If you weren’t in attendance for Dallas designer Courtney Russell’s grand unveling of his August Alexander Collection at Jet 10 Hangar on Saturday night, I want to give you my condolences. Everything about this Jan Strimple creation was delicious from start to finish. First, the location couldn’t have been more captivating and fun-after all, who doesn’t get a buzz from witnessing the wall of the hangar moved aside and gorgeous models strutting out of a jet….. wearing jaw-dropping fashions, no less? The concept was brilliantly executed. The music was pulsating. And that August Alexander collection? Divine.
Models rocked “The First Lady” collection with sexy hair by Blanc Salon while VIP guests sipped Moet champagne. Local stylistas with dates and comrades came out to support Russell and see the spectacle, including Abby Gregory, Kimmy and Damon Huynh, Cynthia Smoot, and the cast of local reality show “Most Eligible Dallas”. Amidst the cocktails and sinful chocolate from Chocolate Secrets, beautiful Bri Crum of Plan B PR carefully double-checked the seating chart for the 500+ guests.
With style icons like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie O on his mind, Russell does ready to wear glamour in a way that is accessible. Straight from the runway, you could incorporate his pieces into your everyday wardrobe without batting an eye. Recommendations for the high-flying fabulous are the August Alexander cream satin double welt button dress with black welt pockets and the hands-down stunner of the night, a black lace front gown with crinkle silk skirt. This inspired and artfully done show left many with a renewed interest in supporting our local artists and others with the promise of a lighter pocketbook. Either way, Courtney Russell was the captain of the night, and there was no turbulence.
Beautiful, successful, and smart. (Don’t you hate them already?) To top it off, they are friendly and nice, and have a passion for encouraging other women and their talents. So it makes perfect sense why these three ladies were chosen as D Magazine’s “Ten Most Beautiful”, along with a slew of other awards and recognition. Could we glean wisdom from their professional pursuits and knowledge of all things philanthropy? Sure. But what inquiring minds want to know is what is in their make-up bag.
Meet Mandy Hamilton, a Non Profit Executive Director, Maureen Locus, a Public Relations Specialist for Brinker International, and Asusena Resendiz, President of the Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Three beauties that are willing to share a few of their secrets to looking pretty while in the boardroom (or in the bathtub).
Okay, ladies. My first question: how would each of you describe your personal style?
Mandy: I am a beach girl, so I love any chance I have to sit under the sunshine and wear a sundress and tall wedges….comfortable, but cute.
Maureen: I do what I’d like to call, ‘recycling.’ I just mix and match various pieces of my wardrobe with other coordinating elements that I haven’t worn together before. It makes people think you have new outfits when you really don’t.
What do you do to perk yourself up when you aren’t feeling beautiful?
Mandy: A little lipgloss and concealer.
Maureen: Stay clear of all mirrors – ha! Seriously, when I’m not feeling my best, I surround myself with genuine friends, who regardless of whether or not I think or feel pretty, will always care and support me. Without really trying to be, they can be a great confidence booster.
Asusena: Honestly, I just have to sleep it off!
When you are feeling pretty and want to go out, what restaurant in Dallas would we find you at?
Maureen: I would be remiss if I did not show support for Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Outside of those restaurants, Mi Cocina would be next. I’m a Tex-Mex junkie.
Asusena: South Prairie Oyster Bar in Grapevine: ‘Ole Man Wil’ keeps me coming back for raw oysters, a cold beer and great company.
Mandy, you’re engaged-congratulations! Any style advice you’ve received or would give to others about being a bride and planning the big day?
Enjoy the moment and don’t stress. My engagement night was the happiest moment of my life to date…I want to savor this time.
Maureen and Asusena, when it comes to men’s fashion, what do you consider sexy?
Maureen: His smile! But if we’re talking exclusively about clothing – there’s just something about a man in a tailored suit, styled appropriately with a tie and/or handkerchief. Always a classy look.
Asusena: A great smile.
Not that any of you need them, but what is one beauty treatment/trend/procedure or fashion trend you’d like to try?
Mandy: Anything for lashes!
Maureen: Hmm…. I’m so basic! I think I’m all right in this category. Getting hooked on too many trends can be nice, but expensive too.
Well, there you have it. You don’t have to have daily spa visits or a personal shopper to be one of the most beautiful women in Dallas; just knowing who you are is half the battle. Thanks to strong, self-confident women like these three, we can all feel more comfortable in our own skin. (But it wouldn’t hurt to run out and get some of that magical YSL mascara, just to be safe.)
When you meet Bobby Schandra, handbag designer probably isn’t your first thought. He’s young, athletic, and has an effortless style about him. But once you step into his showroom in the World Trade Center, you realize that Bobby has more than great hair going on-he’s a bonafide handbag and accessories designer for the modern woman. When asked what kind of woman he has in mind when he designs, he says “She is on the go, favors high energy environments, and travels for business and luxuriating. She is independent and confident – bold and self-assured. She knows and understands value and has her own design aesthetic.” A walk through his showroom proves he means what he says-he has several different collections that reflect strong and confident personalities. His bags have been featured on numerous publications and television shows, most notably on Entourage. From bold colors to trendy hardware to fashionable iPad cross-body accessories, Schandra incorporates ready-to-wear in each season’s latest.
Behind the serious designer is still a hip, young guy with more than meets the eye, so I couldn’t help but ask the questions everyone wants to know (and a few they didn’t know they wanted to know!)
Bobby, when did you realize you wanted to become a designer? Perhaps it was the influence of the semester studying in Italy that initiated that influenced my interest in design. Or perhaps it was my love of art, music and life’s finer things. Whatever the cause, I have always had a natural instinct for color, texture and fabric propelled him into a family history of fashion design.
What are some of your professional accomplishments? I won 6 national sales awards from Johnson & Johnson. I was also a recognized speaker for Americas Mart University, as I directed and coached retailers on how to grow their web presence and retail businesses. My bags and jewelry were featured on Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Vampire Dairies.
As a designer yourself, who are some of your favorites? Gucci, Valentino.