She Leads, You Follow: Oscars Edition

The film industry’s best and brightest were honored at the 88th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 28. But while the award shows paid tribute to the performances of Hollywood’s most talented actors and actresses, the red carpet beforehand recognized their impeccable fashion sense. Although the red carpet was filled with designer looks, there were a few that stood out among the rest.

Hollywood’s leading ladies came out to the Dolby Theatre in high style, and Priyanka Chopra was no exception. The “Quantico” actress wore a Zuhair Murad gown, says E!Online, with a semi-sheer skirt and white floral appliqué scattered about the bodice and skirt. Accentuating her waist with a silver belt, Chopra completed her look with a silver frame clutch and diamond jewelry.

Adding a punch of color to the red carpet was Charlize Theron, who presented at the awards in a bright red Dior gown, according to E!Online. Featuring a plunging neckline with split straps, the actress filled in the negative space with a long diamond necklace. The back of Theron’s gown was equally as stunning as the front, cut in a low V that ended near her lower back.

Delivering another all-white ensemble was “Carol” star Rooney Mara, who took her turn on the red carpet in a what E!Online says is Givenchy number. Done in an all-over lace appliqué, Mara’s gown featured a diamond-shaped cutout at the waist and a thigh-high slit. Mara completed her look with a bold lip color and a slick updo.

Saoirse Ronan walked the red carpet in a deep emerald gown with all-over beading, says E!Online. The Brooklyn star’s Calvin Klein Collection number opened up her neckline with its deep V, while it’s rich color made her eyes pop.

Although these ladies are dressed for the film industry’s biggest night, there are certain things we can take away from their looks to apply to the way we dress every day:

  1. White out – Chopra and Mara prove that an all-white outfit is not a blank slate, but instead a statement piece in itself. But what makes their gowns masterpieces? The floral appliqué on Chopra’s gown creates visual interest over its nude, semi-sheer underlay, while Mara’s gown features intricate lace that cascades into a soft train. All of these features combine to create intriguing, visually appealing garments. If white leaves you yawning, try pieces with interesting details such as lace, faux leather, beading or even tonal prints (prints that share the same color as the background color of the garment). All of these things will create variations in texture within the garment, which will in turn create a visually appealing look.
  2. Point it out – There are certain things within a garment that can act as a pointing device, and as Theron’s, Mara’s and Ronan’s gowns show, such devices can take the form of a plunging neckline or a cutout. Ronan’s and Theron’s deep V’s open up their necklines, drawing our attention upward toward their faces. Mara’s dress, which features a diamond-shaped cutout in the center of her waist, which serves to not only show a peek of skin, but also to draw out attention to her tiny waist. When shopping, look for pieces that include interesting necklines, cutouts or even seaming that can direct attention to the areas that you wish.

 

Target and DC Comics Create Something ‘Super’

On the heels of the comic sensation Faith comes an announcement that proves that girls can be superheroes.

On Feb. 24, The Huffington Post reported that Target and DC Comics have teamed up to create “DC Super Hero Girls,” which is “inspired by the female characters from Warner Bros’ new franchise and web series, “DC Super Hero Girls,” according to Target.”

Superheroes like Supergirl, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, Bumble Bee and Harley Quinn are set to hit the Target shelves in March, and in addition to the action figures made by Mattel, The Huffington Post says that “Target will also be selling girls’ apparel emblazoned with iconic logos, stars and empowering words like ‘strong’ and ‘brave’ as well.”

Spokesperson for Target Lee Henderson told Today.com that the move comes after their diligence in listening to consumer feedback. “There is lots of excitement around this new launch,” he said, “and we can’t wait to share the power of these iconic female super hero characters with fans. We know their stories of epic action and girl power will definitely resonate.”

Reaction on social media has been largely positive, praising the partnership for its equal representation and its promotion of ‘girl power.’

Thanks, Target and DC Comics, for showing us that girls can wear the capes, too.

She Leads, You Follow: CDGA Awards

Although awards season often pays tribute to those artists in film, television and music, an oft-overshadowed group of people behind the scenes was honored this week at the 18th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards in Beverly Hills. And of course, guests in attendance came in high-fashion looks worthy of being seen among dozens of the film and television industry’s top costume designers.

Cate Blanchett attended the Feb. 23 awards in an Atelier Versace number, says ELLEThe winner of the LACOSTE Spotlight Award stunned in her all-black ensemble, which she offset with an oversized bib necklace.

Adding a pop of color to the party was The Mindy Project star Mindy Kaling, who shared on Instagram that she was wearing a custom gown by Salvador Perez, the costume designer for her show and the president of the Costume Designers Guild. She paired her bright pink and crystal-embellished gown with a silver clutch and sparkly jewelry to match.

Attending the event in another all-black look was Kate Beckinsale, who wore a lace paneled gown by Hamel, says ELLE. The star completed her look with a black minaudière and drop earrings.

Although these ladies are dressed to celebrate the people behind the scenes — or should be say, behind the ‘seams’ — who make them look camera-ready, there is one very important thing we should take away from their looks to apply to the way we dress every day:

If you ask any of the costume designers honored at the awards what their biggest style rule is, they will most likely tell you that fit is key. If a garment doesn’t fit, no matter how gorgeous the piece is, it is ruined by a lack of proper fit. Therefore, it is important that we try clothing on before we purchase it to ensure that it fits as best as possible; this means making sure that the shoulder seams hit at the top of the shoulder, that any darts in the chest of a garment hit at your bust, that seaming that the waist falls at your natural waist, that there is no fabric pulling at the hips or thighs and that the hemlines of pants or full-length dresses are not dragging on the floor. If there are certain facets of a garment that don’t fit perfectly, try to see if a tailor can remedy the problem if it’s worth the investment.

Remember: fit is everything, and as our favorite TV stylist and imaginary best friend Stacy London once said, “If you don’t have fit, then you don’t have style.”

 

Take Her Look [For Less]

Although Fashion Week wrapped up in New York City last week, the parade of this year’s newest fashions is continuing across the pond in London, and the shows are shaping up to be just as much about as those in attendance as the styles making their way down the runway.

According to InStyleone such fashionable guest was Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who attended the Burberry fall/winter 2016 show on Feb. 22. Dressed in head-to-toe Burberry, the model wore a military-inspired coat over a pintuck blouse, which she paired with wide-legged trousers. She completed her look with a cool chain-link bag.

Huntington-Whiteley’s military-inspired look may seem fairly simple with its monochromatic color scheme, but don’t let that fool you. With military-style coats starting from the new collection starting at a cool $2,595, this entire Burberry look is sure to cost you a pretty penny. Although the price might be high, don’t give up hope yet — we’ve found all the pieces necessary to recreate her entire look for under $200. Read on for the results!

Finding a military-inspired coat to rival Huntington-Whiteley’s Burberry number was no easy task, but the Military Faux Wool Coat in navy from Missguided offers a good alternative at a fraction of the price. Done in a darker navy, this coat features a similar double-breasted button style in a shorter length. Available for $85, this coat will form the basis of our look for less.

military faux wool navy coat

The Military Faux Wool Coat in Navy, found on MissguidedUS.com

You’ll have to wear your new wool coat over a pintuck blouse, and this LC by Lauren Conrad number from Kohl’s is just the shirt for the job. This look-alike style will perfectly pair with your military-inspired coat for only $33.60.

lc pintuck blouse

The LC by Lauren Conrad Pintuck Blouse, found on Kohls.com.

Completing our look for less is a pair of navy trousers, and the AB Studio Milan Straight-Leg Dress Pants from Kohl’s make great pants to finish off the look. These neutral trousers will easily become a wardrobe staple, finding their way into a number of going-out and work outfits alike. For only $29.99, these trousers will be well worth the small investment.

AB studioi milan pants

The AB Studio Milan Straight-Leg Dress Pants, found on Kohls.com.

While Huntington-Whiteley’s head-to-toe Burberry look may cost upwards of $2,595, our look-alike ensemble will only set you back $148.59. With all the extra money we saved you, you can go out and buy some cute heels and a cool chain-link purse to accessorize your look.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

Hilfiger and Scheier Create a ‘Runway of Dreams’

Clothing accessible to all body types is something of a rarity in the fashion industry. But Mindy Scheier was inspired to create a clothing line specifically for the differently-abled community, and her inspiration was her own flesh and blood.

According to PeopleStyle, the New Jersey mom and fashion designer’s son, Oliver, has a rare form of muscular distrophy, and because of his difficulty with zippers and fasteners, he was unable to wear mainstream clothing.

“He really felt strongly about being able to wear jeans like the other kids,” Scheier told PeopleStyle. “It didn’t even cross his mind that it wasn’t going to be an option for him. It shouldn’t have to be an option for anybody.”

Thus, out of her son’s need, Scheier’s “Runway of Dreams” was born. Scheier founded the non-profit in 2013 in order to work with designers to create clothing adapted for children with disabilities. Three years later, Scheier scored a collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger to do just that, and the line is already available to shop now.

“They’re very family oriented,” Scheier said of the Tommy Hilfiger brand. “They’re all-American; they represent so many important things within the industry,” she said.

PeopleStyle says Scheier “immediately began working with the brand’s technical design team to replace zippers and buttons with MagnaReady, a magnetic system, adjust pant and arm lengths and develop alternative ways of getting in and out of clothing,” all in an effort to make the clothing more accessible to children with disabilities.

Gary Sheinbaum, the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Americas said in a statement that although the brand has always tried to embrace the diversity of their customers, “Runway of Dreams helped further our understanding of the differently-abled community’s unique needs, and with this knowledge, we hope that we will be able to better serve them.”

Although this is Scheier’s first collaboration, she is not considering who she’ll work with next; she is merely hoping that the current collaboration will inspire other brands to follow their lead.

“Honestly, the amazing thing about the differently-abled population is that it knows no age and it knows no socio-economical background. So I really don’t have a dream brand,” she said to PeopleStyle. “My dream is that everybody has a brand that works into their life and that no matter where you are in life in terms of what you can afford I hope that there’s an adaptive option out there for them.”

 

Food For Thought

It is no secret that America has a hunger problem — according to Move for Hunger, a program that picks up unwanted, non-perishable food items from those who are moving and delivers them to food pantries, “one in six Americans live on incomes that put them at risk for hunger,” with over 14 million American children relying on food banks for assistance. This is the exact problem that Komal Ahmad seeks to remedy with something as tiny as a smartphone app.

According to Women in the World, an affiliate of The New York Times, Ahmad is the founder and CEO of Copia, an “online platform that connects businesses with leftover food to local organizations that can distribute that food to people in need.”

Described by Ahmad herself as the “Uber of food donation,”she explained the impetus behind her app, saying that while our society has become accustomed to ordering food from our phones, we can now do something “that’s good for your company, that’s good for your company’s brand, that is good for the community, that’s good for your body and mind, and that makes you feel good too” by donating food through the app.

For her efforts thus far, Ahmad was awarded a $50,000 grant to put towards growing her company at the Feb. 9 Women in the World Salon in Los Angeles, with Toyota official Dionne Colvin-Lovely naming her as one of the Toyota’s “Mothers of Invention.”

Ahmad detaileded her first encounter with real-life hunger while studying at the University of California Berkeley, where she was approached by a homeless man who asked her for money; after taking him out for lunch, she discovered he was an Iraq war veteran. According to Women in the WorldAhmed noticed that “across the street from where Ahmad and the man had eaten lunch, the university’s cafeteria was throwing out thousands of pounds of leftover food. Right then, the dual problems of hunger and food waste struck her.”

But Ahmad’s shock over the dichotomy didn’t render her immobile. Women in the World reports that Ahmad then launched Feeding Forward, “a local service that began with UC Berkeley’s cafeteria in 2011 and has since grown into the tech startup Copia, which has now distributed some 600,000 pounds of food to 720,000 people in need across the San Francisco Bay Area, according to the company.”

As her company expands, Ahmad says she hopes Copia can begin to accommodate a larger variety of needs, including medical supplies. But for now, her app is focusing on solving food problems for all parties involved.

“Everyone wins,” Ahmad said. “We win because we’re feeding hundreds of thousands of people – including veterans, especially, and children and women. And corporations get to reduce the amount of food that they’re wasting. They reduce disposal costs. They get to feed people directly in their community, which is awesome. And we also help our environment.”

 

All Females at Freckle Films

If Jessica Chastain wasn’t content with taking on the lead role in Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming film Molly’s Game, a story of poker legend Molly Bloom, the actress just scored another major victory.

According to Women in the World, an associate of The New York Times, Chastain has launched her own production company called “Freckle Films,” in which she will serve as the president alongside development execute Elise Siegel.

Partnering with Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray of Maven Pictures, the company has already bought the film rights to two novels with female main characters that were written by women.

The Magician’s Lie, by Greer Macallister, tells the story of a famed female illusionist who is forced to prove her innocence after a dead man is found among her stage props, while Life and Other Near Death Experiences, by Libby Miller, follows the trials and tribulations of a young woman who finds out that her husband is gay and she has cancer on the same day,” Women in the World wrote of the two films picked up by the new company.

According to Deadline, “Maven will provide development funds and cover overhead costs to acquire IP for Freckle and Maven to jointly produce. Jacqui Lewis, Leili Gerami, Clemens Pongratz and Elise Siegel will serve as exec producers on these films.”

Chastain spoke on her excitement over the launch of her new production company and said that she looks forward to working with Maven Pictures.

“Trudie and Celine are not only both highly experienced and successful producers, but the projects they’ve created demonstrate their tenacious dedication to strong characters and compelling stories that clearly resonate with audiences. It’s an honor to work with them, as well as their company, one that mirrors many of the goals that I aspire to achieve with Freckle Films,” said Chastain.

Maven’s Celine Rattray had some compliments of her own for Chastain, explaining that she and Styler have been big fans of Chastain’s work both on screen and off.

Rattray said, “Her intelligence, passion and talent are something that so naturally align with our work and mission at Maven Pictures—showcasing female talent both in front of and behind the camera. We are immensely thrilled about the opportunity to work together for many years to come.”

 

Dungey Named New ABC President

The network that provides its viewers with powerful female characters like Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating has just named a real-life female powerhouse as its president.

According to The Huffington PostABC Entertainment Group named Channing Dungey, a former executive vice president for ABC’s drama development, as its president on Wednesday, Feb. 17, making her the first black person to lead a major broadcast network. She will replace outgoing president Paul Lee, who had resigned after being at the forefront of the push for more diversity in the network’s programming since 2010.

Disney-ABC Television Group Chairman Ben Sherwood spoke on Dungey’s appointment in a statement, calling her a “gifted leader and a proven magnet for top creative talent, with an impressive record of developing compelling, breakthrough programming that resonates with viewers.”

In her previous position, Dungey helped to launch some of ABC’s most popular shows, including Scandal, How to Get Away With MurderNashville and Once Upon a Time, all shows that deliver strong female leads.

And now ABC has their own strong female leading the way. Congratulations, Channing Dungey!

 

Williams Gets Viewers in ‘Formation’

After the release and Super Bowl 50 performance of Beyoncé’s latest single, “Formation,” the media has exploded in racially-charged backlash, claiming that the singer used her Super Bowl performance to promote police resistance. But The Daily Show‘s Jessica Williams had a rebuttal of her own for Beyoncé’s critics.

According to The Huffington Postafter comments such as those from former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani — who told Fox News that her Super Bowl performance was “outrageous” because she “used it as a platform to attack police officers” — Williams argued that these naysayers missed the point of her performance (and the song’s music video) altogether.

While discussing why race was brought onto the Super Bowl’s national stage, Williams said, “Race was brought because Beyoncé was brought in. And brace yourself, you might want to sit down for this, but Beyoncé is black.”

 

To watch Williams take down Beyoncé’s haters, click here

Winslet’s BAFTA Win

An acceptance speech for an award is often emotional, fraught with nerves and abounding excitement. Sometimes, a speech can not only be sentimental, but also inspirational. And after Kate Winslet won a BAFTA award on Sunday, Feb. 14, the actress delivered a speech of this very kind.

According to ELLE, Winslet won an award for best supporting actress for her role in Steve Jobs, and proceeded to praise her fellow nominees in her speech on stage. However, once she got backstage, the actress delivered a powerful speech on her own experiences as an up-and-coming actress, advising young women all over the world to overcome their self-doubt.

She said:

I often, in a moment like that one, I find myself afterwards thinking I should’ve said something—when I was younger, when I was only 14, I was told by a drama teacher that I might do okay if I was happy to settle for the fat girl parts. Look at me now! Look at me now.

And so what I feel like saying in those moments is, to any young woman who has ever been put down by a teacher or a friend or even a parent, just don’t listen to any of it. Because that’s what I did. I didn’t listen, and I kept on going, and I overcame all of my fears, and I got over a lot of insecurity. And just keep doing it, and keep believing in yourself, you know? That’s what I felt like I really had to dig deep and do. So I would dedicate it to all those young women who doubt themselves because you shouldn’t be doubting, you should just be going for it.

Thank you, Kate Winslet, for not only inspiring us to overcome our self-doubt, but also for being living proof that we can move past our insecurities and fears to live the lives of our dreams.