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  • A Rhapsody of Styling Tips

    Published Jan 08 2021 in #buycanadian, #cotton, #dianekennedy, #fashion, #naturalfibers, #outfitoftheday, #style, #styletips, #styling

    Get dressed in a flash with these styling tips. With the Rhapsody Coat you get three looks in one versatile garment.  You can wear this as a dress, a jacket, or a tunic for plenty of mileage. Plus, this multi-tasker makes it easy to refresh your existing wardrobe. 

     Diane Kennedy's Rhapsody Coat styled casually over jeans and a white teePop your Rhapsody Coat over top of the Perfect Tee, with jeans and low boots and you have a casual look with a stylish twist. Three quarter sleeves with plenty of room for movement and deep, generous pockets to stash essentials make it a handy edition to your day.

     Diane Kennedy's Rhapsody Coat styled casually over tall bootsChange your look to a long tunic. Open the face-framing collar, arrange the lapels and layer the Rhapsody over a black Perfect Tee with Rejuvenate Leggings for an understated, urban vibe. Accessorize with your favourite stone necklace for balance.

     Diane Kennedy's Rhapsody Coat styled casually over tall bootsButton up the Rhapsody to wear as a dress with tights and tall boots. Show off the asymmetrical collar with hammered Italian zinc buttons that reflect an organic flow.

    Diane Kennedy's Rhapsody coat styled over all black tunic and pantsFor an elegant evening out, layer it over all black with the wider leg Serene Pant like Erika is wearing. Add a necklace with some sparkle and a dressy shoe.

    Diane Kennedy's Rhapsody coat styled over a purple tee tunic and black pantsFor a polished and professional look at the office, layer your Rhapsody Coat with an accent colour pulled from the Symphony print. Leah is wearing the Perfect Tee in Raisin and the Serene Pant. Many of our Perfect Tee colours look great with this print; Raisin, Wave, Royal and Black are all shades in this colourful print.

    Diane Kennedy's Rhapsody coat styled over Fluevog bootsDiane is radiant in her Rhapsody; worn as a dress in Symphony Print with a pop of colour pulled from these fabulous Fluevog boots.

    Diane Kennedy Wool Cape in purple on model Veronica BelleFreestyle with your own creations by adding an A Capella Cape and a glitzy brooch, colourful booties, a beret, leggings, gloves, etc. Pull a solid colour from the print and use that as the base to build your look of the day. 

    The Rhapsody could even be a breezy cover-up for a beach stroll! The styling options are only as limited as your imagination.  

    Leah Paley Tuttle

  • Designer Confidential

    Published Nov 12 2020 in #dianekennedy, #ethicalfashion, #madeincanada, #sustainablefashion, #Vancouverdesigner

    Thanks for sending in your questions! Diane opens up about what she's doing next, her design process and your most wanted new items.

    I always appreciate when you take the time to give me feedback. By sending in your wishes and comments, it make us better able to fill your needs. Your opinions are of utmost importance to me.

    Canadian designer Diane Kennedy proudly holds a red maple leaf

    I love your designs but don’t like the 3/4 sleeves.  Montreal and areas have colder weather for one thing. Are you planning on designing longer sleeves in your next collection?

    I was planning on making several long sleeve styles for this fall but covid delayed my shipment of fabric and I've had to cancel many of the styles I'd planned. More tops and tunics are coming though and at least one with long sleeves will be coming in the new year.

    Have you thought of making walking shorts? Pull on, soft, elastic waisted ones?

    Yes, that's something I've been thinking about, it's an item I'll include for spring 2021 to match up with the athleisure/active jacket that is coming. You can plan to have comfortable walking shorts.

    What about pajamas?

    As several of you have requested it, I'll certainly give this some consideration. One of my concerns is cost. Essentially a pajama outfit takes the same amount of fabric as a pair of pants and a tunic, and as such the cost would be similar. Would you be open to a loungewear/pajama set that costs $275 or more? 

    Where do you find all your fun fabrics?

    Haha, where my fabrics come from is a trade secret, but I can tell you that my beautiful bamboo comes from a mill in Montreal. The printed cottons I've starting using for DK come from the same suppliers I use for my other brand Cherry Velvet. 

    What decisions/compromises must you consider when designing and manufacturing a garment, e.g. style, fabric, colours, environmental impact?

    I always consider how best to make use of the fabric with each pattern so as not to be wasteful, this makes sense from both an environmental standpoint as well as an economic one. I will often make a test layout of the pattern pieces to see how well the design utilizes the fabric. For example, I'd love to make more designs with raglan and dolman style sleeves but both waste a lot more fabric than a traditionally cut sleeve.

    Because I have to order my Canadian made fabric in customized dye lots, I do have to consider which colours will be good sellers. This commitment to a certain amount of a single colour makes it important to pick the colours that you want to wear. Trendy and more fringe (less popular) colours don't usually make the cut because of the high quantities required by my factories.

    What/who are your primary markets for Diane Kennedy clothing. How do these lines evolve and keep their appeal over time?

    The primary markets for my clothing are women over 50 with curves who appreciate comfortable, quality, garments made from natural fabrics. The vibe is easy care lifestyle clothing that fits well. 

    For my lines to evolve and to keep their appeal over time I have directed my energy to asking our current customers what they want to wear next. Your feedback helps me know what you need now, so I can design the best styles for you and we hit the mark each season. The plan is to introduce the new must-haves and keep the classic core items that have become mainstays.

    How far in advance do you plan?

    I work up to a year in advance, new items are designed and colours are chosen and lab dipped for approval. However this year has brought huge changes. Longer lead times for fabrics, and cancellations, as covid has interrupted the supply chain. Also with more people working from home, needs have changed and as a small designer I'm in a good position to adjust and make changes on a much shorter timeline than a large manufacturer.  

    Who are your favourite three clothing designers in the 20th and 21st centuries? Why?

    My favourite designers bring feminine, curvy, possibilities of fashion.

    1.  Zac Posen for his feminine, architectural details with pleating, shaping and tailoring. He nails the Oscar worthy ball gowns.

    2.  Vintage Christian Dior, specifically his New Look; circa 1950. He understands the curvaceous form, hourglass silhouettes and beautiful couture hand details.

    3.  Donna Karan when she was designing her own collection pre-2015. Her elegant draping, modern shapes and innovation make her an all time favourite of mine.

    How do you encourage/support your creative spirit during this pandemic?

    The pandemic has impacted my social life far more than my creativity. If anything, this slower pace has encouraged more time to be creative. I have new designs and prints already planned into next summer. Other than slowing down a bit mostly due to delays with the fabric supply, my creative drive is really strong. I truly love my job and so it's not like work to me. I love to look through fabrics and plan what's coming next. 

    How do you measure for the varying sizes when making clothing? (Some companies are so off)

    When I make a pattern for the first time I start with a block which is the technical term for a base pattern. By reusing the same base pattern each time it allows for more continuity of fit. In the final result there will be some variation in the fit between styles, but that does allow for the variation that happens naturally between women's bodies. There are other natural variations that occur with fit, for example if the fabric changes, the fit can also change. After the pattern is finalized the grading rules are applied to create the other sizes. This means the pattern grows and shrinks from one size to another by the same amount no matter the design. 

    Thanks again for sending in your questions!

    We're always happy to hear your opinions, suggestions and feedback. Feel free to send in your comments anytime!

     

  • Leah's Spicy Chai Tea

    Published Nov 05 2020 in #chaitea, #comfortfood, #dianekennedy, #greenliving, #over50, #spicytea

    `If you came over to my place to hang out during the fall I would offer you a warm cup of homemade Chai Tea. We would sit by the fireplace, listen to the rain pouring outside, catch up and nibble on banana bread too.

    I made this tea for us at work and Diane loved it. While the tea brews the entire space smells heavenly with the spices in the air. This stimulating tea is great to awaken your system. I want to share the recipe with you here so you can enjoy it with a friend.

    The bonus is these ingredients boost your immune system; are high in antioxidants, great for digestion, supportive of your metabolism, and are anti-inflammatory as well as delicious. 

    A wooden cutting board with whole spices for making chai tea

    Leah's Spicy Chai Tea Recipe:

    Makes 4 litres

    1 large fresh Ginger Root (sliced thinly)

    1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns

    1 Tbsp Cloves Whole

    1 Tbsp Cardamom Seeds

    3 Cinnamon Sticks

    1 Tbsp of Black Tea or 4 tea bags

    4 litres or 1 Gallon of cold, fresh water

    Ingredients for homemade chai tea simmering in a pot

    Bring water to a boil and add each ingredient with exception of the black tea. 

    Once boiling, reduce to simmer for 45 minutes.

    Lastly, add the black tea bags to brew for 3 minutes or longer if you like strong tea.

    Strain the entire mixture through a mesh strainer.

    Chai Tea in a strainer

    Sweeten to taste with honey and add your choice of milk as desired.

    Once cooled you can store in the fridge and heat up as needed.

     Leah Tuttle with a cup of homemade Chai Tea

    The spicy fragrance of exotic spices is uplifting, soothing and calming. I hope you enjoy the warming kick. 

     Love Leah