Turning 50 isn’t something to be afraid of; just ask June Ambrose. All month the legendary costume designer and creative director of Puma has been counting down the days to her milestone birthday. Her #30DaysofJune hashtag details her presents, party prep, and all the things she’s thankful to have experienced. Watching the fun unfold on social media is a pleasure. Whether she was dancing on rooftops in Carolina Herrera gowns or jetting cross country in custom Loewe, Ambrose sent the message that aging is an accomplishment. Her philosophy? You’re only as old as you feel. “The biggest misconception is that 50-year-olds are old, that they’re not relevant, and they have to live in a mature state of mind,” shared Ambrose from Los Angeles. “This isn’t true; I still get the giggles of the little girl that I am inside!”
To commemorate the occasion, Ambrose brought all of the important people in her life together for a joyous evening at the private member’s club, San Vincente Bungalows. Dubbed “Juniverse 5.0,” the event had all the hallmarks of a Hollywood bash: Armand De Brignac champagne, specially conceived CIROC cocktails, sumptuous bouquets designed by florist Mallory Browne, and towering vegan chocolate and coconut cake. Friends like her longtime client Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Ellen Pompeo, Gucci CEO Marco Bizarri, Bethann Hardison and more all enjoyed the intimate fete. Still, Ambrose’s original plan would have required guests to bring their passports. Her first instinct was to arrange an epic trip to Mexico. But, given the international guest list and continued travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the concept had to evolve. “The universe had its own plan, and I pivoted and went in a different direction,” says Ambrose. “My birthday ended up being a collection of small, celebratory, intimate experiences with close friends and family.”
Ambrose’s bi-coastal career meant that two parties-one in New York, the other in Los Angeles-made the most sense. Given her fashion prowess, the outfits for both evenings had to be special. In California, she went for a cinematic “young Hollywood glamour” with an elegant white Gucci gown detailed with stars while her New York look, a pink ruffled piece from the archives, was all about downtown it-girl flair. “I loved the looks because they evoked two versions of who I am, both sides of my Gemini personality; the inner-child in me and the mature woman,” explains Ambrose. “It felt beautiful to feel like I could show all of myself in these moments through style, especially with one of my favorite brands.”
The night out at the San Vincente Bungalows was filled with tributes to Ambrose, but none more poignant than the one delivered by her husband, Marc Chamblin. “The toast was the highlight of my night; I got to collectively see and feel the abundance of love, trust, and respect in that room. It was as if time stood still,” says Ambrose. “Marc went out of his way to make sure this moment was memorable for me. To see him give that speech, while looking at everyone’s eyes gleaming as he spoke, nodding in agreement as he celebrated me, it was beautiful. I’ll never forget that feeling.”
With two more weeks of June to go, Ambrose plans to keep the party going. She considers her #30DaysofJune concept an opportunity for reinvention and reevaluation through expressions of self-love. “I feel like it’s my month; I own it,” she says. “I always mark the month of June as the completion of one more journey around the sun. It’s me coming full circle and reminding myself of how much I love myself. I truly believe that it’s important that we have these moments to love ourselves and be thankful for who we are, what we’ve done, and what we will achieve. We are givers, I’m a giver by nature, and I take this month to celebrate myself.”
Ambrose plans to channel some of that optimistic energy into her latest project: a complete home renovation wherein she plans to start fresh with a space that reflects who she is now. The interior refresh is phase one of a year she plans on devoting to bold ideas. Many approach the prospect of turning 50 with trepidation, but Ambrose suggests an alternative view. “A light switch went on the morning that I woke up, on my actual birthday. I felt a weight lift off my chest; I felt ready, alive, and grateful,” she says. “Growing up, life expectancy was 50 or 60, [so] I thought at 50, you’re done! But, my 50 right now is so alive, so different, so unique, so relevant. It’s assumed that you’re settled, you know who you are, but I am excited to discover who I’ve worked to become. This milestone is when you get to re-establish yourself; you have so much experience, so much experience to use to navigate through life, and so much more life to live.”
Marc Chamblin, June Ambrose, and Ellen Pompeo
Tyran ' Ty Ty' Smith , Lanny 'Kodak Lens' Santiago, Elijah Kelley, Emory Jones, Jay-Z, and Tim Weatherspoon.
Beyoncé and June Ambrose
Jay-Z and Kelly Rowland
Jay-Z, June Ambrose, Summer Chamblin, and Beyoncé
Marco Bizzarri, Susan Chokachi, and Antoine Phillips
The night's table settings.
Ambrose enjoying a pre-party cocktail.
Ambrose and Bethann Hardison
DJ Cassidy and DJ D Nice