Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Guess' High-End Line, Marciano Spring 2015 Collection.

By Laura Medina

Too bad the Northeast can't partake in these yummy, refreshing Spring 2015 Fashion by Guess' Upscale Line for the cultured masses, Marciano but high-powered cougars in Hollywood can.

This the hot-and-straight-from-the-runways Seventies' indolently decadent lounge fashion where relaxing tailoring met lush and refined fabrics, such as this zebra-print maxi dress.

Don't worry you conservative classic fashionistas, here's the Little Black Dress in lace, very Dolce & Gabbana-sque.  The excuse, "Closet Classic."  So classic, that this LBD will be passed to future generations as "vintage" which will be further knocked-off for their generations.

Since Spring will morph into sweaty Summer anyway and if you have a tight torso, you can smash the White Parties in this white eyelet wrap-around crop top and matching circle skirt; or you can crash the garden party by continuing the Seventies' lush louche look in a maxi dress in jungle green to coordinate with the foliage.

This trend has been around for a good three to two years; and it's still hanging around.  So, go ahead and buy the "necklace incorporated" camisoles, a two-for-one deal.  This trend has hang around long enough to be coined "chain tops."

The hottest trend is the open-toe boot and booties, so appropriate for airing out your feet during Spring and Summer.  For eveningwear, you can go all gold in matching clutch and strappy high-heel sandals that can glamorize any outfit, switch out your Winter boots with these gold members.  A touch of "Disco Glamour" can refresh the reliable tee and jeans combo.  For men, which you should know by now, swapping around accessories can refresh clothes every season with minimal effort and cost.  If costly, then they're investment pieces.

Love that Guess' Marciano is providing fashion-forward clothes for the masses and high-powered women who earned the perks to glam up.  The poor assistant just have to wait.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Smashbox's/MAC's/Estee Lauder's "Mad Man," Donald Robertson.

By Laura Medina

Donald Robertson lecturing & advising at The Makeup Show LA.

During the industry-intense The Makeup Show Los Angeles, where aspiring and professional makeup and hair stylists load up on prestige brands at deep professional discounts, seasoned professionals give demonstrations and heart-felted advise and lectures in the beauty industry.

The majority of lectures and lecturers are experienced-weary makeup artists doling out life advice, as well as teaching the latest and the newest in advance techniques in cosmetic applications.

This recent Makeup Show was different.  It wasn't your usual highly respected makeup artist promoting her or his cosmetic line.  It was an unassuming, bespectacled preppy illustrator named Donald Robertson.

Among the tight-knit, closed circle of Manhattanite fashionistas and editors, he's a marketing mastermind, disguised as a low-key illustrator/graphic designer, behind MAC, Marie Claire the magazine, Bobbie Brown, and Smashbox, happily ensconced under the Estee Lauder umbrella.

The Makeup Show is all about giving people their due and giving those credit and acknowledgement when they earn and deserve it.  

Say "Hello" to Donald Robertson, the makeup world's answer to Donald Draper, a marketing/advertising genius...without the smugness, the drinking, or the womanizing.

Donald, open-heartedly, talked about being the cliched long-haired, young starving artist/illustrator in Paris, the capital of fashion and beauty.  In a typical "Cinderella-sque" tale, he met a fairy godmother, in a form of an established runway makeup artist who suggested he met and hook up with a pair of fellow Canadians who wanted to start their own makeup line.  That makeup line was MAC.

When he and the two Canadians returned to Toronto, they figure they might as well get,  their nascent makeup line named MAC, up and running in New York, a fashion and editorial capital of magazines.

In order for Donald to work in the United States, he had to get a green card.  That's how he wound up at Marie Claire being their Creative Director then doing the same at Cosmopolitan and Glamour.

At first, they were giddy getting picked up at Henri Bendel but Donald's wife had a simpler and wiser idea.  "Why not sell MAC in Downtown Manhattan where all the makeup artists live?"  A risky light bulb moment.

In the heart of Christopher St., this team opened the very first MAC boutique.  Soon, Uptown Girls were lining up in their town cars, causing traffic jams, waiting for their MAC that their makeup artists got them hooked on.  Because of the crowds, Donald had to ask one of the employees to entertain the shoppers demanding their MAC.  That employee was DJ Lady Bunny.

