Designer Highlight: Cleah Murray

Designer of the week – Cleah Murray 

             At the age of just nine-years-old, Cleah took her mother’s dress and redesigned it for herself.  Even then, she knew what she wanted to do with her life! She enrolled in and graduated from the Louisville Technical College of Merchandising and Design. Cleah’s avant-garde vision has allowed her to work as a designer, consultant, and an educator. She has been inspired by fashion from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s eras.

            Early on in her career, being a woman of color, Cleah found that she was not taken seriously. She said once she realized her worth and what she had to offer, the struggle became easy, but still not without struggle.

            Cleah started her business in Louisville KY and moved to Atlanta in 2000 and has been in business for over 25 years.  Her clients are celebrities, socialites, and fashionista’s. Her couture designs have been featured on the Red Carpet at both the 2011 and 2012 Grammy celebrations. She designs for the woman with impeccable taste who understands quality. She is known nationally as well as internationally and her specialty is custom clothing from ready to wear to bridal.

            Her criteria for success is waking up knowing that your day will be great regardless of your circumstances.

Visit her website at: https://cleahdesigner.com/

or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: cleahcouture

Call (404) 586-9729 or email:@cleahdesigner.com

Photo credit:

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

Designer Highlight: Ann Lowe

Our Designer of the Week goes to Ann Lowe

             Ann Lowe was best known for designing the ivory, silk, taffeta wedding gown worn by Jacqueline Bouvier when she married John F. Kennedy in 1963. She was born in rural Clayton, Alabama in 1898. Her interest in fashion, design, and sewing, came from her mother Ann and grandmother, Georgia. Her mother and grandmother worked as seamstresses for the first families of Montgomery and other members of high society. Lowes mother died when she was 16 years old and at the time of her death, was working on four ballgowns for the First Lady of Alabama. Using the skills she learned from her mother and grandmother, she finished the dress.

               In 1917, she moved to New York city and enrolled in S.T. Taylor Design School. It was segregated and she was in class by herself. She graduated at the top of her class and moved to Tampa, Florida. The following year, she opened her first dress salon which catered to members of high society. In 1928, she returned to New York. In 1946, she designed the dress that actress Olivia De Havilland wore to the Oscars where she received the coveted Best Actress award. Unfortunately, her name was never sewn in the dress and she did not get credit for her work. She opened a second salon on Lexington Ave in 1950.  Her one-of-a-kind designs were made from the finest fabrics and was an immediate success and attracted many wealthy elite clients.

               In 1953, she was hired to design a wedding gown for the future First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier and the dresses for her bridal attendants for her September wedding to then Senator John F. Kennedy. It was Jacqueline’s mother Janet Auchineless. who commissioned her to design Jacqueline’s wedding gown. While the Bouvier- Kennedy wedding was a highly publicized event, Ann Lowe did not receive public credit for her work. In fact, Ann Lowe was snubbed by the future first lady, who described her as a “colored dressmaker” without even mentioning her name!

               In 2019, the nation’s first high fashion designer, finally got the acknowledgement she deserved, with an exhibit at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington D.C. We certainly know her name now!

Photo credit: Fashion Bomb Daily, New York Post

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

 

Designer Highlight: Vera Wang

Designer of the Week-Vera Wang

Our designer of the week goes to Vera Wang. Who hasn’t heard of a Vera Wang wedding gown? Born and raised in New York City, and of Chinese descent, her parents were born in China and came to the United States in the 1940’s. She earned a degree in Art History from Sarah Lawrence College. Before that she began figure skating at the age of eight and competed in the 1968 US Figure Skating Championships. She was featured in Sports Illustrated Faces In The Crowd in January 9, 1968. When she failed to make the US Olympics team, she entered the fashion industry.

After graduation from Sarah Lawrence College, Wang was hired to be an editor at Vogue (she was the youngest editor at Vogue). She was there for 17 years. She left in 1987 to join Ralph Lauren for two years. At 40, she resigned to become an independent bridal wear designer. The rest is history! Besides her bridal gowns, Wang has designed costumes for figure skaters including Nancy Kerrigan, and Michelle Kwan, to name a few. Wang was inducted in the the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009 for her contribution to the sport as a costume designer.

Many celebrities have worn her gowns on the red carper from Viola Davis to Sophia Vergara. Vera Wang has been recognized by many including the Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2006 and was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Award in 2013. What a long and magnificent career she has had and continues to have.

Follow her on IG@: verawanggang

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

Photo Credit: www.wedding-venue.co.uk and www.henkerman.com.au

Designer Highlight: Galatea Berger

Galatea Designs

Our designer of the week goes to Galatea Berger. What’s in a name ? This is the real name of the magnificent jeweler Galatea Berger but you probably don’t know it’s meaning. The Greek myth of Pygmalion, is about a mortal who sculpted a statue so beautiful he fell in love with it. Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love took pity on the lovesick artist and brought to life the exquisite sculpture, which was named Galatea.

The name Galatea Designs carries connotations of striking visual appeal and a man’s love for a woman. You will definitely fall in love with Galatea’s exquisite jewelry designs. From a simple engagement solitaire, to more ornate designs,  she creates from precious stones and metals. After attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Galatea’s early designs were the focus of attention while she worked in a local financial institution. Many customers were dropping in just to see what she was wearing. She began selling jewelry way before she opened her own business.

