Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cake for everyone!

Where do I start? I love getting to design and make things for people. I meet the most amazing people doing what I do.

(photo by me at my sister Briana's wedding 2005)

And it seems a little silly sometimes, that I just want to spend my day playing with fabric. I admit I talk to the fabric and the dresses. Designing feels like a conversation with the materials.

So when I started this whole Kickstarter Campaign, I was sure I would make my goal, somehow. I thought everyone would give me $15. And I was so excited by that! What I didn't realize was how much everyone else wants to see me succeed.

Now, designing feels like a conversation with a community. And I love that. I have 6 more days to reach my goal and it is so close!

I have spent the last 2 weeks just being floored by the love and support.

With my heart in my throat, Thank you. I can't wait to show you all what we've created!

Originally, my inspiration was Nora Charles (or Myrna Loy, depends on how you look at it!) from the The Thin Man movies from the 30's and 40's. Now I think my inspiration is a little bit Nora Charles and a little bit of everyone that's contributed in thought, spirit and backing.

What will you all wear to the party? And what kind of cake should we have?!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You Will Have Your Cake And Eat It Too.

It's no secret that when I started my studio last summer I wasn't at all sure what I wanted it to do or be. And I've just been making things and saying yes to projects for the research, just discovering what I want to create.

What do I want this studio to be like? Look like? What do I want to offer to people? Do I want to do only custom projects? Or, do I want to do some designs that are ready to wear?

So I've come up with some answers to some of these questions. I'm making a line, a proper line of wedding and party dresses.

My goal is somewhere between 6 and 12 dresses. (I like to have some flexibility.) When these samples are complete, I'm hiring Joe Tanis to shot my look book.

And today, I launched my Kickstarter campaign to help fund all of this! From fabric and materials for the production of the samples to Joe's photography and the model that will wear all the dresses in the photos.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE your support!

Check out my Kickstarter project here:

Thanks and Cheers! Phaedra

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Take My Picture!"

Um, it's no secret that I've been working with Mr. Joe Tanis for my Photography. I met Joe at my sister's kitchen table. (I meet the coolest people there.) And we started talking, he's a photographer that wants to take editorial photos of brides and I'm a designer that works with brides, one thing leads to another and we have some really fun photo shoots and Voila! Suddenly I have all these amazing photos of my work! This one above is one of my favorites. I love the mood....

What I know about really good photography is that it tells a beautiful story. And Joe Tanis is a great story teller with his photography. You might not know this about me, but I actually got my first degree in Photography, I know how difficult it is to tell really great stories with pictures. It is so difficult that I became a designer instead. Turns out I'm better at telling stories with fabric and clothes. My education left me with a profound appreciation for the people that do it much better then me.

There's so much that goes into really good photography, the lighting, the composition, getting the model to relax, the photo retouching so everything is perfect, all of it works together to tell a story.

On Tuesday and Wednesday Dec 6th & 7th, he's creating a portrait studio to work with people one on one and photograph them. He's created this branding photography event to work with people to help them tell the story they want their pictures to tell. If you need your business or your portrait to tell a new (or better?) story, check out his event here.

He's also offering a Thanksgiving discount ($150.00 off), use discount code: "Thanksgivingdiscount"

Check out his event, pass it along to people you like that need awesome photos. You could pass it along to people you don't like too, but generally anyone you like, must be an awesome someone to photo.... :)

cheers! xophae

Nov. 30, UPDATE
Joe updated his day, do you're own hair and make-up and the total cost is $150, he's got a new discount code that is "friends" I think, it's listed in his link to the event. links above still work! Or let me know if they don't and I'll get you the link directly!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Party Hats for Party Season

With Thanksgiving this week, I keep thinking of what kind of hat I can wear to dinner. And then, what kind of hat can I wear to the Holiday parties this year... I love this one. I love the way it moves and I love the idea of wearing a pale peach hat with a navy or black dress and enjoying the contrast.

This fascinator is really bridal, and I love that about it, but I also love the idea of wearing light colored party fascinators even in the winter.

