Zen Dressing in Japan

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As you may know, based on Instagram and general mentions throughout the blog, I just returned from Tokyo. We were there with Los Angeles Fashion Council and primarily for work, but that didn’t mean we didn’t squeeze in some sight seeing (and shopping, lot’s of shopping)

This was probably the simplest outfit I wore in Japan, and only one of two I actually got around to photographing. I went to Tokyo expecting to be inspired by the fashion – but where I thought I’d be rambling down a kawaii route I found myself inspired by a simpler way of dressing. Whilst shopping I thought I’d return with frills and cat covered merchandise, instead I purchased simple linen and denim dresses. Perhaps in turning 30 I realized “Lolita” or any watered down version of Lolita probably wasn’t going to work for me and maybe this more “zen” way of dressing is a step in a really great direction.

I think you’ll see what I mean more when I share my Tokyo purchases in a later post.

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Coat: Vintage, Jeans: LOFT, Striped Top: Victoria’s Secret, Purse: Courtesy of Imoshion.

On this particular day we escaped the confines of Tokyo and spent an afternoon in nearby Kamakura. We arrived quite late in the day, but managed to find a place that had enough rice left for three bento boxes, even though their were five of us – it seemed better than starving the afternoon away, and it was entirely worth it. The place was delightful (and home to quite possibly the yummiest boiled egg I’d ever eaten!)

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After lunch we went on a hunt (in a rather round about way) to find some shrines – time was limited, and we made it to Kamakura’s most famous monument just before it closed. Daibatsu is a giant Buddha statue built in 1252. It took ten years to complete and it’s quite breathtaking.

I wasn’t very zen about getting these photos (or maybe I was depending on how you look at it) I waited till the last possible moment I was allowed to remain there so I could get a picture sans tourists…!

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We naturally stopped at the kitsch-est gift store on the way out (love me a gift store… always have) and then grabbed some freshly made Taiyaki (little fish shaped pancakes stuffed with sweet filling) from a hut near the station. I’d had them in Little Tokyo here in Los Angeles, but only with the traditional red bean paste – these flavours – chocolate, custard, strawberry and banana were much yummier! Ridiculously good – especially the banana!

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And then it was back to Tokyo! More on my trip and LAFC at Tokyo Fashion Week shortly!

Kelsi x

 

Los Angeles Fashion Council Collections: Los Angeles

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Pictured above, Colton Dane.

We’re back from Japan! What a month March was – we began recovering from MAGIC and prepping for Collections – immediately after Collections we headed to Tokyo for fashion week, where I subsequently turned 30 years old. We returned, myself and Gabby with a nasty virus in tow, so I’ve spent the past week knocked out.

I wanted to recap Collections, it was one of my most favourite events we’ve ever produced as a team. Every season we do something different, and this season we knew, based on our schedules and literal, physical capacities, it would have to intimate and easy. We set up a showroom in our office and invited 25 of our closest press friends, including WWD, LA Times and some fabulous bloggers, to lunch on our rooftop.

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The scene was simple. Our rooftop garden is one of the prettiest in downtown L.A. Filled with rusted ephemera, furniture and succulents, it’s already a beautiful setting. We opted for two 12 ft long tables, white denim rough cut tablecloths with a burlap runner, vintage tableware, flatware, napkins and glasses from The Vintage Table Co, and vintage folding chairs (from 1943 to be precise) from Town & Country.

We had personalized mason jars, each tied with a neon ribbon – Los Angeles Fashion Council’s signature colour. That morning I ran over to the Los Angeles Flower Mart, spent $60 on flowers and filled carafes, jars and milk jugs with a variety of arrangements. I’m making a mental note to visit the flower mart prior to every event from now on – it was the perfect zen moment I needed to get through the day fluster free.

Lunch was family style perfection from Jason Qua (L.A’s best caterer…!) and drinks were watermelon & gin and vodka & strawberry lemonade (and just strawberry lemonade for those not looking to get too boozy). The perfect scene.

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Designers were set up along the periphery of the event, and as lunch came to a close (and I forgot to serve Bo Nuage, our big sweet finish…) models posed for shots in what we call our “lightbox” a corner of the roof framed by frosted glass panels.

Pictured above is That’s Totally Fine by Rose La Grua, the placards were actually from the showroom, but each model posed for one shot with it to identify the designer, I love how goofy they turned out.

Rose actually won our Open Runway contest last summer, and this is her second season ever and second season showing with us, which is the beauty of Open Runway – discovering and supporting designers right in the beginning. I joke that she’s my own personal LAFC case study. She ultimately won because I genuinely felt we’d “discovered” something so special, and she keeps proving that. A super special designer and person who I only wish good things for.

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stella proseyn by Debbie Talanian, a former journalist, is one of those lines that you could really wear every day. Super soft fabrics in super soft tailoring. The line has a minimal elegance, that’s so wearable and so chic.

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Similarly to stella proseyn, Linden is another chic “wear daily” line. This look is one of my faves. What’s fascinating about Linden is her use of salmon leather – it looks like python, but is eco and sustainable. All of the fish is used (unlike often in the cow leather trade) and the leather is tanned in hot water (so no nasty chemicals) annnd the fish farm is located on a hot spring, so they don’t even use electricity. You hear a lot about eco, so it’s really great to get into the nitty gritty of what that actually means.

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This was Colton Dane’s second collection and first time showing with us. We were so impressed by the quality of his work, refined elegance to a tee. His coats and sweaters had me dreaming of a cold winter (that and the sunburn…!) Not to mention Colton and his partner Christopher are total cuties, we heart them.

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Katharine Kidd is a total L.A gem – her clothes exude modern femininity – I love the silhouettes, and the prints are all custom, starting in house as a line drawing and then digitized into these wondrous creations. Dreamy.

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This was both Together’s first collection and their first time showing with us (technically not LAFC legal!) but we loved their work so we broke the rules. The collection is a collaboration from partners Benedict and Lily. Benedict takes all the photographs and Lily designs the collection – which is mostly from Benedict’s photographs digitally printed onto polyester made from recycled bottles.

So fun.

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Feminine elegance from Bri Seeley. These floaty dresses looked positively dreamy in the light (and very welcome) rooftop breeze.

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Sporty chic from Bellen Brand. This was the first time Bellen Brand had showed with us, and it was a pleasure having them. They hung well (literally and figuratively) with the rest of our crowd and we love their take on L.A sportswear.

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Warrior Princess jewels from Kristen Dorsey – long time LAFC (and personal) favourite, her jewelry is just incredible.

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Mofé (short for Modern Feminism) is a gorgeous collection of handbags. This was the fun thing about this setting, it allowed us to include some very talented accessory designers, both Kristen and Linda Park of Mofé.

All in all, we were really pleased with this event, it was actually a pleasure to produce, we had a great turnout and great coverage, and a lovely sunny day on our rooftop with sunburn to show for it. :)

So what will we do next Collections? It’s under discussion, ideally I like the format we seem to be swinging into – big and showy in October, small and intimate in March…. a nice balance that keeps us all sane.

Next up – Tokyo stories :)

Kelsi x

Photo Credits: Atmosphere shots: Paolo Fortades, Collections Shots: Felix Salzman/Lookbook LA

What Happens in Vegas….

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#TeamStylesmith 2014: From Left to Right: Kathleen, Gabby, Emily, Me, Theresa, Kirstie & Harlee.

Wow guys…. where is 2014 going? The beginning of the year for us is always this crazy flurry of activity as the craziness of the holidays passes and the team falls deep into a hole of preparedness as we enter “our busy period”. And our busy period is no joke. We go from MAGIC straight to Los Angeles Fashion Council Collections here in Los Angeles, and this season we have Market Week and a trip to Tokyo running concurrently then when return we have a Coachella event and what now looks like a jaunt to Texas.

And of course all this happens whilst we maintain the general day to day running of the business and manage all our clients needs. Yup. We’re totally nuts.

MAGIC is a twice yearly highlight for me and the Stylesmith team. We manage the social media and blogger program for all of the LVCC shows. This means WWDMAGIC, FN PLATFORM, SOURCING at MAGIC and WSA at MAGIC. We spread the team across the shows and gather live content so that we’re constantly reporting what’s happening on the show floor. Concurrently we’re managing bloggers and their on the floor programming, including The Social House, where I host 2-3 panels a day. It’s exhausting but it’s rewarding, and I probably walk a minimum of 10 miles a day (yay exercise!)

This season’s team was the smallest we’ve had yet, but for half of them it was their second or even third trip – so we’re really functioning as a unit, for other’s it was their first time. I won’t forget Kathleen’s face as we pulled up to the Convention Center for the first time “So it’s not just us that do social media right? There is another team..or two?”. Nope Kathleen, just us!

For dear Harlee, not only was it her first MAGIC (with our team at least, she joins us from Need Supply) but her first time working with us all together. We hired her on the Thursday ahead of Collections and when we lost an intern at the last minute, asked her to join us. Talk about training under fire.

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We drove up convoy-style on the Sunday before the show, and made our bi-annual pilgrimage to Peggy Sues (the tuna melt is awesome) where we posed for our bi-annual staff pic (and this one above of Gabby and Kathleen), refueled and headed into Vegas. Once there we held orientation, got the room set up and then headed out for dinner. We were told (via Facebook poll) that Rio had the best buffet in town. Whilst the selection and food were pretty good, the service was pretty appalling (I mean it’s a buffet, you don’t go in with high expectations, but it was awful)

Anyway it was off to bed early-ish (after winning a cool $70 on Wheel Of Fortune and getting the remainder of our prep work done)

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The first day of show is SOURCING – a fantastic resource for designers and brands – big and small, and home to suppliers and manufacturers from all over the world. Whilst some of the team are running social media for SOURCING the rest of us are busy behind the scenes. Airport runs, getting bloggers checked in to their hotels and preparing their mammoth gift bags. With almost 100 participating brands this season this was way more of a task than it’s ever been.

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Just a sampling of the goodies we made our way through!

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When the bloggers arrived that evening for orientation…. there were many squeals! Above: Mai from Mai Sassy Girl surveys her loot!

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To celebrate our first night and break the ice, I hosted a Pajama + Pizza party in my room for my staff and the bloggers. The amazing PJ Salvage provided the PJ’s and a giant bottle of wine supplied the giggles. Check out this amazing Cycloramic video of the worlds greatest selfie (remember pre-Ellen/Oscars, when that was a statement you could make before Ellen broke selfies forever).

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Pictured Above: Me photographing Sabrina in Mia Melon | Paneling in the Social House at WWDMAGIC | Andi, Sabrina and Samantha modeling some of their blogger goodies including Debut LA, Urban Expressions and Aryn K.

The next few days, when the rest of the shows open, are basically a blur of panels, photoshoots and running from show to show to make sure things are taken care of. Every season I have an elaborate plan of what I’m going to see and do, and inevitably I end up missing all of it.

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My staff got to meet Snookie, Kristen Cavallari, Fergie and a Real Housewife, whilst I fixed problems, put out fires and played panel host, there was one treat I was not about to miss. The Commodores, live in concert, courtesy of FN PLATFORM. It was a real treat, and we had a blast dancing the evening the away. These guys are true entertainers.

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By the last day I’d gone and gotten myself sick. I couldn’t even keep water down and basically wanted to hide in a corner. I feared it was the night before, our bi-annual blogger knees up (this time courtesy of Beachers Madhouse) but knowing the relatively teeny amount of alcohol I consumed the night before when the eighth hour of vomiting rolled around I knew this was beyond that. My irresponsible hangover fears were furthur alleviated as others got the two day tummy bug (later in the week)

As a result, we ended our last night in Vegas, not in our usual bi-annual Downtown LV jaunt, but in pajamas, watching Kardashians and eating junk food.

The next day we all rushed back to L.A for a super important meeting (you know, so we can get a bit busier than we already are) and then launched straight into Collections prep (both L.A and Tokyo editions!). And here we are. Collections launches tomorrow and MAGIC feels like it was a million years ago.

Till next time :)

Kelsi x