Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chic Wearable Art for the Everyday Woman at Any Age

Owner/Designer, Naida Begeta modeling her asymmetrical ribbon-made dress/tunic
Among the boutique-heavy thoroughfare of Beverly Boulevard, an inventive little gem of a shop sits at 7227 Beverly Boulevard, evoking the independent but innovative spirit of the owner/designer and namesake.
Naida Begeta named her new-found boutique after her cinematic idols, Kao Pao Shu, a Hong Kong marital arts actress who became one of the women pioneers to direct Kung Fu movies. To honor her hero's fierce intelligence and drive, Naida named her brand new shop after her.
The fan of the Kung Fu actress, Naida Begeta, has her own compelling story that is reflective in her equally intriguing design collection.

Naida modeling the back of the ribbon-constructed dress/tunic
When the Bosian War broke out twice in 1992 and 1995, she fled to the more stable environs of Olympia, Washington, spent her teenage years at Olympia High School participating in the Fellowship of Reconciliation Project. Two years later, she returned to Sarajevo then enrolled in the University of Sarajevo, Academy of Fine Arts in the Product Design Department. This is where her design aesthetics took off.

A faux-pleated, ribbon-constructed strapless dress
In between classes and studies, she started twiddling with twill-woven ribbons and strips, instinctively learning the nature of how the ribbons would twist and turn while she sews each strip of ribbons together into a cloth. Starting out with handbags that are easier to control, Naida launched her first fashion endeavor, "STRIPE UP YOURSELF," a handbag line, in addition to her college studies and existing part-time job as an assistant curator at the Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Arts (SCCA).

A Ric Owensque Outfit with matching Tote Bag

She further finessed her eye for fashion when she segued into fashion styling for editorial shoots and films in Sarajevo. She recuited two friends, Irma Saje and Vanja Ciraj, to help her start and manage the clothing collection that would evolve into Kao Pao Shu.

Ribbon-Constructed Halter Dress

As soon she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Naida and her knowledge of ribbon structure really took off when she landed in Milan, Italy. Figuring why not expand into apparel, she pleasantly discovered that her twill-woven ribbons constructed at 45 degrees, bend, twist, and conform around a woman's bodily curves comfortably without being constrictly tight.

Ribbon-constructed bags, scarf, and wrap dress
By sewing the ribbons together into a garment, she discovered her cloth of ribbons give this trompe l' oeil effect of fooling the viewer in thinking that garment is pleated or themally-pressed when it is not. This caught the eyes of buyers in Milan and Tokyo.

After establishing her brand there then getting married to Italian, Marco Schillaci, a commercial director, the young couple decided to expand their horizon and she, her market by moving to Los Angeles.

The brand, Kao Pao Shu, finally nested at 7227 Beverly Boulevard.

Ribbon-constructed Mini Wrap Skirt, goes great with a black turtleneck

Playing around and trying on the garments, Naida noted that, due to the bias-weaved nature of the ribbons, one same outfit looks uniquely different on numerous people because the ribbons take on and adapt to that person's individual curves. This offers the specialty of tailoring without the stiffness and fit of Lycra without the tight stretch.

With Naida's avant-garde art background and cosmopolitan upbringing, her collection put forward an intellectual urbanity and sculptured construction that a trendy but sharp Baby Boomer woman is searching for, a fashion-forward but sophisicated clothes, evolving with her figure and life but puts her ahead of the fashion pack.

If you want to see more of Naida's handiwork, you go to or drop by for a visit at 7227 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, the next time you are visiting the neighborhood of West Hollywood. You can even give her a call at (323) 937-0081.

Investing in a Kao Pao Shu piece is like investing in a piece of art, because it is.

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