Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Faster, Sleeker Prepster, Franklin + Gower

By Laura Medina

Headquartered in the heart of Hollywood and named for the intersection where the Hollywood sign is located, Franklin + Gower is a reflection of the current, modern-day preppy.

The founders, Eduardo Braniff and Christopher "Paco" McCauley, are real-life preps who moved west to Los Angeles and worked in advertising, entertainment, and media.

Eduardo Braniff, a former movie producer and media creative director, and Christopher, "Paco" McCauley, a sports producer for cable television, were dismayed by the devolution of preppy attire suffering from bad workmanship, poor fabric quality, and dismal tailoring at elevated prices.

They decided to join up then they took a leap of faith in bringing preppy attire to its former glory by offering top-notch craftsmanship and quality that stands the test of time while reflecting the authentic, modern preppy.

The one who jet sets from city-to-city and hops the globe. That same preppy who isn't above clubbing it, whether it is in Hollywood or Vegas. Then again, she or he probably owns the place...and can't live without her or his IPhone/smartphone.

Franklin + Gower's Eduardo and Paco offer customized insets, pipings, stripes, and linings in light-hearted patterns and prints for their Bermuda shorts, khakis, trousers, and blazers in light-weight, micro-wale corduroys and seersucker for Spring/Summer and decadent velvet for Fall/Winter.

Making preppy dandy.

But, they keep steward functionality...with a touch of Lilly Pulitzer-like playfulness and whimsy in their roots.

They just recently added a board short collection for those who sail and surf.

Celebrities are opening up to Franklin+Gower's new found preppisms. Here's Paco helping "Mad Men"s Jon Hamm at their launch party last year.

Robert Downey Jr. sporting a pair of Franklin + Gower's piped corduroy trousers.

Mindful of what the modern-day preppy gent wants, they even tailored interior pockets for smartphones and IPhones/IPods, nestled in lined pockets.

Franklin + Gower Bermuda and Sassy Shorts in action.
They do not forget the ladies.

For their women's collection, they took the androgynous preppy frugality of stealing from your brother and father then streamlined the Bermudas into tomboy, tuxedo shorts in velvet with piping; and sassy, but respectful short-shorts, ok hot pants contouring curves and hugging the seat, as sporty substitutes for miniskirts.
They took the boxy blazer, sharpened it into a comfortable classic, a lean, mean jacket that adds pizzazz to the simple camisole and jeans ensemble.

Considering they're nice guys, Franklin + Gower was very generous at the start of this Summer.

Can't forget the groom during Summer's weddings, they collaborated on a contest with stylemepretty.com where the groom and his groomsmen can win a prize of a whole, customized wardrobe for that wedding day.

The prize consists of them picking one, some, or all of the following: blazers, trousers, ties, and pocket squares.

For those not getting hitched, Franklin + Gower also teamed up with grungegentleman.com where they can kick off Summer by winning two Summer suits, one khaki and one seersucker.

How generous.

Revamped and renewed, Franklin + Gower is one of the new epicenter of preppy chic.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ciao Summer! Italian, Preppy Style, Flair at Ron Robinson on Melrose

By Laura Medina

A pair of Sundek Models serving wine and coconut sorbet.

Italian Summer arrived at Ron Robinson on Melrose just on time.

An American/Californian ex-pat, Sundek Surfwear, returned to home turf. They showcased classic Sixities Californian madras and teal with sunburst in Italian fabrics and tailoring by former Prada menswear designer, Neil Barrett. American sporty roots grown and refined by Italy, where it grew into that country's hottest swimwear brand, only to return home as an American brand done good. Welcomed back.

To complement the Italian beach feel, Missoni popped up a home decor trunk show in Ron Robinson's interior decoration section, outfitted by lush towels and decadent knit swatches for shoppers to pick, choose, and customize through Missioni's fashion executives, above.

They modelled true Italian style-it is the preppy stand-bys of white polos, white jeans, the navy blazer, the lilac button-down and necktie. However, they jolted their ensembles by topping it off with a Missoni knit pullover or switch the khaki for the classic Americana Summer classic, seersucker.

It wouldn't be an Italian Summer with Ducati, the Ferrari of motorcycles.

They may be not hunking huge as our Harley-Davidsons but they're like Italian design themselves-lean, mean, agile, quick, and nimble, decked out in see-through engine chambers and suede seats.

Ahhhh, Italian Summer....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Get some real feathered hair, courtesy of Sean James

By Laura Medina

Sean James of Fred Segal Santa Monica.

Hair stylist to the celebrities, such as Conan O' Brien and New York Fashion Week veteran, Sean James rattled off the top three Summer hair styles: highlights, of course, the top knot, and feathers in your hair.

