Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Big news from New York

I recently received word from the Vanity Fair and Estée Lauder contest team of which New York fashion week show I will be attending as part of the Camera-Ready Style Contest prize package!  Drumroll, please...  Are you ready?

Derek Lam!

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to witness Derek Lam's Fall 2012 fashion show on Sunday, February 12!  Below is a little information about the renowned designer.  I also put together a "Wish List" of a few other New York shows I would be overjoyed to see, although any would be amaaazing.

Show: Derek Lam

Hometown: San Francisco, California

Background: Graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1990 then worked as an assistant for Michael Kors for four years. After working for a large retail brand in Hong Kong, Lam returned to New York and became President of Design of Michael Kors’ Kors label.  He debuted his first collection at New York fashion week in the fall of 2003.  Since 2005, Lam has also been the creative director for ready-to-wear and accessories at Italian luxury house Tod's.

Style: American sportswear characterized by pretty fabrics, clean silhouettes and signature pieces like sheath dresses, trousers and trench coats.  According to the trusty style.com, “Lam excels at updating looks from other eras, be it a seventies-style silk romper or drop-waist shirtdresses inspired by hippie California beach towns of the late sixties.”

Inspirations: Derek Lam said he learned “American classics 101” by working as a designer at Michael Kors for 12 years, which is made evident in his elegant approach to well-tailored, contemporary pieces.   His pre-fall 2012 collection was inspired by Scott Schuman’s street-style photos of Japanese guys from Pitti Uomo, the seasonal menswear shows in Florence, Italy.  Lam’s spring 2012 line was representative of “mid-century louche and luxury” set in Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House of the 1960s in Palm Springs, California.  Imagine “Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack crooning by the piano and Angie Dickinson lounging by a crystal-blue pool,” said Lam.

Famous fans: Kate Bosworth, Leighton Meester, Kate Beckinsale, Rachel Bilson, Rihanna, Eva Mendes, Nicole Richie, Olivia Palermo, Kirsten Dunst, Emmy Rossum

My take: I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the Derek Lam show!  I can’t wait to see what his inspiration will be behind his latest collection.  I’m also looking forward to see who will be in attendance.

[caption id="attachment_371" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Pre-fall 2012 - Photo courtesy of Steven Pan/Derek Lam"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_372" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Spring 2012 - Photos courtesy of Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_370" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Kate Beckinsale, Eva Mendes, Kirsten Dunst"][/caption]

Kate Beckinsale photo courtesy of John Shearer/WireImage, Eva Mendes photo courtesy of Galactic/Star Max, Kirsten Dunst photo courtesy of David X Prutting/BFAnyc/Sipa Press


Show: alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet

Hometown: New York, New York

Background: Bendet graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and launched alice + olivia in 2002.  A children’s line was added in 2008 and a shoe collection in 2010.  She has collaborated with MAC Cosmetics, Keds and Payless.

Style: Eclectic, playful and feminine full lifestyle collection

Inspirations: Culture, music, art, vintage fashion and the women around her.  Bendet’s pre-fall 2012 collection was inspired by Parisian allure and retro looks from the sixties and seventies.  Her spring 2012 collection included floral prints, bright pastels, the combination of black and white and more sixties flair.

Famous Fans: Anne Hathaway, Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Kristen Stewart, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Dakota Fanning, Mena Suvari, Sophia Bush

My take: I adore the polished, yet fun and youthful style of Stacey Bendet.  While she’s not heralded for being fashion forward or inventive, I would definitely wear many of her pieces.  As a big fan of designs from decades past, I really like her updated interpretations of vintage fashion.

[caption id="attachment_378" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Pre-fall 2012 - Photos courtesy of alice + olivia"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_381" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Spring 2012 - Photos courtesy of alice + olivia"][/caption]


Show: Porter Grey, by sisters Alexandra and Kristen O'Neill

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Background: Alexandra and Kristen were both Art History majors at NYU and Harvard, respectively.  They launched Porter Grey, named after their great-grandmother, in the fall of 2006.

Style:  Fresh, crisp, and classic sportswear for the modern American woman

Inspirations: Simple and classic American style peppered with nostalgia for vintage fashion.  The inspiration for their spring 2012 collection was garden parties at their grandparents' house in Long Island in the fifties and sixties.  Their fall 2011 line was influenced by the seventies’ Ali MacGraw and Shelley Duvall.

