Echo is famous for its scarves, but this classic American brand founded in the 1920s In New York City (where it's still headquartered) also makes everything from hats and bags to cover-ups and home decor. 

Here are some of The O Report's favorites from Echo's summer collection: 

Crochet Chevron Panama Hat (available in three different rim colors). Each hat comes with three interchangeable decorative bands. $59.

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Handwoven baseball hat, a chic take on the ubiquitous baseball hat, comes in deep blue sea, light straw (shown), black and white. $49. 

Plantains Silk Mini scarf (comes in other colors and designs). Wrap it around your wrist as a scarf cuff. Or, instead of wearing a necklace, tie it around your neck to dress up a casual look. It's versatile enough to take on a summer trip instead of your usual jewelry. $39.

Cambon Stripe Silk Square. $69, 

Pajaros Coloridos Silk Series. $135. 

Tropicalia V-Front Floral One Piece. $178.

Jacquard Underwire One Piece. $158. 

Havana Geo Reversible Essex Tote. $99.

Terry Naples Tote (available in a variety of colors). $58. 

Linen Hampton Tote. $79. 

Reversible Stripe Ruana. $79. 

Tropicalia Floral Pareo. $68.

100% Cotton Coastal Eyelet Tunic (available in white, black and navy). $99. 

Everyday Topper in Kiwi (available in other colors). $59.

Colorblock Lounge Robe. $40.

Solid Maxi Dress. $99. 

Paradise Palm Becki Maxi Dress. $198.

Chic Paisley Wallpaper. $117.

Corsis Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Pillow. $135.

Latika Dinner Plate, set of four. $32. 

 

 

DESIGNER TORRY STRAYHORN'S NEW VICTORIA CULLINAN BRAND

Emerging fashion designer Torry Strayhorn of Victoria Cullinan with, from left, her brother, Nick Strayhorn; mother, Kerry Strayhorn; and father, Ralph Strayhorn, 

Emerging fashion designer Torry Strayhorn of Victoria Cullinan with, from left, her brother, Nick Strayhorn; mother, Kerry Strayhorn; and father, Ralph Strayhorn, 

Emerging fashion designer Torry Strayhorn, creator of the Victoria Cullinan brand, describes herself as a minimalist who creates pieces for all ages that are modern yet classic. On April 27, the Charlotte native launched her brand in her hometown during two private showings of her Fall 2017 collection held at the home of neighbors and friends Aundrea and Stephen Wilson, a fellow textiles-obsessed artist. 

A model wears a hand-painted Victoria Cullinan gown inspired by the Japanese art form of kintsugi during the brand's launch party. 

A model wears a hand-painted Victoria Cullinan gown inspired by the Japanese art form of kintsugi during the brand's launch party. 

A world traveler who's influenced by her experiences exploring different countries and cultures, Torry's inspiration for the collection was kintsugi, the Japanese art of using gold to mend broken pottery. "It makes the pottery more beautiful and valuable yet you can still see the cracks," Torry says. "To apply that to clothes, I used very clean lines, gold chains and slightly off-kilter angles."

Gold chains embellish a coat from the Fall 2017 Victoria Cullinan collection.

Gold chains embellish a coat from the Fall 2017 Victoria Cullinan collection.

A self-described perfectionist who likes for things to be done properly, Torry travels to L.A. and New York City to find material that meets her standards. "I have to touch it and see it myself," she says. Sustainability is also very important to her. She estimates 93 percent of her materials are natural fibers - especially silks, wools and cottons. 

Sustainable fabrics including cotton are part of the Fall 2017 Victoria Cullinan collection.

Sustainable fabrics including cotton are part of the Fall 2017 Victoria Cullinan collection.

Along with designing her creations, she also embellishes them herself whether it's painting on the fabric or making the crushed velvet pieces in the collection by hand. "It takes an iron, water and a lot of patience," she says of the process. 

A handmade crushed velvet gown from the Fall 2017 Victoria Cullinan collection. 

A handmade crushed velvet gown from the Fall 2017 Victoria Cullinan collection. 

As a young girl, she was always sketching clothes and using her big imagination. Originally interested in dance, she would take apart her tutus and redesign her dance clothes, and she made her own prom dress. But it was a Fashion 101 class at Savannah School of Art and Design that convinced her that she wanted a career in fashion.

While still a student, she won the prestigious YMA CFDA Competition and the Cotton Inc. Design Competition. That set her on the path of working in New York City with designers Rebecca Taylor and then Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein. "He's brilliant," she says. 

The Victoria Cullinan collection on the runway at Charleston Fashion Week.

The Victoria Cullinan collection on the runway at Charleston Fashion Week.

She describes working there as an incredible place to learn and grow, but the hours were crazy. She often worked until 3 a.m. and then had to be back in the design studio at 7:30 a.m. So she decided to return to Charlotte and launch her own brand. To challenge herself, she applied to show at the 2017 Charleston Fashion Week and was one of 16 from a field of 600 who made the cut. The positive feedback convinced her she had made the right decision to go out on her own.  

This custom Mother of the Groom gown and jacket created for the designer's mother was on display at the Victoria Cullinan brand launch party. 

This custom Mother of the Groom gown and jacket created for the designer's mother was on display at the Victoria Cullinan brand launch party. 

