Five Fab Couture Connoisseurs

Five Fab Couture Connoisseurs

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Since we here at Cincy Chic love all things local and chic, we found five fashion-forward experts who are putting Cincinnati on the modish map.


Fashionable Angel of Mercy

From first glance, you wouldn’t think Donna Salyers is an angel of mercy — a fashionable woman, yes, but an angel? Well, that’s exactly what the pint-sized owner of Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs is.


“I began Fabulous-Furs to provide a luxurious option to animal fur. Amazingly, on my way to a fur salon where I planned to buy a full-length mink, I chanced to hear Paul Harvey describing kittens being skinned alive and sewn into ‘mink’ teddy 0708DEGROOT_FASHION.gifbears. It completely changed my thinking. Instead of buying a coat, I resolved to create an alternative. Education is the key. When people realize that animals are routinely skinned alive and far worse, just for their fur, they’ll agree faux fur is a great alternative,” Salyers says.


Nearly 20 years later, Fabulous-Furs’ designs have taken not only the faux-fur world by storm, but Hollywood as well. “[Our] designs have been on everything from The Sopranos, Law & Order, CSI: Las Vegas to The Today Show, The View and on Broadway in Wicked. Yet most Cincinnatians are unaware of Fabulous-Furs or the fact that we have a Covington showroom,” Salyers says.


The one piece Salyers is excited about? “Our “Carrie” coat! I was so struck by the fabulous clothes in the movie version of ‘Sex and the City.’ Immediately, our call center began receiving calls from customers asking when will we have a ‘Carrie’ coat.” They were referring to a vintage fur coat Carrie wore traipsing through the snow on New Year’s Eve. She threw it over her pajamas, topped with a beaded cap, evening bag and very high heels! “It’s just a fabulous image,” Salyers says. “We quickly developed the fabric and debuted our first sample at our ‘Veils & Cocktails’ runway fashion show event last month. It will be featured in several national magazines, and for the first time, we’re accepting advanced order ‘reservations’ for ‘Carrie’ until she officially becomes available to the public in October. The incredible reaction makes me think it will be a star!”


Cincy Chic featured Salyers in a “Chic Spotlight” back in 2007, but we wanted to remind everyone just how fashion-forward this angel of mercy to thousands of animals really is.


Click here to see a Webcast of Salyers. 



Mo Moa!
JoAnne Gerwe is an artist who has worked with all types of mediums, everything from paints to clay, but when she dabbled in the medium of fiber, she found her niche.


Gerwe — literally on a thread of inspiration and creativity took her vision and began knitting. She founded, a site where she could sell her as well as other artisans’ high-quality hand-knitted garments from some of the world’s finest organic fibers such as Cashmere, Alpaca, Guanaco, Buffalo and hand-dyed wools. Eventually, Gerwe opened a retail space, Moa HandKnits, Artisan Boutique, in Madeira. There, you’ll find Gerwe’s handmade designs as well as the work of other artisans such as Daniel Storto Gloves, Gretchen Walker Jewelry, Indie Collective Couture, Feel handbags and more.


So, why should you visit Moa? “Everything is handcrafted by American Artisans,” says Gerwe. “The quality of the items is exceptional and the designs are laid back, stylish, artistic and very wearable. At Moa Artisan Boutique, you will find luxurious yet laid back style in my label, Moa HandKnits. The collaboration of artists is fantastic and there is nothing like it in this region.”


Another reason why everyone should shop Moa is the unbelievable customer service you’ll receive from Gerwe, “The shopping experience is inspiring, relaxing and fun. Not to mention, I offer a high level of personal attention. I can create custom garments, and have a team of artists ready to collaborate at any given time. All of this enables me to be a master at resolving any style emergency.”


And here’s and insider scoop from Gerwe herself: Check out the “Feel Fall Collection” of handbags that just arrived. Gerwe collaborated with Indie Collective for wearables exclusive to Moa.

Sum-Sum-Summer Time
Summer Skrzelowski’s personality and physical appearance suits her name to a tee. The spunky hipster opened Suki’s doors on Ludlow Ave in Clifton back in 1997, but then moved her store front to the trendy Michigan Ave in Hyde Park in 2004. Skrzelowski travels to all the big cities
such as L.A. and New York to hand pick what she likes and thinks that her customers will like. Coincidently, that’s exactly what suki means in Japanese, “I like.” She comes back laden with unique European avant-garde pieces from designers such as Dries Van Noten, Vivienne Westwood, Hussein Chalayan, that can’t be found anywhere else in conservative Cincinnati. Definitely stop in Suki to see if Skrzelowski picked something you will like.

Click here to read the article in which Suki was featured in our “Peek-a-Boutique” issue earlier this year.

Prescription of Success
Optometrist Malinda Pence and her husband, Lane, have created a perfect mix at their Madeira Optical location
keeping their long-standing patients, while attracting new ones. The perfect balance was achieved as result of updating the retail space, and incorporating new technology and products.

The store offers more than 800 frame styles from top fashion houses such as Guuci, Modo, Prada, Kate Spade and Prodesign. So the next time you need to get your four-eyes on, Madeira Optical is the stylish place to get your prescription filled.

Opening Pandora’s Trunk
For many years, Diane Firsten made her living as a personal shopper for busy Cincinnati women, through Saks Fifth Avenue’s personal shopping service. But nowadays, those busy women make time for Firsten and visit her retail space, Diane Firsten Studio, in O’Byronville.

Firsten has made a name for herself, by globe-trotting to fashion shows around the world and bringing back designs from famous designers such as Valentino, Blumarine, Paule Ka, Bottega Veneta, Ralph Lauren and more, to showcase in trunk shows in her studio.

If you’ve got the dough to spend, go ahead and treat yourself to Firsten’s pristine private label, Italian-made suits that run into the four-figures. Why not? You’re so worth it!


First Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: The McAlpin
Makeup Artistry:
Charlie Greer
, Lancome Makeup Artist, Saks Fifth Avenue

Second Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: The McAlpin
Model: Lindsay Boggs

Hair: Jonathan Alon 
Accessories: Angora Web Wrap by Moa HandKnits, JoAnne Gerwe
Glitz Tankette and Silk Taffeta Skirt
Daniel Storto Gloves
All items available at Moa Artisan Boutique 

Makeup Artistry: Charlie Greer, Lancome Makeup Artist, Saks Fifth Avenue

Third Photo: Courtesy of Cincinnati Magazine
Fourth Photo: Courtesy of Madeira Optical