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Isabelle Donola Presents “Faceless” Collection During NYFW September 2014
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Zang Toi Celebrates 25 Years of Fashion Success @ NYFW September 2014
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WWDMagic August 2014 – Brand Discovery!
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WWDMagic August 2014- Overall Experience
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Refinery 29 and Simon Present: The Shopping Block
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It’s a Kimono Kind of Day….
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5th Annual Women’s Home reNew and reDux Fashion Show 2014

Isabelle Donola Presents “Faceless” Collection During NYFW September 2014

I was incredibly excited to learn that my friend and designer- Isabelle Donola was showcasing a collection during New York Fashion Week. I had met Isabelle when I was living in Los Angeles and she was also there, designing. The Brazilian-born designer has such a quirky and upbeat personality and style that it falls in tune with her design aesthetic. In 2008, she launched her namesake brand- Isabelle Donola NYC and has since dressed many clients, from artists to celebrities; while also participating in New York and Los Angeles fashion weeks. All her clothing is made in New York’s ‘Garment District,’ sticking to eco-friendly manufacturing methods and using only Italian and European fabrics. She uses her trademark “I.D. Technique”- a technique which combines draping and pattern making on a mental elaboration that it is turned into abstract shapes, which results in a perfect and unique fit. She was recently on season one of “Project Runway: Under the Gunn” and felt that it was a fun experience and opportunity. It was also very different from her normal work routine in that it had more constrictions and pressures. She has met some great people and felt a sense of community from her peers.

Her New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015 collection is titled “Face-Less” and featured eight looks. The garments were made from recycled Italian linen and knits. The looks were minimalistic, yet had quirky twists in either the fabric manipulation or the design itself. Her original collection had unfortunately been stolen, thus leaving her three days to create the other collection “It’s a real-life Project Runway, let’s do this!”. Monday’s show proved that she made what could have been impossible- possible. The inspiration for “Face-Less” is the beauty about being a human being- the purity of aiming towards perfection, juxtaposing with its flaws. “A lot of people put on masks throughout their daily lives…but this this collection, I want no masks. I want people to celebrate life and enjoy it. I just want people to feel confident and beautiful when they wear my collection.”

Isabelle is partnering with Luevo- a website where you and see the show and then shop the runway afterwards. The sale runs for about a month and prices run 35% less than the retail prices.

Zang Toi Celebrates 25 Years of Fashion Success @ NYFW September 2014

It was a packed house when New York designer Zang Toi showcased his Spring/Summer 2015 collection- “A Privileged Life: The American Dream.” Celebrities such as Camille Grammer, Whoopi Goldberg, Andre Leon Talley and others were on hand to witness the designer’s 25 year anniversary in the industry. Zang created the House of Toi collection in 1989 and has since been known for it’s glamour, attention to even the smallest detail and celebration of the female form. His garments are all handmade in New York City.

The collection was a tribute and his way of saying ‘thank you’ to America and all the opportunities it has given him to establish himself. He was the first designer to use bright colors when everyone else was using taupe, beige and brown.This season, he brings back a suit that was in his very first Spring collection (he had only been in business for six months at the time) that was picked up by Anna Wintour for Vogue’s ‘Fresh Faces of the 90s’ story. The suit was re-issued in different colorways for this collection and is also a tribute to Vogue. You can also say that the collection was an example of ‘All-American Prep,’ with bright striped jackets, crisp suits and clean silhouettes. He kept the evening and cocktail wear in more cooler colors, yet stayed true to his attention to detail.

The end of the show concluded with Zang taking the runway by storm. As the audience gave him a standing ovation, one of the photographers presented him with a 25 year anniversary cake.

Congratulations Zang Toi, here’s to another 25 years of fashionable success!

WWDMagic August 2014 – Brand Discovery!

This time around, I discovered quite a few more brands that I had not known of before, thanks mainly to social media and fellow bloggers. Though a few of these brands I just stumbled upon…and I’m glad I did….

AS by DF

I had the pleasure of meeting Denis Focil, designer of Los Angeles based brand- AS by DF. AS by DF’s parent company – Alpinestars was founded in Italy in 1963 and has always been known for advanced and high quality motorcycle apparel. AS by DF was created in 2010 with focus on contemporary ready-to-wear and most importantly, leather jackets. The AS by DF woman is defined as daring, sophisticated and ready to take on the world.

