Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Red Carpet

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

Designs for the Cure 2011

Designer David Meister was honored Friday night at a $125-a-plate charity gala organized by Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County at the Bel-Air Bay Club.

Dubbed "Designs for theCure," in addition to recognizing Meister for his contributions to the cause of breast cancer awareness (he's a founding member of the local Pink Tie Guys), a Komen-affiliated group of men), the event included a silent auction, a sit-down dinner and a presentation of work by students in the fashion design program at Otis College of Art and Design.

Victoria TaylorThat work -- in the form of design sketches -- also had a connection to Meister who is working with 15 of the students as part of Otis' design mentorship program, and their goal for this project was to create
a seasonless pink dress. A handful of those designs were on display -- propped on easels, pinned to mood boards, some with diaphanous fabric swatches attached.  

Although it was slightly disappointing not to see fully realized garments at the Oct. 28 gala, we're told plans are to have the best looks from the pink dress project made in time to hit the runway at Otis College's annual scholarship benefit and fashion show on May 5, 2012, at the Beverly Hilton.

Among the celebrities turning out at the event were Sara Ramirez of "Grey's Anatomy's" Sara Rue of “Rules of Engagement,” Emmanuelle Chriqui from "Entourage" and guitarist Saul Hudson -- better known as Slash -- and wife Perla Hudson.  


Otis College of Art and Design kicks off upcoming fashion gala with VIP glitz

Betsey Johnson goes pink with Kentucky Derby hats for breast cancer awareness

Home Tour: Fashion designer David Meister colors his house with shades of gray

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photos: At top, celebrity attendees at the Oct. 28 Designs for the Cure gala included, from left, honoree David Meister with Sara Rue (Credit: Neftalie Williams), Emmanuelle Chriqui, and Perla Hudson with husband Slash (Credit: Mike Brown). At bottom, a pink dress design by Otis student Victoria Taylor was among those on display at the event. Credit: Victoria Taylor, courtesy of Otis

2011 Vanity Fair best-dressed list is flush with royalty

Duchess of Cambridge in Los Angeles
The duchess of Cambridge was among the women named to the 2011 Vanity Fair International Best-Dressed List, which the magazine announced Wednesday morning.

The former Kate Middleton wasn't the only royal in the rankings, which included Princess Charlene of Monaco and Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser of Qatar. Also among the top 10 are France's First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy,  actresses Carey Mulligan and Tilda Swinton, and Christine LaGarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

PHOTOS: Vanity Fair International Best-Dressed list photo gallery

The men's side of the 2011 international list is dominated by fashion-savvy money men including financiers Arpad Busson and Alejandro Santo Domingo, shipping heir Stavros Niarchos and Mario D'Urso, the chairman of Mittel Capital. Hollywood's contribution included actors Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake and Colin Firth.

President Obama and the first lady made the grade in the "couples" category, NBC News anchor Brian Williams is elevated to the "Best-Dressed Hall of Fame" (we hope the perks include taking any front row seat at any fashion show he wants), with Lady Gaga and the Dragon King of Bhutan among those singled out as "fashion originals."

The complete listings are featured in the September issue of Vanity Fair, which hits newsstands in Los Angeles and New York City Wednesday and nationwide on Aug. 9.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo:  Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge, shown during a July 9 visit to Los Angeles, is among the royalty named to the 2011 Vanity Fair International Best-Dressed list, announced Wednesday. Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times.  

PHOTOS: Vanity Fair International Best-Dressed list photo gallery


William and Kate in North America: The royal fashion tour begins

Lady Gaga and NBC's Brian Williams among the style icons named to Vaanity Fair's 2010 best-dressed list

Revenge of the 'dad jeans' -- president joins wife on Vanity Fair best-dressed list

Susan Ashbrook shares secrets of celebrity dressing in new book

Sarah Jessica Parker Why have we seen a dozen paparazzi photos in the past couple of weeks of celebrities wearing Current/ Elliott’s leopard-print "Stiletto" jeans? Surely it's not a coincidence that Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicky Hilton, Mandy Moore and Isla Fisher all have the same jeans. More likely it's because a publicist  “seeded” them, meaning they gifted the jeans to famous fashion influencers.

Seeding is just one of the machinations of celebrity dressing explained in "Will Work For Shoes: The Business Behind Red Carpet Product Placement,” a new book on sale Sept. 1, by former fashion publicist Susan Ashbrook.

Ashbrook, who lives in L.A., was a pioneer in the product placement game in Hollywood, founding her company Film Fashion in 1994. For  14 years, she played matchmaker between fashion companies and celebrities, engineering red carpet moments and paparazzi opportunities that helped raise brand awareness and sales at Escada, Stuart Weitzman, Lanvin and others.

"In Middle America, people still come up to me and say, 'You mean celebrities get dresses for free?'" says Ashbrook, when asked if the public knows how much money and product changes hands before Katie Holmes, Fergie and Jessica Simpson appear in US Weekly or In Touch carrying the same high-end handbag.Ashbrook

But the book isn't so much a memoir as it is a how-to guide for getting product on celebrities, whether they be Hollywood or hometown. "Celebrity marketing can work for a tire store in St. Louis just as well as it can for Armani,” says Ashbrook, who moved to L.A. from Chicago to become an actress, but landed in fashion, first as director of public relations for designer Richard Tyler.

"Even in small-town U.S.A. you have your own VIPs, whether it’s the mayor, a tennis coach or a football star. You can use examples of what the big brands do, and do it on a smaller scale," says Ashbrook, who sold Film Fashion to PR powerhouse Rogers & Cowan in 2008. "Louis Vuitton used to host these salon dinners with editors and designers. If you're the owner of a bookstore in a small town you can host a salon dinner of your own and create a buzz for your store that way."

Of course, Ashbrook also shares a fair amount of star-studded dish. Here's a cheat sheet on the PR maven and her book:

Basinger Bragging rights:

Dressing Kim Basinger in a pistachio-coloreed Escada gown for the 1998 Oscars. The dress, finished just minutes before Basinger got in her car to go, raised the profile of the brand internationally. Jump-starting bridal designer Monique Lhuillier's career by pairing her with Britney Spears. When Spears wore a Lhuillier gown to wed Kevin Federline, even Newsweek took notice of the fashion moment.

Trade secret: Offered gift certificates to celebrities to get them to shop at maternity wear retailer A Pea in the Pod -- $5,000 for A-listers, $2,500 for B-listers.

Dish: Holly Robinson Peete took a free baby crib in exchange for having her nursery photographed for a weekly magazine; Sarah Jessica Parker said “no way.” Monique Lhuillier wouldn’t give Jamie Lee Curtis a gown gratis to wear to the Oscars because she didn’t feel the actress fit her demographic. Curtis bought the dress and wore it anyway.

Low point: Oscar red carpet dressing got so competitive one year that Ashbrook found herself sitting alongside another publicist in a Beverly Hills hotel lobby until 2 a.m. waiting for actress Ziyi Zhang. Both Ashbrook and her competiton were vying for the actress to wear their client’s shoes. The experience inspired the title of the book, "Will Work for Shoes."

Words to live by:  "Many bad girl celebrities get you more publicity than good girl ones"; "Gifting and bartering product is less expensive than paying for an ad or endorsement."

"Will Work For Shoes: The Business Behind Red Carpet Product Placement," by Susan Ashbrook, goes on sale Sept. 1.

-- Booth Moore

Photos, from top: Sarah Jessica Parker wears Current/Elliott Stiletto jeans to a figure-skating show in Shanghai on July 22. Credit: Associated Press. Kim Basinger dressed in Escada at the 70th annual Academy Awards in 1998. Credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times.

Could Comic-Con be fashion’s next big red carpet?


Comic-Con, the massive pop-culture convention that took place at the San Diego Convention Center this  past weekend, drew plenty of fans dressed up as everyone from Darth Vader to entire families donning  costumes inspired by “The Incredibles.” But it’s also clear that this event is no longer just about Wookie outfits and Velcro capes but rather, another opportunity for a star-studded red carpet and the right attire to go with it.


Minka We’re not exactly sure when Comic-Con turned into the Cannes Film Festival as far as the clothes go, but judging by what the growing group of celebrities in attendance wore, several Hollywood stylists must have been working  overtime to plan the perfect looks for premieres, parties and panel discussions. 

Olivia Wilde was there to promote her new film, “Cowboys and Aliens,” but rather than showing up in something casual or cowboy-ish, the actress was dramatic in a long, black lace dress from Dolce & Gabbana, her smokey eye makeup was courtesy of Chanel. And while she was stunning as usual, it was a whole lot of look for a convention that seems to be more loose and quirky than your typical Hollywood premier.

"Vampire Diaries" actress Nina Dobrev opted for black lace as well; hers was cocktail length with a deep V neckline. She paired the dainty dress with red satin Brian Atwood heels. Dobrev continued to wear sky-high Atwoods throughout the rest of the convention -- another pair in peach as well as in bright pink. Minka Kelly also teetered in Atwoods, but in a more muted tan color that went well with her earthy-colored deep  green and black multi-patterned Etro dress.

Also in a dress that was more super-chic than superhero was actress Ana de la Reguera, decked out in a floor-length Gucci gown that had a sheer skirt and heavily textured fuchsia top and dramatic tie- around neck.


Calista Flockhart opted for something more light and summery, but with no shortage of a designer label. Her black and white printed strapless dress was from Armani. Also in a short length but with a giant punch of citrus color was Freida Pinto; hers was a lime green shift dress with black piping. And Malin Akerman sported a black fitted dress from Theysken’s Theory that had a cool angular design running down the front, which sort of had a sci-fi feel to it.  

Maggie On the casual end was Olivia Munn, who generally goes a Oliviamunncomicon little more tomboy anyway, even for swanky events. Her printed blouse was from Tucker and her flouncy white skirt from Asos. The combo felt just right for this kind of affair, as did the sleek black Max Mara suit worn by Maggie Q. It fit her perfectly and the side cutouts screamed sexy superhero. 

Naturally, where there are large groups of celebrities, luxury brands are usually not far behind. Armani was apparently approached to host a lounge at Comic-Con and representatives from the brand went down to check out the scene. Maybe next year we’ll be seeing even more fashion synergy at the convention.  Lanvin latex suits anyone?

-- Melissa Magsaysay


Comic-Con celebrity party guide

Your Stylist: Traveling in style this summer

Jessica Alba and Helen Mirren are seeing spots


Top - Olivia Wilde arrives for the world premiere of Universal Pictures' "Cowboys & Aliens" in conjunction with Comic-Con in San Diego. (Photo by Reuters/Mike Blake)

Left -Ana de la Reguera attends the premiere of Universal Pictures "Cowboys & Aliens" during Comic-Con. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Right - Nina Dobrev attends the premiere of  "Cowboys & Aliens." (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Right - Minka Kelly speaks at "Charlie's Angels" panel. (John Shearer/Getty Images)

Left - Calista Flockhart arrives at the premiere of "Cowboys and Aliens." (Associated Press/Dan Steinberg)

Middle - Freida Pinto attends "Immortals" press line. (John Shearer/Getty Images)

Right - Malin Akerman speaks at Adult Swim's "Children's Hospital" panel. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Left below - Maggie Q arrives at Entertainment Weekly's 5th annual Comic-Con Celebration sponsored by Batman: Arkham City held at Float, Hard Rock Hotel. (Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)

Right - Olivia Munn arrives at the EW Comic-Con Celebration. (Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)


BET Awards fashion winners and losers

Ceelo Cee Lo Green stole the fashion show at the BET Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Green out-diva-ed the night's biggest diva, dressing up like Patti LaBelle during his tribute to the singer, belting out "Somebody Loves You Baby," while spritzing hairspray on his spikey wig. (LaBelle herself looked pretty tame by comparison, in a demure navy sheath and matching coat.)

PHOTOS: BET Awards best and worst dressed

Another great fashion moment was Chris Brown's onstage strip-down, from a white suit jacket with supersized shoulders of Talking Heads proportions (and a pair of curiously cut pants), down to a black jumpsuit. Alicia Keys showed how to rock a jumpsuit in the real world, wearing her black Dolce & Gabbana style with a white boyfriend blazer, killer black-and-white striped heels, and Wilfredo Rosado "Blackamoor" earrings. 

"Whip My Hair" tween fashionista Willow Smith looked age-appropriate in a yellow "Fresh Prince" T-shirt with dad Will's mug on the front, a red leather jacket, black shorts and knee-high combat boots. She was perfectly in tune with the funky vibe of the event, where most of the men wore jeans and high-top sneakers, and the women who dressed up too much looked out of place. Exhibit A would be Ashanti, whose clingy turquoise Jean Fare gown seemed more Oscars formal than BET Awards.

The evening's fan favorite was Kelly Rowland, who wore a short and sweet, fuchsia Marchesa dress with a ruffle detail. Kerry Washington went with a more streamlined look, an acid green Michael Kors gown, as did Mary J. Blige, in a white jumpsuit with a cool, wide sculptural metal belt.

Busta Rhymes got a ribbing from host Kevin Hart for wearing a vest that looked like a "brain." And, come to think of it, the squiggly brown python piece was a bit odd. Speaking of odd, how about Nicki Minaj's dusty pink knit minidress and patterned tights? Definitely not up to diva standards. She didn't even color her hair! 

-- Booth Moore

PHOTOS: BET Awards best and worst dressed


Grammy Awards: Onstage fashion, the best and the worst

Style Profile: Avant-garde rocker Kristeen Young

More music and style coverage from All The Rage

Photo: Cee Lo Green douses his Patti LaBelle wig with hairspray while performing a tribute to the lifetime achievement award winner at the 2011 BET Awards. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

E! Entertainment launches consumer products


The E! Entertainment channel has made two-hour programs dedicated to the red carpet at award shows. The programs have a group of "Fashion Police" on the trail of possible fashion offenders, and a bevy of uber-bronzed, rail-thin hosts whose gleaming white teeth are typically as bright at the Neil Lane and Fred Leighton bling they so feverishly query celebrities about before the stars stroll into the Kodak Theatre or Beverly Hills Hilton.

It was just a matter of time before E! bottled up the glam factor it's perpetuated -- and sold it. The channel -- home of the Kardashian reality shows, a prime case study in branding and expanding -- has launched a consumer collection called, "E! Live From the Red Carpet," which includes makeup, dresses, self-tanners and, of course, food delivery for weight control. The licensed products come from brands such as Stila Cosmetics, Adrianna Pappel, Freshology and Xen Tan, all created to bring a slice of what it might feel like to be a celebrity to customers who crave a Hollywood-worthy tan or smoky eye.

The E! Live from the Red Carpet collection starts rolling out in April; the products are to be available in Ulta and Nordstrom stores with prices ranging from $20 to $300. The Freshology food delivery service is to be available online.

There's only six months left until the next awards show, so you can start your red-carpet regimen now and be ready in time for the Emmys.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: The Stila Cosmetics Stunning Starlet makeup palette from the E! Live from the Red Carpet collection. Credit: E!

Oscars: Colleen Atwood wins for 'Alice in Wonderland' costume design

Colleen Atwood won the Academy Award for outstanding achievement in costume design for her work on Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," marking the third time she's taken home the Oscar in that category. (Nominated a total of nine times, she took the statuette home for the first time in 2003 for "Chicago" and a second time in 2006 for "Memoirs of a Geisha.")

Atwood, whose long history of collaboration with Burton stretches back more than two decades to "Edward Scissorhands," includes the films "Ed Wood," "Planet of the Apes" and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," as well as the upcoming big-screen version of the "Dark Shadows" TV show, set for release in 2012, which also includes another frequent Burton collaborator, Johnny Depp.

Helena Bonham Carter referenced Atwood and Burton's long collaborative relationship on the red carpet earlier in the evening, when asked about her relatively toned-down black corset dress. "I got together with our costume designer Colleen Atwood," she told reporters, "and thought it would be nice to celebrate film rather than fashion."

It sounds a tiny bit like sour grapes -- especially since her recent outing at the Golden Globes -- in a metallic Vivienne Westwood dress and two different-colored shoes -- earned her the scorn of the self-appointed fashion police. (For the record, our own fashion critic, Booth Moore, called her choice "fearless.")

But, with Atwood's win Sunday, Bonham Carter's wardrobe choice Sunday was clearly on the right side of academy voters -- if not public opinion.

