Mad About Joan


Thinking back on the inspiration for the wool garments in the Tough Love Collection, it stretched from just about every tangent one could imagine. Though all of the looks have common roots, they have very specific inspirations.



    How can anyone be obsessed with a decade they never lived through? I ponder that everyday and having a past life is the best rationale I can make. It’s the only thing that makes sense. There are a few time periods I am absolutely fanatic about: Ancien t Egypt and Ethiopia, the Harlem Renaissance, of course the 80s, and as of the last few years, the 60s.

    In the 60s, everyone dressed up everyday. Women wore hats and gloves for no special reason; how fly is that? In as much as I let elements of the 80s leak into my everyday fashion aesthetic, my momma lets the 60s leak into hers so perhaps that’s where I was first exposed to it. The fixation was only intensified by one of my favorite T.V. shows: Mad Men.

    Mad Men portrays the world of advertising executives on Madison Avenue in New York in the 60s. It’s a world where business is done in a bar over a dirty martini and the only thing going on in the office is smoking, drinking and...well, sex. And even if the female characters on the show aren’t actually engaging in the act, their clothes ooze sex appeal. One in particular is Joan, a tall, shapely redhead whose pencil skirts hug her curves like second skin. She’s always appropriately dressed and never even has a short hem, but something tells me that her Va-Va-Voom would leak through a brown paper bag, if that’s what she chose to wear. Her picture should appear next to the word ‘vixen’ when you Google it, and she’s got the attitude to match.

    Yet, somehow her look lends itself to a certain level of professionalism. I think it’s because her attire is never overtly sexual-even if sex is implied-but always understated. And that’s the best policy: less is always more. Women are naturally sexy, so it’s very easy for us to overdo it. That being said, I wanted to make something that was very clean and simple, but with an added POW! to it. Don’t get me wrong, Joan is curvy, but I think the cut of her garments help to amplify her proportions to ensure that she looks like she’s “got it in all the right places” least that's what a good garment does.

    Sugar was first made as a dress, not a skirt ensemble. But I wanted to accentuate the waist more, so I made it a two-piece so the top could flare at the hip. It’s named appropriately, since it’s just too sweet for words, but I also think the name is reminiscent of all the “terms of endearment” men were permitted to use in reference to women back then: Sweetheart, Honey, Darling and yes, Sugar. I’m sure those names would’ve gotten really old, really fast to me back then but I’m allowed to bask in the sweeter side of sexism since I’m sitting comfortably in the new millennium with sexual harassment policies snugly in place.

    Yet this garment was made to at least inspire a double-take and a compliment; the heart cut-out in the back is a nice surprise. Plus I wanted to add a touch of glam, since we rarely get that style element in a ready-to-wear garment, it’s normally reserved for formal gowns, etc. I can’t decide if the lady in this one will look better coming or going!

    Leave it to Brianna Kavon to give the gals out there the best of both fashion worlds. I guess this outfit (like Joan) would have to be the ‘mullet’ of the collection: Business in the front, party in the back!

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