Denise explains, “When I designed this line, I always wanted it to be luxurious, down to the last detail…with the lining, the little hidden gems and things that I put inside my pieces. It’s all about discovery. Every single time I design a jacket the customer will end up going home and finding things later…I do little hidden pockets inside a jacket…Little things to scrunch up your sleeve that’s hidden inside… Just everything so well thought out.”

Denise wanted the Spring/Summer 2015 collection to be all about color, but also keeping some black and neutrals. She was inspired by music, especially rock n’ roll. “In this particular case, by a lot of mix takes on rock n’ roll music but interpreted in modern way. So a reinterpretation of classic silhouettes done in a very fresh way,” she concluded.

AS by DF can be found in numerous boutiques around the country, including Fred Segal and Satine in LA and Azuz Boutique in Rice Village. You can also check out asbydf.com to shop and get more information.

#HelloLeather

Morphew Concept

So I was on a golf cart, being shuttled through the main aisle of SOURCING at MAGIC from one end to the other, when I spot a booth with vintage clothing. I literally almost jumped off….But I didn’t, so I waited until I was in the area again and power-walked to the booth. I enthusiastically want to introduce- Morphew Concept, an online retailer who is based in New York City and focuses on high-end vintage clothing. When I walked into the booth, it was like the gates of heaven were opening, along with the cheesy “aaaaaahhhhhhh” tunes. I viewed some of the rarest, most beautiful pieces of the past from such designers as Norma Kamali, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Valentino and more. Garments from as early as the 1920s were on display. Funky jumpsuits from Dior and Norma Kamali. Sequined exquisite caftans and dusters. Delicate lace Edwardian blouses. It all made my heart swoon. Owner- Bridgette Morphew launched her former brand Paradox Designs (now Morphew) in 2005 with the mission of giving people access and the ability to purchase highly coveted vintage, classic and couture designer pieces from her archive of over 5,000 pieces. Bridgette recently transitioned Paradox Designs into Morphew Concept, still keeping it in the forefront of the fashion industry. For more information, check out morphewconcept.com.

Meghan Los Angeles // Boheme

I spotted Los Angeles designer- Meghan Fabulous showing pieces from one of her brands- Boheme. Her S/S 2015 collection is full of color, wild prints, decadent trims, exotic textiles, lace and crochet. She also recycled vintage Levi’s and added very bohemian yet vibrant trims. I feel that her unique line is inspired by her world travels to places near and far. Either way, the brand coincides with Meghan’s whimsical and fabulous personality. Check out meghanla.com for additional information.

Stela 9

I had heard of Stela 9 via the instagrams of multiple tastemakers carrying their bohemian and tribal-esque handbags. So being able to see the brand in person during the show was very admirable. Guatemala based- Stela 9 was conceived in the summer of 2010 by archaeology assistant- Jess Bercovici. It was during an archaeology project in Guatemala that she immediately fell in love with the Mayan culture and its artisan leather crafting and weaving traditions. Each collection is meticulously handcrafted by skilled local artisans while using recycled textiles, semi-precious stones and ethically procured leather. The brand directly contributes to the livelihood and sustainability of the indigenous communities that craft such valued works of art. Loved seeing their bags and footwear up close. One of my favorite styles being the beaded cactus clutch and the wonderfully vibrant weekender bags. They are also branching out to clothing as well, as I saw THE BEST pair of multi-color tribal striped shorts (that I’m still coveting). To meet the makers and get more information on the brand, check out Stela 9.

Ancestral Ground

Ancestral Ground is a French denim brand that was created in 2009, but officially launched during this show. Designer Faical Marzouq created denim jeans for both men and women to fit like a second skin. They were designed with only ONE invisible seam and no side seams. The jeans are made with only top-quality French and Italian fabrics. Faical designs jeans that range from a size 0 to an 18, but can create for larger sizes upon request. According to the Ancestral Ground rep, “The fit of the jeans is custom to every body. You can be a size 0 or 20…He will design them to fit your body. That’s a great thing about jeans from a plus-size perspective… His jeans fit like a glove.” For further information and to contact them, check out ancestralground.com.

