I Got My Sofia Davis Bling Darling Sunglasses!

I had such a great time this afternoon at Catherine Schuller’s Runway The Real Way Fashion Brunch Mad Hatter Tea Party at Super Nova Novotel in Times Square. I’ll be posting more about the event, but I had to do a quick blog about a great surprise I had.

So I’m watching one of the great runway shows and I see the models wearing these amazing blinged-out sunglasses. Hmmm… I think to myself, those look like the sunglasses Sofia Davis wears. Sure enough, when the show is over, Catherine brings out Sofia to talk about her glasses that were featured in the show.

If you spend time around the New York/New Jersey fashion scene, you know the legendary Sofia Davis, Editor-in-Chief of Fashion Avenue News, a luxury brand best known for its namesake magazine. The fabulous Ms. Davis is often found sitting front row center at many of the best fashion events in the area and is known as a major taste maker on the scene. Her trademark bling sunglasses are as fabulous and distinctive as she is.

And now she’s selling her own collection! After seeing them on the runway I spoke with her after the show and was able to buy one of her sunglasses on the spot! Here’s an amazing photo of me with Sofia and supermodel Avadora Mimouni. Is this photo fabulous?! Yaaaaasssssssss!

Sofia said, “I’m so excited to be showing my Bling Darling Couture Sunglass collection at Catherine’s event. People have really taken to the Bling and I’m honored to be invited to participate in so many shows, with fabulous couture designers such as Conrad Booker.”

Yes, Conrad is one of my favorites as well!

Want your own Bling Darling Couture Sunglasses by Sofia Davis? Watch for them on the runway this spring and summer, and you can buy them online now at www.etsy.com/shop/BlingDarling!

Catherine Schuller’s Fashion Brunches are becoming amazing showcases to discover talented new designers, so check them out monthly and join us!

Conrad Booker Debut at Philadelphia Fashion Week 2017

I loved attending my first Philly Fashion Week in February. It was an amazing event that the producers did an incredible job at putting together. The show started off on a high-note by exciting the crowd, which included the legendary creator of New York Fashion Week, Fern Mallis, by opening up with the innovative and unique creations of designer Conrad Booker.

As you’ll see from the gallery below, Booker offers a fresh and challenging view of fashion, from what it should look like, how it should fit, and even what it’s made of. It was my first time seeing his designs, and I’ve since learned that he works in several different fields, including architecture and interior design. He also works as a muralist, and even his window displays have won awards.

His pieces are so big and bold on the runway, so I asked him about how be selects the materials that he uses.

“I started using alternative materials and methods based on affordability,” he told me. “Francesca Reveitti, the owner of Follicle Studios, approached me after seeing a show of mine about creating clothes for a hair competition she was entering. During our meeting, I pointed to a lamp I had made from skewers in regard to what might be an interesting material to use for a bodice. I soon started going to Loews to source materials for my projects. Now it is the first place I go when I start designing.”

I also asked him about how he constructs his unique styles.

“Many of the methods I use for construction are methods I’ve developed in working with many of the different materials. Over time, you develop techniques that you are familiar with and you adapt them based on which one best fits the situation. I desire to use ordinary materials and elevate them so they are perceived as couture. The end product is very refined, yet monumental.”

Philly Fashion Week featured so many incredible designers and a host of remarkable and memorable styles. It takes a truly special collection to make an impression on the audience, especially at the beginning of a three-hour show,

“Yes, my design style is very bold and fearless. I attribute it to two things, my training as an architect and living in a loft for many years. As an architect, I was trained at how to put a building together using different materials and how structure can affect the shape and style of a building. These principals I apply to my fashion designs.

“Many people ask me: was it difficult to go from being an architect to a designer. My response is ‘no.’ I truly believe that the “greatest piece of architecture is the human body”. After graduating from Temple University, I lived for many years in a loft at 13th and Callowhill Streets that had extremely high ceilings. Creating art for my walls, I discovered that I needed to make the pieces very large. As a result, I became accustomed to working this way. Plus, the women I imagine wearing my clothes and bags are powerful women who are strong and desire attention.”

Wearing any of Conrad Booker’s pieces would be a definite attention-grabber. He presented a lot of looks during this show and I only wanted to see more and more. I asked Conrad if he enjoyed his PFW experience and what was coming up for him.

“The response to my first Philly Fashion Week collection has been incredible and positive. I look forward to next February 2018 as I showcase my second collection, which is in development as we speak.”

I can’t wait to see it! Follow Conrad Booker on Instagram @conrad_booker and we’ll all be seeing a lot of his work in the months ahead.

My girl Samantha Grandy shines as one of the twins in this stunning presentation.

The highlight and finale of his collection. According to Conrad’s Instagram, this piece was his winning submission in the Costume Drama’s Plastic Category in Asheville, North Carolina. The dress is made with about 35,000 black plastic straws and topped with Plexiglass that’s been heated, cut and bent.

Watch Conrad Booker’s finale walk to close out his memorable collection.

John Leon 2017 Bridal Collection at Atlantic City Fashion Week

Atlantic City Fashion Week Season 10, you saved the best for last! I have watched John Leon’s amazing work for a couple of years, and I had been eagerly anticipating my first chance to see one of his collections on the runway, and these spectacular bridals did not disappoint. His breathtaking 2017 Bridal Collection was the finale of the couture show and it was an absolute show-stopper.

After the show, I had an opportunity to ask him about why now is the right time to launch his bridal collection.

“I believe in taking your time and releasing your art work when you naturally feel it’s the right time,” John told me. “It’s been three years since the last time I showcased a new collection. I did not want to release a collection because I had to, I wanted to release a collection I feel strong about. I need to emotionally feel a connection with a collection. A purpose.”

And what were some of his goals and inspirations behind the new collection?

“This process started a few months ago when I began sketching a few designs here and there. Not enough designs for a full collection, just a few. The full collection came to me when I went to last year’s Philadelphia Flower Show at The Convention Center. I saw this beautiful presentation of lavender hydrangea and chrysanthemum, ivory peony and ivory roses with black tips, black vines and twigs and white orchids behind this soft gray mountain-like texture background. It was absolutely stunning! I took some pictures, went home and designed the entire 10-piece collection in just a few hours.

“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to take this collection into a more modern direction. Bridal wear for the modern bride. The cuts are new, it’s a little more relaxed. Not so traditional. I believe that the modern bride wants to look elegant, sophisticated, confident and weightless on her big day, and not feel heavy in a big Cinderella-like gown. I wanted to break the boundaries by making bridal soft, elegant, modern and sexy. That’s the JNL Woman.”

Why did he want to debut his new collection for the modern bride at Atlantic City Fashion Week?

“I decided to do it at ACFW because I’ve been doing it for years. I first started showcasing at their shows when they were doing Pink Fashion Week for breast cancer a few years back. Because I’ve been showcasing for ACFW for so long, Lamont and Jeana Bowling have become close friends. I’ve also designed many looks for Jeana throughout the years and because of it, I’ve designed custom for many more.”

I asked John how he wants his clients to feel when wearing his clothes.

“Many things I’ve heard my clients say are “I’ve never felt so beautiful,” “This is the best dress I have ever worn,” “It’s fitted and comfortable.” Cut is very important in a garment of any size. You can easily give someone shape, a waist, transform their body. I want my clients to feel confident and happy.”

And is there something different that goes into dressing a bride?

“As far as brides go, it’s a whole different story. For brides, you need to bring it! My goal as a designer for the bridal client is to make them feel light and weightless on their special day. I want to take away all the tulle and corsets, complicated closers and make it comfortable, flirty, sophisticated and timeless. I made a lace jumpsuit with a five-yard train attached to the shoulders. It’s sexy, but at the same time it’s daring and fresh! You never think jumpsuit for bridal but that’s the new modern bride. Traditional is boring! Out with the old and in with the new!”

I wish I knew John when I was looking for my wedding dress six years ago. Then again, John told me he could do these in any color, so maybe it’s time for a second wedding! Your work is absolutely amazing, John, and I have no doubt that you’re going to be a major player in the bridal space in the years to come.

Here are some of the looks from this breathtaking collection on the ACFW runway. You can learn more at John Leon Fashion Designs www.johnjnlleon.com.

Model Andrea Graham.

Model Samantha Grandy is looks magical this magnificent piece, one of the highlights of the show and a crowd favorite.

John and I all smiles after the show!

Watch the full collection!

Samuel Wong Asian-Inspired Collection at SMGlobal Catwalk NYFW

One of the shows I was looking most forward to this season at New York Fashion Week was Season Three of SMGlobal Catwalk, especially the return of one of my favorite designers, Samuel Wong. Held in midtown Manhattan on February 11, the show, produced by the amazing Samina Mughal, did not disappoint, and neither did Samuel’s new collection.

In the spring, he left the room breathless, so I was highly anticipating his new Asian-inspired collection. The incredible quality of his craftsmanship, the elegance of his designs and the sheer beauty of his creations left an indelible mark on the evening.

I talked with Samuel after he returned to Dallas after the show and asked about the inspiration for this collection.

“My roots are Hispanic and Asian, and, of course, I have a lot of influence from Orient. I love the mystery, the handwork from Chinese culture. I think it’s so elegant, and chic, and my designs always are inspired by these details. At the same time, I love to catch the people’s attention, make them feel like they are in another world. I don’t like to be just ‘another designer doing clothes.'”

Part of what I love about all of his work is the amazing selection of fabrics, the patterns and textures, he chooses for his clothes. The colors in this collection are no exception.

“Red, gold, and black are basic colors in Asian culture,” Samuel explained. “And I really love brocade fabrics. They were so heavy and a little difficult to work with, but the results are beautiful. It was exactly what I was looking for.”

The results are a tribute to your roots and truly transported me to another time and place. This is another triumph and I am excited to see where he goes next!

Tirusha Dave’s Debut Couture Collection – Atlantic City Fashion Week

This past weekend was Atlantic City Fashion Week (ACFW), and that event continues to be one of my favorites each spring and fall. The number of amazing designers featured each season keeps getting better, and Jeana and Lamont Bowling do an amazing job and take such good care of us.

One of the highlights of this season was the debut couture collection from designer Tirusha Dave (Designs by Tirusha). Tirusha, who people may know as editor of Bravura Magazine, has done other collections in the past, but this was her first time working in high-end couture and the results are amazing.

After the show, I asked Tirusha why she chose to debut the new couture line at ACFW, and she said it was because that was where she showed her very first collection as a designer. “It just felt like a complete circle!” she said.

And what inspired this stunning collection?

“To be quite honest, for the past few years, my magazine’s team has been heavily involved in the pageant world, especially with the Miss America Organization, and working alongside different state title-holders. So my pieces this time were inspired by the beautifully talented women I have been working with, such as Miss New Jersey.”

“Bravura Magazine’s tagline is “be yourself…be exceptional…be bravura.” And that is how I want a woman to feel when they are wearing one of my pieces. I want each women to feel exceptional because they are in their own ways. And that deserves to be showcased to the entire world!”

You absolutely accomplished this and more, Tirusha. The models look incredible and any of these looks would look just as good on the pageant stage as on the runway!









Samuel Wong Collection at SMGlobal Catwalk New York Fashion Week

I love runway shows for different reasons. Some designers have amazing skills in what they can create. Others have amazing uses of color or fabrics. Other shows are an stunning sensory experience, the music, lights and costumes creating a movie on the runway. But the greatest surprise for me from this year’s New York Fashion Week was my first look at the work of designer Samuel Wong. It made me cry.

I’m not even sure why. It was just so beautiful and unique and wonderful that I was emotional as I watched the models in these beautiful clothes as part of SMGlobal Catwalk’s Season 2 (held on September 10, 2016 in Midtown). When hostess Nicole Coley Cole (who’s amazing!) interviewed Wong after the show, he said that he’s been creating for over 20 years. To see such an amazing designer at the height of his abilities, and still working to get even better, is a thrill and I so hope that he’ll return next year. These photos are only a taste of the magic of this event that those who were in the room will never forget.

Thank you to the wonderful Samina Mughal for making it happen! Don’t miss SMGlobal Catwalk Season 3, coming in February 2017, and grab any chance you can to experience Samuel Wong’s collection around the country.

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Model: Margosha Kr.

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Model: Savannah Rae Collins.

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One of my favorite models, the beautiful Dira Ve.

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Model: Midori Amae.

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The show’s signature piece was just stunning. Model: Justyna Olivia Ruszczyk.

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This bridal piece earned a standing ovation from the crowd. Nicole Cole said that she wanted to get married just so she could wear this dress. Me too!

Model: Layne Lampley.

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Thank you, Samuel Wong. See you next year!

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Terese Sydonna New York at Harlem’s Fashion Row NYFW 2016

I had the pleasure of attending the Harlem’s Fashion Row (HRF) Fashion Show and Style Awards on September 8, 2016, as an invited guest at Pier 59 Studios. I was so excited to see the latest collection from my good friend Terese Brown, the talented designer behind Terese Sydonna. I happen to own one of her pieces (love!) that I picked up when I met her in Philadelphia, where she was part of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s. Her latest collection shows her continued growth and development as a designer and it’s my pleasure to share these amazing looks from the runway.

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I love this dress. It’s so simple and cute!

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Burning Guitars Fashion Show at Space Ibiza New York

One of the most creative and innovative fashion shows in New York City this summer was held by Burning Guitars Clothing at Space Ibiza on June 14, 2016. The evening was held in honor of legendary Marvel Comics editor and writer Mark Gruenwald and was attended by many of his friends. It was hosted by his wife, the amazing Catherine Schuller-Gruenwald, and featured a Captain America shield cake and lots of super hero fun.

The highlight for this fashionista was the Marvel-themed runway show featuring custom pieces designed by Burning Guitars’ amazing team of Smiley Jonez, Saiyd Muhammed and Kenneth Jackson. Jonez, who’s also a dope hip-hop artist, served as MC for the show and dropped amazing beats as one stunning model after another paid tribute to Marvel Comics’ greatest heroes, and the work of Mark Gruenwald.

Check out the photos from the show and be sure to catch Burning Guitars in person if you get a chance all jordan retros. They will be showing at New York Fashion Week and Philadelphia Fashion Week this year, so follow them on Facebook (facebook.com/BurningGuitarsClothing) to keep track of these rising stars. Thank you for an amazing experience, guys. We were thrilled to be involved and look forward to next time!

Smiley Jonez takes the stage.

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Model Leslie Flores.

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Model Gio Delavicci.

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Model John Alex Gaines III.

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Model Tiffani D. McLoyd.

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The amazing team and the evening’s host, Catherine Schuller.

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Local Talent Connect June A&E Industry Mixer

On June 22, 2016, we attended our first networking evening hosted by a very cool group called Local Talent Connect (LTC). These free events are designed to bring together influential people in the Arts & Entertainment Industry, as well as related businesses and professions, to discover new career opportunities and grow social networks. We heard good things about LTC and its CEO Todd Wharton from friends, so decided to give it a shot kids nike air max. Not only was it a great evening held at Suite 36 (16 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018), we met lots of cool people and made valuable connections and new friends!

We had so much fun that night! It was definitely a worthwhile evening and we’ll be attending again. The next LTC mixer takes place on Wednesday, August 31. Connect with Todd Wharton on Facebook to score your invite and join the LTC and join the LTC A&E Industry Monthly Mixer Facebook Group for more information and to attend future events. Hope to see you there!

Here’s a look at Suite 36.

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Red Carpet Hostess and Fashion Coordinator Kelly Phoenix added glamour to the evening.

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LTC CEO Todd Wharton welcomes all of the attendees and gives an overview of the mission of LTC.

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The red carpet was fabulous!

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I was thrilled to meet celebrity chef Tacha Henry of ICanCook2. Did you see her on Food Network’s “Chopped”? Hi, Tacha!

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On the red carpet with celebrity chef Tacha Henry and LTC CEO Todd Wharton.

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Billie Blunt Magazine Launch Party at The Attic Rooftop & Lounge

Billie Blunt Magazine celebrated the launch of their latest issue with a June 10th party high above midtown Manhattan at The Attic Rooftop & Lounge. Hosted by Events by Tia Maria, the packed house hosted a beautiful and fashionable crowd who were all there to mingle with CEO Billy Blunt and Pamela Paige, whose stunning cover photographs are stand-outs from this issue. The entire evening was really well done, and we had a great time enjoying the beautiful weather and talking about fashion with the photographers, models, designers and socialites in attendance. I definitely recommend Events by Tia Maria if you have an opportunity to attend, and be sure to check out BB Magazine.

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World international cover model Scott King on the red carpet. He is currently touring the U.S. It was a pleasure meeting you and I love your recent shoot with Pamela Paige.

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