Not feathered, layered hair or the Shag. Nope. He talked about something organic as it is high tech.

If highlights makes you yawn, why not glue real feathers into your hair?

Doable. While he chatted, Mr. James deftly combed and detangled this scribe's tangled mess of a rat's nest, smoothed, and flipped the hair in flipped tiled sections, the ultimated Farah Fawcett Feathered Flip. This was just the start.

By selecting a section, the same way you pick a highlight, he placed two feathers on top of the hair section, applied organic glue then heat-sealed with an iron.

Protein on top of protein by protein. Healthy.

Instead of a the normal and expected highlight, do something truly bohemian and highlight your hair with feathers for that earthy but sophisicated look for Summer. A leap up from clipping roach clips to your hair.

Look closely, the fluffy, green feather subtly adds an iridescent highlight that is surprising yet natural.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

21st Century Infusion Hair Conditioning & a Quick Touch-up from Pros for Time Pressed Moms/Women

By Laura Medina


Debuting on the day before Mother's Day, Joico Hair Care launch the most innovative hair products on the market for today's real and really, really busy moms who are literally pressed for time.

Can't deal with the kids tugging on you while trying to fix your hair, iron in one hand and styling/conditioner in the other so you can look presentable and polished first thing in the morning then go-go nonstop?

This is why Joico brought out two 2-in-1 infusing hair care tools, an hair iron that either curls or straightens the strands while conditioning them; and a blow dryer that conditions while the heat dries your hair.

Called infusion technology, both tools have wells or reservoirs that hold concentrated conditioning lotion or serum that, when turned on, the heat from the tool either infuses and seals the conditioner directly into the hair shaft like the K-PAK ReconstrRx VaporIron; or it infuses the hair strands by blowing heated air onto the strands like the K-PAK Quadraion Pro-Dryer.

K-PAK ReconstrRx VaporIron

With the above K-PAK Quadraion Pro-Dryer, it works by first, filling the well inside the nozzle with keratin-rich conditioning serum. When you turn it on, the warm/hot air from the engine will drive through the nozzle and the well, carrying with extreme fine mist of the conditioner onto the wet hair. As you dry the hair, the more likely you'll condition the hair strands richer and deeper since the heated air drives the conditioner deeper into the strands and the core, making them softer and manageable. All done with one hand. You can either use the other hand to wash the kid or put on makeup while the kid is tugging on you.

If you want beach wave ringlets or a sleek and smooth hairdo, you can apply the same infusion technology with the K-PAK ReconstrRx VaporIron.

This is more direct than the Quadraion Pro-Dryer which blows conditioner deeper into the hair strands.

By actually touching then sealing the hair strands when the iron directly holds, clamps then either wraps/curls or straightens the strands themselves, the keratin conditioner directly passes from the well into the hair shafts then the cores through the irons them. As the heat from the irons shapes the hair, it also conditions the hair. Again, you can either use the free hand to fix your face or fix the kid.

Whichever tool or method you pick, both Joico's latest styling tools are innovation in deep conditioning. Using direct, heat-infusion conditioning technology, the soft manageability is actually durable, longer-lasting since the inner hair shaft is already deep conditioned with keratin, making your hair easier to comb and brush yet also durable and strong.

No more of this coating which drags hair down while clogging skin pores.

Think of K-PAK ReconstrRx VaporIron and the K-PAK Quadraion Pro-Dryer as EZ Pass for hair styling and hair conditioning two-in-one.

If you're a luxurious luddite and can't bear or handle two-in-one high tech tools or you have more pressing matters-hair dye and touch-ups and you're all thumbs in that department, there is an one stop pit stop, TINT.

They do more than a simple tint. This hair dye depot takes the complications and rigid formulas out of your bathroom and towels into their chic salon where a person can get $350 quality dye and touch-ups for a mere $47 touch-up to $55 highlights.

The owner, Frank, wants to the modern hair salon more nimble than the traditional salon where a busy mom can drop by, running errands, and get hair and dye fixed. No appointments required but you can, if you want to be formal about it. The customized hair color is made from scratch. Let the staff at TINT fuss over your roots or refresh your hair so you don't have to...and they take the guess work out of the equation of which shade is right for you.

It's an oil change for your hair color.

If you're a more tactical person but can't stand the whole routine of wash n' dry, Wella has a very simple solution for you.

Need a quickie touch-up with dry hair, dap a pinkie of this Smooth Brillance Pomade, just smooth it over the ends, not the scalp then style your hair anyway you want. Spinky, finger-styled or shape and seal with an iron. Wella's Smooth Brilliance Pomade fixes your strands in a jiff.

