FGILA Presents: Designers & Muses
Simply Stylist
"Encore" by Lauren- Elaine

FGILA Presents: Designers & Muses

It was truly an honor to attend the opening industry cocktail party  for LA Fashion Week. It was an event where thirty of LA’s top designers and their muses mingled with guests on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel, benefiting the Fashion Group International (of LA)’s Scholarship fund that supports future fashion designers. It also benefited the new FGILA Scholarship category in footwear design sponsored by “Logan Real”, who is based in Miami. Growing up, I have always wanted to be a fashion designer and of course, I read all about these designers in books and magazines. But actually being able to mingle and meet them was the best experience one could imagine!

I met Joy Han of Voom by Joy Han and her muse, Deborah Lindquist and muse, Michele Bohbot of Bisou Bisou, Michael Costello, Rachel Pally and her Mom, who was her muse; Randolph Duke and muse Edyta Sliwinska, Nony Tochterman of Petro Zillia and her muse Romi, who was her young daughter; Uriel Saenz with muse, Catalina Lopez; Lesa Amoore (www.lesaamoore.com), Lori Taylor of Smashbox Cosmetics, Melodie Wotley of Snobz Design Team…..

Rami Kashou of Project Runway fame and his muse, Paula Miranda. She wore a dress inspired by Frank Gehry’s architecture (think the Disney Concert Hall). “I find beauty in the shapes and volumes yet the light weight his works maintain. I wanted to channel such details in clothing designs,” says Kashou. “I like to think my designs are original and uncommon, also that they speak of a woman’s sophistication, elegance and strength.” Rami is launching his new website this month (November) so definitely check it out! www.ramikashou.com .

Philipines-based designer Oliver Tolentino and his muse, supermodel Tutay Maristela, who is also from the Philippines. She opened and closed his LAFW show and wowed the audience with her walk and how she projected herself on the runway. For the D&M event, she wore this stunning long blue gown, which was inspired by Oliver’s home country. It was hand-dyed in different shades of rich blue, which according to Oliver, resembled the ocean on the beaches of the Philippines and when the woman walks in the dress, the fabric “flows like waves.” Most of his eco-friendly collection is made from Pina or pineapple fabric and hand-dyed in many different colors. **Designer’s Note- ” I was very pleased with the reaction of my first LA Fashion Week show, after having opened my Melrose boutique only three months ago (in October). I was flattered that many said it was like a New York couture runway show.”** For more info, please visit www.olivertolentino.com.

I noticed Onch (from Paris Hilton’s BFF and a previous Taylrz Joynt event) and found out he was the muse for designer, Maggie Barry. She chose Onch because he represented the fun in fashion. He was decked out in white and a neon green shirt with huge lips licking teeth and carried a make-up bag with a picture of an eye. He also wore jewelry and a rubber ducky headband from his line, available at www.onchmovement.bigcartel.com. Very Pop-Art indeed! His outfit was part of Maggie’s “Pop-Art” collection of dresses and such that are also reversible. The art on the make-up bags were a collaboration with make-up artists and photographers to create custom works of beauty and that will be featured at a pop-up store during the next downtown LA artwalk.”Have fun with fashion and may fun fashion find you.” For more information, go to www.maggiebarry.com.

Sue Wong, a famous LA dress designer and her muse, Brandise were also there. Brandise has been a model for Sue for nine years and has the ‘Sue Wong Look’. According to Sue, Brandise is “a chameleon of many diverse looks…has the ability to transform into the many metamorphoses of my design fancies…” The black strapless gown that Brandise wore was inspired by Nineteenth century Belle Epoque/Boheminan Montmartre Cabaret. This era inspired her entire Spring 2010 collection of cocktail dresses and gowns. “The gown is adorned with jet beading and seutache embroidery with long hanging beaded fringed tassels, creating a sensual and vampish look,” adds Sue. Brandise wore a top hat designed by Sue in the spur of the moment. The necklaces that they both wore were designed by Joe Polthakorn of Vilaiwan Fine Jewelry (http://www.vilaiwan.com). I cannot put into words the feeling I get when I look at Sue Wong’s gowns…. She’s such an amazing designer and I hope to one day wear one of her pieces to an event. For more information, go to www.suewong.com.

