Motivation Monday

What is your 'I AM'?

Most people I know respond like so:

I AM (their name) Laine Sou.
I AM (their profession) a fashion designer.
I AM (their identity) a wife and mother. 
I AM (their hobbies and interests) a tennis player, a foodie, a rookie gardener.
I AM (their qualities) creative, social, intuitive. 

But when our list is exhausted, those I AM's can become less than kind. 

Today, reinforce your inner spirit with some I AM boosters.
We are what we tell ourselves, and we tell ourselves what we will accept from ourselves.

I'm going to start with trying to break a fear cycle around my seasonal deadlines.

So today, I AM ~ not a procrastinator. 
                   I AM ~ accomplishing 4 new styles for production this week.
                   I AM ~ feeling confident about my ability to meet my deadlines for fall.

What is your I AM today?

Repeat After Me. Change is Good, Change is Good, Change is Good

I attended a Fashion Group International trend event last week, and met an interesting (and very stylish) woman who asked me, given the current retail climate, what I felt the biggest challenges are and where was I spending my energy right now?  
I replied it's really two separate and completely opposite areas...on one hand you have the demands of social media and increasing online sales, and on the other you have the extremely personal part of the business with clients who seek out the personal care of their our stylists helping each one of their clients individually or at a pop up. To think one or the other is a satisfying business model is a mistake.  Women (everyone) are not one dimensional, and neither are their shopping habits. 
Social media enhances the hands-off online shopping model, but it equally enhances our clients' connection to their personal stylist and to our brand. You have to keep both plates spinning at the same time.

Which leads me to this...our first ever interactive Facebook Live shopping event,
this Tuesday, June 6th at 7 to 8 pm CST. 
Here we go...social media as driver of both hands-off online shopping and highly personal engagement between us, our clients, and our stylists.

After 29 years in business, we've adapted A LOT along the way, and we'll keep saying it...Change is Good!

So please join us Tuesday for live modeling of the Summer Solstice designs, some few-of-a-kind styles, raffles, and live purchasing! 
RSVP before Tuesday at 5pm CST to get your first raffle entry. Extra entries for inviting or tagging friends. 

RSVP HERE.
 

KOKOON ~ Behind the Seams

When I first started designing I was part of a design cooperative called Local Motion in Minneapolis. It stopped being a co-op many years ago but I still sell there, pretty much the last remaining retail relationship we have, and it has been an amazing relationship. 

And now I'm please to announce KOKOON is going to join another local Minneapolis designer collective, Showroom, on April 1st! Starting Saturday, you can find a nice selection of current styles at their Uptown Minneapolis store. Kinda back to our roots! I'm also excited because Tess' jewelry line, Belle Isle Design Co, is also there, and it's fun to do something together.

If you're in the Twin Cities, be sure to stop by and check out the local design scene! 
Showroom | 615 West Lake Street | Minneapolis

pulling together the assortment for Showroom

pulling together the assortment for Showroom

Inside Showroom

Inside Showroom

The studio is super busy right now, designing to fill in for spring/summer.
These florals are so fresh and I can't wait to work them up. 

Floral Fabrics.jpg

One of our most frequent requests this season has been more options in our Santa Fe blouse...a simple top, I had no idea we would blow through them so quickly. But, sometimes the simplest wardrobe solutions are the best wardrobe solutions. 

So, we sampled one in the top floral, we're calling this print the Garten of Ina ;-) 

We had a really fun photo shoot on Tuesday with a new-to-us model, Alesya, who was just a doll and so sweet!

And, tomorrow...is our last day our cutter's facility in LA. We've been there for over 15 years and a few weeks ago Emma and I went out to sort through all the fabric...what to do with it all! Our cutter is moving to a much smaller facility and can't take everything with him. 
As of this afternoon, it's all out...either moved or shipped back to Mpls, or sold..except one pallet full that I have no idea what to do with :-/.

A Chance to Win our Favorite Dress!

Our Mitzi Dress has become a favorite of our stylists and clients alike, and here is your chance to win it for yourself! 

From brunch to beach, this adorable off shoulder dress is the perfect mix of sweet and sexy (name that movie) in a pre-washed cotton seersucker mini gingham check...with pockets of course! 

We'll be counting down the days and drawing the winner on April 3rd on our KOKOON Facebook page.  

Enter to win HERE.

I'm telling you, you need this Mitzi Dress!

Be sure to enter by April 2nd and good luck!!
If you want to snag one before they're sold out, shop here ;-)

Ask Laine ~ What to Wear After A Double Mastectomy

Happy Monday, Lovelies!

Today I want to share with you a question I received in a Facebook message.
Jackie wrote and said she sometimes has difficulty finding casual wear after having had a double mastectomy and choosing not to have reconstructive surgery, or as she called it, 'Living Flat'. 

I admittedly was (and am) ignorant about this particular wardrobe need.
I did some research and found some support groups online and discovered that a growing number of women are opting out of reconstructive surgery (sometimes it is not an option) and some, as Jackie mentioned, are choosing to Live Flat...it's a thing. 

I thought I would be the perfect person to dole out advice on this topic, since I'm very flat chested, but this is different.  Some women in these groups professed to feel freer and are embracing their new flat chested shape. Others are dealing with scar tissue or concave issues and so it can be very challenging to dress confidently.

Overall, the impression I got was a desire to be able to dress cute and not deny their flatness nor draw attention to it. It is what it is. 

So, here's a short video with my fashion advice:

Some general elements to look for:

1) Always wear a cami or slip as your starting point. We like ours, but any will do as long as it has a more silky hand rather than cotton-y hand. Not only will it feel better on your skin, it will help your clothes glide over your body and lay better.

2) When shopping for knits, go for ones with some body, thickness, or texture, which will prevent clingy-ness. I gave examples of knit boucles, jacquard knits, stretch crepe, and french terry loop. 

3) Look for fabrics with surface texture, prints, or both, like our lace trimmed Bridget Tunic or 7th Inning Lace Tee. 

4) Gathering or shirring around the neck and shoulders help fabrics fall away easily from the body. 

5) If you can do a ruffle, ruffles are a great camouflage. 

6) Embrace the ability to go bra-less (if you can) and wear some flattering off-shoulder styles in fabrics with more structure, like a lightweight chambray or seersucker. I showed a sneak peek of some upcoming styles that are currently in development.

I love helping women feel confident and beautiful and I hope my input is helpful.  
If you have any fashion questions or would like some wardrobe advice, please feel free to message us on our Facebook Page or leave a comment below!

XO,

Laine Sou

Motivation Monday ~ Fear is Underrated

One of our former business partners (now passed away) once told me that fear was his biggest motivator. Not money, not success...Fear. He said it jokingly, but he meant it. 
And this was from a highly successful person. Someone who started as a teacher, he left because he was afraid he couldn't earn enough money to support his wife and growing family. He took a sales job with a very large national company and rose through the ranks to eventually become CEO. 

That has always stayed with me, not just because of what he said, but because he said it out loud and the fact that a highly successful person would admit that they were scared was a revelation. I have to admit that fear has always been one of my biggest motivators...fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of letting people down.  And I think that's true for many people, so you could say fear helps move you towards accomplishing your goals, and that's not a bad thing at all. 

Last week some of our (amazing) sales reps shared some of their own tips and best practices for social media, including utilizing videos. But video is scary to just about everyone. 
And one key piece of advice that really resonated was, "Do It Scared."
Waiting until your comfort zone catches up with you just isn't a winning strategy. 

Last week I tried my own Live FB Video. It was just a product information slash training video for our sales reps who weren't able to join us at our New Orleans sales meeting, but the idea of doing it terrified me. 
Who was it that said, "there's nothing to fear but fear itself"? I always thought that was a dumb saying...there's plenty of valid reasons to be scared. But, often the idea of doing something really is scarier than just doing it.
So, I did it and it went fine.

And then it became the whole Give a Mouse a Cookie thing...now the reps want product info videos to share with clients. 
So, guess what? Now we're doing product info videos. 
 
Here's the first one. Talk about scary.
And it would be ever so nice if I could figure out how to change the stop frame for the video. 
Anyway, if you could give us a thumbs up on You Tube that would be nice.

XO,

Laine Sou

Spring 2017 Trends

Pantone may have crowned Greenery as the Color of the Year, but I beg to differ. While there are wonderful greens in the market, they are mostly in the olive/teal range. 
My guess would have been a dusty rose or pale blush. The color is everywhere right now and looks spot on. 

The first real life peek into color trends for the season happen on the Golden Globes red carpet, and it was predominantly nudes/blushes along with some excellent metallics and shiny blacks (and tons of Embroidery). There were a couple nice pops of yellow, one standout red, one gorgeous blue, and one bad green. 

Here's a look at a wider color forecast chart for spring. 

Black made a huge comeback for spring, and much of it is heavy looking. Look for feminine embroidery mixed with a hard rock n' roll edge and shine. Even Coach's ads are promoting this look. 

Navy is basically a happier Black, but Navy pops color a million times better. White, ecru, yellow, orange, pink, coral, green...all look great with Navy.

Reds, from scarlet to corals, are right on. 

I thought stripes might take a break, but they came back stronger than ever, with fresh incarnations of awning stripes and banker stripes.

One of my favorite trends is Seersucker!
I literally never thought I would say that.

There is a general trend toward a return to classic patterns, including seersucker, gingham, checks, plaids, herringbone, tulle, embroidery. 

Spring. Florals. Ya know. 

We love tie dye and the abstract, free patterns. My favorite is Tory Burch's blue and white, it almost reads like a stripe. 

Embroidery is huge this season! So many beautiful interpretations, many are being mixed with tough accessories to tone the fragility.  

Going hand in hand with the return to classics and seersucker trend, all things preppy look very fresh.

I got hooked on the Amazon series, 'Good Girls Revolt', kind of a Mad Men for girls.  The late 60's into early 70's fashion was so fun. 

Ruffles are a huge trend, but one to be worn judiciously.

I love all the neck details happening, even chokers are making a comeback. From mock-t-necks to neck ties and criss-cross details, lots of attention is being paid to the neck. 

From waist-cinching to shoulder perching and everything in between, ties are a detail you'll be seeing everywhere.

Take your pick, but just a heads up...Victoria Bekham showed ONLY midi hems for her fall 2017 collection.

Waistbands have found their way to the natural waistline...or higher.

Who What Wear declared the cropped flared pant the worst trend of 2016. Haha! Maybe that means it will be the worst trend of 2017, too. Because it continues, along with all the other cropped pant silhouettes. 

I guess women like to flash a little skin, because this trend continues and is gaining popularity.

Casual athletic influence as lifestyle is everywhere and keeps getting stronger.

So much interest happening in sleeves, from splits, to trumpets, to tiered, to cape, to balloons, to flared. 

But, the number one trend continues to be the shoulder. Cold shoulder options, one shoulder, off shoulder, cut-out, in all combinations and variations. 

What is the trend you're most excited about for spring 2017? Leave a comment, I would love to hear!

XO,

Laine Sou

Golden Globes Breast Dressed

Holy Mother of Globes!

What was the most popular color of the 2017 Golden Globes? 
Boob. The color of Boob.
Remember when JLo caused a stir with her deep plunging chiffon number? Well, that was child's play compared to last night's Red Carpet looks. 
A surprising number of starlets got the memo and followed along...even sweet little Mandy Moore!
Let's take a look at some of the best.

Mandy Moore in Naeem Khan. Mandy managed to look sexy and sweet at the same time.

Mandy Moore in Naeem Khan. Mandy managed to look sexy and sweet at the same time.

Even though I wanted to grab Kristen's bodice by both sides and pull them together, I loved this dress so much, and she looked adorable.

Kristen Bell in Jenny Packham. 

Kristen Bell in Jenny Packham. 

Ditto for Jessica.

Jessica Biel in Elie Saab.

Jessica Biel in Elie Saab.

In a sea of black and shiny neutrals, this stood out. I just kept feeling nervous that those shoulder straps were going to slip off while she was presenting.

Jessica Chastain in Prada. I loved this color and cut, the bodice just looked a bit precariously perched.

Jessica Chastain in Prada. I loved this color and cut, the bodice just looked a bit precariously perched.

It's hard not to love Emma Stone, and she managed to make a jewel-encrusted, plunge necked, backless gown look demure. 

Emma Stone in Valentino. Emma looked lovely in this.

Emma Stone in Valentino. Emma looked lovely in this.

And Keri Russell! She rocked this dress, and it was a LOT of dress. 

Keri Russell in J. Mendel

Keri Russell in J. Mendel

Michelle Williams was my favorite look of the night. The hair, makeup, the little black choker...she was the perfect whisper in the room. 

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton

Reese has rarely looked better. She shined in canary yellow. 

Reese Witherspoon in Versace

Reese Witherspoon in Versace

Tom Ford. A man of a million talents...why wouldn't a fashion designer be nominated for a Best Director Golden Globe?
Loved the clean, strong lines on Amy.

Amy Adams in Tom Ford

Amy Adams in Tom Ford

One of the most daring looks due to the lack of skin, shine, and embelishment.

Evan Rachel Wood in Altuzzara custom

Evan Rachel Wood in Altuzzara custom

How perfectly cool was Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things?

Millie Bobby Brown in Jenny Packham

Millie Bobby Brown in Jenny Packham

I don't think I like this dress at all, but I loved The Crown so much, and after binge watching and staring at Claire's face for hours on end, I can't help but be mesmerized. To be fair, it appear better on film as she was walking to accept her award. 

Claire Foye in Erdem

Claire Foye in Erdem

Same story for Tracee...I was really happy for her because I love her in Blackish (although not appreciating all the in-show adver-shilling for Microsoft and Buick. Like we're stupid.) Do we love the dress? I think almost....maybe if it was floor length? Or is it the horizontal corset-ry across the lady parts that throws it off? Because if I look at the hips up, I am in love. 

Tracee Ellis Ross in a Zuhair Murad Couture dress

Tracee Ellis Ross in a Zuhair Murad Couture dress

The length might be what throws off Kerry Washington's dress for me, too. Close up on camera this was an amazing work of art. This photo does not do it justice.

Kerry Washington in Dolce & Gabbana

Kerry Washington in Dolce & Gabbana

The Pinks:

I gotta say, I would have rather seen wide open boobies than this mess on Felicity. The skirt is really pretty...never been a fan of the trompe l'oeil thing. 

Felicity Jones in Gucci

Felicity Jones in Gucci

This was done right.

Lily Collins in Zuhair Murad

Lily Collins in Zuhair Murad

That's a whole lotta pink + a whole lotta ruffle on Zoe. 

Zoe Saldana in Gucci

Zoe Saldana in Gucci

I did not get this at all. I don't know if those are pockets or finger warmers. 

Blake Lively in Atelier Versace

Blake Lively in Atelier Versace

I'm sorry to say this is the second time recently that SJP has been among my picks for least favorite looks. It's not terrible, it just isn't fun.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Vera Wang

Sarah Jessica Parker in Vera Wang

I think this has to be my least favorite dress of the evening...

Emily Ratajkowski in Reem Acra

Emily Ratajkowski in Reem Acra

Except there was this. 

Sophie Turner

Sophie Turner

Overall, I was surprised to see SO many neutrals, shiny metallics, ivory, and black. I thought there would be a ton of color, but the bursts of color were very sporadic. 
Of course the most memorable part of the evening besides the breast parade, was Meryl Streep's Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech. 

If you have a favorite (or not so favorite) I would love to hear!

Behind the Seams ~ Spring 2017 Development

Happy Holidays! 
I hope you all enjoyed a great one! 
This was a particularly exciting year because Hanukkah started the same weekend as Christmas, and that felt very special. 
I've been working non-stop lately, so I literally had just Christmas Eve day to do all my holiday shopping, including groceries for 3 family meals. I had no idea that the liquor store and Jerry's (our grocery store) closed at 4pm! When I walked in to Jerry's, there was non a single grocery cart. Which was funny because the parking lot wasn't very full. When a check-out boy walked towards me with 3 carts, I smiled and said, "oh thanks, I'll take one of those" but he just looked at me and kept walking. I'm like, "excuse me!" And a manager appeared and said, "M'am, we close in 6 minutes."
I hate being called M'am. My mouth must have gaped open. He kinda stood there a few seconds and then he nodded to the kid and said, "Go ahead and give her a cart." 
The kid wasn't supposed to give people carts! 
I was so grateful. There were sheets over parts of the produce stands, the butcher was gone, lights were off in some sections. I RAN through the store trying to remember the menu for all three meals. I forgot a few things, but it all ended up just fine and I was just so happy that I hadn't had to go home to 2 days of staring down a fridge containing only a half carton of eggs. 

The holidays are always one of my busiest times of the year. When I'm not at the studio, I bring patterns to work on at home. Yesterday was the first day I could start to see the line coming together, and felt a little less panicky. 

Preppy isn't usually my thing, but I'm just crazy about this gingham seersucker! This was he first test, I had to calm that ruffle down quite a bit as it was very balloon like over the boobs. It is SUPER CUTE!!!  

Preppy isn't usually my thing, but I'm just crazy about this gingham seersucker! This was he first test, I had to calm that ruffle down quite a bit as it was very balloon like over the boobs. It is SUPER CUTE!!!  

First test of a little fit and flare dress. I love this navy and coral jacquard knit, a perfect weight for early spring.

First test of a little fit and flare dress. I love this navy and coral jacquard knit, a perfect weight for early spring.

And...I think this is might have to be my mother of the groom dress for Sam's wedding this summer. This is an embroidered stretch tulle....really gorgeous fabric!! Very excited about this one ;-)

And...I think this is might have to be my mother of the groom dress for Sam's wedding this summer. This is an embroidered stretch tulle....really gorgeous fabric!! Very excited about this one ;-)

So, that's what's been going on. Follow us on Instagram @kokoonfashion for more sneak peeks as we get ready for spring.

And, now is the time if you or someone you know is interested in becoming a KOKOON stylist for spring 2017! Inquire here.

Happy New Year, Everyone!!

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. 

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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....

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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