What's in a Name?

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked about designing for KOKOON is, "How do you come up with the names of the styles?"
Sometime I can just look at the item and a name will reveal itself, other times it's not so easy to come up with a name that feels right. 
Today I carried on a word association game in my head trying to come up with a name for a new design and the word Savoy randomly popped up in my brain. I think I like the word. But I don't really know what it means so I plugged it into google...and this is what showed up on UrbanDictionary.com:

savoy

a fairly slutty woman who often is too skinny and enjoys being with men of a different race. a savoy often is crude and inappropriate and also lacks morals, a conscience, and a social filter.

"I heard that girl sleeps with a lot of football players"

"Yeah, she's a total savoy"

#slut #jersey chaser #rude #inappropriate #skinny

First of all ~ WTF?
Second ~ Now I've got to go with it for sure!

Savoy Pullover/Spring 2017

Savoy Pullover/Spring 2017

Happy Fri-Yaaayy!!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...Seriously, this week's KOKOON Steal is one of my all time fave's, The Miles of Smiles cardi.
Versatile? Check. Slimming? Check. Pockets? Check.
Wear it a bunch of different ways.
There's a random variety, but not many, and they won't last long.
$59 to $69 this weekend only while they last. Shop HERE.

Behind the Seams ~ New Orleans

I thought today would be the perfect day to do a Behind the Seams throwback to a photo shoot we did in New Orleans. 

I had never been to NOLA, and after Richard spent a couple days there and told me all about it, I started envisioning a photo shoot. So last spring we scheduled a tourist weekend for the two of us, then tacked on a couple extra days and flew our photographer and model down.

We were on a pretty tight budget, and we booked last minute, so we were staying in a pretty marginal AirBNB, but the location was pretty good and it was just a place to sleep so, not a big deal. I booked a different AirBNB for Melissa and Giana, in what was described as a bohemian, up and coming neighborhood, and we drove there straightaway after picking them up from the airport so they could get ready to shoot. 

Just a word of advice. if you are looking to book a place to stay, 'bohemian' and 'up and coming' are code words for the hood. 

This was kitty corner from their place:

Seriously. And there were roosters randomly wandering the streets. 

I was pretty mortified. 
The AirBNB I chose for them was very highly rated and the host was considered a 'super host' and had raving reviews. She was a super interesting gal, and her home ended up being appealingly eclectic/kitschy. The first thing I saw when we entered the house were these awesome stairs.

The next morning I asked if we could do some photography in her house and she didn't mind. 

I loved her old school kitchen, where she had dozens of fresh eggs available for guests and she had made freshly baked bread and delicious, homemade apple butter! 

She informed us that she used to be a model also. 
She did fetish modeling for 10 years.

She told us about Hurricane Katrina, and showed us photos of the back of her house that went missing during the storm, showed us an entire photo album of the re-building process. I couldn't help but want to capture the authentic kitchy-ness. These weren't decorations, this was her home, her life. This was in March. 

NOLA AirBNB 5.jpg
NOLA AirBNB BUnny on Mantle.jpg
NOLA AirBNB coral tunic.jpg

After we left the AirBNB, we had a long day photographing all over the city, and ended it in a cemetery before we rushed to the airport. 

Richard and I had scouted this cemetery over the weekend and fell in love with it.

What ended up being so cool was seeing the cemetery transform in the camera into the perfect ambiguous neutral backdrop. 

Photo credit to our awesome photographer! Melissa Louise Photography Minneapolis. 

Hope you all have a Happy Halloween!

XO, 

Laine Sou

What To Wear Wednesday

This is my FAVORITE top of the season ~ The Tempest Tee.
I love the varying ribbed textures in the fabric, but I'm absolutely smitten with the slashed-sleeve detail. Its not often you find a sexy tee that's also warm (extra points!). I'm even further in love when this top is paired with the Verona Skirt, which is the perfect balance of sexy and sweet.

You can definitely wear either piece with many options in your closet to create different looks. I would also throw on a down vest over this top to show off the sleeves and still be warm enough for all my casual daytime commitments. 
Both the top and skirt are available in limited quantities online at KOKOON, or thru a KOKOON Stylist. 

Please forgive the shameless plug!

XO,

Laine Sou
 

A Little KIS for You

At long last, we are about to launch our active wear capsule.

Dik-San has been asking me to do this for years. I've always resisted just because my plate is so full designing KOKOON.
But, here we are.
My philosophy has become, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I may not be able to get you to wear a dress everyday, but if you're going to live in your workout clothes, maybe I can help in my small KOKOON way.

So, I introduce to you, KOKOON Inspired Sweat. KIS for short.

We're starting with a small capsule collection, basically a beta test, and we will build from there. Here's a sneak peek.

Of course, it's all about leggings. 
It's not like I'm workout obsessed, but I've tried my fair share of different brands as I'm sure you have also. 

I like a pair of Athleta just fine, was not impressed with Fablethics (they just sit in a drawer) wont do Lulu (for a number of reasons, and I gave mine away) my favorite fit is from Nike, but even those I just wish were a bit different.
So, like most things, I started with what I wish for.
1) A higher waist. I'm always pulling up to hide my muffin but then have to pull back down to avoid camel toe. Such an annoying dilemma!! 
2) A waist elastic that STAYS PUT. Just STAY where you're supposed to stay!!
3) MORE compression! I want those leggings to SQUEEZE my thighs!!
4) Please tell me I'm not the only one whose thighs rub together. That 'flat seaming' that decorates the seams of most (all) active wear...because my thighs rub together, the thread wears out before the fabric does. So I skipped it. I also like the leggings looking like street wear and not from the gym (KOKOON Inspired Sweat...it means something).
 

These (above) are the Erin Leggings. They were our bestselling cropped leggings for KOKOON, and in this fabric they are AMAZING.

We're going with the mantra, "Looks Funny, Fits Great!" 
Because they do really look funny ~ all wrinkly and puckered...until you put them on and then they are smooth and sleek and feel AWESOME. 

The material is a quick dry, anti-microbial, true performance fabric.
The day we made the first test sample I wore them to a Core Power Yoga Sculpt class (basically hot yoga with weights and cardio), the kind of class where you come out SOPPING wet, which I definitely was. Dik-San was playing tennis across the U of M campus so I walked the 8 minutes to meet him and my leggings were literally DRY by the time I got there (there was admittedly a lovely breeze outside at the time, but still.)

This was our first 'road test', and during class I noticed the fabric was sagging a bit in my crotch area, and so the next day at work I asked Emma to try them on (I'm an XS, she's a S) and she loved how they felt, so I gave them to her and she wore them to roller derby practice that night. (i forgot to tell her I had worn them and not washed them, but they seriously smelled terrific!) Emma reported back that they were the BEST fitting spandex she had ever worn and didn't have to pull them up once during practice. Her boyfriend saw them and said he wanted a pair!

So, I guess to me that meant we had the green light to start an active wear line. 

Next, we took our all time bestselling Peggy Flegging and tried it in this fabric.
Why is it so popular? 
The fold-over tummy panel...it just gets you hooked. I like it folded over, some people like to wear it up as a torso slimmer.
Adjust according to your preference.
 

Workout tops are always a challenge. I like a coverage, ya know? I also do not know a single woman who can workout without wearing a bra under their tank, so I don't really see the point of a built-in shelf bra. Even if you're flat chested like me they are just inadequate. I'd like something cute that I can wear with my favorite sports bra, and I would be happy to have something that covers the lady parts.

Tank Top Purple Back.jpg

And most of all (not most of all, because the leggings are most of all) but really, the biggest non-performance challenge, the 'how we really live life' challenge, is how do we dress to and from the gym? The other 80% of the day?

Already I see crossover from KOKOON to KOKOON Inspired Sweat. 
At the July meeting the discussion inevitably turned to "can you put that into KIS?" and "I would wear that after working out to meet a friend for coffee".

This is a mesh version of the Figlio Pullover, a new bestselling body for KOKOON early fall. 
It works perfectly as a 'skimmer' over your workout clothes, but I know we'll all be wearing it out with jeans as well. 

I love the idea of 'skimmers' by the way. Pieces that skim over your body, either for working out or for transit.

As we grow, the technical side will evolve, but the lifestyle portion will really grow. And that makes perfect sense because that's what KOKOON has always been ~ casual, feminine, active, modern lifestyle.

Anyway, I hope you will love it as much as we do! 
KIS launches September 6th. Stay tuned for more in the near future.

XO,

Laine Sou

Trends My Friends! Fall/Winter 2016

It's always so fun to see what's IN and what's OUT for the upcoming season. 
The thing is, not much is out...everything just keeps rolling forward and women are not quick to be dictated to and not likely to give up their favorite items simply because the powers that be proclaim it so.
Choice is power.
Even the ultra feminine exudes strength, not vulnerability.  
Viva the age of #girlbosses.
The attitude has latitude, yo. 

The color stories this season offer a new perspective. How exciting to see pinks and blues alongside traditional fall colors! That feels powerful to me...like a freedom that has not existed before. Once women shed the notion that they could wear white jeans only in the summer, it was inevitably going to lead to all sorts of color anarchy. 

Every hue of Blue.

Page 3 blues.jpg

I've always loved Mustard and Gold, and I think they are among the most versatile of colors and I often view them as a neutral that unexpectedly compliments so many colors. 

 

Talk about the ultimate power color...From Ruby to Tomato to rich Burgundies, Reds are being embraced by every woman. 

Green is the color of calm. It's also the color of combat. And envy. Go figure. 

Eeeeekkkkk!!! Can it finally be time for Pink to make it's long awaited comeback? I hope so. I think so. So much love being thrown this way. 

What's color without a straight man? Neutrals prevail in mostly Greys and Beig-ey Taupes this season. 

White is Right. Right on. 

When you wake up to freezing temperatures it's so easy to get all wrapped up in safe colors...try these combos and you'll give yourself and your spectators a happy boost! 

Luxe abounds with rich velvets, brocades, & jacquards. Downton Abbey's influence is alive and well.

Favorite!!! Knits...Rib knits....I'm obsessed!!!! So, so good. I mean, it's really impossible to survive winter without knits, and rib knits have an innately very forgiving quality. This season the rib knits rule.

Life is better with balance, and sheer elements are a foil to all the heaviness of fall textures.

Denim and Chambray take on new vibes with patchwork and a distinctly 70's influence. If I should come home with something acid-washed, I trust you will save me from myself. I'll do the same for you.

Leather and Suede is everywhere this fall. Loving the retro patchwork & modern trims! 

Yes! Exaggerated everything. Be it color or shape, this is the most interesting fur (faux over here) has been in a long time! 

Designers get creative with quilted textures and bring puff daddy coats to a whole new level. 

Metallic, The other neutral. Shine makes some star appearances. 

Plaid isn't just for grunge anymore. 

Tie Dye is always a crowd favorite, and the 70's influence is just fuel for the fire.

My other favorite...Houndstooth!! In all its incarnations...this feels the freshest and most exciting to me.

Animal prints shift back to favor Leopard prints, which is always welcome. Just ask Mrs. Robinson.

Love children, unite! And meet me at Coachella. 

Page 26 Details in Design.jpg

Good fabric draping is a supremely feminine trick. 

Pleating, razor pleating, ruffles, all making a huge comeback.

What looks sporty, tough, sexy, sophisticated, and even sweet, all at the same time? Yup. 

And the most popular cut out concept right now across the board is the cold shoulder. It prevails as the most recognizable trend out there. 

Turtlenecks are at once sexy, demure, conservative, and did I mention sexy? I want one, or three, don't you?

You know I love ties...be it a waist tie, a neck tie, a sleeve tie...

Peplums are BACK...with a vengeance!

Hemlines short? Long? Why decide when you can have the best of both worlds?

And I have a long love affair with midi lengths. I personally feel they are extremely sexy. I hope everyone else is with me. 

I never thought I would embrace cropped pants...then I became obsessed. 

Jumpsuits keep on truckin'.

Loving cape-let shoulders and capes!

Well, there's a way to make this trend cute....

Page 39 Granny Chic.jpg

Biker chic is everywhere. Even in the gym with moto inspired workout wear turned to street wear. And it's not going away anytime soon.

And really, I feel this is the biggest trend of all...Tough Mother...reflecting a growing cultural mindset of girl bosses, Game of Thrones house leaders, fierce maternal instincts, and all around strong female role models everywhere you turn. 

I take it back...THIS is the biggest trend of all...

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 
Stay tuned for the next incarnation of KOKOON.
KOKOON Inspired Sweat. 

XO,

Laine

The Future is in Good Hands

Thursday marked the inaugural event of The Clothing Collective, a fundraiser to benefit sex traffic victims in the Philippines.

This was an ambitious project...the goal was to raise $50,000 to fund 2 safe houses in the Philippines. The creators, (mostly young twenty-somethings) Sami Huerta of Simply Sami, Paul Weaver, and a group of their friends got together and just made it happen. At Aria no less!

We donated some KOKOON overstock, as did some other local designers and retailers, and there was lots of additional gently-used clothing and accessories from individuals. The vibe was one of a slightly sophisticated and elevated clothing swap. 

Racks of gently used clothing were grouped by price point, $5, $10, $15, etc. What I thought was most brilliant was the signage at the ends of the racks ~
$5 buys a girl 3 meals for one day.
$15 provides transportation for a month.

The new donations from designers and retailers was a bit more confusing, with bid sheets on high tables next to each rack. I think next time the organizers will arrange that differently, but they adjusted on the fly and made it work. I suspect that if they continue with this event they will attract a tremendous amount of support. 
I, for one, will donate more next year, and probably a younger assortment, as I noticed my more mature styles were still on the rack, and my friend and I were double the age of just about anyone else there. 
But that's what was so striking and hopeful. It was quite emotional to see these young, energetic people use their time and talents to reach so far outside themselves to benefit others so desperately in need. 

I scored this cool cuff for $10.

And this cute little jean jacket for $25, along with a fantastic BCBG wool sweater, and a sky blue knitted sweater coat. 

Here's adorable Sami and her equally adorable mom.

Keep your eye on this girl, she's going to change the world.

Fashion Friday ~ How Much You Wanna Met?

I loved watching every minute of The Met Gala Red Carpet arrivals, and one of the things that makes this event so much fun is the mix of invitees. It's not the same as award show red carpets where there is an expectation as to the formality or appropriateness of a certain dress or outfit. The designated Theme poses an interesting challenge to guests, and the result is an anything goes spectacle, which is a visual gift for all to see. 
It also means it's incredibly hard to critique, which the hosts of E News would probably tell you. Watching Giuliana Rancic and gang avoid the pitfalls of offending industry insiders, friends, clients, and influencers was like watching a game of hot potato. "Hmmm...pretty...pretty...I just don't know if it's on theme...who would like to comment on this one...?" 
Well, the theme was Manus x Machina ~ Fashion in the Age of Technology.
Let's start.

This Marchesa gown was not only stunning, it lit up different colors according to the mood of the texts it was receiving! There's gotta be a prize for that.

Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa

Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa

Topping my list of I wish I was Her, Kate Hudson looked amazing in this Atelier Versace.

And if there's one time in your life you should grab the opportunity to rock a train, posing on the steps to the Met is it. 
Rita Ora just blew everyone away in this Vera Wang.

Has anyone ever looked sweeter with half her derriere exposed? I think not.

Certainly not Chloe Sevigny.
That's kinda weird.

There goes Zoe Saldana, taking herself way too seriously once again. She does look amazing, though. I do have to give her that.

Zoe Saldana in Dolce and Gabbana

Zoe Saldana in Dolce and Gabbana

I don't know why, but this was one of my favorite looks ~ Bee Shaffer, Anna Wintour's daughter, in Alexander McQueen.

Lupita wins the FUN award. Her hair was cray-cray fabulous. Nyongo in Calvin Klein.

First of all, this is the best Clare Danes has ever looked. I love this Zac Posen on her, although I couldn't really figure out how it fit in the theme...

and then...what? It glows in the dark!
So, now I'm just assuming that all those super pretty dresses have some sort of hidden talent.

I wonder what this one does?

Blake Lively

Blake Lively

I loved the simplicity of the Thakoon on Elle Fanning. It was just perfect.

And this was one of my favorites ~ insanely gorgeous ~ Kendall Jenner in Atelier Versace. The blue bits are all strategically placed sequins. 

I don't usually react this way, but I feel an intense wave of jealousy every time I look at this picture.

Karlie Kloss in Brandon Maxwell

Karlie Kloss in Brandon Maxwell

This look struck me for some reason.

Lily Rose Depp in Chanel

Lily Rose Depp in Chanel

Honorable Mention and Good Sport Award:

Julie Macklowe

Julie Macklowe

Most interesting Couples:

Gigi Hadid in Hilfiger and Zayn Malik in Atelier Versace

Gigi Hadid in Hilfiger and Zayn Malik in Atelier Versace

Jeremy Scott and Nicki Menaj

Jeremy Scott and Nicki Menaj

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jason Statham were the most beautiful couple.

Best Bestie Baby Bumps

Emily Blunt and Olivia Wilde

Emily Blunt and Olivia Wilde

Ciara was stunning with her platinum waves. I just hate that the dress is H&M. It would be nice to see Anna Wintour use her influence to guide fashion away from the practices of fast fashion retailers.

Balmain ruled the sleek silver sparkly column category. 
Kylie Jenner looked all growed up. The makeup and hair was perfection. 

Besides Kylie, Cindy Crawford was my favorite of the Balmain representatives.

Louis Vuitton's take on the theme was interesting. The sleek, shaped halters I kind of get. This was the Vuitton look I liked best; Selena Gomez looked so sweet. But, all the Vuitton looks seemed a bit off the mark for the Met, or any event with 'Gala' in the title. 

Alicia Vikander in Vuitton with the designer.

Alicia Vikander in Vuitton with the designer.

Jennifer Connelly in Vuitton. I just think of Jennifer as more elegant than this. They all seem a bit Helena Bonham Carter, you know what I mean?

Jennifer Connelly in Vuitton. I just think of Jennifer as more elegant than this. They all seem a bit Helena Bonham Carter, you know what I mean?

Michelle Williams in Vuitton. I'm sure up close the detail is probably amazing. But she looks like she's out for cocktails any old Monday.

Michelle Williams in Vuitton. I'm sure up close the detail is probably amazing. But she looks like she's out for cocktails any old Monday.

 And this. Just. No.

Grimes in Vuitton. 

Grimes in Vuitton. 

Nicolas Ghesquiere redeems himself with Taylor Swift's perfect look. I wonder if all the other Vuitton girls were sitting at the designer's table looking down at Tay-Tay's cool boots and thinking "Bitch". 

Not crazy about Beyonce's latex Givenchy number. I literally get hot flashes just looking at it.
 

Brie Larsen's Proenza Schouler look was cuter in motion. The shoes aren't my favorite, and the harsh dark lips were a popular makeup theme, it's just not the most flattering. 

I really wanted to like Amy Schumer in  Alexander Wang. I just couldn't.

I tried to keep an open mind, but there were quite a few looks I just didn't get.
My choices for Worst Dressed:

Charlotte Casiraghi in Gucci

Charlotte Casiraghi in Gucci

Demi Lovato in Moschino

Demi Lovato in Moschino

Emma Watson in Calvin Klein.

Emma Watson in Calvin Klein.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Whatever.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Whatever.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain

Katy Perry in Prada

Katy Perry in Prada

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

Rose Byrne

Rose Byrne

At some point...even if you're technically an iconic rock star...should one maybe give it up?

Madonna

Madonna

Lady Gaga isn't there yet. I just don't like this outfit. It's half an outfit. It's an out. 

No words.

Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles

I feel like a traitor and it pains me to say...my Worst Dressed goes to...Sarah Jessica Parker. 
I know! I'm sorry. 
She defended her look on the technology front, but...No. 

But, in the end, if the Chairwoman herself chose this Chanel dress for this particular theme, then I guess everyone gets a pass and can do anything they like. Anna's reported response to the question What is your favorite machine? "A Bicycle."

Anna Wintour in Chanel

Anna Wintour in Chanel

photos courtesy of Vogue.com, E TV, Huffington Post

Behind the Seams ~ Designing for the Red Dress MN Event

This was my 2nd year designing a dress for the Red Dress MN event.  I don't usually do custom designs but it's for a great cause (raising awareness and money for women's heart health) and I love the women I've been paired with as my models. Last year it was Natalie Nyhus of WCCO, and this year I had the pleasure of designing for Alison Kaplan, the fashion editor for Mpls. St Paul Magazine and co-host of the weekly radio show Shop Talk. 

It's nerve racking designing a custom anything for anyone, much less a fashion editor. The Red Dress MN event is very well organized, and while we had months to sketch, pattern, fit, tweak, and come up with our final design, I knew I wouldn't get it done until the last possible minute. Because that's just how it is.

In December I met with Ali and showed her several options and we settled on one. The weekend before the dress was due, I kept seeing a different dress for Ali in my head. But I knew I didn't have time to do it., so I tried to just put it out of my mind.
When Monday morning rolled around Emma cut the fit sample for the original dress. But I just kept seeing Ali in my head in this other dress...so, at about 1 pm (Ali was coming at 3) I said to Emma, "I think we can do this" and I sat down and started making a totally new pattern. 

The original design looked very nice on Ali, and she was polite and said she liked it. But when I showed her the then half-finished fit sample of the new dress...she was pretty excited. 

We just went ahead and made finals of both dresses and on Wednesday, 2 days later, she tried both on.

The first one looked great. 

But when Ali put on the 2nd dress, you could just see her light up. I think she wasn't just being polite. I think she felt amazing and she certainly looked it. It's really important to me that if I'm designing a dress for someone, not only do I want them to look gorgeous in it, I want them to feel like it's THEIR dress. And you can tell that the moment they put it on. 

I turned in the final dress and sketch (the Red Dress people frame the sketches as a gift for each model from their designer) 2 days past deadline, one day before the event.
Emma took my place that evening because unfortunately, my former assistant's wedding was at the same time.

Which was magical and lovely, but that's a different heart story. 

wedding.jpg

Here's to heart health in all its forms.

Xo,

Laine




What-r-ya Jonesin' For? Trend Watch ~ Spring 2016

Our Spring season officially launches on Monday, and every season I start with the trend report. I don't think we're a 'trendy' company, but I definitely want to help our clients look On Trend, and current.

I always start with color. Color is the most influential trend, because it pervades everything. You absorb it without even knowing. 
Last year's Pantone color of the year was a disaster ~ Radiant Orchid ~ total bust IMHO. So when I heard rumors they were going to go with Rose Quartz this year, I was bummed out and a little confused ~ to my mind Blue should have been the obvious choice the past 2 years. 
And in a bold move, Pantone announced a  tie for the first time ever...Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue would share the top spot ~ what a revolutionary idea! 

Woo Hoo! A Tie!! 

Woo Hoo! A Tie!! 

Pantone's top picks for spring are mostly punchy-and pop-y. Saturated, cheerful, and bright colors with a few softer tones and grounding neutrals.

The Golden Globes is kind of the public's first look into which trends will lead for the upcoming season. White and Ivory, Red, Metallics, and deep saturated colors like JLo's Buttercup gowns were standouts. Below is a broader color forecast from Lenzing. 

Blue...every shade and hue...is right on. Deep dark Navy, Marine, Baby Blue, Aqua, Seaglass, all feel right now. 

And Coral is what Radiant Orchid should have been. This is a high demand color and looks good on every skin tone.

Intense colors are unusual for spring, we usually don't see them until high summer. The rich jewel tones of Fall are spilling into the new season and they couldn't look better!

Black and White. Boring? NEVER. Solid White and Ivory look just so good.

