Friday, November 26, 2010

Cecil Beaton: The Art of the Scrapbook by James Danziger

By Laura Medina

Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton was noted for a lot of things and innovations spanning decades but this celebratory tome profile for a slight but significant contribution he made to the fashion world-the mood board.

Specifically, he turned the humble scrapbook into a fashion industry standard, the mood board. A visual rough draft to keep art directors and designers in-line and on track of their visionary goal and as an aid to keep their concepts and collection concise, Mr. Beaton took intimate snapshots, inspiring photographs, and significant keepsakes, organize them into a cohensive idea, making him the iconic fashion photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue.

His hobby of scrapbooking or "mood boarding," proved to be invauable aid when he later moved on as a stage and film designer for the classically-styled but glamorously durable "Gigi" and "My Fair Lady."

The craft of scrapbooking or the art of "mood boarding" taught him the skill of composition, juxaposition, assemblage, and color and style coordination in unifying themes and ideas.

Great for art direction for fashion magazines and set design for movies.

As a holiday present and a homage to Sir Cecil, Assouline and author, James Danziger (Picture Editor of "The London Sunday Times Magazine" and Vanity Fair's Features Editor who championed Annie Leibovitz) compiled these insightful and rare compositions from Sir Beaton's private collection then makes them available to the public for the first time.

One more reason to throw in the glitter.

Little Girls and Big Girls love vegan The Painted Nail by Nubar

By Laura Medina

When Katie Cazorla wanted to open her own nail salon, obviously she was searching for the right nail polish.

From a flyer and a good-word-of-mouth, Ms. Cazorla was led to Nubar, a guy who manufactures nail polish for all sorts of companies.

Those two came at the right time and the right place.

Nubar's cousin was diagnosed with lymph node cancer. The chemotherapy ravaged her self-esteem as well as her immune system. What is even more heart-breaking due to the weaken immune system, the typical chemicals in mainstream cosmetics are too harsh and too toxic for a cancer patient.

He could not stand watching his cousin suffering from depression. He knew if he can manufacture a nail polish that is gentle and safe enough for cancer patients; he can perk them up with a little something to make him and patients, like his cousin, happier.

However, he met resistance from the mainstream retailers and companies in supplying the public with carcinogenic-free, Toulene-free, and phthalate (DBP)-free nail polish; who were not convince that something safe and healthy can be glamorous and glitzy. Nubar was dishearted they were interested in the buck than people's health.

It was all the matter of meeting the person at the right time at the right place.

This is where Cazorla came in. When she found out that Nubar can and does make nail polish safe enough to nibble on. She convince him why supply only to nail salons when you can take it retail? When she learned how much it costs to make then sell at a reasonable price point for under ten dollars, Cazorla envision a viable market where both little girls starting to wear cosmetics can play safely with nail polish and big, health-conscious girls can still be glamorous without worrying about the toxicity of their makeup.

This new endeavor is now named, "The Painted Nail by Nubar," honoring the man who diligently concocted a new and safer nail polish formula that is vegetarian-based.

They threw a big send-off at Ron Robinson Apothia on Melrose almost a month ago where little girls and big girls partake organic, vegan The Painted Nail manicures, juicy cocktails, and a candy land of Jelly Bellies, lollipops, and cupcakes.

Katie and Nubar do prove that yes, you can be good to your health and the environment while having fun with your nails.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lanvin for H&M for both Women & Men

By Laura Medina

It's coming...Lanvin for H&M is going hit stores this Saturday.

Here is a sneak peek of the ensemble, the pieces, and the prices.

This above ensemble combined is the same price as one of the dresses. With the red pumps, the t-shirt dress, shades, the black tulle crop jacket, and chain belt, it costs $248.80.

Joining a short but select line of designers, including Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin's Artistic Director, Alber Elbaz was excited about designing a capsule collection for the mass retailer in reaching a new and bigger audience.

Like most haute couture designers today, they are now wondering how to translate their skills, knowledge, and expertise to a wider audience that demands top-notch quality at more grounded prices,..."What does luxury mean today? Can luxury be exclusive and democratic at the same time?"

Expressing the challenge of transferring haute couture craftsmanship to a wider market without sacrificing taste, "How can we translate the essence of luxury to the a wider audience? The world around us is changing rapidly and I find myself asking these questions more and more."

He explains the process as..."Designer's work is usually tailored to a very small group of people, but the collection of H&M was about trying to translate the dream of luxury to the masses. It was almost like going back to school for me."

Both women-and men can have that taste of luxury, just in time for the holidays when anyone needs something special and extra.

For New Year's Eve, there is a tad touch of Lanvin's Alber Elbaz from the quirky but cute blue loafers and floppy indigo bow tie but the tuxedo suit should be a wardrobe foundation for any man.

