By Liz Petoniak | Photographs by Michael Fornataro
Lovers of vintage, gypsy-inspired threads, small-batch apothecary necessities, and spiritual intrigues will find solace at Juju, Leslie McAllister’s newly opened bohemian sanctuary in Point Breeze. With the shop’s name derived from McAllister and friends’ longtime practice of sending wishes of “good juju” to each other, naturally, good vibes fill every corner and enchanting items appear at every turn. McAllister, a creative spirit who possesses an air of style and mystery evocative of Stevie Nicks, explains that she’s always been “distracted” or rather attracted to the fashions walking down the runway. “I was obsessed with playing with Barbies as a kid and I guess I am still playing,” she says. As a curator of vintage clothing for years and years, Juju’s collection of wearable, au courant designs represents an extension of her own personal style. “I buy what I like, and I hope my taste for things excites my customers,” she says. “I leave no stone unturned and I have many little elves out there hunting for me. I believe by being so stylishly eclectic it allows me to find a little something for everyone.” Those little somethings range from vintage DVF, to jewelry from designers she discovered on Instagram, to pyramid-shaped candles, and smudging feathers. And, McAllister also takes special care to highlight local artisans. On May 1, Juju will host a trunk show for Pittsburgh-based silversmith Horsethief Artisan Jewelry, along with a tea ceremony and tea leaf reader Rebecca Sanchez, and after hours crafting events for workshops in weaving and making pompom market totes, and dream catchers held in conjunction with neighbor Hatch Art Studio, are soon to come. She says, “I like well-made things. I yearn for authenticity. If I am going to be something or a version of some style, I am going to do it the right way. I suppose that’s why I don’t follow trends — I’m hooked on tailoring, details, and quality. Vintage has always delivered in that way for me, so I’m true to her.” Stay up to date on new arrivals and events at Juju on instagram, @juju_pgh.
Juju, 6739 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. jujupgh.etsy.com.
Leslie’s Top 5 Tips for Shopping Vintage
1) Silhouette — Look for modern lines
2) Fabric content — Stay natural
3) Designer — Know who to look for
4) En vogue — What’s trending
5) Details — Beading, sequins, buttons, tucks
How would you describe your personal style?
Leslie McAllister: “I’ve put it this way best: I’m a style mut. I gather inspiration from everywhere including the tree that sways outside my window. I’m a layer queen. I’ve been called Carmen Sandiego, Billy the Kid, and Celine Dion. Let’s not discuss the aforementioned.”
What inspires your fashion sense?
LM: “The Mediterranean Sea; Cappadocia (fairy castles in Turkey); Pink skies in Kutch, India; and the silver moon in the night sky — in other words: earth, air, fire, and water.”
What are your favorite designers, brands, and places to shop?
LM: “Designers — Missoni, Rick Owens, Mara Hoffman, weavers from far and wide. Brands — J Brand. Places to shop — Gabriel Brothers all day; out of the way thrift shops; my mother’s basement, my sister’s closet; and the secret little places I may never reveal.”
Who are your style icons?
LM: Mary-Kate and Ashley [Olsen] and I don’t care what anyone says about it. Street style gets me going — I love to see odd pairings and styling of unexpected elements. Iris Apfel for her ‘get up and go,’ and Diana Vreeland for her ‘I don’t careness.’ I love women who aren’t ‘pretty.’ Iris says it best in her documentary: ‘I’m not pretty so I had to learn other things.’”
What are your wardrobe essentials?
LM: Bell bottoms, denim, clogs, brass jewelry, trench coats, long layers, a wide-brimmed fedora, boots, liquid liner, mascara, and a great sheer pink lipstick.
A few of her favorite things: