Fashion Reverie’s 2022 Holiday Vacation Spots

If you are in New York, Chicago or another metropolitan city, chances are it is getting a little colder. Your summer vacation tan is long gone, and the holiday season will be upon us very soon. Now that could be a great excuse for a getaway. Before or during the holidays, Fashion Reverie has some great suggestions for you. And don’t forget to bring your best looks!! 

Image courtesy of britannica.com

Saint Martin 

This little Caribbean island paradise is perfect if you want to enjoy stunning beaches, great cuisine, and otherworldly wildlife. It is half Dutch and half French and comprises two separate countries, the French side and Dutch side. Their gastronomy festival, which is going on right now, from 11th to 22nd of November, is becoming super popular and we hear quite a few New Yorkers will attend. Perfect to warm up before Thanksgiving! 

Image courtesy of newsherald.com

Merida, Yucatan 

Merida is the stunning capital of Yucatan State in Mexico. There is lots of history, a vibrant Mayan community, lots of great traditions and foods. There is also a beach, not far from city center. Of course, there is lots to see in the vicinity like Izamal , the Yellow City and one of the wonders of the world!! 

Image courtesy of veranda.com

New York City

It is a great place to visit during the holidays. You should see the Rockefeller Center with its gigantic Christmas tree along with the iconic Rockefeller Center ice skating ring. Everything is nicely decorated, including Fifth Avenue windows, and you could visit Christmas markets and see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.  If you are local or just simply want to visit Brooklyn, it is exciting to see Dyker Heights Christmas Lights. Lots of light displays to enjoy. 

Image courtesy of centralmarketsineurope.com

Zagreb, Croatia 

The capital of Croatia, Zagreb is great to visit at any time; however, it is quickly becoming one of the best European Christmas Markets on the continent. It has won Best Christmas market for three years in a row. Advent or four weeks before Christmas starts on November 27th, so it is a great time to enjoy holiday festivities.

Image courtesy of forbes.com

Sun Valley, Idaho

Idaho is known for more than potatoes. If you are in the market for a winter wonderland vacation spot, Sun Valley, Idaho may just fit the bill. Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain have long been go-to winter spots for those ski aficionados. Still, there more to do in Sun Valley in the wintertime than ski. There is great snowshoeing, sleigh rides, dining, and shopping. The Opera House, built in 1937, is a great place to see movies or live performances. Hmm, warm coco and strong libations by a roaring fire. Sounds good to me!!

Tijana Ibrahimovic

American Ballet Theatre’s “The Dream” Has Charm, and Vibrancy but Lacks Nuance and Intention

Image courtesy of theballetherald.com

American Ballet Theatre (ABT) performed Frederick Ashton’s “The Dream” and Alexei Ratmansky “The Seasons” for ABT’s last day of the fall season at the David Koch Center for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. And this glorious fall season, ABT proved that the company dancers and the company at large are in good form after a challenging downtime period due COVID-1. While when the company first came back after COVID, some performances were not quite up to ABT’s high standard, but that all seems to be in the past now.

Scheduling Ashton’s “The Dream” as one of the last ballets at the end of the fall season was a great decision. “The Dream,” with all of its frivolity and charm, displays ABT’s fine qualities and leaves audience with rapturous fantasy with expectations of what this great American company will bring to its spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. And with the addition of some new principal dancers and newly promoted soloists, diehard New York audiences will undoubtedly thirst to see the development of these dancers in the upcoming spring season.

That said, Ashton’s “The Dream” is a very fine ballet that can show off some of ABT’s new talent and that the ballet did on this last day of their New York fall season. There are a few roles in “The Dream” that not only gives dancers the opportunity to show off their pyrotechnical skills but also their acting chops.

Image courtesy of nytimes.com

New ABT principal Daniel Carmargo replaced an injured Cory Stearns as Oberon. He was a fine Oberon, able to tackle the technical challenges of the role and fast allegro work aptly. And Carmargo did produce some of the soft, lilting quality that is so endemic to Ashton’ s choreography. Carmargo is a beautiful dancer with exquisite classical lines and big jumps and extensions. And he is the vein of taller male danseur nobles that are currently in almost every major ballet company. What Carmargo did lack in this role was Oberon’s mischievous, boy/king quality. Perhaps, Royal Ballet icon Anthony Dowell—Ashton’s original Oberon—should be called in to coach Carmargo and other ABT dancers so that they can capture the character’s whimsical qualities and boy/king precociousness.

Though Gillian Murphy still possesses incredible technical acumen after being at ABT for almost three decades, in the role of Titania she was miscast.  Murphy’s lines are beautiful, and her stage presence is a given, still, Murphy does not bring the melting lilt of movement that is so important to the role. This is not Russian Imperial Grand pas de deux; arms, legs, epaulement are much softer and curved.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Herman Cornejo, one of the best Pucks ever, still has it. His technical prowess has not diminished, and he really understands the role.

Courtney Shealy and Claire Davison were well suited to the roles of Helene and Hermia. And Roman Zhubin brings, as always, his wit and great acting skills to the lover Lysander.

What also stands out about this production of “The Dream” is how much better the production works on the stages of Lincoln Center compared to the smaller stage of City Center. Lush productions like “The Dream” need the breath, depth, and width of big stage. In this case, bigger is better.

Image courtesy of nytimes.com

Sergei Ratmansky’s “The Seasons” to music by Alexander Glazunov missed the mark and would have looked better on a smaller stage. Though the Glazunov is quite glorious—several of the musical choices came from Glazunov’s “Raymonda”—overall this ballet falls short of ABT’s standard.

What did shine in this work, was Ratmansky’s use of some ABT’s male principals and soloists, that are in many ways so different, each bringing a unique way of interpreting Ratmansky’s choreography. And some of ABT’s newly promoted female soloists and corps de ballet ladies were put to good use.

With Susan Jaffe taking over the helm from the soon-departing Kevin McKenzie, Jaffe is inheriting a company that is quite diverse with a wealth of talent and promise. When it comes to talent, ABT, perhaps, has not been this rich since the lates 70s and 80s.

—William S. Gooch

Seven End of Summer Refreshing Cocktails to Help You Beat the Heat

Image courtesy of qurikygroup.com

With August comes the highest temperatures of the summer, which means you try everything and anything to stay cool. Hopefully a cold, chilled cocktail will make the hot temperature a little more bearable. It is overwhelming with the amount of fun, trendy cocktails out there so, at Fashion Reverie, we have chosen the best cocktails to keep you cool during the summer heat and that look pretty enough for your Instagram.

Tequila Watermelon Aguas Fresca with Prosecco

Mexican folklore says that the first Agua Frescas were made by Aztecs, from fruits gathered around Tenochtitlán, which is now known as the historic center of Mexico City, chilled with ice from nearby dormant volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. Thankfully, the fruit and ice from your local store will work the same. The brightness of the watermelon juice makes this a drink that will for sure stand out at your next summer dinner party.

1 cubed and chilled seedless Watermelon

6 Limes thinly sliced

3 Mint sprigs, plus some extra for garnish

½ cup sugar

¾ cup tequila blanco

1 bottle chilled Prosecco

½ cup water

  1. In a small saucepan combine the water and sugar, and bring to a boil, making sure to stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Then transfer the simple syrup to a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. Using either a food processor or blender, blend the watermelon in batches until smooth. Then strain the puree into a large bowl or pitcher. Stir and add in the simple syrup, tequila, lime slices, 3 mint sprigs and ½ cup of water.
  3. To serve, pour the watermelon aqua fresca into your ice-filled glasses, making sure to leave some room at the top. Then top off the drinks with Prosecco and the extra mint leaves you have left for garnish. Enjoy!

Cutwater Cocktail Pops Pack of 12 $23.49

Cutwater has become one of the forerunners in the canned cocktail game and they are continuing their cocktail trajectory by entering the world of frozen cocktail popsicles. These are a great adult twist on the ice pops that everyone remembers enjoying as kids with 7% ABV. They are offered in flavors such as Tequila Margarita, Rum and Cola, Vodka Mule and Gin Melon. With all these flavor options, there is sure to be an option for everyone to cool down with.

Sangria

Throw in your favorite summer fruits and red wine over ice that creates a classic that people in the Mediterranean have been drinking for centuries to stay cool. Sangria is the drink of choice for many in the Mediterranean and it can soon become your favorite as well.

2 oranges, 1 for juicing and 1 for slicing

1 bottle Spanish red wine

1½ cups pomegranate juice, such as Pom Wonderful

⅓ cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau

¼ cup brandy or cognac

2 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 lemon

3 tablespoons sugar

1 large apple, chopped into ¼-inch pieces

½ cup pomegranate seeds

  1. Juice one of the oranges into a large pitcher. Cut the other orange in quarters, thinly slice, and set aside.
  2. Add the wine, pomegranate juice, orange liqueur, brandy (or cognac), lemon juice and sugar to the pitcher with the orange juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the apples, orange slices and pomegranate seeds. Refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours before serving. Serve in your best wine glasses and fill with ice.

Spa Girl Cocktails 12-Pack in Varying Flavors $44.99

These are the perfect canned cocktails for a person on the go that also pack a punch! If you are looking for a new canned cocktail to take on all your summer outings, look no further. Plus, these will look great peeking out of your favorite summer tote with the eye-catching packaging.

Spa Girl Cocktails come in both non-carbonated and sparkling flavors so there is an option for everyone. The non-carbonated flavors include Cucumber, Peach, and Pear and are 16.5% ABV. At 11.5% ABV the sparkling cocktail flavors include Fresh Mango, Pineapple, and Strawberry.

Frozerol

Nothing says summer like a frozen cocktail, and this new spin on the Aperol Spritz is sure to become a new favorite. Aperol has become a summer staple, but this is a great way to step up your cocktail game by blending in some orange popsicles.

200 ml Aperol

4 Orange flavored popsicles

450 g ice cubes

1 bottle of Prosecco

  1. Cut popsicles away from their sticks. Discard sticks, and blend popsicles 100ml (31/2fl oz) of the Aperol, the ice and the Prosecco into a food processor or blender till slushy. Pour into a pitcher and stir in remaining 100ml Aperol. Divide among 8 glasses and serve.

Tanqueray Crafted Gin Cocktails 4 pack $16.99

What’s better than a gin and tonic? A gin and tonic you can enjoy in the park. The Tanqueray Crafted Gin Cocktails in a can are available in three different flavors: Tanqueray Gin & Tonic, Tanqueray Rangpur Lime Gin & Soda, and Tanqueray Sevilla Orange Gin & Soda. The packaging on these Tanqueray cocktails is as sophisticated as the drink contents and are sure going to make people envious of your drink of choice.

Mojitos

This drink said to have originated in Cuba sometime in the 1500’s is a classic summer cocktail. With ingredients including lime and mint this is a fresh and bright cocktail that is guaranteed to keep you cool.

10 fresh mint leaves

½ medium lime, cut into 3 wedges, divided

2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste

1 cup ice cubes, or as needed

1 ½ fluid ounces white rum

½ cup club soda, or as needed

  1. Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler and crush to release mint oils and lime juice.
  2. Add remaining lime wedges and 2 tablespoons sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.
  3. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour in rum and fill the glass with club soda.
  4. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.

-Phoebe Howard

Fashion Reverie’s Summer 2022 Music Festival Roundup

Image courtesy of mintfestival.co.uk

With summertime in full swing, it feels like a music festival is happening almost every weekend which makes it hard to keep track of which one is happening and when. Because there are so many genres of music, everyone can find a music festival that they will enjoy. Fashion Reverie is here to give you a compact list of the music festivals that you should not miss.

Essence Music Festival June 30-July 3, 2022

The Essence Music Festival began in 1995 when Essence magazine was celebrating their 25th Anniversary. You can choose to purchase tickets for the concerts that take place at the Mercedes Superdome or choose to partake in the free activities that take place around New Orleans. Headliners for this year’s festival includes Kevin Hart, Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, and New Edition.

Palomino Festival July 9,2022

The Palomino Festival is a one-day festival that takes place at the Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Musicians playing at the first-ever Palomino Festival include Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, and Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit. There will be two stages, the Pancho and the Lefty Stages. This is a great festival for those who are country music lovers and are easing into the music festival scene.

Rolling Loud Miami July 22-24, 2022

Rolling Loud Miami takes place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. This festival has been taking place in Miami since 2015 when it was founded by two music promoters Matt Zingler and Tariq Cherif. The Frontliners this year include some of hip-hop’s biggest stars, Ye, Future, and Kendrick Lamar.  If you consider yourself a lover of hip hop and rap music this festival is a great one for you!

Watershed Country Music Festival July 29- 31, 2022

The Watershed Country Music Festival at The Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington is a great festival choice for those country music lovers out there.  Spanning over three days, this music festival is great for those who don’t care to camp as it is set in a more rural location. The headliners this year are Morgan Wallen, Miranda Lambert, and Kane Brown.

All images courtesy of their respective music festivals

Lollapalooza Chicago July 29-August 1, 2022

Lollapalooza Chicago is one of the most-known music festivals that happens every year. With Grant Park in Chicago, IL being the backdrop, this festival attracts over 400,000 attendees. Big names playing this year include Metallica, Dua Lipa, J. Cole, Green Day, Doja Cat, Machine Gun Kelly, and Lil Baby. These names and many more will be playing over the span of 4 days on 8 different stages.

—Phoebe Howard

Interior Designer and Art Director Emily Henson on Writing her Fifth Book, Color Aesthetics, and Introspection through Design

Images courtesy of PR Rep

Emily Henson, Interior Designer, Art Director, and Stylist, tells Fashion Reverie “there is always room for change and exploration.” Henson started designing fashion in Los Angeles and Seoul and has since moved into styling and set design for photography and film as well as writing interior design books and directing shoots in her Margate abode. For her, life is almost like a set where the pieces can be arranged to create new gorgeous combinations and feelings. The young girl bouncing around her mom’s London-based antique shop wearing oversized shoes on her feet and a 1940s fox fur stole around her neck is now writing her fifth book amongst the raw walls and exposed ceilings of her newly bought home, and still sees the world as a brightly lit house with an endlessly stretching ceiling.

Even though she has certainly grown into those antique shop oversized shoes, she’s always looking for something new to grow into. After creating her interiors blog in 2009, Life Unstyled, speaking on panels in Taiwan, and debuting four interiors books—Modern Rustic (2013), Bohemian Modern (2015), Life Unstyled (2016), Be Bold (2018) —Henson is writing her fifth book to be published in 2022 and creating a debut collection of home products.

The same eye that saw the beauty of lace-trimmed peach silks in her mother’s antique shop, now sees the beauty in pinks popping against bright whites and greens, florals arranged in a perfectly unruly fashion, and light seeping in the windows. Henson tells Fashion Reverie about her upcoming book, details her own unique aesthetic, and recounts special childhood memories. Read below for the full interview with Emily Henson!

Image courtesy of Instagram

Fashion Reverie: So first, we know you just started working on your fifth interiors book, congratulations! Is there anything you learned from the first four books that you are implementing this time around?

Emily Henson: Thank you! Since my first book, social media has blown up and I think this has affected some readers’ attention span. Now we consume content quicker and we want information faster. With this book I’ve tried to cater a little to this by writing in smaller chunks rather than lengthy chapters. However, I love the writing part of my books and I have some amazing loyal followers who do read the words rather than just flipping through the pictures. So, for them—and for me—I won’t dilute things too much just to be easily digestible. I’ve also focused more on offering precise details about what we feature—readers want to know paint colors and where a lamp is from. I still get emails with queries about a peach wall color three books ago!

FR: You started from fashion design to display design for Anthropologie which then brought you into interior design and art direction. Throughout history, fashion and interiors have always been closely related. For you, how do you view this relationship in 2022?

Emily Henson: I think they are more closely linked than ever before. Now, we have fashion designers creating homeware collections and interior designers collaborating with fashion brands. Perhaps it’s to do with the emergence of the lifestyle brand—one company to provide you with everything from socks to bed sheets and candles to lip gloss. The thinking goes, if I like a lamp you design, then I’ll probably like a dress, as well.

FR: You’ve lived in Los Angeles and London and I’m sure you have also traveled to other interesting places. Is there a certain interior aesthetic specific to one culture that is your favorite?

Emily Henson: When I lived in Los Angeles, I missed that eccentric, almost tongue-in-cheek British style that you don’t see as much there. I’m always drawn to interiors that are a bit imperfect whether that means a clash in colors or an unexpected mix of furniture and in Los Angeles, at least when I lived there, things seemed a bit more polished and perfect. Now that I’ve been back in the UK for over ten years, I miss that gorgeous Los Angeles light where you can have white walls and simple furniture and somehow it still glows. In general, I’m inspired by many places I’ve visited, from Texas to Tulum, but somehow, they all get blended with my own style to create an eclectic mélange.

Image courtesy of Instagram

FR: I really love your art as well as your styling, what art print of your own makes you the happiest? My personal favorite is the “Peonies in Bloom!”

Emily Henson: Thank you! My favorites of the current collection are Pinks & Stripes and Wild Bouquet which are different colorations of the same illustration. I loved drawing them and then experimenting with variations in color and seeing how it changes the way I feel about the piece.

FR: If you could create a floral arrangement that represents you best, what would it look like?

Emily Henson: My friend Yolly (@yolandachiaramello) is an incredible florist and her work is me in floral form! Mostly locally grown, the bouquets are a bit wild and unruly in a good way, with intoxicating colors, and versions of ordinary flowers you’ve never seen before (frilled and striped tulips!). They are tied with luxurious ribbons or displayed in vintage vases. If I were a bouquet, that would be it.

Image courtesy of Instargram

FR: Do you tend to gravitate toward a particular color palette in your interior design, art direction, and artwork?

Emily Henson: I’ve always been drawn to color in general, although for art direction for clients it’s all about their brief rather than my personal preference. In my own design and artwork, I’ve always loved to use a pop of red, rarely a popular color in interiors until recently! But mixed with pinks and greens and a backdrop of white—it’s my favorite.

FR: I love the passage in Be Bold when you compare a mosaic of tattoos to interior design in a home. You write that homes should reflect who we are. So, how does your home reflect who you are?