Black Swan

Black Swan Clothing was born in California in 2013. The brand prides itself on effortlessly blending edgy textiles with soft, romantic silhouettes to reflect the complexities and layers of the modern woman. The Black Swan customer is “Refreshingly unique, she finds comfort in her own skin. She is effortless in her styling, chic in her demeanor and strong in her sense of self.” The brand fits a variety of women and is versatile in the fact that it’s effortless and easy to wear. For their S/S 2015 collection, they drew most of their inspiration from travels abroad, which gave them their bright yet soft color palette as the ease and versatility of many pieces in the line. The brand is sold at over 1,800 high-end specialty stores all over the country (including Ron Herman, Planet Blue and M. Fedric) and department stores, such as Nordstrom.

Harlyn Label

Harlyn Label was the last brand I saw before leaving the trade show floor, which I’m glad I stopped by. I always seem to gravitate towards bright fun prints and fresh silhouettes- Harlyn fit the bill. The Los Angeles based brand was launched in Spring 2013 as Bizz Inc.’s first designer collection. It is inspired by the label’s designer- Maria Stanley’s love for vintage and feminine clothing. Creative Director and owner of Bizz Inc. Kei Kim oversee the development of the collections and overall creative direction. Their S/S 2015 collection is titled “Down the Rabbit Hole” and blends the perfect mix of timeless American nostalgia, the fun and carefree attitude of 50’s style and of course, Haryln’s feminine vintage-inspired roots. The collection feature’s the brand’s signature prints, such as: ‘Mondrian’, ‘Polka Dot’, ‘Picnic Check’, ‘Splatter’ and ‘Daisy'; as well as flattering new bodies and natural materials (like linen, cotton, denim and mixed media). Maria’s angle on the 1950s Americana aesthetic leaves us with that era’s ‘boy meets girl’ twist on the classic bodies that the brand is known for.

From what I saw during MAGIC, Harlyn really is a ‘collection of lovelies.’

Ducks in a Row SF

Ducks in a Row SF is a fairly new brand, having launched in Autumn 2013. Although owner and designer Rebecca Leonard and her husband have worked in womens apparel for seven years, they had always had the goal of one day launching their own line. Rebecca recalls, ” We often said “when we get our ducks in a row we will be able to launch my own designs.” So when we finally got the opportunity to start our own line, it seemed fit to call it ‘Ducks in a Row.'” The brand is heavily inspired by their funky and historic Haight/Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco. All clothing is designed with a lot of attention to the cut and fit, so it flatters more body types.Rebecca draws inspiration from vintage fashion but updates them with a twist on fun modern color combinations and details. “Like our city, we are young at heart and won’t shy away from wearing cat ears on our bowler hats or Scottie dogs on our dresses,” Rebecca adds. So of course, the Autumn 2014 collection has a signature cats and dogs theme (with equal parts cat ears and Scottie dogs). I saw dresses with plaid prints, but would have Scottie dog appliques or kitten prints and cozy looking coats with a faux fur hood with cat ears. I loved seeing the very 1920s inspired hats and cloches and am pleased to see that Rebecca revitalizes vintage style hats in a new way. All their Autumn hats are 100% wool, are fully lined with satin and have adjustable draw strings. Ducks in a Row SF is a brand to watch- especially if you are one who loves animals and are a vintage loving quirky girl at heart!

Mellie J Showroom // Ewa i Walla

I’ve known Melanie Flood- owner of Mellie J Showroom for awhile now, so when I saw that she had a booth at MAGIC, it was obvious that I had to stop by. She showed me one of the latest brands she was repping- Sweden based Ewa i Walla. The brand was founded by Ewa Iwalla in 2002 and focuses on vintage-inspired romantic garments with an emphasis on Old Swedish farmer culture. Ewa takes great pride in offering creative and unique design, deconstruction, layers of unexpected fabric combinations and quality materials such as: cotton, linen, silk, wool and her signature crushed organdy. Her S/S 2015 is “My Summer Saga”- based on the Swedish saga of traveling to South Asia. This season’s collection spotlights the “Kitchen Check”- a light and comfortable voile fabric, as well as fabrics that are similar to linen, lace and silk, yet have different qualities. The brand also incorporates interior design styles that come in the form of curtains and pillows. Check out ewaiwalla.se for additional information.

