By ELLEN LEWIS
I love evaluating product with Claudia Ochoa, founder and creative director of the CLO Intimo brand. Every time we chat, she has a story to tell; her catalyst for a new collection of intimates. What appeals to me in these tales is how Claudia celebrates the Columbian culture and the women who inspired it. I have written several blogs about this since I discovered the brand some years ago when the iconic Fortuna chemise caught my attention. The brand, birthed in 2003, was one of the first labels to zero in on the bralette as a seminal piece of any retailer’s assortment. Clo remains a key supplier whose vision has stayed on message as this shape took hold and has now become a critical piece of many brand offers. Clo is a respected member of this key fashion niche.
When I sat down with Claudia for my Spring 18 Clo fix, I was particularly enamored by her story of the Palenqueras whose presence in the streets of Cartagena has become a symbol of the Columbian character. These women, in their colorful dress, handmade jewelry and baskets of ripe fruits often perched on their heads, may be tourist’s attractions today; but as descendants of the first free African slaves, their history represent “an incredible feat of human resistance”. They are highly revered as independent women reared by tough mothers whose drive and initiative helped deliver them from total impoverishment.
This summer, the Clo collection evolves into a narrative of color designed to emulate the fruity palette of the Palenqueras. Ripe hues saturate the current delivery of these bestselling groups: Selva in papaya, Fortuna in jungla, Noche in blanco, and Piel in blackberry. When merchandised together, perhaps in a basket of bralettes and panties on a countertop, they could recall a bounty of summer fruit ripe for the taking. Or, if you choose to dig deeper into Claudia’s insight, you might see how much more resides behind the infectious smiles of these hard working women. The feminine story is always more than meets the eye.
“Every Great Brand is Like a Great Story” ~Kevin Plank
Here is an interesting fact: Lavender repels scorpions. Here is the pertinent question: why does this matter? Well for one, here in Cabo where scorpions sometimes like to meander in from their desert habitat, it’s nice to learn that a simple, natural and actually very appealing herb can defeat this not so lovely annoyance. The first time I found a scorpion in my house, I was not a happy camper. Their reputation, based mainly on inflated history, had preceded them. I thought I could die. But truth be told, they are not as dangerous, at least the kind we confront domestically, as one would assume. It’s like spiders, they are fast, some can sting, and most of them are ugly, but it’s very rare to meet one that could do … Read more
It’s the 6th day of Hanukah and Christmas is 2 weeks away. Here I sit in Cabo San Lucas slightly disconnected from the seasonal hoopla that infiltrates our culture in the USA. In Mexico, the holidays are apparent, but much lower key. There are festivities planned at schools and one can see some decorations gracing major town squares; but frankly, the celebration is reserved. It takes place in churches and at home. Mostly, I have been made aware of a way of giving that is less commercial and more directed at enabling those in need. And yes, I do recognize that there are many, many efforts in America to support those less fortunate, but somehow the commercial demands of our society often take precedent. Here, the lack of fanfare … Read more
Saturday was the summer solstice and I spent it visiting my partner, Shirley at her home in Portsmouth, NH. We really didn’t do much but still, the weekend did not disappoint: perfect weather, ocean sunsets, sailboats, lobster rolls and homemade ice cream. It struck me that the very essence of the New England lifestyle is captured in the local vistas along this coastline. This is the berthing ground of nautical inspiration. Blue and white dominate the tone of life: blue denim, blue hydrangeas, blueberry patches, white linen, white daisies, and white picket fences. Traveling home now towards NYC, I am reminded of many summers spent in this maritime wonderland, so tranquil in this season and so fierce come winter. This dichotomy of serenity and severity are the very essence of … Read more
My personal pipe dream was to one day relinquish all the “stuff” that clutters our lives as we “grow up” and return to a lifestyle of simple aesthetics. For me, the more tropical climates answer that call. There is something about the heat and the light that influences the local complexion. There is a perpetual aura of contentment in the air. I first discovered this in my 20’s while vacationing in Columbia and once again it surfaces now in the seductive underpinnings of CLO Intimo. Inspiration comes from many places, but it is owner and creative director, Claudia Ochoa who shows us how the juxtaposition of color in provincial architecture has evolved into the eclectic designs of her bralets and panties. In this video, Claudia describes the origin of … Read more