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judy smith Apr 2015
The Pakistan Fashion Design Council in collaboration with Sunsilk presented the fourth and final day of the eighth PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week. Indeed the 8th PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week marked the twelfth fashion week platform initiated by the Pakistan Fashion Design Council [with eight weeks of prêt-à-porter and four of bridal fashion] and was a direct manifestation of the Council’s commitment to sustainability and discipline within the business of fashion and the facilitation of Pakistan’s retail industry. Indeed #PSFW15 endeavoured to define and present trends for 2015, focusing specifically on fashion for the regions’ long hot summer months. Day-4 featured High-Street Fashion shows by the House of Arsalan Iqbal, Erum Khan, Chinyere and Hassan Riaz and designer prêt-à-porter shows by Sana Safinaz, Republic by Omar Farooq, Syeda Amera, Huma & Amir Adnan, Sania Maskatiya and HSY.

Speaking about the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week platform, Chairperson of the PFDC, Sehyr Saigol said: “With the 12th iteration of our critically acclaimed fashion weeks, the PFDC is always working to streamline our prêt-à-porter platform to make the PSFW experience more beneficial for all stakeholders in terms of show experience, exposure and ultimately, retail value. To that end, each year we look inward to find the best possible formats and categories to benefit the very trade and business of fashion. In this vein, we introduced 3 separate categories for Luxury/Prêt, High Street and Textile at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, giving each entirely separate show space, times, audience exposure and viewing power. Our High Street fashion brands had been given a standalone show time on two separate days as early evening shows and Textile brands a separate dedicated day for Voile shows on Day 3 of PSFW 2015, a measured step to further highlight Pakistan’s textile prowess and high street fashion strength which are of significant importance to national and international fashion markets. As per past tradition, we continue to work closely with all our emerging designers and mainstream brands to help hone their collections for the runway through mentorship by senior PFDC Council members and with retail support through the PFDC’s own stores and network. We are grateful for the committed support of our sponsors and partners which provides us the stimulus to further enhance our fashion week platforms and put forth the best face of Pakistani fashion on a consistent basis.”

“The Sunsilk girl is an achiever, with an air of enthusiasm and positivity. Great hair can give her the extra dose of confidence so with Sunsilk by her side, she is empowered to take on life. Fashion is very close to this aspirational Pakistani girl making the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week a highly valued platform for us. We recognize PFDC’s efforts to promote the fashion industry and experienced and upcoming talent alike. Sunsilk has been a part of this fantastic journey for 6 consecutive years and continues to shape aspirations, taking contemporary fashion directly to the homes of consumers and encouraging them to script their own stories of success” said Asanga Ranasinghe, VP Home and Personal Care for Unilever Pakistan.

On the concluding day of #PSFW15, the Chairperson of the PFDC Mrs. Sehyr Saigol also made a special announcement on behalf of the Council and its Board Members, where she shared the Council’s plans to establish Pakistan’s first ever craft based Design District, a multi-purpose specialized facility that would assist in developing and enhancing the arts and crafts industries, which are an integral part of Pakistan’s rich cultural legacy. In addition to being a centre for skill improvement and capacity building, the Design District would also house a first of its kind Textile Museum.

The official spokesperson of the PFDC, Sara Shahid of Sublime by Sara also announced the official dates for the Council’s next fashion week, PFDC L’Oréal Paris Bridal Week 2015 which is scheduled to be held from 15th September to 17th September 2015.

Indeed the success of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week continued to prompt private sector associates to grow in their engagement of the platform to launch new marketing campaigns and promotional activities. To this end, the PFDC’s evolving partnership with Sunsilk grew exponentially this year whereby in addition to their title patronage; Sunsilk also took over the coveted PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week red carpet and the Green Room/Backstage, as sponsors. This extension of their support is indeed a manifestation of the brand’s belief in and commitment to the platform. Also in continuation of their support for the platform, Fed Ex – GSP Pakistan Gerry’s International returned to PSFW as the official logistics partner, offering the PFDC a special arrangement for international designer consignments.

PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015 was styled by the creative teams at Nabila’s and NGENTS. Light design, set design, sound engineering, video packaging, choreography and show production from concept to construction was by HSY Events, front stage management by Maheen Kardar Ali, backstage management by Product 021, Sara Shahid of Sublime by Sara as the official spokesperson for the PFDC, logistics and operations by Eleventh Experience and photography by Faisal Farooqui and the team at Dragonfly, Hum TV/Hum Sitaray as the Official Media Partners, CityFM89 as the Official Radio Partners with all media management by Lotus Client Management & Public Relations.

High-Street Fashion Shows

The House of Arsalan Iqbal

The afternoon High-Street Fashion Shows on the final day of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015 were opened by leading fashion brand The House of Arsalan Iqbal, who showcased a collection titled ‘Devolution Chic’. Inspired by street art across the world by various artists, European high-street trends and technique of quilting, Arsalan Iqbal garnered personal portfolios of graffitists from myriad urban cityscapes such as London, New York, Tokyo, Barcelona and Cape Town, juxtaposed with some unique in-house created patterns including those of Pac-man, calligraphic flourishes and aqua and tangerine bands and circlets. Based in chiffon, the ensembles were molded into voluminous structured silhouettes including draped tunics, edgy jumpsuits and wide palazzos dovetailed with off-white and ecru charmeuse silk jackets created with a revolutionary quilting process. Along with menswear pieces, the collection also included in-house footwear and jewellery made in collaboration with pioneering Karachi-based street artist SANKI.

Erum Khan

Designer Erum Khan followed next and made her PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week debut with ‘The Untainted Shine’. The collection took its inspiration from the sparkle of twinkling stars, a walk on pearl dew in the morning and the enchanted glow which is produced when “a magic wand” is waved around the body, making it glow in a pearlescent white and exhibiting a jewel themed lustre on the body. With neat and straight structured cuts, Erum had used fabrics such as organza combined with silk, 3D flowers, patch work and antique katdanna in a collection which was based in a white colour palette. Trends highlighted in the collection were high waist skirts to button up pants and sheer long dresses. Acclaimed Pakistani musician Goher Mumtaz and his wife Anam Ahmed walked the ramp as the designer’s celebrity showstoppers.

Chinyere

Following Erum Khan, fashion brand Chinyere showcased its Spring/Summer 2015 High-Street collection ‘Mizaj-e-Shahana’ at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015. An ode to the era of the Mughal royalty and their imperial aesthetic, the collection comprised of modern silhouettes and traditional embellishments with organza skirts paired with cropped tops, angarkha-peplum tops with embellished cigarette pants, sheer knee-length jackets paired with structured digital printed bustier-jumpsuits, diaphanous wrap-around boot-cuts and embellished boxy sleeves with soft A-line silhouettes. Chinyere also showcased ten menswear pieces comprising of waistcoats, jodhpurs, knee-length sherwanis paired with gossamer sheer kurtas. The colours used had been divided into a collection of distinctive Mughalesque pastels and jewel tones. The pastels included the classic marble ivory-on-ivory, the bold black, saffron, gold and ivory. The colour segments also included metallic gold and grey sections, with accents of bronze and black. The jewel tones included jade, emerald, ruby and sapphire.

Hassan Riaz

The concluding High-Street fashion show of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015 was presented by Hassan Riaz who showcased his ‘Contained Shadows’ collection. Inspired by the diverse facets of the human soul that explore both the dark and light sides of human nature, taking into account yearnings, desires, and anxieties that make us distinctly human, Hassan had based the collection in summer twill, organza and summer denim in shades of blue and white with a gold accent to reflect upon his inspirations. ‘Contained Shadows’ made use of structured and drifting silhouettes, cage crinolines with corsets and bustiers with distinct trends featuring cropped tops, nautical accents, experiments with transparency and patchworks of metal mixed & matched with flowers.

Designer Showcases

Sana Safinaz

PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015’s evening [rêt shows on the fourth and final day was opened by premier designer label Sana Safinaz. Sana Safinaz’s PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week collection was inspired by monochromatic structured looks with pops of color. The collection was based in luxe fabrics such as kattan, silks, fine silk organza and dutches satin in a colour palette majorly based in black and white with strong vibrant pop infusions.
Key trends being highlighted were the oversized T, constructions-clean lines, simplicity of cuts and effective embellishments.

Republic by Omar Farooq

Following Sana Safinaz, acclaimed menswear brand Republic By Omar Farooqshowcased a collection titled ‘Que Sera, Sera!’ (whatever will be, will be!). Omar Farooq had used a variety of luxe fabrics such as suede, linen, chiffon, cotton, cotton silk and wool silk. A collection for all seasons, the ensembles built upon the label’s signature aesthetics while providing a new take on contemporary menswear. Acclaimed media personality Fawad Khan walked the ramp as the brand’s celebrity showstopper.

Syeda Amera

The third Prêt show of the final day of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015 was presented by designer Syeda Amera who made her ramp debut with ‘The World of Sea’. Inspired by love for the enchanting underwater, the collection was based in premium quality organza, jersey, nets and silks with delicate cuts and embellishments consisting of beads, sequins and feathers to reflect the collection’s aquatic theme. ‘The World of Sea’ featured a palette of aqua marine, scupa blue, powder pink, grey blue, tequila sunrise yellow, orange and lagoon green with trends that employed skirt layering, frills and ruffles and flared pants.

Huma & Amir Adnan

Following Syeda Amera, Huma & Amir Adnan showcased a joint collection for the first time at a fashion exhibition. Both Huma and Amir feel that as a couple they share their lives and draw synergies and their collection ‘Symphony’ was an epitome of how two people can revolve around the same concept in harmony, while maintaining their individual distinction. Showcasing both menswear and women’s wear at PSFW 2015, Huma and Amir had used a mix of fabrics, textures and embellishments with a complex collection of weaves, prints and embroideries in silk, linen, cotton and microfiber. The color palette included midnight blue, emerald green, wet earth, aubergine, ivory, old paper, turmeric, leaf and magenta. Key trends highlighted in the collection were long shirts, double layered shirts, printed vests and jackets, textured pants, colored shoes for men and layers of multi-textured fabrics, tighter silhouette, vests and jackets for women.

Sania Maskatiya

Designer Sania Maskatiya showcased the penultimate Luxury/Prêt collection of the evening at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015. This S/S ’15, Sania Maskatiya took audiences on a fashion journey to ‘Paristan’ – a place of fairytale whimsy at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week. With a colour palette ranging from the softest shades of daybreak to the deepest hues of nightfall, ‘Paristan’ was a collection of playful, dreamlike prêt ensembles. Featuring luxury fabrics like silk, organza, charmeuse and crepe, the pieces followed the brand’s signature silhouettes, both structured and fluid. Beads and sequins embellished varied hemlines and multiple layering, all set against captivating scenes of mirth and magic. Motifs ranged from the sublime to nonsensical; friendly mice and naughty elves, clocks and teapots, flowering fields and star-filled skies, princesses and ponies.

HSY

Day-4’s finale was presented by acclaimed couturier HSY who showcased a collection titled ‘INK’; a collection inspired by Asia and specifically HSY’s journeys to The Land of the Rising Sun. INK represented the essence of Langkawi, Indonesia, Nagasaki, and Yunnan with natural and indigenous yarns, hand-woven to perfection. The collection featured the traditional dyeing techniques of Shibori from Nagasaki, Batik from Indonesia, and Gara from Sierra Leone infused with mackintosh, saffron, aubergine, eggshell, rosette, indigo and ochre. Created with the scorching sub continental summer in mind, INK channelled versatile hemlines to suit a diversity of younger, older, working men, women and homemakers alike.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-brisbane
9.3k · May 2015
Bust all snoring myths
judy smith May 2015
Tired of being called names and listening to complaints from your partner because you snore at night?

But more than that, it is important to keep a check on your snoring as an excess of it can be an indicator of many diseases, one of them being sleep apnea, says Dr Kaushal Sheth, ENT surgeon, "People develop sleep apnea when their airway collapses partially or completely during sleep due to various medical conditions. This causes the oxygen levels in the blood to decrease and can be potentially life threatening when it becomes obstructive sleep apnea."

Elaborating on it further, Dr Jayashree Todkar, bariatric surgeon and obesity consultant says "Snoring is an indication of obstacles in a person's breathing. When excessive fat accumulates around the stomach, the lungs do not get ample space to expand when we inhale oxygen; this in turn leads to obstacles in the process of inhalation-exhalation."

However, there are many myths surrounding snoring which is a very common problem. To sleep better one must get rid of the myths that surround snoring and only accept the facts, says Dr Viranchi Oza, BDS as he gives us a lowdown of some stories around snoring:

Myth: Everybody snores, therefore it's normal.

Fact: Snoring is not a normal condition. Labelling it as 'normal' diminishes the seriousness of the condition. Snoring is not just about annoying your partner, it is a sign that the body is struggling to breathe properly during the night. Snoring on a frequent or regular basis has been associated with hypertension and can also be an indication of sleep apnea (pauses in breathing). Sleep apnea sufferers have been reported to have diminished gray cells in their brains, most likely due to the oxygen deprivation of untreated sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea increases the risk of cardiovascular disease over time. In addition, insufficient sleep affects growth hormone secretion that is linked to obesity. As the amount of hormone secretion decreases, the chance of weight gain increases.

Myth: Snoring only affects the health of the snorer.

Fact: Snoring doesn't just negatively affect the health of the person snoring, but also the health of the person lying next to them in bed. A typical snorer usually produces a noise that averages around 60 decibels (about the level of vacuum cleaner), but with some people this can reach 80 or even 90 decibels (about the level of an average factory). Sleeping with a partner who snores during the night has been shown to increase the blood pressure in the other person, which may be dangerous for their health in the long term. Snoring also causes the partner to have fragmented sleep and lose up to one hour of sleep

every night.

Myth: Snoring comes from the nose, so if I unclog my nose, my snoring will stop.

Fact: Having a stuffy nose can definitely aggravate snoring and sleep apnea, but in it's not the cause. A recent study showed that undergoing nasal surgery for breathing problems cured sleep apnea in only 10% of patients. Snoring vibrations typically come from the soft palate, which is aggravated by having a small jaw and the tongue falling back. It's a complicated relationship between the nose, the soft palate and the tongue.

Myth: I know I don't snore, or have apnea. I am fine.

Fact: Don't ignore your wife when she tells you that your snoring doesn't let her sleep. When a partner snores it is very difficult for the spouse to sleep. There are people who snore excessively and suffer from sleep apnea, but feel absolutely normal. However, snoring increases their risk of getting a heart attack and stroke. The only definitive way to prove that you don't have sleep apnea is by taking a sleep test. Screening questionnaires like the GASP or the Epworth have shown high reliability in identifying patient risk for sleep apnea.

Myth: If I lose weight, I'll cure myself of sleep apnea.

Fact: Sometimes. It's definitely worth trying, but in general, it's very difficult to lose weight if you have sleep apnea. This is because poor sleep aggravates weight gain by increasing your appetite. Once you're sleeping better, it'll be easier to lose weight. This is the one ingredient with many dietary and weight loss programs that's missing or not stressed at all. It's not enough just to tell people to sleep more.

Myth: Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression have no relation to the amount and quality of a person's sleep.

Fact: More and more scientific studies are showing a correlation between poor quality sleep and insufficient sleep with a variety of diseases. Blood pressure is variable during the sleep cycle, however, interrupted sleep negatively affects the normal variability. Recent studies have shown that nearly 80% cases of hypertension, 60% cases of strokes and 50% cases of heart failures are actually cases of undiagnosed sleep apnea. Research indicates that insufficient sleep impairs the body's ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes. Fragmented sleep can cause a lowered metabolism and increased levels of the hormone Cortisol which results in an increased appetite and a decrease in one's ability to burn calories.

Myth: Daytime sleepiness means a person is not getting enough sleep.

Fact: Do you feel very sleepy even during the day despite the fact that you had a long night of proper sleep? Excessive daytime sleepiness can occur even after a person gets enough sleep. Such sleepiness can be a sign of an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea. Please seek professional medical advice to correctly diagnose the cause of this symptom.

Myth: Getting just one hour less sleep per night than needed will not have any effect on your daytime functioning.

Fact: This lack of sleep may not make you noticeably sleepy during the day. But even if you've got slightly less sleep, it can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. It can compromise your cardiovascular health and energy balance as well as the ability to fight infections, particularly if the pattern continues. Lack of sleep has also been associated with road accidents (up to 60% of road accidents involve lack of sleep) and air crashes (Air India Mangalore plane crash in 2010 was due to lack of sleep). Sleeping for less than six hours a night is equivalent to legal levels of alcohol intoxication.

Myth: Sleep apnea occurs only in older, overweight men with big necks.

Fact: Although the stereotypical description does fit people in the extreme end of the spectrum, we now know that even young, thin women that don't snore can have significant obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea begins with jaw structure narrowing and later involves obesity. It's estimated that 90% of women with this condition are not diagnosed. Untreated, it can cause or aggravate weight gain, depression, anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Myth: Snoring can't be treated.

Fact: Have you given up on your snoring thinking that it cannot be treated? There are many different options for treating snoring.

Some treatment options are rather drastic, possibly requiring surgery or prescription drugs, but prior to exploring such options it would be wise to first seek out alternative treatments. You must visit a sleep specialist to get the right diagnosis.

Myth: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue.

Fact: Not only is the quantity of sleep important but also the quality of sleep. Some people sleep eight-nine hours a night but don't feel well rested as the quality of their sleep is poor. A number of sleep disorders and other medical conditions affect the quality of sleep. Sleeping more won't alleviate the daytime sleepiness these disorders or conditions cause. However, many of these disorders or conditions can be treated effectively with changes in behaviour or with medical therapies.

Myth: Insomnia is characterised only by difficulty in falling asleep.

Fact: There are four symptoms usually associated with insomnia:

- Difficulty falling asleep

- Waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep

- Frequent awakenings

- Waking up feeling tired and not so fresh

Insomnia can also be a symptom of a sleep disorder or other medical, psychological or psychiatric problems. Sometimes, insomnia can really be a case of undiagnosed sleep apnea.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/bridesmaid-dresses
6.9k · Aug 2016
A New Toolkit for Designers
judy smith Aug 2016
It’s New York Fashion Week, and there is a frenzy backstage as models are worked into their dresses and mob the assembled engineers for instructions of how to operate the technology that magically transforms a subtle gesture into a glowing garment suggestive of the bioluminescence of jellyfish. I know there’s not enough time for them to do their work. Almost instinctively, I find the designer and bargain for 20 more minutes.

While I wonder to myself how I got here, backstage at a runway show, I also know I am witnessing what may be the harbinger of how a fourth industrial revolution is set to change fashion, resulting in a new materiality of computation that will transform a certain slice of fashion designers into the “developers” of a whole new category of clothing. By driving new partnerships in tools, materials and technologies, this revolution has the potential to dramatically reshape how we produce fashion at a scale not seen since the invention of the jacquard loom.

The jacquard loom, as it happens, inspired the earliest computers. Ever since, textile development and technology have been on an interwoven path — sometimes more loosely knit, but becoming increasingly tighter in the last five years. Around that time, my colleagues and I embarked on a project in our labs to look at “fashion tech,” which at the time was a fringe term. These were pioneers daring to — sometimes literally — weave together technology and clothing to drive new ways of thinking about the “shape” of computation. But as we looked around the fashion industry, it became clear that designers lacked the tools to harness the potential of new technologies.

For a start, all facets of technology needed to be more malleable. Batteries, processors and sensors, in particular, had to evolve from being bulky and rigid to being softer, flexible and stretchable. Thus, I began to champion “Puck [rigid], Patch [flexible], Apparel [integrated],” an internal mantra to describe what I felt would be the material transformations of sensing and computation.

As our technologies have steadily become smaller, faster and more energy efficient — a progression known in the tech industry as Moore’s Law — we’ve gone on to launch a computer the size of a postage stamp and worked with a fashion tech designer to demonstrate its capabilities. In this case we were able to show dresses that were generated not just from sketches and traditional materials, but forward-looking tools (body scans and Computer Assisted Design renderings) and materials (in this case, 3-D printed nylon). At the same time, we integrated a variety of sensors (proximity, brain-wave activity, heart-rate, etc.) that allowed the garments themselves to sense and communicate in ways that showed how fashion — inspired in part by biology — might become the interface between people and the world around them.

Eventually, a meeting between Intel and the CFDA lent support to the idea that if technology could fit more seamlessly into designs, then it would be more valuable to fashion designers. The realisation helped birth the Intel Curie module, which has since made its way down the catwalk, embedded into a slew of designs that could help wearers adapt, interpret and respond to the world around them, for example, by “sensing” adrenaline or allowing subtle gestures to illuminate a garment.

As the relationship between fashion and technology continues to evolve, we will need to reimagine research and development, supply chains, business models and more. But perhaps more than anything, as fashion and technology merge, we must embrace a new strand of collaborative transdisciplinary design expertise and integrate software, sensors, processors and synthetic and biological materials into a designer’s tool kit.

Technology will inform the warp and weft of the fabric of fashion’s future. This will trigger discussions not just about fashion as an increasingly literal interface between people, our biology and the world around us, but also about the implications that data will generate for access, health, privacy and self-expression as we look ahead. We are indeed on the precipice of a fourth industrial revolution.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/black-formal-dresses
judy smith Apr 2015
The DisArt Festival aims to bring people together through different modes of art to further the discussion about disability and community. One such way the Festival is doing so is through fashion.

On Friday, the DisArt Festival hosted two events to talk about accessible fashion, a workshop in the morning and a runway fashion show that evening. The Festival showcasedOpen Style Lab from MIT, Fashion Has Heart, Kendall College of Art and Design fashion students and Spectrum Health Innovations designs for people of all ages with disabilities.

Friday morning at 9 a.m. students, designers and festival goers came together in the Ferris building at Kendall College to discuss their involvement in the Festival.

“(Through the DisArt Festival) we wanted to do something that flipped perceptions on its head,” says Chris Smit, director of the DisArt Festival.

Open Style Lab began as an extracurricular student group at MIT where students wanted to create functional, stylish clothing that people with or without disabilities could wear. The group pairs a person with disabilities up with an engineer, an occupational therapist and a designer to work together to create the most comfortable, functional and good looking garment possible.

Fashion Has Heart is a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that makes clothing and boots designed by veterans to tell their stories. All proceeds of sales go toward veteran support.

Kendall College was approached by Spectrum Health Innovations about creating clothing for kids that receive occupational therapy at Spectrum. Many clothing companies that make garments for kids with disabilities are not sure how to do so or sell their product at a prohibitively high price. Students in a fashion for action and function class were each teamed up with one child and made a one-of-a-kind, fashionable garment that the child would be proud to wear while also being helped by it.

At 7 p.m. Friday night, there was a fashion show in the same room at Kendall College to show off all the designs from the different companies. All of the models featured in the show were local to the Grand Rapids area. Led by Robert Andy Coombs, fashion coordinator for the festival, the event was a packed house, with nearly 300 guests filling the runway space lit with green and pink festival colors while a DJ played club music.

Open Style Lab created three jackets that were easy for people with disabilities to put on and take off but were not only for Disabled users. The Lab really wanted to focus on making multi-way gear as to include more people and to bring more attention to bringing accessible clothing into the mainstream.

Fashion Has Heart featured five of their styles, each with a t-shirt and a pair of boots that tell the story of the veteran who worked with the company to create the design.

The Kendall College students created five styles over the course of the semester and were able to showcase their pieces on the kids that they were created for. The kids benefitted most from compression clothing, so the students were challenged to create clothes that they kids would want to wear but would also help compress and engage their muscles.

“Fashion is communication,” says Liz Bartlett, the Kendall College professor that teaches the fashion class. “It’s a way for people to express their identity. DisArt celebrates identity differences but also our similarities.”Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/vintage-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com
judy smith Apr 2017
So you know you’re looking at two very different styles of dress, here. But precisely what decades? When did that waistline move back down? What details are the defining touches of their era? How long were women actually walking around with bustles on their backsides?

