I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Bryan Finocchio, Founder & Director of Catwalk for a Cure and wanted to know more about his organization and the event that’s coming up on Thursday, October 13th at 7pm at the State Room here in Boston (get your tickets here.) I’ve got my pink frock ready to go, along with my +1, the ever so fun and stylish, Marta Kagan. We’re ready for a fun night of up-and-coming designers, cancer survivors-turned-runway models and pink cocktails, of course. Thanks to Bryan for sharing the history of this fabulous event and for his passion and dedication to eradicating breast cancer.
Tell me about Catwalk for a Cure. How did it get started? What was at the core of how it all began?
In nursing school, many professors told us that “Nursing is your #1 priority, everything else comes second.” I guess I am defiant? Having a background in the performing arts, I have always wanted to do something different that incorporates my medical background and my arts background. I have had many women in my life diagnosed with breast cancer (grandmother, cousin, family, friends etc.) and one women in particular, my Women’s Health professor. She was a “tough broad”, or that’s what she called herself. She was very different from all the other professors. She understood everyone has their own separate lives and that you are able to do anything. Also, to be a women’s health lecturer, you need to have a sense of humor, and she did.
In April of 2010 she told the class, after waiting 2 hours that she was diagnosed with progressive Stage 3 breast cancer. I can honestly say there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I remember sitting there speechless. I also remember thinking I am going to do something to give back. I am going to do a pink dress fashion show in Boston (something that hasn’t been done). I guess you could say she was the core inspiration for this whole idea.
I love the combination of fashion for a good cause. Tell me about some of the designers who will be featured on the runway?
Zack Lo - Bumble Zoo Cerise
This year we have eight designers participating in the show. Their assignment was to create a mini collection having one all-pink look and the rest pink accents. This approach is different than the all-pink fashion show last year. I wanted to give the designers more creative freedom to express who they are as an artist. We first start off with the cocktail hour. We will have eccentric shoe designer, Zack Lo, and environmentally-friendly designer, Janice Louise Miller dressing models to walk around cocktail hour and give the guests something new and fresh to look at. On the runway we’ll see six designers Nicole Herzog, Julie Montesion, Candice Wu, Julie Kontos, Drea Couture and Wesley Nault. The audience will be seeing fashion school graduates from School of Fashion Design on Newbury St, Lasell College, self-taught designers, ones who have studied abroad, and of course, Wesley Nault, our featured designer from Season 5 of Project Runway!
Susan G. Komen has done an amazing job raising money for cancer education and research. How did you come to partner with this organization for this event?
Before I started Catwalk for a Cure, I knew I needed a charity to give back to. My mother worked in Radiology for some time and used to do the walks for breast cancer and had mentioned Susan G. Komen. I wanted a charity in Boston where the money went to education and research, because that is where the knowledge and prevention happens. The root for it is education. If women/men are not taught self exams, signs and symptoms, new treatments etc., we will be in much worse shape with statistics off the chart. After researching, I met with The Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for a Cure in a Starbucks right in the Financial District and explained what I wanted to do. Right away I had great feedback, it was something new and fresh, and they were thrilled to help with this project.
What can people who attend this fashionable soiree expect on Thursday, October 13th? Tell us about the venue, the program and the fashion!
I think telling people that it is at the State Room is good enough. The view from the 33rdfloor of 60 State St. is absolutely incredible. Not to mention the modern architecture of the venue. Most people remember the place at the old “Bay Tower room”….I guess being 23, I have no idea what that meant. The event will start at 7pm with a cocktail hour and silent auction. Here guests will walk around, bid on items, enjoy a signature cocktail, fresh beer from Harpoon Brewery, hors ‘doeuvres from State Room, watch models walk and admire the looks, take a photo infront of our SOUL by Ludacris “step and repeat”, be interview by TTN-HD productions, and have their photos taken by “paparazzi”. The fashion show will start at 9:15pm. Here guests will enjoy our designers, music by Andrew Mason (DJ Dropl3t) and their collections as well as models, cancer survivors, and business professionals walking for the cause. After the show, guests will be escorted to the mezzanine of the Great Room for more cocktails, desserts from Five Bite Cupcakes, Pinkberry, and Chobani, as well as meet the designers and models who have made the night possible.
Where can people go to buy tickets?
Please visit catwalkforacure.eventbrite.com. Tickets are $100 and include signature cocktail, passed hors d’oeuvres, silent auction, fashion show, gift bag, and post reception and proceeds go directly to Susan G. Komen for breast cancer education and research.
What do you love best about the event?
Everything! I love the stress and excitement of planning it, the final product, but mostly the smiles on all the guests faces as well as the survivors. After all it is for them. When they smile, I smile. The survivors are who inspired me. I remember last year, a guest coming up to me, with tears in her eye, and explained to me how much she enjoyed the show…she was currently going through treatment.
Also, a few thank you’s to my team and the people making all of this possible. The event is hosted by Practically Broadway, Inc., a non-profit visual and performing arts organization. Also, I could not have done this without my team: Neira Pekmez: Event Coordinator, Christina Ruggeri: Model and Designer Coordinator, Iliana Galvez: Asst. Event Coordinator, Nick Mandella: Lead Photographer and Press Liaison.
And the big question…what will you be wearing?
That is a good question! I spend so much time planning, its usually the week of the event type deal. This year I have been looking at Express, Cole Haan, Nordstrom, and Brooks Brothers. I will most likely go with a black or gray jacket and pants, pink shirt and a pink tie, still keeping it fashionable and different. I guess you will have to wait and see! Be sure to follow us on Twitter for all the latest news on the show!
Well, Bryan, thanks so much for telling all the Stylish Eyes out there about Catwalk for a Cure and the event on the 13th…I cannot WAIT! I am spreading the word to all of my fashionable friends who are looking for a stylish night out for an amazing cause. Breast cancer has personally touched my life through too many family members and friends and I am thrilled to support such a great organization and a fantastic night out in the city. Great work, Bryan and team!
PS: Stay tuned…I’ll be interviewing some designers and breast cancer survivors over the next few weeks as part of my Catwalking for a Cure blog post series. Thanks for tuning in and hope to see you on the 13th!
In case you missed it, the recording of my radio debut on the Loretta LaRoche radio show, Get a Life, with co-host and dear friend, Sue Burton, is now available online. I have to say that I am completely hooked on radio and loved every minute with Loretta and Sue. They are like the Howard and Robin of local radio!
Loretta LaRoche & Sue Burton
Looking for a good laugh and some great discussion on everything from pajama pants to capris, to fanny packs, to Crocs to maxi dresses? We also had some great questions from callers – maybe something you might have asked? Do tell.
You can listen here: www.lorettalaroche.com/getaliferadio
It’s the June 29, 2011: “Fashion: If It Doesnt Fit, Dont Wear It” episode.
Thanks, Loretta and Sue for having me…I hope I get invited back to talk Fall fashion!
I recently heard about the Pajama Jean – “Looks like denim, feels like pjs,” and I think I actually threw up a little bit in my mouth. I have to say, I am pretty outraged by this creation. Why? Well, there’s a bunch of reasons but let’s start with my practical reasons. First off, the pants have no zippers or buttons. Okay, last I heard, pants have zippers and buttons. Pants without zippers and buttons are usually called – leggings, sweatpants or…yes, pajamas. Even the jeggings I buy have some button/zipper styling. More than that, the idea of your pants being so comfortable you would wear them all day AND want to sleep in them? I just don’t get this. Yeah, I do get it on a pure comfort level. Believe me, I love my yoga pants as much as any other girl out there. But, there is a time and place for my yoga pants and they are not part of my “get dressed and go out” wardrobe and never will be (hint hint).
