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There’s no mistaking when Mario Frangoulis takes the stage. The only thing that is crisper than his clothes is his remarkable voice. A sterling tenor that has taken this singer-actor to some of the world’s greatest stages and allowed him to perform in opera, classical theater and popular West End musicals. Born in Africa and raised in Greece, Frangoulis was trained at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was discovered by legendary Broadway creator Sir Cameron Mackintosh. His “Mario Frangoulis: Sing Me An Angel” tour launches on Saturday, March 25th at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge. The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available. (https://www.mariofrangoulis.com/concerts)

 

STYLEBOSTON: Classical performers, particularly tenors, are known for being put together (tux, tails), but traditionally haven’t been known as fashion-forward trendsetters (those tux, tails). And then there’s you. You have made headlines for your “style.” Where does your sense of style come from? 

MARIO: I have always cared about fashion and how it is influenced by the various changes in our society, the political climate, the style of music and the arts. In so many ways, styling itself gives an “identity” to an artist, “signature” clothes, and one’s own style. I have been extremely lucky to meet great designers at such a young age in my life and career. Donna Karan, for example, dressed me on my first album “Sometimes I Dream.” Valentino designed my first tuxedos early on in my career and let me launch his Red Label tuxedos. Giorgio Armani designed all of the suits, costumes and clothes for the movie “De Lovely” starring Kevin Klein and Ashley Judd in which I wore a great Shakespearean period costume designed by Armani himself! He was also a very cool person to meet. Lately I have been dressed exclusively by Ermenegildo Zegna.

 

STYLEBOSTON: Do you have a favorite designer? A favorite piece in your wardrobe?

MARIO: I had the chance to meet the unique Ralph Lauren at an exclusive party at Bloomingdales and I have to admit that his casual-wear clothes are the best! Very comfortable and all time classic. I have many jackets by Ralph Lauren that I also wear with jeans for press conferences and casual smart occasions. One of my very favorite designers these days is Tom Ford. His tuxedos are incredible —especially the great thick and old-fashioned but contemporary lapels. Tom Ford’s tuxedo has to be my favorite piece in my entire wardrobe!

 

STYLEBOSTON: Just as you have made an impression for your style, you are known for your versatility on stage. Do you prefer traditional opera over Broadway or West End musicals? How does traditional Greek music fit into your repertoire?

MARIO: Opera is my first love. West End musicals, however, especially “Les Miserables” was my first big adventure on stage. The costumes were actually designed by the Greek-Cypriot English costume and Tony Award-winning designer Andreane Neofitou. Playing Marius, the romantic lead, gives me so much theatrical and stage experience.

As you said in your question, I truly enjoy being versatile on stage, and this really represents who I am. I enjoy being different in every role I play: from Raoul in “The Phantom of the Opera” to Tony in “West Side Story” at Teatro Alla Scala to the King in “The King and I” and so many leading roles in ancient Greek drama, like “Prometheus Bound,” a Titan who defies the gods and gives fire to mankind, acts for which he is subjected to perpetual punishment. Achilles was a great role for me in the ancient theatre in Epidaurus in the year of the Olympic games in 2004. It was the first time this great Ancient Greek play was presented after 2,500 years. It is a trilogy by the great dramatist Aeschylus and was so full of great adventures, heroic battles and fate itself which one cannot escape from. Dionysus, however in “The Bacchae” was the most challenging of all roles. Dionysus, the protagonist of Euripides, “Bacchae,” is one big contradiction. The character embodies many of the dualities that we see throughout the play. First of all, in some ways he represents both human and god. Dionysus definitely has all the powers of a god. He summons earthquakes, lightning, and has a knack for getting into people’s heads, driving them insane!

Another interesting duality is that Dionysus is foreign and Greek at the same time. He was born in Greece, but his religion, for some reason, first spread in Asia. Another contradiction is that Dionysus in some ways represents both male and female. Yes, he is a male god, but the mortal form he takes is said to be quite effeminate. Dionysus also had a strange birth. The play itself is full of dualities and that is what I love about it!

Perhaps the play is trying to say that everything that exists is also its opposite at the very same time—more specifically, that we as human beings are inherently contradicted. We’re all both rational and irrational. All humans are animals, but there’s also something special that undeniably separates us from the rest of Earth’s living creatures.

