Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wishing You all the best this Holiday Season!
Carla Dawn Behrle and the whole team here at Behrle NYC


Sunday, December 11, 2011



The Spirit of Fall 2012

How to explain what is driving me and moves me for Fall 2012?
It's a love story and an adventure story.   More specifically it is the spirit of the woman at the heart of the story that inspires me...

A trailblazer and adventurer who follows her heart, instincts and dreams.  A woman who can hold her own in unexpected situations, strengthening the foundation of anything she is involved in.   Secure in herself,  she always looks forward.

This is just the start....


Friday, December 2, 2011

The State of Skins

In the last few months  I've seen a few blips in the echosphere that I found quite entertaining as well as something to think about.

I guess it was in the fall when I saw something about a leather covered Ferrari.  Cool idea,  lots of negative comments.   Regarding:  cleaning, scratching, water, etc.etc. etc.   (with a couple of smart people saying if it's leather, water shouldn't be a problem- cows live outside and get wet- no big deal-they are on it!)

foiled "leather" car

That is if it were REAL leather. Nah- it's not,  it's basically a fancy decal. and a poor one at that- weird grain, with poor and very visible repeat (ask a textile designer) even in far shots. Nice idea,  poor execution.

My fantasy is that one day they could build that prototype car that had the movable skin- remember that? Was that about 2-3 years ago?  The skin would be LEATHER...that's my fantasy. 

fantasy leather car
Stretch leather today is not quite there.  It's one way stretch and not quite enough return.  I saw stretch "leather" goods out of China a while back that stretched equally 2 ways!  (real leather does not quite do that!)  It was leather - but weirdly re-constituted.  The effect was that of Cher's face -no offense to Cher - but we are talking leather here- so what I want is REAL.  Maybe 15 years ago I saw a US (Washington State?) tannery making washable  skins that could stretch like that, if you ordered that finish.  No Lycra backing, Where are they now???

I hate to think of the chemicals and effort that went into creating that weird leather perfection from China.  But I guess if I were into weird leather perfection,  I'd be into latex. fetish, my talisman is cut.


We have been happily buried in work.  Which,  by the by,  is why I haven't been here much lately!

Yesterday,  we did an event with SkinMedica for a very select group of beauty editors to announce the launch of a brand new SkinMedica product, which will be released sometime in April.

I can't tell you the name of the product or what it does,  except that it does tie in with what I do,  which is... perfect skin!  The color  theme of the event was pink as you can tell by the very pretty room it was held in.  (I will say the tested results of the product were very, very impressive. )

The mood was very intimate and relaxed. Very refreshing and non- rushed and it gave the editors a much deserved moment of chill,  very different from what most might associate with a "launch".

So yesterday was spent,  (very enjoyably out of the studio for a change!)  fitting editors for their own perfect custom leather piece!

My little rack of sample & fitting garments
Sleek leather pencil skirts, with a open vent and bright gold (but not exposed- just a hint) zips, were the big hit, followed by a sexy low back peplum top, again with a gold zip - this time exposed.  Black (of course) followed by mahogany, cognac and grape.

We hope to have photos of these new styles up soon- on the Blog, so check back soon! & Thank yous to Josie and Chrissy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Everything on the internet is s-l-o-w right now.  Not sure what that is about - but I feel like I'm on dial up- no kidding. (bad flashbacks to 1999 in the freezing cold shop)  OK- that was fun ... but you do remember what that was like?

I have been on here less and less lately as we have been busy developing the new line for Fall 2012.  I have been sourcing some incredibly (insanely) beautiful leathers and the whole aesthetic of the line is being bumped up tremendously,  it's very exciting.

Pattern making is a long and strenuous process here, it starts out like molasses- slow and sticky.  The process of developing all new fit slopers is always somehow traumatic for me, even when the changes could be considered fairly subtle.  What I do know is that they will step up the fit and final product yet another notch. 

 We are all such creatures of habit in our own ways,  I stick to the familiar for as long as I feel comfortable and then - well- it's all gotta move - I tend to shift before I'm really consciously aware of "discomfort".  It's an undeniable pull, and I often fight it.  In the case of redeveloping fit - I am so picky and it does take me a bit to get into it- I create many, many multiples of variations before I am finally happy with the fit.

After that- comes the styles.  I was organizing the studio Friday and realized I had at least 5 muslin phases for one (very deceptively) simple dress.  I did not want to count further.  It may be a minor William Ware Theiss moment- but for production- big difference.  Check out the "Theiss Titillation Theory".

He was my design hero when I was a kid....really got me into it.  I am forever indebted.

This is example of a muslin, not one from this line, but from a very special custom made project I did about 2 years ago. 

fitting muslin for a custom made leather jumpsuit
Anyhow- now we are in the patterns are lining up daily on the rack  -very soon to be luscious leather samples!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I saw Blondie the other nite- and I'm thinking about that song... and here I want to...I am dreaming of  creating  a couple jobs - no, scratch that- more than a couple.  I want to build a high end manufacturing company,  here- in the USA- in NYC to be specific.  I want to employ skilled labor, and even more importantly TRAIN skilled labor.  That is my dream.  I am not interested in competing with China - why even go there? There are much, much better places to go.

Having (mis)placed our hopes (and too many eggs) into the Financial industries, what has come of it?  What has been produced?  What goods? What Productive jobs?  Practical services? Any actual ability?  (Besides pushing numbers around?)  Can they build this?  Or anyhing?

 So, while dreaming is free - giving up the dream is not...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Behrle NYC is looking for interns…

Are you obsessed with fine finishing, fit and craftsmanship? Do you love to work with your hands? Does the attention to detail that you see only in fine quality vintage and couture fashion leave you in awe?

The skills we want to develop Immediately are:

Creative: This requires real hands on interest and skills, as well as a dedication to craft and a passion to learn and develop the techniques and discipline required to produce true luxury goods. 

Applicants should be very organized and facile self-starters with strong spatial skills and an understanding of how various materials, hang, drape and mold.  You must be able to operate an industrial sewing machine proficiently as you will primarily be assisting the designer and pattern maker in the development of samples, from the sourcing of materials to the muslin prototypes, fittings, and corrections. Ideal for Problem solvers who enjoy a challenge.

You will be asked to help in other areas as the need arises- this is a small company.  However our goal is to find talent and train for ongoing positions.

We require 2- 3 days per week & hours are flexible.

Please email your resume and examples of your work to:  behrlenyc(at)gmail(dot)com


Wednesday, October 5, 2011



Go Gareth!

Bravo Anthony!
...& to me even HOTTER because of the technical virtuosity of getting these to work on a body... and In movement!



Behrle Leather Etsy Shop Sale

Big- changes are happening here and preparation we are making way and making room with a 50% off sale!

The Sale is happening in our Etsy shop ONLY.

Everything in our Etsy shop is 50% off with the coupon code FALLSAMPLES11.  We will be adding more items during the month of October so check back often!

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stretch Leather Mens Jeans

Another recent project, this time men's custom made jeans in stretch leather:

The stretch leather is popular with guys, its great if you are active and also if you need to sit for long periods since the waistband allows for stretch as well.  The leather is from the same tannery that creates the leathers Jitrois uses. Beautiful, supple and comfortably backed with cotton stretch fabric. The leather is available in a constantly changing array of colors weights and finishes, Black of course is a pure classic....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Traveling Leather

This is a recent project for a client who travels a lot.  It needed to be light enough to be worn in many climates, and packable without adding too much weight.  The client brought to me a jacket he'd  purchased several years ago, from a well know European designer.  It was incredibly light weight and also very worn out.  In fact, it was actually pleather! (for lack of a better term)

He'd believed it to be leather at the time he purchased it and it did have an amazing hand to it.  It could have easily pass as leather when it was new, except for the weight.  Really, it was so good  only someone who really versed  in leather would be able to tell.  Plus the workmanship in it was very high, quite odd to put that work into a synthetic...

But, what had happened over 4 years of wear was inevitable with a petrol product.  The jacket's finish had virtually disintegrated everywhere there was friction, contact with the skin or the even the slightest perspiration!  The edges, the cuffs, full across the back, the collar, and the underarm area- to the elbow!

