Fashion - Just For Fun!

Marion Gartler designs one-of-a-kind vests from rare textiles. Each has hidden, inside pockets that make carrying a purse unnecessary whether you’re traveling around town or around the world. The Safekeeper Vest collection is sold via residential trunk shows; check the website for for the current schedule. Website:

Androsia. In 1973 when the Bahamas became independent, Rosi Birch co-founded Androsia to help local women become economically independent. The beauty of Andros, an island 60 miles west of Nassau, inspires the colors and prints of their beautiful batik clothing and home accessories. Website:

Shankari, an Australian woman healer and mystic, designs with semiprecious stones and works with 30 artisans who live on the sacred grounds of her Balinese palace to create jewelry and one-of-a-kind art pieces (such as a $7,000 altar bowl emblazoned with a jade-and-sterling butterfly.) Website:

Mask Italia. If you collect masks, want an Italian mask for a costume ball, plan to stage a masked ball as a fundraiser or give your party guests personalized masks—click here. Mask Italia selects the most beautiful, historically accurate designs from 50 artisans in Venice, Florence and Verona. If you buy, you will help preserve a tradition that is more than 1,000 years old. Website:

The Costume Bazaar. Next time you're invited to a fancy party, really dress up---in a costume from another country straight from a show like Amadeus, Evita, The King and I, The Sound of Music, Brigadoon or Romeo and Juliet. Or dress like a cultural icon such as a bagel. You can rent all those outfits from The Costume Bazaar, New Haven, Connecticut, which Mrs. Russell founded long ago. Website:

Origins is a remarkable store full of authentic ethnic clothing of the most elegant, expensive type: embroidered red silk wedding dresses from India; antique kimonos from Japan; silver headdresses from the hill tribes of Thailand. If you want a traditional outfit from almost anywhere in the world—or a unique, contemporary one that was inspired by a traditional design, this store is a dream come true. Origins is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Website:

Hiroko Kurihara makes breathtakingly beautiful felted wool scarves and blankets. When you buy one, she will give one away free, to a person in need. Learn more about Hiroko's socially responsible business. Website:

Dosa. Korean-born Christina Kim travels the world working with indigenous people and artisans, cross-pollinating ideas and adapting tradition to spare, modern clothing designed in beautiful fabrics with simple, comfortable shapes. Her company, Dosa, is headquartered in Los Angeles and sells to 100 stores in 20 countries. Website:

Lotta Jansdotter, a Swede who spent lots of time with her grandmother on a Finish island, coupled her love of natural, organic textiles and modern, urban style when she created her Lotta Jansdotter collection of screen-printed linen tableware, bags, cushions, stationery and ceramics. Website:

Lo Spillo. Another Italy tip: Sofia Casalnin’s Lo Spillo (“the pin”) is the smallest shop in Florence, packed with pretty antique and costume jewelry priced from $65 to $3500. Lo Spillo, 72R Borgo San Jacopo, Florence, Italy. Tel: 011-39-055-293-126

Viki Dyan creates clothing from textiles made in Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Laos, and Thailand. She also makes pillows, and jewelry. Her studio/showroom in Santa Rosa, California, is open by appointment. Website: 

Cari ("car-ee") Borja's designs play with ruffles in a way that delights both wearer and observer. Equipped with a Masters from the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University and a PhD in Anthropology from Berkeley (her dissertation was about Jamaican Art), Cari designs sophisticated, surprising clothes for women---and for baby girls like her daughter, Royal, for whom her newest line is named. Paola aloves the festive spirit of Cari's designs. If you attend a Paola Gianturco book signing, you are likely to see her wearing a design by Cari. Website: