Last week I had a some oral surgery. After leaving the dentist’s office I made my way over to the local Whole Foods and purchased some chicken noodle soup and the latest issues of The Economist, The New Yorker and In Style magazines then made my way home to spend the rest of the day relaxing.

There was an article in the New Yorker by writer Lizzie Widdicombe and it focuses on the fourteen year old blogger from Chicago, with the Fashion blog “ The Style Rookie”.
Tavi Gevinson has been blogging since she was eleven. The article is eight pages long and covers a lot of Tavi’s different perspectives and opinions.

What interested me the most about this article was not the immediate obvious which is Fashion and blogging and her natural enthusiasm to create. There is a photo of Tavi where she has self styled herself in some very hip current fashion garments, right down to the charm jewelry in her hair.

I looked at that photo of Tavi and thought to myself “Run with the wind girl”….

When I was in Design School that was the main premise that we were taught about the “high” of designing clothing – or anything for that matter. It revolves around artistic expression which translates into a wearable art form and that is what clothing is. We get to tell the world about how we feel and who we are every day in our social system through our clothing. A quick picture for example – think blue button down shirt and a pair of chinos with a pair of deck shoes, “you know what that person is saying who they are”.

This month is New York City Fashion Week, which Tavi has been invited to. It brings up happy memories of when I had my own clothing label back in 1984 and sold my collection to a small boutique in Soho New York. I had gone to New York in the late spring and walked door-to- door trying to get someone to buy my collection. Finally I got a sale. I flew back in September with my shipment for a trunk show. The store shut down a year later due to a health situation with the owner, but it was just a few blocks from Parachute, which way back then was a very cool store. My girlfriend who I went to design school with had an apartment in an area that made it walkable to Soho.

So I arrive at the airport in New York City, having had some drinks on the plane bought for me by some nice Americans – okay, I am only nervous taking off and landing. Yvo greeted me at the terminal and we jumped into her Camaro and drove into Manhattan. There was a new restaurant I had read about in the WWD newspaper called the Odeon in Tribeca and that is where we headed. I was completely overdressed in retrospect, for the Odeon ( I don’t even know if that restaurant is still around) I wore my most expensive evening dress. The bar there was busy and jostling and we were celebrating with probably $20 dollars but that didn’t bother me because I was in the Big Apple.

At one point I made my way through the restaurant to the ladies room at the end of the building and used the facilities and then walked back to the bar. I thought that the restaurant clientele were admiring my beautiful dress I was wearing, and when I finally got back to the front of the restaurant where the bar was Yvo, my friend grabs my arm and says “Rena you have tucked your dress into the back of your pantyhose”. I honestly thought I was going to faint, and couldn’t untuck my back dress hem out of my pantyhose fast enough. I just have to say in my defense, that the bathroom stalls at that restaurant were really narrow. That is what the restaurant clientele were looking at, not my dress, but my bare naked pantyhose butt as I cruised through the restaurant. Needless to say more nice Americans bought us some champagne.

Yvo and I are standing and talking at the bar by the door and the next thing I know a gentleman with white hair and dark frame glasses who is walking by me to leave the restaurant, touch’s my arm and says this to me: “I don’t know who you are or where you are from lady, but I like your style”. Turns out it is Andy Warhol, and so now that all pride is out the window, I follow him outside and ask for his autograph. Mr. Warhol had an issue of “Interview” under his arm, it had that classic Warhol graphic style of “Twiggy”in brilliant green on the front cover. He graciously signed it “To Rena” with his autograph.

I was too embarrassed to say anything of the much, that I was a new Designer in town….

The next day was the trunk show at the boutique. It was a huge success and the boutique sold a lot of pieces. The store had two or three models wearing my designs and I can’t remember who but a very kind person took the girls outside and photographed a few of the pieces on the streets of Soho, N. Y.

(I tried to place the photos here but apparently, I cannot get them to, so they are at the top of the page)

I closed my studio in 1986.

Fast forward to my latest collection of charm jewelry. My artistic offering is something that just gushed out and here I am designing for myself again all these years later. There was no stopping it. I just had to do it. My fashion statement dangle, is wearable art. It makes me jump up and down with glee when I get an order and I can package up my product and send it to it’s new home.

I can only imagine the memories that Tavi is stacking up at Fashion Week in New York City.

Have a beautiful day,

Photo: PKM



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