Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Charity

Shopping: Maria Bello, Sela Ward host charity trunk show at Saks

Same Sky artisans

Actresses Maria Bello, Sela Ward, Frances Fisher and Linda Hart are on tap to help host a shopping event to benefit Same Sky jewelry at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills on March 22. Guests can shop the Same Sky trunk show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Same Sky organization employs African women living with HIV/AIDS as artisans. More than 75 artisans in Rawanda and Zambia are employed by Same Sky and make hand-crocheted necklaces and bracelets. The artisans earn roughly 15 times the amount an average working women earns in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a news release.

PurpleUnityBracelet-SameSkySaks will showcase Same Sky's latest spring colors in items including a resort collection of fabric wrap bracelets ($30-$40), prosperity seed bead bracelets ($60-$95), signature hand-blown glass beaded bracelets and necklaces ($160-$400), new Hope necklaces ($395) and hand-crocheted Unity bracelets ($145). All net proceeds from the jewelry sales go to employing more artisans and expanding the organization into other areas.

Same Sky founder Francine LeFrak, Bello, Ward and other celebrity guests will be in the jewelry gallery at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills from 5 to 7 p.m. for a Champagne toast and to shop the collection. For more information or to RSVP, call (310) 887-5336 or visit


Dance your way to $20,000 this prom season

Diane von Furstenberg celebrates International Women's Day

Yotam Solomon, Moods of Norway, VBN headline 'Attire to Inspire'

-- Jenn Harris

Top photo: Same Sky artisans. Credit: Same Sky

Bottom photo: Same Sky purple Unity bracelet, $145. Credit: Same Sky

Diane von Furstenberg celebrates International Women's Day


Designer Diane von Furstenberg is participating in a monthlong celebration of International Women's Day, which was March 8. For one thing, the wrap-dress maven has launched a line of Proud to be Woman products to help promote the empowerment of women globally.

For the third year in a row, DVF released a Proud to be Woman music compilation play button ($30) and drop card for digital download at DVF boutiques, and iTunes. The eight-track list has songs by Ingrid Michaelson, A Fine Frenzy, Dragonette, Jasmine Ash, Miss Li, Yuna, Toby Lightman and Lissie.

Also available at DVF boutiques and online is the Proud to be Woman tote (pictured above, $40)  and an Iphone case ($25) featuring the same heart logo. Both come with a Proud to be Women compilation digital download drop card. All proceeds from the sales will go to benefit the non-governmental organization Vital Voices, a group dedicated to promoting women's initiatives.

DVF also plans a cocktail shopping event at the store in Los Angeles from 6 to 8 p.m. March 20. The event will feature a performance by A Fine Frenzy and also benefit the Vital Voices organization. There will be other events at DVF boutiques around the country throughout March.

DVF is donating 10% of sale proceeds from March 8-15 to Vital Voices. For more information, visit


Dance your way to $20,000 this prom season

Hollywood's top 25 most powerful stylists are celebrated

Decades designs shoes for Modern Vintage

-- Jenn Harris

Photo: Proud to be Woman tote bag by DVF. Credit: Diane von Furstenberg

Yotam Solomon, Moods of Norway, VBN headline 'Attire to Inspire'

Yotam Solomn Attire to Inspire
Breathe LA's second annual "Attire to Inspire" charity event, which took place at the Conga Room at L.A. Live,  was one of two March 8 style-centric fundraisers marking the unofficial kickoff of Los Angeles Fashion Week (the other was Fashion Group International's "Designer and the Muse" cocktail party at Ace Gallery Los Angeles across town), and the first runway show I can recall that ended with a model being heated by a pair of hairdryers.

The model in question was wearing a mid-thigh-length blue-and-white cotton dress by L.A.-based designer Yotam Solomon that looked like a cloud-strewn Southern California sky. As she stood at the end
of the runway, a helper popped up next to the catwalk, turned on a pair of hand-held Conair dryers and slowly -- very slowly, no make that painfully slowly -- tried to coax a color change from the garment.

