Hollywood’s latest hotspot, Kress, was the place to be last Thursday the 18th. It was the birthday of hairstylist Stephanie Tiara, which also included a fashion show; featuring designers: Michael Benz and Kristen Don. Despite having to be at work early the next day, I went…Partly because I knew Michael and the show’s producer, Brand, from past fashion events.
After a half-hour or so of waiting to be let in, I finally was “branded” with a mushroom stamp on my inner wrist and was ushered in with a “Congratulations…” by one of the security guards. I breezed up the stairs and into a small lobby where I had to wait for an elevator that would whisk me up to the rooftop festivities.
The elevator doors opened and I walked around. Due to the cold weather, the roof was semi-covered and there were heat lamps (not enough in my opinion, but I get cold easily) that scattered the venue. The evening was clear and the view of the surrounding city was spectacular.
While waiting for the fashion show to begin, I caught up with one of the designers, Michael Benz, who is also a VJ. He is the designer of the line, Blive Couture (pronounced believe.) Blive is a mix of rock, cool, classy and edgy couture. It’s slogan is ‘Respect, Love, Couture.’ The line boasts hats and jackets, all handmade by Benz, without the help of patterns and measurements; and will feature a shoe line in 2009. As a friend of Stephanie, who’s also modeled in some of his fashion shows, he did the show as a birthday and Christmas present for her. She also wore one of his designs that evening. Michael likes to “live now, forget tomorrow.” He is inspired by music, art and people; one person in particular is Jen. He says that she a style that no one else has. For the latest news and events on Michael, check out www.vjmichaelbenz.com.
I would like to also give kudos to the other designer, Kristen Don. I loved the denim, flowy dresses and the tops that were made from scarves. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to speak with her.
Since the show’s producer was a little busy due to taking care of the show, I caught up with him at the Bourgeois Pig in Hollywood. Brandon Birtwistle or Brand, as he likes to be referred to, is an actor, model and most importantly, an entrepreneur. He started out as an actor and booked a photo shoot in Tokyo for Baby Dior at the age of two. He told me that since he’s been in the industry for awhile he become the “go-to guy”, people started coming to him to find other people to book other people…ie models, photographers, etc. That being said, brings us to the present. Everytime he has produced a show, it has gotten bigger and better. For the Kress show, it took one and a half to two months to plan. He is good friends with Stephanie and she approached him with the idea. The show did not have a budget, but he credits the will of the awesome people that helped along the way. Brand believes that it’s better to work with people than to work above, below or for someone. He wanted to give some special shout-outs to some of the sponsors of the show: MUAH make-up artists who have always helped at his shows, Welcome Clothing, Elitescene *thank you Gio*. He also wanted to bring awareness to another designer, M the Movement, an eco-friendly company that specializes in bamboo and silks. They plant trees to offset the energy they have used.
Since Stephanie Tiara was somewhat busy herself during the show, I caught up with her on the phone. She is a well-known hairstylist at 9022 Salon in West Hollywood. She chose Kress because her friend who did Thursday nights there, got her the venue. She wanted to add a fashion show to her party because she wanted to first performance as a rapper to be with the show, since the song is about fashion. She also did shows with Brand and wanted to combine his and her talents to put on the show. She chose Michael Benz as one of the designers and Brand and her thought that Kristen’s style was good for the show as well. During the show, she and Jazmine performed, “We Got That” while the models strutted down the center aisle. She had help with the song, but is starting to write her own lyrics. Her inspirations are hip-hop and rock. She wanted to combine her talent and style with fashion.
Congratulations to Stephanie on her birthday and to Brand for directing/producing a fantastic show!!