Anne’s story is a testament to “It’s never too late to go after your dreams.” According to her, “Most women are figuring out the final years of their retirement income, and I’m starting a corporation at the age of 55!"
Anne landed her first fashion job when she was in high school. Being the youngest salesperson in a mature ladies store, “I learned to sell to women, instead of girls. I gained an appreciation of quality fabrics, and well made suits, dresses, and evening gowns.” Dreaming about making her own line of clothes, she tried to learn to sew, but realized that she was, “horrible at it!”
Attending college, Anne wished to go to fashion school, however, “I am the daughter of a systems analyst and a schoolteacher. Telling my parents that I wanted to go to “clothing school” would have gone over about as well as “I want to be a car mechanic.” In order to stay close to her love of fashion, luxury retail became her home for the next 38 years.
Vintage fashion was an early influence. "My father purchased old movies on VCR, which we watched together. From the time I saw Rear Window, I was hooked on the Hitchcock Blondes. One of Grace Kelley's blouses was so fabulous, I had it made for me—as a crazy fashionista, I found a patternmaker and a seamstress to design it.”
She also had dresses made for her from old vintage patterns. After repeated requests as to where the dresses had come from, she realized that there might be a business in this. Designers had moved away from elegant dresses with sleeves, lower hemlines, and specialized detailing. Anne’s clients would repeatedly ask her, “why can’t I find a nice dress?”
Having been in the retail industry for thirty-six years, it was at this point in her life that Anne asked herself, “Am I going to grow old always wondering what would have happened if....or was I going to actually try?” The only answer was to do it! "I found my old sketchbooks from school, began buying fabric, and searched for someone to make samples of my designs. My friends and family thought I was crazy. I think they all thought I’d give up in time, so they just humored me.”
It took three years, fifty sketches, hundreds of hours of training, learning to obtain licenses and trademarks, learning to cost garments, and endlessly asking for help from seasoned industry veterans, to launch this line of elegant, professional dresses. “I kept going no matter what—I’d gone too far to back up. I’m a testament to the saying, “I didn’t know I couldn’t, so I did!”
Classiqu Era is a collection of beautifully designed, high quality dresses made in Los Angeles, and offered exclusively on the company website and at local trunk shows. The designs are inspired by Anne’s love of classic style and luxurious fabrics and trims.
To view the designs, , please visit the website www.classiquera.com.
You can also follow Classique Era on Facebook and Instagram.