Barbara Jean from California Client Stories

A Dream Fulfilled in Paris

By Barbara Jean in California

Barbara Jean in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris, wearing Ivey Abitz.
Barbara Jean in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris, wearing Ivey Abitz.

It has always been a dream of mine to visit Paris.

When I think of Paris, I find myself imagining all the creative and passionate souls that have walked these streets, sat in these cafes, and lived their dreams out in this city.

When you dream of something so intensely, it is no wonder that the Universe begins to arrange things to bring your dream into reality.

I knew that I would be traveling to Paris to walk those streets myself. What I didn’t know was that my perfect wardrobe for walking those streets would be created by another creative and passionate soul, our dear Cynthia, along with all of the talented hands and hearts at Ivey Abitz!

When I found these clothes, it was immediately apparent to me that they were clothes that were made to be worn, made to be walked in, and I could hardly wait to wear them for my grand adventure in Paris.

When my first package arrived, I had to quickly put my new ensemble on and go for a walk! How good they felt, so comfortable and yet elegant. Timeless, yes, that is the right word for these creations – timeless.

What stood out for me in my experience of wearing Ivey Abitz Bespoke clothing in Paris was a feeling of “traveling through time,” especially as I walked the avenues in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, seeking out the names of those creative and passionate souls that I had admired for their writing, their dancing, their bravery, their love of life. I felt as if I were stepping back in time, walking along with them. It was a truly wonderful moment in time, unrepeatable as moments like these are.

“We’ll always have Paris,” it is said. And so, as I wear my Ivey Abitz wardrobe here in my home in the United States of America, I know that the dream lives here in my own heart.

As I walk my dreams into reality, I will be wearing my Ivey Abitz clothing, traveling into the future while honoring the grace and courage of the past.

– Barbara Jean from California

Client Stories Lynn-Jane from Washington DC

Traipsing Round the World in My Traipse Shirt

Traipse Shirt by Ivey Abitz
Traipse Shirt by Ivey Abitz

I love my Traipse shirt and its beautiful fabric of tiny knitted flowers (look closely) in a beautiful, rich black colour. It is so soft and cuddly.

It is the perfect piece to be wearing when one is visiting cuddly bears! More on the Traipse shirt in a moment. But first some background on the cuddly bears.

This May, I once again narrated a children’s show for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. These concerts are for the youngest members of the NSO audience. (“Is there a concert for me? I’m only three!”)

The concerts are called “Teddy Bear Concerts” and the children are allowed to bring their stuffies with them. There is also an instrument “petting zoo” before the show begins, with musical instruments for the audience to play, touch, and hear. A very nifty idea, I think.

Teddy Bear Concerts come in differing programs but I like to think that our program is special, for it is the only one about bears! Through poetry, music, and visuals, we visit different bears in their native countries. The music illustrates the country. For example, “Waltzing Matilda “ represents Australia and “Reel O’ Tolloch” represents Scotland. We visit 6 countries and I, as the storyteller, use accents from each country for the poetry.

Huge pictures of the bears we are visiting are revealed as we arrive in Scotland, Peru, USA, the Arctic Circle, Bulgaria, Australia, China, and even outer space for a robot-like space bear!

The wonderful thing about this concert is that it appeals on many levels. Adults find it fascinating to learn that all the bears that we see through the program are endangered, and that there is only one bear native to South America – the Spectacled Bear. We know that Koalas are marsupials and not bears, but we don’t let too many facts spoil the image of those lovely creatures as the musicians play “Matilda” and we sing along!

I love doing these shows…so much fun! We worked very hard to make it fun and educational, and the audiences have truly enjoyed it. We did it for the first time last year at the Kennedy Center, took it on tour twice, and then once again this year at the Kennedy Center. There is talk of future performances and all of the concerts have, thus far, sold out!

It is a pleasure to bring music to children. Some even get up and dance. We go with the flow, and the musicians are a delight to work with as are our audiences. Some of the children who have heard this concert when we are on tour have never heard live music before (please see my previous blog entries).

So, where does my Traipse Shirt come in?

The first year at the Kennedy Center, I wore my ever favourite Solomon Jacket in silk weave with a black skirt. [See Lynn-Jane’s bloggings from her 2010 NSO tour.] This year for the tour and the four shows in D.C., I wanted something new from the wonderful IA collection. I had to have a new piece that would travel easily and be easy to move and dance in.

Once again, I asked Cynthia’s advice, and, as usual, her suggestion was perfect. We decided that MY Traipse would be more of a jumper. That is one of the lovely things about IA designs: the flexibility and collaboration of CIA (Cynthia) and the patron. CIA? Isn’t that funny? I call her “Couturier Cynthia Ivey-Abitz.”

At my request, her seamstress made the shirt extra large and loose. I could roll up the sleeves for our “trek,” and I wore it for all four concerts and for a few concerts on tour. It worked beautifully. Cozy, comfortable and beautiful. A lovely black knit that looked perfect on stage!

A couple of the musicians remarked that they had not noticed the pattern on the weave until they saw the shirt closer, and that it was a perfect choice, as most of their wardrobe was in blacks and greys with touches of colour. My Scottish pin of feathers and thistle added the perfect bit of colour to my shirt/ sweater and was an appropriate piece for visiting Scotland.

So, that is how I “traipsed” around the world with CIA. Not undercover, but in the Family Theatre at the Kennedy Center. What a joy!

I leave you with a few lines of the poetry from the show. Adding a bit of a Chinese inflection (little ears cannot hear subtle differences in accents and there are so many in the show, thus I suggest them only). Lots of accent work and listening to tapes as I had to “get it right.” What more could one ask for? Great work, challenging work, neat stuff for children, super audiences, and a lovely new sweater.

Have you ever seen a bear so cute?
He lives in China – a far commute.
You may take a little snooze,
While pandas play in tall bamboo!

My thanks to Paula for the lovely poetry and my colleagues, Lewis, Elizabeth, Paula, and Joe for the wonderful music.


Lynn-Jane Foreman
Actor/ voicework

Client Stories Deborah in Rhode Island

NYC in Ivey Abitz and Memories of a Fashionable Great-Grandmother

by Deborah in Rhode Island

Travels with my new Solomon Skirt: My VW Bug and I made it to Brooklyn by early evening on Saturday. A 9 p.m. dinner at Luz with friends and I’m still wearing my lovely Solomon Skirt. I feel luxurious in it – designed by Cynthia Ivey Abitz and made perfectly for me by extraordinary hands. Not a wrinkle from sitting in a car for four hours. A sip of my minty Mojiito and I feel positively glamorous.

It was exciting news when Ivey Abitz moved to New York City. NYC is one of my favorite places to visit and I imagine that it’s such a wonderful opportunity for a designer. Much of Cynthia’s “look” reminds me of my great-grandmother, Emma. She was born in the late 1800’s and went to Pratt Institute to study Fashion Design. My mother remembers her well – very tall, very slim, very elegant, and very fashionable.

Apparently she missed NYC after she left Pratt so she often took her daughter (my grandmother) with her to NY for weekend trips. Emma continued this tradition with my mother who remembers walking around NYC for hours and hours hoping that Emma would get tired of walking, shopping, etc. My grandmother and mother kept up the tradition and showed me around NYC as a young girl, and those are some of my best memories. I think that I was fascinated by remarkable clothing early on – my great-grandmother’s legacy. I still have a beautiful and very heavy crocheted lace skirt and jacket that belonged to her – it is amazing how small waists were! And how tall she was! When I heard of Ivey Abitz’s move to NYC, the memories of my fashionable great-grandmother, Emma, came immediately to mind. She would have looked spectacular in Ivey Abitz.

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