Johnny Vincent Swimwear

May 15, 2009 10:24:15 AM PDT
This weekend marks a homecoming for swimwear designer Celeste Johnny. She's hosting a party at a South Side boutique to introduce her latest collection. A Chicago native, Celeste started designing her own dresses when she was 13. She attended Whitney Young High School, where she designed prom dresses for classmates. Now Celeste has made her mark on the fashion world as the creator of the Johnny Vincent swimwear line. Her company's name is inspired by Celeste's father was born in St. Vincent, an island in the Caribbean and he's the inspiration behind the name of the company.Celeste, a graduate of Louisiana State University and member of its Fashion Board, also attended the Parson School of Design. She launched her Paradise Collection two years ago and sales have been increasing steadily since then. Johnny Vincent swimwear became popular in Barbados, Aruba and Jamaica. Now Celeste's latest collection See You Watching is moving into stores in Chicago, New York, Miami and Barcelona. Her 2009 collection was featured in BET's Rip the Runway 5th anniversary special in March. Her swimwear has "ripped the runway" alongside artists like Ron Browz and Busta Rhymes and worn by celebrity models and football greats Stacey McKenzie (Runway Diva), Camille McDonald (from America's Next Top Model) Tyrone Edmond, Ryan Gentles, (featured in Jennifer Hudson "Spotlight" video), James Ihedigbo (New York Jets) and Brandon London (Miami Dolphins).

My "See You Watching" collection is full of color, sexy cutouts and edgy design concepts, all of which leave very little to the imagination," says Celeste. "The inspiration behind my next collection is the battle between the 'good' girl and 'flirty' girl personality that lives within all of us.

The line features transitional pieces that take you from the pool party to a sexy seaside dinner and will include sophisticated pieces along with fun flirty designs made to turn heads wherever you are, she adds.

Celeste is spending 6 weeks touring the country to show off her swimwear. This week, she hosts a launch party at 7 pm this Saturday at Saca Tash Boutique, 1507 S State St, Chicago. For more information, call (312) 788-1055 or visit www.johnnyvincent.com.

MORE ABOUT CELESTE JOHNNY

Celeste Johnny was born in Chicago in 1974 to Betty and Frank Johnny, two creative individuals. Her father is from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and her mom a native of Chicago. From a young age Celeste was surrounded by creativity; her father was an architect and mom a Fashionista! That is probably how she discovered her first love, designing dresses. Her mom always took her shopping and it was at that time she became familiar with designers such as: Norma Kamali, Halston and Bill Blass at a young age. By age 13 Celeste was designing her own dresses.

Celeste attended Whitney Young High School. Everyone thought her calling would be dance, but she never stopped designing. While at Louisiana State University she joined the Fashion Committee, there she focused on styling scenes. After graduation Celeste moved to New York, actually not to pursue fashion, but looking for the excitement that New York had to offer. However, the love for fashion kept calling. Celeste began to take classes at Parsons School of Design, the same school Donna Karan attended. She maintained her day job at Newsweek Magazine and attended classes at night.

Celeste began designing swimwear in 2005 for class project. It was then she discovered her true passion for designing swimwear. In 2006, she took her designs on the road. She packed her samples and headed to Barbados, her favorite island. Her first meeting was with the Hilton Hotels. They also became her first client?buying 50 pieces, within the hour.

The following year she created the "Paradise Collection" and did her first fashion show. She was having photo shoots every weekend with great photographers, test shoots for new and upcoming models. In 2008, she continued to do more shows and got her first magazine cover and billboard right in New York City. The Thurgood Marshall show in October launched Celeste's appearance on BET's Rip the Runway in March 2009.

Johnny Vincent is now in boutiques in Chicago, Atlanta, Jamaica, Barbados and Aruba. Celeste's goal is to be in Europe by the end of 2009.

JOHNNY VINCENT SWIMWEAR SHOWN ON ABC 7

Three pieces are from the Paradise Collection. The first piece is titled "Antigua" the second piece is titled "St. Vincent" named after the island my father is from and the name behind Johnny Vincent. All the pieces from that collection were named after a different island in the Caribbean. The remaining two pieces are from the See You Watching Collection. Celeste says it's a collection designed with the idea of turning heads and stopping traffic. The names of each piece have fun flirty names.

Antigua: This piece is a constant top seller. Mommies love it because it covers the tummy, but it is still revealing, Celeste says. It's been used for many photo shoots and recently published in NV Magazine. Retails for $140 Tortola: This piece is very popular and flatters all figures. "I love the way it sits on the hips enhancing the curves," Celeste says. Retails for $180 Jealousy: "This piece is also very popular. In the center there is a bamboo ring. I wear this piece myself and I love it," Celeste adds. Retails for $140 Devilish Ways: "I love this suit on me. It's so bad girl?I love it. It's my 'power suit' on the beach," the designer says. "It's a very sexy piece and has to be worn with confidence for sure." This piece retails for $140

The earrings shown on ABC7 were by Adha Zelma

The Trunk Show is at "Saca Tash Boutique"?1507 South State Street at 7 p.m.


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