Outerwear & Accessories
About our Studio
Coloratura was conceived on a hot summer morning in 1980 in a small Boston apartment, with a dream about earmuffs. Months later, after numerous design modifications and just in time for Christmas, D’ears Earmuffs appeared for the first time on a pushcart in Boston’s Quincy Market and a new business was born. By the following fall and winter the newly patented earmuffs were found all over the country in hundreds of diverse stores, from Bloomingdales and Macy’s to small boutiques, suburban specialty stores, craft shops, galleries, catalogs, New York Magazine and the cover of Women’s Wear Daily.
Years later and relocated to the Lebanon Valley of south central Pennsylvania, designer Alan Resnick and his staff produce a wide assortment of artfully decorative, functional and expertly crafted, woolen outerwear and accessories. All of the work is crafted in a 6000 sq. ft. restored 19th century barn.
Many of our customers will remember that we operated a Coloratura outlet store for 15 years in North Conway, New Hampshire. During the mid 1980’s we also maintained a store and pushcart in Baltimore’s Harborplace and a third pushcart in South Street Seaport in New York City.
Today, we exhibit at approximately 20 art fairs a year.
About our Outerwear and Accessories
In 1980, we introduced our first product, D’ears Earmuffs. It was awarded a design patent for its departure from the popular fur earmuffs, using fabric stretched over a foam pad, enabling the use of almost any fabric from velvet and velour to wool and cashmere.
After two years of making earmuffs, it was time for some new products. One day, in Quincy Market in Boston, I noticed the beautiful Woolrich fabrics that Sandy Bailey of Bailey Bundles was using to make pullover ponchos and thought I’d like to be working with those types of fabrics. I came up with some new ideas for capes, but not wanting to compete with Sandy, I approached her about my ideas. As it happened, she wanted to get out of the business as we wanted to get in and we became partners in capes for a year. Sandy went on to other endeavors and we had a new product line.
Our first scarves were simply cut and fringed fabric made to match our plaid earmuffs. Similarly, our first cape scarves were cut from fabric with no embellishments. During the cutting process, the capes left a long two inch strip scrap from the selvage. When the scrap bags began to fill up, I had an idea to piece them together combining different fabrics and colors and overlaying them with appliqués. They were the perfect complement for the capes.
In 1990, after 10 years of designing variations of earmuffs, capes and scarves, I wanted to create a new concept for us that combined outerwear with my background as an artist. My inspiration came from a magazine article about the new Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles. I thought that if someone could design a hotel inspired by Mondrian then I could design a coat in the same spirit. The first design was actually a cape and though it was beautiful, it got little attention. I thought the idea was still viable and gave it one more try and designed a straight, rectangular-shaped jacket, like an artist’s canvas, with a Mondrian-like pattern on the front, back and sleeves. The jacket was a huge, but short-lived success. A New York City garment district manufacturer, trolling through a craft show for ideas, stole the design and had it made in Eastern Europe at half the price. When a second manufacturer walked into our booth at another show and proudly announced that he had knocked off the knock-off we knew it was all over for that design. Especially when we learned that Nordstrom’s had purchased it. We decided our best recourse at the time was to keep designing increasingly complex designs that wouldn’t be cost effective to copy, with unusual fabrics that would be difficult to source. The strategy seemed to work because the knock-off attempts soon ceased.
We had gotten one good year out of the Mondrian jacket but the design eventually took on a life of its own and kept getting knocked off into such things as rainwear and windbreakers for several more years. It surfaced again as the original wool jacket at our local Sears about six years after our first design, near to where it began. That was the last stand for the Mondrian jacket and I never saw it again in a retail store, but it had propelled us into new directions and formed the future identity of Coloratura as an innovative designer of decorative, artful outerwear.
About our Studio
The Coloratura studio is located in a 150 year old restored bank barn surrounded by stonewalls and rolling farmland in south central Pennsylvania. The studio showroom is open by appointment throughout the year.
Art Show Schedule
Restoration & Repair