Monday, February 27, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Oscar’s Fashion Hits & Misses Or You’re Only As Good As Your Stylist

Isabelle Huppert
Photos courtesy of the Oscars

Oh what a night! Oh what a gaffe! Who would have thought that the Academy Awards would ever have a ‘Steve Harvey’, rather than a ‘Hollywood ending’? Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope to read from (“and the REAL envelope please?”) but at least, a very awkward moment was handled with class, While the real winner of the Best Picture Award, “Moonlight”, put the finish on an evening that was a true celebration of diversity and inclusion.

Quite frankly, after that finale (the biggest gaffe in Oscar’s history), it’s almost impossible to remember what preceded it. But even though fashion seems like an afterthought, I still figure I’d weigh in.  I should mention, sitting in sartorial judgement of some of the world’s biggest stars, I myself was a vision to behold (not!) dressed in my comfy pull-on sweatpants and fuzzy bunny slippers. The irony was not lost on me LOL.

As we all know, it’s really not about which star was best dressed but which stylist did their homework. Isabelle Huppert said it best. The ultra-talented 63 year old French actress, who has become somewhat of a red carpet style icon as of late, owing to her understated chic was the subject of an article “She Doesn’t Aim to Please”, written by Ruth La Ferla in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times . As she observed, “It’s important how personal and singular you feel in what you wear. It’s important that you keep your identity.” FYI, she did just that, looking beautiful in her covered up and beaded Armani accessorized with diamante ear cuffs and punctuated with dark lips and nails. It perfectly suited her. But Roshumba Williams, who worked the red carpet, commented that she thought it looked a bit “dated” and offered that women, regardless of their age, should not be so covered up and should show off their beautiful collarbones. I could not disagree more.

Jessica Biel

Quite frankly, my jaw dropped when I first saw Jessica Biel, and she was entirely covered up from head-to-toe. While husband Justin Timberlake, who performed the opening act might not have gone home with an Oscar, did get to go home with Jessica. She looked like a gold statuette in her gilded Kaufman Franco haute couture gown, accessorized with Tiffany metallic collar necklace and stick straight center parted hair (while the crowd last night may have been pretty much left of center politically, the center part was seen on many women).  She told a similarly gold dress clad Robin Roberts, “You can’t go wrong with gold. Gold is the color of the night”.

Emma Stone

Indeed it was, and what better way to accessorize your gold statue than by looking like one? This is precisely how I would describe Best Actress Winner Emma Stone in her Givenchy Haute Couture. I loved how the bare slip top dress (a style that suits her and that she seems to favor) was punctuated with a flurry of fringe, adding a bit of playful “swoosh” as she walked on stage to get her award.

Viola Davis 

Best Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis looked radiant, AND red hot I might add (someone referred to her as a “red hot chili pepper!”), in her red Armani Prive halter gown, red sandals, and new short hairdo. Ruth Negga also opted for red. Her Valentino gown, was graceful, long sleeved, and empire waisted, with a Victorian high neck. She accessorized with an ACLU blue ribbon (this was also seen on many other attendees).

Naomie Harris

Proving “simplicity is the utmost form of sophistication” were Naomie Harris and Karlie Kloss, both in minimal white. Naomie looked absolutely beautiful in her Raf Simons for Calvin Klein white beaded and strapless dress with asymmetrical hemline, accessorized with mismatched yellow shoes (Raf did this on his recent runway for Fall/Winter 2017). Quite a coup for Raf I might add.

Karlie Kloss 

And Karlie looked fabulous in Stella McCartney, accessorized with a Roger Vivier clutch and a positively stunning diamond choker by Nirav Mode. I always wonder why more women don’t wear jewelry that draws attention to their faces!

Kirsten Dunst 

Talking about simplicity, Kirsten Dunst, wearing a beautifully shaped Dior Haute Couture gown that was slightly higher in front (and was accessorized with black ankle strap court pumps and simple diamond necklace), proved that you can’t underestimate the power of a fabulous black dress and you don’t need bells & whistles to make a statement. It perfectly suited her and she looked comfortable literally and figuratively.

Taraji P.Henson

Taraji P. Henson was one of several women who paired black with diamonds, though she couldn’t seem to remember who designed her black velvet number when she was asked (for the record, it was custom Alberta Ferretti). She also did not know who made her stunning diamond necklace. Isn’t the point of borrowing, advertising?

Brie Larson

Others who opted for black: Presenter and last year’s Best Actress Brie Larson looking fabulous in Oscar de la Renta and Alicia Vikander who I thought looked uncharacteristically matronly in a Louis Vuitton number. It did absolutely nothing for her and her updo looked as if she did it herself  (and hastily at that).

Halle Berry

I also did not care for Dakota Johnson’s hairdo (or is it hair ‘don’t’?) and I am on the fence about her Gucci dress. For me, it was neither here nor there. I also felt the same way about Halle Berry’s Atelier Versace. Still not sure if I love it or hate it, but one thing is certain - that woman is undeniably drop dead gorgeous and there’s nobody else who could have pulled it off. And that hair! I have to say that I think Halle never looked as beautiful as when her hair was very short; the shorter length perfectly showed off her face and cheekbones. Interestingly, when Halle spotted Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet (with her very short hair), she exclaimed that she wanted short hair again.

Janelle Monae

In a class by herself was Janelle Monae. Regardless of whether or not you thought her Elie Saab was completely over-the-top (which it certainly was), you have to applaud her consistent and exuberant love of fashion and her love of personal expression.

- Marilyn Kirschner

Oscars Special Report

Oscars 2017: The Last Word
By Diane Clehane

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty

It seems only fitting that this year’s Oscar broadcast will be remembered for its shock ending as bleary-eyed viewers sat slack-jawed at home incredulous at the results of a hotly contested race.

You could say that Jimmy Kimmel hosted one of the most enjoyable Oscar shows in recent memory which ended with a moment that will go down in television history as the biggest award show jaw-dropper ever. On the flip side, the naysayers might bemoan that an otherwise flawless broadcast was marred by the biggest mistake ever made at the Academy Awards.

Either way, it made for the most unforgettable Oscars of all time.

Just how the hell did Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announce the wrong Best Picture winner? It turns out Beatty, who seemed confused and disoriented on stage, was holding the envelope for the Best Actress, not Best Picture winner. Dunaway announced the winner was La La Land before Beatty to stop her. But something was not right based on the chaos that erupted on stage – we just couldn’t tell what it was. After some confusion which brought a behind the scenes staffer and host Jimmy Kimmel to the stage in the middle of a La La Land producer’s acceptance speech, Beatty tried to explain the reason for the error saying he was given a card with Stone’s name on it, but later in the press room Emma Stone said she was holding the card that announced her Best Actress win. It seems there were duplicate envelopes. Where was the real envelope for Best Picture during all this? Whatever happened, you can bet someone got fired. And Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are destined to be remembered for something, I’m sure, they’d rather forget.

It’s a shame that the stunning error will overshadow a solid Oscar broadcast hosted by a sure-footed, savvy and affable Kimmel that showcased old and new Hollywood beautifully and used the tried-and-true clip packages to great effect.

Justin Timberlake opened the broadcast with a rousing performance of ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ singing and dancing his way into the Dolby Theater with a squadron of dancers. He got the audience smiling and up on their feet dancing along. When he made his way to the stage he sang one of his personal favorites, “Lovely Day.” The performance seemed to put the audience at ease – and that feeling of camaraderie over competition lasted throughout the evening.

The show was the perfect antidote to the unrelenting negativity most of us find ourselves coping with these days – but never let us forget what it was we were escaping from. Many presenters and winners wove their thoughts on the current political climate into their remarks, but none more so than the representative for Iranian director and Best Foreign Language Film winner Asghar Farahadi, who read a statement from the director that said, in part, “Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war.”

Even though it ran more than 40 minutes over, it was uplifting, entertaining (JT, you rocked it) and, at times, very, very funny. Kimmel was in top form and kept the proceedings brisk peppering his monologue with the expected political humor and bringing in some of his signature bits from his late night show. Two of my favorite Kimmel-driven bits scored big. Seeing stars read Mean Tweets was hilarious and watching star-struck ‘civilians,’ who thought they were on a tour of Hollywood, get ushered into the theater to meet the celebrities in the front row was a terrific feel-good moment. Recurring jokes about his “feud” with Matt Damon never got old.

Brie Larson

The red carpet was also a pleasant surprise. Even though there was no runaway fashion winner, there was plenty of great looking – and elegant --looks to go around. My best dressed honors go to Brie Larson who wore a gorgeous black flamenco-inspired gown by Oscar de la Renta. Kirsten Dunst in breathtaking black Dior gown was a very close second.

Nicole Kidman

I thought golden girls Emma Stone in Givenchy and Nicole Kidman in Armani Prive looked the best they have in ages. Jessica Biel looked like a very expensive Oscar statuette in her gilded KaufmanFranco gown (but she didn’t need the Tiffany necklace).

Viola Davis

White looked right on Karlie Kloss (although I’m not sure what she was doing there) who wore a chic column with an attached cape by Stella McCartney. Hailee Steinfield looked young and fresh in a sheer Ralph & Russo chiffon confection. Best Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis was a stand-out in red Armani. I’m sure there are plenty of fashionistas who thought Janelle Monae’s Marie Antoinette-inspired Elie Saab was too much, but I liked it.

There weren’t the usual fashion disasters we’ve come to expect, but there were some disappointments (Leslie Mann in an overwrought ballgown by Zac Posen and Scarlett Johansson – bad hair!) but my worst dressed goes to Dakota Johnson in a gold Grandma Moses gown from Gucci that did absolutely nothing for her.

In the end, fashion seemed very much beside the point this year which seemed only fitting given the wealth of talent of every description being recognized. Here are my highlights from the unforgettable broadcast:

8:30 Justin Timberlake gets everyone on their feet (including the 11 year- in my living room) dancing down the aisle singing his Oscar nominated song, Can’t Stop This Feeling from Trolls. We’re off to a very promising start. Love it.

8:31 Jeff Bridges sighting!

8:34 The whole place is on its feet. Great job, JT.

8:35 “This broadcast is being seen by 225 countries that now hate us.” Kimmel’s first political joke of the night. He’s on a roll.

8:38 “I want to say thank you to President Trump. Remember last year when the Oscars seemed racist?”

