When the news broke on Tuesday that trailblazing fashion genius Kate Spade had died the reaction was immediate.
Locally, public relations veteran Chris Haynes, who like so many was caught off-guard by the 55-year-old Spade’s apparent suicide, posted on line of his shock and sadness. For Haynes it was personal. He oversaw the 1999 opening party for Spade’s Newbury Street boutique while working directly with Spade and her husband, Andy.
As outlets around the world looked for photographs to accompany the stories, many chose the image from the now-defunct Stuff@Night of Spade in Boston in front of a wall of her most colorful handbags. “Out of the millions of Kate Spade photos out there in the Universe, Getty Images shared three pictures and SOMEHOW one of them is from our Boston store opening,” Haynes wrote.
Boston Fashion Week founder and executive director Jay Calderin posted a simple black and white photo of Spade taken by Thomas Iannaccone with a Wendy Mass quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Kate Spade (December 24, 1962 – June 5, 2018)
Styleboston’s Tonya Mezrich wrote up a piece outlining her thoughts on Spade’s passing. (And we got her to let us use some of photographs of her with Spade bags.)
“RIP Kate Spade. Your life was, oh, too short. Your whimsical designs gave my husband something to look forward to when choosing gifts for the various holidays: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Chanukah, you name it. I think my first bag of yours was the pink T-Rex. Who buys dinosaurs for their wives? He saw it in the store and insisted on getting it. It brightened so many peoples’ day each time I wore it to an event—the Hot Pink Party, Valentine’s day, there were so many occasions for a fierce pink T-Rex to attend.
“My list does not end there. A Russian nesting doll hardwood clutch made its way into my collection, too. A Russian name that I cannot pronounce and do not even attempt to, but indeed a whimsical nesting purse with a little doll pouch inside as well in typical Russian nesting fashion. Kate, oh, Kate you were so creative. But my favorite of all your bags is the limited-edition wicker gator. He scared many a diner as we sat al fresco in Miami eating dinner at Michael’s Genuine. Those Floridians are so used to seeing gators, I was surprised he made one yell sitting upon a side table at the outdoor patio, peeking his head out of the nearby shrubs.
“You will not be forgotten. You got your last name from the brother of comedian David Spade, I didn’t know this until now, but to me you were your own spade, a jack of all trades and one that will be sorely missed.”
**Be sure to tune in to Tonya’s new tv series “On The Red Carpet” on NESN Sat/Sun night at 11:30 pm.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down in LA for a lively chat with the Massachusetts-based entrepreneur and level III Reiki Master Practitioner, Farah Andre. Reiki healing has been practiced for decades on the West Coast but the East Coast has been slow to embrace it.
Farah is working to change that perception. A registered nurse with a Bachelors of Nursing degree from Labouré College, she is a believer and is in LA to talk to experts about the best ways to bring this practice to Boston. She touched on her background and shared some insights on her work encouraging people, especially from the black community, to adopt the benefits of Reiki to recognize and remedy core spiritual wounds which, when left untended to, affect their general wellness.
Reiki is a system of healing used for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing on all levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The word Reiki is from a Japanese word meaning universal life force or energy.
According to Farah, Reiki is really about energy and meditation. It is an elevation cleansing of the body, mind, soul, cos, where everything is interconnected.
“It is about finding what your true life purpose is. It is about guiding you and letting go of things that no longer benefit you so you can prosper.”
She explains that Reiki is a stress reliever and excellent for achieving homeostasis for people suffering the effect of external stressors such as school, work or family. Many health issues like hypertension or high blood pressure, eczema, etc. are often a result of our body reacting to these external stressors.
Farah, who is part of the Black Nurses Rock New England, also talked about plans to partner with a number of NBA teams to see how Reiki can benefit the performance of basketball players in their game and practice sessions, especially for players who have suffered anxiety and panic attacks in the past.
Despite her accomplishments and list of achievements, Farah remains humble and grounded and a lot of fun to be with. She explains that she likes to keep it “quiet” even as she steadily climbs the ladder of success.
For now, Farah continues to support patients in healthcare settings while offering Reiki treatments through her woman and minority-owned business, Endless Konnections.
For more information on Reiki contact Farah at www.endlesskonnections.com.