He wanted the jacket re-created as closely as possible, in real leather.  keeping it as light as possible and seamless along the length like the original. (This is often impossible since the very light skins tend to be very small and just don't allow for the length required in a men's jacket.)  It worked out perfectly that the one skin that usually runs larger suited this project to a T).  There were also fit adjustments needed, to have a really well fitting jacket.

This is the finished jacket:

The new jacket - just a little heavier than the original,  has minimal inner construction, to keep the weight down.  And,  it can comfortably go from Lima to London without adding too much extra to the carry on.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Master of another sort...

The weekend is my time to get a back to little controlled nature, and I found this today;

It's hard to tell from the photo but the scale of this web was about 7" across, making each little  row along the spokes maybe a eighth of an inch from the one before.  A good deal smaller than it looks here!  The spider was gone, web abandoned -  I hope one day I catch him at work on a new web.  They are astoundingly fast!

I read somewhere that the quest to create a fiber as strong as a spiders web in relation to is thickness has proven impossible so far.  And spiders will not cooperate when it comes to raising them to collect their web - they are very aggressive & will sooner eat each other.

I somehow doubt we could ever create something as perfectly beautiful and efficient,  as effortlessly as these little guys can.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The words and works of a Master

On the BOF (the Business of Fashion) site has posted an incredibly inspiring interview with Azzedine Alaïa.   Anyone who who is passionate about fashion, design,  quality,  craftsmanship & the integrity left remaining in this business  MUST read this interview.

His Fall 2011 show,  his first runway collection in 8 years was vintage Alaïa, of course,  in quality of cut, technique and hand.  The silhouettes are as curvaceous and sensual as ever.  And, none of it ever feels derivative of his past work, but rather its all a real evolution of his truly personal craft, techniques and powerful vision.

His conviction to his art shows in every single piece.

I have always admired & looked up to him as an artist,  and I worship his leather work.  I vividly remember how he was practically pilloried in the late 1980's / early 90's for not putting on regular fashion shows and for not following the industry's increasingly hectic and seemingly perverse scheduling.   What?  As if Alaïa should compete with large scale "luxury" lines?  (made increasingly in China, Slovakia or elsewhere?)  That Alaïa should compete with anybody for that matter!  The quote at the end of's review says it all...

"There's everyone else. Then there's Alaïa."



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Summer

I hope your 4th of July was wonderful, relaxing and and thought provoking.... to me it is the big kick off to summer.  The weather is nicer, the BBQ tastes better,  and you get a bit more time to spend with friends and loved ones this time of year....thought provoking because of all the things it means on so many levels, which can get lost in all the hoopla.   So, I am going to post a bit thematically here, since I recently got to work on several fun projects in that most wonderful color scheme...

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” Albert Einstein

“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” 
George Washington

“I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking” Woodrow Wilson

“So, Two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism” EM Forster


Friday, June 24, 2011

Hearing the Cheering

... to the NYS Senate, Thank You!   It is thrilling that NY politicians worked together and passed this very important bill.  We are now part of the vanguard!



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yes, it is Leather

 This just in - a drop dead gorgeous client in her custom-made leather dress! 

(I love this photo! Thank you B. for sending it to me.)

Here is some detail:

...and it is really bronze, a beautiful pearlescent lambskin.

More Stretch Leather


My very own Scarlett O'Hara, GWTW Moment

Been busy and way backed up with posting here, even without the glitches-  I am once and for all going to finish my custom made wedding dress series,  right here and right now - before I get back to leather & before my first anniversary!!!!

(…and yes to all my :) customers….before you ask…I am still married!!!  & I do love you guys…)

For those of you who've not been here before and are not interested in looking back,  in a nutshell, this dress is my very own Scarlett O'Hara moment.

It's made from my husband's Mother's (& we think, her mother's) antique hand-embroidered, cut-work linen tablecloth.

I will leave my former fiance's initial reaction - when I announced what I was going to do with this very old,  very well loved and very, very stained tablecloth - to your imagination...

Ta Da!

...and this was our "First Dance" Music!


Garden Life, or a little a walk on the wild side

('s XXing fingers blogger is back on form and I can get back up to speed again.)
 Over the Memorial Day Holiday we went to Niagara Falls. (We had a great time and I will post pix soon)

When we left it was kinda chilly & wet here in NYC and summer was looking real far off.  Needless to say, when we got back it was 84° and super humid.  The garden on my weekend terrace had really taken off, the roses were full blown, the tomatoes blooming,  & the pumpkin (aka Audrey II) was threatening to strangle a cat or two...

