Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Bewitching Baubles of Oz Pt. 1

As we grow and mature we may tend to abandon our adolescent loves and comforts to assume adult responsibilities. Yet there’s always an inexplicable pull coupled with a sense of longing for our carefree innocence and treasured play things.

Tarina Tarantino shows you can hang onto whimsical nostalgia while maintaining an aura of sophistication. She makes the ordinary extraordinary and is a master at bringing the inner child out, taking us back to our youthful roots over the rainbow and down the rabbit hole to our beloved childhood realms.

“It’s Always Best to Start at the Beginning……..”

From the start, Tarina exhibited an affinity for crafting accessories. At the age of three, she sculpted her first jewelry set from Fimo clay. Her attraction to all things sparkly came from her great-grandmother who kept mason jars full of glittered assortments which further stimulated her vivid imagination.

Tarina’s natural beauty and exotic name seemed a perfect fit for the modeling industry. She embarked on a modeling career in Europe during her late teens, but never gave up her first love. She continued to hone her craft devising varied techniques using an array of beads and crystals she’d find scouring antique shops and flea markets. Tarina arrived at modeling shoots bedecked in her latest creations, only to have them snapped up by eager buyers with requests for more.

Eventually, Tarina felt disenchanted with modeling and craved a more creative outlet. She returned stateside and switched gears to become a freelance make up artist. It was a step in the right direction as she gleaned more satisfaction from working behind the scenes.

During this time, the stars started to align for Tarina. She met Alfonso Campos, who would be instrumental both professionally and personally. She focused more intently on her jewelry, but it was a new hairstyle that would really set things in motion.

Tarina searched for decorative hair clips to accent her new coiffure, but nothing on the market suited her needs. She felt accessories had become insubstantial and that individual fashion expression had all but vanished. She quickly stepped up to fill the void making crystal insects, headbands, and flower “anywhere” clips.

Alfonso observed history repeating itself day after day as Tarina would leave for her job asparkle in her handiwork only to return home hours later sans sparkle. As in Europe, people were taken with her unique sense of style and purchased the pieces right off her body.

Alfonso convinced Tarina to make some pieces for him to shop around at local boutiques. Tarina obliged and Alfonso’s keen instincts were proven right when he generated $5000 in orders. He sold his car to get the business off the ground. His faith was the impetus needed for a metamorphosis to occur. In 1995, Tarina Tarantino the hobbyist transformed into Tarina Tarantino the brand.

The enterprising couple attacked the new endeavor with vigor working alongside each other in a one bedroom apartment seven days a week for two years to fulfill orders.
Their venture prospered amid hard work and media exposure allowing them to move the business to larger accommodations and the business partners became life partners in 1999.

As the business continued to flourish, celebrities gravitated to Tarina’s designs like moths to flames. Fashion and jewelry designers spend a great deal of time marketing themselves to and vying for the attentions of the rich and famous. Celebrity endorsements mean instant recognition and higher revenue. The highlight of the celebrity fashion year is the red carpet walk preceding the Academy Awards ceremony. Tarina Tarantino’s work was displayed at the 2002 Oscars thanks to a serendipitous fluke.

Actress Cameron Diaz spotted a Tarina Tarantino large carved rose bracelet while mingling at a pre-Oscar party. Gushing ensued and the bracelet’s owner offered to give to Cameron, but she insisted on paying for it. She displayed it at the Oscars the next evening allowing Tarina’s design to be viewed instantly by millions. The carved rose bracelet is still one of Tarina Tarantino’s hottest sellers and Cameron Diaz has become a supporter and fan of Tarina’s work.

Tarina Tarantino’s fanbase of celebrity admirers has grown to include Minnie Driver, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ashley Judd, Drew Barrymore, Hilary Duff, Gwen Stefani, Salma Hayek, Madonna, Illeana Douglas, Debi Mazar, Kelly Osbourne, Miley Cyrus, and Helena Bonham-Carter just to name a few! Although Tarina appreciates the support of entertainment VIPs, she says her biggest thrill comes from seeing her designs worn by the stranger she passes on the street.

With the celebrity clientele came more acclaim and with more acclaim came collaborations with behemoth licensing entities Sanrio, Mattel, and Disney. Tarina Tarantino is frequently solicited by character brands, but she has to truly love the subject matter before committing to a project. Tarina’s passion has spawned the very popular Hello Kitty, Barbie, and Alice in Wonderland lines. Tarina likes her jewelry to have stories and themes behind them and what better story to tackle than the Wizard of Oz?

Warner Brothers began establishing the Wizard of Oz as a fashion brand with limited edition apparel produced by Heatherette and Bejeweled. Last fall, Warner Brothers kicked off a stylish prelude to the 70th anniversary with the Ruby Slipper Collection, the Inspirations of Oz art collection and a commissioned designer jewelry collection by Tarina Tarantino.

Tarina grew up watching the annual Wizard of Oz telecast and counts Oz as one of her favorite films. What she loves best are the personal stories most everyone has about how Oz has touched their lives.

One would presume Glinda the Good, awash in shimmer and sparkle, is Tarina’s favorite character, but her loyalties lie with team Wicked. “She always has the best lines……How dare you destroy my beautiful wickedness!”

For 2008, Tarina designed a dazzling collection emblazoned with sassy illustrations of Dorothy, Toto, Glinda, and the Wicked Witch. Oz fans were treated to a sneak peek when several pieces were donated to the 27th annual Wizard of Oz Festival auction. The fans raved and shortly after the complete collection was introduced to the general market. The collection sold out in 30 days from and retailers’ stock depleted almost as quickly.

Tarina Tarantino and her staff fell in love with Oz and so enjoyed the project, the collaboration with Warner Brothers was extended into 2009 and Tarina took the Oz motif a step further.