BOSTON – French and Brazilian designer Anne Fontaine recently joined with Valéry Freland, the Consul General of France in Boston, to kick off Forest Day 2018 with a fundraiser at the consul’s home. The swanky event raised more than $12,000 toward the goal of planting 100,000 trees by 2022 to reforest the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, the Mata Atlântica.
Boston’s most famous Brazilian supermodel, Gisele Bunchen, was not able to attend, but donated a 15-pound (not a typo!) sparkly, designer, green mini-dress to the Foundation that she wore in San Paolo many years ago. The Anne Fontaine Foundation [/] will auction it off at an upcoming event in Washington, D.C., to raise more money for the cause.
We attendees were invited to meet with Anne and her foundation chair, Dorothee Charles, to hear more about the mission as well as tour the new collection at the Anne Fontaine boutique, located at The Heritage on the Garden on Boylston Street in the Back Bay. (Anne also has a luxe boutique in Beverly Hills.)
Anne, charming as ever, spoke to me about how she is always connected to nature in her collections, so much so that in 2011 she decided to create the Anne Fontaine Foundation in order to save the Amazon Rainforest.
It was lovely touring the new collection, as Anne showed me her very first pair of jeans. Lots of blues, such as a fun flirty blue sweater and of course her signature white shirts which bore the floral theme. Anne raved about a pair of white floral trainers that are flying off the shelves.
I was drawn to the sleeves on this crisp white shirt in the center of the store and the floral lace shirt that the store manager was wearing. Laces are French and from Calais, Anne indicated, from production houses who have been producing lace for more than four generations.
Anne beamed about her new collection: Anne Fontaine Casual. These pieces have a price point of $200 to $300 per shirt rather than the higher boutique of $350 to $395 price point. I respect designers who find ways for those watching their budget to have access to beautiful designs and invest in significant pieces. I fell in love with a mesh jacket with floral appliqués on the sleeves. Apparently all of her staff want this jacket as well! Check out the AnneFontaine site and tell me what you think?
It was a pleasure to spend the afternoon with Anne again, two years later after my first visit and interview with her! She has 52 stores to visit year-round, and Boston is happy to boast being the first stateside store of the brand, and as store manager, Amanda, puts it, “We are the mothership of Anne Fontaine!”
I spent the morning of the dress rehearsal chatting with costume designer Charles Neumann, who was handpicked by director James Darrah of the Boston Lyric Opera to bring the characters to life through his signature costuming. Having known each other from working together at Central City Opera in Colorado upon Neumann’s graduation in 2011, their long history afforded the BLO with a treat in costuming rich in background, design, and story that will be a true delight for the audience in the upcoming production of “The Threepenny Opera” this Friday at the Boston Lyric Opera House. (I’m entranced by the description of one character’s costume, which turns out to be Neumann’s fave as well.) Read more to find out the ins and outs of what goes into developing a costume wardrobe for a full-scale opera production and how a ready-to-wear fashion designer makes the jump from clothing design to costume design.
What is your background in fashion?
I graduated in 2011 from Lasell College in Newton with a BA in apparel design and production and went from graduation to Central City Opera in Central City Colorado for their summer season. I have been working since then on project commission work for smaller opera companies. I do a lot of ready-to-wear, but wanted to transition to costumes.
How would you describe your brand?
Women’s ready-to-wear, separates, mix and match separates, geared towards an “eye on the past”—a weird forward-thinking retrospect. My style details are pulled from fashion and apparel history. I like to use modern silhouettes, mix them. For example, if you had your two favorite people, what would they wear if we were on a date? I came up with long silhouettes with a heavily distorted hounds tooth. I love to create jarring juxtapositions favoring bohemian, or earth wanderer aesthetic. I use lots of hand beading and have a sharp eye for high quality production. It has to be 100 percent perfect. If you were to describe my brand in three words it would be: sharp, nostalgic, bohemian.
How does this tie in to your costume design choices for the BLO?
James Darrah approached me to do it—I met him at Central City, he was an [artistic director]. He followed my work, and came to me and said I’m doing this opera. Imagine existing in this world where your clothes are the only viable option for these people. I was immediately intrigued. He described this world that exists without a time or place. It feels new, and interesting, but also feels very familiar. It has an eye on the past. When you see the opera you’ll see that it’s my signature brand. There is lots of attention to handwork, mixed materials, lines very similar to what I typically work with.
How would you describe the aesthetic of the costuming for ‘The Threepenny Opera’?
