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judy smith Jun 2016
So you've made it through interning, the resume and rounds of interviews to land your first job in fashion—now what? Your internship experience and ability to recite The Devil Wears Pradaverbatim may make you think you have all your initial skill sets down pat, but there's still a lot to learn in the first few months of a new job. No matter what your exact position is, here are the keys to starting your fashion career off with a bang.

1) Don't be afraid to ask questions. Always, always, always ask questions. You don't know everything—to be fair, you don't know a lot of things yet—and that's totally okay. Your bosses and supervisors will respect you more if you ask questions and do things the right way instead of winging things and messing them up.

2) Take initiative. You already got the job offer, don't expect formal invitations from your boss on a daily basis inviting you to do new job tasks—step up to the plate and get sh*t done. Don't wait around for someone to ask you to do something, figure out what needs to be done and do it— you will be that much more valuable to your company.

3) Always wear a good attitude. Yes, you work in fashion and yes, you're concerned about your daily wardrobe but all the Gucci in the world won't make a difference if your attitude *****. Focus on how you act amongst and work with your team first and foremost—a good attitude will get you ahead faster than any pair of shoes.

4) Do more than what's in your job description. If you thought those three little bullet points of responsibilities in your job listing were going to be all you do on a daily basis, think again. You're not here to get comfortable in your daily routine (there are plenty of other industries for that, fashion is not one). Go above and beyond and find ways to expand your position, making yourself more of an asset to your team. Yes, this means more work because the fashion industry is a lot of work, despite what you saw while watching The Hills.

5) Master the art of networking. In fashion, this is an especially crucial skill to learn right away. Try going to an industry event solo (no using your co-workers as a crutch) so you're forced to network with other people. The industry may seem huge but it's actually pretty small, you never know who you'll meet and be able to work with in the future. Networking within your own company also counts and is important too!

6) Let your personality shine through. This is not the time to be shy. Embrace your own personality, that's what's going to set you apart from others in your job.

7) Be accessible. That's not to say you should chain yourself to your desk or become a slave to your inbox, but, especially in your first couple years of working, you need to put in more time in order to make yourself indispensable.

8) Mind your social media reputation. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook are all important tools for helping to grow your personal brand (and a necessary presence in the fashion world), but use them wisely. The lines on what is and isn't professionally acceptable can get a little blurry, especially now with Snapchat. Good rule of thumb: don't post anything anywhere that you wouldn't be comfortable with your boss reading out loud in a meeting.

9) Ask for feedback. Schedule one-on-one meetings with your supervisors to ask for feedback on your job performance and ask any questions you may have. Listen, listen, listen to all feedback and make note of it so you can improve where necessary.

10) Utilize the resources around you. Chances are you're working with or in the vicinity of industry veterans who've already racked up years of experience. Use them for guidance and any questions you might have; they can teach you things about the fashion world that you won't find on Google.

11) Stay in the know. All clichés aside, you really do have to have a passion for fashion to excel (just don't write that on your resume or anywhere for that matter, please). With the industry constantly changing, it's important to keep up with all the latest fashion news, designer changes and It girls of the moment—it's important to know all those things in order to really **** it at your job.

12) Fake it 'til you make it. Everyone fakes some confidence when it comes to executing your job. You may feel like you have no idea what you're doing, but be confident in your decision-making and daily routine—you did land the job for a reason, after all.Read more at: |
judy smith Nov 2015
Weddings are a seasonal thing. They really pick up in spring, roll on at a steady pace through summer and then spike into the fall. But then comes November, when the frenzy of peak wedding season slows down, it can be tempting to hibernate until spring. If you’ve had a particularly busy year, it may actually be necessary for you to cool your heels for a minute.

But once you pause to catch your breath, don’t succumb to the temptation to binge on Netflix and chill with your business. The off-season is your golden moment! This is your time to out-pace your competition and really build momentum for your business.

Here are 17 off-season wedding photography marketing ideas. You’re probably already doing some of these. Some won’t work for you. And some are things you should be doing, and promised yourself you’d do last year. So let’s get to it!

Category: Content Marketing

#1. Blog Your Shoots

Blog your weddings on your blog! This sounds obvious, and maybe it is. That’s why we’re putting it first. If you have weddings you haven’t blogged yet, pick out your favorites and get them prepped and ready for the blog. Schedule them to post at even intervals off into the future. If that’s one a week, great. If one a month, also great. Get your work out there on your blog, you won’t regret it. You’re creating a beautiful portfolio as well as a giant Google-******* traffic magnet. It’s a win/win.

#2. Get Re-Blogged

Get another blog to blog your blog on their blog. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Just look around at the wedding blogs you love, and see which of your weddings fits what they love. Then, you know, send it to them! If you don’t want to do it the hard way, you can also use Two Bright Lights.

#3. Contribute a Guest Blog

Have a friend with a cool blog? Reach out and ask if you could contribute a guest blog. Surely there’s a topic you’re savvy on that they could use. Blogs always love a guest post, as it takes a bit of the work off their shoulders and builds credibility. And for you, it positions you as an industry expert and gives you something to talk/post/tweet about!

#4. Create a Guide

As a frequent wedding-goer, you have a far greater grasp of the things that should be done and the things that must be avoided. Aggregate your knowledge into a helpful resource guide. Ten Wedding Shoes to Avoid at All Costs, Top Five People Not To Invite To Your Wedding, How To Look Amazing On Your Wedding Day… stuff like that. Make sure the images are all yours and ready to be shared. Share it on your blog, on your social networks, and then send it to industry blogs.

Category: Social Networking

#5. Tag All The Things

Do you have un-tagged photos of clients out there in the wild? One easy marketing trick is to go through all your previously posted photos and make sure every possible person is tagged. Reach out to old clients and encourage them to tag-it-up! Any new tag will cause your photos to show up in feeds around the world, which is always a good soft-marketing move.

#6. Instagram

Is your Insta-game on lock down? Review the photos you’ve posted in the past and nix the ones that don’t represent your brand today. Remember, any photo that isn’t a great photo does not need to be in your visible portfolio. This isn’t technically marketing, but it is defensive marketing, protecting future clients from old photos that might turn them off. And for every old photo you nix, add a new, shiny one that you love!

judy smith Mar 2016
Fashion is a female-fueled business. Many glossies have mastheads filled with women; there are tons of female designers; public relations, a key cog in the fashion-industry machine, is two-thirds women. Yet gender inequality is still a legitimate issue in the field — very few European design houses arehelmed by female talent, and women have only recently begun to catch up in terms of top-level executive roles at places like LVMH.

We’re still a ways off from having gender parity in the most influential roles in fashion, not to mention equal pay, and better parental leave policies. But there are some advantages to being a female designer — an innate understanding of the female body and what women truly want to wear, for starters. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, shopping app Spring gathered 33 of its female-led brands — including some of our favorite forward-thinking names in the biz — for a campaign called #SpringStories. The original shoot, lensed by Diego Uchitel, explores dozens of designers’ experiences in (and contributions to) the fashion industry.

As part of #SpringStories, users on the e-tailer’s app will be able to “swipe” to donate to I Am That Girl, a charity that aims to “help girls establish physical, emotional, and mental well-being and transform self-doubt into self-love by providing a safe space to have honest conversations about things that matter,” according to the organization’s site. Spring will then match all contributions to the charity.

A handful of the app’s featured designers shared with Refinery29 the ongoing challenges they face as women in the fashion industry, as well as the highlights of getting to design for other women.

Getting the necessary capital to put out collection after collection is tougher for female talents, according to Laura Cramer, cofounder of Apiece Apart. "To build a grounded business poised for growth, you either need to raise money or have deep pockets. The uphill battle for women raising money is much steeper, particularly if you look at data around VC funding, where women-led companies get less than 5%," Cramer says. "Early in our pitching days, I was pregnant and would watch eyes fall to my enlarging belly as we described our road map to success. A man will never know the feeling of people calculating your age, your marital status, and your child-bearing readiness."

And once funding has been achieved, some designers feel a lack of support between women in the industry. “I think a lot of women don't support each other in the ways they should, and it always blows my mind that support and love isn't people's default setting all of the time," says Aurora James of Brother Vellies. "There are a lot of women in this industry, and there is enough success for all of [us]."

Camaraderie is important, certainly, but it's necessary to have women installed in powerful, well-financed creative director roles at the biggest fashion conglomerates to truly work toward having equal opportunities in the industry. "There are many female designers, but not in the top tiers of fashion," says Becca McCharen of Chromat. "The brands backed by companies like LVMH and Kering are predominantly run and owned by men."

Women are especially adept at "designing for changing bodies, with curves, and incredibly diverse days," Cramer explains. Yet there's a (albeit, generalized) contrast in what drives designers' ideas, according to Tanya Taylor: "Men design for desire and women design for purpose," she says. "The biggest challenge is how you make purpose desirable."

Though there certainly are ways to make clothing that elicits desire without being overtly ****. "Becca [McCharen] from Chromat — she has an incredible understanding of the female body in all of its many incarnations and she designs for that; she basically builds scaffolding for the body," James raves. "She supports women both ideologically and literally. It's lingerie, but it's not about *** — show me a man who has done anything like that."

#SpringStories' eclectic roster also includes labels like Negative Underwear, Misha Nonoo, Marcia Patmos, Rebecca Minkoff, Outdoor Voices, and Eileen Fisher.See more at: |
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...


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."


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.


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.


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 |
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: |
judy smith Aug 2016
Andrew Gn

Probably the most prolific Singaporean designer, Gn graduated from the renowned Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London and the Domus Academy in Milan before joining Emanuel Ungaro in 1992. He launched his namesake label in 1996, establishing a fan base among the Parisian high society and A-list celebrities such as Jessica de Rothschild and Sarah Jessica Parker for his luxurious fabrics and exquisite embellishments. Gn was awarded the President’s Design Award in 2007 and is stocked in all the major continents, with his atelier based in the Le Marais district in Paris.

Ashley Isham

The other Singaporean high fashion designer to hit big time in the international circuit, Isham established his namesake label in London in 2000, and is a show fixture at London Fashion Week. The label is known for its sharp, contemporary tailoring and high-octane glamour, and is a hit among film, TV and music stars as well as British royalty.


Self-taught designer Danelle Woo creates easy-breezy, ultra-feminine pieces in sustainable fabrics. Aijek is stocked at multi-label boutiques in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States.


The neo-Gothic ready-to-wear label’s stark, minimalist designs are stocked in Hong Kong, Belgium, Japan and the U.S., and counts celebrities like Adam Lambert and The Black-Eyed Peas as fans.

Sabrina Goh

The feted Singaporean designer stocks her easy-to-wear pieces from her namesake label at multi-label boutiques in the United States, the Fred Segal store in Japan and a London-based online store Not Just A Label.

Max Tan

The avant-garde label features experimental silhouettes and a contemporary artistic flair, and is stocked in Europe, the Middle East, San Francisco and Taiwan.

Benjamin Barker

This stylish menswear brand founded by designer Nelson Yap in 2009 now has two stores in Melbourne and offers custom tailoring as well. It also offers shipping to Australia and New Zealand via its website .

In Good Company

The well-loved minimalist label with unusual silhouettes fronted by designers Sven Tan and Kane Tan is stocked in Hong Kong at Kapok, at various departmental stores in Jakarta, Indonesia, including Sogo, Seibu and Galleries Lafayette Jakarta and in New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue.Read more at: |
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
judy smith Jan 2016
You may think you’ve heard it all when it comes to wedding planning. But while everyone from your mother to your hairstylist is busy babbling on and on and on about what to expect on your big day, they’re unintentionally leaving out a few crucial details. So from the reality of post-wedding blues to the dangers of being too nice a bride, eight real women are here to share what they wish they had been told about their big days—so that you can benefit their candor, of course.

1. There’s such as thing as being too nice a bride. Says real bride Danielle, “Everyone hears about bridezilla, but what you don't hear about are the brides who get everything taken away from them because they're too nice. I was way too nice about my bridesmaids getting things done—and boy did it cause a lot of stress. My advice? Be firm with dates and express your concern if someone is slacking.”

2. You'll be pressured by others’ expectations. Real bride Jordon says, “Nobody told me how many ‘rules’ there are in the wedding industry. They tell you to create something that matches exactly what you want as a couple, but once you start to do the research, you learn how many expectations there are. For example, I can't tell you how many people think it's outrageous that we may not register, or that we're not interested in a bouquet throw.”

3. Someone will cancel last minute. Says real bride Veronica, “Someone will have a conflict and have to cancel a week—or less—before the big day. Yes, it ***** and is super annoying because your seating arrangements are finalized, but no one will notice if their table is missing two people. There's no point giving yourself a bigger headache of rearranging seating at this point—just let it go!”

4. It’s all worth it in the end. Real bride Sara says, “The one thing that no one told me was how much the stress, time, and money would all be worth it in the end. All I heard were negative points—and while those feelings of stress and pressure can't be escaped, there were so many good things that far overshadowed the bad.”

5. You won’t regret having a wedding video. Says real bride Melissa, “No one ever told me that one of the best purchases we could make was hiring a videographer. Of all the things we 'splurged' on, our videographer was my absolute favorite. There are a lot of things—in hindsight—that we could've gone without, but our videographer was the best investment because we have those memories to keep for a lifetime.”

6. Post-wedding blues are real. Real bride Anne says, “You’ve probably heard about post-wedding blues and completely brushed them off. I wish someone would have told me to take them seriously—because trust me, post-wedding blues are real. After all that excitement, the weeks after your wedding can feel like a let-down.”

