Part 2 of 2: Unearthen Jewelry + OLO Fragrance

Editorial photograph featuring bestselling bullet pendant.

Editorial photograph featuring bestselling bullet pendant.

With our joint trunk show for Unearthen Jewelry and OLO Fragrance happening at Goldyn tomorrow, July 16th, I caught Unearthen’s designer Gia Bahm for a few questions. One of the shop’s newest jewelry additions, the line already looks right at home in Goldyn with the decidedly raw aesthetic of its funky, cool-chick pieces.

With a collection ranging from bestselling bullet-and-crystal pendants to chakra pendulum necklaces filled with essential-oil fragrances, I was eager to pick the brain of the designer behind Unearthen’s visually arresting designs, and Gia did not disappoint. At the heart of her inspirations is a relatable childlike exuberance for the brilliance of the gemstones she uses; during our conversation, she often gushed in superlatives about their moving beauty. I found her enthusiasm, combined with a genuine belief in the energies inherent her materials, infectious. Below she traces her unlikely introduction into making jewelry with no formal training, her favorite stones of the moment, and why getting ripped off needn’t be a designer’s worst nightmare.

On her design process and how it influences her raw, earthy aesthetic…

I think my process of discovering how to make jewelry was a huge part of it. I’m very particular about my designs and I felt as though making everything in wax was the best way for me to have things look the way I wanted them to, rather than making them on a computer and sending them [out] and then seeing them in real life – it’s really hard for me to not have that connection of holding [something] in my hands. I’m definitely a really hands-on person.

I think also my lack of having been taught a certain way by someone really helped me to just be really creative about [the way] I would think about how something would sit in a setting. I mean, a lot of settings that we make – we have a jeweler in our studio that sets all our stones and does all of our production, basically, and she’s really unconventional as well – I’ve worked with several jewelers who just couldn’t even wrap their minds around how the stone would actually stay in the setting, because it just made no sense to them. Which is funny, because it totally works – it’s just a different way of doing [things] that wasn’t put into their minds by their training. So that’s a huge part of my process – just sitting with things and thinking about how they could be different, exciting and new; pushing the envelope in a different direction.

I really like it when things have more than one function; for instance, the pendulum necklaces that hold the perfume, the watches that have crystals on top, even the first thing [I made], the bullet with the crystal. It’s kind of been a theme that I try to think about and invent new ways to carry that idea. I love when a design can function on a number of different planes – like when something is a really cool, say, stepping stool, but it can also be a chair (laughs).

On the conception of the bullet pendant and how it led to the start of Unearthen…

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 5.39.08 PM

Bullet pendants

[The bullet pendant] was how I started the company. I had never really gotten into crystals that much or anything; I was a real punk rocker in high school, and then got into fashion a little bit later.

But I had a friend that was in town [in New York], and she wanted to go look at crystals for, I don’t know, her hormone balance or something. At Madison and 34th there was this little crystal store that was very fancy and really well-organized; it didn’t have that hippie-crunchie-patchouli feeling. I remember thinking it was like being in a museum, kind of. It was just totally intriguing to me…it became this really fun library that I could go to all the time. So I got really into it and would learn about things – the way the structures of the crystals formed, the different categories of barrels, ways they all can grow differently, why they’re colored certain ways because of rust or whatever sediment.

So I just started collecting [crystals]. At the store there was one set in a tube, and I thought, That could be a bullet casing. That would be trippy! [It was] exactly what I’m talking about – this duality of taking something and making it function in a different way. So I went to the army-navy surplus store and got one of those keychains I had in high school when I was a punk (laughs), and pulled out the fake bullet and put some of my crystals in there. I thought, I have to make these, so I started making them for my friends, and people really liked them.

I was at the age where I thought it was the time to start something for myself. I had two goals; I wanted to be in Barneys and I wanted Opening Ceremony to be my showroom, and both those things happened right away.

[The bullet pendant] has definitely been our biggest-selling jewelry piece still to this day, which is great considering how much it’s been knocked off and how it’s now just considered a style rather than one of my [unique] designs. At first, it was really upsetting to me because it was the only thing I had ever designed, and I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to make anything else, but then it really pushed me to think of other things, which is so important. So the watches were next, then the Prism Rings, and it just really blew up from there and expanded.

I’d love to know more about the pendulum necklaces which correspond to different chakras. Can you talk a little bit about the concept of chakras, and then also about how the different necklaces and their fragrances embody them?

I worked with another company when we made those, and she really specialized in knowing about what different essential oils went with certain chakras. So I kind of left it up to her to do that part of it.

I picked the stones based on my research – a lot of it is color-based. Your crown is a bright white color; your third eye is a purple; your throat is a soothing blue, so you could use turquoise or lapis – we’ve done both. We have amethyst as the third eye. We had selenite for a little while as the crown, but selenite’s very fragile, and now we have it as howlite. The heart one can be green, but we also like the idea of it being rose quartz, because it’s such a heart-healing stone. Then there’s your solar plexus, which is kind of a bright orangey color, and your sacral, which is red, and then your root, which is black. I think it can maybe be brown or something too – it’s just your base; your rooted chakra.

I love the throat one – I think that one’s really cool because a lot of people have a hard time communicating, and so that’s a nice one to carry with you to help you through that. Your heart [chakra] is obviously really good; people always are feeling heartbreak or trying to work on their relationships, and that’s a really nice reminder.

They’re all reminders, kind of in the same way as astrology – life is going to be what you make it, ultimately. And things can always change…So you can carry this thing with you that will remind you of that, and help you set your intention and manifest whatever it is you want in your life. So I hope the things I make help people do that. I believe that crystals are really magical things; how they’re just made in the Earth.