Though we all (or at least most of us) belong to one gender or another, there are things about all of us that don’t quite fit into the role that society prescribes to specific sexes. Even though everybody is from somewhere, we’re all a foreigner somewhere else. Sometimes we even become foreigners in our own homes. Lastly, even though we’re certainly mortal, maybe, just maybe, some part of us is eternal and divine. It seems to us, that in the character of Dionysus, Euripides captured many of the amazing contradictions that make up every human being.

Mario & Justin Hayward

In music and in theater, I must be flexible, adapting to what’s happening around me, and experimenting with new and unique combinations of music and acting skills—this also translates to my sense of personal style. Life is a mosaic of experiences that make up who we are—there is no one “right” way to do anything…everything I do has to do with my truth, my feelings and my identity. That is why Greek music is always part of my repertoire—not only because of the beauty of the language, but also because it is core to who I am and my identity as a human being. I can’t imagine a performance without Greek music…my style is the same way… in everything I do I strive for simplicity… I was trained to respect simplicity in my voice/singing, I was raised to admire simplicity in my personal life, and my aesthetic reflects this value.

 

STYLEBOSTON: Do you have a favorite stage to perform on or favorite venue to perform in? A favorite performer to appear with? Or, symphony to perform with? (No pressure to say Symphony Hall or the Boston Pops…)

MARIO: I love Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops! Symphony Hall in Boston is an amazing venue and acoustically one of the best in the world. We did an “epic” show there in 2012 that aired on public television across the country and I will never forget it. I have performed in Boston many times. It is one of my favorite cities to perform in. I love the combination of history with young energy (all the students). It has a European feel to it, and it is next to the ocean, which is so beautiful. Of course performing in venues like Milan’s La Scala and my favorite Herod Atticus at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens is tough competition! But Boston is certainly up there!

I have had the pleasure of performing with such a huge range of talented artists—from Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras to Justin Hayward and Klaus Meine to Lara Fabian and Sarah Brightman to Natalie Cole, Tina Arena and Smokey Robinson. The list goes on and on!

What I have enjoyed so much about Boston are the fantastic young and talented musicians, many of them from Berklee College of Music. I have a passion for supporting young musicians and I love to walk the halls at night when we are rehearsing and feel the energy of all of that great young talent ready to take over the world.

 

STYLEBOSTON: How did it come to be that Boston was the first location on this US tour?

 MARIO: We have been talking with my team for a while about returning to one of my favorite venues in Boston—the Sanders Theatre at Harvard. That theatre is amazing and the acoustics are fantastic. We’ve always performed great shows on that stage full of amazing positive energy. I always get so much energy and love from this city and have many friends here who I can call my family. We decided that since WGBH has been such a supporter over the years, and we got a great date to start the 2017 concert series here, why not “come home” to Boston?

 

STYLEBOSTON: Do you have any favorite haunts, places or stops in Boston? 

MARIO: Of course I love to walk around the Boston Common and Newbury Street; Harvard Square and brunch at the Charles Hotel is always a great favorite! Lobster and crab at Legal Sea Foods on the Harbor is great as well. There is a long list and it, of course, includes Symphony Hall, and also Harvard Yard. I love to walk in Boston. Bostonians have a certain casual sophistication that makes me feel very at ease.

 

 

 

 

Lynn and Sarah Dale Model with balloon Model with umbrella Models in rockers On Wednesday June 11th, I was honored to attend the second annual “Swing into Summer,” fashion show benefitting Crossroads for Kids, a non-profit that inspires youth to develop their innate potential by breaking the cycle of poverty and under-achievement by yielding systemic change in the communities where they live.

The event was designed by the ever chic Holly Safford of The Catered Affair and took place at the historic Winsor House Inn in Duxbury where models strut down the runway in stunning fashions by Sara Campbell Designs and accessories by JoJo Loves You.

While the fashion industry often has a reputation for being frivolous, I’ve always believed that fashion has the ability to design a better world. Often starting with the spark of a single idea, entrepreneurs and designers like Holly and Sara are changing how the world views fashion’s potential and ability to leave a lasting and powerful influence on society by hosting events that are filled with both style and heart. Truth be told, no matter what happens in retail or on the runways, there’s one thing that never goes out of style: giving back.

