Tag - Oday Shakar

Fashion Destination Group 2012 Summer Extravaganza
Simply Stylist

Fashion Destination Group 2012 Summer Extravaganza

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!

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.

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