For those of you who have been following me along this journey, you may know that each design takes me roughly bewteen 8 mths to a 1.5 years (sometimes much more) to bring to life. And this year, my own Princess dreams are coming true with our Little Princess mommy-n-me collection finally here! I hope they will be your princess dreams come true too!
It was roughly Spring of 2017 when I first sketched this silhouette in my sketchbook. I just found myself drawn to it -- I imagined the flounces of tulle to bounce with movement and twirl beautifully as well. It is probably one of the most time-consuming design in terms of construction and tweaking each pattern piece (I think there are 20 unique pattern pieces to this style!) I have ever created to date (next to the Flutter dress for girls), not to mention the sewing team's biggest challenge to date! : P Good thing they are such professionals haha.
So I spent a lot of time getting the right amount of ruffles to be just right (for every size the proportion of ruffles have to be adjusted), and also finding the perfect fabrics for it.Top: Original sketch, and bottom: Original samples with original color ideas! So, even though it took much longer than I had hoped (many failed samples and fit tests later), I am really happy with the final color and fabric choices. I vividly remember sitting on my living room floor when it all came together for me -- I happened to have the blush satin on the floor leftover from another design, and I had stumbled upon this star-embroidered sequin tulle from my fabric sourcing trip last year which suddenly seemed like the right choice.
The swiss dot tulle layer I kept because I just love the subtle hint of texture. That was actually inspired by a tulle skirt I had seen on my trip to Japan. They are available in three colors: Blush, Silver, and Pearl, and matching women's maxi Princess skirts! I am working on a top option for mamas but that will come soon...(literally just designed that last week, so I'm a bit behind!).
And the rosette hair clips are new this year. I had fun designing and making these. They have a little bit of Hollywood glam to them, inspired by my old costume design days.
I am so nervous and excited to launch these and see them on your beautiful princesses!
The vinyl sparkle crown that our little model has on her head are a collaboration piece between @EleStory and @rolly_polly_bowtique. We will announce these limited edition crowns soon!
Special thanks for my friend Kortnee @tumblingsparrow for taking such gorgeous lifestyle shots with our Princess collection samples, my photographer Jonothan @woodwardphotography for the breathtaking flats and for being patient with my "perfectionistic" tendencies...hehe.
And last, but not least, my friend Ulli @dasfoto-studio for putting together this dreamy video and the last group shot of these sweet girls in all three color ways. Enjoy! May all of our princess dreams come true.
You would have turned sixty-six today, and I would have gotten to spend the whole day with you, watching you play with your two grandchildren and enjoying a nice home-cooked meal.
Sometimes I imagine what kinds of conversations we would be having now if you were here with us. Now that I am a mother myself, what advice would you have for me? Would you talk about how similar little June is to how you remembered me as a little girl? I'm sure you would have had some funny stories to tell. It has been eleven years since you've been gone, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it-- some days the pain of losing you feels as raw as it did that fateful day. But I see you in the everyday, and I could almost hear your soft-spoken, composed voice. Sometimes I glance at June and I see a bit of resemblance to the grandmother she has never met. And other times I'll be designing something and I'll think, "Cool, I think mom would like this, she would approve."
And it gives me great encouragement to push forward. As I write this, I am a bit of a mess: exhausted from the week of seemingly endless responsibilities, feeling a bit lost...I long for your wisdom and your endless patience as you listened to all the things that weighed heavily on my heart.
I used to tell people that the way I dealt with your permanent absence is I would pretend that you were out of the country again, visiting Grandma back in Taiwan. And the time zone made it difficult to connect. We would go a couple of weeks without talking on the phone if things were busy, but we would always connect eventually. You liked to leave me messages on my phone, reminding me of food that you had prepared for me that was still in the freezer, or you would go shopping and think of me, and would call to ask if I needed something. I miss your asking me about my work and if I wanted to talk through some of the designs I was stuck on. You always made yourself available to me, even if we were tens of thousands of miles apart. Now we are on separate sides - me on the earth-side and you, heaven-side with Jesus. I take great comfort in that fact.
Well, mom - this post is dedicated to you. I wish we could celebrate with you in person on your special day, but someday I know we will meet again. I hope you see June, and me, our family, and what we have started in EleStory, and I hope you are smiling ear to ear with pride. And I hope you are proud of this lace dress I designed in your memory. You wore yours with so much grace, and the image of you wearing it will forever be etched in my heart. Happy birthday, mama!
with love, Yi-Inn (what you would always call me -- forever your little girl)
I also wanted to share a little video clip here in honor of my mother. I met Natalia @teslanatv when she and my friend Sofia @beautybysofiabee came over to do a quick, on the go makeup tutorial with me on IG live. I happened to have the Enchanted Lace dress hanging out on the dress form, so Natalia did an impromptu video of me talking about it, on the spot. I had no idea she would make it into an edited video, but I am so glad she did -- thank you, sweet friend -- I couldn't think of a better story than this to share in honor of my mom on her birthday.
