Wednesday, April 06, 2011

All Things Swelle
BlogCrush: The Swelle Life & Swelle Boutique
Denise Grayson & I have become fast friends on twitter. Or maybe I should say, I quickly became obsessed with all things Swelle and sort of inflicted myself on her. Should you explore her online Swelle Boutique you'll likely find yourself coveting what you discover & frantically searching for a conversion calculator (Denise resides in England & I was NEVER good at converting pounds to dollars).

And then there's her blog—The Swelle Life, & grrr, it's hard not to hate her, it's that cool. and gorgeous. and... well, marie antoinette would approve. but so would vivienne westwood.

I tell you all of this because Denise has just launched the beginnings of her own Swelle label collection. And the images I've been privy to so far have me lusting and longing. Was delighted when I asked her if I could blog about her up and coming collection and she graciously obliged. Get to know Denise Grayson, the style maven behind the darling & cheeky dresses of the brand spanking new Swelle line.

What inspired your designs?
I love the idea of wearing dresses every day. Women dressed that way in the 50s and 60s and the aesthetics of those eras hold massive appeal for me, but their look was more fussy. Their faces were made up and their hair was always done (if Mad Men isn't lying to us) and the outfits accessorized and matchy-matchy, but you can take the 'proper' look and make it more modern, individual and relaxed. Dita Von Teese does the whole 'done to the nines' look, even for grocery shopping, brilliantly, but it's not practical for the rest of us. But simple, classic dress shapes are really easy and comfortable to wear, you can dress with a bit of charm without looking like you take it all too seriously. And they're very versatile. My motto for the past few years, especially since becoming a mum and wanting to look good with literally zero effort, has been that it takes the same amount of time to put on something pretty than something that looks like crap! If you have the right pieces in your wardrobe there's no reason not to look great every day.

I wanted to offer this kind of dressing, so ease and comfort was important and therefore the fabrics had to be soft and easy to care for, pieces that you look forward to wearing and can be in all day without tearing through the front door and ripping your clothes off for some relief.

And how did you go about getting them created, did you draw up sketches and have them made, did you sew them yourself?
I do sketches of what I want and with the first designs I started working from toiles of basic classic shapes such as shifts and trapeze dresses. I have the dresses made by a local seamstress who is great with detail and will take the time to do handpleated trim yet not really charge for it, which helps keep my price down. By doing it this way we can make each piece a little different and customize them according to individual requests. They are made to order with a very quick turnaround of 2-3 days. I had been trying to learn to sew, thinking it would give me full autonomy over the entire process once I got good enough to make my own samples, then a friend talked some sense by reminding me that if I don't have enough time to handle my workload now I certainly don't have time to make clothes on top of it all. Point taken and I'm happy to have talented others do it!

How long have you had your Swelle Boutique up & running?
I opened last June, it's still a baby.
Your blog?
The Swelle Life just passed its three year anniversary. That reminds me, I need to do a post on that!

What were you doing before this?
My BA is in fine art but I wondered what the heck I was going to do with that, so I went to school for advertising. The combination of writing and visuals seemed tailor made for me; little did I know that big ad agencies eat the souls of children for breakfast. I've worked in pretty much every incarnation of communications from copywriting to production to web content development and project management to marketing for a university and consulting. I never saw myself as being self-employed but when your life does a 180 and your priorities shift, you never know what will come from it. In the end I determined the office sucked and I hated working for other people. I never let myself admit that before because I didn't think I had a choice. I've never worked harder than I do for myself but I love it. I still freelance a bit when I can.

You grew up in Canada and now live in England, where about?
I grew up in Ontario in the Niagara Region (fun fact: Linda Evangelista went to my high school) and later moved to Toronto where I met my husband and had our daughter. We moved to coast outside of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England in 2005 when my daughter was three months old. Fun! I miss my family and friends so much but it's a huge consolation to live in a beautiful area, just a five minute walk from a gorgeous beach on the North Sea with a 7th century castle overlooking it. We just don't have that back home! And the country side is stunning up here. Geordies are really lovely people, too.

Fave place in the world & why?
Definitely Paris. We lived there for a short time in 2009 and we're actually off for an eight-day trip next Saturday which I am hugely looking forward to. Sometimes you have such grand, highly romanticized expectations of what something you dream of will be like that the reality can be disappointing. But Paris was exactly what I had hoped. It's a place of such extraodinary, breathtaking beauty and history, yet there's a sense of calm that underlies the exhilaration you feel. Hard to believe, considering the revolution! It's like the essence of the city is in the air itself, and in its people. In Paris you can just 'be' and get so much from it without even having to do more than sitting in the park on a sunny day. My favourite place to just 'be' is Jardin du Luxembourg, we lived close by.
Fave band in the world & why? + fave live show ever
Fave band...I don't even know any more! I saw a lot of great shows in the late 80s and 90s - The Cure, U2 (Bono bugs me but the ZooTV tour was epic), Sonic Youth, Rage Against the Machine, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Tricky (love him but he sucks a bit live unlike Maynard of Tool who has an incredible live voice) among others and then really got into DJs later, mainly progressive house Brits like John Digweed and Danny Howells. I had 2nd row at Pink Floyd in 1992 I think it was my favorite show, that was pretty awesome. Being mature gentlemen now, the band was in dress shirts and pants with leather belts and shiny shoes, and being so close I could see that David Gilmour was scanning the faces of the first couple of rows to really see the people as they were experiencing the show. When he got to me I had the silliest grin from ear to ear because I was so thrilled to be able to see them and he smiled back with a little nod, like gratitude. I love old Red Hot Chili Peppers and nearly died at one of their shows where people got trampled. No music is good enough for that. Give me Don't Worry, Baby by the Beach Boys and I'm happy.

Fave indulgence?
Flowers. Once a month I will fill all of the vases in the house - on my little aqua French antique table in the front hall, the larger version I have of it in the living room by the window, and the deep window sills in the kitchen and on the way upstairs - so wherever I am in the house I can see and be around fresh flowers. (I have paper ones in the bathroom, I wouldn't put real ones through that!) It's too expensive to keep it up on a weekly basis but I try to have at least one bouquet at any given time to brighten the house. I'm insane for double peonies but thrilled with a small bunch of tulips, too. Seek pleasure in the simple things and every day can be awesome!

Thank you so very much, Denise, for filling us in on the magic & inspiration behind the Swelle label. Loveys, follow Denise's blog, The Swelle Life here. And without further ado...
darling confections
from Swelle are like
beautiful little cupcakes
you can wear, her 1st three designs:

lust this? click here.

simply must have this? click here.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you my love, I'm blushing! You are just too good. xxx


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