7. Your groom will care about something you’ll least expect. Says real bride Cassie, “Everyone sets your expectations really low when it comes to your groom and how much he’ll participate in wedding planning. But what they don’t tell you is that he will care about something—and it’ll probably be the last thing you expect. For example, my now-husband was adamant we have a fondant cake. Who knew?”

8. Don’t expect to actually eat at your wedding. Real bride Jen says, “You won’t eat much of the food you painstakingly picked out. Between your guests—who will constantly want to gab—posing for pictures, and slicing into your cake, you’ll be lucky to get a few measly bites. I wish someone would have told me to eat well through the day—or to ask our caterer to serve us a little sooner.”

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 |
judy smith Jul 2016
Meeting a renowned Pinoy designer, Michael Cinco, was the highlight of my nth trip to Dubai last month. He is so unassuming that I almost forgot how famous he is. Some of his A-list Hollywood clientele include Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Minogue, Mila Kunis, Paris Hilton, Tyra Banks, Rihanna, Toni Braxton, Fergie, Nicole Scherzinger and Christina Aguilera.

Michael’s regular clients are Anne Curtis, Marian Rivera-Dantes, Kathryn

Bernardo, Liza Soberano, Ruffa Gutierrez and Bea Alonzo.

Miriam Quiambao and I immensely enjoyed bonding with Michael. He treated us to an authentic Lebanese dinner at the resto below his plush condominium right across the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. Kudos to Michael for being the only Filipino designer who was invited to present his collection at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week’s “Couturissimo,” held last July 3.

He’s world-class yet down-to-earth. That makes him all the more remarkable. Pinoy Pride is something Michael wears so well. CincOoh la la! (Visit

Here’s my chat (via Facebook) with Michael:

What was the Paris Fashion week experience like?

About 15 years ago I was strolling along the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries. I was so in love with the place that I had a vision and a dream… I said to myself, one of these days I’ll have my show in this stunning garden. So when Asian Couture Federation approached me to have a show in Paris, I immediately begged to hold it in Jardin des Tuileries. Showing my collection in Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week has always been my ultimate dream. Seeing your collection on the runway of your dream garden is one of the greatest achievements in my life.

Among local celebs, who are the five best-dressed on your list?

Marian Rivera, Anne Curtis, Cherie Gil, Kathryn Bernardo and Liza Soberano. They all wore my couture dresses and they all looked amazing.

Any memorable moment with the celebs?

To be honest, I never met any of them. I dressed up some of the most beautiful Filipino Celebrities and Hollywood celebrities wore my clothes on the red carpet and in their music videos. When the producers of the movie “Jupiter Ascending” asked me to go to London to meet Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, I declined because I was too shy to meet them. The stylist of Jennifer Lopez asked me to meet her backstage. Also, the manager of Kylie Minogue asked me to go to her room for fitting but I just sent my assistant because I was scared and shy.

Who is the easiest celeb to dress up?

Most of them are easy to dress up because they all look fabulous in my couture dresses.

What are your three fashion do’s and don’t’s?

Do’s: Be yourself; create your own style; wear something that will make you feel confident.

Don’t’s: Don’t wear a dress two sizes smaller than your body; don’t follow someone else’s style; don’t try to achieve what you see in glossy magazines—they are all photoshopped!

If you were asked to design an outfit for President Duterte, what would it be like?

A bullet-proof couture barong.

What’s your advice to aspiring designers?

Young designers of today should realize that fashion is not all about glamour. The fashion world is very cruel. You will be judged, criticized and rejected.

It takes hard work, patience and strong determination to achieve your goals. Create clothes that people will wear. If you want to create art on clothes, make sure they will sell.

Lastly, be humble and never give up. Believe that anything in this world is possible. Believe in your dreams and if you have faith and confidence in God, all of your impalpable dreams will come true.Read more at: |
judy smith Apr 2017
It’s the tail end of fashion week in Paris, the busiest week of the year for fashion buyers.

When I meet Clodagh Shorten, owner of Samui, the game-changing boutique that put Cork on the fashion map, she’s already been here four days and is on her tenth buying appointment — there’ll be at least another five before she leaves in a couple of days time.

These appointments, private bookings with designers, allow her to get up close and personal with the clothes that have just been showcased on catwalks.

She’s deciding which pieces will best suit her customers.

Today, we meet at Schumacher, the stunning German label known for its easy chic look.

A beautiful white space, with lush cream velvet sofas, bare walls and white rails (nothing here to distract from the main event — the clothes), this room, prime space in Paris, is rented by the designer year-round just so they have the right venue to sell at Fashion Week.

It gives some indication of the power Fashion Week wields.

Clodagh is here with her right-hand woman, Samui manager Mary-Claire O’Sullivan.

There are two rails — the keepers and the ‘ones that got away’.

They’ve already seen this collection in London.

Today they are here to fine-tune.

This is unusual, Mary-Claire explains — at most appointments, they are seeing the clothes for the very first time.

“This is a big spend,” they tell me, and they’ll stay as long as they need “to get it right”.

Piecing together a collection is something akin to a jigsaw puzzle.

All the items are photographed — later they will be analysed back in the apartment they rent during Fashion Week.

The mix has to be right.

So the coats, a sleeveless waistcoat, are moved to the rail on the right.

They won’t make it to Cork.

Coats were already picked up this morning at another appointment.

Like I said, a jigsaw puzzle.

Two models are on hand to try on clothes when requested — I hear ‘can I just see this on one more time’ a lot.

There’s no haggling over prices in these sales negotiations — it’s all too civilised.

The price is set, as is the instore mark-up. These lauded designs must cost the same the world over.

Clodagh and Mary-Claire share a language and a wavelength. They can finish each other’s sentences and, while I don’t so much as sniff a hint of tension, they tell me they can disagree on buys.

“Clodagh doesn’t want a yes woman,” Mary-Claire says simply.

From Schumacher, Clodagh leads the way through the Parisian cobbled streets, phone held aloft, Google Maps to direct her.

Her wheelie bag is constantly behind her — inside there’s the laptop for orders and a camera for instant access to photographs of collections.

Her calculator is another permanent fixture in the showroom.

Today, Clodagh is dressed in an Australian label coming soon to Samui, Ellery. The lush black fabric sways and moves with her body; an outfit like that makes you really appreciate her eye for fashion. It’s sensational.

For this 5.30pm appointment we are heading to see another new label for Samui — Paskal (Clodagh will wear a piece from this line tomorrow).

The Ukrainian designer is looked after by an agency so in this showroom there are pieces by a handful of brands.

Again, the setup is the same — private appointments, models on hand.

Clodagh and Mary-Claire have to be more careful here — this is a new label and it’s more fashion forward so black is prioritised.

Not every client at Samui will wear this line. Every purchase, I realise, is a gamble.

“We’ve made mistakes, of course we have,” says Mary-Claire though you get the feeling that could be a rare event.

Pieces bought by these two women rarely end up in Samui’s sales rack.

They know their customer, plain and simple.

There is so much trust there, some clients are simply sent collections each season, allowing Clodagh to make the call for them.

So much of their day is spent discussing various clients (never by name in my presence) — what they might like, the best size.

It is effectively the ultimate personal shopping experience.

The number of items and sizes are limited, so customers know they are truly getting one-off pieces.

As we leave, kisses over, the agency head tells them, “you’re our favourites” and you just know it’s not empty fashion talk.

People genuinely love Clodagh and Mary-Claire. And they respect what they do.

Samui is open 16 years now. Clodagh mastered her trade at Monica John before stepping out on her own. Mary-Claire joined her eight years ago.

It has been one of the few boutiques in Cork to not just survive the downturn but to positively thrive.

As the economy spluttered around her, Clodagh very masterfully decided to go high end.

First came Moncler — the top people here had to come and view Samui to see if it was the right match for their esteemed label.

It was — and, increasingly, doors began to open.

Carven, Marni, Rick Owens — people really began to sit up and take notice of Samui.

Now labels are often vying for space on the shop floor. Still though, it takes work to secure the big new names.

Clodagh spends a lot of time on planes, networking, meeting the key players. And it’s not as simple as a visit to Fashion Week twice a year either.

These days pre-collections are key too: these pieces will be on the shop floor for longer.

So Clodagh and Mary-Claire travel in January to Paris for pre- collections, Milan in February for Moncler, Paris in March. The same cycle begins again in June for A/W pre-collections, with S/S Fashion Week in September.

Clodagh is always pushing, always striving for new.

She was devastated to say farewell to Transit, the brand with her from the very beginning. It was simply time for a change she tells me.

They love seeking out new labels, nurturing them, sharing them with their customers.

The next morning we meet at 9am for Dries van Noten.

Clodagh stocks around 50 different labels, most exclusive to Cork. This Belgian designer is one of them.

Here again is a very fashion forward line.

There’s a minimum €20,000 spend here, and that’s the amount Clodagh and Mary-Claire can play with.

This is a much busier showroom, a slick operation. Buyers are everywhere, the models weaving between them.

They are assigned a seller and a table, laptop at the ready to secure the sale.

Sophie, today’s seller, walks them through the long rails and talks to them about the collection, the fabrics, the colour, the catwalk, the vision.

Clodagh and Mary-Claire repeat the process a second time alone, a third time again with Sophie.

There are little standing breaks for coffee — refreshments and lunch are provided by the designer.

Clodagh and Mary-Claire know to carry snacks everywhere. The buying process can be a long one; Dries could be an all-day event.

The price point is much higher here so, again, each piece has to be carefully thought out. Checked and checked again.

These A/W deliveries will land in store in July.

Watching them make their Samui edit on that March morning, I just know the Dries selection will be a show-stopper this Autumn.

I leave them to sign on the dotted line, wishing them success for the rest of their gruelling schedule as I head for Charles de Gaulle.

“People don’t realise what goes into this,” says Clodagh. And she’s right.

None of us can possibly grasp what it must have taken for one woman to put Cork on the fashion radar.Read more at: |
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.

judy smith Mar 2017
This year’s WoolOn Creative Fashion event will feature some "exciting" new elements, but they are under wraps for now, organisers say.

The event, which used to be held annually in October in conjunction with the Alexandra Blossom Festival, last year was separated from the festival to become a separate entity.

No WoolOn was held last year and this year’s event had a new date, May 26-27, WoolOn chairwoman Clair Higginson said.

A final call for entries was being made this week, and the closing date for entry forms had been extended by a week, until March 24, Ms Higginson said. Designers then had another month to complete the garments, which had to be handed in by April 27.

Ms Higginson said this year’s WoolOn would be held in a new "industrial-style" venue in Alexandra, but organisers could not yet say where as consents were not in place.

Other "exciting" new elements were being added to the event, but they were also being kept under wraps.

"We’re trying to make better connections between the wool on the farm and the wool on the fashion catwalk. But just how we will do that is going to be a surprise."

Rural Women New Zealand was the new naming sponsor of the event and WoolOn organisers were excited about the partnership, believing it would bring extra focus to the raw product

the WoolOn garments were created from.All garments must be at least 75% wool and there are eight categories in the event, as well as an Under 23 Emerging Designer Award.

The event will still feature a Friday night "First Look" event with a "fashion show feel", and a Saturday gala evening, when winners will be announced.

This year’s judges are Deirdre Mackenzie, of Tauranga, who was one of the people to establish WoolOn in its present format; Simon Swale, a design lecturer at the Otago Polytechnic, in Dunedin; and designer Jaimee Smith, of Dunedin, who has her own fashion label, "Florence".Read more at: |
judy smith Aug 2016
How you know him: Gurung’s label, established in 2009, reimagines traditional textiles with a sportswear attitude. January Jones, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey have taken memorable turns in his fiery red gowns.

What’s new: Gurung is teaming up with Toms this month with exclusive designs to raise funds for Nepal’s recovery from the 2015 earthquake. For each pair of shoes sold, $5 will go to Gurung’s Shikshya Foundation to support education and relief efforts.

What does heritage mean to you?

When I left Nepal and told people I wanted to be a fashion designer, they thought I was crazy. I didn’t know anyone here. But I still remember coming up to the Midtown Tunnel and seeing all the skyscrapers for the first time, and I finally felt that I was home. I became myself in America, but Nepal gave me my core. The reason I am grounded and pragmatic is simply that I was brought up this way.

What was your childhood like there?

I was born in Singapore and grew up in Nepal, where I went to an all-boys Catholic school. I was different and made aware of it. It was a challenging time, but I had an incredible relationship with my family that helped me. Trekking became a kind of escape, and I was always inspired by the Patan Museum, near my house. I still go back for the memories attached.

How is Nepal reflected in your designs for Toms, and also your foundation work?

The ikat pattern is called dhaka, a hand-loomed weave that I wanted to modernize as a digital print. Black, white, and red are very typical of Newari women [from Kathmandu Valley] and my favorite colors, which I used in my first collection. Five years ago, when I started getting all this attention, I started Shikshya with a focus on education as a way to give back. Since the 2015 earthquake, we have raised more than $1 million to help rebuild, but the process is slower than people think, and the world’s attention turns to someplace else. So it’s my job with everything I do to keep awareness alive.Read more at: |
judy smith Oct 2015
The top-secret nature of Allison Williams‘ wedding made it all the more special.

“One of the most special things about the wedding was that it was actually very personal and very private,” the “Girls” star gushed at the premiere of Forevermark’s new film, “It’s a Long Journey to Become the One” on Wednesday night.

Williams, who wed College Humor co-founder Ricky Van Veen in September, kept guests in the dark regarding the actual locale of the star-studded affair, even setting up a decoy site to lure the paparazzi away from the actual ceremony at the Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming.

“It was something that mattered to me in a sense of just wanting it to feel really intimate, and to feel like an experience that we shared as a family and with our closest friends,” said Williams, 27. “I feel really happy about the fact that it was exactly that.”

After father Brian Williams walked Allison down the aisle, Tom Hanks officiated as the couple said their “I do’s” in front of pals including Lena Dunham, Katy Perry andSeth Meyers.

“It’s an emotional day and people were free to feel whatever emotions they were feeling,” the newly married actress said.

Williams shared a few snaps of her wedding on Instagram, including a stunning shot of her custom-made Oscar de la Renta gown.

“Peter [Copping, de la Renta’s creative director] grew up being around horses and ranches and immediately understood the aesthetic I was going to be in,” Williams explained of the design process. “It came together kind of organically.”

Though Williams let the designers work their magic, she did have a special request.

“I wanted sleeves because I’m always cold.”

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 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.

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 |
judy smith Feb 2016
With winter and awards shows upon us, the celebrity-obsessed wonder, "What are they wearing?" When it's fur, you wonder, "Why are they wearing it?"

Fur makes the shapeliest star look like a pudgy cave-dweller. Kim and Kanye become dumpy mall rats when they pile on the pelts. The matter of animals by the dozen being electrocuted for a single coat is of no interest to the self-absorbed duo.

Fortunately, the most admired and articulate personalities are speaking out. After winning a Golden Globe last month, Taraji P. Henson said, "I love clothes and to dress up, but no fur. Stella McCartney laced me with all these incredible faux furs." Taraji's ex-con character Cookie on Empire may have a fur fetish, but Taraji ditched the fur from her closets after seeing raccoon dogs skinned alive for fashion in a PETA documentary on HBO. She then ditched all of her clothes to star in a "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" ad, which she unveiled at PETA's Fashion Week party with fellow animal advocate Tim Gunn.

Another dynamo who removed the unsightly hair from her back — I'm talking about fur — is the fabulous Wendy Williams. In addition to her daily talk show, Williams now hosts Wendy's Style Squad to cover red carpet fashions. "Fur is not the mark of success anymore," she said at the photo shoot for her PETA campaign, which she unveiled live on her show.

Sia led the charge this winter, with this imaginative computer-generated spot in which animal models strut down the catwalk in human skin.

And then there's Pink. "I would like to say I've always been fur-free so I could be proud of myself," says the pop icon. "Unfortunately, I went through a selfish phase and wore fur on a couple of occasions. But I wised up and now boycott fur completely. I wish everyone was forced to learn the horrors that these animals go through for fashion trends. I hope fur wearers get bitten in the *** by the same kind of animal they wear on their back." She took this message to the masses on a PETA billboard in New York's Times Square and stars with Ricky Gervais in avideo about fur and exotic skins.

Who else is fur-free? Lena Dunham, Rooney Mara, Jessica Chastain, Angelina Jolie, Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Natalie Portman, to name only a few.

Sharon Osbourne, who won a People's Choice Award last month for The Talk, says, "The reasons I stopped wearing fur were because I was educating myself through documentaries on what goes into actually making these fur coats and fur scarves that I was wearing, and when I realized how it was done I was sickened." Sharon hosts PETA's newest video showing how hundreds of chinchillas have their necks snapped for just one fur coat.

Many of you may be thinking, OK — gross — but I don't wear fur. Terrific! I'll end by suggesting you take another evolutionary step by visiting to watch Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes, and Pamela Anderson reveal how less-furry animals live and die before ending up in someone's closet.Read more |
judy smith Apr 2015
Getting the fashion industry excited about an event is no plum task. And yet season after season, Anna Sui does it with her thoughtful and fun runway shows. Blame it on her ability to transport her audiences deep into her world full of references that range from Pre-Raphaelites to Diaghilev to disco. (Of course, the retro soundtracks and top models don’t hurt, either.)

Lately, Sui’s been sharing her passion for fashion history with a wider audience by taking on many collabs, the latest of which is with O’Neill, in stores now. Just in time for summer, the designer crafted a selection of swimwear and cover-ups that echo the bohemian mood of her main collection but also target a new kind of customer. We caught up with Sui at her Soho store to reflect on her career, her favorite muses, and texting with Anita Pallenberg.

You’ve been doing more collaborations in general lately—why is it important to you to diversify into these arenas?

Well, there are certain limitations that we have as far as production for what we’re able to do. A great way to overcome that is to work with somebody who has the expertise in that product. So working with Frye, they make the coolest, sturdiest boot that you can imagine, and so I think this is my third time collaborating with them. They’re just dreams to work with. It takes you to another place. And also you learn so much, because we’re so limited as far as resources now that it opens up new avenues. I did the same with the Coach bags and with the luggage with Tumi and now this collection with O’Neill.

How did you get involved with O’Neill?

Our sales manager knew somebody at O’Neill, and she started thinking that it would be such a great pair-up between O’Neill and Anna Sui because O’Neill is very much our girl. They’re very print-oriented and known for their surfer style, but we wanted to incorporate our bohemian style with it. I think that we’ve blended it so well. The clothes are just so dreamy; we were all just oohing and ahhing over these lace pieces.

That perfect white lace dress is a very necessary summer item.

It’s so true. I remember one summer I was looking at Naomi [Campbell] pictures on a yacht on Daily Mail or something, and every day she had the most beautiful, little white baby-doll dress. I thought, Where did she find all those?! But she can just zero in on something, too. That’s always been my dream, to have all those gorgeous white baby-doll dresses.

You have the best references season after season—who was the beachy surfer girl that you looked to for this collab?

We wanted to capture that true bohemian feeling of the ladies of Laurel Canyon: Joni Mitchell, Michelle Phillips, all those girls you put pictures on the wall and are like, “I hope I grow up and look like this.” So what we tried to capture was that dream.

I think fashion in general is really swinging toward the Anna Sui vibe, very bohemian.

It’s exciting. It’s kind of like a new beginning again. We’ve had so much reaction from all the stores and press—it’s like when I first started. It’s got that same feeling. It’s wonderful.

How do you define who your customer is and continue to change and grow with her over the years?

I think that somewhere I never grew up, and it’s still that same dream as when I was looking at the pictures of Michelle Phillips. It’s still always that same thing, and no matter where I go with the collection, Vikings or Pre-Raphaelites, there’s still that bohemian girl there. That was always my ideal. As much as I try to veer away from it, there are always a couple of those Michelle Phillips and Joni Mitchells in the collection. Through every collection you can find them.

So what’s the secret to staying young forever then?

I think loving what you do. You can’t ask for more. This is what I wanted to do since I was 4 years old, and just the fact that I’m able to do it and do it globally—I work in Japan and I work in Europe and I work in New York—it’s kind of a dream. It’s a lot of hard work and I’m very, very dedicated to it. I do a lot of sacrificing of other things, but it’s what I’ve always wanted.

As someone who’s been in the business for so long, how do you stay inspired and not get worn out or jaded?

One of the things that I love the most is research—learning new things and exploring new things. That’s what I do when I work on a collection: I find something that sparks my interest and then I’m obsessed with and I just go into it. It’s like going into the rabbit hole. Then all of a sudden you find out all these other things because one thing leads to another. Like when I did the Ballets Russes collection [Fall 2011], I saw that beautiful Diaghilev exhibit at the V&A; and I thought, OK, now I can be inspired by those Léon Bakst drawings. I remember one of the Ormsby Gore sisters was telling me that the way they started wearing vintage was because of a sale of the Ballets Russes costumes in, like, 1968. They couldn’t afford the principal costumes, but they could afford the costumes of the Sugar Plum Fairies, all these crushed velvets. So they started wearing them on the street, and all of a sudden the Beatles and the Stones and everybody else started following what they were doing. Well, don’t you know, in the Diaghilev exhibit, there was a film of that auction. I was just like, “Oh, my God.” That’s what sparked that whole thing where everyone was looking romantic and medieval. I love finding that connection. That makes my day—that makes my season when I find that out.

Do you feel like it’s harder or easier today to communicate that to your customer? I feel like with the pressures to make Instagrammable moments, it’s become very hard to get people excited about the history of fashion.

There are so many levels in what I do. Somebody like Tim [Blanks] will get the really intricate things, but then the obvious things will be the things that people talk about the most. I always try to bring it all back, make it current, and tie it in to something that’s happening in our pop culture, like the Viking thing. It’s really true—I was watching [the History channel TV series] and I got that idea. It wasn’t an intellectual idea, but that’s really how it happened. I think that you have to put it on different levels.

Is there one specific era or muse you feel like is the most Anna Sui?

My biggest idols are Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards. So at the end of the day, it’s always like: Is there something that Anita would wear? Is there something that Keith would wear? Is it cool enough for them? And then I usually send Anita an image and say, “This is the outfit that I did for you.”Read more |
judy smith Sep 2016
If anyone can make a feral animal print cool it’s Arabella Ramsay. The designer, who skipped the city in favour of the coast a few years ago, has launched a new lifestyle brand in collaboration with her dad Dougal Ramsay, an accomplished artist who has designed ranges affectionately named after all things Aussie; Hello Cocky, G’day Love, Veg Out.

Burnt out from more than a decade in the fashion industry rat race where she had amassed a cult following among adoring 20-somethings and private school girls for her unique apparel, Arabella shut her Melbourne shop five years ago and moved to Jan Juc where her husband has a yoga studio, her daughters play with bunnies and organic eggs are collected from the backyard coop.

Yet the fashion industry has come calling again, albeit in a different guise born of her slower lifestyle and rearing two children. A born and bred farm girl from Kyneton, she has forgone on-trend collections and retail overheads for family-friendly leisurewear and an online boutique.

The print-heavy collection features irreverent Australiana imagery created by her dad: “Bonza” bunnies, cheeky runaway gnomes, larrikin cockatoos, and come summer, a “******” croc print. The coloured sketches run across all-over yardage on leggings, hoodies and T-shirts for men, women and kids.

Dougal says his brief comes from his daughter who then “weaves her magic so the next time I see those drawings they are transformed into cute frocks and tops”.

She has a great eye for pattern and scale. “I enjoy seeing the finished product where a small crab on a skinny leg can grow into a giant monster crab on a rounder leg.”

A successful illustrator and author, Dougal has been fascinated with Australian culture for years, his nostalgic pencil sketching idiosyncratic scenes of country town lifestyles and coastal culture; seedy caravan parks, fishing hamlets and an architectural vernacular that “sadly has pretty well gone now”, he laments.

It was these scenes and Arabella’s own wholesome rural childhood that inspired the father-daughter label. In the spirit of Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee, Arabella wants to “show people the exciting things our country has to offer”, she says of her desire to “celebrate what’s in our back yards and in doing so, tap into the tourist market with a bit of style”.

Manufacturing is done in Australia where possible; a favoured maker is Cheryl, a woman Arabella’s nan found years ago while shopping at Spotlight in Ballarat. “She works from her small shed and has been making my clothes for years. It’s nice having quality control so we don’t overproduce.”

Lighthearted and a little bit kooky, the Dougal range is cultural cringe re-imagined as contemporary cool. Its Instagram (@wearedougal) is a feed of everything from Aussie idioms (Stoked! Strewth!) to summer vacations in Menorca, photography honouring Rennie Ellis, Dougal in the home studio, surf reports and Arabella’s idyllic beach house that has graced the pages of international magazines. Her own sartorial style is an inimitable mix of “70s vintage, preppy, **** and even a bit dorky” that’s equally at ease with the yuppies and the grommets.

“You can basically wear your pyjamas to school pick-ups and your wetsuit to the supermarket,” she says of the local surf town look. “But I still love high fashion and just bought a pink lace Gucci suit for my best friend’s wedding.”

An online purchase, it arrived via the dirt track leading to her secluded beach house. Fair dinkum.Read more at: |
judy smith Aug 2015
First of all, if you think I watch Bachelor in Paradise, you’re nuts, so this week’s UnREALfinale came at the perfect time — ending almost alongside its inspiration — exactly one week after, as perhaps an attempt at upping last week’s insane finale. Between then and now, we even heard what host Chris Harrison had to say about the Lifetime homage, and it went something along the lines of, I am super-jealous that it’s good and smart, and my show is neither of those things. Just kidding! He didn’t say that, but I just spelled out the subtext in case you happened to miss it.

Speaking of subtext, one of Quinn’s first lines to Adam this episode unknowingly predicts what is about to unfold. They banter about what went down the night before (you know, just Adam rejecting Rachel after she leaves Jeremy’s bed to run away with him on that private jet of his), and she assures him: “That’s why I’m here. To protect Rachel from herself.” That’s some honesty, I think, despite this show’s attempts at spinning you around so quickly with reveals that you aren’t quite sure who is trying to do what.

She had just left her own version of the Carrie Bradshaw Post-it Note on the pillow next to Jeremy — ”I don’t deserve you!” — but a note so manipulatively vague in its brevity, it could be read a few different ways. But as Perfume Genius plays, it’s clear Quinn got to Adam with some sort of deal-breaker information that we discover later: She tells him about last season’s breakdown, that Rachel checked into a hospital. Rachel denies the second part, but the first is totally true: Quinn knows Rachel is unstable. Sure, she’s warning Adam for her own selfish reasons, but in retrospect, she also knows this fling is a horrendous idea for both of them. “This thing we have? It’s ******,” Adam tells her. Is it a line fed by our “concerned” executive producer? Possibly. Either way, it certainly feels true.

