Tag - Houston

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Refinery 29 and Simon Present: The Shopping Block
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5th Annual Women’s Home reNew and reDux Fashion Show 2014
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Mini Pops Presented by Pop Shop Houston
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Stylist Ashley Dunn Launches Namesake Collection
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E! “Fashion Police” Star George Kotsiopoulos X “Exclusively Styled” Event
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“Last Saturdays” at Top Vintage LLC
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Heaven on Earth Gourmet Affairs and The Gemmes Collection

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!

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.

Mini Pops Presented by Pop Shop Houston

Houston has this amazing network of local indie markets that take place intermittently throughout the city. Mini Pops is one of them, a monthly European style market that is in conjunction with twice-yearly Pop Shop Houston- the city’s premier craft, indie, art and music festival. I checked out the one last month, where it was held in a small parking lot in the hip Montrose/Westheimer district. Two boutiques- Pavement Clothing and Leopard Lounge Vintage host the market every SECOND Sunday of each month. Some local vendors that were there include: Vida Antigua, Milk & Honey Vintage, Zayver Jewels, Traci Lavois (she writes poems for you on the spot for sale, barter or trade), The Barking Bunny, Guerra Girl, CultGrrrl Creations, Sam Wish, Laundry Line, The Boy and Her and others. Of course, no outdoorsy hipster market cannot be without the food trucks, which included: The Golden Grill and Juice Girl. There were also DJs and local bands playing throughout the day. As an added bonus, a DIY station was set up (each month the activities change) to do DIY Valentine’s Day cards and make your own terrariums (which I did and LOVE my little low maintenance “garden”). The market is a great place to hang with friends and enjoy your “Sunday Funday.” It also pays to shop the amazing local brands and artists. For more information, check out PopShopHouston.com.

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.

E! “Fashion Police” Star George Kotsiopoulos X “Exclusively Styled” Event

E! Fashion Police star and celebrity stylist George Kotsiopoulos paid a visit to the Houston Premium Outlets recently, as the celebrity emcee for an “Exclusively Styled” fashion event hosted by Gap Factory Store. Back in March, he was chosen as the brand’s Style Editor for Gap Factory Store’s Spring 2014 collection. The campaign is expected to cover over four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. During that span of time, he will share product picks, expert tips and styling insight via social media.

The event, held under a large white tent and complete with models on stilts; started out with an intimate Q and A session with George and a select group of Houston’s top influencers. George was dressed in head-to-toe Gap Factory, straying away from his usual focus on preppy all-over prints that he usually wears on Fashion Police. He spoke about his ‘must-have pieces’ for Fall, like shearling (real and faux) and bright colors. He also spoke about his top picks for Gap: jeans, denim motorcycle jacket, boucle “Chanel-esque” jacket, white distressed denim, embellished sweater and black jumpsuit. When asked about which celebrity he would like to dress, he mentioned the classics- Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and then the moderns- Rhianna and Emma Stone. “They love clothes and fashion…they ‘are into it and get it.’ When asked about his picks of ‘worst-dressed,’ he mentioned that he doesn’t focus on that. He’s not waiting for someone to look bad. He also provided tips on styling yourself if you are an educator, as well as over 30. After the interview, we were able to get photos with him and mingled, while waiting for the show to begin.

Houston stylist Ashley Dunn co-hosted the fashion show. The first group of looks featured denim heavy and sporty separates with an uptown edge. I loved the ‘Canadian Tuxedo’ paired with a white jacket and silver oxfords. Another look that caught my eye was a look that consisted of striped track pants, a striped top and denim motorcycle jacket. The show then transitioned over to a semi-military grouping, with camo print and a variety of browns and neutrals. The last grouping was more for a night on the town or even office-appropriate. Black denim, embroidered skirts, embellished sweaters and a show-stopping black jumpsuit, paired with a thin belt from the boys department (hey it works), with multiple necklaces for a layered look; were the name of the game.

The event concluded with some giveaways and an invitation to shop the runway at the factory store (it was tax-free weekend after all).

“Last Saturdays” at Top Vintage LLC

Located right off 288 and Holly Hall in Houston, Texas lies a hidden gem that is starting to receive local recognition. Top Vintage LLC is a wholesaler that caters to the vintage and second-hand clothing industries. They aren’t like your average “rag house,” they are more of an “upscale warehouse” in that they have an air-conditioned facility that is clean, organized by clothing category and even has a small sitting area and dressing room.

