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bespoke lace for new dress design

Sophie hallette fashion design Tengdahl

Tengdahl has collaborated with the world's oldest lace mill - Sophie Hallette, in France - to create a bespoke stretch lace series for Julie Tengdahl's new Sophie dress.

           Tengdahl sophie hallette evening lace dress black  Tengdahl white lace dress sophie hallette

Founded 120 years ago by Eugene Hallette, the Caudry-based lace mill fell into the hands of Eugene's wife when he suddenly died in 1898. At the time it was called 'Etablissements Veuve Eugene Hallette ('Widow Eugene Hallette's Company').

Under her management, the mill thrived and was passed onto Ettienne Hallette, who expanded the company and opened its Paris office in 1967. He renamed the brand 'Sophie' after his neice.

Sophie Hallette tengdahl australian designer Sophie Hallette lace mill

Over the past century, generations of craftspeople have worked Sophie Hallette's looms, weaving delicate lace and tulle from several thousand miles of thread, 5,000 shuttles and 12 tons of cast iron. Commissioned by fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior and Alexander McQueen, Sophie Hallette lace has come to represent the pinacle of lace manufacturing.

Sophie Hallette is now managed by the third generation of Hallette owners. Combining its rich tradition and expertise with modern methods of production, the lace house holds true to its artistic craftsmanship, with post-production quality checks taking up to 15 hours of meticulous examination a single peice of lace.

        Brisbane designer Tengdahl sophie hallette lace        Kate Middleton Sophie Hallette lace

After nearly 30 years of using the mill's lace in her designs, Julie Tengdahl began working with Sophie Hallette designers in 2013 to sketch a lace that would suit the Australian climate and provide the flexibility and wearability Australian women desire in their clothes. 

sophie hallette lace mill tengdahl australian fashion

The lace was then hand loomed in Sophie Hallette's antique Caudry mill and arrived in Australia, exclusive to Tengdahl, in March 2014. The lace appears in Julie's current A/W14 collection, in the form of the Sophie dress (pictured above and below).  

Own a little peice of Sophie Hallette history here

 Pia Du Pradal, Dale Olssen, Julie Tengdahl

Pia du Pradal, Dale Olsson and Julie Tengdahl (far right) wearing the Sophie Hallette Dress at the Uncovering The Brisbane Look launch. Photo: Warren Jopson 

Julie's India Journey

australian fashion designer Julie Tengdahl in India

Tengdahl Australia designer Julie in indiaJulie Tengdahl india sabbatical fashion designer Indian women fashion designer Julie tengdahl visit IndiaIndian textiles fabric australian fashion designer tengdahl

Last month I set off to India for a trip that has mixed business with a personal journey. I am currently writing from an Ashram in Jaipur. On the design front, I am here to meet with textile designers and organisations that provide local women with opportunities to use their traditional skills to have financial autonomy through fashion design and manufacturing. Amidst the terrible stories of slave labour and substandard working conditions that we have heard of recently, my Australian friends who work in India have urged me to come over and see the ‘other side’ of female-focused industries.

There is a growing awareness amongst organisations over here that they must provide women with opportunities to use their talents in a safe, fair and financially rewarding environment. While these businesses only comprise a small segment of the overall manufacturing industry, my hope is that with growing awareness in western countries, they can create a demand for ethically made textiles and garments.

If there is a demand for ethically produced fashion, and western businesses and consumers are willing to pay for it, the Indian industry will improve working conditions and remuneration in order to obtain the lucrative western contracts. Amongst some beautiful artisan pieces, I will be brining back some amazing fabric made by women in Bangalore, and cashmere shawls from the tribes of Rajasthan; known as ‘the land of Kings’. Each piece is unique - I can’t wait to share them.

TEngdahl Australia india fashion designer brisbane Yoga India yogi Julie Tengdahl brisbane fashion designer India Julie tengdahl brisbane australia fashion designer Julie Tengdahl ashram india brisbane women eat pray love

Between work meetings I have had the opportunity to see the other side of Indian life. My current stay in an Ashram has involved 4 hours of yoga each day, as well as chanting and meditation. Sheryas, another Ashram that I stayed at outside Bangalore, was like a scene from Eat Pray Love. Having just finished A/W and in the process of launching into preparations for the S/S range and Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, this time has been an invaluable opportunity to switch off to the noise of everyday life and restore the energy that, as women, we constantly give to others.

