Lifestyle brand

Saturday February 2nd, 2013

Victoria’s Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio to launch fashion and lifestyle brand.

Victoria’s Secret stunner Alessandra Ambrosio’s new lifestyle and fashion brand, ‘Alé by Alessandra,’ will launch in Spring 2014. The model mom is collaborating with Cherokee. The womenswear will hit Latin America first.
A new fashion and lifestyle label ‘Alé by Alessandra’ is set to launch in Spring 2014 in collaboration with US-based Cherokee.

Alessandra Ambrosio, Victoria’s Secret model and star of campaigns for Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, and Ralph Lauren, is set to launch her new brand in Latin America and hopes to later expand around the world.
The Brazilian supermodel is the sixth biggest earner in the modelling world, with her 2012 income estimated at $6.6 million by Forbes magazine. This latest move comes as something of a surprise to the fashion world, but according to the model it was a natural progression: “this is not a hobby for me. I’ve been a fashion model for 15 years and designing is just an extension of my career,” she told WWD.

The 31-year-old model and mother will partner with US-based retailer Cherokee to work on production and distribution. “Alessandra is an international icon, a confident, active professional and is known around the world for her amazing fashion sense,” said Henry Stupp Cherokee’s Chief Executive Officer.

So what can we expect? The label will be “representative of my life, experiences and style,” said Ambrosio in a statement. Sketch images released by the brand reveal summery, light womenswear with a colorful palette. After the international roll-out, plans for the future also include new jewelry, swimwear and fragrance lines as well as accessories.

Pregame festivities

Friday February 1st, 2013

New York Fashion Week, which kicks off Wednesday night, is the big game for style magazines and fashion critics. As part of pregame festivities, here’s a peek into the latest issue of Fashion Projects, a magazine that covers the discipline, accessibly, from an academic perspective. The issue, “On Fashion Criticism,” features thoughtful interviews with today’s most prominent fashion writers, including Robin Givhan, Suzy Menkes, and Judith Thurman. Interviewees speak of what draws them to fashion coverage, their thoughts on its evolution within journalism from trivial to respected, and the idea of fashion writing as a gendered pursuit.

This edition’s focus on fashion criticism stemmed from conversations between editor Francesca Granata and her husband, humor writer Jay Ruttenberg, about how some pop-culture criticism has long been respected but coverage of fashion wasn’t recognized as “criticism” in The New York Times until the 1990s, she said.

“It seemed to me that, in the last decade, fashion criticism has been going through a phase of legitimization that other realms of popular culture criticism, such as rock and film criticism, had undergone decades earlier,” Granata wrote in the issue introduction.

Perusing the issue’s spare, bright pages (designed by a student at Parson’s, where Granata teaches) serves as an interesting peek into the psyches behind the bylines that will proliferate during Fashion Week. Here’s one excerpt I enjoyed, by The New York Times’s Guy Trebay:


Friday February 1st, 2013

I was talking about this [idea of fashion as “trivial”] with Judith Thurman. We were pissing and moaning, as people do who have an interest in these degraded subject matters and culturally disfavored subjects. She was talking about a certain correspondent for the New Yorker who writes about child soldiers in wherever. She was saying that that kind of thing—if you have the skills, the stomach for the work, and can stand all the risk—is like taking gold out of streams with your hand. It’s all there. There is something slightly perverse and masochistic about applying yourself to [fashion] and having to rehabilitate things that are considered culturally beneath regard. That’s been the most challenging part of this for me. Because it isn’t taken seriously, and never has been taken seriously. I hope to live to see the day when it is. Which can be done without sacrificing what’s beautiful and delightful about the ephemeral and frivolous part of it. Those are not opposing ideas.

Fashion Projects has published four print issues since its 2004 debut—“We decide to do an issue whenever we have a critical mass and whenever we have a subject that’s quite interesting to us,” Granata said. She and her contributors post sporadic Web features in between. For thoughtful context behind the hype, Fashion Projects is worth checking out.


Monday January 28th, 2013

Student’s designs shown in Prince Harry charities fashion show.

A Washington State University student was one of the featured designers at the Feb. 2 Royal Fashion Show benefit for two charities of England’s Prince Harry of Wales.

Gordon Stumpo of Denver joined nearly 40 fashion students from around the world who had submitted entries for a design competition preceding the show, which was hosted by charities Pink Ribbons Crusade and Sentebale. The competition was judged by all-star designers and popular contestants from the TV series “Project Runway.” Winning designs were showcased at the Bella Collina Towne and Golf Club in San Clemente, Calif.

“Competitions like this one stretch students and allow them an entrance into a formal public arena,” said Patricia Fischer, senior instructor in WSU’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles. She worked closely with Stumpo and Marissa Dawson of Seattle, who also entered the competition.

“Both Gordon and Marissa had to learn new and more complex patterning skills beyond those covered in the course content to draft the base patterns for their garments,” Fischer said. “They have both put in a great deal of work outside of class.”
Pink Ribbons Crusade raises funds to fight breast cancer through a traveling exhibit of a multimillion-dollar collection of British royal historical memorabilia, including eight dresses owned and worn by the late Princess Diana, Harry’s mother. Sentebale is a charity for at-risk African children founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of the Lesotho royal family to honor their mothers.

Stumpo, a junior, submitted two dress designs for the competition, both of which were accepted. A major reward during the project was “taking something that was in my mind, using the tools we learned in the classroom and making it physical, tangible,” he said.

The competition also motivated Stumpo’s honors thesis, due this spring, on the evolution of Princess Diana’s clothing styles over time. Part of the thesis will involve creating three to five half-scale garments that interpret Diana’s garment tradition.


Saturday November 3rd, 2012

Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs Loses Apartment To Hurricane Sandy Flooding.

Fashionista’s West Village apartment ‘completely destroyed’.
US fashion designer Marc Jacobs has discovered the full extent of the damage done to his New York apartment in hurricane Sandy’s wake, revealing that it has been completely destroyed by flood water.

The fashionista is among the celebrities hardest hit by the natural disaster – he’s been staying in the same Upper East Side hotel as fashion royalty Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld, whose beautiful homes were plunged into darkness when the storm caused a power outage this week.

According to the New York Post , the three fashion moguls relocated to The Mark, where other big names were also spotted including model Helena Christensen, Russell Crowe – who is in town filming the Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah, – Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. Rooms can go for up to $5000 a night – bet the owners are rubbing their hands together!
A source told the tabloid: “The scene at The Mark was buzzing with big names escaping the downtown blackout.

