[The Scene] LAFW: Art Hearts Fashion

Written By: Bella Graham
Photographer Dana Itani

Bonjour mes amours! Last week I headed out to a brand new fashion platform – Art Hearts Fashion – and had an absolute exquisite time catching up with friends, and fawning over all of the newest designer collections.


Model for MT Costello

Although there were dozens of designers amidst the sparkling garden fountains and opulent chandeliers at the Taglyan, there were five designers in particular that really shined above the rest. During this two-day, packed-to-the-rafters event for LA Fashion Week – models for Michael CostelloR. Michel’le, MT Costello (Stephanie Costello’s line in collaboration with brother Michael Costello), Sachika, and Jaime Elyse descended upon the runway in a flurry of glittering fabrics; lace and feminine designs.

WNBA baller Skylar Diggins graced the runway during the MT Costello show, and the Sachika twins emerged at the end of their presentation adorned with angel’s wings.


Skylar Diggins (front) modeling for MT Costello


Michael Costello

However, the real show-stealer (and close-out) was Michael Costello, who debuted his most brilliant and iconic collection to date. The devastating beauty of the designer’s custom gowns captivated everyone watching, and cheers erupted from the crowd with every piece.


Michael Costello

Check out pictures of some of my favorite designs below – and leave comments about your favorites! I’d love to hear your thoughts!


With my friends, celebrity stylists Eric Burns and Sonique

**All pictures taken by my assistant + photographer Dana Itani

Michael Costello:

R. Michel’le:

MT Costello:

Sachik

Jaime Elyse:

[The Scene] EXCLUSIVE!! Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood Premiere + Interview with Teairra Mari!

Reality T.V. isn’t something that I generally cover or write about on Love & Biscotti, but last week I got the chance to meet and interview someone whose music I have been rocking with ever since she first debuted on Roc Nation with her song, “Make Her Feel Good.”


Teairra Mari on the blue carpet at the premiere of “Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood”

You may recognize her from being a former cast member on VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop New York, but this season R&B songstress, Teairra Mari has a storyline all her own as she heads the cast of super-producer, Mona Scott’s new brain-baby, Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood. In this shadowy world of glitz and glam – and smoke and mirrors – VH1’s camera crews follow Teairra and cast-mates Ray J, Omarion, Lil’ Fizz and Soulja Boy (and many more) as they navigate the streets of my hometown and share some of the most intimate and personal details of their lives with the world.

Now, as stated earlier, I don’t cover reality T.V., but what appeals to me about shows such as this one are the raw, unkempt and uncut emotions that are revealed by the cast-mates as we watch (spellbound) week by week. While we may not experience the same exact type of drama, what connects us to these characters is the fact that no matter what level of fame or fortune one may achieve, no one is above experiencing the same angst, heartbreak, depression, anger, happiness and sadness as the rest of us. And while Teairra’s brash outspokenness and witty one-liners may be initially label her as the Joseline Hernandez of the group, I have a feeling that there is much more depth to Teairra than what first meets the eye. I hadn’t planned on doing any interviews at the exclusive premiere of LHHH (held at Inside Jokes Comedy Club inside the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood), but after running into Teairra in the elevator and then bumping into each other again after the show’s screening, I felt it must have been fated to be.

LoveAndBiscotti_LHHH_4

Read below to find out what Teairra most regrets during the show, what she’s over the most and of course, what designer she wore to the premiere:

Bella: Hey beauty. We met very briefly in the elevator and now here we are again.

Teairra Mari: Nice to meet you again too.

Bella: I’ve been a fan of your music for a long time now, but I never got a chance to catch you on Love & Hip-Hop New York. However, after watching the season premier of this new show (Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood), one of the things that really stood out to me is how open you were. Wearing your heart on your sleeve and admitting that you’re still in love with someone showcases that you’re not afraid to be vulnerable. Was that difficult for you to do or are you just naturally open with your feelings?

TM: Well that’s where I was at that moment and you know, now I’m not there anymore. Still its hard to watch that because I’m not there anymore but when I was there, I was in it.

Bella: In general, are you usually the type to say whatever comes to your mind?

TM: I’m like that when I’m in that moment. When I’m at that point in my life where I’m like okay, I’m going to give my all to this person, yes absolutely, I’m like that. But when I’m over it, I’m over it. This show was shot months ago and that was just something that I had to relive.

Bella: Now that you’ve seen yourself (on the show) for the first time, what do you think is the main thing – or moment – that you’re going to be so over yet people keep asking about?

TM: I think everything that has to do with Ray J and his girlfriend are going to be the main things that I’m like, OMG I have to relive this shit and I don’t want to cause I’m over it.

Bella: Do you regret any of it?

TM: I don’t regret anything that has to do with Ray or his girlfriend, I regret something that I did with a promoter; his name is Sincere. I really regret how I turnt up on him but other than that I don’t regret anything.

Bella: What is your perception of love in the industry or more specifically in the public eye? It’s not just you and the person in the relationship, it’s everybody’s outside perception as well? How do you deal with the opinions of other people?

TM: It’s hard but it’s definitely something that you have to take a look at because I don’t know, I always take a look at myself. I always say you know, maybe I shouldn’t have done this or maybe I shouldn’t have done that but for me, its like at the end of the day I did what I did from the depth of my heart and however people look at that, that’s just how they will get it.

Bella: Music wise, what’s next for you?

TM: I have a single that’s going to be portrayed on the show and I’m so excited about it because I really get to go through all the emotions that everybody sees in the first few episodes. Like okay, Teairra, you went through all this stuff and now you get to tell your story. I finally get to tell my story through songs and I’m so happy about it and I think I’m gonna end up at a great place.

Bella: Well I’m routing for you and I’ve been routing for a long time.

TM: Thank you!

Bella: Before I let you go, as a fashion blogger, I can’t skip over this outfit that you have on. Who is the designer?

TM: The designer is Avahna.

Bella: And your favorite lip color?

TM: My favorite lip color is probably the one I have now. “Lady Danger” by MAC.

Check out the video recap from the exclusive launch below:

And WATCH the full first episode of Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood here:
http://www.vh1.com/shows/love-and-hip-hop-hollywood/love-amp-hip-hop-hollywood-episode-101-la-la-land/1730883/playlist/#id=1730883


Thanks to 135th St Agency and MYX Fusions (who sponsored the event) for my swag bag!

[The Scene] Le Mervetty Brings Decadence and Ballerinas to Beverly Hills

“Dancing is like dreaming with your feet” – Constanze

[The Scene] Le Mervetty Brings Decadence and Ballerinas to Beverly Hills

Bonjour mes amours!

Last Thursday, I was invited to a tasting at one of the cutest, little pastry shops I’ve ever seen! Le Mervetty – located at 319 N. Canon Drive in Beverly Hills (just one block over from my office) – specializes in creamy “Le Mervetty” desserts made of mouth-watering meringue layers and toppings such as chocolate whipped cream, Belgian dark chocolate shavings and caramelized praline feuilletines – but the awesomeness doesn’t stop there!

The decor inside of the store is like walking into a little girl’s fantasy world! Everything is pink, white, frilly and feminine – and there is a gorgeous pink chandelier hanging from the ceiling that further enhances the shop’s beauty and decadence. Once my friend, Crystal, and I arrived, we were treated to a sample of the Praline Mervetty (which was amazing btw), but what really really blew my mind were the cute, teenaged ballerinas dancing just outside the storefront.


Posing with Kit Wallace, Founder of Blue Eyed Entertainment

As the story goes, the owner of Le Mervetty had always dreamed of becoming a ballerina, so it makes sense that these beautiful, young creatures would be gracefully posing and leaping about – and bringing the storefront to life :)

Overall, I had an amazing time and I must extend a sincere thank you to Kit Wallace and her team at Blue Eyed Entertainment for inviting me to join them!

*Editor’s Note: All pictures without the Love & Biscotti watermark are courtesy of Blue Eyed Entertainment. Visit their Facebook for more pictures: http://www.facebook.com/BlueEyedEntertainment

 

Vanity Fair’s #LiftTOUR + Dress For Success Partnership

Bonjour amours,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Vanity Fair’s exclusive #LiftTOUR Blogger Event at the Kohl’s in Westchester – and I had an amazing time learning about all wonderful things the brand is doing with Dress For Success. As someone who is very active in the community and in philanthropy, I was both honored and excited to be invited to participate in such an amazing cause. You see, when I went in for my bra fitting – not only did I receive a complimentary “Beautifully Smooth Secret Lace Underwire” bra – but I also got to donate a brand-new bra (with a personal message of inspiration) to Dress For Success Worldwide-West (the Dress for Success L.A. affiliate)!

