Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Gypsy 05 Fall 2011

Launched in 2005 by sister/brother team Osi and Dotan Shoham, Gypsy 05 has become a line favored by celebrities like Kare Hudson, Jessica Alba, Amanda Seyfried and Miley Cyrus.  And, Gypsy 05 is not just for the girls, with a line for men that has been well received.  Their Fall 2011 line was attended by quite a few celebs, including Glee cast members Darren Criss and Dot-Marie Jones.

Epitomizing the Los Angeles life style, Gypsy 05 has gained wide appeal as a line that is easy-to-wear, comfortable and still extremely fashionable.  With an emphasis on being eco-friendly, the company produces a line of organic and natural fabrics uniquely dyed in their own dye house.

Showing at Style Fashion Week LA, Gypsy 05’s Collection has a definite bohemian feel to it.  Flowing maxi dresses, reminiscent of the hippie culture of the 60’s, mixed together with their personal styling of classic sportswear pieces for men and women, from chinos and unstructured jackets to chunky sweaters and lace tops.  Modern takes on tie-dye highlight the collection as do ombré dyed sweaters and silks.  Silhouettes are relaxed and casual with an emphasis on layering with contrasting colors and prints.  The must have accessories of the collection are the richly dyed scarves, shown layered on both men and women.

This season’s show proved that Osi and Dotan Shoham continue to mature as designers, taking the line to the next level.  It also reminds us that Gypsy 05 is a line to keep one’s eye on!

Video by Omri Escalante

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Ina Soltani Fall 2011

After a successful first season in Los Angeles, Style Fashion Week LA ended the week with couture designer Ina Soltani.

Ina Soltanii has already made her mark on Hollywood with her creations appearing countless times on the red carpets of the Academy Awards, the Emmys and many other events.  A native of Bosnia, Ms. Soltani settled in Los Angeles, where she has created a line of couture eveningwear, full of the drama a town like LA demands.

For Fall 2011, Ms. Soltani delivered on the drama, with her collection shown to the music of her Bosnian homeland.  While the designer admittedly went darker in colors than she has in the past, showing a fair amount of black and more muted colors, she balanced it nicely with shimmering metallics and vibrant reds.  Fabrics ranged from chiffons worked into pleats and three dimensional forms to laces, satins, taffetas and even some velvet.  The collection was also embellished dramatically with feathers, stones, and sequins.
Presenting a full collection of cocktail dresses and gowns, Ina Soltani showed a range of silhouettes.  With a collection that has both body revealing sleek pieces and flowing drapey pieces, there is something for everyone and sure to please the red carpet crowd.

Video by Omri Escalante

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Balenciaga and Spain Exhibit

Last November when I was in New York, I learned of a Balenciaga exhibit that was opening at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute.  Being a major fan of Balenciaga, I was undeniably excited to attend.  Then I realized that it was opening the day after I was leaving New York.  Disappointed, I consoled myself with the news that the exhibit would then travel to San Francisco in March of 2011.  And who doesn’t love an excuse to go to San Francisco? So that was my plan.
However, when I was in New York for Fashion week in February, I realized that I could catch the last day of the exhibit in New York.  Sure I could wait until March, but I could  see it in New York and also go to San Francisco for a revisit.  Especially since it was promised that the exhibit would be greatly expanded when it hit the West Coast!
Curated by Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, Balenciaga and Spain is a study of the master couturier and the influence his native Spain had on his work.  Balenciaga’s genius is demonstrated in the exhibit, showing how he drew inspiration from Spanish peasant outfits, matador uniforms, Goya paintings and even the vestments of the Catholic Church in Spain.  Although he lived and worked in Paris, it is obvious that his homeland was deeply rooted in his soul and remained the greatest inspiration throughout his career.