“Emma Stone and Jonah Hill were at the bar, while Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld and André Balazs were at different tables in the restaurant.”
Speaking in a TMZ video, Marc’s explained that his property has been “completely lost”, and he’s now looking for a new place to live. Things are so bad, he’s not been able to go back to try and salvageany of his plentiful belongings.

We don’t want to think about the amount of beautiful things in that apartment that have potentially been ruined… but we’re glad Marc and the other celebs are all ok!

Lasting impression

Friday November 2nd, 2012

Oliver wins Derby, Kidman takes fashion prize.

Damien Oliver has won the Victoria Derby, producing a sterling ride to win the $1.5 million Flemington event on Fiveandahalfstar.
But there were almost as many eyes on screen siren Nicole Kidman, who stayed long enough to make a lasting impression on the Melbourne Cup carnival but not to see the main race on Derby Day.

The actor set the fashion stakes impeccably high when she arrived just after 11.30am at the Swisse marquee in the exclusive VIP birdcage area wearing a white-lace My Fair Lady-inspired outfit.

Showing style, grace and a touch of humour, Kidman whipped off her high heels when she posed for a photo with vertically challenged MasterChef judge George Calombaris.

The pair had a laugh as photographers had a field day tapping into the lighter side of Kidman’s personality.
Kidman’s fitted dress with black trim was designed by close friend L’Wren Scott and was complemented with a hat by renowned milliner Stephen Jones.”It’s inspired by (My Fair Lady),” Kidman told reporters.
“It’s one of my favourite movies.”We decided to do something that was fun and a bit different.”


Friday November 2nd, 2012

The Academy Award-winning actress conducted a 20-minute media call before spending more than two and a half hours mingling with the guests of Swisse.

She was accompanied to the event by her parents, Anthony and Janelle Kidman.
Hubby and country crooner Keith Urban stayed back in Nashville for the Country Music Association Awards on Thursday night, where he performed and was in the running for Male Vocalist of the Year award.

He was also busy minding their two children – four-year-old Sunday Rose and 23-month-old Faith Margaret.

“I brought my mum and dad,” Kidman said.
“I wish I could have brought Keith but he was at the CMAs last night and taking our kids trick or treating.”
Kidman flies back to France on Saturday night to return to the set of the Grace Kelly biopic, Grace of Monaco, in which she plays the leading lady.

Also getting plenty of attention was Russell Crowe’s estranged wife, Danielle Spencer, who played it safe and brought a “close friend” to the races.
Spencer was a guest of Myer in her first public outing since the news of her marriage split.


Friday November 2nd, 2012

Dressed in a white Collette Dinnigan outfit with a black belt, Spencer stayed tucked away in a corner of the opulent marquee with a few friends, acutely aware of the media and paparazzi buzzing around the tent.
“I brought a close friend with me,” Spencer told AAP.
Also mingling in the Myer marquee was the brand’s ambassador, Jennifer Hawkins, comedian Mick Molloy and actor Vince Colosimo.

Italian designer Roberto Cavalli had a slightly bigger entourage and security detail than Kidman for his appearance in the Lavazza marquee around 1pm.

He told reporters he started in fashion because: “I could have much more (of a) chance to meet the beautiful girls.”
Irish singer Ronan Keating, who split with his long-term partner earlier this year, brought along his new partner, Aussie TV producer Storm Uechtritz.

Keating, 35, arrived with Uechtritz and a host of Seven Network stars, including fellow X Factor judge Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Packed To The Rafters’s George Houvardas and Erik Thomson and Home And Away trio Demi Harman, Emily Symons and Samara Weaving.

Former Australia’s Got Talent judge Brian McFadden and his wife Vogue McFadden were among the celebrities in the Irish themed-Emirates marquee, which was one of the in-places in the VIP compound.
McFadden chewed the fat with soccer star Harry Kewell, while Collingwood Football Club president and Nine presenter Eddie McGuire was sharing the latest gossip with several AFL identities.


Thursday November 1st, 2012

Revolutionising male fashion.

Eddie Kirindo attracts attention. He has a unique way of dressing, so uncommon with many men. At an event in a high-class eatery in ABC Place, Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, camera flashes illuminate his drink on the counter as he chats with fashion designer John Kaveke.

Eddie, a fashion stylis, has a way of pairing a jacket with a shirt and tie over fitting pants, with a godfather hat topping the look.
With Kaveke, he is in good company as he is inspired by the renowned fashion designer.
Eddie’s is a lonely job, though highly rewarding. Lonely because not many practice it and you can bet no child dreams of becoming a fashion stylist.

Indeed, even for Eddie. While growing up he wanted to be a lawyer but detoured in engineering and ended up as a stylist.
Today, Eddie styles both men and women and works as a fashion consultant for magazines.
“Men are slowly getting interested in their own fashion,” says Eddie. He explains that men between the ages of 25 to 35 are concerned about stylish dressing and look.

Job description.
Currently, Eddie works as fashion stylist for a local glossy magazine. His job includes getting models, location and dressing them up in a way that ‘tells a story’. He says that for the whole professional look, the props, the location and the photographer also determine the final look.
With an eye for fashion, this former altar boy sometimes stops people on the streets whom he thinks possess modelling qualities.
“To be a fashion stylist,” says Eddie, “takes more than having a different, unique taste. You need to develop, a distinct eye for fashion and be knowledgeable about your audience’s fashion sense. In a nutshell, be fashion savvy in a 3D kind of way.”
This calls for doses of creativity. Not a problem for Eddie, who is a Pisces, a Zodiac sign for people born between February 19 and March 20 whom he calls smart, strategic, romantic and sensitive.


Thursday November 1st, 2012


Well, astrologers, whether you believe in them or not, describe Pisceans as extremely gifted artistically. If they overcome their tendency of fantasy, Pisceans can achieve great wealth and fame. Some famous Pisceans include actor Sidney Poitier, musician Liza Minnelli, scientist Albert Einstein and Rupert Murdoch, a Publisher.

Eddie has styled for Mr Price and collaborated with John Kaveke in 2010 during the Festival for African Fashion and Arts (Fafa), which seeks to change the perceptions of other communities through culture, fashion, arts and music. Eddie has also graced the 2010 Swahili Fashion Week and last year appeared in the London Fashion Week. He has also featured in the Patricia Show, and Mashariki Mix, an M-Net series on glamour, fashion and art.
So is a fashion stylist maketh or born? Eddie wanted to be a lawyer. But his fascination was not to practice but the pinstriped suits.

“I saw lawyers on TV and dreamt of wearing the same suit and carry a briefcase.”
Eddie remembers a comfortable lifestyle growing up. The third born in a family of five children recalls how their single mother businesswoman, travelled all over East Africa, leaving her responsibility to their eldest brother, Evans.