I guess we should feel lucky she didn't decide to turn up on the red carpet sporting the outsize noggin and nasty demeanor of her Red Queen character from the film.

-- Adam Tschorn

Reinventing Alice's look for the 21st century

Photos: At left, three-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood gives her acceptance speech on stage during the 83rd annual Academy Awards. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times. At right, Helena Bonham Carter in a Colleen Atwood-designed black corset dress on the red carpet earlier in the evening. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.


Oscars: Monochrome men make a solid style statement

As it is with most trips down the red carpet, most of the fashion statements on the way into the 83rd annual Academy Awards were being made by the women, but a few of the fellows managed to stand out from their tuxedo-clad brethren and stay within the formalwear rules.

For most men that meant subtle and simple details -- like Justin Timberlake in a Tom Ford tuxedo with generous peak lapels, and Jeremy Renner in an Yves Saint Laurent navy shawl-collar tux (for my money, we don't see enough of the shawl collar -- which is considered less formal than the peak-lapel version).

But presenter Russell Brand and nominee Christian Bale went to the dark side. Bale wore a black, one-button, shawl-collar Gucci tuxedo, paired with a black dress shirt, black silk tie and black leather lace-up shoes (also all by Gucci).

At first glance, Brand looked like he'd followed suit -- but on closer examination it turns out he'd gone with a dark navy jacket with a black satin notch lapel, a black necktie and a black-and-navy horizontal-striped dress shirt. (And Robert Downey Jr. split the difference -- going with a white-on-white shirt-and-tie ensemble and a black tuxedo jacket.)

To co-present the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem split the difference -- top to bottom -- by donning cream-colored, one-button, made-to-order tuxedo evening jackets (Bardem's was a shawl collar, Brolin's was a peak lapel) white dress shirts, cream-colored bowties and black tuxedo trousers -- all by Gucci.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Among the men making a solid style statement at the 83rd annual Academy Awards were, from left, Russell Brand (with mother Barbara; credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times), Robert Downey Jr. (with Susan Downey; credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times) and Christian and Sibi Bale (credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times).


Oscars: Tim Gunn's cold-carpet advice: Stiffen the lip

Timgunn Our red-carpet compatriot Jessica Gelt reports that "Project Runway" mentor Tim Gunn was asked by a reporter to offer advice for the star who might have had the misfortune to have picked out a sleeveless gown -- only to wake up on the morning of the Academy Awards to discover that it's a chilly 38 degrees.

The spirited response, in Gunn's typical "make it work"style: "Stiff upper lip! Walk that carpet like there's no tomorrow!" earned cheers from the crowd.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Tim Gunn at A&E Television Network's Upfront in New York. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press.

Your morning fashion and beauty report: Bright colors on the SAG Awards red carpet, Elie Tahari rolls out the Emmy Rossum handbag, and the apparel world loses two

It may have been overcast Sunday, but, as our fashion critic Booth Moore reports, the red carpet at the SAG Awards was full of vibrant hues, with young stars Jennifer Lawrence and Mila Kunis among the standouts. [Los Angeles Times]

Birkin bag, eat your heart out: According to Women's Wear Daily, fashion designer Elie Tahari and actress Emmy Rossum have collaborated on a handbag that will roll out to retailers (including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue) in March. The bag will be available in four sizes at a price range of $398 to $798, and a  portion of all proceeds will go to a charity, WWD reports. [WWD, subscription required]

The apparel world has lost two notable names: Gretchen Clarke, 78, who helped build Waltah Clarke's Hawaiian Shops into what was once the country's largest retailer of aloha wear (without whom we would not have the shortened version of the muumuu known as the "mini muu") [Los Angeles Times]; and fashion designer Charles Nolan, 53, who, in addition to designing an eponymous label -- and stints at Anne Klein and Ellen Tracy -- took a hiatus from the fashion world in 2003 to work on the presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. [Los Angeles Times]

Let them eat capes? Waffle trousers and challah shoulder pads apparently aren't just figments of my hunger dreams. The Wall Street Journal noshes on the notion of wearable food. [Wall Street Journal]

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Among those wearing the bright and vivid hues at Sunday's 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles were, from left, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Lawrence and Hailee Steinfeld. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times 


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