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.
A DESIGNER COLLECTION 20 YEARS IN THE MAKING
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 mall, Concord 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.
Doncaster clothing, one of North Carolina's great family-owned companies, has thrived since it was founded in 1931 in Rutherfordton. Its business model is to sell directly to consumers through a nationwide network of wardrobe stylists.
Doncaster customers have already had first pick of the new offerings for Fall during shows its wardrobe stylists hosted recently. One of them, Marguerite Rupar, invited us to her Dilworth studio to see what's in style once cooler weather arrives.
Marguerite says when it comes to color, the two buzz words are "Wine and Pine" because burgundy wine and pine green are big trends. Also in style are floral prints, pants with a wider leg and higher waist, a variety of capes, and vests in different lengths including super long.
Here are our favorite new looks:
Doncaster stylists, including Marguerite, will be showing these looks, along with Winter fashions, during limited appointment-only showings Sept. 28-Oct.7. Details: 704-370-0433; www.doncastercharlotte.com.
Rash guard shirts aren't just for surfers anymore. Now anyone can protect their skin from the sun - and still look stylish - with the Land's End line of Swim Tee Rash Guards. The beauty of these shirts is that they can be worn on or off the beach, which is why they've become our favorite shirt for hot days spent running errands or doing other casual activities.
They're super soft and incredibly lightweight with built-in UPF 50 sun protection that earned them a recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation. And the moisture wicking fabric keeps you dry and comfortable. They come in 45 different colors and prints. Normally $59, they are currently on sale for $29.99. So now is a great time to either give them a try or add a few more to your collection.