Vintage inspiration


On most Saturday afternoons, Marie Albano DDS can be found at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, dancing to her own distinctive beat. We caught up with her as she was getting ready to ride off in her 2009 laser jet blue Corvette. The vintage textile, clothing and accessory collector, known as “fashion diva” to her friends, was dressed for versatility and style.

Over a black v-neck leotard and tights from Footsteps in North Olmsted, Albano dressed up her look with an altered couture skirt, sewn from two children’s skirts, and costume watch and bracelet from Coronet Jewelers. The Lakewood dentist credits her accessories as statement pieces that start conversations. 

And while the skirt speaks to her creativity, and the accessories to her elegance, her red faux croc handbag and the tap shoes on her feet speak to her personality. The dentist by day said, “I like to be noticed when I walk into a room." She then went on to add, “It’s not clothes, it’s art.” This attitude is definitely reflected in the way in which Albano edits her outfit choices, with imagination and confidence. 

As the fashion curator for the Westlake Historical Society, Albano cites history as one of her most important style inspirations. She has over 300 purses dating back to the 1850s. And her favorite coat is from the 1800s, on which she has adorned over 300 collectible buttons. 

But when it comes to out-of-the-box, unique, vintage heirloom apparel, Albano claims no one does it better than Barbie, whom she views as the ultimate independent woman doing it all with style. “Barbie had a job, had a car, had style and most of all, she never had to marry Ken," she said.

Her eclectic style often takes Albano to the many thrift stores in the area. This is where she finds materials for her altered couture. She also frequents T.J. Maxx for “variety, volume and value." Eli Tahari, 30s bias cuts, collectable pieces from the civil war era and juicy couture are just some of Albano’s favorite closet staples. 

“If Marie Antoinette can wear big hair and great clothes, why can’t we?” Albano challenges. “Release your inner child. Life is too short to not wear a good outfit everyday.” 

This attitude calls for all of us to pause in our hectic days and pay more attention to what the world has to present us and how we are presenting ourselves to the world. Ultimately, Albano is telling us to take pride in ourselves and seize the day.

Friday, July 16, 2010