When I decided to start The Chest of Drawers a few months ago, I began by making a list of all the women in Kansas City who I deemed to have inimitable style. These were the women who when I saw them, I thought Jesus, I wonder what their closets looks like.
And I kid you not, Gina Ciaccio-Holmberg was the first name on that list. From the moment I met her a little over a year ago, she became one of those people whose style is cataloged in my mind- ready to be referenced in a moment of fashion crisis. WWGCHD? We may need to work on your initials, Gina. But in all seriousness, to have Gina as the inaugural feature of theCoD is an honor and a privilege.
Gina’s been around the block a few times. And by block, I mean the ol’ U.S.of A., working as a freelance make-up artist. From applying blush in the “magical” original Barneys store in Chicago to working her own magic on celebrity clients in the Beverly Hills location, Gina has been there, done that. Now firmly planted in Kansas City, Gina freelances for NARS and loves every minute of it.
When I arrived at her home on an early, January morning, The Rolling Stones (among other rock ‘n’ roll icons) played softly in the kitchen throughout our shoot. Lest you be confused, the bands were playing via her iPod; Mick Jagger was not in Gina’s kitchen serenading us. This background harmony would set the tone for what was revealed as an extremely rock-influenced lady. “I love anything that has an edge to it. Studs, fringe, rocker tees, ripped jeans. I also love late 60s and early 70s-platforms, long flowy dresses, and crocheted knits. Even if I’m dressing super casual for the day (which is more often than not being a mom), I always incorporate one of the above into my outfit.”
To say Gina’s wardrobe is enviable would be an understatement. As someone who considers my own knowledge and collection of vintage to be somewhat sophomoric, standing in the presence of Gina’s room-closet was awe-inspiring. Crazy prints, sequins, and textures abound! Often when I’ve seen closets filled to the brim in this way, half of it is throwaway material; items bought on a whim at Forever 21 or sweaters gifted from grandparents that haven’t seen the light of day in years. Egh. Not the case here. You can tell each and every piece was bought with thought and consideration and has been held onto for its unique merits. This is equally clear when you hear Gina talk about her clothes. As you thumb through each item, she can’t help but interrupt and say, “Oh, let me tell you about that piece” or “I’ve got a great story behind that.” This woman is a curator, a collector. And she’s a badass at her job.