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Its All French To Me!

by Nina Butler 09 Jul 2024 0 Comments

Blog Post – Its All French To Me!



We are back from France with a bump with lots happening and so many things to share with you … but not all right now (oo the mystery and intrigue!)   Haha


Our Tortue Team recently headed off to Aix En Provence for a team getaway to combine some work time with the opportunity to spend some much enjoyed social time together.  There are very few opportunities for us all to get together in person given that we are so geographically spread from Cornwall up to Aberdeen and everywhere inbetween so we really do make the most of these rare opportunities to work hard and play hard too! (don’t worry girls … what happens on tour stays on tour 😊).



One of the highlights of our annual trip is visiting our supplier Head Office to see a preview of the new collections for the forthcoming season which is made extra special by getting to talk to the creator behind the collections and to try on the working sample pieces so that we can give you an idea on sizing and fit to the pieces, albeit there may still be a few tweaks to the designs before final garments are launched.


When we first arrived we noticed that some of our team were wearing the same outfits as the mannequins on display in the reception area so we couldn’t resist posing for a photo with them!  



Being quite hot, dresses were definitely a hit with our team for wanting to keep cool in the heat of the day. 

Alison looked fabulous in our Long Shell Dress – so elegant and just like a Grecian Goddess!!  The dress and lining are both crafted from 100% cotton so perfect for coping with the heat without having a dress you can see through in the sunshine (remember that Princess Diana moment in her white dress looking see through on a sunny day  when she was a Kindergarten Teacher?).  The clean lines to the dress, embroidered  shell covered band at the neckline with little ruffle details is cute,  being ankle length you can cover everything to keep the sun off in the heat of the day and the slightly crinkled look to the material is perfect when travelling as its very forgiving when you pop it out of your suitcase!


Ruth had opted for our Long Scarf Dress in Terracotta print.  The super soft and fluid fabric is 100% viscose featuring a deep V neckline with decorative ring details to the T bar strap at the back of the shoulders.    Ruth is the petite member of our team so just goes to show how this dress works no matter what your height.  The scarf like handkerchief neckline at the base of the dress makes it very versatile so that you can wear the dress in different ways … including tieing the end of the dress around your waist sarong style too! This dress is a perfect holiday staple as looks amazing just over swimwear as a cover up with flip flops, wear with trainers to keep you cool sightseeing on a hot day or dress up with heels in the evening for a more dressy look.


I don’t wear dresses very often so the Loose Patterned Trousers in Terracotta were my choice for the day as they are so comfortable!  Made from a soft fluid 100% viscose material in a loose fit they just move so nicely when you walk.  The elasticated waist is perfect for holidays … (all that eating and drinking) and there are handy pockets on the side seams too!


Captain Tortue France has recently had a rebrand and are now called Maison Captain.  This better reflects what the company is all about.  When it originally launched over 30 years ago the company started with a childrenswear collection.  Tortue means turtle in French so Captain Turtle was a great fit with the ethos of the collection back then but over the years, Captain Tortue moved into producing ladieswear and away from childrenswear so in France the name didn’t quite fit with a premium French designed ladieswear brand any more.  By moving to Maison Captain (which translates as House of Captain), it better reflects what the clothing brand is all about -   Personal service bringing fabulous French fashion to you in your home as well as reflecting the design element to the clothing as a Fashion House (think House of Dior, House of Chanel etc).   As such from the Autumn you will start to see the labels inside the garments change to the new Maison Captain branding reflecting our black and white Tortue branding style too!

We love our Tortue name!  Tortue means turtle in French which is a symbol to reflect our eco credentials so no change for us – just the change of name to our existing supplier of the clothing that we bring to you from Aix en Provence.  


Founder and Chief Designer Lillian presented the new Autumn/Winter collection to us explaining some of the thoughts behind the collection and highlighting specific little details and why they were there!  We gained some insights into how the designs and first patterns for the pieces evolved and then the best bit ….. we all got to try on the working samples!   Oh my goodness!! 15 very excited members of our team in the board room trying everything on …..with only one mirror!!!!!!!!  Great fun, really good to do as it means we can understand the fit and feel of the garments on our various body shapes and heights which helps us to advise you too!  We took lots of photographs which I am sure will feature on the various social media pages for our team once the collection is launched - not long to wait now!


