Remembering The Great Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta at his fashion show at Neiman Marcus- Chevy C

Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died on Monday at age 82, according to multiple reports.

The Dominican Republic born fashion designer made the most exquisite dresses for first ladies, movie stars and high profile brides. George Clooney’s wife, Amal Alamuddin, was de la Renta’s most recent bride to dress.

Oscar de la Renta has been battling cancer since 2006, but the cause of his death has not been revealed.

De la Renta has dressed first ladies since Jaqueline Kennedy wore his designs during the 60s, which propelled him to start his own brand in 1965. He continued to design beautiful gowns for Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton. Earlier this year an exhibit showcased Oscar de la Renta’s “Five Decades of Style” demonstrating “the First Lady as our country’s official hostess to world leaders and diplomats and as a trendsetter in style [and] fashion,” stated the museum, the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Texas.

Red carpet events that were adorned by movie stars that wore Oscar de la Renta designs will still experience the New York based brand with Peter Copping as the new creative director, who was just appointed last week.

Colombia Brazil & Dominican Republic Leading in Vanity Tourism

 

The universal idea of beauty has been definitely changed. Now, the most beautiful and most desired women are curvy. For many, the ideal woman is a combination of Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Beyonce 


A new interest for female appearance places Latinas among the most attractive and desired women on the planet, which in turn fuels the existing cult of beauty and the women’s obsession with looking beautiful, young and fabulous.

It is no coincidence that countries such as Brazil, The Dominican Republic and Colombia have become the preferred destination for the so-called “beauty-tourism,” a new and innovative trend that has people traveling to other countries a part of promotional packages that include accommodation, medical expenses and cosmetic surgery ranging from breast augmentation to chin liposuction for a fraction of the cost they would have in the U.S.

The business of vanity or plastic surgery is a growing billion-dollar industry in Latin America, where professional success and social acceptance largely depend on physical appearance. This, despite the myriad of terrifying cases of deaths during surgery and of procedures performed in clinics operated by unscrupulous doctors or by people lacking proper credentials.

Back in the homelands, the social pressure some Latinas feel regarding their beauty drives even the ones with the most limited resources to resort to desperate methods that may include a subtle form of prostitution called “chapeo.”

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the most popular types of surgery are buttock augmentation, liposuction and breast augmentation. Botox continues to top the list of most common non-invasive cosmetic procedures worldwide.

A CULTURAL MATTER

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Latinas habitually worry about their appearance and the perception others may have of them, including their financial and social status. Looking good is equated to wellness and to doing well financially. We Latinas were raised admiring and wanting to be “just like” the leading actresses in telenovelas.

For most, going under the knife is considered more as psychological healing than a physical change. It boosts the self-esteem of women who were raised to be beautiful, even if that idea of beauty -which follows a European standard – fails to match the features of most of our countries’ population. It only takes a quick look at the most popular Hispanic TV networks or the famous Mexican telenovelas to see this.

From an early age, girls seem to covet having a full behind, voluptuous hips and stroke-inducing breasts, disregarding the effort required or even considering the risk of ending up being part of the terrifying statistics.

It is an emotional and physical balance. It is an mental attitude. It takes strongly believing that you accept yourself and love yourself exactly the way you are, and no letting advertising affect you and make no pursue and artificial idea of perfection.

We Latinas are more than our beauty. We are warriors who have fought for generations for the right to pursue our dreams in our countries of origin and in this new nation that opened its doors to us. And, of course, we also have curves.

 (Originally published in Latin Trends magazine)

Haileigh Vasquez, A 7 Year Old Designer-Entrepreneur & Social media Star

Haileigh Vasquez is a fashionista at heart. This 7 year old Dominican princess is amazingly gifted and she is gifting the world with her charisma and talent. Her almost 200k instagram followers love seeing her swag, wearing the latest Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry clothes.

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When she grows up, she said she wants to be a fashion designer, like Karl Lagerfeld, the renowned designer for Fendi, Chanel and others. “I like Karl, because he’s really fashionable, and I am too” says Haileigh. I really, really want to be like him one day.”

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Haileigh’s mother, Zulay Vasquez, says her first post was when Haileigh was just 3 years old.

Vasquez said that by law, 15 percent of the money Haileigh earns goes into a trust fund, and then the remainder goes into her daughter’s savings account. “I will just put it there and let it grow,” Vasquez said. “If she decides at some point that she no longer wants to pursue this, she wants to go to MIT or Harvard, she has the funds to pay for that.”

Some people may say Vasquez is just capitalizing on her daughter’s looks, Vasquez said the Instagram page is just a hobby for them. “She just happens to get paid for it,” she said. “I feel I built her up for the future, her confidence. She looks at herself and she says, I’m beautiful. That’s the first step towards making her a confident young adult.”

The world of social media stardom can come at a price. When you have so many followers, parents have to ask themselves are all these people good intentioned?

“And then you have cases where it’s kind of dangerous and people can develop a scary obsession with your child,” Vasquez said she takes protective measures to keep her daughter safe, posting only a few times a week and never tagging their location while they are still there. I make sure that I have an app where I check everybody. I make sure that she’s always safe. As long as I can prevent it, I’m going to control it.”

“Haileigh has such a personality,” Vasquez said. She wants to pick everybody’s outfit. She loves everything about fashion. However if she wanted to give it all up tomorrow, she says she would be fine with that.

At the beginning of 2017 Haileigh landed a deal with Target to design her own clothing line called art class, Target’s newest Kids’ apparel and accessories brand. The trendy line is all about encouraging kids to express themselves through what they’re wearing, just like an actual art class. Haileigh is part of this exciting program, together with a small group of stand-out youngsters.

“If she was to say, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore, then I support her 100 percent all the way,” Vasquez said. “Because I support my daughter in what she wants to do.

Gisele Bündchen the World’s Richest Model

Gisele Bündchen the World’s Richest Model

The highest paid model of 2014 (she’s held this title for the last eight years) is Brazilian-born Gisele Bündchen, who according to Forbes made over $400 Million Dollars in her career so far. Gisele is also philanthropic, she volunteers with the nonprofit Rainforest Alliance and is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations.

In addition to her endorsements, Bundchen has also cashed in through deals with companies that want to monetize on her name. Her line of sandals with Grendene, one of the world’s leading makers of synthetic footwear, is a huge success in Brazil and abroad. Plus she recently teamed-up with Hope, Brazil’s answer to Victoria’s Secret, to launch her own lingerie brand. She also launched her own line of beauty products in 2011, Sejaa Pure Skincare. Altogether, the products that bear Bundchen’s name generate roughly $1 billion per year in sales.

In case you didn’t know: The top male model brings  in less than 2 Million a year, a whopping difference to the 47 million Gisele brought in in 2014.  Clearly this is an area in which females make more money than males

The partnership has been so successful that Hope is now using Bundchen’s name to create a network of stores in Brazil and internationally which will sell exclusively the pieces designed by the supermodel.

“Gisele is our best brand today, Fabio Figueiredo, Hope’s director of expansion, told Bloomberg. “We still have lots of room for growth in Brazil, but we have to think strategically where we want to grow and we want to be a global brand.” The first Hope store dedicated to Bundchen’s Gisele Bundchen Brazilian Intimates brand has already been opened in Paris’ Galeries Lafayette, one of the oldest and most visited department stores in the world.

Gisele is married to Tom Brady Jr.quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (see photo below). He is one of only two players to win five Super Bowls the only quarterback to win five and the only player to win them all playing for one team. After playing college football for the University of Michigan, Brady was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. In Brady’s 15 seasons as a starter  he has quarterbacked the Patriots to seven Super Bowl appearances, the most for any player in history. As a couple their total net worth is $500 million according to Celebrity Net Worth. It appears the Brady’s and Bundchen’s won’t have to worry about a slumping economy….

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Since Forbes began tracking Bundchen’s numbers in 2001, her estimated total earnings over the period totaled $386 million. If corrected by US inflation based on the buying power of the dollar over time, that sum goes to some $427 million. That does not include management, agent and attorney fees, but assuming Bundchen’s been managing her cash, spending wisely and making smart investments, which seems to be the case, it’s safe to say she has amassed a respectable net worth.

Bruno Mars Resurrects 90s R&B and Soul on SNL

Photo by AsiaStarz

Photo by AsiaStarz

Puerto Rican American superstar, Peter Gene Hernandez, also known as Bruno Mars made a big comeback the past two weeks with the release of two new songs, a music video and an amazing performance on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL).

On Friday, Oct. 6, Bruno kicked things off to high gear with the release of his new track “24 K Magic” and its accompanying music video.  The funky throwback record is his first song in almost four years and the complementary video is a smorgasbord of everything 90s.

Versace blouses, door knocker earrings, track suits and gold chains were on full display along with Bruno’s killer dance moves.

Oct. 15 marked his fourth appearance on SNL, and when he came, he came to slay with excellent vocals, more impeccable dancing and the debut of his second track “Chunky.” Watch both SNL performances below.

Bruno Mars’ new album 24 K Magic will hit stores on Nov. 18 and the tour for his third album will start Dec. 27, 2016.

 

Dominican Designer EMILIO SOSA Reimagines Rockettes Costumes For New Era

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Originally published in the June 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine

By Christine Stoddard

When Emilio Sosa was three years old, his family made the great pilgrimage from Santo Domingo to The Bronx—and stayed. Their exodus was, as Sosa puts it, an effort to chase after the “American Dream.”“But we struggled,” he told LatinTRENDS at a recent press event.

Now Sosa, 43, who you may recognize from Season 7 of “Project Runway,” is designing for the iconic Rockettes—or,as he tells it, achieving that American Dream.Despite his early struggles,the young Dominican-American began studying art early and eventually become a TONY Award-nominated costume and fashion designer.

“My mother, bless her,never let me  go without,” he said. “I always had art supplies.” Sosa added that though it wasn’t easy for his father to accept this artistic dreams, he did.This year, the Rockettes New York Spectacular will open June 15 and run through August 7. In 2015, the show sold nearly 300,000 tickets over the course of its eight-week run. Previously,the show was called the New York Spring Spectacular, but has been rescheduled for the summer to accommodate the tourists that flock to the city then.

During the summer months, New York City sees a significant increase in tourism and shifting the production will provide an opportunity for even more people to experience this dazzling musical celebration starring the Rockettes,” said David O’Connor, president and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, in a press release.Sosa joins a long legacy of costume designers and other theatre artists whose work has made the Rockettes an American stage classic.But even though the precision dance company has performed at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan since 1932, nothing about the show feels old.The Rockettes have gotten a major makeover. The show has been modernized for a contemporary American audience that loves today’s pop music and threads from a fashion-forward thinker.But Sosa isn’t giving anything away about the new looks.

“Come to Manhattan,” he said. “You have to see this show.”

Order your tickets at http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/theaters/radiocitymusichall/theater.php.

 

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→See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter for your weekly updates on events, restaurants, trends & news:  http://bit.ly/1BcjOjX

 

 

This Year Women Ruled the VMA’s, but the Guys were Good Too

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By having over 200 million records sold, eight studio albums to her name and 14 number one singles in just a little over a decade Rihanna became this year’s recipient of the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award at the Video Music Awards.

While she may not have beat out Michael Jackson in records sales (around 600 million), she did beat him out this year in the amount of number one hits she has (his is 13).

The Barbadian hitmaker opened the show to a slew of her biggest pop songs dancing in a bubble gum cutout outfit and killing it on the dance floor.  This was only the first of four medleys she had throughout the night.

Hyperactive comedy duo Key and Peele spent the show commentating on the presenters, winners and performers while trying to create meme-worthy catchphrases of the night’s most momentous occasions. Some of their jokes were spot on, the rest were simply flat and repetitive sexual innuendos.

The most anticipated act of the night was none other than Britney Spears. Nine years passed since her lackluster performance in 2007, in which she looked more like a deer in the headlights instead of a pop princess. On stage, she had a steamy musical number with rapper G-Eazy of her hit “Make Me,” which was a definite return to form for the singer-dancer. Later they both performed one of his hits, “Me, Myself and I” to a cheering crowd.

