Her Nashville Her Favorites - Sonic Youth

This month's Her Nashville Favorites column is definitely one of my favorites. If you've read this blog for any amount of time you know how much love I have for Amanda Valentine of Valentine Valentine and Shea Steele of White Rabbit. They are the masterminds behind some absolutely stunning collections that have graced the Lexus Nashville Fashion Week runways over the past two years. At this year's Fashion Week, I got to see first hand how their collections came together and the thought, and time, that went into creating the perfect show. It's also here that I saw the photos from Black by Maria Silver's installation which depicted the after after-party on Emerging Designer Night. Photo after photo made me more upset I couldn't make it that evening to see the show in person. I knew I needed to know more about designer (and drummer for The Ettes), Maria Silver. With June being the Music Issue, it seemed the perfect time to sit down with all three of these badass ladies to learn more about how music inspires what they create and how they go about choosing just the right sound for their runway shows. I have to say I got way more than I could've ever hoped for. These women are just incredibly talented, incredibly creative and extremely passionate about what they do. This was one of the hardest columns I've written. I ended up with so much material, I didn't want to cut anything!  


What I couldn't do in the magazine was include some of the music Shea, Maria and Amanda shared with me. Here are a few samples and a little more of their inspiration.

White Rabbit:

For Shea's Fall/Winter 2012 collection, which included a lot of mixed prints, she was looking for one song with a "strong arty female vocal. Something with an unusual edge."

"Organized Scenery (Bass Clef Remix)" - Au Revoir Simone - White Rabbit 2012 Fall/Winter

In contrast, for her Fall/Winter 2011 collection, which was more color-blocked, Shea looked for an "emotional and romantic song with a male vocal" to help capture the essence of a woman. It was a very clean collection and Shea felt it needed an emotional song to really bring it to life. If you were sitting in that East Nashville church during the 2011 Lexus Nashville Week you will undoubtedly remember how special that moment was when this song started to play and Shea's gorgeous collection came down that runway.

"Wilderness" - Active Child - White Rabbit 2011 Fall/Winter

Black by Maria Silver:

What do you listen to at the after, after-party? Maria didn't want to include anything with too much of a beat so she created a fantastically, trippy, 60's-inspired psychedelic playlist. Here's a sample...

Teeth - The Ettes

On My Mind - Fabienne Delsol

Nightclubbing - Iggy Pop

Whoopie Ti Yi Yo - Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs

Baby's on Fire - The Venus in Furs

Valentine Valentine:

Amanda's collection was born out of a Ziggy Stardust meets A Tribe Called Quest mash up.

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

"Bonita Applebum" - A Tribe Called Quest

Amanda went an indie route when choosing the music to make her "French Medieval Fly Girl" collection come to life. Here are the songs she used...

Sidewalk Safari - Chairlift

Nightlight - Little Dragon

You'll See It - Washed Out

I knew music was a big inspiration for these women, but I didn't realize HOW MUCH until I spent some time with them. Click over to Her Nashville to read the full column or pick up the June issue of Her which is out now!

Lexus Nashville Fashion Week - The Back of House Edition

I had big intentions of having my Lexus Nashville Fashion Week recap finished the week after Fashion Week, but between my never ending exhaustion and a flurry of after work activities, I just couldn't get it finished. Then, the next week went by and as I kept reading coverage from other blogs and news outlets, I decided I didn't want to give you another version of what you've already read and seen. (I'll save that for Tumblr and Pinterst.) So here's a glimpse at what Nashville Fashion Week was like for the few days I worked back of house, which is the technical term for, "you will not see one fashion show in its entirety." While all of you were figuring out what five fabulous outfits you were going to wear that week, I wore this stylish v-neck tee. Considering I can barely get myself dressed for work some mornings, I was secretly thankful for something 'official' to wear. And who am I kidding? I went to Catholic school for 12 years. This explains my penchant for plaid and a good uniform.

My NFW uniform

My accessories for the week came in the form of double stick tape, a lint roller, static guard and a clipboard.

My kit...before

My kit...after

By the end of the week, I had somehow acquired a giant shoehorn (the kind with teeth...does anyone know that song?) and a plethora of Ziploc bags.

