Melania Trump Wears $2300 Cape & Holds Hands With Donald As They Head To Mar-a-Lago — Pics

Melania Trump dressed in festive pink for the last two days to celebrate Valentine’s Day. But she went dark and dramatic in a black cape while heading to Mar-a-Lago, even holding husband Donald’s hand.

This has to be one of Melania Trump’s fiercest looks yet. The fashion-forward first lady really upped the style stakes by donning a $2300 Ferragamo black cape as she and husband Donald left the White House to jet down to their Mar-a-Lago estate in south Florida on Feb. 15. For the chilly Washington D.C. day, the garment kept the 48-year-old nice and toasty as it featured a high turtleneck and went practically down to her ankles. Yet the cape had elbow length sleeves for Melania’s ease of movement.

As if the exquisite cape wasn’t enough, Melania added on some pricey accessories. She carried a dark Hermes Birkin bag, wore black suede boots with a 5 inch heel and donned dark sunglasses even though it was cloudy outside. The look was put together just for the walk across the South Lawn of the White House to Marine One, which ferried the first couple to Andrews Air Force Base. From there they boarded Air Force One to head to West Palm Beach. While onboard she changed into a black dress and heels to greet fans when the first couple landed in Florida.

In addition to her fetching outfit, Melania did something even more eye-catching — she put on a PDA show with her husband! Melania has been caught on numerous occasions swatting away President Trump’s hand when he tries to hold hers. But this time she had her perfectly manicured right hand firmly entwined with her husband’s while he gave a wave to photographers with his other hand.

This outfit is a far cry from what Melania has donned over the past several days. On Feb. 13, she wore a pink patterned $3,000 Fendi coat with neon pink mink fur cuffs on it and a tied off belt around her waist while greeting the president of Colombia and his wife at the White House. While it was definitely high-end fashion, she got trolled by fans for appearing to wear an “expensive bathrobe.” Melania stayed with pink on Valentine’s Day when she visited a Washignton D.C. area children’s hospital. Her $1,800 blush coat by Cedric Charlier was classic and refined, as first lady brightened the day for sick kids by making Valentine’s Day arts and crafts with them. Now it’s off to Florida for some rest and relaxation over the long Presidents Day Weekend.

Source: Read Full Article

Revealed: How much you can expect to pay for your wedding

Saying “Yes” was a no-brainer but deciding exactly how you want to get married — and what you want to spend — can be much, much trickier. Urban venue or country house? Band or DJ? Beef, salmon or barbecue? Where should you blow the bridal budget and how can you trim it back? For today’s Weekend wedding special edition, we’ve done the leg-work for you and carried out an in-depth bridal survey.

We’ve spoken to more than 50 specialist providers across Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connaught who have put together weddings of all types and sizes. Drawing on their vast experience, we’ve established the average cost of six central elements of a modern wedding day: the venue, clothing, photographer, cake and band. Then, using their expert advice and insider tips, we’ve identified where it pays to spend more and the best ways to save. We’ve also researched those hidden costs and unexpected extras — from that show-stopping veil to that picture-perfect Instagram spot — that can cause the bill to climb.

So, whether your motto for your wedding is “less is more” or “blow the budget”, read on to see how much you can expect to spend on your Big Day.

The clothing: wedding dress

Average Spend:

€1,875

 

Splash:

One word kept coming up with all the wedding boutiques we spoke to around the country: lace. “If you love lace veils, they’re worth the investment,” says Tina Curran, manager at Belladonna Bridal in Galway. “The most beautiful lace trimmed veils use delicate Italian and French laces and silk tulles and can cost up to €1,000.”

If budget is no option, custom-made dresses are the dream and will cost upwards of €3,000 while the big designer names like Inbal Dror and Alice Temperley can retail for up to €8,000. “They only use the best fabrics, lace and hand embroidery,” reveals Alison Daly of Alice May Bridal, Co Dublin, who will be stocking Temperley gowns (at around €3,700) from February.

“A big trend is ‘the second look’,” says Claire Dilworth, owner of Cinderella’s Closet, Co Cork. This could mean spending on two dresses or extra accessories like a Vera Wang-inspired cape. “I also have to mention, the tiara is back!” adds Claire. Thanks Meghan Markle! Not all of us have a granny-in-law who can loan us one…

Save:

French Connection has just joined the ranks of high street names selling stunning wedding dresses, with prices as low as €245 for a funky, flattering vintage lace jumpsuit (see dresses on pages 20-23) .

However, don’t underestimate the added value of a dedicated wedding boutique where a trained bridal consultant can guide you through the selection process. Best hopes of a designer bargain are with a sample, off-the-rack gown — De Stafford Bridal in Dublin has launched 25pc reductions on off-the-rack and some boutiques will come down by up to 70pc — but, unless you’re very lucky, every dress will require some alterations, usually costing €200-€350, so always factor this into your budget. And always check the shop’s sample dress is in pristine condition and snag-free or risk paying for professional cleaning. “Non-silk crepes, chiffon, tulle and organza fabrics tend to be the most cost effective options,” explains Louise from The White Collection in Co Donegal. “Silk, satin, embellished, beaded, lace and embroidered fabrics tend to be the most expensive.”

If the dress has drama or detail then ditch the veil or elevate a simple, budget-friendly sheath dress with the addition of headwear. Veils are still a favourite with most brides at between €100-€350 but headpieces are gaining popularity and start from as little as €50. 

 

The clothing: bridesmaids’ dresses

Average Spend:

€150-€200 per dress, plus shoes and accessories. 

Splash:

Bigger brands, like Dessy, will cost up to €280 per dress, but the sky’s the limit.

Save:

“You can buy a high street bridesmaid dress from about €80,” says Jillian Bolger, editor of Irish bridal magazine The Vow.

 

The clothing: groom’s suit

Average Spend:

€600-€1,000 

Splash:

Made-to-measure lifts the average outlay to €1,000 but a truly high-end Canali made-to-measure suit costs up to €3,000. Then bring on the accessories: tie, pocket square, cufflinks (upwards of €200) and an outfit (chinos, shirt, knitwear and shoes) for the day after at €500. 

Save:

Go ready-to-wear. The average spend for an off-the-rack suit at Irish suiting expert Louis Copeland is €600, but prices start at €499 for a Purple Label, two-piece suit available in a range of colours. Renting suits for the groom and groomsmen is also an affordable option.

Hidden costs:

Formal event dressing requires supportive underwear and shapewear. Many brides will also opt to buy some more delicate lingerie as part of their wedding trousseau.

