Friday, October 29, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: Fashion Minga! LA 2010

The cancellation of most of the runway shows for the second half of Los Angeles Fashion Week left me wondering if there would be any events that would mark the week as special.  There were some delightful revelations, such as Julia Clancey’s dreamy collection, but would there be an event that would have a particularly LA flavor to it.  Fashion Minga may have been that moment.
Held at Boulevard 3, Fashion Minga was more than a fashion event in the strictest sense, but rather it was a total extravaganza.  The word “Minga” is an Ecuadorian term for “a community coming together to work for the benefit of all”.  And being for the “benefit of all” goes beyond the participants in the event.  Fashion Minga also benefited the Entertainment AIDS Alliance, a volunteer group of industry professionals responding to the urgent need for AIDS service organizations nationwide. And members of the industry turned out to support the cause and the event, including Thom Barry of Cold Case.

Bella Circo


Fashion Minga was an interesting mélange of fashion, theatre, dance and music.  Opening with a performance by Bella Circo, a Cirque de Soleil type theatrical group, the mood for the evening was definitely set. Performances by the dance troop, Flirt Dancers, an acrobatic duo by the name of Elle-Evate, and the music stylings of pop/hip-hop duo Electrolightz served as segueways to the Fashion being shown.

M5 Couture
Destroyed by Fame

Urban Republic Clothing

BiPolar Gear
Presenting five of LA’s up and coming designers, we were treated to runway offerings by M5 Couture, Urban Republic Clothing, BiPolar Gear, Destroyed by Fame and Onanong Swimwear.  Following this post, I will individually address each of these companies presentations.  All in all, they definitely had a flare for drama and an aesthetic which represented the City of Angels well.

Once the performances were finished, it was the audiences turn to become part of the celebration with dancing and partying into the night.  A night that benefited Fashion, Theatre, Music and even more importantly those in our society who need us the most.
Photos & Video by Omri Escalante

Watch the Video in HD at:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: Fresita! Taste Sensation That's Sweeping the Nation

Whether I am on vacation or hanging out with friends, there is nothing I like better than a relaxing drink.  Typically, I am a wine drinker.  I like reds, whites and especially champagne!  Occasionally I may stray from the course and have a cocktail if the situation warrants.  For example, the Bangkok bar where I finally had my first Cosmo.  Yes.  I know.  Lame for me to have never tried one before.  Thanks Dana, Katie & Ronna!!  Dopey me, I always assumed that Cosmos would be sweet and avoided them.  But as I discovered, they are not sweet, but more tart.
Which brings me to my latest find.  Prior to the Julia Clancey Spring/Summer 2011 show at the Palihouse in West Hollywood, Julia hosted a reception in the hotel lobby.  The sponsor of the event was a beverage that I had not been aware of before.  Fresita, a strawberry flavored high quality rosé sparkling wine from Chile.  My first reaction, like with Cosmos, was to think that it would be too sweet and almost dismissed it without trying it.  As I said earlier, I love champagne and having grown up going to the Champagne region a lot, I admit to being a bit of a champagne snob.  But how bad could it be, right?  Since they were sponsoring the event, I figured that I should at least give it a try.  So with misgivings, I took a glass of Fresita.
And the verdict?  I was very pleasantly surprised!!  A nice light sparkling wine with the taste of fresh strawberries.  Only mildly sweet, Fresita proved to be light and refreshing and before I knew it I had finished one glass and moved on to a second.  The thing that impressed me the most about it was that it truly captured the aroma and flavor of fresh strawberries, as if a real strawberry was in the glass.  Kind of like the strawberry version of a Bellini, but less sweet.  Fresita is 100% natural, no artificial colorings or flavourings, with 3% of its make up being crushed strawberries.  And yes, those of you that know me know that the crimson color is appealing to me too. :-)
When I got home, I found the Fresita website and explored further.  The website is full of humorous videos about this delish beverage and you can even find out where to buy it at a nearby store or sample it at a local restaurant.  I have already found a local store that carries it and will be buying a bottle to try nicely chilled at home!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: Julia Clancey Spring/Summer 2011

Los Angeles Fashion Week is really unlike any other Fashion Week. Not having an official sponsor for the entire week, Fashion Week ends up being scattered events across the giant sprawl that is Los Angeles.  With so many events, each sponsored by a completely separate entity, you never quite know what to expect when you show up at one of them.
Last Saturday, I attended the show for the Julia Clancey collection in West Hollywood.  I wish I could say that I was savvy enough to have known Julia Clancey’s work before requesting an invitation to the event.  Of course, once I had determined to go to the event, I did my homework and researched Ms. Clancey and her work.  My research, however, gave me a little background and a feel for her style, but I was still a bit vague as to what I should expect at the event.
Having attended the show, I can now say that it was a complete revelation.  Julia Clancey presented a collection that was world class and could hold its own if presented in any of the major fashion capitals.  The rooftop of the Palihouse Hotel was transformed into a whimsical garden where we were all invited to attend a tea party á la Alice and Wonderland.  Flowers marked the runway area, which had miniature gold encrusted tea sets, small crocodiles, peacocks, lilly pads and croquet mallets strewn about for our afternoon garden party.  When the models hit the runway, they completed the whole atmosphere with the magical designs of Ms. Clancey.