Known originally as “ Jewelry and Gift Exchange” when founded in 1985, Galatea Designs quickly secured reputable and reliable contacts with jewelry manufactures. From its inception, it has offered a superior line of jewelry designs and personalized jewelry creations. Galatea Designs serves men and women with refined taste. They work by appointment only which allows customers to select a diamond or consider the design of their jewelry in a more relaxed setting, free from distraction, which permits Galatea to give you her undivided attention.

Follow her on Instagram: @galateadesigns

Photo credit: Galatea Berger

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

 

 

Designer Highlight: Diane von Furstenberg

Best known for her iconic “wrap dress”, you have not lived until you own one! Diane Simone Michelle Hafflin was born in Brussels, Belgium to Jewish parents.  Eighteen months before Diane was born, her mother was a prisoner at Auschwitz concentration camp. She credits her mother with being a great influence in her life. Her mother taught her that fear is not an option.

After studying Economics at the University of Geneva, she moved to Paris and worked as an assistant to fashion photographer agent Albert Koski. She then moved to Italy to be an apprentice for the textile manufacturer, Angela Ferretti. In his factory warehouse, she learned about cut, color, and fabric. It was there she designed and produced her first silk jersey dress.

Shortly after her marriage to Prince Egon von Furstenberg, she decided she wanted a career of her own and not just to be a plain little girl who married beyond her “desserts “. After separating from her husband in 1973, she moved to New York and met Vogue editor Diana Vreeland who said her designs were absolutely smashing.

In 1974, she introduced her knitted jersey wrap dress. After the success of the wrap dress, Furstenberg was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976 and was declared the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel. She has gone on to launch a cosmetic line, fragrances, and a home shopping business to name a few. Many celebrities have worn her clothes from Madonna to Michelle Obama.

You have not lived, until you have worn this iconic wrap dress!! here are 45 free standing shops world-wide.

Follow her on Instagram: @DVF

Photo credit: DFV.com

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

Designer Highlight: Gamili E Collections

Born in Brooklyn New York, as a young child, Gamili was inspired by her mother who was a professional seams tress and introduced Gamili to an artist’s way of life. By the time she was in the eight grade, she already knew that she wanted to be a fashion designer. This occurred to her after working on a project for home economics where she had to draw clothes for females and males.

Her first professional design showcase was 2014. Creating is her favorite aspect of designing and she is passionate about bringing her ideas to life. Music has been her biggest inspiration from everything from Hip Hop to Jazz.  The Gamili E Collection celebrates the female form and represents women who dare to be a fashion statement. Her favorite era of fashion is the 1940’s. It is a representation of class, sex appeal, and confidence.

Her ultimate goal is to become a fashion legend and she wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Coco Chanel, Diane Von Fustenberg, and Christian Dior to name a few.                                                                        

Follow her on IG: @gamili_e

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

Photo Credit: Instagram: @gamili_e

DESIGNER HIGHLIGHT: KYEMAH MCENTYRE

Kyemah McEntyre is a young women who became widely known for her prom dress design that ” broke the internet”. The African print prom dress created a fashion moment. She said she initially wanted to wear her African inspired dress to the prom to send a message to other teens that it’s ok to be yourself and that natural beauty is to be loved and admired. That prom night, she got lots of attention and was crowned prom queen.

The East Orange, New Jersey native was in high school at the time! The following fall, she enrolled in the fashion school, Parsons School of Design. Shortly after, she caught the attention of actress/singer Naturi Naughton who called on Kyemah to design a dress for the 2015 BET Awards, where she wore the beautiful form fitting dress. She also designed a dress for the legendary model and TV host, Tyra Banks. Tyra wore the design on an episode of ABC’s FABlife.

The Mind of Kye brand is where art and fashion meet. Kyemah has a profound love for Black women, art, history and how the subjects interact with society. In a short time, Kyemah has proven to be one of the most innovative and talented artists and designers of the millennium.

You can follow her at: IG :@MindOfKye

Photo credit: popsugar.com, i.d.vice.com

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

DESIGNER HIGHLIGHT-STELLA JEAN

mailto:IG@stellajean Stella Jean is the first black Italian designer. She was born and raised in Rome to a Haitian mother and Italian father. While studying Political Science at Sapiensa University in Rome, she dropped out to model for Egon von Furstenburg (ex-husband to Diane von Furstenburg). This is when she realized that she would rather make clothes than wear them.

 

    Her designs reflect her Creole heritage and she often works with Haitian and African artisans incorporating their work into her fashion. Through her use of native crafts people, she seeks to support struggling countries and communities and preserve their ancestral arts and traditions.

 

    In 2019, she was highlighted by the New York Times as the most convincing of all the New Gen designers in Milan! She has also collaborated on shoes with Christian Louboutin for her AW14 collection, which featured her first menswear collection. Her brand is based in Rome but is also stocked in specialty boutiques worldwide such as The Corner, Mode Operandi, and Farfetch to name a few.    

Celebrities such as Rihanna and Beyonce wear her designs.

IG@ stellajean_sj_