Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TV Costume Heaven:

Stewardess Fab: Costumes from ABC series "Pan Am", Pilot Costumes by Chrisi Karvonides, Series Costumes by Ane Crabtree, 6th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Exhibition, FIDM Museum and Galleries (photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Where can you find Pan Am Stewardesses, a Dowager Countess, an Evil Queen, and Marylin Monroe-inspired "NBC's Smash" gold gown? Oh yes, in Downtown LA of course! Well, fashionistas and costume design aficionados, Tuesday was the Opening Day of the 6th Annual Outstanding Art Television Costume Design Exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising/FIDM, my alma mater, and college of which I am the Official Fashion Spokesperson.

6th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Exhibition Party/Reception at Hope Park/FIDM (photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

The exhibition, presented by FIDM Museum and Galleries and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was Guest Curated by Mary Rose, Costume Designer and President of the Costume Designers Guild. It features over 75 (!) costumes from a variety of TV shows (sixteen of them), period and contemporary, including seven nominated for an Emmy® for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design. This past weekend, a VIP reception/party was held at the FIDM Campus to "unveil" this fabulous new exhibition. Guests included:

(Left to right) Eduardo Castro, Costume Designer for ABC's "Once Upon A Time" (he was also the Costume Designer for ABC's "Ugly Betty"!) and Julie Weiss (love her oversized paillette tunic-dress!) Costume Designer for many films including "American Beauty" "Frida" "The Ring" and (my personal favorite) "Blades of Glory" (photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

(Left to right) Chrisi Karvonides, Costume Designer nominated for FX's "American Horror Story", seen here with Mary Rose, President of the Costume Designers Guild and Guest Curator of the 6th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Exhibition (photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Mandi Line, Costume Designer for ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars" (above in front of her costumes for the show). Fun fact: Mandi is an FIDM Alumna (photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Now, let's get to the costumes at the exhibition. Like I said at the top of this post, there are over 75 costumes featured and some of the highlights include:

English Class: The Emmy® nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design Costumes from PBS' "Downton Abbey": Yes, that's Maggie Smith's "Dowager Countess" silk velvet and sequin ensemble on the far left--PS: She's Tall! (photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Costumes from NBC's "Smash" --The gold sequin gown is worn by Katharine McPhee's character and the one on the far right is worn by actress Anjelica Huston (photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)


The Emmy® nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design costumes from HBO's "Game of Thrones"--And yes, that's the costume worn by actor Peter Dinklage above (top photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)
 

 The Emmy® nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design costumes from ABC's "Once Upon a Time"--This tableau at FIDM Museum is HUGE--above photo is the "Rainbow Fairy" costume from the ABC show (photos courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

The Emmy® nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design costumes from HBO's "Hemingway and Gellhorn"--Nicole Kidman starred in this and I have a fun fact from the costume designer, Ruth Myers: Kidman's inseam is 34". That's the inseam of well, a 6' 2" man ! (she's got fabulously LONG legs) (photo courtesy of Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Nick Verreos and KTLA-TV's Gayle Anderson, 6th Annual Outstanding Art of Costume Design Costume Design Exhibition, FIDM Museum

On Monday, I had the pleasure of filming some Morning TV segments for KTLA-TV Channel 5 LIVE direct from the FIDM Museum and the brand new exhibition with the always fantastic (and my TV Production Segment MUSE!) Gayle Anderson. We had such a blast filming these segments. Miss Gayle is my "sister from another mister" darlings! LOVE her. As a special VIP treat, two of the Emmy® nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design costume designers from this past year--Ruth Myers ("Hemingway and Gellhorn") and Chrisi Karvonides ("American Horror Story")--were there for some of the KTLA-TV Morning Show interviews at FIDM Museum so I had the honor of meeting them and of course, getting some behind-the-scenes costume design DISH.


Costume Designer Ruth Myers and Nick Verreos, FIDM Museum

Nick Verreos and Costume Designer Chrisi Karvonides: I had such a ball chatting with Chrisi---she also designed the costumes for ABC's "Pan Am" series pilot so she gave me such great behind-the-scenes dish on the Pan Am stewardess uniforms (you know I LOVE me some Stewardess Uniforms!!).

