Photo by Dominic Neitz
“Vaute Couture proves that compassionate animal friendly fashion can be cute, chic, and sexy.” OPRAH.com
BUST MAGAZINE calls Leanne a “Badass business woman, informative and inspiring”
“We can’t think of a better way to keep warm this winter.” TEEN VOGUE
“Vaute Couture is the 2011 COMPANY OF THE YEAR.” VEGNEWS MAGAZINE
“I love these styles, I love even more what this company stands for.” ALICIA SILVERSTONE, actress & Bestselling Author of The Kind Diet
“Leanne... proves time and time and time again that fashion can be conscious and cutting edge in the same breath.”
RORY FREEDMAN, Author of the New York Times Bestselling book Skinny Bitch
Vaute CoutureSpelled for Haute Couture with a V for Vegan, but said like VOTE—Vaute Couture is an independent fashion house by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart whose raison d’etre is to develop apparel and fabrics that are better than wearing animals ever could be. In the fall of 2008, Leanne quit her modeling contract with Ford Models and her full ride MBA at DePaul University to do everything she could to create the first winter dress coat that was at once 100% vegan and warm enough for a real winter. It was something she had always wanted for herself, but more than that, she wanted there to be no excuse left to wear animals. With a background in activism and start-ups, not fashion, Leanne approaches development from an invention standpoint. With the challenge of omitting the traditional winter dress coat fabric wool, she developed a line of winter dress coats that are warmer than wool, and also snow resistant, windproof, and heat retaining, while at once made of cutting edge fabrics of recyclable and recycled fibers, and made locally first in Chicago, and later in NYC.
The line launched in summer of 2009 in the depth of the recession, to hundreds of preorders from customers who had never seen the coats in person, most of which had never met Leanne, and would wait months before receiving them. This proof of concept allowed Leanne to produce her custom fabrics with the same cutting edge mills that work with Patagonia and North Face. Her recipe for the perfect coat married he warmth and protection of performance fabrics but with the luxe textures and cuts of dress coats. Her entire first production run was funded by her earliest supporters.
In 2010 Leanne fell. hard. for NYC, and moved herself, her rescued pup Whitman, and her company there a few months later. In early 2012 she opened her first store in Williamsburg, on a whim. It was the best decision she’s ever made. Vaute is growing quickly and Leanne is constantly working on new innovations in fabric & apparel design.