Salute To Bangs! – 2013 Hair Trends

Ever since the First Lady, Michelle Obama, showed up with bangs last week , the media has gone wild! The truth is that all it it takes is something as simple as one very  highly visible person to modify their appearance for a trend to slowly take hold. On the other hand, this style change was more like the “Shot Heard Around The World.” Every program, every channel was asking the burning question, “What do you think of the First Lady’s bangs?” For a brief moment, there was no debt ceiling, no fiscal cliff and no gun control ….. just bangs. In honor of Mrs. Obama, here is my salute to bangs- of all lengths and kinds!

Long bangs – Defined as long bits of hair  that frame the face but come to the middle of the eye …at least! Long bangs look great with layered hair . It all  frames the face at the same time and is very slimming.

Long Bangs  look equally great with short hair.

Side bangs – Any length of bangs that are swept  to one side. Side bangs are great if you have a cowlick in the front of your hairline and they are soft and flattering to the face.

Pixie Bangs –  This is what my bangs looked like when I cut them myself as a young girl and also the last time I got my haircut and wanted to strangle the hairdresser. Really great on small faces or with short, wispy hair… not on me!

 

Blunt Bangs are cut straight across with no feathering. Blunt bangs are difficult to wear for some and absolutely perfect on others. Bunt pixie bangs are an odd choice but, there is something for everyone.

Amelia Lowe Short Haircut with Blunt Bangs

 

Which brings us to the most popular style, the current style worn by the first  lady, the Curved Bangs. Curved bangs frame the face on the sides and look really flattering on almost everyone.

They are tapered into layered or blunt cut hair.

Most importantly, they are long enough  to be incorporated into the hair or slicked back  if necessary but, no so long that they obscure your eyesight.

The right bangs will make you look and feel 10 years younger. Be careful, though and DON’T Experiment with bangs unless you have a solid 3 months to completely grow out any mistakes!! My advice: Start early if you are feeling the ‘urge to splurge’ on bangs!

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bridal Hair – Do’s and Don’t’s

You’ve found the  perfect dress and the perfect headpiece. All you need to complete your look is  the perfect hairstyle. After seeing 30 years of weddings and witnessing first-hand their successes and disasters, I can tell you it is very easy to overlook this one tiny thing and regret it later.

Remember, you will be photographed more times in this one day than you can imagine and you will want your hair to compliment the gown, the headpiece and your face. Keep these tips in mind when you begin to think about hairstyles so you don’t wind up with pictures you can’t bear to look at because you didn’t plan ahead.

DO:

Schedule your first appointment a few months before your wedding.  Be very clear about what the appointment will entail. Is this a consultation or an actual trial run?

Pick a Hairdresser you trust. This is not the time to try out a new stylist – make sure you have someone who’s work you like.

Take tons of photos with you. You cannot imagine how hard it is to describe a haircut. Take a ton of pictures with you so you can describe in great detail what you like and don’t like.

Keep the headpiece and the gown in mind. Don’t overpower a simple gown with a giant hairdo or confuse an already busy gown with too much going on.

Get a deep conditioning treatment a month or so before so your locks will be luscious.

DON’T:

Don’t make  drastic changes. One month (or God Forbid, one day )before your wedding is not the time to decide you want to go blond or cut all your hair off. You will be scrambling for a solution. There are solutions to everything but, they can be costly.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with a hairstyle you like but think won’t work. There are extensions, hairpieces, lifts, all kinds of things to make your hair thicker and fuller looking.

Don’t forget to take your headpiece to your hair appointment. It is vital to the overall look.

Don’t  be afraid to ask questions. You will never be sorry.

Don’t try to look like someone else. You will, and you won’t like it.

Don’t get  stuck in a  time warp. The big bangs and over-permed hair looked great in the 80’s. I know, I had it. Today’s brides have a more natural and sophisticated look. Stay current!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Lights! Camera! Action! Behind The Scenes at a Bridal Expo Luxury Event

If you missed last night’s Luxury Event in Oakbrook, I would like to take you on a journey of what you missed. A real, behind the scenes look at what goes on to make the show possible and a close encounter with one of the world’s premier Bridal Designers, Ines   Di Santo and her daughter, Veronica.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012,  4:10  p.m. I was supposed to be at the Drury Lane Theater in Oakbrook, IL at 4:00 but, my son’s school bus was a little late and I have to wait for him to get home before I can leave… yeah, I am one of those moms. When I pulled into the parking lot there was not one empty spot except for valet and after fishing around for some singles in my pocket, I decided to park in one of the free spots farther away and hope I don’t get towed.  By now, I am scurrying into the building, the excitement and anticipation building as I approach the backstage area to prepare the designer gowns for the runway show at 8:00 pm.

