Entering through the grand double doors of Vancouver’s Leone Luxury Fashions is like being transported into one of New York’s iconic department stores. Sprawling over 25,000 square-feet of airy, luminescent space, the three-storey boutique is nothing short of opulent. Soaring vaulted ceilings showcase ornate crown mouldings and eye-catching vintage chandeliers, while hand-placed mosaic tile motifs grace the floors in several of the shop’s well-organized sections. It’s no wonder this place has been a go-to destination for the sophisticated Vancouver shopper for over three decades.
Alberto and Maria Leone founded the boutique together in 1987, consolidating the six smaller retail stores they had been operating throughout Vancouver into a single one-stop shop. The two Italian-Canadians set out to create a unique experience for their customers, building a highly successful business based on exceptional service and a discerning eye for high-end international brands. Leone’s legacy has only grown stronger over the years, gaining a loyal following of devoted generational clients, affluent newcomers, A-list celebrities, and urbane travellers.
Shoppers have access to services such as valet parking, custom tailoring, and home delivery, along with exclusive runway pieces not found anywhere else in the city. On the ground floor of the boutique, guests can take a break from browsing and enjoy freshly prepared Italian fare and espresso at Leone Café. And the shop’s overall grandiose design—coupled with its location in Vancouver’s historic Sinclair Building—makes it a regular filming location for Hollywood productions; several stars have shopped at the store, as well, including Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie, Kanye West, and Kerry Washington.
Nicole Yang purchased the boutique from the Leone family in 2015. A former TV and theatre actress in China, Yang immigrated to Canada on her own over 20 years ago, teaching herself English and building her own successful steel import business. Despite giving up her acting career when she moved to Canada, she maintained a strong love for the arts, and eventually decided to channel that into clothing—an artform in its own right. “Due to the language barrier and cultural differences between Canada and mainland China, I decided to pursue a passion of mine that was more universal,” she says, seated inside the store. “Fashion is a global language that everyone can understand.”
While pieces from iconic houses such as Dior, Versace, Alexander McQueen, and Miu Miu are staples in Leone’s inventory, the store’s small buying team is always on the lookout for new designers to add to the roster. “We pay very close attention to what our customers want, and we’re always engaging with our clients about what types of pieces they’d like to see at Leone,” explains Yang. “We’re very client-driven in our buying philosophy—we only buy pieces that we know they will love.” Under Yang’s leadership, Leone’s founding principles of incredible clothing and attentive service are alive and well. And in the age of online shopping, that really says something.
Never go out of Style.