To clarify, the chakras have to do with balancing different energies within the body, so to speak?

Yeah, ways to strengthen them. It’s not like at all times, every chakra is having a problem. Usually you’re going through something with one of them. If you ever have anyone do work on your chakras, they’ll usually pick one, or maybe a couple; when I’ve had people do that for me it’s just been one. So it’s good to have something that will help with that one thing.

Speaking to the properties of different stones, do you have any favorite ones you like to put in your designs because of their qualities or history?

Quartz

Quartz

I love clear quartz. I think it’s so pretty; it catches light in this really beautiful way, and can look really fancy. And the way that it forms – all the little shapes of it are so cool. We have names for all [the stones], and we call [quartz] the “Mental Massage”, just because it’s for all-purpose healing. It helps you focus, or interpret your dreams; it’s just a very soothing stone.

I really love malachite. It’s really beautiful…it’s a marble-y green with white in it, that you don’t really see in any other stone.

Malachite

Malachite

Amethyst is so beautiful, especially Veracruz amethyst…that one is this really bright, clear purple. It has a quality of quartz, because it’s in the same family. It kind of grows in the same way. The stones that I’m most obsessed with right now, and also seem like they’re the most popular with everyone else, are the really sparkly ones which are so fun and gorgeously mind-blowing.

Amethyst

Amethyst

We also started making a lot of stuff with little tiny geodes that are sliced in half – it’s like a little pod, almost. It just looks like a rock on the outside, and then you slice it open and there’s tons of little sparkly crystals and all these layers of color. They remind me of being a kid and getting one from a rock store…and [discovering] a whole little world in there. Pretty much our whole new holiday collection is [things like] geodes and opals.

Editorial photograph featuring geode slices

Editorial photograph featuring geode slices

We [also] used this quartz that is enhanced with platinum. They put it into a vacuum and inject platinum into it, and it sticks to the quartz permanently and turns this really opalescent, beautiful rainbow-y white color. It’s really wild. People seem really attracted to it; it’s so sparkly and light-feeling. It’s definitely more light stones I’ve been attracted to lately, rather than the darker side of things. (chuckles)

Are there any origin stories behind specific pieces you’d like to share?

The first time I carved anything in wax was when I made the prism rings, and I had this idea that I wanted it to look like it was braided hair. I had just moved to LA and didn’t have that many good casters or contacts yet here, so I was trying to figure out how I could take some sort of reed or horsehair or [other] natural thing and braid it and have it turn out exactly the way it was in my mind. And I had to cast so many things – I even went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and went through their fake-flower aisle and picked out whatever grasses and tried to braid those. Everything just wasn’t working.

Double Mini Prism Ring in Turquoise. Click to shop at Goldyn.

Double Mini Prism Ring in turquoise. Click to shop at Goldyn.

So that’s when I thought I needed to just carve it in wax. It seemed crazy and intricate and like it would take me forever. But I got wax and I sat at the kitchen table and started carving it, and it was just the coolest feeling. I’ve never been so happy in my life…It just was there all of a sudden – exactly what I wanted it to look like in my brain, but better because it was in my hand and I was able to really see it. It was a really cool moment for me that changed everything. It’s so interesting how life is when you think something’s really hard and you’re trying all these ways around it that seem easier, but really the easiest thing is just to do it. And then to have such a great result was just such a nice affirmation.

Can you describe the type of customer who you imagine to wear your jewelry?

It’s hard for me to pinpoint age, because I have a lot of older-lady clients who are just the coolest chicks who wear Unearthen, and younger people too. But maybe 25-55 is the range we typically see.

I think it’s the kind of person that whether she might want to be married, or want to have kids, or she already has those things, she’s doing things in her own way…just someone that’s really open and artistic and doing things a little bit differently, and appreciating that – having a really savvy, refined cultural identity; well-read and well-traveled. She’s probably in a creative professional field.

Overall, she has a happy, healthy lifestyle – interested in food; if she drinks, she loves wine. Maybe she’s into gardening. I see her as not necessarily religious, but spiritual – she believes in the powers of the universe.

I think her lifestyle is also a little bit about juxtaposition. She’s affluent, but not materialistic. She’s in tune with trends, but likes to pick and choose to create her own style and resists categorization. She’ll follow the rules when they seem relevant, but when she doesn’t she does it gracefully and not just for the sake of breaking rules. She may be focused on building her nest at home, but hankers to travel. She’s mildly rebellious.

It’s fun to dream of who that person is; it’s important. It’s something we just started doing recently – I would just design things for myself, basically, or things that I just thought were interesting. It’s fun to look at it in a different way. Paloma Picasso is one of our icons, and ‘70s Cher (laughs). It’s fun to pick out those ladies that you want to embody and translate their style into the designs.

How did you first cross paths with Goldyn?

Vanessa found me, actually. We were doing the Capsule trade show and she stopped by the booth. She was already aware of the brand…and just this last season when we had private appointments, she came and was able to really look through the collection and figure out exactly what she wanted for the store. [Vanessa] seems very thoughtful and definitely has a vision for things, and it’s important to be really focused on what you think you can sell.

Stop by Goldyn tomorrow, July 16th, from 5-8PM to shop Unearthen’s stunning collection (or at least for the free champagne).

Click here to learn about the properties of different stones used in the collection.

All photos property of Unearthen.

Part 1 of 2: Unearthen Jewelry + OLO Fragrance

In anticipation of our dual trunk show with Unearthen Jewelry and OLO Fragrance coming up at Goldyn on July 16th, I had a chat with OLO’s founder Heather Sielaff about her Portland-based line and the finer points of perfumery. Her sweet demeanor is immediately evident, and she talks about the ethereal nature of her craft with a down-to-Earth attitude and insightful clarity. Heather’s vignettes about her perfume-making are as nuanced and interesting as the art itself, so here are her tidbits about the inspirations behind her scents, why artificial chemicals don’t deserve their bad rap, and whether the perfumery process is actually glamorous.

Heather at work.

Heather at work.

How did you come to making perfumes as your craft?

I was a licensed neuromuscular therapist, and I owned a wellness center – it was in an old house, and we had acupuncture, massage, and Gyrotonics, and we had a little store on the ground floor. We sold relaxation stuff, like candles and lotions. I had taken aromatherapy – I used it in my practice – and I was making something for a customer one day, and it smelled like Froot Loops. It was an accident, you know, and it was the first time I had ever thought about essential oils in that way, how you can put something together and it makes a different smell. I was looking for a new hobby that didn’t involve physical work, so I just started playing around with the essential oils I had, and maybe six months later I had made [the scent] Nationale and was selling it and started OLO. It all kind of happened really quickly, even though I’d been using oils for a long time.

Where do you get inspiration for a new scent? How do you decide whether you want something to smell, say, girly or edgy, be for day or nighttime?

It’s always really different. Some of them are very literal – like one of them, Violet Leather, I took a Mark Twain quote, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” I thought about what that would smell like if I made it. So it’s a very literal interpretation of something.

Whereas, for example, I did a custom [scent] for a store and they just sent me an image board. It was all very loose; I just had to capture the essence of a place. There are certain places I’ve been to where I want to capture how I felt in the moment. Some people come to me with a very specific idea; sometimes I have ingredients that I want to use and I think about what those mean to me, and that’s where the inspiration comes from.

It sounds like there’s some synergy involved with the scents – when you mix different essential oils, the result is more than just the sum of putting them all together. So can you talk a little bit about how you go from the initial idea to the actual finished product?

It’s a lot of trial and error. Mostly, perfumery takes patience. Once you’ve been working with oils for awhile, you kind of know how things are going to work together. You still get lots of surprises, though. (chuckles) You think something really is going to work, and then you’ll add an ingredient that messes the whole thing up; it just turns it the wrong way.

Lately people have been really into fragrance and want to start doing their own, and they don’t realize it is difficult, and you have to have a lot of failures before one shows up and is good. Every perfumer has countless blends that just didn’t work out. [The process] isn’t very glamorous. (laughs)

Where did the name for the company come from?

I dreamed it. I had to come up with a name relatively quickly…I’m assuming it was my brain playing around with the word olfactory. But I did have this very specific idea of it being all caps. “OLO” didn’t mean anything to me then; I’ve been told it means a state of being, but I didn’t know that at the time.

Details of the OLO shop in Portland, OR.

How do you come up with names for the fragrances, the ones that aren’t a literal description of the scents themselves?

For example, Erastus – in the oldest cemetery in Portland, Lone Fir Cemetery, I saw a tombstone with the name “Erastus” on it, and I just thought about the name and how you don’t hear it anymore. He had died in 1830 or so, and I was thinking how he was probably a lumberjack or something; he probably smoked and drank a lot – [the fragrance] Erastus is tobacco and whiskey. That tombstone is where the idea came from. But they’re all very willy-nilly.

Do you have any insights as to why scents can smell so different on different people?

There are certain perfumes, depending on what the ingredients are, that don’t change that much; they really stand alone. But I think it’s diet; I think some people’s pheromones really come out more strongly than others; some people sweat more than others. People don’t perceive pheromones consciously, I don’t think, but they’re there, and they make a huge difference. Your detergent, your lotion, where you are environmentally – I think it’s a lot of different factors.

Why is it that a fragrance changes over time, as you wear it?

It’s about the sizes of molecules – they burn off at different rates. So, for example, a citrus has a very small molecule, so that’s the first thing you smell, but it’s the thing that’ll go away the fastest. Whereas a floral or a spice maybe comes in later – the medium-sized molecules. The base, what you’re left with, are the larger molecules. Something like a wood has a large molecule, so it’s going to stay longer, since it takes [more time] to break apart.

And there are certain fixatives you can use in a fragrance to make something stay longer; I just don’t typically use them. I’m not a big citrus person, so I don’t like those top notes really.

Those fixatives are artificial chemicals?

Yeah. And the whole natural-versus-synthetic argument gets tossed around, but there are reasons to use synthetics. For example, bergamot is phototoxic, so you want to use a synthetic or find bergapten-free oil because otherwise it would burn the skin.

There are trace amounts of synthetics in my line. I don’t use a real animal musk…because you don’t want to use a real ambergris or civet. But I don’t use strong aldehydes or phthalates. It’s not because I disagree with the use of them; I personally just don’t like them. [Artificial] isn’t bad or good, it’s just different.

Inside the shop.

Going back to OLO, what do you envision for the growth of your line in the next few years?

My husband just quit his job to come work for [the brand] because it had grown so much – it started in 2009 with the $200 I invested, and now we’ve opened a store and everything. He’s learning perfumery as well, so he’s going to take over some of the newer lines we’re going to come out with, or we’ll collaborate.

So we’re just going to focus more on our line – the store and online stuff. We’ll still sell wholesale and pick up some new accounts. We’re approached by Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie and stores like that all the time, but we’re not interested in being everywhere. I feel like it’s short-sighted; boutiques work really hard to get something special for people. Everybody’s trying to find something that no one else has, and it’s getting harder and harder. I mean, I feel like I sell in a ton of places, but I’m trying to keep it to just boutiques.

And a lot of our customers are artists and musicians, so we’re collaborating more with installation pieces and fragrances that are somehow involved in a musician’s ethos – we just did something with Liz Harris where she burned our incense while she played a show…OLO’s rolling along – people are buying it, it’s established, so we can start playing around with fun stuff [like that].

Click here to shop Goldyn’s selection of OLO fragrances. To try out more of the line, you’ll just have to stop by the joint trunk show with Unearthen Jewelry on July 16th. See you there!

I AM / Shawn Hecox

As the Spring season draws to a close, we find ourselves at our final I AM profile, talking to one of the most interesting, creative and inspiring women I’ve encountered through my years doing Goldyn.  Shawn Hecox, one half of the designing sister duo at The Woods Fine Jewelry, is a true artist.  Creativity is her lifeblood, which one can see instantaneously just by looking at how she puts herself together in the most mundane of situations.  I, for one, am always inspired when I run into her and see what unexpected, high-low combinations she comes up with in her day-to-day outfits.  She’s the kind of woman who rocks a pair of Nike high tops with a peasant dress and perhaps a gold sequin jacket on a Tuesday, with total nonchalance.  This unique creative spark is carried through to her collection of fine jewelry, which boasts countless celebrity fans (not that Shawn really cares about that), and a cult-like following that has skyrocketed her to success.  I’m proud to say that Goldyn was one of the first retailers in the country to stock The Woods, after she and I met at a small trunk show 8 years ago when we were both just starting out.  I was immediately drawn to her sparkling jewels, and the way that they had a casual, bohemian vibe despite the fact that they were covered in diamonds.  Much the same way that I find myself attracted to Shawn herself.  Read on below as Shawn talks about her own style, her collection, and what inspires her.

Shawn wears vintage Levi’s 501s, top by See by Chloe, and of course jewelry by The Woods Fine Jewelry.

Shawn greets us in her studio

Shawn greets us in her studio

Goldyn:  How does designing jewelry for The Woods influence your style?

Shawn:  I think my style influences my designs more than the other way around.  I like to, for the most part, wear one thing each day that is unexpected and maybe a little off.  I design the jewelry much the way I pick an outfit and try to find that unexpected element that makes it original and surprising.

Playing with jewels

Playing with jewels

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

Shawn:  High-low combinations, mixing vintage, designer, contemporary, and ‘high-street’ clothing.  I like to be comfortable and would rather be the most underdressed guest as opposed to overdressed at a party.  I tend to like the pieces in collections that other people wouldn’t wear!

Beat up vintage 501s and diamond bracelets

Beat up vintage 501s and diamond bracelets

Goldyn:  What’s your favorite decade and why?

Shawn:  The 70’s.  I grew up in Boulder and my parents had a health food business there.  It was a really happy time and place to be a kid.  As far as fashion is concerned, I love all the silhouettes that came out of that decade – bell bottoms, platforms, hippy dresses!

Picking beads

Picking beads

Goldyn:  What do you love about your studio?

Shawn:  I love that even when it’s messy it is beautiful.  I usually work on the floor and I really like to spread out all of my bead and component options, so I am lucky that we have a lot of floor space and a lot of light.  My studio is in a great location too, lots of cool things popping up over here!

Arranging items in the showroom

Arranging items in the showroom

Goldyn:  Can you give us the inside scoop on what’s coming up with The Woods?

Shawn:  We have a few exciting things coming up but I’m fairly supersticious so I don’t like to jinx anything!  One thing I can say is we have tried to make a really fun and colorful collection this season.

Making a selection for Goldyn

Making a selection for Goldyn

Details from The Woods

Details from The Woods

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

Shawn:  This is a fun question as I have a daughter, Margaret, who is 12.  She is very interested in fashion and already has a lot of style and ideas about what she likes.  I like her to do her own thing, not be too influenced by trends but to have fun with the ones she likes.  I also would say that if you really love fashion and want to make a career of it, it’s never too early to start.  I worked in a clothing store in Boulder starting at age 13 and I gained a lot of experience even at a young age.

Beaming

Beaming

I AM / Esther Kang

No one word can begin to describe Esther.  She is a magical, mysterious, intuitive Cancerian whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since I first interned under her wing at an advertising agency what seems like an era ago, while back in town on summer break during college.  She was my guide and mentor, my entree into the Denver scene of creatives, and it was with her and through her that I made some lifelong friendships that formed the basis of my ‘family’ in Colorado.  I owe her a lot.  She and I worked together through the formation of her own agency, MIGHTYkarma, which carved a niche for the alignment of higher self and purpose with the world of marketing.  Likewise she was there with me through the birth of my own ‘baby’ of sorts, Goldyn.  Though oftentimes hilarious and lighthearted, make no mistake, Esther is one powerful business woman with a lot of wisdom to share.  In true Esther form, she dropped some serious knowledge – while doing a little impromptu tarot reading of course – as she and I chatted this week for our I AM project.  Read on below.

Esther wears a jumper by Ilana Kohn, caftan by Rodebjer, and necklace by Native and Nomad.

Esther, regal in her living room.  Photos by Sara Ford.

Esther, regal in her living room. Photos by Sara Ford.

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

Esther:  I am the founding Cultural Warrior of MIGHTYkarma, and the COO of IntelliSkin. MIGHTYkarma moves and elevates brands. IntelliSkin moves and elevates the human body. I am a business nomad. MIGHTYkarma + IntelliSkin are agents of change in a time where we crave a new way of being, creating, and connecting. As we know, no matter the initiative or the individual, change is an inside job. Style is my way of expressing the change that is constant within me. Where I am, how I feel, and what I want to share is worn on the outside. My sartorial caravan moves seamlessly to where we are needed.

Tarot reader and astrologer extraordinaire

Miss Esther, tarot reader and astrologer extraordinaire

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

Esther:  Coconut > Versatile. Fluid. Open. Otherworldly. Unexpected.

Goldyn:  I know that you’re an astrology buff… How is your style influenced by the fact that you’re a Cancer?

Esther:  Cancerians are ruled by La Luna. We are also known as moon maidens. Caftans + silks + flowy wraps + ponchos are my warrior garb. Cancerians are also collectors. I believe it is essential to be adored and adorned. My ring + cuff game is a bit overboard these days, but it feels so right. Warrior armor.

Floating across the room

Floating across the room

Goldyn:  What’s your spirit animal?

Esther:  Tigress

Goldyn:  How have you and/or your style evolved since transitioning from being a NYC-based young professional to living and working in Denver?

Esther:  Mmmm, burned my shoulder pads and striped navy suit dresses, made a sharp left at mountain plaid hippie hipster, and stumbled upon the yellow brick road to desert nomad southwest steez.

Esther tells stories about the art in her home

Esther tells stories about the art in her home

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?

Esther:  Warrior Princess from the original realm of the original tribe. In the likeness of great mythic Warrior Women, aka Isis, Persian Queen Esther, Kwan Yin. I would be doing what I do now > slay by day, muse by night. Today, we are called upon to be Warrior Princesses. We know how to wield the blend of feminine and masculine energy to show up for ourselves first, and then others. To radiate our strength and command respect is our birthright. It is our time. Our planet, our children, our souls are suffering from disconnect and neglect. In a time where there are infinitely more ways to connect and communicate, we have lost the essence of connection. A handwritten note, an extra hug for the road, simple eye contact. !¡!Calling all Warrior Princesses¡! < you know who you are > Our day is here, battle with your hearts and free your soul. Love Wastefully.

Our tribe, Warrior Princesses.

Our tribe, Warrior Princesses.

Goldyn:  Are there any favorite projects you’ve done recently that you want to share about?

Esther:  Over the last year, and most intensely the last 6 months, we have completely relaunched the business and brand of IntelliSkin. A complete revolution from the inside out, and the outside in; from brand identity to product design and manufacturing. We started out guiding as MIGHTYkarma, and evolved into leading the day to day trials and triumphs. As COO, my charge was to game change everything. We started with our Essential Bra 2.0. It is hands down the best performance bra on the market. It supports your front with the natural strength of your back, and is the only one of its kind. Our products are tested by pro athletes, and worn by everyone from Serena Williams to Kelly Slater to Harry Styles.

Ganesha and unicorns coincide in Esther's altar

Ganesha and unicorns coincide in Esther’s altar

IntelliSkin is a Human Technology company, and the inventor of Smart Compression and PostureCue™ technology. It is your intelligent second skin. Our StealthWear cues your body’s natural ability to support itself in the most efficient manner by improving posture and alignment. Posture is connected to every aspect of your total wellness. < Good posture is the best style accessory >. The inventor, Dr. Tim Brown, is an extraordinary human. Brilliantly warm, and a next galaxy mind. His tribe is why MIGHTYkarma exists. Our purpose is to translate unique genius into something the rest of us can benefit from and embrace. If you want to STAND TALL, check out IntelliSkin.net

Glowing Esther

Glowing Esther

Goldyn:  You travel a ton… top 3 tips for packing well?

Esther:  Silk everything > light, rolls well, comfortable and refined

Doterra essential oils > Balance + On Guard

Massive silk wool cashmere scarf > a little bit of essential oil on scarf is a nice shield for the airborne germs and recirculated air

Bonus > Gin Gins ginger candy > if you’re hungry, bored or tummy is off

Love, peace, life and karma

Love, peace, life and karma

I AM / Andrea Li

Andrea Li is a formidable force in the Denver fashion scene; standing next to her, one can feel a distinct power radiating from her.  A jewelry designer by trade, but more accurately described as a sculpture artist, Andrea crafts some incredibly insane, wonderfully intricate creations from precious and semi precious stones, coral, found objects and antiques using next-level wire wrapping techniques.  Each piece is truly a masterpiece, which has garnered her a strong following among a select group of women.  We at Goldyn have been lucky enough to stock her collection for quite some time, though our roots together go way deeper than that.  Truth be told, Andrea was my babysitter when I was growing up in Boulder.  I recall thinking how cool it was that she made her own jewelry, even back then, and would sell it at Boulder High or to the ladies in our moms’ office.  We’ve both come a long way from that now, but it’s fun to think back on those times and see how our lives have developed in intersecting paths through our adult years.  See for yourself what makes Andrea such a special creature as she and I reminisce and talk shop below.

Andrea wears a Helmut Lang top and crackled leather pants.  Jewelry is her own – prices available upon request.

Andrea at home

Andrea at home. Images by Sara Ford.

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

Andrea:  I am a jewelry artist that creates one-of-a-kind wearable sculpture. This influences my style by creating a blank canvas to showcase my work. I have found that simply by adding jewelry you can dramatically change the mood of any outfit to suit any situation. You can go from the office to happy hour to an art opening by doing this. I love the versatility and transformative effect that jewelry can lend to anyone’s overall style. Jewelry and shoes are similar. You can never have too many of either.

Some of Andrea's magic creations on display

Some of Andrea’s magic creations on display

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

Andrea:  Comfortably cool. Looking polished is important but being comfortable is equally as important. I used to sacrifice comfort for fashion’s sake until I realized that it actually distracted me from enjoying myself while I was out. With some of the edgier contemporary designers who use interesting draping in their construction you can have both. Rick Owens was an early favorite of mine whose clothes really embrace this philosophy. He is the designer who changed my style forever.

