Designer Highlight: Marchesa

MarchesaCollage “I want to be a living work of art” ~Marchesa Luisa Casati

A living work of art. The center of attention. While few would ever have the tenacity to say it out loud, most women would love to be the most beautiful or interesting or original person in the room- to be a living breathing work of art. The Marchesa Luisa Casati was a woman who voiced her desire for beauty outright… that is why she is the perfect muse and namesake for a label that from needle and thread can create such works of living art: Marchesa

Still considered a young label, Marchesa has established itself among the designer elite.Fashion Marchesa Spring 2010 A coupling of two British designers, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, Marchesa has taken the art of couture and evening wear design to a whole new level: transforming clothe into a work of art that drapes the female form and exudes elegance, femininity, regality and unearthly beauty.

While joint designer labels are not unheard of (Dolce & Gabbana, Proenza Schouler, Skaist Taylor), it is rare to see one comprised of two women where both designers are able to use their talents and skills in seamless harmony. Though both women are equally talented, Georgina Chapman is the more recognizable of the two after having been a judge on Project Runway: All Stars. Born and raised in London, Georgina originally modeled for shampoo and throat lozenge commercials. She graduated from Wimbledon School of Art in 2001 and began a career in costume design where she specialized in draping.  marchesadesignersThe lesser known but equally talented Keren Craig was born in Switzerland and raised in London, where she met Georgina while both were attending Chelsea College of Art and design. Specializing in textiles with concentrations on embroidery, Keren did freelance work for high-end fashion labels before launching Marchesa with Georgina in 2004.  Keren’s skill for fabric design paired with Georgina’s knack for draping landed the two budding designers plenty of investors and by 2006 Marchesa was named one of the top ten finalists of the Vogue Fashion Fund. Since it’s origin in 2004, Marchesa has been worn by countless celebrities and royals (most notable being Kate Middleton) and is fast becoming one of the leading bridal and couture lines in the fashion industry. In terms of style, the designs are ultra feminine and delicately beautiful;  with a distinct fairy/sprite-like quality it’s almost as if their gowns were constructed using the elements found in nature (flower petals, spider’s silk, frost covered leaves, mother of pearl). Every design that comes down the runway is uniquely detailed without being overdone and female form is glorified with every drape, tuck, ruffle and pleat.marchesa

Eager to reach women of every demographic, Georgina and Keren have expanded Marchesa beyond bridal and evening wear, and have opened their label to fragrance, dish ware and handbags. Georgina has even created a new line called Pearl that will be launched through JCPenny.

I think it’s safe to say that Marchesa is one of the all time best gown-designers of this century. Here’s looking to what they have in store for the year 2014!


The Butterfly in the Emerald City

The Emerald City

The Emerald City

Hello Friends! I recently made the exciting move to Seattle, that beautiful emerald city surrounded by majestic mountains, unending greenery and vast shimmering waters.  I grew up near this city and have always called it my home even when my address told me otherwise. I often compare my life to that of Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz; Dorothy traveled far and saw many strange things, but always had her eyes set on the Emerald City. Within that glimmering metropolis lay the answer in how to get back home. Much like Dorothy, I have traveled far and wide, seen many strange things and made many an interesting friend, but Seattle always held the answer in how to go home. So, just as Dorothy finally made it back to Kansas, Morgan has finally made it back to Washington. HOORAY! (Also as a side note, I have a dog that looks exactly like Toto…but his name is Petey).

Now that I am fortunate enough to call the greater Seattle area my home once more, I thought I would do some digging into what Seattle has to offer in regards to fashion and fashion designers. Much like any vibrant city, the downtown area has many high-end stores like Coach, Louis Vuitton and my personal favorite, Nordstrom.  But those other cities don’t have Luly Yang.

Born in Taiwan and transplanted to Seattle as a little girl, Luly studied graphic design at the University of Washington and later took a job at an architectural firm. While working at the firm, she participated in a graphical design contest that required the participants to design a garment made of paper. Her entree was a garment patterned after that of a monarch butterfly, complete with a skirt made of wings.

the famous monarch butterfly dress

the famous monarch butterfly dress

Her butterfly creation made Luly realize her true passion; fashion and high couture.  Since making that famous monarch butterfly dress, Luly Yang has expanded her career in fashion design by providing the women of Seattle with custom-made couture that exudes grandeur and sophistication, and maybe a pinch of whimsy. In sharp contrast to the notorious grunge look for which Seattle is known, Luly’s vibrant collections pay homage to the female form and highlights the qualities that make that form so unique. Her custom-made couture gowns and dresses display the range of female attributes in the form of beautifully constructed fabric; innocent, playful, sweet, daring, sensual, dangerous….all of these can be found within her designs. Luly recently partnered with the Fairmont Olympic Hotel where prospective brides and grooms can purchase a event package that not only includes a fabulous venue, but one of Luly’s breathtaking couture gowns. What bride wouldn’t be thrilled to wear a gown designed by a woman who has won the award for Best Custom Dress Designer in the Seattle Bride Magazine seven years in a row?  The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is so excited to have Luly as part of their “Say Yes, and Get the Dress” campaign that they have filled their wall to ceiling front windows with her beautiful designs. I saw them this weekend as I drove through the city; thank goodness I wasn’t driving because I would have surely rear-ended the person in front of me. They were that beautiful.

Luly surrounded by her couture creations

Luly surrounded by her couture creations

I have by no means done justice to the true beauty and master craftsmanship of her work…..I often feel that the proper words I am searching for either don’t exist or my mastery of the english language is sadly lacking. So I can only encourage you to visit her website at Or visit  her boutique in the Fairmont Olympic hotel if you happen to be in town. The Emerald City’s nice this time of year …especially now that this Dorothy has finally made it back to Kansas.

~ Morgan