Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

A splash of Fashion

Cultural Cocktail Hour caught up with Harper’s Bazaar’s Editor-in-Chief Glenda Bailey this weekend.This image from her latest book evokes touches of Caillebotte. It depicts Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz floating on Central Park Lake. Elbaz dashed from the lake to attend the 2005 CFDA awards. Bailey revealed that at the ceremony, she “heard a squalching sound” behind her: Elbaz’s sopping footwear. He had just won best international designer. As he walked on stage, no doubt the audience realized that they could not walk a hundred miles in his shoes.

When asked about her favorite artistic haunts in LA, Bailey replied without missing a beat that she enjoys visiting artist Hutton Wilkinson because of the Tony Duquette estate (Dawnridge). “It is a jewel of LA,” declared Bailey.

Photograph© 2011 Harper’s Bazaar’s Greatest Hits by Glenda Bailey. Photographed by Ben Watts. Styled by Jacqui Getty.

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The Magical World of Peter Lai 

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Stepping into the shop of San Marino designer Peter Lai is a step into a magical world. The visitor slips into a realm of Venetian masks, Chinese costumes imbued with symbolism from the Qing Dynasty, and contemporary Californian designs. A Hong Kong native, Mr. Lai was born into a family of costume designers for Hong Kong’s opera, television, and film industry.

Mr. Lai’s shop has been a fixture on Mission Street in San Marino for decades, and his exquisitely detailed gowns add glamour to museum galas and social events like the Save Venice ball.

Left: Design by Peter Lai.

Right: Rose Detail, Peter Lai designs

In 2004, Mr. Lai won the Golden Needle designer award in a competition whose industry judges included Mr. Blackwell, creator of the infamous Best and Worst Dressed list.Mr. Lai’s creative and richly-crafted designs fuse cultures.

For instance, he uses Venetian masks as a base and infuses them with Asian-inspired motifs. Mr. Lai himself takes part in the theatrically mysterious, donning his own costumes, mask included, at dinner parties.

Photo: Mask by Peter Lai

Photo Left: Designer Peter Lai next to his own design.

’Bob Mackie didn’t recognize me’, Lai revealed, “’he asked, ‘Who are you?’” Ever full of surprises, Mr. Lai has also been a student of Kabuki for the past ten years and performed the Japanese art form in full costume this summer at the Hollywood Bowl.

This Thursday, September 8th, the Pacific Asia Museum will be hosting a fashion event with Peter Lai from 5:30-7:30 p.m. as part of the Festival of the Autumn Moon. For more information, please visit:


Peter Lai. 2571 Mission St. San Marino, 91108. (626) 799-4645

From left: Vest by Peter Lai

Right: Detail from Vest

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Monday March 14

8:00-10:00 PM

Doors open at 7:00 PM

Skirball Cultural Center 2701 North Sepulveda Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90049

Fashion Show and Art Gallery

Proceeds benefit the Downtown Women’s Center, a project of ServeLA.


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March 4–June 5, 2011

MOCA Pacific Design Center

Are you hankering for more Black Swan?
MOCA will hold the first West Coast solo exhibition of American designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte.
The exhibit will features pieces from runway collections as well as original ballet costumes for Black Swan.

With the Oscars on the horizon, explore costumes from the Academy-Award nominated film at the Pacific Design Center.

Better yet try the Buddy System
and bring a friend in tow—
just in case
pops out of a mirror-

MOCA PACIFIC DESIGN CENTER. 8687 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood, CA 90069


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by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography © 2010 Leticia M. Sanchez

March 24, 2010—

As a Catholic, I was unsure of what to expect inside the former St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in downtown LA. Hope in the City III, produced by Mosaic, not only exuded creativity, but also demonstrated a spiritual commitment to the global and local community. The proceeds from the fashion show and art auction went to several noteworthy charities, including Serve LA and Beyond Us; the scope of the latter extends from Haiti, Sudan, South India, and beyond.

The innovative designs on the runway included the experimental “Wear Your Story”  in which designers fashioned 85% of their garment from an LA Weekly. Models also donned head pieces by Salvatore Salamone, inspired by leaves; spring time has indeed sprung in Los Angeles, a city of constant innovation.

Photography Montage below:

Vibiana’s interior and courtyard, pre-show dancers, “Wear Your Story” runway presentation, art auction including painting by Melissa L. Parham, head pieces by Salvatore Salamone

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The Spirit of Ethos at LA Fashion Week

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Photography © Leticia M. Sanchez

March 19-  At the Music Box in Hollywood,  Project Ethos held an evening of emerging artists in music, fashion, and art. The Greek root “Ethos” can refer to “the spirit of a people” and the red carpet event lived up to its lively name.  Ethos featured the collections of ten designers, including two from “Project Runway,” Season Six contestant Gordana Gehlhausen and Season Seven contestant Jesus Estrada.  The art gallery on the rooftop, overlooking the new W hotel, proved the most welcome surprise on a warm Los Angeles evening.