Our eyeballs need a break from all those brights. Icy Grays and neutrals ranging from nude to blush help keep things grounded.

There's a lot going on this season for sure. prints are getting bolder again. This is the first season in a couple years that I've actually been able to find a variety of prints in the market. 

Stripes are still important (thankfully) but they aren't the only visually interesting thing available.

Rib Knits ~ Yay! 

Lingerie details are making a big splash again. Lace is everywhere.

And denim and chambray are a whole category developing outside of just jeans. 

Texture blocking continues as patchwork looks are still popular.

Pleating details, lots of gathering, and Ruffles! Ruffles and ruffle-type looks are making a comeback.

One of my favorite trends is the return of the bell sleeve, fluted sleeve, and sleeve details in general. If any of you watched the latest season of The Voice...Gwen Stefani's finale dress...the ivory crepe dress, super fitted, with the bell sleeves...? Get. Out. 

Necks are IN. Necklines are IN. Collars on shirts and mandarin collars, turtlenecks and mock t's are hugely popular, the 'X' factor, yoke details, ruffles, and skinny neckties...so much fun to choose from!

Cutouts are still happening...it was easier to count who didn't have a cutout detail on their gown at the Globes than who did.

And I would have to guess that the bare shoulder will be the biggest trend of Spring 2016. You will see it everywhere and in every incarnation. We might all be sick of it by August. Who knows...but until then let's just enjoy it!

No one is going to tell us girls how to wear our skirts again. Apparently. Anything goes.

The same is kind of true for pants again, too. Anything goes...Long and full, full and cropped, long and flared, short and flared, long and skinny, cropped and skinny, pleated, flat front, printed, tuxedo striped, paneled, ripped...The freshest look is cropped and flared for sure. It looks modern and retro and funky. Cute with a wedge or kitten heel. I usually hate cropped and full...culottes = gross...but I have to admit the silhouette is creeping into my psyche. And as one of our Stylists reminded me at the sales conference, a few years ago I said I would NEVER do printed pants. And as I stood there in my printed pants, I thought to myself, I won't rule it out.

Crop tops, or least the idea of a cropped layer over a longer layer, continues and looks super cute.

Jumpsuits are having a heyday! And they're interchangeable with a maxi dress or sundress.

Nerds rule the world.

Love the skinny neck tie look, and ties and drawstrings in general are everywhere.

The sporty trend isn't going away, it's a whole category that will be an important part of every woman's wardrobe. Sneakers, flatforms (I actually bought a pair!) are being highlighted on streetwear blogs everywhere, and PYT celebrity sightings are fueling that trend. This is how we live, and sometimes the only way to get women out of their workout clothes is to give them clothes that look...like their workout clothes. 

Yay, 70's!! Everything 70's all the time! Except when it's 60's. Or 80's.

Shoes are the only thing that matter besides clothes. Mules, slides, whatever you want to call them. They are the big shoe trend this season. 

Do you have a favorite trend or trends you're jonesing after this season?
I kind of love them all...I'm pretty excited about the bell sleeves and the neck details. And I think the cropped flared pants are going to be great. And the more sporty styles, because they are just so easy. but I love dresses in the spring and summer, so I will probably end up loving those best...who knows? It's just exciting to even to be talking about spring and what to wear!! 

Xo,

Laine Sou
 

I Don't Deserve It, But Give Me Another Chance

 

I'm not going to bore you with apologies or promises. And this isn't a New Year's Resolution thing (Happy 2016 BTW!). The best I could do in the way of a resolution is to try to do and be a little bit better than last year. So, I'm just going to write, and hopefully it will become a good habit again.

I haven't been able to write for a long time (really write, for about 2 years). I tried many times, but nothing felt genuine so nothing would come out. Long story, but basically I lost my joy. And over something for which I shouldn't have surrendered my joy. And while I knew that in my head, I couldn't keep it from seeping into my heart. I've made efforts. Fake it till you make it, right? But joy is hard to fake. 

I've wanted to bust out and get back to my normal self. I've taken baby steps. Tried to work out again. Started drinking warm water with Raw Apple Cider every morning (not sure why). Forced myself to take part in social situations. Be part of my community. Be more present for my husband. Rekindle friendships. Smile. And each effort has helped bring me back to the surface a little bit. 

This past weekend we had our annual sales conference in Scottsdale. One of my friends, Fawn Cheng, offered to lead our group in a meditation/visualization session. Fawn is fashion stylist and a meditation expert and leads regular seminars. She's also writing a book called The Buddha and The Bombshell, based on every woman discovering her inner bombshell. Fawn is a BOMBSHELL. Her outward appearance is all fluff, and her soul is all deep stuff. She teaches love and the manifestation of love in your everyday life, and how that can help you overcome obstacles and fear.



I have to say, I didn't know what to expect ~ I suppose I was taking it kind of lightly...probably a bit skeptical...but thinking it would just be a fun and different thing to try. 
The meditation part was relaxing, some of us even nodded off a bit, which Fawn said is natural. The visualization part felt more vulnerable. That involved verbalizing and sharing insecurities and fears, which we didn't linger on, instead we focused on what makes our hearts sing. Recapturing what it is about our roles with KOKOON that attracted us in the first place, the love that is at the root of what we do.  Interestingly, that felt more vulnerable than identifying our fears. Well, sharing anything like that out loud with your colleagues will probably make you feel vulnerable. 


One aspect that was very interesting was that the farther I got away from the session, the more I felt its influence. Some of the Stylists said the same. Later in the afternoon we had a think tank-like discussion. Some new ideas were being thrown out there, and my immediate reaction was 'No...and here's why I feel no...' and while I was sitting there I thought to myself, 'why am I feeling so negative about this? i feel the fear of the unknown, and the anticipation of problems. maybe i should listen with an open heart...'  And in the following 20 minutes we all had a discussion that helped me see possibilities instead of fixating on the problems, and I actually got really excited about it. I realized that could only have happened because I was in a more open mindset due to the visualization. 