“When I was eight years old, I moved to stay with my mom’s high school best friend, Aunty Molly,” he recalls.
At Aunt Molly’s, Eddie got the first brush with fashion. The husband, Uncle Sam, was a pilot and a jazz lover who would bring fashion magazines home.

“During my stay with them I developed a good taste for life and fashion.”
And his life was not short of role models. His mom’s cousin, Phillip, an electrical engineer, had a good taste for music and immaculate taste in vintage furniture. Eddie took this to heart and his house today is living proof. He has decorated it to tasteful colours and adorned it with artwork. In the living room is a cabinet, which he designed and chiselled.

Schooling background.
Eddie grew up in Mombasa where he attended Ziwani Primary School and Khamis High School. By this time, the lad had decided to study engineering. He had developed interest in Physics and Mathematics, largely due to exposure to Philip’s lifestyle and the fact that, “there were limited choices then.”

He later joined Mombasa Polytechnic and acquired a Diploma in Electrical Engineering.

Defining moment

Thursday November 1st, 2012

In the year 2000, Eddie experienced a defining moment. His beloved mother passed on.
“I realised I was on my own,” says the soft-spoken man, “My life changed significantly.”
With his brother’s help, Eddie started a shop selling mobile phones. He later moved to the Middle East where he worked in the energy sector.

“While in the Middle East, I gathered knowledge in fashion merchandising. Soon after, I left for New Zealand to acquire a degree in Electrical Engineering.”

After just one semester, Eddie felt that he needed to do something related to fashion. He dropped out of college in a huff.
Eddie got lucky and apprentised under Nallet Goillaume, an art director turned fashion stylist for L’Official magazine in Melbourne, Australia.
“As Nallet’s apprentice, I gained incredible experience in editorial fashion styling. I subsequently followed him to France then Middle East for two years.”
After which Eddie came back home and got a job with Deacons as a visual merchandise manager. Since becoming a fashion stylist, Eddie has had several career highlights. For instance the Tusker All Star stylist. In 2008, Eddie was nominated as the best dressed man by Grazia Middle East, a fashion magazine. That same year he was part of the team that styled and photographed Nicolas Anelka, former Chelsea football star, for the France L’Opitmum Magazine cover shoot. Eddie has also worked with Issak Tiner, a New York-based celebrity photographer.
And now, he says, that he is glad to be a part of a male fashion revolution in Kenya. He is working on a TV fashion show, which he says will air soon.
His parting shot? “Dress your personality without necessarily looking like your neighbour.”

Celebrity engagement rings

Sunday October 7th, 2012

Jennifer Aniston
Now THAT’S a sparkler. Jennifer Aniston finally flashed her enormous engagement ring while in Santa Fe, New Mexico with husband-to-be Justin Theroux on Oct. 6, 2012. The actor popped the question to the former “Friends” star in August while celebrating his 41st birthday. Aniston and Theroux have been together for over a year since they began dating after production wrapped on their 2012 comedy, “Wanderlust.”


Friday October 5th, 2012

Shakira posts first ‘baby bump’ picture.

The Hips Don’t Lie singer, who is around six-months pregnant, shared a picture of herself that shows off her baby bump for the very first time yesterday. Shakira looks radiant in the image that shows her in a lovely purple dress, while she purposefully accentuates her growing bump.

Shakira posted the picture on Facebook on Saturday afternoon and added the caption: “Now I don’t have a six pack, only one pack!!” Almost instantly after sharing the intimate photograph fans inundated her with well wishes and congratulations. The picture received almost 50,000 comments and had near 400,000 people saying they liked it.
View slideshow: Shakira posts first ‘baby bump’ picture

Shakira announced last month that she was five months pregnant with her first child. She wrote on her Facebook page: “As some of you may know, Gerard and I are very happy awaiting the arrival of our first baby! At this time we have decided to give priority to this unique moment in our lives and postpone all the promotional activities planned over the next few days.”Earlier this year, Shakira and Gerard made the decision to live together and recently purchased a home in Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona. Shakira, 35, has been dating Gerard Pique, 25, since March 2011. Prior to her relationship with the FC Barcelona soccer star, Shakira was in a 10-year relationship with Antonio de la Rua.

Global audience

Friday October 5th, 2012

Paris holds first ‘Black Fashion Week’ aimed at bringing African talent to a global audience.

Adama Ndiaye launched the event to showcase the best the continent has to offer but dismissed criticism that it excluded others who were not black.
A model presents a creation by Adama during the Black Fashion Week show, on October 5, 2012 in Paris.

A Senegalese-born French fashion designer realised a long-held ambition when she staged the first ‘Black Fashion Week’ in Paris aimed at bringing African talent to a global audience.
Adama Ndiaye launched the event to showcase the best the continent has to offer but dismissed criticism that it excluded others who were not black.
“‘Why not a White Fashion Week?’ some have asked. But Paris Fashion Week is already white!” said Ndiaye, who is behind the show’s Adama Paris label and has organised Senegal’s Dakar Fashion Week for the past decade.
“We wanted to simply promote beyond African borders designers who are well-known in Africa or in their country but who don’t have access to the global market,” she said, explaining that in Africa fashion was not yet seen as an industry in its own right.
Even when designers put together collections, they were often unable to sell them, she said, adding that fashion week was not just an opportunity

for designers.
“For the models, the majority of them black, it’s also an occasion to get on the catwalk since most of the shows look for more expensive white models — some of whom dropped out of ‘Black Fashion Week’ to do better-paying gigs,” she said.

Ndiaye, who held a Black Fashion Week in Prague last year and will take the show to Montreal in November and Brazil’s Salvador de Bahia next March, said the fashion was not only intended for black people.

“These designs are not made by blacks for blacks,” she said.
Ultra-feminine styles showcased came in a variety of cuts with elements such as puff sleeves and backless dresses. Fabrics ranged from silk and satin to embroidered cotton.
Around 15 black designers from Africa or living in France, Haiti or the United States, presented their collections at the chic Pavillon Cambon Capucines in Paris.
Visitors to the event, which began on Friday and ended on Saturday, included Senegalese singer and tourism minister Youssou N’Dour.


Tuesday October 2nd, 2012

Style Denizens Primping For Fashion Focus Chicago.

Chicago’s ode to the local fashion scene runs October 15-21.
It’s time to figure out what you’re going to wear — and buy.

The city’s unofficial fashion week, Fashion Focus Chicago is scheduled for October 15-21 and this year’s theme — “You saw it on the runway, now buy it!” — is a not-so-subtle entreaty to encourage patrons to pay more than lip service to their favorite local designer.

