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New Business: A Designer's Shop in a Jewelry Box Setting

Going to the Oscars? Or an opulent wedding? Whatever your glam requirements, Maya Ohana can create any kind of gown or dress you want.

Sherman Oaks resident Maya Ohana believes in plenty of sparkle. So much so that she is surrounded by it daily in Designs by Maya, her new fairyland-like shop, which just opened at 12441 1/2 Magnolia Blvd.

It’s a new location for Maya’s business, which features long racks of Swarovski-crystal-encrusted evening gowns, rows of gleaming gem tiaras, cases of eye-popping jewelry and rows of dazzling handmade bustier tops that shape any wearer like Marilyn Monroe.

Maya, 37, has been working her special brand of sewing machine magic for
15 years, formerly at her nearby Sherman Oaks residence, while raising her five young children at the same time.

“Now I needed more room, and I wanted to bring all of this to the public,” she told Sherman Oaks Patch.

Her extravagant creations are fit for the Oscars, and, according to Maya even a budding starlet on a budget can afford to wear one.

“Even an unknown or a first-time nominee can wow the red carpet in one of them. Why? Because I rent them out by the evening," Maya said. "I even come over to fit and dress the wearer for pure perfection.”

For this shapely mother of five, designing and hand-crafting fabulous evening wear is a family tradition. Her mother, Zahava, 59, was famous in Israel for 40 years for her fabulous gowns.

“Now Mom is here working with me, and this shop is a family affair,” Maya explained. “My father constructed the showroom, even the hardwood flooring, and Mom and I do all the creating.”

The shop’s boutique/showroom is like something out of a princess dream, with pink velvet hassocks, a pink crystal chandelier, pearl-covered hangers and a ceiling-to-floor velvet curtain studded with Swarovski crystals. “I love pink. I have three girls,” she smiled.

“We specialize in wardrobe for many big wedding parties, especially the henna parties, which are part of Moroccan or Indian weddings," she said. "We even dress all the men and children. The brides-to-be sometimes change their gown seven times during the party, and we do all seven. My mother is originally from Morocco, so she is known as a true expert at this."

For the henna parties, she said, the business serves a culturally diverse clientele of Persians, French, Moroccan and Jewish people throughout the greater L.A. area. Celine Dion, who is French Canadian, did a big henna party, she said.

“We started creating our shop in June, and we’re now ready to open our front door.  We’ve done it all ourselves, as well as working with customers at the same time, so it’s taken a little longer.”

Maya was first in her family to move from Israel to the U.S. She married
and began her family, and then, one by one, her siblings and finally her parents made the decision to unite the family in Sherman Oaks.

"Now my brother and his wife are in business here too, and there are 12 grandchildren!” she exclaimed.

So, attention, glamour fans: You do not have to go to Paris, Beverly Hills or New York to get that gorgeously designed, hand-crafted evening gown, or those sparkled-up fun clothes. Maya’s designs are here.

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