Saturday, June 22, 2013

Takeshi Kaneshiro for EVA Air

Asia's newest network start-up, Bates Chi & Partners beautifully meshes the best of east (Asia) meets west (London and NYC). Bates Chi & David newly launched a global brand campaign for Taiwanese airlines EVA Air, starring none other than the beautifully talented Takeshi Kaneshiro

Takeshi Kaneshiro for EVA Airlines, by Bates Chi & Partners
EVA Air, which launched its first branding campaign in 1993 for domestic flights to Taiwan, now has a more international scope. The new "I See You" global brand campaign for EVA Air is based on changing the way you see the world.

According to Campaign Asia-Pacific's interview with Tyson Deng (chairman of Bates Chi & David), people are often times traveling for business or vacation, taking images through the lens of a camera or smart phone, rushing here and there, but seldom really putting their heart into understanding and appreciating the cultures and beauty within different countries. The campaign slogan ("I See You") also has a double meaning: in Chinese, it means "seeing art, dialogue, determination, and a happy home." Hence, it's even more appropriate that the television ad campaign veers from the stereotypes of airline campaigns, i.e. beautiful flight attendants, and transposes you to a poetic travelogue through Paris, Japan, and Taiwan.

Shot from a zen garden in Nara, Japan
 The 90-second televison commercial will air on international media channels such as Fox, CNBC, CNN, BBC Worldwide, Discovery Channel, and Sony Fox Screen in NYC's Times Square.

Here's a behind-the-scenes video of the television advertisement:

The song is the ultimate element, in my opinion, and I believe it's composed by Ricky Ho. The settings are splendid, ranging from the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris to the Buddhist temple and zen garden in Nara, Japan, along with scenery shot in Taitung, Taiwan. And, of course, Kaneshiro is always a delight! I initially fell in love with Kaneshiro upon viewing the 2004 film "House of Flying Daggers," which also features the gorgeous Chinese model/actress Ziyi Zhang and is definitely one of my favorite films!

In other Kaneshiro news, keep an eye out for Hong Kong director John Woo's upcoming film, "Love And Let Love," which also stars Ziyi Zhang, (Chinese actor) Huang Xiaoming and (South Korean actress) Song Hye-kyo. The film, said to be shot in Shanghai and Taiwan, will revolve around six central characters whose lives and love stories intertwine over a span of three decades--first beginning in Shanghai during the turbulent wartime of the 1930s.

If you need a history lesson, read more about China in the 1930s on Suite 101 and Columbia University's library reference on Ling Long Women's Magazine.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Downton Houston Alliance's "Emerging Leaders"

Last night, the Downtown Houston Alliance's Emerging Leaders held a "Networking 101" event at the Advantage BMW in Midtown Houston. There were representatives from over 16 professional groups (including Public Relations Society of America, Houston Museum District, Houston Young People for the Arts, Society for the Performing Arts, and Young Nonprofit Professionals Network), along with a mini-session series on professional development led by First Person Houston's CEO and founder, Christina Canales Gorczynski.

Gorczynski spoke to attendees about branding and reputation, how to network efficiently, and strike a work-life balance. She energetically guided attendees to interact with one another by asserting that the crowd scramble, so that individuals stand in between two people they aren't familiar with and to start a conversation--a great motivational push for those who are shy or conformed to their comfort zone! Also, she declared that you should give your business cards to everyone you meet along the way because you never know who or how they may be of assistance to you in the near future.

Among the crowd were Society for the Performing Arts' education coordinator Jessica Capistran and development intern Katina White, Founder of MAP Creative and Baylor College of Medicine's graphic designer Marc-Antony Piñón, and Cheeky Vintage intern Taylor Bass, to name a few.

Summer trend: sorbet colors i.e. mint; (from left to right) Yi Zheng and Taylor Bass

There were a few trendsetting and friendly young professionals among the crowd. Compliments on style always perk my interest--which reminds me, make sure you come out tonight (6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) to Cheeky Vintage's summer soirée. The event is in conjunction with the Houston Tidbits, and I'm hoping to do a write up on the event for Houstonia Magazine's "Shop Talk" blog. See you then!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Shop India’s Hidden Treasures Online

Whether you’re yearning for a trip to the east, or you just adore collecting and learning about handcrafted artisanal pieces—you’ll definitely be agog for Jaypore’s curated online-shopping finds!

