Lark Champion

Designer Lark Champion has traveled the world over to find beautifully complex handicrafts to fill her home. Her eye natural eye for beauty and detail makes her one of the best home decorators in the area.

In a world of delicate, Southern-inspired home décor, the work of Lark Champion and Larkin Lane Designs stands out.  Inspired by years of travel, Champion embraces the unique styles of cultures around the world. Her collection at Larkin Lane draws upon the handmade textiles from communities across the globe. From the Otomi of Mexico to the Ikat patterns of the East, Larkin Lane sells a myriad of hand selected textiles gathered from Champion’s journies.
From a young age, Champion was drawn in by dynamic and colorful patterns. She first learned to love and appreciate the handcrafted works of other cultures from her mother—who ran a successful folk art gallery for many years. Today, she has passed that love onto her young children who now accompany her on buying trips. Lark sat down with SVM to discuss her collection, love of travel and design and possible plans on expanding her line.


Travelling has obviously had a large impact in your life. How has it shaped your design aesthetic?

I grew up travelling extensively with my mom on buying trips for her international folk art gallery, Galerie Bonheur. Yearly trips to Haiti, and travel throughout Europe, North Africa and the Americas in search of art had a profound impact on me personally and from a design perspective. While I learned something from each and every country, I think it was the exposure to so many different cultures that most influenced my design aesthetic. I was surrounded by such a broad spectrum of art, from the “fine” art and antiques of Europe, to what some would call “indigenous” forms of art in places like Haiti and Africa. I credit my mom with teaching me that there is value in all art, as long as it authentic; and that the value of a piece doesn’t necessarily come from its provenance, but from the feeling it evokes in you. I have always been amazed by the similarities in motifs, and consistencies in artistic expression in cultures on opposite ends of the globe. I love the way an Otomi textile from Mexico looks on a silk ikat from Uzbekistan in a pillow. Or how chic a Guatemalan blouse can be when worn with a Haitian beaded clutch. It’s the idea of cultures collaborating through textiles that inspires me; and it is that layered and global aesthetic that I think makes Larkin Lane unique.

Where is your favorite place in the world to find unique art?

It’s hard to choose just one. For textiles, I’d have to say Guatemala. They are masters of color and pattern in textile art. And since a majority of people still wear the traditional clothing, you are surrounded by their exquisite work everywhere you go. I just love the history behind their textiles—how each village has a specific style of dress, and that you can tell which region someone is from by the embroidery of a woman’s huipil, blouse, or the faja, belt, for men. The country itself is beautiful too, and I adore the people!

Navigating foreign markets is a part of your day to day job. Do you have any tips on getting the best deals while negotiating?

Never underestimate the connection that a genuine smile can make, so start with a smile.  Speak their language to the extent that you can, or, at least, make an effort. And most of all, be respectful. These are business women and men just like us, regardless of where or how they live. By selling their art, they are sharing a piece of their culture, a tradition handed down from generation to generation. I see it as such a privilege to do business with these people and to help preserve their heritage.


Your collection can be divided up into stylistic patterns: Otomi, Ikat, Suzani, and Guatemalan textiles. Do you have any plans to expand your collection and include a wider array of handcrafted textiles from other regions of the world?

Absolutely. At the moment, I am expanding my selection of Haitian beaded clutches. My friend, and one of my favorite Haitian artisans, Mireille, survived Hurricane Matthew and is back to hand-sewing the exquisite textile that has been a part of Haitian religious tradition for centuries. She is so grateful to have more work. I have a small selection of textiles from Bhutan that are incredible, and would love to add more. My mom is heading there next year, so hopefully I will be able to join her. Then, I also adore Molas from the San Blas Islands of Panama. I traveled there with my family years ago and can’t wait to return. I am dying to go to India of course. The list could go on and on.
 

Why is buying textiles, specifically the Otomi fabrics, directly from vendors in their native countries important to you?

It goes back to growing up surrounded by artists from around the world. The folk artists that my mom promoted became like family members. Their art is an expression of something from within. It is authentic. That is why the authenticity of textiles is so important to me. I have so much respect for textile artisans. I want to help preserve their traditions, and honor them in the way that my mom has forever been honoring folk artists.

What item from your collection is your favorite and why?

