Category Archives: Eleganza

Thank you all tweeters!

Thank you all tweeters!

Wow, what a weekend! EHC’s Fashion Event Fundraiser “ELEGANZA” for Making Changes AssociationCalgary went off without a hitch or glitch that couldn’t be handled by any of our hard-working and generous volunteers!

We were thrilled by the number of sponsors and quality prizes donated for the silent auction, the generosity of our official Sponsors of the Event, the press, the promotion, the musicians, the number of volunteers who provided uncountable hours of help over the last few weeks, the support of EHC student’s families and by the excitement that was generated by everyone who attended!

How can we say thank you enough for all the tweeters who generated excitement about the event – THANK YOU ALL TWEETERS!

Yes, to say that ELEGANZA was a success – is somewhat of an understatement!

We will post the photos and videos “as soon as”.



Here is another event that the whole family will enjoy – “Christmas All Through the House” at Lougheed House National Historic Site

Each year the Lougheed House, in Partnership with the Calgary Design Group, hosts it’s Christmas fundraising event with a dazzling display of magnificent seasonal interior decor! For the children – you can visit with Santa or you could post your ‘Dear Santa’ letter in the special mail box. For everyone who is still “a child at heart”, tour the house, purchase unique Christmas ornaments from the Gift Shop or simply dine in the restaurant surrounded by wonderful Christmas sensations.

Lougheed HouseFrom November 19th to 27th at Lougheed House, 707 – 13 Ave SW, Calgary Alberta – across from the Ranchman’s Club. Tickets available online or at the door $15.00 – adults, $10.00 – students, and $5.00 – under  5 yrs.

See you there!




Calgary Herald feature article – Nov 15th, 2011

We had a whirlwind couple of days – Monday morning we had Jill Belland of Breakfast Television with us,if you want to see the video of the show with our segment click on the link or copy and paste the link into your URL bar because have not as of yet figured out how to make it work on this page – dear me!–november-14/

The Calgary Herald published a feature about Ecole Holt Couture by Theresa Taylor on Tuesday Nov 15th:

and it so happens it also ran in the Vancouver Sun!!!!!

Yesterday, Beverley Parkin of Lia Sophia Jewelry swung by with cases and cases of jewelry for the students to choose from to feature at the show to accessorize their looks – that was fun – we didn’t want her to leave as the piles of glistening gold and silver heaped up! Guests will be able to purchase anything they see at the show with the proceeds going to Making Changes Association of Calgary.

Tomorrow Stylejunction will be visiting to tell us about their new online portfolio program for up and coming designers.

But today, we will calm back down, focus and finish our projects for the Term and in preparation for the show on Sunday. And, of course, all the finishing touches to the featured couture bridal gown!

Sunday will be a fun time with Sarah Vann opening the event with Lisa Jacobs and Los Morenos playing the show! Wine, and food, silent auction with over 40 items worth upwards of $6000.00 to bid on, and of course the fashion show itself!

Update later…....ELEGANZA get your tickets now online or at the door.

Ecole Holt Couture School of Couture Sewing and Design!


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CityTv Breakfast Show on location @ EHC, Nov 14th, 2011

We all got up really early in preparation for CityTV’s Calgary’s Breakfast Show on Location here at the school this morning. Lili Bunce, executive Director of Making Changes Association, was right on time with Tim Horton’s coffees and muffins for everyone! Thank you Lili!

Jill Belland, host of Breakfast TV on location, cheerful and energetic as ever, finding out about couture fashion from the students, scarf tying tips, and ELEGANZA  the couture fashion fundraising event coming up on Sunday at the Calgary Winter Club featuring Sarah Vann and Los Morenos music. Leela Jacobs of Lava Hair Group, and her team will be doing their magic with hair and make-up for the models for the event.

After we’ve had a little power nap, we are back to work completing all the projects, and the wedding gown that will be featured at the show.There will be silent auction items totaling around $6000.00 to be had at the event from consultation certificates, to Starbucks coffee, to weekend holidays! The premier item will be original art work donated especially for this event!

Let you know how it’s all coming along in a couple of days – only 6 days left!



Watch Jill Belland on BTV at EHC – Nov 14th

We are fortunate to have Jill Belland host of Breakfast TV – Citytv Calgary, with us on Monday morning, bright and early! I don’t know how she starts her workday at 3am, when most of us are still tucked up asleep, but with a great team of people behind her, always has a smile and loads of energy even at 5:30 am!

The students with Executive Director of Making Changes Association of Calgary will be here at the school giving everyone a sneak peak at what to expect at Eleganza Fashion Event this year. Yesterday we had Leela Jacobs, fashion stylist, around to take notes on the vintage collection being presented, and Sarah Vann with Lisa Jacobs, music artists featured at Eleganza, will be here showing us their talents, and our bride-to-be, Heidi will be here talking about her featured couture wedding gown and showing a glimpse of the sumptuous silk!

Have your photo taken with Aaron, Reddot Photography – official photographer, at the fashion event!

Time is running out fast so get your tickets online at or from the students call: 403 – 244 – 5460 (EHC).

As a fashion stylist finding the right wardrobe for photo shoots is very important but has also been a struggle finding the right designs and quality. At a meeting at Ecole Holt Couture about their upcoming fashion show I was eager to shoot all the pieces they were using,  they’re designs are timeless. After further discussion, Ecole Holt Couture’s generosity with access to their wardrobe has opened doors for my career as a fashion stylist and I can’t wait to use them in my editorial pieces.

-Leela Jacobs, Fashion stylist-


We Will Remember – Nov 11th

We Will Remember – Nov 11th

We get so caught up with our lives and plans, our commitments, our hopes and dreams, that we forget how it is that we even have the freedom to indulge ourselves in these privileges. It could have been so different if not for the countless who gave up their futures, their hopes and dreams for others, then and today, for us.

“Thank you” doesn’t seem to be enough……Click to watch video “I will remember You – Sarah McLachlan

                                                            We Will Remember Nov. 11th



Media Release Nov 9, 2011


CALGARY, ALBERTA – On Sunday, November 20th, 2011 Ecole Holt Couture
School of Couture Sewing and Design (EHC) will host its elegant fashion event to raise funds for Making
Changes Association’s Walk in Closet Program, by showcasing the flair and style of EHC student work
giving a rare insight into the secret world of couture fashion.
At the Calgary Winter Club, guests will enjoy the ambience of an attractive venue, the remarkable talent
of local musicians such as Sarah Vann with Lisa Jacobs, and Los Morenos. Guests can sip on wonderful
wine and nibbles from the Calgary Winter Club and receive an attractive gift bag.
Guests also have the opportunity to mingle with other fashion aficionados, and have the opportunity to
win a two night stay at the stunning Hidden Springs Retreat Guest House or a two night stay at Rocky
Mountain Accommodations where they know a great vacation means leaving your worries behind, and
bid on great silent auction items from original artwork to one of a kind couture accessories and more!
Once seated guests will experience what Couture fashion is all about by witnessing chic couture
garments modeled on the runway created by the students of Ecole Holt Couture School. Each model will
be made over by the experts from Lava Hair Group and each outfit accompanied by Lia Sophia Jewelry.
Also see some vintage couture garments created by the Founder of EHC, Elfriedé Holtkamp and catch a
glimpse of the couture process from the start to finish in the form of an haute couture silver wedding
gown accompanied by a stunning bouquet from My Day Designs and escorted by a 120lb Bernese
Mountain dog in his couture bow tie and collar. Guests can choose one of two fashions shows starting at
1:00 and 4:00 p.m. and tickets are $40.
As well as the runway show will be display booths of high end fashion related products and services to
complete the highly personalized look of Couture, and an opportunity to connect with the guests and
EHC students and perhaps get an early opportunity to book an appointment for custom Couture
services. Display booths include Lia Sophia Jewelry, skin care products from Max International, and daily
deals from Smart Betty.
The goal of the fashion show, Eleganza is to increase awareness of this unique Couture fashion school
based in Calgary, Alberta and raise much needed funds for Making Changes Association’s Walk in Closet

To find out what’s going on at this year’s Calgary Education Fair, visit our Blog at, our website at, our Facebook at and/or our Twitter page @EHCSchool. These pages receive daily
updates on sponsors and what’s happening on the runway.