Tabletop

 

bondstreet

I love London; it always leaves me wanting more. The fashion is next level, the pubs super fun, and the people are genuinely enthusiastic about America and Americans. As a history fan, London does not disappoint and there is always something in view to remind you that Britain is great for a reason. I was there last month to see Eric Clapton’s final night at The Royal Albert Hall and brought an almost empty suitcase that I filled past capacity for my return home, British pound vs. American Dollar conversion rate be damned. Pick your poison fashion fans, or pick them all as I did. Whoops.

MAYFAIR / BOND STREET: HARRODS & SELFRIDGES

HarrodsWant it ultra posh, upscale, and pricey? Heading to Mayfair and Bond Street are musts but be sure to go to Harrods and Selfridges. These London retailers are considered national treasures for a reason. Teeming with shoppers keeping the cash boxes ringing, the conspicuous consumption of the most exclusive brands and logomania makes for excellent people watching and will suck you in as well. I dare you to visit Harrods and not walk out swinging one of their hunter green shopping bags. Sticker shock got you down when in Harrods or Selfridges? Head to the food halls and prepare to be amazed by the cornucopia of culinary choices. Harrods is the more incredible of the two, pretty sure I ruptured an optic nerve trying to take it all in. There is nothing like these food halls in America and nothing like these two very British institutions.

OXFORD CIRCUS

Oxford Circus

Like your fashion fast, served up easy peasy, and budget friendly? Then Oxford Street / Oxford Circus is for you. Try not to go on the weekend when the immense crowds will slow you down. Send your bloke to the pub and wear comfortable shoes and clothes easy to change in and out of, you are going to want to move like a fashion ninja to experience the insane amount of choices. Get your fleek on at the Primark store, which is a playground of must haves at incredibly reasonable prices. I can’t wait for the Primark to open in Downtown Crossing this fall; that’s right Boston we are going to have our own Primark, which will be the first one to open in the USA.  Topshop’s flagship store is like the hot boyfriend you can never really get over because its just so good, why aren’t the Topshops in America this yummy? Given my obsession perhaps it’s for the best.

RIVER ISLAND

river islandRihanna’s favorite River Island exceeded my expectations especially as a source for interesting accessories and custom jewelry, how I wish there were stores stateside. There is a Zara on every other corner yet the mix of merchandise varies slightly by store making it necessary for me to visit each one. Damn you and thank you Zara, European Zaras trump their sister stores in America every time. Even H&M seems to have upped their game offering merchandise I have never seen on this side of the pond. Festival fashion is currently THE theme in all of these stores so rock on fast fashion groupies.

BRICK LANE

Vintage storesMy favorite places to shop in London are the vintage areas and markets. You’ll love it too if you are all about the hunt for the truly unique and original. Leave the tony neighborhoods of the West End and the madness of the main shopping streets and head to gritty Brick Lane for some of the best fashion vintage shopping on the globe. It’s not posh or pretty, but Brick Lane has a great assortment of vintage stores that offer their wares categorized with British military precision. Prices are in the reasonable range and in the individually owned stores you can feel free to haggle a bit. Blitz was the star store; the assortment and quality of their vintage merchandise blew me away. Expertly curated, make sure you visit the basement for their clearance area where I scored some fringed pieces that are totally on trend, leather and furs, and classic capes that I know will be standouts come the fall. Once you’ve made your way down Brick Lane, be sure to hit nearby Spitafields Market where you can find independent purveyors of fashion both vintage and current. It was love at first site for me when I walked in Collectif. This retro rockabilly boutique was all 40’s and 50’s sex symbol with a new age edge stray cat strut that just won’t quit. Shopping making you thirsty and working a Jack The Ripper fascination? Be sure to stop by The Ten Bells for a pint (or two) before heading back to modern day reality.

Designers offer the message on what’s new, what’s trending. MassArt fashion designers present a vision into the future with imagination and wisdom.″

Sondra Grace, Chair of Fashion Department, MassArt.
MASSART_171_1010_150509

Designer Kimberly Nowers

I was honored to attend the annual MassArt Senior Fashion Show a few weeks ago, a tradition at the college that dates back to 1907. This year’s show in three words? It was sensational! I have attended the last few years and have seen the show metamorphose into the professional, dynamic runway show that it was. The title was “Vision” and it was created by one of the largest classes of graduating seniors. Thirty-five aspiring designers displayed their work on the runway, and 15 of them were selected to show their entire collections.

designers Christian and Erin

Designers Christian Restrepo and Erin Robertson

While all the designers were inspirational, a few of the stand outs for me were Erin Robertson, Christian Restrepo,whose spiked platforms were to die for and Joseph Carl, who had some of my favorite looks of the night. His gowns were constructed pristinely, with color blocking and piping flowing down the runway as though they were made to walk the Carousel in Paris. The gowns had structure and high turtleneck collars, which were reminiscent of Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne—but with a modern twist.

