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Post: Growing Families

Growing Families

Growing Families

The 80’s were very busy in my personal and business life. I was now trying to balance home life, which consisted of three children and my husband, with the ongoing pressure of running a business. I hired a live-in nanny, which I couldn’t do without as I was travelling so often for work. Whenever I would travel, I would leave David a huge list of all the kid’s extra activities after school; he was amazing driving them everywhere and appreciating me even more when I got home! Now, of course, my children are all grown up in their 30’s, and I have a dear little granddaughter, Piper, who I can spend lots of time with. They are all a precious part of my life!
As the business grew, I hired a sales director named Sylvie Vincent, as well as agents in California, Toronto and Vancouver. We needed an office administrator, a shipper, a full-time cutter, and of course, more seamstresses. As with my growing family, the Christine Lingerie family was growing too! I worked closely with Jill Godfrey to run the business and do the design. It was a very exciting time to be designing with such a large team.
I had started selling my new bridal collection to stores, which meant I was now travelling to New York often five times a year to do trunk shows in Saks, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.The bridal industry operated slightly differently than a lot of other fashion enterprises, which was another learning curve! In bridal the store buys a sample of each design they want to sell and place orders for those gowns as they are purchased by each bride.This was exciting to me as it offered some flexibility in the design. Each dress was custom made for the bride and because I used antique lace, which was only available in limited quantities, they were often one-of-a-kind.
We would wash and press many of the vintage laces I had acquired over the years and position them precisely on each garment. Rows of lace sewn together to create the look of a gown reminiscent of a bygone era. Some of my favorites had silk taffeta edging the skirts in tiny pleats, and huge bows with cascading ribbons. Hand-made roses and leaves in silk would grace necklines and sleeves in the softest of colours; pearl, alabaster, antique rose, sage green and caramel were used. Mountains of crinoline were gathered underneath to create a whimsical look and a striking silhouette. It was such a joy to design with such luxurious silks and antique laces and trimmings that were totally unique and timeless. On top of it all, my seamstresses were artisans. They had the most incredible eye for detail and a precision in their technique that is lost in today's fast paced world of fashion.
At the same time my private clientele was steadily growing. I designed many bridal gowns, mother of the bride gowns, and flower girl dresses for the discerning in Vancouver.  We opened an atelier next to our production building to facilitate the increase in demand.  We also made hats and veils to complete the look!
There are many ups and downs in running your own business. Looking back after fifty years there are many lessons I learned on the journey. I am most thankful for the many people who have been a part of building this brand and sharing my passion. I am very blessed!
Christine 50: Lace Stash

Christine 50: Lace Stash

As the demand grew for my wedding dresses and blouses, I was finding it hard to keep up with the supply of antique lace. Working with antique lace brought me so much joy, but it came with its ch...