51 looks, cari borja clothesmaker collectibles / “caterpillar by day, butterfly by night” ~ coco chanel

“There is nothing more comfortable than a caterpillar and nothing more made for love than a butterfly. We need dresses that crawl and dresses that fly. Fashion is at once a catapillar and a butterfly, caterpillar by day, butterfly by night” ~ coco chanel 

Below are the remainders of some of my “best work” ~ a term that I’ve thought about lately as I’ve had a moment to reflect on those things that have been meaningful to me through the years… Many I hesitated to depart with, but the time has come for a sense of renewal. So, here are signature  fleeces that we re-imagined for the the Girl’s Festival, on the stage at Fort Mason in 2016; as well as a couple of Royal’s pieces from that same show ~ where she debuted her very first collection. There are gowns and kimonos inspired by Oscar De La Renta for an installation at the De Young and pieces that date as far back to My Fair Lady 2006 and others from the Unbearable Lightness of Being installation in 2014, a few from the Chez Panisse Collection in 2011 and others that have been shot for magazine covers, and on the runway time and again for Snow. A few remain from my collaborations with Jake Wall and Artful Gentleman ~ silk gowns and red tulle. Interspersed are a few vintage pieces, a turn of the century cape and Japanese kimonos… Included are the prices, original and marked down to get a sense of what it entails to have a truly local business and hand make every single piece at my 4th street atelier in Berkeley. I cannot thank enough the amazing assistant designers for the years that we collaborated ~ laughing + drinking, eating + designing ~ sharing our stories of the beauty and magic of making things ~ in particular Racheal Matthews, Joy Brace, Ashley McKinley and Katherine Summer O-Neal. I am beyond grateful for my collaborators as I am for all the friends and clients, near and afar who supported cari borja/clothesmaker ~ aka the House of Borja all these years… E-mail or text for inquiries and an appointment, and I’m hoping to also have an informal trunk show (or two) at our new home in Orinda to say hello, and good-bye to the rest of the wondrous pieces ~ letting them go and become anew in someone else’s hands… cari@cariborja.com / 510.915.1312  [FYI ~ they are all sold “as is” and the prices reflect their life span; and sizes are approximate. They are all bias cut and many of the knits fit a size range of 4-10. If interested in more than 2 pieces, a further discount applies.]

From the Chez Panisse Collection / #1. halter gown in brocade ~ $450 (orig. $950), size 6/8; #2. pink silk and tulle tiered skirt (can be worn as a strapless) ~ ~ $275 (orig. $750), size 8/10; #3. white cauliflower gown in lycra, silk metallic, chiffon ~ $400 (orig. $1200), size 6/8.



#4. purple satin halter gown w/hem detail ~ $375 (orig. $950), size 6/8; #5. red/white/blue cotton handkerchief hem gown ~$250 (orig. $650), size 6/8. #6. Wings of the Dove velvet/lace gown ~ $300 (orig. $650), size 8. #7. vintage orange/gold/check gown ~ $275 (orig. $550), size 4/6



#8. De Young/Oscar textured kimono $300 (orig. $550), size M/L. #9. black cowl (pictured below, too) $275 with red tulle skirt skirt $75 (orig. $175), no size. #10. red print novelty fabric gown $175 (orig. $350), size 4/6. #11. red fleece signature coat $450 (orig. $900), size M.



snow/ cream collection  …. #12. white SNOW collection gown $350 (orig. $850), size 8/10. #13. white novelty ruffled duster coat $500 (orig. $1200), size M. #14. cream fleece coat $450 (orig. $900), size M. #15. Cream short fleece hoodie $250 (orig. $450), size S/M.