Lydia Edwards’s How to Read a Dress is a detailed, practical, and totally beautiful guide to the history of this particular form of clothing from the 16th to the 20th centuries. It tracks the small changes that pile up over time, gradually ******* until your great-grandmother’s closet looks wildly different than your own. As always, fashion makes for a compelling angle on history—paging through you can see the shifting fortunes of women in the Western world as reflected in the way they got dressed every morning.

Of course, it’ll also ensure that the next lackadaisically costumed period piece you watch gives you agita, but all knowledge has a price.

I spoke to Edwards about how exactly we go about resurrecting the history of an item that’s was typically worn until it fell apart and then recycled for scraps; our conversation has been lightly trimmed and edited for clarity.

The title of the book is How to Read a Dress. What do you mean by “reading” a dress?

Basically what I mean is, when you are looking at a dress in an exhibition or a TV show, reading it in terms of working out where the inspirations or where certain design choices come from. Being able to look at it and recognize key elements. Being able to look at the bodice and say, Oh, the shape of that is 1850s, and the design relates to this part of history, and the patterning comes from here. It’s looking at the dress as an object from the top down and being able to recognize different elements—different historical elements, different design elements, different artistic elements. “Read” is probably the best word to use for that kind of approach, if that makes sense.

It must send you around the bend a little bit, watching costume adaptations where they’re a bit slapdash. The one I think of is the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice, which I actually really enjoy, but I know that one’s supposed to have all over the place costuming-wise.

Yeah, it does. I mean, I love the BBC Pride and Prejudice one, because they kept very specifically to a particular era. But I can see what they did with the Keira Knightley one—they were trying to keep it 1790s, when the book was written, as opposed to when it was published. But they’ve got a lot of kind of modern influences in there and they’ve got a lot of influences from 30, 40 years previously, which is interesting to an audience and gives an audience I suppose more frames of reference, more areas to think about and look at. So I can see why they did that. But it does make it more difficult if you’re trying to accurately decode a garment. It’s harder when you’ve got lots of different eras going on there, but it makes it beautiful and interesting for an audience.

The guide spans the 16th to the 20th century. Why start with the 16th century?

Well, partly because it’s where my own interest starts, in terms of my research and the areas I’ve looked at. But more importantly in terms of audience interest, we get a lot of TV shows, a lot of films in recent years—things like The Tudors—that type of era seems to be something that people are interested in. That time is very colorful and very interesting to people.

And also because in terms of thinking about the dress as garment, obviously people wore dresses in medieval times, but in terms of it being something that specifically women wore, distinct from men’s clothes, I really think we start to see that more in the 15th, 16th century onwards.

Where do you go to get the historical information to put together a book like this? What do you use as your source material? Because obviously the thing about clothing is that it has to stand up to a lot of wear and tear and a lot of it doesn’t survive.

This is the other thing about the 16th century stuff—there’s so little surviving. That’s why that chapter was a lot shorter and also that’s why I used a lot of artworks rather than surviving garments, just because they don’t exist in their entirety.

But wherever possible, you go to the garments themselves in museum collections. And then if that’s proving to be difficult, you go to artworks or images, but always bearing in mind the artist will have had their own agenda, so they won’t necessarily be accurate of what people were actually wearing. So then you have to go and look up written source material from the time—say, diaries. I like using letters that people have written to each other over the centuries, describing dress and what they were wearing on a daily basis. Novels can be good, as well.

Also the scholarship that has come before, the secondary sources, works by people like Janet Arnold, Aileen Ribeiro. Really well researched scholarly books where people have used primary sources themselves and put their own interpretation on it can be really, really helpful. Although you take some of it with a pinch of salt, and you put your own interpretation on there, as well.

But always to the dress itself wherever possible.

What are some of the challenges you face, or the constraints on our ability to learn about the history of fashion?

Well, the very practical issue of trying to see garments—some of them I did see here in Australia, but a lot of them were in the States, in Canada, in New Zealand, so it’s hard to physically get there to see them. And often, even when you can get to the museum, garments are out on loan to other exhibitions or other museums. That’s a practical consideration.

But also, especially when I’m talking about using artworks and things, which can be really helpful when you’re researching, but as I’ve said they do come from a place where there’s more interpretations and more agendas. So if someone’s done a portrait and there’s a beautiful 1880s dress in it, that could have been down to the whims of the person who was wearing it, or the artist could have changed significantly the color or style to suit his own taste. Then you have to do extra research on top of that, to make sure that what you are seeing is representative.

It’s a fascinating area. There’s a lot of challenges, but for me, that’s what makes it really exciting as well. But it’s really that question of being able to trust sources and knowing what to use and what not to use in order to make things clear for the audience.

Obviously many of these dresses were very expensive and took a lot of labor and it wasn’t fast fashion—people didn’t just give it away or toss it when it fell out of season. A lot of times, you did was you remade it. When you’re looking at a dress that’s been remade, how do you extract the information that you need as a historian out of it?

I love it when something like that comes up. I’ve got a couple of examples in the book.

Well, it can be quite challenging, because often when you’re first looking at a piece it’s not obvious that it’s been remade. But if you’re lucky enough to look inside it and actually hold it and turn it round different angles, there’ll be things like the placement of a seam, or you’ll see that the waist has been moved up or down according to the fashion. And that’s often obvious when you’re looking inside. You can see the way the skirt’s been attached. Often you can tell if a skirt’s been taken off and then reattached using different pleats, different gatherings; that can give you a hint that it’s then been remade to fit in with a different fashionable ideal.

One of the key ways is fabric. You can often see, especially in early 19th century dresses when they’ve been made of these beautiful 18th century silks and brocades. That’s nice because it’s the first obvious clue that something’s been remade or that an old dress has been completely taken apart and it’s just the fabric that’s been used. I find it particularly interesting when the waist has been moved or the seams have been taken off or re-sewn in a different shape or something like that. It can be subtle but once your knowledge base grows, that’s one of the most fascinating areas that you can look at.

You page through the book and you watch these trends unfold and there are occasional sea changes will happen fairly quickly, like when the Regency style arises. But how much change year-to-year would a woman have seen? How long would it take, just as a woman getting dressed in the morning, to see styles just radically alter? Would you even notice?

Well, this is the thing—I think it’s very easy, when we’re looking back, to imagine that in 1810 you’d be wearing this dress and then all the frills and the frouf would have started to come in the late 1810s and the 1820s, and suddenly you would have had a whole new wardrobe. But obviously, unless you were the very wealthiest women and you had access to dressmakers who had the absolute newest patterns and newest fabrics then no, you wouldn’t have seen a massive change. You wouldn’t have afforded to be able to have the newest things as they came in. You would have maybe remade dresses to make them maybe slightly more in line with a fashion plate that you might have seen, but you wouldn’t have had access to new information and new fashion plates as soon as they came. To be realistic, there would have been very little change on a day to day level.

But I think also, for us now—it’s hard to see it without hindsight, but we feel like we’re fairly fluid in wearing the same kind of styles, but obviously when we look back in 20 years, we’ll look at pictures of us and see greater changes than we’re now aware. Because it happens on a slow pace and it happens on such a subconscious level in some ways.

But actually, yeah, it’s to do with economics, it’s to do with availability. People living in towns where they couldn’t easily get to cities—if you were living in a country town a hundred miles away from London, there’s no way that you would have the resources to see the most recent fashion plates, the most recent ideas that were developing in high society. So it was a very slow process in reality.

If you have a lot of money you can change out your wardrobe quicker and wear the latest styles. And so the wealthiest people, their clothes were what in a lot of case stood the best chance of surviving and being in modern collections. So how do we know what working women would have worn or what middle class women would have worn?

Yeah, this is hard. I do have some more middle class examples, because we’re lucky in that we do have quite a few that have survived, especially in smaller museums and historical collections, where people have had clothes sitting in their attics for years and have donated them, just from normal families over the years.

But, working women, that’s much more difficult. We’re lucky from the 19th century because we have photographic evidence. But really a lot of it will come down to written descriptions, mainly letters, diaries, not necessarily that the people themselves would have kept, but there’s examples of people that worked in cotton mills, for instance, and people that ran the mills and their families and wives and friends who had written accounts of what the women there were wearing. Also newspaper accounts, particularly of people who would go and do charity work and help the poor. They often wrote quite detailed descriptions of the people that they were helping.

But in terms of actual garments, yeah, it’s very difficult. Certainly 18th century and before, it’s really, really hard to get hold of anything that gives you a really good idea of what they wore. But in the 18th century—it’s quite interesting, because then we get examples of separate pieces of clothing worn by the upper classes, like a skirt with a jacket, which was actually a lower middle class style initially and then it became appropriated by the upper classes. And then it became much fancier and trimmed and made in silks and things. So then, we can see the inspiration of the working classes on the upper classes. That’s another way of looking at it, although of course that’s much more problematic.

It’s interesting how in several cases you can see broader historical context, or other stories happening through clothes. Like you point out that the rise of the one-piece dresses is due to the rise of mantua makers, who were women who were less formally trained who were suddenly making clothing. Are there any other interesting stories like that, that you noticed and thought were really fascinating?

There’s a dress in the book that a woman made for her wedding. I think she was living on her own, or she was living with a servant and her mother or something. She made the dress and then turned up to her wedding and traveled quite a long way to get there, and when she arrived, the groom and all the guests weren’t there. There was nobody. So she went away and came back again a week later, and everyone was there. And the reason that no one was there before was that a river had flooded in the direction that they were all coming from. She had obviously no way of finding out about this until after the fact, and we have this beautiful dress that she spent ages making and had obviously gone to a lot of effort to try and work out what the latest styles were, to incorporate it into her wedding dress.

Things like that, I find really interesting, because they talk so much about human and social history as well as fashion history, and the garment is the main way we have of keeping these stories alive and remembering them and looking into the kind of life and world these people lived, who made these garments.

Over the centuries, how does technology affect fashion? Obviously, we think of the industrial revolution as really speeding up the pace of fashion. But are there other moments in the history of fashion where technology shapes what women end up wearing?

One example is where I talk about the Balenciaga dress from the early 1950s—with a bubble hem and a hat and she would have worn these beautiful pump shoes with it—with the introduction of the zipper. Which just made such a huge difference, because it suddenly meant you’d have ease and speed of dressing. It meant that you didn’t have to worry about more complicated ways of fastening a garment. I think the zipper made a massive change and also in terms of dressmaking at home, it was a really quick and simple way that people had of being able to create quite fashionable styles on a budget and with ease and speed at home.

Also, of course, once women’s dress started to become simpler and they did away with the corset and underwear became a lot less complicated, that made dressing a lot easier, that made the introduction of the bias cut and things that sit very closely to the natural body much more widely used and much more fashionable.

I would say the introduction of machine-made lace as well, particularly from the late 19th, early 20th century onwards where it was so fashionable on summer dresses and wedding dresses. It just meant that you could so much more easily add this decadent touch to a garment, because lace would have been so much more expensive before then and so time-consuming to make. I think that made a huge difference in ordinary women being able to attain a kind of luxury in their everyday dress.

That actually makes me think of something else I wanted to ask you, which is you point out in your intro the way we casually use this word “vintage.” I think about that with lace. Lace is described as being a “vintage” touch but it’s very much this question of when, where, who, why—it’s a funny term when you think about it, the way we use it so casually to describe so much.

Oh, yes. It’s crazy. I used to work in a wedding dress shop and I used to make historically inspired wedding dresses and things. And brides used to come in and say, “Oh, I want something vintage.” But they didn’t really know what they meant. Usually what they meant is they wanted something with a bit of lace on it, or with some sort of pearls or beading. I think it’s really inspired by whatever is trending at the time. So, you know, Downton Abbey became vintage. I think ‘50s has always been kind of synonymous with the word vintage. But what it means is huge,
judy smith May 2016
For the fifth year in a row, Kering and Parsons School of Fashion rolled out the ‘Empowering Imagination’ design initiative. The competition engaged twelve 2016 graduates of the Parsons BFA Fashion Design program, who "were selected for their excellence in vision, acute awareness in design identity, and mastery of technical competencies." The winners, Ya Jun Lin and Tiffany Huang, will be awarded a 2-week trip to Kering facilities in Italy in June 2016 and will have their thesis collections featured in Saks Fifth Avenue New York’s windows.

The Kering and Parsons competition, which is currently in its fifth year, is one of a growing number of design competitions, including but not limited to the LVMH Prize, the ANDAM Awards, the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund, and its British counterpart, the Woolmark Prize, the Ecco Domani fashion award, and the Hyères Festival. among others.

In the generations prior, designers were certainly nominated for awards, but it seems that there was not nearly as intense of a focus on design competitions as a means for designers to get their footing, for design houses to scout talent, or for these competitions to select the best of the best in a especially large pool of young talent. Fern Mallis, the former executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and an industry consultant, told the New York Times: “Take the Calvin [Kleins] and the Donna [Karans] and the Ralph [Laurens] of the world. Some of these people had money from a friend or a partner who worked with them, but they weren’t out spending their time doing competitions and winning awards to get their business going.” She sheds light on an essential element: The relatively drastic difference between the state of fashion then and fashion now. Fashion then was slower, less global, and (a lot) less dominated by the internet, and so, it made for quite different circumstances for the building of a fashion brand.

Nowadays, young designers are more or less going full speed ahead right off the bat. They show comprehensive collections, many of which consist of garments and an array of accessories. They are expected to be active on social media. They are expected to establish a strong industry presence (think: Go to events and parties). They are expected to cope with the fashion business that has become large-scale and international. They are expected to collaborate to expand their reach, and while it does, at times, feel excessive, this is the reality because the industry is moving at such a quick pace, one that some argue is unsustainably rapid. The result is designers and design houses consistently building their brands and very rarely starting small. Case in point: Young brands showing pre-collections within a few years of setting up shop (for a total of four collections per year, not counting any collaboration or capsule collections), and established brands showing roughly four womenswear collections, four menswear collections, two couture collections, and quite often, a few diffusion collections each year.

The current climate of 'more is more' (more collections, more collaborations, more social media, more international know-how, etc.) in fashion is what sets currently emerging brands apart from older brands, many of which started small. This reality also sheds light on the increasing frequency with which designers rely on competitions as a means of gaining funds, as well as a means of establishing their names and not uncommonly, gaining outside funding.

The Ralphs, Tommys, Calvins and Perrys started off a bit differently. Ralph Lauren, for instance, started a niche business. The empire builder, now 74, got his start working at a department store then worked for a private label tie manufacturer (which made ties for Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart). He eventually convinced them to let him make ties under the Polo label and work out of a drawer in their showroom. After gaining credibility thanks to the impeccable quality of his ties, he expanded into other things. Tommy Hilfiger similarly started with one key garment: Jeans. After making a name for himself by buying jeans, altering them into bellbottoms and reselling them at Brown’s in Manhattan, he opened a store catering to those that wanted a “rock star” aesthetic when he was 18-years old with $150. While the store went bankrupt by the time he was 25, it allowed him to get his foot in the door. He was offered design positions at Calvin Klein (who also got his start by focusing on a single garment: Coats. With $2,000 of his own money and $10,000 lent to him by a friend, he set up shop; in 1973, he got his big break when a major department store buyer accidentally walked into his showroom and placed an order for $50,000). Hilfiger was also offered a design position with Perry Ellis but turned them down to start his eponymous with help from the Murjani Group. Speaking of Perry Ellis, the NYU grad went to work at an upscale retail store in Virginia, where he was promoted to a buying/merchandising position in NYC, where he was eventually offered a chance to start his own label, a small operation. After several years of success, he spun it off as its own entity. Marc Jacobs, who falls into a bit of a younger generation, started out focusing on sweaters.

These few individuals, some of the biggest names in American fashion, obviously share a common technique. They intentionally started very small. They built slowly from there, and they had the luxury of being able to do so. Others, such as Hubert de Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and his successor Sarah Burton, Nicolas Ghesquière, Julien Macdonald, John Galliano and his successor Bill Gaytten, and others, spent time as apprentices, working up to design directors or creative directors, and maybe maintaining a small eponymous label on the side. As I mentioned, attempting to compare these great brand builders or notable creative directors to the young designers of today is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, as the nature of the market now is vastly different from what it looked like 20 years ago, let alone 30 or 40 years ago.

With this in mind, fashion competitions have begun to play an important role in helping designers to cope with the increasing need to establish a brand early on. It seems to me that winning (or nearly winning) a prestigious fashion competition results in several key rewards.

Primarily, it puts a designer's name and brand on the map. This is likely the least noteworthy of the rewards, as chances are, if you are selected to participate in a design competition, your name and brand are already out there to some extent as one of the most promising young designers of the moment.

Second are the actual prizes, which commonly include mentoring from industry insiders and monetary grants. We know that participation in competitions, such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Woolmark Prize, the Swarovski, Ecco Domani, the LVMH Prize, etc., gives emerging designers face time with and mentoring from some of the most successful names in the industry. Chris Peters, half of the label Creatures of the Wind (pictured above), whose brand has been nominated for half of the aforementioned awards says of such participation: “It feels like we’ve talked to possibly everyone in fashion that we can possibly talk to." The grants, which range anywhere from $25,o00 to $400,000 and beyond, are obviously important, as many emerging designers take this money and stage a runway show or launch pre-collections, which often affect the business' bottom line in a major and positive way.

The third benefit is, in my opinion, the most significant. It seems that competitions also provide brands with some reputability in terms of finding funding. At the moment, the sea of young brands which is terribly vast. Like law school graduates, there are a lot of design school graduates. With this in mind, these competitions are, for the most part, serving as a selection mechanism. Sure, the inevitable industry politics and alternate agendas exist (without which the finalists lists may look a bit different), but great talent is being scouted, nonetheless. Not only is it important to showcase the most promising young talent and provide them with mentoring and grant money, as a way of maintaining an industry, but these competitions also do a monumental service to young brands in terms of securing additional funding. One of the most challenging aspects of the business for young/emerging brands is producing and growing absent outside investors' funds, and often, the only way for brands' to have access to such funds is by showing a proven sales track record, something that is difficult to establish when you've already put all of your money into your business and it is just not enough. This is a frustrating cycle for young designers.

However, this is where design competitions are a saving grace. If we look to recent Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund winners and runners-up, for instance, it is not uncommon to see funding (distinct from the grants associated with winning) come on the heels of successful participation. Chrome Hearts, the cult L.A.-based accessories label, acquired a minority stake in The Elder Statesman, the brand established by Greg Chait, the 2012 winner, this past March. A minority stake in 2011 winner Joseph Altuzarra's eponymous label was purchased by luxury conglomerate Kering in September 2013. Creatures of the Wind, the NYC-based brand founded by Shane Gabier and Chris Peters, which took home a runner-up prize in the 2011 competition, welcomed an investment from The Dock Group, a Los Angeles-based fashion investment firm, last year, as well.

Across the pond, the British Fashion Council/Vogue Fashion Fund has awarded prizes to a handful of designers who have gone on to land noteworthy investments. In January 2013, Christopher Kane (pictured below), the 2011 winner, sold a majority stake in his brand to Kering. Footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood was named the winner 2013 in May and by September, a majority stake in his company had been acquired by LVMH.

Thus, while the exposure that fashion design competition participants gain, and the mentoring and monetary grants that the winners enjoy, are certainly not to be discounted, the takeaway is much larger than that. These competitions are becoming the new way for investors and luxury conglomerates to source new talent, and for young brands to land the outside investments that they so desperately need to produce their collections, expand their studio space, build upon their existing collections, and even open brick and mortar stores.

While no one has scooped up inaugural LVMH winner Thomas Tait’s brand yet or fellow winner, Marques'Almeida, it is likely just be a matter of time.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses | http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-sydney
judy smith Aug 2016
TO PUT the art and talent of Mindanaoan fashion design into the spotlight, Kagay’anon fashion designers put their hands together to organize the 5th Mindanao Fashion Summit at the Limketkai Center Rotunda from August 4 to 6, every 4 p.m.

“Being a core event of the Higalaay festival, the opening salvo, the Mindanao Fashion Summit can really highlight fashion designers here in Cagayan de Oro and also in different points of Mindanao to let everyone see what they can do in the world of fashion design especially now that there are only so few opportunities for these designers to show off their works to the public. This is why we have the Mindanao fashion Summit because Kagay-anon designers believe that even if they join national fashion shows like the Philippine Fashion week, most of them still aren't getting the right encouragement as a fashion designer.” said Robbie Pamisa, the overall organizer of the event.

The Fashion Summit is a three-day event composed of seven sub-categories such as the Mindanaoan collection, the Menswear collection, and the Ororama orange collection for the first day, the Guest Designers’ collection, the Fashion Institute of the Philippines collection and the Loop Lifestyle Fashion Show for the second day, and the Holiday Grand collection for the third day which will serve as the culmination of the fashion event.

Mindanaoan Fashion designers from Cagayan de Oro as well as Davao, Butuan, Iligan, and Bukidnon have come to showcase their talents. Some of the fashion geniuses of the event include Alma Mae Roa, Angela Soriano, Ann Semblante, Benjie Manuel, Boogie Musni Rivera, Gil Macaibay III, John Mark Magellan’s, Joshua Guibone, Juniel Doring, Kiko Domo, Mark Christopher Yaranon, and Mavy Cooper de Leon.

One of the highlights of the event is the Oro Fashion Designers’ Guild and the Designers Assembly featuring a collection of clothes using Mindanao material such as the Mindanao silk. Sponsors such as Ororama and The Loop Towers will also be showcasing their products in the fashion event.

“Even student fashion designers from the Fashion Institute of the Philippines have been encouraged to participate so that they will be able to experience how a fashion show works. This is also a way for us to fulfill our mission to be another avenue for fashion designers to show what they have,” Paisa said.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses
5.7k · May 2016
We mean business
judy smith May 2016
Don’t take them at face value. Several leading actresses in Mollywood have shown themselves to be keen businesswomen too. So, if Poornima Indrajith, a fashionista in her own right and designer-in-chief of fashion store Pranaah, was the lone name in the list till recently, Kavya Madhavan, Lena, Kaniha, Shwetha Menon, Rima Kallingal and the like too have joined the fray to establish their credentials as entrepreneurs.

While Kavya owns Laksyah, an online fashion store, Rima runs Mamangam, a dance school in Kochi. Lena is busy with Aakruti, her weight-loss centre. Kaniha’s focus is on health care, as a franchise partner of Medall Diagnostics in Chennai. Shwetha, meanwhile, has opened a restaurant, Shwe’s Delight, in Dubai. Mallika Sukumaran owns Spice Boat, a restaurant in Doha, Qatar… The actresses talk at length to MetroPlus about why and how they went about it, the lessons they learnt and what lies ahead.

For Kavya it was the realisation of a long-cherished dream; of starting a business venture while she is at the peak of her career. “I zeroed in on a fashion boutique from several other options, such as dance school, beauty parlour, restaurant…,” says Kavya. “It was the safest and best choice because my father had been in the textile business back home in Neeleeswaram for nearly four decades. My brother, Midhun is a graduate in fashion technology and my mother and my sister-in-law too share the same passion. Laksyah is really a family-run enterprise,” she adds. Laksyah, which sells a range of one-off designer saris and daily wear and based out of Kochi, will be celebrating its first anniversary next month.

It was a photoshoot that lead Lena to open Aakruti. She had to lose a few kilos to get in shape for the shoot and her childhood friend, Louisa David, a physiotherapist, helped her achieve that goal. “I was happy with my weight loss and so we decided to launch a physiotherapy-based slimming centre. Louisa has been running her centre at Thrissur for five years and she helped me start Aakruti, in Chevayur, Kozhikode, in September last year,” Lena says.

Kaniha, always a multi-tasker, has a solid reason for taking the health care route too. It was the closest she could get to her childhood ambition to pursue medicine! “After coming back to India from the United States, my husband, Shyam Radhakrishnan and I wanted to start something. Since I couldn’t fulfil my dream of becoming a doctor and had to study engineering instead, I thought I should do something related to healthcare and that’s how Medall happened,” says the actress.

In Shwetha’s case, her restaurant was a venture waiting to happen. “In fact, those who know me for long are not surprised with my decision to open a restaurant. I am an absolute foodie. I am so very careful about what I eat that my cook always travels with me on my shoots. I also love hosting family and friends and often hold pyjama parties at home. That’s why a restaurant was the obvious choice when I thought about starting a venture,” says Shwetha. Shwe’s Delight [“I was called Shwe by my friends in modelling circuit”], which opened its doors last month, is a North Indian fine dining restaurant. “I wanted to give expatriate Malayalis in Dubai a different taste from the usual fare. We dish up a bit of Chinese food too,” she adds.

Being a celebrity helps, most of the time, especially to get publicity, say the leading ladies. For instance, Kaniha says she could bank upon her celebrity status to get corporate tie-ups. They also talk of brand value going up when a known face opens a venture. “There is a certain level of trust with potential customers because you are a known face,” explain Shwetha and Lena. “On the flipside, you are always under scrutiny. At times, I feel acting is much easier,” adds Shwetha. Kavya says it is not easy being the face of Laksyah. “I can’t go wrong with what I wear!” she adds, with a laugh.

Celeb status and a pretty face, though, is no guarantee for a successful business. All the actresses say that they put in a lot of hard work to get their businesses up and running. “The execution part was not easy, be it finding the right location, getting the interiors done, purchasing the machinery, appointing qualified staff, training them and even finalising the colour of the uniform. But I have become more confident now that we are opening a new branch in Kochi,” explains Lena. Kaniha, meanwhile, admits that she has learnt to be “more patient and be diplomatic.” Well played.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/cheap-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/****-formal-dresses
judy smith Jun 2015
To beat the blues, declutter the mind and trim that waistline... there are far more reasons to stay hydrated than to quench the thirst. Here's how to do it...

Hydration is central to the most basic physiological functions of the body such as regulating BP and body temperature, blood circulation and digestion. But having enough water is one thing and keeping the body well hydrated another. Hydration comes not just from sipping water but from a diet high on water. One needs to have a variety of fruits and vegetables that have a naturally high water content to replenish the electrolytes in scorching summer.

EAT YOUR WATER

"The primary way of hydration is drinking plenty of clean water ******, but about 20 per cent of our intake comes from foods, especially fruits, vegetables, drinks and broths. Hydrating food not only corrects the water balance but also replaces essential salts and minerals," adds Manjari Chandra, therapeutic nutritionist. Aqua foods provide volume and weight but not calories. Grapefruit, for example, is about 90 per cent water and half a grapefruit has just 37 calories. High water greens and fruits contain essential vitamins and minerals, bioflavonoids (compounds believed to prevent heart disease) and antioxidants that slow down the aging process. They are also high in fibre, which keeps you feeling full for longer and helps the digestive system run efficiently. They can provide al most all vitamins and minerals and correct nutrient deficiencies.

WEIGHT WATCHERS

If you thought the list of hydrating foods ends with the usual suspects like cucumbers, watermelons and tomatoes, you are wrong. Some offbeat natural hydrators include leeks, spinach, peppers, carrots and celery. In fact, celery comprises mostly water... qualifying as a great snacking option. It can also curb sweet tooth cravings, which will help you stay slim and keep away from acidic sweets. "Eggplants are a fabulous weight loss kitchen staple. This versatile ingredient has low calories and is rich in fibre that boosts satiety. Grape fruit has been hailed as a weightloss superfood globally for its cardio protective, antioxidant and appetite-sup pressing qualities. This high fibre, juicy fruit has the ability to lower blood sugar levels and control a voracious appetite," says Jia Singh, travel, food and wellness writer.

MOOD AND MIND

People usually don't consider water as a mood enhancer. However, studies have proved otherwise. Even mild dehydration can alter a person's mood, energy levels, and ability to think clearly, according to two studies by the University of Connecticut's Human Performance Laboratory. Mild dehydration is defined as an approximately 1.5 per cent loss in normal water volume in the body. It is important to stay properly hydrated at all times, not just during exercise, extreme heat, or exertion. This is because water gives the brain the electrical energy for all t, its functions, including r thought and memory processes. When your brain is functioning on a full reserve of water, you will be able to think faster, be more focused, and experience clarity and creativity.

MUSCLE POWER

We all know the importance of exercising, getting enough protein, calories and rest in order to build muscles.But water consumption is as important for muscle wellness and lubrication of joints. Water composes 75 per cent of our muscle tissue! So, if your body's water content drops by as little as 2 per cent, you will feel fatigued. If it drops by 10 per cent, you may experience health problems, such as arthritis and back pain. When you're well hydrated, water provides nutrients to the muscles and removes waste so that you perform better.

TOP SUMMER HYDRATORS

Strawberries: They rank highest in water content in comparison to all other berries. Berries are powerhouses of antioxidants that are cardio protective, good for your eyes, skin and nails and even help prevent inflammation and chronic illnesses.

Carrots: They are almost 90 per cent water, are rich sources of vitamin A and C and have tons of betacarotene that keep cancer at bay.

Zucchini: Zucchini is a popular summer squash made of 95% water. It is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin A, C and K, folate, magnesium. It is best to use it fresh and raw in salads because cooking leads to loss of water.

Bell Peppers: Sweet bell peppers are amongst the veg gies with the highest water content. They are also a great source of vitamin C.

Iceberg lettuce: Health experts often rec ommend substituting it with darker greens like spinach or romaine lettuce for higher amounts of fibre and nutrients such as folate and vitamin K. It's a different story, however, when it comes to water content. Crispy ice berg has the highest amount of water amongst the lettuce family.

Spinach: It may not be as hydrating as iceberg lettuce, but spinach is usually a bet ter bet overall. The leafy vegetable is rich in lutein, potassium, fibre, and brain-boosting folate.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/bridesmaid-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses
judy smith Jun 2015
4 harmful foods that benefit us too
Maintaining a healthy diet isn't easy as one has to be careful of every morsel of food or sip of drink that they consume. So when research reveals a positive angle to some harmful dietary habits, what should one do?

A recent study in London showed that those who increased their coffee intake by more than a cup a day were less prone to have Type 2 Diabetes. On the other hand, caffeine is known to increase blood pressure and isn't good for the body in the long run. Here is a list of food items that are considered harmful, but benefit us in some ways as well...

WHITE BREAD

Why it's bad: For a while now, white bread has been pushed to the back seat due to the growing notion that it leads to increased blood sugar and can ultimately cause obesity. The grains are processed in such a way that it strips the bread off all nutrients. Scientists at Tufts University in Boston also found that eating white bread increases your waistline, when compared to brown bread. Fitness expert Wanitha Ashok adds, "Eating white bread makes you hungry in an hour or so. When it comes to nutrition, it doesn't get the top slot."

Why it's good: Eating white bread isn't necessarily a bad thing as long as you eat the enriched variety that contains nutrients, especially those that are topped with oats and nuts. Research done by the Irish University Nutrition Alliance showed that white bread contributed as much iron and fibre to an Irish diet as meat or fish. Nutritionist Ryan Fernando says, "The only time we recommend white bread to anyone is after a good workout. Sports athletes, especially, eat white bread as it helps replenish glucose faster and it's beneficial for the muscles."

FROZEN VEGETABLES

Why they're bad: It is believed that fresh vegetables are better than frozen ones because of all the processing that takes place to freeze them and keep them fresh. A study done by the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in Turkey concluded that thawing frozen veggies before cooking them led to the loss of Vitamin C. "This is just convenience food. Anything you store for a long time begins to lose nutritional value. Also, in India, there are so many electricity fluctuations, so it's better to keep fresh vegetables," says Wanitha Ashok.

Why they're good: Lately, a lot of reports say that frozen veggies are better than the fresh variety because they are picked when they are most ripe and frozen so none of the vitamins are lost.Also,a study done at the University of Chester shows that there was a decline in the nutritional value of fresh veggies when refrigerated com - pared to frozen ones.

EGG YOLK

Why it's bad: It's known to increase cholesterol, which is why people with heart conditions avoid egg yolk. It also contains a lot of fat,which isn't good for people who gain weight easily. A Canadian study says that regularly consuming egg yolks can lead to plaque build-up in blood vessels. Why it's good: "Egg yolk has essential nutrients and vitamins, especially when compared to egg whites, which don't have as much. One or two eggs yolk a day are recommended for children, whereas adults should have one to get their intake of necessary nutrients," says Ryan Fernando. The cholesterol in the yolk is needed for elders and children who have adrenal issues.

CHOCOLATE

Why it's bad: Not only does consumption of chocolate gradually increase one's weight,but people tend to cut down on it because of its caffeine and fat content. "Children get addicted to chocolate when their consumption is not moderated. It's harmful for diabetic people and the sweeteners in it are bad for the teeth," says Nainatara S, a consultant nutritionist. The high oxalates in chocolate are known to cause kidney stones. A study by the American Society of Clinical Nutrition showed that the higher the consumption of chocolate by elders, the more likely they were to be affected by bone disease.

Why it's good: Nutritionist Murali Subramanian says one benefit of eating chocolate is its antioxidant content. A study in the University of Illinois showed that consuming dark chocolate helped lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The antioxidants in the chocolate also help reduce chances of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015 | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
judy smith Aug 2015
Since a wedding is said to be the most important day of a woman's life, some brides-to-be are prepared to bring out whatever it takes to ensure that their big day is nothing short of spectacular.

A new documentary from the UK titled 'Now How The Rich Get Hitched', a provides a glimpse into some of the world's most lavish weddings.

The programme follows the glamorous goings-on at Knightsbridge bespoke wedding boutique Caroline Castigliano, where, for most customers, money is no object.

According to Daily Mail, bridal couture queen Caroline, who lives in Surrey, has been creating breathtaking intricate gowns for 24 years, cashing in on the £10 billion global bridal market.

But while the average UK bride is said to spend around £1,000 on her dress, Caroline revealed that one client, a Saudi Arabian bride-to-be is spending £40,000 on her dream gown - the same price as the Duchess of Cambridge's Alexander McQueen dress.

Despite the eye-watering prices, the 55-year-old designer claims that for most women this is one of the most important things they will ever buy.

She said: 'They buy into the overall power of the dress. I really truly believe that since they were very young they have dreamt of this day.'

Caroline's clientele aren't just drawn from the global elite, however. One of her clients, Jordan, 23, is a hotel heiress from Durham who has spent the past year travelling 300 miles with her family for fittings for her £9,000 dress.

Jordan's gown is made from one of the most expensive silks in the world, which costs hundreds of pounds a metre.

Jordan said: 'For a girl the dress is what everyone looks for. People would rather spend more money on the dress and look perfect on the day.'

Her mother Helen, who is helping to pick up the bill, added: 'I think once you see your daughter in something so beautiful and she's so happy you do stretch that extra mile.'

At around £9,000 Jordan's dress is almost half the average budget for UK weddings, which now comes in at an astonishing £21,000, but the day itself will set her family back far more than that.

The no-expenses-spared bash is being held at one of her family's hotels and costs include the £7,000 on importing 6,000 flowers from Holland, the hire of a 20-piece brass band and a Victorian carousel to entertain guests.

Gissa, 29, an Iranian socialite, who is planning a lavish ceremony in Turkey, journeyed to Caroline's boutique just to try on veils to go with her bespoke gown, which is embroidered with 200,000 sequins and 50,000 beads - and was one of the most expensive dresses in the shop.

The bride-to-be explained that her fiance was very amenable when it came to splashing out on her dress.

He said "I know this is the most important dress that a woman is going to wear in their lifetime so if you really like it and you love it, we'll get it."'

However, some brides look further afield for their dream wedding location and one of the boutique's clients, Katie, 29, was planning her ceremony in Southern Spain.

Katie admitted that she had fine-tuned every element of her wedding right down to her proposal.

She said: 'I'm a bit of a control freak, I think I emailed [my fiance] a picture of the ring after about three weeks of dating, so subtlety isn't my finest point but he's done really well.'

Katie visited Caroline for a bespoke wedding dress costing between five and six thousand pounds that has taken five seamstresses 200 hours of sewing and 250,000 beads to complete.

Another of Caroline's client, Kashmir, revealed that she took two years off work to get married and her husband is now determined to prolong the wedding celebrations with lavish gifts.

She and her husband also paid £75,000 to commission a portrait of Kashmir sitting in a chair in her strapless lace Caroline Castigliano dress, which was then unveiled at a party in the designer's boutique.

However, as any prospective bride will know a dress does not a wedding make and any ambitious bride-to-be will enlist the help of a wedding planner, with none more knowledgeable than luxury wedding planner Bruce Russell.

Bruce caters for the most ostentatious and demanding of weddings. He said: 'If it's physically possible, we'll make it happen - it might come at a cost.

'If you've got the money and you've got the budget to spend and you want to spend a million pounds why not spend it on a wedding it is the most magical day?'

Bruce's finely tuned expertise and impeccable taste come at a cost and he revealed on the show that he takes around 20 per cent of the wedding budget as commission, which rewards him with a £30,000 pay cheque for a £150,000 wedding.

The show followed him as he took one of Caroline's clients, Erina, on a tour of London's famous luxury five-star hotel, The Savoy, as a possible venue for her dream day.

Hosting 350 guests would set her back at least £70,000 and to stay in the Royal Suite, a further £10,000 a night - although it does come with its own butler.

But the documentary revealed that for women who want to up the 'wow' factor on their big day - and have the budget - couture jeweller Andrew Prince is the man to call.

But Andrew insisted that elegance is often confused with showiness: 'Glamour has changed. It became, at one point, very shiny and that's really not glamorous that's flashy. I like opulence.'

Andrew's creations may be an indulgence but for him there is no better way to spend your money.

He said: 'It's a celebration. We can be really sort of smug and factual about it, and say "oh no one should spend the money on something more practical", but what's more fun than just having a wonderful day?'

Many couples will argue that such extravagance is a waste of money and resources for just one day, however Caroline says that these are memories to last a lifetime.

She said: 'The most important people in your life have come to attend this day. It all comes down to the same thing, it's what you want to spend money on and what matters to you and how much money you have, it's all relative.'

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
judy smith Nov 2015
WHEN Grace Gray uncovered her wedding dress from the back of the wardrobe, she knew exactly what to do with her something old – turn it into something new.

The doting gran gifted her much-loved satin gown to her daughter Michelle, so she could have it made into a christening robe for her baby Pippa.

And the beautiful wee girl was all smiles on her special day in her hand-me-down, upcycled gown.

Michelle, 32, said: “I always loved my mum’s wedding dress and never imagined it would become my daughter’s christening dress, but I’m so glad it did.

“For Pippa to be christened in such a special family dress made the day all the more amazing.”

Grace, 54, wore the pearl-encrusted ivory dress when she married husband William, 73, in Clydebank 18 years ago.

Michelle helped her mum to pick the dress and was a bridesmaid at the wedding.

She said: “I was quite young when my mum married my stepdad and I remember going shopping with her when she picked the dress.

“It had lots of pearls and diamantes and I just loved all the sparkle. She looked so beautiful.”

After her wedding, Grace packed away her dress in a box and kept it at the back of her wardrobe.

Michelle, who is looking forward to her own wedding to partner Frazer Ward, 29, next year, said: “It has been there ever since but she came across it when she was clearing out.

“It was her idea to have it turned into a christening dress for Pippa.”

The family took the dress to Fabricated Bridal Alterations in Glasgow, where the seamstresses made not only the christening dress but a head band for Pippa and a matching hair clip for her sister Tilly, four.

Michelle, who also lives in Clydebank, added: “I did feel a little bit anxious at the thought of mum’s

dress being cut up but the end result was so beautiful.

“Mum had a tear in her eye when she saw it.”

Grace said: “I can’t think of any better use of my wedding dress than seeing it given to my

granddaughter for her christening.

“I felt really honoured to share in her big day in such a special way. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful she looked.”

Andrina Greig, of Fabricated Bridal Alterations, said there was a rising trend for women to put their wedding dresses to good use.

She added: “We’ve had more and more women getting their wedding dresses made into a christening gown for their children – but this is the first time we have had a grandmother’s dress brought in to be made into a christening gown.

“Michelle’s mum’s dress was perfect for the transformation.

“It was in great condition and the beading, bow and button details were ideal for scaling down and keeping as a feature on the christening dress. We were thrilled with how beautiful Pippa’s gown looked.”

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide

www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses
judy smith Feb 2016
On World Hijab Day, which was on February 1, you didn’t have to be a Muslim to wear one. The designated day was first announced in 2013. Founded by activist Nazma Khan, the story behind World Hijab Day is an emotional one which speaks of the bullying, prejudice, physical and racial abuse Khan endured as a young child who migrated to the US from Bangladesh. These unkind imputations were all because she wore a hijab.

Since launching an online store in 2010 to sell hijabs, Khan has received an outpouring of support from hijab-wearing women across the globe who have shared with her their own terrifying stories because of their headscarves.

Today, World Hijab Day is celebrated in 116 countries around the world. Although the declaration received negative criticisms from some who saw it as a “well-financed effort by conservative Muslims to dominate modern Muslim societies,” others respect the day. One such person was New York Assemblyman David Weprin, who in his feature address on World Hijab Day, said: “As the prime Assembly sponsor of the Religious Garb bill in New York State, A2049, I stand with all Americans of faith, regardless of their choice, to wear a hijab, kippah, turban, or cross. All Americans of all faiths should be allowed to freely exercise and display their religious choice without the fear of violence and bigotry.”

Here at home, women’s rights activist and model Naballah Chi has not been quiet about her love and honour for the true meaning of the hijab. In an interview with the T&T; Guardian, Chi explained the meaning of the hijab and why it’s worn.

“The literal meaning of hijab is to veil, to cover, or to screen. Islam is known as a religion concerned with community cohesion and moral boundaries, and therefore the hijab is a way of ensuring that the moral boundaries between unrelated men and women are respected,” said Chi.

She added, “In this sense, the term hijab encompasses more than a scarf and more than a dress code. It is a term that denotes modest dressing and modest behaviour. Wearing the hijab is a commandment from Allah. The majority of Muslim women wear hijab to obey God, and to be known as respectable women.

“The basic requirement of the hijab is that a Muslim woman should cover her head and ***** (chest) and her body. So in the last 30 years, hijab has emerged as a sign of Islamic consciousness and women’s assertion to obey their lord. A woman wearing hijab becomes a very visible sign of Islam.

“The aura of privacy created by hijab is indicative of the great value Islam places upon women. Therefore, hijab is not a symbol of oppression. The hijab does not prevent a woman from acquiring knowledge or from contributing to the betterment of human society. While those who seek to ban hijab refer to it as a symbol of gender-based repression, the women who choose to don a scarf, or to wear hijab, in the broadest sense of the word, view it as a right and not a burden,” she explained.

She said wearing the hijab has given her the freedom from constant attention to her physical self.

“My appearance is not subjected to scrutiny, my beauty, or perhaps lack of. Instead it has been removed from the realm of what can legitimately be discussed,” she said.

Chi comes from a world of beauty pageants where she once felt pressured to put down her hijab in exchange for a crown.

After understanding the true meaning behind the hijab, and why she wore a hijab as a Muslim woman, she decided to design a fashionable collection called Classic Woman—not the conventional headscarf, but rather, beautifully coloured pieces which bear intricate artwork. They can range from embroidery to sequins or even tie-dye. The sky is the limit when she puts her fashionable sense into motion.

Chi said the collection was inspired by both The Great Gatsby and the Renaissance eras of power dressing.

“My collection features designs showcasing the powerful but elegant and well-tailored woman.

Chi Collection’s trademark fabrics are soft, beautiful silks, chiffon, sequins, embroidery and bridal laces. Distinctive attributes are the colours scarlet red, white and black, in keeping with the classic fashion palette and to pay homage to my country as a Trinbagonian designer,” said Chi.

Her collection was launched in November 2015 at the Red Runway Fashion Gala held in Port-of-Spain. The collection will be available for purchase via Chi’s upcoming website.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015
judy smith May 2015
An upcoming fashion show, and I don’t mean to be unkind here, is lacking in both. It’s just the way it is. These models are beautifully ordinary people, your neighbours, and their designs are self-crafted, each suiting the model’s personal interpretation of high fashion. It’s the social event of the season. Everyone in the “know” will be there.

Eight models and an emcee will take to the Capitol Theatre stage in Oxford Thursday at 7 p.m. for the third annual Foolish Fashion Show. Foolish is the operative word here. It’s an evening of fun, with each model parading across the stage in four outfits during the show. The fashions are indescribable literally. You have to see them to appreciate them.

The show is the annual fundraiser for the Oxford/Pugwash Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society. To date the show has raised about $5,000 for the society’s Lodge That Gives in Halifax.

The show was the idea of the local unit’s Bev Clark.

“At the time there were no people to canvas door-to-door,” she said. “People were getting older or had less time. There were also other fundraising campaigns going on at the time.”

After seeing a foolish fashion show elsewhere, she decided a similar one would work for the local cancer unit. The first show was a sellout and the models of the evening agreed to take to the stage the next year.

Each designer/model is responsible for their haute couture. With the final result left to their wild, some might say perverse, imaginations the creations are a sight to behold.

Unit secretary and past president Bob Hunsley in his best 007 voice introduces himself as “Bob, SpongeBob.”

“Every good fashion show should include good costumes,” he begins. “Here, our unit president Edna McCormick is wearing her all-weather coat. In this coat she is well prepared for sunshine, rain, fog and snow and all the wind that blows (the coat is adorned with representations of each weather condition). Notice her “son” hat (which is a tribute to her son).”

Jane Smith is new to the Foolish Fashion Show runway.

“I came to the show last year and really enjoyed it. It looked like fun,” she said.

First time jitters?

“Doesn’t bother me a bit.”

This show is one in which you can’t do anything wrong. You show off your creation however you deem fit. It’s all fun.

Tom Kay, is making his modelling debut also. And what will Councillor Kay be strutting his stuff in? Not to give too much away but a muscle shirt like you’ve never seen and shorts will be worn.

Nine-year-old Emma McCormick is also a featured model.

It’s a show not to be missed.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015
judy smith Sep 2016
A fashion designer has defended models who were labelled as "gaunt and unwell" on Facebook.

Andrea Moore's I AM range is sold at Farmers, and an image from its current campaign was posted on that company's Facebook page on Friday.

The picture features Chiara and Norina Gasteiger, who are twins represented by Clyne Model Management. Farmers customers did not react well to the now-deleted post.

"They so look gaunt and unwell. I'm really disappointed," Newshub says Anna Webster commented.

"You cannot look at these girls with their bones sticking out and believe that they are a good role model for a family store," Jo Austwick wrote.

"I have enough trouble with body image arguments with my daughters without these images being depicted. They do not look healthy."

Moore said the imagery had never been intended to cause offence, and that she felt for the Gasteiger twins, who have worked with the brand for three years.

"The twins are actually healthy, fun models who are busy university students... We love working with them because of their sense of self-worth and uniqueness as twins," she said.

"We have been in touch with the models and they were most upset by the whole thing. Fortunately, they have received a lot of support from their peers.

"The campaign was about preppy grunge, print with an edge. [It was not] about promoting unhealthy body types [or] anything else," Moore added.

Farmers posted the following statement on Facebook after deleting the I AM image:

"Dear valued Farmers customers! We appreciate you taking the time to send us your comments and concerns on a recent post for I AM. Please know it is not taken lightly and we in no way mean to promote an image for women in NZ to follow that could be regarded as unhealthy.

"We understand that no two bodies are the same and we always seek to show a range of body types throughout all our advertising. These images were supplied by the brand Andrea Moore as part of a wider campaign and were published by us. We will endeavour going forward to work closely with all our partners to ensure an appropriate image is portrayed.

"Thank you once again for your valued feedback."

Clyne Model Management have been approached for comment.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/cocktail-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/one-shoulder-formal-dresses
judy smith Sep 2015
In just a little bit, we’ll begin to see Christmas holiday decorations, which start showing up even before Halloween. And along with the strings of lights all over the place will be a set of emotions that accompany the presents we are supposed to give.

