Meet Kendra Leonard

Meet Kendra Leonard

The multi-functional Oltrarno space reflects the founder's many passions, from fashion to life coaching.

Tue 28 May 2024 4:46 PM

Four years after her arrival in Florence, Kendra Leonard is launching her new space, The Art of Style, on via Romana 142/via dei Serragli 137, which promises to combine a fashion boutique, an art gallery, members’ club and lounge, hoping to, in her words, “revolutionize retail”. The Florentine takes a peek at the venue to find out more about its multifaceted offering and the story behind the “Renaissance Woman” founder.

Lady Kendra

Leonard, who goes by Lady Kendra, came to Italy after the destruction of her store following riots in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2020. Her search for peace brought her to Italy, having also endured the sad loss of her husband to cancer, 11 years prior. The move turned into a long-term adventure, building community around her new base in Florence. “When I got to Florence, it was like the brakes hit, and I realized that this is my city, without a shadow of a doubt. I feel like I have found my peace here. I had been searching for it for so many years, and when the destruction happened, I wasn’t sure who I was without my store, because it was a big part of my identity. Being here has been healing for me.”

The space was first conceived to host Kendra’s fashion ventures, giving priority to quality and eco-friendliness. “I want to create high quality products from good fabrics. I love clean, classic and timeless styles, but I also love more modern, sophisticated, and edgy elements. My plan is to release one item a month because I don’t want to be wasteful.” As well as displaying her designs, the space will have a dual function as an art gallery, with rotating installations, starting with Marco Fariello through July 1. “Every month I will have a different artist, and I’ll move things around to highlight the artist. Each time you visit, you’ll see something that you didn’t see last time. It’s an evolution.”

Another string to her bow is her storytelling. Kendra is the author of you only live once and mind.body.soul, and is also behind the creation of a healthy alternative to smoking called The Substitute: a graduated aluminium cylinder that focuses on breathing. Kendra’s parallel activities in life coaching are also a part of her vision for the venue, which will host talks and social events for members of the community. “At night, the via Romana entrance will close, and I will open instead on via dei Serragli, transforming into TAOS Lounge. I’ll teach mindfulness and meditation (every Wednesday from 9 to 11am), and I’ll host Intimate Conversations with Lady Kendra every Monday from 7 to 10pm. What I love to do is to bring people together that would otherwise never meet. I love to get them together in the same room and show them that they can come together as a community.

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