Four headlining shows are scheduled this year, along with a number of shopping events. Tickets for each show are $35 for general admission and $95 for VIP, which includes a pre-party and preferred seating.

It all kicks off with Dress Code on October 15th at the Chicago Cultural Center, which highlights looks from Chicago’s fashion design schools.
The Millenium Park headlining shows will be held on three consecutive nights starting October 17th with the Macy’s Chicago Fashion Incubator Runway Show. The event supports the not-for-profit organization that helps emerging Chicago designers build their business. The six designers in residence and several alumni will showcase their designs at the show.
Mario Tricoci Hair Salons & Day Spas and vitaminwater present “Fashion Takes Flight” on Thursday night, featuring local designers Imaginary People, J. Cheikh, Shelby Steiner and Azza.

Style closes out the headlining shows with its 4th annual Art of Fashion show on Friday night, featuring the Spring 2013 collections of local designers such as Barbara Bates, Borris Powell and Lara Miller.

The Fashion Focus Chicago initiative supports and promotes independent fashion boutiques and fashion designers living and working in Chicago.

Dating Coach

Wednesday September 26th, 2012

Dating at Midlife: Do You Need a Dating Coach?

Decide if a dating coach is right for you.
If you’ve been struggling with relationships and can’t understand why you’re still single, you might benefit from hiring a dating coach. A dating coach can help you look at the approach you’ve taken to romance in a whole new way. They can also help you identify past issues that are still holding you back when it comes to finding love.
Should You Hire a Dating Coach?
Only you can decide if working with a dating coach is the right next step for you. A dating coach might be a good idea if you:

Can’t understand why you’re still single.

Always fall into the same negative patterns when it comes to relationships.
Fall in love easily and then are left confused when it doesn’t work out.
Find it difficult to get close to someone.

A dating coach will help you get beyond the surface and look to the real reasons why you might be having a rough time finding love. If you’re wondering if you’re on the right path or if you need to change, a dating coach may be able to shed some light in a different way than your friends can.

What Does a Dating Coach Do?

A dating coach is different than a matchmaker. Where a matchmaker is focused on finding you someone special, a dating coach is interested in having you make a real connection with that person. A dating coach will be centered on what you do on a date and how you follow up with someone. They’ll advise you on things like conversation techniques, your past dating mistakes and patterns, and even sometimes, intimacy issues.

Dating coaches get to know the real you and help you get out of your own way when it comes to finding love. While a dating coach is separate from a matchmaker, there are people who do both. They will work with you first on the reasons why you might be single, and coach you on the things you’re doing that are working against you. This might include:

The way you dress for a date.
Unresolved issues that exist from previous relationships.
Preconceived notions about love that are keeping you from a real romance.
Your expectations when you meet someone new.
The things you talk about on a first date.
The methods you use to meet people.

How to Work With a Dating Coach

In order to get the most out of your work with a dating coach, go in with an open mind. You know something doesn’t feel right about how you’ve dealt with romance in the past, and a dating coach will probably push you outside your comfort zones in some areas. For that reason, it’s important that you trust your dating coach and find someone you click with.

Before you hire a dating coach, ask:

For a list of past clients you can talk to.
What their philosophy is about love and romance in general.
What their most popular methods are.
Their idea of a success story. Does it involve marriage? A solid relationship?

How Can You Find a Dating Coach?

Dating coaches are located all over, and even if you aren’t physically located near one you can still connect using technology like Skype, email, and more. Some coaches work exclusively with a large dating site, so you can hire them at an additional cost to your membership. Others can be found through referrals or even an Internet search. Start with the terms “dating coach” and see who comes up in your area.

Josie Gibson

Saturday September 8th, 2012

Josie Gibson: I’ve lost 2 stone by working my arse off with 30-second exercise bursts!

Big Brother winner Josie Gibson is almost at her target weight – but it’s been tough.
Seeing Now columnist Josie Gibson looking so hot after ‘those’ bikini pics earlier this year has brought a smile to every face in the office.
But it hasn’t been easy going for the size 12 reality star, who’s lost over 2st so far, but is planning to lose more to get down to a 10.
‘I’ve been working my arse off to lose weight and I’m getting closer every week to my target weight of 10st,’ reveals Josie.
‘I’m working out, sometimes with a trainer, four days a week.
‘I’ve been doing this thing called primal interval training, which involves really short bursts of 30 seconds as hard and as flat out as you can go.
‘It’s been ideal for me because I hate working out, but doing mega-short bursts means you don’t feel like you’ve done a sluggish session.’
Having completely overhauled her diet too, the Bristol blonde, 27, won’t go back to her old junk food ways.
‘I’ve also been really careful with my diet and have ditched some old bad habits,’ she says.
‘I’m eating really healthy now, plenty of greens and fruit and veg, and I’m taking fish oils and vitamins.
‘The difference has been amazing.
‘Even my skin and hair feel healthier – and since I cut down on the booze, saving it for special occasions, I’ve been thinking clearer and getting loads more done in my life.’
Read more about Josie Gibson in Now magazine dated 8 October 2012 – out now!

Talking Tech

Wednesday August 15th, 2012

Skype Safe Dating.

A fun, safe way to meet — and look good while you’re at it.
Have you heard about Skype safe dating? It’s an innovative way to meet someone new without the inconvenience of traveling… or even having to put on your pants.
While some of us are using Skype to stay in touch with faraway children, grandchildren, friends, lovers and business associates, there are many other creative ways to use the service that enable us to see and hear each other on a computer, tablet device, or even a smartphone for pennies.

First, You Meet Online…

If you’re single and looking, there are a number of websites that focus on matching midlife men and women. Or try one of the biggies, like Match and eHarmony.
Should you have the fortune to meet someone online who seems compatible and appealing, one or the other of you may suggest meeting IRL (in real life).
Not so fast, you think. Didn’t our mothers warn us not to talk to strangers? Well, there’s no danger in that. But there are lots of reasons meeting via Skype beats that first date IRL:

You can fit it into your schedule without losing travel time
No need to get a babysitter for underage children or grandchildren in your care
No travel expenses, plus it’s a good way to meet someone who would otherwise be geographically undesirable
No date or clothing expenses
No weather to turn your tresses into a bad hair day
Easier to end a terrible date on Skype than IRL
You only have to get dressed and made up from the waist up
No high heels required
If it’s not a love match, you can quickly return to play the field… or Solitaire

Looking Good on Skype

I recently met (via Skype, of course) beauty consultant Pati Dubroff, who kindly offered tips on making up your face for a Skype date on webcam.

Find the most flattering light to illuminate your face
Choose an uncluttered background
Make eye contact with the webcam
Look up

The camera saturates colors, so you want to keep it light. “Less is more,” says Pati. “Don’t do the full face paint.” Instead:

Even your skin tone with a primer or tinted moisturizer (no heavy foundation)
Use undereye concealer
Curl your lashes and apply mascara
Use cream blush for a dewy, glowing look
Instead of lipstick, choose sheer tinted lipgloss

The same way you wouldn’t leave the house without checking yourself out in the mirror and asking someone “how do I look,” do it digitally. Have a dress rehearsal with a friend who’s on Skype to make sure you look good from the waist up. You can also see how you appear on camera when Skype is launched by choosing Call > Video > Video Setting.

Talking Tech.
If you’ve never used Skype, download the free user software. If you are a Skype customer, make sure you have the latest version.
You’ll need a computer, tablet, or smartphone with a camera. Or you can use a separate (and better quality) webcam such as the Logitech c920 HD Pro Webcam for PC users and the Logitech c910 HD Pro Webcam for Mac users.
It’s important to have a strong Internet connection. Keep in mind that reception still may not be perfect – so you may want to keep your first Skype date short. For the best audio, use an a/v headset. And like your mother told you, remember to smile.

Woman Alive

Sunday August 12th, 2012

Mila Kunis named Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive: Her hottest moments.

Mila Kunis in Esquire
Guys love her, girls want to be her. Whether she’s rocking a T-shirt and jeans or a red carpet gown, see why people can’t stop talking about Mila Kunis … Esquire finally made official what everyone else already knows! Mila Kunis is the Sexiest Woman Alive. The 29-year-old Ukrainian beauty posed topless for the cover of the magazine’s November issue, wearing only a pair of skin-tight black pants. Then again, the stunning actress doesn’t need much to look gorgeous …


Thursday July 5th, 2012

Bringing My White Boyfriend Home to Mom.

Is interracial dating still such a big deal for people to grasp? I posed the question to a group of my girlfriends one evening not long ago, as we sat on the rooftop of Latitude Bar and Grill, among a crowd of 20-something professionals, sipping margaritas and enjoying the last days of a New York summer. The collective response was a nonchalant who cares, with all agreeing that the topic has been overly probed in the media. “Maybe it’s because we live here,” one friend said, “but it’s not a big deal.”

We are a group of women of color who have all participated in interracial dating. It is inevitable, especially being single and living in New York City. All in our mid-20s, we live a reality that is a melting pot of mixing and mingling, people open to making connections with anyone who can hold down a good conversation. This can lead to multiple dates and that can lead to marriage. According to the Pew Research Center, interracial marriage rates are at an all-time high in the United States, with the percentage of couples exchanging vows across the color line more than doubling over the last 30 years.


Wednesday July 4th, 2012

But for my 52-year-old mother, an interracial relationship was not something she was open to when she was dating and in her 20s. Raised on Chicago’s South Side, in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, my mom was 9 when riots broke out after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; a senior in high school when “Roots” was shown on television; and as a young adult had to deal with Chicago’s housing and school segregation policies throughout the 1980s.

As far as she was concerned, only a black man could appreciate her foxy Afro and Southern-homebred cooking. Only a black man would be accepted by my Southern grandmother, who paradoxically married my grandfather — a biracial man from the Virgin Islands — but would always say that she hoped her own children would never marry outside their race. “I don’t have anything against anyone, I just prefer my kids to marry black,” she would say to my mom. All five children stayed within the color lines.

For much of her adult life, my mom says she has shared the same sentiments on dating as my grandmother when it came to me, her only child. That is, until the time came when she had to accept that I was open to crossing racial boundaries.


Tuesday July 3rd, 2012

The first time I dated a guy who was not black, I was in my second year at DePaul University in Chicago. Tall, blue eyes, short buzz-cut — Mike was the favorite eye-candy for all the girls on campus, especially among the small percentage of black girls who attended the private Roman Catholic institution. He had the “swag factor”— confidence, charisma, a stylish appearance — that I and most of my girlfriends are attracted to. And Mike was attracted to us as well. The majority of his previous girlfriends had been black or Hispanic. But, most important, Mike was an all-around, down-to-earth person: easy to talk to, would speak to anyone who passed by (even if he didn’t know them) and was always offering to help someone in need. Naturally, we hit it off instantly.

My mom and I had rarely talked in depth about guys I dated. (At that point, I had never liked anyone enough to mention to her.) But Mike and I began hanging out a lot. And when she would call to check in with me at school, she would always ask, “What are you up to?” My frequent response: “Hanging with Mike.” I don’t recall when or how I mentioned he was white, but when my mom found out, word quickly spread throughout the family.
I imagine the initial call was to my Auntie, and probably went something like this:
Mom, in her sassy girl-let-me-tell-you tone: “You know your niece is dating a white guy, right?”
My Auntie would respond: “Ha! Oh, really?”
They would both say, in unison, “Hmmm.”
That “hmmm” meant a lot without having to say much at all.


Monday July 2nd, 2012

I didn’t know what to expect when I brought Mike home for the first time to meet my mom. It wasn’t a planned event, just a quick hi and bye; he was bringing me back from school for the weekend. (He didn’t even step all the way into the house.) My mom wasn’t rude to him, but she definitely kept the conversation short. Mike wasn’t bothered, however. He was used to being in these types of situations, which helped to ease my mind when I finally met his parents, who were more comfortable with their kids’ race relations than my mom was. (At the time, Mike’s sister was dating an Indian man. She’s now married to a Mexican-American.)

As time passed, the conversations between my mom and Mike grew longer, and eventually he was sitting at the kitchen table talking to her about her days at work. He and I would date for three years, until, eventually, our lives took us in different directions: he became a community organizer for low-income residents in Chicago; I moved to New York for graduate school to pursue journalism. We remain good friends. And my mom still asks how he’s doing.

It wasn’t until years later that I would finally ask my mom how she felt about my dating Mike and my generation’s openness to interracial dating.

“At first, I didn’t like you dating a white guy at all,” she recently told me. “But once I got to know him and his family, and you started telling me more about his background, it wasn’t a problem.”


Sunday July 1st, 2012

We talked for a while about the phases of acceptance that she and her baby boomer peers have had to go through. Because of their children’s openness to interracial relationships, they’ve not only had to come to terms with us dating outside our race, but also the likely possibility that we may not marry someone of the same color. “I’ve gotten to the point where I can fully expect both possibilities, but there’s still a slight preference for you to marry a black man,” she said.

For African-Americans, the shift also comes with a sense of disappointment toward what I and my friends view as the troubling state of black men in this country. A Stanford law professor, Ralph Richard Banks, even suggested in his popular book “Is Marriage for White People?” that we expand our dating options because too many black men are incarcerated, gay or just not interested in dating us.

More than anything, my mom just wants me to find someone who makes me happy, as do most parents. I am the oldest grandchild and was the first to expose my family to interracial dating. Over the years, as my cousins have started to do the same, there is no longer the awkwardness that I had experienced, though my mom does remind us that if my grandmother were still alive, she would not be as tolerant. It is understandable. After all, my parents and grandparents grew up in a time when racism was more pronounced. I would never discredit that. Their experiences and efforts have made it easier for my generation to live a lifestyle that allows us to date whomever we want without worrying — or even noticing — if anyone cares.

Fashion statement

Thursday January 26th, 2012

Fashion statement: The red carpet is unforgiving

With a lifetime of red carpet misses ranging from uncomfortably busty Guinevere gowns to something reminiscent of Grandma’s doily tablecloth, Disney princess Miley Cyrus hasn’t exactly been fashion It Girl material. Until now.

The sleek and chic futuristic white dress Cyrus wore to the People’s Choice Awards on Jan. 11 was so well-received that it could single-handedly turn the star’s fashion fortunes around. The dress was by David Koma, a designer who hails from Georgia, shows in London and is so new to the fashion scene that his website is still under construction.

When it comes to the red carpet, it’s easy to think that a beautiful dress is just that: a beautiful dress. But the right dress can be a game changer when it comes to how a celebrity is perceived and the career opportunities that follow. And the wrong dress can mean this year’s fresh young thing is forgotten by the time the Oscars red carpet is rolled up.

Some people get it. Rooney Mara, for instance, has been appearing on red carpets in tough-and-sexy black gowns by Nina Ricci and Roksanda Ilincic that have more than a hint of her Lisbeth Salander character in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Berenice Bejo, on the other hand, has been blending into the background, wearing a series of blue gowns by Gucci and Elie Saab, each one indistinguishable from the last, and missing an opportunity to stand out, either on her own behalf or on behalf of her hit film “The Artist.”

“Some actresses don’t understand that a great dress on the red carpet does have an impact,” says Hal Rubenstein, In Style fashion director and author of the new book “100 Unforgettable Dresses.”

“They are just looking for the pretty dress, not the right dress.”

Compare Bejo to Marion Cotillard, another French ingenue who was a relative unknown when she burst on the awards show scene in 2007. Nominated for several film awards for playing Edith Piaf in the film “La Vie En Rose,” Cotillard was on a red carpet merry-go-round similar to Bejo, who has been nominated for several awards for “The Artist.”

“When Cotillard was nominated, she wore one distinctive dress after another,” Rubenstein says. “‘La Vie En Rose’ wasn’t a film that was going to be a big hit, yet she looked so distinctive, even the public who didn’t see the film was asking who is this woman. Berenice Bejo is a lovely actress and a lovely woman, but her clothing is generic. So consequently, we’re not noticing her.”

Emma Stone pulled off a red carpet coup at last year’s Golden Globe Awards when she showed up in a simple coral Calvin Klein gown and white-blond hair and upstaged everyone.

“She was a brand new girl who had an unexpected hit in the kids’ film ‘Easy A,’” Rubenstein says. “And when she showed up, it was like someone opened a window. She was so striking, it introduced her to an adult audience.” In the year since, Stone has become a Hollywood and fashion world darling. In 2011, she racked up Glamour, Elle, Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair magazine covers.

The dress Cyrus chose for the People’s Choice Awards speaks volumes about where she would like her career to go. For the first time, she came across less as a hard-partying, trash-talking, peace sign-flashing teen and more as a sophisticated, well-dressed, refined young woman. And as it turns out, that’s what her stylist intended.

Swedish fashion

Thursday January 26th, 2012

Swedish fashion chain H&M sees small drop in Q4 profit due to discounting but market share up

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB on Thursday posted a 2.4 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profits, slightly weaker than market expectations, due to higher materials costs and heavy discounting to attract customers during an economic downturn.

Still, the company said it continued to gain market share during the period and remains optimistic about the future.

It plans to open 275 new stores in the coming year — in Bulgaria, Latvia, Malaysia, Thailand and Mexico, the group’s first foray into Latin America. It will also launch online sales on the world’s largest online market, the United States.

H&M, which is headquartered in Stockholm, said net profit dropped to 5.36 billion kronor ($790 million) in the September-November period from 5.49 billion in the same quarter a year earlier, despite a rise in sales to 36.19 billion kronor from 34.79 billion kronor.

The company blamed currency fluctuations, higher purchasing prices — mainly due to more expensive cotton — and discounts it had to make to fend off competition during what it called “one of the toughest years for a long time for the fashion retail industry.”

It said it also focused on higher quality and more sustainable materials.

H&M, whose main competitor is Spain’s Inditex, the owner of Zara, specializes in offering the latest fashion trends at low prices. It has collaborated with international designers and fashion icons, such as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Madonna and David Beckham.

The closely-watched gross margin, an indicator of profitability, fell to 61.9 percent in the fourth quarter from 63.2 percent a year earlier.

However, the December sales figures, released in conjunction with the report, pleased market watchers. They showed a 13 percent increase, including sales tax, compared with the same month a year earlier, while the company said the development for January looked “strong.”

Analysts had feared that the warmer-than-usual weather would have negative effects on the sale of its autumn- and winter collections during the Christmas season.

For the full year 2011, the group posted a net profit of 15.82 billion kronor, down from 18.68 billion kronor the previous year.

In mid-morning trade, shares in the company had fallen 0.6 percent to 220.90 kronor ($32.65) on the Stockholm stock exchange.

Simon Kjellstrom, an analyst at Pareto Ohman in Stockholm said that although the squeezed margins disappointed slightly, the positive news about strong sales in both December and January largely offset that gloom. “The first quarter has started off well,” he said, “and it balances it out.”

CEO Karl-Johan Persson said that despite the economic uncertainty experienced in many of the company’s markets in 2011, “the fact that we have gained market share, proves that our customers appreciate our collections.”

Looking ahead, he said the macro-economic challenges are likely to continue also in 2012, “but we have a strong belief in our offering and are convinced that H&M will continue to maintain its strong position as the year goes on.”

H&M, founded in 1947, has 94,000 staff and around 2,500 stores in 43 countries. It also owns other brands like higher-priced COS and urban fashion labels such as Monki, Weekday and Cheap Monday.

fashion show

Thursday January 26th, 2012

Critics split on Amy Winehouse-inspired fashion show

Fashion critics have delivered mixed reviews of designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s latest collection, which was inspired by the late Amy Winehouse.

The show featured models with huge, beehive hairdos, exposed bra straps and pencil skirts.

The Independent’s Susannah Frankel said: “This was not his most accomplished collection by any stretch of the imagination.”

But writing in the New York Times, Suzy Menkes called it an “exceptional” show.

Backstage, the French fashion designer admitted that although he had never met the star, their styles “had always been similar.”

The 59-year-old told the New York Times that he thought it was a “scandal” that Winehouse had never featured on the front cover of any fashion magazines.

“She was so exceptional in her style; how she held her body; the way she dressed, mixing pieces from different decades.”

The heavily tattooed star became known for mixing 1950 dresses with contemporary blouses and stilettos.

News agency, the Associated Press, said the “show’s concept was hard-edged femininity, dressed up with Gaultier’s signature touch of androgyny”.

The models were accompanied, on the catwalk, by a barbershop rendition of Winehouse’s songs, including Rehab to Back to Black.

Fashion Wire Daily’s Godfrey Deeny said: “In a generous return to form for Gaultier, the collection was a joyful homage to the troubled London chanteuse and her quirky bohemian style.”

Winehouse died in July last year, aged 27.

In November, a polka dot chiffon dress, which she wore on the cover of her hit album Back to Black, sold for £43,200 at an auction.

Last year, clothing brand Fred Perry released a collection of clothes which Winehouse herself had helped design.

The singer favoured the tennis brand, often teaming polo shirts with tight pencil skirts.

Toronto’s Fashion Week

Thursday January 26th, 2012

Credits cards and clothes have always had a chummy relationship and on Wednesday night the Fashion Design Council of Canada (FDCC) effectively tied the knot.

Toronto’s Fashion Week, whose tag – like that of any other major world fashion week – seems to fluctuate with the corporate winds, has settled on World Mastercard Fashion Week as its new name.

Robin Kay, president of the FDCC, which engineers the biannual affair), announced the new relationship at an exclusive event in Toronto’s Royal Conservatory, and also debuted the week’s new logo, which features “fashion week” as the prominent text in block letters that break the words under Mastercard’s familiar Venn diagram.

“This is the first time that a sponsor has given fashion week such play,” says Kay of the logo. “I’m incredibly pleased that fashion week takes the prominence.”

The event’s last major sponsor, electronics giant LG, had finished its 2009 contract in fall 2011, and the new big name is considered a coup for fashion week, which is the second largest in North America and exists on corporate funding.

“While we promote and cultivate the Canadian fashion landscape, we are not financially subsidized by any level of government,” says Kay.

Monikers aside, Mastercard looks to be delving into the fashion climate by bringing fans content during fashion week via Facebook and Twitter (they’ve already called dibs on hashtag “#pricelessToronto”), and also bolstering their Stylicity program, which promises special offers and experiences to card holders in fashionable Toronto neighbourhoods in March.

Mastercard, like the FDCC, is interested in reminding Canadians that the week is not merely an exclusive sneak peek for industry insiders and fashion journalists, but a global showcase for designers and a venue for shoppers actually purchase items.

“This is a signal that fashion is to be bought,” says Kay.

The theme for this spring’s fashion week, which will parade the fall-winter 2011/2012 collections of Canadian and international designers, also speaks to the council’s interest in bringing fashion to the masses. “Canadian catwalk” runs March 12 to 17.

Cameron Diaz

Thursday January 26th, 2012

Cameron Diaz pops by Paris fashion shows

Cameron Diaz is hitting the fashion week shows in Paris. On Wednesday, she posed at the Valentino Spring/Summer 2012 Haute-Couture show, and on Tuesday she was spotted checking out the Chanel collection. Do you like her girlish frock? … Salma Hayek has also been spotted at the shows — in a plunging black lace dress. … And disco divas Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor, Grace Jones and Chaka Kahn took over the Etam fashion house runway this week. … Speaking of Cameron Diaz, new posters are out for her May 11 film, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, featuring a bunch of bumps, including Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks and Brooklyn Decker. … And speaking of Elizabeth Banks, she says that ledge in her new movie was “real.” …

Elsewhere: Tom Cruise and daughter Suri had some special father-daughter time at Disneyland on Wednesday. … Katie Couric doesn’t want to just talk to celebs about their new movies. … Look for American Idol Scotty McCreery to guest star on Hart of Dixie on April 23. … Stan Lee says Andrew Garfield is as good a Spider-Man as Tobey Maguire. … Jason Wu‘s Target collection unveiling is almost here. … Congrats are in order for Community‘s Danny Pudi and his wife, Bridget, who are proud parents of twins — a son and daughter. … And finally, Jerry Seinfeld‘s take on comedy: “People live lives of ‘quiet desperation.’ Standup is loud desperation.” He adds, he “never felt great” being at the top of the heap. “This is not where I belong.”

Fashion Jeans

Thursday January 26th, 2012

MONTREAL – Neon pink, lime and tangerine orange Ts have sprouted at the Gap, a quick pick-me-up for the winter blahs, which seem to have hit a little early this year. At BCBG, juicy orange dresses and trousers are front and centre, along with a flowing, long lemon yellow dress. Simons is showing purple Joe’s Jeans, kelly green tops and dresses, and Christopher Kane’s rainbow resort collection. Clearly, you need look no farther than your local mall for a spring colour blast. You could also look to the women in the crowd at President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday. They wore the shades of peacocks, parrots and birds of paradise: Michelle Obama in sapphire Barbara Tfank, and shots of emerald, fuchsia, red and yellow throughout the audience. Fashion is seasonless, and the march of merch ceaseless. The seasons are a mash, with resort and pre-fall vying for attention with spring runway reports. And Paris haute couture for spring and summer wrapped Wednesday. Point is, nobody is stalling deliveries of fresh fashion even in Montreal, although we remain woollied up to our eyeballs. Here is what we know about what will be on offer in the next six months:

Fashion professionals

Thursday January 26th, 2012

Colourama: Pantone has declared tangerine tango, a vivacious juicy orange, the colour of 2012. True enough, last year’s love affair with all things orange is carrying on. But a quick look at the runways reveals a zap of electric yellow – Pantone’s Solar Power – to be the brightener of the season. Paula Patton sported it at the Golden Globes in a gown by Monique Lhuillier, and Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta and Sonia Rykiel all dared to blare. Even H&M coloured its women’s lookbook a dazzling yellow. (The men’s lookbook is orange.)

But the fashion pendulum swings. By the time spring is here, pastels will take their place – moss, baby blue, pink and yellow and soothing neutrals dominated the spring catwalk palette. Think Chanel, with its waterworld set, lacy Louis Vuitton and flapperish Ralph Lauren.

