I AM / Elyse Rainbolt

Elyse Rainbolt’s name conjures up images of a mystical woman dressed in flowing silks, dancing and twirling to the beat of a drummer that only she can hear.  Best of all is that this ethereal woman is indeed Elyse’s real life persona, spot on.  Elyse is a free spirit in the truest sense of the word.  I can’t quite place exactly when or where she and I first met a couple years back, but suffice it to say I’ve been intrigued by her pixie-like beauty ever since.  Elyse also happens to be a highly skilled artist and designer, hand painting silks and masterfully sewing her own leather and fur creations.  She and I initially connected over a shared love of both fashion and music, which has been a central wellspring for her work.  The more I get to know this otherworldly woman, the more I want to know.  Read on in our interview below and I think you’ll feel the same.

Elyse wears her own hand painted silk top and scarf, along with a diamond and antler necklace and enamel evil eye bangle by The Woods.

Elyse welcomes us to her new home and studio

Elyse welcomes us to her new home and studio.  Photography by Sara Ford.

Goldyn:  You work with some very interesting mediums for design that require a high level of skill to make… how did you know that was your calling?

Elyse:  I’ve always loved fur coats; most in my collection are vintage and I’ve always dreamed of making my own fur designs. In old sketch books I’ve recently found notes of making fur and leather garments from over five years ago. Furrier trade is a very small, dying industry. In 1880 there were 2,500 furriers in America, today there are 45 people with that profession and I am proud to be one of them. It’s a very laborious trade and I’m thrilled to have been learning it from a master furrier for the past three years. I’ve also been sewing since I was 10 and always making or modifying my own clothes. With the technical know-how I now have, I’m looking forward to designing for musicians and creating capsule collections for boutiques. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time.

Snippet from Elyse's sketchbook

Snippet from Elyse’s sketchbook

Goldyn:  What influences your work?

Elyse:  I’m influenced constantly by music. I can listen to one album, or one song for weeks on end. Music creates a dreamscape for me that inspires me to create and make. If I’m low on energy the right song will give me the boost to stay up all night and make something awesome. A song, a band, a musician, provides me with so much joy and love that the only way I can express and interpret that sound is by hand painting silk, or making an outfit that creates the vibe//era I’m hearing. I don’t think I’d have the garments I made now if it wasn’t for music.

Look at Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin, or Pink Floyd in the sixties or the Rolling Stones. They had a look that went with their sound. I want to create that for my contemporaries. I love seeing live music and love when the band puts on a good show -and are dressed to the nines. I don’t think enough bands are bringing it to the stage today, and I want to create looks for them that compliment their sound and their own style, just next level.

I am also influenced by 1930s films and love the looks of Jean Harlow and Busby Dames.

I’d say I am driven to create looks that aren’t available everywhere. A good swim suit. A perfect leather jacket. And fun one-of-a-kind pieces.

Detail of Elyse's hand painted scarf, made for an LCD Soundsystem show

Detail of Elyse’s hand painted scarf, made for an LCD Soundsystem show

Goldyn:  How does what you do for a living influence your own style?

Elyse:  I have unlimited access to fur and leather sewing machines and a great work space. That’s allowed me to create new looks for myself as inspiration arises. This past year my goal has been to make everything I wear, and to step away from my massive vintage collection and think about core looks I want and can’t find anywhere. I’m usually in a hand painted silk top, striped leggings, my silver motorcycle jacket with hand painted lining, carrying my leather bag and wearing my kiln fired glass jewelry. This coming year I hope to create more fur and leather goods, swim suits and hand painted textiles for myself and fashionable audiophiles.

Dance moves

Dance moves

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Elyse:  I would define my style as debonaire super sophisticate, Art Deco rocker from the sixties with a modern timeless edge.

Goldyn:  What’s your favorite decade and why?

Elyse:  My favorite decade is the 1960s for sure. The music, fashion, film and creativity that burgeoned from that decade is still relevant today and has shaped my whole design aesthetic.

Two coats made by Elyse

Two coats made by Elyse

Goldyn:  What’s your favorite piece that you’ve designed?

Elyse:  My favorite piece that I have designed is my tabbard dress I hand painted especially for Psych Fest this past week. Next would be my silver motorcycle jacket I made last October – that was a dream in the works that took four years to come to fruition. After that it would be my handpainted silk jacket styled after Chris Jagger’s jackets he hand made for Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and his brother Mick Jagger. But honestly, each new piece I make I think is my best work, and I’m really looking forward to creating a small line this year and custom pieces for musicians.

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be (famous or just made up!) and what would she be doing?

Elyse:  If I could be anyone in history at any time, I would be myself, but born in 1948 London so I could catch the whole swinging sixties and dance with David Bowie, and go to every concert of every band from that decade. Woodstock. I was there. 😉

Swirling silks

Swirling silks

Goldyn:  I know you’ve worked with musicians in the past doing custom clothing…Any wild stories?

Elyse:  I’ve been very blessed to create custom pieces for musicians I admire and am influenced by. This year has a few exciting projects for me (but it’s too soon to talk about).

Some of my most memorable experiences have begun at an early age. At 17 I met Robert Plant. At 18 I met Paul McCartney’s whole band and stayed a week at his guitarist’s house in LA. At 22 I was fortunate enough to meet one of my favorite songwriters of all time, Donovan. At 26 I created some silk art pieces for Kraftjerkz, and stayed with Tom Tom Club in their lovely home where my art is on display. Most recently I designed a custom scarf for Charlotte Kemp-Muhl in January, and was pleasantly surprised to find myself on GOASTT’s tour van on the way to Austin Psych Fest just a week ago, thanks to my friend & musician Jared Samuel of Invisible Familiars. It’s been very surreal to interact with those creatives that sonically inspire me, and I’m looking forward to the next adventure.

