PART 2 OF A SERIES
Let me tell you about a hidden gem of a city where the fashions are haute, the sweet treats are cold, and a world-renowned work of art is green.
HAUTE: It is not surprising that New York and Los Angeles are the number one and two fashion capitals of America. However, you might be surprised at what city ranks third, behind those two cities. The #3 fashion hub of America is not in California...not in Florida…not in Texas. Surprise! Surprise! It is in the mid-western state of Ohio. Welcome to Columbus, Ohio.
|WELCOME SIGN AT COLUMBUS MUSEUM OF ART|
Several factors have played into that prestigious ranking. First of all, the Columbus College of Art and Design prepares students for the fashion industry; The College brings an array of diverse artists and designers to Columbus. The campus is located in downtown Columbus, adjacent to the 100-foot-tall ART sculpture at Cleveland Ave. and Gay St.
|100-FOOT TALL ART SCULPTURE|
Secondly, Columbus is the corporate headquarters of companies like DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) and L Brands (Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Work, Pink, Henri Bendel, and La Senza). In addition, there is a plethora of fashion designers (most per capita in the US) and an abundance of chic boutiques in the fashionable Short North District.
Fashionistas of the world take note: The WOMAN collection of Celeste Malvar-Stewart is to die for. WOMAN embodies the courageous struggle of all women and each piece is a link through time. There is symbolism interwoven within each piece. The hand-felted raw wool comes from the lovely Penelope, a Lincoln Longwool sheep raised on Prairie Fields Farm 20 miles outside of Columbus. It was naturally dyed from Tara trees. The glass chain mail symbolizes the idea that women have the choice to wear armor and the choice of when to put it on or when to remove it.
|MALVAR-STEWART’S SILK CHIFFON GOWN WITH RAW WOOL AND GLASS CHAIN MAIL|
Two nights every year, in the fashion capital of Columbus, creativity rules the night. During Highball Halloween, the nations most elaborate costume party, you can show your most honest self or become someone else entirely. This yearly event for the Halloween season bridges runway style with the culture of the Short North Arts District. Fashion designers, from around the world, are chosen through a rigorous selection process and are recruited year round for this couture costume fashion show. At Highball Halloween, you are what you wear.
|COUTURE COSTUMES TAKE THE STAGE AT HIGHBALL HALLOWEEN|
COLD: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams is a mandatory stop for an old fashioned sweet treat. Since 2002, Jeni Britton-Bauer has been making ice creams that are the real deal…inspired flavors that are made from whole fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and dairy products from grass-pastured cows and Ohio cream. No synthetic flavorings and ice cream mix for Jeni. Her often copied, but never duplicated 25+ flavors include names like Bourbon Salted Pecan, Cherries Jubilee, Pistachio & Honey, Brambleberry Crisp, Brown Butter Almond Brittle, and Churro.
JENI’S ICE CREAM SHOP AT NORTH MARKET
At Jeni’s North Market scoop shop (just inside the main doors on the east side of the market) I was told that Salty Carmel and Brown Butter almond brittle were the market shop’s best sellers. Personally, I favored the more exotic flavors like Wildberry Lavender, Candied Ginger and Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet. It was at the North Market, in 2002, that Jeni opened her first of the many shops that have since followed. My stop at Jeni’s North Market was followed four days later with a politically charged visit by Vice President Joe Biden and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. Biden devoured scoops of dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream, while Strickland polished off the best selling Salty Carmel.
MORE THAN 25 UNUSUAL FLAVORS AT JENI'S
GREEN: The Topiary Park, (aka Deaf School Park) dedicated in 1992, is a historic gem located at 480 E. Town St., on the original site of the Ohio School for the Deaf. The topiaries in this 7-acre park were the inspiration of James T. Mason, the sculptor and creator of the topiary interpretation of George Seurat’s famous post-Impressionist painting "A Sunday Afternoon On The Isle De La Grande Jatte".
|TOPIARY INTERPRETATION OF GEORGE SEURAT’S 1887 POST-IMPRESSIONIST PAINTING|
This famous 7’x10’ painting, that now hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago, shows people together at leisure in a park on an island in the River Seine, in Paris, France. The topiary figures, some ranging up to 12 feet tall, are composed of a variety of Taxus known as yews. The pond, upon which topiary boats sail, and live ducks swim, represents the river Seine.
|POND REPRESENTING THE RIVER SEINE IN PARIS, FRANCE|
“The Topiary Park,” James Mason proclaimed, “is a landscape of a painting of a landscape. … If an artist can paint a picture of a landscape — art mimicking nature — then why not a sculptor creating a landscape of a work of art—nature mimicking art? The topiary garden is both a work of art and a work of nature. It plays upon the relationships between nature, art and life.”
NATURE, ART, AND LIFE
The Topiary Garden has won many prestigious awards; has been featured in films; been featured in a special topiary exhibit in Paris; and has been named to the Smithsonian’s Archive of American Gardens. Today, the Topiary Garden in Old Deaf School Park is the only public park of its kind, not only in Ohio, but in the world as well. Admission is free.
JANET STEINBERG is an award- winning Travel Writer/Editor and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio