My Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

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In case you aren’t following me herecheck out my piece about Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It is always fun to check out the fashion shows when I can score a ticket!

BCBG Fashion Show Lincoln Center

BCBG Fashion Show F/W 2014

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City is underway despite the nasty weather hitting the city as I sit here and write this post!  I was looking super fashionable yesterday decked out in Maje leather shorts, a Haute Hippie sweater, Proenza Schouler jacket – that I bought under the expert eye of Jonesboro’s Jonathan Parkey and my Khirma Eliazov bag. 

DJ at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week wearing Maje, Proenza Schouler, Wolford tights, Haute Hippe sweater

My Street Style @mbfashionweek

Today, I’m kicking it in jeans, a sweatshirt, a scarf, wool socks and my Ugg house slipper – sans any make-up.   It’s freezing cold and a Nor’Easter just blew through the city. I do have an improv class to make so I’m going to be FORCED to leave the apartment.

Scoring a ticket to a fashion show is a tricky endeavor.  I’ve been to several shows with friends who work in the fashion industry.  I’ve also been as a guest with Exclusive Resorts.  ER offers some amazing “experiences” in addition to their homes in the travel club portfolio.  Think Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, Wimbeldon, heli-hiking in Canada and the Food and Wine festival in Aspen…just to name a few.

This week me and my girlfriends, Victoria and Alona, were guests at the BCBG show.  Our host from Miami’s GR8 Group, Luca Pavanelli, made sure we were well taken care of for the show.  As the shows go, it’s never really about the clothes.  It’s really about the people celebrities in the front row.

Fashion entourage with Luca Pavanelli

My fashion entourage with GR-8 host Luca

Food Network star Giada de Laurentis was in the crowd.  She was very gracious and stopped to take a photo with me.

Giada de Laurentis

On the runway with Giada de Laurentis

As was Orange is the New Blacks Samira Wiley.  Samira plays a tough inmate on the Netflix series.  But she totally rocked the orange strapless jumpsuit for the show.

Samira Wiley DJ Duckworth BCBG Lincoln Center Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

OITNB Samira Wiley styling in BCBG prison issued orange

Yesterday, my friend Denise Albert and I took in the Nanette Lepore runway show. I have been a huge fan of Nanette Lepore for many years.  Her clothes fit like a dream, are feminine without being prissy – I will never be described as prissy- and are made in the U.S.A.

Robert Verdi Nanette Lepore runway show mercedes benz fashion week

Robert Verdi at Nanette Lepore- stylist to the stars

Again it was all about the front row and who was there.  Edie Falco from Nurse Jackie, Cat Greenleef from Talk Stoop, Kelly Rutherford from Gossip Girl, Peyton List, Condola Rashad and mega watt stylist June Ambrose held down the front row!

All star front row at Nanette Lepore runway show

A deep bench of fashionistas at Nanette Lepore – anchored by June Ambrose

The collection was beautiful!  I must say the Fall and Winter collections are by far more interesting than Spring and Summer. With the deep colors, decadent fabrics and lux furs, the clothes are always inspiring.  Especially when it’s 14 degrees outside and you are wearing leather shorts!  Hey, I took one for the fashion team!  I don’t do those leg work outs for nothing!

Keep up with DJ and her travels by following her on Twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on Facebook at I Am DJ Duckworth.  She posts some amazing travel photos and some seriously mundane self indulgent selfies on Instagram, but isn’t that what Instagram is about?



Stripper Shoes at Saks and My Dad

The day after Thanksgiving, I took my parents to see the windows along 5th Avenue.  We worked our way down to Saks Fifth Avenue where we made a stop for lunch before seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.  On our way up to the 9th floor in the express elevator, Corbin reminded me that while we would be walking through the massive shoe department, there would be NO SHOE SHOPPING! “Mom, keep on walking! We are here for lunch not shoes!”  He is a smart 8-year-old.

After lunch, I wanted to get my Dad’s reaction to a ridiculously overpriced pair of Christian Louboutin Swarovski encrusted crystal platform heels.  He is very familiar with crystal covered ‘things’ as a man who raised two daughters who were both baton twirlers and pageant girls.  So things that sparkle always catch his eye – and so do the price tags!

I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story!

Now those are some serious shoes, D.J.

Now those are some serious shoes, D.J.

I should get your Mom a pair of these.

I should get your Mom a pair of these.

Yes, that's $5,995.00

Yes, that’s $5,995.00

Holy S#%T

Holy S#%T

Overpriced stripper shoes!