From the high tech to the low tech, Summer 2011 Haircare aims at improve the durability and health of your hair while making hair care quicker and faster to fit today's moms-and women.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Anchor's Away, Randolph Duke's Cruise Collection Sets Sail into Summer & Resort Season

By Laura Medina

Beverly Hills' society mavens hosting the Fourth Annual Women of Distinction Luncheon, benefiting Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, were in for a treat.

Los Angeles-based and former Anne Cole and Gottex designer, Randolph Duke, reached back into his swimwear roots and presented a shimmering sea of a Cruise Collection for Summer that can set sail straight into Resort during Winter.

The most steward of pieces were classic nautical, lightweight knits in Navy Blue and calming cream, such as the trio above.

Mr. Duke proved that he mastered easy chic, the navy knit halter top with a gold anchor emblem then continued the naval color scheme into bold but stand-by geometric diamond patterns on dresses and skirts.

Naval chic would not exist if it weren't for Coco Chanel. Hence, he paid tribute in navy tuxedo suits, blazer and trouser without or with a shirt then topped with creamy strands of pearls necklaces.

Mr. Duke's Cruise Collection was not strictly nautical strict.

He glided into swimwear swimming into eveningwear by the pool or airy attire for sultry Summer nights.

Not one drop of sequin was wasted, the glittering but discreet shimmer showcased the models as stylish mermaids ready for cocktails or the elegant soiree.

Chiffon sarongs made the sequined sarongs nighttime ready. The ocean-toned,ombre sequined gown emphasized the collection's aquatic theme.

Underneath all this glamour, Mr. Duke slying deploy cruise and resort wear as double-duty, possible if constructed in quality fabrics and texture with a single tie of a sarong, turning the swimsuit into a summer gown. A method he learned working as a swimwear designer for Anne Cole and Viewpoint by Gottex.

He further delved the point of swimwear as eveningwear by taking the cover-up and loungewear into nighttime worthy cocktail dresses and gowns-in black. The sheer, ruffle wrap cover-up turned dress, so Seventies fierce yet so easy to wear. For this black subset, he stretched luxurious Cruise wear into one shoulder sharpness with severly sexy, asymetrical draping with black leaves that could easily mistaken for daggers. Who says resortwear is sloppy?

This scribe does admit this, it wouldn't be Cruise/Resortwear if there wasn't a bikini tossed in there.

For this, Randolph Duke reached into the tropics, say the Seychelles where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are honeymooning it right now.

Halter top bikinis and bandeaus literally went green in rainforest verdant and olive. He breaks it up with a black and white speckled swimsuit. However, he never left a bandeau without a sarong or a wrap skirt in rainforest prints or matching sun hats for sun protection.

For those who want to celebrate Summer with no intentation of hitting the White Parties or you want alternatives and flexibility in your travel-light carry-on, Randolph Duke gave an ocean of double-duty maillots and sarongs as evening gowns and cover-ups as dresses, sprinkled with cute, warm weather-friendly knit halter tops.

Monday, May 16, 2011

White, Hot Nights for Summer's White Party Circuit

By Laura Medina

Whether it is in Palm Springs, California or Palm Beach, Florida, consider yourself lucky to participate in the White Party Circuit.

It is no longer exclusively, seasonally parties. The circuit grows and moves wherever the climate is warm and sunny or sultry and stylish at night.

As a matter of fact, in non-traditional "White Party" cities, such as Hollywood, the White Party gives people the excuse to dress it up and practice some form of deportment. Hollywood's White Party provider, F.A.M.E. LA's London Moore always include instructions in how to dress for his White Party...as in please, wear flesh-toned undergarments due to the sheer nature of some fabrics. His may be the first to launch the season but his is not the only one in Hollywood, in the United States or the world to celebrate White Parties. In Miami, you know it is Winter when there's a White Party.

For my White Party go-ers, here are some refreshingly new way to dress white, without drowning in a sea of cloned cotton eyelets and lace.

In fact, the hottest trend is satin. During the African Channel's Music Awards/White Party, white satin was rocking in various and unexpected forms..;and the dudes were still prepping it.

Above, make it like Jecca Craig and do it African Safari style. The style is casual enough to survive Summer's humidity. The cut-off jeans are wallet-friendly and back-of-closet attainable. But, that white satin button-down shirt makes it sexy and figure-enchancing, not slutty or predictable. Then top it off with a white bush/cowboy/fedora hat to shield you from the sun, sporty sexy-this is nice. However, don't make your cut-offs too tight or too high. Just because it's sticky sweat, it never means it is hot.

If you insist on something more prim, again bust out of the eyelet and go pouf with strapless cocktail dress with pouf skirt or a lean and mean evening gown-again in sleek satin.

The African All-White party offers a plethora of all-white menswear, ranging from European Dapper to All-American prep to African camp to traditonal dishiki.