Whitney Eve

TV personality Whitney Port (Laguna Beach, The Hills, The City) launched her namesake brand in 2008, mixing easy California sophistication with New York City edge. The brand is known for custom prints and captivating silhouettes, like convertible party dresses and classic menswear-inspired pieces. While in the booth, certain qualities I noticed from the S/S 2015 collection were: lots of oversizing, quilting, floral and palm prints and very texture heavy separates. I did have the pleasure of meeting Whitney at her booth, she explained that her inspiration for the collection was, “‘New Age Hawaii’…My modern take on tropical…So it’s a lot of fun floral and scale prints, mixed with more feminine pieces.” For more information and to shop the brand, check out whitneyeve.com.

Show Me Your Mumu

Show Me Your Mumu was launched in 2011 by lively and free-spirited friends- Cammy Hebert and Cologne Schmidt. This was after a last-minute trip to Miami (in the dead of Summer mind you), and they realized that nothing they brought seemed to be comfortable, cute or flowy enough to survive through the humid weather. After consistently buying oversize tops and trying to convert them into a mumu-esque dress, they still could not find the ideal fit. It wasn’t until later that they reinvented the style by shortening the dress and changing the spelling (from ‘mu’u mu’u’ to ‘mumu'”). They started out by making the mumus in their tiny NYC apartment, before relocating to sunny California- where the brand is now based and manufactured. The brand has since branched out to making dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, tops and pants, but with their signature mumu (or ‘mu’) being the best-seller. It was such a pleasure seeing the brand in person, as I’ve only seen it via social media. The clothes are whimsical with fun bright prints and even some vintage-style silhouettes. The S/S 2015 line was inspired by Mexico: tropical, palms, cacti (let’s talk about that cacti print tee!), and vintage-inspired prints in the line, but with a Mexican (colorful) flair. You can read their ‘fairy tale‘ and shop the brand via showmeyourmumu.com.

Show Me Your Mumu is proudly made in the “GORGE USA”!

Willow and Clay

Los Angeles based Willow and Clay launched about five years ago and is described as “the every woman”- meaning that she is an artist (Edie), a workaholic (Riley) and socialite (Scarlet). This season, the girls journey through a “Desert Odyssey”- traveling the world, exploring new places and meeting new faces. We are able to witness a few of their adventures…one being “Sahara Snow”- a place that is cold, frozen-over and barren. The girls bring out their wardrobe, consisting of cozy knits and sweaters, lots of embellishment and a palette of white, light lilacs and soft grays. We then transition to “Nomadic Dreams.” Their wardrobe changes, switching to warmer desert hues such as pinks, orange, white and sky blues. Clothing fabrications become lighter and we see more lace, cut-outs and bohemian layering.

The Willow and Clay booth was charming, featuring pieces from the Fall 2014 and S/S 2015 collections. I gravitated towards the plaid maxi and shirt dresses, the black/white striped track pants, the brown vest/cape, the white boxy short sleeve vegan leather top, the yummy moto jackets, the black sheer striped tee and black sheer willow pullover top.

Thank you for having us! Be sure to check out their amazingly creative lookbooks on the website!

Vinca

Austin, TX-based brand Vinca was founded by Amanda Dimova in 2006. Dimova has been a creative all her life, always dabbling in making paper dolls, little purses, doll food out of clay, etc. It wasn’t until she was 18 when she truly found her passion in jewelry making. “I realized that it was a more universal wearable art form. It didn’t have to be sized, any body type could wear it, and I could produce it so that it was made in USA and affordable,” she explained. In 2006, she officially launched her brand- Vinca. Vinca is the name she created for her original collection at the start of the company and is based on a small five petal flower, called the ‘Vinca.’ Amanda runs a small factory in Austin, where she designs and manufactures her line. She draws all her wooden and acrylic designs and oversees the cutting and assembling that is done in-house. Raw materials that are used in creating the little quirky pieces of jewelry include: sterling chain, specialty acrylics, wood and plastic (and of course are sourced right here in the good ‘ole U S of A, which she calls ‘micro-manufacturing’). Their wholesale catalog offers over a thousand styles, so there’s something for everyone! Prices range from $8 for a ring, $16 for earrings to $30 for most necklaces. They also do custom designs as well. Along with their online store, if you are local to Houston, you can find Vinca at Hello Lucky and Biscuit Home. I cannot speak more highly about Vinca. The product really adds a touch a whimsy to any outfit. It’s locally made and sourced, which is an A+ in my book. As Amanda concludes,”I take it as a great compliment and am humbled by the fact I’ve been able to sell my designs for the past couple of years and really grow the business. I hope that when people see Vinca jewelry they can see the hard work I’ve put into it to make available a large selection of their favorite things in pretty colors at an affordable price point, and made sure it’s produced in ethical working conditions (my desk is in the same room as the manufacturing an inventory).”

