Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Awarding Local Creative Talent at the County Exec's Awards

On Oct. 24, The Music Center at Strathmore will present the annual County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. The event celebrates community cultural leaders  and will feature performances from various county arts and humanities groups including The Bog Band, Coral Cantigas, The Eubie Blake Jazz Ensemble, Eubie Blake Quartet, Lumina Studio Theatre, Christopher K. Morgan and the Washington Printmakers Gallery. The performances and award ceremony will be followed by a dessert reception. Best of all, it is free and open to the public--no RSVP required--and a great way to get familiar with local talent. Not to give anything away, but the Lifetime Impact award is going to choreographer Liz Lerman. For more information, please visit www.creativemoco.com/executives-awards.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Best-Dressed Windows in Town and a glimpse behind DRESSED, the film

Don't walk by Ginger in Bethesda Lane without stopping to check out their windows. Always innovative and very clever, they are clearly the best-dressed windows around. I snapped these on designer Thursday during Bethesda Row's Boutique Week. That night we met furniture designer Barclay Butera at Urban Country and then wandered over to Landmark Bethesda Row for a screening of DRESSED.

Afterwards, we met the designer and subject of the documentary film, Nary Manivong and the director, David Swajeski. What I especially liked is that the story shows the power of perseverance and the results of stubbornly following your dreams. Swajeski told me that they are taking it to different schools--most recently in New Mexico--showing it to students to convey the message that no matter how bad it seems, there really is a way out. Manivong was an abused child whose parents finally abandoned him and his siblings when he was 14. He went from living on the streets to designing a collection for New York's Fashion Week--and after a series of mishaps, finally showing that collection. The documentary shows the gritty side of the fashion world and the hard work it takes to succeed. Manivong told me he was inspired by the pictures in magazines and thought, "I can make people look like that." Fashion was also his disguise--his escape--from the brutal reality of his life. As Tim Gunn would say, he certainly "made it work"--in a big way. He has partnered with Ally Hilfiger to form the NAHM line, which launched this fall. The name is comprised of Hilfiger's and Manivong's first and last initials. It means water in Manivong's native Laotian. Here are some snaps from the after-party at Jaleo.

Nary Manivong posing with a guest

...and chatting with another

The  most fabulous shoes (Nine West! she said)

Mingling, chatting

I loved this ensemble--coat, hair, the whole thing.

David Swajeski chats with a guest

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Countdown to tonight

Are you ready for this?

And this?

We are. If you're not, you should check out the Bethesda Row site, RSVP and start getting ready. The apex of Bethesda Row Boutique Week events happens tonight when hot designer Barclay Butera appears at Urban Country for a meet-and-greet amid cocktails and appetizers. We'll be there. Afterward, we're heading straight to Landmark Bethesda Row cinema for the Washington premiere of DRESSED, the documentary about designer Nary Manivong's epic journey from homelessness to New York's fashion week. Following the film, the director and designer will be available for a Q&A. Right here, tonight. I don't want to give away any secrets but I'm old enough to remember when going to Bethesda meant a trip to Pines of Rome (still good white pizza) and a shop or two. Now it's all this. Here are some shots of Butera's designs and also some stills from DRESSED. Enjoy.