My newest favorite item is our silk ikat bow tie. I’m especially proud of our bow ties because they are so unique. We source the gorgeous silk ikat from artisans in Uzbekistan, and then have the bow ties hand-crafted here in America. The idea for the bow tie came while I was at the Steeplechase in Nashville. So many of the men there were wearing traditional bow ties. When I took the ikat clutch that I was carrying and held it up to my husband’s neck, I loved the pop of color and pattern next to his traditional attire. We have had such a wonderful response to the bow ties that we are expanding to include cummerbunds. What a perfect gift for groomsmen. You could also pair them with matching scarves or clutches for the bridesmaids!


 In bringing these traditional designs back to America, you are giving them a new life. Do you see your business as a way to educate people about other cultures through design?

I think more than educating people, it’s about sharing stories of different cultures and artisans, and keeping textile traditions alive. When artisans share with me the history behind a textile, or how a tradition started, that just feels like a gift to me. I love sharing those stories with my clients, and hope that they share them too.


What’s the best part of your job?

Collaborating with talented artisans who take pride in their work has to be my favorite part. I love the exchange of ideas between cultures and that I get to be a part of that. One of my favorite stories is when I wore an infinity scarf that I had designed from Uzbeki silk ikat to a women’s co-op in Guatemala. The weavers there are incredible business women. They hand-dye and hand-weave fabric that they use to create beautiful accessories. The women weavers loved my scarf.  They even asked me to take it off so that they could measure it to make infinity scarves with their own fabric. It just made me happy to think of artisans in Uzbekistan creating one of my designs, and then that being passed on to women in the tiniest village of Guatemala on the other side of the world! And for both cultures to be able to interpret that design within their own traditions, and generate an income from it, that was inspiring to me.

Like most women, I am always multi-tasking. Between stops at my local workrooms, I am on the phone or emailing with my international sources– sending photographs, sketches and specifications. One of the things I love about my job is the fact that there is a great level of communication between myself and my artisans.  I also try to update the website as often as possible, keep up with social media, and write a blog post or two and then schedule them to be “published”.

 

Gabe Pippas

As the Georgia film industry continues to grow, Columbus native and Brookstone alumnus Gabe Pippas is grabbing his seat at the table. Gabe sat down with SVM to discuss his foray into the film industry and his burgeoning film equipment rental business out of Atlanta, Cinder Lighting & Grip.

In high school, Gabe Pippas and his buddies always carried a camera with them. They were ready to catch their antics on film at a moments notice. When it came time to choose a college and eventual career path, Pippas decided to go the more traditional route. He got into Georgia Tech and planned on majoring in applied physics and eventually become an engineer. He thought he left his film days behind him, until he ran into a film crew on Tech’s campus. He was immediately drawn back into the film world. Fast forward almost five years later, and Pippas is running a successful film equipment rental company and working on multiple film, television, music and commercial projects. He sat down with SVM to chat about the growing film industry in Georgia and what he hopes his role will be in its future.

Growing up, you and your friends were notorious for making hilarious videos about your antics. At what point did you decide to turn that passion into a career?

Growing up, you and your friends were notorious for making hilarious videos about your antics. At what point did you decide to turn that passion into a career?

Growing up, you and your friends were notorious for making hilarious videos about your antics. At what point did you decide to turn that passion into a career?

When I lived in Columbus the idea of working in film seemed like a total stretch. There’s a big difference between Netflix’s Stranger Things and whatever you want to call the videos my buddy, Will Kamensky, and I made. When I got to Tech, I was fully prepared to go through 4, probably 5, maybe 6 years of school to become an engineer, but during my first week on campus an Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn movie, The Internship, was being filmed in Klaus [a building on Georgia Tech’s campus]. I was lingering around the set for a few hours trying to see what was going on, while also trying not to be seen; a production assistant finally spotted me and told me I needed to leave. Just as he showed me out I asked how I could become an extra, coffee slave, or anything that would get me on set. He showed me few Facebook pages where casting agents posted for extras. After only two weeks of sending in photos that my laughing roommate, Yemi Olubowale, took for me on his phone, I was on a set in Macon, GA.

