Philadelphia native Joan Calabrese never dreamed that the adorable dresses she once only designed for her daughters Marisa and Elena would end up being worn by flower girls around the world. “A relative who was very well-known in the couture circles, Tom Marotta, saw some of my designs for my kids and said, ‘You need to do something with this,’ and that’s how I started,” says Calabrese. As vice president of couture at Saks Fifth Avenue, Marotta certainly possessed a sixth sense for discovering design talent.
With Marotta in her corner, Calabrese set out to design a line of couture children’s clothing, and found great success. In 2008, Calabrese launched the slightly more accessible Joan Calabrese for Mon Cheri collection, a line of darling flower girl dresses sold at Fiona Children’s Special Occasion in Northern Liberties.
“I think that Joan has redefined good taste for young ladies—her designs are simple, well designed [and] well cut,” says Fiona’s owner Karen Clark. Pieces from Calabrese’s couture collection can also be found at the boutique and custom couture consultations are available. The Piazza at Schmidts, 1050 N. Hancock St., 215-467-4603