Leo Chevalier helped blaze a trail for Canadian designers by challenging the established Montreal rag trade that customarily focused on importing designs from New York and Paris. He designed his first collection in 1963 and opened his own haute couture house, Le Cheval, in Montreal in 1967. By the mid 1980s, Chevalier had 10 people working his design studio.
In 1972, he won the high profile contract to design Air Canada's in-flight uniforms.
In 1979, he became the first designer ever to receive the Order of Canada.