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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Haute Couture: Armani Prive Spring Summer 2015

armani couture spring 2015
armani prive ss15

I’m calling the spring 2015 Armani Prive collection of Haute Couture the Straw and Hay show. I know I can clearly see that the big poles on the runway are a hyper modern representation of bamboo. I can see that bamboo is a running motif along with Asian details like wide obi belts.

The super chill palettes of deep navy, grey and herbal green are elegant in that expected Armani way. It is the shiny fabrics, loopy fringe, stiff reedy fringe that I didn’t expect. As sophisticated an image as Giorgio Armani has cultivated, the man does have a sense of humor. I like that he mixed some contemporary, almost nutty novelty pieces with his uber sleek socialite bait. This is a man who played an Italian Prime Minister on Saturday Night Live and then told the host “nice suit” after all. He is a man who was not offended when a snarky reporter asked “Why always beige?”.

Giorgio Armani often likes to include botanical patterns of some sort, so an exotic bamboo leaf was this season’s winner. Instead of literal kimono sleeves or wraps that many other designers have done, the evening gowns had interesting pleats or asymmetrical hems. In fact, the fuller silhouettes on the catwalk took its muse more from a Korean Jaegori than what most people think is a kimono.

With all the wide obi belts on the runway this year, I’m wondering how many buckle makers have filed for bankruptcy. The models hair was slicked, and parted down the middle in a severe style. Some models wore huge statement earrings or none at all.

The Armani Prive Haute Couture collection was the gorgeous Giorgio Armani show you wanted it to be with some fun surprises!
Photos from FirstView/FashionWeekDaily
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

BCBG Max Azria Spring 2015

pink kimono
bcbg kimono
Spring on the BCBG runway had an Eastern, Boho vibe. There were variations of kimono silhouettes. The color palette was pale, pastel, with lots of white, more white, pink and seafoam.

Lantern sleeves and wide obi belts with trapunto stitching were prominent details. The few prints were truly pretty. They had a layered look that at first looked like an abstract Japanese floral, but were actually inspired by a color reform over-dying technique Lubov Azria observed at a home d├ęcor boutique. There were also delicate embroidered details using two different sized pearlized sequins or intricate threadwork. I can see these styles being adapted into a casual beach wedding.

The easy garment silhouettes are very West Coast. Either that, or their fitting team just wanted to make sure that every style could fit everyone (or they don’t know how to fit a garment and playing it safe). The shapeless garments were a trick BCBG as used in past season, so it must be working for them. The exception to that was the quilted renditions of the current moto jacket trend but executed in a super feminine way.
bcbg shoes
photos by Mariana Leung
BCBG finally moved past the envelope clutch handbag shape they were sending down the runway for several seasons in a row. Instead, they have a cute round handbag similar to a minaudiere with a long over shoulder strap or a large retro styled hobo bag.

The models hair was long, flowing and natural. The makeup was natural with a bit of sun-kissed bronzer. 

If you are looking forward to a California by way of Asia look for spring, the BCBG Max Azria collection for spring 2015 is it.
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

SAG Awards Red Carpet Winners

gretchen mol SAG 2015 basso
Another red carpet full of gorgeous beaded gowns for embroidery geeks like me to drool over. The Screen Actors Guild Awards had the most talented performers celebrating their own. Designers framed these actresses in their best work.

The platinum duo was Emmy Rossum in a stunning embroidered lace gown by Armani Prive. Gretchen Mol wore a vintage silhouette with rich crystal beading from Dennis Basso.

julie bowen SAG hobeika

 Julianne Moore blew up Twitter in her dripping emerald beaded dress from Givenchy. Modern Family's Julie Bowen wore a sweet dress embroidered with delicate dimensional flowers by Georges Hobeika. Also from television's  Modern Family was Sarah Hyland wearing a beautiful custom gown by Vera Wang with a jeweled bodice.


The cast of Orange is the New Black were happy to get out of the prison jumpsuits as they all killed it on the SAG Awards red carpet. Natasha Lyonne wore an elegant Proenza Schouler with a sparkling embroidered top. Jackie Cruz wore a figure hugging gown from Christian Siriano embellished with an unusual mix of jewels and beads of different textures. Paula Patton wore a stunning white jeweled gown with rich dimensional beading by Ayesha that is sure to inspire many a bridal trend.

So there you have it, who were your personal favorite on the Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet?
Photos: Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesKEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGESTEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGEDIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/WIREIMAGEKevork Djansezian/Getty Images,Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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Fashion Design Contests, Fashion Open Calls 2015

designer fitting

Is 2015 your year? Bring out your best and nail these open calls for fashion designers.