I just added both of these to my Etsy shop. The peaches and cream one at the top is a one of a kind. Ready to send out if you need something right now for you're next party. And this white petal one is made to order. So, even if you don't want to wear white in winter (it is a real winter white, no rule breaking on this one) I can make one in what ever color you fancy for your holiday party. Remember Keiko's? She wanted it in navy, black and silver with the tulle and it turned out just as festive and lovely! 

What are you planning for your festive attire this year? 

Happy Thanksgiving! xophae

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Genius of Raven & Crow

As a designer I am really clear about what I am good at and what I love and where I'm not so fluent. I often say, "design is design is design", meaning, a good designer can learn to design anything well.

I've spent 20 years designing and making just about everything I can think of. However, I am not a graphic designer. Which is exactly why when I wanted to give my studio a proper logo I called someone that does what I do, but as a graphic designer.

I met Troy and Katie of Raven & Crow through a friend at a bar one sunny afternoon in Brooklyn and loved loved loved their business cards. They are also some of the loveliest people ever.

You can see why I love my logo so very much! They actually finished this for me many moons ago, so this update to my blog header and showing off the logo like this is long over due.

But don't you love it? Aren't they so good? geniuses....

I'm still just so delighted with it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adding Dresses to Etsy

Today I've added a new dress to my Esty shop.

So I've been playing around with this design, bias cut little shift dress with the contrast straps and belt. Originally I made it out of cotton twill, this one is in silk twill with the grosgrain ribbon contrast trim. I love working with designs that I can make in various fabrics to see how it shifts and changes.

What would you like to see it made up in, something more bridally? or as a little black dress? I could also go the other way and make it up in a lovely suiting wool, with a jacket or cardigan it would be a great dress for work and going out after, yes?

:) xophae

 shoes and fascinator also by me

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Green Velvet Dress

I mentioned in my post about Keiko's Orange dress that I would some day share the original dress that has inspired these variations.

So, this is the original dress.

This is also the dress I showed Karolina when we were talking about her Tango dress. She needed a lot of other design details for the Tangoing, but the back was inspired by this dress.

So, this dress was inspired by not having very much of this fabric. A friend of mine gave me 1 yard of this beautiful green silk velvet and I was determined to really use as much as possible of it, hence the inspiration to make a wrap dress. All the draping in the back creates the cowl. I did give it the cut away neck line in the front with the panel of silk organza.

Originally I designed this for a New Years Eve party. It was a big hit, but I'm sure you won't be surprised that I was fairly cold. Ah, winter party dilemma's ... :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Keiko's Orange Dress with Navy Fascinator

 I just got these amazing photos from my photographer, Joe Tanis and I'm so excited to share them!

Keiko needed a dress this summer to go to a wedding in Japan, we talked about me making her a fascinator and I did (see below), it kind of inspired our Fascinator Making Workshop, but then we also got on about what she would wear with this fascinator and one thing lead to another and well, we both thought she needed this...

Someday I will make a post about the original dress that keeps inspiring new versions, but for now, I think this might be one of my favorites! This is one pattern piece, it's a wrap dress. This one is in a lovely 4-ply silk crepe.

 And I love how the orange dress and navy fascinator look so elegant on her! Really it can be so fun to wear color!

You may remember the fascinator from our flyer... :)

It's always so fun to work with clients that want a little adventure in their party clothes... I'm totally for adventurous party clothes!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Fascinator workshop

September was a busy month in the studio and in the middle of it, Keiko and I created our first Fascinator making workshop. Even though it's been a couple of weeks, I wanted to share some of the pictures from the day. (All photos here were taken by Joe Tanis, he also brought fresh homemade banana muffins! )


It was so fun to see what everyone came up with and wanted to make, everyone trying on the examples I brought of different kinds of hats to make. It was so fun for us we're thinking we should do it again...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fascinator Workshop!

(photo of my fascinator by Joe Tanis Photography) (the photo is so beautiful, right?)

