Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Local Business Brings Out Women's Inner-Bombshell

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July 25, 2012
By Kristy Crawford
The Town Courier, Urbana
Stylist Jennifer Butt helps celebrity model, Go-Go-Amy, prepare for her “How to Be a Pinup Girl” workshop on July 22, at the Capitol Bombshell photography studio in Urbana. Studio owner Luigi Crespo and Butt helped 14 women with the makeover and photography session. 

A new photography studio opened in the Villages of Urbana this year, and it wants to help women discover their feminine side.

Capitol Bombshell opened in January in the basement studio of owner Luigi Crespo. Crespo said his mission is to help women feel beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.

“After all, beauty is an inside job!” Crespo said. “We are not your typical mall photo studio. We give women an empowering experience and a chance to bring out their inner bombshell.”

Focusing on the retro styles and glamour of the 1940s to 1950s era, Capitol Bombshell offers a full-day experience, where clients enter a “star” dressing room, complete with their name on the door and filled with a large assortment of outfits and shoes. Outfits range from fun to sexy and also feature several women’s vintage military outfits. Stylist Jennifer Butt helps them choose from various themes, props and outfits, based on their interests and personality — or dream image — and then completes the look with hair and makeup.

A two- to three-hour photo shoot follows, in which customers are free to express their true personality or create new personas, from fun and playful to more risqué pin-up styles.

“My clientele has included neighborhood working moms — inside or outside of the home — and professional or aspiring models working on their portfolios,” Crespo said.

Crespo then posts photographs on a secure website for customers to see and choose their favorites. Within a week, he said, they are sent an album of their favorite portraits.

“The whole experience is fun and helps a woman feel feminine, beautiful and more confident.”

Crespo was an event planner for more than 14 years and was unhappy with some of the photographers he hired for the many events he organized.

“One day, it all clicked,” Crespo said, “and I decided to invest the time and resources to become a photographer myself.” He trained for three years and purchased equipment and the materials he needed to open his own studio.

Crespo said he saw a niche not being met in the area — that of photographing in a vintage style. “I loved photographs like the ‘Vargas Girls,’” Crespo said. The “Vargas Girls” were pin-up portraits from the World War II era, created by Alberto Vargas, and featured in Esquire magazine, galleries worldwide, and later in Playboy magazine.

“They were risqué photographs,” Crespo explained, “nothing improper; they displayed the glamorous and feminine side of women.”

Butt has been a licensed cosmetologist since 1999, and was a hairstylist at the Hair Cuttery in Urbana. She met Crespo when he walked in and asked about stylist who might be interested in his new venture. Butt said she was interested immediately and was willing to take the risk with Crespo.

“I thoroughly enjoy making people look great and feel good about themselves,” Butt said, “and I love bringing my creative talents to help women to release their inner bombshell!

In July, Capitol Bombshell held its second workshop with “Go-Go Amy,” a celebrity pin-up model, who has been featured in The New York Times. Customers learned how to do their own vintage hair and makeup and posed like pin-up models during a photo shoot.

The studio will schedule more workshops this year, and information will be posted on the company website. For more information, visit Capitol Bombshell at

Kitty Lynne Vargas, from Fredericksburg, Va., poses with celebrity model, Go Go Amy, during the “How to be a Pin-up Model” workshop on July 22 at Capitol Bombshell. 

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