Chatting out front

Chatting out front

Goldyn:  Your hand tattoo is beautiful, and appears to have some significant meaning…. Can you tell me a bit more about it?

Elyse:  One if my favorite movies of all time is Logan’s Run. It’s a 1970s SciFi flick starting Michael York, Jenny Agutter, and Farrah Fawcett. It takes place in in a dystopian society of the distant future where no one marries, no one works, and every pleasure is there to be had, but no one lives past the age of 30. Logan (Michael York) is a Sandman. His job is to make sure no one escapes the city when it’s time to carrousel, and renew. Everyone has a life clock in the palm of their hand and when it starts flashing, it’s their time to go. Except some people don’t want to renew, and want to leave the city and find sanctuary. Those people are called Runners.

After Logan kills a Runner he turns their belongings in to the computer. An ankh is one of the items – a symbol of sanctuary. Logan is told to identify himself by placing his life clock on the scanner. The computer then turns 26 year-old Logan into a 30 year-old with a flashing red palm. He is then instructed to find sanctuary and destroy it. Logan is now forced to become a Runner, hence, Logan’s Run.

Anyway, I’ve always loved the film, and last summer I realized that I’d been thinking about getting a palm tattoo for over 14 years and that if I got it for my 30th birthday it would be too late, so last summer I called up my friend and got an appointment for my Logan’s Run 30th birthday palm tat. It’s my first and only tattoo (so far) and symbolic of many things to me, plus my favorite movie.

Logan's Run tattoo

Logan’s Run tattoo

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style?

Elyse:  Be yourself. Don’t be afraid of standing out from the crowd or looking different from your friends. If you want to dress like it’s 1991, go for it. My style in high school was Twiggy on the way to a Beatles concert. EVERY DAY. My clothes expressed my interests and what I wished more people would wear. Growing up in a small town didn’t make it easy to be accepted fashion-wise, but once you start dressing how you feel and figure out what you’re into, you will be light years ahead of your peers that wait until they’re older to try a new look or really know what they love. Plus you will get to look back on your youth as a time when you could really be free to express yourself through fashion and can get away with a lot more avant garde looks. If you can’t find what you want to wear, make it. Learn to sew, buy vintage, and have fun.

I AM / Judith Lajoie

It takes a special kind of person to navigate the role of corporate attorney while still rocking a magenta streak in their hair.  Judith Lajoie is just such a person.  Her presence is at once calm and centered, yet beneath that lies a torrent of clear business acumen and razor sharp strategic thinking. Couple this with a playful attitude and appreciation for art and beauty that one might not typically expect from an executive in the banking world, and you’ve got Judith.  She is the stuff that powerful, admirable women are made of, in spades.  We at Goldyn have been lucky enough to get to know Judith over the past couple years as a customer and occasional idea generator.  Read below to get to know this beautiful woman and her story a bit more.

Judith wears a mint colored leather top by Collina Strada and blazer by Helmut Lang.

Judith in her garden

Judith in her garden.  Photography by Sara Ford.

Goldyn:  What do you do for a living?  How does that influence your style?

Judith:  I am General Counsel to CoBiz Bank which goes by the name of Colorado Business Bank in Colorado and Arizona Business Bank in Arizona. Prior to this, I was lead real estate counsel to a public homebuilder (Richmond American Homes) and in private law practice.

My style is not particularly influenced by my job.  It was influenced by a consistent love of fashion and growing up in New York City.  But I do need to dress for work which has allowed me find a way to express myself while looking professional.  For me, that means suiting, dresses and pants/jackets with a flair.

Mirror mirror

Mirror mirror

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Judith:  “Uptown funk.”  Seriously, it is about having some fun, accessorizing well, and adding a pop of color.

Goldyn:  What’s your favorite decade and why?

Judith:  The forties.  Love the big shoulders, buttons, nipped waists and pleats.

Judith showing us her dance moves

Judith showing us her dance moves

Goldyn:  Was there a favorite piece from your wardrobe in the past that you wish you still had?

Judith:  That one is tough.  I recycle a lot of stuff but I do try to keep the fabulous pieces.  I gave a way a Fred Leighton Mexican lace wedding dress which I couldn’t get clean and I regret that.

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be, and what would she be doing?

Judith:  I would be a dancer.  Something along the lines of Janet Jackson or Madonna.

Judith in motion

Judith in motion

Goldyn:  I hear that you are indeed a dancer in your real life… Is that something you did growing up, or is it something you came into later in life?

Judith:  I danced for recreation a little as a kid and I consistently took jazz or ballet classes when I lived in NY and later in Colorado.  I wanted to learn tap and I found a great teacher in Colorado who I tap with and I fill in with Zumba and these amazing weeks at Gotta Dance in Canyon Ranch (Tucson).  Just returned from one.

Goldyn:  How do you make time for things like dance with your busy work schedule?

Judith:  I make time a few evenings a week and weekends.  It is difficult to fit in but if you love something and you want to do it (and stay in shape), you find the time.

The entryway at Judith's home includes some favorite paintings, including a few by her own mother

The entryway at Judith’s home includes some favorite paintings, including a few by her own mother

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style and being who they are?