Fur babies

Fur babies and ‘Choos

Goldyn:  How did you get started doing what you’re doing?

Andrea:  I have always loved jewelry so it was a natural fit. I believe that what you do chooses you before you choose it. For me the process started very early. I even designed jewelry that I sold to the office employees of [your] mom Janet Heimer at Boulder Community Action Program, where my own mom also worked.

In conversation

In conversation

Goldyn:  Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve designed?

Andrea:  Every piece I just finished is my favorite until I finish the next one. It just has to be that way for me as a designer. Otherwise it is an indication that the piece is not done. In these cases I re-work the piece until I can sit back with satisfaction and excitement to wear it out. They always say that you are only as good as your last success. I try to achieve this and use it as a bar it to measure my current work.

Hands at work

Hands at work

Goldyn:  I know you work a little with your boyfriend Kris on some technology projects.  Tell me a little about that, and what it’s like working with him?

Andrea:  Kris and I have worked extensively together on multiple technology projects. From full production fashion shows, videos, visual installations, websites and more. Our creative visions really align making it easy to bring our collective visions to life. He is my partner not only in real life but also in my business. Some of my favorite times are working together in our shared office space late hours into the night sharing ideas and bringing them to fruition.

Hanging out at Andrea and Kris' new loft

Hanging out at Andrea and Kris’ new loft

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?

Andrea:  It is always fun to imagine the possibilities of who you could be if you had a magic wand to make it so. I used to fantasize about this frequently, but as the years roll by I began to realize that I should focus on making my own life what I want. To do what I want to do and be who I want to be. I want to be myself that is constantly evolving to be a better version of me. That being said I have always loved and admired Alexander McQueen. It would be incredible to have walked in the shoes of Shaun Leane, a jewelry designer who collaborated extensively with McQueen in many of his collections.

In the studio

In the studio

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

Andrea:  Individuality is something to cherish. Something that is typically punished when you are younger however as you grow older you will find that it is celebrated. Be memorable above all else. As Ralph Lauren, a great fashion icon, once said, “Personal style is having a sense of yourself and what you believe in everyday.”

Thursday, June 4th: Fine-Jewelry Trunk Show from Selin Kent

Our grown-up love of shiny things gets put to the test this Thursday, June 4th with Selin Kent’s trunk show at Goldyn. Stop by from 5-8pm for sips, nibbles, and an array of decadent baubles. Since launching her namesake jewelry line in 2013, Selin has expanded from rings and earrings into creating necklaces and bracelets, for a prolific portfolio with as much minimalistic, architectural feel and cool-girl cred as her first collection.

A proud owner of the Koko and Eva rings, along with the Charlotte mini studs in black gold and diamonds, I have a still-growing collection of Selin’s pieces that has become as ubiquitous to my every day as leaving the house with my wallet and keys. Though sliding on the rings often happens while dashing out the door because I’m always late, it still has a ritualistic feeling, like I’m suiting up in armor to take on the day. The pieces have become more than just a part of every outfit; as with all special jewelry, they’re an extension of me. So I invite you to come by Thursday to find that missing part of you.

Click here to shop Goldyn’s current selection of Selin Kent pieces. But come Thursday, there will be so much more to drool over!

I AM / Kristi King

Perhaps it was our mutual obsession with fashion and art, or maybe it was our fanaticism over music, or animals, or jewelry, that made me instantaneously love Kristi King when I first got to know her as a Goldyn customer.  Kristi would walk in the door, and all of us would end up chatting about this or that band, this or that designer, and before you knew it we were going to concerts, and a friendship had evolved.  Kristi is also the kind of woman with a strong, tough exterior and an incredibly soft, warm interior which, once you break through to, makes you only want to continue getting to know her more.  She’s a fashionphile in the best sense, an urban cowgirl of sorts, and also an incredibly kind, thoughtful, generous soul.  Her creativity and artistry come through not only in her graphic design work, but also just in the way she dresses and carries herself.  She pulls off some pretty wild, fashion-forward ensembles in a city where not too many people have the gall to do so, with ease and elegance.  We were lucky enough to catch up with this spunky woman in her home, and learn a little more about what makes her tick.  Read on below to learn what we discovered.

Kristi wears a tee by Helmut Lang, leather skirt by Helmut Lang, vintage suede fringe vest, and necklaces by The Woods x Ruby + George and Anne Gangel.

Kristi and her dog Hank Williams at home.  Photography by Sara Ford.

Kristi and her dog Hank Williams at home. Photography by Sara Ford.

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

Kristi:  I’m a graphic designer that specializes primarily in print-related collateral materials. I’ve been doing this for 25 years & no, I don’t have a web site. My passion is print. Even though I’m generally in work-out gear or yoga pants while I’m working (I work from home), I am OBSESSED with fashion. I think fashion has such a huge influence on art, music, design, interiors, basically EVERYTHING. I have had a subscription to Vogue since I was 14 & continue to subscribe to Vogue & way too many others to mention or keep track of (I happily recycle these to a budding teenage fashionista/seamstress who keeps her favorite images organized by categories in scrapbooks). The postman hates me especially when the September issues arrive. These magazines and all my fashion books are bibles to me. Type, layouts, logos, colors, printing bells & whistles bring out the real design geek in me.

