In serious fashion cliques, the name Claudia Fowler is held in awe. She is hands down one of the most creative people I have ever met. Step into her quaint store, Haven: Sanctuary of Style in Franklin and you’ll understand what I am talking about. Every corner holds a pearl of beauty–it’s as if the real Wizard of Oz came to life and created a fantasy world to rival the Emerald City.
Her swirls of creativity permeate the old pre-civil war building she occupies and my guess is, she makes it all happen as easily as if she’s waved a magic wand.
On my recent trip to Haven, I pinned down Claudia to interview her about her career as a fashion stylist and fashion trend-spotter. I wanted to know two things: who influenced her career and whom does she consider to be her muse? As expected, she comes by it honestly, having been born into a family of shop owners from Lafayette, Louisiana. Her grandmother owned a children’s store, and Claudia herself owned two stores called Pastel, prior to owning Haven, which opened circa 2006.
As for her muse, the real influence in her life was none other than her father, Scotty Robertson. (Side note: If you’re one of the very few guys reading StyleBlueprint on a regular basis, Scotty Robertson is a huge deal in the world of basketball. He started at the bottom and worked his way up and can be credited with recruiting Pistol Pete Maravich. He ended up coaching the Phoenix Suns.)
Claudia describes her Dad as the Lady Gaga of men’s fashion–flamboyant, I think, was the word she used. His dapper dressing was the talk of the court and fans couldn’t wait to see what Scotty would wear to each game. Scotty taught Claudia to love fine things and to value craftsmanship and quality. If you’re one of those women out there who considers her dad to be the catalyst in her career and life, you get it. Dads make a huge difference. And knowing the back story, it’s easy to see how Haven has come to be.
Claudia has been a stylist to some of the biggest names in country music, and while that part of her career is on the wane, she loves keeping her hand in it through her store. Think of it this way, when you buy at Haven, you get Claudia. She describes her store as one where she buys vertically with lots of brands and doesn’t buy lots of sizes. So if you see something you want, grab it. I was amazed at how much of what I photographed on my first visit had already been sold.
When asked what we can expect from this spring, she took a nanosecond to think and rattlled off style points we will want to remember: gorgeous detail, soft textures and subtle colors. Claudia just returned from a recent buying trip from Paris, and as she walked through Haven pulling out a dress here and a jacket there, she would say, “Just look at the detail in this seam. Feel the soft flow of the leather. Don’t you just love red and pink together?” Honey, I love it all!
Last year’s sparkly bling is being replaced by softness, fringe, retro-distressed looks. If you’re buying leather, be sure to employ Claudia’s “hand test” to see if it passes muster when it comes to softness and a buttery feel. Yum!
Claudia’s eye for drama and contrast can be seen in every inch of her store. Whether it’s a simple dress display or something to celebrate the coming of a new season, Haven is worth the drive south. Even at $3.50 a gallon.
Suffice it to say, we think Haven: Sanctuary of Style rocks.