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The Reporter: Like Mother, Like Daughter

September 8, 2010

As the role of your Reporter, it is my job to bring to you interviews with people who have created their own rules in fashion, who have expanded their creative thinking and who leave us wondering, “How did they do that?” When I was deciding whom to interview for this week’s blog, I picked my brain to see who inspired me and who peaked my interest. Why did I enjoy fashion so much? Well, it’s in my genes. Literally. This week I interviewed my own mom, Denise Radaj, who grew up working in Junior House (formerly known as JH Collectibles) and quickly climbed her way up the ladder of the fashion design house. Read on to see how she came in contact with top models, how she is related to Little Bo Peep and how she inspires my closet.

1. Explain how your love of fashion came to be and what experiences you went through while growing up that led to your fashion career. I worked my way up. I started as an assistant at Junior House and I had several jobs from working on their private label collection to working with the catalog division, outlet stores, and then special project managers. I would deal with showing stores collections, making sure the stores

got the orders and that the orders went through properly. At that point, we had top models come into our showrooms, like Rachel Hunter, who was married to Rod Stewart at the time. I stopped working with the showroom but it eventually went out of business years after I stopped working there. I also used to sew my own clothes, too, like coats and made my children coats too (including my own collections of matching dresses and coats, like the one on the right).

2. What was your favorite fad growing up? Your biggest style mistake? I’m going to have to remember what some of the fads were at that time! I really liked fabrics and silk fabrics so that was my favorite thing to sew. Bell-bottoms came and went and that was always big and will continue to be big. My biggest style mistake was my stupid junior year prom dress and hair in 1974. The dress was white dotted swiss with small pink rosebuds and then I curled my hair in super tight curls. I looked like Little Bo Peep who lost her sheep. It was disgusting. (Unfortunately, there was no photo documentation found in time for the publication of this blog!)

3. As a grown woman, mother of two and busy wife, what do you find the hardest to do when dealing with fashion? Just becoming older in general. You like a lot of the fashions younger girls can wear but I can’t wear because I’m not 25 anymore. The rule is if you go through the fashion cycle once, you can never wear it again. I don’t want to try to look really young when I wear things.

4. What do you wish you could tell yourself twenty years ago that you know now? I kept a lot of my good clothes, but I wish I had kept more knowing my daughter would have followed in my footsteps. (Me too!)

5. What has been your favorite fall fashion prediction you have seen so far, that you would wear? I like the asymmetrical things. Sweaters with asymmetrical zippers across the front, things like that. Camel has always been in and it’s a classy color.

6. Is there someone in the celebrity world you particularly enjoy watching walking down the red carpets or at events because of their fashion choices? Ann Curry, although she doesn’t necessarily walk the red carpets. She always looks very classic and she’s in great shape, she’s beautiful, and she doesn’t overly dress for her age.

7. What is your beauty must-have? Moisturizer and concealer

8. What is your biggest beauty guilty pleasure? The Christian Louboutin shoes that my feet don’t like to stay in. I went to New York and bought ten pairs of shoes that went into my carry-on. (Hey, Mom. I’ll take those Louboutins off your hands for you!)

9. Is there a particular style you wish your husband would dress in? I always liked the guys in mock tees, merino wool sweaters with blazers.

10. From woman to woman what’s your biggest fashion tip? Wear clothes that fit properly and are age appropriate.

Thanks, Mom for not only allowing me to pick your brain about style and fashion, but for nurturing me with everything fashion, even when I was a couple of months old. If it wasn’t for you, I would have made the mistake of wearing tiny rosebuds on my prom dress, too! Love, fashion and family, Brava readers!

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