To say the least, it’s a weird and awful time. In the midst of all that’s happened over the past few months, I haven’t really felt comfortable blogging about fashion. It’s really not important in comparison to working on our safety and more importantly, our humanity.
That said, as it feels especially heavy right now, I wanted to focus on something somewhat ironically light – stylish face masks. It’s looking like we will have these for a while, so why not make them fun? My friend Karen shared this new vendor with me – katiemay.com. Lace, sequins, leopard – they are all showcased here on this mask site. Also, I’ve found some cute camo and leopard versions on Etsy. Locally, Posh Boutique is offering a more designer feel with Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada versions. You can check those out on the Posh IG page, shopposhboutique.
Cover your face, but unleash your heart. Stay well!
They first made their debut on a Neiman Marcus commercial earlier this year with Kate Upton and stylist Erin Walsh, and now they are all over the magazines. Welcome back 1990s! The oversized blazer is back…Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Loungewear is loving this quarantine. Shopping sites usually teaming with cozy pajamas and luscious lounge sets are more frequently showing “Out of Stock” or “Wait List.” And I’m not kidding, I think every woman in America has purchased leopard loungewear! They are not to be found anywhere! I think tie-dye is second and camo is third in the desired cuddle-up categories. But here are some stores and brands that still offer some nice selections. (Photo credit: @rw.studios on Unsplash)
Some Sites to Try:
Dillard’s – Thanks to my friend V, this was a great place to start. Many brands are on sale right now too.
Kohl’s – If you go through Rakuten on this site, you can get cash back. The styles are nice and at the end of the selections are several sports team versions.
Red Dress Boutique – A cute boutique out of Georgia with adorable, pricier loungewear (www.reddress.com)
Nordstrom – Always a good choice.
Bare Necessities – Never before have I been to this site, but some good options. barenecessities.com
A Few Brands to Search:
Fashion designer Jeanne Bjorn was walking down Fifth Avenue in 1980s New York when a woman asked her where she got her stylish fur coat.
When Bjorn replied it was her own design, the woman gave her a business card. It was Jean Rosenberg, vice president of iconic Henri Bendel.
The meeting would become fortuitous — not in launching Bjorn’s fashion star — but in ushering the now Tucson-based designer into compelling work in Oscar and Tony-Award winning costume creation, beautiful millinery and shoe design.
“She came to see my clothing and she said, ‘I think your work is really amazing,’ ” Bjorn recalled. “ ‘This is how much money you are going to need to go forward, if you’re going to compete with say, Donna Karan or Calvin Klein.’” “And I looked at that number and I was stunned. It was so much. It was like a New York wake-up call.”
Bjorn grew up on a Missouri farm, fascinated with her mother’s bolts of fabric. She would meticulously touch and study their textures, designs and sheen. Her passion led her to a degree in textiles and fabric design at the University of Georgia and then propelled her across the country to San Francisco, where she would launch her own label of women’s designer sportswear. Her namesake line, J Bjorn, would be featured in shows and stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, where she had just relocated when she met Rosenberg.
After that Bendel moment, Bjorn instead sought out a job in costume design for stage and film with Barbara Matera Ltd. and would eventually help with creations for Broadway’s Dream Girls, The Secret Garden, the Tony Award-winning Crazy For You, Oscar-winning designs for The Age of Innocence, Hook and the New York City Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty. “I used to joke with my friends that I had to leave fashion because the pay was lower and the hours were longer, but the creativity was over the top.”
Bjorn also continued to take classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She chose millinery by opening up the class catalog and blindly pointing a finger. She instantly loved it and soon began making hats for clients and select lines for stores. But after a health-threatening experience at a New York costume shop where she was head milliner, she moved to Portland, Ore. There, she spent more than a decade teaching millinery and eventually shoe design, too. “I love designing and creating, but teaching is the best gift I can give someone because it passes the skill on, not to be forgotten.”
Indeed, some of her students included shoe designers from Columbia sportswear, as well as, rising young artisans who, after her instruction, ultimately moved to Italy to further their studies.
Now in Tucson, Bjorn has continued classes in hat and shoe making. Though she is awaiting her next move after the Covid-19 pandemic, the designer can look back proudly on a career that has seen her work featured in Women’s Wear Daily, California Apparel News, The San Francisco Examiner and The Oregonian, to name a few.
“We need a world of good designers,” she said. “Some of these skills, I worry we are close to losing them if we don’t teach a new generation.”
You can find out more about Bjorn’s classes on her website, jeannebjorn.com.
Easter Sunday is quickly approaching and some local entrepreneurs are offering some unique baskets to make this holiday and others falling under quarantine a bit cheerier. Here’s another chance to support the local businesses that make T-town special:
W Boutique has three luxe baskets to choose from for the fashionista or stylish bunny in your life. The baskets, which range in price from $175 to $250, include different compilations of favorites from the St. Philip’s Plaza boutique. You can also add a gift card. For more information and doorstep delivery options, you can DM the store on FB or insta or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basket Butler, run by local businessman Mark Ballis, offers custom gift baskets that can be perfect for Easter but also for any local healthcare heroes you’d like to honor. His website notes a surge in business lately for just that. You can peruse his gallery here.
Scout & Cellar organic wines has one of its most hardworking reps in Kelly Medvec. After Easter, she mentioned several appreciation weeks on the calendar for April and May, for teachers, administrative professionals and especially, nurses and hospitals. Her company offers clean-crafted, delicious wines and now, cute new cans and minis. You can reach Kelly at www.scoutandcellar.com/kellymedvec or phone 520-331-4289.
Stay well everyone! xo
Called the “Dior of the Desert” by the Los Angeles Times, Tucson designer Dolores Gonzales made a regional resort “it dress” that snared even First Ladies’ attention. In the 1940s and 50s, Gonzales designed one and two-piece dresses that featured a full, “broomstick” skirt and were made in bright, colorful fabrics. The style soon became a favorite during sorority rush at the University of Arizona and was eventually worn by First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower and Pat Nixon, according to The Tucson Sentinel and the Arizona Daily Star. Gonzales’ designs soon became a popular emblem of Western fashion. Though retail chain J.C. Penney wanted to sell her dresses, Gonzales refused, preferring to personally produce them in her own factory, according to the Star. Her distinctive designs have since been the subject of historical Tucson exhibitions.
Tucson Fashionista is an occasional and ongoing Zona Girl series on local women with legendary style.