Star Shops of Georgetown

January 11, 2016

The holiday season arrived in Georgetown right on time this year, manifested in festive lamppost adornments, shop-window displays filled with snowflakes and cheer and the unmistakable bite in the air from Old Man Winter himself. My boots hit the cobblestone sidewalk with a peppy clickity-clack as I stepped outside the Dolcezza on Wisconsin Avenue on a recent Saturday afternoon, fueled by an aromatic cup of joe.

My mission? Complete the remainder of my holiday shopping list in one hour. Good thing I’m pretty well versed in this shopping-in-Georgetown thing.
First stop? The new Georgetown Olive Oil Company store, to pick up something for my boyfriend’s parents. I first popped into the shop a couple weeks ago after work. I had just picked up a French baguette from the Foggy Bottom Trader Joe’s and was looking forward to finding something yummy to complement it. Upon entering, I was blown away by the vast variety of olive oils that not only exist, but are available in this beautiful shop. The owner, Emil, spent time educating me on the varied health benefits that oils from different regions of the world offer. I sampled a dozen different flavor varieties (a fraction of the 165 in the store).

If this sounds like olive oil overkill, do yourself a favor and go see for yourself why it’s not. After doing a side-by-side taste test of any oil in the store versus a moderately priced bottle you might pick up in Safeway (Emil keeps a supermarket bottle on hand for this purpose), you will become a believer. The three-bottle packs that Georgetown Olive Oil Company is currently offering in hemp gift bags of festive hues make the perfect holiday gift, as a stand-alone or paired with complimentary sea salts, jams and chocolates. Gift Number One, checked off my list.

My trek continued all the way down Wisconsin Avenue to the corner of K Street. Barre3, the studio offering classes designed to balance, strengthen and lengthen the body with moves inspired by ballet, yoga and Pilates, is here. The gorgeous space, defined by hardwood and exposed brick, exudes warmth and a sense of community. Studio owner Jill Warren first invited me to try a class more than two years ago. The Georgetown studio has been a spot for me to rebalance, reboot and embrace mental and physical well-being ever since. I’ve been dying to get my stepmom to give it a try, so what better time to purchase a set of classes for gifting? Gift Number Two — check.

With gifts for my three sisters in mind, I head back up to M Street to the beauty-product store Lush. Lush’s whole philosophy centers around creating products for the hair and skin using fresh, natural ingredients. I stumbled upon the brand a few years ago when I was looking for an effective hair mask that wouldn’t break the bank. Naturally, I consulted with a college sorority sister (who has the healthiest, shiniest locks I’ve ever seen). She recommended Lush’s “Jasmine & Henna Fluff Eaze” mask. One try and I became a devoted convert. In addition to their top-notch hair masks, the shop is chock-full of natural soaps, lip glosses and face masks. This time of year, it is overflowing with an array of perfectly edited holiday gift sets. A basketful of products later, this gift-shop stop is complete.
As I head back up Wisconsin toward home, I make a final stop at fine-stationary store Just Paper & Tea on P Street. The assortment of beautifully crafted cards within make this an effortless one-stop-shop for all of the holiday card recipients on my list. Owners Nick and Carolyn are the embodiment of warm and affable; I feel cheerier and more filled with holiday spirit just for having stopped by.

As I stroll homeward amid groups of bustling holiday shoppers, I look to my left and pause, suddenly seized by the idyllic scene before me. Candlelit tables, crowded by families, friends and lovers, are visible through the windowpanes of tiny Café Bonaparte, creating a postcard-like display. I am struck for a moment by the beauty of the season in Georgetown. The gifts I’ve purchased for loved ones were chosen with care, yet the spirit of the season expressed in smiles exchanged is truly the greatest gift of all.
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Red Speaks


’Tis the season to decide to be naughty or nice. What looks are in for 2016 holiday makeup? Bold lips or light gloss? The holiday season is the best time to play, so here is your guide — whether naughty, nice or somewhere in between.

Red lips are, of course, a classic and instant way to party up your mood for the holidays. There are several ways you can enjoy this look.

1. Bold red lips speak for themselves. This season, leave the matching colored lip liner in your makeup bag. Applying red lip color without lip liner gives you a more modern and fresh feel. Using a lip color pencil is the ultimate easy way to create “unlined” lips — it doubles as the liner and the lip color, providing foolproof easy application (and easy to touch up when out and about).