Toronto's World Mastercard Fashion Week is the premier fashion event in the North. The Toronto Fashion Incubator's Press & Buyer's lunch is where up-and-coming designers get one to one time editors and retail buyers to jump start their label. In the few years I have attended Toronto fashion week, I have seen designers go from a table at this even to a full blown headlining runway show and dressing the country's top personalities. Deadline to apply is February 2, 2015.

Are you based down South? Belk Department stores have relaunched their search for new talent for the Southern Designer Showcase. Winners will be chosen on their ability to embody modern Southern style. Those chosen will have their collections sold in the stores and receive valuable mentoring. Deadline is also February 2, 2015.
woman white hat

Fashion grants to the next GIRLBOSS

Nasty Gal has been arguably one of the best success stories in the fashion retail industry of the last few years. Sophia Amoruso and select staff members for the GIRLBOSS Foundation will be choosing the best projects and entrepreneurs in fashion, design, tech, marketing and finance to award grants. Amounts from $500-$15000 are awarded based on creativity, innovation and financial need. There are quarterly deadlines. The winter deadline is February 28, 2015. 
photos by Mariana Leung
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

DIY Beauty Hacks From Your Kitchen

dr oz mariana leung

I made my second appearance on the Dr. Oz show this week. I demonstrated the simple beauty hack of reviving your mascara with your microwave. I thought I might share a few more additional DIY beauty tricks you can perform in your kitchen.

Dried Mascara
Stick your old mascara in a microwave safe mug filled halfway with water. Put it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and check your mascara texture. If you have some contact lens solution, add a few drops of that as well.  It’s not a permanent fix, but will give the mascara an extra day of use in an emergency. My girlfriend Claribel also just let me know that you can use mascara to cover grey hairs and tame flyaways!

Tea Bags for Puffy Eyes
Green tea is the most soothing type for this. After your used tea bags are cool, place them on your closed eyes for a 5-10 minutes to reduce puffiness and swelling. No tea? The classic of cucumber slices cools down stressed eyes too.

Sweet Scrub
Some of the hottest  beauty ingredients right now are coconut oil and honey. Make a scrub out of both of those by adding brown or turbinado/raw sugar. Massage this scrub on dry skin next to your bath tub (it IS super sticky) so you can rinse afterwards without making a mess! Hot water when you rinse can also help melt down the ingredients so they don’t clog your drain.

Manicure Prep
While you have your coconut oil out (or olive oil), warm it to slightly above room temperature and rub on your cuticles. In the winter, my fingers really take a beating, so moisturizing them before a manicure keeps them soft.

Citrus Toner
Again with your coconut oil, you can also make a toner and lightener for your skin by mixing it with some fresh lemon juice. I learned from a fellow guest on the Doctor Oz show that you can get more juice from a lemon by putting it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds first. Be careful that you don’t get it in your eye though!

What are your favorite beauty hacks?
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thalia Sodi & Macy's Collaboration Launch


Latin Pop superstar Thalia Sodi launched her sizzling fashion collaboration with Macy’s last night at New York’s Gold Bar. It was an intimate runway show featuring affordable outfits, jewelry and shoes that fit with the diva’s brand.

I don’t think it would be a surprise to say there were a lot of animal prints and bright colors. For the women who like to go dancing at night, there were plenty of tight short dresses and skirts. Cute cropped faux leather jackets were offered in gold, black and red. Flowing camisoles were paired with leopard print leggings.

As body conscious as this collection was, there were certainly pieces that were suitable for bodies of all types. A shoulder baring dress had a more relaxed fit on top but a mini skirt length at the bottom. A bright print dress had a twist front detail under the bust that showed off curvy hips but the shirring and fabric pattern could obscure the belly.

Fans around the world will love the pricing. I think the most expensive jacket or dress did not go over $100. The same pricing applied to the party-worthy shoes. The jewelry, piles of bangles, statement earrings and necklaces were all under $50.

The president of Macy’s announced that this collection has been Macy’s biggest fashion launch. Choosing a Hispanic superstar as their collaborator shows the influence of the Latina market in both style and sales. This fashion show was live streamed on Facebook; another first for Macy’s. The funny angle on the photos is due to me balancing myself between the two video cameras.


Unlike most major fashion shows, all the looks from last night’s show are available to buy right now (instant gratification!) If you’re on a budget and want to flaunt Thalia Sodi for Macy’s for the upcoming fashion weeks, you totally can. 
photos by Mariana Leung
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