About the “Bras Across America: Vanity Fair Lingerie #LiftTOUR:”

The partnership between Vanity Fair and Dress for Success is a product of Vanity Fair’s recent Women Who Do initiative – a powerfully uplifting campaign dedicated to praising and celebrating the everyday triumphs of women everywhere while highlighting the brand’s long-standing commitment to producing quality, luxurious lingerie. The campaign aims to create a movement where women always feel supported and lifted in their daily lives and are inspired to celebrate the collective power and perseverance of women everywhere.

Dress for Success – an organization dedicated to promoting the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, career development tools and a network of support – noticed a need for more intimate apparel to provide its clients. Vanity Fair, the nearly one-hundred-year-old lingerie brand saw a welcome opportunity to lend its expertise, resources and extensive product offering to help replenish the lingerie of the nonprofit organization.

“We are thrilled to partner with Vanity Fair and encourage local residents to visit the LiftTOUR for the opportunity give their very own lift to other women in our community,” said Reena De Asis, Director of Operations, Dress for Success Worldwide-West. “Each bra that is donated from these fittings will allow a Los Angeles-area woman to feel supported in more ways than one on her journey to professional prosperity and self-sufficiency.”


 

Today (Thursday, August 14th), the #LiftTour will be at the following location:

Sears
22100 Hawthorne Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90503
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Or, if you can’t stop by this one, check Vanity Fair’s website for the full schedule:
http://shop.vanityfairlingerie.com/info/LiftTOUR

[Style] 70’s State of Mind

“Always trust those searching for The Truth, never those who have found it.” – Jordan Maxwell

Photography by Yuting Qing

Outfit Details:

Top: Forever 21
Print Pants: Hot & Delicious
Sandals: Isola (Nordstrom)
Lipstick: “Indie Flick” by NYX

[Style] SHE-Leopards Come Out At Night

“Trust no friend without faults, and love a woman, but no angel.” – Doris Lessing



Clothing Details:

Leopard-Print Jumper: IIF, Vintage
Shoes: Call It Spring
Purse: Vintage
Earrings: Sole Society

Spring Prediction: Dark Florals and Jewel Tones all the Rage!

“Black is a color that is man-made. It’s a projection of the brain. It’s a mind color. It’s intangible. It’s practical. And it works 24 hours a day.” – Massimo Vignell

Bonjour mes amours! It’s still summer here in California – if there’s even a such thing as “seasons” in L.A. (since it feels like summer all year long) – but nevertheless, once August arrives, I always relinquish my beach and volleyball dreams and welcome in visions of falling leaves, hot cocoa and beautifully, layered clothes.

However, Fall isn’t my favorite season just for the change in weather and the ability to stylishly bundle up. No, you know what else Fall brings? New York Fashion Week, and Spring predictions!

I usually don’t get too excited about trend forecasts because I believe it’s better to be stylish than “trendy” (as all trends eventually end) – but I’m particularly excited about all the new fashion that I expect will be “raging” on the New York runways in a few weeks.

Therefore, I took the liberty of creating an inspiration board of all the looks I believe influencers, bloggers and celebrities alike will be wearing in the coming months. I’ve also written a short description of each trend. Which one is your favorite?

LoveAndBiscotti_SpringSummerTrends

Dark Florals + “Thrift Store”:

What I love about Dark Florals is they can be worn year-round, and unlike lighter-colored floral patterns, they easily transition from day to night – meaning you can go straight from work to dancing and cocktails. For this particular trend, I drew inspiration from the fine arts by way of Russian artist, Jenya Vyguzov (who created the mixed media floral collage). The dark floral trend is particularly intriguing to me because it’s feminine yet sexy – and many of these type of pieces can be found at Thrift Stores (which I heavily frequent) and which I also think will be a huge “look” next year.