Judith:  Just that – be who you are and express that through what you wear.  Don’t try too hard.  Don’t use too much makeup or wear your clothes too tight or make them too revealing.  That is the opposite of sexiness which is all about sparking the imagination.  Work to a budget and if you can buy one great piece a year, that is perfect.  Strive for well fitting and flattering shapes.  Get help from great stylists like Vanessa and her team at Goldyn!

Judith:  That's a wrap

Judith: That’s a wrap

I AM / Susan Wick

One of the most interesting, inspiring, and lovable people I’ve encountered in my 8 years doing Goldyn has to be artist Susan Wick.  When Goldyn first moved its office to the Taxi building in Denver, we were lucky enough to be grouped into a studio space with this wonderful human.  Since then I have been intrigued by her brand of folk art-inspired paintings, textiles, mosaics, ceramics and more.  Susan is both prolific and boundary-pushing while still being completely accessible and open.  Read on below to see what Susan had to say about her work and words of wisdom.

Susan wears a graphic tee by Uzi, tulle jacket by Lauren Nevada, and white jumpsuit by Ilana Kohn.  

Susan in her home and studio, Z Wick Place

Susan in her home and studio, Z Wick Place

Goldyn:  Have you always been an artist?  What was your impetus to be an artist, or was it always just there?

Susan:  Well maybe, but I didn’t think it was a profession that could support me and I didn’t think I had the talent to do that anyhow. But I loved the idea and lifestyle, and when it came to be a potential later in life I went for it.

Goldyn:  What were you doing before art became your profession?

Susan:  I finished undergrad, I traveled.  I lived on a kibbutz and had my first professional job as an occupational therapist in Israel.  I trained for the Peace Corps.  I lived and worked in NYC and got a Masters at NYU in Psychiatric O.T.  Then I moved to Berkeley and got an MA in Environmental Design in the Textile Department.  I got a grant to study textiles in India.  Then a studio in Paris…and so on and on…

An altar to art

An altar to art

Goldyn:  You work in a lot of mediums.  What medium did you start out with and why?  How did your work evolve to include other mediums?

Susan:  [I use] a lot of mediums, yes.  It keeps me entertained.  When I had the opportunity to go to graduate school in environmental design (specifically textiles) in Berkeley it was an opportunity to use lots of different materials to make art and that got me started.  I never did take a drawing or painting or sculpture ‘class.’  Anyhow the different materials led to different techniques, and so on.

Susan talks to us about the ceramics collaboration project she did

Susan talks to us about the ceramics collaboration project she did with artist Rolf Dahl

Goldyn:  How does your work influence your style?

Susan:  If I can make it, I can have it, live with it, put it in my house, wear it, etc. and it becomes (unwittingly) my style.

Socks

Socks

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Susan:  Variety.  Mix it up, make it accessible, comfortable.  Changeable.  Colorful.

Susan reclining in her studio

Susan reclining in her studio in front of new works

Goldyn:  Was there a favorite piece from your wardrobe in the past that you wish you still had?

Susan:  Well, I don’t really wish I still had it, but there was a velvet and faille black evening gown I had and loved.  I loved how I felt in it.  I did keep it a long time, but that was something I had from about l955-6 and I couldn’t keep it THAT long.  Though it would be perfect today for another party, another young woman.

Art hangs in every corner of Z Wick Place

Art hangs in every corner of Z Wick Place

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be and what would she be doing?

Susan:  I would be an international traveler, busy making art.

Goldyn:  Sounds like you are your own fantasy self then :).  What do you love about your space?

Susan:  I love [my space].  I have a lot of it and my studio has fabulous light.  There is outside space.  It’s a mixture of nitty gritty, being down on the rail road tracks, with elegance of scale and it’s accessible.

Antiques mingle with art

Antiques mingle with art

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style?

Susan:  Go for it.  Try different things.  Be flexible.  Be Yourself.

Susan

Susan

Goldyn:  Upcoming plans for your work?  

Susan:  I’m working towards a show happening in the fall at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, which is opening Thurs., October 1st.  Save the date.  After that, more small projects working with other people in Denver and San Francisco.

You can learn more about Susan and her art, as well as purchase her book by visiting SusanWick.com

Outside the studio

Outside the studio

I AM / Janet Heimer

As we reach the midway point in the rollout of our Spring I AM Project, profiling inspiring women in the Goldyn community, we find ourselves speaking with community organizer and activist Janet Heimer.  Truth be told, I may be just a teensy bit partial to this woman.  She is in fact my mother, after all.  But regardless, she is certainly no less deserving of the spotlight, as evidenced perhaps by the fact that next month she’ll be receiving her third achievement award for the work she’s done over her life, and that even after her recent retirement she continues to spend hours volunteering with Boulder nonprofits, visiting elderly friends in the nursing home, and doing what she does best – speaking out for those who can’t always advocate for themselves.  She leaves some pretty big shoes to fill, to say the least.  Read on below as she and I delve into what makes her tick, including some pretty heart wrenching family history, as well as more on her life’s work, her own taste and style, and of course some obligatory photos of her tiny dog gang.

Janet wears a blouse by Iro, necklace by Anne Gangel, and earrings by Andrea Li.

Janet at her home in Boulder.  Photos by Sara Ford.

Janet at her home in Boulder. Photos by Sara Ford.

