Shop Class: Fashion statement

Our style columnist covers eco-friendly handbags, local designers who have worked for ‘The Tyra Banks Show’, and life-changing trips to Germany.

Aesthetics Gallery: A Shopping Fantasy

Sept. 18-21
Showroom 77
1520 Kater St.,

Philadelphia designers Chi-Chi & Chi-Chi E are bringing their couture-inspired designs back to the city, after taking them all the way to The Tyra Banks Show last fall. They gained fame and a small fortune by becoming the show’s official designers. This month, the women prove that they aren’t too good for their hometown, where they’ll host a weeklong event that previews their spring line.

Philly’s own Nicole Giordano crafts her handbags out of fabric that she makes herself — on her own old-fashioned loom (Courtesy Nicole Giordano).

Chi-Chi & Chi-Chi E also sell pieces from their fall collection, Vintique, which blends vintage and modern trends — think ‘50s halters with sleek, white wide-legged pants. The event will include a trunk show and kick-off event, where shoppers can enjoy discounted prices on various pieces. I love their tulle skirts, earthy colors and cocktail dresses. The best part: these women have a knack for making dresses that tastefully reveal skin.

In Home Trunk Shows with Nicole Giordano

Available at Vagabond Boutique
37 N. Third St.

Local designer Nicole Giordano’s one-of-a-kind handbags can be found on the West Coast, but her designs are at home in Philly’s eco-friendly fashion scene. The Philadelphia University graduate resides in the city, where she creates all-natural handbags and clutches.

She’s pretty crafty: Giordano designs her own fabric by weaving cottons, wools and linens on her own loom. She then pairs the textiles with leather, combining earthy browns and greens with vivid blues and reds. It’s a nice twist on the sometimes homogenous hippie look. After her handbags are complete, she adorns T-shirts and dresses with her leftover scraps of fabric, quickly transforming the pieces from plain to funky.

Giordano is now offering trunk shows, where clients are able to buy her products in the comfort of their own homes. Hosts of Giordano’s trunk shows receive a gift bag and 30 percent off one of her designs. She’s a philanthropist too: 10 percent of the event’s sales will be donated to charity.

Fairmount Craft Fair

Sept. 13, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sept. 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
between Fairmount Avenue and Aspen Street and 22nd and 23rd streets

Sure, traveling can inspire artistic creativity. But it’s rarely the catalyst for something as drastic as a career change. After falling in love with jewelry in Germany, that’s what happened to Philly native Rona Fisher. She stopped making basic crafts and began focusing on jewelry design. She eventually started her own jeweler’s workshop and now teaches jewelry classes at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts. The award-winning designer will be featured at the Fairmount Craft Fair this month, along with other jewelry aficionados, sculptors, glassmakers, painters and photographers. Walk across the street to Rembrandt’s restaurant — it’s serving free mimosas at brunch in honor of the event.

Nicole Saylor sets out to explore fashionable happenings in Philadelphia, finding out the “who, what, where and when” with local designers, boutiques, events and sales. She can be reached at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.