Labl Wedding Stories Cristina Li

Classically Beautiful

Cristina was a bride that knew what she wanted. It was just a matter of figuring out how to bring her vision to life. Cristina wished to capture her ...

Lanvin Vintage Labl

My Many Fine Vintages

Of all my beautiful dresses, I have to say, that my vintage pieces stand out best, for their beauty, timelessness, intricate craftsmanship, and flawle...

prom blog spot 005a

Prom Pretty

 Labl loves dresses. What Labl loves even more is when a dress worked on at Labl helps make an event a great success. Chloe brought her ideal prom dre...

The Ties That Bind

collar &tieOne might say that ties are on the road to obsolescence.  Take a quick look throughout the financial core of any major city and you can see that the neck tie is far from having one foot in the grave. Ties remain integral to an ensemble today as they ever were. Whether understated or audaciously loud , a neck tie is the very punctuation in a gentleman’s sartorial mission statement.

Today the rules have changed and in fact there are fewer rules with regards to a gentleman’s choice in tie.  This does not mean that one should wear anything anywhere; there are still some conventions that are best followed to achieve the most impact.  More and more frequently, one sees a greater range of tie styles, and colours either in the boardroom, at the negotiation table or after work by the bar.

No matter which style, colour, weight or colour a tie as unique as the gentleman who sports it is the epitome of luxury.  Hand crafted ties in a unique style and pattern will help complete the all important suit of modern armour and lift the confidence of its wearer.  So if one is to have a noose around one’s neck, make it one of silk, that compliments your style and sends the message you want to clearly share with the world.

Labl loves the tie and offers the the opportunity for you to customize your tie from an almost limitless selection of fabrics and styles.  Please be sure to inquire about how we can develop the most talked about piece of your outfit.


Classically Beautiful

Labl Wedding Stories Cristina Li Cristina was a bride that knew what she wanted. It was just a matter of figuring out how to bring her vision to life. Cristina wished to capture her closeness with her sister for her big day and recreate her sister’s wedding gown in a vision that complimented her ideas of classic beauty.

In her private Bridal Consult with Elizabeth, they discussed the vision, the timeline and budget for this project and found they were a match. The existing dress would be transformed by Elizabeth, mindful to maintain the original lines of Cristina sister’s gown, while creating new a new bodice and tulle overlays flattering to Cristina.

The sentimental importance of Cristina’s gown, her open mindedness to its recreation into something uniquely personal and the vibe of optimism and excitement Cristina brought to Elizabeth, made this a perfect endeavour.


Another 5 Star Review

My Many Fine Vintages

Of all my beautiful dresses, I have to say, that my vintage pieces stand out best, for their beauty, timelessness, intricate craftsmanship, and flawless fit. Well, the fit may have a little to do with the tweaks I offer each piece, at the Labl studio, but the construction of garments produced before the economic trend of overseas factories of the 1990’s, were cut and designed to be altered for each client to their individual measurements.

Walking into vintage stores today, there are many pieces a well seasoned shopper such as myself will recognize, amongst these such designer labels as Lanvin, Pucci, Christian Dior, and Halston, but not only. It seems that more and more clothing racks seem to filling up daily with big shoulder pad jackets and gathered taffeta skirts: when did 80’s fashion become vintage?

vintage collage 001


To define vintage is a tricky task, because it really depends on who you ask. To an eighteen year old girl, 80’s fashion is “totally retro”, but to a mature woman who shopped during the 80’s, it is simply an era of bad fashion and teased hair.

Over the course of more than a decade, Labl studio has worked with many popular vintage stores in Toronto, Canada, such as Shrimpton Couture, I Miss You Vintage, 69 Vintage, and Stella Luna to name a few. It is the opinion of the vintage connoisseur that “true vintage” pieces are found from the 1920’s through the late 70’s.

These pieces were made in a different time, when people’s wardrobes did not extend into a separate room, but were housed in true wardrobes, a piece of furniture spanning a whopping 5 ‘ wide maximum. Ever wonder about these tiny closets you find in older homes? Yes, they were for real. These were times when women had a few casual dresses, a couple of good dresses, a good suit, and a good winter coat.

The art of clothing construction in these times was truly an art form; from cut and sleek design, to the beading examples, to the expert hand sewing, and finally the sharp fabrics of the era.

Today these pieces can not be replicated for the most part. Because the fabrics no longer exist or the labour costs alone would bankrupt any business today or simply the skill set is almost extinct. This is the cache of true “vintage”.

At Labl Studio, vintage recreation and restoration, is a true labour of love.

I have dedicated mad hours studying dresses and garments from these eras of fashion past, and I am always amazed at the incredible stories they reveal. I have perfected many skills required to construct these garments, such as adjusting seams, concealing and repairing tears, the insertion if new panels to replace torn panels, hand beading, etc.

Vintage is a true passion for me because if its’ beauty and mystery, one that may never truly be revealed to me, and so my passion burns on and on and on..



Prom Pretty

Labl Makes Prom Pretty Labl loves dresses. What Labl loves even more is when a dress worked on at Labl helps make an event a great success. Chloe brought her ideal prom dress to Labl, where the fit was perfected to her desired look.


Lovely Wedding Work with Lindsay

aDress 4

Poised in Purple

Erin Rutten Thank you

A Picture Perfect Thank You

Chelsea Bridal Thank You

defining : couture

Couture   /ko͞oˈto͝or/

  1. The design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client’s specific requirements and measurements.
  2. The interpretation of a client’s individual needs and wishes in the conception, design, manufacture and fit of a specific garment.
  3. Labl is the creation of Elizabeth, a  professionally trained and celebrated couturier.  In the Labl Studio and all her personal consultations, Elizabeth’s clients couture needs are understood and then realized.

A Perfectly Brewed Thank You

Thank you - 004

What’s a Wedding Without a Ring?

sound ring 001Custom can be such a daunting idea. So for as much as Labl caters to its custom clients, there are times we become the client ourselves.  One such experience was in getting wedding rings made.  After much thoguht, some disappointment and a lot of big airy ideas, we found a jewelry designer Danielle Crampsie of Made You Look Jewellery:what a fabulous experience.  Danielle was not typical, she offered a twist in her design that we loved.  The process took time and forethought and allowed us to personalize our rings in a manner that went beyond the aesthetic.

We have each other’s voice patterns in the design of our rings.  To think of making your wedding ring while recording your voice.  Or as my husband wanted; my laugh! I can still recall the two of us at the Made You Look studio. My husband making me laugh take after take until the sound waves were detailed enough to get a suitable print.

The experience was fabulous and it did not end with the rings.  Danielle has been great at helping perfect the fit of my husband’s ring long after we bought them. The whole process, as much as the finished product, has been memorable. It has also helped us keep touch with how to support our clientele.  It great to step into your client’s shoes every once in a while.  It was sheer bonus that it was wonderfully memorable too.



Another Happy Client!

Brennagh Smith 800 Test

Brennagh came to Labl with a fabulous challenge; make two dresses into one. It was a lot of fun and I am proud to say that in working with Brennagh she did not let her sister (the Bride) down. Be sure to check out our follow up post on just how this Labl success was achieved.

Labl has More Than Words at the 2014 IPMA

This past weekend Labl went International. On March 21st and 22nd Labl supported the International Portuguese Music Awards in providing gowns for the International Portuguese Awards Host Natasha Dos Santos.  Labl fit Miss Dos Santos in two gowns for the awards show which she co-hosted with Ricardo Farias at the Zeiterion Theatre.

Miss Dos Santos was scintilating in a black and silver gown and after some mid show wardrobe changes she appeared in a elegant floor length vintage black gown.  Here are some photos from the event that included performances by Nuno Bettencourt, Gary Cherone and Maria da Barros amongst others. Be sure to look back for more photos (especially the one with Miss Dos Santos, her Labl dress and Extreme guitarist, Nuno Bettencourt).

  IPMA 004 IPMA 005


Forbidden Prom – Labl Joins the Party

Labl at Forbidden Prom 2014

Labl ‘s Curling Golden Age

Labl is not just about dresses, we truly do cater to the individual; or in this case, the team.  Labl was approached to design and create a set of vintage inspired curling jackets.  Not your usual request, but Labl proved to be up to the task.  The right choice of fabric to move well and still keep warm while capturing that look of the golden era photos that hang in the Burlington Curling Club lounge was the success of the day. 

Custom Curling Sweaters

Labl Curling Sweaters

 ¨…The jackets are fantastic. They are warm, comfortable and they move well. We get lots of compliments (and giggles) when we wear them….
 Here is a photo from a recent bonspiel we did in Kingston. In fact, people were mentioning how vintage they looked in comparison to some of the team photos hanging in the club from the 1960s.¨

Jane Hamilton

A Sweet Thank You

It is always a pleasure to receive something like this in the mail. Congratulations Sasha & Adam. Thank you for making me part of your special day.

Sasha Melnik Bridal Thank You 001 900x300

Giving Vera Wang Zip for the Big Day

The bride came in for a hem, but when she tried it on the list of requirements grew: the folds had to be redone, the folds had to be fluffed, loose threads were identified and repaired and then it happened: the zipper got stuck!

Can you imagine this happening on your Wedding Day?”

As my stunned bride stared at me in shock, I explained that of all the places for the zipper to break, it best be at the Labl Studio.
Before & After -  Giving Vera Wang a Zip

Before         &           After

There is no way to fix a zipper. If a zipper sticks or skips a little, it is toast, gone, kaput! It must be replaced. The zipper may have been kinked, or damaged beforehand. To ensure the long life of your healthy zipper, always zip up in one action, never halfway. One fell swoop will keep the zipper healthy and happy for a very long time.

Another fabulous Vera Wang

Reviving Past Treasures – The Warmth of Fur

Something vintage, Something borrowedOh, the love of all things vintage: the bias cut gowns, the beading, the
Pucci, but what about the vintage fur?

For years I have enjoyed sourcing and collecting vintage clothing.  For the most part, my collection has always offered me a great variety of dress and endless inspiration, but what about vintage furs. More and more,my clients have posed the question: can I wear the fur?

Being a darling of the eighties, I was highly influenced by the constant protest of the decade, but as I have grown into adulthood, I have become conscious of the constant disposal of clothing. Reviving, recycling, and repurposing my wardrobe into the treasure trove it should be brings all sorts of satisfaction.

In the last decade,  I have amassed a small collection of furs, some  sourced and some inherited from family.  They are elegant pieces that add glamour, style and warmth to evening looks.


Very recently, I worked with a bride that required fine beading work on her bridal gown.  While it was a gorgeous, delicate,
gown, her fairy tale wedding was set in Iceland, in the heart of winter. My mind went to one place: vintage fur.
In exploring this possibility, I brought out my collection, and offered her a rental option.

For the affordable price of a rental, this client can enjoy the look and warmth of a fur stole, without having the task of shopping or caring for a fur; including yearly storage and cleaning.

Icelandic Fur

@ Tiff with Freida Pinto : the work, the experience, the girl.

The lovely and talented Freida Pinto in a outfit altered by Elizabeth - Labl StudioI first met Frieda Pinto on a Friday, two days before her big event at TIFF, representing L’Oréal. She has been one of their style icons for some time now.

I was shown many outfits and was asked to pick those that would best exemplify Freida’s beauty and would appear brilliantly on camera. Our fitting session went well beyond the planned two hours, but in the end we chose some spectacular pieces. Now the I was asked to make them fit perfectly in less than 36 hours.

My experience with Freida was very successful. After another fitting, another hug and a few laughs, the pieces were dropped off to her hotel before midnight, just hours before her appearance. Such is the nature of the biz.

Freida Pinto first appeared to many of us in the Oscar winning Slum Dog Millionaire in 2008, followed by Immortals in 2011, amongst many others. Freida continues to work in Hollywood and Bollywood while also having recently added  film production to her already impressive career. One particular project is a film she will be producing, which for Freida is a manner of addressing a critical social issue plaguing many women in Asia today.

Frieda is a professional actor and producer. She has razzle dazzled us on the screen, but what is she really like? She has a smile that embraces you at first sight. She is gentle and kind. I will always remember this lovely young woman with great fondness.




Shania’s Juno Dress – Working with a Canadian icon


When a woman typically states, “the Dress”, she refers to her wedding dress, but if you have followed the Labl blog and Labl studio Facebook page, you might guess the dress worn by Shania Twain. I met Shania Twain the weekend she was inaugurated into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, but it was not to be a simple task; this dress was quite the drama situation.

It all started the Friday night, a day and a half before the big event. The call came in at midnight. On the other end of the phone was a stylist panicking to the point of tears, it seemed, and in a desperate voice asked if I would come with her to fit a client the next morning. She explained that the client did not live in Canada, but had travelled to Toronto two days before, was receiving an award, and needed to be fitted to perfection. She said that she had tried pinning the dress, but with all the beading, she realized that this was a job for the professionals, and so was asking to put it my hands. She asked if I was up to the task: rush jobs, personalized fittings, hand beading, and any other complex tasks. I assured her that Labl studio had been doing this for over 10 years, “but one question”, I asked, ” who would I be working with?”, “Oh, Shania Twain”. The next day bright and early, I was at her hotel, with the stylist, as we waited to be called up to Shania’s room. I had come as prepared as one can be to an impromptu fitting. Not having seen the dress, I sat in the lobby, only to imagine every possible issue a dress can have and the possible solutions. After a 20 minute wait, we received a call from Shania’s manager, Shania’s sister, “We are ready for you.”

