Garden Club benefit offers treasures from high-end boutiques
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
Isabelle Krupnick will bring a little bit of sparkle from Europe to Fox Chapel.
The Paris native and Virginia Beach, Va., resident travels the world in search of luxury costume jewelry from designers in France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
Owner of Isabelle K Jewelry, she will be one of 30 vendors at next week's Pizzazz, a three-day shopping extravaganza hosted by the Garden Club of Allegheny County from Wednesday through Oct. 19 at the Fox Chapel Golf Club.
“I got a very good response from the ladies who loved my jewelry, and the event was so well organized, I am happy to return,” says Krupnick, whose baubles have been featured in Allure, Elle, W, InStyle and Vogue magazines.
She says her passion is for women to look stunning. “I won't sell someone something that I don't think looks good on them, because they are my best ambassadors,” she says. “It is not about how much they spend. It is about how they look. Some people say I am the crazy French woman, who is coming to town, but I know what I like, and designers I work with listen to me and will incorporate some of what I suggest into their collections.”
Organizers of Pizzazz look for that type of personality when selecting vendors, along with worthy merchandise. The waiting list for vendors is nearly as long as the annual vendor list, says Laurie Johnson, who is chairing Pizzazz with Sherri Wilson.
“We invite some vendors back, such as Isabelle, and also love to keep changing the vendors so there is something new and different every year,” Johnson says. “It is really a popular shopping event. We have been talking to people who have been driving by the golf club to see if the sign is out, because they know the event is in October. They have fun shopping and know they are raising money for a good cause, which goes to help so many projects.”
The Garden Club of Allegheny County's event last year netted a record-breaking $80,000 that was awarded to six organizations. Pizzazz has raised more than $900,000 to date.
“Grab your girlfriends, and come and enjoy shopping and lunch and wine,” Johnson says. “It's a fun atmosphere. Everything is high-end quality, but not necessarily high-end in price.”
Prices range from $10 to $10,000.
Coming back for a third time will be Ames Stevens, owner of Balbianello of Lexington, Mass., an importer of apparel and accessories. Most of their products are made in small batches by artisans based in South Africa, China, Nepal, India, Peru and Bolivia. Items such as scarves and capes are crafted of superfine fibers, with an emphasis on lightweight cashmere styles. “We don't do trendy,” Stevens says. “We specialize in updated classic styles that are timeless and of very high-quality. It is a pleasure to come to Pittsburgh, as the people are so warm and friendly, and it's beautiful at this time of the year.”
Stevens says his company is happy to support a cause like the Garden Club of Allegheny County and appreciates how the broader community supports Pizzazz.
“The show is a great opportunity for vendors like us to make a meaningful presentation to a loyal and discerning clientele,” Stevens says. “And it gives customers a great opportunity to find items which might not otherwise be available to them.”
His cashmere pieces and Krupnick's dazzling jewelry are part of what turns the Fox Chapel Golf Club into a shopper's paradise.
Because the event benefits the Garden Club of Allegheny County, participation by Monique Moore, owner of New York-based Mott 50, which provides fashion-forward sun-protective clothing, was natural. With gardeners often spending hours in the sun, they need clothing with sun protection.
“It was a perfect fit to be involved with Pizzazz,“ says Moore. “We all need sun protection. It is our mission to offer a stylish, easy-to-wear approach to sun protection.”
Mott 50 garments are soft to the touch and made from natural fibers. They have a 50 UPF (ultraviolet protection factor), as opposed to the 5 UPF of a typical white T-shirt.
“I have heard wonderful things about Pizzazz and am thrilled to participate,” Moore says.
This will be the first year Pizzazz will offer a custom clothier for males — Cincinnati-based Romualdo. Master tailor Trevor Furbay will take good care of the men, and he will set up a time to return in about six to eight weeks for fittings. He works with master tailor Romualdo Pelle, from whom Furbay bought the company.
“There are not many master tailors left,” says Furbay, who will bring belts made from alligator, ostrich and shark. “I am looking forward to showing how the garment feels and how it fits and the details. Our fit is really what people love, and they love the patterns we have. The details go all the way to the intricate monogram on the coat. We offer 75 lining choices and can create coats and pants exactly the way the customer wants. I am looking forward to introducing what we do at Romualdo to the men in Pittsburgh.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.
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