Katherine Robinson, with experience gleaned from Manhattan’s fashion industry and Hollywood’s entertainment industry (and, whoa! does she have some names to drop!), opened the Whirling Turban “Dream Workshop” 16 years ago where she could make the custom dresses and with full service that she formerly provided in Hollywood to other vintage clothing enthusiasts like herself.
Here’s Katherine’s Story
“My first fashion job, at 20, was assisting Clifford Olson, a designer who supplied swingin’ boutiques and their celebrity clientele (Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, etc.). I learned to loved the excellence of craftsmanship and creativity possible in a small studio setting. I then worked in Manhattan for eight years. I ran the design and custom-made studio for North Beach Leather on Madison Avenue, in the heart of the Upper East Side amidst the world’s most famous designer shops, where shoppers included a parade of celebrities (Andy Warhol… oh, don’t get me started!) I also worked for couture fashion legends like Geoffrey Beene and Bill Blass.
Next, I moved to L. A. and opened another small workshop. For ten years, I made garments and costumes exclusively for Hollywood’s entertainment industry. The creations that came from my studio appeared on a diverse spectrum; from actresses such as Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek and Halle Berry (just to name a few of the more delicious ones), bands like the Foo Fighters and U2, commercial clients from Intel to Chiquita Banana to Apple Computers, movies such as Steven Spielberg’s Amistad [costumes nominated for an Academy Award, and T.V., including a Bette Midler HBO Special which won the Emmy Award for Best Costumes.
“When I went on vacation to Bali, I fell completely in love- as a craftsperson- with Bali’s limitless creative resources. For three years I went back and forth, L.A. to Bali, creating fashions which I then I sold to Hollywood while concurrently learning to conduct business in Asia. I then said goodbye to my workshop in Hollywood and opened another workshop in this beautiful tropical garden studio.
I’ve always been a vintage clothing fan and a student of fashion past and present. Hollywood’s exacting standards helped me refine my eye for the finer points of authenticity as well as helping me to see how attention to detail, and particularly fit, is what turns mere mortals into stars.”
“I have an interest in many aspects of fashion, certainly not limited to the fashions of the 40’s and 50’s. But Whirling Turban has found a home with collectors and there is certainly enough rich material in this historical period of fashion to keep me busy for a long time.
What I have discovered while working in this vernacular is that there is virtually no other company making authentic reproductions. It is expensive and difficult to do quality reproductions, so most folks in this field have to content themselves with making a polyester “reference” to a period garment and calling it a reproduction.
If you are a bride looking for a tea length wedding dress or are a lover of “The Great Era of Hawaiian Dresses”, what you will find “out there” can be disappointing. If I was the customer, I’d want all the details and materials that attracted me to the magic of vintage to begin with, so that’s what we strive to create.
It is much more expensive to reproduce vintage styles *well* today than it was when these dresses were originally manufactured. Polyester is ubiquitous nowadays and cheaper than the great cottons, silks and beloved rayons used in mid-century fashion. It takes much more time to construct garments using classic sewing techniques, and today’s clothes have as few details as the manufacturer can get away with so they can be sewn on a production line in a matter of just a few minutes!
It is the old construction techniques and those authentic fabrics that give the vintage garments the look we love so much about them! Part of it is the cut; yes, of course. But the charm of the vintage greats is achieved by *all* the details, not just a few of them. The price we can offer, since we have a sewing shop in Bali and not Paris or New York, makes these details accessible to a wider range of customers. (Although I still create dresses for the occasional, well-known celeb such as Katy Perry.)”
If you are interested in your own custom-made dress, contact us today! We offer a free consult with Katherine herself! Call 1 (208) 550-8055 or fill out a request form here: https://whirlingturban.com/contact/.