8:40 “Manchester by the Sea: That was a fun movie, wasn’t it?”

8:45 “Please join me in giving Meryl Streep a totally undeserved round of applause. Meryl, will you please stand up? … The high overrated Meryl Streep … Nice dress -- is that an Ivanka?” We know it’s not Chanel.

Jimmy wraps up his monologue with this gem: “Some of you will come up on this stage and get to give a speech that the president of the United States will tweet about in all caps during his 5 am bowel movement tomorrow morning. That’s pretty darn excellent if you ask me.” The producers are already calling his agent to lock him in for next year.

8:40 Mahershala Ali wins Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight and gets standing ovation. “My grandma would want me to button up,” he says before thanking his wife who gave birth to their first child, a daughter four days ago. Who’s having a better week?

9:04 Wow. Rolex. That’s what I call a commercial.

9:08 Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer introduce former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, one of the women portrayed in Hidden Figures. She receives a rousing ovation from the crowd. The women present the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature to the producers of ‘O.J. Made in America.’

9:13 Kimmel makes his only bad joke of the night about OJ Simpson

9:15 Is there anything Lin-Manuel Miranda can’t do?

9:18 Sixteen year-old Auli’i Cravalho sings ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from Moana. Impressive.

9:22 Kimmel welcomes “a president that believes in arts and sciences” Motion Picture Academy president Cheryl Boone Issacs.

9:26  Little bags of Red Vines and Junior Mints parachute down from the ceiling. I wonder how much that cost that candy maker?

9:35 Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres and Pharrell Williams for The Love Project by Revlon. I am loving the commercials this year.

9:36 Mel Gibson seems to be enjoying his comeback and the licorice.

9:40 Mark Rylance presents the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to a very deserving Viola Davis. My daughter’s take: “She cries every time she gives a speech. No offense, it’s a little too much.”

9:56 After a clip of Charlize Theron talking about her admiration for Shirley MacLaine’s performance in The Apartment, both actresses appear on the stage together. “That’s the warmest reception I’ve gotten in 250,000 years,” quips MacLaine. A classic Oscar moment.

9:58 Iranian director Asghar Farahadi wins the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for The Salesman. A statement from director, who chose not to be present to accept the award in protest of the travel ban, is read by Anousheh Ansari, an astronaut Iranian-American and the first female private space traveler, and receives a standing ovation.

10:00 Despite some strong protests, my 11 year-old co-reviewer is packed off to bed. I’ll take it from here.

10:10 Hailee Steinfeld (gorgeous and grown-up!) and Gael Garcia Bernal present the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. Before announcing the winner, Garcia Bernal says, “Flesh and blood actors are migrant workers … As a migrant work as a Latino American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I am against any form of wall that wants to separate us.” I’m sensing a theme here.

10:04 The New York Times reminds viewers “the truth is more important than ever.”

10:13 The usually gorgeous Dakota Johnson chose a very unfortunate hairstyle tonight and her Gucci dress looks like something you’d find in your grandmother’s attic.

10:14 LaLa Land’s gets its first Oscar of the night for Production Design.

10:15 Tonight’s broadcast is the best it’s been in years, but I fear I’ll still be sitting here come morning.

10:17 Kimmel welcomes a stunned group of tourists into the Dolby Theater. “Gary from Chicago” and his fiancée get Denzel Washington’s blessing, Jennifer Aniston gives them Justin Theroux’s sunglasses and Mahershala Ali gets up and takes a selfie with them and his Oscar. Someone is kissing Meryl Streep’s hand. Ryan Gosling shakes hands with pretty much every one of them. It’s a clever way to show how much we love Hollywood and vice versa. One of the best things I’ve seen on an Oscar broadcast in a long time. Charming.

10:24 Nicole Kidman for Neutrogena? These commercials are as good as the nominated films.

10:35 Seth Rogen and Michael J. Fox emerge from the Delorean from Back to the Future to present Best Film Editing. I love these surprise pairings.

10:37 Second Oscar for Hacksaw Ridge. I guess the backlash against Mel is officially over.

10:40 More candy from the sky.

10:53  Leslie Mann and John Cho somehow make explaining the Scientific and Technical Awards funny. “For the privacy of our film scientists, the press were barred from this event,” Cho deadpans.

10:45 The White Helmets wins the Best Documentary Short Subject. The filmmakers ask the audience to stand in recognition of the life-saving efforts by ‘The White Helmets’ and in solidarity to end the war in Syria. “To save one life is to save humanity,” says one of the winners. I am running out of tissues.

10:50 Jimmy Kimmel tweets Hey @realDonaldTrump you up? And then #Merylsays hi. Howling.

10:58 Matt Damon for Stella Artois. Maybe should add Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Commercial.

10:58 LaLa Land gets another one – Best Cinematography.

11:01 Mean Tweets with Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Robert DeNiro, Eddie Redmayne and others are killer. Kimmel is definitely coming back next year.

11:04 The new King and Queen of Hollywood Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone introduce John Legend to perform songs from the film.

11:12 Kimmel to Lin Manuel Miranda: “It’s weird to see you in a theater without paying $10,000.”

11:14 Best Original Score Oscar goes to La La Land, a film seemingly made by people who just graduated high school. How young are you people anyway?

