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Monday, January 7, 2019

2019 Golden Globes Red Carpet - Crazy Chic Asians!

asians golden globes
Yesssss Queens! As an Asian-American fashion fan and occasional (background) actress, the 2019 Golden Globes Awards was a glorious parade of achievement and style. I cried when Crazy Rich Asians were released and were ready to squee again when the beautiful cast came down the red carpet. The fact that this wasn't a first time walk for many of these artists was also gratifying. One of my favorite models of the 1990s, Gemma Chan, was stunning in the voluminous blue Valentino gown. Badass Michelle Yeoh wore green to symbolize life and prosperity, but really, I think it was so she could wear that epic emerald ring from the movie on the carpet (which was from her personal collection!)
Constance Wu, previously nominated for television role in Fresh Off the Boat, wore Asian-American designer Vera Wang for her first nomination for the leading role in a film. Family matriarch Lisa Lu wore traditional embroidered garb, looking regal and glowing. Nico Santos, the stylish relative of the clan, looked dapper.
sandra oh globes
Now for the big winners! Sandra Oh hosted and won as the first Asian to be nominated for leading actress in a drama series since 1974. She killed the red carpet in a sculptural Versace gown. As ground-breaking as this was, this was not her first Golden Globe, she previously won the trophy for her work on TV's Grey's Anatomy. Darren Criss won for his role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace but wore a Dior Suit with Asian-motif cherry blossoms.
A bit of trivia about me: I auditioned for the same role as Sandra Oh wayyyy back in 1993 in what would be her Canadian star-making role in the Diary of Evelyn Lau. If I had any bit of talent at the time, that could be me on the red carpet... NOT. Hahaha. Clearly, the talented, more deserving person won the role, and I ended up in fashion.
Congratulations to all of the amazing, beautiful, talented, inspiring, crazy chic Asians out on the 2019 Golden Globes tonight!
Photos from Daniele Venturelli, Frazer Harrison, Todd Williamson
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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Fashion Museum for the Blind

blind fashion museum
Have you ever visited a fashion museum for the blind? I bet you didn't even think that could exist. The criminally under-attended Museo Del Traje in Madrid has an extensive fashion history exhibit developed specifically for the visually impaired.
How you ask? There is a long runway of mannequins dressed with muslin pieces representing the most distinctive fashion silhouettes throughout history. Those without sight can physically touch and understand the body shapes that were trending in different eras while reading about them in braille on a plaque attached to each garment.
museo del traje
There was a section of the exhibit that let guests touch and feel different fabric constructions. There were large fabric swatches of different weaves and knits. Above the fabric are windows of magnified samples of the fabric construction so the guest can feel the individual yarns or threads and how they make up the different fabrications.
I thought this was a very thoughtful exhibit to bring clothing to life to a part of the community that probably thinks of clothing as nothing more than utility. I wish more fashion exhibits could do this.
In other parts of the museum, there was a great show on Balenciaga, one of Spain's great designers. There were some beautiful contemporary runway shows staged in a theatrical corridor. Despite all of this, my husband and I were the ONLY visitors here all morning. I am absolutely baffled by that, this was one of the better fashion museums I have visited around the world. They have hands-on fashion workshops, children's programming and more.
Currently, the museum has a stylish museum on La Vie En Rose for anyone who wants to get their Millenial Pink fix.
If you are in Madrid, please support and check out the Museo Del Traje, including the only fashion museum for the blind that I have come across. Get some culture, some style and history.
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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Fashion Fostering Connectivity Sheila Gray and Byron Lars Fashion Show

Feeling thankful today. The fashion, art, and media communities are huge, so why aren't we networking more? Last Friday, Sheila Gray presented the Fashion Fostering Connectivity Panel  to remedy that. I am so grateful for the empowering event. The evening started with an informal fashion show featuring both Sheila's collection and Byron Lars collection where the models were an inclusive group both in culture, size, shape, backgrounds, but with a common trait of giving back to the community. I was honored to be asked to be a part of this "model" lineup!

Sheila Gray, who is also PR director for Byron Lars in addition to her up-and-coming accessories collection, put this wonderful event together. She brought in author/editor Constance White (personal woman crush as a writer), Dale Noelle of True Model Management, Adrienne Jones, Cheryl McGinnis, Mary Ann Wheaton, Lisa Marie and Hello Beautiful publisher Danielle James. These power women discussed the challenges of working in their media, art, fashion fields, coming up against the establishment as women and as people of color. They stressed the importance of sharing, networking, talking to each other and then stayed to follow through with the guests in attendance.
Models were equally inspiring. Actress Lisa Arrindale introduced herself right in the model lineup before we headed to the runway to share and give thanks for being there to set the tone. Leslie Taub is a dancer and physically challenged model rocking classic Hollywood blonde glam, promoting strength and empowerment by example. Kyria Jaide Hughes, Jerrica Patton, Jasmine Moore, Alex Ferguson, Frankie Tavares, Keely Bembry, Chelsea Henriques, and Nicole Quintero all devote a good portion of their life to great causes and with entrepreneurial projects of their own.

I wore a twist front black Byron Lars dress (one of my favorite styles of his) with some fabulous silver and black statement necklaces by Sheila Gray. Those spiky stud gloves were a DIY one-off from Byron that he made for the look. Those huge glasses were a tribute to legends like Edith Head, Edna Mode, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Carrie Donovan.

I contributed my newly launched Wicked Finch Boozy Jam collection to the gift bags for the event. Other goodies included the newest makeup color trends and lots of sweet treats.

So how do you connect with your fashion peers? What do you think of all the gorgeous Byron Lars Fashion? Reach out and network with your colleagues and introduce them to each other. You never know how the right connection can help someone else!
Photos by Mariana Leung

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Zang Toi Spring 2019 - Vive Le Yves

pink ballgown
zang toi spring 2019
I know sing designer Zang Toi's praises every season. For Spring 2019, I felt he created this entire runway show directly for me (because I am vain and narcissistic). Why? This beautiful collection incorporated a bunch of my favorite things.
First, the collection was a tribute to Yves Saint-Laurent. Granted, the late designer was an inspiration to most people in fashion so I won't assume this was picked for me. Zang Toi referenced the designer in several ways. First, the Mondrian-inspired prints were a motif in the flowing silks of the show. Some of Saint-Laurent's most iconic looks were also inspired by Mondrian. Second, the intense blue color is reminiscent of the hues found in the Jardin Majorelle, the gardens in Morocco founded by the designer. The hipster scarves worn by the models are also taking inspiration from the Bedouin women who live in Morocco.
Why else did this collection seem personal to me? I love butterflies. I wore tons of them on my head and wore the wings for the NYC Easter Parade. Now Toi has them fluttering all over the purple (my favorite color) and pink gowns in showstopper section of the show.
The soundtrack? It's like he stole my iPod. Grace Jones' Libertango played over the runway with the models sauntering out like the queens they are. One of his consistent star models, Georgie Badiel, was recently married and had her new husband sitting in the audience. Zang Toi himself walked her down the aisle during the wedding.
The reason so many photographers are so loyal to shooting this show when there are many other shows competing in the same time slot is how thoughtful Toi is to us. He collaborates with photographers on lighting and model staging rather than dictating the conditions like many other producers do, leaving photographers to scramble and hope for the best. He sent out care packages to the photographers, with a (much needed) snack and water, with the bonus of his gorgeous Papyrus couture greeting cards. 
Thank you Zang Toi, for gifting us another wonderful show for Spring 2019. It was extra special as you clearly custom designed the collection around me (ha!). Kidding aside, butterflies, blue gardens and Yves Saint-Laurent, how could you go wrong?
pink butterfly dress
all photos by Mariana Leung
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

#NYFW: Pamella Roland Spring 2019

pink tulle dress
yellow evening dress
One expects and wants to see flowers in Spring fashion collections. Pamella Roland's Spring 2019 show did not disappoint. There were beautiful flower brocades in cheery yellow blooms made into jackets, cocktail dresses and gowns. The cheerful palette continued into embroidered feather fringe with beading, then swirling gowns of silk.
Other happy colors included rich fuschia pink and sky blue. There were gowns with masterful manipulations of fabric into ruffles and pleating. There were delicately embroidered florals of organic vines. This was the collection where Pamella Roland aspired to an Haute Couture look with the muse of her Bali travels to inspire the colors and lightweight fabrics.
On the other hand, her sleek, New York socialite on-the-move looks were still well represented. Think slim, tailored suits in bright colors. Sleek pencil skirt sheaths and fitted gowns with mermaid silhouettes. These were all ready for Real Housewives and other heiresses (Nicky Hilton) to wear to hit the red carpet, ( I counted four wives today).
This is glamor for the crowd who doesn't worry about what to wear to the office, because she doesn't really work for a living (maybe for fun). It must be nice.
Pamella Roland Spring 2019 had some of the most beautiful dresses I have seen from the designer in the many seasons I have followed the brand. I hope to wear one someday.
fashion designer pamella roland
Photos by Mariana Leung

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

#NYFW: A_I_R Atelier Spring 2019

air atelier nyfw
nyfw rooftop fashion
Is there a perfect setting for a collection called A_I_R Atelier to be showing their Spring 2019 collection out in the open air on a rooftop? A few influencers winced at the lack of air conditioning, but the Hudson River breezes made up for it. Also, if you're over-eager to wear your tall suede fall boots on a humid 90-degree day, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Impractical fashion guest choices aside, the AIR collection did a great job presenting several groups of print themes. They are whimsical but sophisticated. The label is a collaboration with Project Runway alum Jeffrey Sebelia and artist Kirk Nelson. There was a tropical floral group with stripes as a contrast accent, safari animals, sea creatures, an abstract delicate floral and more. Some pieces used them as an all-over print, some as large graphics, so e complementary prints. The execution of separates worked well to mix and match items where all the fun patterns could work in a combined outfit. 

The models were a diverse group of ethnicities, men, and women that represented the modern urban generation (I tried to avoid "hipster," but I failed.) What I liked was the juxtaposition of the 'sexy' open shirt male model and other models showing skin with a model wearing the same collection following very modest rules for dress. By doing this, it showed how stylish they were to customers of all faiths and comfort. The modest fashion customer loves fashion and is happy to spend money on it. It would be a tremendous missed opportunity for any designer not to address that.

If you have a chance, check out the A_I_R Atelier collection when you want an artful print. Whether your style is all skin or all smiles, this label has you covered. 
Photos by Mariana Leung
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