Launched in October 2012, the e-tailer (with offices in Sausalito, California and New Delhi, India) brings shoppers worldwide to unknown artisans and craftsmen from all over India that have honed their talent through generations of ancestry. With products ranging from home décor, accessories, jewelry, apparel, artwork, literature, vintage items, and so on—there’s really something for everyone, no matter what your personal style or age!

1. For art aficionados, Krsna Mehta’s “Garden of Love” (from the “Ras Leela” collection) boasts a high-octane fusion of culture, colors, and visual splendor. This digital art print comes signed by the artist and framed in a black, wooden frame—weighing a total of 4.41 lbs.

2. For the handbag lady, this pale yellow “Madison” tote (from the “Manhattan” collection) is the perfect subtle, on-trend accessory for the season. The price tag reflects the handcrafted soft, genuine Cow Banjo leather and zinc alloy used to create such a classic accessory. It’s perfect for a day trip or your daily errands, and it’s effortlessly city chic!

3. For the accessory collector, this green “Maheshwari” silk and cotton dupatta (stole) is the perfect graceful take on the season’s floral print and color-block trend. The scarf is hand-woven and hand-block-printed using the rare Kota weaving technique that dates back to the 1700s.

4. For fashion historians and bookworms alike, India’s preeminent fashion designer Ritu Kumar’s hardbound book, “Costumes and Textiles of Royal India,” offers an in-depth study into the evolution of Indian royal costumes—spanning the centuries from the reign of the Mughal Empire and the days of the British Raj to Indian independence and modern-day Indian royalty. The book covers both men’s and women’s garments, Hindu and Muslim styles, and documents the evolution of the east-meets-west fashions. It’s an excellent addition to your coffee table, or at-home library!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reve by Khushali Kumar: Who Wore It Better

Cheryl Burke (famed for her role on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars) was the first to don the halter-style, backless mini-dress by New Delhi-based designer Khushali Kumar.

Worn for the “Friends and Family” Pre-Grammy soirée, Burke complemented the look with radiant diamonds (ring and arrowhead-shaped bangle) from Vahan Jewelry and black stilettos.

Whilst the country singer, Kelleigh Bannen, exhibited her look for the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Bennen paired the ravishing embellished dress with studded-platform heels and gold jewelry (geometric cuff, dangling earrings, and bold rings) by H Stern.

Khushali Kumar’s “Reve” collection launched in 1995, with the vision of an edgy, beautiful, mysterious, and sexy woman in mind.

In your opinion, which celebrity best captures the designer’s vision and wore the Lakmé Fashion Week ensemble better?


Images courtesy of Getty Images and CLD PR.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Prom: Then & Now - Along w/ Saks

As the school year is about to finish, the word “prom” is thrust upon high school students.

But, what exactly is prom and how did it get its start?

Well, first off, it’s an abbreviated form of the French word “promenade,” which is a walking review of the guests at the beginning of a formal dance or ball (according to Prom Works).

The first proms took place in the late 1800s in Ivy League colleges and universities in the northeastern United States. Initially the goal of such an event was to develop social skills and etiquette in students. But, usually the attire was quite simple – students would wear their church clothes, where boys sported jackets and ties while girls wore their Sunday dress. At the time, very few (if any) would purchase special attire specifically for prom.

After The Great Depression, once the U.S. economy began to improve, proms in the early 1920s offered social tea, and by the 1930s, prom was far more common across the country. As the 1950s came to a close, prom venues started to shift from the chaperoned school gymnasiums to more sophisticated locations, such as hotel ballrooms, country clubs, banquet halls, etc. It wasn’t until after the 1980s that high-school prom took a shift to an almost iconic rite of passage. By the 1990s, “alternative proms” for same-sex couples as well as “couple-free” proms were organized.

Since then, we’ve come a long way; proms have evolved into a far more ostentatious, time-consuming, and expensive occasion. In fact, according to USA Today, the average prom in 2012 cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

Of course, proms are much more individualistic now – one can choose how much to spend, casual versus formal, friends versus date, dinner and dance versus hotel-room or house party, and best of all, one has the freedom to choose whether they want to go or not. There are so many more decisions and choices now than ever before. Wouldn’t you agree?

