I've just spent days staring at the CNY pictures from The Studio Loft wondering how I would tell you about the past few months worth of stories which culminated in this large collection, all in one blog post.  There's so much to say! We started working on this CNY collection in June (way before we started working on our Holiday 2016 collection which you can read about here).  Coming out of CNY2016, it was always going to be hard to do something different again. CNY2016 was about embroidery. We wanted our 2017 collection to have two distinct looks - a luxe collection and an everyday collection.  Two looks to give you a good variety to select for each day of Chinese New Year (and this year there are 3 days)! The Luxe collection Without hesitation, Carol knew she wanted gingko leaves as a theme because it was traditional and yet when drawn as an outline, it looked modern. I guess you could say the luxe gingko collection is the "Carol" part of our team.  She loves pretty florals and traditional colours and trims.

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The result as you can see is really something different.  It's something you can wear not just for CNY, but suits any other formal occasion too!

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Our new Sarah dress design!

We've been known for our jade buttons on our Cheongsams, which have always given them a touch of luxury. In our luxe collection this year, we used gold foil and gold piping for our gingko prints, which just brings them to a whole new level of luxe!  The best thing is that for us, luxe doesn't mean expensive.  We are keeping our prices for the luxe collection the same as the rest of our collection so you don't have to think twice about buying them as gifts or as extra dresses for day two or three!  Just like anything else that is precious, you need to treat these pieces with gold foil with extra care - you must only lightly hand-wash and iron on the reverse with a cloth over it. Our luxe collection comes in three colours for the Cheongsams- red, turquoise and fuchsia, and two colours for the Mandarin-collared shirts - red and turquoise. Moms can also choose from red and fuchsia for their matching Ladies' Tops!  (P.S. If you're buying our outfits for a CNY Family photoshoot, the red gingko leaves and pandas photographed really well in our studio shoots.) To cater to tweens who might prefer not to wear dresses, we've designed a halter top in two colours. You can get light cotton pants from us or wear them over a pair of leggings or jeans.  Your tween can dress them up or down according to their mood!

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Carol's second theme was cherries and birds.  We didn't like the solid red / round / symmetrical cherries you commonly find on fabrics, especially nearing Christmas. We wanted a faded vintage look and we added a touch of gold foil so that the birds would shimmer in the light. I love how special this fabric turned out with the highlight of gold foil on what would otherwise be a normal cotton fabric. Subtle luxe!

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In keeping with our luxe theme, Carol and Stacy handmade gingko leaves and painted individual squares of our rainbow wall sets for the shoot and our store display.  I love how our sets bring out the prints so clearly.  We can't wait to show you our pictures from The Studio Loft taken specially by Maryann and her team!

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The Everyday collection

Of course, we can't forget the fun part of everyday Elly  - the crazy fun that we, as a family, are sometimes all about. When we started to think about designing this year, we realized that in our earlier days, a lot of what we designed had been inspired by Lil S, before Lil E came along. Even this year our Holiday collection (which you can find here) was inspired by Lil S soon becoming a tween. So we thought it was about time Lil E got a collection inspired by her! She inspires us all the time anyway with her constant laughter and crazy antics. So this year, we chose "pandas" as our theme.  Yes, PANDAS! Although I bet some of you were thinking I'd choose Pokemons (if you heard how Carol and I went abit mad playing Pokemons back in September, even making our staff follow us at lunch to catch Dragonites and Snorlaxes near our office at Bukit Merah and Telok Blangah Hill Park)!

So why pandas?  Because earlier this year around the time we were designing this collection, Lil E was crazy about pandas!  We brought her to a toy shop at Serene Centre and the ONLY thing she wanted from this huge toy + Lego shop were two tiny pandas which she could hold in her hand.  (Ok luckily that makes her more affordable between my two nieces to bring on outings since that present cost me only $6. Haha.)  For days, these two pandas followed her around in her chubby little hands. She would hold them in the car, to Grandma's house, to dinner and ever so often, would ask, "Where my panda?" whenever she couldn't find them. So we thought it would be so fun to have them on our cheongsams as our theme this year!  But because pandas are black and I've been told by customers that grandparents can be superstitious about wearing black on the first day of CNY visiting, we needed to include festive colours and other themes! So our panda prints come in two colours - with a bright red or a blue lattice!

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When this print was first drawn, we showed it to Lil E and asked if she liked it. She excitedly got down on her mat and showed us the panda's poses (because "Eme panda").

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Safe to say, I think she liked the pandas!

But pandas alone were not going to be enough.  As you know, Elly is about variety as well so you can choose your entire CNY wardrobe from us! So what else does Lil E like?  Ice-cream!!!  She has such a happy face whenever she gets to hold a cone! 

(I know what you're going to say... bad auntie... ice cream is a terrible bribe!  But how can you say no to that face???)
So for our final print for CNY2017, we decided to put together a combination of what Lil E loves - pandas and popsicles.  And this is what we got:
SS17_Popsicle_Print_1j We played around with the Pantone shades on the actual piece to ensure the grid didn't obscure the popsicles on the fabric.  I think the finished fabric has just the right effect to ensure there is not too much white on the dress. So there you go - the final product.

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Side note:  I was having fun during the shoot with this tua pao which I asked Hayley to gamely pose with (much to my prim and proper older sister's horror).  Before that, I tried asking two other children but got snubbed by them because, well, I guess the bao is so uncool... Hayley on the other hand hammed it up for the camera and got us such adorable pictures! As always, we will have four other prints from the U.S. joining our CNY collection. Do note that only the blue satsuki print comes in a cheongsam design. The other four have been made in our everyday dress designs - so you'll have a variety of options for CNY Days 1, 2 and 3.

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The best news this year is that we will have bigger sizes for boys (finally)!  Our shirts and bermudas will go up to sizes 8Y, 10Y and 12Y.  Instead of just our usual red or white, we will have four new colours of bermudas so you can mix and match!  I find yellow and chambray a really nice departure from the usual red and best of all, these new colours will be usable every day of the year, and not just during CNY and National Day!

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Because this collection turned out to be massive with the increased number of sizes, designs and prints, we didn't have time to run the Chinese knot buttons or the sling bags and clutches which we had last year.  Instead, moms can choose from four ladies' top designs to match their children.  Look out for our launch promotion in our CNY 2017 FAQ here. We hope you'll find something you love! Look out for the complete album on 19th December on Facebook and our blog. Ladies Top Fuchsia Leaf 1.jpg
When we look back at all the stories in getting this collection (and the Magic collection and the Holiday collection) completed this year, it is impossible to jot down in one blog post how we feel - the constant vacillation between the feeling of accomplishment and of failure, of joy and of tears, and so many moments where your heart is on the table - that, is the difference between running your own business and working for a large corporation. This is our heart on the table.

We proudly present Elly CNY 2017 - Spring - launching online at 9 p.m. on 21 Dec '16 and in-store at 10 a.m. on 23 Dec '16.  

x, Audrey


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