Due to construction delays, this Friday's official opening of its largest store in Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, has been pushed back to December 10th, from 7pm to 11pm. Hopefully, there will still be some enough Lanvin left for this mega-store opening. It's open to the public but you can rsvp through the hotline, (877) 303-4396.

A total of 200 H&M stores worldwide will premiere this exclusive line this Saturday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The World of Assouline

By Laura Medina

One of Assouline's founders, husband, Prosper Assouline & American Dior Book.

When Ms. Martine Assouline was pregnant with her child, it was not the only thing gestating.

Her pregnancy gave her the time to ponder and ask her husband, Prosper-who was one of the best art director she knows-what he thought of starting up a publishing company that makes books they can never find or books that reflect their passion for the arts, fashion, travel, and culture in the best way possible which were difficult to locate at that time.

This is how they gave birth to Assouline, the erudite publishing house that publishes volumes dedicated to the developments of Chanel and lifestyle folios such as "The Gypset," (a picture book on the Jet Set who live in remote, exotic places) and decor, "American Designers at Home." They even put a recipe book by American designers, "American Fashion Cookbook."
Prosper Assouline working the crowd at the South Coast Plaza boutique.
It was never an idea of business, but it was an idea of creativity.
"Too, to touch new themes, new ways to make them. Little by little, we started by that."
Assouline Publishing is all about pleasure-what make Martine and Prosper happy-as in they focus on publishing books on subjects that brings a smile on their faces, whether it be home decor or gastronomy or fashion. They want to take their favorite subjects and do it well.
They went from a little distributor to one of the world's best distributor came to them and said they were interested in Assouline. At this stage, the Assoulines can take risks on bigger projects with service. They also became international very quickly.
Soon, the big American publishers were buying their books and coming in.
This was the signal for the Assoulines to come over to America and take it in bites-gourmet bites.
The Assoulines partnered with Chef Ludo Lefebvre of West Hollywood's Bastide French Bistro and turned it into an intimate bistro-cum-bookstore on the hidden strip of Melrose Place.
Martine, " We met the chef, he's a lover of good wine and good books...We decided to get together over a shared pleasure of good books, food, and wine. A good combination."
What happened was their first West Coast outpost, a treasure trove of a bookstore nestled inside a French bistro.
"The is the first time we have it this way. It wasn't our idea but an of Lefebvre. But, I love it."
"This place is gorgeous. This place is spectacular because it has souls and charm. It is all about what we like. It is all about library. It is all about installation. It is all about pleasure. It was the right place."

The "American Dior" Book Launch party

As Assouline becomes more well-known, Martine and Prosper feel it is time for them to come to America to make their own creation with their own name.

It was also when the people behind South Coast Plaza, bereft of a bookstore, met the Assoulines at a dinner party and were pleasantly startled they carry the brands that the couple profiled in their books. It was a match made in heaven.

The opening party for the new incarnation of Assouline was hotly anticipated. Assouline Bookstore has grown into an art gallery and luxury goods boutique centered around books.

They felt very welcomed here since they are surrounded by the fashion houses they did books on, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Dior, and they press every book there was on Chanel.

They are a perfect addition to South Coast Plaza.

The accouterments, they sell, are there to support a personal library and they are limited edition replicas of artifacts from the Musee de Louvre, such as the sculptured bookends. Even the carpet and couches are for sale.

In the back, they have an art gallery of rare map prints.

This particular Assouline boutique is the only one that offers building a personal library for the home, whether it be a bookshelf or a whole one in a home. It is the literary version of interior design, centered around books.

It is the only Assouline store to sell gifts and rare sets of books nestled in their own book trunks, such as the American Dior line.

A rare limited set of books focusing on the relationship between America and Dior. Martine and Prosper only printed out ten of these books. Each book is a linen-covered gift box. The behind the front cover houses a gift wrapped in red with a white bow. The very first page holds a hand-printed silk scarf of the American Flag by Dior.

On the tonight of the "American Dior" party, three people already bought three of these books.

Assouline, whether it's a hidden library in a French bistro in West Hollywood or a full-service gift/book boutique to serve a bibliophile's dream library (it is obvious Martine and Prosper are book lovers), is a place where books are treasures.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Glittering Holiday Skin from "Burlesque" with Cher & Christina

By Laura Medina

"Burlesque, the Movie" with Cher & Christina Aguilera
Save "Harry Potter" for the kids.
Coming November 24th, Cher and Christina Aguilera are going to bring down the curtain then high-kick the glimmering holidays into high gear in this movie musical, "Burlesque."
A story of a small-town girl trying to make it in the big, bad city while a legend is ready to pass on the torch. In a retro-Forties nightclub, these ladies cross path then watch the glitz explodes.

clickR Skin Care Pearl Wash

Concocted from minerals worthy of two divas, clickR Skin Care, as the movie's official skincare, provided Pearl Wash and Diamond Dust Skin Polisher to make the dream more attainable.