It’s lovely, but it’s NOT lovely. It has a weird back and forth. Everyone exists on the same social level. No one is higher than anyone else. But everyone is scheming and planning to step all over everyone else. Your personal visual can take a step backwards when you have slipped away. The clothes become tattered, thread bare. Imagine a trunk in attic, filled with Victorian clothes, that when you touch they fall apart. You can tell they looked very beautiful at one time. “The Threepenny Opera” costumes feel like “all things forgotten,” melancholic, dark, and sad. Jarring, because the music is sharp and aggressive but also sad, and soft. A great example and signature piece is Lucy’s yellow velvet coat: sharp harsh lines, but contrastingly very organic.
How did you get into the design mode for this opera? What was your inspiration? Did you watch other productions or read the script, listen to the music?
Definitely a combination of all of the above. I read the script 100 times. It was really important for me to think about: Who’s going to wear these garments, what are they like? It’s harder than [ready-to-wear] because clothing is a signifier, a personal billboard to tell people this is how I feel—this is who I am. I had to do this for each of the characters in the show. Who were you? What did you do? How did you get where you are? Psychological profiles of how they see themselves and how they would show others how they see themselves. I watched 1920s versions of the show, as well as ’30s and ’40s. Used some of the elements from notable productions for the main character Mackise.
Which character did you relate to the most?
There were two. Jenny Diver, had this long history with Mackise, the villain. She’s sort of removed, aloof, always watching always seeing. She sells him out not once but twice to the Peachums to get him hanged. She has a similar aesthetic to mine, she wears this beautiful lace dress that has been worn and worn the hemline is tattered. She feels nostalgic and melancholic. It’s the main signifier of my look, by aesthetic and brand. The second one is Lucy Brown, the daughter of the chief of police. She’s certifiably crazy. Wearing yellow velvet coat with big portrait collar, sharp angular lines reminiscent of designers Viviene Westwood and Yoji Yamamoto. She’s driven crazy because she fell in love with this person who doesn’t love her back. That’s how I am with my work.
I know this has been your first large-scale commission for the performing arts following your work with MetroWest Opera. How has it been working for such a large-scale production and what were some of the challenges?
It’s been wonderful. The people at BLO have been a dream to work with. We are all vibrating on the same frequency, the director, lighting, set designer, all existing on the same frequency. What’s been tricky is I’m typically committed to an image, and to a process, but with opera things are always evolving. You get a lot of “This doesn’t work lets change this.” And you have to run with the punches. And, you’re running EVERY second. Like getting a call at 8 p.m. the night before the dress rehearsal (last night) with a “We need XYZ, can you get that?” It’s definitely made me become adaptable to change.
How many people are on your production team?
Quite a few: a project manager, an assistant, Costume Works in Somerville—they are a costume company for BLO, Disney— a patternmaker, and Liz Perlman who owns Costume Works and built and fabricated the yellow coat. It’s a team of about 12 to15 people working with me from fittings, pattern making, assembling, and altering. We’ve been working together for six weeks. Actually, today is the first day we will see all of the clothes living in the set, on the actors and under the lighting. It’s exciting, intimidating, and joyful all at the same time. I’m waiting to see these clothes exist on stage. If anything needs to be altered or changed luckily, there is time before the show opens.
Were there budgetary constraints on the wardrobe?
BLO had a great budget to work with. I had designed the show before I knew what our physical budget was. It was submitted to the costume shop. They did a price breakdown of what it cost. Our principal costumes if they have something specific, those things we build from the ground up. With the supporting and chorus, those are pieces we pulled and bought and altered. It wasn’t a challenge. I’m very thrifty anyways. I’m good at getting a great look for not a lot of money. I do this in my own designs for my clothing line—I don’t think that fashion should be isolating. I feel like it should be accessible.
What is your favorite costume of the show?
A couple. Lucy’s yellow coat. It’s so beautiful. It was a triumph in making it. When I suggested this coat at our initial meetings at BLO everyone was wanting this coat. …When it came to how are we going to make this, Liz Perlman, she was like “I got this.” She was able to take what existed on the page and turn it into reality. It’s super soft, very hard, draped structured. It was an achievement to make this coat. This velvet is covered in all these custom dyed chiffon flowers. I built one dress for the opera—the dress to be worn by Jenny Diver. It’s a chiffon dress with open work on top made of gray lace. It has shine with its asymmetrical bodice. It’s beautiful, very well built, floor length with a small train. I used several bones in the bodice. The whole bottom of the dress is cut away leaving a soft organic hemline. The best part was we submerged the lower half in water and painted into it with browns, grays, blacks, all dirty tones so it really looks like someone was wearing this beautiful dress for years, walking through back alleys and streets. We built and added all those years into the dress by distressing and staining it. It feels beautiful but sad. It is one of my favorite pieces. There is high melancholy in it. A dress with a long history.
