It’s only fitting to start my new Tucson Fashionista series with Cele Peterson. History shows that the late Peterson was truly the desert’s grande dame of fashion. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Peterson opened her first fashion boutique during The Great Depression and it would go on to survive World War II and a devastating 1956 fire. Catering to wealthy wives and celebrities, including Lady Astor and Liz Taylor, Peterson would eventually create her own Southwest clothing line, “Station Wagon Togs,” that would not only be featured in Mademoiselle magazine but also find an audience in front of Pop McKale’s daughter, Ruth, among others. Gabrielle Giffords once commented that she always wore a silver pin bought at Peterson’s store to dress up her outfits, according to an article on preservetucson.org. Before her death at age 101 in 2010, Peterson had created a local empire of stores that spanned the city and forever cemented her name as one of city’s true style mavens.
Tucson Fashionista is an occasional and ongoing Zona Girl series on local women with legendary style.