POSTED ON OCTOBER 15, 2008:
Fresh Off the Runway
Cherry Street boutique and a benefit fashion event bring the latest to T-Town
West Coast Flair. Owner Kelly Mize visits markets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas four times a year, specifically asking brands if they sell anywhere in Tulsa. If they aren't, she decides those are the clothes for Little Black Dress, 1325 E. 15th St.
Staying eternally cool is not an easy achievement, unless you were a celebrity who died young and in your prime. Being classically cool is no guarantee in life. Some people can achieve it, so able to coast through trendy rubbish unscathed.
Two new attractions in Tulsa are showcasing two opposite pieces of pop culture that will forever be cool. No matter what the year, who the people are, or where they're from, it can't be denied that the go-to classic little black dress and the broadest (and best) genre of rock n' roll music are eternally cool. They continue their reign now in the form of a recent boutique addition, Little Black Dress, and the Ihloff Fall Collection: "Rock. Paper. Scissors: A Tribute to Rock" event. Let's begin with these entities of cool one at a time.
Little Black Dress, 1325 E. 15th St., is super new, with the doors opening October 7. Beautiful floral arrangements, cupcakes and people packed the store. Fixtures were filled with a kaleidoscope of clothes making their first appearance in Tulsa.
And that was the point.
Owner Kelly Mize visits markets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas four times a year, specifically asking brands if they sell anywhere in Tulsa. If they aren't, she decides those are the clothes for Little Black Dress.
Mize, with her fashion merchandising degree from Oklahoma State University, wanted to fill a niche, the niche of clothing she and her friends weren't finding elsewhere. She wanted a place that offered classic pieces--occasionally some trends--for women in their late 20s and on into their 30s who didn't want to shop in the juniors section and weren't quite ready to enter the other end of the women's fashion spectrum. While the clothes work for gals younger and older than the target, the focus on timeless pieces is apparent throughout the store. That theme, however, gave Mize her store name, Little Black Dress.
Despite the name, the store offers the full color spectrum in everything. But yes, there are some little black dresses. Looks throughout the store encompass everything from modern day hippie to glam girls. Some items even evoke a little bit of pin-up or vintage 1940s feel. And the "little" in the title is expanded to include sizes in the typical XS to L, number sizes zero to 12 range.
Brands like Pete & Greta feature classic looks such as long sleeve black wrap shirts, black tunics with lace detailed panels, ruffled white tuxedo shirts and a silk blend buttoned short sleeved blouse with black embroidery. There is also a requisite black dress by the label, a black silk shirt dress with slouchy front pockets and a triangular cut-out at the neck on the back.
Voom is a line with a lot more color and the style hints toward a modern day pin up. One black sleeveless dress features silver foiling throughout the whole garment and a black silk bow at the décolletage. A Voom one-shoulder silk top features flowing loose ruffled sleeve with a big silk rose. The top is dip-dyed, blending from bright purple to white before ending in cotton candy pink.
The looks by Christopher Deane definitely evoke an earlier era. Even the material is more structured and the colors more subdued, as in a grey blue dress with wrap around silk tie at the waist. So, too, is a black dress by Molly New York. The purple silk scalloped shoulder line has a sweetheart neckline and a jutted waist that would work for any broad. And, for any Project Runway follower, there are pieces by Season 2 winner Chloe Dao, including a black silk wrap dress with a smattering of white stars. There are long jersey dresses in every shade, from pale grey to red and even green tie-dye by Gypsy. There are plaid tube dresses with matching belts.
The list of labels extends to names such as Stacia, Dylan, Fifteen Twenty, Mollu, Ling and For Love & Liberty. The looks range from knits featuring square necks with tie, oblong oval shape, and oversized turtlenecks to t-shirts in jewel tones with metallic embroidery and rhinestones. And all items fulfill the store's ultimate goal--longevity.
Classic looks don't necessarily mean those for dressing up. Little Black Dress offers a great selection of the comfort pieces that are as timeless as the store's namesake. The Bobi line offers a wide selection of jersey basics, from long t-shirts with long sleeves, parachute sleeveless tops with pleating around the neck, long sleeved and sleeveless dresses-all in a handful of different colors. And the rack that features those basics resides next to the very tall, very full shelf of denim. Little Black Dress offers a full menu of denim shapes, colors and bells and whistles. Brands like Tag, Rich and Skinny, and Fortune are represented among the trouser denim, boot cuts, and high waisted options. Denim colors range from the essential dark wash to faded blue, dirty blue, an acid-washy blue, black and a dirty kind of grey shade. With flap pockets or without, with detailing on the back pockets or without, this grocery list of possibilities does the selection process justice.
Little Black Dress also has a well-rounded array of accessories. Purses by Tylie Malibu are about as luxurious as a bag can get, constructed out of grey ostrich and purple soft leather. There's also a funky python print in gold with dark leather trim. On the other end of the bag line (i.e. less expensive) are the bags by Chinese Laundry. These bags are all large, from the python clutch to a dark red. In addition to bags, there's a great assortment of undergarments, all from the Hanky Panky line. The lace camis come in white, nude and black while the underwear has quite a few options and colors, from thongs and Brazilian cut shapes to full panties in cheetah print, brightly colored lace and even one with a crystal peace sign. And rounding out the add-ons to outfits is the collection of jewelry. I couldn't tell if the pieces were all from one brand, though if not, there was certainly continuity throughout. All in gold, the delicate dangling earrings featured elements like feathers and small cut semi precious stones, seeming to strike a balance with the clothing throughout the store--bold clothing, subdued jewels. Oh, and just in time for crisper weather, there are the Vintage Creation tri-colored cashmere beanies.
Little Black Dress is open Monday thru Friday from 10 to 6pm and Saturdays 10 to 5pm. Even at just a week old, the events are lining up. A fashion show on the store's rooftop kicks off November 13. And for the post-holiday season, Mize plans to host trunk shows. For more information about Little Black Dress, visit www.littleblackdressok.com.
Walk the Runway
This year marks the 11th annual Ihloff Fall Collection: "Rock. Paper. Scissors: A Tribute to Rock" held by Ihloff Salon and Day Spa. This year's event, held October 16 at the Tulsa Convention Center's Assembly Hall from 7 to 9pm, has been inspired by the past 50 years of music. Between 50 and 60 models will walk the runway in looks inspired by 1950s pompadour, 1960s mod and hippies, 1970s punk and shaggy hair, 1980s hair bands, groupies and tough chicks, and 1990s grunge and glam goth.
To offer the best understanding of what to expect, Ihloff has cleverly taken it to YouTube. A search of "Ihloff TV" will turn up a promo for this year's event and a video of last year's. As Kim Freeman of Ihloff Salon said that the event combines a rock show with theater, great hair and fantasy. And, if this is the kind of thing that seals the deal for you, there are three bars.
And as great as the event is in fun, it's great in spirit, too. Thirty women from the Resonance programs receive makeovers and then walk the runway. Resonance is a gender-specific program that offers hope and alternatives to women involved with the justice system and their families. Its ultimate goal is to break the cycle of multi-generational chemical addiction and criminal offense. Their three-tiered approach of offering intervention, prevention and support "leads to self-sufficiency for women and families experiencing challenge, change, or adversity in their lives."
The event ends with a surprising musical tribute. Tickets are on sale in advance at Dwelling Spaces (2nd and Detroit), Ida Red (33rd and Peoria) and both Ihloff Salons (1876 Utica Sqaure and 8343 S. Memorial Dr.) for $15 or can be purchased at the door for $20. In addition to the ticket sales and the $50,000 plus in corporate sponsorships, this year's event features local retailers with booths selling "wearable art," with portions of those proceeds also going to Resonance.
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