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children’s fashion

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A chat with Tutu du Monde’s Andrea Rembeck

7th March, 2017

Sophia and her cousin Rose wearing Tutu Du Monde

Andrea Rembeck is the Sydney-based designer behind the stunning children’s label Tutu Du Monde. Her whimsical tutu designs are my go-to when I’m looking for something special for the girls to wear. Here, I chat to Andrea about her tricks to balancing work and motherhood, what is on her bucket list and the best advice she has ever received.

What is a day in the life of you?I usually start the day either running or swimming at Bondi so I feel like I’ve had a life before I hit the office. No one day is the same at work. However, we generally start the week off with a team meeting where we map out the week ahead, and then I’m often on the phone or emailing partners in the US before they go to sleep. We have a rather large network of photographers, magazines, stylists and celebrities abroad, so I invest a lot of time making sure we’re working harmoniously together.  We have 3 main collections per year, and so we’re pretty much always working on designing, smaller capsule collections and collaborations with retailers or other like-minded- brands. Ideally, I try to find some creative time every day but sometimes it falls by the wayside due to so many other business or PR related obligations. Apart from the creative, I have to steer the business as well and oversee all aspects of it.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Inspiration is rarely the problem, more often it’s the lack of time that’s the challenge. The creative process often starts with travel and scouring vintage stores and markets all over the world in the search for beautiful, timeless pieces with exquisite craftsmanship, which ultimately provide inspiration for my tutus. Once the collection has been designed and sketched I hop on a plane to India and spend a week or two in the workshop sitting with the artisans to transform my ideas and sketches into reality. It’s such a beautiful experience sitting with the beautiful women and seeing ideas take shape.

One of the gorgeous Tutu Du Monde tutus hanging at home

How did you start your business?

Upon the birth of my daughter Alyna, I took some time out to enjoy being a mother. When Alyna turned three and was able to voice her opinion she refused to wear anything non-girly and asked for tutu. I embarked on a quest to find one that was not mass-produced, hot pink and polyester. I couldn’t find anything made from natural materials, cottons and silks – that’s how Tutu du Monde was born, in 2009.

Who do you admire the most?

Successful women in business who follow their vision with passion and kindness whilst trying to keep balance in life such as Zena who is founder of House of K’Dor who keeps a busy schedule and an amazing mother.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Prioritise, don’t sweat the small stuff, cut out the noise and the unimportant. But most of all be true to yourself and have a clear vision.

As a mother, what is your trick to multitasking?

Thank fully my husband and daughter are very supportive, and I like to compartmentalise my day. When I’m with the family, I’m 100 per cent present and don’t compromise my time with them thinking about work. And then when I’m at work, I focus on managing the team and the tasks at hand. My days are very full, so structure with my great team help!

What is top of your bucket list?

Sumba (Island in Indonesia), Bhutan and Iceland

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Tom Ford, Vivienne Westwood, J.K. Rowling, Grace Coddington, Elon Musk, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tim Walker, Arianna Huffington and Gwyneth Paltrow.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I would love to rewind and re-live our recent campaign shoot in Palm Springs, California in early June 2016. I think I was so overwhelmed and excited that I didn’t soak everything in.

Every time I reflect on this campaign I get goosebumps (strange considering we were in the depths of the desert). Tutu du Monde took a departure from its signature campaign style to the wild allure of the desert to shoot on location. We were Californian dreaming… carefree, spirited and West Coast cool, and had girls fly and drive in for miles from every part of the States, eager to shine their light and become a Tutu Du Monde model.

The cast and crew drove off the beaten track to parched Californian roads; palm trees, cactus and dusty rocks decorated the landscape. The ground was so dry it cracked under our feet.

There was something so special about watching sequins dim in the dreamy desert light when the sun went down. And well I guess you could say I personally had a moment. It gave me goose bumps- a feeling of achievement where I looked around the room and saw a collection of internationally recognised and fabulous people who had come together to bring this vision we had only weeks ago authentically come to life in the genuine surrounds of the sands.

I’d love to go back except maybe at a slightly cooler time of year.

What is the favourite fashion piece you own?

An amazing white beaded vintage dress from the sixties with ostrich feathers down the sides that I bought some years ago in New York. I’m still waiting for the right occasion to wear it, it’s rather opulent.

Which has been your favourite Tutu du Monde piece?

I love the Cosmic Dust Cape in Cloud and Mink which is collared with playful pom poms and provides a theatrical statement about being spirited, carefree, and cool. It’s part of the new Desert Daze collection and is pure Hollywood glamour. But there are a few pieces in the Secret Garden Baby Collection (to launch in August) that I just love! Including a little dress perfect for [my daughter] Grace. It’s peppermint and features sequinned organza petals embellishing on the bodice and an intricately pleated four-tier ruffle. The whole collection is a tale of wondrous adventure.

What do you like to indulge on?

Tiramisu (occasionally).

What is your favourite room in the house?

We love being outdoors and having people over to our home. The entertainment area is an extension of the kitchen, opens all up and helps bring the outdoors in. We just added super comfortable and stylish oversized beanbags for slouching around. I love foliage and have an assortment of pot plants and succulents in the courtyard- a stunning shell beaded chandelier also decorates the frangipani tree. It’s very mid century-boho-chic. It’s our private oasis.

Stylist- curated_by

Photography: @hayleysparksphotography

Fashion, What I Wore

What I Wore: Family time

16th February, 2017

Spending quality time with the girls on the weekend is one of my favourite things to do. We’ll do everything from go for walks around our neighbourhood to go to the beach or step out for a bite to eat and when we do comfort is definitely key as far as my outfit goes. I find throwing on a dress is the easiest way for me to get out the door quickly but opting for a fun bird print like that on the above Karen Walker dress helps give it a little personality. My new Nicholas Kirkwood slides are an easy footwear option as they look quite polished but are easy to slip on and off should we find ourselves doing an impromptu visit to the park or the beach. I am really loving the trend towards pointed flats, I think it’s a really modern look and is a great alternative to traditional flats. Any bag that I take with me when I’m out with the girls must have a strap to keep my hands free but I also like to keep things on trend which is where my favourite new Gucci handbag enters the picture. I love the applique on the bag which helps complement the playful nature of the dress.