The Pearl Wash's tea tree and jojoba oils firms and tightens pores, calms irritations, and fades scar pigmentation.

clickR Skin Care Diamond Dust Skin-Polisher.

The Diamon Dust Skin-Polisher is packed with anti-oxidants to protect and detoxify. The diamond dust, not only imparts a twinkle. It polishes the skin gently to even out skin tone.

Now, you can be a holiday diva glittering with a pearly glow and a diamond shimmer.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Haute Chocolate & Haute Contemporary Go Together

By Laura Medina

In last Monday's episode of "Gossip Girl," Blair Waldorf was swinging between trysts the equally classy but naughty Chuck Bass and calming her urges by munching on beautiful bonbons nestled in gorgeous gift boxes.

Too bad her and a dapper box of Kenneth Cole chocolates never met, they would be an equally elegant pair-without the drama.

They're a classy pairing. She in a black silk Milly's Selina Bow Blouse with white and gray speckles and black bows. Her breezy top is available now at for $171.

It coordinates well with this special box of dark chocolate ganache and caramel truffles especially made for Kenneth Cole by the fashionable chocolatier, Jonathan Grahm of Compartes Chocolatier of Brentwood.

With a heritage deep in the gourmet food business, Mr. Grahm knows his flavors, textures, and ingredients in blending yummy but distinct truffles and toffees.

This fashion-forward dandy of the chocolate world had earn raves from Faith Evans, Maria Shriver, and the Discovery Channel for designing his bespoken Signature Truffles for them.

As this scribe types, Mr. Grahm is customizing a batch of Dreamworks custom chocolates.

His Brentwood chocolate boutique may appear quaint on the outside but it's full-throttle inside, constantly whipping one-of-kind flavor combinations and fun textures.

If you want to snack and sample, please put in a $20 reservation for this Saturday's Chocolate and Wine pairing and live the "Gossip Girl" life in Brentwood.

Monday, November 8, 2010

William Rast at Beverly Hills Fashion Festival

By Laura Medina

William Rast Autumn/Winter 2010 Runway Show,

For only one Saturday, Beverly Hills conjured up a smooth-running, sleek, and well-coordinated fashion festival, albeit only for one day, that was as coiffed and chic as its namesake.

The staff, the management, and the layout is reminiscent of the days of yore when IMG run Los Angeles Fashion Week with Fern Malis at the helm.

The late afternoon-to-mid-evening schedule of select brands and designers were a mirage of the greatly departed IMG/Los Angeles Fashion Week but the white tent was Oscar gifting suite worthy.

The red carpet lobby had enough room for plush, black and white curved banquettes, worthy of Hollywood Regency revivalist, Kelly Westler, one of the many celebrities attending and socializing under the tent.

The Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire lot provided enough for an array of gourmet food trucks so no one went hungry. Something the late Los Angeles Fashion Week and following one-offs never bothered to include in their alcohol-fueled events. The Hello Kitty rose champagne was balanced by gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and truffle popcorn.

A-list celebrities, such as Paul Sorvino, Carey Mulligan, and Kelly Wrestler chatted with the host and one of Beverly Hills Fashion Festival organizers, Jonathan Antin.

Mischa Barton debuted her party-friendly line of handbags,, as one of the vendors in the lobby. Her adorable Sue Ellen pouch with a clasp and the mesh handle is a great choice to a clutch.

But this afternoon-and night-they were there just to watch the real stars of the day, the designers showcasing their wares.

The hottest ticket was Justin Timberlake's William Rast Fall/Winter 2010 show.

The concept behind this collection was as though Justin and his buddy, Trace, made a road trip cutting through the Southwest, what Stylesight calls, "Tribal Winner."

Fringes swung as the rough and tough models sashayed. Navajo blankets and weaves are scarves.

Headbands around the forehead replace prim and proper handbands.

The William Rast mainstays are still in place, the reinterpretation of the motorcycle jacket. It morphed into a sixteenth century doublet, with wrap placket and ruffled trim or a cropped doublet with puffed sleeves, then a shiny patent-leather baseball jacket.

Folks can't beat William Rast when it comes to the leather jacket in all its forms. They beat the stiff motorcycle jacket out of its stuffiness.

Remember, this is Justin Timberlake's brand. They opened the show...with a show. Hip-Hop and street dancers, in various shapes and sizes but still early twenties, strut, hopped, twisted, and slither in the line, making the tight, black clothes look comfortable.

Even though Justin didnot make an appearance, the man who actually crafts and sews, Trace Ayala showed up and did an interview with Heather Petrey on

The bold shouldered military coats and military chic parkas rounded out the collection.

This show only whets this scriber's appetite when William Rast for Target hits the mass retailer in time for the holidays-yuuuuuummmmm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cynthia Rowley does Art Performance on her blank canvas outfits

By Laura Medina

An art movie with Cynthia Rowley & Olaf Breuning.
While most folks, yours included, trick o' treated or did the Time Warp Dance with 8,720 people breaking the world record at West Hollywood's Halloween Carnival, Cynthia Rowley and fellow fashion designers team up with established and emerging artists for a Museum of Modern Art art performance during this past weekend.
Ms. Rowley provide an all-white version of her current Fall 2010 Collection as blank canvases for Mr. Breuning to spill and pour over the models.

Then, Ms. Rowley herself gently cuts off the pieces and hangs them as one-off, unique art objects.

Like traditional canvas, her outfits are constructed from good ole denim and they are now available for purchase on her website under "MOVE Collaboration with Olaf Breuning."
You can watch the art happening on

Lanvin for H&M is Arriving just in time for the Holidays

By Laura Medina

Stills from Lanvin for H&M's Fashion Video Lookbook.

Watch the full video at

If there is a certifiable way to keep your figure during the holidays, this will be it...Lanvin for H&M before Thanksgiving.

As a teasing appetitizer, H&M release the whismical video lookbook, more upscale art film short with rotoscoping comic book captions today.

In the film, you have two women wearing the same black dress with ruffle straps. Then, you have a mother and daughter team, with another woman, wearing identical one-shoulder ruffle cocktail dresses, dancing, prancing, and posing. The mother makes it fierce.

Towards the end, as one woman doffs off a chic zebra striped trench coat, she unveils a black shift dress that another woman is wearing.

These montages prove that one, you are never too old or too young to wear a Lanvin.

Second, this limited edition capsule collection is for everyone and should not be ashamed if you catch someone else wearing the same dress. Something most party girls with limited choices know all too well on New Year's Eve.

Zebra Trench Coat can be paired with the black full dress with the nude bodice.

Alber Elbaz, the man who revived one of the oldest design houses into the twenith-first century, is bringing his haute couture fashion to the masses-his ardent fans who had always dreamt of his creation but could never afford them.

Well, on November 20th, they can. That is when H&M is going to release the limited edition collection to the people who will actually wear them because they need something glamourous and attainable for Christmas and New Year's Eve.

H&M, with Lanvin, cannot time this better.

Yes, there are a lot of ruffles in this collection, as much if not more than a bag of Ruffles Potato Chips. However, those complicated pleating and ruching is time-consuming which translate into expensive.

Thanks to the fashion-forward, mass retailer, both women and men can get their hands on not only great tailoring and engineering but some oh-la-la pumps in zebra stripes and bows, shoes, tees, tuxedos, and blazers, with a fabulous faux fur jacket to spice things up.

There is even a pleated shift dress with a loose multi-tiered, ruffled boatneck that can be worn up for a demure look or droop one side of it for a more sassy style. Two looks in one piece. It comes in hot pink, purple, and of course, reliable black.

H&M is going to celebrate the Lanvin Launch on Friday, November 19th as the grand opening of its Caesars Forum Shop, from 7pm to 11pm.

This Mr. Elbaz's way of bringing the fantasy of haute couture as luxury to all.
Like the holidays, better catch this designer dream before it all disappear as a sweet memory.

Hollywood Loves Tracy Reese

By Laura Medina

Too bad Ms. Tracy Reese never went through with a mobile boutique truck as Ms. Cynthia Rowley.

This scribe hopes and wishes she does because it seems like the ladies of Hollywood loves her stuff.

Bottom center, Rihanna in Sailor Stripe Shirt with Floral Skirt, while hanging out with fans in London.

Center, Middle Row, Taylor Swift not only wore Tracy Reese once, she wore the designer three times. Ms. Swift can't get enough. She wore the Crimson Polka Dot Prim Shirt Dress one day. Then on Ellen, she donned a very elegant and mature black lace Frock with nougat underlining from Reese's trendier line, Frock by Tracy Reese.

Left, Middle Row, Tori Spelling wore Frock for her "Today" Show appearance while Tina Fey dresses up in a Dark Water Black Frock Dress, Right, Middle Row.

Carmen Electra is sultry in an orange strapless layered dress.

Taraji Henson is wearing a piece from the current Fall 2010 Collection.

First Lady, Michelle Obama displayed fashionable frugality by wearing this very girly but never silly Shirred Frock Dress in Indigo Placement Floral twice. She can't live without her Frocks.

With her springy, feminine, ladylike style, sunny Southern California sure wish Ms. Reese will make an appearance.