Mother-daughter duo behind Vestida line offer custom-tailored clothes
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
12/18/12 at 5:17 AM
Barbie may have been the first celebrity to wear a Vestida original.
As a child, Betty Stevenson made a dress for her Barbie doll, whose black, strapless and sequined "Mermain" dress sparked an interest in fashion - and, a generation later, lit the path for a women's clothing line that she designs with her daughter, Maria Stevenson.
The Stevensons own Vestida, a label under which they make clothes custom-tailored to their clients' measurements without the custom price tag, Maria said.
Recently, they held a trunk show at their downtown pop-up shop on Boston Avenue, just north of Sixth Street. They will be open there through Dec. 28, after which they will move to a new studio.
Among those in attendance that recent evening was Cheena Pazzo, who met Maria at this October's Pink Ribbon fashion fundraiser featuring New York designer Carmen Marc Valvo.
"I fell in love with her classic plum, perfectly fit dress," Pazzo recalled. After finding out it was Maria's design, the two new friends planned a trunk show.
Now, Maria is working on her next big event, which will debut her spring line.
"I'm so excited because there will be some really cool elements - and it's for a good cause," said the young designer, who will also debut a line of cute blouses made specifically for nonprofit groups.
Maria can't remember a time she wasn't into fashion, she said. In high school, she'd notice the amazing outfits worn by Hollywood starlets. She "searched high and low" to find similar pieces and couldn't.
"So I decided to start designing my own," Maria said.
And when she realized she could create a product, and her mom could help her make it, "I was hooked."
At first, Vestida was an idea for a fashion boutique, not a line of their own, Maria said. It wasn't until a friend of hers encouraged the mother-daughter duo to see beyond a storefront to a retail-worthy collection.
Finally, earlier this year, Vestida grew from hobby to reality.
The Stevensons' personal style aesthetics are evident in the line, such as Maria's admitted "haute hippie, boho-chic, nouveau classic" style preferences.
"My sense of style comes from what makes me confident," she said. Some days, that means a little black dress; others, a pair of Jack Purcells, tattered jeans, a white tee and oversized scarf.
"I like to think I have an ADD sense of style," she quipped.
Vestida's design philosophy is clean, classic and simple, Maria said - "something that stands the test of time, and your daughter will one day want to wear it."
Inspiration comes from both old and new Hollywood, as well as architecture, the arts, various cultures, "but mostly starlets whose style I admire."
The entire Vestida line has a custom option to it, Maria explained. A custom line is sold out of trunk shows, and she and her mother can be commissioned for custom pieces.
"The clothing fits like a glove," Pazzo said. "Having something precisely made to fit your shape is the difference between a nice dress and a stunning dress."
After all, no two women are built the same, Pazzo reminded, "and regardless of your size, clothes that fit well will make you feel more confident and beautiful."
This spring, the Stevensons plan to launch their ready-to-wear line "for the girl on the go," Maria said.
Among the current pieces is the figure-flattering, purple "EMS" cap-sleeved sheath dress ($125), "that staple dress that makes you feel like a million bucks, and I think looks sexy without trying to."
The "EMS" is one of her favorites, as is her mom's favorite: the strapless "Studio 54" jumper with sweetheart neckline and wide pant legs ($150).
"It's so different, classy and fun," Maria said. "Most girls think they can't pull it off, but because it's tailor-made, it's rocking every time."
Other than fit and wearability, a reason to be a Vestida fan is the Stevensons' story itself, Pazzo said.
"They remain committed to staying local," she said. "One of Tulsa's little treasures."
Vestida's pop-up hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week. They will be open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 26 and 28, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 27.
For more, visit tulsaworld.com/vestida
Original Print Headline: Fashion family
Jason Ashley Wright 918-581-8483
Maria Stevenson (left) arranges clothes on a rack as her mother, Betty Stevenson, sews a skirt at the last minute before a private show for their clothing line, Vestida, in a pop-up shop on Boston Avenue just north of Sixth Street in Tulsa. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
The cap-sleeved "EMS" sheath dress from the Vestida line ($125) looks sexy without trying. Courtesy
The strapless, wide-leg "Studio 54" jumper, seen here on the runway, is designer Betty Stevenson's favorite piece. Courtesy
Betty Stevenson irons a skirt she just sewed to be put on the rack for a private show. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World