About Me

I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Designers (5)

Thursday
Jul072011

Petticoat Junction

It’s been a while since I posted something about gowns. I’m way behind on that. My bad.

I’m going to admit something that might end up embarrassing me a little bit. There’s a style of dress that is so not me, but I totally love it. It involves pick-ups, to a degree. Now, don’t get all feisty with me. Pick-ups have come a long way! I’m not talking about those horrid, horrid gowns that make you look like the top of a lemon meringue pie. No, no. Not those. I’m talking about the gowns that have a little sumpin’ sumpin’ under the hood, almost like you’ve got on two (TWO!) dresses at once. More precisely, like you’ve got on a kick-ass underskirt or petticoat or something cool like that. It very much reminds me of the Marie Antoinette styled shoot that Annie Leibovitz did for Vogue when that Kirsten Dunst movie came out. Layers and layers of brocade…sigh. It makes me all swoony inside when I think of the fashion from that era.

Anyway, I was sifting through the Spring 2012 gowns and saw a few in this trend and thought I’d share.

st.pucchi

St. Pucchi

Ulla Maija

Alfred Angelo

Ian Stuart

Ian Stuart

Judd Waddel

20101110-19-07-58-MatthewChristopher_COM

Matthew Christopher

Oscar de la Renta

Pronovias

Pronovias

Sarah JAssir

Sarah Jassir

Watters

The Jassir and the Matthew Christopher make me all happy and gooey and fluffy feeling inside. The second Pronovias feels a little meringue-y. You? Do tell.

Friday
May272011

BHLDN Is A Rip Off. Literally.

OK. I thought I’d be fair. I thought I’d give them another chance. No more. I’ve seen too damn much. And it pains me because I LOVE Anthropologie. I kind of like Urban Outfitters because it’s a cheap version of Anthropologie and I have always adored the brand Free People. No more. I must boycott.

The parent company Urban Outfitters owns six retail brands: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, Leifsdottir and BHLDN. Everyone has been all up in arms lately because there appears to be some, um, how shall I put this….uh…..RIPPING OFF of indie designers and artists by Urban Outfitters. 

Now, as a past product development guru, I get it. There are only so many ideas out there. You have to find inspiration somewhere. It’s called knocking off, creating a cheaper version of something that’s just a smidge different. Most times, it’s a top down effect, where someone like Forever 21 knocks off the latest Dior and sells it for $19.99. In my past product development world, you had to bet your job on the fact that what you were designing was NOT going to infringe upon the copyright of another artist, designer, company. Legally, you had to make sure that 33% or more of an item was artistically different if you were to openly knock something off. That can include color, shape, size, material, icons, etc. Once, a few years ago me and the company I worked for got hit with a law suit for knocking someone off.  I went through the roof because I knew it wasn’t true. I knew it. And I could prove it wasn’t true. And I did. But man, I’ll tell you what, I was shaking in my boots over the whole ordeal. What ended up happening was that a factory I worked with created icons I instructed them to make using another designer’s original work and not mine.  I had never even seen the original stuff before. The factory passed off the icons to me as an interpretation of my artwork. It’s all hair splitting and crazy when you get overseas factories involved, but in order to avoid any conflict at all, we pulled the item from sale and stopped working with that factory (p.s. this conflict took months to resolve). So, I can understand how things can slip through the cracks. I understand how maybe once – or even twice – you cross ideas, artwork, products. It happens.

But man, this is just too much. Too often. Too similar. And the bottom-up approach is so not cool. Instead of knocking off Dior, these product managers are hitting the streets and Etsy for creativity. And I’m not understanding how the fuck they continue to get away with it. Oh wait, yes I do. It’s much easier to rip off a small artist who doesn’t have a legal team than a prominent brand. That’s how they’re doing it.

Let’s review, shall we?

 

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On the left is an original design from jewelry designer Lillian Crowe. March 2009

On the right is the piece from Urban Outfitters. November 2009

 

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The white version was created by Crownfarmer in 2003.

The red version was created by Urban Outfitters in 2006.

 

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Original t-shirt on the left created by Johnny Cupcakes Summer 2004.

Urban Outfitters contacted Johnny Cupcakes for a sample of this shirt for possible placement in stores, which would be an amazing financial gain for a small company. The samples were never returned, yet the version on the right was released January 2006 by Urban Outfitters. No orders were placed with Johnny Cupcakes. *ahem*

 

 

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Then there’s this item via Urban Outfitters. The direct link no longer shows the picture, only the verbiage.

Please compare that to this:

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Via Etsy seller Tru.Che and her United/World of Love line, May 2011. Check her blog post about it here.

Need another?

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Elizabeth Dye/The English Dept. on the left, 2010.

BHLDN on the right, 2011. 

And what’s crazy and weird is that I just wrote about this myself a few weeks ago. Check it out:

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The chair on the left is my design from my last job, June 2010.

The chair on the right is in Anthropologie now, May 2011. 

In my original post, I wrote it off to a similar factory issue I outlined above, but now I’m thinking we got ripped off. Lame.

What really chaps my ass is that the people who work for these companies go through a rigorous interview process (I know, I’ve applied with them in the past only to be laughed out the door) and are required to have incredible portfolios and fine arts educations, etc. And they don’t even pay very well! So I’m asking myself why these “artists” can’t come up with their own stuff! Why aren’t they crediting and/or buying reproduction rights from the original artists? That would not only be the right thing to do, but it would also stimulate our economy, support the arts in general and turn themselves into a powerhouse company. Don’t you think that if Urban Outfitters had product “casting calls” on places like Etsy and Cargoh that they’d actually be offered these products versus having to steal them? The cost would be minimal and the return would be so worth it. Sometimes companies can be so dumb.

While I’m not a heavy-duty shopper of the Urban Outfitter brands in general, I certainly won’t be seeking them out any time soon. There are way too many amazing, local and domestic designers out there who can fulfill my needs. What about you? How do you feel about this?

Tuesday
Apr122011

My Favorites So Far….

I love trade shows. I’ve been to about 800 billion in my lifetime. I’ve been to gift shows, home décor show, furniture shows, toy shows, tabletop shows, gourmet food shows, candy shows (hands down, the BEST show EVAH!), housewares shows, lawn and garden shows. It feels like I’ve been to every trade show out there, except for bridal market week. One day, this too shall come to pass, but until then I have to live vicariously through others and then steal (with proper cred, natch) their photos.

So here’s where we stand so far.

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Heidi Elnora via Weddings Unveiled

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St. Pucchi via Weddings Unveiled

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Ines di Santo via Weddings Unveiled

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Anne Bowen via Weddings Unveiled

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Vera Wang via Completely Unveiled

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Monique Lhuillier via Completely Unveiled

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Reem Acra via Completely Unveiled

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Lela Rose via Completely Unveiled

OK,so after sifting through what feels like a million different gowns, I’ve got this to summarize: lots of trumpet skirts, lots of higher waisted ball gowns (this does not bode well for long-waisted chicks like me or for the petites), cool sheer overlays on bodices and arms, long sleeves (!), embellished veils, fewer pockets, super-poof veils, continuation of fluttery layers and it appears that there are more shorter options from more designers (I might be imaging that though).

So what do you think? Do you have a favorite yet? Not to be disgustingly cliché, but Vera won for me this time around. I love the colors she showed and the details are mind-blowing!

Tuesday
Feb012011

David's Bridal vs. Vera Wang

*Contest Reminder! CLICK HERE to enter and win FREE WEDDING DAY PHOTOGRAPHY!*

So everyone's heard the news, right? Vera did the unthinkable. She crossed the couture line and walked straight into David's Bridal. I believe there was an audible *gasp* in the wedding community. The tweets and posts were blowing up my Google Reader, that's fo sho! I had an email exchange with a designer friend of mine about it. Even The Candyman had an opinion.

You can look at this in few different ways, plus some I'm sure I can't think of. 

  • From the standpoint of a stylish bride on a budget: HELL to the YEAH! I get to wear Vera Wang and not break the bank!
  • From the standpoint of a stylish bride NOT on a budget: My "real" Vera Wang is way better.
  • From the standpoint of a designer dress boutique: What the hell is Vera doing? She's sending my customers to David's Bridal! That BITCH!
  • From the standpoint of David's Bridal: $$$$
  • From the stand point of Vera herself: $$$$

OK, maybe it's not that cut and dry.

Personally, I question the move. You have a high end, coveted wedding gown designer. She's appealing to the masses by making her line more affordable and available. One one hand, I feel like she's "dumbing down" her incredibleness. The moment you move from couture to ready-to-wear, you've cheapened yourself. She's cheapened her end product. On the other hand, she's made her incredibleness available to women who don't have $6K+ to blow on a gown. Had this happened when I was wedding gown shopping, I might have faced the horridness that I believe to be the inside of a David's Bridal shop, just to see what they looked like.

And what about those brides who do spend the $6K on a Vera Wang gown? Do we take those people into consideration? I think if I had a gown that cost me that much money and another bride could get similar for a mere fraction of the cost with the same brand name? I think that might piss me off. I don't know why. I don't think it would be the right emotion to have either, but I still think I would be at least mildly irritated. In all honesty, I think that would just be the snob in me being a big ol' bitch. It happens.

Now, if I were a designer boutique owner person, I would be pissed. PISSED! Sample gowns are not cheap. Running a luxury item business in this economy is not easy. Vera just made it even harder for these guys to eke out a living. These are shop owners who have supported her line for years. Yeah, I'd be super-pissed.

David's Bridal? Now they get some style cred above and beyond Oleg Cassini (*insert snarky comment here*). They get traffic into their stores. Win-win there.

Vera? She gets massive bucks. I'm sure her sales are not what they used to be because she's the supplier of a luxury item when the economy is in the Tinkletorium. She's probably protecting her own income. No one can fault a person for that, right?

What I think I am struggling with the most is what many people don't get: the DIFFERENCE between a Vera Wang gown and the David's Bridal White line by Vera Wang. Trust me, there will be a difference.

Fabric: Silk, satin, crepe de chine versus polyester. The major contributing factor to inexpensive gowns is in the choice of fabric. Synthetic fabrics have come a long, freakin' way in terms of aesthetics. Most everyday people walking around on the street cannot tell the difference between a poly blend and the real deal.

Beading: Hand-beaded versus pre-fab appliques or machine beading. Get close enough and you can tell.

Construction: French seams, built-in corsets, boning, lining, covered buttons/loops versus serged seams, standard fitting, zippers and little to no lining. 

Here, let's compare:

Vera on the left. David's Bridal on the right at $1200.

Vera left, David's Bridal on the right at $1000, $58 for the sash.

Vera on the left, David's Bridal on the right at $1200, crystal sash is $148.

Vera on the left, David's Bridal on the right at $600, with a crystal sash at $148.

Vera left, David's Bridal on the right at $800 with a $58 sash.

I could keep this up all day, the comparison of her couture line to David's Bridal. There are little differences, as a designer and seamstress, that I can see right away. On the first dress? All those layers on the DB version are most likely more symmetrical and easier to construct. Vera's original gown is much more random and artistically created. It's literally harder to make and takes mad fucking skills to accomplish. The top of the Vera gown most likely has a built in corset so that the sucker can be fitted to your torso and NOT MOVE AN INCH, while still being comfortable as all hell. The DB version? I'm going to guess it's lined and that's about it. Alterations on the DB gown will most likely be easier and less expensive to do too. The fit on a DB gown will definitely be different than on the real deal.

My first inclination is to say, "Hey! Just go try on one of each and see how you feel!" DO NOT DO THIS. If we've learned anything from "Say Yes to the Dress" it's NEVER EVER EVER try on a dress you cannot afford. Just don't do it. For your own sanity, please just don't. Why? Because if you do, you'll fall in love with it. You'll start to see the differences, the detailing, the weight of the fabric. You'll see how good really great designs fit and look and feel. It's a lot like flying first class and then having to fly coach. The comparison spoils you for life.

But the great thing is that there are designers out there that give you a little bit more of everything: fit, style, fabric, construction, all without breaking the bank. My Mikaella gown was $1300, as much as these new David's Bridal dresses. Overall, the thing that I "lost" on my dress was the overall construction. There was an issue with one of the straps, my pre-made bustle failed at the end of the night (I ripped it out dancing) and I needed serious bust alterations (*ahem*). I did try on gowns I couldn't afford, but I knew what I was getting myself into. Happily, the designer gowns I tried on weren't The One so I was able to shrug off the comparison quite easily. This is not something I'd chance to an inexperienced gown shopper.

But what do you, as an average bride (sorry, I don't mean YOU are average), care? Most people will just think you look beautiful in your dress. After you walk down the aisle, you'll still be married regardless of whether you wore Dior or Casablanca. You need to find The One and it can be done on a budget. I tried on over 100 gowns. That's right, over 100. It wasn't until I put on my Mikaela gown that I felt anything that I can only describe as "right."  It felt good. It felt right. I felt like me, cranked up a notch. I felt beautiful. I felt elegant. My photographer's wife cried when she saw me in it. My friends who I had dragged to various appointments all slowly nodded when I modeled it for them. I didn't want to take it off. That's how you should feel about your dress. Personally, I don't think that feeling comes with a particular price point attached to it.

So what's your take on the Vera thing? Does it even matter?

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Wednesday
Sep152010

My New Girlfriend

It's Rosa Clará. Total effing eye-candy. There are a few things about this 2011 collection that I am specifically drawn to: she's not afraid of sleeves, the 60's or PANTS! Go on, check it on. 

Long lace jacket? Yes, please. 

I keep seeing a lot of stiff tulles and lace on gowns and I love this flirty version of it!

God, she's like channeling the inner Audrey Hepburn. With POCKETS!! I don't care what you say, I still love them.

Sleeves and embroidery - 'nuff said.

An ethereal version of the structured one above.

Oh. My. God. PLEASE, someone get married in pants. PLEASE! 

Just 'cuz. Pretty, right?

And she has all kinds of hot-to-death accessories. Will you please LOOK at that lace? Fucking total *swoon* already.

And to go alond with all the pretty lace and embroidery, you can get a cake to match your dress.

And then add a pretty lace clutch.

And you're all set to get married.

Voila!

Piece of cake, right?

So, will I have to share my girlfriend, or do you already have one of your own?