My biggest beef with this comfort-first invention is what it says about women and our ability to be stylish and comfortable. Ladies, do we really need to wear our pjs around town to be comfortable? I think not. I buy jeans and wear jeans a lot. And I have learned how to buy jeans that look great, fit great and feel great. I work full-time and my office is casual attire. I wear jeans to work almost every day. And, I sit at my desk most of the day in my jeans. I could not imagine wearing Pajama Jeans to my office. They are not jeans, my stylish friends. They are cotton pajama pants made to kinda look like jeans…but not really.
In my opinion, products like this are what’s wrong with fashion and style in America. Can you imagine a woman walking around Covent Garden London in a pair of these? Or down the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Paris wearing jeans that look like pajamas? Never. It would never happen. I don’t know why here in the U.S., we have gotten lazy enough to think that it’s okay to wear sweats, yoga pants and now pjs to the mall, to the grocery store, to lunch with friends, on a date with your man – it’s just not okay. I grew up in house where my mother would never leave the house unless she looked “acceptable.” This meant: hair done, make up on, clothes to match the occasion. Her motto: “You never know who you’ll run into.” That was drilled into my head and it’s how I dress every day. Think about the impression you make – the first impression you make – when you run into someone at the mall or at the movies or anywhere outside your home. People are visual creatures like it or not and they check out what you’re wearing and how you look. It may sound superficial. It may sound ridiculous. But it’s true.
Please, my lovelies, leave the pajamas at home. There are so many other ways to be comfortable and look stylish. I promise.
I thought long and hard about this title. I tried titles that were a bit simpler like: Rubber shoes FTL or Rubber shoes, who would wear ‘em? I even tried a title that would fit on one line. But then I wrote down what I really feel and this, my friends, is how I feel every time I see some middle-aged white guy strolling through the North End in multi-colored rubber shoes. There is a reason for the Facebook group: I don’t care how comfortable Crocs are, you look like a dumbass. You do.
Okay, so then the folks at Crocs come out with their new Spring/Summer line of shoes. I will say that as a marketer, it is brilliant. Someone at Crocs WHQ probably said, let’s expand our market and go after the people who won’t wear the rubber shoes because they look ridiculous. Yeah, you know the other zillion Americans that will wear rubber shoes that kinda look like shoes? Yeah, yeah. Let’s make the ugly rubber shoes look more like real shoes! Maybe it will double our revenue?! Wicked smart.
The problem is they are a) still rubber and b) still ugly.
Then, one of my fave sample sale sites, Ideeli, had a sale today for Melissa Shoes. The brand is new to me and, I will say, they give the Crocs new line a run for it’s money. While the Melissa shoes are still rubber and still ugly, they at least try to look more like something a somewhat stylish person would choose to wear. The Crocs people talk about “fusing comfort and style seamlessly” and “wearable hugs.” I know not of either of these nirvanas and know that, if they did exist, they certainly would not come in rubber.
Christopher Muther at the Boston Globe recently wrote a very funny post about how he became a Crocs “convert”, well sort of. I appreciate his candid quote where he says, “…but I’m not ready to part with my “Friends don’t let friends wear Crocs’’ T-shirt quite yet.” Well said, Mr. Muther.
I keep coming back around to a few main issues. First, rubber shoes make your feet sweat. There’s no way for those things to breathe – I don’t care if they have holes in the top and are made of super-special rubber technology, feet sweat, especially when it’s 90 degress out and feet encased in sweaty rubber is just gross. Second, they look like you chose comfort over style. There, I said it. Everyone I talk to about this subject says, “They are so comfortable!” Not one person EVER says: “They look so great!” And, lastly, well, I hate to say it, but it makes you look like you couldn’t spend the time to go to a normal shoe store, try on some normal shoes and actually make an effort to make footwear a part of your wardrobe. For this last unfortunate issue…I quietly shed a tear.
So, my rubber shoe wearing friend, what say you as to why I should embrace the rubber shoe bonanza and make it part of my wardrobe? I anxiously await your rebuttal. For those of you who agree with me, I welcome your non-rubber support.
PS: I think this is the most times I’ve written down the word “rubber”. Ever. It is a weird word. Okay, that is all. Talk amongst yourselves.
I hate cargo pants. Yeah, yeah, I know. They are one of the top-selling pant styles for both men and women. But I just don’t get this trend. Why would I want to wear pants with huge pockets on the sides of my hips and thighs and on my butt? Do most women want to look 10lbs heavier? Not the ones I know. And, really, what do you do with all those pockets? If you put crap in the pockets, then you’re sure to not only look 10lbs heavier, but also look 10lbs bulgier (is that even a word?). Heavy and bulgy are not words this fashion maven can stomach. As for the cargo, I’ve seen them on all types of bodies and I still don’t like ‘em.
I found these J Brand Cargo pants a few months back in one of my style mags. I love the brand – J Brand is known for great denim and styling – and I love that they look like cargos but are more like a skinny jean with cargo-like styling. No giant, bulgy pockets to clutter up your oh so lovely frame. Just a few styled, relatively useless pockets that are more like cargos for walking down Newbury Street than hiking Mount Washington. I also adore the cropped look and zipper styling on the ankles – I am still an 80′s girl at heart, you know.
J Brand Cargo Pants $231
They’ve been out of stock for months and Revolve just got a fresh new shipment in. Order up! They are going fast so get them while they last. Finally, cargo pants I can dig.
I often have a crisis. Not your typical breakdown because of work or life (okay those happen too). More of a “need to have them all, can’t choose, must put pretty shoes in bag” type of crisis. Are you with me here?
It was so refreshing to come across a fellow fashion-crisis lover, Abigail Beshkin, aka Crisis in Denim, who recently wrote a blog post about her inability to choose among three lovely frocks. So,what did she do? She took them home.
Queue ominous music.
That is where choice becomes chosen. If there is a choice to be made, you must make it at the store or chances are you will 1) Fall in love with all of whatever you brought home 2) Justify that you really really need it and will wear it all the time 3) Forget to return it 4) Stuff it in a corner and forget you have it 5) Miss the window to return it (return to either #2 or #4). You see, dear reader, I have fallen prey to this tempting delight. An array of shoes. All too fabulous to leave without. I tell myself I will bring them back. Instead, some combination of #1-5 of the above happen and, well, my closet has seen it’s fair share of my choosing crisis.
So, because I can feel her pain, I decided to help Abigail make her decision on which lovely frock to keep. Let’s face it. A dress is just a dress with out the accompaniment of the perfect pair of shoes. Am I right? So, I picked a few lovelies and matched them with her frocks to help her decide.
I would pair her purple, belted frock with the FABULOUS Harajuku Lovers ‘Airlie’ Mary Jane platforms. Really glams up the dress and accents the belt.
Then, there’s the purple and grey tweed short-sleeved plaid dress, very Mad Men, with the “jaunty little flower pin with a purple crystal center.” I’d pair this one up with these sexy Betsey Johnson ‘Calais’ peep-toes. Love the accent of the flowers and the purple is sassy!
And, last but not least, the mod-meets-greek goddess white & black dress. I see this one with a pair of super opaque black tights and these sleek and shiny black J. Reneé ‘Farrah’ beauties.
So, you see, a style crisis CAN have a happy ending. Especially one that ends with glamourous, affordable and must-havable shoes.
Here in New England, the beginning of Summer is something we think about during the other nine months of the year. Warm weather, alfresco dining, sandals, sundresses and the lighter side of summer. It is also the time when we dust-off the clothes that have been hiding in the back of our closet waiting for warmer days. This ritual closet turn-over is something I look forward to each year – the unleashing of colors and fabrics along with the opportunity to update last season’s favorites with this season’s trends.
The challenge with this seasonal update is usually 1) finding the time 2) doing it cost-effectively and 3) deciding exactly what needs to stay, what should go, and what you need to add to your wardrobe. So, rather than walking aimlessly through the stores, a Style Swap is a fun, cheap and style-fabulous way to clean-out your closet and spice up your wardrobe. Add some friends, a few great wines and lots of style and a unique and fun night is in-store for everyone!
