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Classically Beautiful

Labl Wedding Stories Cristina Li Cristina was a bride that knew what she wanted. It was just a matter of figuring out how to bring her vision to life. Cristina wished to capture her closeness with her sister for her big day and recreate her sister’s wedding gown in a vision that complimented her ideas of classic beauty.

In her private Bridal Consult with Elizabeth, they discussed the vision, the timeline and budget for this project and found they were a match. The existing dress would be transformed by Elizabeth, mindful to maintain the original lines of Cristina sister’s gown, while creating new a new bodice and tulle overlays flattering to Cristina.

The sentimental importance of Cristina’s gown, her open mindedness to its recreation into something uniquely personal and the vibe of optimism and excitement Cristina brought to Elizabeth, made this a perfect endeavour.

 

 
Another 5 Star Review

My Many Fine Vintages

Of all my beautiful dresses, I have to say, that my vintage pieces stand out best, for their beauty, timelessness, intricate craftsmanship, and flawless fit. Well, the fit may have a little to do with the tweaks I offer each piece, at the Labl studio, but the construction of garments produced before the economic trend of overseas factories of the 1990’s, were cut and designed to be altered for each client to their individual measurements.

Walking into vintage stores today, there are many pieces a well seasoned shopper such as myself will recognize, amongst these such designer labels as Lanvin, Pucci, Christian Dior, and Halston, but not only. It seems that more and more clothing racks seem to filling up daily with big shoulder pad jackets and gathered taffeta skirts: when did 80’s fashion become vintage?

vintage collage 001

 

To define vintage is a tricky task, because it really depends on who you ask. To an eighteen year old girl, 80’s fashion is “totally retro”, but to a mature woman who shopped during the 80’s, it is simply an era of bad fashion and teased hair.

Over the course of more than a decade, Labl studio has worked with many popular vintage stores in Toronto, Canada, such as Shrimpton Couture, I Miss You Vintage, 69 Vintage, and Stella Luna to name a few. It is the opinion of the vintage connoisseur that “true vintage” pieces are found from the 1920’s through the late 70’s.

These pieces were made in a different time, when people’s wardrobes did not extend into a separate room, but were housed in true wardrobes, a piece of furniture spanning a whopping 5 ‘ wide maximum. Ever wonder about these tiny closets you find in older homes? Yes, they were for real. These were times when women had a few casual dresses, a couple of good dresses, a good suit, and a good winter coat.

The art of clothing construction in these times was truly an art form; from cut and sleek design, to the beading examples, to the expert hand sewing, and finally the sharp fabrics of the era.

Today these pieces can not be replicated for the most part. Because the fabrics no longer exist or the labour costs alone would bankrupt any business today or simply the skill set is almost extinct. This is the cache of true “vintage”.

At Labl Studio, vintage recreation and restoration, is a true labour of love.

I have dedicated mad hours studying dresses and garments from these eras of fashion past, and I am always amazed at the incredible stories they reveal. I have perfected many skills required to construct these garments, such as adjusting seams, concealing and repairing tears, the insertion if new panels to replace torn panels, hand beading, etc.

Vintage is a true passion for me because if its’ beauty and mystery, one that may never truly be revealed to me, and so my passion burns on and on and on..

Love,

Elizabeth

Prom Pretty

Labl Makes Prom Pretty Labl loves dresses. What Labl loves even more is when a dress worked on at Labl helps make an event a great success. Chloe brought her ideal prom dress to Labl, where the fit was perfected to her desired look.

 

Lovely Wedding Work with Lindsay

aDress 4

Poised in Purple

Erin Rutten Thank you

defining : couture

Couture   /ko͞oˈto͝or/

  1. The design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client’s specific requirements and measurements.
  2. The interpretation of a client’s individual needs and wishes in the conception, design, manufacture and fit of a specific garment.
  3. Labl is the creation of Elizabeth, a  professionally trained and celebrated couturier.  In the Labl Studio and all her personal consultations, Elizabeth’s clients couture needs are understood and then realized.

A Perfectly Brewed Thank You

Thank you - 004

Labl has More Than Words at the 2014 IPMA

This past weekend Labl went International. On March 21st and 22nd Labl supported the International Portuguese Music Awards in providing gowns for the International Portuguese Awards Host Natasha Dos Santos.  Labl fit Miss Dos Santos in two gowns for the awards show which she co-hosted with Ricardo Farias at the Zeiterion Theatre.

