Category Archives: Charity

Sneak peek: Nicole Richie debuts for Macy’s Impulse

Nicole Richey for Impulse
Nicole Richie's exclusive limited-edition collection for Macy's Impulse is slated to make its runway debut at this year's annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser, "Macy's Passport Presents Glamorama," but we have a sneak peek pictured here.

This is the 30th year for the fundraiser, which combines fashion, music, dance and technology in a theatrical show.  Over the years, the event -- which was co-chaired by the late actress and AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylor --  has raised more than $30 million for HIV/AIDS organizations and research projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to organizers.

Nicole Richie's collection includes 1970s-influenced silhouettes, prints and fabrications, with pieces priced from $49 to $149. Besides Richie's collection, other labels participating in Glamorama include Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Bar III.

The theme of the event is "British Invasion: The Music Then, the Fashion Now," with performances slated by Robin Thicke and Karmin. It's scheduled for 8 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway in Los Angeles. Tickets, starting at $75, are available for American Express cardholders now and go on sale to the public on Wednesday.

Glamorama  will be repeated at 8 p.m. Sept. 14 in San Francisco. 


Nicole Richie sets her sights on building a fashion empire

Kendall Jenner the face of Beverly Center's Fashion's Night Out ads

Fashion News: Lady Gaga's fragrance will be the first black eau de parfum

-- Susan Denley

Sketch credit: Macy's

Billabong to host 6th annual design for humanity charity event


Want to get a look at Billabong's new Spring 2013 collection? The popular skate and surf clothing brand will host its 6th annual "Designer for Humanity" event Wednesday with an exclusive sneak peek at the line's new tribal-influenced swimwear and one-of-a-kind custom pieces.

The event, which takes place at  Paramount Studios in Hollywood, is a mix of fashion, music and art. Festivities include a Billabong runway show featuring items from the new collection. Billabong collaborated with painter Hayuk on the line's swimwear. Some of the looks from the Billabong spring collection will be available for purchase at the event and Hayuk's pieces will be available for pre-sale starting that day. 

An art show titled Unlearn | Relearn with works from more than 25 artists, including Damion Silver and Chris Betting, will be on display. Three stages will be set up for performances by DJs and indie rock bands such as Walk the Moon and Imagine Dragons, and several organic food trucks are slated to make an appearance: Green Truck on the Go, the Gastrobus, the Patty Wagon and CoolHaus.

Tickets are $30 for general admission and $90 for VIP tickets, which allow access to the VIP area with free food and drinks. All ticket sales and a portion of the proceeds from an art auction and product collaboration sales will go to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which supports people, organizations and institutions who work toward a sustainable future.The event is sponsored by Verizon, Sony Xperia and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Doors will open at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit


Frugal Fashion: Naya Rivera a sartorial heroine at Comic-Con

Whitney Houston, 'Sparkle' stir memories on 'L.A. Hair' finale

OPI's latest lacquers put Germany at your fingertips

-- Jenn Harris

Image credit:  Billabong

No Mother’s Day: Christy Turlington spotlights maternal mortality

Model Christy Turlington doesn't want you to celebrate Mother's Day. In fact, she's devoted an entire campaign to encouraging mothers to disappear on the holiday.

It's all part of her No Mother's Day campaign in collaboration with New York-based creative agency CHI&Partners and Every Mother Counts, meant to bring awareness to the hundreds of thousands of women who die each year from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. In the film shown above, produced by Turlington's husband Ed Burns, Turlington and friends, including Jennifer Connelly and Debra Messing, ask women to disappear on Mother's Day in an act of solidarity.

"Say no to gifts and phone calls, or no to gifts and yes to phone calls, or just go silent on social media -- it's your choice," said Turlington in a release. "Our primary hope is that you spend a few moments on May 13 to think about those unable to do the same."

Turlington made her directorial debut in 2010 with the film "No Woman, No Cry" where she chronicled the stories of at-risk pregnant women in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and a prenatal clinic in the U.S. The No Mother's Day campaign is another step in her ongoing efforts to bring about awareness.

Turlington measures the success of the campaign by the number of "actions" taken to reduce maternal mortality, with the goal being 5 million actions by 2015. These actions include ways to raise awareness and funds. The website details how to get involved, including signing a pledge to help reduce needless deaths, running or walking your own Every Mother Counts 5K and purchasing the official team shirts, giving a monetary donation or donating a phone.


Clarins unveils FEED 15 cosmetic pouch to fight world hunger

Hanks' lapel pin explained: Hollywood unveils 'Got Your Six' campaign

Kohl's launches sporty new collection to support breast cancer research

— Jenn Harris

Video: Christy Turlington's video to promote the No Mother's Day mobilization campaign.

Kohl’s launches sporty new collection to support breast cancer research


Kohl's department stores have launched an exclusive Kohl's Cares FILA Sport collection of workout apparel and accessories to benefit breast cancer research.

The collection, in stores through July, includes shorts, tees, headbands, sports bras, arm bands and hats printed with hearts and ribbons in gray, pink and black. Ear buds, duffel bags, towels, sunglasses and socks round out the collection of accessories. Each item is available for either $5 or $10 and all net profits will be donated to support breast cancer research.

Over the past three years, Kohl's has donated to the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 


Clarins unveils FEED 15 cosmetic pouch to fight world hunger

Shopping: Swimwear by Matthew Zink, trunk shows galore

Photos: Mother's Day Gift Guide

— Jenn Harris

Photo: Items from the Kohl's Cares Fila Sport collection. From left, shirt ($10), headband 2 pack ($5), shorts ($10). 

Hanks’ lapel pin explained: Hollywood unveils ‘Got Your Six’ campaign

Hanks and Six Pin
The full story behind Tom Hanks' quixotic Oscar night accessory -- a simple numeral 6 pin on his left lapel -- was finally revealed today to be an ambitious entertainment industry program aimed at helping U.S. military veterans.

The "Got Your Six" initiative, which takes its name from military jargon meaning "I've got your back, and you've got mine" (the six o'clock position designates the back of a military formation), launched at this morning at a star-studded news conference at the Wilshire Boulevard SAG-AFTRA offices in Los Angeles with the stated goal of creating "a wide array of opportunities for veterans to successfully convert their leadership and operational training into positive civilian roles in communities nationwide."

Organizers of the "Got Your Six" (abbreviated to the social media friendly "GY6") campaign have laid out six "pillars of reintegration" (jobs, education, health, housing, family and leadership), each paired with an existing nonprofit organization and a measurable goal (the jobs pillar, for example, involves the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes program embarking on a campaign to get businesses to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses by December 2014).

The impressive list of industry partners includes the major Hollywood unions (SAG-AFTRA, Writers Guild of America West, Directors Guild of America), talent agencies (CAA, WME, ICM), networks (ABC,

CBS, NBCUniversal)  and studios (Paramount, Viacom, Warner Bros.), which will certainly help when it comes to the other major part of the initiative -- raising awareness of the issues facing veterans and their families. A comprehensive list of partners can be found online by clicking here.

Hanks' lapel-pin teaser was just a very tiny taste of what the entertainment industry has done -- and plans to do -- to advance the cause. Today's launch, for example, was accompanied by a celebrity PSA featuring Hanks, Pharrell Williams, Bradley Cooper, Brian Williams, Milla Jovovich, Alec Baldwin, Michael Douglas, Sarah Jessica Parker and Judith Light, and the website Funny or Die (another of the Got-your-6-bracelet-lomyriad partners) has posted an online video that features Rob Riggle back-slapping the initiative into popular culture with the help of celebrities such as Ron Perlman and Taran Killam. 

According to today's announcement, future plans include "script integrations for TV and film projects, original digital content and other creative initiatives," as well as special events and GY6 logo merchandise, which currently includes just a handful of items -- the aforementioned lapel pins and paracord bracelets appropriately priced at $6 each, and logo-emblazoned men's and women's T-shirts for $36 each.  

Who knows, as the campaign continues, perhaps we'll see fashion and jewelry designers join the effort by ramping up the style quotient of those merchandise offerings. It would be a symbolically appropriate in an industry that seems to completely reinvent itself about every six months.

More detailed information about the "Got Your Six" campaign, its genesis, goals, partners and volunteer opportunities, can be found at the organization's website at


The essentials: Dressing up the buttonhole

Oscars 2012: Best-dressed men and Tom Hanks' '6' lapel pin

Military supplier Massif plans a civilian line

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Top left, Tom Hanks wears a "Got Your Six" lapel pin at the 2012 Academy Awards in February. At top right, a close-up of the lapel pin ($6). Center, a parachute-cord bracelet ($6). Credit: Got Your Six. Below, a celebrity PSA featuring Tom Hanks, Brian Williams, Bradley Cooper and Sarah Jessica Parker. Credit: Got Your Six

Iconic Farrah Fawcett Poster T-shirt reissued for charity


The famous Farrah Fawcett photo -- the one taken by Bruce McBroom of the actress in a red bathing suit posed in front of a striped blanket that would go on to sell more than 12 million posters -- is back in circulation on an Urban Outfitters T-shirt.

The $24 T-shirt is being sold at the retailer's bricks-and-mortar stores and online, with a portion of proceeds going to fund the Farrah Fawcett Foundation's alternative cancer research efforts.


Farrah Fawcett: forever Generation X's favorite pinup

Hot Property: Farrah Fawcett c ndo sells for $1.55 million

Farrah Fawcett dies at 62;actress soared with, then went beyond, 'Charlie's Angels'

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Credit:

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

Charity Surf & Skate Auction kicks off Venice Art Walk on Friday

The 34th annual Venice Art Walk & Auctions kicks off Friday with a free community event that includes an exhibition and silent auction of custom skate decks and surfboards embellished by local tattoo artists.

Presented by Quiksilver’s new 585 Boardriders concept store, the second annual Surf & Skate Auction event will include live music, refreshments and meet-and-greets with various artists.

Attendees will also have the chance to bid on one-of-a-kind creations designed from used, recycled and re-created skate decks and custom-shaped and “tatted” surfboards by more than 70 artists, including surfboard shapers Jeffrey Sudzin, Dan Cobley and Jose Barahona; surfboard tattoo artists (we honestly didn't know this even existed) Charly Reynoso, Big Boy, Juan "Ente" Gollaz, Show, Justin Jakus and Tyoni Aragon; Quiksilver surfboard artist Kristi McKnight; DC Shoes skate designer Mark Winn and DC Shoes photographer and video producer Tobin Yelland. 

 And don't feel bad opening your wallet for that one-of-a-kind skate or tatted board, the event raises funds for the Venice Family Clinic (as the Venice Art Walk has done for more than three decades), which provides free medical care to approximately 25,000 low-income men, women, children, teens, and seniors who lack private health insurance.

Venice Art Walk & Auctions' kickoff Surf & Skate Auction to benefit the Venice Family Clinic, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at 2525 Michigan Ave., Bldg. C1, Santa Monica.


Launch date: New SoCal trade show set for July 2012

Quiksilver's custom boardshort program taps heritage, technical expertise

Photo ops: Street fashion at the downtown Los Angeles Art Walk

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Attendees at last year's inaugural Surf & Skate Auction browse a display of custom-decorated skate decks. Proceeds from the event, which kicks off the annual Venice Art Walk, will fund the Venice Family Clinic. Credit: Surf & Skate Auction

Clarins unveils FEED 15 cosmetic pouch to fight world hunger


Clarins has unveiled a chic new cosmetic beauty pouch in the brand's signature red, for a good cause. 

The Clarins FEED 15 pouch was launched as part of a partnership with Lauren Bush's FEED Projects to fight world hunger. The FEED organization benefits the United Nations World Food Program's School Feeding program that provides meals for children in third-world countries. Clarins partnered with FEED last summer with a goal of funding $1 million in meals in two years.

The new FEED 15 pouch is a cosmetics bag containing three of Clarins' most popular beauty products, including the UV Plus HP Day Screen SPF 40, the Moisture-Rich Body Lotion and the Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector.  Each pouch sold will provide 15 nutritious meals through the United Nations World Food Program.

The pouches are now on sale exclusively at Nordstrom stores for $32.50.


Shopping L.A: Spines, vampires inspire jewelry in VeraMeat show

'Herb Ritts: L.A. Style' at Getty with fashion, celeb photographs

Fashion News: Rihanna wears PJs to 'Battleship' premiere

-- Jenn Harris

Photo: Clarins Feed 15 pouch. Credit: Clarins

A pig and beer dinner benefits cancer research


It was pouring rain that was nearing snow in the mountains, and “the city folk” who’d driven up to ReRide Ranch still wanted to go see the pig, joked rancher Lefty Ayers. They insisted, even though his house was plenty warm, with an elk pot roast in the iron pot in the fireplace.

But trudge out to see the pig the guests did. It was, after all, a female Berkshire-Hampshire pig that would go to slaughter the next morning and become part of every one of the many dishes chefs Bruce Kalman and Gavin Mills would make that week to raise money for a cause many chefs had grown fond of: Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which raises funds for childhood cancer research.

Kalman, of Urbano Pizza Bar in downtown Los Angeles, and Mills, executive chef at Wood + Vine in Hollywood, got their pig on Thursday and went to work for a dinner for about 75 people Sunday at Urbano. The event was named “Pig & Beer,” with beers for each course chosen by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, known as the Beer Chicks. It started out with a “Pig-Tail Hour” and ended with chocolate-covered smoked porter bacon with truffle salt.


In between, the dishes included porchetta that cooked five hours in Urbano’s pizza oven; ravioli with red stripes of pig blood pasta and stuffed with ricotta, bacon and greens; “Gavin’s luscious pig cheeks”; a pork roulade stuffed with dates; pizzas with Brussels sprouts, bacon and Parmesan cream; shaved vegetable salad with slices of crispy pig’s ears and Meyer lemon. Dessert included an apple bacon upside down cake with bourbon whipped cream. Mills, who buys a half pig a week from ReRide, is known for his charcuterie and made spleen pâté, head cheese and country pâté.

The staff at Urbano donated its time, and the products were donated too; tickets were $50, and 100% of the proceeds went to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. A couple of hours before the guests arrived, Kalman directed the staff to get wood burning in the ovens. A little later, the charcuterie was sliced, herbs were pulled from stems, sauces heated.


Beaune and Perozzi said choosing the beers posed an interesting intellectual exercise, because they had to imagine the dishes rather than taste them. Among their choices were a Belgian-style abbey ale from the Lost Abbey in San Marcos and a smoked porter from Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido.

The guests included Ayers and his wife, Vicki; Alex Weiser, a farmer who donated some of the produce; and Larry Vincent, father of a 13-year-old girl fighting cancer and who represented the charity. He said it has raised $50 million for cancer research since its founding in 2000.

Ayers got huge applause and appreciative laughs for his tale. A week before the event, Kalman and Mills drove up to ReRide Ranch with a few others in tow –- to see the pig and chew the (pork) fat with Ayers.

It wasn’t always an ordinary conversation. “We need a little bit of blood,” Kalman says, adding, “We’re going to have a couple of dare courses.”

Outside, the ReRide pigs ran toward the guests, hoping for food. When one large pig seemed to take to Mills, despite his T-shirt proclaiming, “Bacon gives me a lardon,” Kalman jokes: “They like Gavin more. They have no idea what they’re getting themselves into.”

Later, Ayers tells them about some other dinners that have included his pigs, such as the one they roasted on a spit in the parking lot of a Hyatt hotel. “Having pigs is nice,” Ayers says. "We go to some pretty swanky places we wouldn’t otherwise afford.”

 -- Mary MacVean

Photos: From top:  Kalman, right, and Mills prepare a pork course; charcuterie plate with house-made mustard and pickles; pizza ovens, decorated with a "Mr. Bacon" magnet. Credit: Dan Cox. 