As a special occasion mommy-n-me clothing brand, we are constantly flooded with beautiful images in our inbox from so many talented photographers. One of these photographers, Jennine from @sky9studio, who also happens to be a San Francisco Bay Area photographer, kindly reached out to us and offered to shoot her two beautiful girls in my designs. We love supporting fellow artists and local small businesses and are so happy that she found us!
I thought I'd share a few of her girls in our Ballerina dresses in Lilac here with you.They are 18m and 5 years old, in their respective sizes. Aren't they so adorable? Oh, sisterhood is the sweetest!
Being a professional children's photographer, Jennine gets asked a lot where she likes to get outfits from -- she shared about her love for EleStory on her blog, and we're so over-the-moon she did! You can read all about it here, and maybe, just maybe, even get a little special promo code to use for your next photoshoot! ;)
Thank you so much again Jennine, for sharing your gift with us! We sure look forward to seeing many more of your happy girls in EleStory!
A year ago, I designed our very first Ballet-style dresses for girls' (after about 8-9 months of sketching and bringing the concept to life), along with matching mommy tulle skirts, and I never could have imagined the overwhelmingly positive response that we would receive. I had set out to make my little girl's wish of "matching mommy" come true, but little did I know these designs would become part of your stories too, part of creating memories for your families. What a privilege and honor!
Our first ever Ballerina mommy & me collection in Amethyst, consisting of a matching skirt for mama and little.
But so often, with a collection launch, I always feel like I wish I could have brought more designs into life. I had actually also designed a mommy ballerina dress at the same time to match this set, but I felt it needed a bit more fit testing. I wasn't ready to launch a product until it was "perfect".
Now, a year later, I am so pleased to introduce you the first Ballet-style dress for mommas! It is a dream come true for me - and perhaps for many of you too, your childhood dream of being a ballerina might actually come true here. :)
So much love and energy went into this women's maxi dress - many sample iterations and fittings later, we finally landed on the final design - surprisingly we spent the most time on figuring out how much gather ratio to give the skirt so it's the most flattering on the body (not too bulky, with enough sheerness to feel light visually), and also how to achieve the most slimming silhouette (with an elasticized waistband). So I settled on two layers of tulle instead of three like previous year: a shimmery sequin tulle overlay a plain soft tulle, with a soft cotton knit that is the same exact used on the girls' dress as bodice and skirt lining.
As I have always loved these rich jewel tones, and I'm so excited to bring to you "Peacock Blue" and this really beautiful deep hue we're calling "Raspberry Jam".
Here's the entire Fall18 Ballerina Collectionsoon to be in New Arrivals! It's a limited quantity release, and I cannot wait to see which colors you'll pick out!
Thank you for supporting handcrafted in USA! Every piece is exquisitely cut and sewn by the hardworking men and women here in San Francisco.
Last November, we added a beautifully embroidered women's lace skirt to the EleStory Enchanted Lace Collection and I wrote a blog post HEREabout how my mother's own beautiful lace dress inspired this collection.
Even at the age of six I asked my mom to save her lace dress for me to wear someday, and by age ten, I proudly wore it to my piano recital and felt like a little lady. There's something about wearing white lace that makes a little girl feel like she's becoming a young woman. Since Mom passed away eleven years ago, my sister and I have yet to locate this beautiful dress once worn by our mother for a special occasion - a graduation ceremony at the school that she was the principal at.
The design for this special dress has been in my head for so long, but like so many designs I take on, I was first worried that no one would like it, or that it wouldn't turn out the way I had envisioned. Fear and anxiety has a way of crippling us, making us feel powerless and ineffective. Even when I doubted this would turn out, my husband and sweet June cheered me on.
In addition, there were many technical challenges to getting this dress made just right. Because of the intricate nature of the embroidered lace and wanting to get the fit just right and flattering for most body types, this design took a lot longer than I had anticipated. The inside of the collar also required a special bridal tulle that I had sourced from New York, but took many weeks to arrive. But, drama aside, I am truly proud of how it turned out - it is a dream come true for me to be able to create something so close to my heart, honoring my mother's memories and to share this design with my little girl and all of you out there. I am cherishing these moments when she still thinks the world of me and wants to be like mommy.
Last month, we had the privilege of meeting one of my favorite artists/photographers, Kortnee @Tumblingsparrow, for the first time. We have been pen-pals only even though Kortnee has shot just about every design I have created. Meeting her and her husband and their sweet little girl Graycen here in San Francisco was truly a magical experience -- I was so giddy even afterwards!
Not to mention these photos turned out just as magical as well!
Also, a huge shoutout to my sweet friend Sofia @beautybysofiabee, who at the drop of a hat, came to my rescue when I mentioned to her I had a photoshoot the next day and wish I had been more prepared heh. She made herself available and made me feel like a movie star for our shoot. I will forever be grateful for these ladies. Thank you for helping me to create memories with my little girl that I will cherish forever.
I can't wait to see you create yours! Please tag us @elestory #elestory when you do. The best part of my job is seeing you and your littles in my designs!