Hello Betsey!

Tucson Fashion Week is back and it's more amped up than ever. We profile the powerhouse duo that lured fashion wild child Betsey Johnson and more. By Gillian Drummond

Betsey Johnson. Photo by

Betsey Johnson. Photo by Julian Mackler/BFA


Betsey Johnson. Mercedes-Benz. Project Runway.  The names are big, the mission lofty. But for Paula Taylor, both go hand-in-hand.

When the fashion designer turned events organizer decided to take the helm of Tucson Fashion Week, she knew she'd have to have a big name to draw sponsors, attention, and the public.

"You have to bring the big, shiny object, and I think we had to make it credible on a national scale," says Paula. The bling, in this case, was maverick fashion designer Betsey Johnson, huge in the fashion world since the 1960's and a rebel in her field.

Betsey's long-time friend, Tucson-based artist Douglas Leichter, knows Daniel Asia, composer, University of Arizona music professor and Huffington Post blogger. Daniel in turn knows Martha Van Gelder, director of the the U of A's Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing. So when Paula received a call from Martha asking if she could think of an event that could incorporate Betsey, that's when the ball started rolling.

Tucson Fashion Week founder, CandyStrike's Elizabeth Denneau, was happy to hand over the reins; the event had begun in 2010, happened again in 2011, and then skipped a year last year. Paula asked Melanie Sutton, a fashion stylist and marketing professional, to help and the two formed The House of PM, which owns and operates TFW.

Bringing Betsey Johnson on board brought sponsors, and that in turn brought local and national designers, all of them clamoring for a piece of what is set to be Tucson Fashion Week's most exciting year yet.

The event, presented by Mercedes-Benz of Tucson, takes place at three Tucson venues across three days. There's a runway event at the Tucson Museum of Art where the runway will snake through the outside courtyard. Also that evening there's the Moveable Feast, featuring culinary creations by local chefs (Vivace's Daniel Scordato and Acacia's Albert Hall are among them) to match some of Betsey's creations and benefiting Gelder's Center for Retailing. There's a presentation by fashion designers and mixologists, with bartenders creating drinks inspired by the clothes. Bert Keeter, a Project Runway contestant in Season 9, will end the show at La Encantada shopping center. Also making an appearance as a presenter is Susan Claassen as Edith Head. (For full details, plus our picks, see Et Cetera.)

Photo by

A highlight from Betsey Johnson's Spring/Summer 2014 runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. Photo by Julian Mackler/BFA

During the three days there will be appearances by local designers, some who've flown the Tucson coop for bigger cities, wild jewelry and plus-sized clothes. "I've never seen that at a Fashion Week," says Paula of the plus sizes, which will come courtesy of CandyStrike.


Paula Taylor (left) and Melanie Sutton with their third TFW partner, Mercedes-Benz. Photo by Balfour Walker

At $250 per designer for a runway slot, prices are "minute" compared to other fashion weeks, say Paula and Melanie Sutton. A runway slot at the likes of Las Vegas or Palm Springs Fashion Week would run into the thousands of dollars. "But we wanted it to be affordable and wanted people to take the leap and have faith," says Paula.

Many designers did want to be involved, some didn't. "Some of them didn't have faith. I don't think they believed in what we were doing," says Melanie. "And suddenly now they got interested," she smiles.

One of the big names coming to Tucson for Fashion Week is Donni Charm, whose scarves have been worn by the likes of Jessica Biel, Beyonce and Rihanna. Donni Charm has close links to Tucson. Owner Alyssa Wasko studied at the University of Arizona, and her brother Hartley is a finance major here.

Alyssa lost her father Donny in a tragic accident and used scarf designing to help her heal. Her mother, jewelry designer Joey Wasko, helps her with the business. "You sink or swim," says Joey of their family following her husband's accident. "I'm happy to say she swam. It has evolved into a positive. Alyssa gets emails from all over the world from young people saying 'You're such an inspiration for me, thank you so much for being this great role model.'"


Donni Charm, with links to Tucson, is one of the top international names taking part in Tucson Fashion Week. These scarves are from the Fall Collection Donni Charm will be showing. Photo by V S Photography/Victoria Stevens

On a recent Saturday afternoon, Melanie and Paula were gathered to meet with their Tucson Fashion Week interns. Among the talk of fake hems and whip stitching backstage, Paula assured the young women that all would run as smooth as clockwork behind the scenes. And since she is author of the book How to Produce a Fashion Show from A to Z, she should know.

For Paula, who was putting on another fashion show two weeks before Tucson Fashion Week, the pressure was on to not just make Tucson stand out among the country's fashion shows, but to distinguish TFW from other events she has done. She and Melanie were hammering home the message that the interns are not just worker bees, but the public face of TFW.

Paula quizzed the young ladies - made up of students from the likes of Pima Community College and the Center for Retailing - about the schedule of events. They were rusty. "So read through the website and make sure you are familiar. You are the ambassadors," she told them firmly.

On the surface, Paula and Melanie seem opposites. Melanie is quiet and softly spoken. She prefers to take a backseat in conversations, and favors American classic outfits and neutral colors. ("She's a prep," jokes Paula.)

Debby Larsen, a Tucson stylist and editor of Tucson Lifestyle Home & Garden, where Melanie used to work and still freelancers, says of her: "Melanie has an elegance about her that's amazing to me. She just has exquisite taste." Melanie is known for styling fashion magazine spreads that can call attention to them. But in person she's "the polar opposite", says Debby. "She's not about ego at all, she's about making the goals happen. Quiet elegance, that's Melanie."