Emily Henson: My homes are always evolving, never done, experimental, a bit rough around the edges and that sums me up pretty well! I’m currently writing from what is essentially a building site—the new house I just bought—and I find it weirdly liberating sitting amidst raw walls and exposed ceilings. When a place is unfinished there is still so much possibility. I guess I feel that way about my life, too. There is always room for change and exploration.

FR: I saw on your Instagram that your mom had an antique shop in London when you were young, and you have fond memories of costume designers and actors coming in to find vintage pieces. Are there a few pieces you can remember seeing in the antique shop when you were young that you loved?

Emily Henson: Of course, this is very un-PC, and I’m also a vegetarian now, but I remember parading around with a fox fur from the 1940s around my neck, over my school uniform. The classic scene of a little girl with too big shoes on, parading around the shop with my fur. She also had this huge antique cabinet with drawers with glass handles—inside was the lingerie. Picture peach silk negligees and short sets with the daintiest lace edging. So beautiful.

Image courtesy of Instagram

FR: Whether you’re styling interiors, photoshoots, or writing your books, you spend a lot of your time creating mood boards. What type of mood/aesthetic do you often feel most inspired by?

Emily Henson: It changes as my life changes, but I am always drawn back to a backdrop of clean whites and neutrals with pops of color and soft pattern layered over. Fresh, light, a bit imperfect, color, but not too much. Nowadays, there also has to be a modern element, whereas 20 years ago I loved a similar look but a lot more retro/vintage.

—Tessa Swantek

 

Stay in touch with Emily Henson!

@emilyhensonstylist on Instagram

@lifeunstyled on Instagram

Lifeunstyledblog.com

Emilyhensonstudio.com

For Wedding Planner Gigi McDowell, Necessity Is Not Only the Mother of Invention, It Is Also Profitable

Wedding planner Gigi McDowell understands that necessity is the mother of invention. In fact, she lives it every day.

When Gigi hit a bump in the road when a friend could not afford her services as a wedding planner, Gigi found a solution for not just her friend but for other consumers. What started out as way to bring wedding vendors and service providers and consumer together has morphed into a viable, profitable business that is making waves in the wedding industry.

Gigi McDowell

Gigi McDowell took time from her very hectic schedule to talk to Fashion Reverie about her business, Fetefully, and how her  innovation is taking root in the wedding indust

Fashion Reverie: How did you develop this love for wedding planning?

Gigi McDowell: I first became interested in the wedding industry at a young age, from the age of five to be exact. I was looking at a bridal magazine, and without my mom’s knowledge, I secretly subscribed to that magazine.

FR: How did subscribe to a bridal magazine at that tender age?

Gigi McDowell: I am an only child and I have always been super independent. I loved the bridal publication that I was looking at and wanted to continue to get the magazine every month, so I decided to subscribe. I knew where my mother kept her credit cards, so I subscribe to that bridal publication with my mother’s credit card. When my mother got her credit statement, she couldn’t figure out how this bridal magazine subscription was on her monthly credit card statement. I finally confessed to my mother that had used her credit card to purchase the subscription.

My mother was shocked and flabbergasted why a young child would want a subscription to a bridal magazine. I explained to my mother that I wanted to be a wedding planner. Even though my mother supported my career aspirations, she didn’t take me seriously at that young age.

For my sixth birthday party, my mother allowed me to create a fake wedding as a theme for my birthday party. Everyone came to the party in their Sunday best, and I had a wedding cake as my birthday cake.

FR: How did you get started in the wedding planning business?

Gigi McDowell: I planned my first wedding when I was 13 years old. I was paid $250, which for me, at that time, was a fortune. And from there I stated planning weddings for fellow parishioners at my church. I also used to plan house parties for school classmates. I also helped plan events in college.

I was informed by a college professor that I would not be able to make enough money as a wedding planner. So, after college I took a job in another field, and I was miserable. This job was so horrible that I went back to my first love, planning weddings. And, I have not looked back since.

FR: You saw an opportunity in the wedding planner business, and you grabbed this opportunity. Could you talk about that?

Gigi McDowell: In was living in Oklahoma City and I had put a lot of work into my wedding planning business. I was trying to get high-end clients who could spend tens of thousands of dollars on their weddings. I want to get those kinds of clients where your creativity can soar, and not have a limited budget.

I had a client who knew my work because I had planned her brother’s wedding. This client’s budget was much smaller, and she was having trouble paying for my services. I referred her to wedding planning books and wedding planning services online. She informed me that she had tried those options but that these alternatives were not working for her.

Because I was deep into planning her wedding and I knew her family very well, I decided to plan her wedding at no charge. At that time, my wedding planning business was my only source of income, so working from free was not an option I could take on more than one time.

Also, I was encountering wedding industry professionals who had to take on jobs outside of the wedding industry just to make ends meet. From those two conflicts I produced a concept that brings consumers who cannot afford a wedding planner together with industry professionals in need of more work opportunities. And that is how I started Fetefully.

Fetefully ensures that every bride can have the wedding of her dreams, regardless of budget, culture, or location. Fetefully helps to eliminate all the stress and expectations that come with planning a wedding. As I researched more deeply, I learned that there a more than 2 to 3 million weddings in the US and only a fourth of those weddings employ a wedding planner. And that is due to what is perceived as the unaffordability of a wedding planner. Fetefully helps to bring all the wedding services to together so that your very special day is more affordable.

FR: What is the cost of a typical wedding planner?

Gigi McDowell: It depends on the experience of the wedding planner and what you want that wedding planner to do. The mid-tier price of a wedding planner is $8,000 to $10,000, and luxury planners charge upward of $30,000. You have day coordinators who charge around $1,500 for the day. There is a wide spectrum of price points.

FR: What services does Fetefully offer?

Gigi McDowell: Everything for ideation to getting the bride down the aisle.  We have a service where we can design your wedding and that includes everything that comes with that special day. Whether that is your table scape, flowers, your wedding dress, and everything that can be put on social media. We also help supply coordination and vendor management. Additionally, we can help you negotiate contracts with vendors and other service providers. We can supply day planners that show up on the day of the wedding and help execute from beginning to end.  And, you can customize our services to meet your needs.

