This week we gather together our families and take a moment to give thanks and celebrate all we have. Here at Isabel Garretón, we want to take this moment to thank you for being a part of our social mission.
Did you know Isabel Garretón is a social enterprise that exists to give opportunity to underprivileged women?
Over 25 years we have:
You don't have to take our word for it! We are proud to share that in 2015 our manufacturing was the fastest vetted company to be given the B Corporation certification, independently certifying us as company that exists to improve a social condition.
Thank you for supporting our mission to support women through opportunity! We are proud to be a business of women helping women across borders, languages, and generations.
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Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving!
The team at Isabel Garretón
Fostering Craftsmanship and Making Girls Dresses Beautiful in Many Ways
Becoming a first time mother of a baby we cannot wait to hold definitely transforms how we feel about so many things. The instant we become mothers, our priorities change. Our interest in making the world a better place for our children increases. The thought that even one mother is unable to meet her children’s basic needs for food and shelter hurts. Isabel Garretón’s entrée into motherhood decades ago unleashed a burning desire to help underprivileged mothers and their children. This is the story of Isabel Garretón, the brand.
Isabel was a promising young scientist invited to study in the U.S. by the World Health Organization. While completing her masters in science, Isabel settled in Los Angeles with her husband and started a family. Committed to raising her girls and being available to them, she left her career to become a stay-at-home mom, a path taken by many women. While feeling fortunate to be able to be with her daughters, the loss of her professional identity left a hole in her life. She decided to fill the void by creating a company that would provide a dignified work opportunity and fair wages for underprivileged women in her native Chile. She reached out to women who had incredible hand-embroidery, hand-smocking and dressmaking skills. With her childhood passion for sketching dresses, Isabel felt certain she could expand the market for their skills beyond Chile and, as a result, improve their lives and the lives of their children.
And, so, the once-aspiring scientist embarked on a new career path into the world of children’s dressmaking. She traveled to her hometown of Santiago, Chile and, with 21 women, mothers like herself, brought her sketches of little girls’ dresses to life. She presented the beautifully hand-made dresses to Maggie Chaffin, owner of the prestigious Dottie Doolittle children's wear boutique in San Francisco. Maggie ordered 54 dresses, and Isabel Garretón, Inc.—a social enterprise—was born.
That was over 25 years ago and Dottie Doolittle remains a client. A pioneer then, today, Isabel Garretón dresses are found in the best stores in the country and many places around the world. Her collections support more than 100 women and their families, many of whom work from home so they can simultaneously care for their children. The success of her social enterprise is a testament to what Isabel has always believed: that a beautiful dress has more meaning when it helps make the world a better place.
“Every mother who has waited with excitement for the bright newness of a baby deserves the time and space to enjoy her child’s smile and laughter. Helping women care for their children while earning a living has been a lifetime endeavor that has made my life and that of my children better,” says Isabel.
Thank you for being a part of Isabel Garretón’s dream. Happy Mother’s Day!
Fashion trends come and go, but few garments have the staying power of the christening gown. That’s what we love about designing these beautiful gowns. They represent a family’s heritage and tie generations of families together like no other garment in history. A fascinating example of this time-honored tradition is the British Royal Family’s christening gown. It has a storied history that begins with Queen Victoria, who commissioned the gown for the christening of her daughter, Victoria, in 1841. It was styled after the Queen’s wedding dress and has been worn by 62 royal babies over the course of 163 years. That’s truly amazing and is just as it should be. Queen Victoria described the precious gown in her diary as ‘a white Honiton point lace robe and mantle over white satin.’ The Christening gown reads like a history book, but its style has stood the test of time and is just as relevant today as it was nearly two centuries ago.
CREDIT: John Stillwell/AP
Of course, even these barely worn gowns cannot last forever. The original 1841 gown was officially retired in 2004, but Queen Elizabeth had it replicated to a tee, so future royal babies can blissfully carry the tradition forward as if nothing has changed. Prince George wore it in 2013 and we are excited to see the heirloom of all heirlooms appear again this summer for the christening of his royal sibling, who is due to arrive in April.