 

The venue: urban space

Average Spend:

€8,515 (based on a summer wedding, reception only for 120 people.)

Splash:

“I looked after one wedding where there was no budget and it was extraordinary,” reveals Conor Byrne, events manager at Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre. “The table runners and napkins were hand dyed silk (coloured to match the bride’s eyes), there was a ‘groom’s reserve’ range of whiskeys, imported specially, full-size trees were potted in Victorian urns, covered in moss with tiny real toad stools — the entire set-up took two days and in total the guests were only with us for about six hours.”

Create a wine lover’s wedding with an award-winning wine list, and a choice of 500 bottles ranging in price up to €2,000 at The Twelve, Galway (which also cleverly treads a chic line between an urban and country venue).

Fancy a city-based foodie feast? Fallon & Byrne in Dublin city centre (pictured below left) can whip up bespoke five-course tasting menus with hand-picked wine pairings, a stunning croque-en-bouche take on a traditional wedding cake and a cheesemonger-created tiered cake.

Save:

Urban venues encompass everything from galleries and theatres to hotels and restaurants but nearly all reported back that they like to offer a bespoke service, so there’s often no such thing as a set rate. “There are always ways to make savings on a wedding,” says Conor Byrne. “I’d strongly recommend discussing the menu with the chef. Cuts of meat vary greatly in price so rather than opt for a beef fillet option, perhaps look at a beef cheek option — an overlooked cut but incredibly tasty and tender.”

Trim costs by choosing desert or cake, and a nice Prosecco over champers. “We’ve also noticed a huge increase in demand for vegetarian/vegan choices which can be less expensive,” adds Susan McDaid, events manager at The Chocolate Factory in Dublin.

Fallon and Byrne waives its room hire fee for all midweek weddings — and offers a three-course tapas-style sharing menu plus half bottle of wine per guest — bringing the cost in at €62 per person (its ‘average’ rate is €78, although it’s worth stressing again, all its weddings are bespoke, not set packages).

 

The venue: country house/castle

Average Spend:

€12,855 (based on a summer wedding, reception only for 120 people.) 

Splash:

For a real sense of luxury, opt for somewhere where you have exclusive use of the venue, and treat your nearest and dearest to onsite accommodation. Luttrellstown Castle (pictured above) is only available for hire with the inclusion of all 11 bedrooms and bridal suite (€6,900 including breakfast) with wedding packages on top starting at €135pp. Lough Rynn, Co Leitrim, can do a budget-friendly reception for around €11,000 but exclusivity of the venue can cost anything up to €20,000.

Perhaps you’re a foodie who fancies a country house with a difference (and one where you can arrive by helicopter) such as The Three Towers Eco House and Organic Kitchen at Slieve Aughty Centre, Co Galway. Dine on hand-crafted organic menus, add on a children’s entertainment package with pony rides (from €10 per child) and a pre-wedding Friday night pizza party (from €25pp) before toddling off to bed in a glamping cabin or eco lodge.

Where budget is no option, wedding parties at Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan, can avail of a mind-boggling array of plush on-site activities including clay target shooting and boating. “Other extras that we would suggest include hot air balloon rides, fireworks displays, an open bar to include any champagne in gold flaked rimmed glasses, his and her personalised cocktails, a gin bar serving over 100 gins from around the world — including our very own Figthing Bishop Gin from Castle Leslie Estate — and oysters on arrival,” suggests Eimear Winters, sales and marketing manager at Castle Leslie Estate. Prices available on request only.

Save:

You don’t have to be to the manor born to secure a wedding with a country-house vibe. Country house hotels can offer the feel of a stately home reception at a fraction of the cost with venues like Summerhill Country House Hotel, Finnstown Castle and Harvey’s Point all offering packages under €10,000 for a June 2020 wedding.

The best way to secure your rural idyll at a manageable price tag is to reconsider whether you absolutely have to get married in summer and/or at the weekend since opting for snow rather than sun could save you around €30 per head.

Some venues have varying rates for food choices. “If couples are looking to trim costings I would say not to add the choice of a main course — this saves the couple €18.50 per person,” suggests wedding co-ordinator Debbie Foott from Ballyvolane House, Co Cork.

Ways to save:

Does your venue offer a corkage rate? Can they provide floral centrepieces?

Is there the option to go half beer/half wine on the toast or welcome drink?

Hidden costs:

If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, is there an extra insurance cost? Are seat covers and candelabras included? Have you booked in for the night before?

VAT INCREASE

This year sees VAT in the hospitality sector rise from 9pc to 13.5pc, with some predicting this could add as much as €500 to the average wedding bill. Make sure you check reception prices directly with the venue as many places are in the process of updating their packages.

 

The flowers

Average Spend:

€1,511 

Splash:

Royal wedding-inspired arches (costing around €8,000) and statement florals are very much A Thing right now. “One high-end package we did recently involved bridal bouquet, bridesmaids, flowergirl, 10 button holes, gorgeous arch, white carpet, hundreds of candles, cherry blossom trees, real trees down the aisle and all table centres for €7,000,” reveals Judi Roche of Balla Florists, Co Mayo.

“You can hang flowers from the ceiling, floral walls, adorn mirrors, windows — you name it, a good florist can enhance it!” says Rebecca Gibson from Boutique Blooms, Dublin. “The price for something like this will double or triple based on the flowers because when you need big quantities they can be hard to come by.”

“Moongates are all the rage now,” adds Shirley Doherty of Love Blooms, Co Donegal. Round floral arbors cost between €1,500-€2,000 and create an oh-so-Instagrammable focal point.Heart set on having high-end, imported blooms like fragrant David Austin roses? Expect to add some 50pc to the price tag.

Save:

Semi-DIY is an affordable but classy option. Florists who are also growers, like Sarah Evans from Flowers from the Secret Garden, Co Cork, do great deals on seasonal, home-grown blooms. “I offer a ‘wild and wonderful DIY package’ supplying buckets of flowers for them to do their own and/or provide bouquets and buttonholes for them if they are happy to take whichever seasonal flowers look best and aren’t fixed on certain colours and flowers.” This option starts at €300 and supports Irish grown, seasonal produce. If you’re green-fingered and fancy growing your own, see Diarmuid Gavin’s guide on page 26.

Recycle flowers from ceremony to reception, using pew ends as centrepieces and altar arrangements on the top table. Yes, some churches like you to leave the flowers but usually only so they’re there for Sunday. If a friend or relative is happy to help out, flowers can be ferried from church to reception and back again. “But only do it if it’s practical,” warned one veteran florist. “Poor Aunt Mary doesn’t need to be fighting trying to get a large pedestal into her Fiat 500 — something I have seen happen!”