Artist Erin Hammond showcased a collection of portraits of women. Hammond revealed  that Gustav Klimt inspired her. One could see the link between both artists’ vibrant expressionism.

Left: Painting by Erin Hammond

Right: Adele Bloch-Bauer II: Klimt

On display at Project Ethos was another work by Hammond, revealing a woman’s split soul, two sides of the same coin. The woman’s strong direct gaze suggests a pragmatic nature coupled with the dreamy, fantasy-like motif at the painting’s bottom half. The painting can be read to represent the dichotomy between the Id and the Ego or even the Conscious and Sub-Conscious. Hammond explained that she actually commenced with the bottom half of the painting, before turning it over and realizing its multi-faceted possibility.

Left: Painting by Erin Hammond

Most striking in its originality was Arnold Randall’s “Casual Tee of War” comprised of bullets, bullet shells, spray paint, and oil on wood. Guests gathered around Randall’s work, unbelieving that the golden, Giotto-like-effect was in fact, composed of ammunition. In his website, Randall verbalizes his subject’s inner thoughts, “We are the untold, the forgotten, our relevance is weaker than the cause yet we are stronger than any bomb…casualties of war.” Though his work, Randall achieves the highest purpose of art: giving a voice to the voiceless.


Above: Mixed Media by Arnold Randall

After the art exposition, live performances by Bruno Mars and Love Grenades took place inside the Music Box theater, where unusual paintings lined the walls.

Left: Wall Painting, Music Box, Hollywood

The paintings conveyed the mood of creatures in Dante’s inferno.

The final component of the evening consisted of runway shows of ten designers.

The most noteworthy for consistency in style were Love Child, which expressed a 1960’s aesthetic and Haus of Estrada, whose Fall 2010 line conveyed an edgy Gothic theme.

All of the emerging artists proved that the ethos of self-expression is alive and well in the City of Angels.

Left: “Love Child” by Rachael Feigelson

Below: Haus of Estrada by Jesus Estrada

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Leitmotifs and Painting with Light; Fashion: Refocus at BOXeight Studios

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Fashion Photography:

© 2010 Leticia M. Sanchez

March 20— BOXeight Studios showcased Fall and Winter 2010 Collections from a unique vantage point: a behind-the-scenes look at fashion photography. Guests were voyeurs to the inner sanctum of a photo shoot. The models’ make up stations sat on an open stage, and one could observe as the designers placed finishing touches on their creations.

Fashion and photography are sister arts. They both open the door for non-verbal communication. Photography, from the Greek root “Writing with Light” allows one to express the proverbial thousand words in one instant. Whereas fashion was once documented through flat graphic illustration. the advent of modern photography captured the movement of clothes in vibrant dimension.

Similar to photography, fashion serves as non-verbal language. A simple article of clothing can connote religious, political, or social identity. One need only to look at the charged meaning behind the choice of an orange or green garment in Northern Ireland to witness its communicative power.

Both fashion and photography not only portray scenes, they also reveal truths about ourselves and the choices we make.

BOXeight’s presentation successfully depicted the interplay between fashion and photography by presenting the rawness of the process, vivid and playful, before it becomes a finished product. Three designers in particular stood out for their artistic expression: Eduardo Lucero, Lloyd Klein, and Michael Costello.

Design by Eduardo Lucero

Eduardo Lucero‘s last name translates into “bright star” and his designs befit a shining star. In fact, Hollywood starlets favor his designs which accent a woman’s curves.

His model appeared like a golden star from Mount Olympus, more Artemis than Aphrodite, ready to conquer the world. What is fashion if not our own body armor similar to the one worn by the knights of yore?

Designer Lloyd Klein, trained in architecture, once held the distinguished post of Head Designer for the legendary French Fashion House, Maison Madame Grès. The impact of this influential designer can be seen in Klein’s work, in the intricate draping and cut of Klein’s fluid gowns. His work also conjures another legendary designer, Madeleine Vionnet who draped her evening dresses like Greek statues.

Left: Lloyd Klein dress, Box Eight Studios.

Above Right: Gown by Madame Grès

Above: Dress by Designer Lloyd Klein, Box Eight Studios.

March 20, 2010

The designs of Michael Costello, with their intricate embellishment and texture embody Haute Couture.

At age 14, Costello showcased his first couture collection garnering him attention in a piece by Vogue entitled “Los Angeles’ Hidden Talent.” At the age of 15 he opened his first boutique in Palm Springs.

