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House of Arden: A Chat With Denver's Tutu Designer

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TUTU

House of Arden has exploded onto Denver's fashion scene with edgy tutus that seamlessly blend funk, fashion and fantasy. Ranging from couture children's pieces to teen and adult party-wear to a recent custom wedding design, closets across Denver are filling with tulle thanks to owner and designer Lesley Lang Temple. We met up with Lesley to get the 4-1-1 on her creations.

What inspired your first tutu?
My girls! We did a photo shoot and there was this really cute tutu and I thought, gosh, I could make that for [my daughter] Lael because she's so tall and everything's short on her, so that's what started it.

And what inspired the name House of Arden?
A photo was taken of [my daughter] Arden from the same photo shoot, and we came back to the photography studio and we were looking at the picture and it's just this total attitude shot. [My husband] Andy suggested "House of Arden."

What's the process for creating your products?
I like fashion ... I look at a lot of clothes. I'll go to the fabric store and just walk around and look at color combinations. That's pretty much what gets it started. They're all hand-tied ... I like them hand-tied because they're fluffier.

Now you have tutus for adults as well. How did that happen?
I did the long children's and I put them in a store, and all of a sudden last spring these girls started coming in and buying for prom. Then this other woman came in and asked "can I do it longer?" I just started making them, and they're doing smashing because, well, everybody needs a tutu. I always say my market is a newborn to age 100. We had a woman recently who's 80, and she wore it for her 80th birthday party.

You decorate many of your pieces with vintage and antique jewelry -- what else do you use?
Trains, bustles, ribbons, rhinestones, Swarovskis -- love those -- pearls, buttons ... anything I find that's inspirational.

You've done a number of fashion shows. Which ones have you been in recently?
I did the Johnson & Wales DiverCity Show, I've done some things for Fashion Denver, and then the big one we have coming up ... is the Denver Style Expo, where we're nominated for a Denver Style Award.

And you've been popping up in an array of local publications ...
Yes, HERLIFE Magazine did a four-page spread and I'm meeting with LoDo Magazine because we'll be dressing their April "It Girl."

In which stores can we find your tutus?
Right now I do a lot with Crème de la Couture and Cali & Mo. They're probably the biggest two, then Paper Doll in Boulder and Wizard's Chest [which is] a little more seasonal. Cali & Mo are the ones who started me on the adult tutus. Crème de la Couture is who I partner with for runway shows.

House of Arden will take the runway at Denver Style Expo on April 2 at 3pm.