I spent 3 days on Witches of East End, a Jenna Tatum show that got canceled. Each day was no less than 15 hours and everyone was complaining, but I think that’s just because most extras just want to be movie stars and there is nothing glamorous about being an extra, absolutely nothing. I loved every minute of that job. There were more and more projects coming to Atlanta, and I wanted to be on them. My whole freshman year I did these extra gigs on the side. Watching the professionals turn ordinary spaces into distant worlds and past decades where stories could be told was awesome, still is! The long hours and bad pay didn’t bother me at all. I was getting paid 64 bucks for 8 hours. Now back at Tech, you couldn’t pay me enough money to study for 15 hours straight, but on set, no problem.  Being around real people making real films made me realize that working in the film industry was an actual possibility. Once I had that thought I couldn’t shake it. I just had to give it a try.

Georgia Tech doesn’t seem like the obvious choice for a film student. How did it help you get your foot into industry?

Tech, along with my mother, gave me my work ethic. Getting into film is definitely hard work, and you do a lot of that at Georgia Tech. I did pretty well academically in high school, but at Tech I was failing tests and struggling with homework assignments that took days to finish. The work I did early on at Tech was mentally harder than anything else I had ever done. Now I am a business major, and I’m not going to pretend like that is anywhere near as difficult as applied physics, which is what I started as. I made the switch because film is a business. Many successful artists made it because they were able to couple their artistic ability with practical business, something that a lot of artist’s are not able to do. Vincent Van Gogh, though famous now, died broke. Whereas, Thomas Kinkade, became one of the wealthiest artist of all time. Why is this? Well it’s because a lot of things, but the big one being you have to know your market. Knowing a little business gave me a lot of confidence. The confidence I need to start my own business. Now, if I can just finish business school that would be great.

Even though Georgia has experienced a major boost in filming, major cities like New York and Los Angeles are still considered a hub for videographers. Why did you decide to stay in Georgia?

New York and LA are already too established for me to find work quickly and at a young age. The requirements to get into LA’s film unions are quite extensive, and every artistic person in the world wants to move to New York. So, to avoid the cut throat race for positions, I just looked in my backyard and got them. As a videographer, I need to see how the big dogs used their movie magic because you really can’t teach yourself this stuff. As it turned out, the best from New York and LA all traveled to Atlanta to make their movies! Working underneath them as a grip, electrician, or office PA is like watching a magician do a trick from behind the curtain. Not to mention Georgia is my home, I love the south, and I love my family. Nowadays, I’ll travel to New York or Los Angeles because of work I did in Atlanta. The world sees what is made in this city and it’s awesome. There were so many new projects coming into the city that they need crew for, and, as it turns out, working on a cattle farm for 4 years was great work experience for becoming a grip. Grip work is very labor intensive. Big rigging builds and longs hours in rain, ice, or 90 degree weather take a certain type of person, and the south is a great place to find those kind of people. Lots of farm hands turned to film work.

As a small business owner, have you seen a large impact on your business from the film and television boom Georgia is experiencing?

Absolutely! With the rise of major motion pictures arriving to Atlanta, so did the number of people like myself. I found it hard to replicate the setups that I saw on set. Renting equipment was just too expensive and it really didn’t need to be. That was when my business partner, Ben Lambeth, and I decided to start a small rental business to support the smaller community of younger filmmakers as they grew—and as they grew we grew.

Tell us about your most interesting video shoot.

Interesting in terms of dysfunction would be the time we had 8 people standing on ladders, waving branches outside of a window to make a scene for Meg Myer’s Sorry music video. The projects are always changing; one day it’s a bank commercial and the next it’s a rap music video. When you’re starting out you find your self doing things like chasing stray cows that wandered onto set, swimming in lakes because someone forgot to buy a paddle for the john boat and sometimes climbing on roofs because a light always needs to go in the most inconvenient place. One time I was working on an Adult Swim show and on one of the last days we shut down a highway and pummeled a Miata with a deuce and a half military truck. That was a fun day at work.

How has being involved on the business side of videography affected the way you approach the creative side?

There is no doubt that running Cinder made me practical. Knowing what looks good is important, but coupling that with knowledge of hidden costs will make your producers love you. I’ve also found new clients are always nervous about the end product on the first shoot, but having a business background clearly buys us a bit more trust.

What upcoming projects are you most excited about?

