Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Contests

A $2,012 toilet paper wedding dress gives new meaning to 'cheap and chic'


A wedding can be the most expensive soiree you'll ever throw. There's the caterer, the flowers, a band and, of course, the dress. But what if you decided to do away with all the embroidery, lace and taffeta for a dress material that was, say, a little more economical? How about a gown made of plain white toilet paper?

That's the idea behind's eighth toilet paper wedding dress contest. The site asked people to use nothing more than Charmin toilet paper (one of the contest's sponsors), tape, glue and/or needle and thread to make a wedding dress, then submit pictures. The submissions were judged on creativity, originality, beauty and the use of toilet paper.

The winning design came from Susan Brennan, a 26-year-old aspiring artist and designer from Orchard Lake, Mich. Brennan used 10 rolls of Charmin toilet paper to make her Bohemian Cupcake dress. She won the grand prize of $2,012 for this year's entry. Brennan was also the 2011 grand prize winner.


A second-place prize of $1,000 went to Katrina Chalifoux, a 50-year-old electronics technician and mechanic from Knoxville, Tenn. Chalifoux used 28 double rolls of Charmin to make her dress. She is a three-time contestant and the 2008 grand prize winner.


A third-place prize of $500 went to first-time contestant Jennifer Henry, a 31-year-old alternative material designer and stylist from Las Vegas, Nev. Henry used 36 rolls of Charmin and no needle or thread. Instead she used packing tap and double-stick tape to keep her dress together. 


Potter heads: Team USA Quidditch jerseys now on sale

Frugal Fashion: 'The Amazing Spider-Man' star Emma Stone

Shopping L.A.: David's Bridal offers new Luxe gown collection

-- Jenn Harris

Photos: From top,  grand prize winner Susan Brennan in her toilet paper dress,  Katrina Chalifoux's entry and Jennifer Henry's submission. Credit:

American Eagle Outfitters' new campaign features three Angelenos

Fashion blogger Julie Sariñana in the new American Eagle Outfitters "Live your life" back to school campaign ad

American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) launched its fall 2012 back to school “Live Your Life” campaign Monday featuring 15 non-professional models from across the U.S. and Canada. Of those 15 men and women, seven California residents were chosen, three of whom are from Los Angeles. The models come from a variety of backgrounds and careers including an actress, students, fashion blogger, professional basketball player, magazine editor, musicians, a designer and more.

Each look in the campaign is meant to showcase how to use American Eagle denim and accessories to show off your individual style. From Los Angeles, artist and musician Angel Taylor is shown in the boyfriend jean in his ad; artist Frankie Ball Jr. sports the skinny jean; and fashion blogger Julie Sariñana wears the super skinny jean. From other areas of California, Aaron Bergantz, a general contractor from San Luis Obispo, models the bootcut jean; Chase Wilson, a surfer from Newport Beach wears the original straight jean; Sandy Ley, a graphic designer from San Francisco models the original boot jean; and Ty Foster, an actor and musician from Granite Bay, wears the relaxed jean.

AEO will continue its use of "real" models with its upcoming spring 2013 campaign. Beginning July 23, customers can enter a contest to be featured in the campaign. Submit a photo and answer personal style questions at, then share your submission on your social networks and collect as many votes as you can. The 250 people with the most votes in each of the 15 jean fits will be featured on the AEO website. Nine women and six men will be chosen for the campaign by a public vote on Aug. 30. For full details, visit


Olympic athletes (and California girls) share beauty tips

Olympics 2012: Gear, garb and goods for the armchair athlete

Venus Williams, playing Wimbledon this week, returns to fashion

-- Jenn Harris

Photo: Fashion blogger Julie Sariñana in the new American Eagle Outfitters "Live your life" back to school campaign ad. Credit: American Eagle Outiftters.

Seventeen picks 'Pretty Amazing' finalists in cover contest

Kimberly Anyadike of Los Angeles, above left,  is a record-setting pilot at age 18. She's also a member of the graduating class and class vice president at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, plans to attend UCLA, takes dance classes, hikes, surfs and hopes to become a cardiovascular surgeon for Doctors Without Borders.

Then there's  Lindsay Brown, 21, right, from Newport Beach, who plays soccer at the University of Notre Dame.  She created her own no-profit organization called the SEGway Project, which empowers girls through academics and athletics to help them to escape the cycle of poverty and become leaders.

They both sound pretty amazing.

The folks at Seventeen magazine thought so too and have named the young women as two of five finalists in their "Pretty Amazing" cover contest. All five will be flown to New York for a luncheon with Seventeen editors and actress Emma Roberts. One winner, to be announced in September, will appear on the magazine's October cover and win a $20,000 scholarship sponsored by Neutrogena.

The girls' fans can log on to to vote for their favorite finalist. The votes will be considered when the final decision is made by Seventeen Editor in Chief Ann Shoket, Roberts (who is Neutrogena's brand ambassador) and Jared Eng of the JustJared entertainment blog.

The other finalists are ballet dancer Chloe Freytag of Wayzata, Minn.; fashion designer Lindsay Giambattista of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Brittany McMillan of Surrey, British Columbia, who started an annual Spirit Day to show support for LBGT teens as a response to bullying.

“Our readers are doing amazing things -- helping those in need, dedicating themselves to causes they’re passionate about, setting seemingly impossible goals and achieving them, and most of all, inspiring others to do the same,”  Shoket said in a news release.

It sounds to me as if they're all winners.


Trina Turk talks about inspirations for Banana Republic collection

Fashion News: Miley Cyrus' engagement ring is quite a gem

Frugal Fashion: Leighton Meester white hot at MTV Movie Awards

-- Susan Denley

Photos: Kimberly Anyadike of Los Angeles, left, and Lindsay Brown of Newport Beach are finalists in Seventeen's "Pretty Amazing" cover contest. Credit: Seventeen





New Exposure $50,000 fashion photography contest


Calling all undiscovered photographers -- here's your chance to gain some new exposure.

Bottega Veneta and Red Digital Cinema are looking for undiscovered fashion photographers to participate in their New Exposure photography contest. The winner will receive a $50,000 prize package that includes a RED Epic-X camera package, a one-year mentorship with Management Artists photo agency and the chance to shoot a project for Bottega Veneta. The winner's work will also be exhibited in New York City.

Some of the judging panelists include Ivan Shaw, the photography director at Vogue; Tomas Maier, creative director for Bottega Veneta; and artist Ross Bleckner.

Entries must be submitted by May 30. To enter, send a digital portfolio to


'City of Style' makes a fashionable debut

Fashion news: Britney Spears, Elsa Peretti and Louis Vuitton

Shopping: VS opens 1st Pink store; California Market Center sales

-- Jenn Harris

Photo: Do you hope to follow in the footsteps of fashion photographers like Mario Testino? Here's a contest that could give you the opportunity. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images.

L.A. Beard and Mustache battle heads downtown this June

2011LABeard Competition
The sophomore outing of the Los Angeles Beard and Mustache Competition is moving over the hill from North Hollywood to the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles, where it is slated to take place June 24.

The competition has also refined the categories of competition, and whiskered warriors may now compete in nine categories instead of five; the mustache division is now split between natural and styled 'staches, a category was added for groomed beards, the partial beard category is divided between goatees and sideburns/muttonchops, and the freestyle division now offers something for the ladies as well -- a "Whiskerina" category.

"Show what the good lord neglected to give you and show us what could have been," reads the women's category description at the competition's website. "Pick a theme for your beard or mustache -- creativity is key. Judges will look at craftsmanship creativity, and overall appearance when voting on the best Whiskerina competitors."

PHOTOS: A gallery from the inaugural Los Angeles Beard and Mustache Championships

At last year's freshman outing in August, there were about 100 competitors and an estimated crowd of 300 attendees, and John Myatt, president of the host Los Angeles Beard & Mustache Club (who happened to take top honors in the "Full Beard Groomed" category at the 2011 National Beard and Moustache Championships back in October) told All The Rage he expects the upcoming facial-hair faceoff  "to be 500% bigger this year." 

The Second Annual Los Angeles Beard and Mustache Competition, June 24,  2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Belasco, 1050 South Hill Street, Los Angeles. Tickets are $15 (for spectators) and $25 (for competitors) and are available at


Results of the 1st Los Angeles Beard and Mustache Championships

Results of the 2011 National Beard and Moustache Championships

Photo Gallery: 2011 National Beard and Moustache Championships

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Scenes from the 2011 Los Angeles Beard and Mustache Championships in North Hollywood include an unidentified beardsman taking the stage (left) and mustache contestant Lucky Almader(far right) with wife Edith. Among the new categories added for 2012 is one for women called "Whiskerina. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times 

Time to vote for the Vans that move you

Winning shoe design

Votes may now be cast -- through May 3 -- in the Vans Custom Culture high school arts competition that had students around the country put their best artistic foot forward by customizing one of the skate brand's signature silhouettes.

The 10 finalists from each region -- California, Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast -- can be viewed at the competition's website, where members of the general public can vote for one school's entry per region.

After voting closes May 3, the school receiving the most votes in each region will be flown to Southern California for a final event at the Long Beach Museum of Art. The grand prize winner will earn a $50,000 donation to their school's art program and the opportunity to see one of their designs hit retail, with each runner up receiving a $4,000 donation to their school program.

New this year is a partnership with shoe retailer Journeys, which will award a separate $5,000 prize for the pair of shoes that best embodies the theme of "local flavor," with $1,000 to each of the four runners up in that category.

It's the third year of the program for the VF Corp.-owned action sports brand, which awarded top honors to Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N.Y., in 2011 and Rio Rancho High School of Rio Rancho, N.M., in 2010. 


James Van Doren dies at 72; co-founder of Vans shoes

Vans shoes; a happily checkered past

Readers share 'Vanecdotes' about that checkerboard slip-on

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photo: A shoe design by 2011 winner Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N.Y. Credit: Vans

Dance your way to $20,000 this prom season

It's always a good idea to tune up your dance moves before prom night, but how about a $20,000 incentive?

David's Bridal and Men's Wearhouse have teamed up to launch a national Facebook dance contest called "Dance Dance Prom!" Posted on the contest Facebook page is a video (featured above) of six kids getting their groove on in prom gear. For a chance to win $10,000 for yourself and $10,000 for your school, grab up to 10 friends and submit a video of your version of the dance by April 5.

Share your video with friends on Facebook between April 5 and April 26 to collect as many votes as you can to win. The brands will also choose 10 favorites to receive $100 gift certificates from David's Bridal or Men's Wearhouse for up to 10 people in the video.

For official rules, visit


Decades designs shoes for Modern Vintage

Hollywood's top 25 most powerful stylists are celebrated

Fashion News: Iditarod champs, Johnny Depp get style nods

-- Jenn Harris

Video: Dance Dance Prom demonstration from the contest Facebook page. Credit: David's Bridal and Men's Wearhouse

It's party of six for GQ's best new menswear designers in America

GQ Best New Menswear 2012

GQ magazine announced its 2012 best new menswear designers in America on Feb. 23, a list that includes Johan Lindeberg for his new BLK DNM label, Ian Velardi, Mark McNairy for his Mark McNairy New Amsterdam collection, Shimon and Ariel Ovadia for their Ovadia & Sons line, Saturdays (designed by Morgan Collett, Josh Rosen and Colin Tunstall) and Todd Snyder, all of whom will be featured in the magazine's April 2012 issue, which hits newsstands in Los Angeles on March 13.

Selected by the men's style glossy's editor-in-chief Jim Nelson and creative director Jim Moore, the recognition comes with a GQ-led mentoring program and the opportunity to create pieces for a limited-edition Gap collection that will hit Gap stores in the fall and be showcased in the October 2012 issue of the magazine.

In a notable departure, instead of winnowing a list of finalists to a single winner -- as the program has in the past -- this year's honor is being bestowed equally on all six as a group. Last year, Alexander Wang took the top honor for his T by Alexander Wang label. Other past recipients include Billy Reid (2010), Robert Geller (2009) and Engineered Garments' designer Daiki Suzuki (2008).


