Monday, July 25, 2011

From Bracelet to Clothing, Babakul Always Give Back

When Kym Gold wanted to branch out from True Religion four years ago, she simply wrapped around strands of leather bands, strung some beads, and entwined them into bracelets then used them to support various charities.

For the next two years, that simple leather bracelet morphed into a full jewelry then stayed that way until 2008 when Ms. Gold’s best friend, Sophie Wizmann, came on board.

With Ms. Gold’s expertise in denim brand building of True Religion, Hippie Jeans and Bella Dahl and Ms. Wizmann’s background as the Vice President of Antik Denim and Tavarniti Jeans, Babakul the clothing line was set in motion.

Assouline's "Gypset Style" Book defining what it means to be "Babakul."

Babakul the clothing line was not fully fleshed out until Ms. Wizmann injected her French Bohemian childhood and background into the line.

In fact, the word and namesake, “Babakul,” is a French word for “hippie,” and Ms. Wizmann is a living incarnation of it. It is also Kym’s affectionate nickname for Sophie, since Ms. Wizmann is the living definition of it.

Born in Morocco and raised in Canada and France, Ms. Wizman is what Julia Chaplin call a “Gypsetter.” Ms. Wizmann is the walking embodiment of Ms. Chaplin’s book, “Gypset Style” (published by Assouline). According to Chaplin, “Gypsetters are artists, designers, and bon vivants who live and work around the globe.” Most are of French descent who either live or raised in one of France’s former colonies, living a very laid back but very cultural lifestyle due to their constant traveling and thirst for knowledge. What Chaplin call “cultural nomads.”

Jenny Lesser & Michelle Vink layered in Babakul, left. Sophie Wizmann & Kym Gold, the epitome of Babakul, right.

Infused with a worldwide upbringing with a French heritage of good fashion construction, Ms. Wizmann is the behind-the-scenes muse of Babakul.

Her French Hippy style is reflected in the fine detailing of the pleated bibbed, swinging babydoll blouse. Camouflage-printed camisole coated in clear sequins, giving a mermaid glimmer. Lightweight, skinny jeans stretchy enough to do yoga in. Washed leather cargo vests balancing out a sweet peasant tank top.

Kym Gold stresses the practicality of Babakul’s French Hippy style, it is easy enough to wear on the beach yet it is dressy enough for a walk over to Nobu or a decent restaurant, such as a washed halter silk dress with a beaded scarf in place of jewelry.

"French Hippy" may reflect the ease of a well-traveled life but it never means being a slob. A "French Hippy" or a "Babakul" is always ready for any occasion at anytime or climate. Pulling a well-constructed leather vest or jacket over a beach-friendly cami or a draping a sequinned shawl over a silk chemise or topping stretchy skinny jeans with a sequin tee or tank with a back of a closet, that is cool.

But if it is jewelry you want, Babakul still keeps its roots of its jewelry line, backed up with satchels and bags.

The $39 Babakul tee for In a Perfect World Charity.

Seeing as Babakul begun as a charity bracelet, Babakul, the clothing line, still supports good will.

For In a Perfect World charity, Babakul specially designed an affordable chic, draped, crew neck tee-shirt with capped kimono sleeves. The charity’s name is subtly tagged behind the neck, lending a cool factor without being logo-blatant.

One hundred percent proceeds from the $39 shirt goes into rebuilding schools-cum-community centers in Haiti recently and increasing enrollments of girls in developing countries, such as rural Nicaragua.

In around-about way, Babakul’s good will work returns to the meaning of French Hippy. After spending a lifetime traveling and living in tropical but underdeveloped countries, Babakul wants to return the good will and support those communities that influenced and formed the French Hippy into Babakul.

Giving back where credit is due.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sienna Miller's Twenty8Twelve, what stars really wear off-duty...and it's attainable.

By Laura Medina
What do celebrities actually wear when they are not posing in haute couture at film premieres or upscale film festivals or award shows?

Fellow actress/celebrity, and jet-setter, Sienna Miller, knows what her fellow celebrities want.