I'm going to guess the dress was supposed to fade from blue to white (it was hard to tell from our vantage point) with the application of heat, since the designer had intimated earlier in the evening that VBN and Moods of Norwaythe dress was going to somehow change with the temperature.

It was a look Solomon had created specifically for the event, with the rest of the looks (10 women's and two men's) pulled from exisiting collections. (Since Solomon doesn't stage runway shows, it was a rare chance to see his creations on live models.)

The event also marked the first U.S. fashion show for the fun-loving Moods of Norway brand, which started the show by sending pieces from its fall 2012 "cocktail mountaineering" collection of men's and women's clothes down the catwalk, a cacophony of orange corduroy jackets, cable-knit sweaters and bold plaid three-piece suits, all bearing details that referenced the label's farm tractor logo -- on the corduroy jacket that meant a bold tractor-tire tread elbow patch embroidery, on the sweaters the tread was part of the cable pattern itself and the suits sported what looked like tractor-tire-inspired buttons. 

Moods of Norway was followed on the runway by eco-conscious label VBN (Vicarious By Nature), which showed a handful of looks including rust-colored sweaters, gray khakis and plaid shirts accessorized with scarves and cross-body bags.

Solomon's looks closed out the evening, and though the big reveal of his final look may have fallen short thanks to the two tiny hair dryers, it wasn't for naught since, according to the event organizers, the approximately 400 people in attendance helped raise nearly $40,000 to benefit Breathe LA's efforts to promote clean air and healthy lungs in Los Angeles County.

And, since Solomon plans to eventually sell the dress to benefit the organization, that amount will eventually increase.

We're just guessing that hair dryers are sold separately.


Los Angeles Fashion Week is set to kick off Thursday

Varvatos Stuart house benefit raises $700,000 for charity

Los Angeles Fashion Week: Designer Yotam Solomon's collection dabbles in drugs and DNA

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos, from top: A model in a temperature-reactive cotton dress by Yotam Solomon closed out Breath LA's "Attire to Inspire" fashion show on March 8.

The fashion show also included looks from VBN (left) and Moods of Norway (right). Credit: Howard Pasamanick / Breathe LA

Varvatos Stuart House benefit raises $700,000 for charity

Stuart House Benefit 2012
The celebrities turned out and the wallets opened up on Sunday, as a capacity crowd of 1,700 turned out to John Varvatos' ninth annual charity event that put $700,000 in the coffers of Stuart House, a UCLA Rape Treatment Center program that helps sexually abused children.

In addressing the crowd, both fashion designer John Varvatos and the organization's founder and director Gail Abarbanel mentioned recent headlines in citing the need for programs like Stuart House. "We've seen, over the last year, with Penn State and other cases, that the need is bigger than it's ever been," Varvatos said.

TylervarvatosFollowing Varvatos on stage, Abarbanel mentioned a situation closer to home. "The result of situations like Penn State and what's going on with some Los Angeles area schools," she said, "is that the nation's consciousness has been raised. This is important because there are three to four new victims of sexual abuse every day and 50% of them are children."

Abarbanel was followed to the stage by honorary event co-chairs Leslie Mann and husband Judd Apatow, the latter of whom was able to add a dose of levity to the seriousness of the cause. "I think paying $8,000 to get your nails done might be worth it," he said in reference to the assorted high-end items up for bid in the silent auction. "Now I'll go buy a candle for $20,000."

Whether it was for expensive waxings or wax or something else, the event, capped by a live musical performance by Dave Matthews, brought in nearly half again as much as the $500,000 raised at last year's event, pushing the total amount raised over the years to $2.7 million.

Spotted in the crowd were Cindy Crawford and husband Rande Gerber, Rachel Zoe and husband Rodger Berman, and Steven Tyler, who was mobbed -- yes, like a rock star -- from the moment of his arrival, by autograph seekers and fans hoping to get their picture taken with the Aerosmith frontman and "American Idol" judge. 

If Varvatos wants to break another fundraising record for next year's event, I think on Sunday afternoon he might just have found the guy to help him do it.