For those of you who want your baby to be christened in a gown similar to Kate and William’s, try Isabel Garretón’s lace and cotton batiste Renaissance Gown.
Other styles we love are made of the finest fabrics and are just as lavishly appointed with intricate hand-embroidered details, hand smocking, collar treatments, monogramming and more.
While christening gowns are meant to be worn by girls and boys, we also have a selection of boys’ rompers, a style that came into vogue in the 1920s and is growing in popularity today.
Accessories, such as booties and monogrammed bonnets, blankets and bibs, sweaters and coats, feature the same exquisite fabrics and embellishments as the gowns and rompers and are irresistible finishing touches.
The best part is, Isabel Garretón handmade dresses are part of a social enterprise to give underprivileged artisans in Chile dignified work opportunities and the chance for a better life. So, every time a baby is christened in one of our gowns, our family tradition of giving back to the world becomes a part of your family’s tradition.
Each spring, as sure as daffodils and tulips dot the landscape, little girls will parade into church and other events on Easter Sunday wearing the season’s best new spring dresses. Easter has long marked the unofficial start of the spring fashion season and, when it comes to designer children’s wear, one need look no further than Isabel Garretón to see how this year’s floral motifs and colors are being interpreted for the youngest members of the family.
Isabel Garretón’s Easter Collection is fresh with floral prints in a variety of classic and contemporary styles that will find themselves in church, gardens and the beach, wherever the family gathers.
Isabel Garretón finds inspiration in the classic hand smocking of a rose garden and embellished hand embroidery of tiny pink rosettes.
We couldn’t let go of the fresh minty colors for spring so we hand embroidered a garland around this, a more contemporary shift and matching bubble, thinking some families would want a portrait that brought siblings together.
Hand smocking is such a tradition in children’s clothing, we will never let go of it. This hand-smocked collar is a new way of presenting this treasured skill.
The playfulness in the direction of the pink stripes and the bow in this Easter dress and Easter bubble is a lighter option for these very feminine pink stripes to welcome spring.
Isabel Garretón’s intense shade of apricot would have woken Goldilocks from a long winter’s nap. Bring an untraditional pop of color to this year’s Easter celebration with these block classics and baby bubbles.
What Easter celebration is complete without flowers? Isabel Garretón’s handmade artisan floral appliqués are fresh, feminine and oh so pretty. Here, we show them paired with a chiffon pleated dress for an exquisite white on white statement…in rich canary colored blooms on long green stems against bright yellow cotton…or sprinkled about the shoulders on pale pink tulle for a more formal look that is so beautiful it just takes your breath away!
Classic shapes and pretty white lace paired with a splash of ballet pink, are styles so light and breezy, girls will feel like they’re floating on air.
Whether you’re headed to Easter brunch or an egg hunt after church, going for a day feeling of cotton and light fabrics that can take you into the season’s balmier temperatures, or dressing for a more formal occasion that calls for organza and embroidered embellishments, it may be that with the weather we are having, no Easter outfit will be complete without a spring cardigan.
Topics: Easter Style
We were so pleased to read that the Wedding Trends Report from The Knot forecasts a return to tradition and opulence fit for Royalty. The fancier, the better, according to the report. That means large wedding parties, cathedral ceremonies, formal, well-heeled, old-world style. Think Downton Abbey.
Flower Girls will multiply in number and they’ll be dressed to fairytale proportions in layers of fine fabrics with hand embroidered details, perfectly tied bows, monogrammed sashes, and more.
Statement Flower Girl Accessories
Flower Girl accessories, from white patent leather shoes and silk Cinderella slippers to gloves trimmed in pearls and matching handbags to delicate floral crowns and pearl-adorned boleros, capture a bygone era when children didn’t need a wedding to dress their best!
