Char and D&A Designs bring a rich family history to Saint Estate. Our online store combines brands and creative styles offering our luxury collections to a broad customer base.
Saint Estate maintains a commitment to classic, simple luxury inspired by creative history, Latin heritage and tradition; looks that are unique, special and one of a kind. We are proud of our commitment to conscious business practices.
We design and manufacture with an emphasis on sustainability for our planet. We use 100% cotton sourced in Indonesia. Our collections are designed and shipped from Santa Fe, NM. Our jewelry is designed in Austin, TX and some of the components are imported.
Char was born Charlotte Blankenship in a small Colorado town to a lively creative family. She still has the doll clothes she and her two sisters stitched on their mother’s small Singer sewing machine. In 1968, after studying Art History at university and two years designing clothes for a boutique in California, Char ventured to Guadalajara with her husband Aurelio Vazquez. There, like in the storybook the Miller’s Daughter, she took a scrap of leather (instead of a wisp of straw) and turned it into gold.
One hand-painted leather handbag grew to become six stores in Mexico and a collection that debuted at the New York Boutique show in the early 70s…department store buyers saw the collection and Char’s painted bags became an overnight sensation.
Char then relocated to Santa Fe, NM with her young sons: Mark, Demian and Alex Vazquez. With the help of her parents and her sister Sherry Stein, also a designer, Char and Sher Designs was born featuring Southwest leather and suede clothing. Char and Sher’s men’s western shirt landed on the cover of GQ Magazine, sending their company and design to the forefront of the western clothing fashion craze of the 1980s.
In the 1990s Sherry left to pursue a career in Industrial Design and the business continued as Char Designs. Over the years the likes of Goldie Hawn, Ellen Barkin, Donovan, Jesse Colter, Waylon Jennings, Sam Shepard, Travis Tritt, Barbra Streisand and Cher have bought Char’s high-end leather clothing and accessories.
Char continues to create inspired fresh designs, sold at CHAR, her Santa Fe Boutique and headquarters for their family business Saint Estate. The family involvement remains a joy with her husband and lifetime partner of over 20 years Fred Durham, her talented sons Demian and Alex Vazquez of Austin, TX, and the professional guidance of her sister Sherry. Son Mark is a doctor and based in Austin, TX. Sherry has been a successful designer of canvas and leather bags and now is focusing on writing in Santa Fe, NM. Older sister Judy Blankenship is a photojournalist and published writer living in Portland, OR and Canar, Ecuador.
In 2002 Char’s clothing was included in a retrospective show at Barney’s New York along with Zandra Rhodes, Rudi Gernreich, Holly Harp and other notable designers of the 1970s. Char Designs are featured in a permanent collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Art,and has an image and write up in the book Hippie Chic by Lauren Whitley.
Today, Char’s retail studio thrives offering her new Designer Blouse Collection as well as vintage and antique lace styles and jewelry by Demian & Alex.
The Designer Blouse Collection is sold at Char Designs in Santa Fe, online at www.saintestate.com and at several top boutiques.
In the world of jewelry design there are certain singular statement pieces that grab attention as they glitter their way into hearts and minds of the wearer. Welcome to the jewelry of D&A.
"Quiet beauty with hard edges is the defining balance of the Austin-based Demian & Alex jewelry collection. Dubbed "D&A," the male- and female-friendly accessories line consists of everything from earrings, necklaces and bracelets, to belt buckles, rosaries, and dog tags.
Brothers Demian and Alex Vazquez pride themselves in creating an eclectic mix of design with both Latin and Southwestern undertones. Recently voted 'best overall designer' and 'best men's designer' at Austin Fashion Week, the brothers are humbled and excited by the recognition.
Fashion design roots run deep in the Vazquez family. Born in Guadalajara, raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and now based in Austin, TX, the brothers took inspiration from talented designing family members and in six years have built D & A into a thriving design company with a loyal following. Celebrities who have embraced the "D&A mystique" include Jada Pinkett Smith, Pierce Brosnan, Val Kilmer, Natalie Maines, Robin Williams and Joey Kramer of Aerosmith to name a few. D & A jewelry is available at select stores and boutiques nationwide.
At a time when luxury no longer means big ticket but rather unique, unusual and certainly not cookie-cutter, welcome to the world of D & A, where jewels are art and luxury reigns. Inspired by their Latin heritage the collections are dark and dreamy, light and classic, hot and clever, modern designs with an ancient twist. These original designs will surely turn heads and evoke gemstone envy.