Top Vintage LLC was founded by longtime friends and vintage buyers- Andre Milioto and Nico Cid in February 2014. They have always loved fashion and it’s a way to combine their passion for fashion and recycled clothing. They can’t stand looking like everyone else in Houston, where fashion is more cookie-cutter and vintage/second-hand is slowly (but surely) gaining popularity. “We wanted to start something that we’ve never been to, that we would like to go. This (warehouse with AC and clothing at wholesale prices) doesn’t exist, so we thought ‘screw it, let’s start a revolution!'” Andre said. With that being said, their warehouse covers 6500 square feet and caters to retailers all over the world. The warehouse is exceptionally organized by clothing categories and offers a diverse range of vintage and second-hand clothing that focus on global trends. The guys themselves are very trendy yet stay true to setting themselves apart. They believe that it’s not about what you wear, it’s how you rock it.” I wear womens jeans because they look great on,” Andre stated. “If you think you can rock it, rock it. It’s all about confidence.”

They launched the concept of ‘Last Saturdays’ because they wanted a cool event with good loud music, alcohol, food, friends, fellowship and threads. It is a great way to get their name out there while also flipping product at a wholesale price. I’ve been to a couple of the events and I’ve enjoyed them. Usually, they’ve had either a blogger or stylist curate a collection and then have a local brand do a pop-up shop. I love shopping with them because there’s always something new and I love the thrill of digging and finding those gems. Plus, you can’t beat the prices for quality clothing that likely no one else will have. The staff is also friendly and ready to help style you or point you in the right direction. For event info (usually it’s the last Saturday of every month) check out their Facebook or Instagram.

For further information and to book a shopping appointment, check out their website.

Heaven on Earth Gourmet Affairs and The Gemmes Collection

Doting Mother and cookie culinarian- those are the words that describe the owner of one of Houston’s latest local bakeries. Meet Cristal Ordonez- founder of Heaven on Earth Gourmet Affairs, an exclusive gourmet gifts and treats company that specializes in exquisitely delicious butter pressed cookies and now- edible statement necklaces.

Ordonez wasn’t always into baking. She has several years of managing a business under her belt. But let’s backtrack to when she was fourteen years old, she started out by making smoothies and then graduated on to cookies. She has always been a picky eater and found that most were too sweet. Armed with a starter recipe from a friend, she went on to experiment on her own. After numerous trials (one had too much sugar and would harden too fast, another just took too long to bake), she perfected her recipe.

For twenty-two years, she gifted the cookies as gifts. It wasn’t until about five years ago, that a friend of a friend had requested a tray of cookies for a company party. Eventually, she continued to get calls requesting her cookies, thus prompting her to launch Heaven on Earth Gourmet. The company officially launched on September 1, 2013, after the Cottage Food Law passed in Texas.

She recently took on jewelry making, but with a twist. One day, while baking, she had a batch of cookies that had broken. She noticed that they resembled beautiful beads. “To me, every piece of my cookie (including the flavor) is beautiful,” Cristal explained. Then, the idea just sparked. “Oh, I’m going to make me a necklace.” It took her a year to assemble. The concept evolved from cookie, cracker or some other type of dough to shape the base. After trying many different blends, she found that fondant worked best for holding onto the cookie without ruining it; or bleeding it or infusing it with any other flavor, smell or color. She likes to only use natural ingredients, natural flavors (there are 10 so far) and only uses dyes upon request. She puts her heart into baking, hand-carving and cleaning the cookie masterpieces, which she calls- The Gemmes Collection. The collection celebrates women and she wanted to do something that hasn’t been seen. She’s named necklaces after her Mother-Mireya and her bestie- Claudia (of Mio Boutique). The necklaces have a temperature and humidity base and have withstood up to two hours without dripping. The necklaces can also be made to hold up longer, upon request. Prices range from $50-100, just depending on how simple or complex you want the design to be. She can put up to five different flavors in one necklace. At Heaven on Earth Gourmet Affairs, nothing is stocked…EVERYTHING is fresh and made to order. Give Cristal a shout next time you are needing or just in the mood for a “heavenly” cookie…

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