Flipping for flappers: Roaring ’20s style, with the dropped waist, asymmetrical hem, geometric sequin embellishment and a sense of freedom, is back – again. Credit The Artist, with the fetching Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller (loved all her shoes in the flick!), and Baz Luhrmann’s coming remake of The Great Gatsby. Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli and Etro were among the designers putting on the glitz.

Erogenous zone: Fab abs were bared on skinny models at Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Nina Ricci and many more. Not a trend to take universally.

Waterworld: Blue from aqua to turquoise, flowed freely on the catwalks, and is landing in a Winners near you soon, along with water motifs: coral and underwater prints at Mary Katzantrou, clamshell couture at Armani, strange, mermaid-like creatures at Alexander McQueen, and from Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, a show set in an underworld fantasyland.

Couture revival: Fifties classic couture inspired Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander, Jason Wu, Oscar de la Renta and Theyskens Theory – worn by Piper Perabo at the Golden Globes. The age of elegance is revived for the 21st century.

Fit chic: Beyond Lululemons, athletic designs and high-tech fabrics hit the runway at Alexander Wang, always one to watch.

Here is what three fashion professionals have to say about spring.


Thursday January 26th, 2012

The Pantone prognosticator:Fashion is always a leader in where we go with colour,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute.

People find a jolt of orange – tangerine tango – uplifting and inspiring when the economy is depressing, she said.

“Colours are lingering on from one season to another because people are getting more practical,’’ she said. And the neutrals people buy when the economy is dicey need spicing up.

People experiment with bright accessories because that costs less than a new coat, so you will see oranges in shoes, belts, bags, jewellery and tops, Eiseman said. Orange is also showing up in accessories for the home, especially tabletops, she added.

Solar power yellow, next to orange on the colour wheel, is now No. 2. It has gained momentum since Eiseman first noted it two years ago in Europe.

Also strong for spring, blue, between navy and royal, a great balancing colour for orange, as well as neutral beiges that Pantone is calling starfish and driftwood. And a five-year love affair with margarita, a yellow-green, continues, she said.

As for those runway pastels, “There’s something very ethereal and dreamlike about them,’’ Eiseman said. “Women love the romanticism of those colours.’’

Orange in its many guises will continue to autumn, as will the hot pinks, which have had a long run in the fashion spotlight.

“Retro is definitely not going away. It captures a lot of attention on the part of consumers.”

The mass merchant: Winners rolled its racks into Montreal Monday to preview its spring offerings to media and stylists. “Colour is the big story of the season,’’ said PR manager Colleen Uncao. There are the classic blacks and whites, the life aquatic for blues mixed with pearlized and metallic accents, as well as the ongoing trend to saturated brights.

Neutrals are all about textures like crocheted lace and are often ladylike and 20s-inspired with dropped waists and cloche hats, she said. “Pastels and sorbets are fresh for spring.”

Uncao predicts bright jeans will have mass appeal this spring, for women, men and kids.

The sport trend is also big for Winners, with techno jackets, mesh inlays, and little tennis dresses.

Among the items we spotted on the racks: aqua jeans, bathing suits and scarves; colour-blocked patent heels in turquoise and purple, or red and pink; cream crocheted flapper dresses, long and short, with tiers of lace.


Thursday January 26th, 2012

The trend watcher: Jeremy Gutsche of Trend Hunter, an online compilation of hundreds of thousands of micro trends, said this period of economic uncertainty is having an effect on fashion. “This leads people to jump at things a little more happy or positive,’’ said Gutsche, based in Toronto.

He characterizes that trend as superhero reality, with bright colours. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is another aspect of that, with Lisbeth Salander seen as a female superhero.

Virtual reality is making its way to retail, he said, with virtual shoe fittings at Converse, virtual dressing rooms for bathing suits and virtual makeup mirrors.

On the retro front, Mad Men inspired the trend to the ’50s and ’60s, Gutsche pointed out. Now we’re looking to the 20s, with flapper fashion and the rise of apothecaries and speakeasies. (Montreal has Want Apothecary in Westmount, and a speakeasy at Rosalie’s on de la Montagne St.)

“Whatever becomes popular becomes mainstream. Because cool is not what’s popular,” Gutsche said. “It’s that next big thing.”

Fashion designer

Thursday January 26th, 2012

JuJu fashion label launched

A fashion designer from Pretoria’s Mabopane township launched a range of clothes inspired by suspended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema on Thursday.

The branded caps, T-shirts and vests, which feature a brightly coloured mouth, were inspired by his speeches, says the 27-year-old designer, Obakeng Ramabodu.

“I have not met someone, who, when he speaks, 80 percent of people listen.”

It was the outspoken Malema’s drive to achieve his goals against all odds that inspired Ramabodu to persevere with his idea to develop the JuJu label. Juju is Malema’s nickname.

“He is always pushing for things,” he said.

The JuJu label was selling well, with 300 T-shirts snapped up soon after coming on the market.

The designer was aiming at the 10 to 36-year-old market and would include a JuJu Babe range for women, JuJu Boy for young men and JuJu Kids.

Despite Ramabodu’s enthusiasm for South African politics, manufacturing costs forced him to look to China to produce the first range.

“It is a South African idea. The Chinese could not have made this thing if it was not in my mind.”

He was now hoping to interest big retailers like the Edcon Group and Woolworths in selling the clothes. The JuJu range’s first provincial launch would take place in Malema’s home province of Limpopo. – Sapa


Thursday January 26th, 2012

Rihanna to front new fashion TV show

The What’s My Name singer will produce and appear in the unnamed show on Sky Living, the winner of which will create an outfit for her headline appearance at this summer’s Wireless Festival in London.

See Rihanna’s holiday wardrobe

The singer, famous for her revealing and risqué style choices said: “I’ve always had a great love of fashion. It’s a constant source of inspiration in my life, and is a big reason why I’ve grown into the person and artist I am today.”

She added that is “very fortunate” to have collaborated with renowned designers and stylists through her career so far, and explained how she is “excited to follow the journey of our aspiring contestants and see how their individuality influences their efforts during the course of the show.”

See inside Rihanna’s dressing room

Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts – who has asserted herself as a front row favourite thanks to her fashion-forward style and own range of make-up – has been handpicked to front the series.

“I was so flattered when Rihanna asked me to work with her on this show,” said Roberts. “I’m so excited for us to get started on finding a new up and coming British designer who just needs a chance, a little bit of help in getting their skills noticed.

Promising designers will be challenged over the course of 10 weeks to create outfits for musicians and celebrities.

Sky Living: “The chance to dress one of the world’s most famous women for an event that will attract worldwide coverage is the perfect springboard for the aspiring designer’s future fashion career.”