And now, things are getting interesting.  2 new crops appeared. (Yay! pictures work again!!!)

 I've counted 4 teeny tiny little grasshoppers- who I can only assume are the progeny of these guys:
from last year- (at 2 different stages):

last years grasshopper tween
giagantor grassopper
Monster Grasshopper!  Or maybe, the grasshopper that ate Manhattan...unfortunately shortly after this photo was taken,  the cat was very upsetting.  I missed them and I am so glad the cycle wasn't cut short.

Then 2 or three days ago I say some scary looking black blotches on my big (& not so happy) dill plant, I did not get too close.  Now this is what we have:

butterflies to be?

 Swallowtail?  Maybe Monarch? The dill is about gone now (Overnight!) so guess who will be feeding them with store bought... thank god for Google,  otherwise I probably would have tossed the plant - and the caterpillars- now it's - move it away from the parsley and buy them carrot tops - (If I am wrong,   I hope somebody will please inform me here, now, & soon)

caterpillar showing it's horns
 (these caterpillars show little horns (lowest caterpillar) when they are aggravated!)

I really do hope to be nurturing these to be butterflies soon!  The dill sure worked a lot better than the so called "Butterfly Bush"

I don't think I'd ever be able to observe this closely in the real wild and I am so thrilled to be able to see it now.  I was a kid who grew up in suburbia  & considered "home" the Winnebago we traveled in  4 months a year.  We never got to stop to just watch things, since Dad had the "driving" gene (still does) so we just went.  I love having a garden!  Unbelievably, I am actually getting into bugs!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

I may never blogger again

OK, here I am after- YES, a pretty long pause.

I have been busy, a that's good thing for sure. But here I am and I find I am suddenly...

1) unable to upload photos to blogger. (server rejected) many many tries.
2) what odd photos do manage to upload take forever. (oddly some go thru- from EXACT same source)
3) it seems I can no longer write posts and set them to publish at a particular time.
which was a VERY long time coming to blogger in the first place...

I barely have the time to get on here to post and when I do I expect to have it working
simply and easily- at the very least updates should be smooth and straightforward to troubleshoot.

I have been on a bunch of forums and a lot of people are having this problem, and seem to have been for some time.  In my case, I am nowhere near my picture limit for picassa, I have tried the old uploader and still no go.  I  have done everything I can find as far as troubleshooting on the web.

And as to the google/ blogger forums that DO attempt to address this issue several of them have been recently shut down for any posts or replies by blogger/google.

SHAME ON YOU BLOGGER/GOOGLE. Incredibly lax and unprofessional of Google and if they can't do an update that works on something like this they should get out of the business. I hate to gripe but it is seriously ridiculous.  They have had years to get blogger right and absolutely the best position to do it from.

(You may not see the finish of the  wedding dress series till way after my 1st anniversary at this point! I did try...)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fashion Marketing 101- for me at least...

Yesterday I spent most of the day at the Fashion140 conference, which is one of a series of conferences spearheaded by Jeff Pulver (look him up) and Lilly Berelovitch of Fashion Snoops.

It is a conference about using social media in marketing fashion- and the ways social media has changed the whole ballgame.

I missed a few of the earlier panels, but was there for most of the day and found most of it to be very interesting.  Myself,  I am a very inconsistent, low level user of SM to get my work out there.  And like a lot of people; I am not sure my clientele uses Twitter,  Facebook and the like to make their choices about purchasing.  I don’t know what I could possibly talk about and I don’t believe that many people would be that interested in what I have to say.  I am hardly a great writer and I am a very private person so all the “sharing” does not come naturally to me.  Not by a long shot. 

I am uncomfortable on twitter,  though yesterday I learned the app I use maybe making things much harder and much more confusing. (Can anybody tell me who actually can sit at their computer and get anything done with the constantly beeping updates in the corner that Tweetdeck overrides your screen with?  It’s insanely crazy making and took me forever to figure out how to shut it up!)