FR: What are the price points?

Gigi McDowell: Our price points start at $99 for style and design to $1200 for a full-service wedding planner. You can break payments down to monthly payments. And if you choose the $1200 plan, you have 15 months to pay that off.

FR: I noticed that you have included same-sex couples wedding planning. Could you talk about that?

Gigi McDowell:  My best friend is in a same-sex relationship, and I helped plan her wedding. I witnessed how hard it was for her to plan her wedding and celebrate love. Watching her journey helped me to understand the challenges that same-sex couples face. No one should be denied love and happiness, so I was purposeful in ensuring that Fetefully had services that catered to the LGBTQ-plus community.

FR: What is one of the biggest mistakes brides make when planning their wedding?

Gigi McDowell: The biggest mistake is not hiring a wedding planner. A wedding planner can assist you in building out a timeline and how your wedding day will progress. You have to be very particular about how you plan out that weekend. There is always something that is going to come up. However, if you take a little bit of time to troubleshoot those things that could happen, you will be prepared.

FR: How has the wedding planning industry changed in the last few years?

Gigi McDowell: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the wedding industry. Many vendors have closed shop and supply chains and availability of product has become more challenging. Things that you never imagined would be in short supply have become harder to access. The cost of things has increased because of a lack of availability.

One of the benefits of the health pandemic is that consumers ahve became more comfortable accessing services and vendors online. And of course, that has helped Fetefully because we are an online vendor.

FR: How has your business survived during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have you had to make any substantive adjustments?

Gigi McDowell: At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we were only a year in business.  We went from trying to convince consumers that we were a viable and necessary entity to consumers understanding that they really do need Fetefully.

At Fetefully, we make sure we have enough resources to meet consumers’ needs. When COVID-19 pandemic hit we helped a lot of consumers with the rescheduling of their weddings. Over time, the health pandemic has put Fetefully in a good spot, facilitating our value to consumers.

Images courtesy of GiGi McDowell

FR: What’s next for you?

Gigi McDowell: We have a software platform coming out that will help consumers manage their entire wedding using our software. We will also be adding a celebrity planner component.

William S. Gooch

 

Mark Eric Talks about His Costumes for Ballet Hispanico’s “Dona Peron”

 

Image courtesy of Ballet Hispanico

When thinking of career transitions, rarely do you hear of someone who transitions from classical musician to fashion designer to stage costume designer. And even more rare is the segue to designing for elite American dance companies—Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, The Paul Taylor Dance Company, just to name a few.

Well, Mark Eric is just that breakout artist. Following the beat of his own drum, Mark Eric made that precarious transition and is rapidly becoming one of the emerging go-to costume designers for dance companies. Though not a Santo Loquasto or Barbara Karinska, two legendary dance costume designers, quite yet Mark is certainly on his way. And his design acumen will be front and center in Ballet Hispanico’s new production of “Dona Peron.”

Mark Eric took out time from his busy schedule to talk to Fashion Reverie about his art, his craft, and his love of all things beautiful.

Mark Eric

Fashion Reverie: You are graduate of FIT and started out designing for several fashion houses. Could you talk about that?

Mark Eric: My background is in classical music and played for operas and musicals. I become entranced with the stage costumes of the productions where I worked as a musician. I graduated my music program for the University of the Pacific, while there I worked in the costume design department at my university. And decided after graduation that I wanted to become a fashion designer.

 I received a career transition opportunity at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). The program is a concentrated, one-year program. The program at FIT is for people who are looking to transition into a career in fashion after having worked in another field or discipline.

After graduating from FIT, I went into an internship and my fashion concentration was women’s eveningwear. And that where I mostly stayed for the bulk of my fashion design career.

FR: Which New York City fashion houses did you design for?

Mark Eric:  I worked for Marchesa and worked also for Monique Lhuillier. It found it very interesting working for Monique Lhuillier in that I traveled between Los Angeles and New York City frequently. I loved that she had her clothes made in the US.

I worked for Monique Lhuillier for four years, mostly on her diffusion line. But after working for Lhuillier for four years, I concluded that fashion design, particularly ladies’ eveningwear, was not for me.

FR: Transitioning from designing luxury evening to creating stage costumes is a huge move. How did that all come about?

Mark Eric: I did like working for Monique Lhuiller, it was really inspiring, sourcing all the fabric; however, I missed working for the arts. The business of fashion is based mostly on commerce and can get grubby. At the end of the day, fashion is about mass consumption. I had fantasized about fashion through the lens of haute couture of the 1950s and 60s and fashion has moved way past that.

So, I made the decision to step away from fashion and regroup. And did all this with no job, no next opportunity. I just took the leap and followed my heart, which was a year of soul searching.

My first position outside of fashion was working as wardrobe supervisor for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company. I got the job six month after I applied and I did not expect to hear anything, but they finally contacted me. They were willing to work with me and what I could bring to that position.

Image courtesy of timeout.com

FR: Your bio details that you work with specific choreographers, namely Robert Battle, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Rennie Harris, and others. Why the association with these choreographers?

Mark Eric: I found great mentorship while working for Ailey and the folks at Ailey helped me on the path to finding out what I really wanted to do. While I was at Ailey, I made great connections that served me well as I segued from wardrobe director to costume designer. Many of the choreographers I work with, I met while working at Ailey because they were creating new ballets for the Ailey company.

I happen to work with a wide variety of choreographers who are developing work in their realm. The huge dichotomy of dance idioms that these choreographers work in keeps me always searching for new ways in which the stage costumes can push the story forward and adapt to all the different dance styles.

FR: When you are creating stage costumes for a new dance work, are you sketching and sewing all the costumes, or do you have a team that assist you throughout this process?

Mark Eric: Every process is different, and I work with dance companies that are at various levels of organization from grassroots dance companies to companies that have great resources, like American Ballet Theatre. Ballet X, out of Philadelphia, is medium-sized dance company so their resources can be a little limited; however, I can still produce functional, great stage costumes for dance companies at that level.

At the bigger dance companies, it is more about leading the process from concept, sketch, and research to final product, than sewing the costumes myself. I can employee garment builders in the industry to help realize my vision. I am fortunate to work with four great costume houses—Eric Winterling, Jon Christensen, Colin Davis Jones, and Bethany Joy Costumes.

Sketches courtesy of Mark Eric

FR: Do you have to consider different fabric choices when designing for dancers, and if so, why?

Mark Eric: The primary function of designing dance costumes for the stage is that the costumes do not limit the range of movement of the dancer, especially when it comes to contemporary dance because no movement expression is off the table. There may be a more limited range of movement in ballet of the Petipa period. However, in contemporary dance, the dancer could be tossed in the air in an unusual way or be balled up on the floor and turned upside down. There are no restrictions on the dance lexicon.

For Ballet Hispanico’s “Dona Peron,” I had a particular challenge because this ballet lives in the realm of theatre and contemporary dance. “Dona Peron’s” choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is all about storytelling, and she tells the story of this epic historical figure, Eva Peron.

It was a big move on Ballet Hispanico’s part not to reference the movie or the musical “Evita.” In other words, they wanted to recoat the story. Their Eva Peron story is coming out of their own vision.

For “Dona Peron,” the fabrics must move and stretch with the dancers and the fabrics must also maintain a certain structure because the dance work will be performed several times. It is a definite challenge to find fabrics that relate to the story and reflect that period, but also the dancers can perform in.

Although spandex has a lot of stretch and durability, I did not want to use spandex because Eva Peron was a very elegant woman and would not wear spandex. Luckily, the fabric industry is creating more stretchable fabrics.

FR: What fabric choices or blends did you use for “Dona Peron”?

Mark Eric: The military outfits have military regalia for the male-presenting corps de ballet. We had to find fabrics that looked wool. We could not use wool because wool does not work well with sweat and water. We used cotton blends and fabrics that had a small percentage of cotton wool.

I also like to use crepe fabric that resembles wool. And you can now find great Japanese crepe fabrics. They are a little expensive, but what you get for the price, the fabrics works out very well. And some of the Japanese crepes have a bit of stretch from the lycra blend in the crepes.

For women-presenting dancers we used similar cotton blends and stretch lycra. We use a bobbing net which is a kind of crepe tulle. We also developed boned corsets for the ladies in some of the costumes, which is a nod to the classical ballet world. The costume is a romantic tutu of sorts. It is similar to the Dior silhouette of the late 1940s.

Images courtesy of Mark Eric

FR: Where you inspired by the silhouettes of the late 1940s and 50s for “Dona Peron”?

Mark Eric: We did look at the actual images of Eva Peron from that era. However, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa wanted to abstract that 1940s and 50s look so that the stage costumes would not be a direct representation of that period. We felt the “Evita” stage and film productions had done an excellent job presenting Eva Peron of that period, so we did not want to copy that.

FR: What’s next for you?

Mark Eric: I am moving directly into my next project which is designing stage costumes for another dance work. I have three new ballets for Ballet X that need costumes, one of those ballets is a work by Anabelle Lopez Ochoa, and a ballet with Jamar Roberts. My next big scale work is for the Paul Taylor Dance Company in the fall.

—William S. Gooch

Wilfredo Emanuel of “Table Wars” Gives Great Spring Tips for Sprucing Up Your Home and Workspace

Image courtesy of Naples Illustrated

Fashion Reverie: What got you first interested in interior design in your home country of Puerto Rico?

Spring is finally here. Well, if you live on the East Coast, it doesn’t feel like it. At any rate, with the return of spring comes some very essential housecleaning, physical and emotional.

Remember, spring is the time of rebirth. It’s time to start anew with a new sense of purpose and creativity. And why not start by redecorating and giving a new identity to your home and workspace.

As most folks are still working from home, Fashion Reverie thought it would be great to speak with interior designer extraordinaire Wilfredo Emanuel. As one of the stars of HGTV’s “Table Wars,” Wilfredo Emanuel shared with Fashion Reverie some of his life experiences and some great tips for revitalizing your home and work-from-home-space for the current spring season.

Wilfredo Emanuel: In Puerto Rico, I was studying architecture. My grandfather was an architecture building bridges and buildings in Puerto Rico. At that time, there were no interior design courses in Puerto Rico. I didn’t even now you could have a career in that field. There was this interior design event at my university, and I attended the event and that was my first exposure to interior design as an occupation.

I learned so much at that event. I hadn’t even considered that after a building or house was constructed that someone designed the interior. I immediately switched my career aspirations to becoming an interior designer and here we are!!

FR: While working on your architectural degree Puerto Rico, you studied abroad in London. Why the study in London and what was your experience there?

Wilfredo Emanuel: I went to London on a summer student exchange program. London was a bit of a culture shock for me. I grew up in the countryside of Puerto Rico because my family owned a few coffee farms. At that time, Puerto Rico didn’t have a whole lot of tall buildings and I had never lived in a big metropolis, so many things were new for me.

London was also my first trip out of Puerto Rico alone. I really enjoyed the experience. While in London, I observed all the incredible architectural styles. I was still an architecture student during my stay in London; however, my summer study there convinced me that I should go into interior design.

FR: You also studied in Italy where you concentrated on classic design.

Wilfredo Emanuel: Correct. I love classic design because in that discipline you learn how to create an ambience and a mood that perfectly fits a particular room. Classic design entails creating an experience for different parts of the home.

There were many stately mansions and homes in Europe and many of these structures would have a great foyer to receive guests, a library, a tearoom, huge dining areas, and other living spaces, maybe even a ballroom. All these spaces reflected how people of great wealth lived and how they entertained. All these spaces had a pattern and were connected to other parts of the house in a particular way. Even the surrounding gardens and landscape reflected those patterns and curves and the interior design had to reflect the patterns and harmonious flow of the homes.

Of course, most people don’t live like that now, even if they have great wealth. But there are ways to incorporate elements of classic design into a home. Modern living centers mostly on relaxation and having casual living spaces. And like fashion, elements of interior design come into style and go out of style.

Some years ago, home theaters were the order of the day and then slowly that expression of modern living went out of style as families wanted to enjoy entertainment outside of the home. Now, home theaters are coming back in vogue due partly to the COVID-19 pandemic. I even have some clients that want to create a clubroom in their home. They feel that it would be a safer more controlled environment to have a clubroom in their home. My clients want more interactive spaces with everyone in the same room.

Image courtesy of Facebook

FR: Now you have been living in the US and working in Naples, Florida for 10 years. Why did you come to the US?

Wilfredo Emanuel: I first came to US on vacation after working as an interior designer in Puerto Rico and opening an interior décor firm in the Dominican Republic. I came to Orlando, Florida to visit Mickey Mouse’s house and while in Orlando I met this incredible woman who worked for Dior. She facilitated me getting a job at Dior, where I worked for about a year. However, I realized I missed interior design.

Because I was now living in the States, I had to get certified in interior design. And once I had my certification I was employed by a firm in Orlando. I have now been in Naples, Florida 10 years with my own interior design firm.

Image courtesy of gulfshorelife.com

FR: We know that you are on the HGTV show “Table Wars.” How did that come about?

Wilfredo Emanuel: “Table Wars” came about in an interesting way. I always look at the awards shows on TV and all the red-carpet fashion. I received a call about being on “Table Wars” on HGTV. At first, I thought it was a prank call; however, everything turned out to be legitimate.

FR: How did the producers of “Table Wars’ find out about you?

Wilfredo Emanuel:  We create a lot of table landscapes for charity in Naples, Florida. We had created a landscape table for an elite club, Naples Stables. I had created a particularly beautiful table that seated 24 that was inspired by a chess match. Someone from “Table Wars” saw the table and contacted me about being on the show And, it has been an incredible experience.

Image courtesy of wilfredoemanueldesigns.com

FR: What is one common mistake consumers make when it comes to interior design?

Wilfredo Emanuel: One of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is trying to decorate their homes themselves. People think hiring an interior designer is expensive or out of their budget range; however, many interior designers are quite affordable and most do-it-yourself home projects end of costing the consumer more money than if they had hired a professional interior designer. Most consumers don’t have the expertise or background knowledge of knowing what color palettes work well or which furniture and fixings work best in the space according to the size of the space.

FR: You have worked with several celebrities. What has been your best celebrity experience?

Wilfredo Emanuel: My best experience is walking on a celebrity red carpet with one of my celebrity clients.  And sitting in the movie theater at the premiere of the film with all those film stars, stars that you idolize. It was a very exciting night. I have to say that many of my celebrity clients have become personal friends.

Can you give consumers some tips on how to brighten their home for work-from-home space for spring 2022?

Wilfredo Emanuel: OK, a few tips. Select a place in your home where you are very comfortable. Remember, you are going to spend a long time sitting and working in that space. This space could be in front of a beautiful window or in front of some favorite wall art. I work with lots of colors every day, so I want my workspace to be in neutral tones. Working around neutral tones increases my creativity.

Because we are in the era of luxury comfort, place comfortable furniture that denotes luxury in your workspace that make your feel special. Since you will be spending 8 hours or more working in that space, it is some important to be comfortable and happy.

FR: Are there any color schemes that are on-trend that consumers should consider?

Wilfredo Emanuel: Rounded furniture or furniture with curves in on trend right now. Boucle fabric is on trend, as well. So rounded furniture in boucle fabrications is very popular. This trend matches the casual, comfortable mood that is being expressed.

We are moving away from sharp lines or minimalistic approaches to design. Very berry is the pantone color that is on trend for spring 2022. This can be paired with gold and silver. For this spring season, remember, your color palette should be soft and reflect luxury and comfort. You should use very monochromatic tone structures for this spring season. In essence, you are seeing these same color palettes on the fashion runways.

FR: What’s next for you?

Wilfredo Emanuel: Hmm, what is not? I am so fortunate to have had the opportunities in my life that has advanced my career. I have an amazing supportive team around me. I am currently working on a coffee table book about my life, my travels, and all the amazing experiences I have had. I also will be branding some products that reflect my lifestyle.

—William S. Gooch

Your Favorite Celebrities’ Favorite Winter Vacation Spots

Image courtesy of hello!magazine.com

January is literally slipping away, and many are wondering where to travel this year, particularly if you live on the East Coast where temperatures are frigid. We are all sort of used to having to COVID test, take precautions, and check COVID-19 rules updates as well as new variants. Still, but many consumers have decided to deal with all the inconsistencies of our current existence and just a live “normal” life. That includes vacations!  Have that passport ready?  Fashion Reverie has great destination suggestions inspired by our favorite celebrities.

Image courtesy of bahamas.com

Bahamas 

Now we had to kick off this list with a destination of a celebrity couple that everyone has their eyes on. Pete Davison and Kim Kardashian started off 2022 in the Bahamas. Now they are probably looking for something a little more secluded; however, in this beautiful paradise, there are so many options. You can choose to have an activities-filled experience or just enjoy the gorgeous weather and the beach. Either way it is an amazing location unless you get invited to the Fyre Festival. In that case, we insist you decline that invite. 

Images courtesy of times of India

Lisbon, Portugal 

This is a place ideal for any time of the year. Though it is in Europe, there is an exotic flair to Lisbon. There are mild temperatures, happy welcoming locals, delicious foods, and Fado.  So much to explore and you just might run into Cristiano Ronaldo or his look alike! 

Image courtesy of cnn.com

Dubai, UAE

Dubai has been such a popular destination and super accessible. So, we see lots of celebrities popping in and out, flying to Dubai even for just an event, a fashion show or Dubai Expo. Known for its luxurious standards you can run into almost any celebrity or even a royal. Now the tip here is if your pockets are deep enough, you will feel like a royal in Dubai.

Image courtesy of thenomadvisor.com

Vienna, Austria

Shaped by residents like Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud, Vienna is known for its Imperial palaces. Just being the Imperial City with the baroque architecture, you will feel elevated and simply enriched. Now if you have a sweet tooth there is lots to explore when it comes to traditional Sacher torte and famous Viennese cafes.  You might see Christoph Walz, Kim Kardashian, and Daniel Craig.

Image courtesy of danaberez.com

Mykonos, Greece 

Greece has always been on the radar of many celebrities, especially if you can remember Lindsey Lohan’s dance on the island of Mykonos. She even had a Beach Club there that has since closed. This island is known for its great service, knowing how to handle their guests’ privacy and best summer parties. 

