Lee Paton’s roots stem from England, Scotland and France, with each country having had a unique impact on the Paton family story and the history, heritage and nature of these places having an intimate influence over his collections today.
In 1066 during the Battle of Hastings, Duke William of Normandy awarded the Paton clan the Fleur-de-Lis as an emblem for their battle shields - a reward for their assistance in their fight against the English. An emblem which is still proudly displayed in the centre of the family’s crest and often seen in detailed embroidery on Lee’s designs. The family’s tartan is also a regular sight in the collections, exclusively woven in the Highlands. The deep green and black shades of the wool were a result of the Victorian creation of chemical dyes and the fondness for bold palettes at the time, however the house also still produces a more historically authentic version. This is derived from fragments of tartan cloth more than two centuries old, dug up from the historic Culloden Moor in 1946.
Lee grew up surrounded by some of Britain’s most poetic and charming landscapes - from Scottish lochs to the castles of Northumberland. He ultimately spent most of his childhood close to the rugged fells, valleys and tarns of the English Lake District. Known for its historic literary associations, it was home and inspiration to Britain’s greatest romantic artists including Wordsworth, Keats, Lord Tennyson, Bysshe Shelley and Beatrix Potter.
Lee Paton studied menswear at the London College of Fashion, during which time he embarked upon several internships within the fashion industry. One such placement was a design internship at Alexander McQueen, which turned into a longer spell within the studio. With studies and a keen interest in historic and military tailoring, he was led to the home of British bespoke, London’s Savile Row. Here, outside of his university classes he learned the ways of the street and the importance of bespoke craftsmanship. This was followed up with tutelage in the English countryside with one of the last existing traditional huntingwear tailors.
By graduation he had accumulated a strong list of high-profile clients who encouraged the development of his brand.
To refine his illustrative skills he attended Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Art, an experience he credits as being one of the most influential for his vision of the couture maison he had founded.
Finally, between the Royal School of Needlework in London and Maison Lesage in Paris, he honed new skills in various methods of couture hand-embroidery. These institutions are guardians of an enduring, unique craft that has been passed down through generations. Techniques that are continued and adapted in Lee's creations and taught to his in-house team today. His designs present a rich mixture of traditional British crafts and tailoring with detailed hand-finishing and couture techniques of the early Parisian ateliers.
Upon establishing the house, he invited his mother to become involved, tasked with creating specialist pieces of knitwear for clients. Soon followed by his sister, a skilled embroiderer. Today, they will often return to assist with the most important client’s orders. Work is created between London and the places still most dear to the house. His London atelier is located in a former tannery from where his ancestors worked as leather merchants in the early 20th Century. Additional craftsmanship takes place in the Lakes and Scotland.
Privacy is of the utmost importance and Paton’s client list is extremely guarded. He dresses a range of clients: from private individuals and distinguished public figures to the women of several international royal households. His work has been featured in many British and overseas publications such as Vogue, Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Elle, and The Financial Times.