A recent question from a reader provides an opportunity to talk about gift-giving expectations for all occasions. In this case, an upcoming wedding triggered the gift dilemma. As part of a regular feature on family financial feuds, I will address the issues the person raised.

The background: The reader’s niece is getting married. The bride and groom both work part time. The reader relayed that her niece had dropped out of college after a year and a half. The reader checked out her niece’s bridal registry and was “kind of blown away” by the high-end items, including pots and pans that cost $200 each and Kate ***** dish towels.

“I sent my sister a gentle text about being surprised that Kate ***** even made dish towels,” the reader wrote during one of my online discussions, “and she responded saying, ‘Don’t buy her anything. I will get you the information on her student loans (which she has not been responsible about) and pay those down instead of buying her anything.’”

The gift suggestion about the student loans didn’t sit well with the aunt, who already is upset since she co-signed. “My credit score is down 100 points because of it,” she wrote.

The conflict: “There are many issues here to deal with,” the aunt explained, not the least of which is that when her own daughter got married several years ago, the reader’s sister did not give a wedding present.

She continued: “I know my sister has struggled financially since her divorce, so I didn’t let it bother me. It just feels weird to pay down someone’s student loans as a wedding gift. My husband thinks I shouldn’t pay down the student loans. I am inclined to pay down something, but also get her some small items (no Kate ***** dish towels!). Any ideas?”

The bottom line: Here’s the crux of the family financial drama: “My sister [is] basically asking me for money, when she did nothing — not even a card — for my daughter’s wedding.”

There are three issues as I see it: the student loans, the pressure to buy from a registry, and retribution.

The student-loans problem shouldn’t be lumped in with the whole gifting issue. The reader refers to the debt as “someone’s student loans.”

But those are her loans, too. When you co-sign, you’re not merely providing your good credit name as a reference. Paying the loans isn’t a gift. It’s her responsibility.

If I were the reader, I would sit down with my niece and talk about how we are going to handle the debt going forward. It may be that she has to make payments until the niece is in a financial position to pick them back up.

As for the gift registry, some people list big-ticket items they can’t afford, or they expect that perhaps a group of friends or relatives may share the cost. However, sometimes it does feel like registries are an excuse for the couple to be greedy. I routinely ignore what’s picked out if I can’t find something in my budget. A registry shouldn’t be seen as a mandatory shopping list.

By the way, just because someone is underemployed or having financial troubles doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t want nice things or even brand-name items.

Now, let’s address the core issue here. The reader is hurt that her daughter didn’t receive a wedding present.

Gifts are sometimes interpreted as a symbol of what people think of you. But if the reader’s sister and niece attended the wedding and wished the bride and groom well, shouldn’t that count for as much as, if not more than, some gaudy gift?

As Judith Martin, the etiquette columnist known as “Miss Manners,” says, a wedding invitation is not an invoice. Yes, it’s a thoughtful gesture when people give. Nonetheless, be careful about your sense of entitlement whether it’s for a wedding or the holiday season.

I believe it’s our presence — not presents — that matters most.

You might wonder: Well, should the reader in return simply attend the wedding and wish the couple well?

If she doesn’t give a wedding gift in retribution, that’s being ill-mannered.

Just because you didn’t get doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give. And if a family member fails to give, be gracious and remember it really is better to give than to receive.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
judy smith Apr 2015
With designers like Iman Ahmed, HSY and Sania Maskatiya all showing, it was standing-room only at the venue. Many of the crowd of fashion insiders and socialites ended up sharing seats, with the chivalrous Zaheer Abbas giving his seat to Iman Ahmed after her show and sitting on the floor himself. So much for designer egos!

It was an evening that lived up to its billing.

Iman Ahmed may not be a designer who makes her clothing easily available, but in fashion terms she reaches heights that few other designers can reach. Her “Sartorial Philology and the New Nomad collection” was breathtaking.

The best fashion shows have a narrative — the clothes, styling, music and progression of the outfits blend seamlessly into a whole that portrays the designer’s artistic vision.

It’s hard not to gush about Iman Ahmed’s show last night because it was exactly what a fashion show should be.

Starting with a series of outfits in white and gradually adding tribal colours, Iman used fringing, embroidery and a range of fabrics to great effect. From the inspired detailing to the juxtaposition of texture and silhouette, this was a class act. The tribal white-dotted makeup and beaten silver accessories added further depth to Iman’s stunning layered ensembles.

Levi’s uninspired showing of their new 501 jeans and other stock provided the audience with a pause to process the previous collection. It’s difficult to make a interesting fashion week presentation out of high street wear and something that Levis struggles with.

They used better music than they did at their autumn show but the styling was still painfully lacking. They did manage to make everyone sit up and take notice at the end of their show though — Wasim Akram walked the ramp as their showstopper amid cheers from the admiring audience.

Somal Halepoto was next, with collection that looked distinctly amateur. She seemed to be aiming for a bright kitschy collection but ended up looking merely tacky. The shiny, synthetic-looking fabrics and gaudy embroidery were particularly woeful. Somal’s digital neon animal prints and some of the harem pants were funky but the rest of the collection had little to recommended it.

YBQ’s LalShah collection, meanwhile, was in a different league. An ode to 3 Sufi Sindhi saints, the collection was as much about the artistic impression it made on the ramp as it was about the clothes. The distinctly theatrical presentation relied on the slow beat of sufi music and plentiful accessories for much of its impact.

YBQ sent his models down the ramp in huge pagris, holding flags on poles and garlanded with prayer beads. He used only three colours - red depicting rage, white for peace and black for mourning. Most of the outfits were draped red jersey tunics or gowns with white lowers, braided belts and black turbans.

Rubya Chaudry wore a black gown with red roses but otherwise the outfits were all about subtle plays with drapery and cut. From jodhpur style chooridarsto asymmetrical draping, the outfits had interesting touches but needed all that heavy styling to make an impact. HSY was YBQ’s showstopper and added glamour to the theatrical presentation that he had choreographed.

Wardha Saleem was first up after the break and her Lotus Song collection showed how this talented young designer has been upping her game over recent years.

She used digital flamingo prints, 3D embroidery, gota embroidery and lasercutting in a pretty formal fusion collection. The detailing on the collection was simply stunning. Wardha used gota in delicate patterns that gave her outfits shimmer and paired this with three dimensional embroidery. The outfits featured flowers, fish, elephants and birds picked out in silk thread and beads.

She showed a variety of shift dresses, jackets, saris, capes and draped dresses. The styling was also great fun – the models wore shoes featuring spikes and 3D flowers while the multi-talented Tapu Javeri provided some gorgeous jewellery and music for the show. While there was nothing groundbreaking about her silhouettes, this was a beautiful collection that showed skill and artistry.

Sania Maskatiya, who presented her luxury pret on Day 1, now showed her lawn collection for AlKaram. As far as designer lawn goes, this is something of a dream collaboration.

Textile and print are Sania’s forte and she uses print extensively in her luxury pret. In this collection for Al-Karam she has taken print elements from her pret collections throughout the year including the Sakura, Lokum and Khutoot collections.

The prints are different from those used in her Luxe pret but are based on the same principals. She’s even used the paint splash embroidery from this season’s Khayaat collection in one of the outfits. Designer lawn should be affordable way to wear a designer’s aesthetic and this Sania Maskatiya Al Karam collaboration certainly is.

As for the show itself, showing lawn is always tricky on the ramp. Sania pulled it off with an upbeat presentation using fast music and trendy cuts, throwing a few conventional shalwar kameez in the mix. She fashioned the lawn into jackets, kaftans and draped tunic, using the sort of cuts that are a hallmark of her pret. It’s not how most people wear lawn but it was a great way to show off the prints on the ramp.

Naushaba Brohi’s Inaaya burst onto the fashion scene last year with a spectacular collection. Following up on a dramatic debut is difficult but Naushaba proved that she is not a one hit wonder with this collection. Inaaya’s SS15 collection continued with the theme of using traditional Sindhi crafts in contemporary wear. Naushaba used both touches of Rilli and some stunning mirror work in her collection.

What makes Inaaya noteworthy is the way that she takes unsung traditional crafts that we’ve seen badly used and gives them a high fashion twist. Standout pieces included a bolero with unusual mirror work and a rilli sari that glittered with tiny flashes of mirrors.

Although the collection included many beautiful outfits, there was a lack of focus. The simple tunic with a rilli dupatta didn’t work with knotted purple evening wear jacket. The inability to make a definitive statement let down an otherwise accomplished collection.

Naushaba added a characteristic touch at the end of her show. She’s committed to social responsibility and supports local craftswomen with her brand. Accordingly, Inaaya’s showstopper was Mashal Chaudri of the Reading Room Project along with Naushaba’s daughter Inaaya. She held up a plaque saying “I teach therefore I can” while Inaaya wore a T-Shirt with the slogan “super role model”.

HSY brought the evening to a close with a high-speed presentation of his Hi-Octance menswear collection. The unusual choreography featured the models zipping along the catwalk, pausing briefly on their second round. The energetic presentation complemented a collection of sharp suits and jackets, leavened with quirky polka dot shirts and bold stripy ties.

There was the requisite shirtless model in distressed jeans and an ice-blue jacket but also some appealing suiting fabrics. HSY used only Pakistani fabrics and included solid colours as well as self-checked and striped suits. This was wearable, classy menswear presented creatively.

Day 3 was undoubtedly the best day of TFPW so far. Iman Ahmed undoubted takes the laurels but she was ably supported by HSY, Wardha Saleem, Inaaya, Sania Maskatiya and YBQ.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses
judy smith Feb 2016
Korean fashion experts have shared their know-how with Malaysia.

At the "K-Fashion Conference for Malaysia" in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 16, a group of Korean professionals gave lectures under the topics "K-Fashion Design Trend Transition & Forecast," "Digital & Online Marketing Strategies," "Power Brand and Concept Development Strategies" and "How to enter the global market."

The Korea Fashion Association, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and the ASEAN-Korea Centre organized the event to strengthen the competitiveness of Malaysian fashion brands by improving the added value of the industry through brand development.

About 50 Malaysian fashion industry companies and related government officials attended.

"There is growing interest in K-fashion, along with the high popularity of Korean dramas and entertainment shows, making this workshop even more timely and meaningful," ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General Kim Young-sun said. "The Malaysian fashion industry has huge potential as it is currently ranked in the top five in the ASEAN fashion industry."

On Feb. 15 and 17, Korean experts visited local fashion merchandisers for market research and consultations.

According to the ASEAN-Korea Centre, the Malaysian fashion industry has had massive growth with the expansion of Islamic fashion markets.

MATRADE aims to boost the industry as the nation's leading exporter. It has been organizing Malaysia Fashion Week (MFW) since 2014 to make the capital a fashion destination in Asia.

The second MFW in 2015 featured designers from more than 15 countries, and over 300 booths showcased the quality products of Malaysian fashion brands to the domestic and foreign trade, accodring to the organization.

The ASEAN-Korea Centre is an intergovernmental organization established in 2009 with an aim to promote exchanges among Korea and the 10 ASEAN member states.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/bridesmaid-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses
judy smith Aug 2015
They say marriage is all about compromise. If that's the case, newlyweds Kia Parsons and Billy Bunning are off to an excellent start.

The UK couple had different visions when it came to their wedding cake; the bride wanted an all-white tiered cake with cascading sugar flowers. The groom, on the other hand, wanted to incorporate his love of comic book superheroes into the confection. So they met somewhere in the middle:

Julia Baker of Tier by Tier cake design created the cake for the couple's August 14 wedding in Milton Keynes, England. One side is the traditional-looking cake the bride wanted. On the other side, icing curtains reveal the logos of Marvel characters Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man, as well as Batman from the DC Comics camp.

"I loved every minute making this cake, as I knew it would be something that people would be surprised at and appeal to all the Marvel fans!" Julia told The Huffington Post.

In all, she spent 40 hours on the cake. It took 12 hours to make the sugar flowers, and the cake-baking and building took about 28 hours.

Needless to say, Kia and Billy were thrilled with the finished product.

"Julia did such a fantastic job and we were completely overwhelmed by how brilliant it looked!" the bride told HuffPost. "From most angles of the room, the cake looked like a traditional wedding cake -- just what we had wanted. It wasn't until the cake was moved for us to cut that our guests realized there was a hidden extra. Some didn't even realize until the photos went online after the wedding!"

On Tuesday, a photo of the cake began going viral when it was shared by the Life Of Dad Facebook page.

"I was surprised at how popular it was and how quickly the pictures circulated on social media," Julia said. "I have plenty more ideas to work on and I am calling these 'double-take cakes.'"

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth

www.marieaustralia.com/white-formal-dresses
judy smith Jul 2015
Summer diet: Weight loss summer food

The weather may change but our diet remains constant. Whatever the weather, summer, winter or the monsoon we want our pav bhaji or Schezwan chicken or the spicy kebabs and the masala chai.

But realization never strikes us that change in weather could mean a change in diet as well. For those on a weight loss diet the options are slim, you need food that is delicious, low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals as well as fibers. Let's peak into your refrigerator and cook up the best summer weight loss meals.

Max on vegetables: Vegetables are the best bet when the sun is unforgiving. Red meat is not advisable for summer as it increases your body's internal energy requirement for digestion - thus, tiring you out if you aren't in great health to begin with. Luckily Indian food is known for delicious vegetarian food, which means that you won't need to make too much of a compromise when shifting to a palette that mostly involves leafy vegetables.

Go easy on the nuts: Dried nuts are rich in calories and to avoid over indulging yourself with nuts have them in small proportion and stock away the rest. Another reason to avoid nuts in summer is that they produce heat in your body, which could result in heat boils. Go easy when snacking on these energy nibbles.

Learn about salads: They are no longer just sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and beetroot. Salads have evolved; restaurants have a wide selection of different salads. Indians are more open to feasting on salads as a meal. It takes less time to prepare and you can toss in anything you want even chicken and fish along with the greens. Add citrus fruits, chilled cucumber and fresh lettuce and you've got the perfect summer meal.

Try the chilled soups: Gazpacho is the first dish that comes to mind when you hear the words - chilled soups. But you can try out soups made of tomatoes, green peas and cucumbers; they are both cooling and refreshing. If you like beetroot, you should try chilled beetroot soup too. Healthy and refreshing, these chilled soups are the perfect starters on a hot and balmy summer night.

Enjoy fruits as desserts: Fruits cool the body, rejuvenate your cells, keep you hydrated, and taste like heaven on a hot summer day. Dice some fruits in a bowl, sprinkle some chat or cinnamon powder and you have an awesome dessert. Watermelon is the most sought after fruit when the sun is relentless.

Meet your summer crush - low fat yogurt: Dairy products are always a healthy option, provided they are low fat. Good for digestion and rich in calcium, you can have yogurt any way you like - whipped into lassi, sweeten with sugar or mixed with fruits. Yogurt is cheap and doesn't need a fancy accompaniment, but you do need a refrigerator to preserve the healthy bacteria.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-melbourne | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
4.1k · Jul 2016
Meet the Twags
judy smith Jul 2016
The 9.6 million followers who tune in to watch Miranda Kerr having her hair done on Instagram — for this is how models spend most of their time — were treated to a rather more interesting sight last Thursday: a black and white photograph of a whacking great diamond ring.

Across it was the caption “Marry me!” and a twee animation of the tech mogul Evan Spiegel on bended knee. Underneath Kerr had typed “I said yes!!!” and an explosion of heart emojis.

A spokesman for Spiegel, founder of the Snapchat mobile app, who is 26 to Kerr’s 33 and worth $US 2.1 billion to her $US 42.5 million , revealed “they are very happy”.

At first, the marriage seems an unlikely combination: a man so bright he founded Snapchat while still at Stanford University, becoming one of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires by 22, and a Victoria’s Secret model who was previously married to the Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom (she allegedly had a fling with pop brat Justin Bieber, leading Bloom to punch Beebs in a posh Ibiza restaurant).

Perhaps the union indicates that there is more to Kerr than we thought. More likely, it reveals something about Spiegel — and the way the social status of “geeks” has changed.

Since Steve Jobs made computers cool and Millennials started living online, nerds are king. Even coding is **** enough for the model Karlie Kloss, singer will.i.am and actor Ashton Kutcher to learn it. Silicon Valley has become the new Hollywood, as moguls and social media barons take over from film stars and sportsmen not just on rich lists, but as alpha men.

Being a co-founder of a company is this decade’s equivalent to being a rock star or a chef. And, if their attractiveness to models and actresses proves anything, then being a Twag — tech wife or girlfriend — is a “thing”. Sources tell me Twags are also known as “founder-hounders” because they like to date the creators of start-up companies.

Actress Talulah Riley was an early adopter. She started dating the PayPal founder Elon Musk in 2008. Riley, then fresh from starring in the St Trinian’s film, met Musk in London’s Whisky Mist nightclub after he had delivered a lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society. I interviewed her shortly afterwards and she told me they had spent the evening talking about “quantum physics”. A month later they were engaged. Their on-again-off-again marriage lasted six years before she filed for divorce again in March. Currently Musk, worth an estimated $US 12.7 billion and focused on Tesla cars, is said to be “spending a lot of time” with Johnny Depp’s estranged wife, Amber Heard.

Model Lily Cole dated the Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in 2013. Later she had a son with Kwame Ferreira, founder of the digital innovation agency Kwamecorp. Actress Emma Watson is going out with William Knight, an “adventurer” who has an incredibly boringly sounding job as a senior manager at Medallia, a software company. Allison Williams, Marnie in the HBO television show Girls, is married to Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of College Humor website.

Could it be that these women are onto something? Dating a bro certainly has its appeal. They are innovative: how else would they invent apps that deliver cheese toasties or match singles based on their haircuts? They are risk-takers who must be charismatic enough to inspire investors and attract crowd-funding. They may not be gym-fit, but they are mathletes who can do your tax bill. They are animal lovers: every start-up is dog friendly. And they are fun: who would not want to date somebody with a ball pool in their office?

There is a saying about dating in Silicon Valley: the odds are good but the goods are odd. Nerds are notorious for peculiar chat-up lines and normcore clothes. Still, if geeks can be awkward, that is part of their charm. Keira Knightley, complaining that Silicon Valley was all men in hoodies and Crocs, described how one gave her his card, saying she should get in touch if she wanted to see a spaceship.

One Vogue writer recalled a Silicon Valley man messaging her via a dating app, in which he noted: “In 50 per cent of your photos you’re holding an iPhone. It may interest you to find out that I invented the iPhone. More accurately I was an engineer on the original iPhone . . .”

Most promisingly, some guys are astoundingly rich. It is suggested Kerr’s engagement ring is a 2.5-carat diamond worth around dollars 55,000. She has already moved into Spiegel’s dollars 12m LA pad. Between his money and her Victoria’s Secrets bridesmaids, no wonder sources claim they are planning an “extravagant wedding”.

It might rival even the Napster founder Sean Parker’s $US10m performance-art bash. He married songwriter Alexandra Lenas in a canopy among Big Sur’s redwoods decorated to look like an enchanted forest. Some 350 guests wore Tolkienesque costumes created by The Lord of the Rings costume designer Ngila Dickson. They sat on white fur rugs and were given bunnies to pet. Presumably rabbit babysitters were on hand when the disco started.

If such fantasies inspire you to become a Twag, the great news is you do not have to be a supermodel to be in with a chance. Such is the dearth of single women in Silicon Valley that one dating site, Dating Ring, crowdfunded a plane to fly single women to Palo Alto from New York.

Be warned, though: guys are single because they are married to the job.

No wonder most meet their partners at college or work — the Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met his wife, Priscilla Chan, at Harvard.

The Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom met girlfriend Nicole Schuetz at Stanford. Melinda met Bill Gates when, in 1987, they sat next to each other at an Expo trade-fair dinner. “He was funnier than I expected him to be,” she said.

Kerr began dating Spiegel in 2014 after meeting him at a Louis Vuitton dinner in New York. You can bet he was networking. Shortly after Louis Vuitton showcased their cruise collection in a Snapchat story. Last season Snapchat went on to become the biggest new name at NY fashion week.

If you want to meet tech guys, you might catch them at Silicon Valley parties, which is how the Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick met his partner, Gabi Holzwarth, a violinist hired to play. Or they might be schmoozing clients downtown in a swanky Noe Valley club in San Francisco or a boring Union Square hotel in New York. In London you find them around Old Street, aka Silicon Roundabout, in bars, at hackathons, or start-up meet-ups. In the day they are coding at Google Campus or practising their pitching in a co-working space.

Some tech boys date the old-fashioned way: on Tinder. Airbnb founder Brian Chesky met his girlfriend of three years, Elissa Patel, through the app. When I interviewed Instagram co-founder Systrom he admitted that when he had been single he had signed up.

Dating agency Linx — presumably a play on operating system Linux — is dedicated to making Silicon Valley matches. Amy Andersen set it up in 2003 after moving to Palo Alto and being “flabbergasted” by the number of eligible men. She claims her clients are “extremely dynamic and successful individuals’’: tech founders, tech chief executives, financier founding partners of large institutions and “tons of entrepreneurs”.

Andersen says tech guys make “fabulous partners”. Romantic and chivalrous, they write love letters, plan dates, “even proposing on Snapchat!” If you want to marry a tech billionaire, she says, “you need to bring your A game.” Her clients look “for women who are equally, if not more, dynamic and interesting than he is!”

There are drawbacks to dating tech guys. Before Google buys your amore’s business, he will be living on *** Noodles waiting for the next round of funding — and workaholics are dull.

Kerr says Spiegel is “25, but he acts like he’s 50. He’s not out partying. He goes to work in Venice [Beach], he comes home. We don’t go out. We’d rather be at home and have dinner, go to bed early.” Which might suit Kerr, but is not my idea of a fun.

You had also better be prepared to share your life. When Priscilla Chan miscarried three times, Mark Zuckerberg wrote about it on Facebook, while Chesky used a romantic trip with his girlfriend to promote Airbnb - uploading a picture of her in bed, with a note saying “f* hotels”. Besides all of which is the notorious issue of Silicon Valley sexism.

It has a chief exec-bro culture that puts pick-up artist/comedian Dapper Laughs to shame. Ninety per cent of women working in the Valley say they have witnessed sexist behaviour, 60 per cent have experienced unwanted ****** advances at work, two thirds of them from their boss. Whitney Wolfe, a co-founder of Tinder, took Justin Mateen to court for ****** harassment. Her lawsuit against the company alleged that Mateen, her former partner, sent text messages calling her a “*****”.

Spiegel has tech bro form. He apologised after emails from his days at Stanford emerged: missives about stripper poles, getting black-out drunk, shooting lasers at “fat chicks”, and promising to “roll a blunt for whoever sees the most **** tonight (Sunday)”. After one fraternity Hawaiian luau party, he signed off emails “f*
bitchesgetleid”.

No wonder some women are not inspired to become Twags. Especially when you could be a tech billionaire yourself. Would you not rather be Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, than married to the boss?Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/evening-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/black-formal-dresses
3.8k · Jun 2015
Skipping The 'Fashion Show'
judy smith Jun 2015
For financial advisors wanting to increase the assets they manage, a number of situations provide tremendous opportunities. These are situations where there is “money in motion,” investable assets now available to be managed.

These opportunities are all put in motion by a “trigger event.” One example is inheriting significant sums from an affluent parent. Another example is the monies provided to an ex-spouse as part of a divorce settlement.

For most financial advisors, the greatest opportunity to capture money in motion is when a successful business owner sells his or her company. Worldwide, the most significant creator of personal wealth is entrepreneurism. Moreover, most successful entrepreneurs are only rich on paper until they sell a portion or all of their companies.

When they monetize the value of their firms, they have investable assets that they often turn over to investment professionals to manage. This scenario is unquestionably one of the very best ways for financial advisors to bring in more assets to manage.

Most Entrepreneurs Want To Be Wealthier

In order to win the investment business of these entrepreneurs, it is useful for you to understand that becoming wealthy was (and is) a core motivation of their business building efforts. In a survey of 513 business owners, a little more than nine out of 10 of them want to become significantly wealthier than they are today (Exhibit 1). Moreover, all of them strongly recognize that their ability to become wealthier is a function of the success of their business.

There are often many reasons business owners want to be wealthier. Taking care of loved ones regularly tops the list (Exhibit 2). The success of the business and their ability to maximize personal wealth is usually instrumental in this regard.

At the same time, about seven out of 10 entrepreneurs said they are interested in doing more to support worthy charitable causes (Exhibit 3). Again, the success of their business and their ability to translate that success into personal wealth can be significant in enabling these business owners to be more philanthropic.

A core motivation for most entrepreneurs is personal wealth creation. This often carries over into how they want their monies invested once they sell all or part of their businesses. It is useful to note that the majority of business owners who monetize their companies are not walking away with hundreds of millions of dollars. Most businesses are small or midsize businesses, and there are often equity partners and possibly investors. This frequently means that the entrepreneurs are looking to have the monies that they entrust to investment professionals grow (Exhibit 4).

Skipping The ‘Fashion Show’

When entrepreneurs have considerable liquid assets after selling their companies, they regularly turn to financial advisors to manage all or a portion of these monies. This often results in a fashion show where a stream of investment professionals vies for the attention (and funds) of the former business owner.

About one in 10 considered a single investment professional. About three out of 10 deliberated between two financial advisors. More telling, about 60% looked at three or more investment professionals.

There are regularly a plethora of factors that go into winning a fashion show. Some of them are money-management-related, such as performance track record and investment philosophy. Sometimes, the deciding factor is chemistry or lack thereof between the financial advisors and the former entrepreneur. It is always preferable to be the singular financial advisor being considered to manage the money.

When only one financial advisor was considered, in every case there was a pre-existing relationship. This is the key to skipping having to compete once the entrepreneur has significant liquid assets to invest.

For financial advisors, the ability to avoid the fashion show as well as dramatically increase the probability of winning most, if not all, of the business owner’s asset management business is to be involved before the sale and endorsed by trusted professionals the entrepreneur is already working with.

It is important to recognize that nearly nine out of 10 successful business owners would like to, at some point in time, sell their companies (Exhibit 6). This provides professionals with meaningful opportunities to help them maximize their personal wealth from the sale. However, only about 15% of entrepreneurs are taking such action (Exhibit 7). This opens the door for many financial advisors to be involved with these successful business owners before the sale.

Getting directly involved can prove exceedingly beneficial for business owners. The most efficacious way to do this is by being recommended by their accountants. While successful business owners will usually rely on a variety of professionals, it is apparent that their accountants are regularly their primary “go to” resource. As so many critical business decisions are entwined with the financials of the company, these entrepreneurs depend on their accountants to help them navigate the possibilities and make wise choices.

Even where financial advisors are not involved before the sale, for most entrepreneurs the advice of the accountants proves to be a key determinant to whom to entrust new liquid assets. Still, the preferred approach is to—often through the entrepreneur’s accountant—have some effective interactions before the sale of the company.

Conclusions

Entrepreneurism is the greatest creator of private wealth. It also produces some of the most significant pools of investable assets. The ability to win investment management mandates from successful business owners who have sold all or part of their companies can dramatically increase a financial advisor’s practice.

Many times, there is a fashion show where investment professionals compete for the newly liquid assets of ex-entrepreneurs. A more effective approach is to build a relationship before the sale. What is often required is for the successful business owner’s accountant to be an advocate for the financial advisor.?Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses
judy smith Sep 2015
He's a high-end fashion designer with a celebrity following, but when it comes to the perfect wedding dress, Henry Holland has admitted you don't need to spend a fortune.

The designer from Greater Manchester, who has his own fashion house, said there are plenty of options for brides on a budget on the High Street.

'Being a fashion expert, I have something to say on the subject of wedding dresses, and I think you can look amazing without blowing your budget,' he said.

'Everyone knows that wedding dresses can cost an absolute fortune. You can spend anything from £8,000 - to £50,000 if you're J Lo. But there are so many amazing different styles and options on the High Street.'

Holland reveals his top picks, which can all be bought off-the-peg for less than £1,000, in his new Channel 4 show, The Changing Room.

He's impressed by the array of bridal gowns offered by Phase Eight, earmarking one Fifties-inspired design called the Sally Tulle wedding dress, which costs just £250.

He said of the dress: 'It's a cute Fifties-style prom shape with nice tulle and it doesn't look cheap, which is important. The fit and flare style flatters so many different body shapes and the length means you can show off your shoes.'

He also loved a cowl neck, full-length ivory gown from Ghost for £395, and a lacy £450 vintage-inspired wedding dress from Damsel in a Dress.

When choosing the perfect gown to walk down the aisle in, Holland recommends brides consider what they will look like from all angles.

He explained: 'Remember how important the back is. During the ceremony you will have your back to the congregation or your assembled group of friends.

'So for one of the only times in your life, think about how you look from behind.'

He advises looking for dresses with beads and sequin detailing all the way round - and again said this doesn't have to mean spending a fortune.

Showing a dress from Clifton Brides with a price tag of £995, he said: 'You can see the work that has been put into it; the beads and sequins have been sewn by hand by a skilled artisan.'

In his other style tips for brides he recommends glittery or lacy T-bar shoes and said 'always wear a veil'.

He said brides should not feel embarrassed about buying their dress from a High Street store. He added they should also banish worries about a guest turning up in the same gown with a stark warning for those planning their outfits for a friend or relative's big day.

'Buying off-the-peg is absolutely fine. You don't need to worry about anyone else turning up in the same dress as if any of your guests turns up wearing a white dress they need to be told to leave or escorted off the premises,' he joked.

One bride who took his style advice is Alex, who will tie the knot next June in Corfu.

She features in Holland's fly-on-the-wall series, The Changing Room, where cameras are installed in fitting rooms of House of Fraser, New Look, H&M;, Monsoon and River Island stores across the country.

In the first episode, which airs this evening, Alex is filmed trying on a wedding dress from Monsoon as well as picking her bridesmaids' gowns from the Oxford Street store in London.

She was impressed with the design and price of the £499 'Elise' gown, which is embellished on the front and has a mesh cut-away back covered in gems and beads.

'I love it, I don't think I want to try anything else on,' she said.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-sydney

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judy smith Nov 2016
Shortly after 3pm on September 29, 31-year-old Olivier Rousteing strode through the shimmering, fleshy backstage area at Balmain's Spring 2017 Paris Fashion Week show. Along the marble hallway of a hôtel particulier in the 8th arrondissement, long-limbed clusters of supermodels were gamely tolerating final applications of leg-moisturiser, make-up touch-ups and minutely precise hair interventions from squads of specialists as fast and accurate as any Formula 1 pit-stop team. The crowd parted as Rousteing swept through.

Wearing a belted, black silk tuxedo and a focused expression that accentuated his razor-sharp cheekbones, Rousteing resembled a sensuous hit man. Target identified, he led us to the board upon which photographs of every outfit were tacked.

We asked him to tell us about the collection (for that's what fashion editors always ask). "There is no theme," said Rou­steing in his fast, French-accented lilt. "No inspiration from travel or time. The inspiration is what I feel, and what I feel now is peace, light and serenity. I feel like in my six years here before this, I have tried to fight so many battles. Because there is no point anymore in fighting about boundaries and limits in fashion. Balmain has its place in fashion."

And the clothes? "There is a lot of fluidity. A lot of knitwear, lightness, ponchos. No body-con dresses. But whatever I do, even if I cover up my girls, it is like people can say I am ******. So this is what it is. I think there is nothing ******. I think it is really chic. I think it is really French. It is how I see Paris. And I have had too many haters during the last three years to defend myself again. So, this is Balmain." And then the show began.

Star endorsements

Under Rousteing, Balmain has become the most controversial fashion house in Paris. Rousteing has attracted (but not bought, as other, far bigger houses do) patronage from contemporary culture's most significant influencers. Rihanna, all the Kardashians, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber – a royal flush of modern celebrity aristocracy – all champion him.

Immediately after this show, in that backstage hubbub, Kim Kardashian told me: "I thought it was very powerful…I loved the sequins, and I loved all the big chain mail belts – that was probably my favourite."

Yet for every famous fan there is a member of the fashion establishment who will sniff over coffee in Le Castiglione that Rousteing's crowd is declassé and his aesthetic best described by that V-word. The New York Times' fashion critic Vanessa Friedman reckoned this collection appropriate for "dressing for the captain's dinners on a cruise ship to Fantasy Island". At least she did not use the V-word. When I once deployed it – as a compliment – in a 2015 Vogue menswear review that declared "Rousteing is confidently negotiating a fine line between extravagance and vulgarity", I was told that Rous­teing was aggrieved.

The fashion world's ambivalence towards Rousteing is a measure of its conflicted feelings towards much in contemporary culture. Last year Robin Givhan of the Washington Post wrote of Balmain: "The French fashion house is always ostentatious and sometimes ******. It feeds a voracious appetite for attention. It is anti-intellectual. Antagonistic. Emotional. It is shocking. It is perfect for this era of social media, which means it is powerfully, undeniably relevant."

Since joining Instagram four years ago Rousteing has posted 4000 images and won 4 million followers. The combined reach of his audience members and models at this Balmain show was greater than the population of Britain and France combined. Balmain was the first French fashion house to gain more than 1 million followers, and currently has 5.5 million of them.

Loving his haters

As digital technology disrupts fashion, Balmain's seemingly effortless mastery of the medium galls some. Last year, the designer posted an image of a comment from a ****** follower to his feed. It read: "Olivier Rousteing spends more times taking selfies for Instagram than designing clothes for Balmain." Underneath, in block capitals, he commented "i love my haters".

Rousteing can be funny and flip – doing a video interview after the show, I opened by asking, tritely, how he felt. He replied: "Now I feel like some Chicken McNuggets with barbecue sauce, and then some M&M;'s ice cream."

When at work, however, that flipness flips to entirely unflip. The previous evening, at a final fitting for the collection, Rousteing had paced his studio, his face a scowl of concentration, applying final edits to the outfits to be worn by models Doutzen Kroes and Alessandra Ambrosio. The 30-strong team of couturiers working in the adjoining atelier delivered a steady stream of altered dresses.

"We are ready," he said from behind a glass desk in a rare moment of downtime. "This a big show – 80 looks – and I want a collection that is full of both the commercial and couture. But it's smooth too. All of the girls are excited about the after-party and interested in the music. And eating pizza." In the corridor outside Gigi Hadid – this season's apex supermodel – was indeed eating pizza, with gusto.

The fitting went on until far beyond midnight; Rousteing, fiercely focused, demonstrated the work ethic for which he is famous. When he was studio manager for Christophe Decarnin, his predecessor at Balmain, the young then-unknown was always the first in and last out of the studio. Emmanuel Diemoz, who joined Balmain as finance controller in 2001 and became chief executive in 2011, says that his hard graft was one of the reasons he was chosen to succeed Decarnin.

"For sure it was quite a gamble," says Diemoz. "But we could see the talent of Olivier. Plus he understood the work of Christophe – who had helped the brand recover – so he represented continuity. He was a hard worker, clearly a leader, with a lot of creativity. Plus the size of the turnover at that time was not so huge. So we were able to take the risk."

Clear leader

Which is why, aged 24, Rousteing became the creative director of one of Paris's best known – but indubitably faded – fashion houses. In 2004 it had been close to bankruptcy. In 2012, Rousteing's first full year in charge, Balmain's sales were €30.4 million and its profit €3.1 million. In 2015, sales were €121.5 million and its profit €33 million. Vulgarity is subjective; numbers are not.

Rousteing, who is of mixed race, was adopted at five months by white parents and enjoyed an affluent and loving upbringing in Bordeaux. "My mum is an optician and my dad was running the port. They are both really scientific – not artistic. So I had that kind of life. Bordeaux is really bourgeois and really conservative, I have to say."

After an ill-starred three-month stint at law school – "I was doing international law. And I was like, 'oh my God, that is so boring'" – he did a fashion course that he managed to tolerate for five months.

"I found that really boring as well. I just don't like actually people who are trying to **** your dream. And I felt that is what my teachers were trying to do."

Obsessed with Gucci

Following a three-month internship in Rome – "also boring" – Rousteing became fascinated with Tom Ford's work at Gucci. "I was obsessed, obsessed, obsessed. Sometimes the press did not get it but I thought 'this is like genius, the new **** chic'. Obsessed, full stop."

He wanted to work there – "that was my dream" – but applied to every fashion house he could, and found an opportunity to intern at Roberto Cavalli. "They took me in from the beginning. I met Peter Dundas [then womenswear designer at the brand] and he said you are going to be my right hand – and start in four days."

Rousteing counts his five years in Italy as formative both creatively and commercially, but when the opportunity came to return to France in 2009 he leapt at it. "Christophe said he liked my work and that he needed someone to manage the studio. So two weeks later I was here. I loved Balmain at the time, when Christophe was in charge. It was all about rock 'n' roll chic, ****, Parisian. And he was appealing to a younger generation. You can see when brands become old but Balmain was touching this new audience. I always say Christophe's Balmain was Kate Moss but mine is Rihanna."

When Decarnin left and Rousteing replaced him, the response was a resounding "who?". His youth prompted some to anticipate failure.

"It was not easy at all. Every season I had the same questions." Furthermore, Rousteing (who has said he thinks of himself as neither black nor white) was the only non-white chief designer at a Parisian couture house. In a nation in which very few people of colour hold senior positions, his race may have contributed both to the establishment's suspicion of him and to his powerful sense of being an outsider.

'Beautiful spirit'

As he began to build a personal vernacular of close-fitted, heavily jewelled, gleefully grandiose menswear – fantastical uniform for a Rousteing-imagined gilded age – for both women and men, that V-word loomed.

"They asked, 'But is it luxury? Is it chic? Is it modern?' All those kinds of words. But you know there is no one definition [of fashion] even if people in Paris think there is. And, I'm sorry, but I think the crowd in fashion are those who understand the least what is avant-garde today."

In 2013 Rihanna visited the studio, met Rousteing, and reported all with multiple Instagram posts. "You are the most beautiful spirit, so down to earth and kind! @olivier_rousteing I think I'm in love!!! #Balmain." :')"

Rousteing met Kim Kardashian at a party in New York – they were drawn together, he recalls, because they were both shy – and was promptly invited to lunch with her family in Los Angeles.

An outsider in the firmament of old-guard Paris fashion, Rousteing was earning insider status within a new, and much more influential, supranational elite. He points out that Valentino, Saint Laurent and Pierre Balmain himself "were close to the jet set of their time. What I have on my front row is the people who inspire my generation".

From them, he learned a new way of doing business. "I think it was Rihanna and the music industry that first understood how Instagram can be part of the business world as well as the personal. But in fashion? When we started it was 'why do you post selfies? Why do we need to know your life, see you waking up, see you working? Why don't you keep it private'. And I was like 'you will see'."

Rousteing cheerfully declares his love for Facetune – "I don't have Botox but I do have digital Botox!" – an app that helps him airbrush his selfies and tweak those ski-***** cheekbones.

Reaching new population

From his office around the corner from Rousteing's, Diemoz adds: "When Olivier first proposed Balmain use social media, our investment in traditional media was costing a lot. Here was an alternative costing less but bringing huge visibility. It has been successful, quite rapidly…we decided to be less Parisian in a way but to speak to a new population. A brand has to be built around its heritage but we are proposing a new form of communication dedicated to a wider group of customers."

The impact of that strategy became apparent in 2015, when Rousteing and Balmain were invited to design a collection for the Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M.; Within minutes of going on sale – and this is not hyperbole – the collection, available at vastly cheaper prices than Balmain-proper, had completely sold out. In London, customers fought on the pavement outside H&M;'s Regent Street branch. "Balmainia!" blared the headlines.

You have to move fast to get backstage after a Balmain show. I was out of my seat and trotting with purpose even before the string-heavy orchestra at the end of the catwalk had quite stopped playing Adele.

Rousteing had taken his bow merely seconds before. Still, too slow: I ended up in a clot of Rousteing well-wishers stuck in a corridor blocked by security guards. A Middle Eastern woman against whom I was indelicately jammed looked at me, laughed, shook her head, then said: "We pay millions for a fashion house – and then this happens!"

In June, Balmain was bought for a reported €485 million by Mayhoola, a Qatar-based wealth fund said to be controlled by the nation's ruling family. As so often with Rousteing-related revelations, some declared themselves nonplussed. "Why Would Mayhoola Pay Such a High Price for Balmain?", one headline asked. Yet Mayhoola, which acquired Valentino four years previously for $US858 million, might have scored a bargain.

Clothes key to revenue

Despite its huge, Instagram-enhanc­ed footprint, Balmain is a small, lean and relatively undeveloped business. Most luxury fashion houses today – Chanel, Burberry, Dior, et al – will emphasise their catwalk collections for marketing purposes but make most of their money from the sale of accessories, fragrances and small leather goods like handbags and shoes. One of the big fashion companies makes a mere 5 per cent from its catwalk clothes.

At Balmain, by contrast, clothes bring in almost all the revenues. If Balmain had the same clothes-to-accessories ratio as its competitors, its overall annual income could be more than €1 billion ($1.4 billion).

The company is moving in that direction. New accessory lines are in the pipeline. "Now we have to transform that desire into business activity," said Diemoz. "Sunglasses, belts, fragrances, the kind of products that can be more affordable."

The first bags should be available in January, as will a wider range of shoes, and then more, more, more.

Six days after his show, on the last day of Paris Fashion Week, I returned to the Balmain atelier. Apart from two assistants, Rousteing was the only person there – everybody else had gone on holiday to recover from the frenzy of preparing the show, or was busy selling the collection at the showroom around the corner.

Rousteing sat behind his desk in the empty room, wearing slingback leopard-print slippers, sweatpants and shades. "I am not even tired! I am excited. Because there are so many things happening – and I can't wait."Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses | http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
judy smith Jun 2015
The enthusiasm of ***** Gobé and Maria Paloma Fuentes is palpable. Riding high on the initial success of their summer collection of children’s clothes, the two French business graduates are planning their next sales moves, both online and through multi-brand boutiques.

The chic edge-to-edge jackets, Bermuda shorts and berets would probably look at home on the rails of Printemps or Galeries Lafayette. Yet their start-up company, Mini Bobi, is not based in Paris. It is in Suzhou, a couple of hours’ drive from Shanghai.

The two Skema alumnae are among the growing number of French graduates who are looking for their first job in China. One catalyst has been the rush of European business schools to establish campuses in China, run joint degree programmes with Chinese universities and set up internship programmes in Beijing and Shanghai.

What is more, the growth in the Chinese economy, together with the low cost of entry in cities such as Shanghai, has resonated with graduates worldwide who want to be entrepreneurs.

The real advantage of China, though, is simply the scale, says Ms Fuentes. “The opportunities are much more attractive here than in France. If you come up with a new idea it will be really big.”

The Mini Bobi clothing range, which combines Parisian style with the stretchy materials and copious waistbands needed by the increasing number of obese children in China’s cities, was the brainchild of Ms Gobé.

After studying fashion and business in Lille and Shanghai, Ms Gobé completed a gap year in the US and decided to write her thesis on the plus-size market.

“In this thesis I made a comparison between the market in the US and China. [Previously] I wasn’t aware of this market,” she says, adding that in China there are 120m obese children under the age of 18.

In the city of Shanghai more than 18 per cent of children at primary school are overweight — the same percentage as in the US, she says. “I was surprised when I realised [this was the case],” she says.

Enthusiasm for all things Chinese spreads well beyond entrepreneurs, says Nick Sanders, director of the Masters in International Business at Grenoble Graduate School of Business. Of the section of the MIB class that spent a year in Beijing, many are enthusiastic about working there.

“Ninety per cent of them actually want to stay in China,” says Mr Sanders, although practically, only between a quarter and a third will get their first job on graduation in the country. A further 50 per cent will be employed working with China in some capacity, adds Mr Sanders.

“They tend to be employed where there needs to be an understanding between China and another country.”

Entrepreneur Matthieu David-Experton, an Essec graduate, who also studied for a second degree at the Guanghua school at Peking University, is now on his second business venture in China — he sold the first, a packaged gift business, after 18 months.

His three-year-old market research company, Daxue Consulting, has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, with a third office planned in Hong Kong. It has 15 employees but by the end of the year he plans to have a staff of 20 and revenues of Rmb7m ($1.1m).

“What I have always done in China is take a model that works well in Europe, then adapt it.” Most of his clients to date have been international companies looking for information on the China market — western nursing home groups, eager to take advantage of the changing Chinese demographics, have been strong clients. That is changing. “Chinese companies are now looking for better information on their

competitors.”

For Mr David-Experton there are clear advantages to working in China, particularly the flexibility and speed to market. Products can be designed and developed in just a few days, he says. “I had the feeling you couldn’t get these things done in this timescale in Europe.” It means entrepreneurs can get a product to market without having to raise too much money, he adds.

But he warns that the Chinese business environment is not plain sailing. “They [prospective entrepreneurs] need to come here and see what is happening. A lot of people come here with ideas that don’t fit with the market.”

It is a message echoed by Manmeet Singh, senior affiliate lecturer at EMLyon Business School, who has worked in China for the past 13 years. “This market has a learning curve, it has a learning curve for everybody. Even the 50-year-old chief executives of multinationals have a learning curve. They can come here and get their **** kicked.”

European entrepreneurs are taking a double risk he says: starting a business and setting up in an alien environment.

He also warns that much of the “low-hanging fruit” available to French entrepreneurs a few years ago no longer exists. He cites the example of those who want to set up a wine importing business in China: now the tables are turned and Chinese companies are buying vineyards around the world.

But there are some positive elements about China for European entrepreneurs, he says.

“There’s a lot of money available in the market for the right product. They [the Chinese] are agnostic on the origins of their entrepreneurs.”

And the enthusiasm for start-up careers in China are still strong among French business students, he says. “A good 10 per cent of the class [in China] approach me with ideas.”

Mr Singh is heavily involved in Shanghai’s Chinaccelerator, which gives support to both Chinese and international entrepreneurs. Though popular in the US and Europe, incubators are more novel in China.

It was following Skema Business School’s tie-up with a local Suzhou incubator in 2013 that the founders of Mini Bobi decided to locate their company there. Now they are distributing their range of 30 China-manufactured clothing items in Hangzhou and Suzhou as well as Shanghai.

With a monthly income so far of around Rmb3,000, the founders are looking to wider distribution to increase sales and are now selling online through Taobao, China’s answer to Amazon or eBay, founded by the Alibaba Group. They are also talking to schools about designing more generous-sized school uniforms.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-brisbane | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-sydney
judy smith May 2015
Murva fashion collection introduced at Eco Fashion Week has been a life long process for Ivana Knezovic, Creative Director / Designer. This was not only the 29 year old Croatian designer's first collection, but also her first international performance.

She debuted her eco-friendly collection titled Rust & Flow on the runway at Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver, Canada. Her pieces are all made from eco-friendly wool flannel.

Ivana Knezovic made interesting use of symmetrical lines, and I admired the draping from the shoulders framing a dress low-cut in back. One dress had several parallel vertical cut lines on the backside.

Many of her tops had capes, hang from one shoulder or both, paired with slim pants or a skirt. A nice touch of dramatic flare as the models moved down the runaway.

“Fashion design was always in me,” say Ivana Knezovic. Having resided in New York, Toronto, and Switzerland, designing was something she always wanted to do. "Murva is the name of a tree in my village. My company represents a return to my roots, to who I am at my core."

"I like structure. I like hiding the body behind some kind of a structure," said the designer who makes all her own clothes and cosmetics. "Eco is a product of maturity and of wholeness that you can only achieve when you really and truly grow up."

As a designer, she told me that she strives for “pure minimalism,” yet her eco-fashion designs are made for a sophisticated, minimalistic, and determined woman.

Exactly what the eco-fashion movement needs.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/bridesmaid-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015
judy smith Sep 2015
Cheap fancy dress costumes are to be subject to spot checks by trading standards inspectors, to avoid a repeat of the fire that seriously injured the daughter of the television presenter Claudia Winkleman.

Ministers have ordered the nationwide crackdown as thousands more children’s outfits and accessories, some of which are aimed at babies and toddlers, go on sale online and in supermarkets in the runup to Halloween.

The costumes, ranging from witches’ outfits to skeleton onesies, selling as cheaply as £6 each, will be subjected to flammability tests to assess whether they are compliant with safety standards.

The crackdown follows Winkleman’s warning about fancy dress costumes when her daughter suffered serious burns as her outfit, bought from a supermarket, caught fire. Winkleman questioned why the outfits were treated as toys rather than clothing when it came to safety tests.

The business secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “My immediate concern as a father and a minister is that children wearing these fancy dress costumes are safe. It is unacceptable for any costumes to be sold that do not comply with safety standards. That’s why I’ve granted funding to trading standards to carry out spot checks as part of a nationwide investigation. Parents should feel confident that any fancy dress they buy meets required standards.”

His department said it was working with the British Standards Institute to assess whether the applicable European safety controls needed to be more tough. Trading standards is to report back to the business secretary with their findings later in the autumn.

Sales of fancy dress costumes for children have soared in recent years, prompted by cheap imports being available and children increasingly wanting to dress as their favourite characters from blockbuster films. Halloween outfits have become more popular in the UKowing to the influence of American films and sitcoms. Supermarkets report that 31 October accounts for significantly more consumer spending than Bonfire night.

The dangers of the outfits were exposed in November last year when Winkleman’s eight-year-old daughter, Matilda, suffered serious burns when her witch costume caught alight. The outfit – a hat, cape, striped tights and flowing skirt – bought at a supermarket, was ignited by a flame.

Winkleman, host of the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, said on Thursday: “We’re extremely happy the government are taking action on this and we’re so grateful to the supermarkets who are selling safer costumes.”

Some retailers have agreed to go further than minimum standards, after a recent investigation launched by Winkleman with the BBC1 series Watchdog. Tesco, Aldi, Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s, all responded to the investigation by stating that their fancy dress outfits for children would meet the equivalent of the higher fire safety standards required for youngsters’ nightwear.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We have looked at every detail of our children’s dress-up range in creating our new standard and believe that it will be industry leading. This has not been a simple task, but the safety of children is our number one priority and introducing more rigorous safety standards for our children’s dress-up is the right thing to do.

“All clothing carries some fire risk, but we hope that introducing our own rigorous testing standards that test clothes as clothes rather than as toys will be the first step towards safer testing across the industry.”

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth

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judy smith Jan 2016
Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez has forged her way in and around the beauty industry. Starting out as a model at 15, she’s now started working as an entrepreneur and VIP sales manager for Stores Specialists Incorporated, one of the top names when it comes to bringing international beauty brands to our local counters.

With such a background and how she continues to grow her opportunities (she’s now started a scented candle business called Mink), you would think she’d have a million things in her everyday makeup stash, but the reality is quite the contrary. She still keeps it easy with tried and tested products that do their job efficiently. How else would she be able to keep up with all her work on top of being a mother and wife?

On a Thursday morning, Mika was kind enough to squeeze us into her busy schedule to share her favorite makeup and skincare products and how she doesn’t believe in going over-the-top when it comes to beauty.

Describe your approach to beauty

I’ve always been drawn to effortlessness. For me, beauty is in simplicity and comes in the most natural form.

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received from your mother?

Always put lotion on! Ever since I was a kid, I knew that after every bath came lotion application. I was never allowed to get dressed without [applying lotion first.] I can say I was officially brainwashed until this day!

If you had to prioritize skincare or makeup, which would it be?

Skincare, definitely. When you take good care of your skin, makeup is secondary. Plus, I literally feel the weight on my skin when I have makeup on. It’s not the best feeling.

What is one beauty item you would always repurchase?

Moisturizer!

What is the first beauty or makeup item you even bought for yourself?

I think it was makeup remover when I started modeling.

Name five grooming items you would recommend to any man.

After-shave, hair gel, moisturizer with SPF, a good bottle of perfume, and hand cream.

What are five makeup items you never leave the house without?

Moisturizer, bronzer or blush, brow mascara, lip balm, and my favorite **** lipstick.

What is one makeup trend do you always do I always follow?

Neat brows.

What is one misconception about the beauty industry people should know about?

One brand fits all—it isn’t necessarily true. Most of the time you really have to take into consideration your skin type, lifestyle, skin sensitivity, etc. You really have to try them out and see what works best on you.

Who are your beauty icons? Why?

Cheryl Cole aka Cheryl Fernandez Versini. I never get tired of staring at her. She’s one face that never bores me.

One a regular day, which tube of lipstick do you reach for?

Make Up Forever in Mat 2.

On a night out, which shade of lipstick goes with any ensemble and occasion?

MAC Ruby Woo.

What are your top three favorite perfumes?

Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Hermes Pamplemousse Rose, L’eau Par Kenzo

Smoky eye or dark lip? Why?

Dark lip. Not a fan of heavy eyes.

Can you tell us about your nightly skincare routine?

Wash face with my gel cleanser. Moisturize and done!

What are the five best skincare products you’ve tried?

Every time I’m pregnant I run to my ever reliable Clarins Tonic Oil for my tummy and *******. It’s the best and most effective product for firming and avoiding stretch marks! Next would be Murad’s ****** cleansers. I alternate between the foaming wash and gel cleansers because they’re the best. Third would be Benefit’s Boo Boo Zap for treating zits! Fourth, Maui Babe’s browning lotion. Fifth, Kérastase Powder Bluff dry shampoo!

What is one thing that you think is lacking in the beauty industry?

Personally, I think everything we need is already available. What else do we need?!

Who is in your beauty black book (hair, makeup, skin, body)?

For my hair, I go to Alex Carbonell. He knows how to manage my wavy hair with the right layers, length, and color.

For makeup, my favorites are Gela Laurel-Stehmeier, Juan Sarte, Steven Doloso, and Angie Cruz. They know exactly what to do with my face and how much I dislike foundation. (Laughs)

For my body, I go to Marie France. I started going to them ever since I gave birth to my daughter almost 12 years ago. I actually enjoy their treatments because they work so well and I don’t even have to break a sweat.

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judy smith Jul 2015
With a personal trainer and a former Olympic champion for parents, it's no wonder that Summer Needs is a little water baby. The six-week-old daughter of Rebecca Adlington and Harry Needs has only just arrived into the world, but she's already enjoyed a dip in the pool three times.

Becky, who has previously said that giving birth was harder than winning her gold medals, has opened up about her baby's first swimming lesson – and how much motherhood has changed her life.

"It was absolutely brilliant," Becky told HELLO! Online of Summer's first dip. "You never know how babies are going to react but Summer was absolutely brilliant in the water. When we first bathed her, she just screamed the whole time so I was a bit worried but now she loves bath time."

Baby Summer was just three and a half weeks old when she first had a splash in the pool, and since then, new parents Becky and Harry have taken their daughter back twice.

"We both love being in the water so for us, it's amazing that we can take her in and share this family time together," said Becky. "Harry and I go in the water and pass her to one another and take turns going under the water. She comes back up, blinks a lot and there's been no tears at all. It's going really well so far."

Calling it her best memory yet, Becky, 26, added: "That's the one thing I was so excited about, taking her swimming and buying the costumes. She can't do much at this stage – we can't take her to the zoo and she doesn't really play with toys yet – but swimming is the one thing she can do and we can all do it together as a family."

Speaking about her little one, Becky, who says Summer has her eyes and Harry's nose, said: "She's really content. She's really laid back and chilled but when she wants something, like her ***** changed or she wants food, she definitely lets you know about it. She's a bit feisty in that way and she doesn't give you much warning.

"It's like, 'I want it now'. And you have to let her scream for a little bit while you get it ready and you're like, 'Okay Summer just chill out, you've literally gone from fast asleep to bawling your head off!' She's a bit impatient like us as well."

While Becky has been on maternity leave, personal trainer Harry went straight back to work after one week, but the nature of his job – working in the early mornings and late at night – has meant that he hasn't missed out on taking care of Summer during the day.

"Harry's definitely hands-on," said the former Olympian. "He's been changing her and feeding her. We share the responsibility and he's around for everything – he's seen Summer smile for the first time. It's hard for him because he's juggling work with family time but he's been absolutely amazing."

The Mansfield-born star has fully embraced her new role as a mother – something she has always wanted to be.

"Life is completely different but not in a bad way," she admitted. "You have to plan a bit more, you can't just walk out the house, but at the same time I've always wanted to be a mum.

"It's amazing how you love your baby straight away. You can't really explain it, you can't describe it. People spoke to me before about unconditional love and that you'll do anything for your baby, but you don't really realise it until it happens to you. It's bizarre because you don't know them and they don't know you but you just love them so much. It's absolutely amazing.

"It's definitely been life-changing but I guess it'll change when I go back to work, when Summer starts nursery. You have to accept that life will never be the same again but that's what's so exciting."

Describing motherhood in a nutshell, Becky added: "I'm such a family girl, it's amazing having that family time. It makes you realise that that's all you really need in life, as long as your family are happy and healthy then that's all that matters."

It's early days but the couple have already spoken about having more children.

Becky said: "About two days after I gave birth, Harry asked, 'So babe, when are we gonna try for another?' I said 'Not yet, I need my body to recover!' Nine months being pregnant is a long time! We do want a big family and we'd like a close age gap between our children, but we also want to give our time to Summer."

Becky, who has partnered with HUGGIES® Little Swimmers®, is encouraging all parents to don their swimsuits and have fun with their little ones in the water – even if babies and children are a little hesitant at first.

"For a kid who's absolutely tiny, that big pool is very, very big," said Becky. "Parents should recognise that each step is a huge achievement. Even if their child is just sitting on the side with their feet in the pool, that's better than last week when they just stood around.

"It's about persistence and taking them swimming regularly, and then that fear will disappear. Also taking them out of their lessons and going together as a family is good. If your children see you in the water as a parent, they'll know it's not a scary place."

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses

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judy smith Aug 2015
Laleli Fashion Shopping Festival kicks off, aiming to be a world-renowned brand Organized by the Laleli Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (LASİAD), the Laleli Fashion Shopping Festival will be held for the fourth time, starting today. Although it was previously announced that world-renowned Israeli model Bar Refaeli would take the podium as part of the festival, it has been reported that she will not be able to come to Istanbul due to illness.

LASİAD President Gıyasettin Eyyüpkoca held a press meeting with the festival committee prior to the festival's official opening today. Eyyüpkoca underscored that Laleli has been a dynamic and modern trade center for years despite ever-changing economic conditions around the world. He said this year's festival, which will continue until Aug. 30, would be more enthusiastic and exciting. He said numerous people worked very hard for six months to organize this festival, saying that they collaborated with 13 different countries along with the Ministry of Economy and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO).


Saying that the festival is "bringing fashion together with shopping," Eyyüpkoca reported that the festival would be held around the same time every year, from now on. He also addressed the economic crisis in Russia and said: "We take turning this negative atmosphere to our advantage as a mission. Laleli is Turkey's door for export." He claimed that events such as the Laleli Fashion Shopping Festival contribute to Turkey's economy. He said they are making everything jointly and working on behalf of Laleli to promote it internationally and see its name in its deserved place.

Eyyüpkoca said their motto is "Creating a brand out of Laleli." He also praised his association and said LASİAD is an institution that can predict problems other countries will face and turn these problems into advantages for Turkey. He said that Russia has 27 percent of the Laleli market, while Ukraine has 12 percent, adding that they can compensate for the 40 percent gap with foreign target markets. He said that they would continue to collaborate with other countries and concentrate on local organizations. Eyyüpkoca later answered questions from the press, saying that the festival met the targeted financial figures last year. He said trade contacts made through the festival reached several million dollars within two days last year and that they expect the same performance this year. He later reported that top model Bar Refaeli would not be able to take the podium tomorrow, as was announced earlier, due to her medical problems. It is said that Refaeli will attend another event organized by LASİAD in the near future.

"Of course our contract included an economic sanction for canceling the event; however, we did not want to do it as she had health problems," said Eyyüpkoca and added the top model will later appear at another event. "I can clearly say that she did not cancel her program due to security reasons," said Eyyüpkoca. Although he did not offer insight about the payment that the top model received for the event, Eyyüpkoca said that they shook hands at a very low price with Refaeli.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/bridesmaid-dresses

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judy smith Sep 2016
In light of the recent flood of indie designers coming forth to call foul on fast fashion retailers for copying their designs (paired with a few not-so-fast fashion brands, which have been called out for copying, as well), a common question seems to be: Why is this ok? In particular, why is it perfectly acceptable for Zara to copy these designers’ work? How is this practice legal?

Well, put simply, copyright law is not necessarily a friend to fashion in the United States. This is a blanket statement, of course, but it bears quite a bit of truth, nonetheless. Since copyright law, the sect of intellectual property law that protects "original works of authorship,” such as books, paintings, sculptures, and songs, does not protect useful things, such as clothing and accessories, it provides little protection for those things in their entirety. Creative elements of a design that can be separated from the functional elements are subject to protection, which is why elements of a garment, such as a print that covers it, may be protected (as Pictorial, Graphic or Sculptural Works). This protection-by-separation method, however, does little to ward off copiers.

Moreover, unlike in most cases of the copying of garments, the copying of original jewelry designs often tends to give rise to legal ramifications as jewelry is afforded greater copyright protection in its entirety than garments are. However, as evidenced by Nasty Gal’s continuous sale of infringing jewelry designs, for instance, this also does little to deter copycats.

Other forms of intellectual property protection (think: trademark and patent protection) arguably are not ideal for fashion designs either. Trademark law only protects a designer’s name or logo – with some exceptions under the doctrine of trade dress which are relatively rare. Patent protection – namely, by way of design patents – is not terribly useful for designers because it is expensive (patent protection costs thousands of dollars to achieve) and takes a relatively long time (upwards of one year) to obtain. That’s simply too long for most fashion brands, whose business models depend on trends and season-specific wares. Taken together, this is why fast fashion retailers make hundreds of millions of dollars by copying high fashion designs and only are very rarely sued – let alone penalized – for doing so.

It is worth noting that this is not the case in other countries – namely, in the countries of the U.S.’s international fashion competitors. Copyright protection in the UK is not terribly dissimilar from that in the United States. However, the European Designs Directive introduced a unified system of industrial design rights for both registered and unregistered designs throughout the European Union. This allows for the protection of garments and accessories in their entirety.

Due to its history as the home of innovation in terms of high fashion, it is not surprising that France enjoys the most extensive and longstanding legal rights in connection with fashion designs. The country’s copyright system provides protection for garments and accessories. The same type of protection also applies to Italian designs.

So, it is within these loopholes that retailers like Zara, Forever 21, H&M;, and the like can operate legally (for the most part) and profit from the designs of others.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/bridesmaid-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/****-formal-dresses
judy smith Jun 2015
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Arrived quickly and fitted perfectly... size chart was very accurate and true. The custom service girl told me their production team has improved the fabric on this dress by choosing a kind of new lace fabric. Yes it really is! I love sooooo much the fabric and whole version of this little white dress!The dress was everything I imagined.

The details of the dress were exactly like the picture. I ordered the dress in my normal size and it fits perfectly. The dress took approximately 2 weeks to arrive after I purchased it. The customer service team at izidressbuy was very helpful and worked really hard to have my dress arrive early for my formal event.

This dress is beautiful, and very flattering. I love it! Unfortunately, I wanted to wear it to a wedding - the ceremony is at 1pm; the reception is at 5pm. It is perfect for the reception, but too dressy for the ceremony since I will be doing a reading and would be way more dressy than the bridal party. It's definitely evening wear. Beautiful though. Haven't decided if I'm keeping it or not. I can't use for the intended purpose, but I could definitely wear it for years and years to other events. Also, dancing in it could be problematic because it is quite long (just above ankles on me, and I am 5' 8-1/2") and it's straight, with no slit. You'd have to hold it up a bit to dance. But again... it's a gorgeous dress.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015
judy smith Nov 2015
NEW DELHI, INDIA: Rifling through sweaters in India’s first Gap store in a glitzy New Delhi mall, 21-year-old Ridhi Goel says her grandmother doesn’t mind how she dresses, as long as it’s not too revealing.

“She’s fine with me wearing Western clothes like a shirt but not jeans and a crop top,” said the journalism student, her grey leggings contrasting sharply with her mother’s colourful kurta.

Taking a stand for big brands

“All my family wears Indian clothes, but I find them too uncomfortable. I think maybe there is a generational divide.”

Most women in India still wear traditional dress such as saris or shalwar kameez — but the picture is changing, and on city streets, dazzling silks mingle with logoed T-shirts and jeans.

Young people’s appetite for Western clothes has led a fresh flurry of foreign brands to open up in India in the past few months, including US chain Gap and Sweden’s H&M.;

Others are expanding fast, including popular Spanish retailer Zara and British high-street staple Marks & Spencer, which in October opened its 50th shop in India, its biggest market outside the UK.

Fashion design outlets sealed for non-payment of taxes

Urbanisation, a growing middle class, rising disposable incomes and one of the youngest populations in the world make India hard to ignore.

“The time has come for Western wear to have exponential growth,” J. Suresh, the managing director of textile group Arvind Lifestyle Brands, Gap’s partner in India, told AFP.

“If you look at any girl born after 1990 she will be wearing Western wear. That is the generation coming into college, getting their first job,” he said. ”They will be completely clad in Western wear.”

While globally women are the biggest shoppers, in India men’s clothing dominates with 42 percent of the $38 billion market in 2014, according to consultancy Technopak.

Lucrative trade: Designers approach PRA in wake of fashion crackdown

Shoppers are also younger — the average customer targeted by Gap in its US stores is 35, but their Indian counterpart is five to 10 years younger, Suresh said.

Gap had a head start in India thanks to Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, whose ubiquitous orange hoodie in 1990s hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai handed the brand a ready-made following.

But it is young Indian women, increasingly affluent and joining the workforce in expanding numbers, who are driving change, with data showing sales of womenswear growing faster than men’s.

And while Western clothes currently make up only about a quarter of Indian womenswear, their sales are outpacing traditional dress sales.

Experimental exhibition: Emerging artists explore unique mediums

A Marks & Spencer spokesperson cited its Indigo denim range and lingerie as two of its best-performing lines in India, with more than 300,000 bras sold in 2014-15.

“As an increasing number of women move into white collar and blue-collar roles, they are also adopting Western attire,” Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Third Eyesight, a retail consultancy in Delhi, told AFP.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/black-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/white-formal-dresses
judy smith May 2015
The Annual POCU Fashion Show held by the campus organization “People of Color United,” was held in the Student Activities Center on Saturday, April 18. The fashion show is the final activity of the year held by POCU. Junior Martell Prayear and senior Miranda Jackson were the show’s hosts and announcers.

The fashion show is a competition where various designers, or teams of designers, are required to create outfits that adhere to a general theme, but also incorporate the designer’s unique, personal concepts. This year, the general theme for the fashion show was: Thrift Shop. Each designer, or group of designers, was required to utilize clothes purchased from the local Goodwill and maintain a $50 budget. Preparations for the event, Jackson said, were very short. “I was really surprised how well it turned out, because we started practicing for the show at four o’clock that day,” Jackson said. “They typically start practicing way a head of time.” Despite the delayed preparation, the fashion show was an overall success. The first designer to present at the fashion show was Victoria Webster.

Webster’s fashion line was inspired by professional work attire. “I think it can be hard transitioning college wear into professional wear, on a budget,” Webster said of her outfits. Webster was able to find three models to wear the clothes, which she said was a combination of the model’s personal items, as well as those purchased through Goodwill. The second fashion line presented at the fashion show was designed by Iyana Lynch. For her personal theme, Lynch designed outfits that were inspired by the different seasons. The third designer to present that evening was Alyssa Nieset. Inspired by 90’s menswear, Nieset designed a line of androgynous outfits. The final clothing line presented was a team effort from: Jeanita Blue and Angel Powell.

Their theme was considered “90’s Reloaded,” and featured various throwbacks to 1990’s pop culture such as TLC and The Spice Girls. Blue said that most of the outfits in their fashion line were inspired by “eco-friendly fashion,” and were intended to decrease hesitation toward shopping at thrift stores. While the judges finalized the scores for each designer or team, the Urban Dance Association entertained the crowd with a quick performance. The judge’s scores resulted in a tie between Jeanita Blue & Angel Powell, and Iyana Lynch. Despite the general tie, Blue and Powell were awarded first place, while Lynch was granted second place. There was an off-campus reception held in Cleveland after the event. Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/purple-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/green-formal-dresses
judy smith Mar 2015
Did you know that if you don't stretch in the correct way, you might end up thwarting the entire purpose of your workout and suffer unwanted injuries?

Doing pre-workout stretches thoroughly will determine whether you are benefiting from your workout or whether it's worsening your muscle tear. Here are the major stretching crimes that you should never commit.

Not doing a proper warm-up

According to gym instructors worldwide, this is the most commonly committed crimes in any gym. A warm-up is a must before any kind of workout — cardio or weights — and must ideally last at least 12-15 minutes.

Assuming that stretching is a warm-up

Stretching and warming up is not the same. You need to warm up first, before you are ready to stretch. A slow jog or brisk walking on the treadmill is a good warm-up.

Rushing through your stretching exercises

Stretching should be for the entire body. You cannot skip any parts. Involve stretches that work your lower back, shoulders, calves, stomach, quads etc. You should not move from one stretch to the other in very quick succession because that may cause untoward injuries. Try to hold each stretch for 20 seconds. When you breathe deeply and hold the stretch, your muscles get trained to tolerate the maximum that your limbs can go to.

Giving stretching a skip after a workout

You have done an hour of strenuous exercise and now you just want to rush out of the gym; that is a huge mistake. Spend some time bending and stretching after your sweat session. Then, do a cool down before you leave the gym.

Not stretching every day

You need to be your flexible best always and that can only happen if you stretch daily, even on the days that you aren't gymming. This ensures that your gym days are more fruitful and that you make the most of them.

Not breathing properly

Breathing right is a very important aspect of stretching. Breathe naturally while you inhale through your nose, expand your rib cage and upper abdomen as you fill in your lungs. When exhaling, breathe out through your mouth, preferably making an audible sound. This relaxes you. While stretching, you need to breathe out when you are exerting, that is, when you are actually contracting your muscles.

Doing static stretches

Never stand still and do stretches that work only one muscle. You should rather do stretches that work a group of muscles — like a lunge that stretches your upper hamstring muscle, your ankles and also your glutes.

Ignoring pain while stretching

When you are in the middle of a stretch and you feel pain, stop immediately and consult an expert. Your stretch should make you feel a gentle pull only, not immense pain. If you are hurting, you are doing it wrong. Rest a few days and then go back to working out under a qualified trainer.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses
judy smith Jun 2015
Fashion, fun and entertainment will feature on August 1 when Hospice West Auckland and national business networking organisation BNI New Zealand partner to present the Absolutely Fabulous Fashion Show, proudly supported by major sponsor Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

Returning due to popular demand, the outrageous fashion fundraising event features upcycled outfits sourced from donations to West Auckland Hospice Shops. Included in the evening is a ‘Designer Clothes Sale’ featuring garments seen on the catwalk, which will be available to purchase on the night. Modelling the clothes will be celebrities, prominent Aucklanders, Hospice staff and professional models.

Award winning ‘Comedienne of the Decade’ and celebrity host for the evening Michele A’Court was delighted to be asked to MC the event. “It just sounds like tremendous fun and I am a sucker for Hospice fundraisers, so I jumped at the chance to be involved. Also, I am a massive fan of op shops, so how could I resist?”

CEO of Hospice West Auckland, Barbara Williams said, “We know the audience is in for a very special night for a great cause, with lots of laughs. We also want to showcase the fabulous range of designer clothing that donors so generously give us, and to highlight the quality of garments available from our Hospice Shops. Op shopping is good for your wallet, the planet and your community and we are keen to show that it can also be brilliant for your wardrobe.”

Barbara is delighted to welcome Douglas Pharmaceuticals as the major sponsor this event. “Douglas is a key supporter of Hospice West Auckland and Founder Sir Graeme Douglas has been our Patron since 1996. We are thrilled to have Jeff Douglas, Managing Director, continuing their support and appreciate his commitment to this event.”

Barbara acknowledges the support of long-time partner BNI NZ as a major asset for the event. “BNI’s networking groups up and down the country have supported Hospice for many years and raised over a million dollars for Hospice nationally.”

“Our long standing relationships with Douglas and BNI NZ and are very important to us, not only financially but also in terms of engaging with the communities their businesses operate in.”

Graham Southwell, National Director of BNI NZ, says BNI has a strong presence in West Auckland with a lot of local businesses participating in its networking groups. “Hospice West Auckland approached us because they know that we have active local business members in the community that could provide resources and help make this event even bigger and better this year,” Graham says. “It’s exciting to work with Hospice and use our expertise in BNI to help collaboratively put on the event. At BNI we are all about creating strong relationships in the community and Hospice have come to us because of our network and assistance with logistics as well as getting the word out about this fabulous event.”

Guests will be able to purchase some fabulous fashion, bid on a range of exciting auction items as well as enjoy wine, canapés and live music. All proceeds from the event will go to Hospice West Auckland, who provides free palliative care and support to patients and families living with terminal and life-limiting illness.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015
judy smith Sep 2016
When I was chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne Inc., I spent a good amount of time on the road hosting fashion shows highlighting our brands. Our team made a point of retaining models of various sizes, shapes and ages, because one of the missions of the shows was to educate audiences about how they could look their best. At a Q&A; after one event in Nashville in 2010, a woman stood up, took off her jacket and said, with touching candour: “Tim, look at me. I’m a box on top, a big, square box. How can I dress this shape and not look like a fullback?” It was a question I’d heard over and over during the tour: Women who were larger than a size 12 always wanted to know, How can I look good, and why do designers ignore me?

At New York Fashion Week, which began Thursday, the majority of American women are unlikely to receive much attention, either. Designers keep their collections tightly under wraps before sending them down the runway, but if past years are any indication of what’s to come, plus-size looks will be in short supply. Sure, at New York Fashion Week in 2015, Marc Jacobs and Sophie Theallet each featured a plus-size model and Ashley Graham debuted her plus-size lingerie line. But these moves were very much the exception, not the rule.

I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems and one of them is the baffling way it has turned its back on plus-size women. It’s a puzzling conundrum. The average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University. There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion (U.S.), up 17 per cent from 2013). But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them.

In addition to the fact that most designers max out at size 12, the selection of plus-size items on offer at many retailers is paltry compared with what’s available for a size 2 woman. According to a Bloomberg analysis, only 8.5 per cent of dresses on Nordstrom.com in May were plus-size. At J.C. Penney’s website, it was 16 per cent; Nike.com had a mere five items — total.

I’ve spoken to many designers and merchandisers about this. The overwhelming response is, “I’m not interested in her.” Why? “I don’t want her wearing my clothes.” Why? “She won’t look the way that I want her to look.” They say the plus-size woman is complicated, different and difficult, that no two size 16s are alike. Some haven’t bothered to hide their contempt. “No one wants to see curvy women” on the runway, Karl Lagerfeld, head designer of Chanel, said in 2009. Plenty of mass retailers are no more enlightened: under the tenure of chief executive Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch sold nothing larger than a size 10, with Jeffries explaining that “we go after the attractive, all-American kid.”

This a design failure and not a customer issue. There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions. The textile changes, every seam changes. Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked.

Have you shopped retail for size 14-plus clothing? Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade. Adding to this travesty is a major department-store chain that makes you walk under a marquee that reads “WOMAN.” What does that even imply? That a “woman” is anyone larger than a 12 and everyone else is a girl? It’s mind-boggling.

Project Runway, the design competition show on which I’m a mentor, has not been a leader on this issue. Every season we have the “real women” challenge (a title I hate), in which the designers create looks for non-models. The designers audibly groan, though I’m not sure why; in the real world, they won’t be dressing a seven-foot-tall glamazon.

This season, something different happened: Ashley Nell Tipton won the contest with the show’s first plus-size collection. But even this achievement managed to come off as condescending. I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life: bare midriffs; skirts over crinoline, which give the clothes, and the wearer, more volume; see-through skirts that reveal *******; pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile; and large-scale floral embellishments that shout “prom.” Her victory reeked of tokenism. One judge told me that she was “voting for the symbol” and that these were clothes for a “certain population.” I said they should be clothes all women want to wear. I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them. Simply making a nod toward inclusiveness is not enough.

This problem is difficult to change. The industry, from the runway to magazines to advertising, likes subscribing to the mythology it has created of glamour and thinness. Look at Vogue’s “Shape Issue,” which is ostensibly a celebration of different body types but does no more than nod to anyone above a size 12. For decades, designers have trotted models with bodies completely unattainable for most women down the runway. First it was women so thin that they surely had eating disorders. After an outcry, the industry responded by putting young teens on the runway, girls who had yet to exit puberty. More outrage.

But change is not impossible. There are aesthetically worthy retail successes in this market. When helping women who are size 14 and up, my go-to retailer is Lane Bryant. While the items aren’t fashion with a capital F, they are stylish (but please avoid the cropped pants — always a no-no for any woman). And designer Christian Siriano scored a design and public relations victory after producing a look for Leslie Jones to wear to the “Ghostbusters” red-carpet premiere. Jones, who is not a diminutive woman, had tweeted in despair that she couldn’t find anyone to dress her; Siriano stepped in with a lovely full-length red gown.

Several retailers that have stepped up their plus-size offerings have been rewarded. In one year, ModCloth doubled its plus-size lineup. To mark the anniversary, the company paid for a survey of 1,500 American women ages 18 to 44 and released its findings: Seventy-four per cent of plus-size women described shopping in stores as “frustrating”; 65 per cent said they were “excluded.” (Interestingly, 65 per cent of women of all sizes agreed that plus-size women were ignored by the fashion industry.) But the plus-size women surveyed also indicated that they wanted to shop more. More than 80 per cent said they’d spend more on clothing if they had more choices in their size and nearly 90 per cent said they would buy more if they had trendier options. According to the company, its plus-size shoppers place 20 per cent more orders than its straight-size customers.

Online start-up Eloquii, initially conceived and then killed by The Limited, was reborn in 2014. The trendy plus-size retailer, whose top seller is an over-the-knee boot with four-inch heels and extended calf sizes, grew its sales volume by more than 165 per cent in 2015.

Despite the huge financial potential of this market, many designers don’t want to address it. It’s not in their vocabulary. Today’s designers operate within paradigms that were established decades ago, including anachronistic sizing. (Consider the fashion show: It hasn’t changed in more than a century.) But this is now the shape of women in this nation, and designers need to wrap their minds around it. I profoundly believe that women of every size can look good. But they must be given choices. Separates — tops, bottoms — rather than single items like dresses or jumpsuits always work best for the purpose of fit. Larger women look great in clothes skimming the body, rather than hugging or cascading. There’s an art to doing this. Designers, make it work.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/cocktail-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/black-formal-dresses
judy smith Aug 2015
Summer Finn is the charming, elusive love interest of protagonist Tom Hansen in 500 Days of Summer. From her playful personality to her cutesy hair ribbons, actress Zooey Deschanel's 500 Days of Summer style is irresistible. IMO, the overall look of her character is not a far cry from Jess Day's style (the leading lady of New Girl, also played by Deschanel). However, Jess' style is on the kooky side of whimsical while Summer's errs on the feminine side.

Summer's style could be described as girly, quirky, and ethereal. The ethereal factor probably has more to do with her attitude and personality, as she tends to keep Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character Tom at arm's length. (I know, who in their right mind would do that?)

The baby blue clothing that she wears throughout the movie also reflects this sentiment, since blue is regularly associated with sadness. It is almost as though Tom knows subconsciously that his relationship with Summer will not end well. This makes perfect sense in filmography terms because the movie is shot in a non-linear narrative. Right at the start, the narrator even informs the audience, "This is a story of boy meets girl but you should know up front, this is not a love story."

So here's how to channel Summer Finn's charmingly tempting style, because looking like a modern day femme fatale is one of my personal favorite things.

1. The Summery Tea Dress

Channel Summer's vintage style of decades past by with a lovely, feminine tea dress. Summer's has cute, capped sleeves, a magical swirly pattern, and it appears semi-sheer (adding a touch of naughtiness to her outfit). Whichever style you choose, make it a modest length with flirty details, whether that be sheer material or cheeky cut outs.

With its sheer sleeves, cutesy Peter Pan collar, and adorable buttons, this darling pale blue dress is just the ticket and is available in sizes S to 4X.

2. The Cat Eye Makeup

Cat-eye makeup gives off a vintage vibe while also adding a sassy feel to your beauty look. To tone down the sass and keep it less Catwoman and more Brigitte Bardot, keep the rest of your look super natural. Think dewy skin and rosy cheeks.

This vegan eyeliner has a super thin brush so you can create your cat-eye flick with ease. If you're feeling funky, you can even pick an alternative color such as white or purple to really make a statement.

3. The Alternative Workwear

Summer proves that workwear needn't be boring. Put a youthful spin on the classic, white shirt by wearing a sleeveless style and pairing it with high-waisted, tailored trousers.

This classic white shirt is a style steal and can be paired with a multitude of garments. It'll make choosing your work outfit much easier when you're bleary eyed and you've not yet had your morning coffee.If you wish to wear a more feminine style and channel Summer's gleefully girlish side, then why not wear a mini dress? As long as it's tailored in some way (like Summer's stiff short sleeves) and sports a formal flourish (like the lace hemline of her dress) then you should totally be able to get away with wearing it for work. If in doubt, throw on a blazer. Blazers make any outfit look formal.

This pencil skirt dress with its stripe detailing and capped sleeves is sure to have you looking like the best dressed in the office.

4. Up Your Hair Accessory Game

Ms. Finn is often seen sporting some kind of adorable hair accessory. She changes it up from powder blue ribbons to strappy, modern headbands to suit her different ensembles. A ribbon worn as a bow in your hair has connotations of Sandy from Grease and in turn adds a youthful naivety to your outfit.

If you're short for time on a morning, throw your hair into a high ponytail and clip this cute bow into your barnet for instant vintage vibes.

A strappy headband is nostalgic of retro Alice bands. However, the straps keep it modern and elegant. IMO, Summer has nailed hair accessories. She wears the pretty bow in her free time and the grown up headband at the office.

I could totally imagine Summer wearing this simple yet feminine headband. Plus, the pearl design will add an air of sophistication to your outfit, helping you to appear oh so ladylike and mature.

5. The Off-The-Shoulder Chiffon Dress

Seen in a completely different look, Ms. Finn looks stunning in an off-the-shoulder chiffon gown that juxtaposes hilariously with the "*****" game she plays with Tom. To me, the décolletage is one of the most sensual parts of a woman's body and exposing it can sometimes feel sexier than showing off your cleavage or wearing a tight dress. The addition of the chiffon plays on Summer's ethereal, magical side and she reminds me of A Midsummer Night's Dream characters. The key to this look is picking a flowing, fairy-like gown.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/cocktail-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses
judy smith Nov 2016
While Walmart and Best Buy attract Black Friday shoppers nationwide, Fayetteville’s local businesses offer unique deals throughout the week on boutique clothing, gift-worthy items, outdoor accessories and Razorback apparel.

Southern Trend

Sale rack prices will range $5-15, and customers whose total reaches $50 or more will receive a free tote bag. Southern Trend clothing company offers Razorback apparel for men and women and other casual clothing that depicts Southern living. Their headquarters and closest retail location is at 614 W. Sycamore St.

The Mustache Goods & Wears

Saturday following Thanksgiving, The Mustache Goods & Wears will participate in Small Business Day with special deals throughout the store. The Mustache sells gift and novelty items and clothing, striving “to carry products you don’t normally find in Northwest Arkansas,” according to their website. The store is located on the Downtown Square at 15 S. Block Ave.

Lauren James

All regularly-priced items will be 25 percent off, and planners will be given to customers with a purchase of $65 or more. The Lauren James brand includes fashionable dresses, a line of women’s collegiate clothing, and other clothing and accessories with a Southern flare. One of three corporate locations in the country, the Fayetteville Lauren James shop is located just off campus at 623 W. Dickson St.

Houndstooth Clothing Company

Now until Thanksgiving day, all long sleeve and short sleeve tops are buy two, get one free with Black Friday deals to follow. The brand includes Razorback apparel and other casual clothing with outdoorsy designs. Houndstooth Clothing Company began in Fayetteville and now sells merchandise online and in stores across the state. The closest location to campus is just off the Downtown Square at 29 N. Block Ave.

Pack Rat Outdoor Center

Pack Rat Outdoor Center will sell featured Black Friday merchandise from The North Face brand. Saturday, Nov. 26, shoppers may enjoy food and drink at Customer Appreciation Day. Pack Rat sells clothing and accessories fit for an active and outdoor lifestyle, with products such as hammocks and hiking boots sold at their 209 West Sunbridge store.

Riffraff

All merchandise, except nine specially marked-down items, will be priced 30 percent off the original price tag during Black Friday, 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Just off the Downtown Square at 19 S. Block Ave., Riffraff boutique sells women’s clothes fit for everyday life to holiday parties, as well as gift and novelty items.

Campus Bookstore

The Campus Bookstore sells new and used textbooks, school supplies, Razorback gear and clothing. The store is located just outside of campus at 624 W. Dickson St.

Alumni Hall

Alumni Hall, located at 3417 N. College Ave., sells various brands of Razorback apparel as well as Razorback accessories and gifts.

Maude

Established in 2007 in Fayetteville, the racks of Maude boutique feature women’s clothing from sweaters to skirts with shoes and accessories also for sale. Maude in Fayetteville is located at 706 N. College Ave.

Savoir-Faire

A boutique local to Fayetteville at 1 E. Center St., Savoir-Faire offers casual and dressy clothing and accessories, including holiday fashions sold online and in-store.

Gatsby’s Boutique

Boasting a ‘20s fashion influence, Gatsby’s Boutique sells clothes and accessories at their shop located at 609 W. Dickson St.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-sydney | www.marieaustralia.com/one-shoulder-formal-dresses
2.7k · Apr 2016
Making it there with makeup
judy smith Apr 2016
When asked what there is to gain while attending college, most of the time the answer is a great experience, time to find out who you really are and how to fulfill your career goals. For some, figuring out what career field to enter and finding out who they are is easier said than done. Others might be lucky enough to have a moment of epiphany and realize exactly what they are meant to do.

Tae Lynn is one of the lucky ones. On the morning of October 13, 2015 she woke up and decided to launch her own makeup brand, Tae Lynn MUA.

Lynn is a senior spanish major with a minor in information systems, however, art has always been a passion of hers. Using her artistic skills she turned the faces of her client’s, into her canvas.

“I had to find an outlet and makeup definitely filled that void. It’s very lucrative and wherever I go people need their makeup done,” Lynn said.

Lynn also incorporated the “hustler” mentality and business savvy skills she learned from her business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, to build her brand. She made an instagram specifically to showcase her work, posted fliers around campus and used her connects to start the buzz on her brand.

However, the feedback that she received after launching her brand wasn’t the most positive. People posted negative comments about her work, which almost deterred Lynn from continuing to make a name for herself in the makeup industry until she had that defining moment, an epiphany.

When she went home to Atlanta for Thanksgiving, her car was stolen Thanksgiving night. Everything she had brought home over the break was gone, except for her makeup bag that contained all of the makeup she owned. It was the only thing she brought in the house.

“That was my epiphany moment and I ran with it. From that point on, I felt that was God’s way of telling me that this what you’re meant to do,” Lynn said.

After that “defining moment” as Lynn calls it, her brand took off like a rocket. Using her skills she has been able to meet celebrities, work for a makeup studio in downtown Statesboro and fashion shows held at Georgia Southern. The most significant event she participated in was New York Fashion Week as a published makeup artist.

Her work was noticed by the creator of a clothing line ran out of New York called Wise Guy Apparel. The creator asked her to be a makeup artist for their boutique fashion show in New York Fashion Week.

“I loved being a part of that fierce, fast-paced environment, but because all the models needed were touch-ups here and there, I wasn’t able to showcase my talent,” said Lynn.

Working in New York Fashion Week was definitely a confidence booster for Lynn and it helped her realize her worth, despite the negative criticism. She even uses the hashtag “#knowmyworth” frequently as a reminder that “you can’t let people deter you.”

“Over time I used those negative comments as motivation and I just got better at my craft, so I was able to overcome that through just being confident and knowing my worth,” Lynn said.

Lynn has a Style Seat profile where clients can book appointments with prices that range from $7-$200. She’s also available for booking in both Statesboro and Atlanta, GA. Customers have nothing put positive things to say now about Lynn’s services.

“I like the way my face transformed and it made me look a bit older. I’d definitely go to her again,” Sade McMullen, junior business management major, said.

Lynn plans on making Tae Lynn MUA a global brand one day or at least well known in the south. In order to reach her goals she simply just takes it one day at time.

Her motto is “Don’t shoot for the stars, shoot for small goals that’ll get you there”.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/backless-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/cocktail-dresses
judy smith Aug 2015
Being asked to be in a bridal party is a huge honor and one that you probably don’t want to have to turn down because you can’t afford it.

“I’ve been in two weddings and have attended seven. When you’re asked to be part of a wedding, you just think about that one day, but you don’t really take into consideration the engagement party or the bridal shower, and the bachelorette party,” NerdWallet’s Jessica Lindquist says. “I split the hotel with some of the other bridesmaids, so that was one way I was able to cut down on costs so I could attend all of those events.”

Here are five ways you, too, can accept a bridal party invitation without having to stress out over the cost.

1. Trim expenses on your hair, makeup, nails and outfit if you’re asked to be a bridesmaid. Check whether anyone you know is skilled with hair or makeup and if so, ask him or her to do it for you. Another option is to have a professional do either your hair or makeup and do the other one yourself. Also, skip the pricey mani and pedis — DIY them!

For your bridesmaid dress, offer to assist the bride in picking one she likes but that is also affordable for you. Help the bride put together a style board beforehand so you’ll know her tastes and can do some of the research ahead of time. Plan bridal dress shopping days around upcoming sales for major retailers, so you’ll have more affordable options to choose from.

Once you’ve bought the bridesmaid dress, bring it to a trusted tailor who won’t overcharge you for alterations. Chances are you won’t be wearing it much after the wedding, so don’t splurge on getting it fitted at the dress shop.

If you’re going to be a groomsman, save money on your clothing by wearing a suit you already own — or if you must don black tie, search for a good price on renting a tux.

2. Get involved with the bachelorette or bachelor party planning so you can have a say in how much it ends up costing. You might think this is aggressive, but Gail Blachly, another Nerd, says addressing expenses head-on can be beneficial.

“Have those open discussions with the bride or the groom to say, ‘How much do you think I need to set aside?’ Because they’re open to having those discussions, too,” she says. “They’re in the process, they’re making their own budgets; they understand that it’s a need-to-know fact.”

3. Make a gift plan. If you feel comfortable splitting bridal shower or bachelorette/bachelor party presents with the rest of the wedding party, do so. If not, aim to spend 20% of your gift budget on the shower, 20% on the bachelorette/bachelor and 60% on the wedding.

4. Use your credit card rewards or loyalty program points to help cover travel and lodging costs. Since it can take some time to earn enough points, start saving as soon as possible.

5. Set a savings goal and work to meet it. As soon as you agree to be in the bridal party, talk with the bride or groom to estimate how much it’ll cost you and use that as your savings goal.

You might think you can’t afford to be a bridesmaid or groomsman, but don’t say no right away. With a little planning and resourcefulness, you can afford more than you realize. The next time you’re asked to join a bridal party, follow these suggestions so the experience leaves you with fond memories and sound finances.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/bridesmaid-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses
judy smith Nov 2016
Whether in Montreal, where she was born and raised, or in Delhi, where her award-winning brasserie sits, the stylish chef’s love for gastronomy has always run deep. She came to India to chase her passion about eight years ago, after leaving behind an engineering career and having trained at the esteemed ITHQ (Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec). In 2014, she introduced unusual combinations like oysters with charred onion petals, tamarind puree, and rose vinegar when she became the first Indian chef to be invited to host a solo dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. Also presented there was her very own coffee-table book called Eating Stories, packed with charming visuals, tales and recipes.

In pursuit of narratives

“I am studying Ayurveda so, at the moment, I’m inspired by the knowledge and intuition which comes with that, but otherwise I completely live for stories. Those of the people around me — of spices, design forms, music, traditions, history and anything else I feel connected to.”

Culinary muse

“I truly believe that nature is perfect, so I feel privileged to use the ingredients that it provides, while adding my own hues, aromas and combinations…it feels like I get to play endlessly every day.”

After-work indulgence

“My favourite places to eat at are Cafe Lota and Carnatic Cafe in Delhi, and Betony and Brindle Room in NYC.”

Dream dish

“This salad I created called ‘secret garden’. It’s so beautiful to look at and has such a unique spectrum of flavours…all while using only the freshest, most natural produce to create something completely magical.”

Reception blooper

“Most people make the mistake of over-complicating the menu; having too much diversity and quantity. Wastefulness isn’t a good way to start a life together.”

A third-generation entrepreneur from a highly distinguished culinary family, she runs a thriving studio in Khar where state-of-the-art cooking stations and dining tables allow her to conduct a variety of workshops and sessions. Her grandfather is remembered as the man who migrated from Africa to London to found the brand that brought curry to the people of the UK — Patak’s. She took over as brand ambassador, having trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine and taught at one of Jamie Oliver’s schools in London. What’s more, Pathak is also the author of Secrets From My Indian Family Kitchen, a cookbook comprising 120 Indian recipes, published last year in the UK.

Most successful experiment

“When I was writing recipes for my cookbook, I had to test some more than once to ensure they were perfect and foolproof. One of my favourites was my slow-cooked tamarind-glazed pork. I must have trialled this recipe at least six times before publishing it, and after many tweaks I have got it to be truly sensational. It’s perfectly balanced with sweet and sour both.”

Future fantasy

“As strange as it sounds, I’d love to cater my own wedding. You want all your favourite recipes and you want to share this with your guests. I could hire a caterer to create my ideal menu, but I’d much prefer to finalise and finish all the dishes myself so that I’m supremely happy with the flavours I’m serving to my loved ones.”

Fresh elegance

“I’m in love with microgreens for entertaining and events…although not a new trend, they still carry the delicate wow factor and are wonderfully subtle when used well. I’m not into using foams and gels and much prefer to use ingredients that are fuss-free.”

This advertising professional first tested her one-of-a-kind amalgams at The Lil Flea, a popular local market in BKC, Mumbai. Her Indian fusion hot dogs, named Amar (vegetarian), Akbar (chicken) and Anthony (pork), sold out quickly and were a hit. Today, these ‘desi dogs’ are the signature at the affable home-chef-turned-businesswoman’s cafe-***-diner in Bandra, alongside juicy burgers, a fantastic indigenous crème brûlée, and an exciting range of drinks and Sikkim-sourced teas.

Loving the journey

“The best part of the job is the people I meet; the joy I get to see on their faces as they take the first bite. The fact that this is across all ages and social or cultural backgrounds makes it even better. Also, I can indulge a whim — whether it is about the menu or what I can do for a guest — without having to ask anyone. On the flip side, I have no one to blame but myself if the decision goes wrong. And, of course, I can’t apply for leave!”

Go-to comfort meal

“A well-made Bengali khichri or a good light meat curry with super-soft chapattis.”

What’s ‘happening’

“This is a very exciting time in food and entertaining — the traditional and ultra-modern are moving forward together. Farm-to-fork is very big; food is also more cross-cultural, and there is a huge effort to make your guest feel special. Plus, ‘Instagram friendly’ has become key…if it’s not on Instagram, it never happened! But essentially, a party works when everyone is comfortable and happy.”

A word to brides

“Let others plan your menu. You relax and look gorgeous!”

This Le Cordon Bleu graduate really knows her way around aromas that warm the heart. On returning to Mumbai from London, she began to experiment with making small-batch ice creams for family and friends. Now she churns out those ‘cheeky’ creations from a tiny kitchen in Bandra, where customers must ring a bell to get a taste of dark chocolate with Italian truffle oil, salted caramel, milk chocolate and bacon and her signature (a must-try) — blue cheese and honey.

The extra mile

“I’ll never forget the time I created three massive croquembouche towers (choux buns filled with assorted flavours of pastry cream, held together with caramel) for a wedding, and had to deliver them to Thane!”

Menu vision

“For a wedding, I would want to serve something light and fresh to start with, like seared scallops with fresh oysters and uni (sea urchin). For mains, I would serve something hearty and warm — roast duck and foie gras in a red wine jus. Dessert would be individual mini croquembouche!”

Having been raised by big-time foodie parents, the strongest motivation for their decision to take to this path came from their mother, who had two much-loved restaurants of her own while the sisters were growing up — Vandana in Mahim and Bandra Fest on Carter Road. Following the success of the first MeSoHappi in Khar, Mumbai, the duo known for wholesome cooking opened another outlet of the quirky gastro-bar adjoining The Captain’s Table — one of the city’s favourite seafood haunts — in Bandra Kurla Complex.

Chef’s own

AA: “We were the pioneers of the South African bunny chow in Mumbai and, even now, it remains one of my all-time favourites.”

On wedding catering

PA: “The most memorable for me will always be Aarathi’s high-tea bridal shower. I planned a floral-themed sundowner at our home in Cumballa Hill; curtains of jasmine, rose-and-wisteria lanterns and marigold scallops engulfed the space. We served exotic teas, alcoholic popsicles of sangria and mojito, and dishes like seafood pani puri shots and Greek spanakopita with beetroot dip, while each table had bite-sized desserts like mango and butter cream tarts and rose panna cotta.”Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2016 | www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses
judy smith Jun 2015
That's a beautiful dress. It arrived on time. Thank you very much.

I bought this dress for my upcoming prom. i was nervous about buying online, because I had no idea what the quality would be like. I was pleasently surprised when it arrived. Not only was the quality of the fabric beautiful, but the overall quality of the dress was great as well.?

The quality of the dress is unbelieveable it is a beautiful dress. If your big busted its a little tight, but its so nice on. I LOVE IT!!!! Cant wait to order something else. M y mother has bought so many things from dresswe and everything has been easy to order and get and everything is of quality. THANKS so much!!!!

I ordered my dress custom made in early April. The current delivery time was advertising "4 weeks" and it actually took 6 with a bit of hassling & stressing through emails. I ordered this dress for my 21st birthday party. When it finally arrived it was definitely impressed. A beautiful dress with such an elegant cut. I was really impressed and felt like a princess on my special night! I thank you for providing me such a beautiful dress! The color is just to die for

The most beautiful dress I've ever worn! Going to be wearing this to my engagement party, I've never been so happy with a purchase in my entire life! Really well made with lovely material, and sizing is correct, although had to have it altered slightly around the bust as the padded cups made it look odd on me, but nothing a little sewing couldn't fix. Can’t recommend this dress enough, feel like a million dollars in it! Shipping is also ridiculously fast, I live in the UK and had it custom made. So happy with this dress, everything I wanted and more!

I received my dress and when I put it on, it fit me perfectly and looked good on. The design and material are just as the picture shows. Good quality and I am very pleased. Customer service was great and it was delivered on the day that I requested. I highly recommend marieaustralia for formal dresses .Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-melbourne | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015
judy smith Dec 2015
At Shelton High School, some students were outraged to find out, just days before the dance in May, that they wouldn't be allowed to wear their dresses to the prom. A "prom gown panel" was formed to decide whether students' dresses were appropriate — more than 30 of them weren't.

The school told marieaustralia.com that it has updated its dress code for the new school year so it's explicitly stated that prom attire must fall within the guidelines.

The battle over leggings

The new(ish) trend of leggings as pants isn't going over well in some schools.

In April, a young woman's Facebook post went viral when she wrote about her little sister being sent home from high school for wearing leggings underneath a baseball-style shirt. And students at a Cape Cod high school weren't happy when the school updated its dress code this year to ban leggings and yoga pants unless worn underneath a skirt or dress, or with a long top.

... and shoulders and collarbones

Some schools sparked criticism for dress codes that targeted a particular part of a woman's body — like shoulders or collarbones, for example. That's what happened when Stacie Dunn's daughter, a student at a Kentucky high school, got in trouble for wearing a tank top and sweater that failed to cover her collarbone. Dunn called the school's decision "ridiculous" in a rant on Facebook.

And earlier this year in Utah, a teen girl was told her dress for a school dance violated the dress codebecause the straps didn't cover enough of her shoulders. Students in New Jersey also protested dress codes this year, with one carrying a sign that said, "'Shoulders are so hot' -said no one ever.'"

So even as some schools reassess their dress codes, it's clear the debate is far from over. In the meantime, here's our guide to how to handle the "wardrobe wars" with your kids.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth

www.marieaustralia.com/backless-formal-dresses
judy smith Apr 2015
fascinating and most amusing parts of fashion week.

And as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks into gear in Sydney, it’s celebrities, all-important buyers and retailers, editors, stylists and a whole lot of self-anointed fashion bloggers who make the A-row cut.

The posturing and posing that goes on to secure a coveted front row seat at each and every one of the 47 shows can be hilarious.

No matter how high a heel you wear, how big your sunglasses are or how smartypants your designer blazer is, no-one gets seated front row if they can’t, literally, bring something to the style marketing table.

The main front row players are definitely editors. And buyers. Hands down.

But bloggers and digital media players have made their presence known over the last few years — with the better ones considered front row deities when it comes to seating.

Designer Kym Ellery snared the opening night slot of fashion week with the likes of Lindy Klim, Kyly Clarke, Margaret Zhang, Bambi Northwood Blyth and every magazine and style editor that mattered in the front row.

Model Gemma Ward attends the Tome show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2015 sitti
(Photo:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses)
Meanwhile, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, marieclaire, Sunday Style and Elle are the main front row magazine players.

“The Ellery front row was an impressive mix of international guests, local fashion media and buyers and Sydney celebrities,” says Vogue Australia editor-in-chief, Edwina McCann.

“It was a well dressed crowd who turned up the following morning to the first show, Tome, looking equally well turned out and ready for business.

“Gone are the days when hangovers were in fashion!”

Yup, late nights, for real fashion workers, just aren’t in fashion.

McCann says not everything that is actually ‘on trend’ ends up in the front row.

“Flat shoes are well and truly in this season, but I didn’t see many front row,” she adds.

“At Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia it seems heels are absolutely always on trend.”

One of the world’s leading fashion commentators says he is genuinely knocked out by the improved calibre of dressing on this year’s front row.

Godfrey Deeny from Paris (he writes for Le Figaro) hasn’t attended the Australian event in five years but was overheard commenting that the front row looks better dressed and more sophisticated than his last visit.

As far as seating the front row, there are a solid group of public relations people working with their designer clients to put together each seating plan.

One of these people is Nikki Andrews from the NAC media group, who says seating can be a game of cat and mouse.

“It is like piecing together a big jigsaw puzzle,” says Andrews.

“Each designer has different priorities with key press and key buyers and of course celebrity still the main priorities.

“There is always a juggle on the day and of course a few extras that always insist on front row.

“But it is usually those who request front row who don’t really deserve it,” smiles Andrews.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/cocktail-dresses
judy smith Nov 2015
In June this year, designer Masaba Gupta and film producer Madhu Mantena had the quietest of civil ceremonies. It was only when she took to Twitter the next day to talk about the court registry that most people heard of it. It was a move most unorthodox, for a leading fashion designer, especially one who counts several Bollywood actors among her close friends.

At the time, she also announced “a Caribbean wedding in November”.

The destination wedding isn’t happening. But that’s not to deprive us of a grand, four-day affair, the sort that has the most coveted guest list, and is followed with the keenest interest. It will start on November 19, with the bridal showers, will continue with the mehendi on November 20, the sangeet on November 21 and a gala reception on Sunday, (November 22). Expect the works, and guest lists that boast of Bollywood A-listers (Shahid and Mira Kapoor, and Sonam Kapoor are close friends, just so you know).

In short, it sounds like any other grand Indian celebrity wedding. Except, this is Masaba Gupta we’re talking about. As we catch up with her, we get the sense that she’s approached the whole thing with the same minimalism and quirkiness with which she approaches fashion. “A lot of people are invited,” she tells us, “But I’m not going around and talking about my wedding designer or my lipstick, so on and so forth.”

Unlike most Indian brides, she’s not even fretting over the big day, or days, as it were. “When I was growing up, I always saw brides around me under tremendous stress. The pressure to dress a certain way, wear a certain amount of jewellery and make-up... I saw how uncomfortable it was. So I decided that, if I do get married, I’ll be someone who puts comfort first, and then looks at her options for cut, colour, embroidery or jewellery,” says Gupta.

So, in case you do find yourself invited (otherwise, there’s always Instagram), don’t be surprised to see the most relaxed bride, dressed so comfortably that she’d be the envy of any married Indian woman. The idea, she says, is that a bride should “dress in a way that she can interact with people and have a good time herself.”

She’s also taken charge of the whole thing, and planned a non-fussy, non-extravagant celebration. “For me, three vacations is more value-for-money than a mandap with diamonds on it.”

True to her word, for her sangeet and reception, Gupta is ditching the norm of heavily designed lehengas and saris. “I didn’t go into that heavy, couture, bridal space. And I’m the kind of designer who wears works of other designers,” she says. So, her trousseau will have outfits by several other leading designers. “There are a few people who are great at doing certain things. Anamika [Khanna] is great at reception outfits. I can do a cool, quirky mehendi outfit. For a sangeet, somebody more in the Manish Arora or Shivan and Narresh kind of space,” she says.

The designer who’s always stood apart also seems keen to set an example. By not conforming to rules, Gupta wants to make a point. “I do want it to be about comfort, but I also want to change things up a bit. I want to set an example and say that you don’t need to wear a certain colour, a certain type of maang tika; your hair doesn’t have to look a particular way,” says the young designer.

Ask her if this is the (unconventional) dream wedding come true, and she laughs. “I never had a dream wedding. I’ve never visualised anything except clothes. Certainly not an elaborate wedding setup. See, I just don’t want to starve at my wedding. So, my dream wedding is one where I get to eat a meal while everyone else enjoys themselves as well.”

Masaba’s five-point guide to a chilled-out wedding

1) Get people to help out. If you try and look at every detail, you’re going to have a hard time. You may have a great input, but get people to do it for you.

2)People think you should shop for jewellery and clothes much in advance, but I think it should be done as close to the wedding as possible. You’ll have the latest stuff, and your taste might change over time. It’s best done around the wedding, so you don’t regret what you’ve bought.

3) Shoes are important. Make sure you’re in comfortable heels or flats, so you can survive the night.

4) Always test the make-up artist. Don’t just do a demo and leave it; test it through the day. See how the make-up behaves over a few hours, then you’ll know what it will actually be like, because it takes a couple of hours for make-up to set.

5) Receptions should start becoming more informal. You shouldn’t have to have the couple on stage smiling through the evening. I’ve heard of brides getting locked jaws. It’s absolute torture.

How to be the unconventional groom

• Fusion looks work well. If you’re wearing a Jodhpuri or a bandhgala, team it up with Jodhpuri pants. For men who are slimmer, suits do wonders.

• If you wish to be quirky and know you can carry it off, team dhoti pants and a shirt with a really formal blazer and a brooch.


• I love the cropped, ankle-length formal pants men are wearing now. It’s great for a reception.

• You don’t need to wear laced up shoes. Wear a nice slip-on in patent leather or a printed pair of shoes that stand out. So, you can make the whole look black and white, and have a nice pop shoe and make that the focus.

• Don’t be afraid of colours at your wedding. Get over navy blue, black or maroon. On a darker man, a haldi yellow kurta will look fantastic when teamed with an off-white or cream churidar. Even a soft pink in raw silk — it has a silver-pink shine — looks lovely.

How to be the ‘in vogue’ bride

• We’re seeing a lot of shapewear backs. Instead of the flared lehenga, women are opting for the fishtail cuts. Girls are also wearing shararas with big flares that almost look like a lehenga.

• Brides are going minimal. Go for less embellishment, and lighter lehengas.

• The dupatta is being ditched. Either that, or it’s attached. Much easier to handle.

• The choli is becoming more modest. People are wearing longer lengths, which are more fitted; the ‘60s style kurtas with shararas are also in. There’s more focus on the body and shape.

• I’m hoping the anarkali has died. It’s the worst of the lot. And it’s not very flattering. If you’re very skinny and tall, it works for you. If you’re short, you look like you’re lost in your outfit.

• Ditch the trail. At the end of the night, it’s a rag. It’s been stepped on and is *****.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/mermaid-trumpet-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/cheap-formal-dresses
judy smith May 2015
Catwalk creations and cutting-edge designers will be turning the North East into a glamorous showcase this week to delight the most dedicated followers of fashion.

NE1’s Fashion Futures will make its debut at Baltic in Gateshead on the day that also sees student collections unveiled there in Northumbria University Graduate Fashion Show.

Wednesday marks the start of NE1’s two-day fashion-steeped extravaganza of shows, talks and panel discussions and the event, a first for the region, is attracting big names in the fashion world such as British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, top designer Henry Holland and home-grown designer-to-the-stars Scott Henshall.

It is born from local business champion NE1’s Newcastle Fashion Week which ran for four years.

The idea is to bring the best aspects of that together to shape a whole new-look affair which will culminate in a Fashion Front Row event on the Thursday evening.

As well as highlighting the mark the region has made on the fashion industry, with North East-trained designers on the guest list, the event promises a perfect opportunity for anyone keen to learn how to follow in their successful footsteps.

High profile brands Mercedes Benz of Newcastle and international footwear designer Terry de Havilland are sponsors of NE1’s Fashion Futures which is organised by marketing and events manager Sandra Tang.

She said: “The event and its contributors highlight the strength of the region’s fashion industry, will help us celebrate the city’s fashion academic heritage and hopefully encourage a new generation to enter the fashion industry.”

This year’s Northumbria University Graduate Fashion Show, called FASHION, will be held at Baltic during the first day and the catwalk show is set to attract buyers and industry figures from around the world.

Then Thursday will see the main programme of free Fashion Talks run from 1pm to 3pm, aimed at young people interested in a career in the fashion industry.

There will be plenty tips to be had from the likes of Henry Holland who is known for his eye-catching designs and fun style.

He will be in conversation with fashion journalist Laura Weir and giving an insight into his life as one of the UK’s leading fashion designers. He has dressed famous celebrities, won international acclaim for his collections and sold designs in glamorous outlets such as Liberty.

Alexandra Shulman will also take to the stage to talk about her own life and work and give advice to any aspiring designers as well as style journalists.

And there will be a panel discussion with fashion experts including former Northumbria University students Michelle Taylor, founder of luxury lingerie brand Tallulah Love; Charis Younger, a menswear designer at All Saints; and Kate Ablett, a senior designer at Berghaus.

Joining them will be Terry De Havilland’s managing director Darren Spurling.

That evening’s Fashion Front Row event - a popular feature of NE1’s former Newcastle Fashion Week - will then showcase the best of the North East designer talent.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-melbourne | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth
judy smith Sep 2016
In Bolivia’s capital city La Paz, indigenous women known as cholas have long been stigmatized for wearing their traditional clothes: bowler hats, handmade macramé shawls, tailored blouses, layered pollera skirts, and lots of elaborate jewelry.

But for the past 11 years, fashion designer Eliana Paco Paredes has been chipping away at that stigma with her line of chola clothing—which she debuted at New York City’s Fashion Week last week. That’s a big deal for a type of clothing that has historically been disparaged in Bolivia because it was worn by poor, indigenous women. For a long time, many indigenous women couldn’t wear chola clothing in certain professions.

Bringing indigenous designs to New York is a huge step for Paco Paredes, though not the first time her clothing has received international recognition. In 2012, she designed a shawl for Spain’s Queen Sofia.

But Paco Paredes’s Fashion Week show is also an important moment for indigenous cholas. Until recently, these women “could be refused entry to certain restaurants, taxis and even some public buses,” writes Paula Dear for BBC News. Such an international spotlight on Paco Paredes’s designs will hopefully increase the acceptance of indigenous women and their culture in Bolivia.

La Paz’s mayor, Luis Revilla, wrote in an email that his city’s response to Paco Paredes’s Fashion Week debut has been a feeling of pride. He hopes that “her designs, which reflect the identity of local woman from La Paz, generate a trend in the global fashion industry,” he says.

“I also hope that in time, people from different geographies of the planet begin to use some of the elements that make the dress of chola,” he says.

Fresh off her Fashion Week debut, Paco Paredes spoke with National Geographic about her clothing and how opportunities for cholas are changing.

What is your approach to your designs?

What we want to show on this runway is the outfits’ sophistication. But the thing I don’t want to lose, that I always want to preserve, is the fundamental essence of our clothing. Because what we want, in some way, is to show the world that these outfits are beautiful, that they can be worn in La Paz by a chola, but they can also be worn by you, by someone from Spain, by a woman from Asia; that these women can fall in love with the pollera, the hat, the macramé shawl combined with an evening gown. These are the outfits we want to launch.

Do you think it's important that you, as a chola, came to Fashion Week in New York?

Of course! I think that it's very important because to have a runway of this international magnitude, with designers of this caliber, with international models, with a completely professional atmosphere, fills me with pride. And it's very important because of the fact that people can see my culture.

Who buys your clothing?

I have a store in La Paz, a national store. Here in La Paz, in Bolivia, this clothing is doing very well, because it's what many women wear day to day.

At a national level I can tell you we have the pleasure to work with many regions: Oruro, Potosí, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba. At an international level, we dress many people in Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and some products we make go to Spain, Italy. So through this we want to open an international market with sophisticated outfits that are Eliana Paco designs.

We're getting people to learn about what this clothing is at another level, and many women outside of Bolivia can and want to wear these outfits. They've fallen in love with these designs that they can say come from La Paz, Bolivia.

How are opportunities changing for cholas in La Paz?

It's definitely a revolution that's been going on for about 10 years, because the cholas paceñas [cholas from La Paz] have made their way into different areas—social, business, economic, political. And look at this fashion event, where nobody could've imagined that suddenly so many chola designs are on the runway with some of the most famous designers, like Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, where they have lines of different types of designs at an international level.

The chola paceña has been growing in all of these aspects. And for us, this is very important because now being chola comes from a lot of pride—a lot of pride and security and satisfaction.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses
judy smith Sep 2015
It’s been a summer of love for many pairs in the Aspen area who chose to tie the knot near home or with a destination wedding such as these six couples below.

Natasha Lucero and Mike Conklin of Carbondale pinpointed Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, for their May 2 wedding at Hacienda del Mar Resort. Surrounded by nearly 100 friends and family members, they celebrated in the sun with a beach wedding. Though they lead an active lifestyle filled with lots of CrossFit workouts and semi-strict diets, they decided upon a decadent wedding cake (opting for one made of donut holes in lieu of something more traditional). For their honeymoon, the happy couple stayed in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort just down the road from the wedding.

Kelly Ann McColm and Daniel Conal McCarthy of Aspen chose a mountain wedding for their June 6 event. The ceremony was on the wedding deck at the top of Aspen Mountain with a reception in the beautifully decorated Sundeck. Kelly Ann’s favorite part about the wedding was the weather. “All four seasons in an hour! We started up the gondola with rain, got to the top of Ajax with snow and as I came out to walk down the aisle, the clouds parted and the sun came out for a beautiful summer sunset. The McCarthys are beach-bound for their honeymoon with a trip to Bora Bora.

Lori Augustine and Bill Small of Aspen tied the knot on June 14 on Aspen Mountain. They and their guests enjoyed beautiful summer weather for the ceremony at 11,212 feet. They’ve just set off for a honeymoon through Europe, spending the month of September in Venice, Milan, Lake Como, Capri, Positano, Rome, Tuscany, Monaco and St. Tropez.


Molly Elizabeth Eckrich and Charles Barclay Dodge of Aspen exchanged vows amidst friends and family on June 26. The Snowmass Chapel performed the ceremony in the John Denver Sanctuary in Old Snowmass. The bride noted, “We were the first wedding out there and I hope more people will use it because it was the most perfect setting.” Their reception took place at Tempranillo in Basalt. And their long awaited honeymoon will be spent in St. Bart’s and Cuba in November.

Katie Kowalski and Mickey Krentz of Aspen were married on a beautiful summer afternoon at Aspen Center for Environmental Studies at Rock Bottom Ranch near Emma on Aug. 8. “We supported a farm to table dinner there last year and both knew instantly, that is where we wanted to get married,” the bride noted. “It represented out love of the outdoors and love for good, local food, in a relaxed and beautiful setting. The atmosphere the day of our wedding couldn’t have been more perfect with the roosters crowing, ducks waddling, pigs lounging, the warm glow of the sun.” Next spring, they’ll honeymoon in Italy and France.

Maggi Whitmer and Ryan Thompson of Aspen tied the knot on Aug. 15 at Elk Camp in Snowmass under clear blue skies. “We loved being one of the first weddings in this location,” explained the bride. “Ryan and I both grew up in the valley and are passionate about skiing so having it on the mountain with chairlifts in the backdrop was special.” Sparklers, a food truck and the gondola were all little details that made it especially unique. For their honeymoon, they’re heading to Croatia and Italy in October.

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judy smith Apr 2015
For the first time on campus, Sisters on the Runway will strut and pose for domestic violence awareness.

Sisters on the Runway will be hosting its first annual fashion show from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight in the Business Building. All proceeds will be donated to the Centre County Women's Resource Center, Layla Taremi president of the organization, said.

Sisters on the Runway is a national student-run organization that raises awareness about women and children who reside in domestic violence shelters. There are over five chapters throughout the nation, each supporting the same cause to local shelters. It was founded in 2009 and has grown since then, Taremi (sophomore-marketing) said.

Aside from the fashion show, which is the biggest fundraising event that the organization hosts, Sisters on the Runway is also responsible for other events. The organization hosts a chalking event where they write facts about domestic violence on sidewalks using chalk. This is a way for them to raise domestic violence awareness, Taremi said. It also hosts a walk where all participants walk a mile in heels for awareness.

The show will consist of eleven female models and three male models, Edie Alexander, the event planner, said.

Alexander said the show is expected to showcase clothing from Connections, Dwellings, Diamonds and Lace Bridal and Harper's, who are also their sponsors. Looks Hair Salon will be responsible for hair and makeup for the models in show, Taremi said.

"There is no theme for the show,” Taremi said. “It will be a wide spectrum of clothing."

The male models are expected to walk the runway showcasing suits and tuxedos, Taremi said. Originally the show was not going to include male models. It wasn't until the owners of Harper's decided to contribute to the show by donating some men's apparel for the fashion show.

All the models participating have been building up their confidence for the runway, Alexander (sophomore-recreation park and tourism management) said.

"I'm excited for our first annual fashion show, I hope this brings more awareness to the Penn State community," Vice President Lauren Shearer (sophomore-supply chain management) said.

The organization’s goal is to get a lot of people involved through different events to help raise awareness of domestic violence, Shearer said.

"We’re trying to push people to come, not just Penn State students, because it's not an issue that doesn't only affects college students,” Alexander said. “It affects everyone as well."Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-adelaide
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