In case you were wondering how all these looks made it down the runway, the short answer is about 12 hours of prep work. Call time...7 am. I did one 7am morning (Saturday) and it was pretty brutal after working at the Parthenon on Friday and then loading in at the Pinnacle until the clock struck 12:30am. And I had it easy. My Back of House teammates Samantha, Kristin & Priya worked these hours basically every day. Rock stars!

Fittings for each day's collections started at 8am. We'd take photos of the models in their looks and then later that afternoon we'd put the look boards together. Once the order of the looks was determined by the designer, we'd assign dressers to the models. Dressers physically dress the models which is especially important (and frantic) when the model has to change into her second or third look. It's these changes that make back of house so chaotic at times....mainly because there is always something wrong with the shoes!!

I was happy to work with Amanda Valentine who opened the first night at Marathon Music Works with her line Valentine Valentine. I think this was her best collection yet.

Look board for Valentine Valentine

 One word. Peplum. I'm in love with this look.

Photo by Andy Evinger for nashvillefashionweek.com.

I'll share some of my other favorite Valentine Valentine looks on Tumblr later this week!

T. Rains rehearsal

Tuesday was the only night I found a minute to peak out from back of house to see how rehearsal was going. The look above turned into this later that evening...

Photo by Andy Evinger for nashvillefashionweek.com.

I wasn't able to be back of house Wednesday or Thursday, so I arrived back for duty on Friday afternoon at the Parthenon. That night is still a blur. Such a beautiful venue, but definitely a challenge logistically. Unfortunately, I didn't snap any pics that night. We were just too busy. Literally there were bobby pins flying (did I mention that hair and makeup shared our back of house space with us?), garments being flung off models and people crawling through racks looking for shoes. It was crazy. I spent most of my evening on Katherine Kidd's gorgeous evening wear collection. The time went by so quickly that even though I handled nearly every piece of that collection, I didn't remember any of it when I looked at the photos. I remember some of the shoes being tough during changes and I remember this gorgeous dress...

Photo by Andy Evinger for nashvillefashionweek.com.

The weird thing about being back of house is you spend all of your time getting your show organized, making sure your designer is comfortable with everything and helping dress in other collections. You're constantly in motion, but you never get a real sense of what the other collections look like or what is happening out front. I dressed two looks for Red Doll and what I remember most is that I couldn't get my model's skirt zipped for her second look and we were running out of time. She pretty much had to finish dressing herself as she tried not to fall up the stairs.

Photo by Andy Evinger for nashvillefashionweek.com.

I'm going to blame sleep deprivation on the fact I could not figure out how to work this cart on Saturday morning. Stephanie of Nest Interiors, who has the fabulous denim jacket on in this pic, was Nashville Fashion Week's official Shipping Coordinator. I'm not sure what we would've done without her. She was amazingly organized.

Anyone know how to work this dolly?

I got to work with another one of my favorite local designers on Saturday, Jamie and the Jones. Rumor has it they're going on hiatus, but based on this collection, we are all hoping they won't be gone for long. What does a design duo do while waiting a few hours for their show?  Make jewelry for their collection, of course.

Jamie and the Jones making the jewelry for their runway looks on Saturday afternoon.

A few of the finished products...

Photo by Andy Evinger for nashvillefashionweek.com

Photo by Andy Evinger for nashvillefashionweek.com

Now comes the part of Saturday where delirium has clearly set in. I mean, what is going on here? And why did Marcia trust me to hold Chico (who by the way did a smashing job on the runway during Sylvia Heisel)?

I am clearly crazed and Marcia is having second thoughts about me holding Chico.

Not long after that photo I did this...

Looks I dressed

I'm seriously wondering about my mental state at this point, but with everything moving in what seemed like hyper speed, I just couldn't access this info quickly enough if I had typed it on my phone or written it on a piece of paper. My arm seemed like the best option. Looking at it now, it still makes perfect sense. "Kal Reiman - Look 13 & 21 - Model Sarah; Sylvia Heisel - Look 1, 6, 14 & 21; Magid Bernard - Look 1, 18 & 24 - Model Kelsey Mass"

We were "all hands on deck" for the final show. I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when we looked up during one of the earlier shows to see all the models dressed in their first Randi Rahm looks. Phew. That meant we only had to worry about dress changes. Other than me shoving a model's foot into a shoe and then not being able to buckle it, things went pretty smoothly for this show. Somehow I ended up dressing the model with the beautifully beaded wedding gown and train that was the final look. Simply stunning. I'm not sure photos give these dresses justice. They were just that beautiful.

Photo by Andy Evinger for nashvillefashionweek.com

After a long week, it was nice to relax and share some wine and a lot of laughs with the amazing women who were a huge part of Fashion Week. These ladies are pretty damn amazing.

From l to r: Samantha Oaks, Zarna Surti, Kristin Milner, Tabitha Tune, moi, Priya Mani, Heather Byrd, Marcia Masulla, McClaine Richardson. Not pictured: Cindy Wall (she gets the photo credit here) and Connie Richardson (who is either hiding in this pic or hadn't made it to Cha Chah yet)

Since I didn't get to see any of the shows from the front of the house, tell me who your favorites were!

Shop Like You Give a Damn - Nashville Fashion Week Hangover

So, it's Sunday and your resident veganista has a bit of a fashion hangover...was there vodka involved? You bet your tush. Just in case you have been hiding under a rock this past week, you were very aware of Lexus Nashville Fashion Week. What you may not have known is that our mascot Chico "Shop Like You Give A Damn" Ming represented as an official NFW model on the runway during the Sylvia Heisel runway show on the finale night. The crowd went wild for Sylvia's sustainable collection and couldn't resist the tiniest supermodel on the planet... Naomi Campbell, eat your heart out.


See you next Sustainable Sunday!











Photo by Ashley Hylbert Photography.

Shop Like You Give a Damn: New York Fashion Week Top 5 Vegan Looks

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Lela Rose

Can Vegans be stylish?

I had a nice chitty chat chat with a near and dear friend the other day who also bore the scars from the grueling student and nightlife lifestyle we shared in NYC several years back (and no, I won’t tell you exactly how many….)

She was prepping to work the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week circuit for the public relations company she works for and was sharing all the dirt on what was in store. Need I also mention she stated that The Green Shows that bring luxury and offer ethical fashion are one of the fastest growing segments at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week?

I must admit I sometimes envy the fast she stayed in the concrete jungle while I headed down south, but our conversation ignited vegan and Southern pride as she literally salivated from all the buzz about Nashville's culture uprising.

She was thrilled about our second annual Nashville Fashion Week and that’s coming from a snarky New Yorker.

I, however, was absolutely wowed by her run-ins with Grace Coddington, Diane Von Furstenburg and Rihanna, but she was more incredulous that her former label-whore sidekick (that would be me) had gone vegan on her!  “Don’t you miss Jimmy Choo or Balenciaga sample sales?” or “You can’t say you got rid of everything with leather materials right? What about that burgundy Chloe satchel that you treated yourself to?” I just had to laugh and say, "Hell. Yes. I. Did."

Just in time for NYFW, I led her to this informative and compelling video hosted by revered fashion designer and animal activist Stella McCartney. Please join me in exploring the huge variety of fashionable shoes, belts, purses and wallets that aren't the product of a cow's violent death.

My darling Kate, this blog’s for you! X. O.

Here are my top 5 (well, 6...it was a tie for #5) selections from the runway:

5. Rachel Zoe

Zoe does faux and texture comes alive!

5. Mara Hoffman

Mayan and meteorite patterns make our world go round.

4. Betsey Johnson

Menswear with a hint of whimsy makes for the perfect outfit to do cartwheels in.

3. Samantha Pleet

Gold halos don’t distract from the Romanticism.

2. Lauren Moffatt

You learn in school, that it’s all about the presentation.

1. Libertine

Retooling vintage threads into glamour excess is nothing short of spectacular!

What were your favorite shows and presentations?

See you all next Sustainable Sunday!









Photo by Ashley Hylbert Photography.