The first ever Beverly Hills Fashion Festival was held in a massive white tent near the Beverly Hilton. Along with the shows, various vendors were selling the season’s hottest must-haves and the hippest LA food trucks were cookin up delectable delights (cough Grilled Cheese Truck! cough). The event was hosted by Jonathan Antin of Bravo’s “Blow Out” and “Shear Genius” fame. I viewed the latest collections from Elie Tahari, Teresa Rosati and William Rast (H. Lorenzo also showed, but unfortunately I was unable to stay for it). Elie Tahari showcased his Pre-Spring 2010 collection- a mix of day and evening wear reminiscent of Old Hollywood Glamour. The next collection was by Polish designer, Teresa Rosati– whose first American debut featured cocktail and evening wear. I was in awe of the the detailing and design of the dresses. The fabrics and flow of the garments were perfect. The last line I saw was William Rast by Trace Ayala and Justin Timberlake. They also debuted their new accessories and shoe line. Inspiration for the 2010 collection would be the spiritual soul searching nomadic biker’s journey of North America mixed with some Native American as well. Signature pieces of the line would be the black fabric pants for the women and chinos, leather jackets and flannels for the men; and of course the denim for both sexes. William Rast denim is also known for their fit. According to designer Trace Ayala (JT was a no-show that evening), “It’s all about the measurements… but mainly it has to do with our back pockets…the stitching on the back pockets, because it is a ‘W’ and it kinda cuts up like that, I think it makes the fit look better for women…” WR also mixes up 50% Trace’s laid-back country boy (raised in Tennessee) style and 50% of Justin’s more dressed up style. Head’s up all William Rast fans, the line is also making its Target debut on December 19th!! Overall, I was impressed with the shows at BHFF and that there was a variety of food available and some shopping options during the breaks. There was comfortable, ample seating and plenty of people watching (I saw Valorie Curry, Mischa Barton and Paul Sorvino!) Can’t wait to next year’s show.
NOTE: And speaking of Valorie Curry…During one of the breaks, I met Tracey Silvers- who is launching the “Stop the Bullying” campaign and was handing out bracelets during the event. In light of the recent suicides due to bullying and because her daughter, who is autistic and gets bullied every day, she started the campaign. Proceeds from the bracelets go to The Trevor Project and the IAN community and the It Gets Better Project. Tracey tapped Twilight’s Breaking Dawn actress Valorie Curry to become the official spokeswoman of the campaign for the evening. Tracey believes that she stars in a movie whose target audience that’s involved in the bullying-those who are involved in it and doing it every day. “I believe we need to get together, as a people, and stop the whole idea of bullying someone who is different from you,” explains Tracey. For more information, please go to her website.
Special Thanks: J, Alicia Mohr of PMK-BNC, the designers, Ford Models, Valorie Curry, Tracey Silvers, all the staff/volunteers of BHFF.
It was such a joy to attend a fashion show where the models actually knew how to walk…and walk with attitude. This show was the finale runway show for Full-Figured Fashion Week, held at the luxurious Hyatt Century Plaza. Luckily, I found out about the show from fellow blogger, Marie of the Curvy Fashionista, who was the producer for the event. This event was the second, the first was held in NYC. The show’s founder, Gwen DeVoe states, “The full-figured woman is alive and well in LA. She’s vocal ad she’s got money to spend…When we sought to expand Full-Figured Fashion Week into other markets, LA was our first choice…” She also chose LA to bring awareness to the area’s dymanic plus-size population, because as we all know, LA is known for it’s “model” and “sample size” populations. Several designers and boutiques participated in the show, including: Abundance Plus Size Boutique, Chan.Nel Karama Ltd., Forever 21+, Hips and Curves, IGIGI by Yuliya Raquel, Jill Alexander Designs, Kiyonna, Lane Bryant, Plush Boutique, Sassi Rebel Clothing, Sealed with a Kiss, Sonsi and Youtheary Khmer. Abundance Boutique-founded by Michele, Cindra and Charmayne, is located in Sherman Oaks and is the ONLY upscale boutique to carry womens sizes 12 and up. I would like to spotlight the brand, IGIGI by Yuliya Raquel for a moment. They showed us a short film by Yuliya and Marc DePaola called, “I Am Beautiful”- which showcased a model- Rosie Mercado, who shared her experience as a size 28 model. From ridicule to self-realization and self-empowerment that she is…beautiful. It was such an amazing and inspiring film. When Yuliya founded IGIGI, she not only wanted to create high-quality and stylish clothing for curvy women, but she “wanted to transform the world’s view of beauty. My goal is to shift the mindset that beauty is somehow related to the size of one’s body. So much pain is created in our society because we are collectively conditioned to define our worth and measure our attractiveness with the size of the clothes that we wear or the number on the scale…” she states. Her runway collection was themed, “Venetian Carnival” and all the models, wearing beautiful evening wear, came out holding a festive mask.Yuliya is loving the vintage trend this season, especially the 50’s era, which I saw in the silhouettes. I loved how EVERY piece flattered the womens shape and that the San Francisco based brand really cares about the “average women” and is affordable. IGIGI retails from $60-90 for separates, day dresses $90-150, cocktail dresses and tailored suits $130-200, evening gowns $175-300 and wedding gowns for $200-800. Their website has a section where you can calculate your shape and find the best flattering styles for your body (to go directly to their Shapestylist section, go here.) One of the event sponsors and the newest online shopping and social site for women sizes 12 and up- Sonsi– showcased a variety of looks, from casual to evening from the site’s current brands and brands that were coming soon. According to Sonsi’s publisher and runway showcase curator, Jill Hutchinson, “Sonsi is all about celebrating the full-figured woman and her rightful place on the fashion scene…We’re proud to partner with Full-Figured Fashion Weekend to help LA’s real women feel stylishly comfortable in their own skin and achieve the fashion equality they deserve.” Santa Cruz based designer Jill Alexander of Jill Alexander Designs created her collection with the theme, “Hollywood Glam” in mind. Most of the pieces in the collection were inspired by the fashionable Hollywood icons of yesteryear, such as the full-legged palazzo pants and jumpsuits that were inspired by Katherine Hepburn, the fit and flare kimono-sleeved dresses matched the style of Raquel Welch and the curvy-fitted sequined gown that Marilyn Monroe or Jane Mansfield could have easily worn and each piece was focused on femininity and glamour, while also maintaining the highest level of comfort. Comparing their retail prices to that of Tadashi and Michael Kors, Jill Alexander Designs don’t cut corners when it comes to manufacturing the garments and use a lot of fabric and cut most pieces on the bias for supreme fit. Their utilitarian separates start at $44 to $1500 for red carpet dresses. This next designer put SASS into her designs, which is probably why her line is called, Sassi Rebel Clothing. Designer Celes Harvey really broke the barrier when it comes to designing for curvy women. “As a young woman growing up and shopping for plus-size garments, I always found it difficult to find clothing that was age appropriate. The clothing always seemed too old and that made if difficult to capture my personal style. One of the key goals of Sassi Rebel is to produce fun, flirty garments that help curvy women look and feel good about themselves,” Celes explains. Prices for Sassi Rebel start at $20 for blouses to $400 for custom pieces and are available at: His & Hers Urban Fits (1321 N. LaBrea, Inglewood, Ca 90302 (310) 673-4870), Laurie’s Little Secret (4133 Viking Way, Long Beach, Ca 90808 (562) 421-6300) and online. Sealed with a Kiss Designs was founded in 2007 by Brad Capo and offers beautiful, stylish clothing for women sizes 1x- 6x. One of the lines was an elegant lingerie line by the name of Hips and Curves. It was very burlesque-meets-Moulin Rouge, filled with tulle petticoats, garters and corsets; as well as a corseted leather dress and a French Maid costume. Chan.nel Karama Ltd’s designer LaToya Skinner creates chic clothing for sizes 0-22. I noticed some pieces (the skirts and jackets) from her “Gun Metal” and “Mod-Diva” collections. Her prices are awesomely affordable, starting out at $10 to $300. Check out more of her work here. Kiyonna designer Kim Khanbeigi got the idea of designing clothing for the real woman while on vacation with a girlfriend. She had noticed that her friend didn’t have labels in her clothing, and when asked why, her friend said that her Mom made her clothes (since there weren’t any stylish clothes past size 16.) And so, Kiyonna was born. This contemporary line caters to women sizes 10+ and up to 5x. Check out the Kiyonna online boutique here. The last designer I’d like to share with you is Theary Sim of Youtheary Khmer. The model and stylist-turned designer showcased fun tribal-inspired draped skirts and dresses, along with pieces drowned in feathers. I especially LOVED the beaded and feather-trimmed neck piece on on of the dresses.
For more information on FFFweek, check out their site here.
Side Note: I met Jessica Burke during intermission. She is the CEO of Feeling Fabulous, a company, founded in 2007, that dedicates itself to female empowerment and focuses on the uplifting and encouragement of women of all ages. The goal of Feeling Fabulous? To provide our members with motivational seminars and events, along with confidence-building material that will inspire them to love themselves for who they are, and to “unleash and enhance their inner Diva!” Folks, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Feeling Fabulous. Jessica is such a warm person and it’s inspiring to know that there is a place for women to learn to love themselves in a society that demands perfection.
Special Thanks: J, Marie Leggette, the designers and models, volunteers, Shannon Malliet from Jill Alexander Designs, Gwen DeVoe of DeVoe Signature Events and the ladies of the plus-size blogger group- Curvy Collective: Marie, Glen, Jaye, Allison, Galyn, Nichole, Johara, Veronica, Monique, “Samantha”, Marcy and Sarah.
Fashion Los Angeles hosted the first ever, “Meet the Public”- a pop-up shop held in downtown LA that brought together jewelry and fashion designers, as well as artists to showcase their reasonably priced goods to the trendy LA consumers. Along with the pop-up shop, LA’s own burgeoning fashion blogger community- Two Point Oh LA also held a “Bloggers Cafe” during the event. I met up with Natalie of Nana Bijou Jewelry, who was showing off her latest beautiful creations that never cease to disappoint. As I browsed the racks, I found an amazing floor-length peach silk fringe gown by Natalia Romano. There is also a shorter version of the dress available as well. I spoke with Anh Volcek, designer of the line L’une Collection. L’une means “the one” in French. Anh’s line is meant to move with the body and uses only fabrics that stretch and are made to help execute that. Her line was simple, but it was the little things like a feathered collar, feathered skirt or a dress that tied at the shoulder that add that extra playful detail. I then stumbled upon a cute jacket that could be worn for work or dressed up for the evening. I admired the attention to detail the designer put into the lining of the jacket. I then learned that the designer was Lisa Michelle of the Lisa Michelle Collection. Along with apparel, she also has a new accessories line, which consists of: intricately trimmed belts and cuffs; and bib necklaces. I was able to speak to Lisa about her collection and inspirations and learned that she major in art at Reed College and loved creating sculptures. After creating sculptural clothing for her final project, she went on to study fashion design and pattern making at Otis. She launched her first collection after working as an associate designer for Monique Lhuillier. She looks at the 1920’s era and Art Deco architecture for most of her inspirations for her last collection of apparel and accessories. “…I sourced unique, vintage-inspired trims, which I collaged and layered to create many of the belts, cuffs and other accessories in the collection. These trims are also used to create special details in the clothes. I love to work with intricately beaded trims, stones and fabrications, like plush panne velvet, interesting knits and silk chiffon,” Lisa explained, regarding this season’s collection. Lisa was kind enough to gift me a cuff with ruffle/zipper trim and a sleeveless tiered ruffle dress, which I happily reviewed. To read the review, please click here. Chelsea Rebelle designer- Sarah Brannon had pieces for sale… two of her dresses were “to die for”…one was short-sleeved with an amplified skirt in navy but with a quirky twist: yellow bows placed strategically on the dress and the other also had the same silhouette and was done all in silver glitter (I hear Kelly Osbourne owns one). Both dresses are also made out of heavy fabric…but oh what we wouldn’t do in the name of fashion, I wouldn’t care if the fabric was heavy, that dress was amazing! I then met this petite fashionista with the cutest bangs and sweater and found that she was the designer for the shoe brand, Penelope and Coco…meet Marisa Spinella. PC is based out of LA and all their shoes are manufactured here in the U.S. The company’s mission statement, “Penelope and Coco thrives off the idea that it is nearly impossible to define ones style without having a little bit of diversity intertwined. Penelope and Coco brings together two alter egos in my life that defines my individual style and personality. The brand definitely portrays both personas ‘penelope’ and ‘Coco’ in its design aesthetics. We hope that when someone steps into a pair of PC’s, their own style develops even more and they have the ability to discover their inner Penelope and Coco.” When asked about her personal style, Marisa comments, “My style is always changing and mixing with one another. Sometimes it’s sophisticated, chic and modern while other times, it’s unconventional, dark and bohemian-esk. When I begin mixing these styles, that is when Penelope and Coco is truly present. (Penelope being the sophisticated one while Coco is the unconventional side.)” The best-sellers so far, have been the ‘Capone’ boot, the ‘Riina’ boot, the ‘Cooper’ leopard oxfords and the ‘Jo’ black snakeskin oxfords. Prices for the collection ranges from $459-484 for the boots and $382-484 for the oxfords. PC is currently available online, NY, LA, Hong Kong and coming soon to Germany! I’d like to spotlight a new skincare line that also was an event sponsor- Lily B. Skincare. Lily B. was founded in 2009 by Liz Bishop for skin that is beyond the acne phase and not yet ready for the heavy anti-aging products. I am currently using the Red Tea Defense Booster/Hydrating Serum, Multi-Action Rescue/Ultra Eye Cream, and 24/7 Defense/Daily Moisturizer. I love the products and I’ve noticed a change in my skin. It feels smoother and softer. The circles under my eyes seem to appear lighter and more youthful and the scarring from acne appears lighter as well. I’m definitely choosing Lily B. as my skincare of choice from now on! I would like to give a shout-out to make-up artist Anthony Gordon, who was doing mini-makeovers for the event and I was one of the participants. He perfected my ‘natural’ look and even created a nice dewy look without the make-up feeling greasy or caked on. The other brands that participated in MTP include: Brett Westfall; Gypsy05;Laugh, Cry, Repeat by Azen; Loaded; Louver; MG Black by Erik Hart; Norwick; Seam Ripper; TMinx; The Battalion; Yotam Solomon; Derapage Eyewear; Meyer Eyewear; Reiz; Joseph Brooks; M+R Jewelry; Shivaloka; Bagstil; Marmol Radziner; Novecento Antiques; Flaunt Magazine; Jessica Lee Garrison; Keith Jacobs; Taschen; Brendan Klein; Gino Perez; Michael Shields; Nora Shields and Patrick Shields.
Special Thanks: Kelsi Smith of Two Point Oh LA, Michael Venedicto of Fashion Los Angeles, the designers, brands and artists, Lily B. Skincare, Dry Soda Co., Anthony Gordon, the photographers…