And a funny thing happened as a side effect. I reconnected with my joy. 
Honestly, it had been brewing for awhile, but it felt like a tipping point for me. 
A few days later I feel calmer, clearer, more confident. I know it's not a one time fix. I think Fawn is starting some audio meditation sessions, and I downloaded a Calm app on my phone.

Baby steps. 

Do you meditate? Do you believe in the benefits of visualization? I would love to hear about your experiences!

Xo, 

Laine

November New Releases

It's been such a beautiful fall so far (no complaints) but I'm definitely starting to get the winter nesting itch, which means I broke out the Crockpot. Nothing's better than coming home to a home cooked meal that's ready the moment you walk in the door.  
Since we've decided to stay put this winter, we figured we should make the most of it. o, we converted our firplaces to gas, which is the best, most cozy thing ever! And Dik-San and I actually bought snowshoes this weekend! I've strangely been craving the winter experience, and then the message pops up on my phone saying Santa Baby Radio is back on Pandora. 
Perfect!

Can' wait to wear this sweater dress: 

J5305 CoSho Dress in Lead $148

J5305 CoSho Dress in Lead $148

J4574 Chiffon Brush Off Blouse in Ferver. $114.

J4574 Chiffon Brush Off Blouse in Ferver. $114.

J4571 Brookland Blouse in Reigning Diamonds. $109.

J4571 Brookland Blouse in Reigning Diamonds. $109.

I've been living in these detached collar sweaters.

J3377 Detached Collar Sweater in Pomegranate.  $118. 

J3377 Detached Collar Sweater in Pomegranate.  $118. 

J3377 Detached Collar Sweater in Lead.  $118

J3377 Detached Collar Sweater in Lead.  $118

J3095 Bleacher Tunic in Escher $88.

J3095 Bleacher Tunic in Escher $88.

2015 Emmy Red Carpet Recap!

Such fun, diverse red carpet looks this year! 

As for favorites...I know it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, and some would say it looked like a tea cup, but I absolutely LOVED Regina King's dress. Some critics blasted the stiffness of the skirt, but I thought it was a major part of the charm and this was a serious dress that came to win. 

That beading was INSANE.

Designer's image featured on Tom and Lorenzo

Designer's image featured on Tom and Lorenzo

How can anyone not love that??

One of my other favorites was a total surprise...Sarah Hyland in this stunningly simple burgundy Zac Posen gown. She looks majorly all grown up, and her hair was super cute. As Zac would say, 'Brava'.

 

sarah-hyland zac.jpg

Kerry Washington in Marc Jacobs killed it. Love the silver metal mesh, love the shoulder detail, the thigh slit is perfectly done. She must have been a hella sweaty mess but man, does she look cool.

It gives me comfort that even beautiful Hollywood starlets have feet that are too wide for their nudist heels.

This was the best Claire Danes has ever looked. This purple & pink sequined, chain strapped Prada dress was quite a risk for her, and her hair and makeup were perfect. 

Adam Samberg's wife, Joanna Newsom in DelPozo, really stood out as completely original. If Cate Blanchett had worn this, she wold have been deemed Best Dressed.

LOVED Naomi Watts in this Dior embellished tea length gown. 

Usually not my favorite type of look, this Marchesa gown on Julianne Hough was quite stunning.

Houghs.jpg

And Holy Cha-moly...Laverne Cox in this Calvin Klein column...it's hard to say this was understated or simple because she just rocks it so much. The color of this gown is perfect; hair and makeup, perfect; cutouts in proportion to the dress, perfect; and the detail of the bright yellow nail polish...perfect. 

This was super fresh and I loved the colors ~ Ellie Kemper in Naeem Khan. She is adorable. Everyone has told me I must watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and it is high on my list.

Serious props to Lady GaGa, I also thought this was her best ever. Loved the simplicity touched with a sweep of dramatic sculptural detail. Gown by Brandon Maxwell.

Let's talk about modest fashion for a sec. 

Look at Jimmy Kimmel's wife!  She is perfection.

And maybe Jaimie Alexander was tired of showing it all so she covered it all up. I think that is a brave choice for a starlet, and she looks terrific.

WHO is Emily Robinson? I don't know, but she is adorable in this dress!!

Lena Headey in a Zuhair Murad beaded burgundy gown...I just love her. Not only is she 41 years old, she just had a baby in July. JULY.
Footnote, I recently met a woman at a fashion show whose real real name is Cersei. Fer Reals. And she was super cute. 

Speaking of Game Of Thrones, let's run through them all right now. Gwendoline Christie...WOW! Who knew? Quite impressive, I loved this Giles Deacon gown, the color worked, the hair, the makeup, it was all lovely. 

Maisie Williams aka Arya Stark in a very modern Ermanno Scervino. Quilted dress. I think she looks great, love her hair...the shoes were fun...but even though I'm a fan of this dress length, I wish she would have had it shortened a bit. Quite a bit.

Carise Van Houten who plays Milasandre...I couldn't decide on this one. She looks unhappy, maybe the gown arrived late and they didn't have time to steam it, hence the creased fold lines across the skirt. I was just glad she didn't wear red.

And...well...Sophie Turner...I didn't love this. 

This photo is deceivingly fun. Jill Soloway and her polka dot pantsuit look sooo fun, don't they? She turned a most timely win in to a snooze fest. Not fun. Kinda dig the shoes though.

Kiernan Shipka was completely stylish and appropriate for her age. She's a sweetie. She was recently a guest judge on Project Runway and I was so impressed with her kind and thoughtful comments. 

She could have helped her TV mom, January Jones. I was not a fan of the Jolly Green Jumpsuit, and I love a green jumpsuit! 
The exaggerated sweetheart neckline, the too-high bust point...

...just not that great, but much better than this:

And while we're on pants, this burgundy elf suit is just no.

Christina should have rocked the green jumpsuit, she might have pulled it off. This shaped beaded number might be a bit mature for her. But, she can wear it again in 40 years so it was probably a good investment.

That 70's show called the 80's and Joan Collins wants her wardrobe back.

Heidi. WHY??? And What?T. F.
I mean, Come on.

This was my favorite overall look of the night. Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy throwin' back the years. You know they are having some Freaky-deeky sex. 

