Designer Interview: Tessa Williams from Little Darlings
The Little Darlings brand has long been established as the show stopping brand in the occasion wear sector. Collections have always been full of frilly bows, beautiful fabrics and that instantly recognisable distinct style which we have loved season after season. However now the creative force behind the brand is departing, we wanted to celebrate with head designer Tessa Williams the last 10 years of creating such a distinguished brand which has been loved by so many all over the world.
Children’s Outlet: Hi Tess, can you tell us about Little Darlings and what inspired you to design such beautiful collections over the last 10 years?
Tessa Williams: I always think if I had a Princess, how would I dress her, the answer, Little Darlings! 🙂 And through a process of finding beautiful fabrics and stunning embellishments, I try to create styles fit for a little princess, girly, pretty and of course a princess that’s wants to stand out from the crowd. Designing Little Darlings has been a dream come true over the past 10 years. At the start of every season, I begin with a blank piece of paper, the process starts when I visit the fabric fairs and choose those fabrics that really stand out to me, but of course including key colour’s that sell well for Little Darlings such as pinks, pastel hues and red/navy.
The next step is to create mood/fabric boards, which is my absolute favourite part of the process, as this is when the theme’s start to prevail at this stage, ribbons, trims are also sourced & thrown into the mix and voila! 3-4 themes are born! Then the styling begins!
CO: Who would you say is a Little Darlings customer?
TW: A princess that likes to be different and a mum that likes their princess to stand out and be super girly.
CO: Little Darlings has been around for a very long time, what are your favourite Little Darlings styles from the past?
TW: Ooooo, that’s a toughie! My personal top 5 would be:
5th– Pink Lady- SS’13
4th– Aye Aye Captain- SS’13
3rd– French Fancy AW’12
2nd-Little Miss Sparkle- AW’13
1st– Baby Cakes SS’11
CO: Pink has featured a lot in your designs, did you wear pink as a child?
TW: Nooooo, I think that’s why I love pink so much now. My mother was expecting a little boy, so bought lots of boys clothing! But she had me instead! I was dressed very boyish as a baby and a toddler, having been born in the 70’s, everything was either brown or orange! But I’m more than making up for it now with my love of everything pink! 🙂
CO: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
TW: I’m a fashion designer, a pro-athlete and a fitness/figure competitor, so to be able to combine all of my passions in my next venture is super exciting! I’ve had 20 years or so experience within the fashion industry and just love creating! And I’m also a personal trainer and a cave-trainer! My mantra is, ‘Fill your life with everything you love!’ Be happy! 🙂
CO: Did you incorporate your own style into Little Darlings?
TW: Yes, absolutely! Little Darlings is my own handwriting, as a designer of a brand that is so different, I have been blessed to have been given the opportunity to design this beautiful brand for the past 10 years and I have had to make it my own to do it justice! #moreismore
CO: Have you had any fashion faux pars?
TW: HaHaHa! Well, it wasn’t a faux pas as such, but I was told not to put black into the collection for AW’09 and that it would never sell! But it looked so good with cerise pink, I persisted and went with it and for that season that particular collection was the best seller!
CO: What was your inspiration for the Spring Summer 2018 collection?
TW: ‘Princess on Holiday!’ For the pretty Little Darling collection, I picked up a stunning flower trim on my travels that I just loved and I created a collection around that trim. As for Tutti Frutti, this collection is a fruit spin on the usual nautical theme, bright, colourful and super fruity! Darlings Summer Blues is just super pretty and a beautiful tone of blue, mixed with white broderie cotton trims, perfect for a summer princess!
CO: Can you tell us in 3 words what to expect from the AW18 collection as this will be your last as a Little Darlings designer?
TW: ‘Less is more’! Which is not usually my mantra!
CO: Have you got a favourite collection from over the last 10 years?
TW: Soooooo many to choose from to be honest, it really has been an incredible 10 years! Those that pop in to mind other than listed in my Top 5 above, would be Summer Royal & Zesty Lemon from SS’16 and the Dolce Vita collection from SS’17, in particular the LDS4068! Just love this dress!
CO: Now you are no longer designing Little Darlings what will you be doing instead?
TW: Well, I’ll still be wearing my creative hat as a fashion designer, but I’ll be dressing older princesses in particular those who compete in fitness and body building competitions to combine the two passions and loves I have in my life, fitness and fashion! I’ll be designing and creating stage bikini’s, theme wear, killer outfits for fitness shoots and evening wear! I’m super excited to start this new chapter!
CO: We want to thank you on behalf of all Little Darlings customers for the last 10 years of bows, ribbons, ruffles and glitter! You have made lots of little girls feel like princesses over and over again and we think this is pretty amazing of you Xx
TW: Awwwww, thank you! I just love it when mums send in photographs of their princess wearing Little Darlings! It’s just fab! It has been an incredible 10 years!
Autumn Winter 2013
Spring Summer 2014
Autumn Winter 2014
Spring Summer 2015
Autumn Winter 2015
Spring Summer 2016
Autumn Winter 2016
Spring Summer 2017
Autumn Winter 2017