The most fashionable people in the Toledo area certainly know the difference between a pashmina scarf and a lariat necklace.
Anyone in search of style in this city only has to look around and discover new fashion businesses; catwalk events sponsored by groups from churches to retail stores; unique home consultants who conduct private clothing shows, and even a school of higher education that offers degrees in fashion fields.
Let us not forget the many style-conscious people who can be seen in our city and the surrounding area striking poses and standing out in crowds. We've spotted them in Kroger stores buying wine and pate in the express lines, sniffing a good cigar at Port Royale, and glancing at "W" magazine in upscale salons and day spas from Reve in Sylvania to Shamas Urban Retreat in tony Perrysburg.
They're also regulars at some of the largest, hippest fashion events in town - dressed in their finest full-length furs they parade into the annual Ebony Fashion Fair held each November at the Stranahan Theatre; they don unique hats and form-fitting day suits to turn up at a host of benefit luncheon fashion shows.
Even aspiring models from the area can join the stables of some of the top modeling agencies in the country, thanks to training at local schools. There's Margaret O'Brien's Talent & Modeling Agency, credited for launching the early career of actress Katie Holmes, and Traque Model Management, with offices in Toledo and Royal Oak, Mich., which has represented some top international models such as Todd Sedlar - he appeared last year in a [Gianni] Versace magazine ad campaign in publications such as "GQ" and "Men's Health."
So there are lots of reasons to be proud of our Toledo style. Here's a sampling of happenings and fashion news:
The private viewing fashion business is booming, with well-known mavens of style promoting high fashion like never before. Take Diane Rusk, known to the Toledo area for her long career at Jacobson's, who is now an agency representative for Juliana Collezione [Collection], and is currently showcasing the spring/summer 2000 line in the homes of private customers.
Juliana is a home marketing fashion association based in Secaucus, N.J. For a private showing of the latest collection, which includes cashmere wraps, shantung pants, and chiffon skirts, contact Ms. Rusk at 419-537-0829.
Another well-known name, Robin L. Isenberg, is also in the home fashion marketing business, as a representative for the popular line, big enough, a clothing collection once only carried in exclusive boutiques and specialty stores such as henri bendel and Barneys New York.
The modern collection of sportswear for babies, children, and women is offered through a home show program. To contact Mrs. Isenberg or to arrange an appointment to see a sample line call 1-800-288-7321.
Also in the area are a host of Doncaster representatives and studios listed in telephone book, along with free personal shoppers at favorite department stores such as Marshall Field's at Franklin Park Mall, which offers a complimentary service to its guests called Select Personal Shopping.
Not only will shoppers consult you on your wardrobe choices, they also can do gift buying and remember important dates for gift-giving - a spouse's birthday or an anniversary. For more information call 419-479-2384 or 1-800-695-0275.
Downtown Toledo hasn't looked so stylish in years. Next time you visit stop by a number of fashion and style businesses including Roth Furs, at 232 North Erie St.; menswear purveyor Michael David, Ltd., 405 Madison Ave.; womenswear business Sophia Lustig Shop, 124 10th St.; or the eclectic variety store, The Paula Brown Shop, at 911 Jefferson Ave.
Considering a career in fashion? Bowling Green State University offers a bachelor of science degree in a host of related areas in its newly restructured Apparel Merchandising and Product Development program, part of the College of Education and Human Development. The major gives students the opportunity to learn merchandising and product development for positions within retail firms; apparel manufacturers, accessories; cosmetics, and home fashions.
For more information on a fashion major at BGSU contact the school's family and consumer sciences department at 419-372-2026.
Trunk shows and catwalk scenes are at an all-time high, especially at Jacobson's in Franklin Park Mall. Known for bringing collection shows, designers, and fashion company representatives to town, Jacobson's is scheduling a host of spring events.
Upcoming events include:
Allen Edmonds collection show in the men's shoe department, noon-4 p.m., April 1.
A Hickey-Freemen collection show in the men's department from 4-8 p.m. April 1.
An Amoena representative will be on hand to assist with intimate apparel and prosthesis fittings in the intimate apparel department, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., April 10.
A Weiss collection show in the fine jewelry department, and the next day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. an Austin Reed Wardrobe Workshop is scheduled in the classic sportswear, petites, and Clairewood sections for women, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., April 14.
For more information on events call 419-474-5411.
Going to the Kentucky Derby this year? First call Jill Henning, who is making a name for herself with her unique collection of high-style hats. The milliner's home business, Jill Henning Fineries, showcases the most fashionable of hats from animal print cowboy hats to Parisian Cartwheel styles complete with peacock feathers. In addition to her stylish hats, complete with her own label, she designs custom-made hat boxes. To contact Jill Henning e-mail her at JhenDesign@aol.com, or send a fax with a return name and number to 419-534-3370.
New style and fashion businesses are cropping up, including Jan LaPointe's new store, Bagnifique, located at 5228 Monroe St. Her store offers designer carry-ons in unusual fabrics and leathers, including computer cases, business cases and totes for men and women, cell-phone cases, and other accessories.
For more information call 419-842-0556. Also in the area is the new Loft & Home Essentials, located in the recently expanded David Broadway Salon and Spa, at 6511 West Central Ave. The business carries self-care products along with incense, candles, lotions, and creative soaps. For more information call 419-843-7200.