Dress by Michael Costello, Box Eight Studios.

Costello started designing at age 4, the same age as a certain 18th century musical prodigy. The designs in Costello’s Fall 2010 are evocative of 18th century court with its attention to detail and artistry.

One could almost imagine Marie Antoinette, the Princesse De Lamballe, and other aristocrats of the court dressed in Costello’s sumptuous gowns as they nibbled on gateaux.

BOXeight’s presentations showcased the artistry of Los Angeles designers making a statement as harbingers of good taste.

All captured by the every-watchful camera lens.

Design by Michael Costello, Box Eight Studios.

Dress below by: Michael Costello

Box Eight Studios.

March 20, 1010

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Hats off to Millinery Guild’s “Mad Hatter” Fashion show

LA Fashion Week

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Fashion Photography ©2010 Leticia Marie Sanchez

March 18, 2010-

The L.A Millinery Guild hosted its first fashion show, kicking off LA Fashion Week to an electrifying start. The theme of the show, the “Mad Hatter party” showcased the hats of designers Diego Hats, Hatstruck, Montez, Stage Door Daisy, Elizabeth Marcel, Suzi Holloway, Jill Pfeifer, Linda J. Key, and headliner Anita Hopkins.

The show juxtaposed vintage allusions with futuristic design. During the nostalgic component of the show, Sarah Vaughn’s throaty voice evoked sirens of the past, sirens who donned hats in equal measure to Sunday morning service and Saturday night jazz clubs. The show served as a reminder that hats not only belonged to the whimsical world of Mad Tea Parties, but to the social history and fabric of American society crossing all cultural lines.

Hats have played a key role throughout the past, from berets worn by women in Minoan Crete to the Petasos worn by Classical Greek ladies. Etruscan women wore snoods with curls hanging over their foreheads while the women of the Byzantine court donned pearl-encrusted headresses, akin to today’s headbands.

Women living during the Italian Renaissance wore turbans while 13th century women donned the “Crespinne” a hairnette coupled with a fabric called the “barbette.” If  a woman wore a crespine alone it was considered shocking.

While the first half of the show conjured the past, the latter portion envisioned the future with designs by Anita Hopkins. who reinvented Lewis Carol’s theme as Alice in Spaceland. The dramatic theme song from the film “2001: Space Odyssey” heralded the entrance of her Fall 2010 Collection. Hopkins is a designer who successfully weds beauty and drama, with a wry sense of humor.

It is no coincidence that the blockbuster comedy “Bruno” featured her ubiquitous yellow hat on its title character and worldwide posters. Her designs at the Millinery show likewise evoked the dramatic, the iconic, and the cinematic, including the runway’s hero, the  Space Cowboy. Due to the minimalistic costumes on the models, the hats came into the foreground, top hats that evoke an alluring Mad Hatter, a happily wedded couple, and an Andromeda, alluding both to the Greek princess and the spiral galaxy.

Most strikingly, the material for all the hats and costumes was comprised of—plastic rap.  10,000 square feet of plastic wrap, to be precise. From a material most people would discard without a second thought, Ms. Hopkins created turbans, skirts, top hats, and vests. Even during a dour economy, artistry soars, showing that talent has no bounds.

The inventive use of Plastic Wrap calls to mind a moving scene in the film American Beauty. The teenage Ricky Fitts videotapes an empty white bag dancing in the street. Watching the video tape, transfixed, absorbed in what others pass by, Fitts observes, “It helps me to remember.. there’s so much beauty in the world.

Below: Designs by Anita Hopkins

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It may be spring time in California, but designers are showcasing their Fall 2010 collections.

This week’s Cultural Cocktail includes: LA Millinery Guild’s first fashion show, Project Ethos in Hollywood,  BOX eight’s Fashion Refocus, and  Hope in the City’s Fashion Show and Art Auction at Vibiana’s.

Stay Tuned for the inside scoop!


Leticia Marie Sanchez


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Fashion Police


by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Crazy polka dots, mismatched leggings, fanny packs: we’ve all heard the term.

But what is its origin?

During the Middle Ages, feudalism reigned. A strict hierarchical social code classified lords, ladies, knights, vassals, and serfs.

The medieval social code governed people’s behavior and manner of dress. Clothing functioned as a way to distinguish the classes. If someone dared to don the attire for the class above theirs, the authorities would throw them in jail for transgressing social norms. Hence, the term Fashion Police.

Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse’s rendition of Lady Juliet Capulet.

Only a woman of her station would be permitted to don this blue necklace.

The sartorial choices of two medieval cooks.

(The chickens, however, are, free to don their birthday suits)

In medieval times, if a person wore the wrong fashion,  ‘twould be a crime.


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