What’s your prom story?

Personally, I didn’t go to my high-school prom and I don’t regret it! I’m not really one for “formal dances.” But, one thing I am for is prom fashion… Though it may seem superficial to the eye, the essence of fashion is really about making individuals confident and jubilant, so why not look fabulous for prom (regardless of how much that dress/tux or accessories may have cost you)!

1. (left to right) Feyi Omodele and Chelsea Coffey | 2. Spanx | 3. (left to right) Rebecca Briscoe and DJ Fanci | 4. Taylor Brionne | 5. Smile Photo Booth | 6. (left to right) Lauren Farina and Elvia Francis | 7. (left to right) Yesenia Flores and Elvia Francis | 8. (left to right) Elvia Francis, Imani Talib, Yesenia Flores, Rachel White, Taylor Brionne, and Marcella Sky

As you may know, I was part of the Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation earlier this month, which showcased some amazing trends for the upcoming prom season. Among the event attendees included Ruchi Mukherjee of Lights Camera Action, Chelsea Coffey of Mia’s Closet and fashion editor of Houston Style Magazine, entertainment reporter Rebecca Briscoe, DJ Fanci of Houston’s hip-hop radio station 97.9FM “The Box,” and fashion/wardrobe stylist Feyi Omodele.

Bloggers (including myself) who were on the panel shared commentary on the prom-fashion trends worn by Neal Hamil Agency models, Kristin Qualia and Caroline Mathis, while a Spanx representative spoke about what under garments would be ideal for each dress/gown.  

Trends featured at the Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation included:
Sequins – in metallic hues and mostly featured on the bodices, if not all over the garment; “The Great Gatsby” inspired
Gold Metallic – balanced with black/neutral accents; “The Great Gatsby” inspired
High-low – where the hem is shorter/higher in front and longer/lower in the back of the dress; this trend traces back to Victorian Era dresses and formal gowns when the hem style was known as the “fishtail”
Ombré – French for “to shade,” the trend consists of a graduation of color from light to dark; Katie Findlay sported the ombré trend as her TV character Maggie Landers on CW’s “The Carrie Diaries”
All-Over Print – bold patterns; spring trend alert, as reported by Houston Chronicle fashion editor Joy Sewing
Bright Colors – jewel tones such as sapphire, emerald, ruby, and topaz
Sheer Surprises – make sure you have a Spanx bodysuit underneath for really revealing ensembles
Red + Long Slits – mid-thigh slits keep floor-length rouge gowns elegant, while offering an alluring yet tasteful slip of skin
Sweetheart Necklines – classic, romantic, and über feminine; flattering for almost any figure

Gold and silver metallic footwear were also trending, in regards to prom-fashion accessories.

The models donned Old Hollywood, Veronica Lake-inspired waves, which is one of my favorite 2013 prom beauty trends!

See more images from the event (via Twitter and Instagram) with the hashtag #SaksPromHouston.


Special thanks to the Saks Fifth Avenue – Houston Galleria PR team: Chad Carpenter and Tijuana Harvey, along with eveningwear dept. manager, Lauren Farina, and the Houston Fashion Bloggers.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation

Saks Fifth Avenue, in the Houston Galleria, has teamed with Houston Fashion Bloggers for the "Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation," which will be held on Friday, April 5, 2013 from 6PM to 8PM - on level two (evening-wear department), inside Saks.

The event will feature six local fashion bloggers who will showcase prom-fashion looks, along with commentary on the looks.

The New Outlet (Blog) creator, Elvia Francis is among the local fashion bloggers selected for the event. The other bloggers include Imani Talib, Marcella Sky, Yesenia Flores, Taylor Brione, and Rachel White.

Attendees of the event will receive 20% off any full-price evening dress and bra purchase from the following brands: Chantelle, Wacoal, and Le Mystère.

Along with the fashion presentation, guests can partake in refreshments and hors d’oeuvres, have a chance to test hairstyles and dabble in cosmetics with MAC Cosmetics, and perfect their prom look inside an event-exclusive photo booth.  

Along with all the glitz and glamour, the event also is for a great charitable cause—benefiting Houston’s non-profit organization, Mia’s Closet, so please bring gently-worn dresses that will in turn be donated to the underprivileged. 

Note: Please use the event hashtag #SaksPromHouston on social-media outlets! 

Here's a sneak preview to the upcoming prom fashions: 

2013 Prom Fashion Trends:
Gold Metallic - balance with black/neutral accents
Red - ravish in a floor-length rouge gown
Long Slits - keep it tasteful and sophisticated
Sweetheart Neckline - for a classic and romantic silhouette; flattering for almost any figure
Pop of Color - bold, bright, eye-catching solids
Sequined - a serious standout for prom; great in a neutral or metallic hue, and one of the top 14 prom-fashion trends for 2013, according to the Huffington Post
Ladylike Peplum - opt for short, flirty styles (spring trend alert)
Embellished Prints - take all-over patterns up a notch with embellished prints and textured prints, such as brocade (spring trend alert)
Lace - the feminine staple comes in a variety of colors (spring trend alert); plus, Houston Chronicle fashion editor Joy Sewing has called "lace" one of the seven "wearable trends to energize your spring" wardrobe

For prom-fashion accessories, shoe trends include:
• Lace Heels
• Color Block 

What prom fashions will you be donning this season?
What are your favorite prom-fashion trends?

Please let me know via Twitter @tno_blog,
or leave a comment below this post!

Also, stay tuned for a post-event blog post that highlights more prom fashion and beauty trends, looks, and Saks Fifth Ave. event delights!


Special thanks to the Saks Fifth Avenue – Houston Galleria PR team: Chad Carpenter and Tijuana Harvey, along with eveningwear dept. manager, Lauren Farina.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Warby Parker's Summer 2013 Collection

Spring break may be over, but summer is around the corner. Whatever your summer plans may be—whether you’re jetting to Bombay, picking elderberries, planting magnolia trees, or beach bumming on California’s Santa Catalina Island—make sure you do it in protective style with Warby Parker Eyewear.

The boutique-quality prescription eyewear and sunglass company recently launched their Summer 2013 Collection in bright colors and fun textures. The collection is inspired by a vision of mid-century bohemia: Jackson Pollock splattering paint outdoors, Norman Mailer’s violent drug-fueled brawl from the 1970 film “Maidstone,” and Lee Radziwill sunbathing on an East Hampton beach, shoeless summer days, weekend-long house parties, and mesquite-scented nights.

Founded by four friends (Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, Jeffrey Raider, and David Gilboa), Warby Parker was born out of their collective personal traits—a penchant for exorbitance, an affinity for vintage collectibles, a strong desire to make the world a better place—and their commitment for an alternative to the overpriced, bland eyewear available in most boutiques or stores. The brand’s name itself was inspired by two of (influential novelist/writer) Jack Kerouac‘s earliest characters: Zagg Parker and Warby Pepper.

The brand is renowned for offering designer eyewear at an affordable price (starting at $95) that are available exclusively through their website and showrooms, while leading the way for socially conscious business practices—for each pair sold, Warby Parker distributes a pair to someone in need through non-profit partnerships, such as Vision Spring and Restoring Vision.  

All the frames are handcrafted and produced specifically for Warby Parker; they’re made from custom cellulose acetate, for durability and flexibility, and ion-plated titanium that is sourced from Japan to provide both longevity and a lightweight comfort. All their lenses offer high-end, anti-reflective polycarbonate—it’s far thinner than traditional plastic or glass lenses, impact resistant, and includes 100% UV protection.

Warby Parker also offers an at-home “try-on program,” that will allow you to select five pairs of eyeglasses or sunglasses and test out the frame on yourself at the convenience of your home for five days, absolutely free! There’s also free shipping and 30-day returns via UPS (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico). 

So let loose in style this summer with bright colors, fun textures, and a chic pair of Warby Parker eyewear for your alfresco-dining soirée, travel plans, beach bumming, or whatever it is that you decide to do this summer!


Eyewear images courtesy of Warby Parker’s Brian Magida.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Product Review: Shu Uemura Essence Absolue

Ubiquitous to luxury beauty and raved by beauty editors, bloggers, and stylists, alike, is the Shu Uemura line of hair-care products.

Since its inception by Japanese make-up artist and founder of the same name, Shu Uemura has always been faithful to the belief of enhancing an individual’s natural beauty.

If you believe in investing in your natural beauty with minimal to limited products—Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil is the ultimate splurge!

Allure Magazine voted the hair-care product as “Best of Beauty” in 2011, Manhattan-based hairstylist Jeff Chastain swears it’s “liquid gold,” and beauty-blogger Café Makeup calls it the “holy grail.”

The steep price of $68 for a 150 ml. (5 fl. oz.) bottle may deter some. However, the product, which is formulated for daily-use and safe for color-treated hair, performs several functions in one: it’s a deep conditioner when rubbed on dry hair before shampooing, a leave-in conditioner when massaged into hair and scalp before bed, a frizz fighter when applied (sparingly) to wet curls, and a shine serum when patted over just-dried hair.

The key ingredients are Camelia Oil (a plant-derived, natural-beauty secret, traditionally used by Japanese geishas to keep their hair shiny, soft and hydrated) and cyclopentasiloxane (a silicone-based fluid used in cosmetics, and common in hair conditioners, for its smoothing properties).

The light, transparent serum absorbs quickly, leaves your hair sweetly scented (of camellia flowers), helps protect hair fibers against dryness, frizz, and sun damage while providing intense nutrition to your hair/scalp.

This is a godsend multi-tasking elixir for frazzled, dry, or damaged locks – though it’s ideal for all hair types! The conditioning oil moisturizes hair (leaving you with velvet-soft locks), tames frizz, and adds a naturally shiny luster to hair, without leaving a greasy aftereffect.

Just one small pump of Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue will work wonders to the hair; you’ll notice the sublime difference immediately! Add two pumps, if you have extremely long hair, or if needed. Though the pumps may appear to be diminutive, a little really does go a long way! Warning: over 2 pumps will leave your tresses with a greasy, oily finish. Also, the product is best used on dry hair – no matter if your hair is color-treated, damaged, or normal – the product won’t cling well to wet hair!

The bottle will honestly last you a few months, if not years, so it’s a great beauty investment – for your arsenal of products (if you’re a “product junkie”) or for a minimal, natural beauty (for those of whom are low-maintenance).

It’s highly recommended that you purchase Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil from Birchbox! The $68 (free shipping) will translate to 68 beauty-reward points, and each 100 beauty-reward points can be redeemed for $10.00 towards other beauty-product purchases on NYC-based Birchbox’s website.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Celeb Fashion For Less: Mary-Kate Olsen

If anyone is brand loyal to Earnest Sewn - it's Mary-Kate Olsen! The free-spirited Olsen twin was spotted in the denim designer's Decca.234 Striaght-Leg jeans, while leaving the Greenwich Hotel with fraternal-twin sister Ashley Olsen, in the Tribeca district of lower Manhattan. The actress and fashion mogul looked urban chic in her custom-fitted denim in Daija.

Though we all can't afford the lifestyle and fashions of the fabulous Olsen twins, nor invest or splurge (depending on how you view it) $39,000 on The Row's Alligator Backpack (which sold out - mind you), here is a gorgeous "steal" (budget-friendly rendition) to emulate MK Olsen's look:

The best part is that the budget-friendly Tildon asymmetrical-hem top, Earnest Sewn "Decca Dover" jeans, and the bold-matte Le Metier de Beaute "Kona" nail lacquer are all under $50!

Product and price listings:
Otte Finn Raccoon Fur Collar ($385)
Max Mara Studio Funnel-Neck Coat (sale: $362.35)
Kenzo Vintage Sunglasses & Case ($161.56)
Pierre Darre Large Leather Bag ($152)
Sam Edelman Women's "Petty" Ankle Boot (sale: $97.50)
Earnest Sewn "Decca Dover" Low-Rise Jeans (sale: $34.95)
Tildon Assymetrical-Hem Tank ($32)
Le Metier de Beaute "Kona" Nail Lacquer ($18)


Product information courtesy of PopSugar Shopping (previously known as ShopStyle). Image of MK Olsen, via Michele Marie PR.

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