Enchanted - fairytale dresses for little girls
- Credit: Archant
Two Lancashire designers have joined forces to create an ethereal childrenswear collection
From extravagant headpieces to striking editorial fashion, Karen Casper creates all things beautiful from her Tulle and Candyfloss studio in Rossendale. However the designer, who has had her pieces exhibited from France to Latvia, is now moving into something a bit different – bespoke occasion wear for children.
Working in partnership with her friend and fellow designer, Jennifer Pritchard-Couchman, the pair have launched Enchanted, a range of handmade stunning dresses for little girls.
‘My expertise is in detail and surface design, and Jennifer’s background is couture, so together we bring something a bit different. We first met when I was studying for my foundation degree. Jennifer was my tutor for a 12 week fashion module and we ended up becoming good friends and kept in touch.’
Toward the end of 2016 the designers got together and decided they wanted to do a creative collaboration that would be fun. The idea of high end dresses for youngsters was suggested, and the project went on from there with the duo sampling different designs. Jennifer, who runs a bridal house in Lancaster under her own name, makes the dresses, with Karen crafting and adding on the beautiful trimmings.
Traditionally, Karen would typically use antique and vintage lace for her trimmings, finding pieces in vintage textile fairs or importing from around the world. However, as this type of lace is becoming unsustainable, for this project Karen has been sourcing contemporary and modern lace that looks old, then hand painting or dying them to give the impression it is vintage.
‘I’ll then create the Tulle and Candyfloss look by stitching and embellishing the trimmings such as jewels, pearls and 3D flowers. People can be really specific about what they want; the world is their oyster when it comes to the designs. Everything about the dresses are handmade and each piece is bespoke – even if we were asked to produce three of the same design, they would all be slightly different as they’re handmade here. That’s our unique selling point.’
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The collection has been aptly named Enchanted, as the dresses all have a fairytale feel to them. Karen and Jennifer want the girls to love wearing the pieces as much as they’ve loved making them.
‘Although they are couture it’s about having fun in what you’re wearing. Plus with children, they’re going to do whatever they want in them anyway as we found out on the shoot in Lancaster!
‘Working with four year olds can be quite challenging – we had to entertain them while also directing to ensure we got the images we needed.’
This collaboration is a side project for both businesswomen, who are carrying on with their full time careers while this new brand launches. Karen said that it has been a really fun and positive experience, and that they are both looking forward to it developing.
‘This started off as a friendship and a passion for textiles. Creating Enchanted has taken a lot of time and effort but we do it for the fun of it. It’s been an amazing journey together and in a way it has reinvented us. We’ve had a lot of fun.’ w