Coffee, Tea...or Fab Uniforms: ABC's "Pan Am" TV show stewardess uniforms

Stewardess Dish: Costume Designer Chrisi Karvonides and Nick Verreos, 6th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Exhibition, FIDM Museum

As you can see from the photo above, Costume Designer Chrisi Karvonides and I were in some SERIOUS "Wait, how many pattern pieces to that Pan Am pill box hat? And the Pan Am logo was actually GOLD!!??" conversation. LOVED every minute of it!



You can click HERE to see the segments I did with Gayle and KTLA-TV!! (scroll on the videos to find all the FIDM Costume Design Exhibition segments).


The Dish:

WHAT: 
The 6th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Exhibition, over 75 Costumes, including 2011-2012 Emmy® nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design costumes 


WHERE: 
FIDM Museum and Galleries, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90015

WHEN:
July 31 through October 20, 2012
open 10am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday

Admission:
FREE!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sweet...or Not So Sweet, Fashion:

Cotton Candy Delicious: Guess What the Project Runway designers are working with this week?

Project Runway is BACK and we are now onto Season 10. It premiered two weeks ago and last week was "Episode 2", it was the iconic UNCONVENTIONAL CHALLENGE that all the fans LOVE. I, often wonder if these are the types of challenges that help discover "Next Great American Fashion Designer". But as we all know...it's all about what makes for fun and great TV.

Tim Gunn and Dylan Lauren, Project Runway Season 10

The contestants/designers meet Tim Gunn and Dylan Lauren (yes, Ralph's lovely daughter), CEO and owner of Dylan's Candy Bar. Soon, it is revealed they must create a look out of candy.

Project Runway has done this before in Season 4, where it was held at the Times Square Hershey's Store and Rami Kashou won , in case you're keeping tabs (Photo of Kashou's winning look above).

After some krazeee candy shopping at Dylan's Candy Bar NYC, some candy Parsons workroom draping, molding and more importantly, GLUEING...it was time for the Runway Show with Judges:

(Right to left) Heidi Klum (in a off-the-shoulder snakeskin printed ensemble), Michael Kors (in his black "uniform"), Nina Garcia (in a FAB black and gold jacket and skinny pants and FIERCE heels!), and Dylan Lauren in purple. Now, the whole point of this challenge was to somehow make a garment from candy BUT...make it look as if it wasn't made out of CANDY. Some succeed beautifully and well, some not so mucheey...

Le Good:

Beaded Candy Ball Superb: LOVED Belarus-born fashion wunderkid Dmitry Sholokhov's twisted halter dress with fitted midriff. He used black, red, and yellow candy balls and WOW!!! This should have been in the Top Three FOR SURE, some would even argue that it should have won. The candy looked like oversized beads. One could NEVER EVER tell that it was candy. Simply Superb. With all that, he just "made it through" to the next round--and somehow only landed "in the middle".

Mini Mermaid Cocktail: The first of the Top Two positions was Sonjia Williams (who is quickly looking like a contender to be in the Finals, if only from these two first challenges). She created a peplum-shaped mini dress using ivory and aqua candy balls, white chocolate covered almonds and shark gummies.

I LOVED how she created the princess seams with the candy, injected the color-blocking trend seamlessly and then finished it off with a "neck-piece" of shark gummies. She was part Sexy Mermaid, part cocktail dress, part "Mini Shark". The hat was a miss, as some of the judges said, but other than that, it was an excellent and very creative creation.

The Winner, however, was Ven Budhu. Just from the "hints" shown by the cameras in the Parsons workroom, I could just see that his design was going to be a STUNNER. And it was. The way he created this vision of serious Haute Couture using crushed colored candy, it was magical.

The perfectly geometric inlaid pieces, the stained glass effect he created with candy--it all added to a beautiful strapless cocktail dress that was reminiscent of something from an Atelier Versace Collection:

Atelier Versace Spring/Summer 2012

Now, Le Bad:

Oh Buffi Jashanmal: Her Project Runway fifteen minutes are a ticking. This is so tasteless that Miss Nina is looking as if she's going to get ILL every time one of Buffi's designs come down the runway. She looks like Paris Hilton's REALLY REALLY tacky--and that's a feat!--daughter (OUCH!). I know it's only the second challenge but I am beginning to wonder how the heck she even made it onto the show.

Noodle Twizzler Dress: Also in the bottom was Elena Slivnyak's "Warrior Princess" structured dress made from a muslin base with piña colada twizzlers. The twizzlers began falling off the dress the minute the model came sauntering down the runway.


And then from not-so-far, the twizzlers began looking like a pasta noodle arts and crafts project from a 12 year old. I totally get what Irena was going for and it could have been great but...alas, it just didn't work. Poor thang.

But the Worst Was:

Oh Huney You Didn't Even Try: Just take a look at the model. She was like "Oh Dear! First, I cannot believe I have to wear this tacky creation and, second of all, I just KNOW my designer is going home". Fashion designer Lantie Foster's design was a MESS. She really did not even try. Umbrella fabric and little candy. And she tried to use the excuses of a first year fashion school student. Hashtag FAIL.

Wanna know what I really thought of this past week's Episode 2? Then read on kids....

"Sweet Tooth Couture"

Last week, Season 10 of "Project Runway" premiered with the "Biggest Fashion Show" in "Runway" history. This week, our little ol’ show loses not an ounce of couture steam and keeps the strong momentum going with one of the most iconic — and beloved by fans — "Project Runway" challenges, the "Make a dress out of crap you would NEVER use to make a garment challenge" … in other words, yes kids, it’s the Unconventional Challenge. I’ve always said that this is a fun challenge to watch by the fans and TV viewers alike, but in terms of it being a guide rule in finding the "Next Best American Fashion Designer"… not so much.
 
Candy Re-Run
As "Plaid Heidi" saunters onto the runway congratulating last week’s winner — cutie Christopher — she tells the designers that this is "no time for child’s play." Instantly I think, "Oh Dear, they’re making clothes for bratty Upper East Side kids!" But oh no, I was wrong. Soon, the designers meet with Monsieur Gunn in front of Dylan’s Candy Store where he is flanked by it’s owner and CEO, Dylan Lauren (Yes, of Ralph Lauren fashion blue blood), announcing that their second challenge will be to create a look out of candy using materials bought from Dylan’s Candy Store naturally. Now, I remember back in Season 4, the challenge was done at the Hershey’s Times Square store (Rami won it), so it seemed like a slight re-run challenge idea to me, but one figures that it’s difficult to come up with new "Unconventional Challenges" year after year.
 
Gunnar and Christopher: Please Get a Room
After a mad "Candy Dash," the designers get their sugar tooth couture fix, buy out half the store and then head to Parsons to #makeitwork! The workroom quickly begins to resemble a 5-year-old’s birthday party after a piñata has exploded. Several designers are spending their early hours doing muslin dresses to build the foundation for their candy creations. Others are crushing candy, gluing candy … or just eating it! And then there’s Gunnar Siriano 2.0 and cutie Christopher who spend a lot of their time being Bitchy Queens (more so Gunnar than Christopher) talking smack and "throwing shade." It’s only the second week (In real time, it’s only been like TWO DAYS since they’ve met each other!), but there’s already this weird tension between them. I have a feeling that either A) Gunnar feels threatened because he thought he was going to be the only "twinky gay" or B) They just need to GET A ROOM! But I digress, let’s move on…



Click HERE to read the rest of my Recap...
Sunday, July 29, 2012

London 2012 Parade of Nations Fashionistas

This past Friday were the much-awaited London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, officially signaling the start of the 2012 London Olympics of course. I was in NY on business and watched it at my hotel. I always love watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony for the fabulous spectacle that it always is (Can you say BEIJING!!!). This time around British filmmaker, Danny Boyle (of "Slumdog Millionaire" fame) was placed as the Artistic Director of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony and he put on a fabulous show, taking audiences on a beautifully chaotic journey through many iconic moments in British history, music, and literature. While the show itself wasn't Beijing jaw-dropping incredible (it's hard to top that darlings!), the Boyle opening ceremony made for an awe-inspiring beginning to the world’s most legendary event.

Face Dress: The girls who held the names of the respective nations of the world, all wore these A line-shaped dresses featuring a photo of London 2012 Olympics volunteers--and sensible shoes.

