May 7, 2008 Design Inspiration: A Phoenix Rises to Nobility


In the late 14th century of the Ming Dynasty, the use of woven or embroidered insignia badges were worn at the chest and back of robes to indicate rank in social and military circles.  The mandated system specified a particular bird or animal for each of the nine ranks.

In the above Ming-dynasty badge of silk and gold threads, we see a pair of phoenixes.  The phoenix was associated with the empress, just as the dragon was the symbol of the emperor.  Here, the paired phoenixes identify the owner of this insignia as an imperial lady or high-ranking noble woman. 

As you look more closely you will find more symbolic references.  The long-tailed pair focus on each other with intense energy, their curving forms spiraling that energy inward toward the center of the badge.  The perched male bird sits on a rock over waves, an abbreviated reference to the deep sea / cosmic mountain motif.  Lingzhi mushrooms of immortality grow near the rocks.  He turns his head towards his mate, who hovers above in a cloud-filled sky.  (It was unusual to have a female figure higher than a male during this time.)  Three large peonies in full bloom, emblems of female beauty, separate the pair and complete the imagery. 

This single museum piece was the inspiration for three of our designs.  If you would like to empower the same female energy as our imperial lady then you can wear her insignia here:

Due East Skirt
Chinaberry Tank Dress
Phoenix Kimono

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April 18, 2008 Seal of Approval

Fidelity Medallion

Bring a little romance and nobility into your life with our medallion necklaces.  Inspired by a box of wax-sealed letters found at an estate sale, the designers have turned the authentic 19th century seals of cracked wax into jewelry that fuses archaic symbolism with modern design.

Sterling Fidelity Medallion – (pictured above) Reads "Fidele En Absence" which means "Faithful in Absence" in French.
Bronze Coat of Arms Medallion – Depicts a lion upon a Fleur De Lis crest, representing courage & purity.
St. George’s Medallion – Depicts St. George who, according to legend, slew a fearsome dragon.

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Behind the Scenes

Hibiscus Cargo Skirt

Our photographer captures all sides of our Hibiscus Cargo Skirt while shooting in Tlacochahuaya, Mexico.  Not your average garden variety cargo skirt, ours is made from pima cotton sateen in a vibrant hibiscus print. 

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April 16, 2008 Ooh-La-La Hats!

Looking to fashionably navigate a season of soirees?  Our cosmopolitan French hats are handcrafted with a swirl of frothy net and Chantilly lace.  So accent your style with a little ooh-la-la and raise the sophistication quotient at your next champagne event. 

La Vie en Rose Hat
Bohème Hat

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April 7, 2008 An Innovative Silhouette

In our new Summer collection, we feature innovative knits, exciting new prints, fresh fiber choices and fashion-forward designs.  One of the designs I find particularly creative is our Element Tunic.  Fine-gauge jersey knit of Peruvian pima cotton, this chic design is not only fun and slimming but also hides a cutting-edge sleeve treatment that makes this seemingly classic shape an unorthodox choice.

Element Tunic

As you can see in the illustration above, on the wearers right side the design features a raglan sleeve construction with wide sleeve opening.  On the left side is an angled seam with dolman sleeve characteristics and a narrow notched opening.  The sleeves appear to be the same length when worn but this asymmetric silhouette captures the contemporary new-wave of pattern-making found in European and Asian boutiques without taking it too far outside the average persons comfort zone.  The effect is so subtle that most do not notice it but you will certainly feel progressive energy when you wear it.
P.S.  Also available in Petite!

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