From a bright design studio in her home, she works on her collections and makes bespoke pieces for weddings and special events. She also loves to create custom couture for her mother, Kerry Strayhorn, including a Mother of the Groom gown and jacket when Torry's brother was married. 

Surrounded by her models, designer Torry Strayhorn talks to guests about the inspiration behind her Fall 2017 Victoria Cullinan collection during the label's launch party. 

Surrounded by her models, designer Torry Strayhorn talks to guests about the inspiration behind her Fall 2017 Victoria Cullinan collection during the label's launch party. 

The age range of Torry's clients generally falls between 20s and 60s. Here's her fashion advice for those 50 and up:

The basics. "Keep adding classic pieces to your wardrobe. They make you feel put together."

The key piece. "Coats transcend any age group. If you want to cover your arms, coats can do that and they tie a look all together.

Age is just a number - explore, have fun and try different colors. "Why do we hold back? Why do we have to live in fear? Always be open to trying something new and updating your wardrobe."

The one rule you should never break. "Clothes should not be too tight."

Don't look at the size, look at the fit. "There is no standard sizing anymore. Sizes can be completely different from one company to the next."

To learn more about Torry's designs, go to www.victoriacullinan. Follow her on Instagram @victoriacullinan. 

 

 

 

 

 

MACHICAO COUTURE GRAND OPENING

Luis Machicao, the creative director and designer at Machicao Couture, recently celebrated the opening of his new design studio in the Myers Park area with a guest list of clients and friends. When he's not traveling the world, he creates gowns for an international clientele including some of Charlotte's loveliest ladies, and he has his own line of fragrances. 

Pam Stowe and Luis. 

Pam Stowe and Luis. 

Patti Tracey 

Patti Tracey 

Berhan Nebioglu in one of the designer's creations. 

Berhan Nebioglu in one of the designer's creations. 

Effie Loukas and Christina Melissaris with Alexandra and Alex Myrick.

Effie Loukas and Christina Melissaris with Alexandra and Alex Myrick.

Claire Talley, Keith Alyea and Alexandra Myrick.

Claire Talley, Keith Alyea and Alexandra Myrick.

Luis surrounded by friends and clients. 

Luis surrounded by friends and clients. 

Where the design process begins. 

Where the design process begins. 

CHARITY LEAGUE FASHION SHOW

Tricia Jetton, Fashion Show and Silent Auction Chair, left, with Elizabeth Phillips, president of Charity League of Charlotte. Photos by Daniel Coston

Tricia Jetton, Fashion Show and Silent Auction Chair, left, with Elizabeth Phillips, president of Charity League of Charlotte. Photos by Daniel Coston

The Charity League's 30th Annual Fashion Show and Silent Auction Luncheon at Carmel Country Club started on a perfect note: Quail Hollow Middle School String Quartet performed as guests mingled and viewed the hundreds of items up for bid. All proceeds from the event benefit Charity League, a historic nonprofit founded in Charlotte in 1921 to address the needs of area children. Details: www.charityleagueofcharlotte.org

During the luncheon, the Quail Hollow Middle School Chorus sang and WBTV anchor Molly Grantham emceed the fashion show. Perry's Fine, Antique & Estate Jewelry was among the businesses supporting the event and Diamonds Direct donated a gorgeous piece of jewelry for the raffle prize. 

WBTV anchor Molly Grantham was emcee of the fashion show. 

WBTV anchor Molly Grantham was emcee of the fashion show. 

Models showed off clothes from Chico's at StoneCrest and adorable children's fashions from Matilda Jane. Tammy Schumacher and her stylists at Carmen! Carmen! salon at Belk at SouthPark mall did the hair and the makeup was from Laura Mercier. 

All the models gather after walking the runway. 

All the models gather after walking the runway. 

The adult models were friends or family members of Charity League members including Marshalle Peay, president of the Pine Valley community where Charity League operates a library and reading program for the neighborhood's children.

Some of the children from the library walked the runway along with children and grandchildren of Charity League members. 

 

 

 

HALSBROOK.COM HAS QUALITY CLOTHES FOR 50 & UP

Halsbrook.com founder and CEO Halsey Schroeder in her New York City office. Her beautifully curated online shopping site is filled with unique, high-quality pieces for women 50 and up. As a special gift to readers of The O Report, she's offering a 20% discount sitewide from April 7-April 21. This offer cannot be combined with other offers. To get this special discount, please use code OLIVIA20 at checkout. 

Halsbrook.com founder and CEO Halsey Schroeder in her New York City office. Her beautifully curated online shopping site is filled with unique, high-quality pieces for women 50 and up. As a special gift to readers of The O Report, she's offering a 20% discount sitewide from April 7-April 21. This offer cannot be combined with other offers. To get this special discount, please use code OLIVIA20 at checkout. 

How did Halsey Schroeder, 32, become founder and CEO of Halsbrook.com, an online retailer focusing on unique, high-quality clothing for the 50 plus market?

"I was shopping online with my mom - we were going through all the usual suspects - and she told me that she would love to shop more online but all the sites seemed to cater to fast fashion and overly trendy clothes," Halsey says. "I decided I wanted to create something that fills that void."

In 2012 the Harvard Business School graduate with a love for fashion launched Halsbrook.com, which focuses on timeless pieces that are wearable and can be the basis of a fabulous wardrobe for years to come.