Lady GaGa houseslippers


Dad’s reaction to these overpriced stipper shoes was priceless.  If only I would have thought to get Mom to try them on for him!!!







The Southerner and the City Goes to NY Fashion Week

GoldNew York Fashion week as come and gone.  However, some of the world’s leading fashion designers are still unveiling their collections in Milan, Italy this week. I hope to be in Milan in September, but for now I’m still marinating in the excitement and insanity of the Carolina Herrera show I attended during fashion week here in New York City.

Last February I participated in the festivities and fun of fashion week.  With Exclusive Resorts’ Andy Irving and Sage Fennig, I had access to the tents and some amazing shows.  Andy and his team planned four jam packed days of fashion shows, shopping, eating, drinking and of course people watching!  This year ER took their show on the road and is in Milan, as I type this post, taking in Prada, Gucci and well, you know, all of those other amazing Italian brands that make you think about taking out a second mortgage on your home! Hopefully Andy and Sage will share their photos and stories with me when they return.

This year I had access to some of the most sought after shows.  However, the ticket prices … yes you can buy a ticket to a fashion show … were astronomical.  For example, a ticket to the Carolina Herrera show which I really wanted to see was almost $2,000.  And no, that did not include any clothes!  I decided I’d pass on the ticket and check out the collection online for a lot less.

djnyfw1But my dream of seeing the show actually came true!  My friend Mayte ended up with tickets to the show.  Much to my shock and amazement, we had seats on the front row in the middle of the runway.  We could not have been any closer to the action.  And, we were seated next to New York Times fashion photographer and legend, Bill Cunningham.

Like last year, the best part of fashion week and the show is the people watching.  Carolina Herrera is a huge fashion brand with an A-list following of celebrities, fashion editors and stylists.  The show did not disappoint in the people watching department.  Molly Sims, Ivanka Trump, Brad Goreski and Tinsley Mortimer sat behind us.  While Anna Wintour, decked out in her perfect scowl and sunnies, along with the raven haired Grace Coddington sat further down the runway.

“It Girl” Karlie Kloss wore the first look of the show.  The dresses where what you would  expect from Herrera.  The were seriously feminine, flattering to a woman’s body with amazing tailoring and made of the most luxurious fabric.  My favorites included a long red dress and a black two piece ensemble with a sequined hooded top.  Simple and stunning.  The collection’s long emerald green dress trimmed in fur would make any Hollywood It Girl swoon.  The waist cinching belts and perfectly placed brooches were also a great touch from Herrera.  You can see the entire collection

Big RubeIf you are a fan of Bill Cunningham’s fashion coverage in the New York Times, then you should also check out Reuben Harley or Big Rube as he likes to be called, from the Philadelphia Daily News  He sat down next to me after the show while I was checking e-mails and returning phone calls.  We started chatting, he asked me about my Wolford stockings, by their EXACT name, and I knew he wasn’t just any photographer! Big Rube and I hit it off immediately.  And we even found a common Southern connection.  He has  an ease and grace about him that doesn’t lend itself to the frantic pace of the fashion world.  But he clearly has an eye for capturing the essence of a woman and all things fashion related. You can find more of his work

In an attempt to capture a photo of me and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week logo, I ended up looking like a sales person for Mercedes-Benz don’t you think!  Oh, well!  I’ve included it in the mix of photos from the day.

You can keep up with all of DJ’s adventures in the Big Apple by following her on Twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on Facebook at DJ Cunningham Duckworth. DJ is a contributing writer for New York Family magazine. She lives in Manhattan with her three boys; Mark, Corbin and Leo – woof, woof

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The Southerner and the City Gets Makeup Tips from TLC’s Carmindy

tallroseCarmindyI’ve always been a fan of cosmetics. When I was a little girl, I was always pilfering through my Mom’s makeup drawer. I was captivated by the sleek tubes of lip stick and the pans of blush and powder. As I grew up, I became pretty good at make-up application, too. Between all of the baton twirling, pageants and later on, an on-camera television career, makeup became a big part of my daily routine.

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Carmindy. Many of you may know her from her time spent on TLC’s “What Not To Wear.” Each week, she helps transform a fashion victim with her expert advice on looking your best.

Over the two days I spent in her chair, she taught me some of her best tricks. My favorite tip and one I use almost daily is to highlight around the lip. Carmindy showed me by using a highlighting eye shadow, you can outline the lip. This technique works much better than a lip liner and gives you the appearance of a fuller lip. She also uses the same highlighting technique in the corner of each eye and right underneath the brow line. This really makes the eyes shine. And to finish off the look, she dusts a little highlighter right along the top of the cheek bone. It gives you a subtle shine with a huge impact.