Erin Robertson is a woman to watch. She was the recipient of the 2013 Council of Fashion Designers of America’s CFDA/Teen Vogue Target Scholarship (a $25,000 prize) when she was just a sophomore. That night she was wearing an outfit she designed-an elegant, banana yellow pantsuit with a matching stole and purse. Loved her look, her collection and was instantly intrigued by her.

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Christian Restrepo finaled the show, closing with a strong multi-media textured collection. During my interview with him, he impressed me with his view on designing. It struck me that he was more interested in the design process itself and creating textures and movement, than being a “designer”. I liked the rawness of his attitude and the fact that it incorporated the same tenets that lead to the success of the fantastic duo Proenza Schouler. In a past interview with them, they spoke passionately of always being focused on the creation process, developing their custom fabrics and playing with the notion of ‘refined ease’ rather than being designers.

The entire show was tight and produced perfectly down to the lighting, the music and the large screen video footage of the catwalk that graced the back walls. The attendees were as beautiful and stylish as the runway show, and none of this would have been possible without the amazing help of the donors who provide scholarships to students in need. For the second year in a row, a gala was organized by those who volunteer their time and funds and believe in the continuation of the opportunity for an affordable education in the arts. As a guest of one of the co-chairs, Ashley Karger, I was grateful to be in attendance on this night, which was truly fashion perfection.

Michael Blanchard photographer

For more MassArt coverage, watch styleboston’s season 2 Fashion Forward runway show.

treesBoston’s annual Party in the Park was held last week to benefit the Justine Mee Liff Fund and the theme this year was “The Fascinator”. Since 2005, this party has been taking place in the Emerald Necklace, one of the many greeneries throughout Boston, which the fund helps maintain and restore. 700 of Boston’s most beautifully dressed women and a handful of gentlemen came out to celebrate and raise money for the parks.

Thankfully, we were graced with sunny, beautiful weather for the first time in a few years and raised approximately one million dollars, a great gift for the city of Boston. This money will  work nicely alongside the 4.1 million dollars committed by Mayor Marty Walsh at the event on behalf of the city. Hats off to the guests and to Boston for helping to take care of our parks!

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photo credit: Lisa Richov, The Social Stylist

AnneFontaine W TONYAWhen you think of white shirts, the brand Anne Fontaine comes immediately to mind. I met with the designer during a trip to Boston at her flagship store, 280 Boylston St, Heritage On the Garden. (I tried not to get too distracted by the big orange box on the corner of the street where Hermes is getting its makeover.) Upon entering the cozy boutique, I was drawn to a wall of shirt collars. Anne told me in her shy and sexy portugese accent (her father is French and her mother Brazilian), that the collars developed initially because she uses them in the design process. She has about 3,000 of these collars in her atelier in the North of France–Normandy to be exact.

Anne Fontaine Collars

And she likes to “play” with them, experimenting with the shirt designs by changing the collars. She initially put them up as a gallery in her store in Paris about 5 years ago. They weren’t for sale, just for display, but immediately customers wanted them. A new idea was born, and she started selling the collars as accoutrements to her beautiful shirts. They can be worn over round neck shirts, as well as with strapless gowns–as a sort of collar/necklace, skin showing between the two. Their versatility is endless. I am even reminded of the green beaded collar that Scarlett Johansen wore to the Oscars this year. Anne’s collars tend to stay in the black and/or white color scheme and vary from extremely conservative to supremely fabulous.

Anne is currently working on her Summer 2016 collection. She is inspired by life and the silhouette of the femme fatale–a strong 60’s influence with idols such as Marlene Dietrich serving as muses. The Anne Fontaine woman in her eyes can be a young lady, a mother, a grandmother, anyone who wants their first white shirt.

white dress

After studying marine biology, she ended up in fashion and launched the brand in 1993. Anne has always had a passion for nature, and felt that it was time to give back. The Amazon rainforest is close to her heart because she lived there when she was 17. She established the Anne Fontaine Foundation to benefit the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, an area in peril, and once a year on Forest Day, 50% of the proceeds from any sales in her store go to this charity.

Vision

I was invited to serve as a professional reviewer for the Fashion Design Department at MassArt. It’s an honor to be invited to participate in this Review, and my third year being asked back. I took a close look at the portfolios, sketches, and actual garments of the four students I was assigned. Get to know the four fabulous and fashionable students below and take a peek at their designs. styleboston will be on site for the event titled “Vision” — taking place at The Castle on Columbus Ave on May 9’th.

Daniela Cabal

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Kimberly Gale Nowers

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Carolina Espaillat

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Nicole Oppedisano

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From the runways of London to the streets of Boston, maximalist print mixing is au courant for Spring. Joseph Gordon Cleveland takes on the trend in a surrealist editorial shoot with photographer Eric Levin.

All apparel, accessories and shoes courtesy of Neiman Marcus Copley Place.

Photographs by ERIC LEVIN, Elevin Studios
Art Direction & Styling by JOSEPH GORDON CLEVELAND
Hair by JILL COLWELL, Studio 28
Makeup by STACEY FRASCA, Studio 28
Featuring OKSANA for Maggie Inc.

hat pic 3I had the pleasure of meeting hat designer Susan van der Linde and her husband yesterday at a trunk show to benefit the Emerald Necklace Conservancy for Party in the Park. But before I sat down to look at her beautiful hats, I was greeted with a friendly smile from owner Nicholas Penna and the lovely staff at Salon Capri. I was treated to a beautiful blowout and styling by expert stylist Graziella Lembo. I’ve never been to the salon, but was immediately taken by the inviting decor and comfortable clean sleek feeling. The atmosphere–distressed wood paneling juxtaposed with the clean white cabinets, was like being inside a Philippe Starck hotel.  I asked for something simple as to not overpower the hats, and Graziella styled my locks with ease and speed and made “making waves” seem like a piece of cake (although I know trying this at home would definitely not yield the same results!).

Susan van der Linde

Designer, Susan van der Linde

I walked over to chat with Susan and her husband Tom in the beautiful makeshift boutique and discovered that Susan and I had a lot in common. In addition to an eye for style, we shared a love of France; we had both lived in Neuilly while in Paris. Upon returning to the states, Susan eventually apprenticed with Don Marshall,  the ultimate hat designer who had designed hats for Grace Kelly in his day. After his death in 1995, Susan started her own business to keep up all the trade secrets she had learned from the master.

Named by Vanity Fair as one of the top 10 Milliners of Fascinators,  Susan describes her style as classic styles with a twist or pop of color or texture. I sat down with Susan to see what’s hot in hats.

Fascinator vs a full hat?

Tonya & Susan

Fascinators have their place and should frame the face of the woman. But hats are beautiful and more dramatic –  a woman needs to be certain of her ability to handle the attention wearing a full hat will give. If you are not confident enough to wear a full hat, then a fascinator is a very good option. They can be fun and whimsical and just as dramatic as a full hat too, worn by the right woman.

Trends in hats ?

Wide brim hat

Go big or go home!. Women want to go for drama. Hats seem to keep developing in materials, shape and how it frames the face of a woman. I am also seeing a lot of developments in texture and color. A Texan wants to look good from head to toe, so she is making sure her hat matches perfectly with her outfit, whereas a New Yorker is more concerned about being the perfect fashion plate, and about what others are wearing. Boston has a very polite crowd of hat wearers, who appreciate the beauty of other women’s hats.

Hat Etiquette-Europe vs. America?

Tonya with Fascinator

There are very strict rules about wearing hats in Europe, such as, if you are going to an event after 6pm, you would NEVER wear a hat. It makes sense because there is typically no longer bright sunlight after this hour. Europeans, especially the French, who I have the most experience with, are more sedate, they will wear a single color from head to toe–very monochromatic. It isn’t as exciting for me as a designer, so I spice it up by adding a fun color to a classic shape, or vice versa and a crazy shape in a more sedate color like taupe. I always enjoy giving a little bit of a wink too, like a bumble bee, or other jewel attachment–something the client provides, but I will certainly direct them as to where to pin it on the hat. In the US, rules are more lenient, and you can be more adventurous with your hat. Americans can easily change up the color of the hat, and don’t need to be dressed in a monochromatic palette. I like the flexibility of that, and find it  very satisfying as a designer.