11:16 Another group of 12 year olds win an Oscar for LaLa Land. One of them thanked his mother “for letting me quit the JCC Soccer League” so he could be a school musical.

11:19 Jennifer Aniston chokes up introducing the ‘In Memoriam’ segment acknowledging Bill Paxton, who died Saturday night from complications from surgery.

11:29 Ben Affleck and “guest” aka Matt Damon present the nominees for Best Original Screenplay while Kimmel, who has commandeered the orchestra pit, tries to play Damon off. Kenneth Lonergan wins for Manchester By the Sea. His simple eloquence in accepting his award explains perfectly why he is able to write so astutely about the human condition.

11:33 Va Va Voom, Amy Adams. Her dress (Tom Ford?) fits perfectly.

11:35 Moonlight wins Best Adapted Screenplay. I sense an upset for Best Picture.

11:36 Kimmel knows it’s getting late so he commands cookies and donuts rain down on the audience. How about serving some coffee?

11:41 Halle Berry, I hope that hair is for a role.

11:42 Damien Chazelle wins Best Director for La La Land. Do your parents know you’re up so late?

11:47 Brie Larson, in my favorite dress of the night, presents Casey Affleck   with the Best Actor Oscar. “Man I wish I had something bigger and more meaningful to say … I just dumbfounded to be included,” says the newly minted Oscar winner. He thanks a lot of people including his parents. Then he thanked Ben and someone else – but I couldn’t make out the name. By the way, that hair and beard is for a role.

11:57 The Best Actress Oscar goes to Emma Stone. “A moment like this is a high confluence of luck and opportunity.” Well done.

12:10 Whaaat??? Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway (who looks amazing!) present the Best Picture Oscar to La La Land by mistake. The entire cast and crew was up on stage and had their Oscars in their hands when it was announced that actually Moonlight that had won. La La Land’s Jordan Horowitz tries to tell the audience about the mix-up and holds up the card that reads ‘Moonlight.’ Jimmy Kimmel joins the crowd on stage to announce this is not a joke – but says he blames Steve Harvey. Warren Beatty says he was not trying to be funny. It wasn’t. I feel horrible for everyone. The La La Land cast hand over their Oscars to the Moonlight cast and leave the stage. It was an excruciatingly awkward and jaw dropping moment. The audience is stunned. And with that, one of the most epic Oscar broadcasts in recent years ends with the most memorable Oscar moment of all time.

It was riveting.

The show: A- (Points off for keeping me up until 3 am writing this review!)

The clothes: B+

And one last thing …

Let E! News hang around for the last hour on Oscar’s red carpet. ABC kicked them off early for the first time and billed the last thirty minutes as the ‘Opening Ceremony’ which focused on a handful of stars versus the messy mash-up, meet-ups that make E! such a guilty pleasure. There’s enough star power for everyone. Come on, share the wealth.

Diane Clehane
 is's entertainment editor. 
Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane

Friday, February 24, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

FIT Paris Refashioned Party

Photo by Laurel Marcus

The original cocktail reception for the opening of Museum at FIT’s new exhibit, “Paris Refashioned- 1957-1968”, curated by Colleen Hill was to be held several weeks ago but had to be cancelled (along with the morning press preview) because of the snowstorm. It was rescheduled for last evening, and luckily, the weather, a spring like and balmy 67 degrees could not have been more ideal. It was certainly ideal for one guest, Suzanne Bartsch, who was not wearing very much!

Not that the welcoming weather had anything to do with the wonderful, innately timeless, modern and appealing clothes on view, or the marvelous way in which the designs were exhibited (spread out in two rooms in the sprawling gallery space on the lower level). One of the first things I noticed when I walked downstairs was the openness of the entering space. What had once been divided by a curtain, was now wide open. I wondered why they hadn’t done that before.

Coats by Courreges and Yves Saint  Laurent
Photo: courtesy FIT

In the larger exhibition space, grids were set up to divide and display the haute couture, ready-to -wear, and accessories by such as Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Louis Feraud, Pierre Cardin, Chloe, Courrèges, Paco Rabanne, Emmanuelle Khanh; great clothes that for the most part are not stuck in a time warp, and to this day remain modern. Since we are currently ensconced in fashion month, with the Fall/Winter 2017 collections currently going on in Milan (and Paris beginning next week), it also served as a reminder of the way in which great fashion endures and doesn’t have an expiration date. I had to wonder how many of the designs being presented right now, will have this kind of staying power.

(FYI, I had a conversation with a seasoned and highly respected fashion figure who was there last evening, and who shall remain nameless. When I asked what he/she thought of the New York Collections, the response was: “I didn’t like ANYTHING!” Just saying.)

Marilyn Kirschner
Laurel Marcus

By contrast, I liked pretty much everything I saw last night. Disclaimer: the 60’s are my favorite era. I came of age in the 60’s - - it was a wonderful time of discovery and growth for me personally and I loved the fashions of that time. Ladylike yet youthful, it's hard not to look chic, elegant, and pulled together. Because I am thin and small boned (and stand at approximately 5’6 ½”), they didn’t over power me. I find myself always gravitating to the silhouettes that are short, neat, narrow shoulders, and tight armholes. In looking around at the fashions on display, there were more than a few that I would have loved to take right off the mannequins and wear right now. And that also goes for the accessories, particularly the shoes from elegant and classic Bonwit Teller pumps on ‘sensible’ high heels, and Chanel cap toe slingbacks, to the iconic Roger Vivier pilgrim buckled pumps that are fortunately still being produced and never lose their appeal.

