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Designing our CNY 2014 collection

Posted on December 05 2013

No matter how far in advance we start preparing for our massive Chinese New Year collection, it seems we're always never quite prepared enough and we find ourselves rushing against time as the launch date nears. I've always been one to prepare checklists and plan my week/month/life months ahead but since starting Elly, I've learnt that no amount of preparing quite prepares you for the "anythings" and "every things" that come at you constantly and relentlessly, the fluidity of your days and weeks and more importantly, how you have to continually adapt and think on your feet. That was our January 2013 - the month I still fondly remember as the "anything-and-everything-that-could-go-wrong-would-go-wrong" month. But with that experience so fresh in our minds, we were determined that this CNY (2014), we would be better prepared! So we started designing CNY 2014 even earlier - we brought on our fabric designer in May 2013 (yes May!!!). We had hardly recovered from the exhaustion of CNY 2013, PLUS we were starting to plan for our sister store, Twelve by Elly which was due to open in July and there we found ourselves having to think ahead for CNY 2014! It was CRAZY!! We had such a wonderful response to CNY 2013 that we decided we had to be very different this year if we wanted to be memorable. Elly always does different. But not just for the sake of being different but because we believe in being original, and so we believe in having an original point of view about what we like. We may be retailers, and marketers and store-owners, but we love designing at the same time and creating stories and ideas and campaigns, even if it's fashion for children.  And I think that's what makes us Elly at the end of the day. So for this year, we wanted a collection that was themed. We wanted the collection to provide variety and yet be cohesive. We wanted children to wear our collection on Chinese New Year but also after Chinese New Year as well. We wanted the collection to be comfortable and yet chic and beautiful, which is what Elly is all about. So we picked a theme - horses. (I'm born in the Year of the Horse so you can guess who was very very for this idea! All you 1978 babies, I'm sure you're with me on this!!) We wanted two different horses: a gentle mare which would appeal more to the girls and a free-spirited mustang for the boys.

horse

 Race horse

And, we didn't just want horses. To get variety, our very talented fabric designer included horse themed icons such as horseshoes and riding hats on our prints.  She gave us two colourways for each of our two main prints.

Bright Horses

Bright Horses

Pastel Horses

Pastel Horses


These two colourways above were designed deliberately to give you options other than red on CNY but with sufficient red on it to make it festive! You'll want brother-sister sibling sets in bright horses but if you have two girls and you don't want to buy them the exact same dress for both of them (speaking as the younger sister who used to inherit clothes from her older sister and therefore sometimes had to wear the outfits three to four years in a row), then you'll get a cheongsam in Bright Horses and one in Pastel Horses! But of course if you're like me, you wear red in all its glory on Chinese New Year (especially on the first day), we've also designed a fabric that is simple, classic and chic.

Red Horse
Red Horses
White Horses


White Horses


And to avoid confusion, we'll be referring to these fabrics by the colour of the horses, and not the background fabric colour. Finally, we come to our last two fabrics: Rainbow Horseshoe and of course, the Horse Parade itself. Rainbow Horseshoe was designed with the little toddler girl in mind. It reminds me of sugar and spice and all things nice! It's got stars and rainbow colours and it's just so pretty. If you're averse to red and bright, this fabric makes a great alternative to the usual loud CNY colours and I think this fabric really works as our Tinkerbell dress and our new twirly skirt!

Rainbow horseshoe

Last but not least, the Horse Parade. It is understated and whilst it wasn't very CNY-ish, it was the first design that Carol and I knew we had to have in this collection. It was Elly.

Fabric 1 - the horse parade

I hope you've already found your favourite fabric print from the collection! We knew that you wouldn't want to wear just cheongsams for the Chinese New Year period so we did a very red, very CNY-themed, very varied and yet very wearable 32-style collection which I hope you will love. Here are some of the looks you can get from just some combinations of all our styles and fabrics! Option 1: Cheongsam in Bright horses + Twirly Skirt in Horse Parade + Lily in White Horses Horse collage 1 Option 2: Cheongsam in Red Horses + Lily in Horse Parade + Tinkerbell in White Horses

Horse collage 2

Option 3: Cheongsam in White horses + Lily in Rainbow Horseshoe + Twirly Skirt in Pastel Horses and Red Ribbon Blouse horses collage 3 Option 4: Cheongsam in Pastel horses + Tinkerbell in Rainbow Horseshoe + Twirly Skirt in Horse Parade and Red Ribbon Blouse horses collage 4 It's launching at 6 p.m. on Monday 16 December 2013.  Elly's launches are always over a weekend so why a Monday this time?  Well, Carol's away until the 15th and I didn't want to launch this collection without her - it just wouldn't be the same! This collection was months and months of hard work between us and we are so so humbled and proud of it and everything we have gone through together in this business and as a family these past two years.  I hope you'll be there with us too! TSL_8989x, Audrey

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