As you folks know, I am excited to be doing more on-camera work as a TV personality and pop culture analyst. CN8's "Your Morning" (www.cn8.tv) has called on me before to share my take on satirical comedy "Tropic Thunder" (http://18.104.22.168/PRiley/CN8YourMorning.wmv) via satellite from CNN's studios in New York City. My NABJ friend and CN8 "Your Morning" anchor Greg Coy originally asked me to do the show back in August when we attended UNITY '08 in Chicago. The next request that came my way from the show's producers was for me to put together a FIRST LADY FASHION SHOW SEGMENT that we shot LIVE! last Wednesday morning out of CN8's Philadelphia studio, which runs out of the Loew's Philadelphia hotel lobby (www.LoewsHotels.com/Philadelphia).
THE GOAL: I was to pull together looks inspired by: Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, Cindy McCain, Hillary Clinton, and a moment (during Michelle Obama's style segment) in which 'the first First lady of style' Jackie Kennedy was homaged.
THE CHALLENGES: There was NO PAY but assured exposure (as CN8's 'Your Morning' reaches upwards of 9 million COMCAST subscribers up the Eastern seaboard from Virginia to Maine). With that, I had to identify designers, models, style consultants, etc. --- all of whom I needed to agree to this effort FOR FREE! And one-day-at-a-time, it all came together. My good friends at MB and Associates Public Relations out of Haddonfield, NJ (www.mbandassociatespr.com) hooked me up with their clients Leehe Fai (www.leehefai.com/) and Knit Wit (www.knitwitonline.com), both stellar boutiques in the heart of Downtown Philly. Then, to achieve my eyewear look for Sarah Palin, Omega Optical (www.omegaoptical.net) stepped in and not only provided that look, but a pair of Jackie Kennedy-inspired eyewear. And of course, we need fab footwear. Enter my brother friend Ron Donovan and his great heels (www.rondonfoot.com/).
THE SUPPORT: I sent out a query far-and-wide for models who would be willing to work with us on this segment. It would require that they not only be available bright-and-early on the morning of the segment, but that they meet us the day prior for their fittings. And for no pay or per diem, that's a bit of a huge commitment to make. But I apparently sent my requests to the right people. My Philadelphia friends like Cheryl Wadlington, who is the exemplar of all things fashion and style, made sure all of her folks knew about my project and so many of them responded on the strength of her endorsement (www.evoleurconsultants.com). She not only led me to some great models who were willing to work with me for free, but she led me to other style consultants who supported this project. Also, my NABJ sister Elizabeth Wellington, fashion writer at "The Philadelphia Inquirer" (www.philly.com/inquirer/columnists/elizabeth_wellington/), hipped many folks to me - several of whom I outreached to work with Ant and me. (I knew I wasn't doing this without Ant who you recall worked with me as style consultant on "The Hugh Thompson Show" from AT&T's Technical Station - http://22.214.171.124/PRiley/PatrickHughThompsonShow.wmv): Celebrity Fashion Stylist Debra Ginyard called and said she wanted to work with us. She boasts Robin Givens as a client. We were happy to have her on-board. She and Ant's advisement made the process run smoothly (and kept my sanity in place). Also, Carla Clarkson brought her brilliant hair expertise to the table (www.markistarr.com). And though she got a paid gig that I insisted she take, we almost had our own make-up sponsor Ursula Augustine with whom I'm sure I'll work sometime soon. "Ursula's About Phace Rittenhouse Makeup Studio" is in Philly and for said services, you should check her out: www.aboutphace201.com.
THE MODELS & THE SEGMENT:
Under the supervision of Emmy-award-winning CN8 "Your Morning" producer Traci Benjamin, we pulled it off. As everyone is abuzz about the Presidential election, we too have been talking about fashion and style as it relates to this women newsmakers.
Cindy McCain is known for her couture by the likes of Oscar De La Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Escada. Here well-tailored power suits fit her in true-first-lady style. We styled our model Cathy with a great look (By the way, Ant found Cathy during his summer with ‘The Wendy Williams Show'. He booked and produced her for one of the show's opens. He thought she'd be perfect for this segment... and she was!).
Care of Knit Wit (www.knitwitonline.com), we styled Cathy in:
- a beige, short cardigan with jeweled décor along the neckline by Schumacher (www.fschumacher.com/collections/designer.aspx) - $400
- black dress with a cowl neck by Piazza Sempione (www.piazzasempione.com/)- $800
- shoes by Ron Donovan (www.rondonfoot.com/) - $580
This may read pricy but you can find versions of Cindy McCain's looks at Ann Taylor.
Now Michelle Obama's style is best defined by its fit and - from time-to-time - she likes color if not just bold touches. To capture the essence of Michelle Obama's style, we have beautiful model Charisse.
- We chose a fitted, two-tone, black & gray Mandalay dress with bejeweled waist line. (http://www.zenysboutique.com/Mandalay_Dresses_Corsets_s/8.htm) - $1,000.
- Too, Michelle Obama is often compared to the epitome of first lady fashion, Jackie Kennedy. We let Charisse sport a pair of Chanel 2008 sunglasses (www.chanel.com/) - $375.
Leehe Fai (www.leehefai.com/) provided these looks.
Though Hillary Clinton is not a style exemplar per se, she does have a style. "The sisterhood of pant suits" must not be ignored. We found our model Valerie at Temple University (www.temple.edu/) where she is the director of Development and Alumni Affairs at the College of Education.
- Back to Knit Wit (www.knitwitonline.com), "Only Hearts" (www.ABriefAffair.com/OnlyHearts) honored the pant suit but with a softer silhouette and rayon/polyester blend that has stretch. The pants are high-waisted and have a wide leg. $289 (for two-piece) and the black jacket that has some fringed-detailing along the lower back.
- A pale pink, silk Diane Von Furstenburg blouse with an asymmetrical neckline (www.dvf.com/dvf) - $155
We booked the stunning Marie Antoinette to represent this look. And though non-traditionally cast, Marie Antoinette shares something in common with Sarah Palin: 5 kids.
We went back to Leehe Fai (www.leehefai.com/) to pull Sarah Palin's reported six-figure look which some describe as "sexy librarian" or "hot for teacher".
- the dressy, black and bejeweled, short, wool-mix jacket by Nanette Lepore
(www.nanettelepore.com/) - $460.
- a fitted black skirt by Robert Rodriguez (www.robertrodriguezcollection.com/) - $227
- a sheer pink top by Rebecca Taylor (www.rebeccataylor.com/) - $218
- shoes by Jessica Simpson (www.jessicasimpsoncollection.com/) - $89
- signature Palin frames by Kazuo Kawasaki (www.italee.com/kawa/main.htm) - $375
The LIVE segment went VERY WELL as feedback goes. Connie, the co-host, was really into the looks. (My buddy Greg was in DC on assignment). When I get a copy of the segment, I'll be sure to share it with you in an upcoming blog entry! Thanks to each and everyone of the amazing folks who believed in me and this idea to see it come to fruition.
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