Fashion Week Archives

I am still basking in the afterglow of the 9th season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, trying my best to do all of the designers justice via quality coverage and posts, but sometimes, a style blogger needs to call in for reinforcements. Cue industry expert, Nivara Xaykao.

After viewing twenty-something collections, it's difficult to keep the swimsuits, caftans and tunics from amassing into one big bikini blur. As the Intimates and Swimwear Editor at Stylesight, it is Nivara's job to single out and predict what will soon be hot or not, and she was sweet enough to allow me to pick her brain about this years' collections, general swimwear tips, and what to expect to see in the swim and resort shops next season.

Q & A with Nivara Xaykao

50’s retro pin-up style suits were big this season, are there any other decades you see making a comeback?

The 60s are offering a more loosened up, youthful alternative to the ladylike styles of the 50s. The bottoms are lowering to midrise or hipster silhouettes, and the tops are a little sportier. I'm seeing super simple yet graphic Mod-inspired prints and color palettes. Material-wise, too, there is some Space Age influence in ultra-structured fabrics and plasticky accents.
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Gottex Collection Photo Credit: Getty Images, c/o Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim

When it comes to swimwear, what is your biggest faux pas?

In viewing the collections this season, I feel like there were some issues with over-designing. The most effective brands kept it simple, focusing instead on fit and fabric. Some designers seemed to put every good idea – cutouts, intricate panels, bondage details, fabric mixing, color blocking, embellishments – they had into one garment, and the sum was not always greater than its parts. It comes off looking too fussy and gimmicky, which is the antithesis of what the beach lifestyle is about.

Are tribal prints here to stay?

I am a little tired of them, but you can never rule out any fashion trend too quickly. They can be reinterpreted with new colorways, surreal elements, digital printing technology and just how they are placed on a garment. I also think that the "keep it simple" philosophy applies here. The tribal prints of the past few seasons have been quite flashy and complex. It would be more refreshing to see them re-imagined in a more pared-down way.

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Mara Hoffman High-Waisted Tribal Bikini

Do you have a favorite fashion trend spotted here in Miami?

Again, the more sleek, minimalist pieces were what I felt were newest here. A lot of designers are doing great things with neoprene. It's such a versatile fabric, and I saw it interpreted in so many different ways. It really lends structure to suits without resorting to underwires, boning and various supportive accessories. It also gives off this cool leather-like look. It works from both a fashion and functional perspective.

Any general tips on how to look better in your swimwear/skivvies?

Being comfortable in a suit goes far in looking good. Make sure everything fits properly and sits where it should. I saw a lot of underwire styles this week that were riding up the model's back. The simple solution to that is to find a smaller band size. Unfortunately, bra sizing isn't as developed for swimwear as it is in intimates, so you are often limited. For bottoms, a lot of designers are putting a row of shirring up the center back so that you get a dimensional fit around the bum and, more importantly, no digging in!

What is a swimwear trend you’d never be caught dead in?

The bondage-inspired pieces with all the cutouts and criss-crossing strings are a nightmare for tan lines, although, they look great out of the pool (or under some shade) and in editorials.

What are the three must-have items you gotta have in your beach bag?

1- Sunscreen - I love the sun but not a tan. Sun Bum is one of my favorite brands.
2- A good book - I'm currently reading The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch which, obviously, is perfect for the beach.
3- A cover-up you can rock in any occasion - A long, flowy skirt is perfect for throwing over my favorite one-piece suit. I also love little vintage dresses and rompers.

Thanks Nivara for your time, your wisdom and for giving us major insight into next season's swim trends.

xoxo,
sammy

For those of you who didn't already know and/or gather by my alias, your blogging hostess with the mostest, Sammy Sanchez, is of Cuban descent. This means I can make a mean palomilla steak y tostones, I have a fiery temper when provoked, and, well...I got back.

Last night I had the immense pleasure of joining Nicolita Swimwear on their Search for the Perfect Booty, a theatrical throwback to all of the vintage styles my mom once rocked back in the day when Cuba was a playground for the rich and famous.

I think you're ready for this jelly.

The scene: 1950's Havana, Cuba
The styling: Mini trenches, Rosie the Riveter doo rags accenting pretty pompadoured buns, chunky necklaces and I Heart my Booty bags
The suits: Pin-up inspired high-waisted bikinis dominated the runway, splashed with chevron, floral and polka dotted prints, pastel peach and mint hues all seamlessly blended with lace, trim and hardware accents. Ay que rico!

Celebrated designer, Nicole Di Rocco, believes that behind every great woman, is a great booty, and instead of trying to hide or squeeze it into something that doesn't fit, flaunt what your mami gave you and show it off in style. Indeed, the cheeky bottoms displayed Nicolita's signature Cuban style No-Pinch fit, designed to flatter a vast variety of booty shapes. In addition to falling in love with a dozen suits that Dita Von Teese would die for, I was pleased as Cuban rum punch to see a medley of bootylicious model bombshells rock the runway.

Pour some sugarcane on me. My favorite collection thus far, Nicolita's sexy swim show made me embrace my backside unlike ever before, and that's the bottom line.

Day 2 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week did not disappoint with clear skies and chic designs that more than made up for the stormy weather that members of Miami's fashion elite had to endure on Day 1. From black leather bikinis to neon green thongs, it didn't take long for things to heat up inside the Cabana Grande and Oasis tents.

Colombian swimwear brand Agua Bendita got things off to a swimming start debuting their newest collection, christened "Time For Us".

Celebrated for their bold prints, handcrafting and vibrant colored designs, the collection threw in everything but the kitchen sink, gravitating from edgy black leather bondage themes to blood diamond tribals, touristy camera motifs to jungle fever and desert fatigues. In spite of being captivated by the creativity, I was beginning to suffer from a swimwear identity crisis once the sweet pastels, white stars, zebralicious and liony prints came down the catwalk. Cohesive? No. Unexpected and dynamic? Yes. There's a reason their designs have graced the pages of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition 7 times. It's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. Go bold or go home.

You're going to have to wait until next year to own these runway looks, but you can still get your Agua Bendita bathing suit fix over at Swimwear 360. Tell them Sammy sent you.

More to come.


Last night, in spite of a few pesky raindrops, valet issues and sand in my stilettos, I had the pleasure of celebrating the Official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Kick Off Party as well as the 25th anniversary of Roxy with the launch of the Roxy Pop Surf collection.

DJ Chelsea Leyand was spinning, the Russian Standard Vodka drinks were flowing, and a handful of Roxy models were on display, showing off a sampling of suits that will hit the stores next summer.

I loved all 6 of the sexy, always surf-friendly wetsuits, bikinis and swim separates I saw, just as much as I loved noshing on waiter passed deviled eggs and duck confit, shrimp toasts, figgy flatbreads and my new favorite libation hybrid, the popsicocktail (mini berry and lemon popsicles nestled in a glass of champagne).

Here are a few of my happy snaps -

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Being a member of the Miami fashion press has its privileges.

In exactly one month from today I will be prancing around this very pool, enjoying all of the perks the hottest event in the IMG Fashion portfolio has to offer. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2014 returns for their ninth year (my 5th), and all of Miami's movers and shakers will congregate at the Raleigh Hotel poolside, to get a first look at all of the sexiest swimwear designs of the new season.

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Designers from around the world will showcase their collections with a handful of my favorites making the roster including Mara Hoffman, L*Space by Monica Wise, Beach Bunny, Wildfox Swim, BCBG Max Azria, and others.

I can't wait to see/write about what everyone will be wearing to the pool party next summer. Now if the Miami Heat could just hurry up and win this championship, we'll be golden.

So, today is the last official day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. In between addressing wedding invitations and scouting bridal day makeup artists, I've found the time to take in the looks of old favorites (Nicole Miller/Michael Kors/Donna Karan) as well as new design teams on the block (rock on Katie Holmes' of Holmes & Yang). I've ogled the street styles surrounding the tents, I've followed the drama (some French chick slapping one of Zac Posen's PR people), and I think I have a good handle on the trends that we can all look forward to rocking come March 20th, 2013, e.g. the first day of spring.

Rather than give you the dish show by show, I'm going to sum up my most favoritest trends, brought to you by the letter L: Lemon. Leather. Life Aquatic. [I could've just gone with Aquatic, but I liked the alliteration and I heart Wes Anderson].

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Who doesn't feel pretty and springtimey when donned in yellow? Yummy warm and cool shades of yellow made a smattering of appearances on the fashion week scene, from classic canary palettes to pops of lemon sorbet, sunny yellow accents at Mara Hoffman to DKNY's iconic taxi cab confession yellow. It's easy, it's wearable, it will be in this spring. Trust me.

Leather, normally reserved for the fall collections, is proving to be an insanely hot staple during the upcoming spring season, making it's way in skirts, shorts, tops and even harnesses(!), capitalizing on the Fifty Shades of Grey frenzy, I'm sure. By the by, the shade of gray was also utilized effectively, as seen @Rebecca Minkoff.

Life Aquatic. Some designers went for the hard edge while others found inspiration in softer waters. Poised for Poseidon, Monique Lhuillier showcased a feminine aquatic theme throughout her collection with mermaid shaped dresses, fish scale prints, aqua shadow on model eyelids, and an oceanic backdrop, while Charlotte Ronson featured fishnet overlays, waterproof see-through jackets and more soothing seascape patterns.

So, in summation, get thee some springtime leather separates, mellow yellow tops and dresses, and find your inner fashion Nemo with ocean inspired looks.

xoxo,
sammy

Just when I thought I was fully recovered from MB Fashion Week Swim, it is time for a new season to commence. I have hardly made a dent in my goodie bag skincare samples from the summer, yet six or so weeks have zipped by and the fashion world now has their sights set on spring with the Spring 2013 Collections making their debut in the Lincoln Center tents tomorrow, September 6th.

Sadly, I had to RSVP with a handful of disheartened regrets to a few choice shows but alas, I do not always have the diligence to jetset across the country to the city that never sleeps, especially now that I have a destination wedding to plan and have become a nervous nelly bride-to-be that never sleeps.

On the positive side, even though I will be unable to relish every look on the runway in the flesh, I can still partake in a few fashion week festivities from afar, starting with FNO.

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If you haven't heard about FNO before now, you must not read my blog. Here's the scoop - Tomorrow night, fashion editors, stars, models, designers, fashionistas, bloggers and shopaholics alike will take to the streets, flooding stores in cities across the country and all around the world to experience fashion's most iconic extravaganza, now in its 4th year running.

Consider it a late night of style, shopping, sales, music, nibbles, libations and good times to be had by all (or anyone with a decent credit limit). It's a cool way for stores to get in on the Fashion Week frenzy by kicking off the new season and getting folks revved up about the arrivals that are soon to come.

Expect celebrity spottings, block parties, cupcakes, a bit of bubbly and mega sales at spots including Aventura Mall, the Design District, Bal Harbour, the Merrick Shops and Dadeland Mall.

Maybe I'll see you there. It's not like I'll be getting any sleep anyway.

xoxo,
sammy


I'm not the most spiritual person on Earth, but I do believe in karma. I believe that what goes around comes around and that whether you're innately evil or an angelic do-gooder, you reap what you sow.

I fall into the second category, angelic do-gooder, and was recently rewarded for my loving nature and good will towards man. You may recall a few fashion week season's ago that I had the misfortune of having my Marc Jacobs aviator sunglasses swiped while washing my hands in the cabana bathroom at the Raleigh Hotel. Fast forward three seasons and a batch of random acts of kindness later, and I was gifted a pair of sunglasses in return. Not just any old pair of shades, one of the newest arrivals from Maui Jim, the masters of premium polarized sunglasses.

This season marked the debut of Maui Jim's newest fashion-forward frames for women, the Ginger, revealed during the Aqua Di Lara show, and I was presented with a beautiful new pair in all of their gorgeous midsize, chocolate rounded frame glory.

Take a peek:

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I've never looked cooler and my peepers have never felt more protected on account of the MauiGradient™ lenses and advanced polarized technology that blocks out 100% of UV rays and 99.9% of glare while making everything look sharper and as vivid as glorious technicolor. Did I mention my Gingers are durable, scratch/saltwater resistant, and optically clear?

So remember, do good things and ye shall be handsomely rewarded. Maybe not with a hot new pair of Maui Jim's, but some other just as cool karmic offering.

*Visit MauiJim.com for more information or follow them on Facebook and Twitter at @OfficialMauiJim.

I have another fun-filled fashion week under my belt, and for every set of sensational swimsuits I saw on the runway, I also saw a handful of dreadful fashion week faux pas being committed.

In an effort to help future fashion week attendees from committing the same sad acts, I have comprised a short list of the worst of the worst.

7. Getting drunk. That and not taking advantage of the free h20. It's in coolers everywhere. The volunteers hand them to you before you head into the tents. Drink it. Hydrate. It's free.

6. Showing off every schwag bag you've received thus far. I realize you're very proud of all of the free stuff you scored all week, but it is considered poor form to tote around multiple bags that you did not receive that day. Leave them at home or you'll be mistaken for a homeless Fashion Week bag lady and be asked to leave the premises.

5. Wearing a bra with a backless dress. I snapped this pic of a chic wearing a bra with her slit open back (see visual). This is fashion week people, bring your A game. This dress was obviously not designed to have your bra sticking out of the back. If you're going to do it anyway, at least make it a hot pink or neon hued bra that makes it look purposeful.

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4. Bringing a newborn baby to a fashion show. I saw it. It happened. It is loud in the tents, people are pushing and trying to steal one another's seats and bags. Your new bundle of joy doesn't deserve to be stuck in this crazy crib.

3. Squatting front row seats. I had a pair of standing room squatters actually give me the stink eye when I asked them to move away from my ASSIGNED seat so I could sit down. This is not musical chairs. Go stand in your designated standing room area and wait for the chicks in the headsets to give you the green light to take empty seats once the show is about to start.

2. Trying to compete with models (you can't).

1. Being rude to anyone. I overheard one of my former favorite designers being snooty and snippy to a fashion week newbie while standing in line to check in for the Mara Hoffman show. I will now take a stand by never wearing his snooty snippy swimsuits again.

If you don't have anything nice to say Mr. Designer, don't say anything at all.


Day 3 of MB Fashion Week left me feeling like a total VIB, a very important blogger. Last night I enjoyed the royal treatment with a front row view of the newest collection from the mistress of poolside chic, Caffe Swimwear designer Paula Saavedra.

It's very rare for me to get a good shot during these events, (I even broke my camera a few years ago in an attempt to secure a backstage interview) but last night I completely filled my phone's photo gallery with shot after shot of gorgeous looks without being pushed, shoved and/or stepped on. Have a look see for yourself -

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Not too shabby. I might end up giving those Getty Images guys a run for their money.

As for the collection, Caffe Swimwear's 2013 line featured a hot and tropical themed assortment of swimsuits, resortwear and cover-ups in a myriad of color combinations guaranteed to suit any jetsetter. Along with sleek solid colored suiting, Paula paired colorblocked bikini tops with classic black bottoms, and threw in a festive mixture of floral and coral reef patterns and prints accessorized with gold accented straw and crochet bags, slicked back ponytails and minimal jewelry that tied together every look.

I'm a sucker for sexy coverups that I can get away with wearing on the sand as well as the street once the sun goes down, and Caffe Swimwear offered the perfect beachy mini dresses, frocks, caftans and cover-ups that were South Beach chic and cooler than an iced latte.

Here are some other pics, taken by those other guys:

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Photo credits: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

I always love Day 2 of MB Fashion Week Swim. The vibe is more relaxed, the tents are more crowded, the drinks are more plentiful, and the weekend has just begun.

Last night I was delighted to take in the Dolores Cortés show where I was dazzled by a collection that had all of the 4 C's - cut, color, clarity and cohesion. Unlike the opening night show that had an ADD design sensibility about it throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, Dolores had one vision and stuck to it with a collection that flowed as effortlessly as her easy, breezy, beautiful caftans.

Every piece was impeccably cut with feminine/figure-flattering one-pieces and separates that accentuated every female model form, combined with on-trend colors and prints including bright neons, youthful pinks and innovative patterns that paired stripes with animal prints, floral, palm and tribal themes that mixed it all up without hot messing it all out.



What didn't I like? If Michael Kors and I have said it once we've said it a thousand times, styling is everything. Although I loved the big gold hoops and bold gold cuffs, I wasn't feeling the sky high pompadours streaked with colored stripes that threw off the whole balance, working against the hot and sexy prints I was digging from the neck down.

Good morning LetsTalkStylers!

I am bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and excited to share all of the star-sightings and swimsuits I witnessed last night during the opening night show and party kicking off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, 2013.

As every year, I saw lots of pretty people, lots of famous people, lots of familiar faces and lots of bronzed skin... I also had lots of champagne and mini media noches, but that's beside the point. I saw the beautiful Brooke Burke play with her phone, a yellow maxi dressed Christina Milian chat with her mom, and some dude wearing a sash that labeled him "Mr. South Beach".

Here is a condensed video of the Lisa Blue Call of the Whale/Year of the Dragon show for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of Miami New Times.



Although the theme of the evening was far from cohesive, (gypsies and cowgirls, medieval headdresses oh my!) the show was also far from boring, with anti-traditional surprises coming at us from every turn on the catwalk including a flamenco dancing Karina Smirnoff gracing the model line-up and a mini year of the dragon street parade.

