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In the summer of 1946 the then 28-year-old Lilly Hansen decided to become self-employed as a seamstress. On a'conto she bought a red SINGER sewing machine, which was paid in the following year with about 1 euro per month. She rented the new business pr
Unfortunately he didn't make the deadline but came up with a transitional solution, where he offered her to share his own workshop with her (it was in the same building).
As a result a big sheet was hung up in the middle of the room dividing his workshop in two: On the one side was the "Lilly's Dress-Atelier" and on the other side the workshop of "Svend Brændgaard Hansen & Co".
After a while Lilly started wondering what the delay was all about and confronted the builder and it turned out he had fallen in love! The "partnership" would last a lifetime and in 1999 the they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
In the beginning, Lilly recreated ladies' wardrobes, e.g. suits, dresses or jackets. She was not only a gifted businesswoman but also an incomparable design talent with a lot of craftsmanship and a great love for details.
One of the first customers who entered, was a young lady and her mother, who placed an order for a wedding dress, to be made out of an english silk parachute that they had saved. This became the starting shot for LILLY's success story: for those who wanted to wear a new weddingdress in the post-war period - a time when clothing and fabrics were very rare and precious - it was important to find a company, that could accomplish the miracle of making five-meters of fabric look like 30!
Word quickly spread, and during the next ten years brides from all over Denmark came to Vejle to have their weddingdress made by Lilly. And soon she concentrated entirely on bridal and evening wear as the core business of the newborn "LILLY" brand.
The following years...
Gradually additional seamstresses were hired to handle the assignments and the business expandended with collections of ready-made weddingdresses and eveninggowns.
LILLY shops soon followed in alle the major cities of Denmark and in 1978 the first LILLY shop opened in Flensburg, Germany.
Today you can visit LILLY bridal shops in Denmark, Germany and Sweden, as well as find the brand represented in renowned bridalstores throughout Europe.
The second generation
Lilly's daughter, Annemarie, had inherited the love of fabrics and tailoring, and in her early years she often enjoyed herself in the sewing room. Her first job as a five-year-old was to pick up pins from the ground with a magnet suspended from a cord. At the age of 13, she worked in the studio every day after school and she opened her first store in Copenhagen at the age of 17, adding another milestone for LILLY. Annemarie and her two brothers expanded the network of LILLY stores in Germany. Annemarie was a master of fabrics, cut and high quality. For her, it was more passion than work, to create new design ideas and this passion was inherited by her daughter, Eva-Dorthe Rantzau Smith, who joined the company in 1990 and is now the creative heart of LILLY.
The 3rd generation
Today, Eva-Dorthe Rantzau Smith, together with her sister Anne Kathrine Rantzau Ulrich and cousin Betina Brændgaard Tolstrup, successfully lead the family business in it's 3rd generation. Eva-Dorthe is the creative mind behind all the different LILLY collections - each with its very own character and variety of styles. As a specialist for occassionswear, LILLY's portfolio also includes fashion for eveningwear, bridesmaids, flowergirls, communion and christening.