It's fitting that a private memorial service for Heidi Owens, the longtime owner of Hollywood Regency, took place on July 17.
For one, it was Owens' birthday. More than 250 friends, family members, and folks in the vintage scene packed into the non-air-conditioned Zinnias at Melrose to share stories about the woman synonymous with Phoenix-area vintage fashion.
Second, (and in a strange twist of fate), Arizona Highways, which sent a camera crew to Owens' shop in early March, happened to air a special on Hollywood Regency earlier that day on KPNX-TV Channel 12. (View the video here.)
Owens died June 6 after a long illness.
She was born July 17, 1953, and was a lifelong Phoenician who made a significant impact on the local fashion scene, thanks to her knowledge of trends dating back to the 1930s.
After graduating from Phoenix Christian High School, Owens began collecting vintage items and running a western-style traveling boutique that she'd set up at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena as well as other California antique fairs.
In 2006, Owens, who helped to promote and organize the popular Third Thursdays event on 7th Avenue, culled her lifelong love of vintage fashion and opened Hollywood Regency. Her friend and business partner Michael Todd Robertson explains that though Owens was a bit green at store ownership, her deep knowledge of classic styles and movements helped the store take flight.
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"Once she gained competency and had articles written everywhere about her, there was no stopping her," says Robertson, who plans to keep Hollywood Regency in business "as long as possible."
Along with the items at Hollywood Regency, Owens' impact can be seen at the Phoenix Art Museum's "In The Mood" exhibit, currently on display through August 15. In the vintage-fashion-centric show, Brooch, 1941, hangs on a mannequin that's wearing a circa 1943 designer Adrian jacket and suit. Owens lent the red, heart-shaped, Bakelite plastic resin item -- popular among 1930s and 1940s costume designers -- from her personal collection.
Donations in Owens' name, which go directly to the feline rescue and adoption agency AZCats/Altered Tails, are being accepted at Zinnias at Melrose Mall, 724 West Indian School Road. Call 602-264-4166.
Here are some photographic scenes from Saturday's celebration of life: