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Blog posts tagged with 'shopping'

Winter 2015: the woman in bloom

winter fashion

"Resilient and yet delicate, the cherry blossom tree grows more beautiful with every passing year; flourishing with its most abundant, radiant displays as it matures..."

While sketching out the initial incarnations of my winter 2015 collection, I encountered a reoccuring image of elegant cherry blossom branches, heavy in a bloom of exquisite petals. Upon researching the ancient Japanese 'sakura' tree, its significance immediately resonated with me. I wanted this collection to speak of restraint, femininity and a subtle sensuality - a tribute to the woman as she moves into maturity (at whatever age that may be - from her 20's through to 60's or beyond) and flourishes into the confident, self-aware woman she is destined to be. The cherry blossom certainly represented that, and so I chose it as the symbol for this year's winter collection. The idea of growing more beautiful with every passing year is often foreign to our modern western psyche - but something we should all share an interest in, as growth and age is a commonality promised to us all.

As I began to articulate the form and lines of the garments in the range, I commenced work on the print concept with Brisbane artist Claudia Husband, designing a bespoke cherry blossom motif that would feature throughout the collection. The resulting print is a wearable peice of art; unique, versatile; echoing the collection's purpose perfectly. It will be available in limited edition release for Tengdahl Winter 2015. 

In the collection, high necklines are contrasted by subtle details, such as a slit that gives a glimpse of skin at the back of a garment, only seen when the top or dress moves with the body. Ostrich feather, sequins and chiffon create texture and movement while silk, super soft deer skin leather, cashmere and jersey add functional, long-lasting luxury. 

Cherry blossom trees remind us that after weathering life’s colder seasons, we return time and time again, blooming more richly than ever; opening ourselves to the sun. The collection is available in Tengdahl boutiques and online at www.tengdahl.com 

behind the scenes fashion shoot video australian designer

Behind the scenes: MBFF preparation

shopping in brisbane Tengdahl

When the models hit the runway at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival next month for the launch of my S/S collection, freesoul, it will be the culmination of a 10-month process that has taken me literally around the world.

I first showed my label on the runway at the RAQ awards in 1996 and while I have streamlined the collection development process over the past two decades, the months leading up to MBFF always bring the sense of vulnerability and self-doubt that inevitably comes with being exposed on a creative level.

At this time every year, I reflect on my purpose as a designer: am I challenging myself? Am I doing my clients justice with this collection? Am I being innovative while staying true to my roots, my brand? It’s facing a fear of rejection or criticism; it leaves you open and exposed, but it makes you stronger.

Creativity doesn’t thrive in the comfort zone! I do my best work when I'm on the precipice - I have clarity and ideas seem to flow. 

Which is why, in the midst of the 2014 collection’s development, I went skydiving. The skydive was a birthday gift I received last year; something on my bucket list that I had put off, waiting for the right moment. As the plane climbed high above the beautiful northern NSW landscape, I didn’t experience any of the nerves or tension that I expected to feel, just pure adrenaline. Completely surrendering to the free fall, I felt suprisingly safe.

Julie Tengdahl skydiving

julie tengdahl fashion designers brisbane

It was a truly exhilarating experience, and it was interesting to notice how clear and creative I felt returning to the workroom the following Monday to put the finishing touches on the collection samples.

The collection development process began in my West End workroom in October 2013. Following a successful collaboration with acclaimed Brisbane artist Jacqui Conias in 2013, I wanted to interlace a limited edition range of bespoke prints into the 2014 collection, featuring digital reproductions of emerging artist Claudia Husband’s hypnotic prints. I was thrilled to have Claudia on board and we began looking at ways to integrate symbolism and her existing prints into fabric patterns earlier this year.

brisbane fashion designer textile claudia husband artist  fashion art collaboration claudia husband julie tengdahl

I set off on a global resourcing and ‘trend-gathering’ trip to Europe, while working with the world’s oldest lace mill – Sophie Hallette – to create a bespoke lace design exclusively for Tengdahl’s S/S collection. Three months later, I fulfilled a life long dream to have an Indian sabbatical, venturing off for four weeks of meditation, exploration and meetings with local artisans, learning about their ancient craft traditions and collecting beautiful hand loomed embroidery in vibrant colours.

australian fashion designer spring summer collection

Back in my workroom, and filled with experiences, observations and inspirations gathered on my travels, the collection’s direction began to crystallise. Its aesthetic is rich, sensual, exotic and a tapestry of cultures and design elements. It’s bold but earthy and more exuberant than my past two collections. And I love it!

MBFF spring summer photo shoot planning tengdahl australia

Meanwhile, Claudia returned with some beautiful textile print concepts, which we finalised and sent off to our Australian fabric manufacturer to have strike-offs created. Our talented pattern maker and seamstress Heather began to meticulously lift traditional embellishments and embroidery from the artisan fabrics I had collected on my travels, transferring them onto the luxury European fabrics that had arrived along with our new bespoke Sophie Hallette lace (which I have been wearing in our concept designs for a few months now and absolutely adore)! These elements combined to form the freesoul collection.

brisbane fashion label

As we near the date for our S/S photo shoot and MBFF model fittings, the collection is nearly completed and, once again, I am enchanted by the process that brought these designs from vague imaginings to beautiful, wearable pieces something which almost seems to happen of its own volition, as though I am both a bystander and active participant in its evolution.

samantha cannon julie tengdahl dallys models MBFF

Above: Julie briefs the face of her S/S14 collection, Samantha Cannon, on the collection ahead of the freesoul campaign shoot  

The response to my MBFF collections in recent years has been incredible, and I must admit to feeling the pressure of a high bar this year! But I am so proud of the creative integrity and melting-pot of local talents that have gone into creating it. And in that respect, it is already a success. Breathe…