Karen Moore is a walking fashion statement, the keeper of a personal style so strong that she's managed to shape it into a local retail temple of rich, delicious, quirky interior design. And when her business, DjUNA, a two-story tribute to shabby chic and modern vintage style, first hit Cherry Creek North several years ago, most customers left the store bewitched by the notion of such masterful self-expression. And they always came back wanting more. "For several years," Moore says, "I'd have clients come in, and they'd see our fabrics and the way I was dressed and tell me, 'You should try selling clothes.' And I always said to myself, 'Yeah, right.' But these days, things are different in the retail world. I started to think that it might not be such a bad idea."
So, assisted by her daughter and by local environment-transforming wizard Lonnie Hanzon, she set about designing the Boutique, a store-within-a-store that reflected her famous sense of style. Of the new shop, an airy, frescoed and muraled upstairs space, Moore says, "We wanted it to feel like a surprise, like you just stepped into something you weren't expecting, like a secret garden. And I knew I couldn't pull it off without help from someone who's pretty magical himself. That was Lonnie."
After feverish weeks of preparation, the Boutique opened with a trunk show June 5, to an overwhelming response: Two weeks later, Moore complained that her initial stock was virtually cleaned out, though more was on the way. What worked?
"One client came up to me that first day and asked me how in the world I managed to put together clothes that look like DjUNA," Moore says. "But we did. We just tried to take that funky, vintage, romantic, unique look and translate it into fashion. Most of the lines I'm carrying have what I think of as a European look -- layered, somewhat rumpled, somewhat vintage-y, but not completely. Also, I think I'm carrying enough lines not already available in Cherry Creek. It's a challenge, especially when you're surrounded by thirty other clothing boutiques."
"And," she adds, offering a nod to the larger ladies of Denver, "almost everything comes in sizes bigger than three inches square!" What a relief. The Boutique is upstairs at 221 Detroit Street; for information, call 303-355-3500 or go to www.djuna.com. -- Susan Froyd
Take Your Dog to Work Day is unleashed
Bipeds should prepare for canine chaos in the office today: It's the sixth annual Take Your Dog to Work Day, a national event created by Pet Sitters International. "The idea is to celebrate the companionship of dogs and to encourage dogless co-workers to adopt a pet of their own from a local shelter," says Sheila Smith, spokeswoman for PSI, a North Carolina-based trade association for professional pet-sitters. "We've definitely seen an increase in adoptions in the past few years, but there are still so many dogs and cats out there in need of good homes."
PSI offers several tips on how to make a pooch's trip to the office a successful one. First and foremost, get it approved by your company in advance, as some work environments aren't exactly dog-friendly. Second, pack a bag with food and fresh water, a leash, treats, a blanket or bed and a favorite toy. And finally, make sure that an outdoor area has been established where dogs can do their business.
"For the most part, people are willing to give it a try for the day. We hear a lot of success stories," says Smith. "But people need to know that they are responsible for their dog's behavior. That includes cleaning up whatever mess they might make."
Giving Hand a Hand
Cammen Lowstuter had attended only two singer workshops at Colorado Free University when she found herself crooning Irish love songs in one of late director John Hand's theatrical inspirations. This was in the early days, before Firehouse Theater, the community group founded by Hand, evolved from its roots in CFU workshops to a more structured format. Lowstuter notes that Hand, who also founded CFU and the Capitol Hill People's Fair, was always looking for performance potential. "You would meet him, and he saw ten things he could do with you," she says. "John believed in you so much, it almost seemed impossible not to believe in yourself."
Tonight, Firehouse members will stage a benefit for the John Hand Theater Fund, performing excerpts from eleven productions that Hand either directed or produced, including his own musical, Tallulah, as well as What's Love Got to Do With It, the work in which Lowstuter made her Celtic debut. The event marks what would have been Hand's 56th birthday.
The show begins at 8 p.m. at the Lowry Firehouse, 7653 East First Place in the Lowry neighborhood; tickets can be purchased in advance through CFU ($25) or at the door ($30). Along with the performance, guests may attend a silent auction at 6:30 p.m.; refreshments will be served. Call 303-399-0093 or visit www.freeu.com for details. -- Caitlin Smith