Tag - fashion

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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
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Stylist Ashley Dunn Launches Namesake Collection
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Designer- Elene Cassis
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MOTEL Skinny Jordan Jean in Black/White Stripes
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Bulgari’s “130 Years of Masterpieces” Exhibit

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.

Stylist Ashley Dunn Launches Namesake Collection

A short time ago, Houston stylist Ashley Dunn launched her namesake ready-to-wear collection at Archway Gallery to an intimate crowd of influencers, friends and family. Local KHOU 11 personality- Courtney Perna was on hand to host the event. Ashley showcased fourteen looks, which she said were inspired by street style, simplicity and bold bright colors. “I was really inspired by women on the go; women that wear many hats but look chic and effortless while doing it.”

Proceeds from the show went to benefit NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) in hopes of raising awareness on the issue, which affects millions (including Ashley). “I was always a curvy girl. Even when I was younger. Which is when the body image issues began. I felt early on that I was different from my peers because of I was curvier & short & they were naturally thin, so in my mind to help me to look like my peers I began throwing up my food, this started in first grade and I didn’t stop until my early twenties after college. My weight was always something I struggled with and I thought that somehow throwing up or getting rid of my food was the answer. My faith played a key role in my journey to becoming a better woman in which helped me to fight my eating disorder of bulimia. I feel it is my duty to share my story in hopes of helping someone struggling like I did.”

The designs and silhouettes were simple and clean, yet chic and versatile. You can mix n’ match pieces and probably could style a week’s worth (if not more) of outfits out of the entire collection. Being a gal who enjoys wearing color, this collection was a breath of fresh air. I especially loved the mid-length flounce skirts, the strapless jumpsuit with semi-skirt, 3/4 sleeve sleek red jumpsuit and crop tops. Another great thing about the brand is that it is manufactured locally in Houston. The price points for looking and feeling great won’t break the bank either, ranging from $29.99- 129.99.

“I try to promote positivity through fashion, empowerment & confidence. So my brand says just that, when a woman wears an Ashley Dunn Piece, that’s how they should feel. Ready to take on the world. I kept my pieces simple yet bold; so that the piece isn’t overshadowing the person but adding to.”

At press time, you can shop the line by emailing the product name and size to info@ashleydunnstyle.com. After the invoice is sent, expect 2-3 weeks to receive the order. Soon, you will be able to shop the line via her site- www.ashleydunnstyle.com.

Designer- Elene Cassis

I had the chance to sit down with and view the Fall/Winter 2010 of New York designer Elene Cassis. Elene is a graduate of Parsons and felt very prepared and driven to start her company right after. This June will mark the one-year anniversary of the start of her company. She defines her style, inspired by Chanel and Ralph Lauren, as “classic beyond belief with a modern twist.” Her clothes have a general color palette of black and white and have a European meets Jackie-O meets London feel. She uses natural fabrics and all the pieces are lined with silk. She is extremely detail-oriented in that she checks the quality of every piece before it goes out to boutiques. Her pieces have been seen on Booker T. Washington’s daughter, the Shannon twins, Stephanie Pratt, and the ‘Linda’ dress has recently been worn on Cheryl Burke.

The classic silhouette was evident in the collection I viewed. The dresses are very versatile in that they could be worn during the day and then jazzed up a bit to wear out on the town in the evening. They are also structured to fit curvier women as well. Elene believes that “everyone should feel special and wear designer clothes.” Prices range from $300-400 and are available in boutiques around the country (one being Petro Zillia here in LA). Her NY showroom is located at 252 W. 38th St. (between 7th & 8th Aves.) and her office number is (212)784-0696 and fax is (212)784-0699. Check out www.elenecassis.com for online shopping and more information.

Special thanks to the designer, Elene Cassis and Carla Bate of Spin Shoppe PR!

MOTEL Skinny Jordan Jean in Black/White Stripes

Let me tell you, if you’re looking for colorful striped jeans…you’ve come to the right place! May I introduce the “Jordan Jean” by the British brand- Motel. This jean is uber-stylish to the core and the fit is fantastic! There’s plenty of stretch at the waist and thigh region, thanks to the Lycra, Polyester and Rayon blend. I love that there’s so many ways to wear this pant. I wore a funky vintage red top and kept to the red/black/white palette. This pant would kill it with the neon trend! Create your own funky take on the trend by adding neon pinks or yellows with the white/black stripes. The pants are now available in white/candy pink stripes! Be prepared to be complimented every time you wear this pant. Check out Motel today!

Bulgari’s “130 Years of Masterpieces” Exhibit


The only Italian word Elizabeth {Taylor} knows in Italian is Bulgari.
-Richard Burton



I first want to thank Shalanda of Live Life in Style for inviting me to this truly magical {press preview} of this exhibit, which celebrated legendary jewelry brand-Bulgari and their 130 years of jeweled masterpieces. The exhibit is being hosted by the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) Before the start of the preview, we were treated to a welcoming reception, complete with coffee and light bites. We then were introduced and officially welcomed by Joel A. Bartsch- president of HMNS and CEO of Bulgari- Jean-Christophe Babin.

Because the Houston Museum of Natural Science is home to one of the finest collections of natural gem crystals in the world, I have a deep appreciation for the quality and diversity of the gems that Bulgari uses when creating their jeweled masterpieces. Equal parts art and science, historic and modern, Bulgari not only pays homage to the great masters of the past, they also continuously push the envelope in jewelry design and cutting-edge technology into the future when so many others are content to merely rest on their laurels,”Joel stated.

We were then given a tour of the exhibit, stopping by each piece and listening to its provenance, or source of origin. We saw gems that dated from the company’s beginning in Rome in 1884 to the present. Portions of the exhibit include stunning jewels from the collection of Elizabeth Taylor and either belonged to or were worn by Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Jennifer Aniston, Claudia Schiffer, Keira Knightley, Elizabeth Hurley, Rachel Weisz, Meryl Streep and others. Two of Houston’s own icons- Lynn Wyatt and Joanne King Herring- also have diamonds and gems from their collections in the exhibit. I was so fascinated in seeing examples of each of Bulgari’s timeless collections (such as the Serpente and Monete collections) because they are a piece of fashion history and VINTAGE! It was interesting hearing the company’s history and how it has grown and evolved over the decades. To also momentarily step into the shoes of the iconic women and hear their tales of wearing the legendary Bulgari ornaments. If you are a fan of jewelry and love learning about the history of anything fashion, you’ll definitely enjoy this exhibit.

You cannot simply live on past glories: that’s foolish. To be a success, you have to combine the worlds of the past, present and future. That is the challenge, and there are many horizons.”
– Nicola Bulgari

“BULGARI: 130 Years of Masterpieces” exhibit runs from May 2, 2014- October 5, 2014.

Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030

Hours: 9am- 5pm

To purcase tickets, go to the website or call: 713-639-4629. For group tickets, contact Martine Kaye, Director of Corporate Sales, via email: mkaye@hmns.org or 713-639-4768.

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