But for me--as a fashion designer and fashion-watcher of sorts--what I most look forward to is the
Parade of Nations and the countries uniforms and "costumes". Here are some of my choices for the Fashion Fab, the Fashion Good" and the  "Oh Dear!" from the 2012 London Summer Olympics Parade of Nations, all sectioned by the separate "areas" and/or continents of the world:

Europe:

The Netherlands: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these uniforms. For me, these were one of the best of all the 204 countries. They were designed by Suitsupply and Kudos to them! The colors were GREAT and noticeable from the nose-bleed seats in the stadium I am sure (I wasn't there so I wouldn't know, but I can only assume). The neon orange trench coat (I want ONE!), the matching pants, the dark blazers with white piping, the royal blue dresses. Oh, and to finish it all off, each uniform/outfit had a large tulip in its lapel. How do you say FABULOUS in Dutch? The look was chic, upper class trust funder from a very WASPY college. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade:  A

Belgium: I love any uniform that looks like they should be on some FAB flight attendants. And Belgium's uniforms fit the bill to a "T". They're  sexy, fashionable, and cheeky. Pop of color: check. Sleek styling: check. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: A

Czech Republic: OK, I am just not sure what Wellies, umbrellas, bedazzled-trimmed blazers with contrast lining and printed cropped leggings or white shorts has to do with the Czech Republic. I assume the rain boots and umbrellas were some sort of a nod to London and it's sometimes rainy weather. Nevertheless, there are so many things going on in these "uniforms" that it's almost as if their theme was "Tacky Tourist". For that, they get a Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: C+ (they get points for "kookiness")

Germany: Things I like: the bright baby blue and "Barbie pink" colors. We can certainly spot them from a mile away. But then the nylon puffy zip-up jackets seem a bit "Fall/Winter" for me and along with the white pants, do not really scream "Germany" (save the hats with the German flag colors). These uniforms look more appropriate for the crew of the Princess Cruises. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: C

Sweden: The fact that they could somehow transform the Swedish flag into a rugby shirt is fashion-commendable. One can certainly not confuse these kids with any other country that's for sure. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: B-

Denmark: First off, the Danish are BEAUTIFUL! They all look like Nordic Gene Studies in Pretty. They all kind of look related. And well, the fact that all the women and all the men wore THE SAME outfits did not help the matter. They all look like they are either part of "The Sound of Music" von Trapp family...or flight attendants for EasyJet. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: B-

Spain: Oh España!! Their bright red and yellow uniforms caused a bit of a controversy when they were revealed and especially when several of the country's Olympic athletes began tweeting photos of their outfits with commentary such as "Can You Believe the CRAZY outfit we have to wear??? #UniformFail" (in Spanish of course). At first glance they looked like McDonalds employees. But when they walked the Opening Ceremony on Friday, the outfits didn't look so bad. The fan-shaped purses and scarves are OK and the women had these cute red rose headbands--very "Bizet's Carmen". Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: B-

Great Britain: Congrats London and Congrats Great Britain for getting the 2012 Summer Games. However, I can't even say anything nice about these getup's. Fashion designer Stella McCartney worked with Adidas to design the sporting gear and "village wear" (lounge wear) for Britain's home team. I'm not sure who designed these but they should be fired. These were BAAD. They were white tracksuits featuring cropped pants, tops and jackets with tacky gold mylar-looking accents and collars. I can see these looks at the Lunch Buffet on a cruise but NOT at the Olympics Opening Ceremony. What a fail for the host nation and the British athletes. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: D

Asia:

India: I'm a sucker for a FAB Sari. So, they had me at Namaste. The bright canary yellow color of the women's saris and the turbans of the men, contrasted with the dark jackets made for a great visual display at Friday night's London 2012 Opening Ceremony. One of my Top Parade of Nations looks. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: A

Malaysia: Three words: I Love It. Just look at those colors, those hats (songkok), the sarong-style overskirts (sampin) on the men...oh, and did I mention the women also looked great! THIS, is why I LOVE watching the Olympics Parade of Nations. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: A

North and Central America, Caribbean:

Mexico: I mean SERIOUSLY. Mexico. You are SLAYING me with this! Absolutely Fab. It is so over-the-top, so-kitschy, so "Am I at El Coyote's Restaurant in LA?" that I feel as if someone will pull some  nachos with guacamole any minute now from their sombreros or colorful sarapes. I know many of you won't like these looks, but I love the fact that they really "went for it". Viva Mejico! Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: A-

Belize: Well done Belize. Sleek, crisp and chic, sportif. They look like well-heeled members of an exclusive country club. For a small Central American nation, you done did well, kids! For that, I give them my Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: A

Trinidad and Tobago: This Caribbean nation is here because of those FAB red with diagonal stripes wrap dresses on the ladies. I just wish the sleeves were not so long and the length didn't look so dowdy, but other that that, they get a Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: B-



Jamaica: Cedella Marley for Puma designed Jamaica's uniforms and they are some of the most stylish of the Parade of Nations bunch. Neon yellow, apple greens, and black (the flag's colors) combined with a unique print plus the on-trend color blocking and sleek athletic silhouettes make for great ensembles. Puma knows EXACTLY what it is doing. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: A

Canada: Khaki pants, sneakers and a zip-up jacket isn't really that creative when it comes to uniforms, especially when compared to say what INDIA came up with...however, I do give Canada points for how matchy-matchy they are (in a good way) and the fact that you could never be in doubt of WHERE these kids are from (Hello, can you READ??). Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: B-

USA: A lot has already been said over the PR kerfuffle committed by the Ralph Lauren company for having the US Olympic Uniforms manufactured in China. It was a big PR #Fail for Mr. Lauren. But, as we all know, if they were made in the US, these uniforms would have probably cost Ralph Lauren and the US Olympic Committee FIVE to TEN times as much so that is why the turned to China. Next time, they just need to eat the cost. I am sure billion-dollar rich Ralph Lauren can take it. Nevertheless, yes, it was still an "Oops" moment. With that being said, I kinda liked these uniforms. They were clean, sharp and gave a slight nod to English prep schools and English Savile Row tailoring and of course, had the red, white, and blue of the US flag. To me, the only negative--style-wise, would be the berets and cut of the women's skirts which was not flattering on all body types. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: B

Africa:
Nigeria: I loved these uniforms from the Nigerian Olympic representatives. The ensembles highlighted traditional Nigerian dress for both the men and women. They were festive and elegant and featured the colors of the nation's flag--green and ivory. Naturally, for me, my standouts were the women and those fitted gowns and draped and wrapped headdresses. And when they entered the auditorium dancing...well, I gave them a Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: A

Senegal: You cannot go wrong with bright canary yellow. Look at those great suit dresses on the women and the kaftans on the men...I need one, like NOW! (the kaftan) I wished the women's headdresses were more "Miss Universe Parade of Nations" over-the-top though. Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: A-

Cameroon: These colorful robes and tunics from the Cameroon group stood out for me for its traditional and folkloric extravagance. I only fault them when it came to the consistency of their footwear (the one in the white socks and Pumas got my "Fashion Fail" vote). Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: B+

Middle East:
Oman: The men wore traditional Omani robes (dishdasha) and headdresses (muzzar and kummar) which is fine but who really stands out is that woman in the royal blue with gold trimmed traditional ensemble. She ROCKS! Parade of Nations Fashion Grade: B

The Fashion Miss and Mr. Hottie of the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony Are: 

Paraguay: Take a look at her! Paraguayan athlete Leryn Franco (she specializes in the javelin throw) is WORKING her cap-sleeved wrap dress, above-the-knee and more importantly, THAT plunging neckline. And need I add that she's GORGEOUS! She became a HUGE internet sensation during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and well, her stock is still WAY up after Friday night's appearance. She stole the "World's Sexiest Athlete" show. Even in those sensible ballet flats she could still STEAL YOUR HUSBAND. She wins my unofficial "Miss London Summer Olympics Parade of Nations Hottie".

Fiji: Finally, I have to give a title to a man. And boy is this A MAN. When the Parade of Nations happened on Friday and they got to the F's and Fiji came up, I could not focus for TEN minutes after that. This is who was holding the flag: 5' 9" tall Hottie McHottie Josateki Naulu, a Judo Olympic Athlete. Look at that body, the arms, the chest, the abs. Only Josateki could make wearing a grass skirt look SO manly. I wonder if he realizes that after Friday night's appearance, he will soon be the Poster Boy for Every Gay Hot-and-Sexy Body Blog. Mr. Naulu, you sir, are my "Mr. London Summer Olympics Parade of Nations Hottie"

Happy Summer Olympics!!!
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