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

Take 5 || St. Jude

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Join me for an evening of fashion and philanthropy at  Take 5 boutique to benefitSt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Saturday, September 26th

 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Take 5 Boutique  || Mosaic Disctrict

I’m thrilled to be a special guest to talk all things fall fashion as Take 5 will showcase a runway presentation of their latest arrivals for Fall/Winter 2015 womenswear (they’re gorgeous!) as well as children’s looks from Dawn Price Baby (cute!) while guests enjoy a full bar, passed hors d’oeuvres and a Godiva desert bar, #yummy.

Best part of all of this, a portion of the evening’s proceeds and ticket sales will go directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, an organization that leads the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

$40 General Ticket- includes 1 free movie pass to the Angelika movie theater

$50 VIP Ticket – includes 1 free movie pass, a front row seat to the fashion presentation, and a chance to win a $50 gift card to Take 5.

Click here to register and attend.

XOXO

Calypso St. Barth Resort Wear Show

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I’m SO excited to announce all the details for the next Style Series show at Capella DC!

On May 14th || 12pm – 2pm we will feature one of my favorite luxury resort wear brands, Calypso St. Barth, on the Rooftop of the hotel.  Here’s a preview of some of the beautiful looks you’ll encounter during the show.

For further deets and to purchase your tickets (space is limited) visit –

http://capelladcstyleseries.splashthat.com

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XOXO

Capella DC Style Series: Elie Tahari

It’s finally here…my Style Series with Capella DC is taking off in full force (yay!) and March 19thwill feature one of my favorite designers, Elie Tahari.

So what is it you ask?  Well, it all started when I wanted to bring a portion of what I get to experience at Fashion Week to DC and as the Resident Stylist at the uber-luxury boutique hotel in Georgetown – Capella – it was a match made in heaven for this concept.   Now we have created a Style Series, which had a soft launch in November 2013 with Saks Fifth Avenue, and this year is set to include more of my top pick designers and stores.  I love my job!  :o)

On Wednesday, March 19 || 12pm – 2pm inside The Grill Room, guests will enjoy a welcome cocktail followed by a seated luncheon accompanied by an informal presentation (from Yours Truly) of Elie Tahari’s Spring 2014 collection and Edition 1974, a capsule collection of updated iconic pieces from the past four decades.  In addition, if you see something during the presentation that you just have to have, following the lunch you will be able to purchase items on-site.  Plus, you’ll get a chance to speak with the Elie Tahari team and will head home with a fabulous swag bag!

Space is extremely limited so scoop your tickets ASAP here:

http://ow.ly/tWTQZ 

This is a special show for me as Elie Tahari was the first designer to give me my big break as a fashion blogger (MyDCStyle) during my experiences at Fashion Week in NYC, so it was only fitting that he was my first choice designer to bring to DC for this series.  Flashback to 2011,Elie Tahari Interview, when I got to go backstage and interview Elie Tahari himself during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.  I was so excited (for those of you fashion bloggers out there you get how amazing it is to land an interview with a major designer) and although I may look calm, cool and collected in the clip, inside I was screaming with excitement, heh.  Needless to say aside from the fact that I love Elie Tahari’s clothing, as do many of my clients, it’s a perfect pairing between the smart and fashionable women of DC and the luxurious and unique Capella DC, which is the first Capella to open in the United States.  #SpecialThingsAreHappening

Here’s a peak at some of the looks you’ll be seeing during the show –

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I hope to see you there!

XOXO

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