Confusing as the dog and pony/whale and dragon show might have been, I still had a whale of a time. With 4+ shows for the price of one, my favorite portion of the evening was the throwback to the 50's pin-up girls, with blue and white nautical striped numbers that were very Katy Perry, cruise-worthy and totally retro chic. Another highlight was designer Lisa Burke rocking the runway during the finale, showing off her push-up bikini, mini pareo and rock hard abs. You go girl.

Stay tuned, the fashion week has just begun...

xoxo,
sammy

And so it begins...

Summer just wouldn't be summer without a stack of invitations inundating my inbox, guaranteeing me access to my favorite fashion event of the year, the one that takes place in my sandbox, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim.

Tonight, the fashion frenzy begins with the acclaimed Australian swimwear line Lisa Blue kicking off the beach fashion festivities, prepping us for 5 days of endless bikini bottoms, bare midriffs, caftans, tunics, tans, and all that summertime jazz.

No stranger to the scene, Lisa Blue founder Lisa Burke returns for the 3rd time to MB Fashion Week Swim with a collection inspired by the Year of the Dragon. I'm expecting to see some hot, fiery and powerful pieces... eat a horse heart powerful, like the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen [*disregard if you don't watch Game of Thrones].

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Who am I looking forward to seeing? Dancing with the Stars star Karina Smirnoff is rumored to be rumba'ing her way down the runway, DWTS host Brooke Burke and hubby/alumni Baywatch babe David Charvet, celeb chef Travis London, Maroon 5's lead guitarist James Valentine, Real Miami Housewife Adriana de Moura, and pageant princess Indiana Sanchez (no relation).

Fashion for a Cause - Lisa Blue is also pledging 25% of their profits to help save the whales and dolphins, which makes me love her new line before the first model even hits the catwalk.

I’ll be tweeting on the scene, so if you aren’t already a LetsTalkStyle follower, follow away.

xoxo,
sammy

Reasons I Am Bummed

with 1 Comments

*Valentine's Day is over, so the potential of finding romantic presents, flowers, and chocolates at my home/office are gone.

*President's Day is over, so the daydreams of how I'll spend my upcoming paid days off are gone. Only 97 days until Memorial Day. [sigh]

*Fashion Week Fall 2012 is over, so the Lincoln Center tents are gone.

Yes, dear readers, I realize that I glazed right over this season of Fashion Week without a single post, youtube video, celebrity spotting, or snarky comment, thus, leaving all of you hungry fashionistas without an ounce of coverage. I'm sure you're wondering why.

Were my hands crushed in an unfortunate accident while retrieving a Kate Spade bracelet from the garbage disposal, leaving my fingers mutilated, misshapen and unable to type? No. Was I hit by a taxi on my way to the Charlotte Ronson show, à la Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember? Not even.

I was just in a state of depression because I couldn't make it to this season's collections, and yet it still went on without me. The nerve.

You don't know how difficult it is to have an inbox flooded with cool invitations like this [see below], only to know you'll never actually make it there to smell the fabric, hear the buzz of the fashion crowd, taste the free mod cocktails, see the models walk... and sometimes fall.

Oh well, the Spring 2013 collections are only 6 months away. Then, I might have the time and resources to jetset to NYC where I can be reunited with the fashion industry equivalent of Cary Grant.

I only have to wait 211 days...but who's counting?

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This season I was too busy to jetset to New York to get a bird's eye view of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week's Spring 2012 collections. This is precisely why I have been a cyber slowpoke with runway reports. If I don't see them live, I don't wannatalkaboutit. It's like writing a review of a super cool concert I never saw. Bratty as it may sound, I am jealous of all the folks sitting front row and center, taking my seat and my bag of schwag. It makes me depressed.

Personal feelings aside... I did have a moment to sneak in video of the Tracy Reese Spring 2012 show and took notes, like you care. You have no doubt gotten your MB Fashion Week fix elsewhere. It's okay, you style snooze you lose.

Although the show marked the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, Reese brought a bit of brevity and good spirits to the Lincoln Center tents, injecting cheerful color and lightheartedness with flirty and feminine frocks, parasols, girlie hats tilted askew, pretty palazzo jumpsuits, lace edged shorts and retro one-pieced bathing suits suitable for Esther Williams herself.

I can't report firsthand, but I'm willing to bet that Tracy's grin-producing floral patterns, stripes, happy hues and time capsule-like collection helped to at least ease the somber mood felt by international fashionistas and native New Yorkers alike, who were in a tent just miles away from Ground Zero.

Celebrities Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Aisha Tyler were there. I was not. {Sigh}.

Another Fashion Week season has come and gone, and I'm beginning to feel like a model Fashion Week attendee. It took awhile, but I diligently observed, listened and learned the ways of the week from the ground up. And now, I would like to share my pearls of wisdom with you.

Here are a few no-nos I've picked up along the way that should smooth the experience for first time Fashion Week virgins while hopefully ending the cycle of crimes committed by repeat Fashion Week offenders.

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Photos courtesy of MBFW

10. Don't get there too early. Shows run late and you will look too eager. If the show starts at 8, don't get there at 7. If you have a seating assignment, you should be fine arriving between 7:45 and 8.

9. Don't be too late. Shows need to start at least half past the hour. If the show starts at 8, don't show up at 8:35 then pitch a fit because some commoner has been given your front row seat.

8. Don't talk smack about anyone involved with the show, albeit a designer/model/celebrity, etc. You never know who is sitting next to you and who they are related to. Great Aunt Flo didn't come all the way from Alabama to hear her niece get trashed by the likes of you.

7. Don't be nasty to any chick wearing a headset. These are the queens of PR. They have the power and you do not. Accept it. Move on. Compliment their outfit.

6. Consequently, don't lie and say you're on the list when you know very well that you are not. The headsets that the goddesses of PR are wearing also contain hidden polygraph technology, so they will always know when you are a liar liar pants on fire.

5. Don't walk on the white runway after the plastic has been taken off. It is not for civilian feet to step on. It is for model feet only, and everyone knows that model feel are cleaner, prettier and more sacred than non-model feet.

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4. Don't pick your nose, your thong wedgie, floss, tweak your nipples or perform any other equally gross personal grooming ritual while in the tent. There are cameras everywhere. You might get captured in the background applying deoderant while the cameramen get their shots of the big name celebrity sitting in front of you. Also, the photographers will make fun of you and email the incriminating photos of you to their friends.

3. Don't get drunk. Being sloppy drunk is never chic.

2. Don't steal the schwag. Especially front row schwag. Yes, gift bags are cool, but is it really worth looking all stupid and shady just to swipe a bag with some facial cream and a salon coupon in it? No, it's not. You will look like a douche and the gift bag gods of karma will get you back by making you forget your "real bag" in the bathroom.

1. Don't ridicule the walks, bodies, or figure flaws of the models walking down the runway. You try walking the walk in a freezing tent with hundreds of eyes on you while half naked.

I triple dog dare you.

From a geographical standpoint, nobody does swimwear better than the Brazilians.

Just flip through any Victoria's Secret swimsuit catalog past or present and you'll find a bevvy of Brazilian born bikini clad beauties gracing every page, from Adriana Lima to Alessandra Ambrosia, lest we forget the highest earning supermodel in the industry, Gisele Bundchen.

Yes, Brazilians wear their swimsuits well, and in Cia.Maritima's case, they design their swimwear with just as much aplomb as the bombshells who model them.

Since their initial launch in 1990, the Cia.Maritima beachwear line has evolved into one of the hottest and most popular swimwear brands in Brazil, and beyond. Under the watchful eye of Benny Rosset, Cia.Maritima has found success in establishing a beachwear lifestyle concept, rather than just massively produced swimwear.



This season, Cia's 2012 collection drew inspiration from the French Riviera, embodying that je ne sais quoi quality found in style icons like Jane Birkin, Francoise Hardy and more fashionably French free spirits who spent their summers sunning and sauntering along the beaches of Saint Tropez.

Overall, I basked in the elegance present in the range of sophisticated bikinis, one pieces, monokinis and coverups that breezed down the runway, but it wasn't the cuts of the suits that stood out. It was all about the prints.

This season, Cia.Maritima's digital prints reflected the flora and fauna of the Riviera. I saw tantalizing tie dyes, sumptuous snakeskin, colorful florals and cheetah prints that were all designed to be mixed and matched so women can personalize their beach style with ease while standing out both on domestic and international sands.

Just like the Brazilians do.


Day 2 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2012 took a romantic C cup turn as our favorite naughty yet nice luxury label, Beach Bunny Swimwear, returned to MBFW to debut their Lola Cruise 2012 collection featuring sparkly navy sequins, cheeky cheetah and cherry prints, bejeweled necklines and straps, side ties and black and white pieces that will serve beach bunnies and seas bunnies alike, whether in the bedroom or on the Lido deck.