What are the differences between creating costumes for an opera versus designing a collection for fashion show?
It’s really the target audience. When designing a collection for the runway you come in with a concept, create an image. With a runway show, you’re in a tighter avenue. You know who your ideal customer is, your target audience. With an opera you are creating an image aesthetic, but it’s like real life, everyone has their own style, so it’s not necessarily the same, so it becomes harder because you’re trying to work in an overall aesthetic, but be true to each character’s personality. You must do intense psychological breakdowns of each character but be true to this world you created. It’s more involved doing costuming.
What are the plans for the costumes after the show ends?
They will go back to Costume Works. They will be cleaned and get packed away. They go into the BLO stock. For any future shows, they can be pulled. There is an opportunity if BLO is in love with the show, they can freeze the show and the costumes don’t get broken down, and it can get rented to other productions all over the country. In any event, the BLO owns everything.
What is your next project?
I am working on a fall collection inspired by Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep and the image of the world in which he dwells—a cave filled with poppies, where the river of forgetfulness stems, a world without light or sound.
For more information on tickets to the performance go to https://blo.org/the-threepenny-opera
The 90th annual Academy Awards was not an exercise in shyness, though we did feel a strong throwback to old Hollywood glamour in many of the fashion choices. (Editor’s Note: Tonya was one of the few who predicted that the color palette would lighten up from the darker colors worn in protest earlier in awards season.)
There were lots of red, white, and blue as well as touches of the requisite shimmer. Necklines were plunging, asymmetrical or even turtled as in Maya Rudolph’s interesting choice of a billowing red gown. My favorites and top picks includes Gal Gadot in a plunging silver dress with an exquisite encrusted 27 carat aquamarine lariat drop necklace with more than 1000 diamonds from Tiffany & Co.
Also top on my list was Allison Janney in the stunning red low V-neck with draping kimono sleeves. It was very similar to Meryl Streep’s red in color and cut, but was simply stunning when she took the stage to receive the Oscar for her performance as Tonya Harding’s mother in “I, Tonya.” My third top choice was Laura Dern in a captivating white, one-shoulder dress by Calvin Klein. She doesn’t typically wow me on the red carpet, but definitely brought her old Hollywood A game to the Oscars.
With all of these top picks the bottoms are always interesting to explore as well. Top on my list of misses was Nicole Kidman in Giorgio Armani. The blue bow at her hips was distracting and just plain bizarre. It looked like a functional booboo, with nowhere for Nicole to place her hands.
Another miss for me was Salma Hayek. Her lavender paillette gown with excessive garland like beading read more like Bollywood not Hollywood to me, but not in a successful way.
Was anyone else wondering what was Eiza Gonzalez wearing? Her yellow “bodycon” gown looked like something you would wear coming back from a day on the beach. But it was a contouring couture from Ralph Lauren. (Note to the House of RL: What were you thinking? The material was all wrong for a black tie event, and almost insulting! I get it, she’s new to the awards, but please, next time have a publicist line up a designer for that girl!)
My last miss was Margot Robbie. This girl is so gorgeous that she could wear a Christmas tree and look good. The bad thing is, that’s exactly what she did! The beaded shoulder draping and neckline was just too holiday and not enough Hollywood for me. Sorry Margot, Chanel just wasn’t scoring high with this judge.
Local connections to the award show are always fun to keep track of. David Fialkow of General Catalyst and producer of “Icarus,” winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature rocked the red carpet with red Ferragamo shoes which added a fun punch of color to his navy tuxedo. So glad he made it on stage to accept the award! Local designer, Beth Miller, bejeweled Natalie Morales with her signature pearl rose gold earrings and diamond rose gold ring.
What were your favorites and misses of the evening? Let us know in the comments or on social media.