The site's beautifully curated collections have been a hit with shoppers. "Fifty percent of the designers we offer can only be found online with us, not in department stores," Halsey says. "A huge part of what we do is scour the market and find European and American designers with unique products."  

One of the reasons Halsbrook.com has continued to grow is that Its price points are in a range that's a good relationship between price and quality. It now carries 100 brands and is getting ready to launch a shoe selection.

Shoppers also love the site's Style Guide that focuses on trends and tips for putting a look together. "We try on every single item and we're always thinking about where our customers can wear it and how it might fit with pieces they already own."

Also popular is the site's Travel Guide that's filled with dreamy destinations (Charleston, S.C. was recently featured). It showcases where to stay, eat, shop and visit in each city along with suggestions for what to wear. "Travel is important to our customers, so this is a fun resource," Halsey says.

Halsbrook.com offers free shipping and free returns, plus a brilliant On Approval policy that allows customers to order up to three full-priced items and try them out at home for seven days. Only the items they keep will be charged to their credit card (there is a temporary $1 charge for each item; click here for full details). "It encourages people to take more risks - to try that silhouette they might feel unsure about," Halsey says.

If you're intrigued, here's one more reason to go to Halsbrook.com: The O Report readers get a 20% off discount sitewide April 7-April 21. This offer cannot be combined with other offers. To get this special discount, please use code OLIVIA20 at checkout. To start shopping, click here.

The O Report asked Halsey for her top spring picks. Here are a few of her favorites: 

Rachel blue rose print cotton boatneck dress by Samantha Sung, $695. To order, click here.

Denim stretch linen-cotton overcoat by Amina Rubinacci, $715. To order, click here.

Dark navy off the shoulder dress by Paule Ka, $865. To order, click here.

Amandine white stretch cotton wide leg pant by Piazza Sempione, $595. To order, click here.

Arlequin lightweight wool scarf by Heart Heart Heart, $315. To order, click here.

Ivory embellished bug Merino wool shawl by Janavi, $390. To order, click here.

Flamingo cuff from Evocateur, $325. To order, click here.

Polka dot beaded clip earrings from Oscar de la Renta, $475. To order, click here.

 

 

Camelia buntal black and white minaudière by Serpui, $200. To order, click here.

 

WHAT TO WEAR NOW

An elegant and exciting spring look from Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall: An Escada dress, Dolce & Gabbana animal print embellished jacket and pink patent leather shoes. 

An elegant and exciting spring look from Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall: An Escada dress, Dolce & Gabbana animal print embellished jacket and pink patent leather shoes. 

The recent Spring Wardrobing event at Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall featured models showcasing the newest offerings from Escada, Akris Punto, Armani and Etro. 

Along with this gorgeous Escada sheath dress and Dolce & Gabbana animal print jacket with embellishments paired with pink patent leather shoes, here are three other standout looks: 

For all the spring trends, reference this new list from Neiman Marcus detailing what to wear now:

 

 

 

SPICE UP YOUR WARDROBE

Spice up your spring and summer wardrobe with affordable pieces from British designer Victoria Beckham's hotly anticipated new collection for Target debuting April 9 online and at stores. 

It's divided into five different themes: circus scallops, pressed English flowers; English lace; clever bunny and pop floral. There are also finds for girls, toddlers and babies in case you want to spoil the grandchildren in style without spending a lot of money.

And just like Victoria's bunny prints, you need to be clever and quick because the collection, which includes more than 200 pieces, is expected to sell-out. Here are a few of The O Report's favorites:

Black and white stripe scallop sleeve top, $28.

White scallop midi skirt, $35.

Black calla lily top, $30.

Black satin calla lily wide leg pant, $40.

Bee print button-down top, $30.

White button-down top, $30.

Dark floral scallop trim top, $26.

Mint green lace bomber jacket, $35.

Navy and white floral appliqué sweat top, $30.

White poplin gathered waist top, $28.

Black collared dress with bunnies on the collar (also available in blush), $35.

Blue and white gingham twill peplum top, $30.

Blue and white gingham twill peplum pants, $30.

Fuchsia twill flared trouser (also in black), $40.

Bee print scarf with marigold trim, $20. 

Girls' clear floral appliqué raincoat, $40.

Girls' light blue gingham drop waist dress, $25.

Girls' light blue gingham twill jacket, $30.

Toddler blush tea party printed top and short set, $20.

Toddler mauve dress with asymmetric scallop trim, $23.

Toddler pressed floral satin ruffle hem dress, $23. 

Baby blush bee collar body suit, $13.

Baby dark gray bunny jacket and pant sweater set, $35.

Baby lilac pleated romper, $35.

 

ART WITH HEART

Artist Sharon Dowell at Safe Alliance's annual Art With Heart fundraiser at Founder's Hall. Photos by Daniel Coston.

Artist Sharon Dowell at Safe Alliance's annual Art With Heart fundraiser at Founder's Hall. Photos by Daniel Coston.

Art With Heart, the signature annual fundraiser for Safe Alliance, raises money for the nonprofit's mission of helping victims of domestic violence. 

The heart of the party is all the generous guests who bid on works of art in silent and live auctions, and the talented artists and gallery owners who make it all possible through their donations. 

Safe Alliance CEO Karen Parker, emcee and WBTV anchor Maureen O'Boyle, and volunteer Joy Widener. 

Safe Alliance CEO Karen Parker, emcee and WBTV anchor Maureen O'Boyle, and volunteer Joy Widener. 