Anyhow the conference was over all very good for me, if in places lacking focus;  Robert Verdi rambled - is that the way he is?  Amanda Greene, who I expect was very, very nervous, got way too caught up in all the swag she’s scored as a result of her “Brand Ambassadorship” when her ultimate message was so much more important;  How she has successfully used that platform to promote awareness of Lupus, which she is very, very passionate about, having lived with it for 28 years.  She brought a tear to many eyes once she got to the point.

The Miss USA Panel I think was an excuse for an early lunch break. Kudos to the moderator on this panel- it was a tricky one.

Much more on point were Joe Zee, excellent!  The Beekman Boys, who I was pretty much unaware of before this.  Carol Brodie was amazing as was Yuli Ziv (again- no awareness of her before this) Andy Dunn- co founder of Bonobos. Seeing Marc Ecko’s master showmanship. The menswear Investment and Luxury Panels were all very good. 

Especially eye opening- (or eye-popping) was the gaming and tweens panels!  There was an audible gasp from the when the two 14 year olds said they had their own credit cards! (When I was 14, I had a $10.00 a week “clothing” allowance & a close to full-time after school/weekend job at a local fabric store! )

There were tons of other great speakers - the dial was set to 11 for speed.  I do hope the next Fashion140  will allow a little more time for the panels & it got rushed especially towards the end.

It was a lot - I had nightmares last night about maxing out credit-cards I do not own!

The woman sitting next to me was very encouraging about getting into the whole social network thing but said did not feel she learned much new from the panels. When I got home and looked at her website - it was Gorgeous!!  Obviously she has a real flair for marketing- social and otherwise. She is promoting herself as a complete personality, styling, selling closet makeovers and a small assortment of vintage on Esty.

I really admire this ability to market & I am completely in awe of it.  There is a real brilliance in it.  I really wish I had that talent, but my talent lies in another direction completely.  And I hope that my body-of-work speaks for itself until such time comes…


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Early Behrle Leather on Conan O'Brien

I periodically dig through and attempt to organize the archives.  It's always an entertaining (if sisyphean) task.   Just found several old buried treasures in my undecipherable pile of discs.

Here's one with Supermodel Roshumba, with Norm MacDonald on Conan O'Brien. She's decked out head to toe in my leather. Including a push-up snakeskin bustier bra top that puts her not inconsiderable assets very much first and foremost.  Conan gets some pretty good moments with it...:)

I don't think I ever saw this when it came out, it's pretty funny. Checked out YouTube, and there it was!

We must have made hundreds of this bustier for Patrica Field's shop when it was on 8th street, variations in every color and leather you could possibly imagine.  It seemed like every girl who went to the clubs back then had to have had one...or five.

Friday, April 15, 2011

And the Winner is...

I want to thank everybody who posted here the last couple of weeks and who also kept me abreast of a glitch in Firefox so I could let others know. 

Ok - all the entries have gone into a hat and my husband is doing the honors...Good Luck everybody,
And thank you all for entering!

...and the winner is....


I will be contacting you shortly, Peter.

This was my first giveaway,  not my last.  I plan to do more as the occasion arises,   so to hear about any future promotions don't forget to sign up for my e-mail list.

Thank You for all the support.

Carla Dawn

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I am honored to have such amazing clients & working with them is a truly fulfilling & collaborative process.  This is what makes what I do so enjoyable.

I have no testimonial letters on my site anymore, since some tweeking removed them from my main page.  So for the time being I am going to start putting them here.  

So here is the first one:

I own dozens of pieces from every great leather designer there is--Gucci, Versace, Jitrois, Burberry Prorsum  etc.  Carla Behrle is better than all of them and at least half the cost and ten times more attentive and keeps working until the piece is perfect.  She is also remarkably quick. She has made three custom-made pieces for me and is working on a fourth.

I came in with nothing but a conception in my head for a pair of one-piece leather boot pants. The difficulty of designing that for look, feel and comfort was monumental. Let's put it this way--rather than wearing them I think I should frame them.  At any fashion house they would have cost three or four five times as much because of the design and labor. And you won't find them at any fashion house because they don't make them.

When it comes to leather design and make she is the best there is. I know.

Buzz Bissinger,
contributing editor for Vanity Fair

I am speechless...all I can say is:  Thank You, Buzz!!!!


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