Saturday, November 26, 2011

Purveyor of Style: Thomas Lavin

PURVEYOR OF STYLE: THOMAS LAVIN -- He's a very modern man, that Thomas Lavin.  And it's not because he enjoys the music of Gustav Mahler and Nina Hagen in the same sitting.  Nor because he's an avid reader, a world traveler, a supporter of philanthropic charities or that he wears copper leather Duckie Brown wingtip shoes (fabulous!).  What makes Lavin modern is that he has "the eye."  Anyone can travel the world and read a book -- but not everyone has a trained eye like that of Lavin's who can assemble some of the most interesting and forward-thinking furnishings, textiles, rugs, lighting, accessories and art and present them in an 11,000-square-foot showroom in the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood and make it all come together with such ease and authority.  Among the offerings at Lavin's showroom are curated pieces from such top-drawer resources as Christian Liaigre, Juin Ho, Philip Nimmo, David Bonk and Madeline Stuart, not to mention Lavin's own Lavinder brand which he founded with showroom vice president Ramona Drost.  Since his foray into the design showroom business in 2000, Lavin's thoughtfully-laid-out spaces have been a top attraction and no visit to the Pacific Design Center is complete without a stop at his third-floor aerie to check out what has caught his eye lately.  When Studio of Style came by to snap these pics, Lavin had just returned from a European jaunt and was already discussing an upcoming trip to Paris in January, among other things.  What will he find on his next venture out there into the world of style?  You'll just have to pay a visit to Lavin's showroom to find out!
Photos by Greg Firlotte

Color Me Fabulous: Marco Pelusi

COLOR ME FABULOUS: MARCO PELUSI -- Stacy Keibler.  Eva La Rue.  Carol Alt. These ladies know how to rock the red carpet for sure.  When it comes to looking hot for the cameras, these sizzling stars start at the top -- and that is where Marco Pelusi comes in.  In the relaxed hideaway setting of his West Hollywood studio, Pelusi performs his special brand of magic as a globally-renowned hair color authority -- but perhaps that is too technical of a term for this true artist who knows so much about the subject that he created his own line of Collagen Color GuardTM products to protect and enhance the fabulous looks that he gives his star clientele.  Having literally grown up in the beauty industry through his family's chain of 15 upscale salons on the East Coast, Pelusi just naturally fell in love with color and soon became a top educator at one of the world's renowned hair coloring companies based in Milan, Italy.  While there, he worked with chemists to create hair color products, plus he developed a hair color education curriculum as well as leading international teams that introduced hair color trends to some of the world's best salons.  Nowadays, when not found in his own studio, Pelusi can be seen on stage at national beauty shows as a "platform artist" demonstrating his amazing techniques to peers in the industry (and Aloxxi is his only hair color of choice!).  Having been recognized for "Best Hair Color in Los Angeles" by Fox 11 television station and as one of the "Top 40 Hair Colorists" in the U.S. in 2011 by Beauty Entertainment magazine, Pelusi loves to share his talents, cultivate creativity in the beauty industry as well as motivate others to hone their own hair-coloring skills -- and that is what having style is all about!
Photo of Marco Pelusi in action by Greg Firlotte

Let the Music Play: Hélène Grimaud

LET THE MUSIC PLAY: HELENE GRIMAUD -- Where does one begin to describe the immeasurable talent that is Hélène Grimaud?  Just listen.  Never mind that she once showed up at rehearsal wearing a white "wifebeater" or having apologized to a reporter for smelling like "deer meat" during their interview.  Just listen.  And never mind that a spat between her and legendary conductor Claudio Abbado over the choice of a coda for Mozart's Piano Concerto #23 resulted in canceled joint appearances for the two in London and Lucerne.  Just listen.  And never mind that she'd much rather be with her beloved wolves (yes, kids, wolves!!) than on a concert stage when given the chance.  Just listen.  Having put out 20 CDs (!!)  from age 15 to age 42, Grimaud is nothing short of amazing, no matter what she does or likes offstage or off the record.  Passionate, unpredicatable, exciting.  This is why Grimaud is on our Super Style list! We dare you to listen and not be moved in one way or another:
Main portrait and LP images courtesy Deutsche Grammophon

Making Scents: DayNa Decker

MAKING SCENTS: DAYNA DECKER -- The flower-filled fields of Grasse, France are a far cry from the face-paced runways found in the world's fashion capitals -- but for former Ford agency model DayNa Decker, the fascination with scents and perfume and the mystique and technology behind them proved even more glamorous than treks down the catwalk in designer outfits.   Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, it was no surprise that Decker would end up mastering the art of perfumery in France and then go on to create her own line of products for the home and body using several of her patented technologies and formulations which have come to separate her from everyone else in the marketplace.  We at Studio of Style can attest to the amazing scents emanating from each and every product -- be it chandels (Decker's innovative evolution of the candle), essence diffusers (Sandalrose!!) or an array of bath and body products (the intoxicating "Viva" is like holding a bouquet of stargazer lilies and is among our favorites!).  Every product is biologically and ecologically friendly inside and out and, with so many new and exotic scents created by Decker to choose from, you might find yourself filling your world with these fabulous fragrances.  And why not?  You'll come up smelling like roses...and night-blooming jasmine...and lotus...and pink peonies!
Photo courtesy DayNa Decker

Mamie Van Doren: The Last Blonde Bombshell

MAMIE VAN DOREN: THE LAST BLONDE BOMBSHELL -- There was time when three "blonde bombshells" reigned over Hollywood: Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren.  That phenomenal trio of buxom beauties with their platinum hair and pouty red lips excited everyone with their come-hither looks and true star power wherever they went -- and it seemed that Hollywood would always have them to love and adore.  Lucky for us, kids, because we still have Mamie Van Doren in our midst!  And what a lady she is, indeed -- a Hollywood star in the greatest old-school sense.  Of the many years I've been in Hollywood, I've yet to meet a more gracious and genuine star than she.  Oh, the time she and I dined at The Ivy in West Hollywood -- when Damon Wayons (at the next table) couldn't take his eyes off her and her incredible curvaceous figure and those legs!  And the memories she has to share of her many legendary friends and lovers: James Dean (that night on a motorcycle in the Hollywood Hills!); Rock Hudson (naughty, naughty, sexy fun together!!); Howard Hughes; Elvis Presley; Frank Sinatra; and Steve McQueen ("He was a real man," recalls Mamie with the utmost respect and a twinkle in her eye).  And she is always working on projects -- like the new book Mamie: Now! which is a fabulous collection of photographs of Ms. Van Doren taken from 2006 to 2010 by photographer-to-the-stars Alan Mercer (his photo of her in a "screen siren" mood is shown above here in luscious green and gold tones).  So what can we learn from this enduring style icon?  That beauty, joy and kindness come from within and no one can ever take that away from you. And that a star always shines -- and Mamie, you are the real deal.  Shine on!!! (for mature viewers only!)
The "Mamie: Now!" book:
Mamie Van Doren (center) photographed by Alan Mercer
Photo collage by Greg Firlotte

Less is More: The Sexy World of Jason Amirmajdi

LESS IS MORE: THE SEXY WORLD OF JASON AMIRMAJDI -- Take it off!!  And let's see what doin' underneath...especially if those hot ladies of Hollywood and beyond are wearing the equally hot lingerie and accessories found at Le Bra Lingerie in West Hollywood, California.  Ever since owner Jason Amirmajdi opened his petite bijou of a shop, the top names in the world of fashion and photography have beaten a path to his door looking for those ultimate pieces to make their clients rock the style world.  Uber-photographer Ellen von Unwerth and photographers Deborah Anderson (Room 23 book), Tony Kelly (Petra Ecclestone!!) and Guido Argentini (Shades of a Women book) have all snapped their subjects wearing Le Bra finery.  Super stylists Emma Trask; Laury Smith (Lady Gaga); George Blodwell (legendary!) and others know only too well what goodies they can find there.  Magazines such as W, Flaunt, Genlux, Avenue NYC and OK! have showcased celebs and models decked out in Le Bra as well.  To make his shop all the more unique, Jason designs his own mannequins which are manufactured locally to his specifications (shown here at top) -- and the shop is filled top to bottom with various acoutrements to make the lines of lingerie sold there all the more titillating.  "It's the place for the bride, the pin-up girl, or the sex kitten," Jason is quick to point out.  Whatever your fantasy or reality, we know you can flesh it out at Le Bra.
Top photo and portrait of Jason by Greg Firlotte.
Amber Heard photo by Jorgen Ringstrand and styled by Hayley Atkin for the Los Angeles Times Magazine.
Kurv Magazine photo by Guliano Bekor and styled by Nonja McKenzie.

Brief Encounters: Andre Ziehe

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS: ANDRE ZIEHE -- Suddenly, he's everywhere: magazines, billboards, bus stop shelter ads.  And he's making motorists across America slow down to take a second --or third -- look at his boyish/mannish face and figure cloaked only in those tight, hot 2(x)ist briefs.  Andre Ziehe is the kind of guy that dreams (and fantasies) are made of.  (Did you know that he is the bare-chested hunk holding Lady Gaga in the photo for the "Alejandro" single??) So it was no wonder that when this native Brazilian made his modeling industry debut at age 21 (he's now 26) in Vogue Hommes International magazine, that he was quickly snapped up for international fashion campaigns and runway gigs for Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Benetton and Dsquared2 -- moving on to Versace, Valentino, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana (as seen in the D&G show above).  Checking in at 6-foot-2 and with eyes of green, Ziehe certainly has our attention.  His new street-wise fame as the official model for the new collections  of 2(x)ist Sport and Resort wear may very well propel him into the next strata of modeling stardom --and we at Studio of Style are wishing Andre just that.  He's pumped up -- and so are we!

The Future Now: Dror Benshetrit

THE FUTURE NOW: DROR BENSHETRIT -- At Studio of Style, we love people who can create the future for us in the present to enjoy now!  And Dror Benshetrit is one of those people.  Over the past decade, Dror has explored movement, form and space and how these can be applied to the realms of product design, interior design, architecture and art direction with his personal quest to "unlease the mutable and non-static nature of objects" as he describes it.  What that has translated into has been collaborations between him and such global powerhouse companies as Alessi, Bentley, Bombay Sapphire, Cappellini (the "Tron" armchairs shown here), Kiehl's, Levi's, Puma, Rosenthal, Swarovski and Target -- to name a few -- and pieces such as the "Volume.MGX" cube light from Materialise (bottom left) and the "Volume 60-10-12-3-12" rusted steel sculpture (bottom right).  From his studio in New York, Dror observes the world, looking for responses to the needs in our modern lifestyles.  He has received numerous design awards for these observations and his pieces are found in the permanent collections of museums internationally.  In October of this year, Studio Dror and the Buckminster Fuller Institute gathered together top thinkers and doers in the architecture and design fields where they discussed how to push their respective practices towards more ecological and socially-responsible directions in light of interrelated global crises -- what Fuller termed as "comprehensive anticipatory design science."  A lot to consider, yes -- but fortunately we have Dror keeping his eye on the future of style for all of us!
Images courtesy Dror / Photo collage by Greg Firlotte

Friday, November 25, 2011

Once Upon A Star: Natalie Wood

ONCE UPON A STAR: NATALIE WOOD -- Was it all a dream?  Was she always the prettiest girl in the room and we never realized it until the dream was over? When Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko became Natalie Wood and made her official acting debut just before turning five years old in 1943's Happy Land, the dream was only beginning --not only for the young Natalie, but for all the world who would watch her grow up before their eyes into one of the most ravishing beauties to ever grace the silver screen.  We gave her our hearts, because she always wore her heart on her sleeve, never being able to conceal her joy, her anger, her pride, her sadness.  Her eyes said it all -- and all you had to do was look into those dreamy brown eyes and the story unfolded. And when the girl became a full-fledged woman, she blossomed, growing and glowing ever more with each new year.  And on that dreadful Sunday in November 1981 when her lifeless body was found, there was a collective broken heart around the world.  The dream was over all too soon, it seemed.  There will never be another Natasha quite like her to love and adore as our very own.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Covered In Color

COVERED IN COLOR:  You know how we love color at Studio of Style!  So when we saw the Newlon Collection of wallcoverings by photo artist Richard Bettinger we were tickled pink, yellow, green -- and just about every color! Bettinger has provided a great way to cover your walls (and ceilings!) and brighten up your otherwise dull interiors with this fresh, upbeat collection inspired by an array of natural materials as photographed by the artist and transformed into twelve different patterns -- each offered in five colorways (not to mentioned the ability to do custom colorways or designs inspired by your imagination!) Speaking of imaginative, we love the names assigned to these dazzling patterns such as: Knock-Out Rose; Planet Python; Leonardo's Ladder and Light Shield.  So, follow this simple equation using these Newlon wallcoverings:  Big + Bold + Color = Fabulous!
Images courtesy Newlon Collection / Photo collage by Greg Firlotte

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Still Sexy After All These Years

STILL SEXY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS:  Photographer Alan Mercer likes to have his way with people -- and he should.  With more than a decade of photographing celebrities under his belt (and we're not talking the paparazzi kind, kids), Mercer has refined his art to fine art to where his eye and his camera know exactly what to do when presented with a luminary from the world of entertainment.  Strangely enough, he didn't really start out wanting to be a celebrity photographer (as so many do) -- he wanted to pursue his love of drawing and painting that was developed while growing up in the Midwest.  Lady Luck intervened instead with Mercer's meetings with Richard Avedon (yes!) and Andy Warhol (double yes!) and, after being discovered by Oscar-winning director James Moll, Mercer was on his way.  From CD covers to magazine spreads, billboards and much more, he has both feet firmly entrenched in that crazy world that we love called Hollywood. (More to come on his hot collaboration with legend Mamie van Doren!).  Now kids, take a lot at these hunks that we've all drooled over (and much more...) over the years as captured by Mercer: John Schneider; Gregg Allman; Randy Jones; and Rex Smith.  There's one saying in Hollywood that always rings true -- when you're hot, you're hot. And Mercer knows how to keep the heat turned up and give us what we always love to look at.
Concrete wall by Hanna Eliasson:
Images copyright Alan Mercer /  Photo collage by Greg Firlotte

Friday, November 18, 2011

Those Delicious Disco Divas

THOSE DELICIOUS DISCO DIVAS:  As the mirrored ball cast its sparkling spell over the dance floor filled with sexy,  well-coiffed and polyester-clad beautiful bodies, it was those incredible female voices and nonstop throbbing beats coming from the bank of loudspeakers overhead that made us fall in love every night at our home away from home: the disco!   It seemed that every town had its own version of Studio 54 where the average Joe and Jill could transform themselves into star attractions on the dance floor, twirling and boogying the night away until the DJ put on "The Last Dance" by The Diva herself -- Donna Summer -- signaling that our magical disco ride was coming to an end and we'd have to return to our humdrum lives.   Many of the vinyl discs from those glittery days still hold their own with their lush string orchestra arrangements that took dance music into a dreamy stratosphere.  Here are some of them:  Gloria Gaynor gave us her anthem "I Will Survive" -- but on her much-overlooked LP Experience Gloria Gaynor she took us into heaven with an incredible medley that includes that musical chestnut "How How The Moon" like you've never heard it before or since.  And that amazon Grace Jones crooned "La Vie en Rose," "Send in the Clowns," and "What I Did For Love" on her Portfolio LP in incredibly rich arrangements that still gives us Grace-filled goosebumps!  And that tremendous trio known simply as Labelle was more than just "Lady Marmalade" -- they were the ones that took disco into the future with their funky outer space costumes and sassy, strong attitudes that made everyone take notice. Thelma Houston provided another dance floor nugget in "Don't Leave Me This Way" using her powerful voice -- listen, girlfriend, we won't leave you that way, for sure!!  And providing the sexier side of tunes in the sexy disco era was the late Sylvia Robinson (who passed away September 2011) who breathed and moaned heavily on her major hit "Pillow Talk" -- getting every boy and girl feeling sexy all over and wanting to do some pillow talk of their own late into the night...and then some!
Gloria Gaynor "How High The Moon":
Grace Jones "What I Did For Love":
Labelle "Lady Marmalade":
Thelma Houston "Don't Leave Me This Way":
Sylvia Robinson "Pillow Talk":
photo collage by Greg Firlotte

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Strokes of Genius: Antonio Lopez

STROKES OF GENIUS: ANTONIO LOPEZ:  When fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez passed away from AIDS at age 44 in 1987, there was a shockwave that rippled throughout the creative world.  How could it be?  And how would the fashion world look without those amazing drawings, sketches and illustrations that somehow came to symbolize everything that was the best, the most beautiful, the most evocative in fashion?  Simply known as Antonio, his style has never been equaled, nor can it ever be.  The fluidity of his lines, the sumptuous colors, the striking poses of his subjects were Antonio's...and Antonio's alone.  Virtually every fashion model that counted in those hazy, crazy '70s and '80s posed for him: the still-stunning Pat Cleveland; Jerry Hall; Grace Jones, Tina Chow -- and so many, many more (Jones, Chow and actress Jessica Lange were among Antonio's discoveries).  Credit is often never given to Juan Ramos, Antonio's lifelong lover and collaborator whom he met while both were students at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in the early 1960s.  An interesting look at the world of Antonio and Juan (as equally colorful as his career) is observed in the book The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake which captures the antics of the two during their stay in Paris and their intricate relationship with Karl Lagerfeld.  Sadly, there needs to be better books on his works.  The Missoni advertising campaign shown here (which ran during the 1984 Olympics) is probably Antonio's most recognizable -- such is their gorgeous use of color and a sense of motion that many illustrators just simply could not capture -- but Antonio did.  And that is what made him so special.
Images copyright Missoni and the Estate of Antonio Lopez

The Go-To Man: Nik Meller

THE GO-TO MAN:  A "ghost in the machinery of design" is what Nik Meller likes to think that he and his company NIKMEL is. And he’s right.  He’s practically invisible to you and me.  But to the trendsetters and tastemakers in the architecture and design world, he’s the man that they go to when they need their furniture design “developed.”  Ok, say you have a great idea for a chair, or a sofa or a lamp or a clever bookcase, but you need hand renderings, elevations, computer  renderings and so on to get it made. That’s where Meller comes in.  With more than 400 projects around the world  using his 12,000+ developed products, he’s the kind of person you want to make you look good.  Been to Wynn Las Vegas...or Wynn Macau?  The Montage in Beverly Hills?  Well, you’ve certainly been to the Peninsula in New York City.  You’ve no doubt sat on, slept on, ate on or relaxed on pieces developed by Meller.  But the kudos go to the superstar designers and architects that commission him.  “I have to smile when I flip through magazines,” says Meller, “or walk through hotels or design showrooms and recognize the items I’ve worked on.”  Having been educated at both the Rudolf Steiner School (Waldorf School) in New York City and the Munich International School in Germany, he has met a lot of great artists and designers along the way who have inspired him to continue his love of furniture design.  Upon moving to Los Angeles in 1995, Meller honed his skills at several prominent furniture design companies before launching his own firm in 2005.  Client by client, chair by chair, his reputation began to spread around the globe and in 2008 crystal glass design was added to his services.  “The industry I’m in is not so much about design as it is about the personalities and their needs and creating pieces for them that generate a buzz and excitement in the press and with their clients,” Meller points out.  So behind the scenes is where he is happy to remain, providing his best to the best in the business.
Photo of Meller by Greg Firlotte

Always Our Kitten: Ann-Margret

ALWAYS OUR KITTEN: ANN-MARGRET -- Like the poster says, "every inch of her spells excitement" -- and we at Studio of Style agree!  Ann-Margret Olsson made her debut on the silver screen in Pocketful of Miracles in 1961, but it was in 1964's Kitten with a Whip that we got to see our good girl turn into a very, very naughty juvenile delinquent -- and we were hooked on this sassy redhead forever!  Over the decades, Ann-Margret has danced and sung her way into the hearts of millions worldwide and, to this day, her rare personal appearances cause near frenzy moments -- such is the love for the little girl from Valsjobyn, Sweden who became that fabulous lady -- the one and only Ann-Margret.

It's A Wrap...And So Much More

IT'S A WRAP...AND SO MUCH MORE:  Beverly Hills fashion designer Dori calls her silk chiffon confections "Dori Wraps," but we call them diaphanous -- such is the sensuous, ethereal quality they possess: gossamer in weight, luxurious to the touch, beautifully asymmetrical.  The secret is in how you wear them, in how you carry your body, in how you exude an attitude of complete confidence when you walk into a room and everyone turns their head.  As in all classic fashion from Chanel to Halston, it's all about the draping -- and Dori understands it all too well, having been a runway and fit model for designers in both New York and Los Angeles (not to mention having accompanied her mother, a fashion editor, to couture shows in New York as a young lady).  The kiwi-colored wrap shown here is covered with hundreds of hand-beaded stones in matching color to add subtle sparkle to your ensemble.  What Studio of Style likes best about these wraps is their complete timelessness -- a phrase we use sparingly around here.  One can imagine showing up at a Hollywood premiere, a Manhattan cocktail party, or a dining at the Louix XV restaurant at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco wearing these figure-flattering wraps.  And the best part is that they pack like a handkerchief -- which means you can take them everywhere!

Friday, November 11, 2011

How Swede It Is!

HOW SWEDE IT IS:  I absolutely adore Sweden!  The people are so friendly, their hospitality so generous -- and I still recall one magical autumn night in the small village of Alingsås watching a shower of stars fall across the deep indigo sky. Many years ago (thanks to the wonderful Carol Soucek King) I had an audience with the King and Queen of Sweden (with the King standing on one side of me and the Queen standing on the other side of me with her arm around me, talking about how His Majesty makes a great dish of pasta!) -- so I can attest to the warmth and great style of the Swedes, starting at the top! And everywhere you travel in Sweden, there is design, design, design!  Fresh, colorful, exuberant!  Artist and graphic designer Lisa Bengtsson is one of our favorites -- we love everything she does from her studio in Stockholm.  From wallpaper, textiles and porcelain to illustrations and more, Bengtsson is carrying on the great tradition found in Scandinavian design.  It was her dachshund items that caught our eye (such as the plates, graphics and fabrics shown above).  And we can't say enough about her big, bold, colorful wallpapers.  So if you don't speak fluent Swedish, you can translate her website into English.  Go to her site right now...and have lots of fun in true Swedish style!
Images courtesy Lisa Bengtsson

Flying High

FLYING HIGH:  If you live in Florida, then you're in luck.  But if you don't, then you can always admire the young men and women dancers of the Orlando Ballet from afar and wish them continued success as they bring a great holiday season of programming to their many fans -- including that favorite ballet of all time, The Nutcracker, in December.  Of interest is the fact that company includes dancers from the U.S. as well as Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Romania and the Ukraine -- and that graduates from the Orlando Ballet School have gone on to dance professionally with the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet and the Hamburg Ballet!  Amazing!  Shown here are some of the high-flying dancers of the Orlando Ballet including Balazs Krajczar (left), Telmo Moreira (top) and Stefan Drach (right).  
Images courtesy Orlando Ballet
Photo collage by Greg Firlotte

Bright On: Linda Allen

BRIGHT ON: LINDA ALLEN -- Designer Linda Allen is one of those people who light up a room naturally -- and from the first day I met her many years ago, I knew she was someone who I would always want to know, such is the wonderful energy that she emanates whenever she is near.  So it is no surprise that Allen's "Live. Anywhere. Collection" of battery-rechargeable lamps has garnered accolades from all corners of the design world -- including being recognized as a "New Century Design Thought Leader" by Time Inc. and Lincoln Automotive for her accomplishment in bringing indoor/outdoor wireless lamps to the world marketplace.  She is shown here on the set, holding her "Ava" lamp (one of 6 rechargeable lamps).  But it is the humanitarian side of Allen that we at Studio of Style admire -- she is involved with the Dream Light Project, an organization that increases the accessibility to light and provides a way for rural parts of the world to continue to thrive past sunset -- and that includes the use of Allen's lamps in a village in Rwanda.  So it is true to say that she lights up the lives of so many.  Brava! to you, Linda!
Photo courtesy Linda Allen Designs

Sneak Peek: Maison de Luxe

SNEAK PEEK: MAISON DE LUXE -- Although it doesn't open to the public until December 2, 2011, we got a look at the Maison de Luxe Designer Show House yesterday -- and we loved what we saw!  Sponsored by Luxe magazine at the historic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, this show house features 26 creme de la creme designers who have transformed the 46,000-square-foot manse into a wonderland of style.  Talents on view include master of color Jamie Drake (whose room is shown here), Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, Kathryn Ireland, Mary McDonald, Nathan Turner, Barclay Butera, Oliver Furth, Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield -- and so many more!  We'll show more rooms as the event draws nears, okay kids?  In the meanwhile, get your tickets secured and be prepared to be wowed!
Photo by Greg Firlotte

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Forever Frederick's!

FOREVER FREDERICK'S:  Starlets in Hollywood should be praying nightly to Frederick MellingerEver since he came onto the scene in 1947 with his sexy bras, breasts in Tinsletown have never looked the same.  The famous “Rising Star” push-up bra he created in 1948 pushed those fleshy globes to new heights and every women could be perky and proud regardless of what really laid beneath.  The “Missiles” and the “Cadillac” became the company’s bestselling bras -- launching the term “rocket boobs” into pop culture lingo forever.  Mellinger’s colorful, camp lingerie catalogs are still hot collectibles that are quickly snatched up by those who can’t get enough of those dazzingly different ensembles that still have no equal to this day.  His look embodied a style that would forever be called  “the Hollywood look” -- and rightfully so. Even the bra-burning demonstrations by the woman libbers of the 1970s in front of his Hollywood Boulevard store couldn’t dampen his spirit for creating even more sexier garments.  Mellinger gave the world the thong in 1981 -- going from breasts to buns -- and women could now turn the other cheek in style.  Hooray for Hollywood indeed!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wham Glam, Thank You Ma'am

WHAM GLAM, THANK YOU MA'AM:  He really was the man who fell to Earth and gave us Earthlings a dose of glitter, glam and a third gender that we're still trying to figure out.  David Bowie broke both social and rock 'n roll boundaries back in the 1970s with his physical, musical and fashion gender-bending -- having crossed every musical border from rock and pop to Jacques Brel cabaret, blue-eyed soul, funk and electronica.  Thankfully, Japanese photographer and cinematographer Masayoshi Sukita was along for the decades-long ride and captured Bowie from every angle and in all of his various personas from Ziggy Stardust onward.  Forty years of iconic and unseen photos by Sukita are now ready for viewing in the upcoming limited-edition (2,000 worldwide) book Speed of Life from Genesis Publications in England which will be signed by Bowie and Sukita (shown here above leafing through images from the book).
Images copyright Masayoshi Sukita, courtesy Genesis Publications

Saturday, November 5, 2011


HEAVENLY...STILL:  The hair!  The clothes!  Those crazy gun-toting adventures!  No matter how many times it's remade on TV (yikes!) or the big screen (double yikes!), nothing can ever replace that tremendous trio of gals that stole our hearts, made women run to the beauty parlor and clothing stores, or hastened the puberty of thousands of young males more than Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson and the ever-bronzed Farrah Fawcett.  Wow!  With 110 episodes from 1976 to 1981, Charlie's Angels was THE show to watch.  (By the way, we're awaiting Kate Jackson's book The Smart One due any day now.)  What made the TV show so fascinating to many was the hair and clothes!  Costume designer Nolan Miller's true '70s styles and colors are still wearable -- and we've seen many recent runway influences from the fabulous clothes he made for that TV show of shows: Dynasty.  But that oh-so-handsome Allen Edwards -- the man who created the most copied TV hairstyle of all time for Farrah Fawcett -- is still practicing his incredible craft in Southern California.  So if you want to look like a star, Edwards is the man who can transform your tired tresses into a red carpet coiffure!
Allen Edwards interview:
Allen Edwards Salon:

Hollywood Calling

HOLLYWOOD CALLING:  Designed by the late Hollywood actor-turned-interior decorator William Haines for the Bel Air, California sunroom lanai of movie mogul Mervyn Leroy and his wife Kitty, the Iron X Chair is a new issue from William Haines Design in West Hollywood, California -- a company founded by Peter Schifando and J. Jonathan Joseph to faithfully reproduce Haines' original furnishings created over the decades for such A-list clients ranging from Joan Crawford to Nancy Reagan and Betsy Bloomingdale.  The best-selling book Class Act is a great companion piece to the company's furniture, as it takes you on a journey through Haines' career spanning the silver screen to the White House and shows his furniture in the settings for which they were designed.  There is perhaps no better way to get closer to the lifestyles and the glamour of Old Hollywood than with the faithfully-reproduced Haines' furniture collection: sofas, chairs, tables, sconces, a desk -- and even a fire grate, circa 1950!
The Class Act book:

The Glass Man

THE GLASS MAN:  High atop a hill in western North Carolina, John Geci creates his distinct glass pieces in a studio he built in 2007.  From there he produces the vividly colored "Eclipse" bowls, "Lecca Lecca" bottles, "Manta Ray" vases, "Fishnet" vases and "Bubble Orb" vases -- pieces that he considers as "static motion."  And we agree that Geci has indeed captured the liquid beauty of molten glass at precisely the right moment -- especially the "Twisty Cane" Eclipse bowls with their swirling canes motifs which create strong graphic statements.  Studio of Style became aware of Geci some time ago when Jamie and John Adler of the Phyllis Morris showroom in West Hollywood, California saw Geci's items at a crafts fair and paid a visit to his hilltop studio.  They immediately shipped bowls and vases back to their showroom -- where you can purchase them for holiday giving or to enhance your own home decor.  The Geci website shows pics of the artist making these colorful, fascinating pieces.

Bedtime Stories

BEDTIME STORIES:  Artist Alix Soubiran readily admits that she is a daydreamer and a storyteller.  And for this she credits her grandfather -- a celebrated French author -- whose beautiful old house in the 16th arrondissement in Paris provided a magical and fascinating setting that she and her sister would explore with its labyrinth of books and its scenic wallpapers -- something she would always remember in great detail.  In 2008 when Soubiran founded Princes & Crows, it provided her an artistic outlet to draw upon her childhood memories to create wallpapers for children's rooms -- in addition to wallpapers in other decorative styles inspired by historical motifs and exotic destinations.  But it was the children's wallpapers that caught our eye at Studio of Style, so full of color and whimsy, always bringing her own touch of "sophisticated fantasy" to each design.  The palette is soft and timeless, the scale is just right, the themes are evocative of all that is wonderful and playful in childhood.  Looking at these designs makes me want to jump into bed, pull the blankets up around me and read lots and lots of story books!

Unsung Illustrators, Part I

UNSUNG ILLUSTRATORS, PART ONE:  You can almost hear the rustling of her taffeta gown as she is lowered slowly to the soft grass on the hillside on a warm summer's night, while below the lights, voices and music of the party slowly fade away as these two lovers anticipate a moment of promise of what is to come that no one else will ever know.  Her tender red lips are poised to receive his.  And his firm glance deep into her dreamy eyes tells her everything that words cannot, and dare not, express.  Soon, within moments of a kiss, two will become one and lost in a world that only lovers know, where time is suspended and anything and everything is possible.  From his beginnings in illustrating pulps to creating mini-masterpieces for the slick magazines, Robert George Harris (1911 - 2007) was an amazing original.  His sensual style rendered in rich colors brought a unique kind of American romance to such magazines as McCall’s, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and The Saturday Evening Post.  He portrayed his subjects with tenderness, passion, compassion.  One can almost fall in love just by looking at his illustrations, such was their ability to engage the viewer who came to the magazines originally to read a good story.  What they got instead were images that lasted far longer than the words they were designed to accompany.  Such was the singular talent that was Robert George Harris.  Sadly, not much information exists on Harris as there ought to be in terms of images and praise, but from time to time I will publish some of his amazing illustrations.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sheer Brilliance

SHEER BRILLIANCE:  Sexy. Modern. Sheer. Cashmere. Stretch. Movement.  I say, what more can you ask for?  The Dandelion Maxi Dress, Pink Maxi Tank and the Black Pointelle Maxi Tank shown here are just some of the hot cashmere (yes!) items from Crumpet -- a small, hands-on company started by Zara Juricic that is based in the lush Essex-Suffolk estuary northeast of London, England.  Juricic is passionate about making clothes that women of three generations can wear: cardigans, scarfs, biker jackets, wrapes, cruisewear and more -- plus a collection of tasty menswear as well (we just love the Marilyn Classic Leopard Dress and Leopard Scarf -- all in soft, sumptuous cashmere!!)  The idea of mixing trend with cashmere is a specialty for Juricic -- a passion that began in Nepal years ago where she searched for the finest pashminas to bring back to the UK.  So what will you have with your Crumpet?  Something savoury....or something sweet?

A Ferrare (or two) for the Holidays

A FERRARE (OR TWO) FOR THE HOLIDAYS: There's nothing that we at Studio of Style love more for the holidays than lots of sparkle...and thanks to actress/supermodel/author/TV host (and a fantastic lady) Cristina Ferrare, you can have the most sparkling holiday ever that all your friends and family will talk about long after both the turkey and you have been stuffed.  I've been to the Ferrare With Company studio in Los Angeles where the collection of tabletop, accessories, jewelry, picture frames, lamps and more is made by hand and I can tell you, kids, that there is a lot of heart and soul poured into every piece.  And Brian Thorson and Tim Hosier who established the company with Ferrare in 2006 are as excited about every single item they make as The Lady herself.  "I've always had a passion for my home and family," says Ferrare to Studio of Style.  "When I met Brian and Tim at a gift show and saw the beautiful objects for the home that they adorned with Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones, I knew it was a match made in heaven.  After five years of being together, I've never looked back -- and we even opened our own retail store in Los Angeles -- Marquette.  Every time a new piece is created for the store or for a client, I want to bring it home and keep it.  But I get vetoed every time!"
signed copies of Ferrare's book:

Model Citizen

MODEL CITIZEN: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then every known word since the beginning of time cannot begin to describe that timeless lady Carmen Dell'Orefice who turned an exuberant 80 years young this past June 3rd.  At age 14 in 1946, she had her first modeling contract with Vogue magazine -- and a year later, her first cover!  We should all be so blessed to reach 80 and to have even so much as an ounce of this lady's poise, courage and dignity after all the trials and tribulations she has experienced in one lifetime.  A toast of champagne to the one and only Carmen!'Orefice

Culture Watch: Music

CULTURE WATCH: Cruising along at an average of about 132 beats per minute (BPM), trance electronic music has taken the airwaves and dance clubs by storm across the globe -- making it the post popular and accessible form of dance music today.  Leading the DJ pack are the superstars of trance: Dutchman Armin van Buuren; German Markus Schulz; and Brit Andy Moor -- all goodlooking chaps who crank up the beat and spin some incredible and melodic tunes during their international sets both on internet radio stations ("Electric Area" on SiriusXM for example) and during live appearances.  Though the genre called trance has its beginnings in the early 1990s (with numerous attributions of who did what when), one cannot overlook the real origins of all electronic music with a driving beat: Kraftwerk, that German wunderband that turned the dance clubs on their ears with such classics as "Autobahn," "Trans-Europe Express" and their milestone LP "Computer World."  We owe so much to them (and we at Studio of Style have gone to many a Kraftwerk concert over the years!).  Now this new generation of lads is keeping the electronic beat alive -- and, in fact, I listen to Van Buuren's, Schulz' and Moor's music (along with some good doses of Mahler, Gershwin, Philip Glass and Rolling Stones) while I compile Studio of Style every week -- it keeps the blood pumping and the creative juices flowing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Light Years Ahead

LIGHT YEARS AHEAD:  Designer Kevin Kolanowski has always been ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to creating lamps, sconces and chandeliers for his company Fuse Lighting.  But nothing perhaps best demonstrates his eye for all that is both now and futuristic than his new Milan Chandelier with its twelve carved wood arms gilded in platinum leaf with metal accents of polished nickel and champagne flute-like glass encasing frosted bulbs.  While flipping through a copy of W magazine (as we all love to do), Kolanowski was fascinated by an ad for a woman's boot by Italian designer Bruno Magli.  "It was love at first sight," recalls Kolanowski about the shape of the boot leg and its slender proportions.  And thus he was inspired to translate that sexy, sleek boot into an equally sexy and sleek chandelier that we at Studio of Style just love, love, love!  And what a fabulous statement it makes in the formal dining room shown here designed by Amy DeVault Interior Design for the 2011 Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (in the background you'll see Kolanowski's "Opus" sconce as well).

Famous Dresses: Grace Kelly

FAMOUS DRESSES: Twenty-five yards of silk taffeta, 98 yards of silk tulle, 300 yards of Valenciennes lace, generous amounts of seed pearls and the seamstresses at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer -- all under the direction of Helen Rose, chief designer in MGM's Wardrobe Department.  The result was one of the most talked-about wedding dresses of 1956 -- and for the rest of the 1950s in fact.  By the time Rose created this lacy ensemble, she had two Academy Awards for Best Costumes under her fashionable belt: The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955).  She would be nominated eight more times during her studio career!  Six years before Kelly's creation, Rose designed Elizabeth Taylor's gown for Taylor's short-lived marriage to Conrad "Nicky" Hilton Jr. in 1950.  Though mostly overshadowed by Adrian -- her predecessor at MGM who created the famed red shoes for The Wizard of Oz among his many accomplishments-- Rose will always be known for this magnificent outfit befitting of Hollywood royalty that was given as a gift to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1956.