Keiko and I are hosting a Fascinator Making Workshop!

Keiko and I have worked together a lot in the past, originally I took her shoe making classes and then we started designing shoes together for her line. Recently Keiko opened her own beautiful studio to keep teaching shoe making classes and she asked if I wanted to have a Fascinator Workshop in her space, so of course I said Yes!

So we're really excited to present our first Fascinator Making Workshop! Saturday, September 17th, from 12 to 3:30pm we'll be hosting our workshop in Keiko's studio in South Williamsburg.

With Fall around the corner and the Holidays on it's heels, we wanted to focus this Workshop on Party Fascinators and hat embellishments. (DIY'ers interested in making Bridal Fascinators are obviously welcome!)

We want to focus on making fun fabric flowers as well as "building" a Fascinator hat with feathers, birdcage tulle, traditional tulle and anything else you fancy.

Materials, a small tool-kit and snacks will be provide. The goal is that each student leaves with a wearable hat, so please bring inspiration and images of things you might like to try.. I'll also have some examples of possibilities. If you have some sweet thing that you've been wanting to use as an embellishment that you haven't yet found a good home for, bring it and we can work it into your design...

The class fee is $125, bring a friend and both of you will get $25 off.

For more information and to register please contact Keiko at

We're really excited! Please join us!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fascinator headband, Part 2

This sweet headband needs a new home... I just added this piece to my Etsy shop. Please check it out!

I'm hoping to add more and more fascinators to my Etsy shop in the coming weeks. I'm curious, you lovelies out there that want/wear/need fascinators, how do you like to wear them? Do you like them/want them on a comb? a headband? What would make it easier to wear? or help you to wear it more often?

I'm just curious and would love love love any of your thoughts or observations!

Thanks! xophae

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vintage inspired hand bags...

Last time I mentioned these vintage inspired handbags, a friend of mine wanted one in green. So I made a few green bags and let her choose her favorite. My intention at the time was to list the ones she declined on Etsy.

But it was spring and I was in the middle of many projects in studio and somehow these sweet little bags got totally neglected.

So during our photo shoot for my shoes, I brought them along. And today, I finally listed them on Esty...

Here's to all the parties to come, cheers!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Karolina and Wayne, Part 2: TANGO!

I mentioned that Karolina had more then one project. Well her other project was a very specific kind of reception dress. She and Wayne were going to Tango at the reception, she needed a Tango dress!

I grew up watching muscials and I love to dance so I loved the idea of this kind of project! (And not just because I loved her shoes!)

Based on some ideas she had and some ideas I had, this is the dress we designed for the dancing.

What's tricky about this kind of dress is, how to make a backless, cowl necked dress stay on when dancing the Tango? Well, you can imagine it took some engineering. But it seems, it worked!

Don't they look amazing? They just look so happy and beautiful! Makes me want to learn to Tango, badly!

Cheers! xophae

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Karolina and Wayne, Part 1!

This is Karolina and her new husband Wayne.

I'm not sure how to sum up. This project was such a joy to be apart of, Karolina was really clear about what she wanted. And what she wanted was this beautiful dress, that was very simple looking, but actually incredibly interesting and complicated to make. It was much more complicated then I thought when I first said, "I love that, I'd love to make that!"

Karolina, in addition to having an amazing eye for what is lovely, is also very very patient! She spent hours standing in my studio with me walking around her with pins in my mouth.

I loved every minute of it! It's so fun to have a project that is interesting and challenging in a good way. And it's such a joy to work with a bride that loves design as much as I do! (She's an architect.)

I was so excited to see the photos from the wedding because everything I saw that they did was so thoughtful and lovely (their wedding invitations were so amazing!) I just knew it was going to be a gorgeous celebration all around!

It was a little sad for me when we finished all her projects, part of me felt like, wait you're not gonna come hang out here anymore? Needless to say, I felt like she was an old friend when we were done...

Thanks so much for letting me contribute to your day! It was such a beautiful celebration... Congratulations to you both!


p.s. Next I'll post what we made her for the reception!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shoes! Fall 11 samples (sale!)

