Thursday, 11 September 2014

Federal agents seize $75 million in L.A. Fashion District raid

When a Mexican drug cartel took a U.S. citizen hostage for a cocaine debt two years ago, it demanded his family deliver $140,000 in ransom to QT Maternity, a wholesaler selling pastel tank tops and ruched swimsuits in downtown Los Angeles.

Federal agents on Wednesday raided that store and others in the bustling fashion district, seizing more than $75 million they declared “blood money.”

Calling Los Angeles the “epicenter” of money laundering for Mexican cartels, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert E. Dugdale said some fashion district merchants accept huge sums of cash stuffed in duffel bags, boxes and luggage carried into their stores, sometimes by strangers.

Relatives of the man being held hostage took cash to QT Maternity, according to indictments unsealed Wednesday, charging that business and two others with money laundering. The payment secured his release from a ranch in Culiacán, Sinaloa, where over 62 days he was beaten, shot, electrocuted and waterboarded.

On Wednesday, some 1,000 officers searched 19 stores, six large warehouses and numerous homes.

Cartels seek to exchange for pesos the dollars collected from such ransoms and the sale of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin in the United States, officials said.

Under deals arranged by “peso brokers,” fashion district vendors in return for the cash send their goods to businesses in Mexico. There, the goods are sold for pesos that are eventually routed to drug traffickers.

Agents found $10 million in a duffel bag at a Bel-Air mansion and $35 million in bankers boxes in a Los Angeles condo.

“This is blood money. ...When narcotics proceeds are laundered and funneled back to the street to drug cartels, it contributes to violence, pain and bloodshed,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Authorities arrested nine people, including QT Maternity owner Andrew Jong Hack Park, 56, of La Cañada-Flintridge and manager Sang Jun Park, 36, of La Crescenta.

Two other indictments named Yili Underwear and Gayima Underwear and Pacific Eurotex, Corp.

In two stings tied to Wednesday’s raid, undercover agents delivered bundles of cash to merchants, some of it wrapped in dryer sheets or cellophane. One accepted the money, even though some of the bills appeared to be spattered in blood, officials said.

Not all fashion district merchants deal in large cash transactions, and some said they only accept credit cards and checks. Source

New York Fashion Week Spring 2015: Best Street

Take it outside, ladies!
We're talking about the killer street style off the runway at New York Fashion Week, of course. The curbside outfits haven't disappointed, and if we didn't know any better we might confuse the sidewalk with the catwalk.
The first trend we've noticed? Menswear, with Jackie Swerz leading the pack styling a tuxedo-esque blazer over a feminine ruffled dress. Leaning towards the ultra-feminine end of the spectrum is Naya Dem in a navy fit-and-flare dress with a white zipper detail.Source

New Generation Of Latina Designers At New York Fashion Week

NEW YORK, NY -- Fashionistas everywhere are closely following the action during New York’s Fashion Week, showcasing the latest spring/summer 2015 collections of big names like Narciso Rodriguez, Carolina Herrera or Maria Cornejo. Yet a new generation of ambitious but lesser known Latina designers hope their participation in an event geared for up-and-coming style makers is their golden ticket to exposure in the coveted fashion world.
“I truly believe it is the ideal platform for any independent designer who wants to enter the market in the United States” said Sofia Arana, 22, from San Juan, Puerto Rico about Nolcha Fashion Week, a three-day runway event during New York Fashion Week geared toward discovering and promoting new talent. For the past six years, over 200 designers from around the world have shown their creations to audiences which include supermodels like Christi Turlington and Coco Rocha as well as celebrities like Jenni Garth. 
Models walk the runway during the Sofia Arana show at Nolcha Fashion Week New York Spring Collections 2015 during NY Fashion Week on Sept. 8, in New York City.

Though Arana's designs have garnered extensive press in the island and sales in exclusive boutiques, this is the first time she is showcasing her collection at Nolcha. "My line is for a contemporary woman who is very aware of the ultimate fashion trends, but she doesn’t want to be a fashion victim," said Arana of her "classic but trendy" collection, which incorporates muted tones in cotton and lace and was inspired by an imaginary garden of flowers.  Source