As I get backstage I see that Kirsten, one of the members of the (fabulous) Bridal Expo Staff  has the gowns lined up, the steamer already filled with water and plugged in. She and Carol Tardi, the Fashion Director and onstage commentator, finish unpacking the last of the couture gowns that arrived from  Ines & Veronica Di Santo, who also arrived earlier in the day from Canada. I am able to start work immediately so my nerves are now a bit calmer.

As I gently pull the fabric top to bottom, right to left, I wonder if there is any silk left in Canada? Yards upon yards of carefully cut tulle, lace, shantung, chiffon, every imaginable kind of silk and embroidery available is crafted into gowns that can only be described as impressive.

After their red carpet photo shoot with some of our top vendors, Ines Di Santo and her daughter Veronica escorted by Bridal Expo Vice President, Jim Verraros, peer behind the curtain to oversee and assist with the care of their gowns. One of the gowns had a complicated lace drape in the back and Ines instructed me how to pin  this for maximum effect. I admit….. I would have done it wrong. Working (even just backstage) with Ines and her daughter is akin to taking art lessons from Leonardo Da Vinci. In reality, the mother/daughter design duo are delightful, soft-spoken, extremely talented women, not pretentious divas (as artists of this caliber are often portrayed).

The models begin arriving over an hour earlier than usual for hair and makeup to be done by professionals at Tamara Makeup & Artistry. Donning t-shirts and skinny jeans, nearly a dozen of Chicago’s top models wait patiently to begin the transformation from lovely ladies to beautiful brides, it is a short trip made easier by the pro’s.

The gowns are steamed, a few last minute checks to see if anything needs special attention. Not with this collection – everything is impeccably sewn and presented in pristine condition. As the models finish their hair and makeup, the staff readies for the show to begin. The dressers ( those of us who zip and get the models in their gowns for the runway) are lined up at the designated racks, Jim is poised at the control center where he will deliver the orders to models when it is their time to go onstage, Carol is standing by the entrance to the runway with microphone in hand. There is a  moment backstage, a breathless moment that borders on panic and exhilaration as Bill Brennan, CEO and President of Luxury Bridal Expo Chicago & Milwaukee, takes the stage to welcome the audience. The crowd goes silent as the lights dim and the show is about to begin.

Once the music begins and the models take the runway, the audience is transported to a dream world of luxurious fabrics, a magical land where only the most elegant and refined gowns exist. No one in the audience knows that there was a gown almost pinned wrong. No one suspects that there was almost a shortage of T-pins. No one cares that a certain gown should have had an a-line slip but went out with a full slip.

After the runway show ends, the models and makeup artists pack up and go home, we begin to carefully bag all of the gowns in the same sterile packaging as they came. The designers graciously thank the entire staff and are whisked away by Bill and Jim for some last minute mingling.

The evening was a huge success with careful planning, extensive preparation and exhausting work.  Please take this time to go to www.bridalexpochicago.com to get tickets to a luxury event in your area today, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Until then, take a moment to enjoy the glamour of some of the haute couture gowns from the Ines Di Santo collection at http://inesdisanto.com/

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

The 2012 Golden Globes Red Carpet Roundup

Last night was the first awards show of 2012 and my personal favorite of all awards shows. The reason I love the Golden Globe Awards is many but, the main reason is that although still a very formal awards ceremony, the nominees and presenters seem to be genuinely having a good time. Maybe it is because dinner is included, maybe it is because some see it is a dress rehearsals for the Academy awards but, personally I  suspect it is because they can drink in their seats! The one thing that really stood out to me was that all of the same trends we are seeing  in bridal fashions were right there on the red carpet; each of them  beaded, belted, sequined and accessorized to perfection. It was a glamorous and yet confusing night but, I walked away with a better knowledge of red carpet fashion! This is what I learned from last night:

How to wear an all over sequined gown- Laura Dern in Andrew Gn. While I am not a big fan of these tiny belts or all over sequins, this one works. Also, the neckline had some detail which broke up the ‘all-overness’ of the sequined dress and the plunging ‘V’ showed off her svelte figure.

How to be boring and glamorous at the same time – Michelle Williams  in a beautifully fitted yet boring Jason Wu gown. The gown had no design interest and once again she  fell short for lack of proper accessories.  The tiny black belt and black headband were of no consequence and did nothing for the overall look.

How to wear Reem Acra. One of our favorite bridal designers had a great showing last night – Diane Lane’s gown was my favorite of the three and the most flattering on her. Madonna ‘s (too much material, girl) gown had way too much going on  and Julie Bowen’s gown didn’t have enough.

Why not to let your children pick your clothes- Sarah Michelle Gellar flopped in Monique Lhuillier. Tye dye? Really?

How to wear a simple geomtric look – Zooey Deschanel was adorable (as always) in Prada. Selma Hayek dropped the ball when she picked this Gucci getup.

 

  

How to wear silk chiffon – Kate Becksinsale’s Roberto Cavalli silk chiffon gown was embellished with beaded detail and a flowing skirt while the details of Charlize Theron’s Dior gown  were in the design and execution. Both looked incredible.

 

How to stop traffic at any age – Jane Fonda looked so incredible that she rendered George Clooney speechless.

 

Speaking of which, Stacy Keibler was all smiles as she shows how to perfectly accesorize.

 

How to do “Grannies Gone Wild” – Jessica Biel in Marchesa.

How to be a great host –  while it seemed a risky move having him return after offending so many A-listers in 2011, it paid off big time for the Hollywood Foriegn Press as the comedian showed us he really could emcee the event  in a relaxed, casual and confident manner. His tuxedo choice was smashing but I would have preferred to see a tie! What can you say about Johnny Depp? He is just so darn cool.

 

What did you learn from last night’s Golden Globes?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Friday 13th – Fear of Fiction

Today is the first of the three “Friday the 13th’ days in 2012 so, if you’re feeling lucky today it may last the whole year. On the other hand if you are a victim of  friggatriskaidekaphobia, this is only the beginning. The origins of the fear of the number 13 and this day falling on a Friday are very sketchy and this phenomenon has only been around for about a hundred years. For me, the only thing  to fear is fear itself, as I don’t personally believe in luck (either good or bad) and this day to me is like any other with one exception; a chance to move around a little easier.

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina,  an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. “It’s been estimated that  $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day”. 

Oddly enough, even wedding advice boards are inundated with posts warning couples that Friday the 13th is a bad day to get married. As a result, a lot of venues offer specials to those who dare to mark this as their anniversary date. FYI if you get married on Friday the 13, you will celebrate your anniversary on Friday every 7 years.

Statistically, there has never been a major weather catastrophe, a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt or anything comparable on Friday the 13th in my lifetime. I have personally never seen any remarkable occurrences or suffered any particularly unlucky events which all lead me to believe that any and all fear of Friday the 13th is completely unfounded. Unless it rains on your wedding day which is extremely good luck (wink, wink).

If you are setting your wedding date for 2012 and you are not superstitious, you can still have two chances to reverse the curse (April and July) as well as September and December in 2013. Don’t forget to ask if there is a discount for non-believers!

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Integrity and Outrage – Finding Fault With Retailers

Yesterday the internet and news outlets were abuzz with a video and story about one (closed) Priscilla of Boston store in Minnesota. Headlines on the internet, viral videos and rumors were flying around social networks and the comment sections were quickly filled with negativity. If you didn’t see the it, here is a re-cap: Priscilla of Boston was purchased by David’s Bridal and early fall announced all stores would be closed by the end of the year. As planned, on December 30,2011 the stores were emptied of inventory and closed. This one particular store apparently took all of the gowns to the alley in back of the store and destroyed or partially destroyed the gowns, rendering them unusable, un-donatable and un-wearable with the help of some red spray paint. The video clearly shows several large men painting large red marks on gowns draped over dumpsters and the back of what appears to be a dump truck. Then a nearby bridal salon owner was interviewed about how she could have put the gowns to good use, naming various charities that could have used them. The article even made a point to mention that a $6,000 Vera Wang gown was found among the couture carcasses. The outrage came in waves. It seemed the story was too salacious to be true, but there were the images as plain as day. Almost as if they were trying to spark a media frenzy among brides.  Almost? Try exactly. 

