January 12, 2015


some time ago, i was a part of something really special. my wonderfully talented and gifted friend grace invited me to help assist a shoot for her first look book. it was such a pleasure to work with my favorites again (although i may be a little biased..oops!). i`ve always loved assisting and doing behind-the-scenes type things so i had a great time! not to mention, i love watching my man work ;D.

i`m really excited to announce that grace has debuted her look book! 

a r i o s o
the capsule collection.

meet grace lee-lim

when you first began your career, 
did you ever think you were going to be a bridal designer?

I didn't plan on doing bridal design as a career, but it was definitely a very organic process getting to this point. I studied fashion design at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and upon graduation, designed for menswear and womenswear designers in NY. However, I quickly realized that ready-to-wear was too fast for my personal preference - I like the pace of bridal, one to two seasons a year. This allows me to really dive deep into the designs and put as much time as needed into the gowns.

why now?

My initial endeavor was with my wedding gown - I needed to see if bridal design was something I was really passionate about, or if I was momentarily intrigued as I was preparing to get married. Fortunately, after my wedding in October 2013 {see photographs from the beautiful day here}, I realized that I was even more excited at the prospect of designing bridal gowns than I'd imagined. The opportunity was perfect, as I had applied to the Chicago Fashion Incubator in January 2014, and was accepted as a designer-in-residence by March. Starting my business became a reality with a studio space and design/business mentorship through the CFI, and its been a whirl whind since.

how would you describe your style as a designer?

My style is delicate and restrained. I enjoy clean silhouettes with layers of different textures and details incorporated within. I feel as though I'm naturally drawn to complex aesthetics over the minimal, but I'm constantly refining my interests and designs to become more elegant, which results in a certain form of restraint and balance between the simple and complicated. 

what inspired your first collection, arioso?

The debut collection, Arioso, was inspired by movement. It began from the idea of five women who made an impression on my life through the years living in California, Virginia, Chicago, and New York. Each woman represents their respective cities where I've developed my relationship with them/their locale, and how it has grown over the years to now. They inspired a woman not necessarily just from their city, but the lifestyle and attitude that each region, West to East, offers. Movement was an integral aspect for the fabrication and the essence of each gown - they needed to be substantial in presence, but airy at the same time (hence the name, "Arioso").

what are your aspirations for lee-lim? 

Lee-Lim is about celebrating the moments of pause in a woman's life. One particular moment of pause is when a bride finds the gown that is the essence of who she is and wants to be in the next phase of her life as a married woman. My aspirations for Lee-Lim are to continue to capture those moments of pause, not only with bridal gowns, but as a general lifestyle brand that celebrates life and love with hopeless romanticism.

if there is one thing you could advise brides when looking into custom gowns, 
what would it be?

I would always advise brides to be open to the idea that the gowns they initially imagine and envision won't necessarily be what is most suitable for them. It's a simple concept, but it's often hard to understand until it comes time to trying on gowns! Every woman's body is different, and everyone has specific qualities they want to emphasize or not bring attention to. I think that finding the specific parts that you want to showcase and finding a gown that embodies those qualities will make a bride feel confident, and more importantly, comfortable on her wedding day.

&& of course i have to include a semi-shameless plug that one of the dresses was named after me! it`s beyond beautiful and i`m still so honored! swoon!

view the lookbook here

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