Kathy Rorie.

Kathy Rorie.

Artist Anne Hartness with her prize-winning painting.

Artist Anne Hartness with her prize-winning painting.

Jonathan and Eliza Liles.

Jonathan and Eliza Liles.

Auctioneer Ernest Perry with Elder Gallery owner Larry Elder. 

Auctioneer Ernest Perry with Elder Gallery owner Larry Elder. 

PRIDE AWARDS GALA GUESTS NAIL THE DRESS CODE

THE O REPORT LOVED THE WAY TIFFANY CAPERS MELDED BOTH FORMAL AND CASUAL LOOKS THAT SUITED THE GALA'S FUN DRESS CODE PERFECTLY. PHOTOS BY PAUL WILLIAMS III.

THE O REPORT LOVED THE WAY TIFFANY CAPERS MELDED BOTH FORMAL AND CASUAL LOOKS THAT SUITED THE GALA'S FUN DRESS CODE PERFECTLY. PHOTOS BY PAUL WILLIAMS III.

The Pride Awards, an annual gala hosted by Pride magazine, is always a stylish evening that includes a dinner and awards ceremony. In keeping with this year's theme, Building Communities - Changing Lives, a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, the gala organizers really had fun with the dress code. Normally it's a black tie event, but this year guests were told to either stick with formal wear or opt for "Jeans and Other Creative Things." As you can see from the photos, the partygoers reached into their fashionable tool boxes and pulled out an array of chic outfits. 

Besides watching how everyone interpreted the dress code, other highlights were seeing honorees take the stage including the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition, Reid Park Neighborhood Association president Rickey Hall and Mallard Creek High School senior Taye Martin; and Raising The Roof, the After Glow party featuring DJ Kool

Nepherterra Estrada Best

Nepherterra Estrada Best

Pride Magazine editor Lashawnda Becoats and syndicated radio journalist Francene Marie Morris. 

Pride Magazine editor Lashawnda Becoats and syndicated radio journalist Francene Marie Morris. 

Francene nailed the fun mix of evening glam and casual chic. 

Francene nailed the fun mix of evening glam and casual chic. 

The evening's hostess, Dee Dixon, center, the president and CEO of Pride Communications.

The evening's hostess, Dee Dixon, center, the president and CEO of Pride Communications.

Janine Davis, left, and Sonja Gantt, right, executive director of the nonprofit Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Public Schools Foundation. 

Janine Davis, left, and Sonja Gantt, right, executive director of the nonprofit Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Public Schools Foundation. 

Pride12.JPG
Sharon Holm, left, of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. 

Sharon Holm, left, of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. 

Dana Davis and Mary C. Curtis. 

Dana Davis and Mary C. Curtis. 

THE AMBASSADOR'S BALL

A dusting of snow the day of the Allegro Foundation's signature annual fundraiser, The Ambassador's Ball, turned the Quail Hollow Club into a winter wonderland. Photos by Daniel Coston. 

A dusting of snow the day of the Allegro Foundation's signature annual fundraiser, The Ambassador's Ball, turned the Quail Hollow Club into a winter wonderland. Photos by Daniel Coston

The decor at the annual Ambassador's Ball on Jan. 7 was extra special this year thanks to a dusting of snow that turned Quail Hollow Club, the site of the black tie gala, into a winter wonderland. Guests at the magical evening were there to raise money for the Allegro Foundation, a champion for children with disabilities. Along with a reception, dinner and dancing there was a special performance by Allegro Foundation students and their teaching assistants. Event sponsors included Wells Fargo, Ally Financial, the Charlotte Hornets, CPI Security, Novant Health and SteelFab Inc. The special guest was Mr. Ali Al-Hajri, chargé d'affaires for the Embassy of Qatar. He was particularly enchanted by the snow. Proceeds benefit the Allegro Foundation's movement instruction programs that enhance the quality of life for area children with disabilities. Details: www.allegrofoundation.net.

Hadley Perry Pacheco of Perry's Fine Antique & Estate Jewelry, Allegro Foundation Founder/President Pat Farmer, Allegro Foundation Communications and Marketing Specialist Stephen Davis and Auctioneer Ernest Perry. 

Hadley Perry Pacheco of Perry's Fine Antique & Estate Jewelry, Allegro Foundation Founder/President Pat Farmer, Allegro Foundation Communications and Marketing Specialist Stephen Davis and Auctioneer Ernest Perry. 

Phil and Rita Witt.

Phil and Rita Witt.

Daryl and Ivars Jaunakais.

Daryl and Ivars Jaunakais.

Christine Conte, Julia Sayegh and Ebba Karlsson.

Christine Conte, Julia Sayegh and Ebba Karlsson.

Debbie Miller and Tim Black. 

Debbie Miller and Tim Black. 

Alan and Libby Simonini. 

Alan and Libby Simonini. 

Counselor Lorenzo Ravano of the Embassy of Monaco with Pat Farmer and U.S. Congressman Robert Pittenger.

Counselor Lorenzo Ravano of the Embassy of Monaco with Pat Farmer and U.S. Congressman Robert Pittenger.

Donna and Al de Molina with Julia Sayegh. 

Donna and Al de Molina with Julia Sayegh. 

Counselor Lorenzo Ravano of the Embassy of Monaco with Pat Farmer and the guest of honor, Mr. Ali Al-Hajri, chargé d'affaires for the Embassy of Qatar. 