Paula is the outspoken one of the pair, often interrupting Mel in mid-flow (although Mel doesn't seem to mind). She makes a statement verbally and stylistically. She loves the mod look, wears a lot of black, favors platform shoes, but is also attached to her black biker boots.

Paula sets ego aside too, say those who know her. She has a reputation for being generous with her time, and quick to respond to requests.  Martha Van Gelder first met Paula when she came to talk to some of her students, and was immediately impressed. "Every time you see her she's put together, she looks fabulous. And she's a creative genius."

Jane Pitts, owner of Ozma Atelier, one of TFW's participants, concurs. "I would describe Paula as a meticulous, dynamic powerhouse. To be an events planner with runway shows is the ultimate in herding cats," says Jane. Paula's Tucson Ladies Council show, held two weeks before, was "flawless", she says.

Melanie and Paula share a fierce work ethic; with TFW in particular, they are determined to make it shine.  "She and Paula Taylor define the words “dynamic duo", says Sue Giles, editor of Tucson Lifestyle magazine, a media sponsor, along with 3 Story Magazine, of the event.

Betsey Johnson will be at Fashion Week! Photo by

Betsey Johnson brings the bling to Tucson Fashion Week. Photo provided by Betsey Johnson

It may come as a surprise to those who know Melanie and Paula - now with decades of fashion retail, buying, styling, even modeling, between them - that they are scientists at heart. Melanie majored in biology, and also studied chemistry, physics and mathematics (and, later, retail consumer science). Paula studied for a Masters in environmental science. "They're the mad scientists of fashion," says Martha Van Gelder.

Paula began designing her own A-line shift dresses when she was working at the Tucson Botanical Gardens as an education coordinator. "I couldn't figure out how to be [business] appropriate and still be me," she says. She launched a clothing line called Ultravivid in 1996, then opened her own boutique, Pour Moi, in Tucson in 2000. After selling Pour Moi, she had a stint as divisional sales manager for Bill Blass New York.

Melanie, who has "always been obsessed with fashion", modeled when she was young. Her husband's family is owner of Sutton's Boutique, where she was a personal stylist, before working for several years as a fashion stylist at Tucson Lifestyle magazine.

The pair have plans to take Tucson Fashion Week even further: make it an annual event and continue to draw big names. But wherever it takes them, they promise to stay true to the city they call home, one where the word 'casual' is used way more than 'couture'. Fashion Week Tucson-style will always be accessible, and fun, they say.

With this event, says Paula, "we want downtown to meet uptown. This is not about [fashion] snobbery."

* For full details of Tucson Fashion Week, click here, and see our Et Cetera section. For a chance to win tickets, click here.

* Post Script: Hear 3 Story's report from Tucson Fashion Week, including interviews with Betsey Johnson and Bert Keeter, here.


Paula and Melanie (at top of table) work with interns to get Tucson Fashion Week underway. Photo by Gillian Drummond


My Space

Model, broadcaster and fashion devotee Camerone Parker shares a space in her Tucson home that holds secrets, stories and fond memories.


'Camerone's Couture Closet'. Photo by Gillian Drummond

"Most clothes closets today are made for oompa-loompahs. Not everything is cropped. So I had this closet [in my guest bedroom] remodeled, with a rail high up to hold my couture gowns and coats. You can turn the lights up towards the ceiling and onto the clothes. It's important to look at the clothes at the beginning and middle of the day, and at night, to see how the colors are going to change. The ladder is on casters. It's from an old shoe store in Chicago. I bought two of them on eBay.

"I call this Camerone's Couture Closet. It's the keeper of past, present and future secrets. There's a lot of life that has lived in here, a lot of stories that evolved before I was even born.

"I have a dress that Ann Hathaway wore in The Devil Wears Prada, bought at auction. There's a black gown by my friend Bert Keeter. There's a swing coat from circa 1940 from Saks Fifth Avenue, with hand-beaded pearls, Swarovski crystals, and dupioni silk.


The House of Dior dress - snapped up by Camerone for $75. Photo by Gillian Drummond

"I have a House of Dior cocktail dress from 1948, bought at a vintage store in Silver City, New Mexico. I was in the store and the owner said, 'What a cheap party dress!' I knew that it was probably Dior. He was known for these intricate lace details. I kept my mouth shut and I got her for $75. I drove her to California to have her authenticated by Dior and they wanted it. I said 'No way!'"

"Some people have a passion for collecting cars. I can come in here and no matter how I've been feeling, I slip into here and get lost.

"The things from Paris are hand-sewn couture. No machine has touched them. Every single thing is hand-sewn. That's a lost art.

"I've worn probably 90% of the clothes in here. Some of them are archive or collector pieces, some are waiting to be worn, still with their price tags on."

* Camerone Parker is a FORD agency model and has walked the runways for Vera Wang, Donna Karan and Georgio Armani. She also takes to the airwaves in a syndicated radio segment as The Fashionista.

* Camerone is a sponsor of Tucson Fashion Week. Expect to see her at the Runway Wrap-Up and Awards Party, Sunday October 19th.


Camerone in the room of secrets and stories. Photo by Gillian Drummond


This feathered dress stands on display in the guest bedroom. Photo by Gillian Drummond


The Great Ozma

Boutique owner, artist, community player, a 'textile junkie' and a whiz at couture stitching: Jane Pitts is all of these, and possibly more. Gillian Drummond sits down with a very modest lady.


Jane Pitts and friend. Photo by Gillian Drummond

Jane Pitts is rocking an outfit by Spanish fashion designer Isabel de Pedro. De Pedro is known for the strong presence of graphic design in her figure-hugging pieces, and extensive use of black. This one has silk screened fabric attached to another layer of fabric. Her hat is by Mary Mulcahy of Les Indiennes. On her feet: black thick-heeled Fluevogs.

