How Deena Von Yokes makes things happen


At the age of 17, Deena Von Yokes launched her career in the art of fashion. Following in the footsteps of her mother who is a hairstylist and salon owner, Deena began by cutting hair. Over the past four decades, she has evolved into a master stylist, colorist, educator, salon owner, fashion consultant, designer, and creative director for many major fashion events and editorial fashion photo shoots.

It has been 11 years since Deena opened her acclaimed Rancho Santa Fe hair salon, Studio Savvy. Staffed by an expert team of talented colorists, stylists, and makeup artists, the salon is a mecca for clients seeking red carpet treatment and stunning results. Whether they’re seeking a look that is classic or edgy, they walk away happy and keep coming back for more. “I think our success is due to the fact that the whole salon—not a particular person—is the star,” Deena says.

More than a salon offering services and products, Studio Savvy is Deena’s think tank and test kitchen. She has created a marketing boutique featuring clothing, streetwear hats, and accessories. “It’s a fun way to get feedback from my customers to see what they like before I put them online,” Deena explains. “I’ll always have something new, but in small doses.” Soon, the shop will offer bespoke fashions, and the Studio Savvy salon website will feature an online store so everyone can purchase the shop’s most popular items.

Today, one of the biggest feathers in Deena’s cap is her position as the creative director and media spokesperson for Del Mar Racetrack’s Opening Day Hat Contest. She is considered an expert on what to wear at Del Mar Racetrack on opening day and all season long.

“We go all out on Opening Day,” Deena says. “Although we are always exploring the limits of new fashion, the advice I give about what to wear is universal and will work for almost everyone. I often quote Coco Chanel who said, ‘Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

Deena is often asked for fashion tips by people who are attending Opening Day. The number one question she is asked is whether to pick the hat or the dress first. “I recommend the hat because most people don’t wear them often. It’s crucial to find one that you feel comfortable in first.”

For those of us who are uncomfortable wearing hats, Deena recommends trying a fascinator (an effortless, yet flattering lightweight headpiece); or a hatinator, which is a bit more dramatic. Both fascinators and hatinators are made with a molded and shaped fabric base which is decorated and attached to a headband, hairclip, or comb.


When choosing the hat and the dress, Deena advises us to go bold with one and more subdued with the other. “One or the other should be the statement piece and they shouldn’t compete,” Deena says. She points out that there’s no need to spend a lot of money on a new hat. Classic hats can easily be customized. “I firmly believe that the Devil is in the details. It’s not how much you spend; it’s how you put it all together.”

Deena has different advice for people entering the famous Del Mar Opening Day Hat Contest. “Choose the category you want to enter and let your imagination go wild,” she says. “Think festive, dramatic, entertaining, and spectacular. Basically, if you can think it up and create it, wear it, sign up to win prizes, and have a fabulous time!”

To learn more about Deena Von Yokes, Studio Savvy Salon, and the Del Mar Opening Day Hat Contest, visit studiosavvysalon.com.