Counselor Lorenzo Ravano of the Embassy of Monaco with Pat Farmer and the guest of honor, Mr. Ali Al-Hajri, chargé d'affaires for the Embassy of Qatar. 

Auctioneer Larry Sprinkle.

Auctioneer Larry Sprinkle.

An Allegro Foundation student preforms with his teaching assistant. 

An Allegro Foundation student preforms with his teaching assistant. 

Auctioneer Ernest Perry. 

Auctioneer Ernest Perry. 

Felix Sabates speaks with a guest. 

Felix Sabates speaks with a guest. 

Guest of honor Ali Al-Hajri dances with Suzie Trivisonno, left, and bestselling author Kathy Reichs. 

Guest of honor Ali Al-Hajri dances with Suzie Trivisonno, left, and bestselling author Kathy Reichs. 

AFFORDABLE CHIC

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and his cat, Choupette.

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and his cat, Choupette.

For decades, Karl Lagerfeld has been a star on the international fashion scene. He began his career in the 1950s as Pierre Balmain's assistant. Currently, he's the head designer and creative director of Chanel and Fendi as well as his own namesake fashion house. He also finds time to dote on his equally famous cat, Choupette. 

Always on trend, he launched Karl Lagerfeld Paris, a lower priced line available at www.karllagerfeldparis.com and at Dillard's (www.dillards.com). 

Here are a few of The O Report's favorite Chanel-inspired pieces from the chic yet affordable collection:

Crepe Sheath Dress With Pearl Trim, $148. 

LD6T1748_ld6t1748ciyb.jpg

Tweed Dress With Contrast Trim, $128. 

Long Sleeve Ruffled Blouse, $79.

Blouse With Contrast Wide Tie, $89.50.

Tweed Crop Jacket, $118, and Tweed Sheath Dress, $148.

Windowpane Fringed Duster Cardigan, $99.50.

Tweed Jacket, $118. 

Georgette Lamb Satchel, $248. 

Agnyess Lamb Shoulder Bag, $228. 

Colette Leather Flat, $129.

Royce Slide Loafer, $129. 

Leroux Flat, $89.

Hettie Mule, $129. 

Damia Flat, $129.

Susie Bootie, $159.

Tilda Suede Loafer, $120.

Charlie Lace Up Pump, $129.

 

MIMOSAS AND MERRIMENT

The O Report was one of the social media influencers invited to attend Merriment & Mimosas: A Blogger Brunch held at Circle Court in the luxury wing of SouthPark Mall. It was hosted by Simon, owner of SouthPark Mall, Concord Mills Mall and Charlotte Premium Outlets

Something Classic Catering put together a delicious menu of breakfast food along with mimosas and a Bloody Mary Bar.

The festive decorations included a beautiful Christmas stocking from Frontgate at each blogger's chair with their name embroidered in gold thread. It was stuffed with goodies gifted by the three malls. 

Beautiqued blogger Shauntel Green (www.beautiqued.com) was not only The O Report's pick for best dressed blogger at the brunch, she was also the event's Social Media Challenge winner and walked away with a prize of a $200 Simon gift card for herself and a $500 Simon gift card to give away to her favorite charity. 

 

Suzanne Libfraind, the personal shopper for SouthPark Mall. 

Suzanne Libfraind, the personal shopper for SouthPark Mall. 

A highlight was a fashion presentation by Suzanne Libfraind, the personal shopper for SouthPark Mall. Her services include style consultations, wardrobe planning and personal shopping. (To schedule an appointment, email her at suzanne@wardrobeconsulting.biz.) She shopped the three malls and put together displays of her favorite fashion looks right now. 

Here are Suzanne's on trend tips and the fashion examples she used from the three malls. 

Layering your necklaces updates your look. 

Instead of a blazer, throw on a moto jacket. Especially if it's a stylish shade such as burgundy. 

A glitzy clutch is a fun must-have.

Body suits are back in style. This one from Dress Barn at Concord Mills is extra stylish because it's in velvet, has a ruffle at the neckline and can be worn off the shoulders. 

A chunky sweater is a Winter wardrobe essential.

This Kate Spade bag from Charlotte Premium Outlets is large enough to be a work bag and only costs around $160.  

This blue hue takes a faux fur vest to a new level.

Pants with embellishments - in this case lace overlays - can go from a day at the office to a night on the town. 

Looking ahead to Resort/Spring, Suzanne loves the look of this white jumpsuit ($298) from Lilly Pulitzer at SouthPark Mall. 

 

 

 

 

 

JAZZY HOLIDAY GALA

Guests at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture's major annual fundraiser, the Jazzy Holiday Gala, donned festive formal attire for the celebration held at the Charlotte Convention Center. The evening featured cocktails, dinner, an awards ceremony and entertainment.

A highlight was the presentation of the Spirit of the Center Awards to three honorees who have made notable contributions to the Gantt Center, the arts and the greater Charlotte community: civic leader and founding Gantt Center board member Sarah Stevenson; Duke University Professor Richard J. Powell; and PNC Bank. The award recipients received a vessel crafted by master woodturner and exhibition curator Charles Farrar. 

"We were especially excited to recognize one of our very own, Ms. Sarah Stevenson, who has been involved with the Gantt Center since its inception as the Afro-American Cultural Center in 1974," said Gantt Center President & CEO David R. Taylor after the event. 

