Designer style

Isha Ferris at Lipstick Fashion Boutique

Fashion boutiques are fast becoming chic business in Reno, and Isha Ferris is at the forefront of making Reno a town with designer style.

Fashion boutiques are fast becoming chic business in Reno, and Isha Ferris is at the forefront of making Reno a town with designer style.

Photo By David Robert

If you wear clothes, you know that putting together a faultless and fabulous outfit is an art form—unless you just don’t care about fashion at all and the perfect outfit to you means whatever can get you service at the corner quickie mart. Fashion, however, is an art that remains elusive to the vast majority of us. Fortunately, though, fashion boutiques in Reno are quickly becoming as chic as any BCBG sheer warp cardigan, and there is an emerging range of fashion possibilities available to Renoites that they just can’t get from JCPenney, Old Navy and, heaven forbid, Wal-Mart.

With the boutique comes the fashion-savvy boutique owner, and Lipstick Fashion Boutique owner Isha Ferris is about as style-astute as they come—it doesn’t hurt that she’s tall and statuesque, an ideal model for all the clothing she sells. Without any formal training, Ferris’ eye for design developed thanks to her “elegantly funky” mom and also to her zeal for shopping.

“I’m just a diehard shopper,” Ferris says. “I’m one of these people who had to have head-to-toe accessories. All my girlfriends would come over, and I would dress everybody … That evolved into this fashion business.”

Liptick Fashion Boutique, 333 S. Arlington Ave., has only been Lipstick since Ferris bought out her partner in March 2004. Before that, it was Ciao Bella. Before opening in 2002, Ferris was in health insurance and knew nothing about retail or business. Ferris plans to open a new store mid-October at Double Diamond, called Pout by Lipstick.

“I’m excited about getting on that end of town,” Ferris says. “People in this area are so loyal; it’s almost like another whole town. It will be a similar feeling at [Pout], but nothing will be the same.” Ferris plans to have different clothing items at the two stores, and design elements at the new store will be altered (chandeliers in dressing rooms, for one).

Ferris describes the interior of Lipstick appropriately. It’s “old and feels like a walk-in closet.” The carpeting is all leopard print. Dressing rooms are lavish and quirky—velvet green curtains hanging in corners from designer steel rods—and every room, rack and closet in the store follows a particular color scheme.

Many of the boutiques in town work together. In fact, 10 of them in the Arlington, Plumb and Virginia street areas are part of the Mile of Style event organized by Ferris that takes place twice a year—very similar to the Reno Wine Walk—where patrons go to each store, get stamped and have the chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree. The next Mile of Style takes place Nov. 26-28.

Ferris has also organized and hosted many other fashion events, including fashion shows for the Nevada Musuem of Art and Bubinga Lounge in the Eldorado. She created and hosted Reno’s Next Top Model Search, a takeoff of FOX’ s America’s Next Top Model. When FOX caught wind of the event, they invited Ferris to host a search for America’s Next Top Model, and the winner of the Reno event may even be a show contestant next spring.

Between organizing major fashion shows, offering in-home fashion consulting, hosting fashion seminars and trunk shows (where Lipstick showcases designers), and running her store, Ferris’ ambition in the Reno fashion industry puts her a step above the rest. For Ferris, it all comes down to feeling good while looking good.

“I definitely push the envelope with my own fashion," says Ferris. "Fashion is about being comfortable. If you’re comfortable in what you have on, that’s all that matters."