Juggling two demanding jobs was exhausting but a wise investment.

Once Estee Lauder swallowed up MAC, Donald was the "go-to Mad Man"-slash-illustrator/graphic designer for Bobbie Brown soon after, while still designing ad campaigns for MAC.  He's the one who launched MAC's Viva Glam charity campaign for AIDS Research. 

Thing about being working at Marie Claire, it was a great hub for connecting.  It was there that he first met Davis Factor Jr., the heir to the mass-market makeup brand, Max Factor and a professional photographer...who didn't have a clue in marketing a brand new cosmetic line he and his brother developed to fit their professional photography needs, Smashbox.

He helped work on their packaging and graphic design then he returned to Estee Lauder's folds, working on MAC and Bobbie Brown.

Again, Estee Lauder bought Smashbox then many years later, Donald bumped into Davis.

Donald Robertson with Smashbox & Miley Cyrus at Art Basel Miami.

How to promote Smashbox's latest Matte Be Legendary Lipstick and how to theme it.

Why not make it Limited Edition and have it aligned with Art Basel where the Manhattanite fashionistas and gallerinas need makeup the most.   There was no makeup sponsorship or promotion at Art Basel Miami.

Donald loves thinking out of the box and people return the love and respect for it.

He suggested why not paint a giant, white convertible in Matte Be Legendary Lipstick Kisses, take it out on a cross-country road to Miami and give out free tubes of the lipstick (in a form of good will and promotion) then park the car randomly all over Miami and continue to give out lipstick during Art Basel when gallerinas need it the most.

It was free magic!  It was basically a low-cost, free-wheeling, fun-filled ad campaign.

The biggest hit for Donald was when an hotel employee called him up in his room, saying that Miley Cyrus was posing on top of the Lipstick Kiss Convertible.  He and Smashbox practically beat MAC at their own game.  Remember, MAC paid Miley to create and advertise her Viva Glam Lipstick at that time.  Instead, she gave free advertisement to Smashbox's  Be Legendary Matte Lipstick.  Score!

Donald may be scoring but he's not resting on his laurels.

He's still with Estee Lauder and consider himself lucky to be traveling on their behalf, learning how different cultures desire different things from beauty.  South Africans are all about being matte, no shine or "dewy glow."  The Japanese are down with multi-step skincare regiments most folks wouldn't put up with.

He said "Traveling will make you a better, smarter person."

Since this is still The Makeup Show and it was in Los Angeles, Donald Robertson finally got his due when Smashbox just launched their limited edition Donald Robertson Be Legendary Matte Lipstick that you can pick up right now.

What's his next endeavor?  He pitched this idea to Bergdorf Goodman.  He'll take his trash from his Upstate New York home then construct it into art work at the upscale department store.  They loved it.

People love it when you're resourceful, witty, entertaining, and a low cost.

Reading this, most folks think it's crazy to be juggling multiple marketing and artistic duties at magazines while doing the same thing simultaneously for multiple makeup brands.  Not all makeup brands are alike.  Each makeup brand has its own unique identity which taught Donald how to deal with and portray them differently.  That's another arsenal in Donald's wisdom and experience.

When you pick up your Smashbox Be Legendary Matte Lipstick by Donald Robertson, consider this your piece of art work by an industry legend "Mad Man." 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Casper Mattress' Midnight Party with Warren G., Up in the Hollywood Hills.

By Laura Medina

There's Olde Hollywood.  There's Young Hollywood consisting of tween and teen Nickledeon and ABC Family then there's Current Hollywood, today's hottest and hautest hotties in their twenties to thirties.

One of Current Hollywood, Ashton Kutcher, is one of the investors in this mail-direct mattress company, Casper Mattresses.

Like anything Millennials, they prefer shopping and buying anything online versus actually trying it out in a store to be certain it's the right fit.

Who cares?  These Millennial celebrity investors certainly know how to throw a bash...through midnight...for a mattress.

Who cares if you need sleep to look beautiful and be mentally alert.  It's not every night you enjoy a backyard banquet of a BBQ under the stars, in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking the sleepy Sunset Strip.

