• Love Your Mother Earth

    We think every day should be Earth Day because this beautiful planet is everything—nurturing, rich, inspiring and Mother Earth has pretty much been our ultimate art director for our artisan-inspired embroideries and details. Last year we also launched Calmé Collection, an ethically sourced selection of separates that are organic, naturally-dyed and primarily made in America.

     

    Originally inspired by our good friend (and eco woman designer) Wanda Weller, who was Design Director at Patagonia, as well as spear heading the Fashion Sustainability program at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. “Sustainability is such an important dialogue in fashion and design right now,” she says. “With Calmé we wanted to be a part of that dialogue but also to create pieces that have a great fit, feel and still be exciting even though they may not have the same embellishments as some of the other Johnny Was collections.”

    Another inspiration for the collection was the book Wabi Sabi: for artists, designers, poets and philosophers by Leonard Koren. The quote “pair down the essence but don’t remove the poetry” is taken from this manual on the beauty of nature’s imperfections, and inspired the name of the collection. “It’s the idea that something can be simple but still exciting,” adds Weller.

    A few of our recent additions to Calmé feature inspirations of shibori, an ancient dye technique from Japan, where the fabric is knotted or squeezed in a certain way to create an organically dyed look. Usually indigo, our tees, scarves and the luxe cashmere cardigan are an eco treat in this bold pattern, as well as pairing seamlessly with the rest of the collection.

    For more ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day on April 21st, check out Earth Day Network for ways to engage in your community and make a difference. The bottom line, whether you're buying a tee or planting a tree, every gesture, regardless of how small, can have an impact. Happy Earth Day!

  • Music Festival Dressing the JW Way

    With Coachella currently trending and thousands of music lovers making a pilgrimage out to the California desert for two weekends of live music and fashion, summer festival season has officially started. Whether you’re packing for a weekend of rock, folk or country, there are tips to surviving the summer temps while still looking cool. Here’s what we’re packing, as well as a list of some other must-see music weekends around the country.


    Photo by Miki Ash.

    Start with the Essentials
    Plan on packing items that will make hygiene simple (we always love to go to the drug store and stock up on travel sizes of the basics like deodorant and body lotion the week before). Some key players in your weekend beauty routine will be baby wipes (you can pretty much clean yourself from top-to-toe in a pinch) as well sunscreen. Apply a liberal amount of SPF at the beginning of each day and don’t forget to top up exposed spots every few hours—we like a cream formulations since a spray version can be less effective if it’s windy. Skip most of your makeup but always pack a great lip balm with SPF, a few hair ties and a basic first aid kit.


    Photo by Miki Ash.

    Bag it all up
    You’re going to want a few bags. Pick up a great weekender (like our Langley Weekend Bag) that will store all of your clothes, toiletries etc. During the day, when you’re wandering around the festival, keep all your essentials stashed in a backpack (like our Matilda Velvet Backpack) as they are comfortable and keep your hands free.

     


    Photo by Miki Ash

    Get dressed right
    This is the fun part, but it’s sometimes tricky to pack when you need to think equal parts personal style and comfort. We like lightweight separates, maxi dresses, and versatile layering pieces. The key things to remember are that you will probably be sitting on the ground at some point, there can be a big difference in temps from day to night, and natural fibers will be your friend since you’ll most likely get a bit sweaty. Below are a few of our JW favorites that made it into our Coachella weekend bag.

    Mishti Sundress in Black and the Hira Peasant Tunic Dress are casual standouts
    Ventura Jogger Pant and Hira Linen Shorts for pull-on casual bottoms
    Kamilia Crochet Duster is perfect for cool evening
    Vinny Morraco Loafer is a must-have for a day of walking and dancing
    Phoebe Sunglasses need no explanation
    Kobi Tank is a great layering basic


    Photo by Miki Ash

    Finally, don’t pack anything that you don’t want to get stained. It’s festival season, and sometimes things happen. Also, remember your camera and several battery charge packs for your phone. For info on other festivals and where you’ll find us next (hint: it’s the Stagecoach Festival April 27), check out this list.

    Just like your personal style, this summer there’s something for every music fan. Enjoy!


    Photo by Miki Ash.

  • Behind the Makers: Bluma Project

     

    Just in time for summer, we’ve brought in the Bluma Project jewelry collection. Packed with global influences from designer/founder Beth Schaeffer’s travels, and assembled by local artisans all over the world, this line manages to be both fashion forward and completely timeless. To get a peek behind our new accessory obsession, we asked Beth how she gets and stays inspired.