Left, layer it on with lightweight v-neck, sleeveless sweater over white button-down and necktie, rocking that East Coast Prep. Or on the right, go Euro in all-white, lightweight, three-piece suit. Both used a dot of black to accent their outfits.

Too much effort? That camp/safari shirt on the left is travel-ready, from Miami to Vegas. Good wardrobe investment for both men and women.

Another option that the ladies can steal from the boys-the traditional African shirt/tunic, the dashiki. If your man is too chicken to don this breezy tunic, steal it from him and wear it either as a shirt or a mini-dress. Two outfits in one-proves him.

Too old to wear a miniskirt or too young to know how to wear a miniskirt? No fear, the fine purveyors of West Coast preppiness-this is not an oxymoron (more on this later)-Franklin & Gower is here for the rescue. They knew, as preppies, that androgyny is economically-sensible style that women have been using since they have fathers, uncles, brothers, and sons. For the sporty but chic girl, Franklin & Gower took the man/boy blazer and shorts, streamlined them for a girl-friendly fit then redid the whole ensemble in lightweight white.

Now, you can show off those legs...without showing too much.

Now is the time to hit Calypso for Target. Their beach-t0-bar limited edition collection hits all the right price and party points.

Other publications swoon on the double-duty over these all-white pieces.

The ruffle wrap dress makes for a time-saving but elegant cover-up. Spend all day at the beach then wrap this dress over your bikini, you're ready to hit the bar.

This adorable ruffle camisole is actually a pajama set that is cute enough to pair with white jeans for the other night activity-white partying it.

What to wear with the white ruffle cover-up/wrap dress and the ruffle camisole?

You can wear the white bikini set under the ruffle wrap dress and nobody will know while you can pair the ruffle camisole with these pair of white beach trousers.

Calypso for Target got you covered.

Want to stretch your White Party wardrobe beyond Summer and the white parties, here's a crisp white, cowl neck, wrap sweater that can keep you snug when Autumn's chill breezes in.

Level 99's white jeans become Winter White and makes a great and glamourous choice for the holidays with a blazing white or silver sequinned or bedazzled top.

There are aplenty of ways to play white, not just for Summer, not only for White Parties but beyond those, way into the Winter's White Parties.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Stuff that the busy mom really wants.

By Laura Medina

Ipad/notebook/laptop, check. Iphone/smartphone, check. Wallet, check. brush/comb, check. Water bottle, check. Makeup kit or a tube of lip/check, check. Snacks for you and the kid, check.

Don't irritate another mom with wilting, overpriced flowers or odd-smelling perfume that makes her sneeze. Give her stuff that she needs.

The multi-talented and multi-tasking Cynthia Rowley and MCM give what anyone, mom or not, needs and wants...good, strudy, chic, and roomy purses to stuff daily essentials. Rowley's Charlotte Frame Bag comes in gray, coral red (above), and reliable black. MCM's First Lady Bag is an easy drawstring bag for in-and-out access and grabbing.

Now, that you graduated from "Chicken Soup for the Soul," you need mantras to give yourself an excuse to...take care of yourself. "If You give a Mom a Martini..." book helps you first before you can help others. It's $11 from Random House and can be found on Gilt.com.

Once you're done giving yourself an excuse for that martini, you need Jee Vice sunglasses to shield your weary eyeballs from the harsh sun and comfortable but stylish Jellypop sandals to keep you running without stumbling.

Keep it styling for you all moms out there.

For the Stylish, Hip, & Active Mom

By Laura Medina

Alo's eco-sports cami, halter polo & pleated skirt. Divine Wear Scuba Jacket.

Get a jump start on Mother's Day by honoring both your mom and Mother Earth.

She will like you better if you give her Alo's ecologically-minded activewear and Divine Wear Scuba Jacket for her yoga and Barre classes than a box of chocolates.

Target has Calypso for Target for an one-month stay from May First until June 11th. Here is the sneak peek of the Bohemian-Jet Setting line.

Inspired by lounging on a beach, somewhere in India, the Calypso for Target home and jewelry elephant-based line make chic but carefree gifts for mom. She will find them adorable.

Jessica Elliot "Just Like Mama" Jewelry and Guy & Eva necklaces also make special trinkets.

They go well with Franklin + Gower's sporty, tomboy-inspired but fashion-forward preppy blazers and lean, mean bermuda shorts in chic fabrics and trims.

Your mom will appreciate these easy but urbane black cami maxi dresses from Bella Luxx, on the left, and the Urban 1972, on the right. They can be dressed up with the above jewelries from Jessica Elliot and Guy & Eva or the arriving Calypso for Target collection on May First.

Think out of the candy box, the perfume, and the flowers. Give her stuff she wants to use.