“You have to do a story on Rachael Domingo, she is incredibly talented.” Gordon Wilkins Owner of Divas’ Cupcakes and coffee told me a few weeks ago. Wilkins will be hosting a fashion show at Diva’s on June 19th. Wilkins never does anything halfway and for his show he is building a runway, serving, wine, cupcakes and dinner in his immaculate deck and garden. My first thought was “A high-end fashion show in a Salt Lake garden? Maybe Beverly Hills or Paris but Salt Lake?
I can’t pretend that I know the first thing about fashion. But just the basic background of Domingo is fascinating: She was instrumental in growing one of the most unique and unlikely business success stories to emerge from Salt Lake City: Black Chandelier.
Beginning as a very high-end clothing boutique in Trolley Square, BC became a success with shoppers looking for special clothing: not trendy (like Gap or Old Navy) but well-designed, hand-crafted and unique.
Black Chandelier went on to open three more stores in malls along the Wasatch Front and by all indications they were on the up and up. Stores were closed and the business suffered due to reasons involving the internal structure of the company. Since inception they have been working with financier Richard Surber in growing the manufacturing operations, the brand and the stores.
The aftermath, “left the company in crumbles,” Domingo says. Jared Gould left the company for L.A. to pursue his own brand. All the retail locations closed down. But the Black Chandelier brand has remained in tact, still supplying their clothing to stores such as Peach Boutique and Salt Lake Citizen as well as Mary Jane’s in Park City.
While it’s unfortunate that BC didn’t conquer the world at that time, it’s still an incredible accomplishment that such a popular label that stands for fearless design and unique individuality flourished in Salt Lake. Today, Surber is still supporting Domingo’s plans to regain BC’s momentum and once again go big. BC has appeared in some of the nation’s most prominent fashion venues including America’s Top Model as well as showing at Los Angeles and New York Fashion Week. BC set a new standard in high fashion in Salt Lake City and has paved the way for opportunities for a new batch of talented designers to fill a viable market in SLC. Domigo ads Nappi Clothing to the list of up and coming designers to watch.
Most nine-year-olds grow up playing with dolls, watching TV and goofing off. When Rachael Domingo was nine she started her first business crafting earrings from pop can rings. “I actually made some good money doing that,” she said.
Domingo said that since she was a child she would fill sketchbooks with her designs and drawings. Domingo said she has always been driven and motivated to pursue art and fashion and encouraged by her parents.
Just after graduating high school Domingo was accepted to attend The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Graduating Magna Cum Laude, Domingo worked for a period of time in Los Angeles. She returned to Salt Lake City to receive a MFA in illustration at the U. When she met Jared Gould she applied for a position as a pattern maker. Her strong work ethic and talent helped her quickly gain the support of Gould, until she eventually became his assistant designer.
The rest is history. Domingo is still very creatively fulfilled heading up Black Chandelier. While the majority of their business is designing and manufacturing to supply many of Salt Lake City’s finest woman’s boutiques, Domingo says that they also are in the business of doing some couture work, which is completely custom-made clothing such as very high-end special occasion dresses. Find Black Chandelier at Peach Boutique at 9th and 9th.
If you go
You can see Domingo’s dresses and gowns as well as some of Utah’s other top fashion designers at a fashion show at Diva’s on June 19th. Purchase tickets for the event at Diva’s for $40. Diva’s is located at 1560 East 3300 South.