“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today,
when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” ~ miuccia prada

#16. HRC runway gown in polka dot silk $250 (orig. $600), size 4/6. #17. black and white lycra MuMu dress $125 (orig. $250), No size. #18. Cream empire waist hoodie fleece with 3/4 length sleeves $225 (orig. $400), size M.



my fair lady collection (fashion shoot photos below by Claudia Goetzelmann, Gabriel Harber and Heike Liss) #19. Collectible My Fair Lady / sold together jacket $750, skirt $675. #20. pink stretch velvet drop waist dress $300 (orig. $650), size 10/12. #21. Chez Panisse burgundy/mustard textured empire hoodie coat $275 (orig. $650), size S. With orange/yellow peacock skirt $325 (orig. $650), size 8/10. #22. brown fleece empire hoodie / washed sample $125 (orig. $475), size M.



unbearable lightness of being / 50/50 light collection ~ #23. green painted silk ruffle vest $275 (orig. $650), size M. #24. marbled beige painted silk hoodie coat/cape with tulle hem $450 (orig. $950), size M. With brown/copper suede-like print Lacroix dress $250 (orig. $475), size 8. #25. blue/green/ marbled, stenciled cut-out cotton vintage textile jacket with pleated collar $275 (orig. $650), size S.




“Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.” ~ virginia woolf, orlando

purple/yellow/blue ~ a requiem for prince… and my favorite hooded alice waters hoodie wrap-jacket ~ #26. lavender with yellow lace hem halter dress $225 (orig. $475), size 6/8. #27. Yellow novelty boucle hoodie jacket with pockets $175 (orig. $425), size M. #28. Ode to Prince purple raw silke with black lace halter gown $325 (orig. $650), size 8. #29. turquoise silk jacket $275 (orig. $550), size S.



Basic BLACK / #30. black pin-stripe hooded pleet-back coat $275 (orig. $625), size M. #31. black fleece hoodie empire jacket $475, size M. #32. Black fleece signature ruffle coat $475 (orig. $900), size M. #33. navy blue fleece ruffle jacket $325, size M.



more black/gala pieces… #34. black sparkle Wings of the Dove gown / my own sample $175 (orig. $625), size M. #35. Missoni sparkle jacket / my own collection, $350 (orig. $750), body lining removed, size 8/10. #36. silk floral print duster $275 (orig. $550), size M. #37. my De Young Gala gown / sample $350 (orig./made to order $1100), size M.



“The dress must not hang on the body but follow its lines. When a woman smiles the dress must smile with her.”                          ~ madeleine vionnet


the classics / signature pieces ~ #38. grey/black print, wool blend tank top $75 (orig. $125), size 6/8. With black velvet pencil skirt, elastic waist $125 (orig. $195), size 6/8. #39. grey print wool blend signature cowl $225, size M. #40. beige italian wool signature cowl $275, size M. #41. black matte jersey cowl $150 (orig. $225), size S/M.


#42. lace novelty cowl from The Deep Sky (directed by Frazer Bradshaw, I costume designed/produced). Below, actress Sarah Rose Butler wearing the piece on set… $300, size S/M. With black tulle skirt $75 (orig. $175).


#43. vintage turn of the century cape (from 1890s) $750. With black pin-striped wool ruffle skirt from My Fair Lady collection $325 (orig. $750), size 8/10. #44. Basic black drop waist jersey dress, washed sample $75 (orig. $225), size M. #45 black printed chiffon bias shift dress from The Deep Sky $150 (orig. $250), size S.


vintage and royal borja collection ~#46. vintage Japanese kimono $175. #47. Cream brocade Christopher Collins Edwardian jacket made for St. Vincent’s Discarded to Divine runway auction, with peacock interior detail / from my inspiration collection $500, size S. #48. vintage “pretty in pink” kimono $275. #49 blue satin hand painted vintage chinese cheongsam / my collection, as is $150, size S.



the next generation ~ royal’s “royal collection” from the World Wide Women’s girls’ festival at fort mason ~ #50. Bleeched Nirvana t-shirt with back tie-up detailing $125, size M. With black tulle skirt $75 (orig. $175). #51. G-eazy bleached T-dress with tie-up detailing $175, size S. (this shirt was given to Royal by G-Eazy, through his creative director, for the creation of her collection).



“Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, i cannot see it, retain it, use it.” ~ twyla tharp

1 Comment

  • Reply March 12, 2018

    Cynthi Stefenoni

    My dear and talented friend: it is the most lovely thing to experience, this finding of the generous, talented, colorful, well spoken and lyrical human being that is you. Thank you for sharing it all with me and the rest of the world! I treasure my scarf from ‘The Deep Sky’ and can only hope that one day soon I’ll be a size 10 again and will buy and wear one of your gorgeous creations. Hope to see you soon. Cynthi

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