That's about all I got. 
What were your favorites or not so favorites this year? 

Xoxo,

Laine

Fashion Friday ~ Fall 2015 Trends

Who's ready for Fall?

I just gotta say, I think there is more general excitement going into fall 2015 than I can remember in any recent years past. Maybe because the rumors say this will be a mild winter, or maybe because we're still basking in the glow of one fabulous summer, but personally I think it's because the fall fashions are downright  gorgeous. And not just one or two standout designers....the September issues have been back-to-glory-days-of-printing thick, and the editorials held within are inspiring, as well as the advertisements. I just want to stick my head inside a pile of magazines with a good bottle of wine and suck it all in. 

There's not much I'm seeing that I don't like...pretty much crushing on all the trends right now.
Here's my take on Fall 2015 Trends.

I always start with color. Color is the trend most easily identified and absorbed by shoppers. There's no risk in purchasing the same button down blouse in a new hue. But this fall the colors are downright gorgeous and range from rich and earthy to vibrant and charismatic.

By far the most prevalent color you'll see will be shades of Burgundies. It will be everywhere.

I personally love shades of gold, although it can be a tough sell in winter when tanned skin is but a distant memory. But if you can wear it, you definitely should. Goldenrod, Saffron, Spice, Sage...

As a full palette, your spice drawer says it all.

Jewel tones draw you in ~ rich Teals, Amethyst, Emerald, Ruby...And the mix is terrific.

We're still seeing plenty of nudes, blushes ~ and of course grey and charcoal will be your dominant neutrals this season.

Allover white was a strong statement this spring and summer, and continues to be a clean, crisp alternative to darker neutrals this winter. A strong favorite.

One of the most popular color mixing trends will be graphic black, red and white. It's a thing.

Texture is one of the most looked forward to luxuries of fall and winter, and this season they will abound.

Fur and faux fur continue to be in high demand in all-over outerwear pieces as well as in trim details.

Feathers are having a moment. Not practical in reality, but we have a gorgeous peacock print this season that totally works.

Leather and suede are HUGE, (all faux in our case) and laser cut details will be prevalent. Many of the laser cuts echo the look of lace, giving a message of modern feminine strength. LOVE it!

'Heritage' is kind of a movement right now, evoking a return to quality and lasting values. Historical influences like Downton Abbey have popularized the luxe look of brocades, velvets, laces, embroidery, and quilting.

Speaking of quilting...it is a definite THING. Quilted textures look very current and new and they will be hugely popular.

Sweater knits take on ever-increasing stitch details, chunkiness, and creativity.

People are still taking a shine to metallics; a little goes a long way.

Many of the fall looks are drawing inspiration from past decades, of course. It's hard to choose just one, women want variety and they're going to get it.

Even though Mad Men has had it's day, the influence of 60's mod looks persist.

Probably the most popular theme involves 70's references. It was a wild and wacky era, and women are ready to embrace it again.

And...many of us consider the 80's our coming-of-age decade. Unfortunately, the clothes were pretty bad. Nevertheless, we still are reliving some of the finer points like baggy silhouettes and slouchy vibes.

As far as popular detail trends this fall...

My favorite is the 70's inspired return (with a vengeance) of flared and wide leg pants, a relief to women everywhere. Yay!

Don't throw away your skinnies...they're still going strong and leggings are here to stay.

Cropped and boxy silhouettes borrow from the 60's and look fresh and new, I love them!

Exposed shoulders will be EVERYWHERE. Every woman has good shoulders. It's a fact. When was the last time you heard your girlfriend complain about her shoulders?

Peplums took a season or two off and are now back en force. It's hard to keep a flattering silhouette down. And why would you want to? Hemline interest ~ asymmetrical, hi-lo, angled...all are popular and very wearable.

You know how I love a pocket. Well, they're a thing this season, too.

And, the most fun details will be happening around the neckline. From yoke details to turtlenecks, mock turtlenecks, neckties, detached collars, mandarin collars...there will be many great options to choose from.

This will be a hard season not to blow a lot of money, there's just too much good to choose from. 
Take a long hard look at yoru closet. if you can't do it by yourself, get a girlfriend and trade the favor of critiquing each other's closets. Evaluate what you actually need to compliment your existing wardrobe.

Or have your friendly KOKOON Stylist help you.

Just sayin'.

Xoxo,

Laine Sou

Sneak Peek at Fall 2015!

No time to chat, our season preview is happening later this week, but I wanted to share a peek into our fall photo shoot last week. I'm pretty excited :-)

5:30 am at the Mill City and Guthrie. 

bossy.

fussy

unnamed (4).jpg
one of my favorite moments of the day. it started raining and we were trying to hide the model in the portable dressing room so her hair wouldn't get ruined. then it started raining harder, so we decided to move our setup and gave the model an umbie to walk to the new location, and she looked so beautiful we ended up shooting her in the rain. we ended up with the most amazing shots!

one of my favorite moments of the day. it started raining and we were trying to hide the model in the portable dressing room so her hair wouldn't get ruined. then it started raining harder, so we decided to move our setup and gave the model an umbie to walk to the new location, and she looked so beautiful we ended up shooting her in the rain. we ended up with the most amazing shots!

another favorite moment of the day :-) this group is called the November Project...don't know why, but they show up and work out together...they were pouring in from all directions, like something in a movie. so much fun!

another favorite moment of the day :-) this group is called the November Project...don't know why, but they show up and work out together...they were pouring in from all directions, like something in a movie. so much fun!

unnamed (10).jpg
i'm in love with this cardigan...and these pants. 

i'm in love with this cardigan...and these pants. 

unnamed (14).jpg
unnamed (15).jpg
unnamed (16).jpg
unnamed (17).jpg
unnamed (19).jpg

we work with the most amazing photographer, Melissa Louise Photography...look her up! 
and we are fortunate to have some of the most professional, beautiful, and truly sweet models in the Twin Cities...book Giana through Wehmann models. 

xoxo,

Laine Sou

 

 

Students Notch It up

Hello! 
Sorry I've been a stranger, let's just resume where we left off. 