I’m involved in my first movie right now! The movie is called Mine 9. It’s a story about 8 miners and one rookie, and their fight to survive after a methane explosion in a West Virginia coal mine. I’m an associate producer on the project, and Cinder is separately providing the equipment for the film. With this movie I’ve been working towards connecting private equity with Georgia based filmmakers and movies. I believe that Georgia is ready to produce content independently, but we are definitely in our proving period right now.  There are so many amazing filmmakers with ties to Georgia that are moving here from LA and New York, and a lot of them with some serious experience from places like Disney, Universal, And Sony. We are all very excited about to showing off Mine 9 on the festival circuit!

 

SOUTH CASTLES

By Anna Logan
Photos By Patrick BYRNES
ROB MILLS and JONATHAN WARD

Caroline Castles, a Brookstone alumna, started a vegan and ecofriendly clothing line right
out of college. Her love of the coast, fashion and the environment converged into her wildly successful company, South Castles.

Caroline Castles is former army brat that spent close to a decade of her life right here in Columbus. Born in California and now living in coastal Wilmington, Caroline is inspired constantly by the beach and her friends. Her lifelong love of the environment and entrepreneurial spirit led her to create the South Castles brand. With the help of her mother and sister, natural fashionistas and designers, Caroline set up the company in hopes of creating a line of clothing for the quintessential Castles Babe. South Castles is ecofriendly and cruelty free—using alternative and recyclable materials. Caroline’s brand is well known for their swimwear line. Today, South Castles offers swimwear, intimates, dresses, rompers and many more options for the Castles Babe. Caroline sat down with SVM to speak about her journey into fashion design.


Can you tell us about how you got into designing fashion? What was the inspiration behind South Castles? Creativity runs in our family. My mom used to make my sisters’ and I’s clothes when we were young, and she’s always had a strong talent for interior design, sewing and designing window treatments and upholstery design. My sisters are very artistic, and my sister, Taylor, went to school for fashion merchandising and design, with a focus on technical design.
I went to school for Entrepreneurship and Business Development at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The semester before my senior year, All students in the EBD program present an initial elevator pitch for a business idea. I initially pitched a Vegan clothing company, produced mostly from repurposed vintage clothing. The professor loved the idea, and insisted I build upon it and take it to the next level. So, during my senior year, I developed this idea further and wrote an extensive business plan and investors presentation. After I graduated, I continued to pursue this idea, which eventually evolved into South Castles, vegan clothing and swimwear. Initially I got quite a bit of advice and direction from my mom and sister on sewing and design. I was lucky to have them, and I was very lucky to have a natural talent for both sewing and design as well.


What was the inspiration behind South Castles? The inspiration behind South Castles came from many different places--my family, friends, professors, and Wilmington itself (living at the beach) to name a few. The original name of South Castles was CastlesCouture. However, after the brand began to evolve and less items were actually considered “couture”, as we were making many of each style for wholesale and retail purposes, we rebranded and changed the name to South Castles. Nevertheless, the name has always sort of been a namesake for a family of all women.


Did you always know you wanted to go into fashion? I did not always know I wanted to go into fashion. Honestly, I was a bit of a tomboy when I was younger, and while some of my sisters were very much into style and fashion, and even took sewing lessons, I was never very interested in any aspect of it.
I also changed my major many times in college. Originally I wanted to major in Environmental Science. I have always been very interested in the environment, which is one reason South Castles is a vegan clothing company. However, once I settled into the business school and the entrepreneurship program, and was very confident that was the field I should be in, fashion and business naturally went hand in hand for me.

Is there a single collection or piece that you feel embodies everything South Castles is all about? Honestly, I’m not sure there is a single collection or piece that I feel embodies everything South
Castles is about. We have a very broad product line. I think this is because we offer both clothing and swim, and also like to give our customers a wide variety of options at any one time. I will say the styles that really stand out as making South Castles, South Castles, are the Jumpsuits, Rompers and Maxi Dresses. Styles like the Cut-Out Maxi Dress and the Deep V Jumpsuit are some that initially brought attention to the line. However, most recently, our swimwear has stolen the show, and now represents the top 1-3 best selling styles overall, with 4-8 best selling styles being Maxi Dresses, Rompers and Jumpsuits.


