House of Arden: Denver’s fashion dynasty
by Amanda Sheahan
The first time I saw the amazing tutus by House of Arden at this year’s Denver Style Expo, I fell in love. They were edgy, romantic, original, and best of all, local. At the end of the runway show, we were graced with the presence of not only Lesley Temple, the designer of these gamine tutus, but also her two beautiful daughters, Arden and Lael, who worked the runway like true professionals. After getting a chance to meet with Lesley, it was clear that this family affair is deeply imbedded in the fabric of this brand.
The first thing I had to ask Lesley was how she came up with the name, House of Arden. It is no surprise that it came from her daughter. “We had done a photo shoot and she just worked that camera. The photographer and I were joking that it was like House of Arden, the way she was posing. So the tutus are called Princess Lael after my oldest daughter and the company is House of Arden after my youngest.”
From the very beginning, this business has been all about family. “I started designing tutus for my girls. They were in dance and they are very tall. It’s difficult to find tutus that fit them correctly. One day I took a close look at the tutus they had and thought, “I can do that!’ So I gave it a shot.”
After experimenting and having a little fun with the material and designs, they began to be noticed, and she was encouraged by her husband to continue. She then began designing not only for her daughters and little girls, but was also catching the attention of teenagers and adults. “Girls started wearing them as prom dresses, and I wore one that I made for myself to a Mother’s Day brunch. That’s how the adult line began.”
By having a little fun and mixing materials she has been able to create something completely unique while drawing inspiration from the high end fashion Icons. “I love runway shows and fashion magazines. I think I own every issue of Vogue that has been printed. I love Dior andMcQueen, which have been huge inspirations to me. I also have two very girly little girls so, fairy tales also give me a lot of inspiration.”
The big attention-getting feature of these dramatic designs were the trains that have been added to the tutus, along with the embellishments such as flowers. When asked how she came up with these amazing designs, her response was simply “It’s a lot of trial anderror.” By playing around with materials she discovered what works and what doesn’t, and understanding that perfection generally doesn’t happen the first time around. “Seam ripping is NEVER pretty.”
Having to balance work, family, friends or any other combination of hectic schedules is a difficult proposition for many. Imagine having all of that, plus a talent that is starting to grow from a local business to, hopefully, a nationally-known brand. Lesley is a mom and wife with a full-time job and designs on the side, and the whole family is involved.
I asked Lesley how she finds the balance? “We are machines! My husband and I run this business together, and our kids are the best verbal partners we could have. It’s insanity but you learn to monitor time. ”
From home to the runway, House of Arden maintains a poise and balance of a loving,creative and talented family. We think this local brand will soon take the fashion world by storm.
House of Arden is available all over the Denver metro area, and you can learn where to find them, at http://houseofarden.com/.