I had the pleasure of attending most of the first 2012 Summer Extravaganza presented by Fashion Destination Group. The all day event was held at the uber-luxurious Monarch Beach Resort. There were three runway shows and vendors galore. Brands on the runway included Patty V., Seychelles Shoes, Macy’s, Glass Handbags, Marisa Kenson, Trina Turk, BCBG, Engineered by Remy, Gretchen Christine Collection, Young Fabulous & Broke, Sledge USA, Liberate, Kashia, Suellen Miller Designs, Beach Bunny, Royal Underground, BodyRock Sport, St. John, David Meister and Oday Shakar. Every brand had a beachy, OC lifestyle theme of casual chic. I got to meet the lovely and oh-so-sweet Gretchen and her beau- Slade (you may know them from Real Housewives of OC) and got to talk to her about her handbag collection, which she showcased during the day. Inspired by her fans who saw her wearing a Versace handbag on an episode of RHOC (but couldn’t afford the hefty price tag), she realized that there was a niche for high-end quality yet affordable handbags. She launched Gretchen Christine Collection in 2010, with the initial launch on ShopNBC, where 1,000 handbags sold out in under fifteen minutes. She was carrying a pink satchel from her Pink Collection, which retails for $125. The Pink Collection is in collaboration with the Breast Cancer Charities of America and will launch in October. The collection includes the satchel, a three-piece luggage set, iPhone cases, iPad cases, etc., with nothing over $300. Check out and shop Gretchen Christine for updates and more! I met one of the lovely jewelry designers, whose statement necklaces and cuffs were featured in the runway shows- Suellen Miller of Suellen Miller Designs. The Indiana-based brand first launched in 2004 as a paper company, but just recently launched their jewelry line. When Suellen showed me the necklace and cuff she was wearing at the event, I admired how unique they were. The cuff was made of mixed media- paper, Swarovski crystals, pearls and glitter. For your next “wow” piece, definitely check out Suellen Miller Designs! One of my favorite collections to grace the runway for the first runway show was LA-based Young, Fabulous and Broke. I LOVED the flowy, tie-dye tops and dresses that cascaded down the runway, along with my favorite comfy platform strappy heel by Seychelles. The YFB brand launched in 2001 under the name H Starlet by Heidi McKenna. In 2006, a friend mentioned that Heidi reminded her of one “of those young, fabulous, broke girls.” Upon hearing that (and that she knew a lot of girls were in the same bind- paying rent or buying Chanel…hmmm…), Heidi decided to change the name to what it is today. YFB is inspired by the mellow and casual California lifestyle and chooses to make their dresses, tops, etc from the finest fabrics including: silk jersey, cotton and cashmere. For the event, they showcased pieces from their Fall delivery- Mojave Nightfall. The current designer- Candice Morgan was inspired by the soft colors of the desert and the organic shapes found in nature (i.e. the spiral tie-dye wash or the Infinity Wash). Their general inspiration for other collections can be found from the sunsets to the ocean. The prices for their tops range from $125-$150 and dresses, skirts, etc are $180-$250. A fun fact about the brand: their stuff is cut to order because it is garment dyed. They make the styles and then dye them depending on what the customer/buyers order; this is one thing that makes their line unique (and makes it unlikely that 100 ladies will not have the exact same dress as you). Even though almost all of the styles are made in China, about a quarter of their inventory is actually dyed in Los Angeles. To shop and check out more info, go to the YFB website. Another familiar line that breezed down the runway was BodyRock Sport. I had the pleasure of wearing some of their garments during my photo shoot at Chic Little Devil. Designer Kelly Dooley didn’t have a particular theme for this showing, but she felt that the looks that went down the runway best represented the sexy, fashionable, functional line. From sports bras, moto leggings, booty shorts and moto jackets, BodyRock wowed the audience. Each look was topped with Knight and Hammer jewelry, such as: army men necklaces, skull necklaces, Venetian glass necklaces, butterfly earrings, etc. Dooley was also very excited to be showing off a couple pieces she did in collaboration with French artist Philippe Valy. If you’d like more information on the brand, go to the BodyRock Sport website! There was a great handbag collection on hand that day as well, Glass Handbag. Founded in 2010, Glass Handbag was designed to not only be chic, but also have functionality. How many times have you been somewhere where it’s dark and you’re scrounging in your purse for your keys or lipstick? Glass Handbag is the answer to that problem! Each bag has a built-in thin light panel so you can easily look through your purse and grab what you need. Three dollars of every handbag purchase go to benefit The Public Education Foundation. Check out more information on Glass Handbags here! I also enjoyed seeing Trina Turk’s vintage-inspired prints during the runway presentation of her new “Modernist Maverick” collection and gorgeous jewelry, Marisa Kenson’s airy dresses that could easily transition from a day at the beach to a glamorous restaurant or club and the amazingly sexy swimwear by Beach Bunny. Along with the fashion shows, I got to hang out with two amazing ladies- Sarah and Elaine who were representing Seychelles shoes, attend one seminar, which featured former CEO of St. John- Kelly Gray, Seychelles President- Sari Ratsula, VP/Store Manager of Macy’s at South Coast- Sue Graham and Dorothy Metcalfe- Campus Director at FIDM (OC); see a couple blogger pals and just enjoy the weather and being on the beautiful Orange County coast.
Huge Thanks to Tamara of Wentworth PR, the Monarch Beach Resort, the staff, models, designers!