And it’s unbelievably hard not to watch this finale without imagining theories for season two. It puts you in Quinn’s mind-set, and who’s planting the seeds for her next season. And just like us, she needs Adam and Rachel. She doesn’t need Chet, but thanks to our new field producer, Madison, and future featured cast member, Dr. Wagerstein, he goes straight to Brad and makes sure the deal Quinn had with him behind his back isn’t going to happen. “You know who I am,” Chet says to Quinn, excusing his cheating. Quinn answers: “She was me 15 years ago. So now I’m the wifey and you need a new side piece.” It’s the Circle of Trash, and she’s out of the game.

.. Despite the eye makeup, Rachel’s back to unreadable. It’s safer that way. She’s also going to produce the big wedding finale. Quinn’s basically like, Whatever, as long as we take down Chet. Rachel’s fine with that, and if these two can’t craft this guy’s downfall together, they’re not cut out for this business.

When she enters from stage LOL, we assume the return of Brittany is Rachel’s finale showstopper — but it’s not. Chet brought her back to act insane and say wonderfully catchy, ****** things. If you’re a Bachelor/ette watcher, you’ll recall this also being quite accurate in the canon — runner-up creep Nick from this season was a returning “character.” Bringing someone back for a second chance at love is a good way to rile up the remaining hopefuls.

Not that it bothers Grace at all. She promises Adam exactly what he wants to hear: He’ll get laid and get out after next season. She says something about being a “hot-blooded Latina temptress” — words that no human would ever actually say — and you wonder if she’s been fed a line or if UnREAL’s writer’s room got a little overzealous here. I guess one of the magical things about this show is that it’s pointless to try and tell. But is he into it? Rachel isn’t — she tells Grace that even she’s slept with Adam — insane admission, considering she’s trying to keep things up with Jeremy. Doesn’t matter: He gets it out of Adam, who confirms that Rachel is a cheater. It also confirms that Jeremy isn’t a total idiot, something we all previously had assumed.

This Royal Wedding will take place in London at the Cromwell castle, which is all done up, Everlasting style. Adam’s grandmother is not only as obnoxious as he is, she’s also a total racist — telling Adam after he mentions Grace: “We don’t marry brown people.” She puts his reputation back in play and he buys it, ultimately choosing Anna as his bride-to-be. When it comes down to it, he’s a truly ****** guy. Rachel’s Big Plan is basically to trick Adam into “telling” Anna that he’s not really into her. It works, and she plays runaway bride. It’s live TV, so Chet looks bad in front of Brad (nice one, Quinn!) and we end our season of Everlasting with Anna majestically walking down castle stairs, calling Adam “a cheating ****” (true) who is “not that smart” (also true). At first guess, it seems Anna just earned herself a Bachelorette-style spinoff.

And to think that before this episode, so many of you were Team Adam. Not that the other option is a great one — Jeremy got down on one knee and ... nope! He didn’t propose; he told everyone that Rachel is poison and a cheater. He then went straight to her parents’ house and told them that he’s worried about her and thinks she should be institutionalized. Now, that’s cold.

The only relationship worth rooting for by the end of UnREAL season one is between Quinn and Rachel, who are surely a match made in hell, but the best match we’ve got. Rachel knows Quinn ruined her plans to run away with Adam, but after watching how he handled everything, I’m not sure she really cares. “You should be kneeling down thankingwhatever that you didn’t end up as Everlasting’s ultimate tabloid idiot. This was a gift,” Quinn says. She’s right! Imagine the fanfare. If anything, it would give the show major attention and ratings. In a way, she sacrificed that to keep Rachel around and — gasp — be the mentor figure Rachel so desperately needs. They further agree not to **** someone again (RIP, Mary, although I’m sure the producers of UnREAL aren’t holding them to that, exactly), and Quinn brings up a show they had discussed earlier on (The Whole Package, a show about “girls with jobs”). But just as season two of UnREAL will have to stick to the perfectly ****** drama we’ve grown to love, so will the fictional Everlasting.

“I love you. You know that, right?” Rachel says to Quinn. “I love you, too ... ******,” Quinn answers. This is as close to “I do” as we’re gonna get. And if by now you’re not on Team Quachel (I made that up, you’re welcome), you’ve been watching a totally different show.

judy smith Mar 2017
In keeping on track to make art more accessible, Isabella Huffington has a two-item collaboration with Designow and two upcoming exhibitions.

While her paintings can be “kind of intense, colorful, bright and a bit overwhelming,” she decided to translate a “very light one” called “Chrysanthemum” for the dress and scarf that will be sold on Designow’s site starting March 30. The artwork’s floral motif is actually a collage made of found objects like books and magazines. With clothing, you’re thinking about the consumer and you’re thinking about yourself, so it’s much more like an architect. You want to be authentic but it also has to look good on the person.” Huffington said of the $250 long-sleeve knee-length dress with a tapered waist. “You could wear it to a party but you could also wear it to work at 20 or at 40. I’m really interested in making art that has mass appeal.”

There is also a scarf with an artistic box that is geared for gift-giving or for a younger shopper who might not want to wear a dress. Huffington said of her fashion debut, “This is the first dip in the water but I’m definitely interested in pursuing this further. A lot of people don’t think they have interest in art or access to art so I love the idea of bringing art into the everyday.”

On April 28, Huffington will open an exhibition at Rebecca Minkoff’s gallery adjacent to the designer’s Melrose Avenue store. The artist has another show opening May 3 at Anastasia Photo on the Lower East Side of Manhattan about women and politics.

An admirer of Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama and Haruki Murakami, Huffington said a lot of Japanese artists, and American ones too, are collaborating outside of fine art so she’s looking to what they’re doing for cues. Even buying flowers in Japan calls for almost “artlike wrapping,” she said. “We’re almost missing that in the States because art is very much seen as something that is reserved for the elite. Even with Trump trying to cut [the National] Endowment for the Arts, it’s just not seen as a priority. But people who need art most almost don’t have access to it. I love being in a country where art is so much a part of the culture.”

Huffington said she has been really lucky to have her mother Arianna’s encouragement for years. “Since I’ve been a kid, she’s basically let me completely destroy my entire bedroom. I put paint on the walls and colored. At one point, I glued sponges so she really let me experiment. That really was my introduction to art,” Huffington said. “The best lesson my mom ever taught me, it’s especially [good] for my generation, was if something doesn’t work out it’s very easy for us to get discouraged. My mom basically said, ‘You have to knock on a lot of doors before things work out.’ So you just keep going. It’s like a task. A bunch of tiny things will lead to a big thing. It’s not one thing that changes everything. So you have to do a million different things before the right thing comes along.”

In other Designow news, the first Collective x Designow fashion show will be held April 2 with 28 students from FIT, the New School’s Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. The event at 526 West 26th Street is part of a competition.Read more at: |
judy smith May 2016
Arriving, I find her briefing three press assistants on her upcoming catwalk show while simultaneously rifling through her closet — a dressing-up box filled with animal print and lacy confections — to choose her outfit for our shoot, while Desert Island Discs plays in the background.

Tucked at the end of a row of terraced houses close to London’s Portobello Road, Temperley discovered the six-bedroom property was on the market two years ago through her close friend, the designer Jasmine Guinness. The unique two-storey villa has a studio-style extension on the back of the property designed by the Victorian architect, Richard Norman Shaw.

She moved in 18 months ago with her son, Fox, 7, and her boyfriend, Greg Williams, 43, a portrait photographer, along with his two children from a previous relationship. ‘I’ve always been a Notting Hill girl at heart. I love that it’s so green, I love the market and my offices are around the corner.’

Temperley cites the interior designer Rose Uniacke (the creative genius behind the Beckham’s Holland Park home) as inspiration for fashioning her own interiors: ‘Rose has beautiful taste, sleek, clean but still really soft.’

The house’s all-white interior provides the perfect backdrop for Temperley to hang her beloved antique cut-crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling mirrors sourced from Golborne Road’s Les Couilles du Chien — famous for its historic bric-a-brac — and the Clignancourt flea market in Paris. The most striking of these is an intricately etched diptych of French brasserie mirrors that sits proudly over her living room sofa.

For colourful accents, she looked to her archive of textiles, which ranges from heirlooms from her great-grandmother’s travels around the Orient to remnants of past fashion collections: ‘I have big haberdashery drawers, which are used for storing my collection in a warehouse in Greenford,’ she says. Having such a vast collection gives her the chance to indulge in some serious upcycling; a Mexican rainbow throw livens up a plain cream sofa while a wedding cloak from Turkmenistan makes a quirky wall-hanging.

Despite the global influences, the Union Jack is a recurrent motif: ‘When I worked in New York [in the mid-Noughties] I was called ‘Little Miss English’. I loved using materials such as lace and lots of references to Victoriana — all very British.’ Look closely, and you’ll find red, white and blue accents everywhere — on teacups, Roberts radios and on silk cushions.

‘To me, being British represents being able to be individual, eccentric and not taking yourself too seriously.’

Temperley was born and grew up in Somerset on her family’s cider farm in Martock, before moving to London aged 18 to study fine art at the Royal College of Art. The countryside has an ineluctable pull for Temperley and she carves her time between her office — ‘probably 80 per cent of the time, 10 per cent of the time here, 5 per cent in Somerset at the moment, and 5 per cent everywhere else’.

But if her west London home is all breathy shades of Farrow and Ball, Temperley’s country pile — a sublime 5.6-acre regency property called Cricket Court that was once the media magnate Lord Beaverbrook’s home — is the opposite: ‘In Somerset my sitting room is dark burgundy, we’ve got black bedrooms and an ochre-coloured library.’

To bring a little of the country back to the capital, Temperley peppers her house with beautiful bunches of wild flowers, sourced from florist Juliet Glaves, who grows her own blooms in Shropshire: ‘I always loved The Secret Garden and as a child I spent hours collecting flowers and drying rose petals on every surface. I am a hopeless romantic at heart and I love British country gardens and their flowers.’

Another great passion of Temperley’s is reading and no corner, staircase or table in the house is complete without stacks of books and fashion magazines: ‘Sally Tuffin [the British fashion designer-turned-ceramicist] has got an incredible fashion library at her home in Somerset and my dream one day is to have a room lined in books.’

As for the rest of the London house? It’s very much a work in progress, ‘especially being a working mum. It’s more collecting things and putting them together in a very relaxed way. Like in fashion design, when it comes to interiors things either work together or they don’t. I have a good eye and don’t like to be constricted to just doing clothes — I’d like to go into interiors. That’s the next chapter’.Read more |
judy smith Aug 2016
Aneeth Arora refers to herself as a ‘textile and dress maker’ rather than a fashion designer. That’s because she makes her own fabrics, a process she enjoys, and says that if it’s only designing, then there is not much left to it other than giving shape to the fabric. Aneeth will be showcasing her collection in the city at an exhibition titled Nayaab, which features creations by 12 handpicked designers, who work with craftsmen to produce intricate garments.

Aneeth’s collection is entirely in off-white with gold and silver details. She’s transformed luxurious brocade and wispy Chanderis into shimmery jackets, summer dresses, flowy maxis and tunics, smart scarves, skirts of varying lengths and long kurtis. Adding a dash of colour to the display is the capsule featuring clothes with hand embroidery and beads. Her trademark anti-fits find their place here. The collection is laidback, with a few elements of androgyny and some downright girly.

A part of what’s on display here was showcased at the Amazon India Fashion Week Spring Summer 2016, where she put together the famous pyjama party with sleeping bags and models in comfortably trendy shorts and dresses.

For Nayaab, she’s also specially created a few outfits that are not available at the stores.

Pero, which started in 2009 with one tailor and one runner out of Aneeth’s house in Delhi, now has 80 people working out of a bigger space. “If you count the weavers I work with, the number is far more,” she says.

Right from the beginning, the 32-year-old has worked with handlooms from all over India. For example, the block prints are done with weavers in Gujarat and Rajasthan, ikat is done in the South and the woollens are from Himachal… “We are inclined to anything that’s handmade,” she says. This includes Mexican braids, lace from Europe and crochet from Afghanistan.

The last decade has seen a revival in handloom, with more designers incorporating them in their designs. This has, in turn, brought about a change in the buying pattern of clients.

“There was a point when weavers didn’t see a future in what they were doing and sent their children to work with construction companies. Now, they know there is a market for weaves and they are confident. Their families are getting involved in it again. It’s all going uphill from here,” says Aneeth, contented.Read more |
judy smith Dec 2016
Amid the flood of horror stories about demonetisation comes a heart-warming incident from Bulandshahr district where the groom’s father asked the bride’s father to welcome the baraatis (wedding guests from the groom’s side) with a simple cup of tea to avoid an expensive marriage in light of the note ban.Traditionally the baraatis are given many gifts from the bride’s family, but seeing how stressed the bride’s father was about trying to arrange cash for the marriage, the groom’s family told him that a ‘simple ceremony’ would do just as well.“The marriage was fixed before demonetisation. We faced a cash crunch like everyone else. After queuing up for 10 days, we got Rs.2,000 only. We told the bank officials that there was a marriage in our house. We got a letter of approval but even after that we did not get any cash,” the groom’s father Vijender Singh told The Hindu.

Thoughtful gestureMr. Singh said that he then spoke to the bride’s father Kali Charan, who was also facing a cash crunch.“When I spoke to Mr. Charan, he was sounding down as he could not arrange funds for the ceremony. I proposed to him a simple marriage ceremony. He initially hesitated as he was feeling bad. But I managed to convince him and finally we decided to hold a simple ceremony,” Mr. Singh said.The marriage between Dinesh and Veena took place on Sunday.Dinesh hails from Jaleelpur village in Jahangirabad in Bulandshahr district while the girl is from Jaypee Nagar.“We, along with the baraatis, reached Bulandshahr on Sunday. After completing all rituals, a cup of tea was offered to the baraatis,” Mr. Singh said.Mr. Charan said that he initially “hesitated” to do a simple ceremony due to social stigma.‘Initially hesitant’“Even on the day of marriage we were feeling bad about how the baratis and locals in our village will react. But everybody encouraged the step and appreciated us. I am thankful to God that I have chosen a good family for my daughter,” said Mr. Charan.The district administration also appreciated the thoughtful gesture of the groom’s family.Setting an example“During demonetisation, we have experienced that rural areas have suffered the most. But decisions like holding simple marriages shows that our nature is to help each other. This example must go on to serve humanity. The State government will facilitate the family for setting an example,” said Bulandshahr district magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh.Read more at: |
judy smith Jun 2016
I’m never quite sure which activity I prefer at a fashion show - spending time backstage or watching the actual show.

Watching a beautiful show is a wonderful, sometimes even uplifting experience but being where all the action is, being able to get up close and personal with all the looks and different pieces, it really does get my adrenaline juices flowing.

At Paris Men’s Fashion Week, I was invited backstage by Mac Cosmetics to two brilliant and colourful shows - Kenzo and Paul Smith.

At Kenzo, both women and men collections were presented, the men’s was the standard spring/summer 2017 collection whilst the women’s was the pre-collection.

The general feel of both collections was a 90s throwback nightlife experience with lots of colourful, eclectic designs. The vibe really did hark back to those 90s clubbing days - the same style of clothes one wore out partying with their friends back then.

Think windbreakers, hoodies, biker jackets, baggy pants and visible male underwear pieces all mixed in with some super bright details. The palette as a general theme was bright but not overly bright - it was a mix of bright blues and greens mixed in with greys and whites and acid yellow but then there were bright details.

There were, for instance, glittery bright pink platform boots and matching little bags which were definite eye catchers. Eye motifs have become an iconic symbol of Kenzo and in fact eyes were once again worked into these pieces - a long-lashed version.

The makeup look for the men by Mac Cosmetics was kept clean and **** but with some shine used to exemplify the out-all-night partying vibe.

The women’s look was an ultra bright look with one look based around bright green and the other bright cyan blue. Again, the party-all-night vibe was present here too.

At Paul Smith, true to his nature, bright colours reigned supreme in his collection which felt like a harmony of retro and bohemian inspirations. Clubbing was a source of inspiration here too but this time the 1960s decade.

Candy stripe shirts, sportswear-themed bright tops and bright striped socks and shoes were all there. This was mixed perfectly with some more conservative, tailored suits.

Backstage, the happy mood was infectious with models dancing along to Bob Marley and the entire team carrying a big smile on their faces as they prepared for the show.

The makeup team again by Mac Cosmetics had an energetic and happy team whose main focus was on getting the male models catwalk and camera ready but without the makeup being in any way obvious.

As one of the makeup artists mentioned, it takes skill to make makeup appear invisible. There was also quite a range of different skin tones present across the different models although curly hair seemed to have been quite a priority during the model selection process.Read more at: |
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 |
judy smith Mar 2017
Teen model Shonali Khatun strutted the catwalk as the audience cheered at a fashion show in Bangladesh's capital.

But Shonali is no ordinary model, and this was no ordinary show.

She and the 14 other models are survivors of acid attacks, common in this south Asian country, where spurned lovers or disgruntled family members sometimes resort to hurling skin-burning acid at their victims.

The fashion show, held Tuesday night in Dhaka and attended by fashion lovers, rights activists and diplomats including the US ambassador to Bangladesh, aimed to redefine the notion of beauty while calling attention to the menace of such attacks.

For 14-year-old Shonali, the event was nothing short of empowering. She was attacked just days after she was born amid a property dispute involving her parents, and was left with burn scars on her face and arms. She spent nearly three years in a hospital and underwent eight operations. Her attacker has never been caught.

"I am so happy to be here," she said. "One day I want to be a physician."

The models, including three men, walked the catwalk, dancing and singing and showcasing woven handloom Bangladeshi designs. The show was choreographed by local designer Bibi Russel.

Organisers said they hoped to highlight the fact that acid victims, too often overlooked, are a vital part of society. They deliberately chose to hold the event on the eve of International Women's Day.

"We are here today to show their inner strength, as they have come a long way," said Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, which organised the show. "I often take inspiration from them. Their courage is huge."

Bangladesh has struggled to deal with acid attacks in recent decades, and has instituted harsh punishments for the perpetrators, including the death penalty. The country has also trained doctors to treat such sensitive cases and attempted to control the sale of acid, but has failed to eliminate the scourge entirely.

In 2016, some 44 people were attacked with acid in Bangladesh - an annual number that has remained relatively stable.

"I am ashamed of having such things in the country," Kabir said. "Unfortunately, in Bangladesh we do have acid victims because of either gender discrimination or violence, or because of greed. And we want to remind everyone the kind of injustice that has been meted out to them."Read more at: |
judy smith Jan 2016
People write down New Year resolutions in a variety of categories like health, happiness, family and so on. I think beauty deserves a spot on that list too.

It’s my job to be beauty obsessed and I love it, but there are always areas of improvement for me, and maybe for you too. I think there are a few things we all need to do more of this new year. Some of them are things that you have heard me say over and over again (and yes, i’m not going to stop), and some you’re hearing for the first time.

But a new year should bring ideas, practices and habits that will make you who you want to be. Here are my (and some of your) New Year beauty resolutions for 2016.

1. Wear Sunscreen Every Single Day

I’m pretty good with this because I never leave my house without sunscreen on my face.

I use it underneath my makeup and then use my primer on top. I’m great with applying SPF on my face and all over, especially if I plan to spend long hours under the sun. But one thing I know needs improvement is being more aware of my neck, chest, hands and other areas that one might forget.

If this resolution needs to be on your list, I would suggest you apply sunscreen all year round. It is also important to add an extra coat of sunscreen on your hands when getting a gel manicure because of the UV lights often used to dry the nails.

2. Washing My Makeup Brushes

Speaking of brushes, I’ll like to mention their somewhat high maintenance nature. If you don’t wash your brushes regularly, not only are you leaving them open to bacteria, which leads to possibly breakouts, it also means that your brushes won’t pick up pigment and work as well as it should. I know, washing your brushes seems like an huge task, but if you use a brush cleaner, it is much easier and faster.

Personally, I’m going to set aside a specific time – Sunday afternoon at 2PM to do this chore every week. This will give my brushes enough time to dry properly before the start of the week. To help you remember every week, you can set a reminder on your phone.

3. Being More Adventurous with Makeup (and hairstyles)

It’s so easy to get into a makeup routine, but people like MakeupShyla do a great job of switching it up. Celebs on Instagram are a great inspiration for trying new things, gold eye shadow, bold red lips and more. Amrezy always mixes it up; glossy lips, matte, dark lips, Coloured eyeliner she isn’t afraid to try it out.

And why should she be? It’s makeup she can wash it off! We should all be more out there with out makeup looks and try out new looks. Bold red lips, more shimmer, cut crease eyeshadow – the beauty world is your oyster.

4. Book in for Regular Facials

Looking after your skin is a bit like looking after your teeth. While you may brush and floss regularly, you still need to see the dentist for a deep clean and check up.

I have a fantastic ****** routine and really good products I use on my skin, and even though this might seem enough, it just isn’t. I know that times are tough in this economy and it’s undeniably smart to cut back on extraneous purchases. However, here is my opinion on why a monthly ****** is a good investment.

Your skin is always on display and often has the power to dictate how good we feel about ourselves. Investing in proper skincare has a value that can be arguably more important than buying a new dress or going out to a fancy restaurant or even taking an expensive vacation (a ****** is a mini-vacation).

A ****** will cleanse the pores on a much deeper level, extractions/cleaning out the pores can help to maintain clear skin, stop acne formation, as well as help to change the pore’s size. Often times left unchecked, pores can start to stretch and widen with the accumulation of oil and dirt. So I have decided to get a ****** monthly, and I think it wouldn’t hurt if you did too.

5. Using Hair and Skin Masks

Hair and skin masks are fun to use and make a huge difference for soft, shiny hair and clear skin. I really love the dead sea mud mask from Pure Body Naturals at the moment. I love the way my skin feels after I use it – it’s simply amazing.

And I also love the Cantu hair masque – it leaves my hair moisturized and soft. I think I would use this once a month going forward, and also apply a facemask once a week at a time that’s perfect for me.

6. Take Care of My Natural Nails

As ridiculous as it sounds, a manicure is one of the first things people will notice about your appearance, especially if you work in an office.

For a while I have been using nail extensions and acrylics. While it looks beautiful, it also makes my nails underneath very soft. I would like to take a break from nail extensions and grow my own nails. Strong, long and healthy! This is also something you can adopt, your nails need the TLC.

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.

judy smith Jan 2016
There's no question about it - married life suits Beth Ditto .

The singer, who fronts the Gossip, stepped out to attend the Jean Paul Gaultier show during Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday.

It marked the opportunity for her to soak up all things style-related, not to mention flaunt her slimmed-down figure.

The songstress appeared to have shed a noticeable amount of weight as she rocked up wearing a black corset and knee-length skirt.

She appeared in very high spirits for the event and was clocked smiling from ear to ear before taking her place on the front row.

Beth is no stranger to the fashion brand, having made her runway debut for Jean Paul Gaultier back in 2010.

Afterwards she would stay clear of the catwalk for several years before making a triumphant return during New York Fashion Week in September .

Beth has continued to lose weight since that high-profile gig, even though in the past she's insisted she'd never want to be slim.

She famously told In Touch: "I have been contemplating as to whether I should go on a diet.

"I cannot ignore the whole world, but I want to accept the way that I am and I don’t want to change. Life is too short for that!"

Whether she's consciously trying to slim down or not, Beth is definitely looking happier and healthier as she enters her second year of marriage.

Beth officially wed wife Kristin Ogata in a ceremony held on New Year's Eve 2014 .

The pair had previously held a lavish ceremony 17-months earlier but their union wasn't legally binding.

judy smith Aug 2016
Fashion designer Manav Gangwani feels that the Hindi film industry acts as a catalyst for the Indian fashion industry.

He believes that since Bollywood has a huge fan base, it helps in getting a designer’s brand recognised.

Gangwani says the Indian couture industry has significantly evolved over the past years and it is the responsibility of the fashion fraternity to keep this evolution constant. “Over the years, I have always added a modern twist to the silhouettes in my couture collections. The couture industry has significantly evolved over the past years. I think it is important that we keep this evolution constant,” Gangwani said in an earlier occasion.

The designer, who has styled Bollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan, Kangana Ranaut and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, believes that associating with such celebrities does a world of good to a designer’s creations.

“Bollywood certainly acts as a catalyst for the Indian Fashion industry in terms of retail. In one way or another, the designers prefer to commercially dress up a celebrity outfit for a film rather than showcasing it exclusively on the ramp. Since Bollywood has millions of followers, the brand recognition through it goes a long way,” Gangwani told in an interview.

The designer, who also had the honour of dressing the King Of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, shared that the “potential customers are more discerning than ever and have a growing penchant for exclusivity”.

The growing couture industry has set high standards for aspiring designers and that intense competition makes designers put their best work forward, he added.Read more at: |
judy smith Dec 2016
She has dressed Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o and Uganda's chess Woman Candidate Master Phiona Mutesi for the premiere of 'Queen of Katwe'. She has also designed several Miss Uganda and Miss Tourism contestants among others.

Yet Brenda Niwagaba Maraka, who is undoubtedly among Uganda's top fashion designers, describes herself as "just a simple person who loves work and fashion". She is also quick to recognise people who have inspired her, including renowned fashion designer and artist Stella Atal and Xenson Samson Ssenkaaba

In January 2007, Maraka officially launched 'Brendamaraka' as a fashion label.

"I work to represent Uganda as a tropical country through fashion and also extend Kampala's position as a fashion hub," said Maraka.

For the love of developing and inspiring others through her fashion skills, Maraka grooms two talented and interested students in fashion and design every year.

Come next year January, Maraka is set to showcase at her own fashion show marking ten years in the industry.

It will be the highest point for a woman who from way back, as a young girl, has loved being artistic. It was no surprise that she concentrated on art in school and one of her fondest memories as a student is designing costumes for school plays and beauty pageants.

"That confirmed my goal in life of creating designs through my own fashion label," she says, "I love to create new things."

At 13 years old, after completing primary education, Maraka proceeded to Namasagali College in Kamuli for O-level and these to her were years of fun and building character. She then left to a new environment of only girls at Trinity College Nabbingo for A-level and by the time she left she had forged a career path.

"It was a totally different and harder experience. However, by the time I completed Form six, I knew what I was meant to be a fashion designer courtesy of the school's arrangement on career guidance," says Maraka.

She was offered several opportunities including one on government sponsorship at Makerere University all of which were meant to grow her fashion career but Maraka settled for a fashion design program at the London Academy of Design and dress making where she completed in 2005.

Maraka chose exposure to international fashion trends at the London school at a cost rather than free education in Uganda. She rates it as a priceless decision that has paid off.

In 2014 as part of her internship program, Maraka made a maiden runaway showcase during the Uganda International Fashion Week and since then she has not looked back. She has participated in a number of fashion events both in Uganda and UK.

In comparing London's fashion industry to Uganda, Maraka says London has already established big brands and it is close to impossible for anyone starting out.

"The industry is faster, bigger and people produce too many new collections every year as the market demands," she says.

By contrast, she says, Uganda offers limitless opportunities are limitless or, in her words, "There is room to define who you are".

Maraka was born in Soroti-Teso, Eastern Uganda in 1981. She was raised by a single mother Elizabeth Maraka who worked long at the Soroti Flying School and she says is her great inspiration. She used to make dresses for her and remains her stylist to date. Maraka grew up as an only child because her twin siblings died. It is the reason she is also called Akello, meaning 'follower of twins'.


Any three things we don't know about you?

I am an only child of my mother. I really love sports to the extent that I train for kickboxing. I had a dream of representing Uganda for RIO 2016 though it didn't come to pass. When I am confident enough to have my face punched, I will get to the ring.

I love to travel and for this year, I chose to visit every part of Uganda that I had never visited. One of them was Kidepo and it was a breathtaking experience where I realised I had made it. I also visited the pyramids in Cairo.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Doing what you love. If you think you can regret doing it, then it's not worth doing. Even when you fail to achieve at something you loved doing, you gain satisfaction.

What is your greatest fear?

I have a phobia for rodents. I can face anything in life but not them.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I am not a confrontational person yet sometimes I wish I could be one to give my all. It makes people walk all over me.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I just don't like dishonest people. I appreciate honesty.

Which living person do you most admire?

My Mother, Elizabeth Maraka; she taught me to be a strong person, believe in myself and to see good in people. I am privileged to live with her even as an adult.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Everything about improving my fashion and design career.

What is the greatest thing you have ever done?

I still have to do it and I am planning on how to achieve it.

What is your current state of mind?

I am at peace and love my life.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

That whole saying of 'Government should help us' or 'government has not done much' just breaks my heart. How I wish the same people would ask themselves what they have done for government as well. Anyone can start small and grow big.

What does being powerful mean to you?

Being able to make a difference in someone's life or inspire someone. It can also mean being well connected in society.

On what occasion do you lie?

I like to be real.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

When I was young I was chubby and I didn't like it but I have since found peace in myself.

Which living person do you most despise?

Even when I see the worst in a person, I don't destroy bridges because I might need them tomorrow.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Having a plan or purpose in life.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Having a purpose in life.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I like saying 'you know' and 'yeah'.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I guess it is my Mum but there are so many other people I love.

When and where were you happiest?

There is no one single moment because there are so many things I do that bring happiness to me. Finishing School in 2006 was a happy moment but also each time I remember when I had my first fashion show during my internship in 2004, I am fulfilled.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I love music and may be one day I hope I will drop an album. I used to play a violin and hope that one day I will do it once more.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I am just in love with myself.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I am still a work in progress; I haven't yet reached there.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

As me and fix everything I didn't do from as far as a child.

Where would you most like to live?

Uganda but particularly in Karamoja and Kidepo; the landscape and weather are amazing. It can rain so heavily and dry up so fast.

What is your most treasured possession?

I never got to see my grandfather but I was given a crucifix from his things. It has that sentimental value and makes me relate with him. But even when everything is taken away from me, I can start afresh and build-up.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Suffering from cancer; I visited Mulago Cancer ward and witnessed people suffer in too much pain. Things like broken heart can be amended but not cancer.

What is your favorite occupation?

I always wanted to be a fashion designer.

What do you most value in your friends?


Who are your favorite writers?

I am not a fan of any particular person but I love to read inspirational pieces.

Who is your hero of fiction?

I like Superman and how he comes in to rescue at the right time. I wish there were true supermen.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I may model myself to Mother Theresa but I can't come even an inch to who she was and what she did.

What is your greatest regret?

I don't regret anything.

How would you like to die?

I want to die of old age on my bed with my grand children all looking and smiling at me.

What is your motto?

Always make sure you are climbing the right hill.Read more |
judy smith Jan 2016
That Special Touch owner Terry Kutsko broadcast an announcement Oct. 15 on her shop’s Facebook page.

“After 10 fantastic years of owning That Special Touch, I have decided to say goodbye,” she wrote at the time.

The message got 15,000 hits, Kutsko said, and an outpouring of comments from saddened patrons.

The store’s inventory went on sale and word on the street was that the shop would shutter its operation for good, Kutsko said. The lease on the space at 544 Washington St. was up Dec. 31, and Kutsko had been diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in February.

It was time, she said, to focus on her health. She needed to find a buyer, or the beloved bridal gown shop would close.

On the precipice of the New Year, Kutsko had another announcement, one riddled with exclamation points and infused with a happy tone.

“I’m so excited to announce That Special Touch has a new owner and will REMAIN OPEN!!,” Kutsko wrote. “I’m happy to congratulate Traci DeBord on purchasing the bridal shop! She will continue to run it in the same special way that everyone has come to expect, and you will receive the same personal service that we’ve always been known for. We still have some loose ends to tie up, so it will be a few more weeks before she begins taking orders again.”

Something old

Through That Special Touch, Kutsko has outfitted hundreds of brides. She’s dressed up hundreds of prom goers and put plenty of grooms in their tuxes. Although clothes are her focus now, That Special Touch started off as a floral shop. Kutsko had more than 20 years of experience crafting floral arrangements for weddings, working for Petals and Vines. One day, she found herself flipping through the classifieds section of the newspaper. An interior designer was selling off her fixtures, along with a cash register. She opened up shop in the Zaharakos building.

“I had one dad — I was doing flowers for him,” Kutsko said. “He was in the shop and he said to me, ‘I just want to give you one piece of advice. Do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t promise what you can’t come through with.’”

The advice stuck with her as her business grew. To supplement her floral business, she ordered a few dresses. Then she ordered a few more. Then she added tuxes.

When Zaharakos expanded, Kutsko moved to the 500 block of Washington Street. Eventually, she took over the storefront next to her. Now, That Special Touch has five dressing rooms and is pleasantly stocked with wedding dresses, prom dresses and tuxes.

“I never really planned to have this whole big bridal shop,” Kutsko said. “It just really grew over the last 10 years.”

When Hillary Apple was preparing for her wedding, she saved for last her visit to That Special Touch.

“I kind of knew in the back of my mind that it wasn’t going to feel right buying a dress anywhere else,” Apple said.

Apple had purchased her prom dress at That Special Touch — a gold-colored dress with gathering that reminded her of the formal gown Belle wore in Disney’s animated “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Terry provides high-end looks, but it’s not too expensive,” Apple said. “It feels like you’re in a high-end bridal salon, but you’re treated more like family.”

For as much happiness as her dresses generate, Kutsko feels the magic every day.

“I think the dresses themselves are gorgeous,” she said. “When the right girl puts it on, that’s when the magic happens. I know that sounds kind of corny. When you can match a person with the right dress and make them feel fantastic about themselves, that’s the best thing.”

Something new

Her cancer diagnosis didn’t spell an immediate end for the shop. Kutsko spent 2015 battling the disease, which was found in her breast, lungs, liver and on her spine. The cancer, she said, is now inactive.“I’m doing a ton better,” she said. “I just really want to work on building up my endurance and feeling super healthy. I’m going to have to continue to fight this.” A few years ago, Traci DeBord had purchased her wedding dress at That Special Touch. Actually, the dress was a prom dress — shorter than the typical wedding dress, and executed in ivory with black accents. The MainSource Bank employee liked the shop’s Facebook page and, when she saw Kutsko’s post about the search for a buyer, remarked to her husband that it would be fun to own a bridal shop. And then she continued to think about it. DeBord met with Kutsko and, by Dec. 29, had worked out a deal. DeBord would leave her financial job and buy the dress shop.

DeBord, who has a blended family of four boys, has always wanted a little girl to dress up.

“Now I get to do that every day,” DeBord said.

She will take over Feb. 1.

“I think I’m going to feel a sense of accomplishment, but also a little scared,” DeBord said. “But I have the comfort of knowing that Terry is just a phone call away.”

It is a special shop that Kutsko is handing over.

“Sometimes, at the end of the day, when you’re turning the lights out, you just look around the shop,” Kutsko said. “It is really just a magical business.”
judy smith Nov 2015
Bride Abbey Ramirez-Bodley looked for a vintage-style wedding gown, but soon realized everything she liked was over $1,000.

So instead, she took matters into her own hands -- literally -- and decided to crochet a long-sleeved dress for her October 27 wedding in Parkerfield, Kansas. It took eight months to complete and cost about $70 for the yarn and $100 for the green dress underneath.

When Abbey was 3 years old, her aunt Jennifer Wollard taught her how to crochet. Growing up, she would help her aunt with various projects. All these years later, they teamed up once again to create Abbey's dream dress.

"It was wonderful because my aunt and I spent so much time together and she's really important to me," the bride told The Huffington Post. "This is always a piece I'll have with her. When I look at it, I'll remember the wonderful wedding I had and also the eight months I got to spend with my aunt making it."

On weekdays, Abbey and her aunt would work on the individual doilies by themselves; they got together on weekends to stitch them together.

A month before the wedding, Abbey finally tried on the finished product.

"When I put it on, I was, for one, amazed that it looked exactly like what I thought it would look like in my head," she told HuffPost. "We didn't have a pattern so it was hard -- I couldn't take the image I had in my head and give it to my aunt and say, 'This is what I want.' It was amazing. It was emotional. [Especially] when you put that much time and love into something."

Abbey's husband Jake Bodley saw her working on the dress in the months leading up to the wedding but didn't see the finished product until their big day.

"He was really impressed," Abbey said. "He knew we would get it done, but I think he was worried about us getting it done in time and he wasn't sure if it was going to work like I thought it would. It was a new thing for him. But he was amazed by the final product."

judy smith Oct 2016
One of the more ambitious ventures in Irish fashion is taking place inWaterford at the Lismore Atelier. A social enterprise project that began a year ago to help revive manufacturing skills in Ireland, it is located in a former library building in the historic town. The workshop is now humming with state-of-the-art machines assembling clothes – cutting, sewing, overlocking, buttonholing, hemming, pressing and finishing.

Training in production and sewing skills is also given thanks to a €80,000 investment from the local council and the education and training board (ETB). Managing all this activity is Limerick School of Art and Design graduate Maggie Danaher, who lives locally.

The results can be seen in Mary Gregory’s 34-piece autumn/winter collection which has impressed all who see it for the quality, not just of its fabrics but its finish and attention to detail. An international Irish stylist based in Italy could not believe the collection had been made in Ireland, when viewing it on a recent visit.

Even calling it an “atelier”, the French word for workshop or studio, attests to its commitment to be as good internationally as any sought-after facilities inFrance or Italy. Gregory and her husband, Aidan McCarthy, a skilled tailor who worked for the fashion designer Patrick Howard in Dublin for 10 years in the 1970s, researched methods and machinery used by the top Italian companies who make for brands such as Gucci and Stella McCartney, with the aim of reproducing them in Ireland.

“I wanted to prove it could be done here,” says Gregory. “We can make clothes to this standard but it takes time, skill and investment,” she says. The plan is to attract other Irish designers to the facility which they hope will be ready by next year when a skilled production manager and sample and production machinists can provide the requisite top class service – presumably at competitive prices.

Currently Lismore Atelier has a tailor who samples for Victoria Beckham and Comme des Garçons who is brought in on a contract basis along with a production machinist. Gregory describes Lismore as the perfect place for a designer to be completely focussed and more accessible than places in Italy.

Gregory, who started making clothes at the age of six and developed a successful career in the 1980s and 1990s, was known for the strong visual effect of her designs. She moved with McCarthy to Lismore more than a decade ago and concentrated on rearing their two sons, restoring a 19th-century house in Villierstown while also working as visual and design director of the Maison & Chateau group. Her new collections remain true to her aesthetic of form and fabric with an emphasis on architectural shapes with embellishment and detail. The fabrics are luxurious and include grosgrain, double crepe, wool and silks with notable finesse of finish.

The collection is now in the International Designer Rooms in Brown Thomas where Gregory will be on hand on Saturdays to show it or by appointment.Read more at: |
judy smith Oct 2015
Gabrielle Union wore a gorgeous fall look in New York City while promoting her show, Being Mary Jane, on Tuesday.

The 42-year-old looked like a vision in her fitted white Sophia Kah dress with crimson lace overlay, as she was spotted leaving Live With Kelly and Michael.

The short-sleeved frock featured intricate detailing on the upper portion, while the bottom half was all white.

The skintight dress, which showed off the Think Like a Man star's amazing body, fit her like a glove.

The pop of color from the wine-colored lace added a bold touch to an otherwise minimal look.

The Bring It On actress kept the bold vibes going by choosing shiny gold heels, which added a new dimension to the look.

She added gold rings to compliment her similarly hued strappy heels with gray polished nails.

The Being Mary Jane star wore her shoulder length dark hair loose and wavy.

Opting for a more vampy makeup look, the starlet wore smokey eye shadow, glossy red lips and rosy cheeks.

During her appearance on the morning show, the She's All That actress wore a more understated look, rocking gray slacks, a black top and bright pink heels as she spoke to Michael Strahan and guest host Ciara, who filled in for Kelly Ripa.

The brunette is married to NBA star Dwayne Wade, who plays for the Miami Heat. The couple first met in 2009 and married in August 2014.

Her husband has three sons: 13-year-old Zaire Blessing Dwayne, eight-year-old Zion Malachi Airamis and two-year-old Xavier Zechariah, from previous relationships.

The 33-year-old athlete also raises his 13-year-old nephew Dahveon.