Cobb Hill Shoes

I was always familiar with the New Balance sneaker brand…but didn’t know that they branched out into making trendy yet comfortable footwear…until I met with them during FN Platform. I would also like to add that they were one of the most hospitable booths at the show. As it turns out, Cob Hill is a part of Drydock Footwear Group (a joint venture with New Balance)- located on Boston’s historic commercial drydocks. Cobb Hill is New Balance’s very trendy and fashionable sister- with styles that can take you from day to night. The footwear consists of burnished leathers, antiqued hardware and handcrafted stitching, but with all the characteristics that make up the performance that New Balance offers. The footwear, ranging from trendy oxfords to little booties to vintage-inspired Mary-Janes- are lightweight with flexible soles and have ultra-cushioned footbeds. To shop the brand, check out cobhillshoes.com and be sure to check out Drydock as well.

Huge thanks to Kelly and Karen! It was also lovely seeing the Drydock HQ while in Boston and meeting the team.

KAS New York

What do blouses with fringe, sequin shorts, vibrant prints and lacy garments have in common? KAS New York. The brand was founded by Kirat S. Anand in 2007 and specializes in affordable luxury in the womens contemporary ready-to-wear market. Anand started his career as an investment banker at JP Morgan, but soon realized that his heart belonged in fashion. He had grown up in the industry, with his Father being a self-made manufacturer and Mother- a designer. He would travel to India, where he’d spend hours at the factories and samples, taking in as much inspiration as possible. Today, the KAS brand is known for having non-traditional urban style blended with lux bohemian vintage accents. “My desire was to create a lifestyle brand, which wasn’t ageist or restrictive. There were so many options for the younger girl, but a modern sophisticated woman either had to go couture, missy or moderate. My goal was to create a brand for women who embrace their style and dress with the 3 Fs in mind; having Fun, being Fashionable and not spending a Fortune,” Kirat explained (via his website). Upon viewing his S/S 2015 collection, I realized just that. The collection consisted of sequin tribal print shorts, vibrant tops with fringe, an amazing lace jumpsuit and all-around richly-colored separates. Check out KASnewyork.com for more information.

Foot Zen by Doctor Specified

I was in desperate need of a pair of socks during FN Platform and I happened to come across Foot Zen by Doctor Specified- a booth dedicated to socks that focus on the health and well-being of your feet. Doctor Specified is an initiative between South Africa and America, based in North Carolina. They believe that socks are vital to overall foot health. The socks are extremely comfortable and are designed with MED DRY(TM) moisture treatment, extra fine Merino wool with their Lanolin treatment and mohair- a premium natural fiber known for its anti-friction characteristics. The socks are available in a variety of styles and colors. Check out footzen.us for more information.

Thank you for saving my feet!

Love, Sadie

Love, Sadie is another cute Los Angeles based womens contemporary brand that was recently launched within the last year or so. They offer dresses, rompers, pants, tops and jumpsuits that are offered in a variety of fun prints. Love, Sadie is free-spirited and effortless, inspired by adventure.

Wanderlust + Co

Wanderlust + Co is an online jewelry brand that was conceived in Melbourne, Australia in late 2010. Founder- Jenn and her team strive to create beautiful and affordable accessories without sacrificing comfort and quality. They put out new styles weekly. Ever since I’ve seen their jewelry, usually via social media, I’ve always been impressed by what they have to offer, such as: the midi-rings, the hexagon and double arrow cuffs and gem statement necklaces. I swear, I think they even started the ‘ring stacking’ trend. Well, after playing with some of their jewelry at their booth, I am a fan myself. Check out wanderlustandco.com to shop this fab jewelry brand.

Paul Redmond

Meeting emerging designer- Paul Redmond was one of the highlights during this trip. He officially launched his brand this year and specializes in 3-D and digital print and laser cut designs. His concept, “Download This Dress,” is where you can go to his website and actually download a dress or the plans for a dress and then either have it laser cut, 3-D or digitally printed. The designs can be custom-made to your size or custom designed…period. His designs are priced lower than “normal” clothing is now, because you do most of the manufacturing yourself. He also reduces waste by reusing materials that have been cut and putting them on another garment, etc. Available materials are: neoprene and polyester. Sizes range from a “small to “large” and “0” to “11.” For more information and to download a dress, check out paulredmond.co.

