Why merely be the belle of the ball when you can be the “Belle of the Game”?
Hundreds of golfers, tennis players and everyone in between, came out dressed in their summer après-golf best Friday evening for the launch of ellabelle (www.ellabelle.com), a Denver-based contemporary activewear line, at the Colorado Golf Club (CGC) in Parker.
“Women of all ages find the ellabelle line to embody the ideal combination of feminine fashion and functional fit,” Lisa Holste, co-creator of ellabelle, said. “The designs are perfect for the course, court and beyond.”
The ellabelle celebration on Friday’s cool summer evening was chic and private, yet lighthearted. Wine and hors d’oeuvres were flowing and music pumping as guests mingled in the indoor-outdoor rustic, manor-like clubhouse overlooking the breathtaking Front Range sunset and secluded golf course — nothing but a handful of CGC mansions to dot the lush landscape.
A portion of all ticket sales from the star-studded event went to SaddleUp! Foundation in Elizabeth. The foundation seeks to empower individuals with special needs through equine therapy.
Ellabelle’s fashion show overtook the CGC ballroom with pink and a pool of local celebrity faces. Models included the likes of Amelia Rose Earhart (9News), Janet Elway, and Denise Plante (KOSI 101.1 and “Colorado and Company”), as well as several other familiar faces from television, sports and radio.
“It’s everything that you can wear on the course, you can wear on the court, you can wear in the gym; or, you can wear it to happy hour,” said Jennifer Broome, emcee for the evening and Fox31 meteorologist. “It really is for people like me who are constantly on the go, traveling. There’s something for everybody. If you’re looking at women’s golf clothes, there’s nothing like this.”
And the evening was abuzz with energy not only for the brand launch, but also for the upcoming Solheim Cup, a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) competition between American and European women’s teams held Aug. 13-18 at the CGC. The competition, which Ireland hosted in 2011, is played every two years and is expected to bring in at least 100,000 visitors. Although the ellabelle launch party timing was pure coincidence, it got the excitement building.
“It’s such a major event for Colorado and women’s golf, so we’re just so fortunate that it’s here,” said Heidi Heckenlaible, ellabelle co-creator.
When I say women’s golf clothing, fashionable is most likely not the first thing to come to mind. It is this hole in the market that inspired these two style-savvy, professional, Denver women to design a collection of feminine, athletic apparel – the whole idea stemming from a conversation in a beauty salon chair.
“We felt there was a niche for fit and flair, body-flaunting styles, while a lot of golf clothes tend to be boxier or smaller versions of men’s clothing,” Heckenlaible said.
It was Heckenlaible who was in the salon chair one day when her long-time friend and hairstylist, Holste, and herself, dreamed up ellabelle.
Heckenlaible (a golf course manager and pro shop buyer) and Holste (co-owner of Posh The Salon) were dissatisfied with the athletic apparel options available. They heard similar responses from their friends: what was available for golf, specifically, focused on comfort at the expense of fashion.
“I think they’re going to do really well … I liked it all. I was really impressed. Comfort, but cute.”
— Melany Hunt, golfer
So, the duo made many a trip to LA to bring their dreams to life with the help of designers, fit specialists and manufacturers. They wanted it all: performance fabric (moisture-wicking, anti-microbial), in fashion, great fit, great design, golf-appropriate and pure fun like they are (and trust me, we three sat down together over Very Berry Refreshers for a cozy chat at Starbuck’s, and they are fun!).
“Heidi and I, we go to LA together, we sleep in the same hotel room, we like the same food, we go to Earth Café,” Holste said. “It’s our lifestyle. We do something that we really believe in … I want to wear it!”
The color palette is a set of core poppy colors: fuchsia, coral and turquoise. Pieces can be worn monochromatic for a safer, seamless look, or can be worn mixed and matched for a pop.
“I’m honored to be the face, the model for the line the whole way through from start to finish.”
— Jessica McClain, ellabelle covergirl, actress, model and Littleton native
My favorite picks from the night were the wear-anywhere coral dress with the ruffle skirt (who doesn’t look good in coral, honestly?) and the undershort – hello, it has secret pockets for your cell phone, golf tees or extra tennis/golf balls.
Once the website goes live, an accessory line will be available as well including brightly colored golf balls, golf bags, hats and visors.
According to Heckenlaible, ellabelle is the “embodiment of a lifestyle: we’re Denver; we love Colorado.”
The current collection is a limited edition for Denver. In 2014, ellabelle will be launching nationwide. The collection will be available for purchase via their website (www.ellabelle.com) beginning Aug. 12, 2013, or directly, through email: info[email protected].