It was five minutes before I had to log on to a Zoom call, and all I could find was a lumpy, oversized gray cardigan to wear over my Minnie Mouse shirt. For the months I’ve spent conducting interviews from home, I have yet to fine-tune my wardrobe for our new normal (cue the collective sigh). Comfort is the only factor I consider when rummaging through my drawers in the morning, and I often forget that the array of Disney shirts I’ve collected over the years isn’t the best option for when I have to appear on-screen.
Phoebe Tonkin, however, was more than ready for our video conference. Dressed in a bright-red cardigan, she accessorized with bold gold jewelry. And I wasn’t at all surprised: The 31-year-old actress—best known for her roles in The Vampire Diaries and its spin-off series, The Originals—is a Chanel ambassador. She was also calling from her home in Los Angeles to discuss the launch of Lesjour, her new fashion label that is perfectly suited for the era of biz-leisure.
Lesjour, which is a play on the French phrase les jours (“the days”), began percolating in Tonkin’s mind nearly two years ago. Having immersed herself in Chanel’s atelier and wanting to start an endeavor outside of the precarious entertainment industry, she set out to create a line that reflected her chic, laid-back style. While in quarantine, she realized the pieces she was envisioning had started to become the standard for those working from home, so she “pulled the trigger.”
Along with Tonkin’s red cardigan, Lesjour offers six sets of coordinating wide-leg knit pants and roomy tops, all made from EcoVero, a sustainable fabric made from wood pulp. For Tonkin, the garments are meant to be hassle-free go-tos worn every day of the week—hence the name. Lesjour takes the guesswork out of finding that one outfit that will work for a variety of situations: sending work emails from your couch, nipping out to the grocery store, or—if you’re like me—constantly hopping on a Zoom call.
Ahead, Tonkin tells BAZAAR.com how she founded Lesjour and where she sees the brand going beyond the pandemic.
What is your fashion background?
I have been on and off modeling since I was 17 years old. My fashion background has been on the other side. And through acting, I’ve learned so much from all the designers that I’ve worked with in various capacities. I’ve worked with Chanel for the last few years. I’ve been able to go to the atelier, which has been such an incredible learning experience.
How would you describe your personal style?
I feel like I’ve had the same personal style for about 10 years. I’m happy just in a sweater, jeans, and ballet flats. I feel like I’ve just always kind of had that classic style.