Calling the collection “Sensually Sorbet”, the color palette was one of lush springtime pastels of peppermint, aqua, watermelon, lemons, lilac and white.  Utilizing soft chiffons and satins, the outfits flowed dreamily across the rooftop.  This collection brought me back to my days at Nina Ricci in the atelier flou.  Both in cut and embellishment, the collection had an haute couture feeling to it.  Short dresses, long gowns, signature shifts and even kaftans were presented with decoration in the form of hand embroidered crystals, beads and sequins. Not heavy handed at all, the embellishment on these pieces is delicate and feminine and provide just the right amount of sparkle, without becoming overwhelming.

The models hair and makeup complimented the outfits and the theme perfectly, with butterflies adorning their perfectly coiffed heads.  On their final pass, the models ended up lounging on a little hillside, completing the theme and the atmosphere of Ms. Clancey’s imagination that we were lucky enough to partake in for the afternoon.

Julia Clancey is in the process of opening an appointment only boutique in West Hollywood.  I am looking forward to paying her a visit there and discovering more about this extremely talented woman.
Watch the Video in HD at:
Photos and Video by Omri Escalante

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: The Green Initiative Spring/Summer 2011

Los Angeles Fashion Week started last weekend and what better way to begin my coverage than with The Green Initiative Humanitarian Fashion Show.  The show is sponsored by The Green Youth Movement, an organization founded by Ally Maize with a goal to educate youth on how to be eco friendly.  As Ms. Maize put it at the opening of the show, “We’re the next generation and can and will make a difference”.
The event showcased four labels that concentrate their efforts on eco-friendly fashion: organic and sustainable fabrics, local manufacturing, fair trade practices, non-toxic dyes.  Although these labels all put an emphasis on being eco-friendly, they each have a very distinctive personality.
First up on the runway was Kristinit, by designer Kristina Lenss.
In a collection that covered the bases from daytime casual to dressier pieces, Ms. Lenss turned out a very feminine and versatile line.  Constructed jackets paired with flirty skirts were key to this grouping as were a mix of day to evening dresses.

Next up was Keokjay, a line with a primary goal to provide jobs for women with HIV in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia. With this noble goal, they produce a line that is very handcrafted and artisanal, emphasizing elegance and comfort.  Using a color palette that is very earthy and natural, Keokjay produced a nice line of mostly casual separates, all with handcrafted details that really stand out.  One look that stood out was a dress with the fabric braided in the front to produce and interesting textural element from which the fabric emerged in soft drapes.

Jonãno followed with a line that was also more geared toward casual wear.  Utilizing mostly natural colors, Jonãno accented the collection with a few shots of mauve, a bright blue and an ethnic-look print.  A “macramé” shawl, an intricately twisted front print dress and a lace sheath dress with a long jacket were standouts in this grouping.

Last, but definitely not least, the Emily Factor line.  While the other lines were all beautifully done, this line kicked it up a notch.  The Central Saint Martins education was definitely apparent here.  Vibrant sophisticated prints were the focal point of this collection, whether draped in fluid dresses or as leggings. This bold use of color was a nice ending to the show. Flowing dresses with an emphasis on drape were knock outs and high waisted “paper bag” pants and shorts were stylishly reminiscent of the 80’s.

All in all, The Green Initiative Humanitarian Fashion Show  made good on its promise of showing us that fashion can be eco- friendly without compromising on style. Let’s hear it for Eco Chic!
Photos by Mdivani Monroe

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: What A Feeling!

California. Beautiful people with beautiful bodies playing on the beach.... But those bodies didn’t get that way by accident. It’s all about working out!  But what do you wear when you are working out?  I mean, you need to be practical and wear clothing that is functional for working out.  But you also want to look good WHILE working out.  And wouldn’t it be great if some of those workout clothes could serve double duty by being fashionable enough to wear on other outings?
Back in the 80’s, the movie Flashdance started a craze for wearing dancer inspired workout wear as street clothing.  But in all honesty, although it seemed cool at the time, the clothes that came out of that fad were merely sweatshirts that had necklines cut out of them and ripped leotards. They were hardly what you would call fashionable and it was a look that probably should have stayed  in the dance studio. Which raises the question, is it possible to have clothing that is practical for working out and also appropriate for daily activities?
Welcome to the world of Delano, a Southern California severely hip line of workout clothes that covers your needs for working out AND is cool enough to wear on the town as well.  Designed with active women in mind, this is not just a line of activewear, it is a line of lifestyle wear that will carry you through many of your daily needs.  While the company is based in Southern California, the clothing will speak to active women everywhere.

The mother/daughter team of Tamara and Britt Delano have launched their namesake line and it is definitely a winner.  Veterans of the entertainment and music worlds, they have long been involved in dance and body conditioning with pilates.  And like the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention.  Having a hard time finding workout clothes that were functional and stylish, they took their love of dance and fashion and developed the Delano line of clothing. 