Whether your dream wedding takes a more formal path or not, adding a beautifully dressed flower girl to your wedding party is a delightful way to announce the bride’s arrival. At Isabel Garretón, every detail of each and every flower girl dress is an unforgettable labor of love for our artisans. Like your guests, we can’t wait to see the pictures and are always amazed by how breathtaking each little girl looks in her special dress.
Q&A with Rosa, a newlywed
Photography by Courtney Davidson
Q. Looking back on your May 2014 wedding, what was your biggest challenge, Rosa?
A. I come from a close family and wanted to include all four of my nieces and my nephew in my wedding. Because it was such a big group of flower girls, I got very involved in the dress selection process. I wanted to make each girl feel really special, so I made the oldest my Maid of Honor, the youngest my Flower Girl and the two middle girls Junior Bridesmaids. Because my wedding dress was lace, I wanted four lace flower girl dresses that were similar in style yet celebrated the uniqueness of each girl. Finding dresses made of the same fabric in different styles to accommodate a wide range of ages turned out to be a challenge.
Photography by Courtney Davidson
What made you decide to customize your flower girl dress with Isabel Garretón?
I work in Manhattan where I’m surrounded by the best shopping in the world, so I thought finding flower girl dresses would be easy. Instead, I searched for weeks and months, until finally, I walked into Saks Fifth Avenue and discovered Isabel Garretón’s elegant flower girl dresses. I work in the garment industry so I could immediately tell how amazing her quality is. I went online to see her entire collection and saw a note on the website that she could customize her dresses to do exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t believe it!
Photography by Courtney Davidson
What was the process of customizing your flower girl dresses like?
Surprisingly simple. First, Isabel Garretón sent me custom fabric swatches in my Pantone colors. I thought the first batch of colors looked a bit dark, so they gladly sent me more. I still thought they looked dark and then I held them in the air as if they were cascading down the aisle in my wedding and saw how beautiful the colors looked in the natural light. They were perfect. The experience was like going into a fancy wedding dress salon. They treated my wedding like it was the most important thing in the world to them. I provided the girls’ basic measurements, chest, waist, and shoulder to hem length. The dresses arrived in four weeks. That’s pretty fast considering they were handmade for me with custom linings in Chile!
Tell me about your four flower girl dresses?
I chose the Gala and Blossom styles which use the same Floral Cotton Lace and Organdy with a big bow in the back. One was a tiny bit more expensive because it had a skirt that included a petticoat and was longer. The smallest flower girl wore that dress. The other three dresses were worn by three cousins and featured the same waisted cut and flair skirt to the knee, a different sleeve - cap or short – and each dress had a different colored lining that peeked through the lace in tangerine, pink, light blue, and lavender. They were exactly what I was looking for.
Were there any surprises?
I had no idea Isabel Garretón is a social enterprise brand. The dresses were such a good price ($180 each, which included the custom cut and lining) and I felt good that my flower girls were helping women in another country support their families. Isabel Garretón was so flexible every step of the way. I work for an apparel company, so I know how much work and trouble it is to make a beautiful dress like this by hand. These Chilean women truly are artisans.
Photography by Courtney Davidson
Did you learn any important lessons you’d like to share with other brides?
I couldn’t believe a luxury brand like this offered customization with so much personal attention. I encourage every bride-to-be to try it! You’ll be so happy with the results.
Photography by Courtney Davidson
Celebrating a First Holy Communion is an important and meaningful ceremony in the life of a Catholic child. When a girl has her first communion, the dress she will wear becomes a beautiful reflection of purity. It is meant to be special, elegant, and like the event she is about to experience, unforgettable. These are the qualities in every dress designed for First Communion at Isabel Garretón.