Lillian took us to the Design Room where the rest of the Design Team were busy working on their designs.  There were some drawings and fabric swatches of future collections that are being worked on too which we were hastily hustled away from!  The really interesting thing in here was a shelf full of fabric swatches in clear containers sorted by colour tones.  Lillian explained that they keep a swatch of the fabric used for every garment (can you imagine just how many of those there are given 30 years of in house design with so many different pieces per season?)  The swatches are kept so that during the design process, the team can ensure that colourways, patterns and tones of the fabrics used for new garments will always blend in with previously created pieces in the collection that customers may already own in their wardrobes.  This is to ensure that you can build your capsule wardrobe of co-ordinating clothes over time and don’t waste money buying something that ends up staying in your wardrobe with the tags on if it doesn’t go with anything else.  Pretty clever hey?


Lillian explained that the Design Team wear samples of new pieces of clothing whilst at work in the office to ensure the comfort and fit can be tweaked to a garment before the final production run if necessary based on practicalities before a design is finally  finished.  There was also a room full of washing machines in action as during the creation process, new pieces are continually washed to ensure that fabrics are durable, do not shrink and hold their colour well too to ensure quality control of fabrics and garments before they are released for sale.


Top tips from Lillian for keeping your garments in perfect condition are:-


  1. Always check the label for washing instructions before you do anything. Most garments can be washed but the odd piece can sometimes be Dry Clean Only.
  2. Always turn garments inside out before washing and wash at 30 degrees. This is especially important for denim items to avoid streaks from your washing detergent and to protect your denim from premature fading.
  3. Use a washing net bag for anything that has delicate features or embellishments to protect it and other garments from damage during a wash cycle (we have two sizes available on our website)
  4. Add white vinegar to your whites wash to help keep your whites clean. White vinegar added to the wash is good for helping keeping your denim jeans feeling soft too!
  5. Some viscose fabrics can appear to shrink in the washing process (like the loose wide leg Terracotta Trousers or Batik Dress. Simply ensure the garment is turned inside out and use a cool iron or steamer to relax the fabric back to size.       
  6. Sometimes linings can appear to shrink up to 7cms too giving a puckering effect (like our Long Printed Dress in Charcoal). Again, don’t panic!! Simply turn the dress inside out and iron with a cool iron on the reverse and it will stretch back to the original shape.    

After dinner in Aix en Provence it was back to the villa for the rest of our trip. Alongside a bit of relaxation time by the pool we also had lots of planning and discussions ready for the new season ahead.   We had a professional photo shoot with a fantastic photographer called Olga during our time at the villa which was great fun too!  Lots of quick clothing changes and location changes as the early evening light changed around the villa where we were staying.


Did you see our reel on social media showing you what we were packing to take to France?  Some of us took more pieces away than others and Alison Falconer won the prize for taking the most pairs of shoes away in her luggage with 9 pairs of shoes!!!!!


The new arrivals that were particular favourites with the team and made it into the suitcases were the Long Satin Dress in Petrol Blue.  Perfect for making a statement with a soft feminine neckline and butterfly sleeves.  It has been designed with little side openings to enhance all body shapes with a twist at the waist for a flattering silhouette.    Its available in sizes up to 24 and really lends itself for special occasions.  So much so, that we thought it was a fabulous option as a bridesmaid dress for a wedding and equally would look fab if you are invited to a black tie event too!  




The Long Satin Skirt in Ivory exudes glam chic!  It has a high elasticated waist with luminous fluid material to ankle length that looks and feels like silk. Pair it with our Satin V Neck Top In Ivory for a top to toe colour block look.  The V neck top features short sleeves and a loose fit for effortless chic.   Available as separate pieces on our website, we think it would look lovely worn as a bridal outfit for an informal relaxed country wedding – what do you think?


Another hit with the team was the Satin Shirt Dress in Orange.  Crafted from premium cotton in a stunning tangerine shade “shirt dress” style is it both on-trend and timeless too.  With a buttoned front, mother of pearl effect buttons and a drawstring waist its perfect for a casual day out or an elegant evening look.   It also looks fab worn unbuttoned as a longer length jacket over white jeans and tee too.



Find your own favourite from our trio of Wide Leg Jumpsuits.  Available in plain navy or a vibrant colours paisley-esque print with super flattering twisted front.  We also have a new originally designed print version featuring v neck and back, drawstring shoulder and smocked waistband to ensure a perfect fit too!



We are so looking forward to bringing you the new collection – not long to wait now, just a couple of weeks and then we will have much more information for you!


Keep smiling and enjoy the sunshine. 


Angela x



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