Valentina & Valentia patterned dress ($860).
Cover and Left: Devonation dress ($250) and coat ($480). Lunaversoul necklace ($105). Aquazzura heels ($785), Edie Parker clutch ($995), Neiman Marcus. Right: Valentina & Valentia dress ($1,040). Michael Kors “Berkley” sandal ($120), Nordstrom.
Styled by Kirsten Erwin and Lauren Foster
Photos by Rodrigo DeMedeiros
Shot at Urban Light Studios.
Models: Yulin and Hayley O of TCM Models & Talent.
Hair and makeup by Gene Juarez Salons: hair by Michael Angelo Ledezma, Maribel Sanchez, and Geraldine Legaspi.
Makeup by Monet Watkins.
Nails by Keiko Schrock.
Photography assistant: Isabella Richter de Medeiros.
Style assistant: Sarah Eklund.
Special thanks: Arc Media Studios.
Watch our behind the scenes video
The Local Designers
Sisters Nune and Mariam Hovhannisyan head the vegan, ethically produced, rocker fashion brand MXN Fashion. The duo launched their company in 2016 as a way to drive change. The jacket on look 6 is a nod to luxury, European style, and history. “I want fashion to be luxurious, inspired and an artistic way of self-expression. But I also want it to be affordable and ECO aware. I truly believe that it can be both,” said Nune.
Valentina & Valentia is a family affair. The line is a collaboration between a great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and daughter. Creative director Milena Natanov is a software engineer by day, fashion designer by night. Her creations are distinctly feminine and delicate, something she feels is a reflection of how far women have come. “I think that we, women, are incredibly fortunate to live in this era. With the digital revolution we no longer need physical strength, thus the advantages men had over women for centuries no longer hold. Now you don’t have to be physically strong to be successful in your career and in your life. Smart and intelligent is finally enough. What does this give us, women? Well, now we can go back to our feminine selves without hesitation, without fear that a flowing skirt or a bow on a blouse will position us as unprofessional or incapable in a professional environment.”
Before Camisha Jackson was designing jewelry, she was designing video games. But after she couldn’t find some jewelry pieces she was envisioning, she started making her own and people noticed. She’s the creative mind behind the Phoenix Crystal Necklace on look 3 as well as the tribal quartz tassel necklace on the cover. Even style icon Erykah Badu is a fan. “In my head I have been designing for Erykah Badu for years — she just didn’t know it. So, you can imagine when she reached out to me personally about my jewelry I was beyond stunned — my dream became reality.”
Chrissy Wai-Ching is known in the wedding industry as a bridal dress designer who embraces color. Some of her gowns have a gradient that goes from a cream to a burnt orange silk, or a skirt full of multicolored ruffles. For her gown on look 6 (which is not bridal) she was inspired by a futuristic urban cityscape. “I wanted to bring the look of shiny metals and more angular shapes into the buttery, drapey silk charmeuse,” she said.
Last fall, Devon Yan won the Independent Designer Runway Show at Bellevue Fashion Week. A successful watercolorist and the son of an opera singer, Yan is no stranger to the arts. His fashion pieces are among the most diverse, ranging from a ’70s-style pleated gown to a coat that also serves as a backpack. “I always try to give a surprise for my audience. I cannot say I am the most creative local designer, but I always like to try new things, something I have not done, something my audience won’t see very often.” His hand cut swan dress on page 81 was inspired by the changing seasons. “Fall stepping into winter, the birds taking their journey flying down south for the winter season, cold but still elegant,” he said.
Tina Witherspoon has long been involved in the local fashion scene. She was a finalist on KING 5’s designer competition “The Look.” Before that, she ran the fashion blog Glamspoon. Witherspoon is known for her flair for textures. BoHo Republic pieces are often layered with interesting fabrics. Her dress on look 11 is made of silk and metallic eyelash jacquard. “And the color is sugar cookie. Isn’t that perfect?” she said. Witherspoon’s annual spring preview and sample sale at Sassafras in Seattle will be in May. Details here.
Designer headshots courtesy: Rachael Webster of Noctem Photography; Valentina & Valentia; Camisha Jackson; Jens Hansen; Devon Yan; Tina Witherspoon