Also of note as part of the exhibit, archival films of Balenciaga’s salon presentations in the 1960’s are shown, giving a rare glimpse into the designer’s collections from an era that is long gone.
Whether you are a slave to Couture as I am or just a Fashionista that can’t get enough of beautiful fashion, this exhibit is a must go to.  Luckily for the West Coast peeps, Balenciaga and Spain will be at the DeYoung Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco from March 26 - July 4, 2011.  And yes, I will make the trip to SF to see it again! :)

Photos by Ritika Wahal and Mariana Leung

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Go Red for Women Fashion Show Fall 2011

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America!  I was astounded when I learned this, as I am sure many of you are.  When I think of heart attacks, I generally think of older men.  However, over 500,000 American women die from cardiovascular disease each year.
The American Heart Association created Go Red for Women to bring public awareness to the threat of heart disease that women face. With knowledge, they can be empowered to take charge of their heart health and reverse this trend.
As part of LA Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week LA held the Go Red for Women Celebrity Fashion show to benefit the American Heart Association and its Go Red movement.  Celebrities walked the runway in red dresses created by major fashion designers including Stop Staring!, Hugo Boss, Chagoury Couture, Manoukian, Ina Soltani, Gypsy 05, Jen Awad, BCBG Generation, and Sherri Hill.

The celebrity women were as diverse as their red dress choices.  Shanna Moakler, Alyssa Campanella and Alexis Swanstrom represented the beauty pageant circuit, with all three wearing Sherri Hill.  The choice of Sherri Hill by these three beauties was no surprise to me.  Sherri Hill has long been a fave of pageant people with her stunning gowns that make a woman look picture perfect.

Other celeb models included the girls of Days of Our Lives (Camila Banus, Kate Mansi & Molly Burnett), Univision personality Carolina Davalos, Jennifer Akerman, Brittney Powell, Caridee English, and music star Kalenna.  E! Network star Ashlan Gorce emceed the show and also modeled, bringing her “you wish she was the girl next door” beauty and charm to the runway.

The array of red dresses were complimented by exquisite jewelry from Jewelry by Amyn: Jewelry on 7th, a 4th generation jeweler from India.

Kudos to Style Fashion Week LA for supporting such a worthy cause and to the celebrities that took the time to participate and grace the runway!

Photos & Video by Omri Escalante

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Stop Staring! Fall 2011

The passing of Elizabeth Taylor this week has turned my thoughts to old-school Hollywood Glamour and how little is left of it these days.  The days of stars, perfectly coiffed in sexy ultra feminine outfits, seem to be a thing of the past.  Today, more often than not, our female stars are photographed in jeans and t-shirts with mussed hair and no make-up.  While the move to casual and relaxed is liberating in some ways, I can’t help but long for those days of yore, when a perfect image was what one strived for.

Thankfully I am not the only one who feels this way.  There are still celebs out there who appreciate the allure of sexy feminine clothing and how just the right look can burn their image into the minds of fans.  With fewer and fewer design houses catering to this look, I was happy to discover Stop Staring! at Style Fashion Week LA.

Designer Alicia Estrada’s line Stop Staring! is a vintage inspired line of dresses, playsuits and suits that evoke that old Hollywood Glamour.  The tricky thing about vintage inspiration is to not let it overwhelm the designs and turn them into costumes.  Ms. Estrada has managed to take that inspiration and create a feminine sexy line that is at the same time modern and wearable.  

The cocktail party preceding the show was evidence of her success in achieving this, with fans of Stop Staring! sporting past season’s dresses, looking sexy, feminine and completely of the moment.  These are definitely not costumes!  And the women wearing them hit the mark completely, standing out in a crowd and creating a modern day image that captivates us the way the stars of the silver screen once did.

Video and Photos by Omri Escalante

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Style Fashionweek/FENDI Casa Kick-off Fall 2011

Fashion Week LA officially began this last weekend with Concept Fashion Week at the ACE Gallery in Mid-Wilshire.  However, there are still two important venues presenting show this week, Style Fashionweek and LA Fashion Weekend at the Sunset Gower Studios.

Style Fashionweek kicked off its week of events with a VIP & Media cocktail party at FENDI Casa on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood.  Fashion press and fashion followers turned out for the event where they served Caipirinhas made with Leblon Cachaca, a pure sugar cane liquor from Brazil, and mini burgers with curly-q fries.

The music was great, the crowd interesting and my appetite was most certainly whetted for the events that will follow during this week!

Photos by Omri Escalante

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Style Fashion Week LA Fall 2011

In LA, there isn’t a primary venue for presenting, but as many as 2-3 venues, all with different sponsors.  Last season, LA Fashion Week was a bit of a bust. One of the main venues had to cancel at the last minute, leaving Fashion Week to kind of fizzle out. However, the Fall 2011 season looks promising, with three sponsored venues.

New to LA Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week is an ambitious venture, dominating the week with events scheduled every night from Monday through Friday.  Exhibiting LA’s emerging, progressive and established men’s and women’s collections, Style Fashion Week is attempting to put LA back on the fashion world’s map.

Style Fashion Week will kick off the week on Monday with a VIP and Media cocktail party held at FENDI Casa on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, followed up by four nights of runway shows and events. The venue for Style Fashion Week is Downtown LA at Vibiana, a former Cathedral built in 1876 in the baroque style. Vibiana has been newly renovated and is now a luxurious event space, perfect for runway shows.  After parties will be held each night at Hemingway’s Lounge in nearby Hollywood.

The centerpiece of the week will be the Go Red for Women Celebrity Fashion Show on Thursday, March 17th.  Celebrities will walk the runway wearing red in support of the American Heart Association to bring attention to Heart Disease and Women, with a special tribute to Alexander McQueen.  A $50 entrance fee will be charged, with all proceeds from the event going to the American Heart Association.

The week will end on Friday, March 18th with a silent auction and the runway show of couture designer Ina Soltani.  Evoking Hollywood Glamour and utilizing ancient embellishment techniques, Ina Soltani’s highly dramatic style will be the perfect close to the week.
After last season’s disappointment, Style Fashion Week will hopefully be the event to revive LA Fashion Week.  I will most certainly be attending all of the events and give you a daily wrap up as the week progresses.  Let the games begin!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Vivienne Tam Fall 2011

Tapping into her Chinese Roots, Vivienne Tam took her inspiration for her Fall 2011 collection from the Kunqu Theater of China.  Kunqu, a synthesis of drama, opera and ballet, is one of the oldest and most refined styles of Chinese Theater that is still performed today.

Drawing on the stylized costumes of the Kunqu Theater, Ms. Tam translated them into a collection full of subtle drama and sculptural shapes.  Structured collars wrapped architecturally around the neck and across the body, highlighted with tone on tone embroidery. Pouffy A-Line skirts added flirtatious volume and movement, also accented with embroidery.  Because the embroidery was done tone-on-tone on tweed, it added dimension and interest to the garments without becoming overwhelming.  Observing the embroidery up close you can appreciate fully the intricacy of the artistry involved.

Utilizing tweeds and wool for both day and evening, Ms. Tam included a nice mix of knits, silks, velvets and laces.  For evening, the looks are heavily embellished using fringe, embroidery and beadwork for a feeling of glitter and lushness deserving of the Kunqu Theater.  But again, Ms. Tam achieves this with mostly tonal elements, which give the necessary drama without being in-your-face.  I also appreciated a lovely print Ms. Tam used for evening that had its inspiration in Chinese Landscape Painting.

In choosing a theme that is known for its elaborate costumes, it can sometimes be difficult to not give in and make over-the-top costumes.  In this instance, Vivienne Tam’s Fall 2011 Kunqu Theater theme was conveyed beautifully in a collection that is dramatic, artistic and most importantly, wearable. 

Photos Courtesy of Vivienne Tam