Calling all Boho Babes, Las Vegas has a brand new boutique at Fashion Show where you and your free-spirited coterie can clad yourselves in the best of Boho-Chic fashions, Johnny Was.
Crossing cultures and defying trends has been the signature of bohemian clothing brand Johnny Was since it’s inception.
Known for their exquisite embroidery, luxurious fabrics, juxtaposition between vintage and modern, and always effortless silhouettes Johnny Was embraces the bohemian spirit to create pieces that are timeless works of art.
They opened their first stand alone boutique in Las Vegas at Fashion Show earlier this month I sat down with Maritza Arrua, Director of Marketing and PR/Media for Johnny Was to get the scoop on the new boutique, the Fall Collection and how it all began.
Q: Why Johnny Was? Where did the name come from?
MA: The name originated one summer back in the 80’s when the Bob Marley song, “Johnny Was a Good Man” was playing on the radio. Johnny Was founder, Eli Levite, was designing a line of luxe tunics for women at the same time, loved the song, and the rest is history.
Q: How would you describe the brand’s aesthetic?
MA: We embrace our home state of California and the West Coast lifestyle which is all about a laid back luxury and effortless dressing while always maintaining meticulous tailoring and craftsmanship.
Q: Who is the Johnny Was Woman?
MA: The Johnny Was woman is confident, free spirited and curious; always has an eye on the trends in fashion but isn’t ruled by them. Very much her own woman, willing to stand out and celebrate her personal style, and definitely not afraid to wear color. She enjoys mixing and matching pieces and while some brands tout a “uniform”, the Johnny Was woman is much more willing to experiment and try something different. Bottom line: she’s creative, smart and fun.
Q: Johnny Was is known for defying trends, quality and exquisite craftsmanship. How to you navigate a successful luxury brand in today’s fast fashion world?
MA: By being authentic. While we’ve grown and expanded as a brand, our mission has always remained the same—to celebrate women and design quality pieces that stand the test of time and trends while always sourcing the best materials and techniques.
Q: Within the brand there are several different collections- including a swim and plus size collection- can you tell us a bit about each?
MA: We launched our swim collection last year after customers kept asking for it. It’s filled with our signature prints but we were also mindful of designing with structure and fit so it flatters all body types. The collection also includes corresponding cover ups from our coveted kimono jackets to breezy trousers and sarongs—it’s a whole look. Customers also reached out about an extended size range and our silhouettes lend themselves perfectly to that—it’s been a hit and consistently a top seller online.
Q: What is the inspiration behind the Fall Collection?
MA: We always like to say that “travel is one of our favorite colors” and this collection pulls from many different spots. Theresa McAllen, our Senior VP of design spent a lot of time in Italy, soaking up the culture and also overseeing the design of our latest leather accessory collection. The rich velvets and fresh silhouettes like bomber jackets and joggers are her brainchild as well as combining classic fabrics with wild embroideries. Our other Senior VP of Design, Biya Ramar, loves all the history and color of Asia and spent a lot of time in Bangkok—among other things, she’s the creative genius behind all of our collection and one-of-a-kind kimono jackets but also the newer silks and maxi dress silhouettes.
Q: What is your favorite piece from the collection?
MA: This is the season when everyone wants a great coat or jacket. It’s hard to pick just one because they’re all gorgeous in their own way but, we love anything velvet; it feels festive for the upcoming holidays and can be paired with a dress or denim basics to really elevate a look. If we have to play favorites let’s say the Abril Kimono and the Santal coat.
Q: 3 Things every woman needs for Fall 2019?
MA: Velvet is very huge for fall, it’s been all over the runways, and just what you need for the upcoming holidays. The sheen and drape are also unbeatable. Knits are also huge and our favorite is always a great piece of cashmere—timeless but also right now. Finally, a nod to the feminine with a gorgeous dress. The length we love is to the knee, or even longer, with a relaxed silhouette in a fabric that has great drape and flow, like a silk or (again) a velvet. Dressed down with boots or glammed up with heels.
Q: What inspired Johnny Was to open a boutique in Las Vegas at Fashion Show?
MA: Las Vegas is the perfect combination of old school glamour while also being a trend force when it comes to fashion and food—the best chefs in the world own the top restaurants and all the most respected brands are represented. It’s also thought of as the ultimate vacation destination, and let’s face it, vacations always include shopping. Las Vegas is also such a great cross-section of people, everybody visits from locals to international travelers. It’s a fun spot for us to really show our signature style from the classics to current collections.
Q: What should a customer feel when they walk into the store?
MA: Ultimately they should feel welcome and inspired, like they are stepping into a spot they’d like to spend some time. Our Johnny Was stores are designed just as thoughtfully as our collections with hand painted murals of our favorite prints, lots of naturally warm details like blond wood and staff that really love and celebrate Johnny Was. We also pepper each store with unique accessories like books and jewelry, and some of the best vintage rugs those are sadly, not for sale but enjoy the eye candy.
Q: What is the creative process?
MA: You’d be surprised how long it takes and in fashion we’re always looking and designing ahead. It starts with a vision or loose concept that then gets fine tuned by different key players. Our Senior VP’s of Design set the tone each season after creating a vision and overall look for the collections; then the pieces are executed by graphic designers who design all of our embroideries, pattern makers who oversee the fit and stylists who create an overall feel, look and inspirational vibe.
Q: What’s next for Johnny Was?
MA: We’re really excited by the success of our stores and it’s a great way to meet our customers, it makes this large company feel intimate and connected. As far as the collections, we’ll be expanding our swim collection, as well as exploring different accessories after the success of our leather accessories that were crafted in Italy. Another key area is lounge—the look of casual elegance is always on everyone’s wish-list (including ours) but our collection of separates, robs and slip dresses really elevate the look to a whole new level. There’s not many sleep sets you could actually leave the house in but ours look chic both ways.
Johhny Was is now open at the Fashion Show Las Vegas.
-This post was created in partnership with Fashion Show, all thoughts and opinions are my own.