2. Stained lips (applying lip color to your finger and then dabbing it onto your lips) is a subtle way to enjoy bold colors on your lips. Apply your choice of lip color on the inside of your natural lip lines and then clean up with cotton buds along the rim of your natural lip line. You can also use your finger to smudge and soften the color.

3. New to the red or still scared of the red color? Fear not! Tinted gloss is an effortless way to dazzle with your lips. It requires less touch-up and less precise application.

Whichever choice you make with your red lips, make it joyful and have fun under the mistletoe!

By Soo Park | Photography by Angie Myers

Models: Flavia Dias, Enna Sliwinski, and Elle Einwaechter of THE Artist Agency [gallery ids="102192,131581,131590,131585" nav="thumbs"]

Legends of the Fall

October 26, 2015

Our “Legends of the Fall” shoot shows the much-discussed bearded lumbersexual in his natural habitat: the great outdoors. The outfits are at once stylish, utilitarian and cozy, mixing thick-knit sweaters and wool outerwear with scarves, lambswool, leather and lots of layers. The look works in the woods of Vienna where our models Andrei Talasman and Andrew Dolan Miller (and trusty dog, Thaidy) were shot ­— or on the town for a night out in Georgetown or along the bustling, trendy 14th Street corridor downtown. Enjoy, Legends of the Fall.

Photography by Angie Myers

Models Andrei Talasman and Andrew Dolan Miller T H E Artist Agency

Styling Pamela burns

Grooming Jessica Ariane T H E Artist Agency
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IIDA’s Cosmo Couture Salutes the Smithsonian With a Runway Show

October 15, 2015

The Smithsonian Institution and its museums were the star of the sith annual Cosmo Couture event, produced by Washington Metro City Center (WMCC) of the International Interior Design Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter Sept. 24 at the Howard Theatre with a center-piece runway show.

This year, Cosmo Couture paid tribute to the Smithsonian Institution, the country’s largest museum complex, which shapes the future by preserving heritage, discovering new knowledge and sharing rich history with the world.

Twenty five design teams participated in the event, which kicked off with a 2014 kick-off party, held in June. The teams randomly selected a museum from the Smithsonian collection, getting four months to work on their creations. Some of the selected 13 museums providing inspiration included the American Indian Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Air & Space Museum, the National History Museum, and the African Art Museum.

Judges included Michael McCarthy, editor of D.C. Magazine, Emily Gonzaga, owner and creative director of D’Milikah-Brazilian Fashion House, Adam Woitkowski, vice president and general manager at Saks Fifth Avenue in Tysons Corner, Star Glam Pezeshkian, editorial studies, and Christopher Schafer, menswear designer for Christopher Schafer Clothier.

The 25th Cosmo Couture beneficiary was Rebuilding Together of Washington, D.C., which preserves and revitalizes low-income home and community facilities in the District of Columbia. [gallery ids="102317,126351,126357,126364,126344" nav="thumbs"]

Get Schooled on Fall Styles

September 17, 2015

This fall calls for rich Bordeaux and leather fringe. Maroon, reds and navy are making a bold burst onto the fall fashion color watch. Bordeaux, or wine, is a dark red tone that has both purple and burgundy shades. For years, Burgundies and reds tend to trend during the fall season, but Bordeaux is slightly darker — making it a great shade for accessories, fashion and beauty. Bordeaux is versatile and can revamp your brown, black, navy and khaki palletes. Pair with a chunky heel and hints of gold, and you will claim this fall trend as yours.

Photography by ANGIE MYERS

Model Kyler Garner from T H E Artist Agency

Styling Pamela Burns of PAMShops4You

Makeup Landre with Behind the Veil, LLC

Location GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

Look 1: Model wears: Black Leather Jacket by Vince, $995 at Neiman Marcus Chevy Chase; Merlot Sweater by Alice & Olivia, $195 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase; Feather Shirt by Alice & Olivia, $495 at Neiman Marcus Chevy Chase; Gold Necklace by Agua, $28 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase; Red and Gold Bracelet by Agua, $25 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase; Wine Handbag by Michael Kors, $298 at Michael Kors Tysons; Shoes (model’s)

Look 2: Cream Sweater by Joie, $228 at Neiman Marcus Chevy Chase; Olive Crop Jeans by 7 for Mankind, $198 at Neiman Marcus Chevy Chase; Fur Vest by Joie; $798 at Neiman Marcus Chevy Chase; Sneakers by Surperga, $169 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase; White Earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane, $68 at Intermix D.C.; Gold Cuff; $120 at Nordstrom Tysons; Backpack by Marc Jacobs $198 at Norstrom Tysons.

Look 3: Navy and Red Plaid Top by SEA Exclusive, $295 at Intermix D.C.; Red Sweater by A.L.C. Hansen, $295 at Intermix D.C.; Jeans by Jbrand, $198 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase; Tan Fringe Handbag by Rebecca Mincoff, $195 at Bloomingdales $195; Gold Cuff, $120 at Nordstrom Tysons; Earrings and Shoes (model’s)

Look 4 & 5: Multi-Color Sweater Vest by Alice & Olivia, $695 at Neiman Marcus Chevy Chase; Sleeveless Plum Turtleneck Sweater by Elizabeth & James, $195 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase; Jeans by JBrand, $238 at Neiman Marcus Chevy Chase; Black Booties by Vince, $495 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase; Earrings by Diane von Furstenberg, $128 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase; Bracelet by Tory Burch, $165 at Nordstrom Tysons; Black Backpack by Tory Burch, $550 at Bloomingdales Chevy Chase.
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Urban Chic to Close for Good by the End of the Month

August 7, 2015

Clothier Urban Chic will close its Georgetown store for good at the end of this month. Owner Lindsay Buscher announced Thursday that the shop, known for carrying clothes by high-end designers like Diane Von Furstenburg and Trina Turk, is closing and attributed its failure to the rise of cheaper clothing outlets (namely, H&M and T.J. Maxx), and upstarts like Rent the Runway in Georgetown.

Buscher attempted to revive the flailing store in March with a relaunch focused on drawing in younger customers. The bid failed but Buscher told the Washingtonian, ““I love Georgetown, and I love and will miss all of our loyal customers that have stood by our side for the last decade.”

The store is holding a closing sale, starting today, with prices starting at 35 percent off. Urban Chic paid rent for the month of July but a store representative says she doubts that the merchandise will last until the end of the month. Urban Chic is located at 1626 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

‘Seven’ Fashion Show at Artisphere

June 8, 2015

Fashion enthusiasts took a creative journey through the Seven Deadly Sins with “Seven,” a fashion show, on Wednesday, June 3. Guests experienced looks that represent greed, lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, pride and envy, in a show that was styled and produced by fashion students at the Art Institute of Washington. The show was held at the Artisphere in Arlington.

The merchandise and talent for the show was pulled from local Washington area designers, small businesses and students at the Art Institute of Washington.

Take The Plunge

June 4, 2015

Photography by Alexa Kinigopoulos

Creative Diretor Lynda Erkiletian of THE Artist Agency

Model Maggie Parsons of THE Artist Agency

Wardrobe Styling Pascale Lemaire of THE Artist Agency

Hair and Makeup Janice Kinigopoulos of THE Artist Agency

Production Assistants Emily Tauber And Stephen Kinigopoulos

Locations Turf Valley Country Club and Westwood Country Club

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Star Power


This season’s provocative, West Coast-inspired looks give new meaning to
“Hollywood on the Potomac.” At the top of the town, the Capella Hotel’s rooftop pool is an unforgettable setting to relax … or be discovered.

Venue – Capella Hotel
Photographer – Yvonne Taylor
Photographers Assistant – Michael Taylor
Stylist – Pam Burns
Hair – Darrell Thompson
Make-up – Flaminia Garioni
Model – Hilke Eyler – Wilhelmina
Male Model – Casey Dobyns – THE Artist Agency

Fashion 1
Coral 2 piece bathing suit by Karla Colletto
Necklace, blue stone with gold rim at Dalton Pratt Sunglasses by Celine at Saks
Hat by Melissa Vap

Fashion 2
Black bathing suit by Karla Colletto
Necklace, black/coral/pink at Dalton Pratt
Shoes, black patent leather Jimmy Choo Wedges at Saks

Fashion 3
Fuchsia bathing suit by Karla Colletto
Male model: Yellow linen shirt Zegna at Neiman Marcus;
White linen pants by Vilebrequin at Neiman Marcus

Fashion 4
Blue 2 piece bathing suit by Karla Colletto
Necklace, blue turquoise at Dalton Pratt
Sunglasses by Prada at Saks
Male model: Blue shirt by Vilebrequin
White linen pants by Vilebrequin at Neiman Marcus
Sunglasses at Gant
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Take the Plunge Into Karla Colletto’s World

May 22, 2015

You’re on a beach. The sun sparkles on water the deep blue color of lapis lazuli. Palm fronds flap softly in an ocean breeze. These descriptions are the backdrop, but for Vienna, Va.-based swimwear designer Karla Colletto, it’s the women and the swimsuits they wear that bring an idyllic summer setting to life.

Colletto grew up in the town of Wrentham, Massachusetts, on the Rhode Island border. Her grandmother was a seamstress and her grandfather was a tailor. Both inspired her from a young age. She went on to study fashion design, and after graduation was introduced to couture designer Alfred Fiandaca.

“He gave me invaluable hands-on training, taught me the many intricate details that go into creating a couture piece and inspired me to start my own label,” she says. In the beginning, Karla wasn’t drawn directly to swimwear. Rather, she wanted to approach the fashion industry in a smart, progressive way while utilizing the fine dressmaker techniques passed onto her.

In 1981, Karla and Lisa Rovan, her sister and business partner, created a custom design company with pieces ranging from sportswear to bridal gowns. “While I was designing custom pieces for clients, I became intrigued by stretch fabrics and realized that swimwear was overlooked in the world of high fashion.”

Colletto learned to design swimwear through “trial and error,” using the skills of pattern making, grading and sewing to piece a garment together. Rovan had apprenticed with a swimwear contractor in the past, and, together, they honed in on the world of aquatic couture. By 1987, they sold a small collection to Saks Fifth Avenue. The following season, they made additional sales to Bergdorf Goodman.

From the start, Colletto sought to give her designs an innovative edge. Undoubtedly, one of the distinctions of a Karla Colletto swimsuit is the fabric. “Textiles are always evolving,” she says. “Right now there is a push toward 3D digital printing on fabrics to give an illusion of depth and texture.” Colletto has experience with this technique, and with the use of bonded microfiber, laser-cut details and NoSo technologies.

Colletto imports most of her fabrics from Italy. “We are able to buy in smaller quantities, important to our brand since we try to be as ‘green’ as possible by cutting to order and generating little waste,” she says. For 18 years, she has been working with Eurojersey Sensitive microfiber. Combining the best in eco-friendly manufacturing and fabric longevity (not to mention comfort), this fabric offers up to 10 times more chlorine resistance than traditional swim fabrics, plus UV protection and quick-drying fibers. Additionally, many of the fabrics Colletto uses are made with Xtra Life Lycra, a fiber that resists degradation and has notable recovery performance.

“I like to combine fabrics and components in an out-of-the-box way. I pull, stretch, drape and slice the goods to discover unique textures and patterns,” she says of her approach. She adds that technology has revolutionized the industry. “Fiber and textile technology has transformed swimwear fabrics. They are technical, functional and fashionable, making the design possibilities endless.”

Colletto’s design process is an intricate one and her attention to detail and artistic originality has earned her a name in a competitive industry. “I design with a mix of form, function and high fashion in mind,” she says. “For me, the fit of the swimsuit is just as important as the style.”

She starts with inspirations and concepts, then chooses fabrics and the components for each garment before sketching and draping. She does this until she’s entirely satisfied with the garment’s overall concept.

After that, she creates the pattern and the first sample of several is made. “Throughout the process, the swimsuit is constantly evolving. And usually what I initially set out to do transforms into something completely different and even better than what I envisioned at the start,” she says.

After she has approved the samples, they go to production. All Karla Colletto swimsuits are made in-house and rigorously inspected, ensuring the best quality control. Colletto uses dynamic fabrics and tests different patterns and constructions to ensure the best fit, with comfort and durability in mind. “We even continue our quality trend in the smallest pieces of our swimsuits using the best eyelets, underwires, zippers and other components,” she says.

Colletto finds inspiration in myriad places, from modernist paintings to old movies, in classic architecture and the intricate details of a dahlia. Ever the artist, textures and colors in the surrounding world can trigger moments of stimulation and creativity. “It could be a coral dress in a magazine or a piece of coral I find on the beach,” she says. As a Virginia resident working in close proximity to Washington, D.C., Colletto is also inspired by the region’s multicultural landscape and the strong women she designs for.

Who is the Karla Colletto girl? She is “a modern, confident woman who wants to make a fashion statement with her swimwear, whether it’s in her own backyard or while on some exotic getaway,” she says. “She appreciates good quality and is smart when it comes to the best fit for her body.”

Most people abhor the process of bathing suit shopping – that is, magnifying their own bodily insecurities before mirrored walls and fluorescent lights. Colletto aims in her designs to counteract this tendency.

“It is so important for us to make swimwear that women feel absolutely confident in,” she says. “It’s about finding the right swimsuit for your personality and your body. We like to think our swimwear offers the best of both worlds.” The team constructs each garment with progressive patterns and innovative techniques, while incorporating details such as silent underwires and ruching (gathering or pleating) to enhance the silhouette. Over the years, the designer has noticed swimwear’s burgeoning place in women’s wardrobes, a stylish intertwining of swimwear with ready-to-wear.

“My goal with each swimsuit is to create an innovative, fashion-forward piece without degrading the importance of a tailored fit,” she says, adding, “A swimsuit should be more than just a beautiful piece. It should be a reflection of the wearer herself.”

Colletto’s artistic talents are well known, yet she’s also business savvy, with a shrewd awareness of the marketplace that’s changing around her. “Marketing and advertising have changed incalculably over the years, especially with the advent of social media,” she says. “Our social platforms give us a firsthand connection with our admirers.” Though Colletto’s brand is not currently in the e-commerce game, the designer has plans to enter the online market over the next year or two.

“We want to take the time to do it right and ensure any online shopping endeavors match the quality of our brand,” she says. And when that time comes, Colletto believes that people will confidently buy her swimsuits online, even though that means not trying them on in a dressing room. “Because of the consistency of our fit, once the customer knows their size, it’s easy for them to buy online,” she says.

In addition to social media, Colletto uses stylish, retro-chic video campaigns to promote her collections, working with Pum and Jake Lefebure, co-founders of D.C. based Design Army, and the talented director and cinematographer Dean Alexander. “Their input and unique approach is a huge part of our brand success in collaboration with our social media platforms,” she says.

Colletto’s branding has an air of whimsy and nostalgia to it, a faint reminder of the past coupled with a strong sense of the future. Her swimsuits manipulate modern fabrics to achieve silhouettes that are unflinchingly fashion-forward, even when influenced by past designs.
“Although my designs have changed over the years, there are some distinctive Karla Colletto details that make our suits recognizable,” she says. The Colletto design team often looks to their own archives for designs that could be taken in a fresh, contemporary direction.

“I continue to experiment, challenge and innovate,” she says of her process. Colletto has been a pioneer in the swimwear industry, utilizing the best of today’s fabrics and manufacturing processes, while defying the limitations of design. This drive and steadfast commitment to originality has garnered recent attention from Elle, InStyle Spain, Glow Magazine and Trillionaire Magazine, to name a few.

Colletto works with retailers both large and small. She recently designed an exclusive swimsuit for Everything But Water in honor of the retailer’s 30th anniversary. The bold red one-piece, triggered by a 1960s photo of model Peggy Moffitt in Rudi Gernreich, features a plunging V-neck with cutouts, crisscrossing bands and strong structural details.

Like the swimsuit, Colletto’s brand is bold, strong and structural, and there’s much still ahead for the company. In addition to adding e-commerce to the business model, Colletto hopes to expand her brand into active wear and sportswear in the future. In the meantime, however, Karla Colletto’s swimwear offers women everywhere the opportunity to suit up in style this summer. Go ahead – take the plunge. [gallery ids="117765,117782,117778,117773" nav="thumbs"]