Fashion designer Pam Braden Marks creates high-end fashion and art. I was excited to visit her studio to see her unique creations.
Jackets are one of the specialties of this La Jolla resident. Some of them have rhinestones on them with sayings like “I’m The Boss!” Look for one of these jackets on the red carpet at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. Other jackets have graffiti on them that are all meticulously hand-painted. I thought these were a must-have as are her handbags that are painstakingly hand-painted with art and sayings.
The studio is beautifully decorated by Pam with antiques and art that are super uplifting and inspiring. In addition to all these marvelous creations, Pam also makes art pieces. She collects pages from the tabloids such as the Star or People magazine and creates collages with saying and pictures about what is going on in society.
I asked Pam how she started in fashion and she said that her mother started her sewing at the age of 5. Her mother, who was creative and talented, inspired her to use her mind to be creative. “My mother always had me using my imagination and under her guidance, I felt I could design and produce anything,” Pam said.
Her first job was at Contempo Casuals in Fashion Valley when she was 14. She hung around older girlfriends who were chic and hot. She wanted to be part of this glam crew. Her mother, who owned an industrial silk-screening business, made all the girls T-shirts that
read, “A Million Dollar Baby, from a Million Dollar Store.” These were a big hit until they found out she was underage and they had to let her go.
She moved to Beverly Hills when she was 18 and landed her first real job at Fred Hayman at his Rodeo Drive boutique Giorgio. Famous and fabulous clients the world overcame in to have the “Giorgio” experience. She felt like she had died and gone to heaven. There were racks and racks of beautiful gowns from couture designers that she had never heard of but knew from the price tag that they were talented and important… so she took note.
Her next position was working for Herbert Fink on Rodeo Drive who owned Theodore, Theodore Man, Claude Montana, and Sonia Rykiel. This was such a fabulous time be in Beverly Hills. One day, Stanley Donen the film director of fashion movies walked through the door and two weeks later she married him at his former wife’s, house, Yvette Mimeux. Donen introduced her to Audrey Hepburn from “Funny Face,” and to this day it is still her favorite movie.
She met her second husband, Gregg Marks, working at Audemars Piguet. He was a CEO of a public company that manufactured women’s apparel, shoes and also had retail operations, (Nine West, Anne Klein, Stuart Weisman, Barney’s NY, etc.)
I wanted to know when she started her own business. She said: “I was at my house in Westchester, N.Y. during a snowstorm and picked up one of my handbags and started to paint. Everywhere I went people were complimenting me on my bag and inquiring where I purchased it. So little by little I started painting handbags for customers and tried different things as well.”
If you would like to make an appointment to see these amazing creations, email her at [email protected]
Aug. 12-14: San Diego Swim Week showcases luxury swimsuits and will be located at 1040 7th Ave. For tickets, visit sandiegoswimweek.com.
Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned Couture Milliner based in the San Diego area. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at www.DianaCavagnaro.com.