As seaworthy as the Lola Cruise collection was, it was the Beach Bunny Bride reveal that really made a splash, as Beach Bunny debuted the first ever bridal swimwear collection.

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Photo Credits: MBFW

Since Beach Bunny's initial launch in 2004, they have been all about taking risks, flirting with lingerie style swimwear that makes girls feel too sexy for this party, the way they're disco dancing*(see footnote). This being said, it's no surprise to me that they proudly went where no swimwear designers have gone before, the bridal suite.

Ideal if you're getting married in a pool or on a party boat, this exclusive line features swimwear and cover-ups adorned in hand beaded pearls, delicate Chantilly lace, and Swarovski crystals - perfect for the bride-to-be who wants to show off her normally hidden assets to all of her guests while walking down the aisle.

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Sports Illustrated Rookie of the Year - the blond, buxom and beautiful 19 year old Kate Upton opened and closed the show as both the face of the Beach Bunny Bride and Cruise Collection campaigns. It's been a good year for Kate and her cups runneth over on the runway, especially in her showstopping final look - an embellished white crystal and pearl underwire bikini top paired with a high waisted bottom and accessorized with a traditional yet poofy bridal veil.

Personally, I wouldn't go there with a ten foot schooner, especially if you're getting married in a church. I'd only suit up in these suits for the honeymoon and/or the Bachelorette pool party ladies.

*Lyrics courtesy of "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred.

So, I have another Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Kick Off under my skinny belt, and it's beginning to feel a lot like summer camp. Seeing old friends and faces from last season as we gather in front of the ol' familiar Camp Kawabunga tent. The only difference is, it's the Cabaña Grande tent, and instead of roasting weinies and marshmallows while singing cheesy folk songs by the campfire, we're eating tuna tartare amuse-bouches and swaying to Jessica Szohr's DJ set poolside.

Cut to the Diesel Swimwear Show - which served as the perfect opening act. I was surprised to see that the virtual pioneer in the world of denim veered away from incorporating any actual denim pieces into the collection, but there were a few icy blue faux denim suits and a definite Boogie Nights vibe that was strutting down the catwalk, with a handful of California landscape/skyline/palm tree patterned pieces I'd expect to see on Jackie and Donna à la That 70's Show. The men's suits were cute, one pair in particular that wasn't too long, wasn't too short, wasn't too pink or, pardon my candor, junk revealing.

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(Photo credits - Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for IMG)

As promised, Kristin Cavallari injected a clear shot of excitement into the evening wowing the crowd in a showstopping cobalt blue bikini accented with Skyy chandelier-like shards of glass.

Considering the fact that she isn't a model by profession, Kristin knocked it out of the tent with an impressive, composed and confident walk. I was surprised to see how teenie she was (like me!), and she looked better, naturally tanner and healthier than most of the models who preceded her down the Diesel runway.

She did look a bit nervous and kept sneaking shy peaks at her fiancé, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, but covered her nerves like a pro with a dazzling smile and even managed to appear genuine and convincing while waving around a ginormous Diesel flag around during the final walk.

Nicely done K. Cavall. I raise my glass to you and hope that your bikini glass didn't give you any unfortunate ouchies in your private bits and pieces.

More postcards from Camp Cabaña Grande to come...

Things To Do before Thursday:

10. Build up my sweat tolerance.

9. Build up my mojito tolerance.

8. Polish the most expensive pair of sunglasses I own.

7. Grow at least 5 inches, preferably 8.

6. Bronze, tweeze, pumice, repeat.

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5. Experiment to see if I can pull off a turban.

4. Pefect my cha ca.

3. Email LeBron to find out which after parties he's going to.

2. 100,000 squats.

1. Brush up on my doggie paddling skills in case I fail to ace #9 and accidentally fall into the pool.

and so it begins...

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You gotta love Miami, and I'm not just saying that because I live here.

In Miami there's always a new posh boutique or restaurant opening up on every corner, a sandy beach to walk on, a salsa class to take, a Jai Alai game to bet on, and a fashion show to sit front row in.

This past weekend was no exception, marking the 13th annual Miami Beach International Fashion Week where 38 internationally acclaimed fashion designers and 10 Jewelry & accessories designers styled, showed and strutted their stuff at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

From Thursday March 3rd to Sunday March 6th, the MB Convention Center venue was totally transformed into a state of the art "Fashion City", opening their doors to host an international fashion frenzy that entertained Miami based fashionistas like me, as well as the intercontinental members of the fashion elite.

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From fashion shows to exhibitions and chic sponsor lounges, MBIFW 2011 brought together the cream of the crop in international and Latin fashion, serving up a Miami based melting pot of beauty, music, cuisine, art and style featuring the latest collections in swimwear, women's day and evening wear, menswear, jewelry and accessories from Spain, India, Italy, Canada, Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and even more fashion forward countries throughout South and Central America.

Miami based designers also had their moment to shine in the Miami Style Showcase featuring the best emerging South Floridian designers and Miami's top established designers including Julian Chang, Nicolas Felizola, Peti Pois by Viviana G and Samy Gitcherman.

I haven't even brought up the rock star after parties at the Fountainbleau Hotel and Nikki Beach.

What can I say?

We built this fashion city on rock and roll.

Even though I wanted desperately to go to there, I am not in New York previewing the Fall 2011 Collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

I will refrain from pouting. I will, however, take advantage of the latest technology and watch the live streaming of the Michael Kors runway show live from New York this morning at 10am Eastern Standard time.

Join me here in an hour if you like. I'll bring the popcorn.

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I've gotten over the fact that I'm not physically on the scene for the debut of MB Fashion Week at the new Lincoln Center venue. Really, I am.

I found sweet solace by watching a live stream of the Christian Siriano show with my computer hooked up to my HD flatscreen while sitting in the center of a row of strategically placed folding chairs in my loft. My chair had my name on it. I felt important. A cardboard cutout of Gwyneth Paltrow sat next to me. I complimented her shoes. I applauded like crazy when the last look left the runway. I grabbed my self-assembled goodie bag filled with mini hotel toiletries/perfume samples and headed downstairs to serve myself a post-show cocktail. It was like I was there.

Then I took my dog out to poop.

Okay, so this re-enactment may present itself as ridiculous and pathetic, but I must admit that I felt a rush watching the show live and taking in the looks at the same moment as all of the fashion movers and shakers that actually made it to Lincoln Center.

As for the collection, Christian has settled in to showing at Fashion Week with grace and confidence featuring a number of classic white separates, subdued nudes, mesmerizing metallics, a short snakeskin suit combo that was both venomous and vivacious and of course, a showstopping red evening gown that looked like the aftermath of a gang fight with a bevy of Bozo the clowns.

*Side Note - I am available to recreate Fashion Week shows in your living room, for a nominal fee.

Swimshow Australia 2011

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I was just invited to attend Swimshow Australia 2011 in March, showcased against the spectacular backdrop of Australia's glamorous Gold Coast.

I want to go to there.

But last I checked we were still in the midst of a recession, and I don't think my boss will foot the bill for an international excursion to the land down under... even though I have a close friend who lives in Sydney who would be glad to put me up, therefore eliminating any exorbitant hotel expenses (hint, hint).

Oh well, Anne's your aunty [Aussie expression meaning all is fine], I shall refrain from chucking a wobbly [throwing a temper tantrum] and settle for some retro tunes from the Men at Work boxset and a grilled Shrimp on the Barbie Aussie-tizer from Outback.

G'day mates.

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There's something about Mara.

I simply adore Mara, and not just because she shares the last 4 letters of my name.

New York City based Ready-to-Wear & Swimwear designer Mara Hoffman made her first appearance at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim last season and was by far my favorite amongst the designer newbies, quite possibly one of my favorites of the entire week, so I was elated that Mara was coming back to Miami for more.

Last season, Mara's theme was out of this world. This season, Mara’s 2nd run on the runway took a mystical journey through the jungle. Always a fan of where the wild tribal things are, I was blown away by bold batik prints, tickled by colorful kaleidoscopes, bright yellow highlighter and neon pink hues, and inspired by intricately stringed and beaded bikinis.

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While Mara's monokinis and bikinis took center stage, I found myself even more captivated with her stunning yet simple beach to night offerings that every South Beach babe needs in her summertime wardrobe. Mara's maxi dresses, printed leggings and convertible dresses were as brilliant as her bathing suits and expertly styled with feathered jewelry, sexy Steve Madden wedges, fishbone braids and white tribal dotted makeup perfecting the models' don't-mess-with-me-I'm-into-the-mystic look.

Another surprise of the season was Mara's partnering with Alternative Apparel, my personal go-to clothing haven for vintage soft tees and basics. Mara and the folks at Alt App paired up for a special mini-collaboration where the "Mara Hoffman for Alternative Apparel" ultra soft and cozy Eco-Fleece poncho made its stunning debut.

Best of all, as a VIP guest I scored an exclusive custom Burnout Baseball tee designed with Mara's crazy cool "Crystal Collage" artwork.

Thanks Mara.

Love,
SaMara

There are two kinds of people in this world, those who wear Ed Hardy and those who do not. Snookie and The Situation of Mtv's Jersey Shore fall into the first category. I fall into the second.

Now that we have full disclosure here, we can get on with it.

No stranger to MB Fashion Week Swim, the Ed Hardy stylists took a cue from recent tattooed tabloid queen, Michelle Bombshell McGee with mega smoky eyes, bright red lips, clipped in banging bangs, and pin-up girl flowers and feathers tucked into masses of curled hair.

Definitely geared towards the younger crowd, the Spring 2011 collection featured suits both for the edgy-girl and the girly-girl with mesh and leather peppered in with bright polka dotted bikinis, tigers, studs, familiar floral and geisha motifs. New tie-dye combinations of lime paired with gold, shades of mango, vivid blues and aquas added some tropical flavor and all the young dudes were rocking their Hardy boy boardshorts.

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There was a bit of hype surrounding Chris Brown's newest lady love and model of the hour, Jasmine Sanders, who flaunted Christian Audigier's designs with the ferocity of a bobbleheaded Bratz doll.

Don't hit me, I mean hate me for saying that Chris.

Day 2 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, and I can easily sum up the evening in two words. Too sexy.

One of my favorite swim brands, Beach Bunny Swimwear, has teamed up with the infamous sister act of reality television, the Kardashians, with a collection for 2011 that takes sexy lingerie styles out of the bedroom and onto the beaches.

Teen starlet Selena Gomez was front and center seated next to the triple Kardashian threats - Kim, Khloé and Kourtney who were all wide smiles, bronzed skin and sporting sexy sheaths.

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Inspired and influenced by Safari Glam and Old Hollywood, the collection featured bold mixtures and racy combinations with snakeskin, bling and lace reigning supreme. Each sister incorporated her own personal aesthetic with Kourtney taking nautical up a notch, Kim going heavy on the glam and Khloé taking a walk on the wild side with purple cobra prints and edgy gunmetal hardware.



Beach Bunny scored some of the world’s sexiest supermodels to strut their bunnylicious suits including: Sports Illustrated’s Jessica White, Chrissy Teigen, Dominique Piek, Maybelline’s Lisalla Montenegro and their 2010 Beach Bunny Model Search Winner Jessica Rafalowski who looked right at home on the runway.

What I loved - I was instantly drawn to the brief splashes of color provided by a few choice seafoam and turquoise pieces (a strapless ruffle jumper was hearted in my program) and I appreciated the innovative belting details. One thing is for sure, the Kardashians know women's bodies and they take all women's sizes and shapes into consideration. From petite and slim to tall and curvy physiques, the Special K's have a suit that will flatter every female figure and frame.

What I didn't love - A few models were accessorized with black lace blindfolds. Not exactly sure what kind of statement they were going for there (a see no evil/sex tape theme perhaps?). The biggest drawback? These highly embellished suits would leave me with some wicked awkward looking tan lines.

If you're local, hit D'A-S-H Miami (the K sisters' posh boutique) on Washington Ave to score some of these ultra provocative looks.

Post Day One Post - To Sum it all up, "Mercedes-Benz Presents" Designer Trina Turk wowed more than Bow Wow.

What I saw: White netted cover-ups, chiffon caftans, all that glitters is gold hardware and accents, alluring black and white prints immersed with electric pops of color, playful totes and sky high hats.

Overall, I was captivated with this energetic, glam, vibrant and very wearable collection, although I was not a fan of the Dr. Seusslike sun hats.

I would not wear them on the beach, I would not wear them in gold or peach.

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*Photos by Getty Images

What I scored: The gift bag was filled with various Trina treats from lookbooks to Clinique SPF 30 face cream, notepads, discount cards (hitting the Bal Harbour store tomorrow in 0900 hours) and an Acapulco Gold pendant that embraced the evening's theme entirely.

Who I saw: Rev Run's daughter and Pastry designer Angela Simmons with her boy, Bow Wow.

What I ate: Yummy mushroom empanadas and mini tomato tartelettes.

What time I got home: 0300 hours ago.


I woke up this morning with a feeling.

In the immortal words of the Black Eyed Peas, I got a feeling... {ooh hoo} that tonight's gonna be a good night. Yeah tonight's gonna be a good, good night.

It's Day One of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim people! This evening in the Cabana Grande tent, “Mercedes-Benz Presents” featured designer Trina Turk will set the scene, kicking off the week by debuting her “Acapulco Gold” themed Swim & Spa collection for 2011.

Known for her fashion-forward designs and impeccable fit, Trina Turk is the go-to lifestyle brand that in four years has become one of the top brands in the swimwear industry. This will be Trina's first appearance showing her swim savvy style on the runway in South Florida and she's bringing along a dynamic collection inspired by the opulence of Mexico’s world-class resort, Acapulco.

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Celebrating all things glitzy and glamorous, I'm looking forward to dipping my toes into Trina's exquisite tropical motifs, seductive ocean-blue hues and glimmering gold accents along with some of Trina's signature prints. From lightweight cover-ups to one-piece keyhole bandeaus, halters, sash hipsters, tunics, rompers and basic bikinis with border prints, I'll be adding to my mental wish list with every new look that comes off the catwalk. Plus, Trina Turk loving dudes will dig Mr. Turk menswear, classic American resort wear styling reworked Trina style.

After the show it's time for the Official Kick Off Party...

And then we'll do it again
Lets Do it (x3)

Repeat chorus.


48 hours until Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim kicks off and I'm swimming with anticipation.

It's been six years since Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week began packing up their swimsuits and heading down south for the summer. Today, the event has become the exclusive destination to showcase the best of the best in swimwear from all around the world, from Australia to Brazil. Here's my top 10 list on what I'm hoping to feast my eyes on.

10. Beach Bunny Swimwear's debut show, featuring suits designed by those krazy Kardashians.

9. Varicose veins - proving once and for all that yes, models are just like us.

8. Kendra Wilkinson hamming it up while signing her new memoir Sliding into Home.

7. Models striking cheesy model poses at the end of the runway. [Is she blowing a kiss or holding an invisible plate of pretend lettuce? I just can't tell.]

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6. Trays of rum runners headed my way.

5. Food. I need something to soak up those rum runners, don't I?

4. Multiple goody bags with my name on them.

3. Chris Brown and his model girlfriend Jasmine Sanders who is rumored to be walking the Ed Hardy show. I hope he doesn't hit her if she be tripping on the catwalk.

2. LeBron James. [Shut up. This is his new hood. He might like totally be there, okay].

And what I'm most excited to see at Fashion Week Swim 2011 - drumroll please...

1. Swell Suits Miami presenting the first all male swimwear group show to hit the runway.

It's about time people, it's about time.

xoxo!

*sammy

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2011 officially commences one week from tomorrow and I am feeling a strange wave of calm washing over me. After surviving a frenzied Fashion Week for the last season in Bryant Park this past February, I figure that this is going to be quite literally, a walk on the beach.

Around this time last year you found me nervous, pensive and frantic, a freshman on the Fashion Week scene. This year I know what to expect (fruity cocktails and sexy swimwear), what to wear (maxi dresses and sweat-proof sundresses) and am thrilled to see familiar faces as well as a crop of new swimwear designers that I'm sure will knock my sophomore socks off.

I feel kind of like a kid on summer break who is being reunited with all of her old camp friends that she gets to see once a year...only I never run the risk of having the MB Fashion Week designer alums short-sheet my bed or slip my hand in a glass of warm water while I sleep. They are way too busy for such childish antics.

One of my old summer time BFFs is White Sands Australia, an edgy and contemporary swimwear and resort-wear line designed by the lovely Leah Madden.

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I was blown away by last year's white hot White Sands collection, and am sure this year's collection will only leave me summer loving and wanting for more.

Always fashion forward, contemporary and beach-ready, White Sands makes women feel sexy from every angle with pieces that range from tiny Brazilian cut bikinis to beautifully shaped maillots. Last season I was wowed with swim and resort-wear stunners from the romantic Sweet Love ruffled one-piece to the denim Player playsuit and flirty Sweet Sin bright orange bikini.

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I will take in the new collection at the Press Preview next Friday and am looking forward to seeing what surprises Leah has in store for me this season.

In the meantime, if you're looking for fun in the sun courtesy of a land down under, allow me to introduce you to my good friend from overseas, White Sands Australia.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for Fall 2010 ended last month but I realized that there was a missing piece from my Fashion Week files...

I was only present for three of the eight fun-filled fashion days and nights and am still clinging to the brief and magical moments while I was there... I'm also still pouting over all the shows that I missed.

There is one show in particular that I would have teleported myself to if I could have, Naomi Campbell's Fashion For Relief™ - Haiti.

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Hosted by the other Fergie, (Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson) this runway show-slash-auction featured internationally recognized designers, celebrities and VIPs in order to raise crucial funds towards rebuilding Haiti’s healthcare system for mothers and children. The Bryant Park tent held 950 guests at prices ranging from $100 to $150 a ticket, which adds up to a nice amount of charitable fash cash.

Fashion For Relief™ began five years ago during MB Fashion Week in New York City, raising $1 million dollars for Hurricane Katrina relief. Proceeds raised this year will go directly to saving the lives of women, children and newborns across the recently earthquake stricken Haiti.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell brought together all of her famous friends in the fashion houses to put on a star-studded show with over 50 looks coming down the runway worn by celebrity models including Kelly Osborne, Estelle, Malin Ackerman and Alan Cummings, and designers such as Diane Von Furstenberg and Donna Karan who switched roles, walking the catwalk for the cause.

The looks were fun, bright and bold for the most part. I won't fail to mention that Supermodel Agyness Deyn wiped out twice on the runway until she finally took off her heels, walking barefoot like a pro. As I've said before, we all fall down.

The fashions were provided by a slew of esteemed designers including Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Dior, and will be auctioned online at Net-a-Porter starting today, March 15.

Whether you splurge on a runway look or if you'd like to make your own fashionable donation, visit Care.org to help.

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I snapped this photo during my last day at the tents. Two days before the iconic white tents would be taken down, never to stand in Bryant Park again.

I miss being there and am still experiencing phantom-like pain sensations, as if one stiletto'ed foot is no longer physically part of my body. Yes, I feel like one of my stylish limbs is missing and won't grow back until September when the Spring 2011 Collections are ready to show... but it will be different.

Sadly, this was both my first and last season documenting NY Fashion Week in Bryant Park as an officially credited member of the press. From February 11-18th, 2010, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week celebrated its last hurrah before packing it all up and heading to their new home at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park in September. I feel so very fortunate to have had the chance to finally experience the magic of Bryant Park during this very special, final season.

This year Fashion Week served as a walk down memory lane, with the tents adorned with quotes from our favorite fashion industry insiders who shared their fondest memories of how Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has impacted the world of fashion and changed the lives of both designers and industry professionals alike.

Over 3 million total visitors have come through the tents since 1993, and I am proud to have been one of them. I might not have been there from the beginning but I was there at the end, to leave my tiny footprints and soak it all in before it disappeared. And in September, when all the fashionable folks inside the Lincoln Center tents reminisce about the good old days at Bryant Park, I will nod, smile, understand and have a few stories of my own.

17 years.
31 seasons.
2,500 shows.

So long Bryant Park, and thank you for the memories.


Tuesday, February 16th. 9am. The Salon. Elie Tahari.

One of my employers is in love with Elie Tahari. I know she's been dying to read my coverage on her favorite designer showing at Fashion Week, but I've been making her wait for it...wait for it...and wait for it some more. This one is for you boss.

Bad news - It's very early in the morning, snowing outside and it seems that everyone is being let in before those of us with tickets.

Good news - No seating assignments, everyone is standing!

Bad news - No goody bags.

Good news - I'm in the front row because I'm short!

Bad news - These models are easily twice my size. I feel like Smurfette.

Good news - I spot Joan Rivers, Fern Mallis and Joe Zee - Creative Director of ELLE magazine!

Bad news - Joan Rivers' face frightens me.

Once I arrived in the Salon, the show began with the models walking proud, fast and furious. The women's collection wowed with sophisticated pieces that showed off Tahari's unfaltering attention to detail. I ooh'ed and ahh'ed over ready-to-wear separates in posh palettes of blacks and grays that gravitated into oranges, bronzes and other cool Autumnal pops of color. Tahari's glorious handbags accessorized the looks beautifully as did the uptown hats and oversized sunglasses that added a touch of timeless style.

The menswear collection quickly followed suit with luxurious Don Draper lookalikes cruising down the catwalk in impeccable suits and perfectly parted slicked back hair. Once the men walked their walk, there was a brief pause and...wait for it...wait for it...

The show started all over again. Wait, didn't I see that? I'm having serious déjà vu. No, I'm not mistaken, I did see that before. After a few familiar looks, I finally put size 2 and 2 together to realize that the women were indeed coming out in the same outfits, beginning their entire collection rotation once again. Then the boys, girls, boys, girls, boy, girl, walk, fierce, pose, repeat.

It was the Groundhog Day of Fashion Week.

Sam Cam
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To say that Fashion Week in New York is exciting would be the equivalent of describing Mother Teresa as nice. The words simply do not capture the magnitude of their respective levels of awesomeness.

Where else could you score free Starbucks beverages in the morning, free alcoholic beverages in the evening, complimentary make-up and hair products, cutie cute tote bags, mini umbrellas to protect perfectly styled hairdos from getting ruined by the snow and more stylish S.W.A.G. (Stuff We All Get) than could possibly fit in a girl's suitcase back to Miami?

I realized after an hour of showing up at 41st and 6th, that there are so many other priceless treasures to be found in the deep confines of the Bryant Park tents. Some tangible, others not. I felt like Gossip Girl Fashion Edition here...your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite. I overheard private conversations concerning who ate it on the runway during the previous afternoon's shows, who got plastered at the previous evening's afterparties and multiple TMI tidbits about various bodily functions, crash diets, upper lip waxings and extramarital affairs.

Better than the juiciest verbal morsels, I found things. Things that people dropped. This script for instance, previously held by former Supermodel Veronica Webb, pictured below during last year's Fashion Week with Victoria's Secret Angel Doutzen Kroes. There I was, chilling on the cushy black benches a few feet away from the hot Mercedes-Benz parked in the lobby when I found this folded up script underneath my bum.

Thought you might enjoy seeing the rundown for Veronica's Modelinia Fashion Week TV coverage, found by your undercover fashion reporter on the scene. Back to you Bianca!

xoxo,
Sammy

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NY Fashion Week Audiences

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twi⋅light
  /ˈtwaɪˌlaɪt/ Pronunced [twahy-lahyt]
–noun
1. the soft, diffused light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, either from daybreak to sunrise or, more commonly, from sunset to nightfall.

2. a terminal period, esp. after full development, success, etc.: the twilight of his life.

3. a blockbuster film/phenomenon (based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer) starring hottie vampire, Edward Cullen.

Monday, February 15th. Perry Ellis. The Promenade. 2nd Row. 7pm, the twilight hour.

Pre-show I was treated to a couple of complimentary berry martinis and ran into Jennifer and Laura from the shorty cycle of America's Next Top Model. They both looked gorgeous, were very friendly, and I loved the fact that they are still close friends even more than the fact that they didn't tower over me the way most of the models here did. I snapped a pic with my phone, but Jen looked weird and Laura had her eyes closed, and I could never post an unflattering photo of my new besties.

As I took my seat and browsed through my program I got the chills, excited to finally see some menswear pieces that were to die for. I took in the hot pink backdrop with the black chandelier for a moment and as soon as the lights went dark, the coven of male models were ready to prowl.

Creative director John Crocco presented a collection of dark hues and luxurious fabrics that enveloped a mix of sophisticated sportswear and handsome evening wear to prep today's Perry Ellis man for any night out on the town. Elegant trenches, velvet evening jackets, tuxedo pants, waistcoats, exquisite three piece suits, color blocked wonders, sumptuous leather, cozy wool blends... hold the phones, is that a cravat I see? Where's Chuck Bass when you need him?

Nearly every piece in the program was attached to the words Midnight and/or Eclipse and the pale male models wore them well, looking chiseled, wan and in desperate need of a blood transfusion, although when the light hit one of them just right, I'd swear his skin was sparkling.

Sam Cam
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In conclusion, John Crocco for Perry Ellis is far from the twilight of his career, delivering a dressed to kill collection that had major bite.

Monday. February 15th. 3pm. Tracy Reese. The Salon.

I am home now. Back on Floridian soil after a four hour layover at LaGuardia due to unfortunate weather conditions. I got home and in bed a little after 4am. I woke up, immediately reaching for the day's show schedule on the bedside table, then realized after a few hazy moments that it was all over. The only fashion shows in my immediate future will be those broadcast on Project Runway. I won't be in the seats. It won't be live. It won't be the same.