Focus on the bridal party, since these are the flowers that will feature most heavily in the photos. Stick to big blowsy blooms, minimal varieties and pad with foliage. “If you’re on a very tight budget, splurge on the bouquets and skip the rest,” says Brigid Riley of Fernwood Flowers, Co Meath. “Potted plants, candles or fruit displays are actually very effective table decorations if you run out of budget for flowers.”

Do not rule out the added value of employing a local florist who’ll know what can be done for your budget and even which local priest is allergic to lilies.

Hidden costs:

Do you have your heart set on having a high-end, imported blooms like fragrant David Austin roses? Expect to add some 50pc to the price tag.

 

The cake

Average Spend:

€250 

Splash:

Size and skill dictate price so the sky really is the limit. “Cakes can be suspended upside down to create impressive focal points, be recreations of scenes from a couple’s life or indeed the couple themselves,” laughs wedding planner Bláithín O’Reilly Murphy. “You could be looking at anything from a few grand to over €50k.”  

Save:

How many times have you been at a wedding where the cake lies uneaten as everyone hits the dancefloor? Ditch the waste — but retain the iced focal point — by hiring a fake cake (or even a fake tier) for between €50-€70. If you still want something to munch on then a supermarket iced cake can be picked up from as little as €40 for smaller wedding parties. Pick sponge over fruit, butter-cream over fondant and simple decorations (like shop-bought flowers) over hand icing. See if there’s wiggle room on price if you can collect yourself rather than paying for delivery.

Watch out for options like cupcakes, donut walls and cheese cakes. “These are difficult for venues and caterers to portion correctly and don’t tend to keep as well, meaning there can be a lot of wastage,” warns wedding planner Bláithín.

Hidden costs:

Check whether cutting and serving the cake is included in your wedding package. Some venues charge for this separately, and it can cost up to €200.

Ways to save:

Some wedding cake suppliers offer a fake cake for your photos and pre-sliced, iced traybakes to serve to your guests, priced at around €75 per 50 people.

 

The photographer

Average Spend:

€2,145

Splash:

Hiring a professional photographer all day (from the first prep to the last dance) will set you back around €3,000-€4,000 with the inclusion of high-end leather albums for the couple and parents. About 50-60pc of couples also have a videographer at their wedding with an average cost of around €1,000.

Hiring a drone has become a popular ‘extra’ (costing between €300-€1,000) but make sure your drone operator has all their insurance and flight permissions in order… and cleared their flight path with all wedding personnel. “I’ve heard stories of priests stopping ceremonies because the photographer has a drone following the bride up the aisle,” revealed one Leinster-based photographer.

Save:

OK, you could go down the cheap and cheerful route of handing your guests a bunch of disposable cameras and snip your photographer budget to a couple of hundred euro, but remember it’s your photos that will last longest and research shows couples often wish they’d spent more on snaps. With that in mind, Weekend spoke only to professional photographers registered with the IPPVA. “Couples also should know that any experienced wedding photographer will also guide them on their timings for the day,” reveals Dublin-based photographer David Duignan. “We’re the only supplier that’s actually with the bride and groom for the entire day and after shooting hundreds of weddings, we have seen it all, we know what works and what doesn’t.” Hire an experienced professional photographer and you don’t need a ‘second shooter’.

Ways to save:

You can potentially save some €200 by waving your snapper off before speeches and reduce costs by as much as €900 by going USB only and making your own album.

Hidden costs:

Your photographer (possibly with an assistant or second shooter) and videographer will be with you all day long, so you’ll need to make sure meals are provided for them.

 

The band

Average Spend:

€2,257 

Splash:

Dry ice, LED dance floors, indoor fireworks… there are a lot of extras many bands can offer to help make your party go off with a bang. Cork-based boppers Love Bugs offer all the above, plus band and DJ for €3-500-€4,000. 

Also, why stop at just a band and DJ? Wow guests with choralists in church and a string quartet at the reception and dinner.

Reassuringly all the bands we spoke to said they cost what they cost and wouldn’t charge more for their act even if the client said money was no option.

Save:

Go the Spotify playlist and speaker hire route and you could have a dancefloor in action for little more than €100. But any band will tell you that what they offer is so much more than a set-list. A professional wedding band, like those listed on weddingbandassociation.ie, not only know how to get a party jumping but also come with guarantees and the appropriate sound equipment.

Do you have to have a DJ? For €2,500 Pump Up The Jam will provide a two-hour set from a six-piece live 1990s band (in costume with glo-sticks) and a DJ doing requests/oldies for half an hour before the band as well as a full-on set after, usually until 2am, including sound and lights and a dedicated sound/light man, but their lowest price point (band only with sound and no DJ) is €1,900. “You don’t need to spend 5k on entertainment but the difference between a band costing €1,000 and €2,000 can be quadruple rather than double the value,” says Cormac Moore from Pump Up The Jam. “If you have to choose to save then rather than spending on a band and a DJ, pick one — a band or a DJ — and spend the right money on that.”

Ways to save:

It’s worth asking whether a four-piece band perform as a three-piece. Some bands can but not all of them advertise the

fact and it could shave several hundred euro off the bill.

Source: Read Full Article

Those Iron Scorch Marks Are by Design

Naomi Mishkin

Age: 30

Hometowns: Manhattan and Tenafly, N.J.

Now lives: In a garden apartment on a brownstone-lined block in Harlem.

Claim to fame: Naomi Mishkin is an artist and budding fashion designer, whose work frequently takes everyday objects and subverts them with a clever, feminist-skewed twist. In a 2017 piece called “Pedestal (Dress Form),” she took a traditional dress form and remodeled it after her own torso, complete with a slight paunch and sagging shoulders.

Her artwork has been shown at the Nunnery Gallery in London and the Edmond Rostand Media Library in Paris.

Big break: In 2014, after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, a college friend introduced her to Ed Romer, the founder of Xpozure, a contemporary art gallery in Wilton, Conn. They immediately bonded over a shared passion for German artists like Otto Dix and Christian Schad, and he commissioned her first solo show, which opened the following year.

The site-specific installation, “kNothing: A Brief History,” featured wall-size photographs of black magnetic chalkboards, annotated with a timeline of conceptual art. “The exhibition really showed me that my work could exist outside my studio and outside of my own head in a way that it hadn’t before,” Ms. Mishkin said.

