Haute in the Kitchen

Emily Ellyn, known as the Retro Rad Diva because of her penchant for vintage-inspired looks—think cat-eye glasses, high heels, and poodle skirts—rose through the culinary ranks starting at age 12. Now, with years of experience, a catering company, and numerous Food Network appearances, she’s more than proved she belongs in this male-dominated industry.

“I don’t have to look like the boys,” Ellyn says. “Honestly, it’s all about hard work.”

With her hectic schedule, no one could ever accuse the chef of taking it easy. Even so, Ellyn recently created her own line of couture aprons to share her love of cooking and pin-up fashion. Her aprons have a Marilyn Monroe appeal with ruffled hems and hourglass silhouettes. From plump red tomatoes to sexy, hand-drawn models in coifs and cut-offs, her store offers a variety of playful cotton prints, all of which are hand-sewn in the United States.

“It’s more than just the feel,” Ellyn says of her love of cooking in style. “It’s the whole throwback to the ‘Leave It to Beaver’ era that I love so much. You know, the fact that June Cleaver always has this grace about her, she could do anything.”

For Ellyn, cooking allows her to unwind, and doing so while wearing a cute apron “hides your flaws.” She isn’t referring to pudge, though the designs are flattering and fabulously bold.

“It’s carefree. Even though it’s not perfect,” Ellyn says, “you don’t have to worry about the stress in your life.”

Ellyn has turned a stressful career into a form of meditation with her infectious, positive attitude, clearly reflected in her whimsical aprons.

“It’s one thing to throw on a chef ’s coat. And I will—I’m more than qualified.” But as Ellyn points out, “I’m just as comfortable wearing what I want to wear and looking good doing it.”

Want your own couture apron? Visit her store at EmilyEllyn.com