New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Billy Reid's Southern sophistication

Two local labels among finalists in GQ's search for the best new menswear designers

GQ's latest retail top-10 list includes two from L.A. (and only one from New York City)

-- Adam Tschorn

Left photo: Mark McNairy made GQ's best new menswear designers in America list for his Mark McNairy New Amsterdam collection. Credit: Amanda Marsalis / GQ 

Right photo: Ariel and Shimon Ovadio, left and right respectively, for Ovadio & Sons are also GQ honorees. Credit: Amanda Marsalis / GQ  

Madonna and Lola look for the next Material Girls

Madonna and Lola conduct a Material Girl model search
The original "material girl" and her tween offspring are setting out to find a few real girls who can represent their Material Girl brand in a spring-summer 2012 marketing campaign.

The multi-city contest called the Material Girl "Lucky Stars" model search (have we mined old Madonna songs enough yet?) is to be held at Macy's stores in major cities throughout the U.S., starting in New York on Wednesday and ending in Los Angeles at the Beverly Center on Nov. 19.

Not a 5-foot-9 twig who looks great in a denim mini and lace-trimmed socks? Not to worry. Madonna and Lola said in a statement that this is not your standard model search. "It's more about attitude. We are looking for a stylish, adventurous, creative, free spirits."

Ten finalists will get the chance to meet Lola and appear in a national marketing campaign. And there’s a $5,000 prize for each of the winners (tuck that away for college or to help Mom and Dad pay for your braces).

First step for Material Girl model hopefuls: Bring a photograph of yourself to one of the open calls and be prepared to tell the Material Girl judging panel (led by Kelly Osbourne) why you should be the next Material Girl.

Contestants can also upload their photograph to and explain in 100 words or less why they should be selected.
The judging panel will narrow down the entries to 36 semi-finalists, and those entries will be placed online (also at to be voted on by the public. The 10 girls with the highest number of votes will be flown to New York, where Madonna and Lola will choose the winners and the new faces of brand's spring 2012 campaign.

Here are the dates and locations of the open calls, in case you or someone you know feels like she's got what it takes to be the next Material Girl.

I'm still waiting for the open-call vogue-ing contest.

Herald Square, New York – Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Dadeland, Miami – Friday at 6 p.m.
State Street, Chicago – Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m.
Union Square, San Francisco – Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m.
Beverly Center, Los Angeles – Saturday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


Stars hit pink carpet for inaugural "Designs for the Cure" gala

Sinead O'Connor, Deborah Harry perform at amFAR gala

Shopping: Madonna's got new material

Photo: Material Girl model search graphic. Credit: Iconix Brand Group Inc.

Blake Lively, Grace Coddington to judge an FNO online contest

Fashion's Night Out
Project Runway, Top Chef, The Voice...the world loves a competition and Fashion’s Night Out is no exception. In fact, Fashion’s Night Out, and have collided to create FNO Style Setter, where starting Aug. 15, users can go onto and create a “set” (or a virtual mood board, if you will) based on the theme given to them by Vogue and Polyvore. Direction like, “fall wardrobe essentials” or “dress a style icon for fashion week” are meant to inspire participants to start building their visual sets online.

Each day, editors will highlight one standout set. At the end of each week, a judge -- either Blake Lively (three-time Vogue cover girl), Alexander Wang or Grace Coddington (creative director at Vogue) -- will pick two winning sets from the highlights that best sum up the challenge and grab them visually. At the end of the competition, which runs through Sept. 8, the six finalists will be posted at, where users can vote for their faves.

Two winners will be announced Sept. 9, just in time for FNO, and will fly to New York to observe a Vogue photo shoot and tour the legendary Vogue fashion closet with a fashion editor. 

This online competition and the continued synergy between fashion stars, celebs and traditional and social media is a sure sign that Fashion’s Night Out is growing even bigger and trying to gain more traction with a broader market.

And the grand prize of a shoot and closet tour certainly speaks to the fact that a wider swath of tweens and teens are fashion-obsessed beyond just playing dress up –- they’re clamoring for a behind-the-scenes experience with fashion insiders.


Fashion's Night Out 2011: WEHO gets logo makeover, party

Beverly Center to reprise its role as L.A. hub for Fashion's Night Out, a daily deals site, launches

-- Melissa Magsaysay


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.