Jane's clothes, many of them first dibs from her own resale boutique, OZMA Atelier, make a statement. They're edgy, colorful, different. But if her wardrobe is talkative, Jane is not - at least when it comes to discussing herself. She's squirming behind the counter of her store - visibly uncomfortable, quiet, reticent.

And then comes the shift. When the conversation veers away from her and towards her store space, the clothes, shoes and accessories, and her beloved art, there's no stopping her.

OZMA. Photo by

Photo courtesy of Ozma Atelier


Photo by Gillian Drummond.

Photo by Gillian Drummond.

OZMA Atelier (named after Princess Ozma in L. Frank Baum's series of Oz books) opened at 6th Street and 6th Avenue in Tucson a year ago, after Jane outgrew her space at Copper Country Antiques. Hermes, Chanel, Valentino, Jil Sander, Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Zac Posen, Prada, Elie Tahari, Dolce & Gabbana: all of these major designers are found here, and more.

The super-discounted prices - sometimes just 10% of the item's original selling price - make it a compulsory destination for anybody wanting designer threads for not much money. On October 19th, Jane will be bringing her high fashion bargains to a trunk show as part of  Tucson Fashion Week's Marketplace.

Her sources for OZMA Atelier are not local, and are by invitation only. A lot of it is regional runway, she says. And while she could "put it all on eBay and make more dollars", she's not about to. "I would surely lose my mind in the process and it is whole lot more fun to make my Tucson peeps happy."

She is as in love with Tucson as she is with fashion and textiles. After the tragedy of September 11th, she felt the need to live somewhere smaller, so moved here for the second time (the first time she lived here was 1984), from San Francisco.

Jane Pitts and Tom Baumgarten: "Tucson boosters". Photo by Gillian Drummond

Jane Pitts and Tom Baumgarten: "Tucson boosters". Photo by Gillian Drummond

She and her partner, graphic designer Tom Baumgartner, are big community players - "Tucson boosters", in Jane's words. Part of Ozma Atelier is the tiny one-room Wee Gallery, run by Tom, where local artists can hang their work commission-free.

Jane, an accomplished artist herself, has been sewing since the age of four (she still boasts a great French hem and couture stitch), and a fashion dealer since 1989. Friends include Doris Raymond, Hollywood vintage fashion expert and owner of The Way We Wore in Los Angeles.


Inside Ozma Atelier. Photo by Gillian Drummond

Later, after our interview, Jane opens up on Facebook. Referring to herself frequently as 'OZMA' (as she does on the OZMA Atelier Facebook page), she admits to being "a total textile junkie". She was drawn in by textile at the age of 14, living in Phoenix, when she discovered thrifting. She also discovered an ally. Another girl used to turn up at school in similar clothes and patterns, and the two became best friends.

"In the 70's the fabric stores just got worse and worse and while I made half my own clothes up to the age of 30, vintage and later high-end designer clothes won the space in my wardrobe as that textile was not available anywhere else," she says.


The detail on this loveseat, used in Jane's store to display purses, is 400 bullets. Photo by Gillian Drummond

As well as being a place for great fashion finds, OZMA Atelier displays Jane's thrift and swap meet finds, and her art and handiwork.

Jane has created her own signage, she has customized shelves and cabinets, and created some display items from scratch. Sets of shelves displaying shoes are painted dark pink, and some braiding dipped in the same color of paint has been hot-glued around the edges. Foam paint rollers have been added to dowels (and both of them painted pink) to form hangers for purses that, says Jane, are much gentler on the straps than regular ones.


Dowels and paint rollers make great purse holders in Ozma Atelier. Photo by Gillian Drummond

There is a loveseat displaying purses, made by Jane. It features 400 bullet holes around the edge. A mannequin's head makes an appearance, as does a resin skeleton (a flea market find) sitting on an animal-print sofa (found at a swap meet).

The Wee Gallery sits at the very back of the space. "It' a give-back," says Tom of the commission-free deal. Not surprisingly, he has artists lining up to exhibit there (currently showing is Tucson's Mykl Wells.)

As for Jane, and alter ego OZMA, they may both be expanding. Jane is considering opening store space in the Old Town Artisans centre in downtown Tucson.

* Find Ozma Atelier at 439 N. 6th Avenue and at Tucson Fashion Week Marketplace, Saturday October 19th at La Encantada.

Home made shelves. Photo by Gillian Drummond.

The shelves are painted and bordered with braid. Photo by Gillian Drummond.



The very wee Wee Gallery, tucked at the back of Ozma Atelier. Photo by Gillian Drummond


Dressing your room

Fashion isn't just for wearing. It can serve as pretty clever home decor too. By Samantha Cummings

Photo by Samantha Cummings.

Monica's “accessory tree". Photo by Samantha Cummings.

Fashion can be our greatest storyteller. Pieces are passed down from generation to generation as tangible memoirs of loved ones, lifetime milestones and significant events. But too often it ends up in a storage box in the garage. Something magical happens when you dust it off and integrate it into your home, using fashion as decor.

Monica Negri. Photo by Gillian Drummond.

Monica Negri. Photo by Samantha Cummings

Designer labels find a place on the wall

Clothes have mesmerized Monica Negri since childhood, when she would flip through the pages of Vogue in awe. Having worked at stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom, owned a vintage thrift store, worked as a private chef, and then found her way back to the fashion world as a style consultant, Monica is positive this is where she is meant to be.

But she has learned that with a love of fashion comes a crammed closet and pieces easily forgotten in over-stuffed drawers.

“When I go to ladies’ homes, there are very few people who are enjoying their things,” says Monica, the owner of wardrobe consulting firm Ten Outfits. “I like everything out. If you can’t see it, you forget. I’m always like, ‘Get your stuff out on display!’ Make something pretty with it. Make it cool to look at and it will remind you, ‘I need to wear it.’”


Jewelry as art in Monica Negri's home. Photo by Samantha Cummings

In the corner of her master bedroom stands what Monica calls her “accessory tree". A metal planter holds two bare Eucalyptus tree branches, each covered in large, bold, and bright colored necklaces. A blue fedora sits on top, serving as a year round tree topper.

“All of a sudden I was looking over into the wash and I just saw it laying there,” recalls Monica. “It snapped off in a storm or something. I was looking at it and thought, ‘You know, that might be cool hanging all my stuff.’ Three pieces of jewelry has obviously turned into a problem.” The once bare accessory tree is now blooming with dozen of necklaces.

Photo by Samantha Cummings.

Photo by Samantha Cummings.

Glass platters and metal trays house a collection of plastic bangles, bracelets and rings. Towel hooks from Anthropologie are repurposed to hang daintier necklaces.

Monica is all about making an impact, but not just through her statement necklaces. Throughout her home, located in Tucson's Catalina Foothills, she has found a way to create this visual impact by “doing the same thing in massive amounts.”


Manolo Blahnik prints line a hallway wall in Monica Negri's home. Photo by Samantha Cummings

Upon exiting the master bedroom, a narrow hallway leading to the main area of the home is decorated with a row of Manolo Blahnik prints, a brand of shoes highly revered by shoe enthusiasts like Monica. Each print was copied from her Manolo Blahnik book, then framed.

Labels. Photo by Gillan Drummond.

Monica's framed designer labels. Photo by Samantha Cummings.

On the opposite wall hangs a shadow box filled with designer labels Monica would collect from unsold clothing pieces when she owned Timeless – a high-end vintage store located in Palo Alto about 15 years ago. Many of the collections no longer exist, adding to the sentimentality you can hear in Monica’s voice as she reminisces about the once beautiful designs sold in San Francisco’s Union Square.

Among the collection hangs a Ransonhoff’s label, known for its appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo, starring Kim Novak. A Don Loper label reminds Monica of a favorite I Love Lucy episode, where Lucille Ball will do anything for a Don Loper dress, leading her into all sorts of trouble as usual.  Modern designer labels such as Missoni, Christian Dior and Oscar de La Renta are mixed in with the vintage greats.




Joan's Closet. Photo by Gillian Drummond.

Joan's clothes closet. Photo by Samantha Cummings.

The past on display

Every morning, as Joan Calcagno dresses for her day, she is reminded of the line of stylish women who came before her. As you enter the master bedroom and look to your right, you can sneak a glimpse of Joan’s clothes closet - not so much a walk-in closet as an alcove. A semi-wall serves as the only divider between her closet and bed. And with no doors to the closet space, Joan toyed with how to treat the space.

“Part of it is practical,” says Joan, a writer with 3 Story Magazine. “I was thinking, 'Do I want to look at my clothes?' No. Did I want to put up vintage drapes? No, too heavy. Then I thought, 'I have all these clothes, I can just hang them up'.”

As an avid vintage shopper and collector since college, ‘these clothes’ include her mother’s prom dress, aunt’s wedding dress, a turquoise Jantzen bathing suit, and a bright red sundress. Not only do they serve as intermittent closet doors, they double as a way for Joan to display her vintage collection, made mostly of family heirlooms. It’s almost as if Joan’s closet is her own family museum.

“You know how some people put up old family photos?” says Joan. “It’s kind of like that. There’s a nostalgia aspect to it.”


Joan hangs vintage dresses as decor. Photo by Samantha Cummings

Each garment is on a hanger, which hangs from a suspended ledge above the closest, giving Joan freedom to interchange pieces as she pleases. Right now, her summer items are still on display, but she plans on switching some out to create more of a fall look.

One piece that has a permanent spot on display is her mother’s 1947 prom dress, still in mint condition. Made of off-white colored chiffon material, a black lace overlay covering the top portion and a taffeta under dress, it looks like a dress you would see on the pages of Vogue.

“My mom has always been stylish,” says Joan. “She just kept a lot of the iconic, really cool things.”

Carmella Calcagno, now in her 80's, still resides in Tucson and must be proud to see her daughter giving life to her old wardrobe. Coming from such a line of fashion-forward women, Joan couldn’t resist.

In addition to her mother’s prom dress, the displaying of her late aunt’s wedding dress is a way Joan memorializes her other fashion influence growing up. Across the closet hangs a pair of her father’s bowties, her mother’s white gloves, and a purse that was given to her aunt by a conscientious friend, who received the gift from “a married man.” Joan laughs as she remembers her aunt relaying the story to her many years ago.

Joan's Old Photos.

Joan's old photos. Photo by Samantha Cummings.


Framed photos of Joan’s mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and a high school photo of herself, are scattered among and in between her jewelry collection displayed on a long white dresser. The photographs almost serve as evidence to the vintage collection’s former life, proving Carmella’s effortless style, where she is shown wearing an over-sized black hat and long-sleeved dress.

Although Joan doesn’t wear her vintage finds like she used to, she can’t let go of that on-rush, nostalgic feeling she gets every time she sets foot in a thrift store. “If you live long enough, your own stuff becomes vintage,” she jokes.

Nostalgia in a box

When Tucson furniture maker and designer Scott Baker lost his mother two years ago, he discovered, in going through her belongings, that she had kept some of his 'firsts' from childhood.