Jean Shafiroff in Courreges jacket & skirt
Photo: Randall Stempler

Paris Refashioned concludes in 1968, the year Courrèges opened his first ready-to-wear boutique in New York and coincidentally, some of my favorite pieces are my beloved vintage 60's Courreges cropped vinyl jackets and coats. For the occasion, I wore one of the latter: in black vinyl with pronounced logo which I  accessorized with a red patent Courreges wristlet. And I was not alone: Jean Shafiroff, who has an enviable collection of Courreges jackets (not vintage), perfectly channeled the 60’s in her cropped neon yellow Courreges jacket perfectly punctuated with a mod Lisa Perry lime green circular bag. Fortunately, since the Courreges label has now been revived, versions of this iconic jacket are currently available at Bergdorf Goodman.

Stacey McKenzie & Victor de Souza
Photo: Laurel Marcus

It was not lost on me when I interviewed Bill Cunningham for our "Masters of Fashion" interview series back in 2003, I asked him what the three most memorable moments of his career were, Courreges was right up there. His answer: 1 - Dior's New Look in 1947 "feminine romance" 2 - The "totally pure designs" of Andre Courreges ("something you never saw before…he invented the third sex") 3 - The birth of French ready-to-wear.

Julie Macklowe & Robert di Mauro
Photo: Laurel Marcus

It’s impossible to not think of the late beloved photographer, especially when I attend certain events that he always frequented. The Museum at FIT’s receptions, in honor of the opening of their exhibitions, was one of them and he gleefully captured both the clothes on display along with the attendees.

Roxanne Lowit and Susanne Bartsch
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Certainly he would have aimed his camera at Suzanne Bartsch (who was honored with her own Museum at FIT exhibition a few years back), portraitist Ike Ude, Julie Macklowe and Laurel Marcus in their 60's get ups, photographer Roxanne Lovitt, Victor de Souza (with Stacey McKenzie wearing one of his designs), Dr. Valerie Steele, Gisele Roman (who is currently working on a James Galanos documentary), Freddie Leiba, Fern Mallis, Maggie Norris, Rosemary Ponzo. And he most probably would have loved taking a picture of Jean and myself in our coordinating Courreges.

- Marilyn Kirschner

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

Countdown to the Oscars

Click images for full size views

The “Everyone Wins” Nominee Gift Bag 2017

For 15 years, the L.A. based marketing firm, Distinctive Assets, has gathered an eclectic mix of fabulous gifts to bestow upon Oscar’s most distinguished nominees. So this year, whether they win or lose, nominees like Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Octavia Spencer, Dev Patel, Viola Davis, Casey Affleck and Meryl Streep will have The “Everyone Wins” Nominee Gift Bag delivered to their doorsteps as a consolation for their loss or to make their win even sweeter.

In past years, the impressive six-figure value of all of the included SWAG has been the major element of the gift bag story. But this year, Distinctive Assets founder, Lash Fary, and his team, are attempting to change the narrative: “Our goal is not to increase the value each year...A great gift has nothing to do with the price tag, and we are desperately trying to move the conversation away from that point...especially when outlets simply  make up alternative values to suit a headline.”

Thus, for 2017, the focus is on the fantasy gifts and experiences themselves, which is entirely appropriate in Fary’s opinion since, “At the end of the day, the movie industry is about allowing viewers to escape reality and enter a fantasy world. We hope we do that in some small way for these hard-working nominees…help them relax, unwind, unplug and indulge after one of the most intensely hectic weeks of their lives.”

Here is a sampling of what your favorite celebrities have to look forward to after their big night...

The 92-room, five-star hotel is located on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Naples in Sorrento, Italy. Nominees will receive 3 complimentary nights in a Suite.

Nominees will receive 3 complimentary nights in a Suite in this Art Nouveau Palace located in the heart of Lake Como.

5 nights/6 days in a luxurious villa on Kauai’s sunny South Shore.

The Limited Edition Pole Star Constellation Pendant & Brooch, a fine jewelry collectible,inspired by the stars.

Gourmet fine foods, featuring the unique flavor of rouge 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup.

Also included in the gift bag:

The Haze Dual V3 is the first and only dual chamber vaporizer in the market.

Oomi turns your ordinary home into an intelligent smart home. The starter kit retails for $599.  It includes Oomi Cube, Oomi Touch, Oomi Dock, two Oomi bulbs and one Oomi Plug.

Nominees will receive a case of Opal apples each month for a year (October thru July) and be able to participate in the Opal Apple Youth Make a Difference initiative. Opal is known as the apple with a purpose.

A year’s supply of Healing Saint Luminosity Skin Serum and a bonus gift of Healing Saint Hair Follicle Stimulant.

Fully-private 3-day mansion stay to experience the sublime  beauty of the Pacific Ocean at the magnificent and unique Lost Coast Ranch in Northern California.

Package of 10 Personal Training Sessions with one of Los Angeles’ premier trainers.

The Positive Cube is a handmade wooden box filled with 199 cards of positive actions and quotes. For every Positive Cube purchased, a donation is made to a charity or a cause.

