The Marilyn Riseman Symphony Fashion Series at Brasserie Jo is a weekly fashion show that is near and dear to my heart. Marilyn was a close friend of mine and always-even in her 80’s- had her pulse on what was hot and what was not. The series of 20 shows per season started as a way to lunch and view budding local designer collections, which has brought attention to some very talented individuals. This week I am turning the spotlight on Chynna Pope.
Chynna Pope has come a long way from her fledgling beginnings at the School of Fashion Design and interning under the hand of master Roger Hinds. On Friday September 16, 2015, she featured a capsule collection, which showed 26 looks-some of the old mixed in with the new. Chynna was proud to say that because of her time spent with Roger, her very first prototypes seamlessly blended with her current work.
Backstage the atmosphere was calm and serene, not the usual frantic of some of the shows I’ve attended and hosted myself. Probably a reflection of the cool cat attitude of Chynna herself. She held her hand up to her right temple and showed me the shaved side of her head, where Pini took to her scalp with a razor just days ago. As she finished her touch up by makeup artist extraordinaire Cole McNair, she told me that she had actually consented to it, so had no regrets whatsoever.
Cole described the look as on trend-pastel tones. He used the daytime as inspiration for his makeup choice- daytime demeure. In collaboration with Chynna they decided to use pastel tones- lips nude pink (quiver), in a matte soft wash tint, blush a peachy shimmer (lovelust), and complexion illumination on the cheekbones to create a healthy glow and hydration to the skin-despite the unfriendly polar temps outside.
The girls ran back and forth from makeup to hair. Chynna enlisted master stylist Sameena Khan from Floyd’s Barbershop on Mass Ave. Sameena wanted to keep it fresh and show off the clothes by keeping the hair off of the face. She stayed on trend and did a messy, sexy, off the face look using a flat iron, teasing, twisting and body building sprays. Sounds like a workout for hair! Nonetheless, the finished product was impeccable. The models, most of whom were ice skaters, looked nothing like the pulled tight, shellacked buns you see at the Olympics, but rather serene angels with that messy, sexy swept up hair.
Chynna seemed to float around effortlessly, checking deets as her assistant asked various questions. She walked me through the collection as the models (3 ice skaters and 1 SFD student) shimmied into their first looks. The collection went from menswear inspired tuxedo shirts and pants for women-think wearing your boyfriend’s tuxedo home the morning after-to billowy, motor cross inspired gowns and kimono tops. I love fabric manipulation,” said Chynna, showing me the topstitching seen throughout her pieces. Though it is reminiscent of Catherine Maladrino, Pope stated that some of her influences were Jean Paul Gautier and the late Alexander McQueen. But more important to Chynna was the inspiration she derived from life events. Her topstitching motif was actually inspired by a motor cross race she attended in Ireland–The Scariest 500 Road Race. The riders were all wearing this leather structured topstiching, and it instantly spoke to her and ended up being the lead motif for her entire collection.
PHOTOS BY SHANNON HAWKINS
I look forward to the Golden Globes the way football fans anticipate the Super Bowl. It tends to be one of the award shows where people still take risks. However, this year’s gathering proved to be a rather non-risky one. Trends on the red carpet were: for men, velvet for jackets, sharp lines and a throwback to the ’50’s.
Kevin Spacey looked sharp as ever in his Hugo Boss tuxedo. According to his stylist Johanna Argan, who recently got nominated for the CDG Award for Contemporary Design for his show “House of Cards,” she put Spacey in the Hugo Boss shawl collar tuxedo “because they wanted to go for a classic rat pack feel.” It must have been his good luck charm, because after seven years of denial, Kevin went home with his first Golden Globe.
For women, we had some bright pops of white, Kate Hudson, my pick of the night, in Versace, Rosamund Pike in Vera Wang, Emily Blunt, and Sienna Miller to name a few. Kate really brought it home in a deep plunging neckline and crystal straps covering mesh cutouts in a very sexy (and sensual) white gown. There was no mistaking the Versace brand in Kate’s gown–reminiscent of the famous Elizabeth Hurley safety pin gown by Versace many years ago.
Not all starlets were as daring and successful as Hudson. Some played it safe such as Amy Adams with her blue one-shoulder dress and “ho hum” hair. She seemed to be attempting that Hollywood glamour with a unfussy touch, but her hair came off unpolished and not Golden Globe-worthy, it even had a frizzy fly-away look when the light hit it when she was accepting her award—the horror!
Giuliana Rancic teetered on frat boy bullying pushing George Clooney’s tequila shots on unwitting attendees such as princess Amal Clooney. I don’t think she’s ever taken a shot of tequila, much less grabbed one in her white satin opera gloves paired with her Dior Haute Couture black gown.
TOP LOOKS FROM BEST TO GREAT
Plunging necklines were a theme, done successfully by Sienna Miller, J Lo, Kate Hudson, and Jessica Chastain. Though I rarely like Jessica Chastain, actress in “A Most Violent Year”, she really successfully pulled off her look, the bronze/black pleated low cut halter dress and old Hollywood deep side hair part came together beautifully.