Since Ashton Kutcher is a good friend, his "This '70's Show," friends, Laura Prepon and Danny Masterson showed up in full support.  Former "Gossip Girl," Chace Crawford and hipster photographer, Cobrasnake, brought additional squads of Millennial Hollywood Glam, who had no intention of sleeping through...

Hip-Hop artist Warren G.'s midnight run performance in a Hollywood Hills bungalow that is now the coolest mattress showroom/party pad for Current Hollywood.

Sure, Casper Mattress may not be your old-fashion mattress showroom/store but things have calmed down.  Using sleep as an health aide, Casper Mattress' Hollywood Hills showroom is more of a lifestyle showroom where nowadays, it hosts free yoga classes to wind you down.

Meet Donald Robertson & Smashbox's Limited Edition Collection at Sephora in Santa Monica.

By Laura Medina

After doing illustrator stints for MAC, Estee Lauder, and Bobbi Brown,  the Estee Lauder corporation felt it was time to recognize the industry iconic illustrator and have him collaborate with Smashbox for their upcoming limited edition collection.

In Manhattan's fashion and beauty elite, he's a legend but anywhere, he's....

So, it's about time the greater world know about him so Estee Lauder sent him on tour with Smashbox, from Art Basel Miami to Los Angeles now.

This weekend, Los Angeles (the other side of the world) will get to know the man.

Last night, Smashbox Cosmetics threw a big bash for him at their Culver City Smashbox Photography Studio.

All day this Saturday, March 28th, Donald Robertson will be at Sephora in Santa Monica doing meet & greets, from 11am to 6pm, for the general public.

Go ahead and say "hi" to the genial Donald.  He doesn't bite.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Darren Star & Patricia Fields...with Hilary Duff, are back with TV Land's "Younger."

By Laura Medina

Sutton Foster, as aging in reverse Liza,

Pamela Redmond Satran's novel, "Younger," is a Gen-X spin on the traditional mid-life crisis when today's Gen-Xers are forced to reinvent themselves after doing what society orders them to do, quit your glam job when you get married then put yourself out to pasture after  having the kid.  As the previous generation of Baby Boomers will tell you, you hit 40 then real-life happens: your kid is off to college/India; your husband left you for a younger woman then you realized you can't afford the mortgage on the house. 

The previous generation of women hitting 40 only had two choices, either you deal with it as a doormat or you puts yourself out to pasture because you accept that society rejects you.

The novel, "Younger," is the Gen-X's take on that mid-life crisis which is ripe for social commentary for Darren Star, Patricia Fields, and TV Land.

If Darren Star's "Sex and the City" is social commentary on accomplished career women, from all walks of life, going through different stages of life...until they meet or marry "Prince Charming," then "Younger" is a social commentary if you did all that, and it doesn't work out.  What now?  Well, rolling up and die isn't the answer.

Sometimes, the best answer is a rebirth, or do what Younger's title soundtrack sings about...St. Vincent's "Birth In Reverse," rising up from the ashes of disaster and reborn like a phoenix.

That's what "Younger" title character, Liza, did and had to do.  She did what society instructed her to do, quit her former glam magazine job to marry and raise a family out in the New Jersey suburbs.  Liza was on cruise control, getting cozy and comfortable until turning 40 jolted her out of her existence.  Her kid is old enough to fly off to India; her husband jilted her for a younger woman then Liza found out she couldn't afford the suburban house she's been raising her family for the past fifteen years.  Time for a rebirth.

Force back into Manhattan and the job and meat market, "Younger" hits at the real issue that affects anyone over the age of 30, age discrimination or what society calls ageism. As one real-life journalist said, "We're adults living in a kid's world."

Dejected by a pair of twenty-something Millennials at a job interview for a job that Liza used to have before she got married and started a family, Liza was commiserating with her Brooklyn hipster-artist friend, Maggie (played by wise and snappy Debbie Mazar) at a Brooklyn hipster bar when Liza was picked up by a much-younger 26 year-old tattoo artist who mistook her for being a fellow-Millennial.  

This revelation she could "pass," gave Liza and Maggie an idea, why not?

In one night of a mother of all makeovers, Liza is now a single, 26 years-old hipster, not the 40 years-old discarded wife and mom.