Goldyn:  Tell me a little bit about your career and the work you’ve been doing for the last 25 years or so

Janet:  My life’s work has been advocating for the needs of people who are low-income and working with people of color on equity issues. Social justice is my passion. I have been blessed to do the work I love and get paid for it. My job with Boulder County Community Action Programs (CAP) allowed me to focus on advocating for the needs of people who are disenfranchised. Working with staff and community leaders, we were able to address community needs through developing programs at CAP. For instance, In the early 1990’s when migrant farm workers were in Boulder County and living in old chicken coops or broken down trailers, CAP was able to advocate for decent housing. Casa Vista and Casa Esperanza were built in Longmont as a result. We worked on immigration issues and helping people feel comfortable in speaking up and being respected. I have had the honor of working with a wonderful group of community leaders who are people of color. They taught me a lot and together we did make a difference in the community. The last project I worked on before I retired in July was called the Circles Campaign. Circles works with single parents who are wanting to get out of poverty. Their dedication to making their lives and their children’s lives better is impressive. The program crosses social classes by matching two community volunteers with single parents who are low-income. A weekly support group and training are provided to participants. What I like about the program is the participant determines what they want to do and the volunteers support them in the process.

Janet with her dog Sadie

Janet with her dog Sadie

Goldyn:  As we can see, social justice, community organizing and advocating for disenfranchised people has been the focus of your career.  Where do you think the spark for that came from?

Janet:  My Mother was a huge influence in my life. She was very involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. She brought me with her to demonstrations. We lived in Phoenix, so it wasn’t like I was going through all of what was happening in the South, but we watched it every night on TV and it was horrific! We discussed these things at home and talked about how unjust it was. In the 1970’s I became involved in anti-war protests over the Vietnam War. I have always felt it was important to speak out and let the government know how you feel about things that are happening around you. I am someone who writes letters to the editorial page of newspapers and to our State and Congressional representatives.

The other thing that greatly influenced me was my grandparents having died in a concentration camp. My Father came to this country as an immigrant. My Father and his brother were sent to New York in 1938 to escape the Nazis. My Father was 17 years old at the time. He had grown up in an upper middle class family in Vienna, Austria. He was planning on becoming an attorney like his Father. World War II changed everything. He and his younger brother were sent to live with an Uncle and Aunt in New York City. They didn’t speak English at the time. While their Uncle supported them for a short period of time, they were soon expected to make a living and rent their own apartment. Meanwhile my Father, being the elder son, thought he was responsible for getting his parents to this country. However, the U.S. government in the beginning of World War II was not as interested in helping people escape the Nazis. They didn’t start taking the threat of Germany seriously until a couple of years later. My Father didn’t have the kind of money that was needed to bring his parents here as the Germans took all the money and belongings of Jewish families. His parents only had enough to send the “children” over. When my father got settled in the U.S. and had a job, he started the paper work to bring my Grandparents here. Tragically, the U.S kept losing the paperwork and my Father would have to start over again. My Grandparents moved from city to city and hid from the Germans. They buried their valuables that hadn’t been taken by the Germans and hoped to retrieve them someday. Unfortunately, this never happened. They were captured and sent to a concentration camp. They didn’t survive the camp.

Goldyn:  Thank you for sharing that personal history.  As a side note, while it’s hard for me to even read these statements without getting emotional, I can see clearly now why you were driven to do what you’ve done.  Also, for those of you who may be visiting the Washington D.C. area, the letters between our family members during WWII are on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Hopefully they can help illuminate this tragedy for future generations.

What I like to call Janet's "Jew box"

What I like to call Janet’s “Jew box”

Switching topics though, you definitely have a distinct sense of style.  Have you always been that way, or is that something that you grew into over time?

Janet:  My sense of style has evolved over the years. The more comfortable I felt with who I was, the bolder I became in what I wore. When I was young, I wanted to blend in. Now, I like things that are a little different. What I really like today in fashion is the asymmetrical look. That look along with bold colors makes me happy.

Janet and the dogs basking out back

Janet and the dogs basking out back

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Janet:  I don’t really know how I would define my style. My daughter would say my style is “funky.” I am not exactly sure what that means. LOL. She, of course, has great taste!

Goldyn:  Ha, thanks mom.  How would you say that your work has influenced your style?

Janet:  At work I downplayed what I wore. Since I worked with mostly people who were low-income, I dressed more casually. I wouldn’t have felt right wearing some fancy outfit when the people I worked with couldn’t afford it. While I dressed toward the casual side, I was known in the building for my sense of style. Like I said, I like things that are unique in some way.

Janet out back

Janet out back

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be (famous or just made up!) and what would she be doing?

Janet:  Annie Oakley. She was a real cowgirl and made a name for herself. When I was growing up in 1950’s, there was a TV show based on her character. She rode a horse and used a rifle and fought for justice. In real life, Annie began trapping at an early age, and shooting and hunting by age eight to support her siblings and her widowed mother. She sold the hunted game to local shopkeepers, who shipped it to hotels in Cincinnati and other cities. Her skill eventually paid off the mortgage on her mother’s farm when Annie was 15. She was part of the Buffalo Bill Show in the late 1800’s and became very famous. Her TV character fought outlaws and she always won. I always wanted to be her because she was a strong woman and fought for what was right.

The other thing I would love to be is an artist. I love art and my house is filled with art from local artists. I think it is important to support local talent. Art makes me happy.

Goldyn's shop dog Zoe and one of her dog gang

Goldyn’s shop dog Zoe and one of her dog gang members

Goldyn:  What’s your favorite decade and why?

