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Far left: Ann wears forest green polkadot charmeuse pants,
($168); gold rayon jersey ($40); silk chiffon scarf in hair,
($45), available at Collected Works. Jeff wears grey
pleated pants ($7); grey striped vest ($8), available at
ReBop; full-tux jacket ($75), available at Cat's Meow.
Above: Ann wears Rebecca
Voile blouse ($59); black
wool skirt ($122); rayon
beaded hat ($33), available at
Collected Works. Jeff wears
black chemical pants ($26)
and striped tie ($3), available
at Cat's Meow.
Near left: Ann adds a full-tux
men's jacket ($75) and Derby
hat ($22), available at Cat's
At right: Ann wears a boater
hat ($21); off-the-shoulder
shirt ($27); triple strand pearls
($20); lace skirt ($28). Jeff
wears German army tank top
($7) and some of his own
worn-out classically vintage
jeans. All clothing available
at Cat's Meow.
g Who needs Paris? Local designer finds
Ann Arbor fashionably rewarding
Chicago, but would sometimes do
work outside of the Chicago area. I
knew some people in Ann Arbor and
I got a call to do a wedding for the
owners of Escoffier. I got such a
positive response, and saw that there
was a wide open market here, that it
was a friendly, open community that
I thought, why not move here?
Q: In retrospect, was it a good
A: Oh, yeah. Ann Arbor has a
nice climate for fashion in that there
is all this newness and growth be-
cause of the University. You can
never saturate your market.
Q: Do you have a large student
A: We get a pretty decent student
response. We do special occasions,
frat formals, stuff like that. We also
have a bridal business and we defi-
nitely get a student response to that.
Q: Let's back up for a second.
How exactly does the studio work?
A: Well, we create design sam-
ples that people can order and we
also do custom design from scratch.
People either call up for a consulta-
tion or come in to browse.
Q: So what are the trends you
are working with now?
ing with for the fall and winter.
A: I'm using a lot of rayon and
gabardine. Rayon seems to be the
new fabric. It's comfortable and
more durable than silk. I'm also us-
ing a lot of gold and metallicy fab-
rics, especially for the holidays
which is the one time when Ann
Arbor really dresses up. In general,
it's a pretty casual town. * .
For the winter fashion, I'm try-
ing to achieve a little softer look.
That whole big shoulder pad look
has kind of faded. I think the look
should be a little more unstructured,
collarless blouses with zippers, stuff
Q:What about colors?
A: I don't like bright colors. I
think good colors for winter are rust,
forest green and brown. Brown is the
new black for this year. Black has
been done and done and done. Well, I
do still use a lot of black. you don't
have to compete with black and you
can be a little more extravagant with
Q: Are most of your clients
A: Yes. I'd say it is about 80
percent female and 20 percent male.
ThsrP is n mnrh omnllpr mn1P mareta
vertising because there is just a se-
lect group of people interested in
custom clothes. We get anywhere
from one to about six or seven peo-
ple in here a day, and I have two or
three assistants working. We also do
periodic shows in the winter, and
some for charity. The students also
help pass the word around because
they leave. For example, I made an
outfit for one student who spent a
semester in Paris. She said people
stopped her on the street and asked
her where she got the outfit. I hit in-
ternational without even knowing it.
Q: So business is good.
A: Business is great. We have no
problem selling. But Ann Arbor is
not a market you can pinpoint
easily. People say 'oh, here are a lot
of young people with money from
home, but the thing is they don't
necessarily spend it on clothes.
Q: Speaking of which, how ex-
pensive are your designs?
A: It's custom clothing so it's
not cheap. But we're trying to com-
pete with moderate prices. Well
maybe moderate isn't the word but
I'd say high range medium. It also
depends on the order, a ball gown
can rang envwhere from 1AA to
Originally from Saginaw, Ann
Arbor fashion designer Larry Rehak
graduated from the Chicago Art Insti-
tute and stayed in Chicago for sev-
eral years, working as a solo de-
signer. Five years ago, Rehak re-
turned to Michigan and set up shop
d* in Ann Arbor. He started off by
nequins dominate the center of the
floor, several fashion ideas draped ca-
sually over their shoulders. To their
left stands a pink and green neon-
glass showcase. "I'm a real collector
of 40's and 50's stuff," Rehak ad-
Rehak is gracious and polite,
doesn't really open until 11:00.
After a hesitation, he disappears be-
hind a curtain, which shields the
workshop, and returns apologetically
a second later.
Rehak recently spoke with Week-
end reporter Mike Sobel.