Much has been written about the female sabbatical recently (both personal and professional types) and I’m glad it is moving past the typecast of self-indulgent western whim. Women are givers, carers, lovers and nurturers. But often, very little is left for them - until it’s too late. Emotional or mental breakdown, or physical illness, often present themselves. Sometimes we care too much about what others think; worried that we’ll seem selfish for taking a short time out for reflection or to nurture ourselves. While staying in a country filled with women who often have to fight for the right to education, fair employment, reproductive rights or the ability to just walk the street safely, we’re able to put our concerns of day-to-day life in perspective, while also appreciating how far women in many countries still have to fight on a grass roots level to achieve equality.

Most of all, India has shown me the magnificence of the female spirit; it’s ability to endure and love through adversity, to show strength and resilience while pushing boundaries and slowly but surely forcing our communities to cherish and value all we have to offer. With the support of their communities and the international community, the women in India have a future of prosperity and power. We can’t hide from the beauty of the world or the raw honesty of a country such as this. It’s visceral and captivating; provoking internal reflection, and external observation.

Julie xx

Lift, love, accentuate your assets

Liu Jo Jeans Denim Tengdahl fashion

Italian denim label Liu Jo has landed at Tengdahl! 

Loved by scores of celebrities - including Kate Moss - for their stellar fit, Liu Jo Jeans feature integrated stretch silicone to help lift and shape the bottom. It's a world class innovation, available at Tengdahl now. 

Kate Moss Liu Jo Jeans Denim Julie tengdahl designer Liu Jo denim jeans good fit bottom lift Tengdahl Liu Jo designer denim jeans Tengdahl fashion Liu Jo denim jeans stockist Australia stockists Tengdahl fashion

The L shaped silicone bands work to push up and hold in the bottom, while still having enough stretch to be perfectly comfortable. 

This new design feature is enhanced by an already figure loving jean, with careful pocket placement and various denim washes to further compliment and accentuate natural curves and flatter all body shapes. 


Do you LOVE your workwear?

designer work wear corporate wear and luxury Australian fashion

What rejuvenates you?

Tengdahl spring summer fashion brisbane designer

We're back from holidays, refreshed and excited about the year that lies ahead! The Tengdahl team's festive break took us from sun-soaked backyard parties and scorched afternoons cooled by cocktails - through to strolling the Boulevard Saint Germain and skiing in France. Irrespective of what we did or where we were, we all agreed on one thing; holidays give us time to decompress and be open to inspiration. Sometimes it can be difficult to tap into our creativity and harness inspiration, with the 'admin' of life charging along at break neck speed! So during our holidays, we took time out to seek inspiration in everyday things, as well as the magnificent moments, to fuel our creative pursuits for the year ahead. Here's a little peek at the things we got up to over the break...

Tengdahl holiday wear luxury travel clothes


Paris inspires like no other city; for 20 years I've been coming here to relax, recharge and reset my sights on the next 12 months of creativity for Tengdahl. This year was extra special as I combined my annual trip with a family holiday. Even one of the most magical cities on earth seems all that more poignant when shared with loved ones, and as I soaked in the sights and my favourite back-street experiences with them, I saw this beautiful place through different eyes. Brett, Bridgette, Jemma and Anders and I then spent some time freshening up our skiing skills in Val-d'lsere.  Before I got on the plane to return home, I began sketching out the direction for our A/W2014 - can't wait to share it!   

Brisbane fashion designer Tengdahl


My memories of this summer will be filled with long days of dancing, cocktails and celebrations with family and friends. A particular highlight was catching up with some close friends for my dearest girlfriend's special birthday celebration. All three of us in this photo (top left) are wearing colour coordinated Tengdahl...of course! 

Australian designer fashion


I spent my holidays amongst a full house of loved ones, pets and renovations! I didn't have much down time these holidays, but it was surprisingly rejuvenating, just enjoying the luxury of unlimited time with the special people in my life. The photo in the top left shows me with my beloved mum (wearing my sequinned Tengdahl Christmas top!).My stepfather passed away last year and this was my mother's first Christmas without him; it made me more consciously appreciate how beautiful these cherished times are with family and friends.

