Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Love Millie!

Dress: Emily Hallman/Millie Dress (here)
Sweater: August Silk/Nordstrom Rack
Tights: Hue/Macy's
Shoes: Naya/Nordstrom Rack (here)
Head band: Nordstrom
Bracelet: Gifted
Sweater clip: DIY

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all cardigans are super duper awesome, that they are the perfect compliment to my favorite garment ever -- the dress -- and that the combination of the two is endowed with inalienable awesomeness. That to create the perfect outfit, beautiful dresses are created by exceptional designers... Okay, okay. I'm done. I could continue to take artistic license with the Declaration of Independence, but I think I've made the Founders roll over in their graves quite enough for one day.

I'm a little bit obsessed with this dress. I have been since I first saw it on the Emily Hallman website. This dress just happened to be the first thing that caught my eye, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that I could quite happily own every single item from the label.

The brains and beauty behind the label, Emily, is absolutely lovely. Because my measuring skills are roughly akin to those of a dimwitted monkey zygote, when the dress first arrived it was waaaay to big. Emily very sweetly offered to alter it for me, though, so I popped it back in the mail, and waited on baited breath for the day when I could clasp the dress in my eager little paws again. It arrived a little over a week after I sent it off, far quicker than I expected, and it fit like a dream. I may or may not have worn the dress around with my slippers that night. Maybe. Possibly.

This dress, friends, is my new favorite item of clothing. It fits like a glove, it spins (oh boy, does it spin!), and it's really, really comfortable. I wore it our for my breakfast brunch, and was shocked when the valet guy randomly complimented my dress. I feel compelled to offer up a warning regarding this dress, though: it will make you want to spin to the point of dizziness. It may also inspire you to sway from side to side when no one's watching just so you can watch the fabric swishing to and fro. In my case, people were definitely watching, and they definitely thought I was certifiably insane. They pulled their children away from me suspiciously. Meh. What are you gonna do?

At any rate, today is my birthday and I'm off to celebrate with a low-key movie marathon and exorbitant amounts of food. Emily was kind enough to answer some questions for all of us, so I'll leave you with her answers, and a cheeky wink: ;)

CP: When did you first know that you wanted to be a clothing designer?
I've known for most of my life that I have certain creative talents. It took a few years, however, to hone in on exactly what those talents were and how to best execute them. My love for clothing truly began when I was about 8 and I made a suit for my younger brother using only copy paper and staples. When I discovered that I could actually study fashion and build a career around it, I jumped at the opportunity. Since I graduated from college, not a day has gone by that I haven't sketched, researched, created patterns, or sewn something. 

CP: What's your design and/or fashion philosophy?
I simply love creating beautiful clothing, and I sincerely hope to encourage women to disregard our society's current obsession with thinness and unrealistic celebrity beauty and embrace a healthy body. I don't care what "size" a person is, it's irrelevant to me. We all need great clothes, and my goal is to provide clothing that anyone can wear. The fact is, I adore pretty clothes and I like to feel pretty in my own everyday life. I want all woman to feel that way when they gets dressed, and I am thrilled to be able to contribute to that.

CP: What is your design process?
The design process is considerably longer than you might imagine--for me, it's about 5 months.  I approach each collection with ideas already in mind about specific looks I want to incorporate. I do an insane amount of research and source my fabrics, sketch, re-sketch, edit, draft new ideas, and tweak the overall collection prior to drafting the patterns or sewing the samples. I then spend weeks drafting every single pattern and test the design, fit and comfort before final design approval. Once the fabrics arrive, I sew my samples (yes, each and every sample is cut out and sewn by me). It's a long, long process and that doesn't include photography or website updates and edits. Oh, and I always have to think ahead to the next collection--there is never any break. It's a constant mental marathon! 

CP: What's your favorite thing about what you do?
Being creative! I also adore meeting the beautiful, wonderful women who have discovered the Emily Hallman brand and responded so positively to the aesthetic--not much is more motivating than that! 

CP: Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired by lots of things--fabrics, historical costume and vintage fashion, art, architecture, interior design . . . the list goes on! 

CP: How would you describe the quintessential "Hallman Woman?"
First and foremost, the Hallman woman is  . . . a woman. I design grown-up clothing for confident, chic women who enjoy ladylike clothes made with the finest materials. Here is what we love about the Hallman woman: her clothing is an accessory to her personality, not the definition of it. She dresses to feel good, and isn't impressed with passing fads or amateur design. She loves special details, exquisite tailoring and proper fit.  The Hallman woman is smart, charming, funny, and incredibly stylish. 

CP: How would you describe your collection's aesthetic?
Classic and supremely feminine. I incorporate silhouettes from the 1940s and 1950s, but update the look with modern fabric and modern design sensibilities. I love incorporating special details like trims, contrast stitching, fun linings, and hidden pockets. 

CP: What are some of your current favorite pieces?
The Mille dress is probably my favorite piece from the fall collection--I love the print, the silhouette, and the special topstitching at the neckline. It's so feminine and flattering, which I love. I also have a soft spot for the Georgia pencil skirt and Tillie trouser from the holiday collection. As much as I love dresses, I love the versatility of separates just as much (okay, maybe a tad more). ;) You can't go wrong with a bright red pant during the holidays, and a sequin pencil skirt is always a show-stopper.

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