We know that the communion dress is the dress she will look forward to wearing more than any before. It is attached to the family’s beliefs, what they cherish and value. It is the dress she will not want to take off, the dress that will remain in the collective memory in many pictures of the family, the pictures this little girl’s children will look at when they grow up.
Designing for such a memorable moment in so many people’s lives gives the Communion Collection a place all of its own when making decisions on fabrics, details, embellishments… The 2015 Collection includes new Communion Dress styles and some that have been part of the collection before and remain Communion favorites. At the request of customers, over the years we have been adding coordinated handmade keepsake communion accessories, including veils, floral halos, gloves, and handbags that will complete the special look that day requires.
Every dress made by Isabel Garretón has afforded the women constructing them, embroidering them and sewing them a dignified work opportunity they might not have had otherwise. Something we trust will make every Communion girl wearing one of our dresses feel good.
Here are a few Communion dresses that we hope will take your breath away when you see your daughter making her way down the center aisle of the church.
These are some of the accessories that complete the Communion Dress, creating a portrait to be remembered.
Topics: First Communion Dress
With a third of all marriage proposals taking place during the holiday season, a flurry of activity is taking place this month among brides who have started planning their big day, from choosing the dress of their dreams to deciding what their bridesmaids will wear. Flower girls have become an equally important part of the wedding pageantry. At Isabel Garretón, we have the ability to tweak any one of our exclusive flower girl designs to suit a bride’s fancy. Our 2015 Flower Girl Collection includes 45 precious styles that can be customized into one-of-a-kind dresses to ensure that the littlest members of the bride’s wedding party delight guests every step of the way.
There is something so breathtaking and magical about extending the bride’s chosen color palette to the flower girl’s dress. These creative twists and turns surprise me in different ways each time. I remember a bride who customized the Ribbons dress for a beach wedding in Hawaii. Instead of the seven color ribbons we offer, she chose a beautiful orange. The result was unexpectedly stunning.
With slight changes such as a dash of color here, a monogram there or a completely different fabric, we put our design expertise and creative energy to work fulfilling the bride’s desire for uniqueness down to the very last detail. Each and every time, we can’t wait to see the outcome!
Here we show how our flower girl dresses can be customized to create surprisingly different looks.
A Hint of Color – A custom-colored lining coming through a light chiffon or lace to match the bride’s chosen accent color is a clever way of making the flower girl a true part of the wedding party without looking too grown up. This dress is floaty, fairylike and distinctly hers. If a bride has more than one flower girl, this custom-lining trick done in a rainbow of coordinating colors makes an individually beautiful, yet cohesive statement.
photo credit: Courtney Davidson
Stylish Sleeves – Sleeve styles instantly change a dress silhouette. Short sleeves usually work best for little flower girls, no sleeves for the older flower girls and ¾ sleeves for winter weddings are ideal. With so many brides foregoing the church wedding for an outdoor venue and the growing popularity of destination weddings, almost anything goes. With a number of sleeve options, from cap sleeves, half sleeves and short sleeves to flair sleeves, transparent sleeves and sleeveless, pairing a sleeve style with a flower girl dress the bride loves is a simple change that makes the dress work anywhere.
Make a Splash with a Sash – Incorporating the bride’s color palette in the flower girl’s dress can be as simple as adding a custom-colored sash or romantic ribbon treatment. Sashes with beautifully tied bows and streams of cascading ribbons are romantic details that have a uniquely childlike and endearing quality. A sash can also be personalized on one side with the bride and groom’s initials. This will become a gift carrying the memory of the day once it is over. And, by turning the monogram to the inside, the sash can be used later with other dresses.
Fanciful Fabrics – A flower girl dress made of feminine silk chiffon with a touch of lace at the collar has a vintage quality, while the same dress made of cotton batiste with the same lace trim has a simple, yet elegant appeal. Fabrics evoke style and mood in their hand, the way they fall and how they move. A beach wedding may call for something light and breezy, while a winter wedding calls for something cozy and warm.
Fit to Wear – Often, the bride will have several flower girls ranging in age, from toddlers to tweens. This may require a special amount of customization in order to attain the desired fit for each girl. You have the girl with a little tummy, the very tall, ultra thin girl, as well as the shy girl, etc…all wanting to feel beautiful. Our artisans work their magic and the results are always outstanding.
Brides often ask me which flower girl dress is my favorite. I love every design in our collection for different reasons, but our Fantasy dress is a style that forever amazes me. The subtleness of the hand embroidered neckline with pearl inserts all the way to a slightly open back is always striking. Whether the bride chooses the ivory dress lined in pink with a pink sash or white with a navy silk sash or in all white or candlelight ivory, I love to imagine the little girl walking down the aisle announcing the bride with the gentle drop of petals.
Topics: Flower Girl Dress
The New Year brings new goals, new expectations and new possibilities. Celebrating New Year’s Eve was always a family affair in Chile where I grew up. Everyone dressed up for a magical celebration full of promise, new beginnings and exciting new things to come. I remember as a child waiting for the countdown on the TV or radio…10...9...8… Bursting fireworks signaled the arrival of New Year. Everyone embraced and wished each other a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Our New Year’s celebrations were always great family affairs, including from the great grandparents to the newest baby, added to the collection of brothers, sisters and the many cousins that came with my mother’s four sisters. Lots of superstitious beliefs were passed around between the cousins as we dressed for the occasion. If you do not tie a ribbon in your hair, your wishes will not come true. Wearing red is bad luck, but black is good luck for the New Year. We paid attention to many such good luck/bad luck ideas while getting dressed, eventually making our own rules to suit exactly what we wanted to wear. No sleeves good luck, black very good luck and so on.
Children remember the funniest things. One of my most vivid childhood memories happened one New Year’s Eve, when a strange dog scared by the noise of the fireworks found his way into our home. He was hiding in a bathtub on the second floor. It was a big dog and none of the men wanted to go near it, so my “Tata,” my mom’s mom, my grandmother walks into the bathroom and orders the dog out. He lowered his ears and obeyed. For years, my dad and uncles joked about their fearless mother-in-law, but, as a young girl, I remember feeling proud knowing that women could be so brave!
While the adults would toast with champagne, we were provided with a choice of soft drinks, which we did not have often. I cherish these memories with my cousins and know your children will have memories of their own.
However you celebrate New Year’s Eve, these happy girls dresses will make wishes come true for 2015.
Best Wishes to all for a Wonderful New Year….and Good Luck!
1. Sequins & Sparkle
2. Festive Flowers
3. A Night on the Town
4. Black Tie
5. Belle of the Ball
Topics: New Year
The unforgettable excitement of the holidays is brought about when getting into a dress, unlike any other dress worn during the year. This dress is special and it builds the anticipation of good things to come, whether it be going to grandma’s house on the merriest day of the year or however each family chooses to celebrate the holidays… the Nutcracker, family parties, caroling, or a trip to New York. These fanciful dresses and coats provide a moment in life to be a princess. They will be added to the memory of those celebrations and something to be shared as she gets older.
Each dress in the pictures is an interpretation of what we love about the holidays…the lights, the shows, the snow, the gifts wrapped in giant red bows…festive get-togethers, well-decorated homes, storybook classics and special trips to iconic holiday destinations. What do you love about the holiday season?
1. The Nutcracker
2. Christmas Parties
3. Holly and Lace
4. Iridescent Ice Skating Parties
5. Miracle on 34th Street
6. Snow Flurries
7. Photos with Santa
8. The Night Before Christmas
9. Breakfast with Santa
10. Christmas Carols
11. Classic Holiday Red
12. Visions of Sugar Plums Dancing in their Heads
13. Carriage Rides
14. Silver Bells
15. Christmas Tree Lighting
16. Christmas at Grandma’s House
Topics: Holiday Dress