My Essentials: Ratana Tshibanda

Photo by Aaron Leimkuehler

In the 27 years Ratana Tshibanda has lived in Kansas City, she’s made a name for herself in the fashion and special events industry. If you’ve been to a fashion show in KC, she probably produced it. Her passion for the arts and social and economic justice is evidenced by her support for organizations and projects focused on those areas. She says of the neighborhood where she, her husband, Oscar, and her son Christian live, “I love the centrality of living in Brookside. I can walk to Loose Park, shops, and restaurants. I can drive to most places in the metro within 20 minutes or less.” Tshibanda looks forward to her next adventure. “I’ve finally reached a stage in life where I have the freedom to explore new options on my own terms. Figuring out what’s next is probably my greatest challenge.”

Ratana’s essentials…

Date Night: We recently discovered Lazia in the Crossroads Hotel. The food and the ambiance are spectacular. My husband, who is vegetarian, likes the Pesto Invierno. I love the Porchetta-stuffed roasted chicken and we share the fried Brussels sprouts. I love to wind down the evening in the lounge and bar to enjoy after-dinner drinks and the throwback playlist.

Local Shop: I enjoy spending a couple of hours at Nell Hill’s or J’adore. I love their merchandising! I always come home with inspiration (and merchandise) to enhance my living spaces.

Candle Scent: Two of my favorites are locally produced by Pickwick & Co.: Lemon Verbena for summer, and my holiday pick is Frasier Fir.

Cocktail of Choice: My new favorite summer cocktail is Grapefruit on the Rocks at Grand Street Café.

Spa Treatment: A one-hour massage at Milagro’s Midwestern Spa.

Fall Fashion Trend: I love the fact that suits are making a return. I’ve always loved the flexibility of a suit. When I traveled for work, a suit was my favorite go-to—perfect for the office or a meeting with clients. They can be dressed up or down, you can wear the jacket over a dress, or with jeans and a simple tee. Then wear the slacks with a silk blouse, bling, a clutch, and stilettos to dinner.

KC Celeb: Former mayor Sly James has been a visionary leader and a great ambassador for the city. I love his personality, style, commitment to the arts, and there’s been a tremendous growth of KC under his leadership.