The gala's theme was "Art and Soul" and included a drawing for one of three cultural experiences with an acclaimed artist or a luxury stay at The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte. The fundraiser provides critical operating support for the Center and its educational programs. Details: www.ganttcenter.org

FASHION TO THE RESCUE

Fashion to the Rescue host Olivia Cohen, left, with Cary Bernstein, the founder and executive director of Spay Neuter Charlotte. 

Fashion to the Rescue host Olivia Cohen, left, with Cary Bernstein, the founder and executive director of Spay Neuter Charlotte. 

Stylish looks were unleashed at Fashion to the Rescue. Hosted by Olivia Cohen outdoors at her gorgeous home, the fundraiser was sponsored by Charlotte Plastic Surgery. Proceeds benefitted the nonprofit Spay Neuter Charlotte, which provides high quality, low cost spay/neuter and animal wellness services to fulfill its mission of reducing the number of unwanted pets in the Charlotte area. 

All the models gather with the fashion show stylist and emcees. 

All the models gather with the fashion show stylist and emcees. 

The models were Edwin Gil and Daniel Gonzalez, Terri and Mark Beattie, Kristen and Al Guarnieri, Dr. Jarrod Daniel, Zoe Kronovet, Catherine and Chris Manley, Toni Martin, Marcia Savage and Anna Cait Welch. The men wore clothing from Tabor and the women were dressed by Sloan and Our Place Boutique. Hair was by Varji & Varji Salon and Spa; the makeup was by Belda Carter.

Model Dr. Jarrod Daniel of Charlotte Plastic Surgery in an outfit from Tabor. 

Model Dr. Jarrod Daniel of Charlotte Plastic Surgery in an outfit from Tabor. 

Strutting down the runway were dog models up for adoption. The runway show was styled by Kevin Rice and emceed by Laronn McCraw and Amy Korta. Music for the fashion show was by Peggy and Chris Hicks of A&C Entertainment.

Mark and Terri Beattie walk the runway with one of the adoptable dog models. 

Mark and Terri Beattie walk the runway with one of the adoptable dog models. 

The fashion show was held in the morning so guests enjoyed a fabulous breakfast buffet courtesy of Chef Anthony. Guests were also able to shop for stunning pieces from Ellis Jewelers with 50 percent of the proceeds going back to Spay Neuter Charlotte. Raffle prizes were provided by Charlotte Plastic Surgery, Sloan, makeup artist Rudolph III, Jamie Scott from the Spa at Nordstrom, Pet Paradise and I.C. London Lingerie

Guests at art unleashed.

Guests at art unleashed.

Fashion to the Rescue was just one of three fundraisers for Spay Neuter Charlotte held this Fall. The other two were Art Unleashed, an annual art sale, and Bone Appetite, a festive dinner at Sullivan's Steakhouse.

Bone appetit at sullivan's steakhouse.

Bone appetit at sullivan's steakhouse.

 

 

A MEN'S FASHION REVOLUTION COMES TO CHARLOTTE

Alton Lane co-founder Colin Hunter visited Charlotte recently to launch the company's newest store. Located at 2000 South Boulevard at Atherton Mill in South end, it uses cutting edge 3D technology to offer custom men's clothing at reasonable price points.

Alton Lane co-founder Colin Hunter visited Charlotte recently to launch the company's newest store. Located at 2000 South Boulevard at Atherton Mill in South end, it uses cutting edge 3D technology to offer custom men's clothing at reasonable price points.

Alton Lane is revolutionizing the way men buy clothes by offering  bespoke suits, shirts, tuxes and accessories at relatively reasonable prices. And now the men in your life can be on the cutting edge too at Alton Lane's new Charlotte store that recently opened at Atherton Mill in South End. 

Co-founder Colin Hunter gave us a private tour of the handsome showroom that's a mix of manly elegance in a social club setting with a shot of whimsy. And some real shots - there's a bar in the center of the store stocked with customers' favorite libations. 

A suit made of fine worsted wool is Alton Lane co-founder Colin Hunter's pick for men who travel a lot because it will not wrinkle. 

A suit made of fine worsted wool is Alton Lane co-founder Colin Hunter's pick for men who travel a lot because it will not wrinkle. 

There's already a built-in fan base of 100 Charlotte men who have shopped at Alton Lane's other stores in New York, Washington, Boston, Dallas, Richmond, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Nashville, Savannah and Charlottesville. That number is sure to grow as word spreads about the store's unique concept and the quality of its clothing.

Because all of Alton Lane's clothes are especially made for each customer, men can add personalized details including special colored stitching on the last button of a jacket's sleeve. Men in Charlotte are choosing colors as a nod to their favorite sports teams such as teal for Hornets fans and Garnet for Gamecocks fans.

Because all of Alton Lane's clothes are especially made for each customer, men can add personalized details including special colored stitching on the last button of a jacket's sleeve. Men in Charlotte are choosing colors as a nod to their favorite sports teams such as teal for Hornets fans and Garnet for Gamecocks fans.

Who is the Alton Lane man? They are all ages and sizes but they have one thing in common. "Our customers want to look relevant and confident," Colin says. 

The pioneering idea that Colin and his business partner Peyton Jenkins had that's made their business such a success is to give men Saville Row quality clothes using 3D technology - all at reasonable prices with outstanding customer service.

The Founders Table at Alton Lane's new Charlotte store showcases unique items from around the world that are favorites of Alton Lane co-founders Colin Hunter and Peyton Jenkins. Most are priced under $100, including a selection of Italian silk ties (top left) that cost $95. 

The Founders Table at Alton Lane's new Charlotte store showcases unique items from around the world that are favorites of Alton Lane co-founders Colin Hunter and Peyton Jenkins. Most are priced under $100, including a selection of Italian silk ties (top left) that cost $95. 

New customers hop into the store's 3D body scanning booth (made by a company in Cary, N.C.) and within 30 seconds it takes 300 measurements ensuring that the clothes fit them perfectly. The store's staff works with clients to pick out the perfect clothes for their lifestyle by showing them samples of the different cuts, materials and patterns that are available.

Samples of the array of different custom shirt options at Alton Lane's new Charlotte store.

Samples of the array of different custom shirt options at Alton Lane's new Charlotte store.

The cloth is from the best mills in the world - the same places that supply famous men's luxury clothing brands. "There are only 8 or 10 luxury mills in Europe and everything comes from them," Colin says. "They're in Italy, England, Belgium and Scotland and they are very select about who they work with but we've been able to build relationships with them."

Soon women may be able to join the Alton Lane club. Colin hopes to have stores offering custom luxury clothing for women up and running in two years.

Alton Lane, 2000 South Boulevard, Suite 440, at Atherton Mill in South End. Hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Details: 888-800-8616; www.altonlane.com.

 

 

 

FASHION + ART + DESIGN

Photos from left: Hosts Aundrea and Stephen Wilson with their baby daughter in the stunning foyer of their historic home; Irina Toshkova, director of the New Gallery of Modern Art, with acclaimed artist Hunt Slonem and Alex Holleman, chair of the upcoming Bella Notte, Opera Carolina's gala; bestselling author Kathy Reichs and her husband, Paul; Regine and Andreas Bechtler. Photos by Dianna Augustine.

Fashion, art and design met during a celebration of the 5th anniversary of the New Gallery of Modern Art during a vernissage at the gorgeous home of Aundrea and Stephen Wilson. A stylish group of guests where there to fete the extraordinary artist Hunt Slonem. He signed copies of his newest book, When Art Meets Design, surrounded by some of his most famous works.

The next night, he was the special guest at a reception at the gallery for his must-see solo exhibit, The Worlds of Hunt Slonem, on view at the gallery through Nov. 15. The New Gallery of Modern Art is at 435 S. Tryon St. Details: 704-373-1464; www.newgalleryofmodernart.com

Hunt ended his Charlotte stay by attending The Salon: An Opera Carolina Conversation at the home of Charlotte Wickham. Hunt and Opera Carolina's Maestro James Meena discussed art, music and culture during the Age of Enlightenment in anticipation of Opera Carolina's production of The Barber of Seville Oct. 22, Oct. 27 and Oct. 30 at Belk Theater uptown. For tickets, click here.

Here are more photos from the vernissage at the Wilsons' historic home.

BRAHMIN REQUIRED

Rows of classic Brahmin bags in navy, brown and black line a wall at the famous American brand's sleek new store in the luxury wing of SouthPark mall. 

Rows of classic Brahmin bags in navy, brown and black line a wall at the famous American brand's sleek new store in the luxury wing of SouthPark mall. 

Brahmin is one of America's great fashion brands. Based in Massachusetts, its handbags and accessories are made of luxurious leathers and fine materials with a signature use of exotic embossing and mixed media touches. The company says it takes more than two dozen skilled artisans over 100 steps to create each bag. We appreciate that if you find a style you like it comes in an array of colors and materials. 

Its new arrivals for Autumn are beautifully displayed in Brahmin's sleek new store in the luxury wing of SouthPark mall. The store recently hosted a Fall Fashion Event to show off its offerings - both classic and new styles - along with the debut of its monogram shop (select bags and accessories come with an option to add your own personal monogram). The brand's new tagline is "Brahmin Required" to reflect its belief that every stylish woman should have at least one Brahmin bag in her collection. 

We couldn't agree more. The problem is, we want them all. Here are a few of our favorite bags and accessories we fell in love with during our visit to the store.

Chic accessories: Journals with an option to add your personal monogram, $65; wine tote, $75; set of six coasters, $65; and iPhone cases, $58.

A Fall fashion must-have, the Sonny Savannah Crossbody Saddle Bag, $285.

A Fall fashion must-have, the Sonny Savannah Crossbody Saddle Bag, $285.

Make a statement with the mixed materials in the Priscilla Satchel Rooksbury, $435.

Make a statement with the mixed materials in the Priscilla Satchel Rooksbury, $435.

Travel in style with one of these Weekender bags, $495. 

Travel in style with one of these Weekender bags, $495. 

All of Autumns colors in one bag. Prices vary by style. 

All of Autumns colors in one bag. Prices vary by style. 

From the Southeast collection, this black Blair Charleston bucket shoulder bag with tassels is from Brahmin's Seacoast collection with its signature gold schooner logo.

From the Southeast collection, this black Blair Charleston bucket shoulder bag with tassels is from Brahmin's Seacoast collection with its signature gold schooner logo.

If you're mad for plaid, the Canterbury style is for you. Prices are around $395.