Hannelore Ponto
Phone: 403 -244 – 5460


Smoke and Mirrors

Couture vs Labels: Couture

Couture is not only about using quality fabrics, ingenuity of construction but also about the skilled workmanship involved to pull the design altogether. It is of little use to create an elaborate design, and not have the know-how to put it all together, or design something that simply cannot work. I’m not referring to theatrical masterpieces which defy gravity or magically appear to cling to the skin – a neckline that plunges to the navel with double-sided sticky tape preventing complete embarrassment.  This is definitely reserved for theatrics not the office!

Couture creations are for real people in real life. OK, theatre is real life for some on the stage or in the ring, I will give you that. Haute couture items seen on the runway in recent years by the giants of fashion are truly created for theatrical or entertainment value with lesser known fashion houses following that trend. True haute couture was never presented on a runway to appeal to a mass audience. Customers of haute couture were treated to private presentations of designer’s garments to entice those would-be clients into a commission by that designer. So if you too are shaking your head at runway offerings, believe me you are not alone.

However, couture is not reserved only for the rich and famous any longer; nor should it be reduced to a cheap imitation either. Couture is all about personal style, elegance, chic-ness, and yes practicality and authentic high quality.

Our featured couture wedding gown is engineered to hold up, hold on, to walk and to sit in, comfortably. No glue, no smoke and mirrors. Our bride will be wearing her wedding gown all day, and it needs to look and feel perfect all day – not a wrinkled uncomfortable wreck. The inside structure is one of the secrets to its success…


The couture process takes more time than buying off the rack, is it worth the effort and the patience? Did you know that you are totally unique, that no two individuals are the same shape or proportion! I didn’t say size because size is irrelevant in couture. Sizes are codes invented for mass production representing a statistical average of the buying public, and factory inventory control – so they don’t make all the same size on the production line. Don’t buy into the Size numbers game – it’s a tradition that basically means nothing  except where to find it on the rack.

Even if you are one of the “average” shape and proportion of the general populace, and can buy garments off the rack, each one of you is still unique. For instance, body proportions alter from side to side. It is not uncommon for one side of your front starting from the middle to the side, can be as much as 4cm larger than the other around your waistline. Why? It may be the way you were born, an old injury, or your job. For instance, if you play an instrument like a guitar for many years or carry your toddler on your hip, one hip will stand out further than the other because your body eventually compensates for the lopsided weight it has to carry.

It’s no wonder then that off the rack does not fit you. Most people do not even realize how badly manufactured clothing fits them – they are just used to it. Ex.Why do people keep hiking up their jeans? Besides the obvious answer – ‘so they don’t fall down’, it is because those jeans do not fit properly – and you thought it was just style? I think some individuals just gave up and let their jeans sit where they fell and others copied to be part of the ‘in crowd’.

Eleganza Couture Fashion Fundraiser tickets available at

November 20th from 1pm to 5pm at the Calgary Winter Club

Two shows: 1pm and 4pm

Come and enjoy the afternoon with Sarah Vann, Lisa Jacobs and Los Morenos, and bid on wonderful prizes!

Thanks to:


Silver lining in silk!

Silver lining in silk!

Come see Sarah Vann perform with Lisa Jacobs at Eleganza and enjoy the music of Los Morenos during the fashion show!

Couture: What happens if the client changes her mind along the way about the design?

It was a challenge to source the color for the wedding gown. The scheme for this wedding is mainly silver chosen two years ago, and we didn’t’ want anything flashy so silver lamé was never a consideration, but to find the right silver took a little while.  James Hare Silks of England had just the right one in a pewter grey silver silk crepe backed satin.

The gown is entirely of 100% silks – right down to the underpinnings.  A silver double-faced fabric from France with a slight twill weave on one side and a subtle satin finish on the other uniting two ultra-luxurious natural fibres of silk and Merino wool, creating a mid-weight fabric with a unique streamline drape and elegant presence, was used for the under structure of the gown, but, no one will ever see this fabric that cost over $100.00/meter encased in the dress.

Spiral steel boning was installed for vertical support to keep the dress from pulling down from the strapless neckline wrinkling and collapsing the bodice. Spiral steel boning is completely flexible and returns to its original shape with no kinks, but the best part is that it’s comfortable to wear! No rigid boning sticking into your ribs causing so much discomfort to the flesh.

Layers of silk organza went into the petticoat, for the crepe backed silk satin underlay, plus 100% silk lining was used. The gown has a short jacket to match lined with silk satin chiffon. Altogether 30 meters of fabric are in this gown and you’d think it would be awfully heavy, but in fact it is very lightweight. If synthetic fabrics would have been used, but we don’t use synthetics as a rule, a very strong body builder should be the one wearing the gown to carry that weight around all day!

For reason of cost alone, you want to make sure your client has committed to the design and fabric. It is perfectly acceptable for clients to change their mind about the designs – allow yourself and your client 6 months to one year lead time if at all possible to go through this decision process BEFORE you order the fabric!  Remember the couture process is a journey exploring options before final decisions are made; the good news is very few garments will require the amount of preparation time as does a wedding gown.

Couture is not only about using quality fabrics, ingenuity of construction but also about the skilled workmanship involved to pull the design altogether…

Labels: Why don’t ready-made garments have linings these days?

Ready-made garments on the whole, these days, come without linings. Two major explanations come to mind. One is the type of fabrics being used quite often are washable having 2% spandex incorporated into the weave making the garment hard to line unless using a similar stretchy lining. Second is the cost factor.

In manufacturing for anyone or everyone to make a profit, costs must be cut down to the minimum and a sure-fire cost cutting measure is to reduce or eliminate lining fabric and labour altogether. Why have a lining anyway?

Linings are there to make clothing easier to put on – consider a suit jacket being pulled on over a sweater – without lining is not very smooth going. Linings protect the seams of the garment from fraying and coming apart with constant wear, but machine sergers or overlocked edges has pretty much taken care of unravelling or fraying. Linings protect garments from body odor, perspiration staining, and from dry flaking skin embedding into the fibres of fabric all causing unsightly marks.

Linings put in with skill make the garment last longer, give the top fabric support, reduce wrinkling, are a sign of better quality garments which look fabulous adding another design dimension to the garment looking and feeling luxurious. By the way DO NOT WASH lined garments; dry clean only.

Here is another question vexing me, why on earth would anyone put a synthetic fibre lining into a natural fibre garment? As a friend of mine once said, it is like wearing cashmere wool but first wrapping your body in plastic cling film! Synthetic fibres do not breathe and feel horrible to wear – only performance sport wear is made of synthetic fibres to wick away rivers of perspiration from your body. Natural fibres naturally breathe and do not cause bodies to perspire in the first place!

Get your tickets online Eleganza


featuring Eleganza Couture Fashion Show

featuring Eleganza Couture Fashion Show

Eleganza – Pattison Outdoor Advertising Calgary AB – visit

McKnight Blvd. Calgary




Thank you Tania Lavoie – Pattison Outdoor Advertising




Students of EHC will feature their latest couture projects along with vintage couture garments and new couture wedding gown at the event. Sponsors will be there supporting the event, relax and enjoy live music (see who below) with wine and nibbles!

Couture vs Labels continued: Couture

…FOR the wedding gown we assimilated all the information gathered in the consultation process and started to produce sketches putting to paper a variety of ideas. Starting with sketches too early in the couture process just creates wasted time and effort; couturiers should more or less understand their clients before putting pencil to paper. Unfortunately, what may happen in very rare cases is that the client may take the couturiers creative ideas and abscond to someone else to be constructed. If this happens the other couturier should have the integrity not to copy someone else’s designs. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence; by the time the couturier ought to be creating sketches is when the couturier/client relationship has been well established, trust has been developed, a contract signed, and the deposit paid with the cheque cleared.