It’s so money: Melillo installs ATM exclusively at Barneys

ATM Collage
There's a new ATM at Barneys New York, but it's not the cash-dispensing kind.

ATM by Anthony Thomas Melillo is the name of a new line of über-luxe men's and women's T-shirts -- and just T-shirts -- by designer Tony Melillo, that launched exclusivley in Barneys New York and Barneys Co-op stores in February. To mark the occasion, two of Hollywood's brothers Huvane -- Stephen (the publicist) and Kevin (the agent) -- hosted a party and charity shopping event at the Beverly Hills store on Thursday for Melillo (whom they've known for decades), with 10% of all proceeds from ATM sales going to amfAR.

Launching a label with a single high-end T-shirt might have sounded ridiculous if James Perse hadn't done exactly that, and the designer explained that the hyper-focus on trying to perfect a single basic garment like the T-shirt was a welcome change of pace from some of his other projects, the most high-profile of which is serving as creative director of Selena Gomez's exclusive-to-K-Mart apparel line. (In 2009, Melillo, whose CV includes launching sportswear label Nova USA and a stint at Generra, co-founded licensing company Cynosure Holdings to focus specifically on mass market celebrity clothing lines.)

ATM Tshirts
"The Selena Gomez line did about $100 million in sales last year," Melillo said. "And it's things in every category but it really all comes down to that one key piece sitting on a [display] tabletop. So I decided that for myself I'd try to do just that one key piece without all the rest."

Melillo decided to focus on the humble T-shirt because it was the most basic of basics, and set out to tweak it to achieve what he calls "relaxed elegance." It was a process that would end up taking nine months and resulted in Peruvian-made cotton-based yarns and three fabrics that are exclusive to ATM; a vintage jersey, a slub jersey and a Modal.

"The hardest part was getting the drape right for each fabric," the designer said. "Each fabric had a distinctly different weight and that would affect the way it draped."

Mellillo's efforts seem to have paid off though, giving a measure of effortless luxe to perhaps the least glamorous garment on the planet. (On a dress form on display during the party, the clingy cotton fabric of one woman's T-shirt style and the way it draped effortlessly across the small of the back, was so flat-out sexy I considered buying it a drink.)

The women's offerings include scoop-neck and V-neck T-shirts, a long-sleeve tee and a tank silhouette, with details like subtle pleating on the shoulder and a curved shirttail hem that falls slightly longer in the back. The men's tees are available in a crew-neck, V-neck and tank styles.

The line, which gets its name from the designer's initials, also offers up a fun, almost hidden detail. On every shirt (save the sleeveless tanks), just under the right sleeve and a few clicks from the armpit, is a barely noticeable screenprint of three letters: ATM.  After Melillo points it out, he pushes back his own jacket sleeve to reveal a tattoo of the same three letters inked neatly into his skin at the same spot. 

"I've had the tattoo since I was 17," he said by way of explanation. "And this is my way of giving it a little personal touch." 

The line, which retails from $58 to $72, is currently available in a color palette of gray, blue, black and dusty rose (though with 10 deliveries a year, that will change). The label will expand -- but not much -- for  fall, Melillo said, adding cashmere T-shirts, underwear and layering pieces.  ATM is currently exclusive to Barneys New York locations (including Beverly Hills locally), Barneys Co-op stores and through the retailer's website.


Sinéad O'Connor, Deborah Harry perform at amfAR gala

James Perse takes after designing dad, with a twist

The Elder Statesman's new capsule collection hits Barneys Co-op

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos, from top: Stephen Huvane, from left, Tony Melillo and Kevin Huvane at the March 29 launch party of ATM by Anthony Thomas Melillo T-shirt line at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. At right, a woman's cotton T' on display. Credit: Donato Sardella / WireImage.

The ATM  T-shirts shown on models. Credit: ATM by Anthony Thomas Melillo

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

to remind potential shoppers that each $5 bill they laid out for their bargains would translate into one whole meal delivered by Project Angel Food.

Serving all of Los Angeles County, the organization is dedicated to delivering nutritious meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. In 2010, Project Angel Food cooked and delivered more than 735,000 meals, and since its inception 22 years ago, the organization has J. Alexander, host of Divine Design Gala 2011delivered 7.5 million meals.

After cocktails and some preliminary purchases, the crowd moved to the Beverly Hilton ballroom for the gala, hosted by "America's Top Model' runway coach J. Alexander, whose first of several outfits involved an outsized sparkly version of the red AIDS lapel ribbon pinned to his chest. 

This year, chef extraordinaire Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon) picked up the evening's first award for Iconic Chef and Restaurateur.

"You give a chef a bowl? I don't understand," he joked as he took to the stage to accept the award, an inscribed Tiffany & Co. crystal bowl. "This will probably never see a salad, but it is an honor nonetheless."  Recounting the words of one of his longtime mentors who said, "We cook because we want to nurture," Keller likened his lifetime in the kitchen to the work of Project Angel Food.

Costume designer Patricia Field ("Sex and the City," "The Devil Wears Prada") was named Iconic Fashion Visionary. "There were times when I was afraid the audience wouldn't be able to hear the dialogue because the clothes were too loud," said her friend, "Sex and the City" creator and gala co-chair Darren Starr, by way of introducing Field. "Many people have said that New York City was the fifth character on the show. But I think it was Pat."

Taking the stage in sunglasses and a sequined jacket, Field joked, "I have a friend who collects all my awards, but I'm going to keep this one because I can make a gorgeous salad in this."

Before the presentation of the final award, Kristin Chenoweth entertained the crowd with a troika of songs from her new album "Some Lessons Learned," belting out the tunes with such brio that the high notes threatened to shatter glassware. 

Chenoweth's performance was followed by a live auction that saw a Brooks Brothers and Broadway flight/lodging/show package go for $14,000, a Marvelous Miami excursion for $7,500, three sponsorships of Project Angel Food holiday season meals going for $5,500 each and another three Brooks Brothers tablesponsorships for Valentine's Day meals going for bids of $7,500 each.

The final award of the evening went to Viola Davis ("The Help"), who was introduced by her friend and costar Octavia Spencer. "She's chic, always elegant and eloquent in a woman-of-the-people way. And she has an amazing body ... of work." Spencer's long pause between the words "body" and work" drawing a chuckle from the crowd.

Davis, who does indeed have an amazing body -- as well as body of work -- said she never imagined she would get a Woman of Style Award. "You guys have made a mistake," Davis said. "You haven't seen me with my wig off."  

Between the awards and the shopping opportunities, we found ourselves with precious little time for celebrity spotting, though we did manage to get our "Mad Men" fix thanks to being seated at a table Pauley Perrette at Divine Design Gala 2011with cast members Bryan Batt and Michael Gladis and the show's costume designer Janie Bryant, all of whom were guests of Brooks Brothers, a longtime Divine Design sponsor.

The hot topic of conversation at the table? The annual New Year's Eve dinner that Batt and his longtime partner Tom Cianfichi traditionally host in their New Orleans home, and that Bryant will be attending for the first time this year. Cianfichi told us that their tradition is for him to make osso bucco for their dinner guests, and for Batt to construct elaborate party headgear for them to wear as they transition from one year to the next -- crafted from all kinds of decorative things Batt has collected over the course of the previous year.

For information and ticket information on how you can get some of the decorative items the Divine Design marketplace is selling (and where, don't forget, the discounts will get deeper as the days go on), go to the website. 


Viola Davis worked hard to get 'The Help' right

Master Class: Great chefs share tricks of the trade

Patricia Field, Kotex and the secretly interesting redesigned MaxiPad

-- Booth Moore and Adam Tschorn

Photos: Attendees at the 2011 20th anniversary Divine Design gala included, at top (left to right), actor Matt Bomer with chef Thomas Keller, Patricia Field and Viola Davis. At center, Arthur Wayne, event fashion and beauty menswear chair, "Mad Men" actor Michael Gladis and the show's costume designer Janie Bryant. At bottom,  Pauley Perrette from "NCIS." Credit for all photos: Alex Berliner/ABImages