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.

The Bewitching Baubles of Oz Pt. 2

“Take your army to the haunted forest and bring me that girl and her book”

“On an ordinary day, in an ordinary place, something extraordinary happens. It is here in this story that our modern day Dorothy decides to take the journey of self discovery. In her tattered apartment building a curious world comes to life all around her. The ill-tempered but glamorous land lady becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. The sweet next door neighbor, who's always there to watch over Toto, becomes Glinda the Good Witch. The kids from apartment B are the munchkins, and the strange woman who works at the taco stand becomes her enemy and friends at the same time.

Somewhere over Downtown Los Angeles, a bright rainbow appears beneath a cloudy sky. The stairs become the yellow brick road which will lead Dorothy on her journey to Emerald city. Perhaps we all live in the land of Oz? Sometimes we all just need to leave our ordinary lives, if only for one day, to realize that there is no place like home.”

And so is the story of Tarina Tarantino’s My Pretty collection book. The Wizard of Oz is brought into the 21st century with evident respect and affection for the source material. Tarina Tarantino has designed an oz-stravagant re-imagining of the 1939 classic. The exquisite photography of Albert Sanchez was shot entirely on location at The Sparkle Factory.

This 52 page book is a steal for only $8. The book is almost entirely void of text, but Oz book enthusiasts may want to consider adding this book to their collections as the lavish imagery more than makes up for lack of wordage. There’s even a little nod to the original work as Dorothy is attired in a green frock at Emerald City just as she was in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

My Pretty ingeniously illustrates the universal appeal of the Oz story. We may feel our lives are hum drum and experience frustration on occasion, no matter where we roam, how wondrous the journey, true contentment and the power to conquer our dissatisfaction lies within ourselves.

As you page through the oversized soft cover book, key scenes are re-created showcasing select jewelry from the collections of My Pretty, Clockwork Punk, Dollars and Sense, Electric Butterfly, Electric Koolade, Victorian Navajo, City Girl L.A., and White Widow.

Tarina Tarantino has assembled a stellar cast to epitomize our favorite characters.

A luminous Kelly Osbourne is Dorothy’s kind neighbor later transformed into the ravishing Glinda the Good. Kelly was selected for Glinda because in her, Tarina Tarantino could see innocence combined with rock ‘n’ roll. Duality she says, that is also shown in her jewelry.

Debi Mazar is the pesky, testy, vamp of a landlady, forever scheming to evict Toto. Debi exudes the sleek sensuality desired for this role. Once in Oz, she is a mesmerizing menace, channeling Gale Sondergaard, MGM’s original casting choice for a glamorous Wicked Witch of the West.

We follow ingénue Holly Owens as our sweet Dorothy Gale, while she ventures to Oz and back learning valuable lessons along the way.

Larva X is the frienemy from the taco stand and works it as Oz quad Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Nikko the winged monkey.

Tarina Tarantino’s own munchkins Chloe and Olivia Campos pose as Oz’s diminutive denizens.

Tarina Tarantino herself puts in an appearance as the great and powerful woman behind the curtain.

As beautiful as the ladies of My Pretty are, they merely serve as lovely displays for the real stars of the collection book…

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Bewitching Baubles of Oz Pt. 3

Are you a good witch? Or a bad witch? Not a witch at all? Can’t decide?
No matter your style or demeanor Tarina Tarantino offers enough variety to cover it all! Some pieces are even reversible to accommodate spontaneous swings of mood.

The jewelry of Tarina Tarantino is not for the faint of heart. She designs bold accessories that are meant to command attention. All of her jewelry is handmade behind the moon, beyond the rain in downtown Loz Angeles at her headquarters The Sparkle Factory.

She is best known for her Lucite components, Swarovski crystals, and for implementing a whole host of mediums infused with kaleidoscopic dizzying colors that defy nature. All of which are apparent in the My Pretty collections.

Each collection is inspired by and reflects the distinctive traits of Glinda, the Wicked Witch, and Dorothy.

Click photos to enlarge.

The Bubble Pop collection is abundant in shimmery ethereal effervescence. The essence of Glinda the Good is defined with opalescent Aurora bubble beads, crystals, butterflies, and stars.
Please note measurements are approximate. Bracelets are one size fits all.

Bubble Pop

Metal and Lucite filigree drop earrings on crystal posts

Multibead stretch bracelet with Glinda cameo stone Cameo measures 1 ¾” tall

Ivory glass pearl necklace with metal and crystal framed Glinda Lucite cameo pendant Adjustable 21" chain with a lobster clasp Pendant measures 2 3/4" long

Double row Lucite and crystal beaded bracelet with metal butterfly slider embellished with crystals and carved Lucite cameo center Butterfly measures 2 ¼” long

Lucite Glinda cameo drop earrings with aurora bubble beads on crystal posts Earrings hang 2 ¼”

Puff heart toggle necklace with crystals and Lucite butterfly embellishment Necklace is 16” long and pendant measures 1 ¾” long

Beautiful Wickedness pays homage to the Wicked Witch with ebony allure tinged with beguiling burgundy for a hint of femininity. Whether you’re a little naughty or a bad girl through and through, anyone can show their beautifully wicked side.

Beautiful Wickedness

Lucite filigree double drop earrings with skull and crystal embellishment on crystal posts Earrings hang approximately 3.5"

Extra large pave’ heart pendant on Lucite multibead necklace Necklace 17” long and pendant is 2 ½” x 2 ½”

Lucite crescent bead stretch bracelet with Lucite Wicked Witch cameo stone Cameo
measures 1 ½”

Lucite heart pendant necklace with crescent bead, carved rose, and crystal framed Lucite Wicked Witch cameo Necklace measures 19” and heart pendant measures 2” wide

Adjustable chain necklace with baroque Lucite and crystal framed Lucite Wicked Witch cameo Necklace measures 22” and baroque cameo measures 3” tall

Black organza layered flower anywhere clip with burgundy spring silk flower and Lucite filigree center Flower measures approximately 3.5"

At the time she was in the Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was a vibrant, bubbly teenager, but onscreen she carried herself with beauty and grace. Tarina Tarantino’s Emerald City, Over the Rainbow, and Ruby Slippers pieces capture the elegance exhibited by Judy Garland personally and as the character of Dorothy Gale. The emerald and rainbow hues may be indicative of Dorothy’s wistful aspirations, first to escape, then to return home.

Emerald City

Metal heart drop earrings with crystals and Lucite bows on crystal french hooks 1” x ½”

Long crystal framed Lucite Dorothy cameo pendant necklace with Lucite frame and gold heart bead Gold toned chain is 32” long and cameo measures 1 ½” x 2”

Adjustable emerald Lucite and gold bead necklace with metal and crystal framed Lucite Dorothy cameo pendant Necklace measures 20” and pendant measures 2”

Emerald Lucite and gold bead stretch bracelet with Lucite Dorothy cameo flip bead

Three row emerald Lucite and gold bead stretch cuff bracelet with large Lucite framed Dorothy cameo Dorothy cameo is 2” tall.

Crystal embellished metal key pendant necklace Adjustable chain is 16”-18” and key measures 2 ½” x 1”

Ruby Slippers/Over the Rainbow

Rainbow hued Lucite and crystal adjustable necklace with double sided Lucite Dorothy and Ruby Slippers cameo flip bead Necklace measures 18” long Available in purple, blue, and green & yellow, orange, and red

Double sided heart pendant toggle necklace with crystal framed Ruby Slippers and Dorothy cameos. Silver toned chain measures 16” – 18” and heart measures 2” x 1 7/8” Also available in silver toned heart with Glinda and Wicked Witch cameos.

