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Is That A Ralph Lauren Or A Jimmy Johansmeyer?

jj-195x292Uncovering all the great people, places, and things about Connecticut is my specialty, and have I got a gem for you this time. In West Haven, Connecticut, there is an actor, costume designer, and as it turns out, a guy who could possibly be the next Ralph Lauren, or any other famed fashion designer you’d care to name. Jimmy Johansmeyer has a talent off stage , and that is designing gowns, especially of a vintage nature.

How do I know this? Well he designed and made me this luscious lavender number. One day I challenged him to make a vintage gown for me, after all he’d been making costume after costume for years, so I thought he should try it. All I told him is that I prefer the 1940’s and 1950’s. He told me that was right up his alley. That’s all I told him. I said I don’t like to get in the way of artists. So he went into New York City picked out the fabric made the design and voila out came this gorgeous frock. Jimmy said he made it in two days, yes he did all the sewing, all the everything. It is completely designed as if it were from the 1950’s, complete attention to detail.

His inspiration for this was a gown worn by Ava Gardner when she was dating Frank Sinatra, and the sweatheart neckline on a gown worn by Marilyn Monroe in the 1957 movie “The Prince and the Showgirl.” How great is that? The corset is completely boned and the underskirt is as beautiful as the outside of the garment. Jimmy’s signature is polka dots, kind of a Doris Day thing, makes a gown a little less pretentious.

Jimmy is part of a dynamic theatrical duo, which includes Bert Bernardi that is called Pantochino, a traveling theater troupe on which I have previously written here on Annie Mame. That post is here.

Writing for Pantochino Productions is Joe Landry, whose take on life is a riot, love his stuff. Joe is pictured in the straw hat above. Incidentally the young guy standing next to me in the dress IS wearing Ralph Lauren, Colin Eastland is the son of a dear friend of mine who has since gone to a great part in the sky.

On a recent night in Old Saybrook, Connecticut at a gala for the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Jimmy gave an auction item and that was to design a gown, a wedding gown, a ball gown…a frock whatever. That item went for more than $1,000.00. I think others think he could be as big a deal as I think. We can all say we knew him when.

Go get ’em Jimmy, the world’s your oyster! How do you get a hold of Jimmy Johansmeyer? Right here: Email  jimjohan26@aol.com

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