    JW: How did you start Bluma Project?

    BS: I went to Africa back in 2007 and was so moved by seeing the artisans in Rwanda. There were women's groups that made the most beautiful baskets. Also seeing all the gorgeous fabrics really got my creative juices flowing, you’d see a woman walking down the street and she’d have on a bold patterned head scarf and a dress in a completely different print and color way but it looked so strikingly beautiful to me.

            My background had been fashion and textile design but I’d gotten a little burnt out on the routine of it all. After I’d had my children, I’d also spent many years as a full-time fine art painter, so I’ve always loved color and texture but jewelry was not something I’d thought about until that trip. The first thing I had made were these paper beads in Rwanda that I dyed in really bright colors and combined with textiles. I sold a lot of them and it just took off from there.

    JW: Tell us how the pieces are made?

    BS: A lot of the designs start when I go to a country and see what type of indigenous crafts they do there. For example, I was just in Colombia where they weave the most amazing baskets and textiles so I’m hoping to go back in a few months and start something. Other places where I work with artisans is Guatemala, India, Peru and the Philippines.

    Sacred Valley in Peru - The Andes

    One of my favorite areas is Aititlan in Guatemala, it’s surrounded by seven volcanoes, has such a varied terrain and is just stunning. A lot of the beading in my jewelry is made there. How it works is I design all the the brass precious metal components, send that down there and then the beading is done and the pieces are assembled. Every piece I made provides a sustainable living for the people I work with.

    JW: What’s your favorite part about your job?

    BS: Discovering something new. There’s also tons of places I’d love to go like Vietnam and Cambodia, plus I want to go back to Japan and Africa. I love seeing something in a market or a small shop and thinking of how I can refine it and give it a contemporary, yet hand-crafted feel.

    I travel about five times a year, so I’m never short of beauty or inspiration.

    To shop the Bluma Project, go here.

  • Weekends Away with Johnny Was — Tampa, Florida

    Just in time for summer, we opened up our Johnny Was flagship store at International Plaza in Tampa, Florida. While this city may get eclipsed by the bells and whistles of other state hot spots like Miami and Key West, we think Tampa has a great mix of museums, food and the chic downtown is super easy to walk, jog or cycle thanks to the city’s 300 rental bikes. So, here’s how we rolled, snacked and enjoyed The Big Guava (yes, that is the official nickname).


    Fusion Cold Shoulder

    Where to stay
    We love the Hyde Park Hotel for many reasons, but our top two would be that it’s packed with charm and in the centrally-located Hyde Park neighborhood where you can walk to tons of cool restaurants and shopping spots. Another great option is the classic Tahitian Inn, which has been in operation since the 50’s and features a classic Tiki bar, poolside lounging and amazing spa.

    What to eat
    Don’t miss Ybor City, a national historic district that started out in the 1800’s as a cigar-making mecca but has now bloomed into a great area to wander and check out the gorgeous Art Deco and Victorian architecture. While there, grab lunch at Columbia Restaurant, which is not only the oldest restaurant in Florida but also serves up traditional Cuban and Spanish dishes in a stunning courtyard setting. For dinner, make a reservation at Ulele, which is housed in a striking 100-year-old water plant, has its own brewery as well as the best locally-caught seafood in the city. If cocktails are more the order of the evening, hit up the old-school speakeasy vibe of Ciro Stampa, where you call ahead to get the day’s password to enter and can choose from a dizzying array of drinks and bar snacks (don’t miss the duck fat fries).


    Simple All Over Tunic

    Where to go
    One of our favorite cultural visits is the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts  in downtown Tampa. This strikingly-designed building collects, preserves and exhibits historic and contemporary works by different photographers, and always has a refreshing mix of recognizable and unknown images. Next, jump on one of the classic Teco streetcars as it’s a unique way to see the city. Another one-of-a-kind experience is to take the half hour drive over to St. Petersburg and visit the Salvador Dali Museum  which features an unsurpassed permanent collection of over 2,000 works by the surrealist artist. When you’re done pop into their restaurant, Cafe Gala, for a glass of cava and some Spanish olives.

