How To: Be the Hostess with the Most-est

The holiday season is fast approaching and with it, those endless festive fêtes… Feeling overwhelmed already? Never fear! We’ve picked some of our favorite hosting tips to share so you can get ahead of party planning.

1. Dress to Impress

And most importantly to be comfortable!!
Our new Ball Skirt (pictured above) is fabulous and comfy…the perfect piece to play hostess in. With two different length options, you can make a statement in heels or run around in flats (all ethically produced, thank you very much).
What you wear sets the tone of your get together!

2. Choose a Theme

We’re not talking about a Prom theme here, picking a theme can often help streamline your party planning and keep you on track. Old Hollywood Glamour, Rustic Forest, or Tropical Getaway…simple or elaborate, themes help reflect the vibe you want to set and also help your guests get in the mood! Pinterest has got you covered with tons of ideas and how-to’s.
Kick it up a notch by tying in everything from invitations to table settings for an even more memorable event.

3. Create a Signature Cocktail

Another way to make your party stand out from the rest is to dedicate an area within your kitchen or dining as a “home bar” featuring your favorite cocktail! Instead of playing bartender all night, having a big batch of something festive prepared like this Winter Cranberry Martini is an easy way to shake up your typical wine and beer offerings.

4. Consider Some Favors

Going along with your chosen theme, party favors don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Small pots of herbs or succulents make a great takeaway - even sending out some home-baked goods cleverly wrapped can make an impact.

5. K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, sweetheart)

Always remember to s i m p l i f y so you can stay calm and actually enjoy your event too!

Find these ideas and more on our Pinterest party board! Happy Hosting ~

BTS…

Capturing the shot with our amazing photographer, Melissa, and our adorable model Kinzi.

BTS kinzi and Melissa on couch .jpg

Design Challenge Reveal

That week between opening the box and having to present the results went pretty fast, and as I mentioned before, it was way more stressful than I anticipated. 

So, on April 17th we had a special Facebook Live event that featured a bunch of "Few of A Kind" special order styles and then also pieces I designed using the fabrics from the 'mystery box' of fabric. 

 By Monday afternoon I had finished ONE of the 4 design challenge pieces.

By Monday afternoon I had finished ONE of the 4 design challenge pieces.

 By Tuesday at about 4pm, we had finished the main 4 fabrics and so...what the hell, why not do something cute with the 5th fabric???

By Tuesday at about 4pm, we had finished the main 4 fabrics and so...what the hell, why not do something cute with the 5th fabric???

(Thank Goodness the video worked. The last two FB Live events we did were simply horrible video quality and we lost a lot of viewers because of it. I was really nervous and trying to be confident which you can see at the beginning of the video.)

I really loved the results, and the 'audience went wild' (muffled cheering in the background), no seriously, the reaction was so fun and it's been even more super fun to get messages and emails the last few days from people who have since watched the video wanting to order the Few Of A Kinds from the show. 

So, here it is, the FB Live Show with the Design Challenge Results plus other super limiteds and Few Of A Kinds.  

Laine reveals the results of the "mystery box" fabric challenge and many other 'Few of A kind' limited edition designs available during this Facebook Live show!

We'll be doing more FB Live shows, and many more 'Few of A Kind' designs because...a couple reasons...it's a great way to use up little bits of fabric, so it's 'sustainable' (such an abused word) but most importantly, clients love it. 
And it is actually really fun.

(please join our VIP Group! For advance notice of stuff, updates, FB Live videos, and things like that)

XO,

Laine Sou

Design Challenge!!

So..I had this bright idea that involved opening up (Live, on camera) one of our many boxes of fabric had have been stored high up in our warehouse, untouched for the past 10 years, and then making myself design stuff with whatever was inside. 
It sounded like a fun idea at the time. And actually, the idea was fun. The execution however, not so much. 
The Live un-boxing was kind of my Geraldo Rivera moment. Except I kind of cheated but not really. 
We opened the box one week before the Facebook Live event in which I was to reveal the designs with the 'challenge fabrics'. I also had a bunch of other Few Of A Kind designs I had to get ready for this same deadline.
It was also 5 days before tax day, which also happened to be my wedding anniversary, which it is every year. That's how that works. 
Here's the un-boxing:

We chose a box of fabric unopened for 10 years...tune in to next week's Facebook Live show on April 17th show to see what we make with it!!

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Needless to say, my weekend was shit. 
We got 20 inches of snow (in freaking mid-April) which I was alternately pissed off about and grateful for ~ because it was a great excuse to stay home and work. 
I honestly didn't think the design challenge would be such a big deal, but it really threw me in to a different level of stress! I didn't want to dissappoint our reps, clients, viewers...and I wanted the results to be fun and something that you all (y'all if I was Southern, which I often wish I was, even just to be able to say y'all) would be delighted with. 

OK...check the next post for the design challenge reveal!!! 

And please, join our VIP Group on FB. 

XO,

Laine
 

Behind the Seams ~ Fall Photo Shoot

Last week's unexpectedly perfect weather mix of warm plus overcast allowed us to not only finish shooting some fall merch, but some spring styles as well! We were able to get most of it done before the sun burned away our cloud cover, then we booked it back to Melissa's studio to finish up some upcoming sale and SOTW items. 

Our new intern, Anne, joined us to do a little behind the scenes filming.
Take a peek at this fun behind the scenes look at our KOKOON photo shoot! 

Model: Ashlee

 

Peek Behind the Seams

A few more snaps of the photo shoot ~ featuring one of our new favorites, the KOKOON Hitch a Ride Pullover in Lagoon (for future release). The Celery and Navy were just introduced and these feel so amazing...the washed rib knit is spongy and really has nice substance.
From crunches to brunches, this top does it all in comfy style!

ashlee hitch horizontal.jpg
ashlee hitch horizontal sitting.jpg
 our adorable photographer

our adorable photographer

 outtakes from the screen of  Melissa Louise Photography

outtakes from the screen of Melissa Louise Photography

Coming soon, can't wait! 

Behind The Seams


Yesterday's photoshoot was so lucky ~ sandwiched between huge thunderstorms the night before, and even bigger ones to come later that day!
We're in love with this striped turtleneck that we just put into work.  Of course it has a "little something" to make it special, you'll just have to wait to see what it is ;-)

More sneak peek photos tomorrow! 

KOKOON hitch a ride lagoon.jpg
KOKOON wrapsody floral blouse.jpg

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 :-/.

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

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

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

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

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

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 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!

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

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

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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

 

 

I Went Red!

Saturday I was honored to be a part of Minnesota's Red Dress Collection, a night of fashion and philanthropy raising money and awareness for women's heart health. 

 Natalie in KOKOON. A twirl from Viking's Greg Jennings was icing on the cake.

Natalie in KOKOON. A twirl from Viking's Greg Jennings was icing on the cake.

This is a gala event that matches designers with local celebrities, and I was lucky enough to be paired with adorable WCCO anchor and reporter Natalie Nyhus. We hadn't met previously and we clicked immediately. If you're going to custom make a dress for someone, you just hope they appreciate your aesthetic and don't steer you towards fabrics or silhouettes that you wouldn't usually associate with your brand. Since KOKOON is all about comfortably feminine dresses, I wanted our red carpet look to reflect that, and Natalie was all for it.

 Detail of the fabric and trim

Detail of the fabric and trim

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 First fitting...worked beautifully!

First fitting...worked beautifully!

 At the final fitting, we had to keep it under wraps until the runway show.

At the final fitting, we had to keep it under wraps until the runway show.

Since I was traveling a lot and Natalie has a busy work schedule, we were able to condense the entire process, from sketch to completed final dress in one week. Natalie brought a cameraman and did a behind the scenes feature for WCCO, which you can watch here!

Here are some highlights from this magical evening.

 All models wore jewelry designed for the event by Realia by Jen.

All models wore jewelry designed for the event by Realia by Jen.

 A champagne toast helped calm nervous energy.

A champagne toast helped calm nervous energy.

 Fashion Stylist Hollie Mae with Minnesota Red Dress Collection founder and host, Carly Aplin.

Fashion Stylist Hollie Mae with Minnesota Red Dress Collection founder and host, Carly Aplin.

 All the designer's sketches framed as gifts to the models.

All the designer's sketches framed as gifts to the models.

 The Voice's Kat Perkins waiting backstage.

The Voice's Kat Perkins waiting backstage.

 So happy to see Tim Navarro, who appeared on last season's Project Runway!

So happy to see Tim Navarro, who appeared on last season's Project Runway!

 The WCCO team all did a great job of modeling!

The WCCO team all did a great job of modeling!

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 And the runway show ended with Kat Perkin's powerhouse solo!

And the runway show ended with Kat Perkin's powerhouse solo!

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 So grateful to have my handsome husband by my side!

So grateful to have my handsome husband by my side!

 Surrounded by 2 beautiful ladies wearing one-of-a-kind KOKOON dresses!

Surrounded by 2 beautiful ladies wearing one-of-a-kind KOKOON dresses!

 Our friends celebrating the 10th anniversary of their son's heart transplant that night! 

Our friends celebrating the 10th anniversary of their son's heart transplant that night! 

Such a fun experience and so glad to be a part of such a great cause.

See all the photos here. Photo credit to Rhea Pappas.

Welcome! And a look Behind the Seams

Welcome to the home of our brand new blog! (You can still visit our former posts  here.)

Since we just launched our Spring 2015 collection, I thought a look behind the seams at our spring photo shoot would be a great way to kickoff our new beginning.

I'm really in love with these images, and part of my attachment is because we were able to do the entire shoot in our newly-built home. The whole journey of building a home is something I had wanted to share with you, but we really had issues and I never felt I could post publicly. It's a long story and I will tell you about it someday, a well as go back and walk you through the design of it, but for today I'll keep it about the making of the pretty pictures. ;-)

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If you don't already know, this is my favorite dress of all time. The Black Widow Baby. Super limited, cut to order only, and it's my 50th Birthday Dress...so lovely.

My part in photo shoots involves a lot of fussing and tugging and getting my backside shot as our photographer tests her settings.

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Our photographer, our amazing photographer...I love her so much. 
You should hire her. Melissa Louise Photography.
We actually met her about 6 years ago when she did Tess' senior photos. We were so impressed Dik-San said we need to hire her for our company. And she still does senior photos!
Our model hired her the next day for her engagement photos :-)

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xoxo, 

Laine Sou