What rejuvenated and inspired you during the festive break?  

Our new Australian made bikini

After 30 years of designing, I am excited to share with you my first swimwear design! The bikini is a tribute to the first collection I ever designed (way, way back...). It was an active wear range that I created during my time as an aerobics instructor, back in the 80's when I was establishing my career as a young fashion graduate. Fast forward three decades, and an upcoming trip to Qualia at Hamilton Island inspired me to create a bikini I could wear on my getaway. The fabric features the special Jacqui Conias fabric I have written about on this blog previously, with the dots comprised of tiny digital reproductions of Jacqui's beautiful artwork. 

I wanted the top to ensure the wearer feels comfortable, confident and is able to move around and have fun while wearing it, without worrying about fallout or slippage! While retaining the classic sexy triangle string bikini shape, I designed the top with this is mind, merging the triangle cup with a halterneck shape, ensuring the strap width extends above the collarbone.

I love wearing it with my Gypsy silk maxi, Gemma Sequin Cami, Silk Georgette Poncho and Silk Georgette Kimino. Shop the limited edition design here

Tengdahl Spring Racewear Styling Parties

Stuck for something to wear to your Melbourne Cup event this year? Tengdahl's annual racewear styling parties are a stress-free, quick and fun way to put together your entire spring racing look in one location, with free styling assistance from three of Brisbane's racewear experts.

Brisbane fashion designer Julie Tengdahl, jewellery designer Paula Hall and The Hat Box milliner Dale Olssen will join forces to provide one-on-one racewear advice to help you select the perfect outfit for your spring racing event this year.

Held at the Tengdahl Emporium and Brisbane Arcade stores, these styling sessions promise an easy and enjoyable spring fashion experience, providing free access to the most sought after advice from Brisbane’s veteran fashion designers and drawing from decades of experience dressing award winning race goers, celebrities, politicians and style leaders.

Feel free to pop in during your lunch break, grab a glass of champagne, view our fashion parade and get personalised styling from some of Brisbane's leading fashion designers. 

fashion designer brisbane racewear julie tengdahl

Racewear rules: Julie's styling tips 

  • Look for longevity! Invest in an outfit that can be worn for other purposes, many times over for years to come.
  • From your shoes to your dress and all the way up to your hat, whatever you wear should be comfortable and well-crafted.
  • racewear designer brisbaneIf a garment doesn’t fit properly, not only will you be repositioning straps, adjusting necklines and pulling on uncomfortable seams all day you also won’t gravitate towards wearing it again, hence you won’t get value from your investment.
  • Spring racing is less about following ‘trends’, and more about ‘enduring style’. Select a classic cut and inject a modern edge through the use of colour, prints, accessories or embellishments.
  • Consider the overall look. Whether you are buying a new dress or wearing something that’s already in your wardrobe, have it on hand when you select your headwear, jewels and shoes. It’s all about the entire look, rather than just individual pieces.
  • The spring racing carnival tradition is a perfect excuse to indulge in the ritual of ‘dressing up’, looking elegant and ladylike. Opt for mid, knee or calf length hemlines or make a statement with a pant suit or maxi skirt not a mini dress.
  • Be confident; whether you are aspiring for a fashions on the field position, or just sitting down to lunch with your girlfriends, your best accessory will always be an elegant sense of confidence!
Shopping Styles

Earlier this year, an interviewer asked me to name my greatest achievement to date, as a brand and a designer.

Winning awards, being stocked in major department stores and having flagship boutiques in Brisbane and Sydney's major shopping meccas were came to mind, but didn't strike at the heart of my pride in the label. As I explained to Styling You editor Nikki Parkinson in 2011, stores come and go and awards provide industry validation - but I had come to realise that "I didn’t need to play to the archetypal version of 'success' (ie. stocking in large department stores or internationally); I needed to dance to my own tune and do what made me feel fulfilled as a designer, which meant staying true to my roots, and letting my organic connection with my clients transcend through into what I designed." Maintaining a business model that facilitated this was paramount. 