Artisanal:

Furthermore, according to Fashion Snoops, the “Artisanal” look (lace, fringe, embroidery, suede) is also going to be big. Now, as I said earlier, I don’t usually co-sign trends but I’m inclined to agree with this prediction simply because most of these pieces are retro or vintage-inspired. Therefore, if its “vintage-inspired,” that means that the real thing is probably out there at a thrift store somewhere and you can probably find a higher-quality (and higher value) original version of the current theme.
*Fashion Blogger Tip: Good-quality, staple “pieces” are always better to buy than “trendy” ones. You can wear them again and again, mix-and-match them with various items and they never get “outdated.” You what they say… Classic is timeless.

As far as colors, rich jewel tones such as burnt orange and teal will be on everyone’s hot list, but so will some warmer colors such as varying shades of yellow.

And I just can’t say it enough, what I love about all of these predictions is they can be worn year ’round! Check me out in the picture below. See, I’m already on trend! Catch you next Spring!

LAFW_LoveAndBiscotti_3

[Spirituality] The God Quest – “The Five-Percenters: Protectors of Hip-Hop”

Dear Readers,

As promised, I am uploading all of the old articles from my “The God Quest” column (originally housed on the now extinct, TheWellVersed.com) onto Love & Biscotti – and this piece is the second editorial in the series; originally published in 2012.

All pieces in “The God Quest” series (including this one) will be filed under the “Spirituality” section.

If you missed my past post, “The Beginning,” which explains what exactly “The God Quest” is, then click *here*

loveandbiscotti_jayz_fivepercenters
Jay-Z wearing a pendant with the Five Percent Nation emblem

>>> The Five-Percenters: Protectors of Hip-Hop

“Whatever happened to the Gods and the Earths/ They thirst for a pot of gold, God worth his birth/ Knowledge is worth more than diamonds/ When the mind is shining, surprise us/ Gods Earths and 85ers…” –Poor Righteous Teachers, “Gods Earths and 85ers”


 
Aside from the occasional mention by artists whom many would classify as “conscious,” political or underground, I think its safe to assume that in 2012, the average Hip-Hop listener is neither regularly exposed nor well versed on the impact and influence the Five Percent Nation (a religious movement also known as the “Nation of Gods and Earths”) has had on the development of Hip-Hop. For the most part, this historical slight is largely due to the fact that despite many highly visible Five Percenter artists such as Wu-Tang Clan, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Erykah Badu and Brand Nubian, no real effort was made by scholars, historians or music journalists to document the Five Percent Nation’s participation, contributions and legacies established during Hip-Hop’s “Golden Era.” Of course, there are exceptions – Felicia M. Miyakawa wrote an entire book on the topic (i.e. “Five Percenter Rap: God Hop’s Music, Message, and Black Muslim Mission”) and KRS-One’s “The Gospel of Hip Hop: The First Instrument” mentioned Five Percenters as well – but given that the Nation of Gods and Earths (N.G.E.) was established in 1964, two books and a handful of articles doesn’t come close to the amount of coverage that’s warranted.

On the other hand, another reason the N.G.E. could be lacking in publicity is that is the Five Percent Nation is simply a culture shrouded “in the know.” Although its not overtly mysterious, according to many Five Percenters, like a secret fraternity or sorority “code,” you really have to be “in it” to know and if you’re not, being ignorant to certain things can easily classify you as an outsider. Therefore, in the spirit of expanding my “God Quest”, I decided to “build” with a few Five Percenters and see if they would share some of their esoteric “knowledge” and teachings. I wanted to learn not only about the history of the N.G.E. and some of their main ideologies, but about the unique role they played in the “building” of rap music.

Thankfully, Sunez Allah, a Five Percenter and former editor/ writer for The Source, XXL, and VIBE Magazine was gracious enough to share his knowledge and experience. Not only that, he connected me with Allah B, who is what the N.G.E. refer to as an “Older God”, as well as the current director of the Allah School in Mecca (the N.G.E.’s official headquarters). Sunez is also a co-author of the book, “Knowledge of Self: A Collection of Wisdom on the Science of Everything in Life” and a teacher at the Allah School in Mecca.

However, before I get into our interview, it might be best to clarify a few of the basic principles and beliefs of the N.G.E. so that you’ll be aware of the context of our conversation.

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