Category Archives: The Boutique

From chic to punk to geek to glamor, check out some of my inspirations.

Green: the Original Vogue. Welcome to Eco Couture.

Source: Elizabeth St John

Washington, DC designer Elizabeth St John follows the philosophy of eco couture.  I caught up with her at her most recent showcase for the Art Soiree/Nuit De La Mode event at the Hillwood Estates.   With a background in environmental studies and a childhood surrounded by fashion and construction, Elizabeth St John designs bridal and evening wear and is President of the Universal Strategic Services Foundation.  She graciously accepted to do an interview with me and discussed her design philosophy, the fashion industry, and her charity work.

Fashion is generally seen as something celebrities waste money on and tween girls waste time on.  A lesser form of art that leads to anorexia, drugs, and self-image issues.  Although this is the underbelly of the fashion industry, its impact on society is undeniable.  There is a deeper layer to this impact that not many are knowledgeable about.  Eco couture.  A design philosophy that supports environmentalism and sustainable responsibility, eco fashion has been nourishing our planet way before the current green trend.

“I like the challenge of greening a business,” said Elizabeth St John.  Defining her collection as “Refined. Glamorous. Green,” she tries to dispel the negative connotation of green collections.  To those who think eco fashion is just a fad, Elizabeth St John considers them to be misinformed with a limited vision of green collections as recycling old pieces to new pieces.  “Couture is French for hand dressmaking,” says Elizabeth St John, “there is nothing more green than doing things by hand.”  She explains that eco fashion is based on the roots of apparel production and moving forward due to its environmental impact.

Source: Elizabeth St John

Referring to her design process, Elizabeth St John considers herself unorthodox.  She sources her material first, such as finding a piece of silk she really likes.  Then she develops a design around that piece of material.  “I actually don’t sketch,” she said, “so I do it kind of in reverse.”

To enhance her background and interest in the environment, Elizabeth St John and a few of her colleagues founded the Universal Strategic Services Foundation in Washington, DC to establish green projects for business in third world countries.  “I used to work for conservation organizations in the Amazon for inventory on plants and animals,” she said, “and I started to miss direct hands on work with countries over seas and other subjects that are important.”

The foundation is currently developing two initiatives.  First, bringing solar energy to very remote parts of the world, such as villages in West Africa, which allows them to run schools, internet, and refrigeration for medicine.  Second, establishing a vocational school for women in Afghanistan “to provide life skills they won’t have other wise to support their families,” said Elizabeth St John.  They are partnering with some government organizations so that these women will be hired to guarantee employment.

Source: Elizabeth St John

Returning to the fashion initiative in the United States, Elizabeth St John remarks that the current economic situation has moved a large part of the industry’s apparel production abroad, primarily to Asia.  As of recently, a lot of those companies are slowly moving back to the US due to the “problems with production quality and shipping” from Asia.  “I think going forward,” said Elizabeth St John, “you will see more ‘Made in the USA’ labels.”

Elizabeth St John is a fan of the Louis XVI of France era, “the skill involved in making those pieces is just spectacular.”  She also likes “the clean and feminine lines of the late 1950s and early 1960s.  The tailoring is timeless.”

Looking forward, Elizabeth St John is very excited about her upcoming evening collection.  “I get to be more creative and ratchet up the sexy factor,” she said.  The collection is due to premiere October 31st.

To view her collections and learn more about her work, visit

Source: Elizabeth St John



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DZ LookBook – Summer Hat

Dedicated to Breezin’ by George Benson.

Hat: T.J.Maxx/ Blouse: Macy’s/ Pants: Rave/ Shoes: T.J.Maxx

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DZ LookBook – Fierce Earrings



Enjoying the summertime!




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DZ Summer Romance

June 21 marked the first day of summer.  Bold colors, flowing material, lace accents, and vintage galore are the main trends I’m following for this season.  I collected some images of a few outfits and accessories that I will be adding to my wardrobe…or something similar to them.

From Essence Magazine, this summer collection emphasizes the “spice” flavor.  A very happy and breezy feel, these outfits are pretty easy to find and great to accessorize with.  To avoid clogging your closet with multiple pieces that only work for one occasion, look for patterned dresses, skirts, rompers, etc that have different colors.  Then you can mix-n-match with different jewelry, belts, bags, and shoes.

From, the vintage look is in for this summer.  Pastel colors and sophisticated accents are key with this look.  Simplicity is also important.  Patterned top with solid bottom or vice-versa.   Light blazers, retro vests, slim belts, and A-line skirts can be used as the main focus for the outfit.  The mix-n-match technique can also work with patterns and colors.

Essence Magazine again.


Mix-n-match with colors, elegance, sophistication, and spice.  I am on the hunt for maxi dresses and A-line skirts; along with lace tops and a nice pair of sandals.  If I come up with anything memorable, I will post soon.  Enjoy the summertime.

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DZ LookBook – It’s all for L.O.V.E.

14. What you wore today

Has it really been two years?  It feels like it was only yesterday when my sister showed me a text message stating Michael Jackson was dead and all the radio stations were playing his music.  It feels like it was only a few hours ago when I was staring at CNN watching people gather at the hospital along with a repetitive reel of Michael’s life.  It feels like it was only a few minutes ago, as my anger and sorrow grew, that reality struck: my only opportunity to experience my icon’s live performance disappeared.

Today marks the 2 year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing.  It is a day for Michael Jackson memories, music, dance, and love.  I love you more Michael!

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DZ LookBook – The Fedora

I have decided to start a mini-photo shoot collection.  Due to summer vacation and the desire to share my creations, I will post certain outfits that I like.  Some will be planned, but most will be spontaneous.

First up, the fedora.  It took me a while to figure out how to wear a hat without having to put all my hair away.  The back part is in an upside-down french braid.  The front is pinned to give it definition.  My little brother has become quite comfortable with my camera…I have taught him well.


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DZ Spring Collection

Spring is finally here! (I know it’s almost done, but this draft has been waiting to be published for so long) This year, the official trend is influenced by 1970s style and Victorian elegance.  Key elements seem to be lace, soft flowing, big sunglasses, high waists, and lots of jewelry.  This year’s color palette is bold, bright, and mismatched – hot pink; bright blue; tan; red; Chartreuse; lots of white.  Cosmetically, bright lips and “flushed cheeks” seem to be the main look.  So that’s the trend break down, now let’s jazz it up.  DZ is always promoting the individual, so the collection has to incorporate that philosophy.  I bounced around the world to see what others were gearing towards, and we all seem to be feeling the same…. the “romantic-victorian with a touch of flare.”

The Koreans seem to have the Victorian trend down pretty well.  I love these outfits they put together.


This one has an edgy-gypsy feel. Love it! Would work if you are tall and lean.

This one has that elegant retro feel.  My favorite.

So, the key elements for this look – to make it “user-friendly” – are ruffled and slightly loose-fitting tops.  They must give off the feeling of being “airy” and “flowy.” Lace material usually works best.  Keep to whites, tan, and black and accent with purple or green or any other rich color.  Accessorize with pearls, feathers, fascinators, or scarves.  Fitted or wide-legged high-waist pants or skirts work the best.

The 70s style is a bit more flexible and has elements that are easy to acquire, especially since we are not trying to fully replicate “Saturday Night Fever.”

Big sunglasses are a must…but not the ones that make you look like a bug.

Big hats are a must and work lovely with lace.

Now, if you really want to be “super fly,” then you must look to the one and only – Cleopatra Jones…which is what I will be using as inspiration.

Looks like some other designers have already stolen my idea…


So, the key elements for this look, regardless if you want it simple or super-sonic: large sunglasses, either round like Audrey Hepburn or slightly square.  All those wide rimmed hats you see in the stores are also a major part.  To maintain a modern look, don’t wear dark colors and don’t fill your entire outfit with 70s funk.  Accessorize or accent with the hat, or the high waist pants, or the big bow…not all at once.

Have fun.  If I come up with anything memorable, I might post it here.

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