How to dress for fashion week

From last-minute panic buying to how to sprint in heels, Jess Cartner-Morley on what she has learned about style from 15 years of attending fashion weeks
Jess Cartner-Morley sitting front row at Mulberry’s spring/summer 2013 show during London Fashion Week Photograph: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images
Imagine if you had to go to a super glamorous party full of incredibly well-dressed people with sky-high taste and really thin legs. And while you were there you had to have various impromptu high-level meetings with the 10 people in the world who are probably most important to your career. This party would start at 9am and go on till around midnight. It would involve some fairly lengthy hikes and a few high-speed sprints, between which you would stand around for hours, occasionally getting to squeeze your arse on to four inches of bench space among the aforementioned skinny people, for 20 minutes if you’re lucky. Some of the party would take place outside at the mercy of the weather, some in ridiculously posh venues full of expensive flowers and twinkly candles, and some of it in underground car parks. In order to travel between these venues you would be up against a black-belt elite of taxi hailers (hence the lengthy hikes.) There would be no cloakroom facilities.
Then imagine you had to do exactly the same thing the next day, and the day after that, for four whole weeks.Source

Donning the drone at New York Fashion Week

KARACHI:  We’ve often looked at Ammar Belal’s anglicised poster-boy looks and edgy, rockstar fashion and envisioned him as a gora designer. However, the designer’s recent debut at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) asserts his very Pakistani roots.
Ammar’s 12-outfit showcase, ‘1432’, is named after the number of prisoner Amanatullah Ali who has illegally been detained at the Bagram prison for the past 10 years. “There are so many more like him and our government needs to fight for them rather than assume ignorance,” explains Ammar.
These are more than just pretty clothes – although Ammar’s glammed-up take on sportswear silhouettes is certainly beautiful – they are socially-charged sartorial statements, worn on the NYFW runway by waif-thin Caucasian models.
“I particularly chose Caucasians because I wanted to emphasise the contrast between the message within the clothes and the oblivion of the wearer,” explains Ammar. “The on-trend over-sized silhouettes emulate hip-hop culture’s revolutionary messages against social prejudices.”Source

Ralph Lauren at New York fashion week: tasteful, traditional – and even a bit hip

At Ralph Lauren’s show, insiders looked to the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling for clues to the collection’s contents                                                                             

Ralph Lauren show
Floor-length dresses would swoop through the lobby on the way to a cocktail party, as would satin sheaths and sequinned gowns. Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA
At Ralph Lauren’s catwalk show, insiders look to the chandeliers hanging from the venue’s ceiling for clues to the content of collections. For spring/summer 2015, shown on Friday morning at New York fashion week, they came in gold with looped crystals, covered in layers of ivory chiffon. Tasteful and traditional was the mood, the hush of lobbies in discreet uptown hotels.
The collection kept its end of the bargain – eventually. Floor-length tulle dresses in primary brights later in the show would swoop through the lobby on the way to a cocktail party, as would satin sheaths and sequinned gowns. White trouser suits and nipped-in jackets were a classic – if high maintenance – Lauren look for daytime rendezvous.Source

Ralph Lauren
The Ralph Lauren Spring 2015 collection. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP
While these designs would have kept the Lauren faithful happy – and caused spontaneous applause from the front row – it was the earlier looks that were more interesting, and mixed day and evening to modern effect. The first outfit here showed Lauren was in the mood to try something a bit different: a pair of combat trousers with a vibrant violet asymmetric satin top. The kind of hybrid that women have adopted to respond to day to night lifestyles, the casual glamour felt effortless, not too ‘done’.
Some pieces were even a bit hip – not usually a word used to describe one of the establishment figures of American fashion. A pair of combat trousers and bomber jacket in khaki satin would have easily slotted into Rihanna’s afterdark wardrobe.
This more relaxed take continued through the first half of this show, before the trademark gowns and tailoring came out. Combat trousers were a key shape, but given a luxe edge through a draped, elegant cut. Highlights included fuscia trousers worn with a khaki silk shirt and high-heeled sandals, a camel-coloured satin boilersuit and a pumpkin orange shirt-dress cinched in at the waist. The jewellery - brightly-coloured gem stones worn in ornate necklaces and teardrop earrings - pulled the collection together and gave that trademark Lauren polish.Source

Fearne Cotton unveils new fashion collection for Watch her London Fashion Week show here

London Fashion Week is one of the world's most exclusive style events.
Front rows are teaming with clusters of A-list celebrities and fashion powerhouses such as Anna Wintour and Alexa Chung and no invite means no entry.
We might not be able to offer you seat next to Alexa but you can catch one of the catwalk's first big shows from the front row with our exclusive Fearne Cotton's SS15 catwalk show video below.