South Castles is both vegan and eco-friendly. Why did you decide to make your clothes so environmentally conscious? To begin with, I’d like to answer the obvious question that many people ask: How can a clothing line be vegan? South Castles is vegan because we do not use
any materials that come from or are bi-products of animals. We do not use leather, fur, silk, wool or blends of any of these. We also steer clear of harmful chemicals and dyes. I have always been very passionate about the environment. To me, it seems like a no-brainer. Processes like tanning leather use very harsh chemicals and are terrible for the environment, the people that complete the process, as well as the families that live downstream from where this is done. Skinning
animals for fur is just cruel and unnecessary.

All of your clothes are handmade here in America. Could you tell us a little bit more about why that is important for you and your brand? There are many reasons why made in America is important for us. Although we are still a small company, I think it’s important to promote
keeping jobs in the United States. Additionally, there is a good deal of concern about human rights issues in some factories overseas, including safety concerns, child labor, unfair pay and unjust treatment of the workers. It’s hard to oversee these issues when many company’s don’t actually see the conditions of the factories they use, and safety and employee standards
are much more lax in many countries. Keeping our production in the U.S. isn’t always the easy route, but it is important to us and to most of our customers.

You promote the “Castles babe” lifestyle. What do she and her life look like? The “Castles Babe” is timeless and mysterious. She’s well traveled and cultured. She’s environmentally conscious, and takes care of her body and her mind. She loves music, and has just a bit of a rebellious side. She cares deeply about her family and friends. She is free spirited and courageous.


You graduated from Brookstone in 2006 before moving to Wilmington, North Carolina for school. Is there anything you miss about Columbus?
I mostly miss the people in Columbus. During my childhood and teen years my father, Ret. Col. John Castles II, was in the Army so we moved 15 times, everywhere from Texas to Alaska. Columbus was one place we lived in longer than most. Moving there 3 separate times, living there a total about 6 years, so it felt very homey for me there

Finish this sentence: The best thing about the South is…Definitely the
weather! svm

ANN REINKING

The Tony Award–winning choreographer of the 1996 production of Chicago (the longest-running revival in Broadway history), Ann Reinking is known for her work as an actress, singer, dancer, and choreographer. Ann will be in Columbus on Friday, December 2nd for the Broadway Ball at the Rivermill Center. By ANNA LOGAN

The Tony Award–winning choreographer of the 1996 production of Chicago (the longest-running revival in Broadway history), Ann Reinking is known for her work as an actress, singer, dancer, and choreographer. Ann will be in Columbus on Friday, December 2nd for the Broadway Ball at the Rivermill Center.

By ANNA LOGAN

Ann Reinking’s name is synonymous to royalty amongst Broadway lovers. The 1997 Tony Award winning choreographer has spent most of her adult life in the spotlight. She began dancing as a teenager and quickly fell in love with the art form. She began her career in San Francisco before moving to New York City to study ballet. Her Broadway debut came on the brink of the 1970s when she performed a small role in the play Cabaret in 1969. It was a big year for her, she would dance her way across another stage on Broadway as a member of the ensemble cast of Coco starring Katherine Hepburn.

Ann Reinking’s name is synonymous to royalty amongst Broadway lovers. The 1997 Tony Award winning choreographer has spent most of her adult life in the spotlight. She began dancing as a teenager and quickly fell in love with the art form. She began her career in San Francisco before moving to New York City to study ballet. Her Broadway debut came on the brink of the 1970s when she performed a small role in the play Cabaret in 1969. It was a big year for her, she would dance her way across another stage on Broadway as a member of the ensemble cast of Coco starring Katherine Hepburn.

Her tenure as a Broadway darling had only just begun. The 1970s saw Reinkings career skyrocket to levels of fame previously unknown. She played parts in Pippin, Over Here! and Goodtime Charlie. Her biggest break came when she caught the eye of famed choreographer Bob Fosse. From the moment he saw her, Fosse developed a deep devotion to Reink­ing. He was responsible for placing her in many career defining roles. Reinking jazzed audiences by playing Roxie Hart in Chicago, her starring role in the original 1978 production of Dancin’ and the role of Kate in Fosse’s semi-autobiographical musi­cal All That Jazz. As the seventies faded into the psychedelic sunset, Reinking turned her focus towards choreography and a possible movie career. In 1982 she played Grace Farrell, Daddy Warbucks’ personal secretary in the film version of Annie. The crowning moment of her career would be the 1996 Tony Award for “Best Choreog­raphy.” She had been working in the “style of Bob Fosse” as a choreogra­pher for the latest revival of Chicago. She was nominated for another Tony, this time for “Best Direction of a Mu­sical,” for her work on Fosse, a tribute to her late friend and mentor.

