Multiple Options photo by Deborah Fagan Carpeneter
Multiple Options photo by Deborah Fagan Carpeneter

She goes from “beach-to-bistro.” Ease of wear, comfort, quality and classic lines are the hallmarks of the versatile creations by designer Ellis Dixon, and her transitional casual-wear can be dressed up or down to become perfect attire for almost any occasion.

She lives in central Portugal, but her “southerness” originated in Memphis, Tennessee. She has thoroughly embraced the “total lack of urgency” of her new home in Lisbon, as well as its beauty, healthy eating habits and work ethic. Throughout each day, she works really hard at creating her line, but is filled with “a sigh of life” the minute she steps out into the unhurried world in the beautiful country. The relaxed Portuguese culture, the Mediterranean colors and the mild climate have not only had a major impact on her personally, but are clearly reflected in her design decisions.

Photo of Ellis Dixon by Deborah Fagan Carpenter
Photo of Ellis Dixon by Deborah Fagan Carpenter

Living out of a backpack for several years was the impetus for her “convertible” design concept. During years of extensive travel she became aware of the necessity to pack only a couple of basic pieces which could serve multiple purposes. That practice became the model for the timeless, transitional casual wear that make up the Ellis Dixon collection. “If you take one good casual piece and throw on a beautiful necklace, it becomes a dynamite outfit!” In a struggling world-wide economy, the design notion is a marvelous alternative, and under any circumstance, it gives the wearer the option to “design their own style.” As more and more people embrace the idea, Dixon wants to make fashion decisions easy and understandable.

The exquisite Ellis Dixon bridal designs follow the same formula of simplicity and timelessness. Her “easy” style inspires soon-to-be brides to seek her custom made gowns, and the result is elegant drama infused with the bride’s personality. The characteristic quality and simple sophistication of a Dixon design are also clearly evident in one of her gorgeous, sexy wedding creations.

Made-to-measure swimwear is the basis of Fluid, a Galveston, Texas casual wear company for which Dixon is the lead designer. She and partner, Megan Turnbow, built the line from the ground up, and although Fluid features the made-to-measure swimwear, it also includes ready-to wear suits and the light, “flowey” sun-wear for which Dixon is best known.

1950's Stewardess Cap photo by Deborah Fagan Carpenter
1950’s Stewardess Cap photo by Deborah Fagan Carpenter

Both Fluid and the Ellis Dixon collection were presented at a recent runway show in Memphis. One of the pieces in the show, characteristic of her “user-friendly” style, was an “infinity” dress, which can be worn in multiple ways and thus lends itself to total “individuality.” Dixon’s whimsical personality was also evident on the runway with the addition of 1950s “stewardess” caps as accessory pieces.

Opening a “gallery-like” boutique in Portugal is Dixon’s “pie-in-the-sky” dream. Her shop would not only allow talented local artisans to “exhibit” their wearable, salable art, but would also provide them with industrial sewing equipment to generate what they already have the ability to create, but lack the means to produce. There are currently limited retail options for locals to sell what they have the “artisan know-how” to create, and Ellis wants to fill that gap. “It would be a grass roots sort of thing, where members of the community would come together to share their expertise– sort of a ‘sewing bee.’” That spirit of life permeates each of Dixon’s own designs and is helping her to make a substantial name for herself in the design world.

To learn more about Ellis Dixon and her concept of “convertible” clothing, check out www.ellisdixon.com, and for “made-to-measure” swimwear, www.fluidswimwear.com

The Infinity Dress photo by Deborah Fagan Carpenter
The Infinity Dress photo by Deborah Fagan Carpenter

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