So, remember when I was working on starting my shoe line? Well, ta da!

However, things with the shoe designing have taken to the back burner.. In the mean time, I wanted to share my designs.

The ankle straps (left hand side) are called Fifi (yep, inspired and named after Ms. Queener's character), seen above in grey leather with a black and white wool herringbone trim and straps and the "oxfords" are called Cha Cha, seen above in black and white wool herringbone and grey leather with black grosgrain trim and laces.

Here you have Cha Cha in cranberry leather and blush pink satin and grosgrain trim and laces and Fifi in just the blush pink satin and grosgrain trim.

So, my heartbreak about this process was, I only got to make samples. Currently there are no plans for production of these. My goal (still) is to make smaller runs. And the factory we were working with didn't really want to help us with that. So for now, these are my sale samples. And that really means, these 5 pairs of size 7's are on sale.

Above is the only pair of "flats" I designed. (Flats give you bunions, you have to be good to your feet! When I find flats that don't ruin your feet, I'll totally promote them. In the meantime, be careful and wear heels!) Okay so they aren't totally flat, they have a 1" heel.

I digress... I was actually really pleased with how these turned out. Someday I hope I can make a production run on Fifi and Cha Cha (it's because I don't what you to have bunions that I am reluctant to produce flats, even the ones with heels.)

So if you are a size 7 (the fabric shoes are a little more snug then the leather ones...) and you are interested in buying a pair, please let me know (phaedra.elizabeth at gmail(dot)com). I just want them to have a good home. Where someone will love them as much as I do... :)

Also can we give a round of applause to my super awesome (size 7 and 6.5) models! Keiko in the white jeans and Kya in the black pants... they were super helpful and have such great feet! And are generally just wonderful women to hang out with! :) thanks guys!


Fascinator headband

This was a sweet little project I recently finished for a bride that lives out of town. I sent her some mock up-sketches and we decided on this kind of "flower", but then as luck would have it she came to town to visit family and we were able to sneak in a little "fitting".

She was wearing a headband that day to our fitting. And as we talked about her plan for her wedding it just made sense that this would be a good way to go for our design. One of the things I always aim for in these custom projects is that the client (bride or not) looks and feels like herself, in whatever we come up with. (Granted, it's also important that she feels super gorgeous.)

Anyway, I think we made something really lovely and sweet for a really lovely and woman!

I can't wait to see photos of her in it from the real occasion! In the meantime, congrats to the lovely bride! and thanks for letting me contribute to your celebration!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Susana's Mom's prom dress gets a make over

Susana came to my studio with this wonderful dress from the 50's with a photo of a modern white dress with layers and layers of Technicolor tulle under the skirt. I got so excited at the idea of this. What a fun way to update and personalize a vintage dress. Even better that it was already a personal dress inherited from her mom!

This dress had a couple issues, the waist line was authentic to the era and measured a mere 20", the front boning was wildly misshapen and needed to be replaced, but otherwise was in really good shape. Susana had a tailor detach the bottom ruffle and replace the entire back panel to make it fit correctly.

So what was left was this short scalloped hemmed, sweet cocktail dress. And that was when I went in and added layers of tulle to the skirt and a little orange tulle piping to the waist line.

We played with different combinations of colors, more colors vs less colors . . . but in the end, I think, we struck a lovely balance:

We kept the feeling of the vintage dress, but added the fun pop of colors at the hem (this must have been so fun to see her dance in!).

And then using the same tulle as her dress, I made her a fascinator, with tulle "peonies" and birdcage tulle "plumes" (keeping with the vintage feel). Her fascinator was really fun to make after we finished her dress. I pretty much made her put on the dress and sit in front of the mirror and I just put things on her head until we found the combination of flowers and tulle that we liked.

(fascinator back view)

I love this last photo of them! They both look so happy but most I love the way her new husband is looking at his bride! Like he just caught the canary . . . so sweet!

Congratulations and best wishes to the happy pair! xophae