patriarch announces that he’s dying of cancer.
Speaking about the film’s costuming, Leitner says that she’s particularly drawn to the characters of Margot and Etheline Tennebaum. Though their style inspiration is somewhat indirect, you can spot Margot’s kohl-lined eyes clearly. Her well-worn stripes have warped, and she’s updated her signature mink fur to something more animal friendly. As for Etheline, she revamped her workwear and took kindly to all of the cream colours.
In fact, much of Leitner’s intrigue with Anderson’s oeuvre comes from his colour palettes and their world-building quality. Similarly, she employs prints to build her world — the latest chapter contrasts bold florals against spirals and zebra stripes while a light blue snakeskin optic softens the mix.
Co-ords, one of Leitner’s calling cards, come in the form of a few different skirt sets. Whether they’re paired with a ruffled jacket, a tweed cropped blazer or layered over a rose print catsuit; every couple is a perfect match. Joining them is a black-brown wool pantsuit and a pink lace shirt with twinning high-waisted trousers. The latter is a sheer coverage ensemble that adds to the Royal Leitners’ eveningwear, including a mesh sequin feather dress and the closing look — a dainty puff sleeve number with lilac bead embroidery.
In terms of upcycling, Leitner makes use of old band tees (shoutout to Iron Maiden) and continues her work with deadstock fabrics such as sustainable lycra. Another common thread running through the collection is collaboration, from Skua Studio’s high heel bow sandals to Sassa Ann van Wyk’s triangular ‘paper’ hats and Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx’s ceramic jewelry.
When I ask Florentina Leitner what she thinks of when she hears the word “family,” she simply replies, “unconditional love.” It’s a fitting answer because, as we’ve gleaned from Wes Anderson, a dysfunctional family is a family nonetheless. And if the last year has taught us anything, it’s not just that fashion and film are made for each other, it’s that family is too.
PHOTOGRAPHY, TOM CALLEMIN