Famous fans: Rachel Bilson, Jessica Biel, Blake Lively, Malin Ackerman, Elizabeth Olsen, Whitney Port

My take: While I’m drawn to slightly more flamboyant designs, Porter Grey’s well-crafted, simple pieces are timeless additions to any woman’s wardrobe.  I hope to invest in more quality and classic staples like these when my budget allows it.

[caption id="attachment_386" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Porter Grey Spring 2012 - Photos courtesy of Getty"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_387" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Porter Grey Fall 2011 - Photos courtesy of Porter Grey"][/caption]


Show: Michael Kors

Hometown: Long Island, New York

Background:  Kors dropped out of the Fashion Institute of Technology after two semesters and launched his first women’s collection in May 1981.  His labels include Michael Kors, Kors Michael Kors and MICHAEL Michael Kors. He is a recurring judge on Bravo’s Emmy-nominated Project Runway.

Style: Simple, elegantly tailored American sportswear

Inspirations: American themes like Hollywood, the military and vintage fashion; American sportswear pioneers like Norman Norell and Bill Blass and American thoroughbreds such as Lauren Bacall, Ali MacGraw and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis influence Michael Kors' style.  Kors' latest muse is, Ann Bonfoey Taylor, who was voted one of Harper's Bazaar's 100 Great Beauties of the World in 1967.  Taylor, a very interesting character herself, was a Colorado aristocrat who enjoyed skiing, hunting and flying planes.  She also loved clothes, collected couture and designed a line of skiwear.  However, for the Spring 2012 "Afriluxe" collection, Kors took inspiration overseas by using khaki, cargo pockets, animal prints and hand-dyeing techniques.

Celebrity fans: Who doesn't wear Michael Kors?  Fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum, Barbara Walters, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Alba, Zoe Saldana, Miranda Kerr, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and many more.

My take: It’s Michael Kors, an American fashion legend.  Enough said.

[caption id="attachment_389" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Michael Kors Pre-Fall 2012 - Photos courtesy of Michael Kors"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_388" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Heidi Klum, Angelina Jolie, Rosie Huntington-Whitely"][/caption]

Heidi Klum photo courtesy of George Pimentel/WireImage, Angelina Jolie photo courtesy of Jason Laveris/FilmMagic, Rosie Huntington-Whitely photo courtesy of Alexander Aleshkin/Epsilon/Getty


Show: Marchesa by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig

Hometown: Chapman was born in London, England and Craig was born in Lucerne, Switzerland

Background: Chapman and Craig met while attending Chelsea College of Art and Design.  Later Craig graduated from University of Brighton and worked in print and embroidery design, while Chapman graduated from Wimbledon College of Art and became a costume designer.  In 2004, the pair created Marchesa in Chapman’s London apartment.  Now based in New York, the label was backed early by several A-list celebrities and the late English stylemaker, Isabella Blow.

Style: Intricately crafted, feminine and ethereal eveningwear perfect for the red carpet.  Voguepedia describes the dresses as, “Dipped in fairy dust and edged in embroidery, they could be the handiwork of those nimble-fingered mice of a certain Gloucester tailor’s shop.”

Inspirations: The label is named after and inspired by Marchesa Luisa Casati, the legendary European socialite and fashion icon of the early twentieth century, known for her eccentricity, lack of inhibitions, menagerie of exotic animals and striking eyes.  She is reportedly the most artistically represented woman throughout history, after the Virgin Mary and Cleopatra, due to her quest for immortality through art.  Marchesa’s spring 2012 collection was influenced by an 1876 painting, Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom by Ilya Repin.  The gorgeous gowns of pale blue, lilac and platinum were embellished with flapper-style fringe, crystal beading, embroidery and tulle.  The “toned down” resort 2012 line was inspired by celebrity photographer Slim Aaron’s book A Place in the Sun.

Famous fans: Again, who doesn’t wear Marchesa… on the red carpet?  Renée Zellweger, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Olivia Wilde, Sandra Bullock, Kate Hudson, Rihanna and many more have strutted in Marchesa.

My take: To see a Marchesa show would be to witness the prettiest gowns before they hit the red carpet.  I would be delighted to see such beautiful creations in person.

[caption id="attachment_400" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Marchesa Spring 2012 - Photos courtesy of Alessandro Garofalo/GoRunway.com"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_399" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Marchesa Resort 2012 - Photos courtesy of Marchesa"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_398" align="aligncenter" width="499" caption="Lea Michele, Sofia Vergara, Madonna"][/caption]

Lea Michele photo courtesy of Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Sofia Vergara photo courtesy of Kevin Mazure/WireImage, Madonna photo courtesy of  Janet Mayer/Splash News


Show: Badgley Mischka by Mark Badgley and James Mischka

Hometown: Mischka was born in Burlington, Wisconsin and Badgley was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, but grew up in Oregon

Background: Mischka studied biochemical engineering and then majored in art history and managerial studies at Rice University.  Badgley studied art at the University of Oregon and business at the University of Southern California.  The pair met while studying at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan.  Mischka went on to work with WilliWear WilliSmith's men's collection, while Badgley joined Donna Karan.  In 1988, they created Badgley Mischka and started collecting awards.  In 1996, they added bridalwear and in 2009, they established a more affordable collection that's fresh, modern and sexy for the young yet sophisticated woman.

Style: "Simple, streamlined and thoroughly elegant," said Mischka.  The sexy eveningwear line is perfect for brides (Jada Pinkett Smith, Trista Rehn of The Bachelorette, Charlotte York on Sex and the City), A-listers on the red carpet or magazine covers (see "Famous fans") and even twins (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Barbara and Jenna Bush.)

Inspirations: Mischka said "Our style harks back to the glamorous Hollywood of the forties."  However, the spring 2012 bridal collection takes it back even further to the 1920s of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.  The opulent line, influenced by Art Deco, features embellished belts and sleeves and slinky silhouettes.  The focus was on structure for the spring 2012 ready-to-wear line, which manifested in peplum skirts, oversized bows and even a leather jacket.  The duo went a little more demure for their pre-fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection.  Fluid long gowns, midi length skirts, minimal glittering embellishments and more high necklines kept it simple, yet classy.

Famous fans: Winona Ryder, Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, Madonna, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Taylor Swift, Sarah Jessica Parker, Carrie Underwood, Helen Mirren, Queen Latifah, Jayma Mays

My take: Badgley Mischka can be sophisticated and understated or lavish and sexy, but almost every piece is undeniably classy.  This is another show that would be a special preview of the dresses during awards season.

[caption id="attachment_404" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Badgley Mischka Spring 2012 - Photos courtesy of Marcus Tondo/GoRunway.com"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_403" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Badgley Mischka Pre-Fall 2012 - Photos courtesy of Badgley Mischka"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_405" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Kelly Osbourne"][/caption]

Katy Perry photo courtesy of INFevents, Taylor Swift photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage, Kelly Osbourne photo courtesy of John Shearer/WireImage

Just a few last mentions… I’d also love to see Monique Lhuillier (she designed Sarah Michelle Gellar’s blue and white watercolor ballgown, which her daughter selected for the 2012 Golden Globes, that was anything but boring in a parade of mostly typical eveningwear); Honor by Giovanna Randall (the up-and-coming label is feminine, hip and definitely something I would wear) and Betsey Johnson (she’s had me enthralled with her over-the-top, flirty and fun style for ages!)

10 more days until I'm at the Derek Lam show!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Night on the Town: Navy Lace

Last night, I had the opportunity to get all dolled up and schmooze with some of the community's finest at the Toledo Auto Show preview gala.  I wore a navy lace GB Gianni Bini dress from a sales rack at Dillard's.  The mini dress with 3/4 sleeves was the perfect mix of demure and enticing, with a high boat neckline and low open back.  I paired it with light pink patent heels and crystal chandelier earrings.  My esstentials were kept in a pearl snakeskin clutch with an embellished knuckle handle à la Alexander McQueen, which I got for a steal at T.J. Maxx.

NOTE: This is my first post about my style (a little nerve racking) and I hope you check back for more!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cut me some Shellac

I know I'm a little late, as always, but I just tried the Shellac manicure for the first time.  As you probably already know, it's supposed to last up to 14 days.  It's very shiny, there's no drying time and supposedly no nail damage.  When I paint my nails with normal polish they chip the very next day.  That's why I don't paint them often, although I'm trying to more regularly.

Anyway, for my first Shellac manicure I went to United Hairlines & Tan Lines in Holland, Ohio.  I chose Red Baroness from the 30 available colors and it only took about 40 minutes.  I used a Groupon, but it normally costs $30.  After day one, I am very pleased with the results.  If it lasts a while, like it's supposed to, I will definitely get another Shellac manicure in the future, possibly for fashion week.  I'll post an update after 14 days so you can see for yourself.

