Global Fashion In Aspen…
Where else, after a full day of thigh-crushing skiing or snowboarding can a mountain lover shop while sipping Veuve Clicquot while viewing collections from global designers? Why, Aspen of course! I know what you’re thinking, Aspen is a place where the locals tend to hike, bike…and sometimes sleep in work out clothes (ya never know when you might be able to fit that work out in, so may as well be prepared). However, with globally conscious, educated consumers (that’s us) visiting from around the globe, Aspen puts high fashion at high altitude.
When you have a ski resort that is home to more high-end designers than Paris – and celebs such as Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson, and Kevin Costner, it’s no wonder a group of internationally inspired fashion designers are staking their claim here. My global search started with Squaw Night 2015. Who wouldn’t love to be surrounded by a group of talented women in turquoise, suede and feathered head-dresses at a swank private-residence where fires weren’t the only thing roaring? Food, bubbly and a lively disc jockey kept the Pow-Wow rocking till midnight. (Thank you Julie! I pray my cowboy boots only added to the patina on your wooden coffee table and you’ll have me back next year.) After hiking for four-leaf clovers at a dear friends ranch on Buttermilk Mountain, (adore you sweet Susana) I headed downtown to hunt for fashion. You didn’t have to twist my arm to uncover the good stuff. You can thank me later…
Tribal Fashion in Aspen with Anna Trzebinski
Anna Trzebinski, born in Kenya and married a Masai whom she met while on a camel safari up North. In addition to being an amazing high-end fashion and home ware designer, she helped create the “look & feel” of Lemarti’s Camp in Northern Kenya (her husband, Lemarti, runs the lodge) Anna was born in Germany but came to live in Africa as an infant. Anna is a muzungu, a white person, but she is African to her bones. In her store, a life-size photograph of Trzebinski, Lemarti, and members of the Maasai tribe hangs on the wall. Luxurious cashmere coats, ostrich-feather scarves, and beaded ponchos, each assembled by the Kenyan crafters will make you want to skip town and catch the next flight to the Motherland. Materials are sourced from all over the world— crocodile from South Africa, glass beads from the Czech Republic and turquoise from New Mexico—before being cut and stitched in Africa.
Anna has always been very connected to the people of Kenya and to the amazing natural beauty of Africa and is very influenced by traditional crafts and the colors in nature. For the record, she has not studied any kind of fashion. Anna started a small leatherwear business with a girlfriend; focusing on Native American designs in beading. She started to embellish pashminas and her work took off with traditional Maasai beading and African influences. With so much beauty on the planet it’s pure joy to see things that are not mass-produced. Her attention to detail and workmanship is inspiring.
“I am truly a child of Africa. She flows in my veins; she has given me everything and taken much! This is where I want to be.” – Anna
Bullet Girl Jewelry
All the pieces are made with real bullets – how cool is that? Bulletgirl was the inspiration of Jessica Stern Meyer. Her grandfather manufactured bullets in Mexico and on one of her visits it struck her that these bullets could be made into amazing jewelry. Not only for what they could look like but what it could represent.
This jewelry is a juxtapose to what the bullets are literally intended for and the words such as love, peace and faith are symbolically placed on the bullets making a very strong statement. Both men and women can wear this jewelry as it transcends all stereotypes. Jessica wants Bulletgirl to represent fierce, fearless, strong and passionate persons that love beauty and finds the message to be part of their spirit. I’ve loved sporting my Bulletgirl bracelet with everythig from jeans and a t-shirt, to a glamorous dress on the red carpet. Bling-tastic!
The process that manipulates the bullets, maintains the integrity of them without sacrificing their sleek shape. A gold spiky necklace is tough and modern, while a string of pearls accented by flower stamp and diamond studs is easily worn by someone’s grandmother. “This collection is for the confident woman who likes edgy things and is not afraid to take a risk, and sees beauty in everything.” Meyer said. After spending time with this incredibly creative spirit, I’m a fan (along with Kim Kardashian and Miranda Lambert) Cease fire and Get loaded ladies!
“Bullets symbolize violence. But our new line of jewelry shifts the paradigm, transforming them into symbols of inner strength, personal conviction, and an unflinching affirmation of self.” – Jessica Meyer
Kate Daudy is an artist who works with poetry, follwing in the ancient Chinese tradition of writing on objects to celebrate the memories they represent. The marriage of clothes and words came about when Daudy’s first novel was dropped by her publishers. Unhappy, she started writing on clothes out of frustration. The first piece that she customised was a 1970s velvet suit by Oscar de la Renta, which reads, “I try to write poetry but sometimes it’s fucking difficult” around the skirt. F-ing LOVE this! It’s refreshing to see clothes being given a new lease of life, especially at a time when people are looking for individual pieces and items with longevity.
A linguist who speaks seven languages, Kates work is influenced by writers and thinkers of diverse cultures. Through re-contextualisation, she shares her love of the everyday, and deifies the ordinary. Her work explores the places in between, the anonymous shifts and overlaps between East and West, the banal and the sublime, the academic and the sensual, high culture and trash. By writing her thoughts and feelings on a given object, she lays herself and her feelings open. Having designed clothing myself, I relate to the labour intensive investment of one’s creativity. I love how she sewed miniature felt meadows of flowers inside the lining of a jacket, to create a private landscape for the wearer. And the black jacket with white felt flowers that reads, “Once and a Lifetime”? Well, let’s just say I nearly swiped it off the Gallery Manager’s back to wear it home…
Katharine Story was born in to a family of artisans. Travel has been the inspiration for her distinctive work. Her boutiques in Los Angeles and Laguna Beach, Story has become a treasured favorite among locals and celebs alike. Story is well known for her accents of leather fringe, fur and oversize, semiprecious stone and metal accessories. Her designs reflect confidence, worldliness and a playful zest for life. The boutique is a treasure trove for stylish boho dresses, pants, vests and jackets. The label balances bold, hand-dyed color with flowing, unstructured shape that are ultimately defined by the wearer’s body. Story’s one of a kind collection features beautiful patterns of floral or tribal designs that portray ancient Chinese, gypsy or animal motifs.
Who wants to shop at the mall when you can create your own unique, individual look with pieces like these? My white leather fringe necklace with rhinestones and feathers over a long crocheted vest with leather down the sides turned heads for Squaw Night. A beautiful ethnic scarf was perfect tied around my head (and saved my bad hair day in the rain.) Story has just the signature gypsy design you are looking for and had me rocking out in style. Thank you Katharine! This Chick is too cool for school. Don’t be afraid to put your own unique spin on things. No rules – eclectic, unique, and experimental. A little rebellion now and then is a good thing… Mission accomplished!
Look, Aspen is by far the easiest place in town to max out your credit cards, with big names like Doir and Gucci. But let’s face it, you can find those stores almost anywhere. Did you really fly all the way here only to shop the chains? The towns eclectic designer boutiques prove incentive enough for inhabitants to stay fabulously dressed. Chances are slim-to-none you’ll spot someone else sporting the same frock and hey, that’s the goal isn’t it?
Perhaps it’s time to start letting that overworked passport of yours collect a little dust…