The future of fashion is here……

Courtney Allegra Swimwear

Sixteen year old designer Courtney Allegra just launched her swimwear collection three months ago (with her official launch being at MAGIC this time around). The San Diego brand has technically been around since 2013, when she launched her ready-to-wear collection. Her swimwear line consists of eclectic prints with unique island names and island-nation names for the patterns. Most of the styles are reversible. She also offers matching cover-ups. To shop and find out more about the brand, check out courtneyallegra.com.

Maggie May Swimwear

I’m thankful that the rep (uniquely dressed in her one-of-a-kind creation) for Maggie May pulled me aside to discuss the swimwear brand until the designer came back from a short break. When Magdalena Trever arrived, she personally showed me the line and discussed what makes her brand unique and shine. She launched NYC-based Maggie May Swimwear in 2010 and emphasizes in loom-knitted swimwear for women. She specializes in creating the wearable art out of high-quality bamboo, which has helped her get into a lot of stores and Sports Illustrated because it’s eco-friendly, goes great on the body, in water and doesn’t stretch out; also because the material is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and wicks out the moisture. She also believes in using the highest quality trimmings as well, such as Czech glass buttons, Swarovski crystals and fresh water pearls. “I’m all about the quality, I don’t put plastic on it,” Magdalena stated. Well, paying attention to the quality and design certainly pays off, as one of her bikinis landed on Kate Upton in Sports Illustrated in 2012. Magdalena is extremely hands-on, creating each piece herself, so each swimsuit is not exactly alike. In fact, when I was at the booth, she saw a small snag in a bikini. She immediately whipped out her knitting needle and fixed it in less than five minutes. Total dedication right there! Check out maggiemayswimwear.com for more information and to shop the brand.

Thank you WWDMagic.. it was a HUGE pleasure being your guest this August!

WWDMagic August 2014- Overall Experience

WWDMagic- the trade show of trade shows. It’s where the fashion industry congregates twice a year in Las Vegas to literally talk trade, sourcing, the latest trends…anything FASHION… for three straight days. Attendees travel (via complimentary shuttles) between two major venues- the convention center and Mandalay Bay to take on nine (yes NINE) different shows. I’ve attended MAGIC about four times now and have always had a great experience, whether it be meeting new people, spotlighting new brands, seeing shows that perhaps I wasn’t able to see the last time I was there and more.

This time around, my friend and fellow blogger- Shalanda and I flew to Vegas to attend the show. We got in a couple days before the show started, to have a mini vacation of sorts. But once the show started, it was jam-packed from 9am to the close at 6pm. I met with brands (and blog followers) that I’ve only connected with via social media. I re-connected with friends from Los Angeles and Austin. I found a booth that specialized in VINTAGE. AND… how can anyone forget… the coveted trade show bags…like ahem… PROJECT?! I don’t know about you, but every time I go to MAGIC, I always anticipate how cool the Pool, ENK, Sourcing or Project bags are going to be. Geeky, I know…but still…

It was my first time attending Sourcing and like all the shows, it was overwhelmingly informative. There were booths that dealt with sourcing fabrics and trims from over 35 countries and inspiration to be found around every corner. There was a cozy lounge provided by Laurel and Wolf- an innovative interior design website where you take a design style quiz and designers submit boards for you to see (depending on what package you choose). Denim was very trend-heavy this season. August’s featured denim exhibit was Jeanologia- a Spanish company that is in the development of sustainable technologies for garment finishing. Their exhibit is dubbed “Back to America Wall” and consisted of a collection of vintage denim garments that were inspired by the company’s archive. It was also during Sourcing that I discovered… “They have VINTAGGGGEEEE…” But more on that later. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to sit in on the seminars, but for those of you that plan on checking out MAGIC, I suggest making time to go.

Personal appearances by celebrities are the norm during Magic Market Week. There was an after-party at ‘The Oasis,’ at ENK, where Whitney Port and Trop Rouge‘s Christina Caradona were the ‘hosts of honor.’ Courtney Kerr was at the American Express Open booth, discussing fashion and business.

The American Express Open booth was also home to an intense three day competition, where three New York City-based handbag designers competed in the American Express Open Rising Stars Competition. Victoria Khoss, Kelsea Slade and Shana Luther had to design a handbag that dictated the concept “retro proven newness.” Their mini-studios were set up in the middle of the floor, complete with their sketches, materials and sewing machines. It was fun watching them and just chatting with them about their design process.

In the next segment of WWDMagic coverage, you will learn about quite a few of the “new-to-me” brands that I discovered. Of course I stopped by a few brands that I’ve known for awhile now, such as Moods of Norway. It is also great seeing one of the designers- Stefan, always dressed in his signature dapper duds and small tractor pin. I was also greeted with a heart-shaped waffled with jam. It was a such a welcome treat after burning off breakfast power-walking the show floor.Let’s just say, I walked out of the booth wanting all of their womens S/S 2015 collection.Catherine Malandrino‘s paint splatter prints mixed with vibrant solids stopped me in my tracks. Santa Barbara based footwear brand- Koolaburra showcased their signature boho styles. Lots of fringe, a neutral palette and ‘all-American’ meets boho personalities stole the spotlight at their booth. There was some very manly ‘eye candy’ mocking playing tennis at the Lacoste booth. The dynamic prints and colors at Trina Turk. Chinese Laundry is always a breath of fresh air with trendy and chic styles. That platform heel though…

Every time I attend the shows, it’s another adventure, which makes me anxious to go back every year.

Thank you WWDMagic.. it was a HUGE pleasure being your guest this August!

Refinery 29 and Simon Present: The Shopping Block

The Houston Preminum Outlets were once again the setting for another great and uber-fashionable event, The Shopping Block- hosted by fashion and retail powerhouses Refinery 29 and Simon. The event was put on as an effort between R29 and Simon to collaborate and commend the small culture and take back the mall, as well as the outlets. Refinery 29’s Athena Chen mentioned that, “[Simon] provided a lot of liberties to celebrate the ‘millennial culture’ of shopping and bringing them back in this environment by bringing in curated local vendors and designers to be apart of this experience.”

Houston was stop five of the seven city mall tour. The tour started in NYC, then went to Philadelphia, followed by Boston, Miami, HOUSTON, then Los Angeles and finally back in NYC. The event design was inspired by modernist artists Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, as well as Marfa, TX and its art and architecture- especially cubism. “This experience is supposed to be interactive and allowing us to celebrate something that’s very in the moment in a very spiritual and tangible way… It’s a way to bring in a crowd to engage with consumers in a new way for Simon and to interact with new consumers that they may not have reached in the past…” Athena explained.

Houston’s event was held under a large tent, where each of the vendors and interactive stations were set up like an intimate mini shopping mall within the mall. Lovely ladies in a matching gray tee, white pleated lacy skirt paired with cute tennis shoes and socks acted as the ‘Style Concierge,’ helping with questions and handing out curated style guides. Each event has guest hosts and for the Houston edition- siblings Hanna, Sophia and Joshua Anderson were chosen to host the event. The interactive stations included beauty bars by Designer Fragrances and Cosmetic Company and Elizabeth Arden and a DIY station where guests could personalize a tote bag, taking inspiration from two Fall 2014 runway trends- sporty and embellished. The booth featured a moodboard of each trend, an example of that tote and crafting materials. The local indie boutiques included: Height of Vintage (vintage clothing), Hatton Henry (handmade leather bags and accessories), Sun Child (online boutique based in Texas), Vida Antigua (“Vintage Life” offers vintage clothing), fLuxe Jewelry (handmade jewelry from copper sheet metal and patina chemicals, inspired by Art Deco, Aztec pottery and modern geographic design), Sal Miel (handmade unisex jewelry of created from mixed metals and textures) , Busy-Being + Solid Gold (a brick-n-mortar based in Austin that carries art and product from local artists and friends) and Settlement Goods (boutique in Houston that carries emerging and independent designers who manufacture in the USA).

It was a fun afternoon to get crafty, take photos in the selfie booth, catch up with friends, shop and try for a chance to win a shopping spree valued at $1,500 at a Simon mall.

Huge thanks to the vendors, Simon, DPWPR & Refinery 29 gals (especially Athena) for a lovely day!

It’s a Kimono Kind of Day….

Los Angeles based designer Melissa Velia once again proves that there are many ways to reinvent the kimono. Her version includes wispy florals with bouncy pom-pom trim. The day I wore it was perfect, as the weather was rather bland. I decided to take advantage of the warm colors to sort of brighten up my outfit for an event I was attending. I paired it with my flared jeans and belted it at the waist for added color and a more refined silhouette.