At first I was among the outraged, I kept thinking that it was some sort of corporate coup, seeing David’s Bridals apology in writing did nothing to assuage my anger. Later in the day it started to sink in that something was just not right with this story. Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole thing could have been handled better but, it left me with several burning questions. Who made the video? Who leaked the story? Why was this being done out in the open for everyone to see? And how did a local competitor know what business was being conducted by another business almost as soon as it happened?  At the end of the day it occurred to me that David’s Bridal may not have given the execution order for the store inventory and I need to take them at their word. Maybe the corporate office did not know business was being handled in such a hap-hazard way. Perhaps  a disgruntled employee had a beef with the corporate office and staged the whole thing to make David’s Bridal look bad, videotaping and leaking it to the media to ensure a public outcry. I am not pointing fingers, I am just giving you one scenario of what could have happened, there are many.  After all, it was only one store, not every store that seemed to have this problem. You see, none of this made sense to me, because I am a skeptic and not a conspiracy-theorist.

Merchandise is disposed of  all the time at retailers. Look in the dumpster behind any retail store and you will be amazed at what is dumped versus donated. This is why there is often a padlock on the dumpster – this is to keep their stuff in, not your stuff out. If a gown is unwearable, why donate it? If it is already damaged beyond repair – why donate it? Racks are lined up during sample sales of slightly soiled gowns, gowns with a broken zipper, gowns with one piece of lace dangling and these gowns are hard to sell no matter how low the price. Why? Because not all brides  are comfortable wearing an even slightly damaged, dirty, broken gown no matter how inexpensive it is. On the one day when you are supposed to feel beautiful and glamorous and perfect, why are you expected to want a gown that is damaged beyond repair? Furthermore, it is well within the rights of any company to decide what is irreparably damaged and what is not. So, if all of this is true,  why was this front page news?

Everyone loves to make big businesses out to be the bad guy and many times they are but, not always.  For me this is just one more reason to do some research before you buy, shopping for value doesn’t always mean shopping for price. Shopping with smaller, family owned salons can almost guarantee that you will at some point speak to or see the owner, the person who is ultimately responsible for all of the decision making, inventory selection and the point at which the buck stops if you have a problem.

It will be interesting to see over the course of the next few days and weeks if there is a follow up to this story. I would like to know who was really involved and what role they played. There seems to be a lot of finger pointing and a lot of outrage but, no clear answers. In the end, I don’t entirely blame David’s Bridal; I blame the media for not giving any concrete answers, just  images of gowns sprayed with red paint, leaving me with more questions. My current outrage is with the reporter(s) of this story for not providing answers. After all, you aren’t entitled to be outraged if you don’t know the entire story.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Hair – What’s Hot and Hip for 2012 Brides

Perfect for walking down the aisle, sleek  hair is hot for 2012.  Extensions are out and natural-looking, smooth, shiny hair is in. Whether it is a smooth pixie or extra shiny waves, anyone can rock the sleek trend this year.  The chignon is hotter than ever and brides are also mixing it up a bit by smoothing the front and having large bouncy curls in the back.  Have fun with this trend! 2012 is about taming down the hair  just a little bit  to softer, more touchable styles. The good news is that incorporating your headpiece into one of these styles is easier than ever with a beautiful headband or a sparkly side comb. 

How to guarantee your hair looks perfect on your wedding day:

– Schedule an appointment with your hairdresser as soon as you have your headpiece.

– Make sure you take realistic examples, from magazines or the internet of how you want your hair to look to the appointment.

-Also take a trusted famiy member or friend with you to this appointment. They can take some digital pictures for you to see close-ups and how the hair looks from all sides.

– Purchase any products you may need (like anti-frizz potions) and experiment with them at home to be safe.

– Book the same (professional) hairdresser for your wedding day.

-Always have a back up plan in case of emergency on your wedding day.

-DO NOT (under any circumstances) experiment with a new color, highlights or major hairstyle change within 2 weeks of your wedding.

For 2012, say “YES” to beautiful bouncy hair and “NO” to stiff, rigid locks that require multiple cans of aqua net, hair that says “touch me”, hair that is reminiscent of another hot bridal trend – “Old Hollywood”!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago