Shoes for the Party in my Future!

melissashoes-7At the start of the New Year, as I cleaned out my closet, I was left with a dilemma: what to do with my fancy, Dolce & Gabbana party shoes? The truth is that I don’t wear the shoes often. I have worn them but I don’t have much occasion to wear fancy silver shoes. But the reason I bought them is the same reason that I have kept them: for the party in my future. What is that saying: dress for the job you want? I am a dreamer for sure and I often find myself thinking of dressing for the life I want! And in my dreams is an elegant party where I will dress to the nines in my fancy art deco D&G shoes. That is why they are still in my closet and will remain there – even after my closet cleanse and after the purge. Because there is a voice inside me telling me to be ready … for the party in my future.

Photos by Lauren Hagerstrommelissashoes-5

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The Dreams of a Young Model

Kayla Odenthal

Kayla Odenthal – Photo Credit Jeananne Sizemore, Art Whims Photography

Dreams and dreamers come in all shapes and sizes. I met a young 18-year old woman named Kayla Odenthal, a small-town girl from a neighboring city of Portland, Oregon – just across the river in Washington State. Kayla is studying to be a nurse, working at Hollister (her first job), and about to start her new job as a certified nursing assistant! But with all this going on and in Kayla’s words, “as crazy as it may sound,” she also dreams of modeling. In pursuit of this passion, Kayla has done a promotional shoot for Avari Magazine. She is not signed to an agency at the moment, but is planning to build a portfolio and submit it to agencies as soon as she can. Kayla has had a love of fashion since middle school, when she started reading Teen Vogue and Seventeen Magazine. However, at 5’3″ Kayla is considered petite for a model. Says she: “I know that I have a hard road ahead of me with my careers and education, but I look forward to the journey!” Here is more from this 18-year old dreamer …

MKG: You mention being interested in fashion and modeling since middle school, when you started reading teenage fashion magazines. When did the notion go from an idea to a true pursuit?

KAYLA:  I never really took modeling seriously until this year. Previously, I thought that you had to be tall and thin and have that “perfect” body, as seen in most magazines. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized anyone can model; the type of modeling that is right for each individual just varies. I tried submitting some simple photos of myself when I was in middle school, but I was turned down. I felt hopeful, but at the time I didn’t have the confidence to try again. That changed when I met with the photographer for my high school senior portraits, Jeananne Sizemore of Avari MagazineContinue reading

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Francesca’s Chapter Two Collaboration with Marchesa

Francesca with found

Francesca (center) collaborated with Marchesa co-founders, Keren Craig (left) and Georgina Chapman (right) on a dress for actress Naomi Watts: Photo Credit: Kent Meiste

Naomi Watts at The Cannes Film Festival, in her gown designed by Marchesa and Francesca

Naomi Watts at The Cannes Film Festival, in her gown designed by Marchesa and Francesca

Six months ago, in a small restaurant in New York City, Francesca Azzara and her husband were enjoying a quiet dinner. They started having a conversation with a woman who happens to cast people for reality television shows, and the rest, as they say, is history. Francesca was later cast in an online commercial for Prudential Financial Services, as part of its Chapter Two Campaign, celebrating retirement and retirees. As a result, Prudential gave Francesca, a real estate agent, her very own ‘Chapter Two:’ the chance for her to live out a dream of a lifetime and collaborate with luxury eveningwear brand, Marchesa. Together, Francesca with co-founders Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, created a gown for actress Naomi Watts. I discovered Francesca’s Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts, last night on Twitter, tracked down Francesca immediately, and talked about what this commercial, what this experience, what this moment has meant for her and where she will go from here. Francesca tells her story

“The commercial developed very quickly. In the course of one weekI had several conversations, created six sketches of evening gowns overnight for approval, and was eventually selected to be filmed to work with a fashion house to design an evening gown for an actress to wear at an awards show; all of it, part of a Chapter Two story of a new kind of retirement. At first, I didn’t know with whom I would be working. Eventually, I found out I would be collaborating with two, young, amazing, and incredibly talented designers who co-founded the brand, Marchesa: Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, to create a gown for actress Naomi Watts …

This was a dream come true for me. I had gone to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and majored in apparel design. Continue reading

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