Personally curated wardrobe for each nominee from Belldini, a leading manufacturer of women’s fashions for over 35 years.

Advanced dual-layer pillows and dog mattress.

New ChapStick® Total Hydration Moisture+Tint.

Chocolatines’ Drunken Fig Cake Bites.

Designer Book Box with Hand-Dipped Truffles.

CPR Anytime® allows anyone to learn the core skills of adult Hands-Only CPR in just 20 minutes using their own personal kit.

A customized box of 64 count Crayola My Way crayons.

Children’s book, empowering young girls to love all their unique features.

Underarm sweat patches.

Limited edition pelvic floor exercise tracker (and app).

A week of total mind, body and spirit renewal at the world’s #1 destination spa.

Luxury American-made t-shirts and sweatshirts that celebrate your happy place.

Weight loss supplement.

Luxury handbags made in the USA with a fun anteater pattern.

All-in-one natural nourishment for your skin.

Amazing Medice Foot Care Kit.

Multi purpose fitness bottle.

Gourmet, high-performance protein energy bars from MuscleTech

A jar of freshly harvested pecans.

A 10-year supply of revolutionary Oxygenating Foundation and Moisturizer.

Hand-made high-quality earrings crafted with solid sterling silver, plated with 18k gold and inlaid with cubic zirconia.

A Master of Emotive Realism.

Helps to end snoring.

Chic plates with portion control disguised in the design.

Massage mats to increase circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Personal in-house sommelier services by NYC sommelier Lelañea Fulton.

Mouth guard party game.

Innovative makeup application gift sets.

-Rhonda Erb
For more Better Bets visit:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Special Report:

19th CDGA Costume Designers Guild Awards Gala

Host Mandy Moore speaks onstage at The 19th CDGA (Costume Designers Guild Awards) with Presenting Sponsor LACOSTE
Photo by Kevin Winter

The Costume Designers Guild, IATSE local 892, is a member of the international alliance of theatrical stage employees. In addition to their union services, they promote the artistry, technical expertise, and creative vision of their members who design authentic fictional characters with accuracy and integrity. The Guild’s membership includes Costume Designers and Illustrators working in motion pictures, television, commercials, music videos, and new media programs throughout the world. Find the Guild at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @CDGlocal892.

Last night, Mandy Moore hosted the 19th CDGA (Costume Designers Guild Awards) at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, CA. Produced by JumpLine and presented by LACOSTE, the annual CDGA gala celebrated excellence in film, television, and short form Costume Design as voted on by the Guild’s membership, which includes more than 900 Costume Designers and Illustrators working in motion pictures, television, commercials, music videos, and new media programs throughout the world.

Actors Jane Fonda (L) and Lily Tomlin speak onstage
 Photo by Kevin Winter

Attendees included this year’s special honorees Lily Collins (Actress, LACOSTE Spotlight Award), Lois DeArmond (Illustrator, Distinguished Service Award), Jeffrey Kurland (Costume Designer, Career Achievement Award), and  Meryl Streep (Actress, Distinguished Collaborator Award) who joined the stage with this year’s CDGA winners. In addition, Costume Designer Ret Turner, was posthumously inducted into the Guild’s Hall of Fame by renowned Costume Designer Bob Mackie.

Honoree Meryl Streep accepts the Distinguished Collaborator Award onstage
Photo by Christopher Polk

Guests included presenters Troian Bellisario (Actress, Pretty Little Liars), Matt Bomer (Actor, The Magnificent Seven), James Corden (Actor and TV Host, The Late Late Show with James Corden), Darren Criss (Actor and Musician, Supergirl / The Flash), Jane Fonda (Actress, Grace and Frankie), Kathryn Hahn (Actress, I Love Dick), Salvador Perez (CDG President), Glen Powell (Actor, Hidden Figures), Ann Roth (Costume Designer), Maggie Siff (Actress, Billions), Jimmi Simpson (Actor, Westworld), Lily Tomlin (Actress, Grace and Frankie), and Dianne Wiest (Actress, Life In Pieces) along with VIP attendees including Amy Landecker (Actress, Transparent), Phyllis Logan (Actress, Downton Abbey), Trace Lysette (Actress, Transparent), Paola Núñez (Actress, The Son), Rhea Perlman (Actress, The Mindy Project), June Diane Raphael (Actress, Grace and Frankie), Octavia Spencer (Actress, Hidden Figures), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Actor, The Man in the High Castle), Jess Weixler (Actress, The Son), and more.

Matt Bomer and Lily Collins onstage
 Photo by Christopher Polk

Some highlights of the evening: Host Mandy Moore opened the evening by welcoming the audience to the “Meryl Streep Ballroom,” a nod to Streep’s Golden Globe Awards speech that took place on the very same stage last month.· In a surprise appearance, Christopher Nolan joined Dianne Wiest to present Jeffrey Kurland with the Career Achievement Award. Danny DeVito and Woody Allen also joined in congratulating the legendary costume designer via video messages they sent in spirit.·

Bob Mackie
Photo: Getty Images

James Corden got the crowd in near tears of laughter when he presented Meryl Streep, his “Into the Woods” co-star, with the Distinguished Collaborator Award. Corden shared his first encounter with Meryl Streep when she mistook him for a waiter.· During her acceptance speech, Meryl Streep shared it was because of her mom that she majored in costume design. See b-roll for additional highlights from her speech.· Long time make-up artist for Meryl Streep, J. Roy Helland accompanied the actress at the event.· “Grace & Frankie” stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin kept the crowd laughing when they went off script while presenting the Excellence in Period Film category.

The following is the list of winners in the 7 categories voted on by the Guild’s membership:

Excellence in Contemporary Film
 - La La Land – Mary Zophres

Excellence in Period Film Hidden Figures 
– Renee Ehrlich Kalfus

Excellence in Fantasy Film Doctor Strange
 – Alexandra Byrne

Outstanding Contemporary Television Series American Horror Story: Roanoke
– Lou Eyrich, Helen Huang

Outstanding Period Television Series The Crown
– Michele Clapton

Outstanding Fantasy Television Series Game of Thrones
– Michele Clapton, April Ferry

Excellence in Short Form Design Pepsi: “Momotaro” Episode Four, featuring Jude Law
— Ami Goodheart

(We thank Brian Rubin of PMK•BNC for the information contained in this article).

- Ernest Schmatolla

Monday, February 20, 2017

New York Fashion Cool-Aid by Laurel Marcus

"Curtain Up" Exhibition at NYPL Lincoln Center -- A New Spin on A Tale of Two Cities?

Lion King display
All photos Laurel Marcus
Click images for full size views

Since London (where LFW will soon be wrapping up) has been called a "mirror-world" of New York City, it makes sense that the current exhibition (through June 30) at The New York Public Library For The Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, "Curtain Up: Celebrating The Last 40 Years of Theatre in New York & London" focuses on long-running shows that have won (or been nominated for) awards in both cities. The Tony awards are currently in their 70th year while the Olivier's are in their 40th, making this a good time to compare and contrast the two symbiotic theatre districts: Broadway and the West End. A Tom Piper "street map" combining elements of the two, is underfoot as you enter the space.

Costumes for "Chicago" 1997

Through costumes, costume sketches, set design models, prompt scripts, video clips and other interesting objects, tales of some of the great productions of our collective consciousness are illustrated. The exhibition was co-curated by NYPL and the Victoria and Albert Museum, in partnership with the Society of London Theatre.

Model of Stage for "Matilda"

The exhibition traces elements of elaborate versus more simple set design, the invention of Tharon Musser's digital automated lighting design, as well as the rise and fall of the British "mega-musical." After the elaborate excesses of many of the '70s and '80s spectacles, the '90's trend was towards a more "pared-down style of presentation, with minimal scenery," according to Tony Kushner's notes of "Angels in America."

Costume for Queen Elizabeth II in "The Audience"

Some of the highlights: if you are a fan of "A Chorus Line," you will not want to miss the hall of mirrors displaying the top hats worn in the finale along with the original video next to a poster of its iconic stars director/writer/choreographer/dancer Michael Bennett and Donna McKechnie.For "Phantom of the Opera" buffs,

Costume designs for "The Phantom at the Opera" 1986

Set and Costume Designer Maria Bjornson's costume sketches are on display as well as a life-size Phantom costumed as the masked Red Death, worn by actor/comedian Michael Crawford on both sides of the Atlantic. Who could forget the iconic effects including the crashing of the huge theatre chandelier or the underground lake boat ride? -- all made possible by a design budget of close to $1.2 million.

 Bob Gaudio "Dawn" from "Jersey Boys" &  Lola's "Kinky Boots"

The ballet costume worn by Rudolph Nureyev in Romeo and Juliet at the 1977 London Festival Ballet, which toured to the Metropolitan Opera House here can be viewed just a few steps away from Lola's "Kinky Boots" (2013). The red boots which form the letter "K" in the show's official logo have become as iconic as the white mask used for "Phantom of the Opera."From a male "Swan Lake" dancer's costume to costume design sketches for Ann Reinking as Roxie Hart in her 1996 appearance in "Chicago," from Judi Dench's attire in 1987's "Antony and Cleopatra," to a large room of "Lion King" costumes, the wearable items alone run the gamut of theatrical genres.

Suspended from the ceiling are Elphaba from the 2003 musical "Wicked" and Mary Poppins in her bright red coat which she wears for the "Step in Time" London rooftops scene, as she did in the Disney movie.

Jeff Hamlin

Interestingly, the day that I visited happened to be when Jeff Hamlin (original stage manager for "A Chorus Line" as well as "South Pacific," "Dreamgirls," "War Horse" and many other shows) was giving a talk. Hamlin, who had a background in Shakespeare festivals and originally wanted to direct, "dished" a bit on working with/being hired by Michael Bennett ("he liked that I was so buttoned down"), as well as composer Marvin Hamlisch ("In rehearsals he would do riffs on the theme song 'One' as it would be played by Tchaikovsky, Mozart or Bach"). He spoke of the many luminaries who frequented the audience -- names like Katharine Hepburn, Raquel Welch, Nureyev, even Mayor LaGuardia attended the show -- often sitting in the aisles.

Ballet costume for Rudolph Nureyev in "Romeo & Juliet" 1977

As far as humorous tidbits he recounted a tale from when the musical was in its first previews at the Newman Theatre (before it moved to the Shubert). Upon noticing that there was rumbling underground train noise during an important soliloquy, Bennett asked Hamlin to please get them to change the train schedule. "I wasn't about senior enough to tell him 'you're living in a fool's paradise,'" said Hamlin. He recalled Bennett's preferred rehearsal attire -- jeans, white tennis shoes, football jersey and baseball cap, which is how he remembers him now.

Red Death costume designed for "The Phantom of the Opera" 1986

Hamlin, who later became production manager, spoke of the logistical struggle of trying to recreate the perfectly timed computerized lighting system (the first of its kind) when the production moved to the Shubert. "We had to push through offices on the second floor, known as the mummy room," he said. What was uncovered there was fantastic: original documents signed by George Cohan, Erte costumes, letters from the Shubert to chorines -- many of which Hamlin ended up revisiting when they magically appeared at the Schubert in L.A. on one of his visits out there.

Show posters

Then there was the time the flu hit the Chorus Line cast, which unfortunately lacked sufficient understudies. Right before the performance the long list of who was substituting for who was read however the main characters Sheila and Cassie shared only one understudy. "They had to make an announcement that the role of Sheila was to be absorbed by others, which we did by having various castmates deliver her lines."

After all, the show must go on...

- Laurel Marcus

Friday, February 17, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Celebrates Butts, Boobs and Thighs

Entrance to party
All photos: Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

Sports Illustrated (SI) held its annual Swimsuit Issue celebration at 415 Fifth Avenue on Thursday February 16, 2017 with the red carpet beginning at 6 PM. Unlike most other magazines which only feature stick thin models Sports Illustrated celebrates women of all shapes and sizes. Tonight was filled with luminaries including: Christie Brinkley, Hannah Jeter, Kate Upton, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Nick Cannon, Hailey Clauson and many of the SI models.

Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Christie Brinkley and Aly Raisman

Christie Brinkley, in a bright red jumpsuit, was the star of the evening as she continues to defy gravity with her beautiful body and face belying her 63 years of age.  She was accompanied by her daughters Sailor Cook and Alexa Ray Joel who posed patiently for pictures.

Christie Brinkley's daughters Alexa Ray Joel and Sailor Cook

Alexa was initially freaked out at the thought of posing in a bathing suit but tonight she was ebullient - - exhibiting the professionalism of a seasoned model. As Christie made her way through the crowd I kept hearing all the men commenting, "man I can't believe she's like in her 60's."

Danielle Herrington and Comic Rip Michaels

There were so many beautiful girls in attendance it was hard to differentiate who was a model a sentiment reiterated by comedian Rip Michaels who said he really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful women who were non-models.  Rip also commented he liked the open bar since the only time a black man gets free drinks is at a funeral.  Rip's boss is Nick Cannon and I have a feeling we will be seeing more of Rip in the future.

Vita Sidorkina

I spoke to Russian model Vita Sidorkina who found out two weeks before they were shooting that she would be featured in the magazine. Vita was wearing a plunging Carmen Marc Valvo dress and said she has dreamt of this moment since she arrived in the United States five years ago.

Sports Illustrated models with their pictures McKenna Berkley and Anna de Paula

Similarly, first time SI model McKenna Berkley told me she has wanted to be in the magazine since the age of 13-even voting for Rookie of the Year at this young age. McKenna appears in body paint which took twelve hours to apply and followed a healthy diet for her big debut. Danielle Herrington, another first time model, told me she loves that SI pays homage to women with butts, boobs and thighs. Herrington said she loves her curves and doesn't want to lose them.

Hailey Clauson

As I made my way through the crowd I spotted Chrissy Teigen whose husband John Legend was grabbing her lovingly. Teigen gave birth to daughter Luna nine months ago and appears in this month's issue in fabulous form.

Hannah Jeter and Plus Size Model Ashley Graham

Hannah Jeter, who is currently pregnant, came to the party late wearing a sexy cutout sequined gown and appearing even more luminous than I remember. Unlike Victoria's Secret where the models engage in starvation and grueling workout regimes Sports Illustrated celebrates a more bodacious body as evidenced by third time cover girl Kate Upton. Upton is an absolute beauty and tonight she was socializing in the corner in a relatively demure black shirt and skirt.

Plus Size SI model Hunter McGrady and Cover Girl Kate Upton

While some were hoping for a more unconventional choice the men love Kate and there is no way around it. Upton was seriously conversing with size 16 model Hunter Hunter McGrady who told me enormous strides were being made in the fashion industry with full figured Ashley Graham appearing for the first time yesterday in a Michael Kors fashion show. Hunter was hopeful that Victoria's Secret would get on the plus size bandwagon and said she would love to model for them. Even Hunter hired a trainer three months before her SI shoot in order to tone her curves but likes her body the way it is.

Tennis player Genie Bouchard, Cover Girl Kate Upton, and Tennis Player Heidi Eltabakh

Six time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman who appears in the issue said it's "such an empowering feeling to be at a photo shoot and know your body's not perfect, that you have insecurities just like everyone else." And that's the point of Sports Illustrated-it celebrates the female body and what it can accomplish despite the fact that it might not fit the modeling industry's standard of perfection.

- Lieba Nesis