The Phoenix Bird Always Rises

The Phoenix Bird Always Rises


The entire world fell mute as I listened intensely, holding my breath.

Crisp, clear sounds of stainless steel scissor blades crisscrossed rhythmically as they sliced across the precious piece of knitted wool.  This “music to my ears,” brought chills to my spine.

Aaahhhh…Nirvana itself, I thought, feeling refreshed by that sacred sound.

Watching the refined atelier work at the house of Chanel, via YouTube, was as nurturing to my heart as moist dewdrops upon parched skin. I am deeply in Love with my work.  And like basking in a slow, cool breeze after a long heat wave, returning to my primal love of designing couture is revivifying to my very core.

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This must be how fellow couturiere, Coco Chanel, felt.

When Coco rebuilt her atelier in Paris, after a hiatus lasting a decade and a half, it must have been a deep satisfaction to her.  It certainly is to ME.  Analogous to Coco Chanel’s reappearance, I am about to have my own “return.”  Mine, however, is more of a “Renaissance.”  It’s a re-birth like the mythical Phoenix Bird in Harry Potter, who, after bursting into flames, reforms his body from the pile of ashes that now enrich his being.  But the flames that I have experienced are not flames of destruction, but rather, flames of passion for a fashion legend named Billy Travilla.  I invested 8 years to develop my Travilla projects, now lined up to begin launching in 2017.

The return to, and re-launch of, Kimberley Ashley Haute Couture this spring, will mark 25 years that I have been designing couture.  No sooner had I begun making plans to resume my collections, when, in a few days time, I found myself with three new impressive couture clients and orders for 21 of my designs. KAHC

During the duration that I worked upon my Travilla projects I had set aside all client work.  That is … until I made a one-time exception for one exceptional woman.  Her name is Sharon Lechter and she is the only person for whom I made an exception during that window of time.  Sharon is best known for the NY Times-best-selling book she co-authored with Robert Kiyosaki, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” a book which has sold an incredible 26 million copies since it’s 1997 release.

Sharon LechterAlthough Sharon resides in Paradise Valley, Arizona, as old acquaintances, we ran into each other in New York during the 2009 annual Book Expo at the Jacob Javitts Center.  Sharon asked me to design an outfit for her book launch event, entitled “Three Feet from Gold,” co-authored with Greg Reid.  I could not say “no” to such a sincere request, made by an endearing and empowered woman.

My work for this fabulous author is quintessential Kimberley Ashley Haute Couture Style, with all the hallmarks of my brand.  Pausing my Travilla work for a month, I set out to design a powerful look for this female tour-de-force.  After the two of us discussed Sharon’s book cover, for style and color, I went to work designing 7 suits to choose from, that would work for the individual features of this petite blonde.  I took Sharon’s initials, “SL,” and utilized them to design a logo that also reflected a dollar sign and British Sterling Pound symbol.  My custom logo for her also represented financial literacy, which I know is Sharon Lechter’s heartfelt life purpose.  In keeping with her book title’s reference to “gold,” I hired a jeweler to cast the buttons, engraved with my custom logo for this client, in sterling silver, and had him hand-dip these in gold.

So, technically, it could be said that Sharon was NOT like her book title describes, “Three Feet from Gold,” but rather, pressed right up against it, while wearing my couture.

KAHC Coral SuitMy final stage wardrobe designs for Sharon Lechter’s 3-day California book launch event included an elongated black silk faille Kimberley Ashley suit jacket; both lined, as well as trimmed, with an intense ruby-red silk charmeuse.  It featured the genuine gold buttons down the front, and silver/gold cuff links with her logo.  I also had her logo subtly embroidered in gold thread upon the back center of her stand up jacket collar, since that area represents the voice.  I created a luxurious hand-worked couture skirt in black silk faille and a pair of gracefully draped palazzo pants, both lined in that red silk charmeuse.  I included a silk charmeuse blouse with those gold “SL” logo cuff links.

Although I deeply enjoyed designing stage wardrobe for my friend Jackie Jackson’s brother, Michael Jackson, in the 1990’s; this stage design for Sharon was deeply personal and meaningful to me in specific ways.  This client’s message of empowerment to her human family holds a distinctive meaning that is near and dear to my own heart.

Translating that meaning into beauty via visual design is what ferries me into Nirvana … even as I listen to the sweet sounds of steel blades slicing their way serenely across soft silk.

To see the collections of KAHC and more photos of Travilla and Marilyn Monroe visit her FB Page KAHC/ Website / 

[This article is the second of a 12-part series of articles by Kimberley Ashley for 2015. Next month see her article, “Billy Travilla’s World; The Envy Of Danielle Steel.” Stay tuned for her upcoming articles on Billy Travilla and his design muse Marilyn Monroe.] 


AZ / KAHC / Sharon photos / croquis