Another ‘fabulous’ designer that I caught up with, was none other than Meghan Fabulous. She and her muse, actress Nzinga Blake both wore floral gowns. “…she is a fresh, young Hollywood actress that exemplifies beauty, class, attitude, humor and style; all of which are at the heart of my brand,” Meghan says of her muse. “Nzinga reminds me of Springtime, fresh bright colors and beautiful blooming flowers. I wanted her to look like she was covered in a bouquet of lilies, daisies, peonies, hybiscus and orchids. Her personality is radiating like a newly blossomed flower.” When asked about the ‘Meghan Fabulous Brand’, Meghan states that “Fabulous is a feeling…an attitude. My clothes strive to give you an edge of confidence with the rich fabrics, bold colors, sexy cuts and distinctive prints…”  The Meghan Fabulous customer should feel “priceless” in all situations that are thrown at her. “She commands attention and loves the spotlight.” As I peruse her website, www.meghanfabulous.com, I can see that…. Her clothes do grab my attention and are fun and bold. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Then I met up with design husband-and-wife team, Magid Mehrabadi and Michele Bernard of Magid Bernard and their muse, Shayn Jeppesen (www.shayjeppesen.com). They chose Shayn because she represented the Magid Bernard brand: timeless, classic elegance. Also, by her “presence”… “She exudes a cool, regal style that transcends age, time or place. We believe our clothes do the same.” The other reason they chose her was “they felt that as a young professional, she symbolizes both the mission of the FGILA Foundation and underlying theme of the event…Shayn is a new face in LA…We were excited to introduce her to the industry through our active membership and involvement with FGILA.” The team designed a long “Mermaid” dress for Shayn to wear to the event. The gown was made of  turquoise crocheted English mohair over a bias silk slip. Embellishing the gown were 3/4″ teal and green iridescent paillettes, which were crocheted into the fabric when it is woven, not sewn on after. “We felt that the combination of luxury fabric and youthful sparkle was perfect for Shayn.” The signature Magid Bernard signatures that we will always see in their collections are luxurious fabrics, like: mohair, leopard print angora, super soft and lightweight hot pink and turquoise boiled wools, giant plaids shot through with metallic threads and silk…for their signature bias cut dresses and gowns. Also, we will always see is the architectural quality in the clothing. “Think femininity and fit to a women’s body….We celebrate the feminine form in all its beauty, whether long and lean or lush and curvy…” For more info on this lovely design duo, go to www.magidbernard.com.

Along with mingling with the designers, the Regional Director of FGILA, John Arguelles gave a small speech and also introduced singer, Anjulie, who was nominated by VH1 for “breakthrough video of the year 2009.” It was definitely I night I will always cherish and I look forward to next year’s LAFW kick-off festivities!

SPECIAL THANKS: J, the designers, models (muses), FGILA, Anjulie, the Standard Hotel, buzzflickr PR, The Contact List, Logan Real, Kenneth Brayden Matthews Photography,Taryn Hipwell of Eco Divas, Valerie Samson and Debra Stevenson.

Simply Stylist

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 ashistudio@gmail.com 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, info@odayshakar.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 ohmyfear@gmail.com.

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.

"Encore" by Lauren- Elaine

Designer Lauren Elaine showed twice during LA Fashion Week. I was able to attend her red carpet “Encore” show at Kress, which boasted her “Laine by Lauren-Elaine” and “Black Label”. “Laine” is Lauren Elaine’s more casual line. It reminds me of California girl meets part-Gypsy meets Bohemian. My personal favs were the floral print dresses. They look comfortable and would be perfect for a day exploring the beach towns or heck, even a wedding.
Lauren’s Siren Collection (also now known as the “Black Label”) was the last to be viewed on the runway. I had seen the collection before and all my favorite dresses were there; “The Apollo”, “The Aphrodite”, and “The Nightingale”. Also added to the collection were short full skirted cocktail dresses in pastels and metallics. Another dress to add to my ‘Favorites’ list- It was actually the finale piece….a long white maxi with tiered skirt and feather embellishment on the front bodice. My congrats to Lauren Elaine on TWO successful fashion shows during LAFW!

For more details on Lauren-Elaine Designs, check out www.Lauren-Elainedesigns.com!

Special Thanks: Adam, Lauren Elaine, Kress, J, Stacy Wiseman (LED PR)

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