Archive for February, 2011

83rd Annual Academy Awards Fashion Favorites

Posted by    |    February 28th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Last night’s Academy Awards was a glamorous, albeit interesting event.  I have to say, I wish Anne Hathaway and James Franco had simply attended, because their hosting left so much to be desired that I am still underwhelmed.  My vote for next year goes with an appropriately modified comedy routine by hot comedian of the moment, Joel McHale.  But until then, the memory of a stoned Franco and hyperactive Hathaway lingers.

Now, on to the fashion….

There were relatively few misses, in my opinion.  Even Helena Bonham Carter was slightly more subdued in her eccentric British style.  I wish Michelle Williams had worn more color (since pale was the new tan for many starlets last night,) and Mila Kunis needed more material covering her bosoms. All that being said, the vast majority looked glamorous and Hollywood-worthy, even in those chilly temperatures. Trends on the carpet were the color red, metallics, and chic chignons. I personally loved Jennifer Lawrence’s big, bouncy Baywatch hair. My favorite overall looks of the night: hands-down Scarlett Johansson (though her dress was not loved by all,) and Gwenyth Paltrow, who almost always chooses a beautiful Calvin Klein creation. I even loved her Michael Kors on-stage gown, though I can’t say I feel the same about her song. Each lady was covered, sexy, and exuded modern beauty.

Perhaps the hosts and their non-jokes disappointed and many people feel The Social Network was robbed, but all in all I’d say it was a winning night for Hollywood glamour all the way around.

P.S. Did you hear Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez held hands at an Oscar bash? You heard it here first. Probably.

Fashion on the Road: A Guide to Weekend Shopping in Palm Springs

Posted by    |    February 23rd, 2011 at 8:45 pm

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to spend it in Palm Springs, California.  Being the golf course mecca of the U.S., I was worried I would be out of my element.  Boy, was I wrong.  Palm Springs is as chic as it is beautiful, and the fashion there is decidedly California casual….with an excess of diamonds everywhere you look. (My kind of town!)  On the suggestion of Palm Springs locals, I took two shopping trips: one to the Saturday street fair and one to El Paseo Shopping District.  The street fair is an eclectic mix of handmade and imported goods, and it requires a lot of patience with parking and walking.  I would recommend it if you have several hours to kill and don’t mind buying a kielbasa from a traveling vendor for lunch.  Although I didn’t find anything in particular that I was in love with, I couldn’t resist the fresh kettlecorn.  Delicious.

The El Paseo Shopping District is a beautiful outdoor shopping experience with lush gardens and expansive mountains surrounding the strip. My top picks? Luxury favorites like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. caught my eye, and I’m happy to report that the associate in LV gave me quite a history lesson in the brand’s luggage line.  Other noteable shops are Brooks Brothers, Anthropolgie (a HUGE one, at that,) and a cool European boutique, Mister Marcus featuring collections from all over the world.  (Like fav Max Mara!)  More top shelf scores?  Escada and Burberry, and a lovely Saks Fifth Avenue give you plenty of options .  I’m on a budget, so the large Banana Republic and She-She boutique were more my speed. She-She carries one of my beloved casual lines, Ella Moss!

If you’re looking for fine dining, Pacifica within the shopping district has top-notch gourmet seafood and a to-die-for chocolate cake. (I highly recommend the mussels for an appetizer and salmon or scallops for the entree. Magnifique!)
On the more economical side, down the road is the LaQuinta Baking Company with sumptuous french pastries, french toast, yummy sandwiches, and fresh bread.  The smell alone will lure you in. If you can’t decide, my vote goes with the traditional french toast. Yum.

I walked away from the beautiful valley with one mini-dress, a turquoise bracelet, new aviator sunglasses (totally forgot to pack mine,) and a stomach full of California’s freshest foods.  And I didn’t get hit by a single golf ball. I encourage anyone to venture out to Palm Springs for some delightful shopping, scenic surroundings, and R&R.  Don’t forget a willing wallet and a notepad to write down the places you love-I want to hear your recommendations!

It’s in the Bag: An Interview With bolarti Designer Wendi McGowan

Posted by    |    February 22nd, 2011 at 9:55 pm

She may be relatively new on the fashion scene as a designer, but Wendi McGowan has already made her mark on women everywhere with her artful accessories.  What has made bolarti a success in such a short time is that Wendi stays true to her love of fashion and art and applies her business savvy to her passion. She can proudly add the prestige of becoming one of 20 finalists in Texas’ Next Top Designer Challenge to her list of accomplishments, beating out entries from all over Texas. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for her as final judging takes place on Saturday, March 5, 2011. She’s smart, beautiful, and has an eye for the unique-what’s not to love about Wendi?  In order to find out about the woman behind the sexiest clutches in town, we asked Wendi to let the “cat out of the bag” (handbag pun intended).

Wendi, we know it was recent, but when did you realize you wanted to become a designer?
Not until Spring 2010.  I took a painting class and created the piece that was the entire inspiration for bolarti.  I worked all Summer designing, finding the right seamstress who understood my vision, and building my ecommerce web site.  Entire company launched on September 1, 2010. ??*What are some of your professional accomplishments?
My professional background is Digital Marketing for small businesses.  In 2006, I was one of the Dallas Ad League’s finalists for Best Brand Manager Award running against CMO’s from Neiman Marcus, Cadbury Schweppes, Wyndham Hotels, and Rent-a-Center.  This year, I am one of 20 finalists from across the state for Texas’ Next Top Designer award to be announced on April 29,2011. 

Who are some of your favorite designers?
Valentino, Michael Kors, Jill Sander, and Tom Ford for luxury lines.  I think that J Crew and Ann Taylor do a FABULOUS job catering to the working woman, and the new Spring 2011 designs (due to a new Creative Director) coming out of Talbot’s are quite impressive. 

If we want one of our own, where can readers buy your handbags?
Several places: 
    •    Online at
    •    Facelogic Spa in Dallas
    •    Nora Blue boutique in Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay shops

What was the first designer piece you ever purchase for yourself?
A Louis Vuitton black Epi Leather Jasmin bag at 21 years old.  Now at twice that age, I still have that bag.  In fact, I have the first Louis Vuitton Speedy bag my mother gave me when I was 12.  Unbelievable timelessness of the classics. 
We all have one….what is your trashiest television indulgence?
“The Apprentice”  Although, I got rid of cable TV last fall, so I literally have NO idea what’s on TV now.  I get my news via word-of-mouth 😉

Name the worst thing in your closet that you just can’t give up.
Because my mother has forced them on me, all my cheerleading uniforms, jackets, and pom poms.  Like I’m going to wear any of these things, right?!?

What do you personally believe makes a quality handbag?
Classic lines; rigid structure; the details. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Dallas?
The Place at Perry’s on Routh… my boyfriend and I are fixtures once a week for the bar area dining. 

What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
Providing a product that makes women feel unique and noticed.  I am have been consistently surprised at how many men have stopped me wanting to know where I purchased the bag I’m carrying… Married ones want one for their wives (a birthday, an anniversary, etc.).  Boyfriends want on for their girlfriends.  Gay men want one for themselves!   My designs definitely are a man-magnet! 

What is your ritual to prepare right before you begin painting/creating?
 I consistently devour fashion magazines every month, Vogue, W, Harper’s Bazaar, so that I know what colors are the “hot” ones on the horizon.  I tear out and keep loads of images.  The paper ones I keep in my Fashionary design journal, and for images I see online, I store all of them in Evernote.  When I get ready to paint, I refer to these, put on some good Bach, Beethoven, or Vivaldi and get to work!

What would you consider your ideal romantic date?
 A quick trip to Napa Valley for a private winemaker dinner complete with dancing under the stars and dessert at midnight.

You have $500 to spend on anything you’d like.  What do you buy?
 1 perfect pair of black patent Christian Louboutin pumps.  Sexiness personified.  

Which celebrity would you most like to see carrying your handbags?
 Gywneth Paltrow. 

Check out this week’s Fashion and Style Update to see our new video about bolarti and Wendi McGowan.


Fashion Week Forecast

Posted by    |    February 15th, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Fashion Week-the week that fashionistas everywhere equate with Christmas.  For those of us not lucky enough to score invites to the runway shows (I’m certain mine were just lost in the mail due to the snowstorm in New York,) here is a quick recap of what we’re missing:

The theme this year seems like it’s based around sassy, independent women.  According to, “[Diane von Furstenberg’s] inspiration for her collection was strong, independent American women with style, like Diana Vreeland and Gloria Vanderbilt.”  MAC Cosmetics, who provided the model’s hot looks for the runway of her show recently launched a new line of Wonder Woman inspired makeup, furthering the superwoman surge that is hitting the marketplace.  (I attended the launch of the line here in Dallas, and all I can say is, wow.  Run and get the Spitfire lipstick…it packs a beautiful punch.)

Carmen Marc Valvo’s show featured strong, statement gowns with minimal makeup. The designer clearly felt that the clothes were accentuating a confident, powerful woman who didn’t need a lot of fuss to get the look across. The verdict? Delicate ballerina faces are a killer contrast to gowns that move. 

In keeping with the Black Swan-esque motif that seems to pervade the runways, Donna Karan had the severe ballerina bun on her models, but balanced out the look with pearls and soft, flowy fabrics.  A strong, sassy chick doesn’t need lemon yellow and lilac to get attention, and Karan made that clear with her shades of gray and peach.

For what’s it’s worth from here in Dallas, I like what I see on the runway this year.  It’s sort of an unspoken celebration of women, and how with confidence, we can look good in just about anything.  Plus, it’s just good fun to have a lipstick tube with your superheroine on it in your handbag.


Dallas Super Bowl Style File

Posted by    |    February 9th, 2011 at 3:39 am

Now that the hype of the Super Bowl has finally died down and people are returning to a state of normalcy, it’s time to reflect on what the heck just took over our city.  Or, more importantly, who took over our city and what they looked like while doing it.

Just two days before Super Bowl XLV descended on Cowboys Stadium, Off The Field, the NFL Players’ Wives Association held its 10th Annual Awards Banquet and Fashion Show benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This event  showcased Dallas resident and winner of Texas’ Next Top Designer, Abi Ferrin, as the 2011 featured designer.  With the glamorous Fairmont Hotel as the backdrop, hot pink flowers and decorations filled the ballroom while  NFL players’ wives comanded the runway wearing Abi’s award-winning designs.  Her designs looked so lovely on Pat Smith and Miss USA, Rima Fakih that I wanted to immeditaly hit up Nordstrom so I could look that chic.  Though all the football wives were stunning, it was Rima and Miss Teen USA, Kamie Crawford who stole the show looking like two bronzed Barbie dolls.

Next up? The Leather and Laces Party at Hotel Zaza for a full weekend of celebrity sightings and fashion hits and misses.  Our great You Plus crew was on the scene to capture every red carpet entrance, exit, and the magic that happened in between.  Though all the Playboy bunnies looked very pretty (and expectedly busty,) it was Nicole Scherzinger that caught every eye in the room.  Holly Madison was fetching in a Vivienne Westwood mini-dress, and Bridget Marquardt was wearing one of her own bedazzled creations.  She even carried a festive football purse. (Kendra would have been very proud.)  Kid Rock was rocking his usual slacker-style, and Kevin Dillon was the typical guy’s guy in a black leather jacket.  Male style winner of the night? A very sexy Hugh Jackman with a sharp suit and crisp blue shirt. Misses? Um….a few of the “bunnies” went a little too over-the-top, and I expected a little more flash from Evander Holyfield.

After two nights of the raging party at ZaZa, I have to admit that I wasn’t that sad to see the Super Bowl come to a close in Dallas. The traffic was crazy, the bowl brought snowpocolypse, and after all, who needs all those toned, well-dressed out of towners around to compete with?