Kristi's home is filled with curiosities

Curios…. Dia de los Muertos is a favorite theme in Kristi’s house

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

Kristi:  Hmmm, I think a little bit eclectic that has evolved into more classic with the eclectic part transforming into a beloved collection of jewelry. As I get older, I would prefer to spend money on classic pieces as far as clothing is concerned (fewer pieces), and have found that more classic clothing ends up being a canvas for incredible jewelry. At Goldyn, I’ve been fortunate to discover The Woods. I have a few of these pieces & seriously every time I come into the store & see these pieces, I just never get tired of looking at them (and wanting every piece)! And honestly – I think [they’ve got] some really good bang for the buck. I’ve also been impressed with Goldyn’s edited vintage pieces that are not on separate racks, but interspersed through the store validating their timelessness. That’s why I wanted to wear this suede fringed vest. I could find this vest new with the nod to the 70’s trend going on right now for A LOT MORE bank. After seeing the IRIS [Apfel] documentary last week, I’m sorry we didn’t add MORE jewelry, cause that’s exactly how I hope my style evolves. I’m working on it. I know Iris would love this fringed vest, The Woods and of course Goldyn.

Kristi stands among her artwork

Kristi stands among her artwork

Goldyn:  What would you say has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on in the past?

Kristi:  Well thanks to one of my biggest & best clients (VISIT DENVER) – I was really fortunate to get to work on all the Democratic National Convention credentials. It got real when I customized the credentials for some VIP’s. I was able to press check in Tennessee with a top secret printer because everyone of these credentials had to have a custom security feature. And I took advantage of taking 2 extra days to drive to Memphis & go to Graceland, Sun Records & the National Civil Rights Museum. All eye-openers & 3 places that should be a must-see for everyone. This was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of project. My husband & I also received some really sweet VIP passes to almost every event. My VERY FAVORITE pieces however are the yearly (well almost) cards I do as a promo for my business & my beloved Scottie dogs that I’ve had throughout the years. I’ve had 3 Scottish Terriers who are like walking cartoon characters & they have always been my very best friends. I would take a bullet for them. So I created these cards that have been over-the-top to showcase my boys (MAX, Tiny Elvis & now Hank Williams or H.W as I like to call him) and their crazy personalities. With the added assistance of AWESOME local talent – Patrick Merewether, Gary Isaacs, & Kristin Adams. I refer to these projects as “Loving Hands at Home”. They can be extremely time intensive. And thank God I married an engineer, cause there have been times when we’ve had to figure out how to make these puppies work. I always say it’s my last year to do these. And then I always reconsider.

Kristi showcases her yearly Hank Williams the dog greeting card

Kristi showcases her yearly Hank Williams the dog greeting card

Goldyn:  I know you’re an animal lover, and specifically an equestrienne… how did you get into that, and how do you incorporate it into your day-to-day life?

Kristi:  Well, saying that I’m an equestrienne – almost makes me laugh – cause I’m not. I started taking classes 2 years ago after riding in the Westernaires adult program offered on Wednesday evenings during the winter months. I take private lessons out in Broomfield with an awesome woman named Ariel who runs a company called Urban Cowgirlz. I have learned & embraced that being on that horse is the most ultimate sense of accomplishment & the most Zen feeling that I’ve ever had in my life. This summer, I plan on perfecting my riding skills (Western – not English) cause Ariel is leasing one of her horses to me! Pretty excited about that. Riding gives me the opportunity to forget about everything else. Maybe what you’re supposed to do in yoga – I could never do that. But when I’m on a 1,000 lb. plus animal & he’s relying on my confidence for commands & trusting me for guidance, well trust me, my mind is on nothing else. It’s truly been life changing and a confidence booster. Watching the movie “Buck” was the catalyst for this life changing sport for me. I think his general take on life is an inspiration. You fall, get bucked off, you get back up again & figure out what to do differently. Learning from unfortunate incidents (his were kind of awful) only makes you stronger and a better person. And damn, what’s not great about cowboy gear? I’ve always collected cowboy boots & now I’ve learned from experience that form follows function. I do love me a good equestrian look too.

Shoes!

Shoes!

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?

Kristi:  I have thought about this question since you sent this to me. And I’ve dwelled on this for a long time. I’ve always said that in my next life – please let me be Kate Moss. I want to know what it feels like to be a “super-waif”. Something I will NEVER experience in this life that’s for sure. I have so many icons that will always be an inspiration – Yves Saint Laurent, Joey Ramone, Betty Catroux, Mick Jagger, Elvis, Helmut Newton, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kurt Cobain, Anita Pallenberg, Marianne Faithfull, Nick Cave, Jenny Lawson, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Carrine Roitfeld…. OMG, I could go on forever. Bottom line is that I would never want to be them cause the majority of these amazing folks have gone to a very dark place to be who they are or were. I refuse to go down that rabbit hole. I have so many amazing friends and family & a husband who have contributed to the EXACT fantasy self I want to be. Ok, let me just be Mick Jagger singing Sympathy for the Devil in a sold out stadium in tiny little bell-bottoms & scarf with those lips & hair that’s never seen a bad hair day. Just for one song, getting in a limo with screaming fans & then back to me.

Chatting

Chatting

Goldyn:  What do you love about your home?

Kristi:  Ha! Everything. I love that I live in suburbia & when someone walks in here – it kind of floors them. It’s certainly not a typical home on the inside. I’ve always identified with Alice in Wonderland. Alice has always been my inspiration. My house is my rabbit hole. It’s dark, weird & funny. I’ve collected so much art through travels, various art galleries, and I even incorporate my jewelry & shoes as pieces of displayed art.  This essentially is our home & gallery. And I love it. My husband Ace agreed that when we got married, he owns the garage, the house is mine. It sealed the deal. I married him. He built me a custom closet that’s ALL mine. I’ve also found that as I get older, this is my safe happy place. I love this house.