Miss Dos Santos was scintilating in a black and silver gown and after some mid show wardrobe changes she appeared in a elegant floor length vintage black gown.  Here are some photos from the event that included performances by Nuno Bettencourt, Gary Cherone and Maria da Barros amongst others. Be sure to look back for more photos (especially the one with Miss Dos Santos, her Labl dress and Extreme guitarist, Nuno Bettencourt).

  IPMA 004 IPMA 005

 

Forbidden Prom – Labl Joins the Party

Labl at Forbidden Prom 2014

Giving Vera Wang Zip for the Big Day

The bride came in for a hem, but when she tried it on the list of requirements grew: the folds had to be redone, the folds had to be fluffed, loose threads were identified and repaired and then it happened: the zipper got stuck!

Can you imagine this happening on your Wedding Day?”

As my stunned bride stared at me in shock, I explained that of all the places for the zipper to break, it best be at the Labl Studio.
Before & After -  Giving Vera Wang a Zip

Before         &           After

There is no way to fix a zipper. If a zipper sticks or skips a little, it is toast, gone, kaput! It must be replaced. The zipper may have been kinked, or damaged beforehand. To ensure the long life of your healthy zipper, always zip up in one action, never halfway. One fell swoop will keep the zipper healthy and happy for a very long time.

Another fabulous Vera Wang

Reviving Past Treasures – The Warmth of Fur

Something vintage, Something borrowedOh, the love of all things vintage: the bias cut gowns, the beading, the
Pucci, but what about the vintage fur?

For years I have enjoyed sourcing and collecting vintage clothing.  For the most part, my collection has always offered me a great variety of dress and endless inspiration, but what about vintage furs. More and more,my clients have posed the question: can I wear the fur?

Being a darling of the eighties, I was highly influenced by the constant protest of the decade, but as I have grown into adulthood, I have become conscious of the constant disposal of clothing. Reviving, recycling, and repurposing my wardrobe into the treasure trove it should be brings all sorts of satisfaction.

In the last decade,  I have amassed a small collection of furs, some  sourced and some inherited from family.  They are elegant pieces that add glamour, style and warmth to evening looks.

 

Very recently, I worked with a bride that required fine beading work on her bridal gown.  While it was a gorgeous, delicate,
gown, her fairy tale wedding was set in Iceland, in the heart of winter. My mind went to one place: vintage fur.
In exploring this possibility, I brought out my collection, and offered her a rental option.

For the affordable price of a rental, this client can enjoy the look and warmth of a fur stole, without having the task of shopping or caring for a fur; including yearly storage and cleaning.

Icelandic Fur

@ Tiff with Freida Pinto : the work, the experience, the girl.

The lovely and talented Freida Pinto in a outfit altered by Elizabeth - Labl StudioI first met Frieda Pinto on a Friday, two days before her big event at TIFF, representing L’Oréal. She has been one of their style icons for some time now.

I was shown many outfits and was asked to pick those that would best exemplify Freida’s beauty and would appear brilliantly on camera. Our fitting session went well beyond the planned two hours, but in the end we chose some spectacular pieces. Now the I was asked to make them fit perfectly in less than 36 hours.

My experience with Freida was very successful. After another fitting, another hug and a few laughs, the pieces were dropped off to her hotel before midnight, just hours before her appearance. Such is the nature of the biz.

Freida Pinto first appeared to many of us in the Oscar winning Slum Dog Millionaire in 2008, followed by Immortals in 2011, amongst many others. Freida continues to work in Hollywood and Bollywood while also having recently added  film production to her already impressive career. One particular project is a film she will be producing, which for Freida is a manner of addressing a critical social issue plaguing many women in Asia today.

Frieda is a professional actor and producer. She has razzle dazzled us on the screen, but what is she really like? She has a smile that embraces you at first sight. She is gentle and kind. I will always remember this lovely young woman with great fondness.

Love,

Elizabeth

 

Shania’s Juno Dress – Working with a Canadian icon

shania-twain-juno-awards-gown

When a woman typically states, “the Dress”, she refers to her wedding dress, but if you have followed the Labl blog and Labl studio Facebook page, you might guess the dress worn by Shania Twain. I met Shania Twain the weekend she was inaugurated into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, but it was not to be a simple task; this dress was quite the drama situation.

