Every year we spend hours discussing ways of putting together a new look for Chinese New Year, playing around with styles and spending more hours prepping props for the photoshoot and store. Every year since our first collection in 2012, we've tried to do something different, literally trying to better our previous year's ideas - new colours, new themes, adding embroidery, printing gingko using gold foil etc. Because seeing your children wear our clothes means a lot to us - it is the reason why we started this after all. And every year, we write a blog post about Designing our CNY Collection so we can explain our ideas a little and you can understand more about us as well!
If you've only recently found us, you might not know how we at Elly started designing our own CNY collections years ago. The picture below was taken shortly after Lil S turned one - the only year Lil S wore a cheongsam which wasn't from Elly. That CNY, she wore a traditional cheongsam that was straight cut, hard to walk in and scratchy. She tripped in her cheongsam once or twice and it probably lasted just one or two home visits before she changed out of it. I guess people's best ideas really do happen when they are trying to solve a problem - it was then that we decided to make 100% cotton cheongsams which looked classic and yet designed and made in comfortable fabric so children could play with all the other children they'll meet during Chinese New Year.
The cheongsam that started us making our own. (Photo credit: Carol)
It's been quite a journey for our CNY collections since!
2012 - ribbon cheongsams; 2013 - our very first Elly-designed fabrics; 2014 - our "Horse Parade" collection; 2015 - our signature "Home" collection to commemorate SG50; 2016 - our first embroidery collection; 2017 - our first luxe collection with foil-print gingko leaves
We started our design process in June 2017 looking at new ideas for CNY2018. We thought wouldn't it be nice to go back to where it all started instead? Making cheongsams in traditional festive colours and themes, in no-fuss comfortable cotton, which will last throughout the year.
We decided this year, our theme would revolve around tradition - featuring Chinese New Year icons to celebrate the Year of the Dog such as puppies, firecrackers and auspicious symbols in Chinese knots and fishes.
When it came to our colour palette, we decided to go bold and use vibrant colours. Since you can wear pastels 363 days of the year, why not go bold and vibrant two days in 2018? We get customers who come to buy our CNY collection saying they love the blues and turquoises so much but they'll still choose to buy red. Why? They tell us its a sign of respect to grandparents whose homes they are visiting ("because it'll make grandma and grandpa happy") especially if you have older folks who aren't necessarily warmed up to the idea of non-traditional cheongsams or colours. Hence, we always include the strong colours in our collection because CNY is exactly the time and place for it.
That's also how we came to name our collection. It was actually my husband who asked me which three words came to mind when I think about Chinese New Year. And I told him, "Eat. Play. Love."
For me, CNY is entirely about tradition. It's about visiting the homes of our closest relatives and friends and tucking into the most delicious meals every year. Specific homes have their speciality - my brother-in-law makes a delicious laksa and fish maw soup on the first Saturday after CNY, my grand-aunt makes the crispiest almond cookies and seaweed jelly, and this list goes on. Like most families I'm sure, our extended family has a tradition of whose house we visit and what time of the day. So, the elements - Eat, Play and Love, are what CNY is made of.
We've designed a cohesive and varied collection so there's something for everyone. Presenting our largest ever in-house designed collection with nine Elly-designed prints for CNY2018 - Eat. Play. Love.
In the first theme "Eat" - we celebrate the traditional elements of our collection.
We bring you traditional Chinese elements of luck such as Chinese knots and fishes. We designed Chinese knots in vibrant red and fuchsia. I love this print best (hence I saved this sneak for the last) - the cheongsams with gold piping look beautiful and yet wearable for children (see our campaign shot below). In fact, the cold shoulder dress and shirts make great sets, especially for twinning with mom.
We also love using strong motifs of coral fishes on light backgrounds such as turquoise because of how they stand out.
In the second theme "Play", we celebrate the fun elements of our collection.
We thought everyone designing for CNY might also be thinking of puppy and dog prints on their collections this year too since dogs are such universally-loved animals. So we wanted our dog print to be unique. We incorporated Chinese New Year themes on two of our signature prints - presenting our firecracker dogs! Well, even the puppies should be playing and having fun during CNY right? (P.S. You'll find these firecrackers on our polo shirts as well!)
You may also notice that we have taken extra care to design our fabrics and clothing this year, with slightly thicker fabrics that do not crease so easily, as well as adding a safety zipper flap for the kids in our cheongsams, and a new easy-on romper design. Comfortable clothing for kids to play in has always been an Elly tradition and we have kept this up for our CNY.
In the third theme "Love", we celebrate family.
As we designed this collection, we were focusing on making sure we created pieces for everyone in the family for all ages. After all, family is what CNY is all about.
We designed a brand new drop waist cheongsam just for tweens.
With our collection this year, we want to celebrate family by giving everyone more family matching options than ever before!
We've always had requests for shirts for dads to match the kids, so we've been looking for a better way to get dads to wear Elly prints (willingly) without using the same printed fabric (which arguably might not be wearable after CNY). So this year, for boys and dads, we created 5 polo shirts! We embroidered the same fishes and firecracker dogs on the polo shirts for fathers to wear during Chinese New Year so they can match, but yet be casual and comfortable enough, even to be worn throughout the year.
So this year, you will find more options than ever at Elly with more than 60-pieces in our collection! We have 10 cheongsams, 7 flare cheongsams (for babies), 6 everyday dresses, 2 jersey cheongsams, all just for girls! For boys we have 8 mandarin-collared shirts, 8 baby rompers, 5 polo t-shirts and 4 bermudas! For moms, we have 3 cheongsam tops, 3 lace cheongsams, 3 cold-shoulder dresses and 3 jersey cheongsams. And finally for dads, five polo t-shirts!
What we do best at Elly is also allow you to mix and match prints - you get same themes but across different clothing styles and colours. The whole collection's vibrant colours work well together - you'll find the same fuchsia on the Fuchsia Knots print on the Yellow Fishes print as well. The Red colour on Polo shirts for Dads can match 3 different prints in this collection and the Blue Firecracker Dog Polo can match both the blue firecracker dog print with the same embroidery, and also the Blue Playful Puppies print with the same shade of royal blue. So we hope you'll find a way to twin with your family with all our options.
We are so blessed to have such sporting moms of our photoshoot models to gamely pose for us! This, is one of my favourite shots of the whole campaign - an impromptu photo after one mom suggested a group shot!
P.S Our gorgeous photos were shot by The Studio Loft - Maryann and her team have been shooting our CNY collections since our CNY2014 collection! This is our 5th campaign with them - they have an amazing way of bringing out the colours and designs of all our clothing. We shot almost 40 pieces of clothing in 3 hours (thats more than 10 in an hour and with children)! A big thank you to The Studio Loft xx.
We proudly present CNY2018 - Eat. Play. Love.
Launching online at 9 a.m. on Fri 19th Jan.
In-store at 9 a.m. on Sat 20th Jan.