Couturiers must understand and become very familiar with their client’s preferences, needs, lifestyle, etc. and – this is a very big AND – keep it to themselves as private not-for-public-consumption as confidential as information between doctors and their patients. Fabrics are sampled and sourced to make the whole image come together with sketches. Sketching is used a technique to communicate ideas – not an end in its self – rather a means to an end. Many ideas are explored, revised and developed but, this stage has a definite duration. After which, the client approves of the design in writing before anything else is done.

What happens if the client changes her mind along the way about the design? More on that next time…

Couture vs Labels: Labels

…BACK to ready-made wedding gowns, hems always need adjustment but, the other thing that needs altering nine times out of ten is the lining. Linings of production line garments seem to be a ‘one size fits all’ component.  Beautiful gowns on the outside frequently have unsightly rippling showing through. Most people think what they see is the result of the dress being too big, in a way they’re right, but unless you are more experienced with dressmaking and tailoring you may not realize that it may only be the lining which is supposed to be exactly the same size and shape as the outside or slightly smaller.

In most ready-made garments the linings are not even seamed in the same place as the top fabric, excess fabric being only pleated in to match a seam line or folded over to take up excess lining. Let me repeat: this is NOT how it should be.  Linings should be like a second skin to the top fabric following the contours and seaming of the top fabric. Overcoats and jackets may have special ‘giving pleats’ for ease of movement when a more flexible top fabric than lining is used. Please don’t confuse a ‘lining’ with an underlay, slip or underdress to the face of the garment.

Why don’t ready-made garments have linings these days? That next time….


Eleganza will be featuring the very talented Sarah Vann singing and Los Morenos live band playing at Eleganza on November 20th, at the Calgary Winter Club




This is not project runway!

Eleganza, our Couture Fashion Event in November is progressing nicely and we have more than enough material for the content – the show would be too long to show all the wonderful garments that the students have created. We are working hard to make sure our sponsors are acknowledged for their very generous support of Eleganza and Making Changes Association of Calgary.

Eleganza Sponsors:

Tania at Pattison Outdoor Advertising

Jason and Val at Speedpro Signs

Don at Smart Betty

Beverley at Lia Sophia Jewelry

Aaron at Red Dot Photo

Kelly at Kaydee Web Design

Margo and Leela at Lava Hair Studio

Val at My Day Designs

Aaron at

Stacy at

Hannelore of One of a Kind Designs

Heidi at Jamesons Pubs

Neil and Barbara at Hidden Springs Retreat

Tom and Marty for Rocky Mountain Accomodations

 Eleganza’s featured Wedding Gown

Couture vs Labels continued…. couture is not instant gratification it is the journey following the client’s dream ending with the expected desired destination, with all the memories of discovery and delights along the way.

THE consultation with the client is the first serious discussion to find out what your client has in mind and in couture customer service is the all-important issue to address no matter what follows. Your client must be made to feel as though they are the most important one you have. However, if during or even before the consultation, this person treats you unfavorably or without courtesy – drop them immediately – it truly is a sign of things to come. Be seriously courteous and explain your position with integrity – do not burn any bridges.

Please don’t take to heart what you see on TV regarding temperamental prima donna fashion designers carry on the way they do and getting away with it as being true – that is for television entertainment value only. In professional practice, they do not get away with it. They get fired.

The consultation is always a paid visit – to ensure that no one is wasting each other’s time and will provide the couturier and client with enough information to carry on to the next stage. How each couturier will handle the consultation fee is up to them and there are several ways of doing this.  After the consultation, a contract is written up so that both parties know exactly what to expect of each other so neither one is disappointed or confounded during the process. The couture experience should be and always remain a pleasurable one.

The really fun part of this wedding gown journey began two years ago with the bride bursting with ideas – some definite, some exploratory. Brides often change their minds about their perfect gown, and ours did too but, came full circle back to her initial gut feeling. Excitement is so infectious and becomes the stimulant for creativity. Our bride knew exactly what color she wanted, and overall what theme her wedding was taking on. It’s a good thing to consider and explore other options just to rule out the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘should-haves’ before you actually walk down the aisle and Couturiers are trained to extrapolate all those ideas and design something unique which essentially ‘hits all the notes’. Keep tuned for more…

Talk soon, J            Visit:   for Eleganza Fashion Event information and tickets.