Her Twenty8Twelve clothing line reflects a chic, fast-foward and fashion-forward sensibility that adapts easily to any locale and climate. Not extremely warm. Not extremely prim. Not extremely cloaked for the freezing cold. It is just right transitional layering great for tossing on while on the go.

Recently, Taylor Swift was hanging out with a friend in Central Park, in a Twenty8Twelve Daisy Dress that can be had at $295 on

Back in May, Naomi Watts was tooling around town, in Manhattan, with Liev Schreiber in a Twenty8Twelve Spring 2011 Laurie T-Shirt. sells this for $135.

What is truly cool about Sienna's Twenty8Twelve line is how effortlessly and how seasonlessly it is. It perfectly plugs in the gap between too summery sultry and too winter chilly. Just right.

Her line makes some great and cute crop leather jackets.

Zoe Kravitz rocks her crop leather motorcycle Bohemica Jacket at "X-Men: First Call" London premiere, over a simple white tee and black mini circle skirt.

Sienna pulled herself together in her own aviator-influenced, tanned brown, leather Spring 2011 Dok Vest with wool shearling, over basic lycra black tank and leggings. has it at $699.

Twenty8Twelve also does sleek basics that can anchor accessories and shawls and wraps.

Here, Sienna models her Autumn/Winter Titon Dress in Black that retails for $448.

Now, you can rock it like a celebrity, thanks to Sienna.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wearing American History on your Chest...and you don't know it.

By Laura Medina

With the frenzy for the impending school season heating up during the hottest weeks of the year, Target's textile designers want to make the kids cool...with integrity.

The company's textile and graphic designers trek to The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Culling through vintage and antique turn-of-century and early twentieth wood blocks and typography and font prints, the designers found inspiration in America's heritage.

In a collaboration with the museum, Target used Hamilton Wood Type and Printing's one hundred hand-craved and pressed blocks as the basis then played with scale, layering and color
on t-shirts, hoodies, leggings, sweatshirts, sweatpants and totes for men, women and children.

In digging out these significant relics out of the trays, Target is making them even more accessible by offering a drawing on it's Target Style Facebook page, where fans can win a one-of-a-kind Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum collection tee by sharing a location they think is unique and special.

By doing so, loyal Target fans unintentionally are building a map of historical American sites that build and define American heritage and style.

If you are too busy shopping for school supplies, you can download the $2 coupons for select graphic tees from the brand's "Cool Never Fades" campaign based on the Hamilton Wood Type Museum's archives.

Your kids are going to wear American History without knowing it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

W Hollywood, stylish platform for a pool party and a stylish performance art.

The W Hotel in Hollywood recently played host to two fashion happenings for two nights in a row.

What started out as a sampling of Rhythm Clothing’s contemporary surfwear with a touch of rugged plaid shirts and denim splashed into a free-for-all pool party.

Since they can’t bring the party to the water, why not bring the water to the people…and that’s what they did.

What innocently started as an idle toe dip in the water, splatter into a freewheeling pool party where clever party folks, stripped down to their maillots and their Rhythm boardshorts or what the heck, just dive right into it, clad only in their mini, tunic dresses.

Reminiscent of the Seventies’ legendary, decadent Studio 54, Rhythm Clothing’s Sunglasses at Night pool party was a discotheque in water…if Manhattan’s late, great Studio 54 simply wished, they could (if they had the space and thought of installing a pool but didn’t) yet only Rhythm Clothing did.

Rhythm Clothing accomplished something a Manhattanite party planner can only dream of…a wet bacchanal in the middle of summer.

Immediately as soon as the Rhythm Clothing party dried off, W Hollywood segued right into a performance art/fashion installation with one model, by the cutting-edge boutique, Stanton James.

The women attendees at the Rhythm Clothing pool party can gain an idea or two from this Stanton James’ fashion installation in how to layer at arrival then how to strip down to their stylish swimwear.

Broken down into five segments, translated into five outfits on one model, the show morphs as the model tastefully peels off one outfit while revealing another underneath.

