Storefront window display

When the local fashion savvy want a really special piece, something vintage, with style and grace, they know just where to turn. Robert Black, has dressed some of the most beautiful and elegant women in the world. Robert spent years in the modeling and talent business, and was able to forge a partnership with FORD Inc., one of the worlds top modeling agencies.  In 2009 Mr. Black and his partner, Doreen Picerne, opened FASHION BY ROBERT BLACK, their designer vintage boutique in Old Town Scottsdale. I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Robert and a viewing of some of their impeccably chosen pieces.

Q. I believe you’ve been in Scottsdale quite a while. Are you from here originally?

A.  Actually, I was born in Albuquerque, but moved to Scottsdale in 1968. I’ve always loved it here.

Q.  Most people who are serious about a career in fashion consider moving to a fashion capital. What made you decide against New York, Los Angeles or even Europe? What was it about Phoenix that made you decide to build a fashion business here?

A. I’ve travelled a lot, and spent time in New York, Los Angeles, and Paris, among others and what I came to realize is that the pace there wasn’t what I wanted. It’s very frenetic. Scottsdale suits me and there is a market for beautiful vintage designer fashion. I realized that I could build a business here and be happy.                                                                         

Robert & Liz Riley

Q. How did you and Doreen meet and decide to open this wonderful store? The building is a historic one, isn’t it?

A. Marc Reid, my partner, brought Doreen home one time, and Doreen has a very large collection, which they were going through with a lot of enthusiasm. I’ve always loved fashion, and I realized we could build a business here. The building actually is an historic property. It’s called “The White Hogan”, and was built in 1952. Doreen and her husband bought it originally planning to open a museum, but that idea became impractical, so we turned it into this store, which we love.

Q. You both hand-pick every piece you offer. How do you find these pieces and how do you decide whether a piece is right for the store?  Is everything vintage, or do you also carry contemporary pieces?

A.  We look for interesting pieces. They must be in pristine condition, or easily restorable, If it’s just a case of replacing a button or zipper we can do it, but we won’t take anything that is too worn or spotted. We prefer to focus on pieces from the 50’s, through the 80’s. We do have some pieces from the 90’s, and we do carry some contemporary jewelry and accessories which suggest an earlier period. Pieces from the 50’s and 60’s are the most popular.

Q.  You also have a private label line, called “Adore by Doreen”. Doreen, what made you decide to do a line of you own, and how is it compatible with the vintage pieces?

A. Yes. Sometimes we get pieces that are incredibly wonderful, but are homemade, or not by a particular designer. There have always been patterns available for home use. Some are so beautifully executed that they become our private label pieces which we call “Adore by Doreen”

Vintage collections

Q. You’ve studied the work of designers from various decades and been able to see how fashion has evolved. In your opinion what pieces never go out of style, and how would you suggest mixing them with vintage pieces so we don’t look “over the top”?

A. Simplicity will always be in style…classic pieces which don’t scream that it’s from any particular era. You can mix classic pieces with vintage shoes or accessories, or perhaps a vintage dress with clean, classic jewelry. Using both together you can create your own sense of style.,

Robert, thank you so much.

FASHION BY ROBERT BLACK is located at 7144 E. 1st Ave., in Old Town Scottsdale, and is open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00am -5:00p, and Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm. 480-664-7770.

Print a copy of this article, bring it with you or mention Phoenix Fashion Week to receive a  20%  discount off the purchase of one item. Offer expires 5/31/11.

Article by Liz Riley, Editor

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”


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