It all started the Friday night, a day and a half before the big event. The call came in at midnight. On the other end of the phone was a stylist panicking to the point of tears, it seemed, and in a desperate voice asked if I would come with her to fit a client the next morning. She explained that the client did not live in Canada, but had travelled to Toronto two days before, was receiving an award, and needed to be fitted to perfection. She said that she had tried pinning the dress, but with all the beading, she realized that this was a job for the professionals, and so was asking to put it my hands. She asked if I was up to the task: rush jobs, personalized fittings, hand beading, and any other complex tasks. I assured her that Labl studio had been doing this for over 10 years, “but one question”, I asked, ” who would I be working with?”, “Oh, Shania Twain”. The next day bright and early, I was at her hotel, with the stylist, as we waited to be called up to Shania’s room. I had come as prepared as one can be to an impromptu fitting. Not having seen the dress, I sat in the lobby, only to imagine every possible issue a dress can have and the possible solutions. After a 20 minute wait, we received a call from Shania’s manager, Shania’s sister, “We are ready for you.”

Arriving at the suite, I could not help noticing all the people present and the different clothes that had been brought for Shania, some dress options for her big event, others, wardrobe requests from the singer/songwriter for her next travel adventure down south immediately following her Toronto stay.

It was a calm experience being introduced to a personality that I had always seen in a 2 dimensional way. Shania was shorter than I expected, a mature woman in her forties, but very kind eyes and great smile. Once she had tried on her gown, I went to work. The dress was too big in the sequence encrusted bodice and so the alteration had to be equally distributed between the side seams and the centre back seam, where an invisible zipper was placed. Also, the hem was far too long, needless to say.

I made an appointment to return the gown later that afternoon for a 2nd fitting, excused myself, and was off to work. Arriving at my studio, I addressed the work required: in order to alter the dress. I first had to remove all the sequence beading around the side seams and cd (centre back) seam by hand, while also affixing the remaining beads. Because removing one sequence beads leads to all the surrounding beads falling out, this task required firstly that I take a picture, then, deciding which sequence stayed and which were to be removed and then stitching down all the sequences to remain at a 3″ perimeter, then I began the task to remove all the remaining beads, while safely keeping all the beads in a safe place.

This task was very painstaking, I can assure you as the fabrication was a soft netting, so avoiding the creation of holes with my seam ripper was very crucial. Hours later, I was ready to alter the dress, seams were altered and the zipper was removed and re sewn. With minutes to spare, I packed up the gown and made my way back the the lobby I had found myself only hours before. Once again with Shania’s stylist, the minute we got the call up, we were off.

For the second time, standing with Shania Twain in her gown, we both accessed the alteration and the look she wanted and made a few more changes. The dress fit like a glove, would be hemmed perfectly, for her 5 1/2″ heels and to everyone’s delight would be ready for 8am that Sunday morning. Everyone was happy, but I had a dress to hand bead: it was going to be a long night. Back at the studio I tweaked the final changes to “the Dress” , referred to the photo I had taken of the beading earlier and started my task that would last long into the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

At 7 :10am, I placed the last sequence bead in stitched the last stitch. This incredible journey was almost at its’ end. As I packed up the gown, I lamented the fact that I had no time for a shower, new outfit, or make-up. I had little time to make it for 8am and so off I went. On my third visit to the hotel, I knew the drill too well. I got comfortable in my seat, laid the dress on my lap, as to not to crease it, and put my smile on. When we were called up this time, I felt an excitement surge inside me and passing off the dress to Shania Twain was a thrill. I had shared my artistry with a wonderful artist and she was going to show case my work to all of Canada and the world.

Later that day I received a call from a woman congratulating me for my work. She represented the store where the gown was purchased in Cumberland Lanes. What a crazy ride, of turns and twists with a surprise ending.

I loved every minute of it.

“Happily Ever After” Starts Here – Bridal Beware

Bridal online is big business. For a fraction of the price of retail shopping, a bride can order her bridesmaid dresses for under $200 from the comfort of her own home. More often than not, this seemingly stress free experience becomes its own snow ball of disaster. Here are some realities;

– First of all the fit is the most obvious. Bridal websites offer great prices, but not great fit charts, so typically not only does the hem have to be done, but extra fitting must be done for each dress. The most difficult situation is when the dress is too small. To rectify this is a complex process, that requires new fabric sourcing and extra fittings, as well as a considerable alteration fee.
– The next issue is styling. While the picture on the web site looks quite beautiful on their size 2 model, the reality is that their polyester creation often disappoints and the unassuming bridesmaid often feels a bit frumpy beside the perfection that is the bride, creating an atmosphere of resentment.
– Another issue is timing. I can’t begin to recount how many last minute and hysterical bridesmaids I get calling me, complaining of just receiving their dress a few days before and with the wedding a week and a half away, they need to find someone to help make it presentable.