The second segment is the one most directly related to the previous night’s pool party.

What started as a Hollywood appropriate streetwear of a fake fur-trimmed houndstooth trench over a vintage rock tee-shirt and heirloom cut-off jeans, transform into rocker glam with a yellow, satin drape shawl jacket, concealing a cut-out, black and white stripe maillot.

This could had been a great Hollywood pool party combo.

The last set was also rocker-meets-pool, another vintage rock concert tee over crochet maxi skirt over a black lace boot-leg pants with a flesh-toned mesh lining. A swimsuit or a matching crochet bikini or camisole as the foundation garment.

Keep your eyes out for the W Hotel in Hollywood, you might never know what you’re going to spot.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Miami-Tested, Oribe's new Haircare Line

By Laura Medina

If your once luscious, wavy locks puff up into a cotton candy frizz while choking in Summer's humidity, no need to slick on more grease.

Oribe's humidity-taming and Miami-tested new hair care is here to rescue your tresses from being stressed.

To tame the frizzies, start out the Moisture and Control Shampoo and Conditioner as the foundation. Depending on how laidback you are or in a rush, the frizz can be tamed either way.

Creme for Style only requires a dab to control the craziness. It can be used on both dry or wet hair, basically anytime. It is an equal opportunist for straight and curly hair.

Want to put the bounce back into your curls?

After soon you're done shampooing and conditioning your locks, rub in this curl activator for shiny, healthy curls without the crunch. As they air dry, the waves will bounce right back.

Want Oribe's client, Jennifer Lopez's golden look? A dab in the hair then a dab here and there, or any where on the body, from his new gold pomade adds that golden goddess glow. A multi-purpose hair and body highlighter, not bad.

Can't stand the sticky residue of melting hairstyle and gel down your shoulders, neck, and face then into your stinging eyes?

Oribe thought of that, too.

He replaced the spray with his Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray shielding the strands from frizz on the sultriest days and nights while protecting those labor-intensive blowouts and those bouncy curls.

If you want to refresh and fluff, you can spritz his Dry Texturizing Spray, regular and purse-sized, a cleaner choice to dry shampoo without the grayish, powdery residue. It adds UV protection for the strands as it lifts the locks.

Now, you can be South Beach sexy, not Summer Hot Mess.

GAIA, Vacation photos from Space

After tiredlessly creating, building, and franchising the groundbreaking Cirque du Soliel, Guy Laliberté decided it was time to take a breather and became the seventh space tourist at the International Space Station.

Arts/culture/lifestyle publisher, Assouline, was kind enough to take his vacation photographs taken 220 miles up and away from the Earth's atmosphere then compiled them into a thought-provoking coffee table book, GAIA.

In a swanky fete thrown in honor of the book at the SLS Hotel, Lalibert√© wanted to use his vacation photographs where deserts re­semble contemporary abstract paintings, cities rise up like mini mountain ranges, and faces and figures are revealed in nature, to display the awe of Mother Earth and the continuing concerns of climate change.

As he snapped away on his Nikon D3S and Nikon D3X digital-SLR cameras, orbiting at 17,500 miles per hour and revolving at 16 tours of the earth every day, he wanted the proceeds from his 300 photographs to raise awareness of water issues.

Calling his break, a “poetic social mission” in space, he wants to fight poverty worldwide by ensuring that everyone across the planet has access to clean water, now and in the future.

The water charity, One Drop, will benefit from this debut party and future proceeds.

Not bad for vacation photos.

Crossing Over, Cynthia Rowley Fall 2011 & Resort 2012

By Laura Medina

Olive & Ruby Red Maxi Tunic Dresses Fall 2011, left. Poppy Blouse & Palazzo Pants & Yellow Floral Jumpers Resort 2012, right.

Resort Collections have always been ignored or put down upon due to their transitional nature.

Not exactly Fall or definitely Spring but folks are fools for overlooking their versatilities-style, budget, and climate wise.