On her show, she plays the character Mary Jane Paul, an on-camera reporter who has to juggle work, love and family.

The third season of Being Mary Jane premieres on October 20th on BET.

The starlet is also currently filming The Lion Guard, an animated TV series where she voices the character of Nala, set to premiere on the Disney Channel in 2016. She recently wrapped The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar TV movie, which premieres this November.

judy smith Apr 2016
London fashion designer ­Carmina De Young is bringing her first ready-to-wear collection to market with the support of two local fashion mavens, wardrobe and image consultant Susan Jacobs, and business mentor Gloria Dona.

De Young’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection is now available by appointment at the Pop with Purpose studio,

The studio recently held an informal fashion show featuring De Young’s collection.

De Young was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico and discovered her passion as a young child, taking inspiration from her mother’s creative flair for fashion and design.

A graduate of Fanshawe College’s Fashion Design program, De Young’s clothing has been showcased locally and on national platforms, including at Vancouver Fashion Week and at the Caisa Fashion Show at Western University.

De Young started her own label in 2012 and now has a 25-piece ready-to-wear collection ranging from office to casual activities to a night on the town.

Each piece is available in size XS to XL with prices ranging from $79 to $259.

Instead of trying to break into the notoriously-difficult retail market, Dona and Jacobs offered to bring the De Young collection directly to London women through the Pop with Purpose studio.

“We love that we can offer women locally designed and manufactured clothing where they know the designer and know that they are helping make dreams come true,” says Jacobs. “There’s power in that. It’s incredible.”

Topspin scoops award

London-based Topspin Technologies Ltd., has been awarded the Synapse Life Sciences award for innovation in health. Their product, the Topspin360, beat out more than 60 invited applicants for products that demonstrate an innovation in health in Ontario.

This award follows the London-based Techalliance “Techcellence” award the company won earlier this year.

The Topspin360 is the first patented training device that helps improve neck muscles to reduce concussion risk.

Theo Versteegh, who earned his PhD in physiotherapy from Western University in 2016, developed the device after watching the Sidney Crosby hit in 2011 that caused his concussion.

Versteegh found that many sports concussions are the result of the whiplash effect.

The Topspin can be used in all sports, especially those at high risk for concussion, and also in military applications.

Northerner joins Fortune

David Ramsay, a former cabinet minister in the government of the Northwest Territories, has joined the board of directors of London-based Fortune Minerals .

Ramsay has more than 20 years of elected public office experience in the Northwest Territories. His cabinet portfolios included industry, justice, transportation and public utilities.

Fortune is working with three levels of government on infrastructure projects important to the success of the company’s NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project in the Northwest Territories.

One project is a 94-kilometre all-season highway to the community of Whati, northwest of Yellowknife.

The road is supported by the Tlicho Government, a Dene First nation and would reduce the cost of living and improve the quality of life in the outlying Tlicho communities and promote economic activity. Fortune has already received environmental assessment approval to build a spur road from Whati to the NICO mine.

Delta hosts bridal show

The London Wedding Professionals will hold their second Bridal Showcase at the Delta London Armouries on April 30.

The event offers a smaller, more intimate experience for brides to meet local wedding industry experts, ask questions, and get inspired for their wedding day.

The show features products and services from professionals including gowns, photography, florists, venues, DJs, hair and makeup and wedding planners.

The showcase also puts a focus on inspiring brides with Vignettes throughout the space showcasing different themes or colour palettes.

The show runs from 11 a.m-3 p.m. and admission is free.

Student makes his pitch

Sean Cornelius from St. André Bessette Catholic secondary school in London is one of 20 teenage entrepreneurs heading to Toronto May 8–10 to compete in this year’s edition of the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition

Selected from the 204 two-minute video pitches entered, Cornelius earned the right to participate in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch contest at Discovery, Ontario Centres of Excellence’s annual innovation-to-commercialization conference, to be held on May 9 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Hamilton Road looks ahead

Business people in the Hamilton Road will hold an information meeting Wednesday about the creation of the Community Improvement Plan that could lead to the creation of the Hamilton Road Business Improvement Area. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the BMO Sports Centre on Rectory St. and guest speakers include Mayor Matt Brown and MPP Teresa Armstrong.Read more****-formal-dresses |
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 |
judy smith Dec 2015
Did you know the East Indian Bottle Masala includes as many as 27 spices, or that an oil-free pickle served at their weddings is actually known as Wedding Pickle?

These and many such authentic East Indian masalas and pickles are available at East Indian Cozinha (Portuguese for kitchen), a food store started by Christina Kinny at Kolovery Village in Kalina, Santacruz. "I started East Indian Cozinha with an attempt to preserve and highlight our cuisine and culture," says the 24-year old, who has studied Masters in Social Work and currently, works with an enterprise that helps tribal farmers.

What’s in store?

Going back 500 years, the East Indian cuisine enjoys influences from Portuguese, British and Maharashtrian fare. The staples include rice, coconut, tamarind, fish and meats, with spices forming an integral part of the cuisine. For instance, Prawn Atola is a dry dish comprising prawns coated only with Vindaloo Masala featuring Kashmiri chilli, cumin and turmeric. "Most people from our community were farmers and would be out on field all day. So, the masalas and lemon would help preserve their food for a longer time," reasons Kinny.

At present, the store stocks six varieties of masala in 100g bottles (R150 onwards). These include Khuddi or Bottle Masala, Chinchoni (fish) Masala, Vindaloo Masala, Roast Rub, Kujit Masala and Tem Che Rose. She also offers Wedding Pickle, an oil-free variety prepared with raw papaya, carrots and dry dates. "All the recipes have been passed on from generations and are homemade," she informs.

However, making the masalas is no cakewalk. "It takes three days to dry spices under the sun. Then, we hand pound them and pack them tightly in bottles with wider openings," says Kinny. She recalls that in her grandmother’s time, the masalas were tightly stuffed in beer bottles. The bottles were darker, and hence, helped preserve the masala for at least a year, at room temperature.

Lugra love

East Indian Cozinha also stocks traditional 10-yard saris known as lugras. These are hand embroidered by Kinny’s mother, Carol. Previously made only from cotton with authentic gold borders, now, lugras are embroidered with sequins and threads. "She has been in the garment industry for the last 30 years. She also makes traditional accessories like kapotas (earrings), karis (hair pins), anklets, etc," informs Kinny.

judy smith Jul 2015
If you are having sleepless nights, blame it on calcium deficiency as a key calcium channel has been identified as responsible for deep sleep, says new study.

The study also gives us a clue to understanding both normal and abnormal waking brain functions.

"It is the same brain, same neurons and similar requirements for oxygen and so on. So what is the difference between these two states?" asked Rodolfo Llinas, a professor of neuroscience at New York University School of Medicine and a Whitman Center Investigator at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole.

To tackle the broad question of sleep, Llinas and his colleagues focused on one crucial part of the puzzle in mice, Marine Biological Laboratory.

Calcium channels, selective gates in neuron walls, are integral in neuron firing, ensuring that all parts of the brain keep talking to one other. But during sleep, calcium channel activity is increased, keeping a slow rhythm that is different from patterns found during wakefulness.

Based on this clue, the scientists removed one type of calcium channel, Cav3.1, and looked at how the absence of that channel's activity affected mouse brain function.

This calcium channel turns out to be a key player in normal sleep. The mice without working Cav3.1 calcium channels took longer to fall asleep than normal mice, and stayed asleep for much shorter periods.

Their brain activity was also abnormal, more like normal wakefulness than sleep. Most importantly, these mice never reached deep, slow-wave sleep.

"This means that we have discovered that Cav3.1 is the channel that ultimately supports deep sleep," Llinas said.

Because these mice completely lack the ability to sleep deeply, they eventually express a syndrome similar to psychiatric disorders in humans.Read more |
judy smith Jul 2015
It's a little less Four Weddings and A Funeral, a little more four funerals and a wedding - or is it?

Emmerdale bosses are staying tight-lipped about Pete and Debbie's big day but we know one thing for sure: It ends in death and disaster.

And, looking back at the eerie promo video released earlier this month, we can't help but wonder if the carnival that rolls into town on Monday August 3rd has anything to do with it?

The long awaited explosive Barton-****** wedding will finally hit TV screens next week, playing out on ITV from August 3rd to 7th.

It's been one of those will-they-won't-they affairs, with Debbie's decision to marry Pete remaining up in the air until she discovered lover Ross was actually baby Moses' father. Who wouldn't want to run off with their mother's mysterious lover, aka the father of the baby half-brother she'd been left holding?

We know a furious Debbie promptly ditches Ross and decides marrying Pete isn't such a bad idea after all but the Barton boy won't go down without a fight.

In fact, a fight is precisely what he's after when he shows up to the Woolpack for his brother's stag do at the start of Emmerdale's big disaster week.

Not content with ruining the evening with some rather shocking revelations, he threatens his former lover and promises to take her down with him.

Enter Cain, who can always be depended upon to take his daughter's requests to "get rid of" someone quite seriously. Why hasn't he set himself up as the village's resident hit-man at this stage?

OK, so the hits aren't quite up to the lethal Cameron standard, but he knows how to land a serious enough blow to take care of his family's 'little problems'.

Ross Barton is no exception and Cain disposes of him in delightful ****** 'back-o-the van' fashion, but will it buy Debbie enough time to make an honest man of Pete?

Daddy's flying fists seem to save the day as his daughter makes it up the aisle to tie the knot with the errr, second man of her dreams.

But there's no preparing Pete, his quite literally blushing bride, and the rest of the village for what's to come next.

Especially when Sarah innocently scoops the letter that's fallen out of Cain's pocket up and pops it on the pile of well wishes for her mum and new step-dad to read at the reception...

Will Ross ruin Debbie and Pete's perfect day? Could that mysteriously misplaced letter to Pete make a comeback?

Or will forces far greater – beyond anyone's control – bring a whole new meaning to "till death do us part?"

read more:
judy smith Jun 2015
When word spread in the Hearst Tower that Carolina Herrera would be pulling up a chair to chat with Elle’s Robbie Myers for a Masterclass Q&A;, the speed of the RSVPs rivaled those of Barbra Streisand.

In less than an hour, Herrera regaled the crowd with her telling insights and signature élan, detailing some of the highlights of her career and deconstructing the current state of fashion with her wit.

First things first, Herrera: whose own personal style is practically synonymous with elegance, said of that trait, “Elegance is not only what you’re wearing but it is the way you are wearing it. It’s the way you choose what to wear for your style, your personality, the way you live. It doesn’t have anything to do with beauty or money….It’s what you project — your taste in books, houses, paintings, the way you move, the way you talk.”

When Herrera decided to do what she now does, she turned to her “great friend” Halston, whose initial reaction was, “‘What have you been drinking? Are you mad?'” she said. But his trepidation was only due to how demanding the industry is, Herrera added. “You have to be passionate,” she said.

Diana Vreeland, a friend of Herrera’s husband Reinaldo‘s family, was her mentor — “a very, very interesting woman, intelligent, very for-the-moment,” she said. But her initial plan to design fabrics was not well-received by Vreeland. “She said to me, ‘Well that is the most boring thing that you are telling me. Why don’t you do a fashion collection for women.’ She gave me the idea,” Herrera said.

In business for more than three decades, Herrera said her company’s DNA remains rooted in sophistication, elegance and timelessness. “I want women to look like real women, I do not want them to look like clowns because of what’s in fashion. I like fashion to be for now and for the future. You cannot only be for the past…like everybody in life — painters, musicians — you have to evolve. You have to live in the times that we live in.”

With two of her four daughters involved with the business, Herrera said, “Of course, we have little problems — tiny, tiny — but they always end up doing what they have to do and they always end up doing what I say they have to do.”

Herrera is very much all about today’s social media with 500,000 Instagram followers and 1 million Facebook fans. “You have to listen to the likes, dislikes and whatever they say — that’s the excitement of social media. But if you start reading all the messages, you will not have a life. It’s impossible to read all of them.”

Here, a few of Herrera’s other observations:

• “I didn’t live at Studio 54 and I don’t wear the white shirt every day.”

• “It’s very important to possess in your house a full-length mirror.”

• “Bob Mackie did the naked look years ago for Cher. There was one — now there are many.”

• “There should be a little mystery with women. They have confused sexiness with femininity. They think to be **** you have to wear a dress that is four sizes smaller than you, and also show everything you possess.”

• “You go to the opera and you see a sea of sneakers. It’s not like before when things were in a certain way, and everyone pretty much did the same. There are not anymore rules in fashion. Everything is accepted. You have to be strong. You have to be you.”

• “Mrs. Obama has her own style and she knows exactly what she wants to wear.”

• “Perfume is the invisible accessory that a woman is wearing. It is very strong for your memories.”

• “Stylists are getting more famous than the people they dress.”Read more |
judy smith Jul 2016
GABBY Waller lives around the corner from Owen Wilson, down the road from Julia Roberts, walked past Seth Rogan at the grocery store last week and sat opposite Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus at dinner the other night.

The LA lifestyle is a big change for the former Rockhampton girl who currently calls California home after leaving life in Australia to get her foot in the fashion industry door in one of the world's fashion capitals.

The 22-year-old packed up her life two months ago, sold her Australian clothing label and followed the gut instinct she said she always had to move to Los Angeles.

"I've always been drawn to America, I've always felt this pull towards it, LA in particular which is why I visited LA last year to hold an event here for my business at the time," she said.

Gabby In fashion week in Sydney in 2014.

"The event was a huge success and I got hooked on the creativity that screams from this city. I suppose I got a taste for the fashion scene here and decided to make the move here in May. I sold the business in January as I felt I got STR8 UP to exactly where it needed to be and it was time for me personally to move on to my next venture.

"I'm working as a designer's assistant with a brand based in Downtown LA called BILLY, a brand Justin Bieber regularly wears, and work closely with the designer who reminds me exactly why I do what I do and love this industry. I also do fashion styling on the side and am putting together my own photoshoot for the Australian label Isabelle Quinn. This is my year to really push my knowledge and get involved in as much as I can, LA makes you so hungry to work and I've never been more motivated to dig my claws in."

Although the former Cathedral College student thrives off the hustle and bustle of catching that big city break, Gabby admits to missing the small town 'hey mate' attitudes she grew up knowing and said she doesn't think she'll ever get used to seeing celebrities in their jeans buying milk and bread.

"I feel LA has a huge 'I don't care about you, I just want to know what you can do for me' kind of attitude and you'll very regularly get asked what you do before being asked your name," she said.

"I miss that small town community hub that Rocky has and I really miss how friendly us Aussies are but for now this is home for the next 12 months and I'm loving every minute of it.

"It was a scary leap to take moving here but I really do believe anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

"The absolute dream would be to work in the fashion houses in the design department of the big designer brands that you see on the runway.

"But I've still got a lot of learning to do.

"It's exciting to see what the future holds."Read more at: |
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


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 |
judy smith Jul 2015
Bride and groom Erika and Joshua Garza say they thought their Durham wedding was set and all planned. The owner of the Fayetteville-based "Bragg About It Catering" company had driven up a month earlier so they could sample her wedding wares.

"She had the food ready. It was good," said Joshua Garza. "We tasted it and everything seemed great, and then she wanted to meet at the venue to see the kitchen and kinda get an idea of where she wanted to set up like that. So then we met with her at the venue and everything still seemed great."

They moved forward with the company, signed a contract, and say they prepaid caterer Jennifer Debrue $1,100.

"We talked to her all the time. We kept in contact. Everything was fine," Erika said.

That was until the day of the couple's wedding. The two say they received some surprising news.

"Nobody told us anything until we were in the limo and they were like 'Yeah, your caterer's not here,'" Joshua Garza recalled.

The Garzas now had more than 100 famished family and friends and no caterer. Fortunately for them, they did have some resourceful relatives who were able to run out and grab food for the wedding and save the day, but that did not change how the couple felt about the no-show caterer.

"I mean you don't do that to somebody on a day like that," said Joshua Garza. "You just, you ruin somebody's day."

Joshua and Erika tried to contact "Bragg About It Catering" but never received a call back or a refund.

"I don't want her to do this to anybody else, said Erika Garza.

But unfortunately, Sergeant First Class Anthony Baxley says it also happened to him at his retirement party.

"We didn't want to have to be running around," Baxley said, "We didn't want to be cooking. We didn't want to do any of that. We did a lot of research. We actually contacted probably over 10 different caterers before we settled on this one."

Falling in love with everything on the menu that Debrue offered, Baxley, too, chose "Bragg About It Catering". He says he prepaid the full cost of $1,500 and, like the Garzas, was left with an event with no caterer.

"After the ceremony was over I was immediately told there was a couple of problems with the caterer ... she never showed up, Baxley said.

Stressed to the max after receiving the news, it was Baxley's family and friends who also stepped in and saved his special day.

"A lot of the people found out before they went over to where we were doing the actual reception and they went to the store and purchased a whole bunch of food for us, he said.

With two costly no-shows, I tried to track down caterer Jennifer Debrue, but she did not respond to our phone calls or emails. We decided to go to the address listed on her contract information and spoke with her husband who seems surprised.

"They paid $1,100 and their wedding day came and went and she never showed up," I told him.

"I'm shocked. I don't know," he responded.

He told me Jennifer DeBrue would call us back, but she never did. Meanwhile, the newlyweds and Baxley are trying to spread the word that "Bragg About It Catering" is not something to brag about.

Our advice to viewers would be to pay by credit card so you can dispute it when something like this happens. Both Baxley and the Garza's said they did that.

read more:
judy smith May 2016
Two Syrian women on Friday were locked in a cage full of skeletons in punishment for violating Daesh’s strict dress code in the militant group’s stronghold of Raqqa.

The London-based Observatory for Human Rights said one of the women fainted in the cage and had to be transported to one of the hospitals in the northern province, which became Daesh’s headquarters in Syria after the group took the city in 2013.

A spokesman for the local-based activist group “Raqqa is being Slaughtered Silently” also reported Daesh’ latest scare tactic against women found to have flouted the draconian rules.

Daesh recently locked a 19-year old woman in a cage full of skeletons, driving her to the point of madness, according to Mohammed Al-Salih. The spokesman did not specify whether the incident was the same as the one reported by the UK-based monitor.

Salih also said that there were “similar cases of women locked in cages with skeletons or forced to sleep overnight in a cemetery” for not wearing what Daesh deems as appropriate. More serious violations are punished by the amputation of limbs, or execution.

Video reports as well as accounts of escapees show that Daesh forces women living in its areas — whether in Syria or Iraq — to don head-to-toe garbs.

Meanwhile, the Observatory said Daesh has recently stormed homes in Raqqa and arrested 10 men suspected of spying against the group.Read more at:
judy smith Mar 2016
Daisy Lowe‘s body positivity and refusal to bow to fashion industry pressures have cemented her place as one of Britain’s hottest exports.

From international catwalks to Pirelli calendars, the 27-year-old’s career in front of the camera has gone from strength to strength - all because she’s unapologetically herself.

To celebrate her latest endeavour - a partnership with lingerie brand Triumph UK - the model sat down with The Huffington Post UK to let us in on her secrets.

What does having a positive body image mean to you?

Being comfortable in your own skin, embracing all your flaws and accepting that you are who you are.

Being individual is a beautiful thing.

Where does your confidence come from?

It’s definitely something any person living in today’s society has to learn and grow up to achieve. I’m still working on it on a daily basis.

Everything that I put into my body makes a difference. How much I work out makes a difference. Surrounding myself with people I can laugh a lot with and around whom I can be 100% myself.

What advice would you give to those struggling with self-image?

Love the parts of you that you don’t enjoy so much and be kind to yourself - that’s something that I have to constantly remind myself to do. Go and do something that inspires you or makes you happy.

How do you banish self doubt on bad days?

Meditation and mindfulness helps. Having a check-in with yourself and trying really hard to be present.

We can look outside ourselves and think about what other people are doing, -especially with social media - but if you can try your best in the exact moment that’s all that matters, because that’s all that really exists.

What would you like to see change in the fashion industry?

There’s a lot more room for variation as far as models go - we should be promoting that all shapes, sizes and ethnicities are beautiful.

It would be lovely for plus size models not to be called ‘plus size’ - they’re being used for the same jobs. We’re all just models - wearing beautiful clothes that make people feel good about themselves and helping designers to sell their creations. I’d love to see more ‘in-between’ size models too.

How do you decide what to wear in the morning?

The darker and greyer the world is outside, the more I wear bright colours - as long as you’re sunny in yourself! I’m such a creature of comfort – I’m a huge fan of pulling on a pair of stretchy comfy jeans (Lowe swears by high-waisted styles by Paige, Frame and J Brand) and I love a bit of cashmere.

Jewellery wise, I always wear Crystal necklaces or chains by Loquet. I’m also a fan of a cute tea dress and ballet shoes. I love that Brigitte Bardot/Jane Birkin 60s/70s vibe mixed up with a bit of 90s grunge.

What are your favourite shopping spots?

Lark Vintage in Somerset is amazing, and in London I love Mairead Lewin Vintage. Those are top secret - I never usually tell anyone those.

Brand wise, I love James Perse, Cocoa Cashmere, Erdem, Simone Rocha and Ganni - I have a leather jacket from there I haven’t taken off for a year. I also have a troubling Saint Laurent addiction.

Talk me through your daily skincare routine.

I love the P50 W Lotion by Biologique Recherche, it’s done absolute wonders for my skin and makes it much more clear.

I also swear by the Crème de la Mer Genaissance de la Mer serum, moisturising soft cream and eye concentrate.

For my body, I use Aesop A Rose By Any Other Name cleanser and Balance Me for their luxurious moisturisers and body oils made with natural ingredients.

What are your makeup bag staples?

Tom Ford is a go-to. I use the Traceless Perfecting Foundation, which has SPF, and the concealing pen around my nose and eyes.

I like to keep my makeup really simple, so I’ll use the Laura Mercier Paint Wash liquid lip colour in petal pink on both my lips and cheeks.

For eyes, I swear by Tom Ford Waterproof Extreme Mascara and Kevin Aucoin eyelash curlers.

What’s the best tip you’ve picked up from a makeup artist?

My makeup artist would **** me if I ever slept in my makeup. Another great tip is to make sure you conceal around your nose. If your nose is red it makes your whole complexion look uneven.

Also, always apply lipstick all the way into the corners of your mouth to continue the line.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done in the name of beauty?

When I was younger I used to make these weird DIY face masks with my friends. We made one with mashed banana, avocado, honey and peanut butter. Peanut butter on active teenage skin was not the best idea.

Any other beauty secrets you can let us in on?

My facialist Arezoo Kaviani is amazing. She’s a real healer at heart. She does a deep cleansing ****** with extraction and LED light therapy.

I also tried a collagen wave ****** recently, which was great.Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2015
Fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper is holding her first show in Wanaka to help raise funds for the town's planned hospice.

The September 30 Theatre of Fashion event is being organised by Wanaka fashion store Escape Clothing owner Lucy Lucas and the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust and organisers hope to raise up to $30,000.

Trust fundraiser Bev Rudkin said the show was "such a coup for Wanaka".

Wanaka hasn't had anything like this before and we know Theatre of Fashion will be an exciting event."

The event will be held at the McRae family's Glendhu Station Woolshed and will showcase the Trelise Cooper Summer 2015/16 collection. It will also feature three Trelise Cooper 1950s-inspired installations.

The event includes an auction of donated items, with all proceeds going to the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust.
Lucas lost her mother to cancer two years ago and says the hospice facility is especially important for the local community.

At the moment, Wanaka cancer patients and their families travel either to Clyde's Dunstan Hospital or Dunedin Hospital for hospice care.

The Upper Clutha Hospice Trust will be a tenant in the Presbyterian Support Otago and Mt Aspiring Retirement Village's proposed aged care/dementia facility on Cardrona Valley Road. Construction is scheduled later this year.

The trust is raising capital and operating costs for its patient rooms within the larger facility.

Lucas stocks Trelise Cooper in her shop and approached Dame Trelise to see if she was interested in helping the trust.

"Dame Trelise is incredibly generous with her time. She does a lot for community causes. Wanaka is so lucky to have her agree to holding this event, and for her to attend is even better. Guests are in for a treat. Trelise Cooper shows are always fantastic, with plenty of 'wow' factor," Lucas said.

Dame Trelise said she was only too happy to help: "Giving back to the community is something I have always believed in. It means a lot to me that my passion and the work that I do can be put towards something that really makes a difference . . . I have some very loyal customers in the South Island who have supported my label right from the beginning, and it feels great to be able to bring an event like this to them."


What: Theatre of Fashion inaugural show

When: 6.30pm, Wednesday September 30, 2015

Where: Glendhu Station Woolshed, Glendhu Bay

Cost: $65 per person or $75 for front row seats. Tickets from Escape Clothing, Ardmore Street, Wanaka, or the Upper Clutha Hospice Shop, Ballantyne Road. All proceeds to the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust.

- The Mirror

judy smith May 2015
Dar Al-Hekma University hosted its second fashion show on Sunday that featured the work of its second batch of fashion design undergraduates.

The event, titled “Luminosity” was held under the auspices of Princess Reem **** Muhammad Al-Faisal. President of the university Dr. Suhair Hassan Al-Qurashi said: “Providing such events to our students before graduation exposes them to industry leaders of their prospective industries and gives them a head start in their careers.

“Dar Al-Hekma University’s students stand out because of the combination of their high caliber and the opportunities the university provides for them.”

Along with industry leaders, families of participating students attended. The event started with an opening speech by the department chair for the fashion design program Dina Kattan, who then introduced the sophomore and junior students’ work.

Afterward, models wearing three-piece collection garments designed by senior students scheduled to graduate this year took the stage and were graded by four judges.

Kattan said: “I am so proud of the work my students presented today; they worked really hard and they deserve a big hand. “Everyone was impressed with the level of creativity and attention to detail they demonstrated.”

The judges were Batool Jamjoom, businesswoman in the fashion industry and manager and owner of Jamjoom Fashion House; Amra Alabdalilsharif, director of the innovation and visual merchandising department at Rubaiyyat; Dalal Al-Hasan, a fashion designer; and Aram Kabbani, Dar Al-Hekma alumna and fashion stylist.

The grades students received during the fashion show will form part of their final grade. One of the students whose designs were featured at the show, Zahar Algain, said her collection was inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

“Studying fashion has altered my perspective. I view fashion, in the same way that I view life; it’s a matter of balance and proportions.

“My interest in avant-garde fashion has led me to believe in using creativity to solve difficult situations. Algain’s collection was meant to blur the line between art and fashion.

“It is inspired by Frida Kahlo but with a fictional twist. “The story behind my collection is a daydream, a magical love story, an artwork; it is splattered with Frida’s colorful soul and spirit.”

Following this women only event, Dar Al-Hekma is organizing a one-day fashion design exhibition on Tuesday, which is open to all. The event starts from 7 p.m.Read more |
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