    Finally, no trip is complete with a few of our favorites from our Johnny Was spring collections. Here are some of our favorites. Enjoy

    Michelle Sunglasses

    Calida Deep Scoop T-Shirt

    Hira Linen Shorts

     

    Cherpas Poncho

  • Spring Cleaning: How to de-clutter your closet and feel great

    ( Aliya Shift Tunic Dress)

     

    There’s few things more fun than injecting your closet with some fresh style, but often times that means clearing out old pieces before you have hanger space to bring in the new. “This is a great time of year to clear out your closet,” says Gina Harth, owner of Clear and Sage a professional organizing business in Los Angeles. “I usually find closet cleaning only takes a couple of hours but I truly believe that de-cluttering your space helps to de-clutter your mind.” Here are her tips for spring cleaning your clothing and accessories.

    Clothes Call

    “I find that the easiest way to go through your closet is category by category. Start with your t-shirts and move onto tanks, blouses, sweaters and finally bottoms like jeans or trousers. Pick up each piece and see what type of condition it’s in, if it fits you, and if you actually like it,” says Harth. Most women don’t need more than one drawer for bras—black, white, nude and some fancy ones—as well as underwear. Finally, take a spin through your shoes and see if there are any that need to be repaired or just given away.

    Give it Away

    If you have great designer pieces, there are always resale shops, but Harth suggests just donating to a charity store like Goodwill. “I started keeping a bin in our garage and everyone in my family has learned to just drop things in there that they don’t use anymore,” she says. “When the bin is full I donate it.” Tip: to avoid added clutter, keep your donation pile somewhere you don’t see it. Some of our favorite charitable spots are Donate Your Bra which accepts all forms of lingerie and swimwear and forwards them to women’s shelters, breast cancer survivor support groups and charities all year round. Also, Schoola lets you ship gently used adult and children’s clothing, resells it on their website, and donates proceeds to different educational programs.

    Get Organized

    A trick to staying organized once you’ve cleared the clutter is getting some smart storage solutions. For clothing, get sturdy wood hangers for coats and jackets, whereas lighter pieces can slip onto slimmer, plastic ones. Harth also suggests to her clients that they get the Women’s Drop Front Shoe Box from the Container Store to stack shoes. “These bins open from the front so everything is easy to get to as well as to see,” she says. Another tip is to look at your plain walls as an excellent source of storage, just put up some hooks and hang anything from necklaces to hats and belts.

    “Finally, when you’re done sorting and cleaning, I always love to do a good space cleansing by burning some sage to release any stagnant energy,” says Harth. We couldn’t think of a better way to welcome in a new season!

  • The United States of Art

    “Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.” —Pablo Picasso

    Rain or shine, winter or summer, east coast or west coast. At Johnny Was, we firmly believe that there’s never a bad time to be inspired by artwork, and that artistic self-expression has been essential to humanity since the dawn of time. Also, studies show that even just looking at art for half an hour can lower stress levels and with every city in the US being home to some kind of amazing museum or gallery, it’s not hard to take a time out to recharge your creative juices. Here’s some of our favorite art happenings going on right now.

     

    Yayoi Kusama All the Eternal Love I Have For Pumpkins
    Dallas Museum of Art (https://www.dma.org/kusama)
    October 1 2017 to April 2 2019

    If you’ve never been to a Kusama show, you are in for bold treat, as she’s often heralded as one of the most important living artists of our time. You’ll walk into a room with mirrors strategically placed everywhere, giving the illusion of infinite space, and on the floor are hundreds upon hundreds of painted gourds (the effect is just shy of mind blowing). Kusama has long been an inspiration for everyone from couture fashion houses like Louis Vuitton to the London subway system, who commissioned her to design their map books.

    Yayoi Kusama (Dallas Museum of Art)

    David Bowie Is
    Brooklyn Museum (https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/davidbowieis)
    March 2 to July 15 2018

    A true creative visionary in ever sense of the word, this exhibit shows an unprecedented access to David Bowie’s personal archive—everything from his awe-inspiring outfits to handwritten notes and never-before-seen concert footage, all tracing back to his teenage years in England to his final days in New York. A treat for everyone, regardless of whether or not Bowie is in your wheelhouse. Also, don’t skip the gift store, the merch is great.

     

    Jasper Johns—Something Resembling Truth
    The Broad Los Angeles

    (https://www.thebroad.org/art/special-exhibitions/jasper-johns-something-resembling-truth)
    Feb 10th to May 13th 2018

    Jasper Johns (The Broad)

    Heralded as one of America’s greatest artists, this retrospective features over 120 paintings, prints, sculptures and drawings with everything from his well-known depictions of the American flag and maps, to lesser-known works. Throughout his career, John has collaborated with everyone from Andy Warhol to playwright Samuel Beckett, so this show will definitely be a treat for the senses.

     

    Ice Cream Museum Miami (https://www.museumoficecream.com/#home-section)
    March 14th to April 29th
    (Picture taken by Luana de Teves)

    If you’ve ever dreamed of stepping into something like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this is for you. The dream of California native, Maryellis Bunn, this traveling sugar rush for the senses has been a hit in New York, San Fran and Los Angeles. Spend time in the sprinkle pool, gummy bear or banana room complete with banana swings and finish it off with an ice cream! Tip: Nab yourself a ticket soon, this touring exhibit sells out everywhere.

  • Weekend Escape: Palm Springs

    (Pari Tunic)

    One of our favorite quick getaways is Palm Springs, especially in the spring months where it’s warm enough to lay out by the pool, but the temps haven’t yet reached the triple digits of summertime. The perfect mix of old Hollywood history, stunning mid-century architecture, museums, unbeatable outdoor dining and shopping—our latest Johnny Was just opened on Palm Canyon Drive in the heart of downtown. So, while we always suggest snagging one of our kaftans and lounging poolside, here’s other ideas to make the most out of your weekend away.


    The Amado Property (Photo taken by Miki Ash)

    Where to stay: From the cutest Airbnb to sprawling resorts, this town has no shortage of chic spaces to sleep and lounge.Two of our favorites are The Amado (http://thedesertcollective.com/the-amado-property/) which is a jewel-box hotel that has just five rooms, all facing the swimming pool—perfect for a quiet getaway and the decor is mid-century gorgeous. If you want something larger and in the middle of town, check out The Rowan (http://www.rowanpalmsprings.com/palm-springs-hotel-amenities/) which has a rooftop pool and restaurant and is walking distance to the El Paseo shopping district.

    (Mishti Sundress)

    Culture Club: Aside from the gorgeous mid-century architecture that dots the Palm Springs landscape, it’s also got a busting art culture. A must see is the Palm Springs Art Museum (https://www.psmuseum.org/) and from May 3rd to May 28th they are showcasing over 250 works by Andy Warhol. You’ll be able to get up-close-and-personal with such iconic favorites as the Campbell’s Soup Can silkscreen, but there will also be some more rarely-seen pieces. The permanent collection at the museum is also worth a peek with tons of significant West Coast artists like Ed Ruscha and Sam Francis.

    (Samira Pleated Peasant Tunic Dress)

    Good eats: The desert climate is perfect for an afternoon glass of wine and snacks outside and one of our favorites it the Azucar Restaurant and Bar (http://azucarpalmsprings.com/), an airy spot decorated with Frida Kahlo prints and Spanish tile. For a special occasion dinner, book a table at Copley’s on Palm Canyon,(http://www.copleyspalmsprings.com/home) housed in Cary Grant’s former guest house, and don’t miss their classic Hawaiian ahi tacos and signature cocktails.

    The Great Outdoors: This is the perfect time of year to enjoy a desert hike and this area is full or trails—from the easy to the challenging. Whether you head over to Joshua Tree National Park (https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm) or keep it closer to home (or your hotel) at Indian Canyons, in the spring expect to see colorful carpets of California Poppy and Desert Lavender.

    Happy Trails!

  • Let’s Celebrate! Strong Women That Inspire Us

     

    While all of us at Johnny Was celebrate women every single day, it’s always good to take some time and acknowledge the cool ladies that impact our lives; from parents, teachers and cherished friends, to frontline activists and outspoken authors. Below are just some of the women we love for their ability to take us higher, make us proud and let us know it’s OK be exactly who you want.

    "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”—Maya Angelou 

    Angelou's poetry and prose inspired generations with her message of hope and harmony, the way she described situations and times in her life always felt powerful yet relatable. A seemingly endless talent, she managed to pack a little bit of everything into her life from dancer, film director, activist, poet, and even wrote a cookbook in her seventies. The perfect mix of wisdom, beauty and grace.

    “When you listen and attend to the needs of your body, mind, and spirit, your natural beauty comes out.” —Christy Turlington

    Hands down, one of the most beautiful women in the world, but for many years Turlington has spent her time spearheading Every Mother Counts, an organization that raises funds and awareness to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for moms everywhere. We also love her balanced approach to living which includes yoga,  ayurvedic healing and an endless curiosity and lust for life.

    “I'm just too busy living every day to really spend a lot of time thinking 'am I old?' I'm this age. I am in this moment and in this life.”—Emmylou Harris

                         [Johnny Was Kimono]

    Not only has Harris won 14 Grammy’s and collaborated with everyone from Bob Dylan to Ryan Adams, we love her because she’s a champion of animal rights, and even set up a rescue facility in her hometown of Nashville. She’s also a lover of Johnny Was so we also give it up for her inimitable style.