Image courtesy of shermanstravel.com

Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii is often included in people’s lifetime bucket list. This is not a surprise given the island’s gorgeous flora and fauna and even one of the US President’s birthplace. Maui seems to be most popular though and is frequently visited by the famous. Some even own properties on the island—Oprah Winfrey, Willie Nelson, Owen Nelson, and Jennifer Lopez. Is it time to check it off Hawaii from your list of places to visit in 2022?  To do it!!

Image courtesy of pods.com

Miami, Florida

Miami is a place crawling with celebrities at any time of the year. Miami is easily accessible to those who live in the US and is easily reached from other countries. Miami is perfect for a “metropolitan” vacation experience. After all, half of New York City moves to Miami in the winter time’s blistery weather in the Northeast and Midwest. Now if you are not a party goer and prefer quiet vacation you might look into staying closer to Star Island. Ideal for spotting celebrities—Snoop Dog, Cardi B, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Pete Davidson, and Julia Fox. 

—Tijana Ibrahimovic

2021 Holiday Fun and Frolics: Drinking and Dining Roundup

Oh the difference a year makes! We’re back to eating indoors surrounded by family and friends (or maybe just some drunk strangers). We can enjoy restaurants this holiday season and indulge in some Christmas feasting. Queen Elizabeth has a holiday tradition where Christmas guests are weighed upon arrival for the holiday to ensure they gain at least 2 pounds before they go. Who are we to question the Queen? Fashion Reverie has curated a list of places perfect for Yuletide noshing in all your favorite cities. Get ready to unbuckle that belt!

Please note that all these restaurants require proof of vaccination and some restaurants have been having trouble getting fully staffed, so be patient and make sure you tip 20%.

New York City

Bice Cucina

Fashion Reverie ADORES this restaurant. If you are looking for a relaxing evening in a spot with plenty of space in midtown, you can’t go wrong with the northern Italian cuisine of Bice Cucina. Located at 62 W 55th Street, this New York favorite began in Soho and announced its Midtown location in 2018.

The delectable menu features Italian classics such as osso bucco, lobster tagliatelle, ravioli massaia, and veal Milanese. Newer dishes include sandwiches and varieties of pinsa—a Roman flatbread—which required special equipment brought in from Italy. According to co-owner Peter Guimaraes, it’s made with three flours and is “lighter, crisper, and uses less oil” than traditional pizza.

Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge

Getting sick of green and red? Head to Moxie in Times Square. Magic Hour, their rooftop bar, is recreating their popular Pink Lodge for the holidays. Featuring pink hot chocolate, pink s’mores and pink bling donut rings, the bar is a dream for Instagrammers as it is dripping with 25,000 sparkling pink crystals. There is no place better for relaxing or posing. Children are welcome at weekend brunches but must be gone by 7pm.

Ophelia Lounge NYC

If you’re looking for a luxury upscale experience, look no further than the snow globe in the sky that is The Ophelia Lounge at the top of the Beekman tower. Thousands of crystals and sparkling snowflakes hang from the ceiling in the bar area and in the 360° greenhouse terrace where you have an amazing view of midtown Manhattan and Long Island City. Tuck into their expertly crafted themed cocktails and delicious bites. Fashion Reverie recommends their deviled eggs, as the chef takes this ordinary party food and elevates it to haute cuisine.

Rolf’s

If you’re looking for something a bit more lowkey and family friendly, Rolf’s is perfect. It will feel like you’re eating inside a Christmas tree. This is luscious, decadent, German food that will put you in a coma.  However, it does get extremely popular during December, particularly during dinner. Reservations aren’t recommended, they are mandatory.

 

Los Angeles

Tam O’Shanter in Atwater Village

This Scottish steakhouse features carolers strolling from table to table during the month of December. It’s the perfect place for a family to gather for a fun meal. And if you want to ignore your crazy uncle’s comments about politics, they also have holiday-themed craft cocktails and of course, flights of excellent Scotch.

Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks

Looking for some excellent Mexican food in a relaxed casual atmosphere that is decorated to the ceiling with boughs of holly? Casa Vega is the sort of place where you will just as easily run into a Kardashian as well as your tax accountant. Make sure you have Lyft on speed dial if you decide to partake of their Margarita happy hour. This place is known for its strong drinks.

 

Washington, DC

Archipelago

Archipelago will be donning its gay apparel and using the rum for something other than eggnog, so ring in the holidays at your favorite tiki bar! It will also feature all of Sippin’ Santa’s fabulous and delicious cocktails. Fashion Reverie will be ordering the Rum Rum Rudolph shots and after what happened at last year’s holiday party, hiding everyone’s phones.

Garden District 
Another fun option. Get transported to Bavaria, the part of Germany that does Christmas like no other, but add propane heaters, American holiday tunes, and so-tacky-it’s-adorable decorations. There is of course plenty of beer, themed craft cocktails and what some insist is the best pulled pork in all of DC.

 

Chicago

Frosty’s Christmas Bar

This windy city offering is a winter wonderland for adults. The décor looks like your drunk aunt was given a $10,000 gift card at Walmart and spent every last penny clearing out the Christmas aisle. Frosty’s Christmas Bar features a total of four bars on three levels and runs up to 4 am. The perfect place for adults to dance up a storm while downing adult beverages with a group of friends.

 

Seattle

5 Point Café

Celebrate Christmas in the shadow of the Space Needle. The old school, diner-style holiday menu at the 5 Point features a choice of rosemary garlic-crusted prime rib or a deep-fried turkey dinner, pecan chocolate or pear apple ginger pie from A La Mode Pies for dessert, and drink specials like a Kahlua chili chocolate White Russian or spiked peppermint hot cocoa. This tavern has become enshrined as a Seattle legend for a reason.

 

Miami

Images courtesy of the respective restaurants and bars

Miracle on Rosemary

Are you tired of shopping and family and looking for a low-key place to kick back and enjoy some kitschy décor with some yummy food? The Christmas-themed, pop-up bar Miracle on Rosemary is spreading good cheer with special Christmas cocktails and menu items like eggnog-soaked pancakes. Reservations are recommended as when it popped up last year lines were out the door!

—Cameron Grey Rose

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