Friday, January 23, 2015

EFR favorite picks from the 2015 Miss Universe pageant “National Costume” competition

By: Farrah Estrella

Every year the Miss Universe pageant is held in a different country to pick the most beautiful woman in the world or I should say the universe, wow!! no pressure..=). This year the event is being held in Miami.
The contestants have to compete in numerous events including swimwear, night gown, talent and my favorite, the national costume competition. Most of the competitions are held prior to the televised event.
I like this one the most because this is where we really get to see and learn about the different cultures and countries that they represent. The designers that make these costumes for the contestants really go all out and one can say that sometimes they are very couture and sometimes not so much.
The 63rd Miss Universe pageant will be televised this Sunday January 25, at 8 pm ET on NBC.
Here are some of our favorite picks for “National Costume” at the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant. Which one do you like the most?
Miss Argentina
Phot Credit  Patrick Prather

Miss Dominican Republic

Miss Great Britain

Miss Guatemala

Miss India

Miss Mexico

Miss Venezuela

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant Spring 2015 Mod Inspired Collection (Lookbook)

By: Farrah Estrella

Isabel Toledo’s 4th collection for plus size retailer Lane Bryant will be available online and in stores next month and we have an exclusive sneak peek for you.

The new Spring 2015 collection has a very heavy mod influence and it features unique silhouettes, textures and patterns. The term Mod means Modernist, Mod fashion was made popular in the 1960’s in London.
Mod style is influenced by music and fashion, think of Adele, the Beatles and Twiggy just to name a few.
Check out the pictures from the Lookbook below, what do you guys think? Leave your comments.

  Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant Spring 2015 Lookbook


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fashion designer and footwear legend Vince Camuto Dies at 78

By: Farrah Estrella

Vince Camuto
Fashion designer and footwear legend Vince Camuto died today from cancer at the age of 78. According to WWD, the designer died peacefully in his Connecticut home surrounded by family including his wife Louise Camuto and his five children.

Camuto was born and raised in New York. In addition to his clothing designs he is mostly known for his shoes. He was the co-founder of Nine West, a brand he helped become a major powerhouse in the shoe industry. He sold it to Jones Apparel Group in 1999, took a two year break because of his non-compete with Nine West and did it all over again in 2001 by launching The Camuto Group along with his namesake brand.

A man of impeccable taste he revolutionized the footwear industry by making fashion forward and affordable shoes. The Vince Camuto Group designs for private labels such as Banana Republic, Tory Burch, Jessica Simpson, Ann Taylor, BCBG among others.

A self-made man, he was admired by his peers for his strong work ethic and his passion for design. Camuto was also an avid supporter of charities benefiting children, including St. Jude's Hospital, Leukemia Society of America and the Domestic Abuse Awareness Foundation just to name a few.

He won many awards including: “Chain Retailer of the Year” in 1994 while at Nine West and the "Footwear Plus Excellence in Design Award” in 2007 among others.

Check out some of his shoe designs in the slideshow below. 

Oprah Tour gives minority and women entrepreneurs $25,000 grant

By: Farrah Estrella

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns

Oprah’s “The life you want” eight city tour wrapped up recently and one of the highlights of the tour is that in each city Oprah and Paralympic bronze medalist and Dancing with the Stars finalist, Amy Purdy, shared the stage to surprise a local woman with the Toyota Standing O-Vation award.

The award was a $25,000 gift on behalf of Toyota for the work these women did in their community, in the face of adversity. The women chosen all have incredible stories and include the founders of popular movements like Black Girls Code, Final Salute, Black Girls Run and Estella Pyfrom of Estella’s Brilliant Bus just to name a few.

I attended the Miami leg of the tour and I can say that everyone was in tears when Estella Pyfrom of Estella’s Brilliant Bus was honored. Her story touched everyone in the audience; there was not a dry eye in the house, as I am sure the same thing happened in every city.

Check out the list of all of the women that were honored during the tour below as well as pictures from the evens.Their websites are also posted below that way you can find out more about them and support their efforts.

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
ATLANTA, GA – September 5-6
BLACK GIRLS RUN! – Ashley Hicks & Toni Carey
About Black Girls RUN!:
Black Girls RUN! is a national running group launched in 2009 by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks. The organization has grown to include more than seventy running groups across the nation and hundreds of thousands of members across the nation. The group was created to combat the obesity epidemic among women in the African- American community and dispel the myth that black women do not run. The groups include beginner and experienced runners and provide a support system to help members reach their fitness goals. Black Girls RUN! provides a community and inspires all women to run.

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
Detroit, MI – September 12-13
Kitchen Connect – Devita Davison
About Devita and Detroit Kitchen Connect:
A native Detroiter who came back to her hometown after her NY home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. She sees her move back to Detroit not as an accident of nature, but as something ordained to happen by a higher power. As her mother told her, "God didn't send the waters to drown you. He sent them to move you."
Detroit Kitchen Connect was formed by Devita Davison to help home cooks expand their businesses, as one of the biggest obstacles for starting a food business in Detroit is the high cost of setting up a commercial kitchen. Detroit Kitchen Connect aims to increase entrepreneurial success by negotiating affordable kitchen rentals in local churches so start-up businesses can have access to commercial, licensed kitchen facilities and equipment. According to Davison, the program hopes to provide a safe space for entrepreneurs to create their product, so that they can in turn provide a valuable contribution to the Detroit economy.

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
Washington DC – September 19-20
Final Salute – Jaspen “Jas” Boothe
About Jaspen and Final Salute:
Jaspen “Jas” Boothe lost her home and belongings during Hurricane Katrina while she was training as a platoon leader in the Army Reserves. At the same time, she was diagnosed with aggressive head, neck and throat cancer. After 6 months in the hospital, 30 rounds of radiation and 2 surgeries, Jaspen was in remission, but had no job and nowhere to go. She called the VA and while they had many programs for men, they had virtually none for women. After being homeless, Jaspen finally got a job in the Army Reserves in Washington DC. One day in 2010, Jaspen saw an “Oprah Winfrey Show” episode about homeless female veterans and was shocked to learn this was still such an issue. She knew she must help. Using whatever funds were on her own credit card, Jaspen started her program “Final Salute” to help as many of the 55,000 female homeless veterans in the U.S. as she could. Today, Jaspen’s organization has 3 homes (in WV, VA and OH) for homeless veteran women and their children to live in while they transition to finding fulltime work. To date, Final Salute has helped 270 women veterans and their children from 15 states and territories.

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
Newark, NJ – September 26-27
Camden Sophisticated Sisters – Tawanda Jones
About Tawanda and Camden Sophisticated Sisters:
At fifteen years old Tawanda Jones was already a single mom. But, rather than become another statistic, she decided she was going to help break the cycle of teen pregnancies and gang violence in her Camden, New Jersey neighborhood. So, that same year, she started an activity she believed would offer hope and keep her peers off the streets – a drill team organized and coached by her.
Now, twenty-six years later, 4,000 children have gone through Tawanda’s “Sophisticated Sisters” drill team and drumline. Camden’s high school graduation rate is only 49%, but an astounding 100% Tawanda’s children have graduated. To stay in the program, team members are required to perform 200 hours of community service a year and also maintain a C average. They practice 4 days a week and are usually booked Saturdays at parades, local events, private events, etc. There are currently 223 kids in her program – with 214 on the waitlist.

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
Houston, TX – October 17-18
Yamile Jackson – Nurtured by Design
About Yamile Jackson & Nurtured by Design:
Yamile Jackson, a breast cancer survivor who moved to Houston at the age of 21, formed Nurtured by Design after being inspired by her son Zach who was born at 28 weeks. Nurture by Design help babies undergoing medical care in a hospital by simulating the touch of their parents when they are unable to be present and hold them. Frustrated with not being able to stay with her son in the NICU during the night hours, Jackson used garden gloves to create pillows, simulating hers and her husband’s touch and scent. “The Zaky,” as she calls her invention, had a noticeable positive impact on her infant son, and she soon realized the need for her invention in hospitals worldwide. Since 2003, Nurtured by Design has manufactured about 50,000 Zakys, and has made donations to 300 hospitals in 49 countries.

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
Miami, FL – October 24-25
Estella Pyfrom (age 77) – Estella’s Brilliant Bus
About Estella and Estella’s Brilliant Bus:
Estella was a guidance counselor in the Miami area and realized that many of the students didn’t have access to computers or technology – what she calls a “digital divide.” So she took over 1 million dollars of her and her husband’s own savings to found contractors and designers to create a bus with 12 computer stations. The bus now travels to underserved communities where the children are able to use the computers and a specialized program she developed that helps the kids in reading, math, science and history, etc. Between the bus and her computer program, she has reached over 61,000 children. She says “it’s not just a bus, it’s a movement.”

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
Seattle, WA – November 7-8
Lorraine Kerwood-McKenzie – NextStep Recycling
About Lorraine and NextStep Recycling:
NextStep Recycling was founded by Kerwood-McKenzie to provide computers to individuals who could not afford them. After struggling in school her whole life and ultimately learning she had Asperger’s Syndrome, Kerwood-McKenzie knew firsthand the immense benefits of computer education for individuals with special education needs. After discovering her skill for refurbishing computers, she enlisted the help of other tech-savvy community members and began providing refurbished computers to those who needed them. NextStep also trains individuals to refurbish the computers, thus providing them with a useful education to carry into the workforce. Today, NextStep has two separate locations with over 35,000 square feet, 37 employees and hundreds of volunteers.

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
San Jose, CA – November 14-15
Kimberly Bryant – Black Girls Code
About Black Girls Code:
Kimberly Bryant is convinced the next Mark Zuckerberg could be someone who looks like her. She started Black Girls Code in 2011 with $100,000 of her own savings after realizing her 12-year-old daughter was the only girl of color attending a technology summer camp at Stanford University. Kim has had a 20 year career in the technology and bio tech engineering working for companies like Pfizer and DuPont. Black Girls Code teaches computer programming and entrepreneurial skills to girls of color, ages 6 to 17, hoping to train them to become tech leaders of the future. In just three years, the program has reached 3,000 girls through chapters in seven U.S. cities and in Johannesburg, South Africa. Eight additional chapters across the country are planned for 2014, with the goal of reaching 1 million girls by 2040.

Photos Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns

Target announces new plus size line “AVA & VIV” launching in February

By: Farrah Estrella
Photo Courtesy of Target 

U.S Retailer Target announced today that it will be launching a new plus size line in February called “AVA & VIV”.

The news comes on the heels of a recent online uproar when Target announced a few weeks ago that in its new Lilly Pulitzer Collaboration plus sizes will only be available online.
That didn’t go over well with plus size fashionistas and bloggers who took to Twitter to let the retailer know about their discontent.
For this new plus line Target enlisted three of the most influential plus size bloggers in the industry including: Gabi Gregg of the blog Gabifresh, Chastity Garner of the blog Garner Style and Nicollette Mason, a Marie Claire columnist and owner of the blog
These three bloggers are very well known in the plus size community for their excellent personal style and for their great engagement with their followers. Target flew them to their headquarters in Minneapolis where they were able to meet the design team behind “AVA & VIV” and help the design team by making suggestions about the new line and by sharing with them some of their followers and their own frustrations about the company’s previous plus size lines.
Target also hired them to model in the upcoming lookbook for the collection. The new line will launch with 90 pieces including tops, pants swimwear and dresses and it will retail from $10 to $80 dollars.
Knowing Gabi, Chastity and Nicolette’s personal style, we can surely expect bright colors, prints and pretty patterns.
Mark your calendars plus size fashionistas February 22 ‘Ava & VIV” will be available nationwide in all Target stores and online. Are you excited about this new line? Leave your comments below.
For more information visit

Friday, January 16, 2015

Isabel and Ruben Toledo teaming up with M.A.C cosmetics

By: Farrah Estrella
Isabel and Ruben Toledo for MAC Cosmetics

Fashion’s favorite couple designers Isabel and Ruben Toledo are teaming up for a new line of makeup with M.A.C Cosmetics launching this month.

According to YAHOO Style the collection is called “Fashion for your Face”, is Art for your face basically. Isabel handled the naming of the colors and the selection while Ruben designed the packaging with his signature doe-eyed faces in the colors black, white and red. 

Ruben Toledo Illustration

The packaging is beautiful, very artistic I have to get my hands on some of that makeup. Isabel's favorite lipstick is red,it is her signature color and you can rest assure that there is going to be red lipstick in the collection.

I had a chance to meet the husband and wife duo last year when they launched a collaboration with plus size retailer Lane Bryant, they are a great couple and you can tell that Ruben adores her and Isabel adores him. They work great together and they really are a team.

The Isabel and Ruben Toledo for M.A.C Cosmetics collection will include nail polishes, eye shadows, lip glosses and brushes. It is schedule to launch on January 29 online and it will be available in stores on February 5.

For more information visit

Isabel and Ruben Toledo for MAC Cosmetics

Isabel and Ruben Toledo for MAC Cosmetics

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Carolina Herrera makes a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus Palm Beach

By: Farrah Estrella
Carolina Herrera
Fashion designer Carolina Herrera made a personal appearance today at the Neiman Marcus store is Palm Beach, Florida.

The designer was in the store for a few hours meeting and greeting the customers, taking pictures with them and giving them tips on how to dress. She was there to help introduce her Spring 2015 Collection.

Venezuelan born Carolina Herrera has been considered one of the best dressed women in the world since the 1980s. Her exquisite personal style and glamorous designs have served as an inspiration to many up and coming designers especially in Latin America.
She has been honored numerous times in her fashion career including winning “Style Awards Designer of the Year”, receiving the Fashion Group International’s Superstar award in 2012 and Spain’s Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts. In 2004 she received the CFDA “Womenswear Designer of the Year” and the Glamour “Woman of the Year” award.
Carolina is a mom and a philanthropist, she is an ambassador for the American Cancer Society and the intergovernmental institution in the fight against malnutrition. As one of the few Latin American designers that have receive global success, she has managed to stay relevant as her brand continues to grow. She launched her label in 1981 and in addition to womenswear line, she now also has accessories for men, women and children as well as bridal.
Take a look at some of the pictures from the event below.
For more information on Carolina Herrera visit her website at or you can also visit your local Neiman Marcus store to purchase her collection and online at