Latest project: Ms. Mishkin has had a lifelong passion for making clothes, and in October she started a small-batch clothing line called Naomi Nomi, offering basics with unexpected details. The Bad Wife Shirt is a crisp button-down cotton shirt with an iron burn scorched on its front.

Ms. Mishkin burns each shirt in her mother’s basement, using a vintage British iron plugged into a 220-volt socket that she had installed. The process emits a potent smell: Ms. Mishkin compared it to freshly baked cookies. The limited-edition shirts are $180 and are sold at Meantime Co., a boutique in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, as well as on her website.

Next thing: This month, Ms. Mishkin is adding scarves to the clothing collection, based on, among other things, the gridlike design found on green cutting mats. A selection of women’s garments is also planned for the fall. “What I’m building toward is a small signature collection, sort of along the lines of the seven easy pieces collection,” she said, referring to Donna Karan’s influential first collection in 1985.

Family ties: Ms. Mishkin isn’t the first member of her family to produce clothing: Her maternal grandfather owned a wedding dress company in New York’s garment district. Her maternal great-grandparents were a pattern cutter on the Lower East Side and a seamstress. “Pretty much from the moment we landed in this country we were shmatte people,” she said.

Source: Read Full Article

What Do Niall Horan and Hailee Steinfeld Have in Common? A 22-Year-Old Photographer From Dublin

Christian Tierney

Age: 22

Hometown: Dublin

Now Lives: in a three-bedroom house in Lucan, a suburb of Dublin, and on various tour buses.

Claim to Fame: Mr. Tierney is a self-taught photographer and videographer who has toured with Niall Horan (a former member of One Direction) and Hailee Steinfeld, and has photographed top music acts including Drake, the Weeknd, Demi Lovato, Kendrick Lamar and the 1975.

In January, Mr. Tierney was nominated for an iHeartRadio Music Award for tour photography. “I just try to understand people,” he said. “Every time I shoot somebody new, I take a different approach. You have to work out how to show their personality in a visual way.”

Big Break: At 15, Mr. Tierney started a YouTube channel on which he interviewed and showcased live sessions with emerging Irish musicians and others. “I always had a good ear for picking who the next big artists were going to be,” he said.

To book talent, he would cold-email managers whose artists were touring in Dublin. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, then an unknown hip-hop act from Seattle, were among the first to say yes. When their 2012 hit, “Thrift Shop,” made them famous, it was easier for Mr. Tierney to book other artists, like James Bay, who recorded a video for “Let It Go” on the channel.

Latest Project: Mr. Tierney spent much of last year traveling in Europe and America for Mr. Horan’s “Flicker” tour. During the summer, he photographed Ms. Steinfeld’s shows. Though touring may seem glamorous from afar, there’s little time for sightseeing.

“When you wake up, you’re on tour, and you’re working until you go to bed that night,” he said. “Technically I’ve been to Sweden, but I haven’t seen anywhere except the inside of the venue.”

Next Thing: Next month, Mr. Tierney will join Hozier, an Irish crooner best known for the song “Take Me to Church,” on his American tour. “His show is very rock- and blues-based, which is quite different from the pop tours I did with Hailee and Niall,” Mr. Tierney said. “I saw him play six years ago in Dublin to a small audience, so to see his journey has been amazing.” After the tour, Mr. Tierney plans to move to Los Angeles.

On the Pulse: Though he no longer produces live sessions for YouTube, Mr. Tierney still has an eye for breakout talent. This year, he hopes to hear more of Dermot Kennedy, who mixes hip-hop production with traditional Irish songwriting, and Rosalía, a modern flamenco artist from Catalonia, Spain, who has been nominated for six Latin Grammys.

“She has such a unique creative vision and aesthetic that is very much her own,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anybody else who’s doing what she’s doing.”

Source: Read Full Article

Young Star of ‘White Boy Rick’ Was Discovered in the Principal’s Office

Age: 17

Hometown: Baltimore County, Md.

Now Lives: In his parents’ house there.

Claim to Fame: Richie Merritt is the newly discovered breakout actor in “White Boy Rick,” a crime drama film set in 1980s Detroit starring Matthew McConaughey. He has also become something of a fashion darling.

Big Break: Two years ago, when Mr. Merritt was a sophomore at Dundalk High School, he arrived late to school and was sent to the principal’s office, where a casting agent happened to be looking for the title role in “White Boy Rick.” After improvising a couple of scenes on the spot (“I had to pretend I was selling her a stolen phone,” he said), Mr. Merritt was booked on a flight to Hollywood and was cast opposite Mr. McConaughey. Though he had never acted before, the entire casting process took just a month.

Latest Project At the moment, Mr. Merritt is finishing his senior year of high school, but he has caught the acting bug. “I definitely want to pursue an acting career,” he said. “It’s not something I wanted to do as a kid, I always wanted to be a professional football player. But I realized when I was shooting, that this is fun for me.” Mr. Merritt was recently cast for Adrien Brody’s coming film after they met at the Toronto premiere of “White Boy Rick.”

Next Thing: With his retro mop of curls and boyish charms, Mr. Merritt has become fashion’s latest catnip. He sat in the front row at the Gucci show in Paris recently (his first overseas trip) and has been upgrading his wardrobe. “I like to switch it up and have my own flavor,” he said. Favorites include silky shirts (“I love the silky smooth feeling,” he said) and Nike Air Force Ones (I’ll always love those”).

Social Media Blackout: For all his youth and pop culture know-how, Mr. Merritt is barely on Instagram. “I’m really distant from social media,” he said. “Social media is about proving your worth, and it’s all about likes and what people think of you. I don’t really care what people think about me. I don’t mean it in a bad way, just that I don’t need that kind of affirmation about myself.”

Source: Read Full Article

Case of Mistaken Identity (He Wasn’t a Con Man)

Dr. Valerie Mechanik, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Tampa, Fla., delivered bad news to Richard Westenberger in December 2015, just 10 days after enjoying a first date with him at a restaurant there.

“She dumped me,” said Mr. Westenberger, 60, the co-founder and president of First National ATM, a financial services firm in Tampa. “I was hurt and confused. Knowing that our first date went so well, I couldn’t imagine what I had done wrong.”

Mr. Westenberger, who is known as Rick, was in fact just what the doctor ordered on Match.com, which she made quite clear in a recollection of their first get-together.

“A quick cocktail led to a five-hour dinner, where a kaleidoscope of emotions and pheromones so enveloped us that we never noticed that we were the last ones in Bern’s Steakhouse,” said Dr. Mechanik, now 66. “Listening to Rick talk about his life, I felt an instant connection, and I was so excited about seeing him again, I couldn’t sleep.”