"They were key things: my first Oxford shirt, my first pair of shoes, my first pair of swim shorts," says Scott.

scott swim shorts

Scott Baker's first pair of swim shorts is fun poolside art, and a conversation starter. Photo by Gillian Drummond.

The swim shorts - red and white double-knit houndstooth - were made by his mother, and so held even more nostalgia for him. So when he and his wife, interior designer Mary Ann Hesseldenz, were looking for some poolside art for the back yard of their Foothills house, they decided to use the shorts.

scott and maryann

Scott Baker and Mary Ann Hesseldenz poolside at their home. Photo by Gillian Drummond.

They date from 1971, when Scott was three years old, and are "so dinky they can fit in the palm of my hand," says Mary Ann. They now sit in a box frame on a table on their back patio.

"Everyone loves them," says Scott. "They're definitely a conversation piece."

Papering the walls with fashion

Sarra Costello, co-owner of The Compass, an American cuisine restaurant located in Carlsbad, California, refused to take sole credit for the unique and fun design of the women’s restroom.

“I got together with a bottle of wine and we came up with the idea,” she says.

Sarra, who has a deep love for vintage ads and magazines, wanted a way to see them all at once, rather than having to flip through her magazine collection to get her fix.

The Women's Bathroom at The Compass.

The women's bathroom at The Compass. Photo by Gillian Drummond.

With The Compass’ women’s restroom walls as her template, Sarra created the one-of-a-kind wallpaper using pages from more than a hundred vintage magazines from the early 1800s to 1950s.


The fancy wallpaper is only for the girls. Photo by Gillian Drummond

The project required five days of backbreaking work, particle board, glue, a foam brush, scissors and, once again, wine.

The reactions of women who use the ladies’ room have been overwhelming, says Sarra. Many who enter often ask where to find the unique wall art.

But sorry boys, you aren’t so lucky. “Men pee all over everything, so I wanted it to be cleaned easily,” laughs Sarra. This means sleek slate grey tile from floor to ceiling in the gents' bathroom - in other words, easy to wipe.

Et Cetera

Calling all Fashionistas: feed your style, soul and belly at Tucson Fashion Week, October 17-19. Here's our pick of the best events.



Tucson Fashion Week 2013, October 17th to 19th,  is a fashion and culinary extravaganza, bringing together celebrated and aspiring designers, as well as chefs, mixologists, models, and style experts. And 3 Story Magazine is a proud sponsor. For the full scoop on Fashion Week click here  For tickets, including Platinum and Gold ticket packages click here. Meantime, here are the TFW moments you won't want to miss:


Betsey Johnson brings her signature style to Tucson Fashion Week. Photo  provided by Betsey Johnson

1. "Inspired Icon" Moveable Feast with Betsey Johnson

Sit in the VIP section at the premier runway event and nosh with internationally acclaimed fashion designer Betsey Johnson. Six of our local culinary experts will create dishes that complement Betsey’s original design collections. Ninety percent of the proceeds from this event will benefit the programs of the University of Arizona Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing and The Center for American Culture and Ideas. This is an exclusive tasting event for 200 VIP guests – and you can be one of them!

When: Friday, October 18, 5:30 pm

Where: Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N Main Ave

Cost: $150.

2.  Ultimate Fashion Crush

The Premiere Runway event will feature twenty looks by four emerging designers, along with the Betsey Johnson/Steve Madden collection. Ensemble Teams are made up of a mixologist, clothing designer, hair stylist, makeup-artist and model working together to collaborate on a cohesive fashion presentation that tells a story and engage the four senses.

Tucson's own icon, Susan Claassen, as Edith Head from A Conversation with Edith Head, will keep the event engaging and entertaining. Featured designers include two of our fashion crushes: Cybil Waite from Julia Love and Elizabeth Denneau of CandyStrike. You’ll want to see their latest creations.

And don't miss the big girl swings. The Lounge by Playground will be in the entrance area, featuring a fun adult-sized playground, DJ, and food and drink samplings.

When: Friday, October 18, 6-9 pm, 6:30 pm admission. 5:30 if you are going to the VIP Moveable Feast.

Where: Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N Main Ave

Cost: Premiere Runway seats: $70; general admission: $35; student/military: $25; standing room $15.


Photos by Heather A. Lindquist©

One of Heather Lindquist's creations from her Tonatiuh line. Photo by Heather A. Lindquist©

3.  The Runway Wrap-up & Fashion Presentation with  Amazing Designers

The hoopla ends with another stellar fashion show and an awards party. The runway will feature national designer Nicholas K and designer Bert Keeter from Project Runway. Two more of our fashion crushes will be showing off their fabulous designs: Heather Lindquist of REVOLuTIo and Ashley Bowman of Bowman & Hock.

When: Saturday, October 19, 5 –7pm

Where: La Encantada, 2905 E Skyline Drive

Cost:  General Admission $35, Student/military$25.


Do good while you shop

Tucson Fashion Week has a charitable component: the special discount Tucson Care Card. With the card you save 20% on purchases at some of Tucson's best retail shops and restaurants. And when you buy a card your money goes directly to with this year’s recipient, the Steven M. Gootter Foundation, to help support their ongoing programs to end sudden cardiac arrest and research at the Sarver Heart Center.

When: Shop and dine October 11 through 20, so hop on this right away!

Where: Tons of Tucson’s coolest local retailers and restaurants

Cost: $30. ($25 of the $30 goes to the Gootter Foundation)

Details and purchase the Care Card here.