Tonya & Susan

I had a great time with Susan trying on her hats, she had a way of placing them on my head in positions I would not have thought of myself. She tilted the hats more forward and worn this way it gave a sense of allure, as the eyes just peeked out slightly under the brim. I could use her help in my hat placement on May 13th, wonder if she’ll be in town? She helped pick perfect pieces to complement my face and body and I am confident she  chose the perfect hat for me. I highly recommend stopping by to shop her collection and at the very least to try on some of the most gorgeous hats of our time.

Susan van der Linde hat box

Susan will be taking walk-ins to shop her hats at Salon Capri until Thursday at 7pm, and will ship any special orders to arrive in time for The Party in the Park. 15% of the proceeds from trunk show item sales will be donated to the Justine Mee Liff Fund for the Emerald Necklace.

Party in the Park attendees are invited to book hair blowout and/or styling appointments for the morning of Party in the Park (May 13th) at any of SalonCapri’s three Massachusetts locations and the salon will donate 15% of the cost of services to the Justine Mee Liff Fund. Hair appointments can be booked via phone by calling: Boston/617-236-0020, Newton/617-969-1970 or Dedham’s Legacy Place/781-320-0900.

Photocredit: Lisa Richov

Mario Russo’s passion and inspiration extend far beyond hair. Terri Stanley takes a walk through some of Mario’s favorite exhibits at the ICA.

Dyeing to change your hair color? Join the club. There’s just something about the sun that makes me crave color, from florescent bright shoes, to bold lips, and sun-kissed hair, theres no better time to blossom into a new style than spring.

Retro Balayage

First seen in Vogue, Balayage, which was taken from the French word meaning “to sweep,” is a freehand technique in which swatches of hair are sectioned and hand painted against a backing board with a lightening agent. The coloring technique developed in the 1970’s is modern, chic, and creates depth and dimension thats perfect for some fun in the sun. Loved by Gisele Bundchen and those in the know, Balayage is the hottest way to brighten up your look this season.

Salon Mario RussoTo help me spring forward with a new hair-do, I turned to the talented Gina Mancinone, the general manager at Boston’s finest hair salon, Salon Mario Russo. After a consultation, Gina set me up with an appointment with master stylist Elle Proulx Cohen to cut my hair and “Bostons Best Colorist” John Brosnan, to help me heat things up with a new “do.”

For my hair transformation, I sat down with Elle who cut right to the chase by expertly layering my long locks to help add body and shape to my one dimensional hair. Since thick hair that is weighed down can be shapeless, Elle brought my locks back to life with layers to amp up my style power. “From soft face-framing layers to seamless volumizing ones, adding dimension to your cut while removing unwanted bulk is the perfect way to create a fresh new look” Elle told me.

Zoey & Elle

Next, I was off to see John for my Balayage. As a hair color virgin, I was thankful to be in the hands of a true artist like John who immediately made me feel at ease with his expert advice and warm nature. After a consultation, we decided less was more, so John created a “les reflets du soleil sur les cheveux” (sun-kissed hair) look by applying the Balayage around my face to emphasize movement and create depth. Balayage, which is also called “hair painting,” creates the most natural-looking results because the colorist paints on the highlights by hand. This method of lightening gives the colorist more control–and creates the illuminated highlights everyone wants this time of year.

Best of all?  Balayage is low maintenance, and gives a gorgeous healthy finish that looks nature-enhanced, glossy and luxe. Since healthy hair will never go out of style, John and Elle finished my hair transformation off with a treatment and gloss so my hair felt as beautiful as it looked.

Bottom line? Whether you’re looking to lighten up your hair color or are dying to debut a brand-new shade, spring is the perfect opportunity to make a change and the team at Salon Mario Russo will give you the best head of hair in town. Promise.

Zoey - After

Photographer: Lisa Richov

the bag ladyI’m not really a “bag” person but I think I have the potential to become one. However I have a few stumbling blocks to overcome. I have a good friend who sells handbags at Neiman Marcus so I often stop in to see her and look around. I like a lot of the bags, especially some of the small Chanel ones for spring. But I just can’t get past the price. Who pays $3900.00 for a small beige shoulder bag or $5,900.00 for the pink quilted one? Apparently a lot of people do, but I’m just not there yet. About 4 years ago a guy who used to do some personal shopping for me at Bloomingdales picked out a “Nancy Gonzales” bag that was on sale. I had never heard of Nancy Gonzales so it didn’t really impress me much when he said the bag was a steal at $985.00. I ended up buying it but I really don’t like it. It weighs a ton and the compartments are hard to find stuff in. But now I’m looking at a used Nancy Gonzales green crocodile bag online for $899.99 and I’m thinking, I could dig it.  But then I remember that two summers ago I bought a white no-name bag at Marshalls for about $37.00. I loved it, so much so, I resurrected it for last summer . When I mistakenly carried it into Gillette Stadium last September at the beginning of football season (they have a no bag policy)  I emptied the contents into a plastic see-thru Ziploc and put the white bag in the trash. Then, on my way out, I fished it out and took it home. It’s “had it” but I’m hoping to find a bag I like as much for this summer. So Kate Spade, Fendi, Marc Jacobs – what have you got? Otherwise it’s Marshall’s here I come.

On Thursday evening, I was honored to host a night of style with heart for Diane Von Furstenberg to fête her Spring 2015 collection. Attendees of the exclusive in-store  event were asked to bring in a dress for Dress for Success Boston, a charity that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools for women to thrive in work and in life. Guests enjoyed champagne, hors d’oeuvres from Met Back Bay, and mini makeovers from beauty guru Tavi De La Rosa as I presented DVF’s latest collection.

A celebration of this stature is fitting to those that own a DVF dress. After all, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a frock that allows a woman to exude feminine sultriness and womanly strength all while being versatile enough to be a witness in the evolution of the woman’s life who wears it.

While the dreamy notion of tiptoeing through the tulips may not be on the agenda for a few more weeks, to get inspired for the possibility of warm weather, I styled guests in this seasons hottest trends to assure they’d be stepping into spring on a sartorial high note.

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With that in mind, whether you’re looking for outfits for work, or play, I rounded up the most coveted DVF looks of the evening to make sure you too will be a stylish step ahead of the competition this Spring.

FLOWER POWER

DVF Kaden Dress

 

With patio parties and bridal showers to attend, its the perfect time to work Spring’s vivid romantic florals into your wardrobe. Bold in scale and color, the floral trend took over runways during fashion month. Whether you decide to go big and beautiful or minute and abstract, one things for sure, flower power is here to stay. Whether paired with denim for off-duty dressing, or heels for a cocktail party, florals are firmly back on the fashion map and will prove a worthy investment for your wardrobe in seasons to come. For an indispensable tunic style, look no further than the DVF Kaden to keep you bloomed to perfection this Spring. Featuring a clean v-neck, 3/4 sleeves and an A-line skirt in the season’s boldest prints, this style is sure to be your go-to all summer long.

THE SHIRT DRESS

Silk Prita Dress

 

As the climate varies from freezing to the very slight possibility of warmth, it becomes harder to tailor a working wardrobe. Enter the DVF Prita silk shirt dress. Light and airy, it can be gathered in or billowed out, and buttoned up or down. Best of all? The smart tailoring is versatile enough to effortlessly take you from power player to cocktail hour and anywhere in between.

GINGHAM

Gingham

 

Fall may have brought us proper plaids, but for spring it’s all about gingham. No longer just for picnics, gingham was spotted all over the runways. Diane von Furstenberg’s seized upon gingham for Spring 2015 and twisted it into something akin to daring and sexy — no small feat for a fabric often described as prim, and traditional. Inspired by glamour goddess Brigitte Bardot, DVF has managed to make gingham playful and yet sophisticated. Despite its many iterations, the fabric is a sartorial chameleon, so forget everything you know about gingham and try the freshly revamped fabric on for size.

CROP TO IT

DVF Jayme Dress

A crop top and ladylike skirt with waist-whittling proportions and only the subtlest flash of flesh can turn an evening look into something decidedly modern. Take the DVF Jayme for example. The corset top with flattering ruching detail is punctuated by a full floral skirt, with a little pop of midriff in between, making it the perfect subtle yet sexy twist on a classic dress.

THE LITTLE WHITE DRESS

The Little White Dress

The white slip dress—that iconic piece of nineties fashion—is finally having a renaissance. While this might be a matrimony favorite, Diane Von Furtsenberg’s white lace Olivette dress is for so much more than a walk down the aisle; from hot summer nights to easter brunch, theres no better time than the present to say yes to the little white dress.