Janet:  The 60’s were my favorite decade because things were dramatically changing. We as women felt our power for the first time, as women’s liberation emerged.  I loved being part of it.  Women stood up for what they believed in and fought to take their power back.  We spoke up to the male dominated world and let our voices be heard on many issues. First it was about having the right to choose whether we wanted a child or to keep a pregnancy. The “pill” was manufactured and we had a choice to use birth control that was actually reliable. That was a huge fight on the national level with legislation to protect us. A woman’s place was no longer in the home, we could be whatever we wanted to be. We no longer had to choose between being a nurse or teacher, we could now be a professor or doctor. We were politically involved and our votes really did count.

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style and being who they are?

Janet:  Be true to yourself. Wear what makes you happy and feels good. Don’t be afraid to go against the masses. In fact, I encourage you to go against the masses. Trust your inner knowing. Try not to judge others and if you do, be willing to change your mind. Treat others with the respect that you want to be treated with. Make a difference in the world.

To learn more and see how you can get involved in Boulder CAP, visit here

To learn more and see how you can get involved in Boulder CAP, visit here

Designer Profile: Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada

Brand designer Hillary Taymour.

Brand designer Hillary Taymour at Milk Studios. Photo: Katie McCurdy.

Ahead of the upcoming Collina Strada trunk show at Goldyn, I had the chance to chat with the brand’s New York-transplanted designer Hillary Taymour about her smartly designed lines of edgy-feminine clothing and quietly sophisticated handbags.

The clothing’s blending of tough leather and delicately sheer fabrics creates an aesthetic as three-dimensional as the woman who wears it, and both it and the functionality-centric handbags speak of a wearer who’s modern and practical, yet still knows the power of telling a story with how she dresses. Here are Hillary’s thoughts on those women, her interpretation of juxtaposition, and setting Collina Strada apart with label-free bags.

Where did the name of the line, Collina Strada, come from?

Collina Strada is just a name that I liked. “Collina” means “hill” in Italian, and “strada” means “road”, but it doesn’t translate. I just didn’t want [the line] to be named after me; it’s my first line, and I thought it would be better that way.

How has the timeline of your line unfolded?

I designed menswear for a brand while I was in fashion school [at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in LA], and also was an assistant designer until 2009. Then I started the Collina Strada bags; the clothes didn’t come into play until the Spring/Summer 2012 season. I launched my new homeware line Social + Studies (www.andsocialstudies.com) this Autumn/Winter 2015 season.

The first bag Hillary designed for Collina Strada, the "Ferra".

The first bag Hillary designed for Collina Strada, the “Ferra”.

Since your handbag line came before the clothing, what prompted you to start designing bags?

I never really went after designing handbags. I made a bag for myself while I was working in the industry, and then everyone kind of just wanted one. So I decided to make a line off of that.

Can you describe how your aesthetic as a designer has evolved from your first collection to your most recent?

With the bags, the pleats have always been very consistent throughout the collection. I like to change up the shapes and placement of them on bags, but they have really given the brand a strong identity. With the clothing, the line has always felt very print- and leather-oriented. I try to mix up basic, non-leather-type clothing [by making them] in leather which has been working really well. i-D has said we are known for “a new kind of stripped-back leather and silk look.”

Speaking of which, in your most recent clothing collections, I really like how ethereal details like sheer layers are made edgy with tough elements like leather and dark colors. What inspires these types of pairings?

It’s kind of a lingerie-outerwear idea. I really like to play with layering and making a look to soften up the leather, but almost wearing the sheer layers on top of leather makes a more interesting approach.

Are there any influences on your line from the style you saw while in LA, or does it more translate from coast to coast? Do you notice differences in what people prefer in LA versus New York?

Yeah, of course. We do a lot of canvas prints with leather; we sell a lot more canvas bags on the West Coast, versus on the East Coast, where we basically only sell all-leather bags. I’ve gotten to a good balance of offering to both aesthetics and letting buyers customize based around that.

What did you feel was missing from handbag lines already out there that you aim to fulfill with your line?

[When I started the line] in 2009, contemporary bags were all branded…I was one of the first designers in that whole capsule show movement to do handbags that were trendy but not branded. I wanted to create an aesthetic where you could see the brand identity but you didn’t necessarily know how much you paid for the bag or know what designer made it, and you could make it your own style. Now there’s a ton of handbag lines out there that are like that, but in 2009 there actually weren’t any.

The girl who carries [the handbags] is somebody who creates her own style, and is very comfortable in her own skin in the sense that she doesn’t need a massive luxury label behind her to feel cool and good about herself. People who wear them say they get a ton of compliments…because they’re unique but still understated.

Describe the ideal woman who wears Collina Strada.

She’s more of a daring-conscious shopper. An adventurous traveler who lives in a metropolitan area.

[The handbag customer base] is very broad. I have 60-year-olds carry them, and then I have 20-year-olds carry them. I really just focus on functionality of design, and create a brand around a handbag shape that might be trending, or something that I find necessary; if there’s a gap in the market for the shape. I just really want them to be functional and easy.

What’s your personal style like? Is there any overlap between it and your designs?

I have a pretty chill sense of style. I would say I design what ideally I would like to wear if I had somewhere to go.

Any factoids or vignettes about being a designer you’d like to share? Anything most people wouldn’t know guess?

I designed a bag for Target my first season, for a Daily Candy shelf, before I had even shipped to stores. It was a wild ride and taught me so much; I couldn’t have asked for a better intro into the business.

Shop Collina Strada handbags at Goldyn here. To view the full collection, click here.

