Fashion Inspired Art

July 2, 2013 |

Eleonor Leon and son, Emmanuel Spiro

by Allie Knapp

The merchandise ranges from vintage clothing to graphic design artwork and from 8-tracks to fashion art pieces made from computer keys. The room is splashed with light pink and green and features a large vintage chandelier hanging in the center. This new 6th Ave storefront is sure to be like no other around and it joins the downtown shopping scene July 13.
 “Psychedelia mod Willy Wonka – except you can’t lick the wallpaper.” That is how Eleonor Leon, an award-winning artist and the owner of La Fashionista, would describe the feel of her store. You may find yourself wondering if you have stepped into an alternate world when you leave the busy streets of modern downtown and enter La Fashionista. Feel free to get your groove on while browsing. We can dig it.

The long-time dream of opening a store became a reality for Leon in January when she and her father began the process of creating La Fashionista.

“I think people kind of think you’re crazy when you just go out on a limb. I just decided that I was going to do it regardless,” Leon said on starting this new venture at 43 years old.

Leon received a bachelor’s degree in visual communication from The University of Arizona and also studied fashion design at The Academy of Art University and FIDM. Many of the items for sale at La Fashionista are handmade by Leon, who enjoys all things design and is also a designer for Tucson Fashion Week.

Costume designer and graphic artist, Leon says that she is “a fusion of her parents.” Her love for costumes began at a very early age. “My mother loved to dress up in costumes so she would bring us downtown to find clothes at vintage thrift shops,” Leon said. “My mother was the fashionista. She would dress up and she was spectacular.”

Inspired also by her father, a sheet metal mechanic, Leon enjoys drilling and creating things out of metal and other materials.  A few of her unique items on display at La Fashionista include jewelry crafted from guitar picks and computer keys.

While Leon’s artwork is shown throughout the store, an art gallery featuring the award-winning artist Domingo Toledo will also be on display at the entrance of La Fashionista. Toledo received an Addy award while under the instruction of Leon, who has been an instructor at The Art Institute of Tucson, Tucson Design College and Pima Community College.

Leon moved to Tucson as an infant and lived downtown during the early years of her life.  She finds great value in historical pieces of Tucson and is happy that she has been able to “save part of Tucson history” by collecting many treasures from old downtown locations to showcase in her store. The original cash register and bar stools from the old hotspot Grill can be found in La Fashionista.

The grand opening of La Fashionista – what Leon dubs a “retro eclectica” shop – will be held on Saturday, July 13 at 45 S. 6th Ave from 6-10 p.m. Fashion art designed by Leon will be modeled at the event.