Each searching for a soul mate after long marriages that ended in divorce — hers 35 years, his 23 years — they were eager and ready to embark on a whirlwind romance.

Mr. Westenberger had already penned a short poem tugging at Dr. Mechanik’s heartstrings, telling how he longed to see her again: “A million moments til Sunday,” he wrote, “but days go fast, and moments, too filled with dreams of me and you chasing the sun through world’s parts setting together as contented hearts.”

She replied immediately via email: ”Since I met you less than 24 hours ago, I have noticed all the colors of the sky, the trees, the bay as so much more vivid, heard the Christmas carols (my absolute favorite time of the year) sounding oh-so-much merrier and continued smiling so widely that my cheeks hurt, so, yes, please know that I felt that same intensity.”

The next day, Dr. Mechanik sent Mr. Westenberger another email, this one more inimical than lyrical, the words not so much tugging at his heart strings as much as they just tore. She told him she never wanted to see him again, and appeared to have a valid reason.

Unknown to Mr. Westenberger, a friend of Dr. Mechanik had urged her to conduct a background check on him “as a precautionary measure,” she said, and the findings were frightening.

She learned that the man she considered her soul mate had been an inmate at a Florida prison, having served time for a variety of narcotics-related offenses, and to make matters worse, Richard Westenberger had recently been released.

“He was a married, former narcotics dealer, and now it made sense,” Dr. Mechanik said. “Rick and his wife must have been searching on Match.com for a doctor so they could get drugs.”

“I thought, ‘Oh my God,’” she said. “And to think, I was planning to meet this sociopath at my home. I was terrified.”

But when the Mr. Westenberger she thought she knew responded to her suddenly dismissive missive with more poetry — “I’ll never write you again. I’ll never see your smile. Five hours is enough. We’ll not go another mile” — Dr. Mechanik began wondering why a felon would be so passionate about a woman he was trying to scam.

She decided to delve further into the background check and came to realize it was a case of mistaken identity. Another man with the name Richard Westenberger, but 20 years younger (and not related), was the one who had been released from a Florida prison.

“I felt terrible and immediately called Rick to explain,” she said. “The first thing he said to me was, ‘Does this mean I’m undumped?’”

She laughed and asked if he wanted to go out with her to dinner. “He said, ‘Sure, but give me a little time to get ready as I’m sitting here in my pajamas, depressed, and eating ice cream out of a tub.’”

They began dating exclusively, and five weeks later, Mr. Westenberger left his home in Port Richey, Fla., to live with Dr. Mechanik at her home in nearby Tampa.

“I found him to be strong and bright and quick and above all, funny, he always made me laugh,” Dr. Mechanik said. “There was such tenderness between us. We just knew we wanted to be together forever.”

The couple, who have five biological children between them, began bonding deeper after learning about each other’s difficult childhoods.

Dr. Mechanik was just 14 when she lost her mother, Jean Pollio Spina, to cancer in 1967. One of four children, she was left to help her father, Henry Spina, raise two younger siblings at their home in Farmingdale, N.Y.

She eventually went to the University of South Florida, where she graduated cum laude and received two bachelor’s degrees, one in foreign languages (Russian, French and Spanish) and the other in biology, as well as a medical degree. (Her father worked in Manhattan at the time repairing typewriters and other business machines until he moved to Vero Beach, Fla., where he owned a coffee shop. He later retired in Tampa.)

Mr. Westenberger, whose parents are both deceased, is one of eight children who grew up in an unstable environment. His parents, Teresa Westenberger, a registered nurse, and John Westenberger, a chef who owned a luncheonette in Brooklyn, had lived troubled lives, and placed Mr. Westenberger in foster care at least three times between the ages of 5 and 6, until they were able to take him and several of his siblings back under their own roof in West Islip, N.Y., and at several other addresses around Long Island where they lived.

“From the time Rick was born, he never had anyone consistently love him,” Dr. Mechanik said. “Despite not having any role models to show him how to love and be loved, he somehow turned out to be such a loving, kind and tender man.”

Mr. Westenberger, forced to work at an early age to support himself, attended Ramapo College in Mahwah, N.J., part-time for seven years, where he majored in marketing, but did not graduate. “I simply ran out of courses I could take there on a part-time basis,” he said.

Everything the couple had to endure in their youth gave them “an appreciation of the gift of life,” Dr. Mechanik said, “a gift to be embraced and enjoyed and lived each and every day.”

They were doing just that, enjoying a shared love of music, especially Beatles music (both are admitted Beatlemaniacs), quiet dinners together, loud parties in the company of good friends and traveling to such places as Big Bear Lake, Calif., where they went hiking, and Copenhagen and Sweden and Paris, where they drank champagne while sailing the Seine River.

“Valerie’s intelligence, sense of humor, genuine integrity and compassion gave me a renewed zest for life and love,” Mr. Westenberger said.

But just six months into their new life together, the wind had been taken out of their sails, as Mr. Westenberger was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2016.

“I volunteered to bail out of the relationship,” he said. “I didn’t want Valerie to live around someone who was suffering from a disease and its horrible effects, but she remained ridiculously supportive.”

Two months later, Mr. Westenberger, “with the love of my life beside me,” he said, had the cancer surgically removed and it has since been in remission.

Dr. Mechanik’s voice melted as she recalled the fear of losing another loved one to cancer.

“That was the first time Rick had been hospitalized in his life,” she said. “It was a hard thing to get through, but fortunately, his surgery was successful and his prognosis is excellent.”

Several weeks later, Dr. Mechanik read a local newspaper article about a shortage of beds for foster children in the Tampa area, some of the children, according to the article, were sleeping in business offices.

When she relayed that information to Mr. Westenberger, both knew the time was right for giving back, and since February 2017, they have welcomed 20 foster children into their homes, including three siblings, Ellen, now 8, John, 7, and Jane, 4, who stayed with them for five months before moving out to live with a relative.

The couple taught all three children to swim, ride bikes and tie their shoelaces. They took them to the zoo, museums, amusement parks and the library, where they instilled in them a love of reading books.

“Despite having raised three children of my own, having delivered 6,000 babies and having had the opportunity to save the lives of many women and babies, being a foster mother has felt like the most important thing I have done,” Dr. Mechanik said. “Rick feels the same way about the impact he has had on these children’s lives.”

Ellen, John and Jane returned for a special visit on Dec. 29, serving as flower girls and ring bearer at the couple’s wedding, which was held at their home in Tampa.

