Thursday, June 30, 2011

It isn't Summer until it's July the 4th!

By Laura Medina

A pair of Franklin + Gower swimtrunks doing a backflip.

On July the 4th, we celebrate what's good and fun and great about America.

The French art book company, Assouline, celebrates American heritage and culture...and style, of course, three of its Summer time offerings.

" Coca-Cola, the Book", profiles the art, advertisement, and how it both influence and transforms, not just American culture, but how it spread this nation's image throughout the globe.

A pictorial history of twentieth-century Americana. In tune with today, you can also down the book's app.

If it took nearly a hundred years for Coca-Cola to define American culture, the Council of Fashion Designers of America's "American Fashion Travel," spotlights current members' favorite places and their travel essentials for packing. An inspirational scrapbook.

It isn't Summer unless we have eye candy, whether it's on the sands or in the pages or both.

If you follow the seasons, you know Summer means hitting particular festivals and parties at certain spots, such as the Hamptons. Let "Hamptons Gardens" bring the ripe blooms to you in the comfort of your own air-conditioned room.

Traveling aboard or trekking within the country or for a few miles, it isn't complete until you pack a couple of boardshorts and swim trunks.

Franklin + Gower keeps it lean, mean, fun, and functional with its latest addition to its collection.

Elastic, pull-string cord at the waist. Waterproof fabrics and ribbon piping, the brand with preppy roots has grown into a retro-All American style with a dash of dapperness. Franklin+Gower remedy the imfamous American baggy sloppiness then refined the floppy boardshorts into objects of sleek and lean and clean while bringing back Americana sportiness.

Now, celebrate July the 4th, drink Coca-Cola, grab some travel ideas from Assouline then surf in Americana Franklin+Gower swim trunks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer-It's Festival Season!

By Laura Medina

Paul Frank's Julius & Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros say "Hi!"

You know it's Summer when festivals and fairs hit the scene.

Karson Photography of this scribe's 3 favorite people at Spoleto SCENE's White Party: Larry James, Chris Clark, & Maggie Winterfeldt.

Speaking of scene, the Spoleto Festival USA's junior art patron group threw their annual White Party in honor of Andy Warhol's 13 Most Beautiful Screen Test performance.

The Summer Festival cruised in when they took over a derelict wharf, pop up a glowing, white tent, and commemorate the season by launching a boat cruise around Charleston Harbor and the Ravenel Bridge twinkling in the background.

This White Party was one of four big bashes thrown in honor of the festival's hottest performers: hip-hop poet, Lemon Andersen; jazz starlet, Sarah Jarosz; Andy Warhol's 13 Most Beautiful, and saving the last for the best, the rocking Trombone Shorty, from HBO's "Treme."

These ignite the party festival season with major blow-outs. All for good causes. The Spoleto SCENE parties generate funds and a new generation of art supporters for Spoleto USA. The Billabong/VH1's Street Fair lives it up for Save the Music Charity; and Paul Frank wants to get to know you by kickstarting its nationwide traveling block party.

As soon the Arriviste rolled back into Hollywood, this scribe jumped into Billabong/VH1's Save the Music charity street fair, taking over Paramount Studio's New York City backlot.

VH1 provided the Skullcandy vendors, the food trucks, the art gallery, the graffitti artists, three of the hottest bands, with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros headlining.

Billabong threw in the sizzling swimwear fashion show and the surfboard workshop and its own photography studio.

Like the SCENE parties above, all that glitz goes into a good cause, VH1's Save the Music fund musical education for children, filling in where public musical education was.

Can't forget the little ones...and the big ones.

Paul Frank kicked off its national tour by doing an all-ages fair in the Pacific Design Center's backyard in the heart of West Hollywood's Melrose District.

Little kids and big kids slide off the inflatable slide, gobble copious amounts Korean/Mexican tacos, hot dogs, and mounds of ice cream.

They soon burnt them off bouncing from playing ping pong, cheering on the puppy pageant, and the two concerts.

What is really that the whole family can share in this. Unlike the two previous fairs and parties, Paul Frank wants the whole family together. Plus, this is a good way to know what the hipster parents and their cool kids want.

If you feel left out reading this, don't despair.

The Paul Frank Tour is coming to you soon. Traversing left to right, up and down, everyone can jump into fun by checking the tour's schedule at

Not only is it for the whole family, the Paul Frank Tour is free and open to the public, to all sorts of kids, young, old, big, small, plus-sized, and petite-sized.

The previous two festivals and fair, Spoleto SCENE and Billabong/VH1 Save the Music are foundations and a charity. Your donations and membership fees are tax-deductible.