These sketches by CandyStrike's Elizabeth Denneau give a sneak peek at what may be coming down the catwalk from the designer at the Premiere Runway event. Photo by Gillian Drummond

Fashion Crush

In celebration of Tucson Fashion Week, we've been profiling some home-grown fashion designers. Our fashion crush this month: Ashley Bowman of Bowman & Hock. By Joan Calcagno. Cover photo by Ali Megan Photography.

bowman and hock1

Photo by Ali Megan Photography


3S: Why Bowman & Hock?

Ashley: “The business had a different name when I established it in 2006. Then my mom, Charlene Hock, joined me a couple years later. As we grew as a team, that name didn’t reflect the partnership, which is a big part of who we are and of our story. And it gave us an opportunity for a strong logo: a woman archer with hawk wings.”

bowmanandhocklogo23S: How would you describe the Bowman & Hock style?

Ashley: “We create ‘fashion jewelry’. That means a place between fine jewelry - which uses diamonds and gold - and lower-end costume jewelry. We design with semi-precious stones like tourmaline, labradorite, fine quartz and fresh-water pearls. And we use feathers, leather, chains - nothing is off-limits.

"We’re known for large, statement pieces. I drill the stones and we use many techniques - wire wrapping, metal work, stringing, pearling – so each piece is unique.  That’s the look in our signature collection. And we have a 'Day of Dead' collection, which incorporates skulls and other thematic elements.

"It is really jewelry as art. Not so much an accessory, rather each piece stands on its own.”

bowman and hock3

Photo by Ali Megan Photography

3S: What will you be showcasing at TFW?

Ashley: “We’ll have models in simple dress, each wearing a statement necklace and an enormous, dramatic feather-based headdress. Each look is based on one of the twelve signs of the zodiac.


Photo by Ashley Bowman

"To test out designs for the headdresses, my mom created a line of 'Day of the Dead' hats. We’re not branching off into hats as an on-going thing. These are just for this time of year - an opportunity to take a little bit of that headdress to something more wearable.”

3S: When did you start playing around with jewelry design?

Ashley: “My mom gave me a bead kit when I was a little girl. Then I started making jewelry for friends and wearing what I made. When I was 20 and away at college, I was in a boutique one day and the owner loved the piece I had on. She offered to sell my jewelry in the shop. That went well and I realized I could be making money doing this.

"When I moved to back home to Arizona, I started doing trunk shows, which were successful. Then I joined design talents with my mom, who is an amazing seamstress and costume designer. That dynamic is the basis for our success. We really are a team.”

3S:Who or what was your first fashion crush?

Ashley: "I've always loved Madonna. I'm a professional ballet dancer and I've always loved her work. I thought she was so cool. And her fashion sense is totally up my alley - whether it was what she wore at the Grammies, on stage, everywhere. Some of it was a little androgynous, and that really appeals to me. My mom on the other hand was totally into couture. My great-grandmother went to Parson's [School of Design]  in the 30s, so, with my mom, there is a long line of dressing elegantly."

3S: Where do you find your own accessories?

Ashley: “Jewelry is not like clothing – wearing jewelry is a choice. It should be special and meaningful. So I wear our designs in the right circumstances, but I don’t wear [jewelry] accessories on a day-to-day basis.

"I like to design meaningful pieces and see them on others. It’s hard for me to wear something simple. I’d rather not wear any accessories at all. I just can’t get something off the rack.”

Ashley Bowman (standing) and Charlene Hock

Ashley Bowman (standing) and Charlene Hock. Photo by Daniel R. Wilson

3S: What do you see in the future for Bowman & Hock?

Ashley: “We want to get our line into high-end stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and privately owned boutiques. I wore some of our pieces when I was on vacation in Europe and the Europeans loved them. It made me realize that we have a place in the fashion world. We just have to keep going.”

3S: What designers influence you?

Ashley: “I love Dolce and Gabbana. When their spring line came out, our aesthetic was so similar our regular customers thought we had imitated it. To which I said No, they copied us!’. Oscar de la Renta has been an influence. And I love the photography of Eugenio Recuenco. The photographs are theatrical, bizarre, and theme-based – a lot like our work.”

* You can find Bowman & Hock  on Etsy. Bowman & Hock designs will be featured in the Saturday evening Runway Wrap-up and Fashion Presentation at Tucson Fashion Week. Also visit their Day of the Dead Trunk Show, Sunday October 13th, 12-6pm at their downtown studio, 19 E. Toole Avenue, 85701.

* 3 Story Magazine is a proud sponsor of Tucson Fashion Week, which runs October 17th to 19th, 2013. For tickets and info visit www.tucsonfashionweek.com

bowman and hock5

Photo by Ali Megan Photography


Pleased to Meet You

Bert Keeter, celebrity guest of Tucson Fashion Week, rose to national fame on Season 9 of Project Runway. Here he discusses the power of understatement, and wearing (gasp!) sandals. By Samantha Cummings

Bert Keeter3
Early bird or night owl? "I was never an early bird growing up, as a kid and a young adult. I used to, especially in New York, stay up way too late. But in Los Angeles, I tend to get up early and my lifestyle has changed.

"I have a little dog that I take care of. I’ve done all that going out late at night stuff, so I’m very happy to be home and working at home. After 8, 9, or 10 o’clock at night I’m ready to hit the sack and get up early."

Favorite accessory? "Probably shoes. Being that I live in LA right now, it’s pretty casual. I hate to say this, but I wear sandals most of the time. But if I do get dressed and put pants on, I like Pradas. I like very simple shoes without logos on them. I like wearing the Prada and Gucci loafers, but the very simple ones - nothing that’s too heavy and says Prada or Gucci on it and stuff like that. I like good quality shoes."