Presenter Alicia Keys highlighted that it was the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech and later gave a stirring poem, in which she said “that all women and men are created equal,” before she announced the nominees for Best Male Video.

Calvin Harris won for “This is What You Came For,” which was co-written by his former beau, Taylor Swift, who he definitely did not thank.

Kanye West was Kanye West as he made non-sequiturs about his music idols, his love for his wife and his feud with Taylor Swift, in which he addressed his controversial music video “Famous.”

It was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV. The audacity to put Anna Wintour next to Donald Trump. I put Ray J in it, bro. This is fame bro. I see you Amber…my wife is a [gangsta], not a lot of people’s wives would let them say that.

West later referenced the high level of crime in his native Chicago, shouted out Chance the Rapper and finally introduced his “Flashdance” inspired video “Fade.”

Not to be outdone, Beyonce took the stage for almost 20 minutes as she did an angelic rendition of “Pray You Catch Me,” which she followed up with a racy “Hold Up” where she smashed the camera with a baseball bat and topped it all off with an Olympic-like synchronized “Formation” dance that is worthy of a gold medal. She was later presented the Video of the Year Award by four of the Final Five od the USA women’s gymnastic team.

Jimmy Fallon shocked the audience by dressing up as Ryan Lochte and wisecracking about how he wrote “Sorry,” instead of Justin Bieber, which left the swimmer’s rival, Michael Phelps, in stitches.

Rihanna rounded out the night with medleys of her soul, dancehall and R&B songs showcasing some of her best vocals. Her performances were raw, powerful, sexy, emotional, and definitely unapologetic. In other words, truly her.

The sweetest moment of the night, however, was when Drake in a sharp tuxedo presented her the Vanguard Award and reminisced about first meeting Robyn Rihanna Fenty in 2005 as an extra in her first music video as she beamed at his congratulatory speech.

We loved the woman who hasn’t changed since day one. She’s someone I loved since I was 22-years-old.”

Rihanna would go on to remark on how her award was so much bigger than herself.

My success started as my dream. But now my success is not my own. It’s my family’s. It’s my fans. It’s my country’s. It’s the Caribbean as a whole. It’s women. It’s black women.

When she finished her speech she walked off the stage with Drake hand in hand. It was truly a remarkable night for women indeed.

Fashion on the Hudson Highlights Pt. 1

Photos by Naeisha Rose

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CENIA PAREDES A SUCCESSFUL DOMINICAN DESIGNER IN THE WORLD OF FASHION

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By Deyanira Martinez

Her passion for fashion goes all the way back to the village of La Piedra in the town of Cotuí, Dominican Republic, where, surrounded by old dolls and fabric scraps, Cenia Paredes embarked on what would be a great career in design.

Cenia Paredes, the eldest daughter of the only seamstress in her hometown, grew up sketching dress designs for her mother’s clients who preferred to order the drawings of a 9-year-old girl than designs from fashion magazines. Since then, Cenia knew what she wanted to be in life: a fashion designer like Oscar de la Renta, as her aunt would predict on a family visit.

With the certainty that everything is possible and that the most unlikely dreams can come true, Paredes registered at a local community college, and then at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) when she arrived at the United States at the age of 20.

She refused to listen to the naysayers who said it was almost impossible for a Latina woman to launch her own clothing line. Paredes worked incessantly during the day at a design company and spent nights and weekends creating what would be her own collection.

When she learned that Macy’s was sponsoring a program for women and minorities in fashion, she immediately applied and was selected from more than 900 participants to create a clothing line for the famous retailer.

Cenia recognized that designers always used the same measurements when creating and that there was a gap in the industry, so she conceived Cenia Fit, a design with more room in the hip area and less in the bust area, which solves the problem of women with curves.

Today, Cenia Paredes’ designs are sold around the world, her collection is available in HSN, The Home Shopping Network, and celebrities wear her designs. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wife and his mother wear Paredes’ designs too!

The story of this amazing Dominican woman is an example of determination, an example of a woman who dreams big and takes action to make her dreams come true.

Cenia Paredes (c) with the HSN crew

Cenia Paredes (center) with the HSN crew

LT: How are Dominicans in NY different from Dominicans on the island?

CP: The United States offers more opportunities and, when you achieve success, you do it globally. This country is a great platform to excel. I come from a poor family and did not know if in the Dominican Republic I could have the same opportunities. When you come from such humble beginnings as I did, you appreciate more the opportunities and want to improve in any way possible. “I am concerned that, in some cases on the island, there is a lack of values ​​that is affecting society and that many young people are not focusing on education”.

LT: What are Dominicans’ greatest attributes?

CP: Our joy.

 

LT: Are you connected to the island and, if so, how do you maintain that connection?

CP:I travel once a year and I have many relatives there. I grew up there. That’s something that I have deeply rooted, and my Dominican essence will not change regardless of how long I’ve been out of the country. The love I have for my country is immense.

See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter for your weekly updates on events, restaurants, trends & news http://bit.ly/1BcjOjX

INTERVIEW WITH TASTEMAKER MARTHA LUNA

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Image: zimbio.com

Originally published in the January/February 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Maria V. Luna

We share the same last name. Very cool. So Martha, tell us about your obsession with fashion. Where did it all begin?

My obsession with fashion started from a very young age, maybe 6-7 years old. It started when I was on a Q train from Brooklyn to Manhattan and saw this pretty lady wearing a fabulous fur coat and very high heels, holding an issue of Vogue magazine. But I guess the obsession [began earlier] when I used to see my mother dress up for a party. I was 4 years old then. I have fond memories of the days I used to go to her room, while living in Venezuela, and watch her apply her make-up with perfection. Simple yet glamorous!

You are already on your way to being a fashion influencer. What is La Bilingual Collection and how did you get started?

La Bilingual Collection is a new project I did with designer Astrid Carolina from Arena Fashion in Venezuela. In this collection, [inspired by my] lifestyle as a Venezuelan fashion blogger living in New York City, I am sharing two cultures and [the concept of the collection is] demonstrated by the use of phrases in English and Spanish, aimed at fashionistas who have a unique taste in accessories and value the hard work, delicate hand embroidery and processing [of each item].

These bags are super fun and flirty. Did you design the beauty bags yourself? What was that process like?

Yes, I designed each one of them and Astrid Carolina organized all the labor back in Venezuela. For this collection, I designed a limited edition set of bags for women and fashionistas: tote bags, make-up bags and clutches designed in fabric and cotton, incorporating the characteristics of American and Latino cultures. They are painted freehand and then embroidered by hand. Each of these designs is unique and exclusive.

Ok, I’m going to ask you about a few subjects and you just tell us your thoughts. Ready?

—Latinas in the fashion world Inspired by the likes of the fabulous Latinas of OITNB, Eva Mendez, Penélope Cruz, Sofía Vergara, Shakira, Zoe Saldaña and Jennifer Lopez, Latinas have made an indelible mark on the world of fashion that has left photographers tripping over themselves to get the best red-carpet shots they can. Latinas do not hide behind fashion; we wear it like we own it. As the Latina population increases, designers will continue to be influenced by the styles of the many different regional cultures Latinas come from. Those who think it’s just a passing fad will find themselves left behind as they learn this painful lesson, “ignore us at your own risk.” Latinas in fashion are making a fabulous mark on the world.

 —Male models

I don’t follow many male models or much about them but these are pretty hot!!! Matthew Noszka, Mario Rodriguez Jr., Jon Kortajarena, Nick Bateman and Sean O’Pry.

—2016 style goals

Embrace my own personal style more because what you wear really does need to reflect what your own personal style is. I am the queen of colors. I love color blocking but this year I want to do more mixing with bold prints and step out of my comfort zone a little. Why do we follow so many runway trends anyways when we can create our own with our personal style?

—Trends that need to end

Peplum, Flash tats, wedge sneakers,mullet skirts, red carpet naked dresses, festival fashion, acid wash jeans and colored animal prints.