My body is still on New York time and my mind is still completely immersed in fashion week, reliving show after show with a slideshow of snapshots of favorite pieces rotating fondly in my memory. Most of these pieces were Reese's pieces. Tracy Reese's divine Fall pieces.

I've come to the conclusion that there are 3 general reactions people have after seeing a show in the Bryant Park tents.

a. Wow, that was either avante garde/daring/bold or weird. I loved and/or hated it.
b. Wow, that was safe and lovely, but I wasn't moved. I loved it but it didn't change my life.
c. Wow, I could wear and want to wear every single item that came down the runway.

Tracy's ready to wear overall grade - a C+.

There was definitely a fine frenzy in the air with the tent packed to full capacity and starting even later than usual. Tracy's normally sweet feminine aesthetic was pumped up with plenty of versatile sportswear separates that were tastefully layered on top of her signature staple of perfectly pretty dresses for the Autumn season.

Skinny studded pants, cozy sweaters, faux fur, impeccably tailored coats and romantic, always ladylike dresses of both dark and pastel hues were paired with sleek arm warmers, side-parted poofed up ponytails, aviator sunglasses and high volume scarves to create an edgy contrast with simple yet striking wardrobe updating pieces.

What I love about Tracy's collection is that everything looks so incredible all put together while still being conscious of today's economy. If a girl wants to invest in a piece for the new season, she doesn't necessarily have to buy the entire outfit, but can still afford a big change with an eye-catching coat, cardigan, dress, scarf or other smart separates that can be mixed and matched to add a breath of fresh air to old basics, pieces from last year and everything else in the modern gal's closet. Again, I wanted it all, as did the celebrities in the audience, at least according to the expressions on their happy faces.

Celebrity Spottings: Kristen Bell and Julia Stiles chatting front row, Robert Verdi, Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams and Raven Symone was slated to attend, but I failed to see her.

Perhaps she ditched the show...that's so Raven.

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Monday, February 15th. The Promenade. Brazilian Boy Wonder, Carlos Miele.

Brazil, where hearts were entertaining June
We stood beneath an amber moon...

Fine, it was February at 11am and we stood beneath a heated white tent. I still like the song.

As stated in the official press kit, beneath that heated white tent we were presented with geometric abstract art and its pure colors, photo montages, and constructivist architectural engineering that when combined, inspired the creative process of Carlos Miele's collection.

In layman's fashion terms, the show was colorful and deliciously tactile. I actually wanted to reach out and touch everything, although I did not. No sense in running the risk of oversized Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week security men tossing me out on my tush in the middle of 6th Avenue.

Soft, exquisite looking furs and capelets captured my interest as did the comfy looking knitwear including a purple sweater that I dreamed of wrapping myself in once I left the snug comfort of the tents. Other favorite pieces? A black fringe vest and a superb trio of vivid and brightly colored strapless dresses that collectively captured the hues and the spirit of the Carnival celebrations - the Brazilian version of Mardi Gras, if you will.

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Pics from Sam cam -

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All of the looks were accessorized with messy buns and open toe black booties with gold accents.

All in all, this Miele was delish, I'd certainly come back for seconds.

There's one thing I'm certain of
Return I will to old Brazil.

Valentine's Day. The Salon. 2nd Row. 9pm. Vassilios Kostetsos.

Sitting in a primo seat with awesome sight lines, staring at a lovely Fern Mallis standing directly in front of me in a dashing winter white knee length coat looking pretty relaxed considering that she is ultimately responsible for giving birth to this crazy little thing called Fashion Week.

9:32pm - I have to go pee just as much as the long-legged 6 foot glamazon next to me needs to eat a sandwich, but they finally started taking the plastic wrap off of the runway which means it's almost showtime. The house lights go down. Here we go.

We hear Lady Gagaish orgasmic screams and catch a glimpse of a hot red light against the backdrop, pulsing harder than the hormones of the Cupid smitten teenage couples I saw making out in Times Square just an hour earlier on my way to the hotel.

I have four words to sum up the show - Leather. Sequins. Feathers. Snakeskin. Sexy-ass. Make that five and a half words.

Inspired by the 442 BC Sophocles drama Antigone, the collection was dominated by sexy puffy-sleeved trenches, hot pants, sheer fabrics, tattoo-like tights, immaculate draping, above the knee boots, pretty boy models with spray-painted metallic faces, ostentatious evening gowns and more inspirations that are all Greek to me.

This show was anything but subdued with a striking color palette of dare to be remembered reds, whites and blues, blacks and bronzes. I snapped the photo below myself during the final walk. Not bad, huh? Just disregard big guy's head on the left. It was a really big cranium. No way around it.

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What was in the goody bag? Orange BZ Greek Grill pens, a Vassilios press kit, world renowned celebrity hair designer and "official hairstylist of Vassilios Kostetsos", Rodolfo Valentin brand shampoo, eyeshadows (gray and blush) and Super Sweet lipgloss.

My seating assignment card read "Eros Anikate Mahan" which translates to - "Love something something." I'm a fashion blogger not a linguist, what do you expect?

Overall, in terms of passionate collections, Vassilios gave me the big O.

Sending you great big kisses Vassilios, to thank you for getting my heart to race wild on V-Day. Make that double kisses on both cheeks.

That's how they do it in Athens, no?


This is Sammy, your NY Fashion Week blogger on the scene reporting live from the Bryant Park tents. I'm checking in to let you all know that I'm still alive, I haven't experienced hypothermia just yet, and I'm seeing some super-fine fashion shows.

It's a different world here, many degrees off from what I experienced during Miami Fashion Week. Here's a quick run down of the M.I.A. vs. the N.Y. Mercedes-Benz Week of Fashion.

10. It's frickin' cold.

9. People in line smell like coffee and cigarettes as opposed to coconut oil and lime.

8. In Miami, cute twentysomething girls with headsets manned the doors. In NY, Mafia Soprano like beer bellied dudes man the doors. p.s. They. Will. Hurt. You.

7. Everyone is dressed in black as opposed to tropical prints.

6. In Miami, "Fashionably late" = approximately 18 minutes. In New York, "Fashionably late" = on average 36.5 minutes.

5. Instead of handing out Smart water in water bottles like in Miami, they hand out O.N.E. water in eco-friendly cartons.

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4. In Miami everyone is chilling because they're hanging in cabanas, in Bryant Park everyone is chilling because it's twenty degrees.

3. The models in Miami are tan, have back and are smiling. NY models are pale, have zero ba-donka-donk and look really P-O'ed, like they. will. hurt. you.

2. Foreigners at Fashion Week Miami generally have Latin accents, in NY they have ah da Italian accents.

1. In New York the models are dressed. In Miami they're in bikinis, hello.

I just watched the Ports 1961 runway show live at Vogue.com and I felt like I was there, albeit without the pushing/shoving or the goody bag.

The collection was inspiring, a classic compilation of neutral and metallic tones that featured an exciting blend of textures. From flowy gowns paired with structured jackets to sheath dresses paired with elegant over the elbow gloves and Amelia Earhart aviator caps, every piece was more refined, cultured, feminine and ladylike than the last.

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I actually took a double take when I first caught a glimpse of these jewelry pieces that added interest and dimension to the relatively dark overall color scheme. I couldn't take my eyes off of two adornments in particular that gave the illusion of honeycomb with epaulettes and necklaces that were just as intriguing as Ports eternally romantic collection.

Rock on Ports 1961, this fashionista certainly enjoyed the ride.


ports 1961.JPG Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for the new Fall 2010 Collections officially began at 9am this morning. I am not there. I am here at my desk, wishing that I could go to there.

I'm staring lovingly at my invitation to the Ports 1961 show that will start at 3pm in the Promenade tent in Bryant Park...without me. Celebrities Expected: MTV's Whitney Port (I wonder if she gets preferred seating because she shares the company name) and my long-time adversary, Olivia Palermo from The City.

Perhaps I'm better off. By the time I arrive on Sunday, the snowstorms might be lone gone, saving me the risk of returning to Miami as a Samsicle.

By the by, this may just be the poshest invitation I've ever received. It's a passport book with a packet of rosemary seeds nestled in the front cover with a quote that reads...

We have great faith in seeds, for in every nurtured beginning lies the future of a blossoming idea.

I'm flipping through the pages to see the day by day calendar with an itinerary of cool fashion week events i.e. Champagne @ Ports 1961 Boutique, #3 9th Avenue on Monday. I might just take you up on that my pal Ports.

If you're stuck somewhere out there, far far away from the Bryant Park tents, you can still check out all of the action live at Vogue.com where they will be livestreaming the Ports 1961 runway show for those of us who are stuck at other less glamorous Ports of Call.

Check out the show from the first row, and you won't even need my fancy invite.

It's that time of season again, and I'm in an empire state of mind.

I'm in the midst of packing my bags for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to view the Fall 2010 collections and have been overwhelmed, checking my inbox minute after minute to find yet another invite, party notification and all of the other goodies that come along with being designated an official member of the fashion press. My inbox hasn't gotten this much action since 2007 when that nasty email worm took out my beloved Sony Vaio. I've never felt more popular.

I wish I were able to spend the entire week at Bryant Park, (Fashion Week officially commences Thursday February 11th and runs through Thursday the 18th) but I am desperately needed at my home base, so I'll only be able to get away for a few days, smack dab in the middle of the week.
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I leave on Valentine's Day, which is strangely apropos, considering that I will spend the day bonding with my first true love that is fashion. So far I'm slated to attend the Vassilios Kostetsos show and will feast my eyes on the new collections of Perry Ellis, Elie Tahari, Carlos Miele, Tracy Reese, and the invites are continuing to pour in.

Be still my heart.

Spring Fashion Week 2010 officially ended ten days ago, but I'm still taking my sweet time with coverage. Sorry for the delay folks. It isn't that I'm lazy, really. Rather, it's my weak attempt to make it all last longer... like slow licking a frozen yogurt cone from IKEA.

Without further ado, here's my take on Day 4 - Diane Von Furstenberg's stunning Spring show.

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I was recently wowed by a few old photos of Diane VF but have to admit, the lady still looks pretty damn Von Fabulous. The woman behind the classic wrap dress wrapped us up in her bold Spring collection with saucy styles that were a little bit mystical and a little bit macrame with a whole lotta must-have pieces for the springtime nymphet.

This year's theme featured the idea of "looking into antiquity for effortless beauty". Models pranced down the U shaped runway in vibrant colors and prints oozing with ethic flavor, crimped hair styled with chic metallic wreaths, and bright oversized bangles piled high on their dainty little wrists. Only Diane could pull off high-end hippie, and she did it magnificently.

Who was there - Gossip Girl's Blake Lively and Michelle Trachtenberg, Rachel Zoe, Nina Garcia, Candice Bergen and 90210's Shanae Grimes.

Who was not there - Big news was that Project Runway's Tim Gunn wasn't invited for the first time in twelve seasons. I guess in terms of his friendship with Diane, he wasn't able to make it work.


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Project Runway Season 4 winner Christian Siriano has been making appearances all over Fashion Week beginning with a sneak peek last Thursday of his new soles during "Fashion's Night Out". If you haven't already, check out this fab limited edition shoe line at Payless. The boy knows fierce footwear.

Mister Christian officially debuted his Spring collection on Saturday afternoon in the Promenade tent with a versatile compilation of Mediterranean inspired designs. Siriano's vision flowed easily from one look to the next with warm neutrals flowing into the calming blues of the Mediterranean Sea and into a finale of fiery reds.

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Comprised of a wide range of diverse pieces from classy suits and impeccably tailored shorts to a futuristic bodysuit and drama exuding ballgowns, the models were styled with sky high platforms and floppy Kentucky Derby worthy hats that tied together a cohesive collection that screamed Greek Isles meets high society.

Who was there? Project Runway's proud pappy Tim Gunn (who told the Huffington Post that Christian was "this generation's Marc Jacobs"), Victoria's Secret supermodel Alessandra Ambrosia, The Fashion Show's Kelly Rowland, Mena Suvari, Kristen Johnson, Tori Spelling and Veronica Webb.

Christian's rear spike tress twin Kate Gosselin was not present.

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I have yet to meet a twenty or thirtysomething girl who hasn't had a love affair with Charlotte Ronson and her to die for designs.

I Heart Ronson simply because Charlotte always knows how to put a unique spin on femininity, giving girls the flattering and hip pieces that they want to wear, executed in a totally unique way. I never felt comfortable pairing a flirty, frilly dress with a military jacket before Charlotte came along.

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I must confess, this was one of the shows on my must sneak in if tent fills up list. More than packed to capacity, the pre-show scene was more chaotic than all of Lady Gaga's VMA outfits combined, but once the lights changed and the music kicked in, those who had seats relaxed to enjoy a breath of fresh fashion show air. Charlotte's girls were all dolled up with pretty buns, braided foreheadbands and natural, barely there makeup as they traipsed down the runway to Char's twin sis Samantha's pumpin' beats.

The theme was classical meets street and I adored the perfect street sense behind every one of the totally wearable pieces. Hard and soft at the same time, sweet but with a definite Ronson edge. It took minutes for me to mentally purchase a sleek off the shoulder top and a lovely print mini dress that stood out in a sea of solids. I loved it all, even though I didn't fully get the mesh scrunched up leggings look, I kind of wanted them too. The color palette consisted mostly of blacks and grays, but a few pops of pastel pink softened everything up for Spring.

As for all star celebs - 90210's Jessica Stroup was loving the looks along with Russell Simmons, Manhattan socialite Tinsley Mortimer and Nicky Hilton.

p.s. Lindsay Lo was a no show.

Bryant Park.

Day one was brimming with excitement, setting the tone for another stunning week of fashionable festivities with Spring 2010 collections revealed by BCBG Max Azria, Rosa Chá, Ports 1961, Duckie Brown and David Elfin.

Sadly, the harsh NY Fashion Week reality is that as much as you'd like to cram the entire day's schedule in, it's nearly impossible to see every single show, unless you have a team of assistants, interns and clones on hand. Which is why everyone admitted into the Promenade tent was pleased as punch to get three, count 'em three-shows-in-one sitting from the Spring fashion trifecta - Mara Hoffman, Nicholas K and Whitney Eve.

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Mara Hoffman and Nicholas Kunz decided to join forces together again, sharing the catwalk for another season, and this time they brought Hot Child in The City, Whitney Port, along for the ride. Here's my rundown of fashion week's triple threat and those impeccable designs prancing down the Promenade runway.

Mara Hoffman - As a Miami girl, I felt more than at home viewing a luminous collection that consisted mostly of soft, flowing and romantic Spring gowns that I would definitely wear cruising down Lincoln Road come April. I smiled at the sight of gorgeous ethnic and geometric prints that were totally reminiscent of the breezy, visually interesting and easy to wear Swim designs and coverups I saw back in the Miami Fashion Week tents in July. Nice to see that Mara took a little piece of the MIA back home with her for inspiration.

Nicholas K - Urban, hip, ecclectic. In short, a cooler than all get out collection. Men's and women's hipster designs were influenced by everything I loved about the 80's with madras, color blocks and prints strutting their Nicky K stuff. Cool baggy pants, walking shorts, cardigans and model chicks in flats gave this show a cool, effortless and funky vibe and it was nice to see some preppy dudes making their way down the runway.

Whitney Eve - Whitney, you've paid your Hills and City dues and have made your fans proud. I fell in love with your sleek, sophisticated dresses and shorts that showed off long legs and pretty metallics. Embracing femininity was the name of the Whitney Eve game and my only problem with the collection was that my legs aren't long enough to show my favorites off.

Day One down, eight more to go.

The World's Premiere Fashion Event commences in less than twenty-four hours and I'm as giddy as a six year old waiting for a shiny new bike on the night before Christmas.

Over the course of 8 fun-filled and fashionable days and nights, all eyes will be on Bryant Park and their three tented venues that will serve as the revealing backdrop for over sixty new Spring 2010 collections.

It is estimated that up to 100,000 people will pass through these tents of paradise to attend shows, meet and greet the media, retailers and fashion professionals, all while taking in a sneak peek of what anyone who is anyone will be wearing this Spring.

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What am I most excited about seeing? Here is my top 10 list of what has me shaking in my knee-high leather boots.

10. Whitney Eve, Whitney Port's ultra feminine line shown back-to-back with Nicholas K and Mara Hoffman, all represented by People's Revolution. I guess all those hard hours spent working in The City have paid off.

9. Model Erin Wasson's first time showing at NY Fashion Week. Will her design portfolio be as sexy as her modelling portfolio?

8. Titillating Tibi. Will designer Amy Smilovic remember me from Miami?

7. Christian Siriano Project Runway alum. Hopefully his show will be the pinnacle of fierce and not hot messed up.

6. Isaac Mizrahi's hair.

5. Charlotte Ronson's show. Will sis Samantha be there with ex Lindsay Lo? Inquiring minds want to know.

4. Pretty things by Lela Rose.

3. Diane Von Furstenberg's smile.

2. Rachel Zoe actually eating something.

1. PC, that annoying NYC Prep brat who threw a rather awkward temper tantrum on national television when he was forced to sit in the second row at Fashion Week.

I'm taking your seat PC, deal.

Samara Sanchez

About Sammy

Sammy Sanchez is a Miami based freelance writer, greeting card designer, and self-professed USWeeklyholic. Sammy loves tall coffee light frappuccinos, vino not from a box, and Mark Ruffalo...not necessarily in that order.
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