By the time you celebrate 40 years of style, you've acquired a great deal of admirers—Liza Minnelli and Andy Warhol included.
But we'll get to that.
Before Leigh's 40th anniversary, there was a lot of hard work. It started with a man named Larry Leigh, who founded Leigh's in 1975. He was at the helm for close to 30 years before Rebecca and Scott Wierda, along with business partners Brian DeVries and Eileen DeVries, purchased the store. Together they commemorate the 10-year rebuild and the store's longevity during four decades of style, which brings us to today and the Leigh's known to West Michigan for signature style, designer clothing, trunk shows, and fashion events.
"Events are well-received, and a very strong and important element to our business," said Rebecca Wierda. "We have relationships with the marketplace in New York, and our trunk shows allow for designers to bring their entire collections in." Customers are treated to major designers and fashion houses—the likes of Michael Kors, Alexander McQueen, and Kate Spade. How often can you see showcased in Grand Rapids an iconic American or European designer who walked the runway? "That's special, and keeps the style conversation going in West Michigan. We have always been a fashion leader. That's what we strive to do."
With the rebuild, Leigh's decided to expand its beauty department offerings with products and spa treatments. Brands onboard include Kiehl's, Trish McEvoy, and Laura Mercier. Makeup artists and licensed aestheticians work one on one with customers for a custom approach.
"We give the women in West Michigan the ability to go to one store and complete their entire look, from head to toe," said Wierda. "We have a clear vision of who we are, and we're always staying true to that leadership role."
From research of the latest trends to emerging designers and beyond, Leigh's works to know what women want in their closets and turn those desires into reality. And the reality is, Grand Rapids is a fashionable town. "Fashion and art coincide. Look at ArtPrize and that attention to art. Fashion is really artful and we like to be a part of that scene"—the party scene, to be exact.
Back to Liza Minnelli and Andy Warhol. The fashionable (and faux) pair starred as guests at Leigh's 40th anniversary soirée—an ode to Studio 54 complete with a DJ, hula-hoop artist, and disco scene.
"Guests broke out in a dance party. It was fun. Larry Leigh gave us such a great foundation to work from."
Need a Leigh's refresher? Visit the store at 1942 Breton Road SE, in Grand Rapids.
FUN FACT: If Rebecca Wierda had to wear one designer for the rest of her life, she'd have to go with someone with a really broad collection such as Stella McCartney or Michael Kors. "So I could have fun play clothes and great things to go to a gala."
Rebecca Wierda just gets it.
Written by Missy Black, footwear fanatic, a style child, and a contributing writer for West Michigan Woman.
Photos courtesy of Tim Motley – Motley Cat Studio.