Fit for a Queen: Meet the Founder of Luxury Hair Accessory Brand LELET NY, Sara Bieler Sasson
It was 2019 and Lucy Boynton was the breakout star for her role in “Bohemian Rhapsody” when she graced the red carpet of the Met Gala with icy blue hair topped with a custom LELET NY diamond and flower luxury hair accessory that would be the buzz of the fashion world. As would Lily Collin’s Priscilla Presley-inspired look featuring a larger-than-life bouffant and a custom silk LELET NY headband. Later that year, Ariana Grande would close out the final weekend of Coachella in a deep plum ensemble donning the “Mega Drop Metal Headband” by LELET NY that was also worn throughout the duration of her “Sweetener World Tour”.
These appearances on the red carpet, world stages, and Instagram accounts of celebrities with millions of followers have been a ten-year journey in the making that started as a creative outlet for LELET NY’s founder and accessory designer, Sara Bieler Sasson. Here she gives us insight into the inception of LELET NY and a sneak peek at what is coming up next.
Lh Exclusive Interview with Sara Bieler Sasson
Lh: Your website mentions that the idea for Lelet NY started after designing hair accessories for your daughter, Ayelet. Can you describe your background and what led up to the decision to pursue LELET NY as a full-fledged business?
Sara Bieler Sasson: I went to Parsons School of Design for architecture, I was working in the field when the economy went under. My architecture job had laid me off and I was home with my one-year-old daughter Ayelet. I was looking for a new creative outlet, as my previous architecture job was pretty dry creatively. After purchasing a few hair things for my daughter I thought I could make even nicer ones with a few simple materials on my own. Once I started making Ayelet hair things, people would stop me on the street and ask where I got my daughter’s hair things. This began a ten-year journey to where we are at now!
Lh: Tell us about the first piece you created?
Sara: I made headbands with an elastic toggle closure so you could make the band custom size for your head, I have a big head so I wanted to create a headband that wouldn’t give you a headache but would still have a good hold.
Lh: What does your design process look like for a new accessory and how long does it typically take to bring a design on paper to life?
Sara: As an artist, my eyes are always open, I was taught in school to question what about an image or an environment makes us feel something viscerally. If I’m out with my kids and see a tree with beautiful bark I’ll snap a picture, if I’m scrolling through Instagram and see something striking I’ll bookmark it. Every so often an idea will pop up in my head and I’ll scribble a rough sketch. When it’s time to compile a new collection I will dip back into those ideas and images.
Fashion and design trends are obviously a big part of the decision-making process as I need to make sure the collection is an equal balance of my creative vision and what I know will be commercially viable. There are times where I will have an idea for something and I make 10 different versions over the course of 3 years until I’m happy enough with the result. Sometimes I create something in a matter of minutes that is an immediate bestseller. That’s not to say that I make a ton of stuff that never ends up making it to market, I have drawers and drawers full of designs that were never put into production.
Lh: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Sara: I am most inspired by architecture and nature and how these two aesthetics lines blur together.
Lh: We love that you locally source all of the materials for LELET NY, do you tend to center your designs around what materials are available, or do you seek out materials that suit the designs?
Sara: The NYC garment district has played a very important role in my life ever since I was a student in Parsons. It has been a sort of Mecca, where I can wander the streets surrounded by fellow creatives and every material you could possibly imagine. It is very important to me, now more than ever, because of the pandemic, when this area is really suffering that we keep all sourcing local. I love seeing and touching materials in person, I love interacting with the store owners, (many of them have become good friends) and sometimes creating custom work together when need be. I do set out with an overarching idea of the type of material needed for a collection and am always able to find everything I need after popping in and out of all my favorite shops.
Lh: How does the world of social media impact your business and design process?
Sara: I have social media to thank for the success of my business. Mainly Instagram, to which I was an early adopter. Social media really democratized the world of fashion, giving small brands like mine access to stylists, celebrities, and most importantly a devoted following/ brand family whom we can speak directly to. Our best business decisions have been gleaned from our customers with whom we have regular conversations.
Lh: Many celebrities have adorned LELET NY accessories on the red carpet. What was it like seeing your work for the first time on such a prestigious stage?
Sara: Hairstylist Adir Abergel was the first person to use my hair accessories on a celebrity, Anne Hathaway for a red carpet appearance. I was running errands in the garment district, I was on 37th street holding bags of brass findings when I got a notification on my phone. I had to look at the picture multiple times, I thought it was a mirage, I couldn’t believe Anne Hathaway was wearing something I had made! It was a very memorable moment!
Lh: What piece stands out to you the most from your collection?
Sara: I love all of our really modern pieces, they are a labor of love as they are created from scratch hand-drawn, cad files, wax models, cast, and polished. They are what truly define us as a modern forward-thinking brand.
Lh: What is something you wish you had known prior to pursuing LELET NY as a business?
Sara: Mistakes are inevitable and necessary in order to grow as long as you only make them once!
Lh: What’s next for LELET NY?
Sara: Lots! Special collaboration projects, and a few top secret projects that will launch in a year or so!
Shop LELET NY online or at select high end retailers including Henri Bendel, Shopbop, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche!
Words by Chloe Grewe
Feature Image: A x L Metallic Quill Halo by LELET NY