Her tenure as a Broadway darling had only just begun. The 1970s saw Reinkings career skyrocket to levels of fame previously unknown. She played parts in Pippin, Over Here! and Goodtime Charlie. Her biggest break came when she caught the eye of famed choreographer Bob Fosse. From the moment he saw her, Fosse developed a deep devotion to Reink­ing. He was responsible for placing her in many career defining roles. Reinking jazzed audiences by playing Roxie Hart in Chicago, her starring role in the original 1978 production of Dancin’ and the role of Kate in Fosse’s semi-autobiographical musi­cal All That Jazz.

As the seventies faded into the psychedelic sunset, Reinking turned her focus towards choreography and a possible movie career. In 1982 she played Grace Farrell, Daddy Warbucks’ personal secretary in the film version of Annie. The crowning moment of her career would be the 1996 Tony Award for “Best Choreog­raphy.” She had been working in the “style of Bob Fosse” as a choreogra­pher for the latest revival of Chicago. She was nominated for another Tony, this time for “Best Direction of a Mu­sical,” for her work on Fosse, a tribute to her late friend and mentor.

In recent years Reinking has been focusing on other things, but still consid­ers theater to be her first love. She has been working hard at The Broadway Theatre Project, a group she helped start in the 1990s to train students in the arts of theater. The summer program is a three week long intensive training program for college and high school students. Playbill considers it to be the most prestigious pre-professional training program in the world. Known for her wildly long legs and vibrant dance style, the Tony Award winning dancer was named the honorary chair of Columbus State Uni­versity’s Dance Program Board of Advisors. Her visit to Columbus in December is greatly anticipated by the arts community. Ann sat down with SVM recently to tell us about what she has been doing in the twenty years since her iconic win.

In recent years Reinking has been focusing on other things, but still consid­ers theater to be her first love. She has been working hard at The Broadway Theatre Project, a group she helped start in the 1990s to train students in the arts of theater. The summer program is a three week long intensive training program for college and high school students. Playbill considers it to be the most prestigious pre-professional training program in the world.

Known for her wildly long legs and vibrant dance style, the Tony Award winning dancer was named the honorary chair of Columbus State Uni­versity’s Dance Program Board of Advisors. Her visit to Columbus in December is greatly anticipated by the arts community. Ann sat down with SVM recently to tell us about what she has been doing in the twenty years since her iconic win.

How old were you when you started performing? When did you first de­cide you wanted to be on Broadway? I started performing when I was 17. I was betwixt and between wanting to dance classical ballet and performing by singing, dancing and acting on Broadway. As a young performer, you had to jump over a lot of hurdles to gain your current level of success. What advice can you give to young per­formers who are also trying to break into the industry? Patience. Keep taking classes and auditioning. Wait for your break. When it comes, and it will, be prepared. You’ve had the opportunity to work on a plethora of different shows. Which one was your favorite? All of them. Sweet Charity was the most challenging; it’s like the Swan Lake of Broadway.

How old were you when you started performing? When did you first de­cide you wanted to be on Broadway? I started performing when I was 17. I was betwixt and between wanting to dance classical ballet and performing by singing, dancing and acting on Broadway.

As a young performer, you had to jump over a lot of hurdles to gain your current level of success. What advice can you give to young per­formers who are also trying to break into the industry? Patience. Keep taking classes and auditioning. Wait for your break. When it comes, and it will, be prepared.

You’ve had the opportunity to work on a plethora of different shows. Which one was your favorite? All of them. Sweet Charity was the most challenging; it’s like the Swan Lake of Broadway.