Now, Summer is the time to party!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Italy's freshest foot and arm candy.

By Laura Medina

Ballin feather and rhinestone-encrusted pumps.

In the week-long celebration of Italian art, culture, and design, the second, third, and fourth days shifted towards something the majority of women...and girls can understand, use, and dream about...the freshest and the most current pumps and bags coming from Italy today.

During the 150th birthday and unification of Italy, it is being used as a launching pad for the latest and newest in Italian design, the trade commission are holding an open fashion house where Italy's hottest brands are making their first official United States debut.

These past three days are the first time these brands have been shown anywhere in America.

The multi-colored feathered and bejeweled Ballin pumps are worn by Italy's hottest young starlets, hoping they'll be worn by Hollywood's hot, young, things.

Balla Billa bike saddle bag/purse.

Since the majority of Italians still bike around town, it makes sense to design a dual purpose saddle bag straddling the rail then swung away as a double handbag with a very long strap.

A great accessory for your Vespa-riding high/college student or girl about town.

These adorable rosette pumps, sandals, and flats are by Manas Lea Foscati, Italy's Nine and reasonable.

These snake-skin pumps are by Italy's most high-end brand, Mauri. They specialize in exotic hides and tans. At first, the attendees thought they're made out of wood. Nope, it's python.

The Italian Trade Commission thinks it is easier to introduce new brands in Los Angeles than it is in New York.

Wearily, unless you are a big, established brand like Versace or Dolce and Gabbana, New York is a tougher market to crack. If you do an open house during the day, nobody comes because everyone is working. If you do an evening event, then it has to be the major brands because they can afford the bashes and parties. An effort most young companies and talents cannot accomplish.

But here in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital, it is easier to break new brands into the American market place.

Movies and television shows' costume designers and stylists are always hunting for fresh brands to provide fresh looks to the shows or their celebrity clients. Being exposed on a movie or a tv show is great awareness.

These Hollywood starlets love being the first to wear the latest products.

Again, during a calming, warm, sunny afternoon, costume designers and stylists are available to walk in and inspect the latest trends at a much lower cost.

La Dolce Vita displays the freshest foot and arm candy in the heart of Rodeo Drive.

July 9th's Prince William's Polo Match in Santa Barbara

By Laura Medina

In a press conference detailing July 9th’s historical charity polo match with Prince William playing, Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club chairman, Ambassador Glen Holden never imaged the hoopla celebrating the club’s hundredth birthday.

Prince Harry & Prince William

In honoring the club’s centennial, he politely and modestly wrote Prince Charles, whom he had played with and against, a letter asking if his sons can play in a polo match celebrating the club’s hundredth birthday.

Ambassador Holden was not aware of Prince William’s and the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement and their royal wedding. All that residual excitement certainly took him by surprise. He is honored to be hosting the royal’s first American and California trip.

Duke of Cambridge in action on the polo field.

He welcomed the royal and media hoopla in bringing attention to this prestigious club and enthusiasm to the sport of polo, itself, wishing that the Duke of Cambridge can bring awareness of polo, as David Beckham did to soccer in the United States.

He hopes the anticipation of the charity match will inform the general public that the Santa Barbara Polo Club is considered one of the top four polo clubs in the world. Two of the world’s best polo players call this home. That polo is open to anyone who wants to learn and play. During the winter, they operate a polo school. In April, they gradually warm up the season with matches. Then around July to August, they attracted the world class teams to its tournaments, cumulating in the big Pacific Coast Open where the gold and silver Pacific Coast Open Trophy is hoisted and housed in the club house.

Everything has been approved and run by the royal palace. The police will closed side streets for extra security and crowd management.

Ambassador Holden found the palace staff to be accommodating and responsive and surpisingly easy-going. They immediately return his phone calls and emails.

The Duke of Cambridge will play on the Royal Salute team while the opposing team is sponsored by Audi and American Express. Jack Wills supply the jerseys.

The Duke of Cambridge will play on the Royal Salute team while the opposing team is sponsored by Audi and American Express. Jack Wills supply the jerseys.

The Duchess of Cambridge will present this unique Tiffany & Company trophy, created specifically for this event. A sterling silver cup with 18K gold accents with polo pony handles. She will give this to the winning team.

Ambassador Holden lets it be known that this is not a royal and dignitaries-exclusive event. It is a charity match open to the general public; and that there are many common people who do play polo. The tickets are available to purchase on the club’s site,
There are two levels of admission. The VIP attendees will lunch on Polo Field 1, across from the club house, on Tiffany table seating. Giada de Laurentiis created the menu for the luncheon, highlighting California produce and cuisine. The attendees have a pick of one of the two options, non-vegetarian and vegetarian. The non-vegetarian offers chicken curry in a pita pockets with cole slaw both dotted with dried cranberries. The vegetarian has avocado sandwich with goat cheese and a pasta salad. Both have lemon-glazed scone and chocolate-chip/cranberry oatmeal cookies as desserts and treats.

As one of the sponsors and the trophy creator, Tiffany decorates the luncheon tables in Tiffany blue linen while white flower bouquets resemble the white bow.

The club attendees will eat the same lunches in boxed meals.

The polo match is essential fundraiser for The American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, supporting children, conservation, sustainable resources, and military and veteran families, and the Polo Training Center of Santa Barbara.

An once in a lifetime, historical event.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Viva Italia! Art of Italian Motoring, Injecting Fashion into Automobile Engineering

By Laura Medina

The centerpiece of Course D' Elegance by La Dolce Vita in at Beverly Hills' Geary's Jewelry Boutique.

150th years ago, the fiefdoms of the Italian pennisula came together and became the nation of Italy.

To celebrate Italy's birthday, Beverly Hills used it's annual Concour D'Elegance on Father's Day, it's annual fashion show of luxury coups, sedans, and sport cars to honor the best in Italian car design and engineering using Rodeo Drive's and the world's best boutiques as glamorous backdrops.

In celebration of the creation of Italy, Italy's Consulate General, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, and the Italian Trade Commission descended upon the heart of Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive to cheer the 150th Birthday of Italy by throwing a week-long bash of the best of Italian design, fashion, art, culture, and cuisine.

What a way to honor the dad in your life by showcasing the best of Italian automobile design and engineering in an upscale car show lining the entire length of Rodeo Drive, creating a Concours d'Elegance to display the best of "The Art of Italian Motoring."

Italian manufacturers, designers, and trade groups welcomed Beverly Hills with open arms by gifting the boulevard with the rarest, the oldest, and the newest of Fiats, Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Lamborghinis, Lancias, and Maseratis...can't forget the Ducatis and the Vespas.

This was not for appearances for appearances' sake. It is the timeline of Italian industrial design, heritage, and engineering. Basically, it is respecting Italians for injecting their history and love of arts, culture, and design into the automobile innovations since the inception of the car.

The newest and latest Bugatti.

Italy's Consul General Nicola Faganello, "From fashion and automobiles to cinema and dining, the very best of Italy will be highlighted throughout this week-long celebration in Beverly Hills...This is an exceptional way to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the reunification of Italy and allow Beverly Hills residents and visitors to experience the very best of Italian culture without leaving the city."

Umberto Vattani, the Ambassador and Italian Trade Commission's president is "honored to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification, and pleased to seize the opportunity offered to by such an ideal scenario to promote Italian excellence...the ITC is implementing a new and integrated system for promoting Italian lifestyle, bringing our movie industry and luxury goods manufacture all together in Beverly Hills."

Pietro Celi, Director General of the Ministry of Economic Development, thinks Beverly Hills is the best platform to display the best of Italian design and culture.

Beverly Hills Mayor, Barry Brucker, and Thomas J. Blumenthal, Rodeo Drive Committee president, are honored to be chosen to hold the celebration of Italy, the culture, and the best of Italian art and design.

Mr. Brucker, "Our city offers many of Italy's finest fashions, automobiles, and culinary tastes and this celebration is a wonderful way to showcase those great businesses."

Mr. Blumenthal, "Partnering with the Italian Trade Commission to celebrate Italy's 150th anniversary was a natural connection as Rodeo Drive is home to many of Italy's most famous designers and the world-class Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance."

The Piece de Resistance at the Concours d' Elegance is a yellow Ferrari balancing on gold-glided Richard Ginori porcelain espresso cups, under all four wheels, at GEARYS Beverly Hills.

In its 18 year history, Beverly Hills' Concours d' Elegance has this traditon of debuting the latest and newest in high-performance sports cars.

This year is no exception.

Father's Day 2011 was the official launch of the McLaren the sports car to the general public.

It went from being strictly a Formula 1 racing car to an high-end sports car.

It still keeps the strong but light carbon fiber chasis and engine. For the driver, there are two knobs that adjust the powertrain and handling of the car. A first in automobile engineering.

The Launch control system consists of two knobs changing the powertrain and handling, each have three settings for normal, sport, and high performance driving modes. Again, a first in automobile engineering.

Concours d' Elgance is one of the few events where limited edition and unique one-offs are in their best display.

There is a lot of automobile history here. One of them is the Scaglietti, a former competitive car designer to Ferrari. Eventually, Ferrari bought him out then owns it. This particular Scaglietti/Ferrari was a rare collaboration between Ferrari and Corvette in the mid-Seventies where Ferrari would design and build the highest end sports car for Corvette. The union didn't but the Petersen Museum has two of them. Imagine that.

Concours d' Elegance was not all about cars. It also showcased the best in motorcycles and scooters, such as Ducati and Vespa for those who want to zip around town, running errands, not speeding down the motorway.

This past Father's Day is only a start to a week-long celebration of Italy art, culture, and design, culuminating in a mini-Tour d'Italia bike race encircling Beverly Hills through Malibu then back to Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard. In between, enjoy the fashion, the jewelry, the cuisine at reasonable discounts, and the cinema.

Ciao Bella!

Friday, June 17, 2011

By Laura Medina

Let's start with the basics-the upscale basics...

Caswell-Massey offers the any man in your life some fine basic facial care from their 1752 line. For this year's Father's Day, they introduced a new scent, the reinvigorating eucalyptus.

With the bracing scent of eucalyptus with the soothing texture of coconut oil, glycerine, chamomile, and thyme, Caswell-Massey 1752 line strikes a yin-yang balance between sharp and mellow.

Father's Day strikes in the middle of Summer. He's more in the mood for hitting the surf than the boardroom and a vacation, surf and sand. Be more thoughtful and surprise him with Perry Ellis boardshorts for $59.50, affordable attire he'll be pleased with or some top-notch shorts from Franklin+Gower, their latest addition.

If he's in a mood for a mental vacation, these sly tees and hoodies might be the key to a mental break, give him a Hoodiebuddie tee and hoodie.

Insert in the seams and plackets are MP3 wiring and cords and headphones that you can plug into your player while you can plug in your headphones.

Not your usual tie for Father's Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Giorgio Armani's character studies in film.

By Laura Medina

Sean Penn in Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life."

Since dressing Richard Gere in softly-tailored suits reflecting his louche character in “American Gigolo,” Giorgio Armani has tailored movie characters-physically and personality-wise for thirty-one years.

He continues with Sean Penn in Terrance Malick's "The Tree of Life" and Cate Blanchett for "Hanna."

Penn's brooding character is expressed in his stoic uniform of two-button notch lapel suits, shirts, and neckwear in steward black and somber charcoal grey

Costume designer Jacqueline West, nominated for an Oscar for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, continues: “I've found Mr. Armani to be one of the most dedicated and inspirational designers I could ever hope to work with on a film. In ‘The Tree of Life,’ the grey suit we first see Adult Jack wearing is beautifully architectural. The suit represents the grey, ultra modern cityscape of present day Houston, the starkness and the bleakness that imprisons him, the grey glass and steel of his home and life. The black suit that Sean wears, for me, represents the clash of the present with the ancient prehistoric landscapes of nature. The lines of that perfectly crafted suit delineate modern man confronting mankind's beginnings. For me, nothing could have helped tell the tale of Adult Jack better than these brilliantly constructed suits.”

Mr. Armani comments: “What a pleasure to find myself working alongside this creative conclave. My professional relationship with Jacqueline has been a sartorial success story. Her exquisite talent makes film wardrobe key to the cinematic experience. Her work reminds me how clothing plays a leading role on screen.”

For further character development, Mr. Armani expresses the single-minded focus of Cate Blanchett's character in "Hanna."

To drive the point that her intelligence operative, Marissa Wiegler, is the villian, Armani designed her as a modern Ice Queen.

Lucie Bates, the costume designer, describes her as the "Wicked Witch," "her colors would be red [for her hair] and green [in her attire]."

Expressing the character's professionalism and focus...and efficiency, both Ms. Bates and Mr. Armani reflected that in her elegantly tailored suiting and a striking green-colored cashmere overcoat.

Mr. Armani's uses Ms. Blanchett's professionalism as an actor as a foundation for her character's wardrobe, "Working with Cate Blanchett, on and off the screen, has always been a highlight for me," notes Mr. Armani. "She embodies the perfect combination of consummate actor and world-class fashion icon”

Don't expect Giorgio Armani to set the fad of the week or the trend of the month when he designs costumes for movies. The clothes are part of the character...and this is why his creations stand the test of time. They're as strong as the movie characters he designs for.