In that one night in that first episode is where costume consultant, Patricia Fields (no different from "Mad Men" Janie Bryant) uses clothes and makeup as psychology.  Out with the preppy shift dresses, the cardigans, and mommy blouses. In with the highlights and juxtaposition of mixed-media prints and textures.

Reborn, Liza returned back to that magazine job interview then got the job!

Of course, reality smacks back.  Now as a "Younger" Liza, she's exposed to being bossed around by a boss, who's the same age but went down a different track, and now, Liza has to adjusted to being treated like underling like her fellow co-workers while rebuilding her life.

Hilary Duff rocks it as Kelsey, the sassy #20Something editor at Empirical Publishing.

Liza finds a new ally in sharp-tongue, savvy Millennial, Kelsey played by Hilary Duff.

"Younger" is also a re-birth for Hilary Duff, after revealing she's now a divorced mom; and she, too, has to reinvent herself.

The book and the tv show, in a French perspective, represents different stages of a person's life.  They don't take mid-life crisis laying down.  They relish it then master it which is a totally new concept to youth-preoccupied Americans.

If "Younger" is a "do-over" or a second chance to take that different path that you always wonder about or wished that you had, it has a more significant message that is quite simple.  It is a mere stage in life that the wise French had known all along and that life doesn't stop nor completed at that wedding and Prince Charming.  It is life, after all, and how you deal with it that defines you as a person.

"Younger" premieres next Tuesday, March 31st at 10pm on TV Land Network then continues to air on Tuesdays at 10pm.

Now, all you mid-life crisis Gen-Xers can commiserate together then learn how to deal.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

French Invasion, Atout Paris & Rose from Provence. Oui, You Can Have Your Veggies Et Eat Your Desserts Too!

By Laura Medina

Spring has sprung, bring a new crop of trends.

When Spring sprung, it brought a new season.

Last year, it was British.  Two years ago, it was Scandinavian.  Now, France...the real, modern French culture is blooming unto its own, out of cliches and stereotypes.

Maybe because we started the year with the massacre of the staff of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, the out-pouring of sympathies and support brought out the real Paris of today and the French principle of liberty and free speech...and basically having a good sense of humor about life.

The French are returning the love while busting cliches about what it means to be French and what is today's French culture.

Spring brings Rose wine from Provence.  Instead of us traveling to Provence, Provence came to us with a bounty of refreshing Rose wine, easy to gulp; and the French have no problem with us gulping it with fresh and light fare to stuffed endive leaves and tidbits of grilled veggies which brings us to...

Atout Paris, a showcase of French hospitality by the French Tourism Development.  That's not an oxymoron.  Once they realize the world loves them, this showcase returns the love at SmogShop, an auto shop turned artsy-urban event venue.

Busting cliches while returning the favor, the French admit they love American Pop Culture.  They brought a Parisian graffiti artist doing his version of an All-American art form that the French just fell in love with...graffiti turned abstract art by the public.

Obviously, what the francophiles, gastronomes, and epicureans are hungry for...the nouveau francais cuisine from Paris' hottest and "hautest" chef, Chef Antonin Bonnet.

Atout Paris,

Gormandizing on traditional yet cliche rich French food...nah...didn't happen under Chef Antonin's watch, "I hate gluttony.  It's not a responsible way to eat."

But if it's innovation you're hungry for, you got it with him.  If you're searching for a new way of vegetarianism, well, you got it...sort of..."Raw veganism is not good for the bowels."  Okay, Chef Antonin doesn't play the Hollywood/Los Angeles Popularity Game but this is what makes him trustworthy; and he has a conscious, which reflects today's Paris.


Watching the ravenous gastronomes devour his bite-sized hor d'oeuvres of cider-marinated Mackerel, horseradish snow and nasturnium flower petals, making a fist, Chef Antonin, "A protein should be like this," portion-control.

When this epicurean writer commented on the lean seafood paired with vegetables, this scribe can't help but ask, "Is this the new food trend coming from Paris?"

Chef Antonin, "No. Not a new French cuisine.  Just an idea. For Americans, this was fun and new.  In Paris, this is normal.  They don't care."

On the bite-sized tasting portions, Chef Antonin, "We eat too much meat, protein, not good globally, even in France."

Parsnip Cream with Tuile Carrot Chips,

This scribe told him that his dessert of Parsnip Cream with Tuile Carrot Cookie Chips is refreshingly minty.

Shrugging with a comme c'est, comme ca attitude, Chef Antonin, "Nah, it's just a new way to present and eat vegetables.  I want to prove to the earth that you don't have to use a lot of sugar and cream to get the flavor that you want."  There are many different ways to use and eat vegetables.

Yes, Chef Antonin did and does prove you can eat vegetables as dessert but you gotta be one heck of a chef to pull off this magic trick.  Hats off to him.

The nouveau Parisian/French cuisine trend is a global trend you'll see in nitrogen-freeze dried strawberries in Charleston's McCardy's and Chicago's Moto...using molecular gastronomy to use and present vegetables and fruits in a fun and new to make produce more sustainable and popular with the masses.

Like they say among chefs, this aint' Mama's cooking.

Le Nouveau Francais Cuisine keeps you lean and fresh with fun textures and flavors.

Perhaps, this is the nouveau secret of French women, molecular vegan gastronomy and turning vegetables into dessert.





Monday, March 23, 2015

Grammy Do Over, "Music & Food Fed the Soul with Love & Happiness," at Soul Sundays at HOME 90210.

By Laura Medina

With the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip set to be demolished in the quick, near future, you gotta find your "Soul with Food" fix somewhere soon.

Well, it's the House of Music and Entertainment, "HOME 90210" for short, in the heart of prime Beverly Hills real estate on 430 N Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

Last Sunday, last night, was the start of their "Soul Sundays," when emerging performers and acts in R&B, Blues, Soul, and Funk rock it out like Jimi Hendrix, electrifying diners to jump up on their feet to dance, jam, and groove.

In other words, you will lose weight because you can't help but get up and dance.

If you all are peeved you're not part of the Grammys to enjoy "Food & Music Feed the Soul." The Theme of Grammy 2015," (, then Soul Sundays at HOME 90210 is the general public's chance for a do-over when top-notch performers belt out tunes then, might join you for dinner, just like Grammy Week.

But HOME 90210 goes way beyond being a mere dance club and the folks, behind it, are music industry folks who want to show respect by offering a decent venue with fine dining version of Down-Home cuisine, decent enough to fed the soul.

On Soul Sundays, which started last night on March 22nd then finishes on May 17th, they offer fine dining-level comfort-food appetizers, enough to fuel your soul, spicy and crunch Buffalo Hot Wings, the current trendy food-Truffle Fries then the piece de resistance, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, great for both dessert then breakfast.

On other nights, they can do Chicken & French Toast, Maine Lobster Tartar /Santa Barbara Uni, Scallops/Shortrib Raviolis, Wild Striped Bass/Lobster Hash, and Saffron/Linguini, consisting of  Shrimp, scallop, fin fish and baby arugula finished with a seafood lobster Nage...then again the menu is subject to change at any moment.

Don't worry about gaining weight,'ll burn off those calories when HOME 90210's top-notch performers get you jumping up on your feet.

Like when Motown singer and performer and Grammy Nominated Producer/Songwriter Vincent Berry did classic Al Green's "Love & Happiness," diners can't help but stop eating to  join Mr. Berry belting out old school Motown.

HOME 90210 goes beyond rehashing the R&B classics, this supper club is also a showcase for what's hot in the R&B industry.

Thanks to Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson, funk is making a come-back, revitalized with African-Americans taking over metal/hard rock where Jimi Hendrix had left off; and it's re-emerging with the likes of Grammy Nominated Artist B. Slade.  He did "Fiesta" with the legendary Sheila E.

Boy! If you want to talk about a work-out, have B. Slade rock the stage.  That will finish off those spicy and crunchy Buffalo Hot Wings with Truffle Fries.

Mind you, Soul Sundays at HOME 90210 isn't going to be every Sunday where you can take it for granted.  The next Soul Sunday will on Easter Sunday on April 5th then onto May 3rd then it wraps up on May 17th.

The restaurant opens up at 7pm.  The opening act happens around 8:30pm then the headliner hits the stage around 9:30pm.

How's that for a Sunday night?!