“I couldn’t believe it when they said I could be a flower girl, I was just so excited,” said Ellen, wearing, like her sister, a cream-colored sparkly dress with a flower crown. “I like being fancy and dressed up, but I also like playing and getting dirty.”

Guests began arriving late-afternoon beneath a sun that pushed aside a lingering, dense morning fog just in time to shine the last vestiges of daylight on the bride, elegant in a floor-length, pacific blue Laurel Berman gown, and the groom, dashing in a black tuxedo and bow tie with a white pocket square.

Everyone then gathered in a semicircle around the couple, who stood before Fernando A. Nunez, a friend of theirs who became a Universal Life minister for the event.

“I will kiss you unexpectedly and often,” the bride and groom vowed to each other just before their exchange of rings.

Among those present was Laura Farrell West, the friend of Dr. Mechanik who had strongly recommended the background check on Mr. Westenberger. “Truth won, and they’ve never looked back,” Ms. West said. “I’m so grateful that it worked out.”

After the couple said their vows, “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles began to play as their 65 guests gathered for cocktail hour.

“Valerie has the most energy of anyone I know, and what a soul mate she found,” said Eileen Goldenberg, an artist and author who is Dr. Mechanik’s best friend.

After a French-themed dinner buffet, the tables set up in the backyard were removed to reveal that some of the guests had been sitting atop the couple’s swimming pool, which was covered by a clear sheet of Plexiglass and was now transformed into a well-lit dance floor that created a walking-on-water effect.

“Rick and I realize how fortunate we are to have found one another,” said Dr. Mechanik, who was looking forward to a honeymoon that would take them to Peru and Patagonia, Chile.

“We’ve learned through all of the ups and downs that it’s not the material things that matter and that in the end,” she said, before borrowing a line from her favorite band, “all you need is love.”

Wendy Rosenoff contributed reporting from Tampa, Fla.

ON THIS DAY

Where The couple’s home in Tampa, Fla.

When Dec. 29, 2018

Special Delivery Dr. Mechanik met her officiant, Fernando Nunez, an immigration lawyer, when his wife, Dr. Margarita Nunez was pregnant and she delivered their daughter, Karina.

Ringing Endorsements The couple purchased their rings in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, where the bride’s mother was born and raised. The groom’s wedding ring was made by Lewis Williams of LHN Jewelry, and the bride’s opal engagement ring was made by Katherine Lincoln. The bride’s double wedding band is Paloma’s Melody from Tiffany’s.

Haiku Humor Two Haikus created by the bride’s young adult children were shared as part of their dinner speeches: “Gynecologist seeks tall and kind man. Must love Ro-Tel tomatoes.” Also: “She typed in her PIN on the A.T.M. of love. Transaction complete.”

A Sipping Spoonbill Guests were treated to the Roseate Spoonbill, the couple’s signature drink, which was garnished with floating cranberries over cherry-flavored 7UP, rosé champagne and whipped cream-flavored vodka achieving the pink hue of its namesake bird.

Sign up here to receive Wait —, a weekly newsletter in which Caity Weaver investigates a question in the news and pop culture.

Continue following our fashion and lifestyle coverage on Facebook (Styles and Modern Love), Twitter (Styles, Fashion, and Vows) and Instagram.

Source: Read Full Article

Where are the old Shipwrecked contestants now? From Jeff Brazier to Sarah-Jane Crawford, here's what happened to the T4 cast

But what happened to the Shipwrecked contestants of yesteryear and where are they now? Here's everything you need to know.

When was Shipwrecked originally on TV?

Shipwrecked was one of the earliest reality shows, launching on Channel 4 way back in 2000.

It ran for three series before going off air in late 2001.

In 2006, it came back with a new “battle of the islands” format where rival tribes competed to recruit newcomers in a bid to be the largest group and take home up to £100,000 in prize money.

In total, Shipwrecked ran for eight series, with a final “back to basics” edition on E4 in 2012.

What happened to the Shipwrecked cast?

There were numerous big characters on the show over the years who were left to fend for themselves on the islands…

Jeff Brazier

Jeff has become a famous face since his island stint on the reality show.

His presenting gigs have included X Factor's live tour, Finders Keepers and the I'm A Celebrity spin-off shows.

The star dated the late Big Brother star Jade Goody from 2002-2004, and now raises the couple's two children Bobby and Freddie out of the spotlight.

Sarah-Jane Crawford

Sarah-Jane also launched her TV career after appearing on the show in season three.

The stunning brunette went on to present The Hits music video channel, now 4music, in 2007.

She's also presented X Factor spin off show The Xtra Factor and hosted the Mobo Awards alongside former Spice Girl Mel B in 2014.

In March 2018, she took part in The Real Full Monty.

Stephen Bear

Many people know Stephen Bear from Ex on the Beach, but he actually made his reality TV debut on Shipwrecked back in 2011.

The reality star has since become a regular face on TV over the years and he won the eighteenth series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2016.

In 2017 he presented Just Tattoo of Us with ex Charlotte Crosby.

Lara Goodison

Lara was a firm favourite when she made her debut at the age of 18.

After returning from the island, she opted for a career in acting, and went on to star in Doctor Who episode The Next Doctor, and BBC show The Cut.

She is the only actor to have starred in every episode of the drama series.

Nadejah Williams

Nadejah struck a chord with fans when she starred on the 2009 series, but sadly isn't with us today.

She became the face of Teenage Cancer Trust after suffering from a rare form of colon cancer.

She was diagnosed in 2011 when she was interning in New York and passed away in 2014.

Xanthi Toupoyannis

Xanthi Toupoyannis turned heads when he walked into the First Dates restaurant in 2016, with viewers wondering where they’d seen him before.

The first TV outing for the good-looking northerner was on the legendary Shipwrecked in 2009.

Xanthi even managed to find love with fellow tribemate Dan and the pair even lived together when they returned to the UK.

After that it was on to the BBC where Xanthi starred in the documentary The Kitchen, with his Clapham housemates Matthew Wells and David Murray – who  together described themselves as fitness fanatics.

When does the 2019 series of Shipwrecked finish?

Shipwrecked 2019 finale is on E4 TONIGHT (Friday, February 15, 2019) at 9pm.

This will be the 15th instalment of the series and sees the Tigers and Sharks face a final emotional beach party.

And, of course, we will finally find out who the winner of Shipwrecked 2019 will be.

Source: Read Full Article

She Crumbled the Fortress Around His Heart

When Sting married Trudie Styler 26 years ago, his close friend, Simon Astaire, served as the best man. Last month, in New York, Sting was finally able to return the favor.

“I’ve known him for 40 years; I never thought I’d be the best man, because I never thought he would marry,” said Sting, a.k.a. Gordon Sumner, as he was standing in the Manhattan Marriage Bureau.

Mr. Astaire, 57, would have had to agree, until he met Pilar Ordovas.

“Pilar is different than anyone I’ve gone out with,” he said. “There’s a connection I have never felt before. She will make me a better person, and I knew that as I started to fall in love with her.”

Long before the couple met, Mr. Astaire, who was born in London, was far more successful in his professional life than his love life.

At the age of 19, he began working as an agent with International Creative Management, one of the world’s largest talent and literary agencies. In 1993, he became a publicist, representing members of the British royal family, specifically Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, among other clients. In 2008, he turned his attention to writing, and for the next decade wrote seven novels including, “The Last Photograph,” which was adapted into a movie in 2017.

Although he has a son, Milo, 25, with the model Saffron Aldridge, the pair never married, and Mr. Astaire had almost resigned himself to being single.

“I was sent away to school at a young age and learned to shut off any emotion,” Mr. Astaire said. “To show any sort of love or sensitivity was seen as a weakness. That has deeply marked my life and it followed me. I’ve had loving relationships, but they have been short term. It’s taken me a long time to meet someone who was able to understand me and my resistance.”

In March 2016, Mr. Astaire was at Kennedy Airport traveling home, from New York to London, when he spotted a chicly dressed woman in the line at British Airways. He saw her again in the airline’s executive club. “I thought, ‘If there’s a God, please seat her next to me,’” he said.

Ms. Ordovas, 46, who is from Madrid, had worked at the Christie’s auction house as the international director and deputy chairman for more than a decade before becoming an art dealer with galleries in New York and London. Though she was married at the time, the relationship was dissolving.

“My marriage of 15 years was coming to an end,” she said. “I was dreading going back home to London because that was waiting for me.”

Unlike Mr. Astaire, Ms. Ordovas had not spotted him until, as fate would have it, he sat in the opposite seat from her on the plane.

“I couldn’t believe I was sitting next to her,” he said. “In business class they have these swine seats that face each other. It’s one of the worst designs. You sit down and you are literally facing a stranger. I wanted to make her feel comfortable, so I said, ‘Don’t worry, as soon as we take off I’ll put up the screen.’”

The screen remained down and the two never stopped talking.

During the six-hour flight they found out they knew the same people and bonded over their love of dogs: Ms. Ordovas had one, Mr. Astaire wanted one. They said their goodbyes upon exiting the plane, as Ms. Ordovas had a carry-on bag and Mr. Astaire checked his luggage.

“I didn’t think I’d hear from him,” she said. “I never meet interesting people on planes. But I phoned my office in the car and told them I spoke to this really interesting man.”

Mr. Astaire called his son, an art lover, and told him he had met a woman named Pilar Ordovas, who was a “kind, interesting, fascinating and beautiful woman,” he said. A recognizable name in the art industry, his son thought he was kidding. “Milo said, ‘Do you know who that is? You’re lying to me. I’d love to meet her.’”

The following day Mr. Astaire met Sting for lunch and told him all about Ms. Ordovas. Because she was married, he didn’t consider courting her, but he wanted to follow up on the dog breeder she had suggested. They stopped by her gallery on Savile Row in London, but she wasn’t there. Mr. Astaire left his phone number and email address. She responded soon after with the breeder’s information.

A few months later, he texted and asked if she would meet with his son. She said yes. And as weeks passed, Ms. Ordovas and Mr. Astaire would meet once more, casually, at her gallery.

On New Year’s Day 2017, Mr. Astaire was having a drink at the White Horse Tavern in Manhattan. Seated under a portrait of Dylan Thomas, he posted a quote from the famed poet on Instagram: “I wrote, ‘Life always offers you a second chance; it’s called tomorrow,’” he said, “and wished everyone a happy New Year.”

Ms. Ordovas, who was by then divorced, saw the post and was encouraged by co-workers to respond. She, too, was in New York and sent him a message. But by the time he saw it, he was at the airport heading to Los Angeles. He promised to connect when he retuned to London.

The two had dinner in early March, a year after first meeting. “She was as lovely as I remembered,” Mr. Astaire said. “It’s like for all these years I’d been looking in the wrong place. I met someone that has the essence of understanding me.”

Ms. Ordovas was just as surprised by their connection. “I hadn’t dated for so long — I was nervous but so comfortable with him,” she said. “He has a good way of asking questions and making you feel comfortable. It didn’t occur to me that I would fall in love again.”

Over the next few months, they saw each other three or four times a week until Mr. Astaire went to Los Angeles for work. The separation allowed them to see how much they missed each other.

Over the summer, the couple took a seven-day road trip to Marfa, Tex., where Ms. Ordovas was eager to see the Judd Foundation. Mr. Astaire had wanted to see certain parts of America. So they rented a car in New York and made stops during their weeklong drive: to Washington to see Georgetown; Virginia to experience Amish country; and Memphis, to see the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated, and to Sun Studios, Elvis Presley’s recording studio.

“People thought we were absolutely mad, but they said, ‘If you survive this, you’ve really got a chance of making it,’” Ms. Ordovas said. “We had this amazing experience that really brought us closer together.”

After their trip, the feelings of longing increased. Mr. Astaire realized he no longer wanted to be alone; he no longer wanted to be without Ms. Ordovas.

“Pilar gives me a sense of happiness I’ve never felt before with the exception of when my son was born,” he said.

They spent the holidays together and continued to grow closer. In February 2018, Ms. Ordovas moved to Elizabeth Street in London; Mr. Astaire unofficially followed while keeping his place in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood. Then Ms. Ordovas had some unexpected surgery, and for two months Mr. Astaire took care of her.

Another enjoyable summer came and went. Separation followed when Mr. Astaire went to New York for several weeks.

“When I came to visit, I was so excited to see him,” she said. “I saw a real change. He was able to articulate it in a way he hadn’t been able to do so before. He went from ‘I don’t want to commit’ to ‘I don’t ever want to be away from you.’”

In November an unexpected proposal came. Mr. Astaire was in Central Park while on the phone with his brother who needed an answer to an important question concerning their family. “I told him I have to talk to Pilar, and realized that she’s in my life now and will be part of the decision-making in the future,” he said.