Allison Williams attempted Old Hollywood hair with a deep side part and a faux bob. Her hairline had a too-pulled-back look that made it seem like she was wearing a wig—not the look I’m sure she was attempting for the Golden Globes Red Carpet. Her red Armani Prive sparkly tiered gown made up for the bad hair. And I must add that her makeup did her no favors either. She’s truly a beautiful girl, just had a hair and makeup FAIL for the Globes.
BOTTOM LOOKS FROM WORST TO BAD:
Feathers and sparkle were also ever-present on this Red Carpet. Some ups and some downs: Kiera Knightly for “Imitation Game” had a huge FAIL in Chanel Couture. She bragged about how 30 seamstresses sewed the dress in a week, but I think they should have used less seamstresses and focused on ONE good designer to draft the pattern. The dress was billowy and looked like a couture potato sack with a ruffle top to boot. It did a huge disservice to pregnant women everywhere. We know you can look hot when pregnant, why couldn’t Chanel do something fitted for Kiera? Chanel should have taken some notes from Givenchy if they wanted to do feathers and sparkle. Julianne Moore was stunning in her Custom Givenchy. But not all feathers won out. Another feathers fail was Claire Danes in Valentino. The “Homeland’ actress’s mesh top with feathers a plenty had horrible fit-it seemed to hang on her lithe top, in a heavy and unflattering way. Emma Stone was a breath of fresh air in the sparkle category. She wore a relaxed pantsuit with a sparkle strapless top cropped cigarette pant legs and a huge obi type black satin bow in the back.
Other relaxed looks of the night, some successful and some not so successful were: Ruth Wilson yes, Melissa McCarthy no, Katie Cassidy yes, Kristin Whig no, Lena Dunham no. Apparently Zac Posen was a former babysitter of hers and dressed her. I think he was skimping on the tailoring, maybe because her parents only paid him $4.75 an hour for his services back in the ’90’s. Lena prides herself in not caring about her looks. But please, if you are going to go to the Globes hire a makeup artist.
We all have holiday parties to get ready for, but who actually has the time to do it? I found the perfect dream team at Mario Russo. This lovable duo, Tavi DelaRosa and Violet Furxhi can take you from plain Jane to gorgeous diva in no time! I got to the salon at 11:00am and sat in Tavi’s chair.
He focuses his attention on the eyes because that is what people are drawn to. When discussing what was hot for holiday parties, Tavi said silvers, golds, and color with shimmer. He asked me what colors I liked and if I preferred smoky eye or natural eye. Of course I am drawn to smoky eye, it’s my signature look, and I feel like it’s a nod to my dear friend Marilyn Riseman. She was the doyenne of smoky eye. Tavi likes to build your whole look based on what you decide on for your eyes. We decided on blues because that would bring out my brown eyes.
**A little trick that I learned from Tavi is to use a cool blow dryer and diffuse it with your hand to help set the eyelash glue faster and stronger. Voila! I was done and makeup ready!
I wore a cute, plaid, button down shirt that I got from Intermix at the #msfitforsociety for Tedy’s Team event, because the last time I came in for an updo, I had a turtleneck on, which we all know is a no-no for updos because who can get the thing over their head without messing up their hair?
On Thursday December 11th, I attended Michael DePaulo’s launch party for his new clothing line MDP. The best and the brightest in fashion gathered on the second floor of The Tannery at Curated by the Tannery. Michael is a dear friend and business partner of mine so I was happy to oblige when he asked me to wear one of his new designs at the fete.
A favorite of mine was an hourglass color block dress with short sleeves available in short and long lengths. The color blocking has a way of slimming the figure. I also liked how DePaulo delved into bright colors with this collection, as in this green and blue peplum dress.
A bright fuchsia pantsuit had a Chanel feel to it, and I loved the cigarette length and cut of the pants, but wasn’t too keen how the jacket came together in the front. His best success seemed to be when he stuck to the blacks, charcoals and whites.
These events are always fun for me because I get to catch up a bit with my girlfriends and hostesses Linda Henry, investor and muse to Michael De Paulo, and Adriana Hassan, wife of Tarek Hassan, who owns The Tannery.
Other guests included JB Dowd, Tiffany Dowd of LuxeTiffany and Eric Jausseran of the French Consulate.
There was no shortage of Latina designers, as swimsuit creator Sinesia Karol was also in the house to support Michael. The beautiful Erica Almeida of Maggie Inc. modeled MDP fashions too, and gave us a peek into how gorgeous each and every one of the designs can be on a perfect body. However, personally, I think I sold more dresses wearing the charcoal, black and white dress because, though the guests were all very fit, their bodies were more like mine than Erica’s! The MDP spring 2015 collection is available immediately at The Tannery.
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
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