I AM / Ann Cooper

For today’s I AM profile, we visited the beautiful, magnetic, wildly spirited Ann Cooper.  Ann is a successful realtor in Boulder, whose face can be seen across magazine articles, ads, and around town in various boards and non profit groups.  Ann goes above and beyond the call of her job, getting deeply involved in the community in which she works – particularly around issues of poverty and race relations.  Ann has also been a customer and supporter of Goldyn since the beginning, but most importantly I am honored to say that she’s been a long time family friend and role model in my own life.  Read on below for Ann’s words about her childhood, how she developed her sense of style, and the woman she is now.

Ann wears a blouse by Uzi, necklaces and bracelets by The Woods, and handbag by Building Block.

Ann at her Re/Max office in Boulder

Ann at her Re/Max office in Boulder.  Photos by Sara Ford.

Goldyn:  You grew up in the South in the late 1950s – early 1970s, which seems quite different from your life in Boulder now.  Can you speak a little bit about what life was like for a young girl then?

Ann:  It was very different from my life in Boulder now.  I grew up in public housing in rural Georgia.   Public housing was great, though.   It was an upgrade from our former house.  We had running water and a bathroom!!  My grandmother came over every Friday for a nice bath.  We had fabulous neighbors –  98% single moms, and we were one big family.  Life felt like a big ‘ol party.   It was the epitome of “it takes a village.”   Neighbors were allowed to discipline us and you were disciplined again when your mom came home.   Children really respected their elders and you were expected to always help when you could.   It was a great way to grow up.  We were close knit and didn’t realize that we were poor, or that we were experiencing the true meaning of “community.”

Ann in her Uzi top, Woods jewelry and Building Block bag

Ann in her Uzi top, Woods jewelry and Building Block bag

Goldyn:  Do you think your child self could have envisioned the woman you became?  In what ways do you think you carry your upbringing with you now – i.e. how did growing up in the segregated South influence the woman you are now?

Ann:  Absolutely.   I’ve always been a dreamer.   My child self envisioned even more for me.   I think the way that I grew up instilled in me a real sense of community, for which I shall always be grateful.   I love where I live and care deeply about my community.  My limited sense of philanthropy came from my childhood, where we always tithed to the church.   Even though we were segregated, my mother taught us to love others, regardless of social status, race, or anything else.   I carried that with me into adulthood.

Goldyn:  Were you interested in fashion or style growing up?  How were you able to express that style, given the environment you were in?

Ann:  I like to think that black people, in general, have always had incredible style!  My aunt was a seamstress and made me a few unique pieces.   I remember a maroon tunic with zippers on each sleeve – soooo cool!   We didn’t have a lot of clothes.  I wore a lot of hand-me-downs, but I was choosy about them. We also made a lot of garments in home economics – midi and maxi vests, big leg trousers, hip huggers and short boots.  My style now is somewhat bohemian, which I developed later in life, partially because I have serious kankles and am always trying to hide them with long skirts!   I love scarves!  They can change the mood and style of any outfit.  I can even tie them around my head.  I’ve recently gone afro natural with my hair and I’m loving it.   Though I find it work to make my hair look like it hasn’t been combed.   Not sure if my fellow Boulderites get it lol.  My mother and her friends only dressed on Sundays with pencil skirts and big hats.   Black women still wear big hats.

Ann beaming

Ann beaming

Goldyn:  What do you do for a living now?  How does that influence your style?

Ann:  I am a realtor at Re/Max of Boulder.  I love my profession, especially in the Republic.  Anything goes, as long as you’re clean!

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Ann:  BOHEMIAN!  I wear sandals year round, long skirts, scarves, big tops, large earrings!

Ann, always making me laugh

Ann, always making me laugh

Goldyn:  What would you say are your wardrobe essentials?

Ann:  Black skirt, black wrap, black duster, 5 printed skirts, basic tops in white, black and red and all the animal prints I can find.

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be (famous or just made up!) and what would she be doing?

Ann:  I would be Barack Obama.  He is brilliant, he is fit, he is healthy, he is generous, kind, humorous, concerned about others and almost ego-less.  He looks at the greater good and moves towards making things work in that way.  His life has been tough, adventuresome and he has reached incredible heights. He is an amazing individual.

Ann, welcoming us into her office

Ann, welcoming us into her office

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style and being who they are?

Ann:  Sounds like a cliché, but my advice would be to just “do you.”   People look good in clothes they are comfortable in.  Be individualistic.  Create your own style.  In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”  And Dr. Seuss says, “Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Spring Playlist: Mellow Mood

Image from Tame Impala

Image from Tame Impala

Maybe it’s just the mood we’ve been vibing with recently, but all of a sudden we found ourselves jamming out to a lot of mellow, atmospheric tunes in the store.  After compiling a few favorite new albums, like newer releases from Lower Dens, D’Angelo, Hundred Waters and Modest Mouse, and sprinkling in some older gems (hello, who doesn’t love The Beach Boys’ iconic Pet Sounds album?!), we came up with the perfect Mellow Mood playlist.  You can follow it on Spotify by clicking below.  Enjoy!

I AM / Laura Krudener

This week our I AM project leads us to fine artist, textile designer, and newly-minted blogger Laura Krudener.  Laura’s incredible paintings use giant swaths of color to invoke feelings of movement and energy, and yet at the same time also demonstrate a suspended stillness.  This June will also see the launch of Laura’s new blog, fittingly titled Among the Colors, which we’re highly anticipating.  Among the Colors will take Laura’s artist perspective to an interactive level as readers can see Laura’s inspirations and try her creative ideas around style, food, the home, and more for themselves.  Read below to hear what Laura had to say about her new blog endeavor, her artwork, and her personal style.

Laura wears a blouse by Helmut Lang, leather biker jacket and jeans by Iro, and necklace by Native and Nomad.