Next I would like to try Fedora, deep brown with a hint of burgundy; Rock Royalty, deep purple; Asphalt, deep grey or Clearly Pink (duh.)  For warmer weather I'm looking forward to Tutti Frutti, hot pink; Tropix, bright coral and Hotski to Tchotchke, teal.  In March the creators, CND, are releasing six new colors.  If you haven't already, get Shellacked.

UPDATE: My Shellac manicure only lasted a week :(

My nails looked near perfect for about 4 days, then began to show wear on the tips and a couple small chips.  Exactly a week after I had it done I noticed that a small piece of the polish on one nail was peeling up.  Not thinking, I pulled at it and half of the polish peeled off!  Like a kid in a candy store, I peeled the polish off of every single nail.  And I loved it, well not the fact that it didn't last.  But  I have very weak nails that are very pliable so I didn't expect it to.  Yes, I was disappointed, but I would consider getting it done again for certain events - wedding & honeymoon, fashion week, special vacations...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And a little rock & roll at 2012 Golden Globes

Old Hollywood glamour met a little rock & roll on Sunday, January 15 at the 2012 Golden Globes. The display of elegant red carpet gowns in pale shades of nude, grey and white was punctuated by bursts of red, dramatic cutouts and shimmering fabric and details.  Below are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.

[caption id="attachment_311" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage"][/caption]

Salma Hayek shined in Gucci.  Her look was inspired by the 1920’s art deco patterns and architectural shapes.  Hayek's long, loose curls softened the edges of the strapless bustier and column skirt.  I think art deco style is the cat’s meow and I look forward to seeing more of the twenties coming back from geometric designs and drop-waists to pleats, fringe, beading and headwear.

[caption id="attachment_328" align="aligncenter" width="376" caption="Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage"][/caption]

Emma Stone rocked a plum Lanvin gown with raspberry side panels.  The flowing dress with a plunging V neckline and embellished shoulders was cinched at the waist by a leather belt with a crystal eagle.  I couldn’t put it any better than the people at the Red Carpet Fashion Awards – “Very Harley-Davidson meets Aphrodite” – and I adored the juxtaposition.

[caption id="attachment_322" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage"][/caption]

Sofia Vergara of Modern Family flaunted her hourglass figure in a peacock blue Vera Wang custom-made gown.  The swirling mermaid skirt further accentuated her curves and her long hair worn straight to one side kept it sultry by balancing the elaborate dress.

[caption id="attachment_317" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage"][/caption]

Nicole Kidman glowed in a studded grey Versace dress that hugged her statuesque form.  I really liked how the gold studs matched the color of her long, loose curls and added some rock & roll to her typical elegant style.  I found her selection interesting because the gold studs have appeared on Versace's women and men's Spring runways and in the recent collaboration with H&M, so I'm expecting to see studs everywhere.  Bring on the rock & roll!

[caption id="attachment_313" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images"][/caption]

Angelina Jolie was absolutely stunning in a white Atelier Versace gown.  The structured bodice, which fit her perfectly, was topped with an asymmetrical collar folded down to reveal a shocking red.  The satin skirt gathered at one hip above a thigh high slit.  Her Christian Louboutin satin clutch and full lips were the same bold red as the collar.  Her hair was pulled back in a simple bun to showcase her beautiful face.  Absolutely stunning.

[caption id="attachment_324" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images"][/caption]

I have to admit that I have a girl crush on Evan Rachel Wood.  I think she is beautiful and genuine and I've heard that she knows how to have fun.  My kind of girl.  I also have a thing for peacocks.  So while it might not be everybody's cup of tea, I was fascinated by her Gucci Première gown.  From the top, the dress began with a sheer halter neckline with a deep V cut and a scattering of paillettes that become denser and overlap like fish scales. The glittering pieces grow larger through her hips and thighs and then turn to ostrich plumes covering the full skirt.  The shimmering green and teal masterpiece is mesmerizing, however Wood manages to wear the dress and not let the dress wear her by letting her confidence and grace shine through.

[caption id="attachment_309" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage"][/caption]

Supermodel Elle Macpherson was stunning in a Zac Posen gown with a mermaid train.  Her bold diamond encrusted bangles and long, loose curls added even more drama.  I’m still trying to figure out how she looks younger than ever…

[caption id="attachment_314" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage"][/caption]

Charlize Theron romanced in a blush Dior Haute Couture gown.  The deep V-neckline, wavy hair and embellished headband was reminiscent of a 1920s flapper.  The plunging neckline and high slit gave the glamorous look vavoom without giving away too much. I adore this romantic dress on Theron, who is a spokesperson for Dior.

[caption id="attachment_319" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images"][/caption]

Helen Mirren was gorgeous in a navy Badgley Mischka dress.  She accessorized the wrap top and ruffled petal skirt with a jeweled belt and clutch.  Again, I’m wondering how she manages to look so young!

[caption id="attachment_306" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Steve Granitz"][/caption]

Amber Riley, the diva of Glee, flaunted her figure in a sexy red number from Badgley Mischka.  She looks terrific in this simple shape with a sweetheart neckline and frills.  And while I think her hair looks great, I wonder what she would look like with it pulled up.

[caption id="attachment_312" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage"][/caption]

Sara Hyland of Modern Family looked darling in a vintage Dolce & Gabbana nude lace dress with a black lace sash and side swept hair.

[caption id="attachment_315" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage"][/caption]

Kim Kardashian, who did not attend the Golden Globes, although she has been working on her acting skills on her "reality" show, went old Hollywood glam at the after party in a Bruce Oldfield gown and Lorraine Schwartz jewels.  As a fan of 50s inspired glamour I was pleased that she complemented the black lace number with wavy hair and red lips.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Big lights have inspired me

Guess who’s going to New York Fashion Week!  That’s right.  This girl!  Eeeeeeeee!

Thank you to the wonderful people at Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair for selecting me as the winner of the Camera-Ready Style Contest!  I won a trip to New York, NY, tickets to a Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week show, a makeup session with an Estée Lauder makeup artist and a photo shoot with a Vanity Fair-caliber photographer.  I am beyond excited for this incredible opportunity that I will never forget.

Some of you who know me may be thinking, “Didn’t she go to fashion week last season?”  Yes, I went to New York during fashion week and attended a few shows of up and coming designers at Nolcha Fashion Week.  It was an amazing experience and I met some very talented people, who are in the beginning stages of potentially launching their brands.  New York Fashion Week is a time when across the city designers new and experienced showcase their next season’s designs.  Many of the “big” shows, of highly anticipated collections from famous designers, are at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Lincoln Square.  Which show am I attending?  I’m not sure yet…  The contest coordinators will choose.  I’ll let you know who I’m hoping for soon.

First, let me tell you about my first trip to New York Fashion Week in September of 2011…

I arrived on Thursday, September 8 just in time for Fashion’s Night Out (FNO), a worldwide celebration founded in New York of fashion, designers, retailers and most importantly, shoppers.  FNO, hosted by Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and NYC & Company, is the industry’s way of connecting fashion, especially luxury brands, to the average shopper.  Stores entice guests with free drinks, deals, celebrity appearances and unique experiences.  I planned my attack on FNO based on who I wanted to see, knowing I would absorb the scene of chic shoppers on the way.  Since my flight was delayed, I scrambled to get ready when I arrived at my apartment for the week and threw on a red dolman-sleeve top, dark skinny jeans, a statement necklace of silver chains and large black beads and black slightly pointed flats.  (I was properly warned that it’s all about flats when you’re walking all over the city!)  Then I was off to Manolo Blahnik with hopes of seeing Sarah Jessica Parker. I had big city aspirations before Sex and the City debuted but it was Carrie Bradshaw who convinced me that living in New York can be glamorous and attainable.

My mom and I jumped on the subway, pretending like we were pros except for the MTA map I triple checked, and headed to Midtown.  There was a crowd of fashionably dressed women standing outside the large window next to a plate that read “Manolo Blahnik, Office Entrance.”  Just as we arrived, a silver sedan paused and Sarah Jessica Parker stepped out wearing a leather Prabal Gurung dress and white pointed-toe Manolos.  She briefly paused for photographs and then entered the discreet brick building to celebrate her collaboration with the legendary shoemaker, a redesign of the Carolyne.  My goal was achieved – to see SJP in NYC.  Next stop: Tiffany & Co. to see Leighton Meester, star of Gossip Girl, perform with Check in the Dark.

Meester, dressed in a cloudy sky printed Carven maxidress, jammed with the folk rock band under the disco balls on the fourth floor.  From Tiffany’s we took a stroll down 57th Street past Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Miu Miu, Chanel and Dior to the subway.

We arrived at the door of Jeffrey New York shortly after 10 p.m. and with ample time to wait for Harry errr Daniel Radcliffe to arrive.  We waited impatiently while only certain people on an enigmatic yet dogmatic list were permitted inside and a few privileged early arrivers made their exit.   One of the guests leaving early was hip hop mogul, Russell Simmons.  Finally the doorman turned away a hopeful with an unconvincing story and announced that no one else would be let inside unless he or she was the editor of a fashion magazine.

“What about a fashion writer from far away?” my mom shouted.

“How far?” the doorman asked.

“Toledo, Ohio,” she replied with a smirk.

I think he was so amused that either this lady had the gumption to yell this at him or that she replied with a place like Toledo, Ohio, but either way he said with a smile, “Come on in.”

I hadn’t even heard what happened but as my Mom pulled me toward the door I asked, “Can my mom come with me?” I asked.

“Of course,” doorman said.

Miraculously, we were in, both doubled over with laughter, and just moments away from seeing Daniel Radcliffe!  As we waited, a well-dressed woman wearing sunglasses and a short bob brushed by me and after she passed I realized it was Anna Wintour, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue.  Jeffrey New York was the place to be.  Moments later the stars of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Mr. Radclife and Rose Hemingway, swept through the crowd. The grinning, fair-faced actor, who I fell in love with as a wizard, greeted the long line of fans, giving me ample time to take more than enough pictures.  We also got a taste of the renowned excellent customer service from a very kind salesman as we browsed the Manolos and Louboutins.

Carrie Bradshaw, a Gossip Girl, the pioneer of hip hop, the Devil (who) Wears Prada and The Chosen One… and that was just my first day in the Big Apple.

Monday came the reason for my trip: fashion week.  I awoke early, ate my breakfast, put on my perfectly planned ensemble – a brown dress with pink metallic ballet flats and a thrift store find choker of pink and gold – and headed to 18th street.  Being from Ohio I was one of the first to arrive at Nolcha Fashion Week, which gave me time to browse the exhibition prior to the show (get fake nails applied thanks to the ladies at Kiss) and mingle with the designers.  The agency behind this event is an award-winning global platform advancing the business of independent fashion, beauty, consumer and lifestyle brands through  'out-of-the-box' thinking, industry connections and event production.

I took my seat next to a distinguished gentleman named Frank, who thought I was just perfect for his son, and waited for the lights to dim.  My first fashion show in New York began with Carlos Luna, a Columbian born designer who began his label this year.  His line was characterized by sheer panels, color blocking, excellent tailoring and light weight fabrics that moved and draped beautifully.  The palette of the silk garments included aqua, royal blue, red and coral.  The high-necked, sleeveless, floor length gown with high slits in either coral or aqua is something that I would wear to a black tie affair this spring.

One of my favorite lines was presented by Eredappa Hart.  From Nigeria, Hart combined African Ankara fabrics of intricate and vibrant patterns with beadwork and classic European lines.  The result was an exquisite collection of cocktail dresses and suits completely covered with beads that shone brilliantly under the lights of the runway.  The feather-like patterns of green, blue and pink added welcome variety to the sun-inspired collection comprised mostly of bright yellow, white, black and brown.  While tribal prints are presently on trend, the authenticity and beautiful intricacy of the beaded African patterns make these pieces continually unique and stylish.

The fashion forward style of Zula Studio was one of the most memorable of the day.  Russian designer Zula Khramov, inspired by the movie Avatar, used woven fabrics, unconventional shapes and bondage elements.  Contrasting soft, shiny, sheer and reptile-inspired textiles made the collection even more eccentric.  From stilettos to skirts and neutrals to neons, snakeskin made a major comeback this fall.

Amelia Boland, a young designer from New Zealand, unveiled a feminine collection inspired by the clothing of children and dolls and the effect that their proportion has on the womanly shape.  The sheer fabric, high stockings and baby doll shapes gave the whimsical frills, oversized bows and velvet an edge.

Most of the designers at NOLCHA fashion week are just beginning their fashion careers.  “This is a stepping stone for me,” said Devon Thomas of presenting her second collection.  For Thomas, it’s a stepping stone for her dream of becoming a fashion icon.  For me, this experience was an eye-opening milestone toward many goals, some of which I just discovered in the fashion capital.