Today is the first day of 2019 that our studio has re-opened, so it feels like the perfect time of year to take a moment and celebrate a few of the highlights that we achieved and shared in 2018. Without the support of our clients, friends, online cheer squad, suppliers, studio assistants, our intern, many models, photographers, dear friends and studio warehouse landlords (to name a few!) – we wouldn’t have had such a magical year or achieved so much. Your all incredible unicorns, and every part you play is eternally appreciated
A few of the stand out moments are as follows, but this is not limited and this by no means covers the whole year. On a personal level, I’ve developed and grown so much. I begin 2019 feeling surer than ever before that The Lioness and Her Unicorns is where my time and love is to be, that working as a freelance designer and business owner is right and that the future is bright for this Melbourne based independent brand
- The year began with Angela’s wedding in Las Vegas – For her, we created a custom design that was made to measure in sparkly white glitter chiffon, it also had a reversible sequin waist corset to complete. This wedding brought its own challenges with the outfit being made via correspondence and shipped to the UK before being packed in the surprise elopement suitcases. Thankfully everything was perfect, and the dress fit like a glove once it arrived.
- May saw me travelling to see family in the UK and France– and while there I couldn’t help but slip in a special lingerie shoot on a private Jet
- Returning from Europe, I got stuck into finalising the studio Re-Location to Brunswick – its bigger, lighter and brighter and much closer to public transport. The renovations are still happening, but within about 2 weeks of being there, I was able to begin taking bookings and creating. I’ve had to learn that taking time to get things correct is ok and that the evolution of the studio and the showroom is just as much part of our story as the garments we create and the clients we work with.
- The winter months saw the studio doors being opened up for the Sewing School. This was the first step in the future vision of the sewing school. It saw people coming along to learn or refine how to use overlockers and sewing machines. Creating their very own garments from start to finish. Please send me a message if you would like more information, or keep watch around April time this year for the new time table launch for this year’s winter classes
- Throughout winter I worked on the preparation’s for the new swimwear collection; finalising the fabrics and designs and creating the samples ready for the dream photoshoot in Bali with a magical group of Unicorns. This was easily the biggest photoshoot I’ve created or held for my brands as a freelance designer. It brought with it a whole new level of hiccups, but together as a team we navigated through them and came away with a set of pictures I couldn’t wait to share with you.
- September – it was time for The Eco Recycled Plastic Swimwear Launch. This collection has seen a new more environmentally conscious side emerge within our brand. One I’m really excited to be exploring and being at the forefront of Australian garment production to be part of. Using the Recycled Plastics has been an absolute dream, and the presence of it within the brand is rippling through into other areas. For example, our swimwear is now shipped in fully compostable bags!
- In early October we exhibited the Mystique of the Sea Swimwear collection at Raw Australia. It was our second time exhibiting as a brand at this fun night in Melbourne, but the first for people to see the swimwear collection up close and in person. The models were selected to show a representation of body shapes… and going forward I will be working with different ages along with ethnicities. 2019 looks exciting!
- Coming towards the end of the year, as well as working on the Swimwear I had the exciting opportunities to create some incredible gowns. All three will forever hold a special place in my heart, with the first being made for the Brownlow’s. It was a star sequin and diamante encrusted midnight navy gown for Natalie Sadie. Natalie is one of our original Unicorns, having walked in our launch catwalk in March 2017, and returned from living in the USA for this prestigious Melbourne event. The stars on the fabric hold a special place in my heart… I'll elaborate more in a future blog post
- Kristel’s Black Wedding gown… what a show stopper! This outfit consisted of three pieces – the traditionally constructed corset with lace overlay bodice and tulle skirt. The outfit was made like this to help enable our bride to wear the pieces into the future. A theme that’s becoming more and more important to me as a designer is being able to offer garments that can be worn in multiple situations or at least multiple times and styled differently. I love to create heirloom pieces, yet at the same time, the idea of a garment being locked away after only being worn once would make me sad. How cute does our bride look skating with her groom <3
- The final wedding of 2018 was Claudia and Joc’s. For this wedding, I created not only the bride and grooms’ outfits but their 6 bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits too. This was an absolute dream of a project to work on. I felt incredibly humbled to have the opportunity to work with both the bride and groom for this day, seeing their love shine through as we got closer to the day was really special, and a beautiful reminder of why we choose to marry. Again, the gown was split into two, but this was so that we could have two skirts for Claudia… a mesmerising lace one for the ceremony and then a fun organza one for the night time party. The groom and his groomsmen’s vests were all made reversible, with a surprise inside that was revealed to them on the wedding day. Keep an eye out for my future blog post where I will share more about these
- I finished the year creating swimwear orders for clients that had ordered from the Eco swimwear collection. This was really special as it was so magical to see the different colours and sizes offered coming alive. To fit the pieces and receive such positive feedback made me feel exceptionally accomplished and really excited about the summer ahead for these lovely people. Some of the patterns were developed and evolved to fit sizes that were not originally offered, and a couple of complimentary designs were added to help ensure garments and outfits that can be worn and lived in by the customers.
The Lioness and Her Unicorns couldn’t have had such a magical year without everyone’s support and encouragement. Its times like this that help me to sit back and reflect, to feel proud of what we are creating together. I’ve been thinking a lot about goals for 2019, as much as I refuse to set any personal ‘resolutions’ I’m defiantly thinking about what’s next for The Lioness and Her Unicorns. First and foremost, is to continue to deliver high quality, handmade garments. Ones that help the wearer to feel comfortable in their body and to work with individuals on a direct level about body acceptance and feeling comfortable with being who we are.
With Love and so much thanks
The Lioness – Ariane
NOTE: At this stage, our bridalwear is by request, we don’t hold samples for you to try on – but create bespoke wearable outfits from initial sketch through to the final outfits, including sourcing the fabrics, laces and trims. Please reach out if you would like more information on the process.