Described by one fashion insider as a “modern-day Carrie Bradshaw”, Leonie Hanne certainly seems to fit the part. Dressed in Blumarine, Louis Vuitton and Etro, Leonie joined L’Officiel Arabia on the rooftop of the Hotel Carlton Baglioni, styled by Talenti Outdoor Living in the eternal city of Rome for this month’s cover shoot. The 30-year-old first shot to fame following the launch of her fashion and lifestyle blog Ohh Couture in 2014, and is now one of the most-followed fashion content creators on Instagram.
“I started blogging by uploading outfits on to a platform where I was selling my clothes. I styled the looks to sell pieces I was no longer wearing and it became really successful, I even became the biggest seller on this website”, Leonie tells L’Officiel Arabia. “It took less than one year before I was working with [advertising] partners, attending events and getting requests, it became so hard to manage alongside a corporate career. Back then it was a risk, but I had contacts and colleagues who knew me as hardworking. I took it step-by-step by first reducing my working hours at first and increased the [work in the fashion industry] slowly.”
Leonie started later on social media platforms than other comparative fashion influencers such as Chiara Ferragni, who started her blog in 2009 and is two years older than the German influencer, yet she has quickly risen to prominence. Arguably, Leonie’s business-savvy mind no doubt helped the quick expansion of her brand. “People don’t know that I actually have three degrees. I studied business, but I also completed my studies in fashion textile management because I am so passionate about fabrics and all the details that come with fashion. I really wanted to have a proper understanding when I started working in fashion. People may also not be aware of my corporate background as a strategy consultant before I started in fashion. I know that the reason I am here now is because of my strategic and business background.” Fast forward five years from leaving her corporate career and Leonie now has a following on her Instagram channel of more than 1.9 million followers, while she travels the world with boyfriend and self-described “Instagram husband” Alex Galievsky who photographs Leonie and manages their work projects everywhere from Paris Fashion Week to Cannes Film Festival.
A working relationship
Leonie’s close relationship with Alex is a key part of their working dynamic.”My partner and I divide all our tasks, Alex manages our workload and is also my photographer. He also gets involved in the art direction, organizing and writing concepts. We work and travel together 24/7 and through his support and work, it enables me to be my best self. To have someone on my side who always takes care in this crazy, demanding industry, allows me to always have confidence and be myself without changing,” Leonie tells L’Officiel Arabia. “The highlight for us is from doing everything ourselves we are now building our own team and becoming more efficient and able to take on full campaigns such Escada Eyewear which Alex shot and we both managed in terms of the art direction. I designed my own Dirndl collection and shot the entire lookbook. We also produced a swimwear and resort campaign in Positano last year with just the two of us, which [for traditional shoots] can often take around 20 plus people to organize.”
A champion of women
“My first academic work was about the glass ceiling for women and why it´s more difficult for women to have a career,” Leonie confines in L’Officiel Arabia. “The only negativity I have personally received is from other women who do not support other women and rather see them as competition. My voice is becoming stronger and I want to use my education and background to help other young women to be strong even if they feel it is difficult making it to the top as a woman. I am so passionate about engaging more on this topic,” she continues enthusiastically. Reflecting on when she first started out in the social media and fashion industries, Leonie admits that if she could have, she would have given herself some sage advice: “I would have given myself the advice that - especially in an industry that can be very superficial - to always be yourself. Never question things that might be seen as imperfections but embrace them instead. Having a strong voice and personality in an industry where people often try to be uniform is your biggest weapon.”
Looking to the future
Embracing her own identity is not all Leonie has in mind for the year ahead: “so much changed for me in one year and I now have the platforms and connections in media to raise awareness to topics which are really important [in 2019]. I want to be more than a content creator, and use my voice for causes I truly believe in”, she tells L’Officiel Arabia. Despite the change around her and the areas in which she is both breaking barriers and challenging industry expectations, Leonie tells L’Officiel Arabia that one of the areas she sees as her biggest successes is in her relationships with those who have known her the longest length of time. “I am so proud to be able to come home after intense and busy working periods to my family and friends who still see the same person. Even though I am now working with the brands I have always dreamed of working with. That I am able to always stay true to myself makes me so proud.” L’Officiel Arabia couldn’t agree more. We can’t wait to see what’s next for the content creator who continues to forge new paths for herself and others in the fashion industry.