Laura Krudener in her studio, photos by Sara Ford

Laura Krudener in her studio.  Photos by Sara Ford.

Goldyn:  Tell me a bit more about the blog you’re starting and where the inspiration came from.

Laura:  Among the Colors is a storytelling platform created specifically to empower the creative female. As an artist, I am often asked, “What inspires you?” I took this question and created a multi-faceted, multi-media project to answer that question for myself, as well as create a dialogue with others about inspiration, creativity and self-expression.  Among the Colors will feature artist interviews, fashion profiles on creative women and guides for inspired living. I see Among the Colors as a blog-meets-artist/design-studio-meets-artist-workshop. I want to create a space that starts digital, but offers an invitation to participate in a hands-on experience. Maybe that’s trying a new recipe, experimenting with gardening, redesigning your living room or buying a piece of art. This conversation between digital and analog is crucial for me. After all, I am a hands-on, get-covered-in-paint artist. I love the act of holding and reading a book, listening to vinyl, and I grow my own food in the garden. I spend too much time on Instagram and my phone, just like the rest of us, but I think we are all craving a way to participate in the creative conversation of life in a more tactile sort of way. Among the Colors will offer access points for creativity and inspiration in an artistic and poetic way. I want to invite others to participate in the creative lifestyle, and hopefully for women to realize that you don’t have to be an “artist” to appreciate art and be creative, just like you don’t have to be an amazing singer or musician, for music to have a powerful effect in your life.

Laura's studio

Laura’s studio

Goldyn:  How does your work as an artist and now blogger influence your style?

Laura:  As a painter, line is my language, and color is my poetry. I always pay attention to the material, volume and texture of an item. And of course, color. A good Pantone will get me every time. Tibi is a great influence of mine. Amy Simlovic started out as a painter, and her intimacy with line and shape is always evident in her stunning runway shows.

As a designer, I grew up in the textile industry in North Carolina. My father, grandfather and great grandfather all worked in textiles, and my great grandmother was an amazing painter. Creativity and design were always encouraged. I started drawing patterns and design ideas on sticky notes for my dad when I would go with him to the office as a child. I started working as a textile designer, as well as trend forecasting and storyboarding at the end of high school and have been in the industry ever since. As a textile designer, I have always been obsessed with the language of textiles and pattern to tell a story, to share a history, and to evoke an emotion. Much as the way line and color can transform the space of a canvas, a vibrant pattern laid to silk provides an experience all of its on. I am drawn to designers that focus on pattern and print as part of their collections.

As a blogger and creative director of Among the Colors, I am excited to share my style stories and the stories of other women in a way that will create a conversation about what style means to each of us.

Among the colors

Among the colors

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Laura:  Contemporary Bohemian. I love effortless, modern looks, but there is always a little dash of my inner hippie in everything I wear.

The artfully-designed seating area

The artfully-designed seating area

Goldyn:  What’s your favorite decade and why?

Laura:  If I could time travel, musically I would go back to the early 70s. I would have loved to have seen the greats in their prime. The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. Yes please. Sign me up.

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be (famous or just made up!) and what would she be doing?

Laura:  Beyonce. Always be Beyonce.

Laura talks inspiration in front of her shelf full of beautiful books

Laura talks inspiration in front of her shelf full of beautiful books

Goldyn:  What do you love about your space?

Laura:  I love the light in my studio in the mornings. I love that I have a space that begs for me to be creative. To think, contemplate, experiment, and play. And I love that my husband has a ridiculously extensive vinyl collection there and we spend our weekends digging through crates, and being creative together.

Laura with her artwork

Laura with her artwork

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style and being who they are?

Laura:  Authenticity is magnetic. Discovering who you are and sharing that expression with the world. That’s what style is all about.

I AM / Santi Devi

Our I AM project continues this week as we speak with healer, mentor, writer and spiritual thought leader Santi Devi.  On a personal note, I’ve been extremely blessed to have known this powerful woman since I was about 15 years old, and she has been a guiding force in my life ever since.  So it was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to interview her for I AM, and be able to introduce her to all of our Goldyn friends and family.  Read on for a glimpse at her thoughts and wisdom as it relates to her calling, background, grace and style.

Santi wears a striped tee by Iro, leather jacket by Helmut Lang, bracelets and beaded necklace by The Woods, and quartz point necklace with opals by Reliquiae

Santi in her home, shot by Sara Ford

Santi in her home.  Photography by Sara Ford

Goldyn:  What do you do for a living?  How does that influence your style?

Santi:  I am a ‘change agent.’  I act as a catalyst for those who are wanting to experience a greater level of congruency and connection with their True Self.  My work is a dynamic and organic process that deepens awareness, awakens potential and inspires authenticity. There is simply nothing more profound than seeing someone realize their essential nature. With that realization comes a burning desire to express who they are, their innate gifts and abilities, in a meaningful way in the world. How beautiful is that? It is an unparalleled ADVENTURE that I absolutely love!

Above all else it is important to me to be as comfortable in my clothing as I am in my skin, to be genuine. I have to feel good in it or I won’t wear it. I prefer natural fabrics to synthetics, and clothes that move and breathe easily.  In general I rebel against artificial restrictions of any kind so the more my clothing allows me to interface spontaneously with the world the happier I am! I always wear talismans as tangible ‘touchstones’ that keep me ever mindful of what is real.

Santi, reclining

Santi, reclining

Goldyn:  At what point in your life did you realize what your calling was?