Paige Denim's new jean color to benefit anti-sexual violence group

NBC's 'Fashion Star' is designed with retail in mind

Patrick Dempsey (and a few of his friends) join forces at Stuart House Benefit

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photos: At top left, Dave Matthews performs at the ninth annual John Varvatos Stuart House benefit on Sunday. At right (left to right) John Varvatos, Joyce Varvatos, Dave Matthews, Leslie Mann, Judd Apatow and Stuart House's founder and director Gail Abarbanel. Credit: Getty Images for John Varvatos. At bottom, Steven Tyler and John Varvatos on the red carpet. Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Paige Denim's new jean color to benefit anti-sexual violence group

Paige Denim RAINN Blue
Culver City-based Paige Denim has announced plans to roll out a new wash called "RAINN Blue," proceeds from which will help fund the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), a nationwide anti-sexual violence organization.

The wash will be available in four styles; the Silverlake short (which retails for $135), the Vermont jacket ($179), the Kylie Crop ($189) and the Lou Lou ($179), with 20% of proceeds going to RAINN.

The new color will be available for purchase online and in stores in April to promote National Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month.

“This cause is very near and dear to my heart and I am honored to sit on RAINN’s national leadership council,” the brand's co-founder and creative director Paige Adams-Geller said in the news release announcing the new denim wash. "We created this jean to promote awareness and to provide help for victims who would not have otherwise been able to receive any.”


Dave Matthews to perform at March 11 Varvatos fundraiser

Paul Smith 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' prints benefit amfAR

The charity trunk shows: Elephant Heart necklace helps the troops

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Products available in Paige Denim's new RAINN blue wash will include (from left) the Kylie Crop ($189) and Lou Lou ($179) silhouettes, the Silverlake short ($135) and the Vermont jacket ($179). Credit: Paige Denim

Dave Matthews to perform at March 11 Varvatos fundraiser

Kdlang at john varvatos
Dave Matthews has been announced as the high-profile musical guest at the upcoming ninth annual Stuart House Benefit on March 11.

Matthews, who is also the face of Varvatos' Spring 2011advertising campaign, follows in the footsteps of other high-profile musicians who have headlined the outdoor concert and charity shopping event, including k.d. lang (2011), ZZ Top (2009), Macy Gray (2007) and Jackson Browne (2005). 

To date the Varvatos shindig has raised more than $2 million for the Rape Treatment Center at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, which treats young victims of sexual abuse.

In the past the gathering has managed to attract a constellation of stars, and past years have seen the likes of David Schwimmer, Zoe Saldana, L.L. Cool J, Brooke Shields and Patrick Dempsey who co-chaired last year's event with wife Jillian. (This year's honorary co-chairs are Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann.)

Tickets are $200 per adult guest, and $25 for kids 16 and under, and can be purchased online at or via phone at (310) 559-9334. There's also an option to click if you can't attend but still want to donate. The site also has a link that will allow you to preview some of the live auction items that will be up for bid from March 2-20 (current items include a custom guitar autographed by the members of Green Day and a day behind the scenes at Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Funny or Die website).

The John Varvatos 9th Annual Stuart House Benefit, 8800 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, March 11, from noon to 5 p.m. Live auction and concert start at 1:30 p.m. Valet parking provided. Tickets available online at or via phone at (310) 559-9334.


Patrick Dempsey (and a few of his friends) join forces at Stuart House Benefit

k.d. lang to perform at March 13 Varvatos fundraiser

Fashion forward at John Varvatos Stuart House benefit

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: K.d. lang performs at the 2011 John Varvatos Stuart House Benefit. Dave Matthews, who also appears in the John Varvatos Spring 2011 advertising campaign, isscheduled to perform at this year's charity event on March 11. Credit: Chelsea Lauren / WireImage 


UCLA, USC mascots get a makeover in T-shirt contest

Threadless USC UCLA Tshirts
The winning designs from Threadless' College! T-Shirt Design Challenge, which includes two local mascot makeovers among the 11 participating universities, are now available for purchase on men's and women's T's, with 10% of sales funneled back to the respective universities.

In September 2011, students, alumni and fans of the schools (listed below, with links to the winning designs) were invited by the website to re-imagine their school mascot in a design, with the only guideline being that it incorporated the school colors. 

The winning UCLA design, chosen by online voters from among 30 submitted designs, was created by Michael Mohlman, a UCLA senior studying English, with Lucas Knisley winning the USC challenge from among 27 submitted designs.

Each of the 11 winners received an iPad2, Adobe Creative Suite 5 graphic design software, bragging rights for their efforts and a chance at winning a $5,000 donation from Threadless to their university's art department.

The full list of participating schools includes:


USC, commission post term sheet for modified Coliseum lease

 Majoring in chic at L.A.'s fashion schools

UCLA Undie Run: Who are you wearing?

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Lucas Knisley's "Warrior" redesign of the USC mascot, left, and Michael Mohlman's "We Are the Mighty Bruins" T-shirt, right, were among the winners of Threadless' college T-shirt design challenge, and are available online for $20. Credit:

Suno launches colorful sneakers for Resort

It’s hard not to feel bright and cheery when thinking about the bold and whimsical prints in Suno’s collection. And now those prints (often inspired by the traditional Kangas of Kenya) are being done in a decidedly sporty (not to mention less pricey than the ready-to-wear line) oxford-style sneaker, perfect for slipping on with a breezy dress once the weather warms up.

“The Resort collection was inspired by a very retro American tourist look,” said Erin Beatty, Suno's co-creative director, in a press statement. “It made perfect sense to us to make a classic, easy tennis shoe. We chose some of our favorite Kanga-inspired prints for the shoes, which are all being produced in Kenya with soles made entirely from recycled rubber.”

Beatty and co-creative director Max Osterweis, are continuing the Kenya connection by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the sneakers to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a Kenyan orphanage for baby elephants and rhinos.

Suno sneakers are $65 and available at


Holiday Shopping: The Mulberry Travel tote

Warby Parker opens a shop in shop inside Confederacy

Trina Turk launches stationery, swimwear collaborations

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: Suno sneakers. Credit: Suno

Of salad bowls and party hats: Divine Design turns 20 in style

Divine Design Gala
Divine Design, the annual fundraiser benefiting Project Angel Food, celebrated its 20th anniversary in style Wednesday night, with a gala dinner marking the start of a six-day charity shopping marketplace that will run through Dec. 12.

Before dinner, guests sipped cocktails and wandered the cavernous space -- the former Robinson's May store in Beverly Hills -- while browsing and buying discounted delights such as L.A. Eyeworks frames, vintage fur capelets, Brooks Brothers Black Fleece jackets and ties, Alexander McQueen clutches, Trina Turk tote bags, D.L. and Co. candles, a veritable forest of bamboo furniture, Philippe Starck Ghost armchairs, Barbie bicycles, Kiehls lotions, lip balms and more -- all of which could be had at 50% off retail prices.

Posted throughout were large signs bearing the equation "$5 = 1 meal," an exchange rate of sorts meant

Continue reading »

Alternative Apparel collecting gently used T-shirts for charity

You know that bag full of old T-shirts collected from family reunions, gift bags, high school clubs and childhood concerts? Now is a good time to get them off your hands (and out of your garage) because Alternative Apparel is taking donations of gently used T-shirts at its Venice flagship store to benefit Upward Bound House, a Santa Monica-based organization that aims to end homelessness.

Pop into the store with your unwanted tees and receive a 15% discount on Alternative Apparel products for each shirt donated (up to two items per visit).

If you have other unwanted clothing items, bring in any amount and type,and the company will give those along with the T-shirts to Upward Bound House at the completion of the T-shirt program on Jan. 31.

The T-shirt drive and 15% discount is happening now through the end of January at the Alternative Apparel store at 1337 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.


Paul Smith 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' prints benefit amfAR

Divine Design to honor Viola Davis, Patricia Field, Thomas Keller

World AIDS Day; Gap, Nike, other fashion retailers get involved

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: Exterior of the Alternative Apparel store in Venice. Credit: Alternative Apparel


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