With a family history rooted in the textiles industry, it was inevitable that Alice Stone would create her own signature label.
With a family history rooted in the textiles industry, it was inevitable that Alice Stone would create her own signature label. A London College of Fashion alumna, Alice launched Lily and Lionel in 2008, naming the brand after her maternal grandparents.
“Born with a sewing machine”, Lily Rutman was a talented seamstress, making officers’ uniforms during the Second World War and perfecting her children’s wardrobes. The story goes that Lily - not satisfied with the outfit her daughter had chosen for a party - worked through the night, beading the entire dress from top to bottom. The dapper Lionel Rutman, meanwhile, inherited a love of textiles from his mother, who would sit all day long embroidering the most intricate and crocheted tablecloths and napkins. But most of all, he is remembered for his kindness: “Save-the-world Lionel” - as the community called him - volunteered at his local hospital every Christmas and would arrive home for lunch with two or three nurses to feed each year.
A love story spanning more than 45 years, Lily and Lionel were a permanent fixture in Alice’s upbringing, moving into the family home most weekends to spend time with their grandchildren. But their influence went beyond childhood; they are unwittingly responsible for the creation of a brand built on heritage and storytelling; beauty and longevity; covetable pieces to be cherished, collected and shared over a lifetime.
Initially, Alice channelled this influence into a luxury scarf brand known for its hand- drawn vintage- inspired prints. By 2015, the brand had grown into a ready-to-wear British print house, delivering timeless collections worldwide from its London studio.
The starting point for a new collection is often a story, told through an old treasured button, a scrap of delicately-embroidered fabric, a quirky antique. “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved sourcing and finding hidden treasure wherever I go,” Alice explains. “It took me a little to realise that interlacing this with my work would be truly satisfying and integral to the development of Lily and Lionel. I can be found at many a flea market or scouring online auctions for something that captures my heart.”
That “something” is then brought to a design meeting and reimagined by a talented print design team into a unique, ready-to-wear collection. Lily and Lionel’s internal motto of the early days - “the big reveal” - has forever remained: from lifting up a silk scarf to unveil a beautiful scene or quirky story to discovering hidden motifs in the clothing collection.
It is this level of detail that underpins the luxury womenswear label as a whole. Fit and function. Elevated wardrobe essentials, adapted from classic pieces. Prints you won’t find elsewhere. British wit interpreted for a global aesthetic. Always in style, never a slave to trends. A continued effort to increase sustainable practices. A luxury brand for all women who share these values.
Lily and Lionel has evolved far beyond its luxury scarf origins, but its principles remain the same: to create beautiful clothes; treasured pieces to pass down to generations. As Alice’s grandparents used to say: “Make the most of life; it’s not a dress rehearsal.”