Janet Ghilarducci Couture Dressmaking Shop is bustling when I arrive to talk with her and Annette Shankar, a Cañada student and an employee of Janet’s. The two of them tear themselves away from their projects briefly to talk about their work and their clients.

Janet’s clients vary from designers who need samples made to brides looking for a custom gown or expert alterations. Janet also caters to women who purchase high-end ready-to-wear and want it to fit perfectly. The one thing they all have in common is that they all have discerning tastes and expect the highest quality work.

Lucky for Janet, she was matched with Annette as an intern last year. “Annette has been such a gift to me. A total perfectionist, determined to get it right.” It’s also a great match for Annette who has wanted to be a wedding gown designer since she was a young girl. “I saved clippings from magazines. I love the handwork,” she explains.

Janet has known Ronda Chaney, head of the Cañada fashion department, for 30 years. Besides participating in the internship program, Janet generously serves on the department’s board of directors.

“Annette’s skills are fantastic. She has a standard of quality that I need.”— Janet Ghilarducci


Janet and her team make sample garments for a number of designers.
Janet keeps the patterns for all of her clients, some of whom have been with her for decades.
“She fits sleeves like a glove,” Annette says of Janet.