With all these issues, my tip for brides and bridesmaids is know what you are buying. A custom made gown can be made of more affordable material, in a very flattering style that the bridesmaid can be proud to wear for the bride, and then look forward to wearing it again. A happy bridesmaid is a helpful bridesmaid.

If timing is an issue and the dresses are arriving close to the wedding date, to avoid rush alteration fees, have a set appointment with the alteration professional standing and the project accounted for. No surprises is a good thing in planning a seamless wedding day.

If budget is the concern, discuss the alteration fees with your alteration professional before you buy, especially if you have bridesmaids of extreme sizes, as some dresses may suit the silhouettes of some bridesmaids and not of others, leaving your bridal party looking unfinished. Alterations, while effective, can become expensive and a serious issue, if unaccounted for. Do your homework. Is the cheapest way, really the inexpensive route, or the beginning of a huge expense?

In looking forward to a beautiful day, focus on what matters to you most and ask questions to the professionals. We know our stuff and are here to help

Elizabeth
Labl
416 504 1504
www.labl.ca

Clothes by the Click – Internet shopping? Love it or hate it?

tips-online-shoppingWe all know people who rave about their amazing buys, and others who claim it is a path for failure. I have recently worked with clients that have come to me embarrassed to have shopped by “impulse”, and stated that if I could not alter their piece, they would finally trash it.
My first reaction is one of positivity. I always notice a garment that visually is stunning, so impulsive, I think not. These clients are hopeful and possibly a little mistaken by sizing charts they find on Internet shopping sites. I am happy to say, that I have always altered a garment to the clients surprise and these garments went into a very workable wardrobe.
My tips for Internet shopping, firstly, have a budget, or these “deals” will be overbearing and break you financially. Next “know thy self” and your measurements; a size 10 means one thing to one company and something else to another, so always go to a sizing chart and have your measurements close by to double check, or contact the company directly. If you are not sure of the right size and know a professional to alter it, get a size bigger, but never a size smaller.
Finally, if you are buying a few things, take a moment to look at the return policy. When the items arrive, look at the time line for a return or exchange and make sure to try it on before this time, thereby giving you a moment to revisit the purchase, but providing you a chance to return it, if it does to meet your expectations.

A happy purchase is a wearable purchase.

A New Wave of Fabrics

Well, my trip was amazing.
Three days into my shopping trip in Paris, the weather warmed up to a tropical paradise. I finally was able to wear my summer dresses and off I went looking for inspiration. I admire the French woman in their dress up casual look. Simple silhouettes, lux fabrics, great fit. I love this ease of dress and so, I spent every day walking around this beautiful city  looking for the best it had to offer. I brought back wonderful examples of Parisian bliss: jersey knits, silk cottons, silk linens, brushed chiffons, wool and cashmere, and a few surprises.
Wave of Fabrics 002 600x300As always, my visits to the fabric stores are an opportunity to see old faces and continue past conversations. Just as in Toronto, the vendors of such beauty are like old friends and there is always news to share. This year, I introduced my Tristan: my son, world traveller extraordinaire, who wears a great smile and has an even better disposition.
It is my joy to constantly bring my passions together and so this is just the beginning. I am currently working on a collection of spring light jackets that would entice the smartest of French beauties.
I look forward to growing my shopping list for my clients.Please contact the studio
for a consultation to shop for beautiful fabrics and styles in house.

Elizabeth
Labl
416 504 1504
www.labl.ca

My Heart Skips a Beat (or two) in Rue Clery

Paris Fabrics 400x300My search has taken me far and wide, but I found my answer in Paris.   In a small Fabric shop, in the wholesale textile district of Paris, I found a very selection of vibrant coloured silk chiffons and organza, but I felt as though I had been there before. Images of beautiful dresses came to me and then all at once I realized that I recognized these fabrics from run way shows and magazine layouts from Lanvin, Chloe, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel.

My hunger for these treasures had me peruse the store’s stock for over an hour, until I made an incredible discovery: the true gems were kept up above, at their 3rd story warehouse room.

Dear friends, I walked those steep steps with fervor and walked into a land of cashmere and silk, where great designers had gone before me.

When in Paris, I make this sacred journey. I start early in the morning and take my time. I really enjoy seeing the family that runs this store and catching up. While I typically have looked for fabrics by myself, I will have the pleasure this year to bring along my son and show him the 8th wonder of my world.

This year my trip to Paris is scheduled for early June, and I have no doubt that I will bring back all kinds of wonderful, either samples of fabric or full pieces. If amazing is what you are looking for, 

Labl studio will have something for you.

To Peplum or not to Peplum?

4-_MG_0458Not since the 80’s has the peplum been so popular. Gone are the days of the typical silk ensemble, with the padded shoulders and the supper gathered peplums. The new peplum is sleek and fitted, but it is it for everyone. I have to say if properly tailored, of course, but off the rack beware!

I have to say that almost 80% of ready to wear garments feature a very long torso and so, when any additional accents are added below, it is a mess. A very typical alteration at the studio is to make the waist fit the client correctly. This alteration, not only accentuates the smallest part of the body, but by creating the proper waist, we can then achieve the “hour glass figure” that most woman love. Further more, when the waist is located well below the client’s natural waist, the garment will wrinkle very badly and the only solution it to professionally alter it.

Now with the additional peplum, a further adjustment may be required towards the height of the peplum, if the client is a petit figure. Just as widths can be tightened and widened, so must the length of the bodices. Typically, the focus is on the hem to create the correct length of a garment, but this is incorrect.

Too technical? Let’s simplify; if you look wonderful is some dresses and awful in others, it is the proportion of the design and cut. Typically a professional tailor can adjust this, by pinning out the excess material. If you feel too dumpy, then the garment is not well balanced for you and a professional can access the work to balance it for your particular figure.

If a garment looks good, but features far too many wrinkles than you can bear, or the back zipper is not flat, a professional can alter your garment to make it look seamless.

The next time you go shopping, be fearless because you too can peplum.

Rush Jetset Restoration for the Cannes Red Carpet

 

Rush Stephanie Von Pfetten Vintage Dress Restoration for the red carpet @ Cannes

Rush Stephanie Von Pfetten Vintage Dress Restoration for the red carpet @ Cannes

I first met Stephanie Von Pfetten on a dark Friday afternoon. She had just bought a blue beautiful sequenced dress at Toronto’s well known vintage store, I Miss YOU Vintage and she was panicked.

She was on her way to Cannes, France for a film festival and had collected three other dresses for this event. So, why was this blond beauty panicked? Stephanie is a Canadian film and television actress perhaps best known for her roles as Captain Marcia “Showboat” Case in the Battlestar Galactica series or as Dr. Daniella Ridley in Cracked

She didn’t know what to wear. Stephanie wanted to look perfect for this very special event, but found herself overwhelmed with too many options and her search for the right look led her to the labl studio.  I met with Stephanie and looked at all her options: a couple of designer loaners and two vintage buys. In meeting with Stephanie, I accessed her preferred looks and doubts. We discounted the designer loans first because, while “in mode” one did not show off Stephanie well enough, and the other showed off a bit too much. Next, we looked at the two the vintage pieces and finally “The Dress” was chosen. It was the beautiful beaded gown that brought out the glorious blue of her eyes and the old world glamour, which she could strut so well. While the dress offered so much, it completely lacked in fit; not a small feat, as it would have to be altered and re beaded by hand along the complete length on the dress, from the underarms to the hem.

There was one glitch: she was leaving for France in less than 24 hours!!!

Now, at Labl, I have seen it all, so I was not too worried. Did I mention I was 37 weeks pregnant? I wanted Stephanie to wear the dress she loved and so, I began my labour of love that evening.

With any other beaded garment alteration, I would set up two distinct appointments, one to pin the alteration and the next alteration to fit the before it was complete. These steps are very important because the garment has to fit perfectly before the beading can be reapplied. With Stephanie’s dress there was no time and so I had to pin so precisely that no pin was sparred for this most difficult feat.

Later that night….

Seams were pre basted, beading was removed, French seams were undone and recreated, and finally the beading process was started and went on and on and…. Oh, by the way, did I mention I had to mimic a very distinct beaded design from the hip to the hem, while resizing this dress down a couple of sizes?!

Saturday morning came before I knew it and a few finishing touches were applied just before Stephanie arrived. Right on time, I greeted Stephanie at my door and led her to the studio to re introduce her to her new dress. She was silent at first and then expressed delight at the seamless perfection of her “new” dress. While, I would not be at Cannes to see her walk her walk, I did have her try on the dress for me and I can assure you now as I did my sleepy self then, the dress fit Stephanie like a glove! My “Tahdah!” moment of the week and all before lunch.

Stephanie Von Pfetten is a distinguished actress who was looking for the impossible, but at the Labl studio, we make the impossible, possible.

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