Go girly in Fearne's fuchsia dress at Very

Fearne Cotton showcases her SS15 line for Very tonight and not only can you watch it live on the MailOnline but you can actually buy the dress the lady in question is wearing right here too.
Obviously the spring/summer collection won't be available until next year but this hot pink number on Fearne is from her current AW14 range meaning we can steal some star style straight away. We do hate waiting...
This cute little dress is made from a stretchy scuba material and while it's the girliest of pinks the studs at the neck add a tougher edge. Fearne has styled it with black flats but it will look also gorgeous with a pair of black patent heels and a matching clutch for your next date night.
Click the link (right) to buy it now direct from Very or if you want to shop around then check out the fuchsia fancies we've found elsewhere. Asos has our top pick or grab a bargain by at Missguided.Source


A catwalk show at just 13! Teen designer Isabella Rose Taylor makes her debut at New York Fashion Week

Waving to her guests like a pro after her runway show Tuesday, Isabella Rose Taylor at age 13 achieved something most designers never will: She made it to New York Fashion Week.
Oh, and there also was her launch last month of the Isabella Rose Taylor line for juniors exclusively at
The Austin, Texas, girl in bright red hightops has soaked in fashion since she was eight, got serious about it at nine after taking a sewing class and uses her own paintings as inspiration for some of her prints and designs.
 I'm so excited. The adrenaline is pumping,' she said backstage after the show, becoming one of the youngest to ever present. 'It was so amazing.'
Olivia Somerlyn sang her single Parachute on the runway before the models walked in light pink babydoll dresses and blue ones with a touch of fringe.

She put graphic clouds with long fringe swinging freely or cute little raindrops on some of the clothes. Isabella called those references and a floral print in loungepants and a T-shirt a 'little bit of irony, just because fashion can be taken just a little too seriously sometimes.'
Isabella showed maxi dresses, cropped halter tops and tennis skirts, sticking mostly to black, grey and blue.
She also presented comfy sweaters and cardigans, and adorable short babydoll overalls in a blue check.Source

Saturday, 6 September 2014

At New York Fashion Week: Living in the moment means designing the right shoes

NEW YORK — The spring 2015 fashion shows have begun in earnest here, and on the womenswear side of the business there has been very little that is head-snappingly remarkable – at least above the ankles.
The sparks so far have been few. Peter Som’s floral printed swing coats and dresses in pea soup green popped off the runway. (They were joyful reminders of the splendid floral gown he created for actress Julia Bowen to wear to the Emmys.)
And Stuart Vevers’ collection for Coach, which was inspired by road-tripping through the Texas landscape, was filled with quirky shades of pink and lavender, cropped skirts and leopard-spotted jackets.
But mostly, only the shoes – a seemingly endless parade of flats and reasonable platforms that were designed for the actual purpose of walking around easily but stylishly – have offered any reassurance that the denizens of Seventh Avenue are alive and well and paying some attention to the women living and working around them.
So much of what is happening up top – with the dresses, skirts and blouses – feels precious and staid. Fussy and ultimately uncomfortable.
The designer Wes Gordon presented his collection late Friday morning to a full house. Still in his 20s, Gordon has become a designer to watch thanks to support from top retailers such as Neiman Marcus and a 2014 nomination as best up-and-coming womenswear designer by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Gordon used his prodigious skills to craft a spring collection that, quite simply, looked old. With skirts that fell to mid-calf, blazers that seemed only fleetingly familiar with the curves of the torso, colors that were noncommittal and fabrics that looked heavy, the collection called to mind that dreaded term: career dressing. There is nothing wrong with professional style, but career dressing has the ring of something that is a costume, a self-conscious choice that has little to do with personal sensibilities but that is dictated by an unforgiving and impersonal series of corporate memos. It is dress code attire for the kinds of careers that those just beginning their professional lives do all in their power to avoid. All that was missing from the runway were nude pantyhose and color-coordinated lanyards.source

Will the Fashion World Accept Andreja Pejic As a Woman?