The line consists of sporty tops, leggings, pants, jumpsuits and wrap jackets, both long and short.  All of the pieces put an emphasis on design with decorative touches that make them fun to wear and very fashionable.  The colors of the collection are black, white, red, eggplant, bright pink, light blue and I am sure more colors will be added as this new line picks up steam.
Let’s face it, if you are going to all of the trouble of working out to get that buff body, don’t you want to show it off?  With Delano, you can show it off in style.

Photos courtesy of Delano

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: So Hungry I Could Eat A.......

A weekend of wine tasting with friends lured us up the coast to Santa Barbara. Wine, good friends, scenery and hopefully great food, what more could you ask for?  We arrived late morning and everyone decided to go down to the pier for crab sandwiches.  Since there really wasn’t anything on the menu for me, I held out with the hope of grabbing something along the way to our first tasting destination.
Not finding anything before hitting our first tasting destination, I began tasting on an empty stomach.  Not bad for one round of tasting.  But when we got to the second winery, I realized that I had to get something to eat or I was going to end up a very sick puppy and ruin the rest of the day.  One of the employees at the winery told me that there was a deli 2 blocks away, so I left our little group and headed off, harboring very low expectations of what I would find.

To my surprise, I discovered Metropulos, as much a gourmet food and wine shop as it is a deli. A few tables on the outside led into a cool interior, where racks of European products lined the walls; excellent as little gifts, snacks or to prepare a special meal. Deli cases stocked full of gourmet cheeses, deli meats and desserts would have spiked my appetite even if I had not been ravenously hungry.

I opted for a sandwich of tomato, cucumber, carrot, red onion, spring greens, hummus and herbed goat cheese. On the menu, it was served on a honey wheat bread, but they were very accommodating and let me have it on baguette instead.  I got it “to go” along with a bottle of mineral water and headed back to meet up with my party.  Sitting outside the winery, I ate my sandwich and was not only happy to be eating something finally, but happy to be eating something that was just what I was craving.  The hummus was suitably garlicky and worked very well with the goat cheese and the fresh and tasty veggies.

Once my hunger had been sated and my mind wasn’t focused only on getting something to eat, I realized what a find this deli was.  I went back to explore a little more, found that the owners were as pleasant as their deli and I picked up a few treats for later in the day.  They also prepare picnics and box lunches for enjoying on any of your Santa Barbara outings.

If you are in Santa Barbara and looking for a good nosh or would like to pick up some hard to come by vinegar, oil or other gourmet products, head on over to Metropulos where you will be well taken care of!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: History Repeats Itself....

Die hard Fashionistas, it is time time for a history lesson.  And this one will be fun for a change!  A new exhibit has opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and if you are lucky enough to be in the LA area, don't miss it!

Celebrating the museums groundbreaking acquisition of a major collection of European men's, women's and children's garments and accessories, LACMA has on exhibit Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915.  Covering a period that spans the Age of Enlightenment to World War I, the exhibit explores the technical developments and dramatic changes that took place in fashion during that period.  The exhibit highlights the evolution of luxurious textiles, advancing tailoring techniques and the use of brilliant trims, embroidery and other decorative applications.

Among the must see pieces in the exhibit is an evening mantle designed by French couturier  Émile Pingat (active 1860-96) that is embroidered with silk thread, embellished with glass beads and trimmed with ostrich feathers.  Also included in the collection are three piece suits and gowns worn at the royal courts of Europe and an eighteenth century men's vest with embroidery that carries symbolic messages relevant to the French Revolution.

Okay, so you can't actually shop at the exhibit (except of course in the bookstore!!).  However, you will definitely be inspired by this exhibit.  And since history does repeat itself, elements form this exhibit could be popping up in collections that will hit the market soon.  So why not start dreaming now :).

At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
October 2, 2010-March 6, 2011

Photos © 2010 Museum Associates/LACMA

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: Audrey Talbott Spring 2011 Collection

Audrey Talbott?, you ask.  You may not be familiar with this line, but I assure you that you will be.  Audrey Talbot was launched in 2002 as the women’s division of the successful menswear line, Robert Talbott, and has continued to grow and become a true lifestyle brand.
The founders of the Talbott labels, Robert and Audrey Talbott, began the Robert Talbott Tie Company in Carmel, California after transplanting themselves from a life in New York and Connecticut in 1950.  It is from these beginnings that the Audrey Talbott line has taken its inspiration: an East Coast sense of style and fashion married to a West Coast sense of a relaxed lifestyle.  This inspiration has been teamed up with the company’s dedication to the highest quality, both in construction and fabrics, something Robert and Audrey would never compromise on.

During Fashion Week in New York, I dropped into the Audrey Talbott showroom to see what was in store for Spring 2011.  The line is chock full of mix & match separates, dresses and jackets that are all completely in step with the trends for Spring.  The collection is broken up into five color groupings, with a color sensibility that makes it possible to easily wear pieces from one group with pieces from later groups.  Military greens, heathered grays, pinks, lavenders, khakis, linens and mochas flow seamlessly into navies, whites, pale blues, mangos, guavas, aquas and rosemary.