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Desert Companion

Shop: Anarchy from the UK

British reserve? Pshaw! Transplant Claire Jane Vranian takes English sensibility and rocks it up

Fashion and music have seen a recent British renaissance of sorts. From the ongoing buzz about the royal couple to Adele’s domination of pop music to the worldwide craze over Alexander McQueen, everyone’s eye is on British style — and Las Vegas is no exception.

The difference is that we don’t have to look very far. British import Claire Jane Vranian, creator and designer behind Inspired By Claire Jane, has made Las Vegas her home since 2005, when she and her husband were looking for a second home and found an amazing vintage house to renovate. Although she splits her time between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, she considers Vegas her home base, and Vegas is where she creates her wearable art that is at once outrageous and ornate.

“I love the desert,” she says. “I find it magical and mystical, and that inspires me. I love the calmness out here.”


Vranian’s own personal style? Calm isn’t exactly the word for it. She began her career doing special effects makeup in the film industry, where she worked closely with writers, directors, sculptors, actors and artists. That fueled Vranian’s urge to design, and inspired her to branch out on her own and create her own line of accessories, one that fuses rock ’n’ roll and a distinctly British vibe. Think upcycled vintage handbags that seem to overflow with feathers, and hair fascinators that resemble orchids from another planet.

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 “I designed my first handbag for myself in 2009, and had such an overwhelming response, I started creating custom orders for friends and family,” she says. Her rock ’n’ roll style soon began to attract attention from actual rock ’n’ rollers. “Then Joe Elliott from Def Leppard asked me if I would design him a T-shirt to wear on stage when he was coming to Vegas to do a guest appearance with Cheap Trick for their Sergeant Pepper tribute show — and Joe debuted the first Inspired by Claire Jane tee that night.”

“I’ve known Claire a long time and know her eye for quality, so when she told me she was going to start her own business, I was first in line to ask her to design some stage wear for me,” says Elliott.

Feather HatsBut the ladies are encouraged to rock out, too. Vranian handbags and hair fascinators use colorful fabrics, exotic prints, feathers and vintage embellishments to create a look that’s equal parts rock and chic, decadent and dignified. The buzz her work is generating has put her in the position of making fans out of major figures in music, including Joss Stone and Ringo Starr.

As far as her own fandom goes, Vranian confesses to being a hairpiece fanatic. “My hairpieces are a great outlet for me to really divulge my dramatic, theatrical side. If you’re going to wear one, make it count and make a statement. To me, fashion and style are very personal. You have to feel comfortable from top to bottom in what you wear — and feel confident and fabulous.” Throwing some devil horns can’t hurt, either.