The Australian-born actor, known widely for her work on The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff series The Originals, was accustomed to an outrageously busy schedule pre-pandemic. The Chanel ambassador’s car was constantly filled with multiple looks to take her from hectic shoot days to meetings and evening events. But suddenly, she, along with most of the world, was stuck at home, trying to find the happy medium between ultimate comfort and effortless style.
When I speak to Tonkin via Zoom (of course), she’s make-up free and clad in crimson Lesjour, chatting to me from her Los Angeles home. Explaining the origins of the brand, she says she’s the sort of person who just has to be busy, which is why her quota for relaxedly reading and TV binging was hit rather fast when stay-at-home orders came into force. Lesjour had been in the works for a while, but 31-year-old Tonkin was finally able to invest her energy into it last year when acting projects were temporarily put on hold and boredom beckoned.
The first collection, consisting of six key styles, was a snazzy, glammed-up take on the 1970s Leisure Suit; think a fire engine red cardigan with matching flares, and a high neck, shimmery cream crew with coordinating soft, tapered bottoms. It’s intentionally simple, as Tonkin wants customers to have the option of adding their own vibe to the looks. “I love the idea of projecting your personal style onto clothes that you buy,” she says. “As opposed to buying clothes where they wear you. I’ve always liked the idea of simple things, like t-shirts, sweats and sweatshirts, then projecting onto them with jewellery or makeup or a cool hairstyle, or personal things you’ve collected over your lifetime.” The just-launched second collection is a similar vein, with comfy leisure suits cut in myriad luxurious tones, such as a deep moss-green.