Not even the rain could stop the industry’s top PR firms and stylists (and even yours truly) from attending Simply Stylist at the Siren-Orange Studios in Hollywood. Simply Stylist takes on the concept of a “pop-up showroom” created by sisters, Caroline Rothwell and Sarah Pollack in order to connect emerging designers to the likes of top celebrities and stylists.
I spent the first part of my Simply Stylist experience in the “salon” part of the studio. I received my first mini-manicure from OPI experts, Terri and Annette. But the pampering didn’t stop there… I was treated to an oxygen facial by Rosalina of Bliss Spa. It was the best ten minutes ever! The cold mist soothed my face and the best part was that I didn’t have to take off my make-up! My face ended up soft and with some glow to it. Next, my hand and arms indulged in a refreshing massage by Vera and Shiho of Bliss Spa. Finally, as an added courtesy my hair was styled by Sarah Merrie of Hairroin Salon.
Next, I satisfied my fashion fix by checking out the brands that were showcasing at the event. I browsed handbags and clutches available in a variety of vibrant colors, my fav being the “Tropical” print from the brand Hobo International. I saw more studding clutches and handbags from Rafe New York…. The must-have clutches from Rafe, in my opinion has got to be the ‘stainless steel and abalone shell clutch’ or the multi-colored knit clutch. Then, there were the yummy blue snakeskin gladiator sandals or the laser-cut booties from Paul & Joe Sister.
I explored brands like Kao Pao Shu…. a collection of dresses, purses made entirely out of ribbon, men’s ties, etc…designed by 28 year old Bosnian Naida Begeta, who just wanted a new handbag…..but in the end, launched an entire avant-garde clothing line. Kao Pao Shu is based in LA. The line is manufactured in Santa Monica and they have a showroom located at 7227 Beverly Blvd. For more info, go to www.kaopaoshu.it.
The next designer, who wasn’t at the event, but nevertheless, left me breathless with his gowns, skirts and jackets. He is Mohammed Ashi, the 24 year old Saudi designer of Ashi. His clothing is elegantly draped and intricately detailed with the upmost care. He chose subtle, muted whites, nudes, greys and blacks as his palette. I hope to see more of his clothing on the red carpet. His website, www.ashistudio.com is still under construction, but keep checking back. In the meantime, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or become a fan of Ashi Studio on Facebook!
One designer who I had the pleasure of meeting was Ronald Abdala from Beirut. Again, his designs, I’d love to see on the red carpet. His gowns from the “Simulation” collection are very feminine and and avant-garde. He also offered pieces that could convienently be converted from the work place to dinner with friends. For more on Ronald, go to www.ronaldabdala.com or become a fan on Facebook.
I now want to introduce Oday Shakar, hailing from Costa Mesa and just started designing three months prior to Simply Stylist. His collection of red carpet worthy gowns are ment for women who want an escape in their lives through wardrobe. His silhouettes, inspired by Old Hollywood are very elegant, feminine and whimsical. Also being displayed at his booth were jewelry by his friend, Julia Post. He takes the jewelry with him every time he presents his collection. For more information on Oday, contact him at www.odayshakar.com, email@example.com or (714)641-0316.
The last designer I caught up with was Mike Vensel, who’s model was wearing a mini black dress with feathered armholes. This guy is truly a multi-tasker; being an artist, fashion designer, editor of Kitten Magazine, graphic designer and architect. I can definitely tell he used all his talents in his collections. Visit www.mikevensel.com for more information.
This event also featured make-up artist Hala Ajam, from Beirut. She was on-hand to answer questions and sign her book, Face to Face. I proudly own a copy of the book and am amazed at her work. Her dramatic make-up talents entice every mood and color palette. If I were walking the red carpet for the Emmys or Oscars, I’d want her to take care of my face! Go to www.halaajam.com for more information.
I received my first pair of TOMS Shoes. They are the white canvas and hand-painted by Tyler Ramsey. The shoes are incredibly comfy and environmentally friendly. www.tomsshoes.com
I started the day and ended the day chatting with a small group of girls who were showing their art in Simply Stylist. They are Sara Prado, Bita A., Syreeta McKelvey and Christine Hahn of The Fear. The Fear is a movement of artists with various talents that come together and create the unimaginable. ‘The Fear means artistic expression without the worry of acceptance.’ I enjoyed talking with them and hearing about the collective. As a fellow artist myself, I could understand where they were coming from. I loved the artwork and the funky DIYed wayferer frames. Christine is a photographer and an amazing one at that. Check out her site at www.christinehahnphoto.com. To contact The Fear, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a memorable experience and I’m looking forward to next year’s event!
SPECIAL THANKS: President of Caro- Caroline Rothwell, VP of Caro- Sarah Pollack, Ayah Ajam, Rachel Kozin of Caro Marketing; Kristen Calavas of The Lookbook; Glenn Dellimore of BLISS; Julien Haggiag of Paul & Joe Sister, Charlie Cario-Cooper of Kao Pao Shu, the models and designers, YELP, Hairroin Salon (323-467-0392) and Katie Parfet of TOMs Shoes.