Last week, I hosted a Style Swap for a group of lovely ladies in Boston along with my friend and partner-in-wine, Rebecca Rethore from Pour Favor. The party was held for one of the women as a post-baby, baby shower. Guests were invited to come for a wine tasting and were asked to bring a bin or bag of gently-used summer clothes. Everything from tees to jeans to blazers and dresses were on the list. Guests arrived curious as to what to expect and ready for a fun night with friends. (Click on the image below to see the photos.)
A bubbly glass of Prosecco was poured as guests arrived and everyone enjoyed cheeses and light appetizers. Once the guest-of-honor got over the surprise and was greeted by her guests, Rebecca kicked-off the wine experience for the evening. She poured three wines – a white, a rose and a red – and encouraged everyone to experiment with the flavors, colors and aromas of the different varietals. The ladies really got into it and started explaining what they liked as they tasted the different wines. After everyone tasted the wine, it was time to get on with the swapping.
Guests unpacked the items they brought and we laid everything out so the girls could see what each person had to swap. In less than 10 minutes the guest-of-honor had an arm-full of tops, dresses and skirts and was whisked down the hallway to the “try-on room”. Everyone ohed-and-ahed as she tried on a gorgeous chocolate brown chiffon swing skirt with a matching silk top. “Perfect for my ballroom dancing lessons,” she said. She also tried several items she probably wouldn’t have if she were in a department store or boutique. One item – a bright, green peasant top with rouching at the arms and waist and yellow beading around the top – was one such experiment. It was a perfect compliment for her beautiful red hair and gave her a boost of color and a hip new summer trend to add to her wardrobe.
One of the other girls tried a great pair of seer-sucker wide leg trousers that were a perfect fit, along with a deep v-neck top that accentuated all the right places.
As the guest-of-honor emerged with her new pieces for the season and the other ladies shared what they swapped, everyone nibbled on cake and drank the last of the wine before the evening came to a close. Me? Well, I was busy bagging-up the left-over clothes for a trip to Rosie’s Place, where another group of lovely ladies will put the items to good use.
Some may call it second-hand. I call it recycling at its stylish best.
The Stylish Eye is officially on the map. Last night, I threw an amazing event at The Achilles Project with my friend and local wine enthusiast, Rebecca Rethore from Pour Favor. It was a sold out show and people were emailing and texting us up to the last minute looking for tickets. Now that is exciting and humbling.
The event was the first of its kind – a wine and style combo plate. If you haven’t been to The Achilles Project, I highly recommend it. It is a unique combination of gorgeous clothes up front and wine and food in the back (Persephone). The staff in both the the boutique and the restaurant are amazing at what they do and know how to pull together a great event.
Now on to the highlights. We had over 50 people mix and mingle while tasting new wines, sampling delicious apps and perusing the unique men’s and women’s fashions. People were shopping, wine was flowing and networking was happening. What a beautiful thing. I had the opportunity to speak with a vareity of men and women at the event and here are some things that I heard.
“Wow, that looks great on you but I could never pull it off!”
“I only buy black. Other colors don’t work on me.”
“I would rather squeeze into my size 10 pants than go up to a 12.”
“I don’t know where to start.”
“My closet is full of stuff I never wear.”
“I can’t wear this with that – it doesn’t match.”
The list goes on. What I heard in all these statements were a whole bunch of reasons that get in the way of exploring your stylish eye. When you put up a barrier like – “Blue doesn’t look good on me.” Well, blue will never look good on you. What if you said instead – “I always wear black but might consider trying blue.” Now, we’re talking possibility. Much of my philosophy about personal style is about pushing the edges, taking a risk, feeling a little outside your comfort zone, trying something new. Do it once and see what happens. I will bet you that what happens is this…People will notice. All it takes is a small change to make a big difference. Maybe it’s color, or cut or a trendy new accessory. Try one thing and change it up and see what happens. When you do, your style journey is on its way.
So, my friends, I raise my ice coffee to you all this morning. You are my inspiration and make doing what I do such a gift that keeps on giving. I encourage you to try something new today. Push your style zone just a little and see how it feels. I have a feeling you might like it.