Part of Bert Keeter's latest collection. Photo courtesy of Bert Keeter

Favorite faux pas? "Very early on at Parsons [The New School for Design], you get to present one look, and my model came out with my dress on backwards. It was interesting, but it looked good too. It was a high neck with a low wrap in the back. It was a red chiffon cocktail dress.

"We fit her with it the right way and the model knew it. Then, I was sitting there at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and she comes out with it on backwards. But it looked good backwards!"

 Who is your dream customer? "I think my designs attract a woman who is not looking to be identified by the brand that she’s wearing, but she wants the brand to be subtle. When I design, I look for a client where the focus is on the woman and not so much on what she is wearing, but enhances her look, her beauty, her personality.

"I want [people] to see her wearing the dress instead of the dress wearing her. I want them to say, “My God, she looks beautiful.” I guess [my dream customer] is a woman who is not a slave to names, to logos and designer trademarks. I want a woman customer who is confident that she doesn’t need that to make herself feel well-dressed."

If I weren’t a fashion designer I would… "Before I decided on fashion design and went off to Parsons in New York City, I was very interested in architecture. Due to my terrible relationship with anything to do with math, I quickly gave that up. My other passion is European art, culture and history. I probably would have moved to Europe, most likely Italy.  And since I am always observing, looking, studying the most obscure things, photography would have been a good possibility."

If I could change one thing I would... "Get rid of hatred."

What was the inspiration behind your latest design, showing at TFW? "Everyone knows the James Bond movies over the last thirty or forty years. At the end of each movie there is a very powerful song, usually sung by a woman. And there are always one or two women who seem to be a  love interest of James Bond: a femme fatale, a beautiful, mysterious woman who is very glamorous, but also very powerful.

"So when I started designing my collection, I originally wanted the song (for the runway show) to be Skyfall by Adele. So that really helped me when finishing the collection and made me think of a beautiful woman walking into a casino in the French Riviera, or into a cocktail lounge in London, where men and women would turn around when she walks in because she’s so mysterious and appealing."

* See Bert Keeter at Tucson Fashion Week's Runway Wrap-up and fashion presentation awards party, October 19th at La Encantada. More on Bert at www.bertkeeter.com


Photo courtesy of Bert Keeter


Square Feet

Michelle Hotchkiss, real estate agent and mid-century fiend, has square feet and a nose for great property. Each issue she brings us her pick of properties for sale. Photos courtesy of Michael Fassett.


Listed by:  Nordstrom Group

Where it is: Windsor Park on Tucson's far east side.
Michelle Hotchkiss. Photo by Casey Sapio

Michelle Hotchkiss. Photo by Casey Sapio

The damage: $1175 a month.

How many square feet? 1649

dexter5You'll love it because: At the time Windsor Park, a hidden enclave of well-preserved MCM homes northeast of Speedway and Camino Seco, was being developed by J Herbert Oxman in consultation with Tucson architect David Swanson, the newest thing on the market was "a push-pull measuring tape with thumb lock which keeps the extended blade from creeping back into the case." (Tucson Daily Citizen, 3.25.56). Oxman's ads (see below) next to this news about hot products said "with landscaping by Nature, (sic) your home in Windsor Park has a setting that sends poets searching for new words." He had put a glass window wall in every room, giving the three-bedroom house 575 sq ft of glass area. "Which is almost like living outdoors," said Oxman. These houses were meant for entertaining.
I often get asked by out-of-towners where to drive around to see mid century modern properties. If you have not ever visited this subdivision and you, like me, are a fan of quintessential Tucson MCM burnt adobes (southeastern Arizona’s unique local building material), this is definitely at or near the top of my list. This particular model, named Camelot, was voted “Best Home for the Money” by American Home Magazine in 1963.
Here comes the but: This rental is not for sale!  And not many of my buyers will look this Far East anyway...but I have to break it to you, that's where you've got to go!

Read more about Michelle, a RE/MAX Catalina Foothills Realty agent, at Atomic Tucson.


The house retains the original kitchen...



... including the cooker.


sq feet newspaper ad mid mod issue4

Office Memos Not Required

 feature sponsored by


How architecture firm Taylor Design + BUILD is rebounding from the recession. Bil Taylor tells their story.


One of Taylor Design + BUILD's creations. Photo courtesy of Taylor Design + BUILD

With the gradual ending of the great recession come hopeful stories like the myth of phoenix rising, back from the ashes, regeneration etc. Surprised as we were after many uneventful years in the home building industry that we needed to seriously hunker down, a couple years later we find ourselves much altered. As architects and builders, not mythical birds, we at Taylor Design + BUILD have a story to tell.

Sadly, it began when several great employees had to leave to find other venues for their creative urges and to make a living. Principal Bil Taylor taught in the design/build studio at the U of A College of Architecture for several years to make ends meet and keep us in the game. We downsized from our old spacious dig$ at 178 E. Broadway, where we’d been for 20+ years, to another downtown locale – Redondo Towers. Though much reduced in size, it's a great place to collaborate. Cozy, or claustrophobic, office memos are no longer required.


The firm's new offices. Photo courtesy of Taylor Design + BUILD

A fortunate opportunity arose for Bil and his designer wife, Carole Hunter, to design and build their own home. This they did with the help of Matt O’Bright and Steve Gonzalez. This “Tuesday-Thursday Project"  was named for the two days Bil was on the site. On Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, he was teaching design/build classes at the architecture college.  Completed in 2012 and first featured here in 3 Story Magazine, it was inspired and influenced from many sources, not the least of which was Michael Reynolds, founder of the Earthship.


Bil Taylor's 'Tuesday-Thursday' project was carried out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when he wasn't working. Photo courtesy of Taylor Design + BUILD

Earthships are self-sufficient, off-the-grid homes generating their own electricity, dealing with their own wastes, passive solar heating and using only rainwater for everything!