Rainbow hued Lucite stretch bracelet with double sided Dorothy and Ruby Slippers cameo flip bead. Stretch bracelets also available in Glinda, Wicked Witch and website exclusive styles of Dorothy in aqua and Ruby Slippers in red

Bag candy with crystal framed Lucite Ruby Slippers cameo

Six strand rainbow hued Lucite and crystal adjustable necklace

Large crystal framed Lucite Ruby Slippers pendant necklace. Also available in small.
Large silver toned chain measures 32” and pendant measures 1 ½” x 2”
Small chain measures 18” and pendant measures 1 ½” long

These pieces and many more can be purchased at Shop LA Style and direct from Tarina Tarantino at

Stay tuned to the Curiozity Corner for some pics from the handbag collection and the Clockwork Punk collection inspired by The Wizard of Oz.

Thanks again to Mat Wallis for my beautiful graphics

Jewelry and My Pretty book photos courtesy of Jacey Kunka - Shop LA Style Thanks to Jacey for the photos and very patiently answering my emails.

Cameron Diaz photo courtesy of Cher Ross -

Thanks to Melissa Rosenfield - Tarina Tarantino for taking the time from your hectic schedule to speak with me, answer my questions, and emailing research material.

Most especially on behalf of the Oz community, I thank Tarina Tarantino very sweetly for making two Oz-some jewelry lines, a gorgeous book, and for supporting and promoting the love of Oz by donating to the Wizard of Oz festival 2 years in a row!

Many of the research sources I consulted are listed below. I know it's a lot of information, but it's well worth your time.

Learn More About Tarina Tarantino:

Select pieces from the My Pretty collections made their world debut at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s Wizard of Oz exhibition featuring The Ruby Slipper Collection and the Inspirations of Oz art collection

My Pretty – Includes behind the scenes photos and video

LA Style
Frauds and fakes are rampant in just about everything these days. Take steps to educate and protect yourself to avoid getting duped!

Buyer Beware

Barnes and Noble 2009

Oz Table

Vandor Poster Mug
Culturenik Ruby Slippers Journal
Culturenik There's No Place Like Home Journal
Paperhouse Productions Glinda glitter bookmark

Oz Table Reverse

Wicked Table

Wicked t-shirt
Popular t-shirt
Defy Gravity Globe
For Good Globe
And don't forget the wall decals which are only available online at this time

Please bear in mind product may vary slightly from store to store. The dolls I'd shown earlier have been delayed until October and there's no word at all at this point about the lenticular puzzles.

Many Thanks to the Oz-some, accommodating management and staff at the Clackamas Town Center Mall Barnes and Noble located at 12000 SE 82nd AvenuePortland, OR 97266!!!!!!!!!!!

*As you can see ye olde blog is a little wonky this evening. I don't know why some links are blue and the rest are not. They're supposed to all be blue. I apologize for the confusion.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September Updates

Barnes and Noble set up their Wizard of Oz and Wicked tables on September 15th. Some products such as the dolls and the Wicked wall decals, are behind schedule so keep checking back with your local store or you can order online. I had planned to post photos but have decided to wait for more inventory to show up.

WalMart is now carrying two fleece fabric designs for $7.84 and two fleece panels of the Wicked Witch and Glinda for around $11.00. has two cute Oz shirts in Juniors sizes for $9.99 each.

Jeweled Treasures of Oz Box Collection from the Bradford Exchange

The Wizard of Oz Animated Figurine Collection from the Bradford Exchange.
No details at this time but orders are being accepted. The Wicked Witch looks awesome!! And, never thought I'd say this, the flying monkey is ADORABLE. Click on photos to enlarge.

Keep your eye on Teleflora's blog. Right now there is a Wizard of Oz Quiz and an interview with John Fricke and essay by film critic Michael Wilmington will be posted soon.

The Wizard of Oz Festival in Chesterton IN is this weekend and it's a GREAT place for collectors. Lots of wonderful vendors and craftsmen. Donors for the Saturday auction include The Tonner Doll Company, Tarina Tarantino, Wilde Imagination, USAopoly, Lenox, The Franklin Mint, Mattel, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Hallmark, San Francisco Music Box, and very special items donated by Munchkins Meinhardt Raabe, Jerry Maren, Margaret Pellegrini, Karl Slover, and Myrna Swenson widow of Clarence Swenson. The Wizard of Oz Fest in Chesterton is paradise for an Oz lover.

Please keep watching the Curiozity Corner as the 70th anniversary celebration continues!!!!!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dark Side of the Bloom

Everything’s coming up roses as the Wizard of Oz 70th anniversary celebration kicks into high gear.

In his later years, Oz creator L. Frank Baum was a devoted floriculturist reaping multiple awards for his magnificent chrysanthemums. From the onset, flowers and floral motifs are prevalent in the original Oz book series and its varied adaptations thereafter. Sometimes playing integral roles are a diverse range of flowers from poppies to roses to an enchanted flower contained in a golden pot that blooms continually transforming into a different flower every time.

The successful Wizard of Oz stage show, the Wicked of the early 1900s if you will, mesmerized audiences and critics with a dazzling poppy field spectacle that concluded Act. 1
The same held true almost 40 years later when MGM studios produced the Wizard of Oz for the movie goers of 1939. Stage technicians erected an acre and a half of poppies on a massive sound stage for Judy Garland and cohorts to succumb and ultimately skip through.

The Wizard of Oz continues to be a source of inspiration for department store windows, home and garden shows, parade floats, and more.

This year Teleflora marks 75 years of delivering smiles and comfort with beautiful flower arrangements assembled by the very finest floral artisans.

Teleflora boasts 20,000 member florists in North America and 20,000 more affiliates around the world. Members are audited regularly to ensure only the freshest flowers reach their valued recipients.

In recent years more competitor floral providers sprouted seemingly from nowhere giving Teleflora a run for their money. Mother’s Day 2008 observed its 100th anniversary giving Teleflora the prime opportunity to go on the defense. Teleflora mounted an ingenuous multimedia marketing blitz in “Teleflora Presents America’s Favorite Mom” which concluded with a prime time special on NBC. The campaign struck such a chord with viewers that Teleflora was rewarded with a 70% increase in sales and garnered a silver Effie award.

Teleflora has assembled an esteemed grouping of partners such as Fenton, Galway, M&Ms, Waterford, Charles Wysocki, BarcaLounger, and Moulin Rouge. Current licenses include Thomas Kinkade, Susan Winget, Williamsburg, Lenox, MiGi, Top Chef, and Ford and Teleflora joins the fight to make a difference with Stand Up to Cancer, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

In conjunction with their newest collaborator, Warner Brothers Consumer Products, Teleflora has designed a Wizard of Oz arrangement celebrating the release of the 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collectors’ Editions on DVD and Blu Ray.

You can choose from standard, deluxe, and premium bouquets to savor the aromatic blends of button spray chrysanthemums, solidago, spray roses, and alstoremeria all in hues of yellow symbolic of the road the jovial four companions travel in pursuit of their hearts’ desires. (Coincidentally, Judy Garland’s favorite flowers are said to be yellow roses.) The bouquet is crowned with a hand painted sculpture of Dorothy and Toto dancing joyfully with their new friends. The engaging figurine measures 3 ¾” wide by 5 ½” high.

Given the repeated appearances of flowers throughout Oz-dom and L. Frank Baum’s love of them, the Teleflora bouquet is more than a fitting tribute commemorating 70 years of the film we hold so dear in our hearts.

For more information and to order please read Teleflora’s press release and visit
Please click photos to enlarge for detail.
Be sure to watch Teleflora's blog for Oz updates including a Q & A with John Fricke and an essay by Michael Wilmington.

A special thank you to Jacqueline Fitzgerald & Teleflora for information and photos. Congratulations on your 75th!!! Thanks to Heartlover1717, Bill Roberts, and Megan Carroll for the use of their beautiful photos. And thanks to the members of the International Wizard of Oz Club forum for citing numerous floral examples from the Oz canon.