(Floral Kimono with Pom-Pom Trim c/o Melissa Velia, Vintage Belt- thrifted, Vintage Turban- thrifted, Vintage Necklace- thrifted, Denim c/o Doctrine Jeans, Vintage RODO handbag- thrifted, Brown Heels c/o Sole Society.)

** Photos by Nicole Kestenbaum Photography **

5th Annual Women’s Home reNew and reDux Fashion Show 2014

I really love the idea of seeing local thrift shops host a fashion show, especially one as high caliber as the one The Women’s Home at The Cottage Shop put on recently. It was their fifth annual show and held in the Grand Foyer of the Wortham Center in downtown Houston. The event featured vendors, silent auction, light bites, the ever-popular Cottage Shop pop-up boutique and the fashion presentation.

Before the show, I checked out the pop-up boutique. It was filled with designer and vintage clothing and accessories. I also browsed the outfits that were on display (and available for purchase) from the closets of some of Houston’s notable style icons: Mandy Kao, Yasmine Haddad, Joanne King Herring, Phyllis Williams and Duyen Huynh. Seasons 52 Fresh Grill had a delectable sampling of treats and light appetizers that could satisfy any discerning palate. The folks at Kendra Scott were on hand, having a jewelry pull for guests. For $100, guests could pick a box, where inside the box was a piece of jewelry valued at $100-300. But the catch was that they couldn’t peek. Needless to say, I’m sure they weren’t disappointed, as the Kendra Scott brand is very popular. There was a section of vendors that showcased their services that evening, which were SoK Salon on Kirby, W by Worth and Q the Salon.

The fashion show was emceed by Fox26 news anchor- Rita Garcia and was distributed into eight ‘scenes.’

Scene One was “Berry Nice,” where they featured all black clothing, but with pops of orchid, fuchsia, berry and rouge. Designer labels included: Christian Dior, Valentino, Tory Burch and Kay Unger.

Scene Two was “Autumn Sonata” and highlighted Fall-like colors, textures and layering. Coats (both newer and vintage), tights and color/print mixing were key trends for this scene. I loved how knits and woolens were paired together to create a cozy yet chic outfit. Designer labels included: Peck & Peck, Clements Ribeiro, Jason Wu, Etro, Burberry and Marc Jacobs.

Scene Three was “Haute Stuff” and displayed show-stopping cocktail dresses paired with a swanky leather jacket or a statement accessory. Designer labels included: Roberto Cavalli, Donna Karan, Gucci, Missoni and Halston.

Scene Four was “Gray Expectations” and spotlighted neutrals such as black and gray, which were anything but “gray.” Solids mixed with metallics or sequins to create looks that were office friendly yet could take the wearer straight to happy hour. Designer labels included: Ralph Lauren, Valentino, Chaiken and Piazza Sempione.

Scene Five was “The Art of the Dress” and brought attention to dresses that were simple, yet had a small detail that just “made” the dress; such as the trim, a fabric manipulation or print. Designer labels included: Lela Rose, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Marchesa.

Scene Six was “Call of the Wild” and stressed looks that involved animal print. Leopard print took center stage as either the main garment or accessory. As not to be overdone, the looks were completed with a solid neutral print or color. This was also a good time for vintage furs to finally get noticed. Designer labels included: Fendi, Chloe, Valentino, Michael Kors, Sue Wong, BCBG and Versace.

Scene Seven was “Color of the Night” and emphasized formal statement-worthy gowns that were ready for the dance floor. Designer labels included: Chanel, See by Chloe, Nicole Miller, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Monique Lhuillier.

Scene Eight was “Fade to Black” and underlined lovely black cocktail and evening wear. Most of these looks were paired with stunning feather pieces and pearls. Designer labels included: Jenny Han, Tocca, Sonia Rykiel, Valentino, Monique Lhuillier, Armani, Vera Wang and Tadashi.

After the show, guests waiting anxiously for the runway looks to become available at the pop-up boutique. During that time, it was literally a feeding frenzy as people grabbed the coveted items from the racks. I ended up scoring the Oscar de la Renta scarlet silk and sculptured dress, which I’m just itching to wear to the appropriate event. All proceeds from the event went to help The Women’s Home.

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