Oscars 2017: Red Carpet Hits and Misses

Sunday night’s Oscars showed us that old Hollywood glamour continues to dominate best-dressed picks on the red carpet!  I love the timelessness of these looks and below are a few of my favorites as well as misses from the night.

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As you can already surmise, Taraji P. Henson (above) was my pick for best dressed of the night, not only for her dress but for the complete head-to-toe package, she simply nailed it!   The sultry Henson donned an off-the-shoulder, velvet custom Alberta Ferretti gown with a thigh-high slit showing off her incredible physique in all the right ways.   Henson completed her look wisely with a diamond encrusted neck, sexy hair style, flawless make-up, and open toe heels.  Simply put, she was en fuego (on fire) and gets an A+ in my book!

Next up, Kirsten Dunst in a regal custom Dior Haute Couture black gown, which was just everything to me because I do adore Dior and this dress in particular scored extra points in my book for the pockets!  Head-to-toe Dunst nailed it with a side-swept, loose curls up-do paired, smoldering eyes, red lips and warm cheeks combined with the simplicity of a diamond choker and earrings to match made her look another on my best-dressed of the night list!

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Photo Credit: Jay Clendenin/LA Times

Next up, Hailee Steinfeld opted for a whimsical look in an ethereal flower-garnished sheer gown by Ralph & Russo.  I loved this for Steinfeld because she chose to go big and ballgown-y but it didn’t look juvenile, it was just right.  Plus, the silhouette was so flattering with the halter neck line showing off her killer arms and back and the waistline hit in just the right place to highlight her tiny frame.

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— Misses —

The first on my list of misses belongs to Felicity Jones in Dior.  While I get the look she or her stylist was going for here, I’m simply not a fan of this dress on Jones for many reasons.  First and foremost it does not flatter her tiny frame but rather widens her waistline and her pale skin blends in to the color of the dress completely washing her out.

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Photo Credit:Photo Credit: Jay Clendenin/LA Times

Another miss of the night was Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton.  There’s simply too much going on.  The large necklace competes with the cap sleeves, the intricate neckline and the tiered ruffles at the bottom of her dress.   Also, the cut of the dress is not flattering on her figure.  And I have to say, the hair is nothing to write home about…something more sleek would’ve been more appropriate for this look.

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Photo Credit: Jay Clendedin/LA Times

— Oscars After Party —

For me, some of my favorite looks of the night came from the after parties!   Celebs like Jessica Biel – whose red carpet gold Kaufman Franco gown left me on the fence about her being on the best or worst-dressed list – brought the sexy back in a Ralph Lauren cape gown.  For this look, I like Biel’s sleek hair and the make-up…it works here.

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 Kate Hudson was sizzling in a nude-colored Cavalli Couture lace gown and had her hair and make-up on point as well!  The color of this dress complimented her sun-kissed skin and the plunging neckline looked exquisite on her.  Hair and make-up, on point!

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Viola Davis looked uber chic in a Brandon Maxwell white pantsuit accompanied with some cool kicks.  I thought this was a very good choice to show she cared enough to dress up but wanted to do a pantsuit and high-fashion sneakers after donning that gorgeous red gown to the Oscars main event.

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Jennifer Aniston looked ravishing in a beaded Versace dress, accompanied with a plunging neckline and thigh-high slit.  I would’ve preferred her bangs swept to the side or a loose up do with large curls cascading down one side, especially because she was rocking a 100-carat $9.5 million pair of emerald cut Lorraine Schwartz earrings, which you could barely see!  Come on now, show off those bad boys!

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(Previous photos sourced from LA Times.)

XOXO

~April

 

 

Inaugural 2017 Fashion

With Donald Trump’s Inaugural Ball less than 2 weeks away, here are some suggestions from Yours Truly on how to look your best at a most historic DC Presidential event!

First up, this gorgeous winter white, open-back gown by Stella McCartney from Net-a-Porter.  You could do it as shown with large earrings in gold or choose a pop of color (POC) like a mint green or jade and a coordinating clutch.  The cut of the dress if figure-flattering and donning white head-to-toe, coupled with the subtle sexiness of the open-back, will give you an effortless and appropriate wow-factor!

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The next dress is by one of my favorite designers, Roland Mouret, a two-tone, strapless gown from Net-a-Porter.  The navy and black together and peplum flare at the waist make for a very classic and flattering look.  I would keep it simple with this one and pair with with a black clutch and a navy or black fur cape to keep you warm and toasty.

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For a beautiful gown without high-end designer prices, Self-Portrait has been making a splash in the fashion scene from Kate Middleton to Kerry Washington and this next dress is one of my favorites from the fashion house.  The Mia dress – it also comes in white – would be perfect for the Inaugural Ball.  (This line runs very small so I recommend going up 2 sizes from your normal size.)

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Everyone knows I adore most anything Alexander McQueen and this next embellished dusty-pink gown is absolutely divine!  It’s unique, elegant, romantic and simply breath-taking.  If I were attending the Ball, this would be my pick!  🙂

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If you really want to look like the Belle of the Ball, this blue-gray glitter gown by Marchesa will fit the bill.

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Miami-based designer Rene Ruiz, who recently opened up a store in Georgetown, created this next stunning off-the-shoulder embellished navy blue gown available at Saks Fifth Avenue.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ruiz last month and viewing his gowns in person and I will say they are beautiful!  Not only that, he knows how to create a gown that truly flatters a woman’s figure regardless of her size.

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XOXO

~April

Holiday Shopping Soiree benefiting St. Jude!

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I would like to cordially to invite you to join me this Thursday, December 22nd at Intermix Georgetown for a Holiday Shopping Soiree benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.   Come out and shop for some fabulous frocks for your holidays party and/or pick up something gorgeous for your friends and family and 10% of every purchase will go directly to St. Jude!  Fashion and philanthropy going hand-in-hand, what better way to shop!

Oh, and I will be there to provide styling tips to all who attend!

If you can’t make it in to the event, no worries, we’ve got you covered!  Simply head in to the store anytime between Dec. 15th and the eve of the event to pick out your pieces and they won’t ring you until the 22nd which means your purchase will go towards the overall grand fundraising total!  :o)

St. Jude has a mind-blowing $2.2 million per day operating cost which is why events like this play such an important role in ensuring they can continue to lead the way in the way the world understand, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other pediatric diseases.  And since the majority of funding comes from generous public donors, every dollar counts, which means your purchase – no matter how big or small – matters!

For more info on St. Jude visit http://www.stjude.org

I hope to see you there and for a wonderful evening filled with amazing women to support an amazing cause.

XOXO

~April

Falling for Fall

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Red silk dress by Saint Laurent

Today I attended a fabulous Capitol File luncheon featuring a lovely showcase of some of the latest and greatest in fall ’16 fashion from Saks Fifth Avenue Chevy Chase presented by their Style Director and friend of mine, John Page.  John – who is a capsule of knowledge on all things fashion – curated a beautiful collection of some of fall’s hottest trends all while providing amazing fashion advice.  It was a wonderful afternoon spent with some of DC’s most fashionable women.

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Celine cotton oversized shirt paired with Brunello Cucinelli sweater vest and cropped leather pants and a YSL sac du jour bag.

The luncheon took place at the Rosewood Hotel (formerly the Capella) in Georgetown and if the venue looks familiar to you, you are probably recalling the fashion luncheons Yours Truly used to host as the former Resident Stylist for the Capella.  I can’t wait to do my next one – coming soon.  :o)

A couple fall trends I’m loving this season are the military look – every woman should own a military-inspired jackets; mixing day and night – pairing a sporty bomber jacket over a ball gown skirt; velvet – a fabulous velvet blazer is a must-have; and sparkle n’ shine during the day – sport a fabulous pair of sparkly heels with denim and a loose cotton button-down.

Then  of course there are some trends this season that are actually forever trends IMO.  Like the pussybow blouse, every woman should own at least one of these feminine and romantic staples.  And some trends recycle, case and point this season’s 70’s fashion trend – skin tight bell bottom jeans, boho maxi dresses, etc.- or the jean jacket from 1988 sans the button pins that you never thought you’d pull out again.

Hope you enjoyed all the beautiful looks from today’s luncheon!

XOXO

~April

#saksstyle #fall16fashiontrends #DCluncheon #DCfashion

 

Don’t Be Afraid of Sparkle and Shine

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“Don’t be afraid of sparkle and shine during the day,” was just one of the tips for tackling fall fashion 2016 given by Neiman Marcus Fashion Director, Ken Downing last week during a private luncheon at DC’s NM inside Mazza Gallerie, hosted by friend and fellow fashionista Jocelyn Greenan.  Inside the Chandelier Room, Downing presented a beautifully curated presentation to showcase some of the hottest trends for fall and I must say he did not disappoint.  This was my first time meeting the fashion guru whose love for fashion is infectious and his extensive knowledge on all things fashion is mind-blowing.  And the icing on the cake is that he has an amazing sense of humor and realness to him, which in this industry is truly hard to find.

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Elaine Mensah, Ken Downing and Yours Truly

As you may have already guessed, sparkle is IN this upcoming season and “shoes for fall are incredibly adorned,” according to Downing, so “pull out your evening shoes now!”  Yes, that’s right my friends, those jewel-encrusted satin Manolo Blahniks sitting in your closet that you reserve for an evening out are no longer PM-pumps.  Throw them on with a pair of skinny blue jeans and an oversized button-down or try these sparkle Christian Louboutins, shown below which Downing incorporated in to several looks during the presentation to show how unexpectedly versatile they can be.

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As for accessories, “jewelry moves up this season,” Downing advised as a model strutted out wearing stacked bracelets and necklace upon necklace.  Basically, the more the merrier and make sure to mix both costume jewelry and the real deal stuff, Downing suggested, for the full effect.  Oh and Downing said we should dust off those broaches and pins from grandma and incorporate them in to our fall wardrobe.   Put a fashion pin in the lapel of your overcoat or a broach on your sweater and you’ll be on-trend.

Oh and don’t forget to “carry your purse like your aunt Eunice,” said Downing, just like the model below.  This is THE way to carry your handbags this fall, a ladylike, old-fashioned way of toting your bag…and a great forearm workout.  :o)

Downing noted that he’s often asked “can I wear big earrings with a choker?”, to which he replies, “I say ‘God yes!”  He also suggested asking oneself, “is there something in my closet that’s off-beat” and “if so, then wear that because that’s what’s in now.”  Like the animal print jacket he paired with silk pajama pants (in the first picture of this post), you should mix and match to create the unexpected.  And don’t be afraid to mix a sporty bomber jacket – which Downing said is a must-have for fall – over a gown or a chunky sweater with a ball gown skirt.

Velvet is another fall trend that Downing touched on and advised is something every woman should have in her closet this upcoming season.  It’s a nod to the Renaissance Woman trend we will see for fall – bell sleeves, choker necklaces and corsets, etc..  Downing showcased a fabulous pair of velvet platform pumps by Prada throughout the show which many attendees were coveting.

Oh and did I mention, the 70’s called and they want their bell bottoms back?  Yes, my friends, some of the hottest trends of the 70’s – bell bottoms, tassels, fringe – are IN for fall and “if it’s not about a Gucci bag this season, then it’s a Chloe,” according to Downing.  And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be 5’8″ to wear these skin-tight symbol of the 70’s because they’re elongating to all who wear them.

 An interesting fact Downing pointed out was the relationship between the trends we see for fall and the deaths of music legends Prince and David Bowie.  Downing said their deaths were very influential on the fashion world as each passing reverberated through the fashion world turning the tides for the trends we see today for fall ’16 fashion.  For instance, the embellished guitar straps on handbags trend for fall was inspired by the late rock stars.   So why not really get in to it and replace your cross-body bag’s strap with an old guitar strap, which is just what Downing did in the presentation.  Fun!

Another trend you’ll see this coming fall is casual elegance.  Silk pajama pants paired with a loose-fitted sweater as shown below by Valentino (I LOVE this look!)…effortless glamour.   And who says you need an evening coat or cape for dressy occasions?  Instead pair your evening gown with a more tailored day coat – like the gorgeous Michael Kors Suntan colored coat below (I LOVE this) – for a surprisingly beautiful look that’s on-trend.  (On a side note, Kors has an insanely gorgeous collection out for fall!)

Statement furs are also back in this coming season.

Downing closed the presentation telling us that he “believes it’s all about the look, not about the label,” which I find to be very true…you don’t have to be Valentino or Chanel head-to-toe, in fact some of the greatest looks are ones that incorporate both high and low.  I always tell my clients when building their wardrobe to remember that you want to have more classic, high-quality, higher-priced pieces than low in your wardrobe.  A closet full of low-quality, disposable trendy pieces is one of the most expensive in the end because one day you’ll wake up to realize you have all these clothes that are falling apart and/or aren’t classic enough to last you through the years and you’ll wish you had splurged on more high-end, versatile pieces.

All in all it was a fabulously educational and well-curated presentation leaving me wishing for more time to hear all of Downing’s amazing fashion stories and ideas.  As a stylist, I love to learn from the masters to help me grow in to being the best I can be.

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Downing with (from left to right) Kay Willis White, Kristin Cecchi, Amy Baier, Jocelyn Greenan and Diane Brown.

Oh and don’t forget, just because it’s trending, doesn’t mean it’s for you.  If you’re not feeling some of these trends, you can always sit this season out.

XOXOX

~April

St. Jude Heart of Fashion

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It’s less than two months away until my absolute favorite event of the year, the St. Jude Heart of Fashion (HOF)!  Soooo….

Save the Date:

Saturday, September 10

The HOF will of course take place once again at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie and I’m honored to once again be apart of the committee for this wonderful event and ask that you join me and a fabulous crowd of attendees as we unite together for a day of fashion and philanthropy to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

St. Jude leads the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the center is at the cutting-edge of the latest medicine and research in life-threatening pediatric diseases, such as cancer, all while freeing families from the biggest burden in getting life-saving healthcare: the cost.

Events like the HOF are so important to the continued success of St. Jude because the center receives the majority of it’s funding from generous donors.   With a $2 million a day operating cost, every dollar counts and the results are evident today as St. Jude has increased the survival rates for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) from 4% (in 1962) to 94%.

The event features a full runway presentation – designer TBA – brunch bites, champagne and an amazing silent auction!  New this year, a very special VIP pre-event reception.

Tickets will be available soon, so stay tuned!

Last year’s HOF was completely sold out only days before the show and we are anticipating the same to happen this year!  Below are a few pictures from a previous HOF to get you even more excited for this year’s.

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Photo creds: Zaid Hamid

Hope to see you there!

XOXO

~April