Kristi's incredible dressing room

Kristi’s incredible dressing room

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

Kristi:  YEP. Invest in awesome sunglasses. They can be turned into prescription glasses. And don’t forget your sun block. Ice cream is your friend. Laugh as much as you possibly can. And shop at Goldyn. Not only have I bought some awesome things here, I’ve made friends for life. The friend part is the most valuable.

Kristi and her insane vintage Navajo cuff

Kristi and her insane vintage Navajo cuff

Goldyn’s Storied History: Vanessa Barcus on Mortuaries and Luxury

In anticipation of Goldyn’s 8th birthday celebration this Thursday, May 28th, I’ve trained the halogens on our very own founder slash owner slash buyer Vanessa Barcus to chronicle the store’s colorful history. She’s poured much of herself into the boutique while infusing it with the mood of the space’s previous occupant, the ‘hood-famous Olinger mortuary, to create a personality for Goldyn as special as the carefully curated goods it peddles. This extra-special profile has Vanessa’s sound-off on everything from the importance of good energy in a brand to the mad scientist who inspired Goldyn’s interior design.

Goldyn founder/owner/buyer Vanessa Barcus

Goldyn founder/owner/buyer Vanessa Barcus

I know Goldyn started as purely an e-commerce site. What was your vision for the store when you first started it?

The idea really was just to bring more progressive, fashion-forward design to Denver as well as the middle states.  I had recently moved back from Los Angeles and was missing the availability of smaller, independent brands and more conceptual, avant-garde design.

On a personal level, I was also eager to get back to working in fashion, and had always had in the back of my head the idea that I wanted to own a boutique.  It just happened to come about a little earlier in my life than I initially thought.  My former partner and I launched Goldyn as an online boutique that did pop-up shops and trunk shows around the country as a way to test the waters and keep it flexible.  That way we were able to see what really worked and feel out different areas and demographics.

Fairly early on I knew a brick-and-mortar was in the cards, but at that point the recession hit, so it was nice that we were just online and could stay nimble.  We did get in on the online game at an earlier point that was beneficial to us.  Nowadays (I sound like an old lady!) the e-commerce world is so much more competitive.  I’m glad we carved out that niche for ourselves when we did.  And the brick-and-mortar came about at just the right time… things with the economy were turning around, and we found just the right space for ourselves, in a progressive neighborhood that really resonated with our values.

Obviously, Denver is kind of sartorially-challenged. How have you carved a niche for the store in the sea of North Face and Patagonia? But conversely, is there anything about Denver’s fashion scene that has surprised you?

You know, that is really changing quickly.  I often find myself pleasantly surprised when we carry something that I’m concerned will be too “out there,” and I figure it will sell online to someone in NYC, and then it ends up selling out in Denver.  Denver is quickly becoming more and more cultured and sophisticated.  

That being said, comfort and versatility for an active lifestyle still reign supreme, no doubt.  So I always try to keep that in mind with our buys.  I am always trying to find the balance between fashion-forward pieces that are still comfortable and easy to wear.  That formula works for Denver.  I find that Denverites are very receptive to things that are progressive and conceptual, so long as they’re cozy and soft and versatile.

About the design of the store – what were your major inspirations for the aesthetic?

When we found our space, I wanted to make sure that we paid homage to its roots and kept it as authentic as possible.  Our space was originally the garage of the Olinger Mortuary building, and was built in 1938.  I wanted to keep most of the design to that period, with a tinge of the dark and macabre as a nod to the mortuary, but with our own spin to include some modern, minimalist elements.  I wrote a little story when we were first designing the space, about a Mad Max-like laboratory scientist who worked in the mortuary, and Goldyn was his lab.  Hence the antique apothecary bottles, lab equipment, gurney, etc.

Store interior with period details such as Edwardian bulbs, chandelier and rough wood accents

Store interior with period details such as Edwardian bulbs, chandelier and rough wood accents

What has been your favorite thing about running the store?

Hands down, that would be getting to know some of the amazing friends that I’ve met through Goldyn.  Whether they be customers, artists and designers, or other vendors, I’ve found some incredible lifelong friends doing this, and that’s a pretty magical thing.  

Beyond that, of course textiles and jewelry are my two loves in the material world, so being around them every day brings me joy too.  I think the other wonderful part about running a boutique is just crafting a memorable experience for customers – making sure that every detail is right, that the music and the mood are set to complement the intention put forth, and making everyone feel welcome in the space.  

You’re always picking up new designer lines and occasionally dropping ones that don’t do so well. Can you give some insights into what makes it feasible for you to decide to carry a new line? 

Buying and cultivating the store aesthetic is always an evolution.  Over the years I think we’ve really honed in on what our aesthetic and vision is, and I’ve always got a running list of new brands to check out who I think align with that vibe.  This industry changes so quickly, with new collections coming and going, trends coming and going… but that’s fun to me.  It keeps me on my toes.  

In terms of what makes a line feasible to carry…well, firstly it has to work within our aesthetic and price point of course, and beyond that I’m looking for quality of construction and materials, fit, and that the designer’s intention and vision mesh with our own.  More and more, I find that last point to be crucial – I want to work with brands/artists/designers who create conscientiously; who put positive energy and intention into what they do.

In retrospect, what’s one thing you’ve learned about running a business that you wish you’d known at the outset?

I have a tendency to try to do everything myself, to a fault.  It’s something I’m still working on, but delegating and partnering yourself with people whose strengths are your areas of weakness is a must.

Goldyn’s birthday party is Thursday, May 28th at 6pm in the store. To find your outfit for it, shop the store’s collection of irresistible new arrivals.

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