With the majorityof the American population moving to the Sun Belt or Southern Californians shifting to the Southeast, Resort is the go-to wardrobe that eases into all those environments without being regionally restrictive or seasonally stereotypical.

Nobody gives Cynthia Rowley enough credit for having sharp eyes for spotting exactly what folks need.

Then again, she is one of the first to jump on a bandwagon before anyone else.

With the Duchess of Cambridge, a.k.a. "Kate," being the muse of maxing your wardrobe, Cynthia Rowley's Fall 2011 and Resort 2012 Collections prove you can mix it up and maxing it out without shame or awkwardness.

Ms. Rowley's Resort Collection is a smooth collection, as in a smooth transition where Spring/Summer wardrobe can glide easily into Fall with a touch of leather here and heavy silk there.

Her loose Maxi Tunic Dresses in olive green and ruby red from the Fall 2011 Collection are light enough and protective enough for Summer's heat yet the rich colors move it forward.

The poppy elephant sleeve blouse and matching palazzo are bright for now but the pumpkin tone is so Autumn appropriate...and so is the palazzo pants.

Summery ruffle petal dress and top on the right, in silk twill, can be toughen up by simply topping them with this classic leather Army shirt as a jacket. This qualifies as closet classic...doesn't go out of style.

Top of the line contemporary never means budget-busting, disposal clothing but components that can gradually, be built upon season by season or once or twice a year.

If you want to see these pieces upfront and personally, due to past popularity from last year, the Cynthia Rowley Fashion Truck is making a return visit to Southern California later this month until the end of August.

Watch for it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Marky Ramone's Marinara Pasta Sauce

By Laura Medina

Marky Ramone, aka Marc Bell, proudly holding a jar of his Brooklyn Marinara Pasta Sauce.

When Marc Bell moved out of his parents' home at eighteen years-old, one of the few, trusty things he took with him was his grandfather's top-tier, classy marinara pasta sauce as a survival gear.

Asking why pasta sauce, he replied, "Well, we musicians gotta eat." Explaining his grandfather's pasta was the perfect go-to sauce for anything. Whether it was back in the days as a traveling drummer before becoming a Ramone with The Ramones, surviving on classic
spaghetti pomodoro or fast-forwarding to today, where college students smear the sauce on bagel pizzas, Marky's grandfather's pasta sauce recipe is as timeless and classic as The Ramones' songs and their all-black attire.

Marky Ramone's Pasta Sauce is good for the whole family.

In bottling his grandfather's pasta sauce, it is his way of keeping his grandfather's legacy alive and share it with future, emerging, and current rockers.

His grandfather was a chef, ten years at the 21 Club then twenty years at the Copacabana Club where he personally cooked for Jackie Gleason, a steak no more than a certain inch thick.

Marky recounts growing up as a boy, watching his grandpa stir and stew that sauce...and it helped him survive as a struggling drummer to being a Ramone then now, as a Sirus Radio show host. Just like the Ramones' songs in describing his grandpa's sauce, "Technology change but people stay the same."

In spite of memorizing his beloved grandfather's recipe to heart, Marky Ramone had to taste-test the sauce during a six-months trial period before launching it into the market. Sometimes, it was too sugary. The other times, it was too spicy, too hot, too garlicky, until it was well-balanced and just right.

Back in the days as a struggling drummer, he couldn't afford the best ingredients. He can only buy whatever was in his budget at that time.

Now, as an established musician and rock star, he can afford to put out his grandfather's sauce in its best foot forward, using plum tomatos and extra-virgin olive oil imported from Italy. Doing grandpa proud, the Wall Street Journal voted this as the second-best pasta sauce in the United States.

Why Whole Foods? Simply stated, "I like Whole Foods." Straight-forward, honest, but sweet...just like his sauce.

Debie Mazar bumping into Marky by accident.

This is not a purely commercial endeavor. Ten percent of the net profits go to Autism Speaks. Hearing about all these horror stories about autistic kids being beaten up, The Ramones always speak up for the outcasts and he wants to educate people what it autism is all about.

Regardless if it is the hard-core rock fans, rock families, conventional families or one or two celebrities grocery-shopping, Marky Ramone is always there educating folks about his grandpa, the sauce, and autism.

On this average Sunday afternoon, celebrities in the neighborhood were pleasantly surprised to see Marky. First, a Suicide Girl happily posed with her rock idol then Debi Mazar just popped up for her family's groceries.

From there, she greeted her old friend from the neighorhood then asked him if he can guest star on her cooking show, "Extra Virgin" on the Cooking Channel. Stay tune folks, Marky Ramone is in Italy now and nothing is set.

Suicide Girl then Debi Mazar with Marky Ramone.

Now, what to do with the pasta sauce. Other than topping it on pasta, pizza crust, and bagels or using it as a dipping sauce for his favorite pretzel rods. Here is one simple breakfast recipe.

Top it on spinach. Stew them. Then, crack an egg and poach it. This a simple but gourmet way to have breakfast. Shoot, cook it longer, it will be an omelet.

From Brooklyn to West Hollywood, from being a struggling drummer to being a rock star, Marky Ramone and his Pasta Sauce never fails. Like the black tee-shirt and black jeans, this is the new rocker survival gear-Marky Ramone's Marinara Pasta Sauce.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The painting, "Ordinary People, William and Kate"

"Ordinary People, William and Kate," the painting by Steven Vaughan.

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touching down in Southern California tomorrow, British Royalty has reached fever pitch.

Fit for the President of the United States of America, Santa Barbara and the city of Los Angeles imposed numerous street closures dotted up and down the southern Pacific Coast.

The painter, Steven Vaughan.

In honor of their arrival, a former tv director-turned-sunglass designer-painter, Steven Vaughan sketched, dabbed, and stroked metallic gold paint and other enamels nonstop for 298 hours, all in anticipation of the arrival of the royal couple.

This is one of many gifts to the William and Kate going to be bestowed upon them on their visit.

As the news of the royal couple’s visit hit, Mr. Vaughan automatically mediated on what should be his gift to them.

With their nuptials fresh in his mind, Vaughan instantly thought about capturing this couple in this moment of time as not just the next generation of British royalty but as a modern newlywed couple who enjoy everday outings. He viewed them, “as any newlywed couple you might pass on the street, showing the joy and power of love between them.”

Like any other person watching the wedding, he thought it would be nice to have the late Diana be there to witness her son being married-this is when the inspiration struck him. Imaging that William always keeps her in his heart and brain, especially in marrying Kate, Vaughan wants to represents her presence in her son’s life.

Using Greek Orthodox Icons and Greek mythology as inspirations, Vaughan combined Hyper Realism and Conceptual Art to flesh out the trio of Lady Diana and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as real people in realistic skintones.

Using the bronze statue of the goddess, Winged Victory as a muse and the Union Jack as the sky, Lady Diana is an angel blooming out of the sky, radiating rays of golden light, bestowing her blessing upon the union of her son, William, and his wife, Kate. Symbolically, Diana hands them a rose since she was once called an English rose herself. It is Vaughan’s way of portraying Diana passing on that title onto Katherine.

Vaughan used metallic gold paint for the halo and the rays. As George Luca’s former television director, he knows a thing or two about special effects.

This original painting will be given directly to the royal couple’s London residence at Kensington Palace. Vaughan noted that, when William passes by this portrait in a dim room lit by candle light, the golden rays subtly glow in the dark.

Gallery owner, David W. Streets, Dame Nadya & Sir Golden Koscuik of The Masterpiece Dance Theatre of Bel-Air.

If this original painting is bought at $25,000 or the 15 hand embellished and hand-signed large giclee prints on canvas sell at $2,500 each or the 190 smaller giclee sell at $850 a piece or the even smaller paper prints are bought at $50 a pop, the profits will be donated and split three ways among three charities.

Dame Nadya and Sir Golden Koscuik were at the unveiling, representing their charity, The Masterpiece Dance Theatre of Bel-Air, giving ballet scholarships to underprivileged children.

