Meet the Designer Behind Your New Favorite Dress Brand

March 25, 2020

Launched in 2018 by sisters Wayne Lee and Ai Ly, Les Rêveries is an NYC-based brand known for their signature floral prints and dreamy silhouettes. Les Rêveries–which means “daydreams” in French–was born after Lee and Ly struggled to find affordable, yet stylish dresses. Only two years later, the brand has quickly become popular with celebs and Instagram alike.

We visited Lee at her NYC studio to learn more about her design process, the best advice she’s ever been given, and to get a behind-the-scenes look at her latest collection.

Tell us about Les Rêveries and how it all began.

My sister and I needed dresses to attend all our cousins’ weddings and we couldn’t find any that we liked in the price range we can afford, so we decided to team up and start our own brand.

Describe your brand in 10 words or less:

Playful, feminine, effortless, timeless and made in New York.

What’s the inspiration behind this collection?

I was inspired by the English gardens and the idea of having vibrant bright colors.

What are your must-rent pieces from the collection and why?

We have a puff sleeve wrap top in our kaleidoscope floral print which can be worn day-to-night and can be layered with a turtleneck underneath. We also have a black floral open-back dress, which can be layered or worn by itself with either sneakers or a heel. Both of these styles are so easy to wear and versatile–they can be styled in many different ways.

What does your typical design process look like?

I design at night when I can be alone in my studio or in a quiet park where I can be free to roam in my dreamworld and fantasy escapes. However, sometimes ideas do come to me instantly when I’m either riding on the train or when I’m at a concert and I see something (or someone) that instantly grabs my attention.

What surprised you the most about creating your own brand?

How difficult it is to balance the workload and the responsibilities with everything else in my life. Being a single mom to an 8 year-old son and running a company and keeping a healthy work/life schedule is quite challenging.

Now, let’s get personal. What does your typical morning routine look like?

I get up, meditate for 20-30 minutes, make coffee, take my son to school, shower, check the news and then I’m off to work.

How do you get into the creative zone?

I listen to music and that usually puts me right there.

Any books, podcasts, or shows inspiring you right now?

I’m currently reading the Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard. I recently went to a concert at Baby’s All Right (a music venue in Brooklyn) and saw the bands “The Mystery Lights” and “Ar-kaics” live–they were great.

What’s your go-to work outfit?

I like to layer an oversized Les Rêveries dress over our turtleneck with a pair of denim and boots and a giant comfy coat over that–I like to be comfortable.

When the day’s over, how do you unwind?

I have a glass (or two) of wine and put on some music.

Rapid Fire Q&A:

  • First fashion memory: I bought my first Prada shoes (from the windows). It cost my entire first paycheck!

  • Biggest fashion regret: Missing the last Martin Margiela show in Paris.

  • Current fashion crush: My son

  • Personal fashion icon: My mom

  • Best advice you’ve ever received: Stay true to yourself.

  • The most memorable person you’ve dressed?  In our debut collection, Shailene Woodley wore our blue floral dress. She looked amazing in it.

  • If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? A scientist or a public health administrator.

  • What’s your guilty pleasure? Werther’s caramel candies. 

  • What’s your most treasured piece of clothing?  This fitted late 70’s leather coat that was a present from my aunt when I was 16. I still have it!