I'm always interested in young people traveling their fashion path, and I was excited to attended the graduating student fashion show for the Arts Institutes Minneapolis.

The show featured 5 designers, and it was held in the beautiful and historic Lumber Exchange building in downtown Minneapolis. The show itself was well produced and showcased each designer's inspiration behind their collection with a video explaining their process...a very nice touch that really helped make a personal connection with each designer. The designers were Haley Lor, Huey Yang, Kong Yang, Konnie Yaj, and Shiader Vue. 
Congratulations to all of them!





KOKOON Client Highlight -- Kimber Schnepf

Meet Kim Schnepf! Our fabulous client for over 10 years. See our interview below!

KOKOON-testimonial-brand-ambassador-home-trunk-shows

KOKOON: How were you introduced to KOKOON?

KS:  I was introduced to KOKOON while sitting at our son’s baseball games with a very stylish Laine Weinberg. I became a huge fan of the clothes. They are stylish, comfortable and affordable.

KOKOON: What is one KOKOON piece you can’t live with out?

KS: That is hard to answer as there are many pieces I can’t live with out. I have a couple skirts that I wear frequently. I am also a huge fan of the leggings in winter and the long summer sun dresses. I travel a lot and KOKOON is perfect for travel as most of the fabrics are very resistant to wrinkles.

KOKOON: What do you do for work/fun?

KS: I am a veterinarian and love to dress nice at work yet need clothing that is non restrictive and easy to wash. KOKOON fits that perfectly. 

KOKOON: How does KOKOON fit into your life?

KS: I have a casual lifestyle but want to look fashionable. KOKOON can be dressed up or down which fits my lifestyle perfectly.

KOKOON: How would you describe your style in a few words?

KS: I would say my style is casual chic. I like flowy not frilly. 

 

KOKOON: What is your average day like?

KS: An average week day is spent at work anywhere from 5 to 9 hours depending on the day. Then a yoga class at night. In nice weather it also includes a walk or bike ride. 

KOKOON: What do you look for when shopping/in fashion?

KS:  I look for pieces that fit my style aesthetic and are comfortable and well made. Fabrics that will hold up to an active life yet are cute!

KOKOON: Coffee or tea? Brown or black? Ivory or white? Early mornings or late nights?

KS: Coffee as soon as I wake up!! Herbal tea the rest of the day. Brown. Ivory. Neither- I am a middle of the day girl!

 

Thank you so much to Kim for sharing her KOKOON journey!

 

 

The Rule of Threes...

Did you know the Rule of Threes doesn't just apply to bad luck or superstition?
I didn't either, but last week proved it to me.

If you didn't already know, let me tell you our kids are these 2 amazing, original, creative souls. And this week I thought my heart would burst out of my chest with Parental Pride Syndrome. 

First, we got to see Tess' band perform at the Kitty Cat Klub for the first time since last fall. We had been keeping up with some of her new music online, but hadn't heard them live for a long time. I thought they were pretty good before, but man, they keep getting better, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. To fill a club at 10:30 on a Wednesday night...and to receive this type of review...Wow.

"Fact: Murder Shoes are impossible to pigeonhole. The local band are so much their own thing that to attempt to describe them in relation to other stuff is almost impossible... And then lead singer Tess Weinberg — damn, she’s great. She coos, she cajoles, she yelps like the best 50s torch singer you’ve never heard but with the indie soul of, say, a Kristen Hersh backing her up (with all the quirks and passion that implies)...And I’ll be damned if “Maybe You Can” isn’t that song you would have heard, and possibly the best local single of the year so far? It’s close if it’s not — the call/response thing at the end absolutely tips it over the edge for me. Remarkable, remarkable stuff " -- Jon Hunt, L'etoile  Magazine

Tess Wenberg, Murder Shoes

Tess Wenberg, Murder Shoes

Murder Shoes cover art by Derick Van Giesen

Murder Shoes cover art by Derick Van Giesen

They just got signed by a digital record label and the LP Release Party is coming up on May 3rd. 
You can listen to some of their music Here...My favorite is 'Maybe You Can'. 

A few days later Sam had the honor of being one of the solo artists at the grand opening at Soo Visual Art Center's (SooVAC) new gallery location. He prepared for months, creating a cohesive and compelling show of paintings and objects. 

The evening itself was a bit surreal (no pun intended) due to the sheer mass of people and the accolades...it seemed far beyond what one could ever dare to hope for. The entire show nearly sold out in that one evening. 

Opening night at SooVAC. 

Opening night at SooVAC. 

Stacking at Sunset or Perhaps a Trade?

Stacking at Sunset or Perhaps a Trade?

samual-weinberg-painter-artist-soovac-minneapolis.jpg
sam-samual-samuel-weinberg-artist-painter-soovac-soo-minneapolis.jpg

And you know awesome kids have to come from somewhere...Dik-San and I finished this memorable week by celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. 25 years of adventures with the love of my life...it doesn't get much better than that!

Mirror's not dirty...it's vintage. Well, maybe a little dirty.

Mirror's not dirty...it's vintage. Well, maybe a little dirty.

Here's wishing you all some good threes. 

xoxo,

Laine Sou

Dior and I

April is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated fashion documentary explosions ever!  

Is anyone else as excited as I am for the US release of Dior and I? 
It opens April 10th and the trailer gives me butterflies in the pit of my stomach.

You can check HERE for the listing of US showings.
There's ONE showing in Minnesota ~ Meet me at the Landmark Edina Theater on May 1st!!
I'm booking my tickets as soon as they are available.

xoxo,

 

Laine

Maxi-ed Out

My favorite part about Spring & Summer? Maxi dresses.

They are the most comfortable, stylish, throw on piece out there. And our Jolie Maxi is quite perfect for any occasion. 

KOKOON-best-maxi-dress-comfortable-fashion.jpg

Alex Evjen over at AVE Styles styled 3 KOKOON dresses for 5 looks total. You can see how she styled our Sienna Dress and our Rick Rack Dress as well as our Jolie Maxi below!

Thank