SOMERVILLE – A couple of nights before “Phantom Thread” opened in theaters styleboston’s Tonya Mezrich hosted an exclusive, special screening of the Paul Thomas Anderson movie that stars Daniel Day Lewis as a detail obsessed head of a London fashion house.
Here is Tonya’s report: Hosting an advance screening of this Paul Thomas Anderson 1950s drama last night was a real treat. Sixty-five of my dear friends and fashionphiles dressed in their hottest phantom threads gathered at the AMC theater in Assembly Square to get a sneak peek of the film. Touted to be Daniel Day Lewis’ last–he was brought out of retirement and his 10-year cobblership to get back together with Anderson to make this movie together.
The period and the setting are depicted so realistically that you can imagine this fictional movie being based loosely on reality—think an over-the-top version of Christian Dior or Oscar de la Renta. Having developed and run my own fashion house (but on a much smaller scale) years ago, the realism of the measuring, the fittings, the backstage chaos of a fashion show and ruining your piece de resistance hours before its intended delivery is all so accurate that it makes it hard to believe that it is indeed fiction.
However, Anderson brings us back to reality swiftly—with the ending of the movie making it very clear that this is so. But not without the characteristic playfulness, quirkiness and even dark side of Anderson’s filmmaking style we are familiar with as we remember the tormented Tom Cruise in “Magnolia.”
Editor’s note: Keep checking our pages as we continue to partner with those who bring you the best in lifestyle, arts and entertainment. The Boston Globe’s review goes even further than Tonya on recommending “Phantom Thread,” you can read it here.
For The Pendry hotel and Downtown San Diego, it is all about the millennials.
“We could feel the shift in luxury,” said Michael Fuerstman, co-founder and creative director of The Pendry hotel brand. “We were looking to expand our parent company, Montage Resorts, so we took a step back and looked at the new wave of luxury customer.
“The target age for us is the 30-something guest, one who is exceptionally well traveled,” Fuerstman said. “They have an appreciation for art and architecture, cultural and creative programming, and are looking for something in between a lifestyle hotel and a luxury hotel.”
By 2020, millennials — those born roughly between 1982 and 2004 — will make up more than 50 percent of San Diego’s workforce.
Unlike baby boomers, millennials don’t necessarily want to own something; they want experiences, where luxury and lifestyle are seamlessly intertwined. As a rule, they consider wealth a very important attribute, enjoy living and working in urban areas, and have become in many ways the prototype for the unprecedented revitalization that is happening in Downtown.
The Pendry, located at 550 J St., is slated to open its doors this month — January 2017 — and is one of the first of several new residential and commercial projects planned for Downtown. Also in the mix is the millennial-driven WeWork, at 600 B St., a newly opened co-working office space that consists of six floors and 90,000 square feet of a contemporary character.
“Millennials want highly amenitized workplaces, homes, condos and apartments, so on the experience side, The Pendry is probably at the top of what they would want to see, “said Kris Michell, CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership (DSDP), the member-based, nonprofit organization that advocates for the economic growth and vitality of San Diego. “The Pendry and Montage Resorts chose San Diego to debut its first lifestyle hotel. This represents a tipping point for us, as it’s illustrative of San Diego’s emergence on the world stage as a cultural influencer.”
Other projects for the area that have been approved include: 7th and Market, a 39-story retail, hotel and condominium complex; Maker’s Quarter, a five-block urban district in the East Village with street-level retail, 800 residential units and 1 million-square-feet of creative office space; and, Manchester Pacific Gateway, a combination of commercial, retail, Navy offices and two hotels located at the former Broadway Navy Complex.
The number of residential and commercial developments on the horizon is good news for San Diego and North County residents looking for more lifestyle options, according to DSDP. That’s also why The Pendry team tapped Clique Hospitality and its San Diego-based founder, Andy Masi, to run the dining and entertainment venues.
“We recognized the opportunity to be a real cultural, entertainment and culinary hub within the city, and collaboration with local partners and brands was very important to us,” Fuerstman said. “Andy lives and breathes San Diego but also brings worldly exposure from outside of the market. Clique has years of experience in Las Vegas running upscale restaurants, lounges and nightclubs. He understands what works here and is pushing the bar forward to bring in an element and interesting things that aren’t here yet.”
Each restaurant in the new hotel is located on the street with separate entrances that make them feel as though they are their own individual brands.