Santi:  My ‘calling’ was shown to me as a very young child through my own direct experience. I felt a mysterious and powerful force within me, it was an energy, a ‘presence.’ This presence was intriguing to me, invisible, magical, and omnipresent. This planted the first fertile seed of inquiry, of ‘Who Am I,’ for clearly I was more than my small self.  Thus began my quest to discover the unknown, to venture and explore my own human nature, capacity and potential.  I am ever grateful that my work, my life and my path are intrinsically woven.

Intentions

Intentions

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Santi:  I am a Bohemian.  I have always dressed to appease the muse in me!  So whatever is a true expression of me in the moment, spontaneously playful and alive.

Goldyn:  What’s your favorite decade and why?

Santi:  I was born in 1960, and it’s my favorite fashion decade. It was a time of growing consciousness, and peace and freedom on every level was revealed as a human need and right. It was a revolutionary time, where convention lost its grasp.  People were experimenting on every level, and a reconnection with a more natural, authentic Self was being birthed.  Inhibition gave way to greater self-expression as a new paradigm emerged.  No coincidence that this is when I arrived!

Santi speaking some profound wisdom

Santi speaking some profound wisdom

Goldyn:  If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go?

Santi:  I would go on a walking tour with the poet David Whyte in Connemara.  I’ve explored Western Ireland but not from his vantage, and I would love to have a week there to write!  Not to mention I love traditional Irish music and musicians, hello Declan!

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be (famous or just made up!) and what would she be doing?

Santi:  If I could be anyone at anytime I would be my Self. I would be LOVE.  I would be doing all that I am doing now, but I would be traveling, speaking and writing more.  I would be serving a greater number of people, and be sharing all that I know and all that I am in an ever expansive way.

IMG_2301_finalGoldyn:  What do you love about your space?

Santi:  I am a gypsy and have moved more times than I can count!  For me moving into a new space is so freeing, everything is new to me.  I have to figure out where all my things want to live :)  Every space I’ve ever lived has been in one way or another magical.  My real HOME is where ever I AM, it really is.  I am currently however imagining a Midcentury Modern find!

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style and being themselves?

Santi:  Yes, I want to say… BE YOU!  Be utterly, unapologetically, courageously, YOU!  There is no one else in this world who can be who you are – it’s your assignment so get on with it.  You can find out who you are by being present, by listening deeply to what lives within you, be honest about it and then honor it at all costs!  You will never regret not compromising yourself, or being someone you’re not.  Your work is to be YOU.  Dress to please yourself, experiment, wear what you feel good in, and above all else…. Don’t ever worry about someone else ‘thinks’ about it!  Life will always support you being exactly who you are. xoxo

If you’re interested in working with Santi, you can reach out at santidevi.com or call 303-777-7570

IMG_2225_final

I AM / Macky Bennett

This week’s installment of our I AM project finds us talking to Macky Bennett, a neighbor in our Lower Highlands community here at Goldyn.  Macky is an incredibly talented interior designer who also happens to have some pretty amazing personal style.  She is a customer, friend, fellow board member in our neighborhood association, and just a generally active community member and all-around wonderful human being.  Her bright energy is clear immediately upon meeting her and is absolutely contagious.  Read on to learn a little bit more about what Macky had to say on style, as well as her background and interests.

Macky wears a very unique tulle and knit top by Lauren Nevada, metallic leather skirt by Tibi, and jewelry by Andrea Li.  Photography by Sara Ford.

I AM Macky Bennett

I AM Macky Bennett, photographed by Sara Ford

Goldyn:  What do you do for a living?  How does that influence your style?

Macky:  I have an interior design business, Re-Arrangements. I try to look professional and stylish when I meet clients to inspire their trust in my taste.

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Macky:  I started reading Vogue in my mother’s womb. Fashion makes me happy and I choose clothes based on what sparks joy.  My style consists of wearing what flatters my assets and camouflages my flaws. I love black and white, gray and orange. My life is pretty casual so I live in jeans and pants, tops and sweaters. I adore coats and jackets. I buy necklaces and hats but never wear them. Bracelets and watches are my passion. Oh, and of course, shoes, boots and purses!

Macky in front of her own painting that sits in her entryway

Macky in front of her own painting that sits in her entryway

Goldyn:  What’s your favorite decade and why?

Macky:  When I look at Impressionist’s paintings I think that the costumes of that era were so graceful and beautiful. Now we dress for comfort and practicality but they were so lovely and romantic.

Goldyn:  Was there a favorite piece from your wardrobe in the past that you wish you still had?

Macky:  I wore a dress to my 1st formal dance that had a silk flowered top and a pink bell shaped burlap skirt. It sounds weird but it was so original and I think it was when I started to express my style.

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be (famous or just made up!) and what would she be doing?

Macky:  I’d be Michelle Obama. She looks so comfortable in her skin, rocks fashion, loves to dance and exercise and lets the world know what she stands for. She is my ideal of a woman who exudes joy.

Macky wears a top by Lauren Nevada and necklace by Andrea LiGoldyn:  What do you love about your space?

Macky:  Everything! I live in a townhouse with a rooftop deck. We downsized and got rid of everything but the dining room table when we moved here. Choosing all new furniture and designing the space was great fun. I feel happy every time I come home and I adore living in the Lohi Community.

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style and being who they are?

Macky:  Style is the ultimate form of non-verbal communication. When people don’t know anything else about you they use their eyes to make an appraisal. Have fun with fashion and dress to express your uniqueness. In the words of Oscar Wilde “You might as well be yourself, everyone else is already taken!”

Macky waxing poetic