Shop my favourite dresses for a family day out

Pair the outfit with some slides to match

Credits: Kate’s Dress, Karen Walker; Shoes, Nicholas Kirkwood, Bag, Gucci; Sunglasses, Celine. Sophia wore Chloe and Amelie

Photography: Sophia Athas

Fashion

Fashion profile: Andrea Rembeck, Tutu Du Monde

9th May, 2016
ANDREA PORTRAIT_015_R

Andrea Rembeck is the founder of Tutu Du Monde

With sparkles, tulle and other beautiful embellishments Andrea Rembeck’s gorgeous tutus are a little girl’s dream come true. As the founder of Tutu Du Monde, Rembeck is the creative mind behind the ethereal brand that has struck a chord with mothers and daughters alike. Here she talks about who she would to see in one of her creations, the inspiration for her business and how she creates garments that are so uniquely magical…

What inspired you to start Tutu Du Monde?

My daughter Alyna inspired me to start Tutu Du Monde. She is incredible strong-willed (surprise, surprise nothing like me) and refused to wear pants ever since she since could voice her opinion. So, through my endless search in a market of polyester tutu costumes I realised that there was an opportunity to design and produce a children’s brand with more soul and authenticity. Something using natural materials, cottons and silks with beautiful embroidery and bead work.

The range is gorgeous. How do you stay inspired to design each collection?

Thank you. Inspiration is rarely the problem, more often it’s the lack of time that’s the challenge.

The creative process often starts with travel and scouring vintage stores and markets all over the world in the search for beautiful, timeless pieces with exquisite craftsmanship, which ultimately provide inspiration for my tutus. Once the collection has been designed and sketched I hop on a plane to India and spend a week or two in the workshop sitting with the beaders to transform my ideas and sketches into reality. It’s such a beautiful experience as I get to shake the hands of the creators.

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Who would you love to see wearing one of your designs?

Our goal is to make every girl feel like a princess. We are blessed to have so many mothers and daughters who take the time to share so many stunning images with happy and starry-eyed girls wearing Tutu du Monde. It’s beautiful getting so much love. So we love how accessible our clothes are to everyone.

Having said that it would be an honour to dress a real princess one day, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge comes to mind…

What do you enjoy most about designing a range for children?

Bringing happiness and joy to little girls is the most rewarding part of this ‘job’. We’re hoping to create so much more than just a piece of clothing – memories of a moment in time – something that stays with the little girl and her mother, father, grandparent etc. for years to come.

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What’s a typical day in the life of for you?

I usually start the day swimming/running at Bondi Beach so I feel like I’ve had a life before I hit the office. We start the week off with a team meeting where we map out the week ahead, and then I’ll be on the phone for a few hours each morning to the USA before they go to sleep. We have a rather large network of photographers, magazines, stylists and celebrities abroad, so I invest a lot of time making sure we’re working harmoniously together. We have three collections per year, and so we’re pretty much always working on designing, smaller capsule collections and collaborations with retailers or other like-minded- brands. Ideally, I try to find some ‘creative’ time every day but sometimes it falls by the wayside due to so many other business or PR related obligations. Apart from the creative, I have to steer the business as well and oversee all aspects of it.

What’s been your biggest career highlight?

Despite highlights such as dressing some stunning young ladies for premieres, shooting campaigns with very talented and inspirational women and seeing Tutu Du Monde hang in world class stores, it felt like we’ve made it when we moved into our new premises last year that are many times the size of the original Tutu du Monde office. It now feels like a ‘serious’ business.

How did you get into fashion design?

I’ve studied fashion design at French fashion college ESMOD. Upon graduation I started working for a local design house but was soon asked to design for Escada. However, I decided to follow my dreams of emigrating from my home country of Germany to Australia and, after working for a number of leading Australian brands, I started my own label which was sold in Australasia and the US.

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What do you hope to achieve with Tutu Du Monde in the future?

We have an amazing collective of staff, photographers, stylists and artisans we collaborate with around the globe. I have a direction and vision for each collection which is then translated by these amazing people into what becomes available to our customers through finished products and photo shoots. My goal is to continue to balance the art of fashion and working with these amazing people with the commercial realities of running a business. We hope new categories such as our swim S/S17 will resonate with our customers and S/S17 collection being shot in Palm Beach will firmly secure Tutu Du Monde as the go to children’s brand for stylish mothers around the globe.

You’ve launched Tutu Du Monde Bespoke – what inspired you to branch out into customised garments?

We love luxurious and exquisite embellishments and dresses and sometimes we’re a little constricted with the required price points in our main collection. The Bespoke collection allows us our customers and ourselves the opportunity to get involved in the design process.

Why do you think the brand has been so successful?

I think and hope that our customers are aware that Tutu Du Monde is unique in many ways. Our garments are not mass produced, they’re made one by with the intention to be handed down as heirlooms to the next generation, rather than going to a landfill. Our garments capture an innovative confluence of cultures – we work with artisanal communities in India to create pieces with an adventurous spirit using the ancient wisdom of beading. Each are very precious.

We design with sustainability on our mind without compromising style.

But on an emotional level, it’s almost like the moms (including me) are re-living or re-imagining their childhood – with clothes they would have loved to wear (had Tutu Du Monde been around). Surely, there’s nothing wrong with being taken back to our childhood.