Louis Leeman and Erica Pelosini
This stylish couple proves that fashion makes the heart grow fonder.
Erica Pelosini, an extroverted Italian stylist with a penchant for bed-head hair and ultra-opulent Balmain ensembles, met the Dutch shoe designer Louis Leeman, who speaks softly and wears custom-tailored suits, at fashion school in Florence, Italy, nine years ago. They were opposites then, too: He was alternative, with bleached-out hair; she was conservative, favoring pleated Dolce & Gabbana skirts. But from the beginning they shared a philosophy: “We both love the mix of things,” Pelosini explains. “Tailored and rock ’n’ roll, T-shirts and couture.” Four years ago the couple, who split their time between Paris and Florence and plan to marry this summer on Capri, found they agreed on something else—that the men’s shoe market was sorely lacking in well-constructed classic styles (his forte) with a bit of flair (hers). “Men really care about little details,” says Leeman, sporting a pair of his eponymous handmade penny loafers with a sliver of metal at the toe. “I’m not going to wear a suit with no sleeves. But when I go out at night, I want something different.” With a growing number of both male and female customers (the latter buy the shoes in the smaller sizes, which go down to a women’s 39), the two are currently in the process of opening their first New York boutique, as well as finding an apartment there—if they can just decide on a neighborhood. “He wants uptown,” says Pelosini, shaking her head. “I want downtown.”