Which came to mind as I sat, staring at that question on my computer screen. Looking back, I can now see that this re-think of my business in the early noughties resulted in my two greatest achievements; being able to maintain Australian-made status (much more difficult than it sounds in the current market), and evolving Tengdahl into an intergenerational label worn across a vast range of age groups.  

It's rare to make a living from designing fashion for over 30 years. And to still be there to see the daughters of my first clients coming in to buy the label, means the brand is still relevant and desirable for women of all ages. My design processes are also informed by these relationships with the next generation of luxury shoppers; they challenge me to continue pushing boundaries and seeking new, flexible approaches to design and styling.

The topic came to mind again when I spoke to Brisbane News this month regarding the shopping habits of different generations. Certainly the lines between how generations dress and shop are becoming blurred, with 50% of our e-boutique shoppers falling into the baby boomer and Gen X age groups, and all generations uniting in their desire for a personalised approach to shopping. Bloated and sick of the fast fashion culture that has prevailed for the past decade, their appreciation of styling advice as an organic part of the shopping experience and their desire to invest their hard earned money in clothing that will still be on trend and relevant long past the current season has become a 'must have' for discerning shoppers of all generations.

Click on the article below to view the full story, and comment below to share your top priorities when shopping...

Tengdahl S/S Collection launch at MBFF

Tengdahl spring/summer mercedes benz fashion festival

Last night we launched our S/S collection, Forever Young. The range is sensual in both look and feel, made from the finest natural textiles such as silk and french lace - as well as new-generation high tech stretch fabrics, designed for breathability, easy care and longevity.

The concept behind the range, which I discussed in this blog article, was the focus of the night - with Jacqui's beautiful rainbow-spectrumed prints floating down the catwalk in numerous incarnations, including the breathtaking Gypsy Dress, which took on a life of its own with a dramatic plunge neckline, jingling coin detailing and maxi skirt that shot colour down the runway. The same limited edition fabric has been crafted into a versatile garment, that can be worn as a dress, poncho or scarf (view it here). 

I could go on forever talking about the rare electric blue French lace, georgette capes and tangerine silk jumpsuits that literally feels like you are wearing nothing, but I'll let the pictures do the talking this time...

JT xx 

The parade was followed by a VIP party hosted by the Brisbane Arcade. Thanks to the guests who joined us for this special event!  

Check out Forever Young in the media this week...


tengdahl spring summer collection 2013 S/S13

This year I am excited to collaborate with artist Jacqui Conias to create a special series of bespoke luxury fabrics for my Spring/Summer collection. You can browse the full collection here. I wanted to share with you some insight into the process that goes on behind the scenes to create a fabric collection as it is quite a magic experience, seeing a physical object such as a painting, turned into a peice of fabric worn on someone's body!

Starting with a mood board, we begin with a series of inspirations and images to illustrate the ways the fabric will be used. My mood board is shown below (left), followed by Jacqui's collation of beautiful paintings and graphics (right), outlining the process of morphing a series of individual images into a pattern or graphic design, to be printed onto fabric. 

australian fashion designer julie tengdahl

The graphics included in the Spring/Summer collection are more than meets the eye; what appears to be a tiny dot on fabric from a distance is actually an intricately painted face. Jacqui turned key words (which had come to me while designing the collection) into geometric patterns such as the 12-pointed star, above.From a distance it appears as a shape, but up close the words are revealed as part of the structure. 

The artwork itself holds a special meaning for Jacqui. Each of portraits printed on the fabric was autioned off earlier this year to raise funds for the Royal Brisbane Women's and Children's Hospital's neonatal unit. The unit saved the life of Jacqui's daughter when she was born premature, and funds raised from this special series of artwork were used to fund the purchase of milk bank freezer for the unit.

Once the peices of art were rendered digital graphics and patterns, our fabric manufacturer created 'strike offs'. Strike offs are samples of the design on fabric, and helped us play with colour, size, intensity and pattern repeat combinations. Once the final round of strike offs were approved, the fabric was printed - for the S/S collection we used a combination of silks, cottons and georgette to layer the prints and contrast them with block colour.

Julie Tengdahl Jacqui Conias fashion designer artistFashion australia workroom tengdahl behind the scenes

I love the concept of garments giving art a second form, and second life, through fashion. Check out the final result of my collaboration with Jacqui on the catwalk at Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival or on facebook.

JT x 


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