So whether you’re looking to completely refresh your wardrobe with the latest trends, or simply seeking a few standout pieces to put a new spin on an old look, DVF Boston will have you stepping into Spring in style. Trust.

Take a peek at more photos from the evening.

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Hair: Salon Mario Russo

Photography: Lisa Richov

Gigi Hadid/Daniela Corte

Gigi Hadid wearing the Daniela Corte Playa Bustier Top and Knot Bottoms.

Our very own Daniela Corte just reached one of the career pinnacles of swimwear designers across the globe–to have her bikinis featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue–an iconic read that has been around since 1964, generates upwards of 35 million dollars in ad revenue yearly, and has featured supermodel greats such as Tyra Banks, Paulina Porizkova, and Elle Macphearson on its covers.

Initially, the idea for the issue came about by then managing editor, Andre Laguerre, as a way to fill the magazine with content in the winter months, when sports reporting was slow. Who knew that this “filler” would take off to become the backbone of the entire magazine and create revenue and promotional opportunities  for several new industries? So tops off to designer Daniela, who spoke to me a few days ago on being chosen for this coveted issue:

IT MUST BE SUCH AN HONOR TO BE CHOSEN FOR YOUR SWIMSUITS IN THE MOST HIGHLY RATED SI ISSUE OF THE YEAR— HOW DID THIS PARTNERSHIP COME ABOUT?

They approached us, it was love at first sight 🙂

YOU’VE BEEN DEVELOPING YOUR SWIM LINE FOR THREE YEARS NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE FOR THE LINE?

It’s difficult to choose one, it really depends on the market but a style we always have and repeat is a one piece, deep V!

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 AS IN THE ONE I’M MOST OBSESSED WITH, THE WINE COLORED FRINGE SUIT. WHERE CAN PEOPLE BUY THESE?

The fringe suit is available via special order at danielacorte.com or via phone 617-262-2100

I SEE THAT SI WENT SIMPLE BUT SEXY WITH THE ACCESSORIES FOR THE SWIMWEAR. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON HOW THE STYLIST ACCESSORIZED THE LOOKS? DO YOU CARRY THOSE ACCESSORIES AS WELL?

I always love seeing what talented stylists do with my suits. And yes, we are on the same page at DC,  we have a gorgeous line of jewelry called “Lexi” that we offer at our studio. Lots of body chains and multi-layered necklaces.

HOW MANY STYLES OF SUITS DID YOU SEND THEM AND HOW MANY ENDED UP IN THE MAGAZINE?

We sent tons of suits! Three images ended up being chosen for the Sports Illustrated website.

Daniela C_SI lace bikiniWHAT’S IN THE PIPES FOR THE NEXT SWIMWEAR COLLECTION AND WHEN CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE IT?

We are in the middle of collaborating with some great designers, creating really captivating, unique prints while always exploring new suits and techniques and different ways to tie suits. There will be a suit for every body type but, as always, I love curves!

Spring is alive and in the air! Tuesday night I was honored to be host of the first annual Fashion Power Play to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and The Second Step at Copley Place in Boston’s Back Bay district. Neiman Marcus dressed the gorgeous wives and significant others of the Bruins — as well as professional models, to show off the looks for Spring/Summer ’15. Our own Kathy Benharris organized the entire production and did a beautiful job indeed. Managing the models and wives, who generously volunteered their time for this good cause, is no easy task.  Backstage was an organized frenzy, with makeup, hair and fittings all taking place at once. Racks of Milly, Shoshanna, and Prada filled the room. Neiman’s Spring/Summer vision was Spice Market, so we saw the runway decorated with a mix of vivid oranges, blues and yellows, intermingled in floral patterns and expressionist type prints. Kathy started the show with boho chic fringe, lots of leather and jeans, then transitioned to some demure cocktail attire, focusing on trends such as the crop top, which  I happened to be sporting that evening. I received many compliments on my outfit and was happy to represent two local designers who are near and dear to my heart, Daniela Corte and Monika Ramizi. And of course, sitting front row across from the entire Bruins lineup was quite a treat…well, I mean someone had to do it.

Watch below to see how Kathy Benharris took over the center of Copley Place, while showing off Spring/Summer ’15, all for a good cause.

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