I found the saucy Toad Lillie while surfing Etsy last year and had to share it with you. I hope to someday have the nerve to surprise my husband with an outfit from this classy lady. I love what she has to say:
In the spirit of shameless glamour, Toad Lillie empowers you to embrace your inner seductress and bring him to his knees!
Can you describe yr art and process?
Toad Lillie is a line of decadent handmade lingerie. With a nod to vintage styling at the height of couture fashion and old Hollywood glamour, Toad Lillie lingerie transforms luxe fabrics into dramatic intimates for the modern woman. Exquisite shirring, ruching, pin-tucking and beading combined with a sophisticated color palette makes each “Lillie” a work of art. In case you’re wondering, the name Toad Lillie comes from a charming woodland flower which somewhat resembles an exotic orchid. Most people are unaware of them, but once discovered they are completely unforgettable. Toad Lillie aims to empower women to embrace their inner seductress and be completely unforgettable.
Tell us a little about yrself?
Hi, I’m Laurie. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my husband and our two rowdy little boys. I’m from Los Angeles originally and find it comical that I now live in the middle of Ohio. I moved to Chicago in my early twenties to go to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I concentrated in the Fiber program but focused mainly on figurative drawing and sculpture. I became fascinated with how the body both conceals and reveals. Kind of like a flower really, hence the Toad Lillie name. A stint working for the Chicago Historical Society’s Costume Department changed my path. An avid self-taught seamstress, I was smitten with their collection of vintage couture. Several years later I went to a burlesque show with some girlfriends of mine. I was so enamored with their costumes I asked the girls where they got their pasties. They told me they make them themselves. I announced right then to my friends that we should have a pastie making party and surprise our husbands. Well, the party was a big success (both with the girls and their husbands) and I realized that these were the perfect vehicle for my embellishment talents and indulging my ultra-girlie nature!
Can you just tell me a few things that inspire you?- how you work, yr process?
I am inspired by photographs of vintage couture gowns. A shirred bodice or the perfect drape of bias cut silk over the hips will often be a launching point in my design process. I am particularly fond of gowns in the 30s – 50s where women really flaunted their sexuality and there was excruciating detail to construction and embellishment. I wish I could dress like that on a regular basis. But living in reality, I figure I can take some of the unabashedly sexy glamour of those gowns and translate them into an affordable indulgence. So vintage couture inspired silk ruffles and chiffon flounces are strategically placed on pasties and garter belts in a fresh and modern way. Panties and bras are now in the works!
I want to know some things about what is it really like to be a working artist…the good and the bad?
Having come from “art” school, I don’t really consider myself to be an artist, more a craftsman really. I was unprepared for how labor intensive these Toad Lillie pieces would be, and am learning to balance my design vision to what I can realistically produce within my price point. It’s one thing to design the pieces; quite another to produce large wholesale orders. Thank goodness for Pilates – it’s saved my back from being stooped over the sewing machine! That being said, I feel really privileged to have the support of my family to pursue my dream. It is wonderful to be able to balance my creative passions with being an involved mommy.
What are the three top things you wish you would have known before you started this art/etsy/journey?
1. I wish I had taken some fashion design courses back in art school. I am a self-taught seamstress and some technical pattern grading experience would have been helpful.
2. How to do photography! I’m about to foray into using models to showcase my pieces and I’m a bit overwhelmed with the technicalities involved.
3. How much time I would need to invest in the business side of things. I was unprepared for how much work was needed to promote my shop. A superior product does not automatically translate to sales!
What are yr five top blogs/shops/etc on web?
Who would you love to meet online?
Actually, I’m more of a face-to-face kind of girl. I’d love to share a martini with Mae West or have a leisurely dinner with Rufus Wainwright! A girl can dream, right?!
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Please contact me at my blog or Etsy or email me at amytsharp (at) gmail (dot) com or twitter to give me scoop on cool things that you find or make! I want to hear from you!