The “Tuesday-Thursday Project” is a hybrid of  ideas - Michael’s ideas.  A yet-to-be-built greenhouse will phyto-remediate gray water for a secondary internal use in the toilets.  The house already collects rainwater for drinking and all household uses and do the typical solar remedies.

From the “ashes” of our small studio space, Alec Kennedy, husband-and-wife team Carole Hunter and Bil Taylor, and a cast of collaborators, still design fine homes, including interiors and, recently, furniture.

bt11finalFurniture design and fabrication is a new direction for our firm. Bil apprenticed with wood sculptor Wharton Esherick, generally recognized as a leader of American craftsmen, and influential in the Studio Craft Movement. Bil also operated the woodshop at Arcosanti  for two years, while apprenticing with world-renowned architect Paolo Soleri.



This Taylor Design + BUILD table receives an 11-feet long piece of 1-inch thick glass, to carry settings for eight people. Photo courtesy of Taylor Design + BUILD

As the building industry continues to revive, we find ourselves with tightened belts but wider scope, and ready for new opportunities.  The recently completed remodeling and large addition near Tucson's Arizona Inn will be on this year's AIA home tour. and a full feature article on the firm will appear in Tucson Lifestyle's January 2014 issue.

You can find Taylor Design + BUILD at 425 W. Paseo Redondo, Ste. 7, Tucson, AZ 85701. Call 520 792 9544; Fax 520 792 2029; Email [email protected]; or go to www.taylordesignbuild.com

Resisting the urge to lick your walls

feature sponsored by

citron paint logo resized

When color experiments go 'wrong', homeowners tend to blame themselves. But really, it's the fault of a misleading paint-picking process and underwhelming colors, says Tucson-based Citron Paint.

encanto -- master bedroom after #96, c=#15

Hours of thought and experimentation go into developing Citron's paint colors. Photo courtesy of Citron Paint

When people paint their walls and the color turns out 'wrong', they tend to blame it on themselves, thinking they made the wrong choice or just aren’t creative enough.  But the folks at Citron Paint are here to tell homeowners not to be too hard on themselves - that it's actually the fault of the paint company.


Colors are mixed with the same formula used by fine artists. Photo courtesy of Citron Paint

When C J Vohs, founder of the Tucson-based boutique paint company, was trying to understand why most paint colors looked bad, she found that they were mixed for budget, not beauty.  Worse, the big paint companies use black, a dirty colorant that deadens color, says C J. Not only that, trying to replicate a paint color on a tiny paper swatch is nigh on impossible, because they’re printed from ink. And so it's no wonder homeowners are beating up on their decorating selves.

Citron Paint does it differently, following the technique of fine artists with a color blend of at least eight pigments, and no black or gray. The result? A richer, deeper color, and thicker, more milkshake-like consistency. It's all summed up by the company's slogan: "Resist the urge to lick your walls."  After putting Citron on the walls, it may be tough to resist.

Once C J's eyes were open to nature’s colors and the possibility of replicating them in paint, she couldn't stop herself. She's a person who can't just walk down the street in one straight line, or flick steadily through a magazine. She'll stop to pick up a leaf that's not quite turned brown yet and shows signs of summer and fall. She'll save fashion pages and make a trip to the fabric store to find more textiles so she can create a new paint color, inspired by the color of a beautiful silk gown.

Coming up with gorgeous paint colors is a time-consuming business, and C J and her son, Kevin Volk, who joined the company this year, put hours of thought and experimentation into getting the colors exactly right. And she’s quick to point out that mama nature is usually her muse, so she can focus on creating paint of real beauty.


C J Vohs. Photo by Gillian Drummond

With  Kevin's arrival, C J is happily concentrating on color consultations, in which she guides clients to a beautiful “color story.“ Kevin, a born and bred Tucsonan, recently returned to the city after some years away. “I grew up in a house with 20 to 30 constantly changing colors,” he jokes of being brought up by a color maven. “I realized it wasn’t exactly average, but I did get used to being surrounded by good paint.”

Kevin is a graduate of Brown University, where he majored in economics (funnily enough, so did his mom). His path back to Tucson snaked its way through California (where he was a Teach For America corps member), Mexico (as a Fulbright scholar), and Virginia (working on new media for Virginia governor Tim Kaine’s successful campaign for the U.S. Senate). “I’m excited to be back home in Tucson,” he says. “There’s a new energy in the city, and people are more and more supportive of local business.”

alhaja console

Citron's paint has fans in Mexico and Canada, as well as all over the United States. Photo courtesy of Citron Paint

Now a partner in the business, Kevin is working on expanding Citron’s online presence and national sales.  C J and Kevin are both proud to point out that their paint has been shipped to every state but Hawaii, and internationally to Mexico and Canada.  Kevin also wants to increase Citron’s community presence and continue to grow its relationships with the best painters, contractors, builders, designers & architects in Arizona. To him, it’s a matter of maintaining the highest level of quality. “If they’re designing or building beautiful spaces, they should be using truly beautiful paint.”

Citron is one of the sponsors of the second annual Tucson Modernism Week, which takes place in October. As part of this celebration of mid-century modern design, they will overhaul the colors in the lobby of The Loft cinema, which will screen Modernism Week's films and documentaries, with a fresh coat of luminous paint.

* Find Citron Paint at 7041 E. Tanque Verde Road, Tucson or online at www.citronpaint.com. Tel:  520 886 5800 or toll free 877 418 5800. C J is available for color consultations nationwide.

adelaide -- office after #33

Citron is a proud sponsor of Tucson Modernism Week. Photo courtesy of Citron Paint