The Pendry’s signature restaurant, Lionfish, will have local award-winning chef JoJo Ruiz in the kitchen, with a focus on modern coastal cuisine.
Nason’s, at the corner of Sixth and J avenues, promises to be an authentic beer hall, which will highlight the numerous craft beer makers for which San Diego is known. Located just a 5-minute walk to Petco Park, Nason’s will feature signature keg tappings, local brewers, pretzels, sausage and bratwurst along with special events.
In addition, the Oxford Social Club, an underground club located next to Lionfish, is a play on the ultra lounge scene of 10 to 15 years ago, with a DJ booth and soft, moveable seating that gives it a communal feel. A lobby bar, spa and outdoor rooftop pool deck are included in the amenities.
Montage Resorts, which currently operates six luxury hotels, are known in the industry for their service culture and Pendry General Manager Michael O’Donohue, with his more than 22 years of experience in luxury hotel management, hopes that this will set The Pendry apart.
The 12-story hotel offers 317 contemporary guest rooms and 36 suites, all with an elegant but comfortable modern design. The intent of the staff is to make the experience for the guest a seamless transition from outside to in, and that includes guests who travel with their pets. The Pendry is a pet-friendly hotel where man’s best friend is more than welcome.
“The most critical part of our success will be the service, taking what Montage is known for and bringing that to San Diego,” O’Donohue said. “It’s in their DNA. From a citywide perspective, we are seeing record levels of growth both this year and next. We believe that San Diego is on the rise and we’re hitting it at the right time.”
For more information, visit pendryhotels.com/san-diego.
—Terri Stanley is the creator, producer and host of the Emmy award-winning Boston lifestyle show styleboston and former executive editor of Boston Common magazine. Since moving to the San Diego area, she freelances as a lifestyle writer and short film producer. Reach her at email@example.com.
Since summer is in full swing, and shorter hemlines are on the horizon, I decided a seasonal beauty overhaul was in order. After all, with sunny spells coming and going as they please, a girl has to be ready to flash some leg at a moment’s notice. With that in mind, I beelined it to G2O Spa to see expert esthetician Gina Hernandez for the secret tricks of the trade on how to get summer ready skin from head-to-toe. Luckily for you, I’m “spa’ing” and telling…
That’s A Wrap
Looking for skin that is both radiant and soft to the touch? Enter G20 Spa’s body wrap. Carefully balanced to both cleanse and replenish, G20’s body wrap treatments lift the veil of dullness and dryness to restore hydrated silkiness to skin. Using seaweed from the seas of France, Gina told me this purifying treatment detoxifies the body while restoring skin tone and vitality by drawing out toxins from the skin. Gina finished my treatment with lymphatic drainage to enhance detoxification, boost circulation and promote overall slimming and toning effects.
Glow on Girl
Think facials are just for women who love to be pampered? Think again. If done regularly while you’re still in your early 20s, they can prevent premature wrinkles, sun damage and aging. Not sure where to begin? Let G20 Spa be your guide. After a skin consult, Gina started by applying a Pumpkin Peptide Polish to my face to exfoliate skin cells; provide antioxidant support and stimulate collagen activity, leaving skin feeling smooth and looking bright. Next, Gia helped me get my glow on with the use of LED, which stands for Light Emitting Diodes, that help to target common skin problems such as blemishes, redness and uneven pigmentation by stimulating new cell growth.
Looking to nail your summer look? Step into summer by looking polished from head to toe with a G20 Spa deluxe pedicure. This full service pedicure includes a lower leg and foot exfoliation, nail grooming, and massage. Conclude this relaxing experience with a natural nail buffing or a bright polish application of your choice for a look that is sure to start your summer off on the right foot.
Photography by: Lisa Richov
Have you heard of Jennifer Aniston’s line of beauty products called Living Proof? I just learned that this uber cool brand is headquartered right here in our own backyard. Scientists from MIT got together with beauty experts and developed this brand with one simple ambition: “To challenge conventional wisdom to solve your toughest beauty problems.”
Now this may sound like something rather simple to do, however, this lab has taken hair care and hair products to a new level, measuring out what works and what doesn’t on specific hair types, colors and textures. Living Proof has done for hair what Mario Testino has done for fashion photography. There are a core group of testees who come in periodically to test out new products, see what works, what doesn’t. We got to play a little, and discover the inner workings of this lab the other night at the opening and debut of their Style Lab. My favorite part of the tour was seeing a row of mannequin heads, hair of all different colors and textures, all lined up, ready for testing—the first phase of product development, apparently. Though their office, which consists of 60% female employees, is located in tech den Kendall Square, their outreach spans all the way to the west coast where Jennifer serves as brand ambassador.
I was so excited to get my hands on the Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Protector, an overnight hair mask that you simply apply and let the magic happen while you sleep. A genius idea for busy moms like myself! Another notable that I can’t wait to try: Blowout, and Restore Instant Protection—it protects your hair from UV rays for 24 hours and is perfect for those summer beach days. Stop by to have your hair tested and find out what product will suit you best. I assure you, every woman I saw that was working for the company had gorgeous locks. I asked Grace Ray if great hair was a pre-requisite for being hired. She said, “ Definitely not!” and chuckled a bit. I suggested they make a “before-after” facebook! I’ll be on the lookout for that.
photocredit: Michael Blanchard
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.
Want to lose weight without dieting and exercising? I will let you in on my little secret…perfectly bronzed skin. With Custom Airbrush Tanning, I was treated to a session with Jen Barry at Bliss Spa W Boston Hotel. I had no expectations but was thrilled when I went home feeling 10 lbs lighter. My husband recently came home from a business trip and said, “Wow, you look great! Very skinny. What have you been doing?” I smiled and said nothing.
How does it work?
- Take a relaxing steam shower, (they don’t recommend exfoliating beforehand, because it will leave you with a streaky tan.)
- Remove all face makeup.
- Sit in the lounge and snack on my favorites- the signature brownie bites and cheese cubes with a hot tea.
- Have a moment of peace without your phone, because it’s that blissful.
- Within minutes Jen comes by to bring you to the tanning room. She has a sweet demeanor, very warm and bubbly and makes you feel instantly comfortable, (you will come to realize this is something very important as you are going to be standing there buck naked in a few minutes.)
- Remove all jewelry and put your hair up in a bun. You can optionally strip down to nothing at all, or use the disposable undies they have available.( I opted for the latter because it’s kinda nice to see the “tanline” so you know how much of a tan you actually got!)
A whirring sound then a smell of flowers, and the process begins…I held my arms out to the side and Jen began spraying the cool mist on my body from the gun that looks like a blow dryer. We had pre-selected medium, since I already had a nice base tan. I had booked my appointment on a Monday since I had a Wednesday event. Two days seems to be the optimal resting time. After being airbrushed and then dried with the same device, Jen gave me a disposable blue robe to put on and we walked back, barefoot, to the lounge where she had me wait another 10-15 minutes to further dry.
Wear loose fitting black clothing! My dress was lighter colored and ended up getting some of the tanning product on it, (which washed out easily). I went home feeling sexy but a bit sticky and followed instructions not to take a shower or wash my face until the next day. The shower water turned a bit brown, washing off the external tanning solution, but the skin remained a beautiful golden glow. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate is the key to keeping this tan. Lotion on your skin after showering and later in the day as well will keep the tan going for up to 2 weeks. The cost of the service is $60, (not including gratuity), which isn’t too bad to look like you’ve spent the summer in St. Tropez…
They say the camera adds 10 lbs, but all I can say is that the airbrush tanning takes off 10lbs. Try it, you’ll like it.
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
Want 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.
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.
Rihanna’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.
My 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.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news as we head to the hot season, but most women do not look good in shorts. As I often say, why do you want two “a..es” when one is plenty enough. Shorts accentuate the backside of women in a way they do not with men. So here are a few dos and don’ts on shorts.
Do: Wear neutral colors. If shorts are the only way to go for certain activities, go with blue, khaki or off-white.
Don’t: Go extreme with cut-off jeans as in the American Eagle design with the pockets drooping down in front and silly distress holes.
Don’t: Wear shorts with cuffs, they only accent the thigh.
Do: Wear a belt with shorts. Gives them a nice sophisticated look even over a T-shirt.
Don’t: wear anything gathered at the waist – no drawstrings even if the fabric is really lightweight.
Do: Consider a jeans skirt as an alternative. Nordstrom’s has a variety from a mini by Rag & Bone @ $225.00 to a Levi’s @ $68.00. They even have a cute Plus Size by JUNAROSE @ $79.00.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Boston’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!
photo credit: Lisa Richov, The Social Stylist
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