Andreja Pejic, who stands 6-foot-1 in stocking feet, and a good deal taller than that in heels, looks every bit the model. She is possessed of bottle-blond hair that falls past her shoulders, full lips, a wasp waist and a pair of Cindy Crawford beauty marks just north of her upper lip. (Even Ms. Crawford has only one.)
On Labor Day, just back in New York from a vacation with her mother and grandmother in Italy, Ms. Pejic, 23, arrived at her agency’s office in a leather pencil skirt from Ports 1961 and a silk Calvin Klein blouse, a picture of elegance compromised only by the occasional glimpse of a peach lace bra.
It was a far cry from the look she cultivated when she first appeared on the fashion scene typically dressed in a punkish, provocative mixture of men’s and women’s wear. “I had fun with androgyny, I had fun being rock ‘n’ roll,” she said. “But now it’s time to be chic.”
Outside, hundreds of young models, most not as striking or as experienced as Ms. Pejic, are wandering wide-eyed through a city many of them barely know, portfolios in hand. They are going from casting call to casting call, rarely knowing their shifting schedules more than a few hours in advance, in the hope of being selected for runway shows. They have descended en masse upon New York for fashion week, which began on Thursday and runs through next week. Later, they will arrive, as if by airlift, in London, then Milan, then Paris, as the international round of fashion weeks moves across the globe.
But Ms. Pejic is no longer pounding the pavement. She is taking meetings, exploring collaborations and hoping to secure a spot in a top show. The signal difference between her and every other wraith-thin young woman swarming the environs of Madison Square Park, where a concentration of top modeling agencies have offices, is that she has already had a yearslong and very successful career as a male model named Andrej Pejic.
And now, after several months away from the business, she is waiting to see whether a major designer — indeed, the entire fashion establishment — will accept her as a woman.
Four years ago, Ms. Pejic arrived in Europe and became a fast favorite of editors and designers, especially those with a rebellious bent. Her first professional job landed her on the cover of Oyster, an Australian fashion magazine, and during her first Paris season, she was cast by men’s wear designers including Paul Smith, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Jean Paul Gaultier, who became a major supporter. “I worked a suit very well,” Ms. Pejic said.source

Joan Rivers' Death Leaves Big Hole in Fashion Coverage at E!

Following the unexpected death of sharp-tongued commentator Joan Rivers, the E! Network has found itself having to cover New York Fashion Week without fashion's most distinctive voice.
The Rivers-hosted Fashion Police was set to film two episodes from the annual event but after Rivers' death Thursday, the network replaced the planned installments with two specials, the first of which will air Friday at 10 p.m. ET, following a tribute, Joan Rivers: Celebrating An Icon. Designer Christian Siriano and style expert Alexa Chung are expected to appear in the program, titled E! From Fashion Week.
The trailblazing comedienne died Thursday at age 81, days after she stopped breathing during a routine throat procedure. In true form, her New York City funeral, to be held Sunday, will reportedly be preceded by a red carpet.

But how E! will cover red carpets going forward is still unclear. Namely, the future of Fashion Police is still up in the air as the network begins to make plans for a post-Joan era.
Rivers and daughter Melissa Rivers hosted their first red carpet on E! in 1994, and in 2010, began hosting Fashion Police together.
“Right now we are mourning our beloved Joan," E! said in a statement. "We will respond at a later date with programming updates."source

Men's fashion thriving in US

NEW YORK (AFP) - Part cowboy, part dandy and dressed entirely in denim, Michael Bastian is a rising star in American men's fashion. And when he thinks about the future, he smiles.
The era of the fashion-conscious, accessory- and jewelry-loving man -- gay or straight -- has dawned. And it's all thanks to bloggers and style-conscious stars like Kanye West and Jay-Z.
Across the United States, clothing brands are multiplying, fulfilling increasing demand for smart and casual wear, accessories and jewelry and mining the potential in a market on the rise.
"Previously, it has been marginalized," said Mark-Evan Blackman, assistant menswear professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, one of New York's most prestigious design schools.
"People were not thinking of it as being vibrant and sexy and fun. That really has changed within the last decade, and it's really hitting its stride now," said Blackman.
Commentators now predict that New York could get its own fashion week just for men in July, attributing the revolution in sartorial demand to bloggers followed by millions online.
"It's been driven by the menswear blogs," said Bastian, a designer with an eponymous label and former men's fashion director at luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
"Men are catching up to the women... they're more interested in style and in fashion and how they look," he said.
Behind him, models dressed in suede and slim-fit shirts from his spring/summer 2015 collection inspired by Arizona and New Mexico are filmed and photographed by designers and critics alike.source

Who said no white after Labor Day? Lily Aldridge ignores fashion tradition in a midriff baring ensemble at the US Open Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

What is a girl to do?
Lily Aldridge took on a fashion conundrum in the most stylish way possible on Friday at the Moet & Chandon Suite at the US Open in New York.
While traditionally it has been a faux pas to wear white after Labor Day - which was Monday - she was also indulging in a little bit of racquet action and so took inspiration from tennis whites.
The fashion risk paid off with the 28-year-old looking casual yet chic both inside the champagne suit and courtside.

For her day of champagne and tennis, the Victoria's Secret Angel donned a pair of loose fit tailored white pants combined with a cropped brown tank.
While the pants were high waisted, the combination still ensured that the beauty showed off her toned tummy making the look both sexy and subtle.
The model - who left her long brown locks out and straightened - accessorised her ensemble with a pair of tortoiseshell Ray Ban Club Master sunglasses and gold and brown leather sandals.source