That revelation became the impetus to propose. He returned home and found Ms. Ordovas in the kitchen making coffee. “I said, ‘I need to ask you something about my family. I need your advice.’ And by saying that to her, I realized I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I had to ask her to marry me,” he said.

A month later found the couple, Sting and Trudie, and several family members, at City Hall. “They’ve been waiting for each other for a very long time; she’s exactly what he needs,” Sting said.

“I like the civic nature of City Hall,” Sting added. “All kinds of people are here, the wealthy and not so wealthy. It has a depth of meaning. I love the atmosphere.”

Mr. Astaire did, too. “I love City Hall. New York was something I’d always dreamt about. I have enormous respect for this country,” he said beaming, standing next to his new wife. “I wanted America to be part of my life more than anywhere else.”

Dressed in a pink and white Chanel tweed dress, wildflowers clutched in one hand, her husband’s arm clutched in the other, she echoed his sentiments. “New York is really special to us. We met here, he proposed here. We wanted our marriage to be about us, and continuing our lives together. We wanted our nearest and dearest here. We didn’t want it to be about the party.”

Then she added, “It’s a perfect day. It’s even snowing outside.”

ON THIS DAY

When Dec. 13, 2018

Where Manhattan Marriage Bureau

Rings Ms. Ordovas’s ring, a diamond band, was bought at Harry Winston in London. Mr. Astaire’s ring, a gold band purchased at Cartier in London, was engraved with Ms. Ordovas’s name and their wedding date. “It’s a Spanish tradition to inscribe the name of the other person in the ring,” she said. “I took Simon’s son with me and we did it together.”

Wildflowers “I wanted off-white and peach flowers,” she said, something slightly wild, that looked like they were picked from a field and went with my dress. They came from Polux Fleuriste, a boutique florist run by two Frenchwomen.”

Continue following our fashion and lifestyle coverage on Facebook (Styles and Modern Love), Twitter (Styles, Fashion, and Vows) and Instagram.

Source: Read Full Article

Designers spin new yarn to shed wool’s daggy image

Albus Lumen designer Marina Afonina with a model wearing one of the designs in her entry for the International Woolmark Prize final, to be decided on Saturday in London. Credit:Tristan Fewings

An Australian has never won the country's own wool industry fashion prize, but that could change on Saturday night, London time, when Marina Afonina competes up against 11 other international fashion designers for the Woolmark.

Afonina, who was born in Russia, is the creative force behind Albus Lumen.

Regardless of whether she wins, Afonina has arguably created the hottest Australian brand of 2018-19.

There was the much talked-about show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, stockist deals with Net-a-Porter and Matchesfashion.com, the BT Emerging Designer Award, a prize at the Australian Fashion Laureate, and more.

"I feel more proud than pressure [about the Woolmark final]," she said. "I am an immigrant, I came here from Russia. It’s nice for me to present Australia in London. It doesn’t matter what happens at the end. We’re still going to keep going and do what we do."

To win, she will have to beat some stiff competition from the US, including Duchess of Sussex favourite and Lady Gaga's former stylist, Brandon Maxwell.

Afonina said her all-white collection aims to shift wool's image from that of a heavy, cool-climate fabric to something that can be worn year-round, and even in her speciality of European-inspired resort wear.

"We want to completely change the conception of wool as a fabric for suiting and coats," she said. "We want to use it for undergarments, lingerie, evening wear. We want to develop fabrics in house – that’s where the money will go if we win."

The two winners of the International Woolmark Prize, one each for women's and menswear, receive $200,000, while the winner of a separate prize for innovation receives $100,000.

The Woolmark Company, the marketing arm for Australia's wool-growers, spends about $4 million annually on the prize, which, aside from boosting the career of an emerging designer, also aims to take Australian wool to new markets.

Four finalists for the International Woolmark Prize (from left): Brandon Maxwell (USA), Nicole and Michael Colovos of Colovos (USA), Marina Afonina of Albus Lumen (Australia) and Willy Chavarria (USA).

In recent years there has been a particular focus on the US and China, where population and a relatively low per capita consumption of wool makes these markets ripe for expansion. The value of wool exports from Australia is expected to reach nearly $5 billion this financial year, according to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and Rural Sciences.

Afonina said initiatives such as the Woolmark Prize helped spread the message to consumers that "wool can be used in different ways. Our approach is that it can be very light and not as heavy … we have dresses and a bodysuit."

She describes her Woolmark collection as "very wearable, very commercial", and earnt praise from the judges at the semifinal, held in New York last July, for her business vision as well as her design aesthetic.

"I have only been three years in the market but in terms of what we have achieved … it depends how you take it. The brand has grown so much in the past three years," she said.

Afonina, a mother of one, said new designers need to "have a new point of view".

"What was happening 10 years ago is so diluted on Instagram, it’s so exposed. You have to stick to yourself but also evolve, and have a signature. We started with [making] linen and now everyone else is doing that, so we have to move on to something else. But we still have our signature."

Melissa Singer travelled to London as a guest of Woolmark.

Source: Read Full Article

Gigi Hadid, Sarah Hyland, Bella Hadid & More Celebrities Looking Sexy In Cropped Sweaters

Look chic this winter in a cropped sweater! See how celebs like the Hadid sisters and Sarah Hyland have styled the short (yet semi-warm) top.

Being late-February, we won’t deny that we’re living in sweaters. But sometimes you need to switch things up or add a bit of ~sex appeal~. Luckily, you don’t need to ditch your sweaters completely in order to accomplish this. The knitwear can be cropped to give a flash of abs or pair nicely with high-waisted bottoms. It’s also a look backed by some of the most stylish celebrities – everyone from the Hadid sisters to Sarah Hyland have tried it out!

Gigi Hadid proved this trend isn’t just a fad when she sported it during Fendi‘s Spring/Summer 2019 show during Milan Fashion Week on Sept. 20, 2018. The model stunned in a camel colored crop top which was paired with khaki pants, a buckled belt and open-toed heels. Seeing as how this look was from Fendi’s Spring/Summer line, it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing cropped sweaters throughout the spring as a transitional piece. Might as well stock up now!

Gigi’s sister Bella Hadid also took on the piece of her own accord when she stepped out in New York last September wearing a zip-front black and cream sweater. She matched the top to shorts in the same ribbed material, a small off-white purse and heels. While we aren’t about rocking tiny shorts in the dead of winter, her top would look super chic with a pair of high-waisted jeans.

But the Hadid sisters aren’t the only stars who’ve sported cropped sweaters. Get clicking through the gallery above for even more style inspo on this cute and cozy look!

Source: Read Full Article