Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tis’ The Season of Mardi Gras

By Jordan Swensson

It’s that time of year again: Mardi Gras. This year the big day lands on Feb. 12, but both before and after “Fat Tuesday,” people raid the city of New Orleans, specifically Bourbon Street, in celebration. Each day parades take over the streets — and beads fly everywhere!

Photo Credit: Jordan Swensson

NOLA is about a six hour drive from Dallas so many SMU students take the opportunity to go. I, for one, love this holiday with its crazy costumes, masks and sequins. Though you may be covered in beads by the end of the day, your celebration will be more festive with the right wardrobe.

The two “colors” of Mardi Gras are purple and green, which can always make for fun fashion choices. This year, I decided it would be fun to go vintage and find a shirt from the ‘80s or ‘90s to add to my outfit. I ended up finding a classic Mardi Gras tee (see below) on Ebay  for just $12. I plan to customize it to hang just a little bit off the shoulder.

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If you don’t mind spending some extra cash, check out Perlis. The striped polo is a bestseller.

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However you decide to dress, try and put your own twist on it.   We are talking about Mardi Gras after all.

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Who Invited Them?

By Caroline Slattery

Every Fashion Week, the number of attendees with cell phones attached to their hands multiplies. They provide thousands of, might I say, horrible photos of the beautiful collections before them. Attendees snap quick, blurry pictures and post them to Twitter, Instagram and whatever other medium is trending that day. The shots rarely, if ever, do the clothes justice.

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It seems unfair these amateur photographers take the coveted seats away from fashion lovers who may actually want to see these glorious moving objects before them. Not to mention the people at the show who find the phones distracting. A-listers and Fashion Week regulars say using your phone during a show is a faux pas, according to The Daily Mail.

I do not mean to say that Twitter lovers do not have a place at Fashion Week. Instead, I propose they get their own section somewhere away from the front row. Perhaps, a jumbotron could replay what happened while they were busy hashtagging.

Sports lovers have solved this problem (perhaps inadvertently) with skyboxes. Incidentally, American Express has already put skyboxes at some shows for the most exclusive and elite guests.

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Alas, I suggest a “standing room only” space for amateur photographers and their immense social networks. The section will live by these words: May the tweets be ever in your favor.

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Are you a Betty or a Veronica?

By Farah Abdelqader

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I love MAC Cosmetics because the company is constantly evolving and releasing new collections we can all somehow relate to. Growing up, reading Archie comics was a guilty pleasure for me. There was the excitement of flipping through the pages to see whom Archie would end up with. Would it be Betty or Veronica? The sweet, blonde girl next door or the sultry, spoiled brunette?

Through MAC’s new “Archie’s Girls” collection, you can create a story of your own — and get a good idea of how the two girls’ personalities differ. The collection is divided into three parts: 16 Betty-themed products, 16 Veronica-themed products and five extra accessories. Each girl gets her own set of eyeshadow palettes and pigments, lipsticks, lip glosses, nail polishes, blushes, face powders, mascaras and eyeliners.

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The Betty products are soft, sheer and neutral for a casual fresh-faced look. The Veronica products are the complete opposite: With bold pigments and bright colors, you are bound to unleash your inner diva.  Attend the in-store launch parties Feb. 7 to see which persona appeals most to you.  Or if you simply cannot wait, the collection was released online on Jan. 30.  Hurry before the girls are sold out!

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Essie Launches Repstyle Collection

By Claire Kelley

My motto is go wild on the accessories. -Heidi Klum

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This season, thanks to Essie, we can all take fashion icon Heidi Klum’s advice quite literally. Essie recently introduced a collection of magnetic snakeskin nail polishes that give “wild” new meaning in the fashion world. Luckily, the emerging generation of fashionistas has fully realized the fingernail’s potential to be a palette to accessorize. With the arrival of this fun polish line, aptly named the “repstyle collection,” trendy hands everywhere will rejoice.

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Although reptilian nail art has been on the style radar for a year or two, Essie’s “repstyle” line introduces the easiest way to get the look. There are countless online DIY tutorials for snakeskin nail art, most of which require a few shades of polish and pieces of tulle or lace. One reptile enthusiast even went so far as to glue real snakeskin to her nails – a manicure that cost her $300 and her manicurist over two hours of work.

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Never fear, less-than-artsy trendsetters (like myself!), Essie’s polishes simply require you to apply two coats, then hold the magnetic strip – attached to the lid of the bottle – over your nails for five seconds, and voila! Your work here is done!

This easy and unique new product will have you saying “Essssssssssie” when everyone asks how you got such a fab and flawless look.

Click here to see what all the hiss is about.

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Catwalking the walk

By Paz Beatty

Rhonda Sargent Chambers works backstage at the Silk Threads Fashion Show. Photo by XO Photography, courtesy of Quoc Cong.



Walking through the doors of the Dallas World Trade Center last month, you may have felt like you were in a luxury car dealership. Parked in the middle of the lobby was a Lamborghini to welcome visitors to the annual Italian Fashion Expo.

Worldwide fashion icons sat down to discuss how Italy could better sell to the U.S. market with so many U.S. consumers in the habit of buying from China. Rhonda Sargent Chambers, a fashion event producer, took a different route than those before her when she was handed the microphone.