If you're mad for plaid, the Canterbury style is for you. Prices are around $395.

THE FALL FASHION REPORT FROM NEIMAN MARCUS

Kristin Jackson (right), Public Relations Director for Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall, explains some of the Fall trends worn by a model. The model's dramatic eye makeup, bold metallic jewelry and longer, fluid skirt are part of the season's most stylish looks. 

Kristin Jackson (right), Public Relations Director for Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall, explains some of the Fall trends worn by a model. The model's dramatic eye makeup, bold metallic jewelry and longer, fluid skirt are part of the season's most stylish looks. 

During the Neiman Marcus Fall Preview Report for Media, guests were treated to a chic sit-down luncheon catered by Delectables By Holly. Providing the commentary was Kristin Jackson, Public Relations Director for Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall. She looked as lovely and stylish as the models who informally walked among the tables to show off the newest trends.

Kristin explained the season's 10 most important looks from Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing and offered tips on how to wear them. 

The 10 trends for women, and The O Report's take on them, are:

Bold Gold & High Shine Metallics - the trend of mixing and matching metals, especially gold and silver, is stronger than ever. The O Report is obsessed with the gold and silver affordable treasures from one of Neiman Marcus' new jewelry collections by Stephanie Kantis

Ripe Berry Shades - luscious shades, including red, warm up your wardrobe as temperatures begin to chill.  

Everything Velvet - whether it's a skirt, top, dress, pants or jacket, this is the trend of the season. 

Fall Florals - one of the examples hanging in a display was a sleeveless dressed paired with a turtleneck sweater that showed Neiman Marcus' philosophy of buying items that you can wear now, and then adding in pieces such as the turtleneck for cold weather later. 

Skirts That Move - longer lengths made with fabrics that flow with the body are the epitome of feminine elegance. 

 

The New Bomber - bomber jackets made with new materials including lace are a youthful update to your wardrobe. 

Delicate Or Daring Chokers - This is the one trend The O Report advises women 50 and up to think twice about before trying since most of us do not like to draw attention to our necks. 

Top-Notch Top-Handle Bags - this ladylike classic is thoroughly modern. 

The Adorned Shoe - there's no such thing as too shiny or too ornate. 

The Dramatic Eye -  one of the newest shades to make eyes pop is a soft red, which sounds crazy but looks chic. Since the look is so new, we suggest booking an appointment with a Neiman Marcus beauty expert to see if it works on you. 

THE NEW FACE OF MARC JACOBS' FALL CAMPAIGN

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Actress Sissy Spacek, 66, is the new face of fashion designer Marc Jacobs' Fall 2016 ad campaign. Shot by photographer David Sims, the images capture the beauty of the 5'2" inch screen legend. 

When Jacobs revealed her portrait for the ad campaign on his Instagram account, he wrote that he has always been mesmerized by her ability to bring a character to life in a profound way, and that she's a reoccurring artistic reference in his work.

Spacek revealed that even though her film career has spanned 40 years, she was never a success as a model until now. During the early 1970s, she did some test shots for Chanel but was rejected because she was too short. 

LOOK AND LEARN

Photos from left: Copies of the groundbreaking Charlotte fashion magazine The Face were available at a Fall fashion preview hosted by Simon and the magazine's owner, Andre Michael, was one of the guests. Alyssa Cole, assistant manager of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th at Charlotte Premium Outlets. Model and TV personality Jennifer Michelle with wardrobe stylist Darrion Gross. The O Report founder Olivia Fortson.

Fashion media including The O Report founder Olivia Fortson were invited to a special Fall Fashion preview at a party hosted by Simon around one of the outdoor fountains at Charlotte Premium Outlets. Simon owns three shopping centers in the Charlotte area - SouthPark mallConcord Mills mall and Charlotte Premium Outlets (along with Carolina Premium Outlets in Gaffney, S.C.) 

Guests enjoyed wine and hors d'oeuvres while hearing about Fall fashion trends from model and TV personality Jennifer Michelle, the Rising Runway Coach for WCCB-TV. One of Charlotte's top wardrobe stylists, Darrion Gross, pulled together three vignettes of on-trend Fall fashions available at the three Charlotte centers and Jennifer did a beautiful job of explaining the looks to guests.

Here are a few of the things we learned during the fashionable evening. 

As you can tell from the look on the right, '90s nostalgia is one of Fall's big trends. But if you were an adult during the 1990s, you probably have already experimented with wearing combat boots with a plaid shirt tied around your waist. But it does inspire you to be playful with your clothes. What's interesting about this look is that it makes you think about pairing any kind of T-shirt (in this case a man's vintage Easyrider tee) under a dress, although maybe a classic white shirt is more your style.

The outfit on the left from Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th shows how to wear a metallic skirt with more casual pieces. Think of metallics as neutral pieces now. Olive green, especially a military style jacket in that hue, continues to be a trend. And note the way the belt is wrapped at the waist and the silky camisole is worn over the shirt. Keeping everything fairly monochromatic makes it more chic and elegant. And booties and crossbody purses are still in style. 

A favorite look was the combination of three American classics from J. Crew: chinos with a denim shirt and loads of pearls.

A key new piece to add to your wardrobe is a sleeveless long cardigan, in this case one in gray with pockets and a matching shell from Ann Taylor. 

This inexpensive and lightweight military style jacket from Dressbarn is a a great transitional piece with personality.