Photo by Richie Lubaton. Model, @mrreeow
By Brittany Tiplady
Vancouver designer Julia Rechel has elevated the intimacy behind lingerie to create hand-sewn pieces for the every woman with her new label, Ellesmere.
The Emily Carr graduate launched the company in early February after a year of careful planning and development.
“It’s been a goal of mine to work in lingerie for a while. I studied in Emily Carr’s sculpture program and then after that I went on to study pattern making. But I would say that this lingerie project has been ongoing for about a year in the making. With pattern development and then testing garments on friends,” she explains.
Ellesemere is a one-woman show; Rechel has built the company with her own two hands—literally. All of the garments are carefully hand-made in her East Vancouver studio, with the intention to keep production ethical and in-house.
The brand name has another distinction as well —it is inspired by Canada’s great white north and bodes as a parallel between solitude and city life.
“I like the intimate personal nature of lingerie. It’s kind of like a secret, of what you wear under your clothes. There’s no limits to what you can design really, because even someone very conservative can wear something creative underneath. It’s really a private pleasure,” she said.
“I think that’s what drew me to lingerie.”
Santa Sofia, Ellesmere’s launch collection, covets soft blushes and golds, intricately crafted bras, and weightless fabrics.
“The collection is named after a character in Gabriel García Márquez ‘s 100 Years Of Solitude. And that’s quite a famous book in the magical realism literary genre, which I have been reading since I was a kid. I find a lot of inspiration in that genre. It’s not fantasy, but fantastical, so you can add in reality a bit. It’s the inspiration for the dreamy side of what I do,” said Rechel.
The unique dynamic behind Rechel and Ellesmere, is the drive to create pieces that bring out the organic beauty in women, regardless of shape or conformity.
“[Ellesemere] is all about confidence, and independence and really dressing for yourself. I think a lot of mainstream lingerie advertising really bothers me. It’s heavily photoshopped, and removes a women’s agency. For me as a designer, I want to make pieces that make women feel good. That make them want to dress for themselves and feel great about their bodies and want to treat themselves to something nice.”
Brittany Tiplady is a part-time poet, and a full-time goat cheese enthusiast. She loves the indoors, fast wifi, collecting maps, and a generous glass of red wine.