“You know I think education is very important,” Rhonda said, “and I think that educating our students is very important… about the heritage of Italian fashion and Italian design and Italian textiles.”

She didn’t stop there, though. It was what she did next that SMU fashion media and culture professor Kevin Willoughby remembered most.

“She pointed at me and said ‘You know we have educators right here,’” Willoughby said. “It was very touching. She was looking right at me.”

Willoughby said that’s something others in the industry never would have done.

“She just really values the role of education in fashion. That’s not something you hear from a lot of former models and fashion show producers.”

Rhonda is seen as an educator in the Dallas fashion community. She is the owner and producer of RSC Show Productions. Dallas designers seek her company’s help in producing fashion shows throughout the city, from Northpark Mall to Saks at the Galleria Mall to the Sisu Uptown Resort. Fashionistas across Texas recognize Rhonda for her charity work, which she places at the heart of her business. With fashion often being accused of being frivolous, the tag, “Fashion for a cause,” that hangs from many of the outfits Rhonda sends down the runway has not gone unnoticed.

Putting shows together wouldn’t be possible without help, especially from stylist Doug Voisin who she has worked with for 10 years, Rhonda said.

“I couldn’t do any of this without a great crew,” she said at a recent interview after the Le Rêve Couture fashion extravaganza, “and I have a lot of great volunteers too who continue to help me. And I hope to help them when I have shows that are not based on charity budget but that are full budgets.”

Running charity shows carries the risk of trapping the producer. It is widely known in the fashion industry that charity shows often expect producers to work for free. When a producer does shows as often as Rhonda, they have the added worry of being labeled as the person to go to for charity work.

Gary Jackson, or just “Jackson” as he is known in the business, said that’s an easily navigable path if you know how to deal with people as well as Rhonda does.

“I’m happy that she does it. She’s just a sweetheart, but this industry is cutthroat,” Jackson said, “and you have to keep the lights on. At the end of the day everybody has to win. I think there are a lot of great causes out there. You just need to watch which [charities] you do shows for.”

With more than 20 years of experience since her modeling days with Kim Dawson, Rhonda waved off the idea of being trapped.

“I have plenty of clients that pay full rate,” Rhonda said, “so it’s my choice to pick and choose the charities that I feel need help. I have to strike a balance and decline many non-profit clients. It makes me feel good to help charities when others won’t.”

Jackson met Rhonda back when he was a corporate concierge at Barney’s. Since that time he’s gotten to observe Rhonda interact with industry professionals, as well as friends hanging out after work.

“Someone who does what she does and with her connections, could really be a bitch, but I feel comfortable when I see her in a room. She’s the quiet in a room full of storm!” Jackson added with a laugh to how well the poetic expression fit Rhonda.

America’s Sassiest Lifestyle Guru Steve Kemble remembers the spectacle of his first RSC production with Rhonda at the eye of the storm.

“When I met her, I remember this fabulous calm aura about and around her,” Kemble said. “With any fashion event, it is like a 3-ring circus backstage with models, stylists, hair and make-up people. In the middle of this circus was Rhonda as the ring master.”

In the few interactions he has had with Rhonda, Willoughby said he has seen the same side of Rhonda as Kemble and Jackson. There’s a method to her work though. With a down to the minute schedule for any show she produces, Chambers is able to run an almost militaristic procession from pre-show itinerary  to the final parade, making her composure anything but haphazard.

“She has a battle plan,” Willoughby said. “She executes everything with a calmness. It’s a truly drama-free zone. If something goes wrong, she doesn’t freak, she doesn’t yell; she problem solves. The client never even knew that the dog that’s going to be on the catwalk just peed everywhere or the dress isn’t fitting or the model didn’t show up.”

It was also Rhonda who took charge back when she met her husband in 1989. Almost 20 years since their summer 1993 wedding, Kit Chambers thinks back to when he wasn’t brave enough to approach the then model.

“I used to do video production mainly out of JC Penny and Rhonda was with Kim Dawson. I met her working up there when she would have modeling jobs out there,” Chambers said. “I was really shy. I wouldn’t say she asked me out, but she asked me to go get some lunch. We just started hanging out and started dating from there.”

Living with Rhonda is as incredible as the July week they spent in a house on a beach in Mexico back when there wasn’t much along the coasts, surrounded by 12 family members and friends, Chambers said. At the end of the week, they were married on the beach and began their lives together.

When they leave the house, the two are often stopped by someone who recognizes Rhonda and who wants to be a part of her work. Rhonda doesn’t allow work to take over home life, though.

“She’s the featured part of our twosome,” Chambers said, “but she’s managed to balance all that work with being an excellent mother to our two boys.”

There’s Ford, who’s 11, and Callahan, who’s about to turn 13, reaching the age where he’s just becoming interested in girls.

“She’s right there giving him great advice as only a mother could give,” Chambers said, “about holding hands and about making sure he knew about making his girlfriend feel comfortable and about being a gentleman.”

That same heart for teaching beats as rhythmically when she’s out working. That’s not common, Jackson said.

“A lot of times in this industry if you know the industry well, your main purpose is to do what you do,” he said. “What I like about Rhonda’s work is that she tries to teach people along the way. On the job training is what makes people superstars.”

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