Arriving at the suite, I could not help noticing all the people present and the different clothes that had been brought for Shania, some dress options for her big event, others, wardrobe requests from the singer/songwriter for her next travel adventure down south immediately following her Toronto stay.

It was a calm experience being introduced to a personality that I had always seen in a 2 dimensional way. Shania was shorter than I expected, a mature woman in her forties, but very kind eyes and great smile. Once she had tried on her gown, I went to work. The dress was too big in the sequence encrusted bodice and so the alteration had to be equally distributed between the side seams and the centre back seam, where an invisible zipper was placed. Also, the hem was far too long, needless to say.

I made an appointment to return the gown later that afternoon for a 2nd fitting, excused myself, and was off to work. Arriving at my studio, I addressed the work required: in order to alter the dress. I first had to remove all the sequence beading around the side seams and cd(centre back) seam by hand, while also affixing the remaining beads. Because removing one sequence beads leads to all the surrounding beads falling out, this task required firstly that I take a picture, then, deciding which sequence stayed and which were to be removed and then stitching down all the sequences to remain at a 3″ perimeter, then I began the task to remove all the remaining beads, while safely keeping all the beads in a safe place.

This task was very painstaking, I can assure you as the fabrication was a soft netting, so avoiding the creation of holes with my seam ripper was very crucial. Hours later, I was ready to alter the dress, seams were altered and the zipper was removed and re sewn. With minutes to spare, I packed up the gown and made my way back the the lobby I had found myself only hours before. Once again with Shania’s stylist, the minute we got the call up, we were off.

For the second time, standing with Shania Twain in her gown, we both accessed the alteration and the look she wanted and made a few more changes. The dress fit like a glove, would be hemmed perfectly, for her 5 1/2″ heels and to everyone’s delight would be ready for 8am that Sunday morning. Everyone was happy, but I had a dress to hand bead: it was going to be a long night. Back at the studio I tweaked the final changes to “the Dress” , referred to the photo I had taken of the beading earlier and started my task that would last long into the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

At 7 :10am, I placed the last sequence bead in stitched the last stitch. This incredible journey was almost at its’ end. As I packed up the gown, I lamented the fact that I had no time for a shower, new outfit, or make-up. I had little time to make it for 8am and so off I went. On my third visit to the hotel, I knew the drill too well. I got comfortable in my seat, laid the dress on my lap, as to not to crease it, and put my smile on. When we were called up this time, I felt an excitement surge inside me and passing off the dress to Shania Twain was a thrill. I had shared my artistry with a wonderful artist and she was going to show case my work to all of Canada and the world.

Later that day I received a call from a woman congratulating me for my work. She represented the store where the gown was purchased in Cumberland Lanes. What a crazy ride, of turns and twists with a surprise ending.

I loved every minute of it.

Labl makes Blog TO’s – “Best Seamstresses in Toronto”

Today is the way one likes to wake up. A great weekend behind you and the promise of a full and rewarding week ahead. The icing on my cake today is that Blog TO has decided to name me as one of Toronto’s best seamstresses.

Labl Thread BoardIn a blog posted by Bianca Venerayan / JULY 26, 2013
Toronto’s Best Seamstress (excerpt)

The best seamstress in Toronto is hard to find without a little help, and there’s no way in hell you’d willingly approach a dressmaker, hoping to change the neckline of your grandmother’s bridal number, without a little research. Thanks to some readers suggestions, we’ve zeroed in on eight women with the magic touch, none of whom are found in the back room of your local dry cleaner.

So, whether you’re in a panicked frenzy over an ill-fitting dress a week before your big day or you’re looking to bring your dream prom garb to life (multi-coloured sequins and all), these home studios and storefronts are tried, tested, and true.

Here is where you can find the best seamstress in Toronto.

Labl by Elizabeth Oliveira
52 Seaforth Avenue, 416.504.1504
Though her Queen West Style Lab closed over a year ago, Elizabeth Oliveira still offers her custom made, repair, and alteration services by appointment only in Parkdale. Eager to fill the void left by off-the-rack average sizing, Elizabeth studied design in Portugal before diving headfirst into her passion for well-fitting garments. With past clients like Shania Twain and Ron Sexsmith, it’s clear she’s good at what she does.

In addition to this news, the blog review  added further pleasure to my day as the articles photo was taken of the Labl StyleLab – Thread board.

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