Which former Broadway performer had the most impact on your career? Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera had the biggest impact. Throughout the course of your career you’ve switched roles from dancer and actor to choreographer and director. Which of these differ­ent did you find to be most creatively fulfilling? They all were, but the chal­lenges were different. However, my sense of creative fulfillment was the same either by performing or creat­ing. I do miss performing from time to time. In 1997 your hard work was rewarded when you won the Tony Award for Best Choreography for your work in Chicago. Can you tell us about that night and the affect it had on your life? Winning the Tony was a dream come true. I feel very blessed to have been nominated for best performer in a musical, best sup­porting performer in a musical, best choreographer for a musical and best director for a musical. It means the world to me. It means that I know and have honored my craft. However, having won for best choreographer, in the style of Bob Fosse for the musical Chicago, meant even more to me because I also thankfully honored Bob. SVM

Which former Broadway performer had the most impact on your career? Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera had the biggest impact.

Throughout the course of your career you’ve switched roles from dancer and actor to choreographer and director. Which of these differ­ent did you find to be most creatively fulfilling? They all were, but the chal­lenges were different. However, my sense of creative fulfillment was the same either by performing or creat­ing. I do miss performing from time to time.

In 1997 your hard work was rewarded when you won the Tony Award for Best Choreography for your work in Chicago. Can you tell us about that night and the affect it had on your life? Winning the Tony was a dream come true. I feel very blessed to have been nominated for best performer in a musical, best sup­porting performer in a musical, best choreographer for a musical and best director for a musical. It means the world to me. It means that I know and have honored my craft. However, having won for best choreographer, in the style of Bob Fosse for the musical Chicago, meant even more to me because I also thankfully honored Bob. SVM

ELIZABETH WHITE

Elizabeth White

By: Stephanie Reeves

 

Elizabeth White took her love of hair barrettes to the next level by sharing her unique hair accessories with any fashion lover who wants to add some “flair to their hair.” Any southern girl knows that hair is just as important as the outfit. Elizabeth spoke with SVM about how she decided to start her business, Elizabeth Heard, and the reasons behind the unique, creative items she uses to craft her barrettes.

 

 

What inspired you to create a line of hair accessories?

I am a forever fan of hair barrettes and have had an unabashed obsession since childhood. Whether swimming or sleeping, you would rarely find me without one. It was my flair and it all began with my hair! I noticed a niche in the market for trendy, yet tasteful hair accessories. While I was living and working in NYC post-college, I took weekend courses at Parsons School of Design where I was able to hone my skills for crafting custom hair-wear. I was also working with what began as a fun personal passion in the spring of 2015, has evolved into a small online and wholesale business.

 

Your designs are unique, using: cork, basket weave, and agate, even oysters. What is your inspiration behind taking something out of the ordinary to make into a fashionable accessory for hair?

Our mission, through a rich and fun product array, is to celebrate a well-lived life full of flair. By taking elements that are a little out of the norm, it plays on the overall idea of celebrating the women with flair who beat to their own drums. We have some new pieces rolling out this Spring made with bamboo, wood, and have lots of really cool horn accessories in the works for Fall 2016.

 

Do you think it’s the little accessories that often standout more than say, a handbag?

I don’t know if they stand out more than a pretty handbag or great shoes. However, I do believe small extra touches really help pull your look together and make you appear more polished. Our barrettes make you polished with a pop!

 

What are people saying about your accessories?

I hope people are enjoying them. The accessories are a work in progress so the ones that were purchased last Spring are very different than the ones you can pick-up today. We are constantly trying to improve the quality, appearance, and selection.

 

How does it make you feel knowing many women are wearing and loving something that you created from a long-stemmed love of wearing barrettes since childhood everywhere?

It’s the best feeling. I get so excited when I see someone wearing one of our hair barrettes. I can’t thank everyone enough for all their support and I am so grateful to the Columbus Metro community!

 

Is there a favorite collection people tend to gravitate toward? Do you have any current plans to add another collection soon?

Our “You’re a Gem” collection made with one-of-a-kind slices of high quality agate is our most popular collection at the moment. Followed by our elephant “Party Animal.”  The elephant has been a hit with Alabama fans, Republicans (who want to wear their support), and most recently with young preppy women in the Northeast. Another good seller but not as strong as the others is our “Pop The Cork” collection which we are expanding. We are also adding a new collection, “Let’s Bamboo,” that I am really excited about.

 

Where can people go to purchase your barrettes locally or order?

They are available in town at By Invitation, Galleria Riverside, and River Road Pharmacy and Gifts. Also, available to order online www.elizabethheard.com. SVM