CarmindyI have been blessed with what I think are fairly long eye lashes, and with the correct mascara, I can usually create a full lash line. Carmindy showed me how to amp-up my lashes with the use of false eyelashes. She took a full lash and cut about a third of it off and placed it on the outer edge of my upper lash. It added some fullness without making me look like a Kardashian!

Carmindy has teamed up with Sally Hansen and created a line of cosmetics. I’m not a huge fan of drug store, but I have to say, I’ve been wearing her blush, power and eye shadows and have been pleased. My favorite product thought is her lip gloss. It stays on really well and smells like a creamcicle!

You can keep up with D.J.’s adventures in the Big Apple at follow her on twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on Facebook at DJ Cunningham Duckworth

Southerner and the City – Behind the Scenes of a Neiman Marcus Fashion Shoot

squarebirdI have a confession to make. I am addicted to all things fashion related! Since my childhood, I have been inspired and captivated by pretty clothes, shoes and accessories. It is all directly linked to my incredibly talented mother, Chloe, who can create just about anything from a piece of fabric. She and I spent countless hours in fabric stores pouring over patterns and searching for the perfect fabric and trims. We would design a dress and she could put it together with various patterns. She doesn’t sew for me anymore but I still have that same love for fashion and really well made clothing. You can imagine my sheer joy when I was invited to a recent photo shoot for Neiman Marcus here in New York City. It was a combination of three of my favorite things – fashion, Neiman Marcus and New York City.

NeimanNeimanWithin the first few weeks of moving to New York City, I was introduced to Georgia Christensen. Georgia had previously worked with Neiman Marcus but brought her family to New York about 10 years ago when she took a job with Victoria’s Secret. As it turns out, Georgia was about to head back to Texas and take over as Creative Director at Neiman’s. In her role, she is responsible for crafting the overall look and feel for the brand and ensuring the creative supports for the marketing objectives of a given project.

In January, I met Georgia at Hudson Studios for a Spring ad campaign photo shoot. Hudson Studios is a really neat place where at any given time there can be up to five different photo shoots happening at the same time in various studios. It was exactly what I had imagined the studio would look like. It was spacious, white and well lit. There were lots of people milling around and getting prepared for the shoot. Of course, there was the model, Merethe, make-up artist, hair stylist, photographer, Diego Uchitel and his team of assistants, and the stylist Karina Givargisoff and her team. Producer, Cynthia Cohen from Right Arm Productions over saw the entire crew and made sure everything ran smoothly. From the yummy food down to the booking of the team of creative professionals, Cynthia had it all covered. Georgia developed the overall design and photography direction and under her guidance the crew of creative minds made it happen.

tallmarbleThe team was working on the Modernist mailer that was sent out to Neiman Marcus customers. As you can see from the photos there were several different looks in the piece. The shoot took place over two days and the final product was really impressive. It was interesting to see the final product knowing all of the work that went into each photo. From the prepping of the model and constantly changing her look, to watching the stylist work her magic in pulling together each outfit, I saw firsthand just how much work goes into putting together a fashion photo shoot. The Prada dress used in the shoot was beautiful and cut to fit a broomstick. Merethe is obviously tall and slim and the dress didn’t even come close to zipping up. No one was sure why the dress was cut to fit a Barbie doll, but from the images you can’t tell that the other side was nowhere close to being zipped. That’s where double sided tape and pins come into the picture, so to speak.

The looks in the piece were from many of my favorite designers. There was Celine, Givenchy, Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten, Prada, Lanvin, Roland Mouret and Chanel. And as you can see, the model, Merethe, made each piece come to life, along with some perfectly executed styling from Karina. It also helps that Merethe is close to six feet tall and 19-years-old! So the next time you feel like you aren’t as pretty as a model in an ad campaign, keep in mind that most of them are in their late teens and early twenties and REALLY tall. Youth is clearly still on their side! Good genetics also help, too.

When I received the piece in the mail, it was really cool to see the finished product. After pouring over hundreds of images, Georgia selected the best of the best and the results were sheer perfection. A few weeks later while I looking through my In Style magazine, I ran across another image from the shoot. This entire look is Chanel and one of my favorites! Yet again, Merethe makes anything look amazing! To have a view from this side of fashion was such a treat for me. I’ve often wondered how these shoots happen and what is involved in putting it together. To borrow Hillary Clinton’s phrase, “It takes a village of creative minds to make it happen.”