By Cassie Hepler
There’s some new dames in town and they have a wicked case of fashion sense. Chloe Johnston invited Naveda Couture to her French inspired “Atelier et Apéritif” Trunk Show and together wowed more than just a few Philly fashionistas.
Luxury couture mixed with curated vintage pieces straight from Paris combined with an intimate cocktail soiree always draws fabulous fashion enthusiasts. So who are these fashion femme fatales? Meet the always stylish Chloe Johnston (Chloe Johnston Tours) and fashion designer Amy Devan (Naveda Couture & Design).
Chloe Johnston is a Parisian fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle guru. From Philadelphia originally, Chloe is passionate about Paris and the city’s romantic love affair with couture design.
Q: Can you tell me more about your company? What you do exactly?
Chloe Johnston: Chloe Johnston provides an entire menu of unique boutique travel/lifestyle experiences. The company began offering shopping experiences for women traveling to Paris on vacation or business, with the goal of providing them access to Parisian style with their own personal stamp. Offerings are customized for our clients as we truly value the experience they have while in Paris. We have listened to all of our clients and as a result, expanded the services to cover door-to-door experiences. A la Carte is, of course, still an option as are exclusive events and private access to a private dinner at a chef’s home are just an example. Because of our designer relationships and unique perspective on fashion and what it can do for a woman or man, we now offer school experiences for fashion students. By request we have also added visual merchandising packages designed exclusively for busy executives and managers.
Up and coming designers, established designers and trend forecasters are all part of our creative reach and with all of those pieces of our very creative puzzle, we recently launched our NYC shopping experiences and will be expanding into Milan and London.
Q: And how in the world does someone end up doing this dream job for a living?
Chloe Johnston: I was just 12 when I fell in love … with Paris! It was a family trip. Chocolate, charming cobble-stoned streets with shop after shop of things that made me feel very special. My mom reinforced that feeling and began what I later would learn was my introduction to fashion. After she purchased an apartment in Paris, my education began in earnest. I began to learn how differences – on many levels – could be embraced, incorporated and then expressed as my own. We met wonderfully charming, delightful and very warm people who had exciting things to share. People would ask where I found things, many of which were from those excursions. Voila! The je ne sais quoi just happened. I felt it and wanted to do something with it. Fast forward to my MBA program in NYC… wine, dinner and a capstone project. It was over that dinner that I told my mother that I really wanted that capstone to become a reality and with her encouragemen – she said, hold your nose, jump in and hope you can swim. CHLOE JOHNSTON, the company, was born.
And let’s not forget about the bohemian chic fashion designer with a warm smile, Amy Devan from Naveda Couture. Also from Philadelphia originally, she is now back in Philly action after the runways of New York Fashion Week.
Q: Can you tell me more about your ties to Philadelphia?
Amy Devan: I grew up all over the U.S., moving around quite a bit as a kid because of my mom’s career, but we lived in the Philadelphia for the longest period of time. We moved here when I was in elementary school, then away to Colorado, then Baltimore and back to this area when I was going into my junior year of high school. I then went on to study Marketing and Financial Management right here at Drexel University, earning both my Bachelors and MBA from there. After school and grad school, life took me to other cities again as I worked for several years in marketing and business development. When I finally made the decision to chase my design dream, I left my career and went back to school in New York at Parsons – The New School for Design. I knew while I was studying design and building the foundation of my business, I would ultimately bring it back home to Philly. The city is changing and has become such a hub for the arts and all things creative. I’m thrilled to be part of this movement!
Q: Why you are coming back to Philly?
Amy Devan: I see Philly fashion and style evolving over time and I so want to take part of it all! When you think of New York or LA fashion for example, you think of this raw, emotional connection to fashion. People wear what they are feeling on a given day. I want Philly to take risks like that and just let go. The art, the curiosity, the creativity is all here … and now it’s time to elevate our style to match!
Q: Will you have a brick and mortar location and if so, when and where?
Amy Devan: The Naveda brand is sold at luxury boutiques around the country as well as through our website (www.navedacouture.com). The idea behind bringing my showroom/work space to Philly (which is where our Trunk Show was held), was and is to build on the Naveda-buzz already created in the Philadelphia area. The idea is to expand our distribution here and really become part of the fashion and entrepreneurship growth here. The Bespoke (custom bridal and formal wear) segment of the business is handled by appointment only – I meet with my bespoke clients to truly understand their style and likes/dislikes and from there, I design and create a completely custom look for their event.
Q: You mentioned all the beading is hand stitched, how long does an intensive piece take to create?
Amy Devan: Great question! It really varies, depending on the density of the beading/embroidery. A ready-to-wear, fully beaded pencil skirt would take a couple of weeks at max, while a bridal gown with heavy-embellishment and detail would take longer (roughly 30-45 days). My focus is to bring awareness around such hand-craft – it’s an unmatchable skill that has roots to history, culture and people and has the ability to creatively draw parallels between them, ultimately blurring the lines defining them. To me, that is magical!