LAILA FLORA – FROM IDÉ TO FINISHED STYLE
In addition to picking out two new colours – Old Rose and Dusky Lilac – for our Laila serie, we wanted to create something new and different with Laila.
For the Spring collection 2017 we had released Laila with a floral print of tiny discreet flowers against a champagne coloured background. But now it was time to do something bolder! So we let Laila completely blossom in all her glory. We were assigned to the project of creating a new floral print for Laila, one in pink tones and one black and white.
DRAWING BY HAND
The first step was a drawing by hand. Various roses, anemons and cherry blossoms were illustrated on an A3 paper sheet using ink, coloured pencils and water colours. The challenge was to create a ”messily” drawn pattern with an illustrated-by-hand look, like a water colour drawing, but one with strong contrasting colours, which wouldn’t fade into each other. We wanted to avoid a digital or vectorised look as we had done this the previous season.
CREATING THE PATTERN REPORT
When the drawing were finished we scanned it and imported it into Photoshop, where we moved around the various objects to create a pattern report that could be seamlessly repeated to infinity. Photoshop allows you to move around individual pieces and test the report with various crop offs.
After we were happy with the look of the pattern report we started testing various background colours. Using a white, black, yellow or pink background can completely change the vibe of the pattern, even though the actual pattern hasn’t been changed. Our eye just perceive it differently.
CONTRASTS & FEELS
Since we would use the same screens for both colour versions, the pattern had to look good both in colour and monochromatic. The drawing above worked well in colour but in black and white it felt flat.
We didn’t want a digital photo-print, but neither did we want a clean vectorised version with sharp edges and clean cut feel. The pattern would be screen printed in seven colours for the pink version, and six shades for the black & white version. The reason there were only 6 on the black & white is because the background would be the original white fabric, whereas on the pink version the background would be a printed powder pink shade. We added outlines on the flowers and simplified the pattern a bit to add heavy contrast for the saturated water colour vibe. The fabric that we use for Laila Flora is a striped jaquard where the stripe is semi-transparent. It’s the same fabric we use for the rest of the Laila items. The semi-transparent stripe will affect the print and we needed to take this into consideration. Version 2 was ready and looked like this:
COLOURING THE DESIGN
Now it was time to pick out the exact colours we wanted to use in the print. Luckily when you do the design digitally we can easily try different colour schemes and see the difference of changing only one colour. Each colour we picked needed a matching Pantone colour swatch developed for textile. Also the grey shades in the black and white print version. And there are many different types of black too! Greys are notoriously difficult shades to work with as they have such different undertones of yellow, green, blue or pink. For example, completely neutral grey are often perceived by the human eye as warm yellowish grey.
TWEAKING AND TWINING
After we had sent all necessary information to the factory, we received a digital proof print which we needed to approve. Then the first samples got produced and sent over to us. But when they arrived we noticed some more things we needed to change. That’s why we have first samples (and second, and third!). Since the bra has molded cups without any seams, the Laila Flora fabric was stretched over the cup, resulting in enlarged flowers compared to the smaller versions on the panties and the wings of the bra. Not good, and not an option we would be comfortable with! So we decided on adding a bust dart in the printed fabric covering the cup. That way the floral print wouldn’t need to be stretched over the cup. Besides this incident, we were really happy with the overall look of Laila Flora.
After correcting the samples, it was time for a photoshoot with models. That is always such a fun thing to do! In December 2016 we photographed Laila Flora for our new AW17 collection brochure. Yes, it’s done that early because the photos are needed when we present the collection to our resellers.. Just like we had done several times in past collections, we collaborated with german model Simone Voss and photographer Ulf Ekström.
After the shoot it was time to order samples no 2, which is sales samples that our sales staff show for resellers and that we use during exhibitions at Fashion Weeks and show to the press.
THE LAUNCHING OF LAILA FLORA
Laila Flora was fantastically well received and became an instant success. It became one of the best selling designs of the Autumn Winter 2017 collection. Last month it arrived to our warehouse and we began shipping it to stores in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
Since Laila Flora was such a success we decided to continue on this path for the follow up Spring Summer 2018 collection. Later I will reveal more details here on the blog, but until then I hope you are as comfortable underneath as we design for you to be.
By Annica Svensson