Friday, May 20, 2016

Chic of the Week :: A Ruby Pop-Up

Avra Myers, the Parisian-inspired fashion designer known for her women’s collection of chic essentials, will pop-up at Derby Street Shopppes (just south of Boston in Hingham) with her famed A Ruby collection. Get ready to see some beautiful ponte leggings, crisp white shirts, classic sweaters and funky graphic tees. Trust me when I tell you, you'll LOVE it! The Boston-based entrepreneur will also showcase her new performance line, AV-RA. This fresh collection of ultra-sleek pieces includes capri moto leggings, yoga tanks, quilted jersey hoodies, sports bras and bomber jackets.

I've been looking forward to seeing AV-RA in its entirety since interviewing the magnetic artist earlier this year for a piece in South Shore Living magazine. To learn more about what inspires Myers and sparks the creativity found in her fluid designs, read my piece titled: Trés Chic.

Don't forget to shop A Ruby up close and personal through June 30 (Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Monday, May 9, 2016

Wedding Gown Cleaning by Clevergreen Dry Cleaners

When I married Mr. Chat in 2014, I knew I wanted to savor as many details from that opulent October day in Newport, Rhode Island as possible. I had fallen in love with a silk trumpet-style gown months earlier and felt even more drawn to the eye-catching dress with plunging back and rhinestone waistband when I slipped it on for my ceremonial walk down the aisle.

I was adamant about cleaning and preserving my wedding gown immediately after the big day, but with my new role as Mrs. Chat and a busy newlywed year filled with travel and social events, my beloved frock found itself buried deep in my closet. Shame on me!

Earlier this year, as I was reorganizing my closet, I came face-to-face with my wedding gown once again and decided it was time to give it a little TLC. But with the harsh chemicals used by many professional dry cleaners (especially if you’ve had a long night of partying in your garment), I was skeptical about who I would trust to breath new life into my bridal best.

After doing my due diligence about green dry cleaning, I chose Clevergreen Dry Cleaners and spoke with owner Farshad Sayan to learn more about his eco-friendly business. Sayan is a veteran in the world of professional dry cleaning who holds more than three decades of experience cleaning and preserving a wide variety of garments from modern formalwear to vintage frocks.

In 2006, Sayan established Clevergreen with the first storefront perched along Charles Street in Boston’s tony Beacon Hill neighborhood. Today, he has five locations in the greater Boston area including a massive headquarters and plant on North Street in Medford. Sayan has even cleaned costumes for movies filmed in the Bay State including Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, a 2009 comedy starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.

Sayan explained that the environmentally-friendly solvents he uses on garments today are not as aggressive as the products that he had used before going green. Because of that, he admits he took a refresher course in the art of stain removal, so he could achieve the same or better cleaning results while keeping within the green parameters.

The two pieces of advice Sayan has for brides are:

1. Clean your wedding gown as soon as possible to prevent stains from settling into the fabric. Don't neglect your dress for months because stains that sit in garments for that amount of time will cause serious damage.

2. Be sure the business you choose to work with knows what they're doing and knows their limitations when it comes to removing stains safely.

My wedding gown took roughly 10 weeks to clean and the end result was gorgeous - even for a garment that I sadly neglected for 16 months. I completely agree with Sayan that a bride should send her wedding gown to a professional soon after her wedding day. I know if I had been more cognizant about the time my dress sat stained in my closet, I would have had an even better and brighter result on the bottom interior fabric - the area my dress had the worst soiling. Sayan and his team, however, did an incredible job tackling all the hard to remove stains. Here are a few before and after photos...



My wedding gown cleaning was complements of Clevergreen Dry Cleaners.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Spring into Style with The Paper Store

Spring is in the air and what better way to usher in the vibrant colors and serene textures of the year's most anticipated season and than with The Paper Store. Since 1964, the Massachusetts-based business has been the premiere shopping destination in New England for specialty gifts. Originally a purveyor of all things paper, the lifestyle retailer has expanded its reach through the decades to sell more than just stationary. Today, you'll find popular brands such as Alex and Ani, Mantraband and Vera Bradley.

I partnered with The Paper Store to bring Boston Bloggers together for an evening of spring style, refreshing libations and sweet treats at their expansive Legacy Place location in Dedham. Merchandise buyers kicked-off the event with a few of the season's hottest styles while attendees shopped aisles of breezy maxi dresses, vibrant Moroccan-style caftans, nautical-chic accessories and on-trend jewelry.

Scarves and Wraps

Drape yourself in luxury with a lush wrap from the likes of Elegant Essence, Noelle and Lava Accessories. The right kind of scarf can add excitement to any ensemble and you don't have to limit yourself to wearing it just around your décolletage - fasten the fabric as a headband, waistband or loop it around the handle of your favorite handbag for an elegant look and feel.

Seaside Stripes

From anchor prints to striped motifs, nautical designs are highly celebrated this season and coastal-chic is cooler than ever. Seaside styles are just so clean and carefree that it's almost impossible not be anchored away with love. To achieve your boating best, look beyond the traditional landscape of white, navy and red and ignite your style with a woven fedora and canvas tote accentuated with sturdy rope handles. Oh, and slip into a pair of white and navy espadrilles for good measure.

To fuel our shopping experience, Whole Foods was on hand with a selection of fine refreshments from Mocktails and a mouthwatering batch of cupcakes fresh from their onsite bakery. Thank you to The Paper Store for showering us with a generous gift bag worth up to $400, Whole Foods for serving up sweets and the fashionable Boston Bloggers who made the event extra special.


Amanda of Prim and Propah, Jess of Styled by Jess, Rue Le Chat and Elizabeth Crane Swartz

Monday, April 11, 2016

What's New in 2016 with Clarins

Today, I’m thrilled to announce some beautiful news from Clarins. The French luxury skincare brand, which was started by Jacques Courtin in 1954, is partnering with FEED once again to launch the National Million Meal Mission. Staying loyal to its humanitarian principles, Clarins is aiming to provide 1,200,000 meals to children around the world in only 17 days. Nine retailers across the country will participate in this 'gift with purpose' initiative, so when you spend $75 on your favorite Clarins products, you'll receive a FEED 10 pouch filled with many luxurious goodies. Each FEED 10 bag represents ten school meals that will be provided to children in need globally. The moto: Feed your Skin, FEED your soul.

In February, Clarins introduced a truly amazing moisturizer duo: Multi-Active Jour and Multi-Active Nuit. The experts behind the brand say they have developed a technology so advances that it targets the first signs of skin-aging. And you know what?! I’m pleased to say that after a 2-month trial, I now have a winning skincare combination. Can I get an Amen, ladies? In just eight weeks, my skin’s texture has dramatically improved (even Mr. Chat has commented on its smoothness) and my stubborn hyper-pigmentation spots have faded considerably. Think of it as the fountain of youth in a beautiful glass jar.

Clarins’ new generation capsules deliver powerful teasel extract which is highly-sought after for its antioxidant and revitalizing benefits. It also protects from the harmful effects of a stressful lifestyle and promotes a youthful-looking face for longer. Stressful (multi-tasking) lifestyle is my middle name, so often times I feel like Clarins made these floral-scented elixirs just for me.

Multi-Active Jour // DAYTIME INNOVATION 
The extract of the South African myrothamnus plant helps absorb the harmful effects of daily stress. Available in: cream for all skin types, cream-gel for normal to combination skin, cream for dry skin, and cream SPF20 for $53.

The extract of organic California poppy, which closes at night to regenerate itself, helps compensate for the harmful effects of late nights and interrupted sleep. Available in: cream for normal to combination skin and cream for normal to dry skin for $56.

I love a bold, bright lip for spring, so it was truly love at first sight when I was introduced to Clarins’ new Rouge Eclat lipsticks for the spring season. Not only are the new shades a mesmerizing color palette of pinks in the likes of rose and cheery, but they’re also made from an age-defying formula containing mimosa, jojoba and sunflower. Available in (top to bottom): hot rose, pink cherry, pink blossom and rose praline for $27.
Products and images courtesy of Clarins. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fashion Group International of Boston: The Role of Representation

(L to R) Nash Yacoub, Avra Myers Jo Swan, and Emmanuelle Accad

Fashion Group International of Boston welcomed Avra Myers of A Ruby, Jo Swani of The Moxie Agency, and Emmanuelle Accad of Neiman Marcus to discuss the Role of Representation. Moderated by Nash Yacoub of SUCCARRA, this panel of seasoned fashion and public relations professionals focused on the importance of building a solid brand and maintaining a positive public presence for your product.

"You have to know who you are and who you want to be," said Myers about launching a clothing line. "I had a brand designer before I began designing clothes. She motivated and inspired me because her branding was so strong."

"The product has to live up to what it's claiming," echoed Swani. "Your product has to be top notch so you and your publicist can succeed."

Accad, who leads the public relations efforts for Neiman's Boston location, emphasized the value of hosting grassroots in-store events and securing the appropriate media coverage. She manages a number of corporate and local events per year that include high-end designer labels and luxury cosmetic lines.

Fashion Group International dates back to 1928 when Edna Woolman Chase, editor-in-chief of Vogue, gathered 17 women for lunch at a midtown Manhattan restaurant. The group had three things in common: each woman worked in the fashion industry, each held all the others in high regard and collectively they believed fashion was in need of a grand stage to increase public awareness about American fashion and women's role in the business.

Within two years, The Fashion Group® became an organization with a place, a purpose, by-laws, officers and women eager to become members. Click here to learn more about joining Fashion Group International of Boston.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Chic of the Week :: Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé and Tiffany

All hail two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett who left me breathless when she sashayed along the red carpet in a show-stopping Armani Privé gown at the 88th Annual Academy Awards Sunday evening. Blanchett's seafoam stunner, with its flattering mermaid silhouette and elegant train, featured romantic floral detailing, intricate feathers and brilliant crystals. And, can we please talk about that plunging neckline?! Meow.

The Oscar nominee (for her role in the film Carol) polished off the exquisite look with beautiful pieces from the new 2016 Tiffany Blue Book collection including platinum drop earrings with marquise and round diamonds, a brilliant platinum starfish cuff with round diamonds and a 2.30-carat platinum and round diamond ring. I need that gorgeous starfish cuff in my life. Mr. Chat, are you reading, listening, paying attention??? Blanchett also balanced the boldness of her pastel gown with a nude lip and soft smokey eyes. She rarely (if ever) disappoints on the red carpet or big screen and is a true style icon.

Images // Tiffany & Co.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Behind the Costumes at Boston Ballet's Onegin

Raw, romantic and riveting are the choice words I would use to describe Boston Ballet's Onegin. Just like when I was a little girl, my mother and I made our way to the theater Saturday afternoon to nourish our souls in art and history. Although attending Boston Ballet has been a mother-daughter tradition for nearly three decades, this was our first time experiencing the artistic grace and spellbinding emotion that is this tragic Russian love story.

The ballet follows Tatiana, a demure country girl infatuated with romantic novels, who falls madly in love with Eugene Onegin, an elusive aristocrat from St. Petersburg. Consumed by her wild fantasies with the debonair gentleman dressed in black, Tatiana declares her love for Onegin in an impassioned letter that he tears apart and mocks as an naïve outburst.

In the early 1960s, South African-born ballet dancer and choreographer John Cranko transformed Alexander Pushkin's verse-novel, Eugene Onegin, into a mesmerizing three act production and pitched it to the Royal Ballet in London. When the acclaimed British ballet company denied his proposal, Cranko took his masterpiece to the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany where it premiered on April 13, 1965. The Royal Ballet would later debut the ballet, but not until 2001. In 1994, Boston Ballet became the first American ballet company to perform the work with subsequent performances in 1997 and 2002.

With fashion and style from decade's past always top of mind, I couldn't help but wonder about the origin of Onegin's costumes. How and where were the fluid, pastel-colored dresses and aristocratic high-collared jackets created, I asked myself. To learn more about how Boston Ballet worked to emulate the grandeur that was imperial Russia in the early 19th century, I spoke with Charles Heightchew, manager of costume and design.

Heightchew, who learned to sew at a young age, has been overseeing Boston Ballet's costume and design department for 16 years. This veteran couturier leads a team of nearly a dozen costuming professionals and admits what he loves best about his job is the visual beauty he and his team create on stage.

Boston Ballet's production of Onegin is leased from Dutch National Ballet. From time to time, the Company will rent existing productions (which includes costumes and sets) from other ballet companies provided they're in exceptional condition. Alternatively, Boston Ballet creates productions from scratch (Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake are both Company originals) and loanthem to other ballet companies. "It is a long term decision on whether we rent or create a production," Heightchew said.

The dazzling set and elegant costume design audiences will savor on stage at the Boston Opera House is the work of the late Elisabeth Dalton, a visionary in the world of ballet and opera design. Onegin's original set and costuming was created by acclaimed German designer, Jürgen Rose who collaborated with Cranko on numerous ballets including Romeo and Juliet.

With Act I and II set in the early 1820s, audiences will see men wearing slim waist jackets with enhanced lapels and collars while women bear clothing evocative of the long, loose fitting empire style of the Romantic era. "Women are in very light dresses. You will see very slim silhouettes without obvious corseting. The empire just falls from under the bust," Heightchew explained.

Act III opens a few years later when the Biedermeier style is quite prominent. During this period of economic impoverishment that lasted until approximately 1835, audiences will notice women are clad in corsets and full skirts that are dropped low on the waist while men's clothing remains practically the same. Personally, this is my favorite act in terms of style because gowns are lavished with detail. The striking red dress Tatiana wears to a grand ball at the palace she shares with her husband, Prince Gremin, is a testament to Biedermeier.

Boston Ballet's Onegin runs until Sunday, March 6. 
For tickets, click here and experience the art, history and style for yourself.

Photos // Gene Schiavone

My tickets were courtesy of Boston Ballet