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Thursday, April 19, 2018

NYBFW: Adam Zohar Bridal Spring 2019

bridal ballgown
While Royal weddings are on many peoples minds this season, Adam Zohar understands that not every bride is striving to be the perfect princess. Not every bride wants the palace-styled catering hall or the perfect coiffure. Some brides have piercings and tattoos. Some don't want the perfectly symmetrical traditional gown. That's who Adam Zohar appealed to for his 2019 collection.

Gowns were sexy, with some silhouettes fashioned after old-school undergarments or billowing loose ballgowns. Embroidery and applique embellishments were deliberately asymmetrical across the body or only on one side. Some models were nose rings, showing even the rebel girl could opt to be a pretty bride on her terms.

The inclusive attitude continued through to the show venue. Zohar chose the gritty warehouse ambiance of the aptly named Industria studios. The raw space was one that felt open to any possibility without any pretension, in contrast to the palace vibe many other designers opt for. During the show, the designer kept the big garage doors open to the street so anyone could walk in and enjoy the show as well. Again, a stark contrast to the tightly edited (and enforced) guest list of most fashion shows.

The Adam Zohar 2019 bridal collection was immensely detailed and beautiful. However, even though they were elaborate works of art, I felt like the bride wearing could run on the beach or roll in the grass and he wouldn't be offended. For the pretty and punk girl.
all photos by Mariana Leung

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

NYBFW: Theia Bridal Spring 2019

Who hasn't dreamt of being a Princess Bride? The Theia Bridal Spring 2019 collection at NY Bridal Fashion Week was a celebration of European queens and princesses, iconic and modern. By modern, this means brides of all shapes, lifestyles and sizes, who were represented on his runway.

Each gown had different cuts, style lines to create dramatic silhouettes that flattered different areas of the wearer. Elegant embroidery was designed to also accentuate the curves of the body. There was a regal sophistication to every look from this collection that hinted at princesses of history (as each gown was named after) but with a thoroughly contemporary execution.

Designer Don O'Neill has always been thoughtful in designing gowns for real women. From creating his signature laser-cut fabric paillettes for comfort to his little tricks of draping to give extra ease in areas where the wearer might feel self-conscious to the ever-important "bra-friendly" styling that customers want. His record with celebrities as diverse as Gabourey Sidibe to Carrie Underwood has demonstrated his skill in making everyone look beautiful.

I sighed when I saw the jeweled tiaras. Who wants a veil when you have a princess crown? While I don't have any photos of the flowers, Fleur de Pascal's creations belonged in palace.

For anyone who can't wait for the Royal Wedding this May, they got their fill from this gorgeous show!
Photos courtesy of Theia.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Best Bonnets from the New York Easter Parade

easter parade 2018
nyc easter parade
new york easter parade
It's that time of year again. The biggest runway of spring is the New York Easter Parade showcasing the most creative of headgear. Yes, we might have a chill tomorrow, but spring weather was kind to New Yorkers and tourists for the annual event. Flowers, candy and other holiday motifs embellished not only hats but continued through entire outfits.
nyc parade easter islandYours truly came armed with butterflies and flowers. I took a selfie with Purely Patricia, an icon of the Parade and often at NY Fashion Week. She came decked out in a crochet yarn bomb theme.

One of my favorites was the Easter Island inspired couple who created towering Moai faces as a visual pun.

There are always dressed up dogs of all sizes. I was surprised to see baby goats and lambs hanging out with a giant St. Bernard dog on the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

I love seeing artists, vintage fashion fans, crafters, and designers bring their Egg-Game every year. It's great to watch the diversity of bonnet fans come out each year. There is a huge range of men, women of all ages and cultural backgrounds participating in a big way. 

Happy Easter folks. Eat chocolate. Enjoy the weekend. 
Photos by Mariana and David Leung

Thursday, February 22, 2018

NYFW: Custo Barcelona Fall 2018

Do you need to see a fashion collection in person to review it properly? Custo Barcelona fall 2018 is a brand that makes the case for yes. This label is one where no amount of fabrics or embellishment is too much for one outfit. Many of the established editors have long since taken the easy way out and written their NYFW recaps from the comfort of their office or laptop, and readers looking for the scoop are getting ripped off as a result.
Looking at photos of Custo Dalmau's fall looks, you don't get the full scope of the work put into each outfit. An edgy cocktail dress might look like an interesting mosaic of patterns from a graphics standpoint. However, a photo can't convey the delicately layered peacock feather eyes, paired with beaded embroidery and how it moved when the model walked. The metallic brocade pieced trim was perfectly cut to curve around the shoulder. In a photo, an editor couldn't possibly distinguish a cheap print from 3D couture.
In fall 2018, there were big coats mixing leather, iridescent, metallic fabrics and embroidery. When urban areas get cold, people generally hunker down in dark, somber outerwear, which is how most designers treat cold weather. I welcome flamboyant fashion statements when everything else around is grey and depressing. Even the accessories are coordinated with the clothing. Shoes are just as embellished, mixing patterns and textures as the clothes. Sunglasses are not subtle either.
This season, the message of the collection is "Yes, this is Me." The bold statements on the runway are to support women who are empowered to make bold statements in real life.
If I took the time to describe every individual look in this show, you would be ready for weeks. If you are looking at every outfit in a slideshow, they might blur after awhile. From a customs standpoint, it is satisfying to know whatever look you choose is your statement piece. Whether you buy a winter coat or slip dress for a night out, you know it will be the most striking piece in the room. 
Looking to shed your wallflower ways? Custo Barcelona fall 2018 is your go-to collection to command the room.
All Photos by Mariana Leung

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dances of Vice Venetian Valentine Grande Masquerade

Happy Valentine's Day! Yours truly celebrated this romantic day with Dances of Vice's Venetian Valentine Masquerade Ball. The venue was the dramatic former bank in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The soaring columns were lit with artistic lighting and draped velvets and silks.
The dress code was Venetian opulence (or naughtiness) with masks being a required element. Alternatively, guests could choose a black tie, but thankfully, most complied with the theme. The main floor was packed with glamorous costumes and a floor show of burlesque, opera, aerialists, and contortionists to give the air of an elegant circus. These performers came courtesy of Company XIV, known for their erotic Nutcracker Rouge production during the holiday season in NYC.
The upper floors were reserved for VIP ticket holders. They included a lounge of the martini glass and vintage bathtub burlesque dancers to tickle your fancy. A mesmerizing juggler looked like he was just casting a spell to make glass balls levitate. A more risque lounge was dedicated to BDSM demonstrations for curious guests. I would call it "bondage light" for newbies who wanted to explore the equipment in a comfortable, supportive crowd.
Shien Lee, the founder of Dances of Vice, produced this extravagant party. For years, she has been the maven who got New Yorkers to dress up and party in theme for the most stylish soirees. Her events have grown more and more popular, taking over massive venues each season.
I dressed up in an outfit inspired by Shakespeare's Titania of a Midsummer's Night's Dream. Hubby was my Oberon in tails. This is an event where you go all out and wear that crazy extravagant outfit that you could never imagine wearing. I can't imagine a more stylish, sexy way to spend Valentine's week with a  (lusted after) loved one.
Photos by Mariana Leung and Adam Weinstein

Saturday, February 10, 2018

NYFW: Tadashi Shoji Fall 2018 #MeToo

tadashi shoji fw18
tadashi shoji nyfw
In the most unlikely of places, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement have landed on the runway. Tadashi Shoji's stated his Fall 2018 collection was a tribute to the diverse, strong women in the movement. The looks were presented in a range of silhouettes and lengths to have the wearer feel empowered.

The use of shorter cuts on some dresses or perhaps sheer or lace fabrics was to make the statement that women should feel confident and comfortable to wear anything they wish. There were also a dozen black looks for solidarity to the #MeToo movement demonstrated in the red carpet looks at the Golden Globes Awards.

backstage nyfw
Backstage at Tadashi Shoji
Looking at the collection purely for its fashion merit, the looks had a certain 1930's Hollywood glamor. The asymmetrical draping and bias cut seams and gathered details was flattering to most body types. Intense jewel tones looked great on different skin tones as did the platinum metallic shimmer fabrics. Hair and makeup gave the models gorgeous big rolled waves, many with a side part a la Veronica Lake.

Shoji's popularity grew on the red carpet after actress Octavia Spencer wore several of his looks over the awards season where she won multiple awards for The Help. She made it a point to choose Tadashi Shoji because he was one of the few designers happy to dress full figured women towards the beginning of her career.

If you are about to walk the red carpet, make sure you are dressed by a designer who has your back. Tadashi Shoji is the supportive, glamorous choice you need.
Photos by Mariana Leung
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