    “I believe that every single event that happens in life is an opportunity to choose love over fear.”—Oprah Winfrey

    Winfrey is the prime example of ‘if you want something, go for it’, as well as the epitome of perseverance and living fearlessly. She manages to keep it real, sharing her struggles and her triumphs with us, while still being one of the richest people in the country.

    So, to the ladies everywhere, in all the different walks of life, today is the day we all rise up in support, love and unity. Now get out there and do your thing. xo Continue reading

  • How to Pull Off The Perfect Garden Party

    It’s official. The first day of spring is March 20th. Why not celebrate the prettiest season by planning an outdoor soiree for friends and family. Here are a few of our favorite ways to bring your loved ones together for an afternoon of good food, drink and outdoor celebration. Cheers!

    Set the Scene

    Keep it simple but colorful. We love the look of mismatched vases or jars filled with fresh flowers, and this is the season for tulips, daffodils, camellias and hyacinths. The easiest way to create a cohesive bouquet is to pick a color, say cream or pink, and just use blooms in that hue. Other great decor ideas are floating candles in bowls of water, hanging paper lanterns and bold place cards.

    When setting the table, casual tablecloths and napkins can be cut from any material (if you don’t want to hem them, snip the edges with pinking shears for a cohesive look). Either stay within the same color palette as your flowers or go for something completely contrasting.  Finally, if your gathering is late afternoon or early evening, nothing adds a cozy atmosphere better than stringing lights up in trees or overhead. We suggest just keeping these lights up all season, as they are guaranteed to be used often.

    Lovely libations

    Think fresh and fruity. Here’s one of our favorites from Martha Stewart.

    Lillet Rose Spring Cocktail (serves 6)

    12 ounces of Lillet Rose (a wine-based aperitif)

    6 ounces gin

    12 ounces Ruby Red grapefruit juice

    6 edible flowers for garnish.

    How to:

    Combine the Lillet Rose, gin and juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake until chilled. Strain and divide among festive glasses, like a champagne coupe, and decorate each drink with a floating, edible flower.

    Beautiful Bites

    A buffet is the simplest but if you’d like a sit-down affair, always set up a few appetizers, drinks and desserts on a separate table, as that encourages guests to mingle. We love to do a great salad and one of our favorites is this one from the Barefoot Contessa. Serve it with a simple grilled salmon and some crusty bread.

    Tomato Basil and Feta Salad  (serves 6-8 people)

    Ingredients:

    1 large clove of garlic

    1-cup basil leaves, packed plus a few extra leaves for garnish

    1/3 cup olive oil

    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

    Juice of one lemon 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

    2 1/2 lbs of tomatoes

    6 oz feta cheese

    salt and pepper to taste

    1.Peel garlic clove and chop in mini food processor.
    2. Add basil leaves and continue to process.
    3. Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the food processor, and continue to blend. Add salt and pepper, if you'd like.
    4. Chop tomatoes and crumble feta cheese. Mix together.
    5. Toss with dressing.

    Happy Endings

    Is there a better dessert combination than strawberries and chocolate? We don’t think so. Keep it super simple by just grabbing some mini skewers and threading the fruit through before drizzling it with a warm chocolate sauce—it’s chic finger food. Also, you can’t go wrong with a seasonal fruit tart and some fresh whipped cream, or even the traditional chocolate brownie a la mode.

    Have a sweet spring!

     

  • Spring Looks For Every Woman

     


    There’s something about Spring which has us feeling inspired, refreshed and full of new ideas. It’s a time of newness, shedding layers and adding lots and lots of color to your environment and your style. From cherry blossom season in Japan and the native wildflowers blooming in the Arizona desert, to the tulip garden in Keukenholf Netherlands, this is the time when Mother Nature seems to turn the whole world technicolor. With that inspiration in mind, we’ve launched our Luxe + Collection, a capsule of stunning dresses and separates for every woman and with a broader size range.

    Crafted from figure-flattering silks, lightweight cottons and rayons, with embroideries and embellishments that are the perfect compliment to this season and beyond. Made to segue seamlessly from work to play, we’ve made sure to incorporate all of the timeless silhouettes that are synonymous with Johnny Was such as our kimono jackets, easy tunics and wide-leg pants. Here’s a look at some of our favorite pieces for every day, every night and every body. Happy Spring!

     

     

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