The second charity to benefit is the one close to Vaughan’s heart, Generation Rescue for Autisim. Founded by Jenny McCarthy, her organization helped Vaughan’s autistic daughter immensely. He’s grateful for what they done to help his daughter and this is his way to return the favor.

The third charity will be a children’s charity selected by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The unveiling had been performed by British celebrities and Beverly Hills dignitaries, standing in behalf of the royal couple.

Expect a plentitude of British stars, dignitaries, and other royals hosting, debuting, and playing honor to the royal couple.

This Saturday alone, the royal couple will start the day with William playing for charity for and at the Santa Barbara Polo Club then they are going to end the night at the British Academy of Film and Television Art’s “Brits to Watch” gala in historical downtown Los Angeles’ Belasco Theater, being greeted by Britain’s forty-two hottest and youngest stars.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are and will have an amazing summer vacation, with plenty of splendid souvenirs.

Monday, July 4, 2011

From Mt. P to Sherman Oaks, Welcome Eleanor Jean

By Laura Medina

Eleanor Jean sitting side by side with Lisa Rinna's Bella Gray. Happy local with Eleanor Jean's proprietor, Jacey.

In a blink of an eye, it was only last year Charleston's/Mt. Pleasant's Powder Puffs to Brushes was the place to go for lash tinting and exquisite beauty products...with mobile beauty services that started in Charleston that soon expanded to Southern California.

Managing a growing clientele and expanding geographical demands, it was easier for the proprietor, Jacey to consolidate her services, pack up and move then follow the growing demand to Sherman Oaks, California.

As soon as she touched down in the Valley's low-key but hip Ventura Boulevard in upscale Sherman Oaks five months ago, Jacey rechristened her beauty boutique/salon, Eleanor Jean in honor of her grandma. The neighborhood quickly adapted her as their own.

Lisa Rinna's clothing boutique, Bella Gray, happily split itself in two, put up a wall then gave the new space to Eleanor Jean.

The low-key but glamorous celebrity locals quickly made it as their own, making Eleanor Jean a local neighborhood haunt among Lisa Rinna's Bella Gray, Tory Spelling's Inventori, and local bakery/cafe/market, Sweet Butter Kitchen, a cozy, chic corner where neighborhood celebrities primp, pamper, shop and nibble.

Eleanor Jean started a charity fragrance of the month program, "A Scent for Humanity." At the first of each month, Eleanor Jean will customized a fragrance for a new celebrity then sell that limited edition fragrance for that particular month, donating a precentage to that celebrity's choice of charity.

Once the month is over, the cycle begins again.

Jacey blended a customized a perfume for "The Voice" contestant, Lily Elise for the month of July, in cozy boutique nook where the fragrance bar is stocked. Then, come next month, it is "Dancing with the Stars", Louie Van Amstel.

A parade of tween and teen actresses and actors stormed the fragrance launch party, nibbling on cake lollipops and sipping on HINT Water on this hot and sweltering Summer day in the Valley. The tween actresses love playing around with Eleanor Jean's one of a kind makeup brands, slicking on lipglosses and swirling blush.

Appearances are deceiving. On the outside, it looks like a quaint, little shop but wait and behold when you step inside. Jacey makes full use of the long and lean space, creating a full-service beauty emporium where a mini loungewear nook, a screened-off waxing section, and a spacious manicure/pedicure salon crop up. This long and lean newcomer sure packs a wallop of primp, pampering, and goodies.

In the front main department, vanity table and chairs make up the makeup station where a makeup artist can apply a new look for the day and night.

likes of MOR, Lafco New York, and Tocca, with fashionable but exceptional cosmetics that are difficult to find, even in Los Angeles, such as Girlacktik, Tinte, and Besame.

The local Sherman Oaks celebrities quickly adapted Eleanor Jean as their own neighborhood hang-out, making it Ventura Boulevard's ultimate beauty destination. From Mt. Pleasant on Shem Creek to Sherman Oaks, welcomed to the Valley, Eleanor Jean.