Q&A With: Black Halo Founder Laurel Berman
We chat with the creative genius behind beloved LA brand Black Halo.
June 06, 2012
Laurel Berman is about to celebrate ten years as the creative force behind one of the most sought-after LA-based brands. As designer and founder of Black Halo, Berman has amassed a cult-like following of fashionable stars and everyday women alike due to her amazing ability to design for a woman’s body. As Berman tells it, “I have a formula—Black Halo stands for sexy power dressing.” Here we catch up with Berman on her inspirations, future goals, and more.
Black Halo is known for its flattering fit. Your signature ‘Jackie O’ dress has been seen on almost every body type in Hollywood.
LAUREL BERMAN: It’s kind of miraculous. It goes from Kelly Ripa to Kim Kardashian to Tyra Banks. That’s a lot of shapes in there. We’re very careful in our fit and try to show range in our collection. Not every dress is right for every girl but every girl can find a dress that is right for her. That’s the beauty of making things in LA. You can watch your garment through the stage of every process.
What inspires your designs?
LB: Art, architecture, my travels. Even just my 30-minute [work] commute in Los Angeles. It’s during that alone time in my car when I have a few moments of clarity and quiet time. Also, I do a lot of yoga and so often come out with such clarity and vision. Like if I’m struggling with a dress that didn’t come out exactly how I wanted it to, but I can’t put my finger on why it is I don’t like it. It helps me focus.
How does Black Halo fit into the LA lifestyle?
LB: It’s funny because we are very ladylike. We consider the brand to be day to dinner. When people think of LA they think of jeans and t-shirts, but this is really the land of the Hollywood starlet. This is where girls have power luncheons, red-carpet functions, and premieres. There are a lot of reasons for a woman to get dressed up, and that doesn't necessarily mean for going to the Oscars. So, she doesn’t need an evening gown but she needs to look sharp, polished, and put-together. And I think that’s the side of LA that Black Halo resonates with.
Coming up on your tenth anniversary this year, what does the decade look like for the brand?
LB: Of course we’d want to do licensing. We look forward to doing fragrances, possibly shoes, handbags, and sunglasses. Nothing in the works, but that’s my wish list.
Marilyn Monroe Photo Series at hip’tique
Rare photos of late icon come to LA boutique.
June 06, 2012
In partnership with Duncan Miller Gallery, Santa Monica store hip’tique is currently displaying five of the buzzed-about and recently released rare photographs of Marilyn Monroe. The pictures were taken by photographer Lawrence Schiller on the set of Monroe's last film, Something’s Got to Give.
The publication of some images, a few of them semi-nude, in June’s issue of Vanity Fair comes right before the 50th anniversary of Monroe’s death in August. With only ten copies available of the series in the world and one set already hanging in Ben Stiller's home, the images are for sale at $18,000 each. 2727 Main St., Santa Monica, 310-399-6106
Must-Try Food Truck: Cousins Maine Lobster
Maine lobsters delivered daily bring a taste of the East coast to Angelenos.
June 05, 2012
Lobster tacos offer a California twist on an East-coast classic.
Cousins Maine Lobster is on the fast track to becoming one of LA’s hottest food trucks of the summer. The creation of Maine-bred cousins, Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac, this mobile truck serves fresh lobster expressly delivered overnight from Maine’s waters.
For lobster rolls, choose between two East-coast styles: Maine (chilled with mayonnaise) and Connecticut (warm with butter). Although the truck serves classic crustacean creations like lobster rolls and bisque alongside Maine musts such as whoopie pies and Cape Cod chips, inventive shellfish items are their specialty. Choose from Maine crab and shrimp rolls, lobster martinis, lobster tacos, Maine lobster ice cream—a sweet mix of buttery meat and creamy vanilla—and more. For the Cousins Maine Lobster schedule, follow their Twitter feed at @cmlobster.
Photograph courtesy Cousins Maine Lobster
California Creation: Helena Quinn x Closet Rich ILSE Coat
LA-based designer and online consignment shop collaborate for a coat to transcend seasons.
June 05, 2012
Helena Quinn, the LA-based outwear line known for its ladylike swing coats, modernly structured jackets, and classic trenches, now adds a limited-edition piece to its repertoire. The chic cashmere coat, designed in collaboration with luxury consignment e-boutique Closet Rich, is set to appear on the site as of June 15.
Offering a flattering wrap silhouette in a rich caramel hue, this one-size-fits-all coat is the perfect item for colder summer nights and to transition into fall. The Helena Quinn x Closet Rich ILSE coat ($325) is available now for pre-order on closetrich.com.
Photograph courtesy Closet Rich
'Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974' Exhibit at MOCA
MOCA teams up with Google Earth to complement first-of-its-kind showcase.
June 04, 2012
MOCA’s new exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary, “Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974” offers a collective look at land art through 250 works. A historical view of land art, as expressed from its general inception up until 1974, the global showcase features artists from the United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, Iceland, Europe, North and South America, and more. The end result is the first large-scale exhibition on the subject.
To supplement the famous landscapes on display, MOCA is offering an exciting new web component. Teaming up with Google Earth, the museum offers an interactive online map, which allows you to pinpoint some of the exact locations featured in the exhibition. Runs until September 3. 250 S. Grand Ave., LA, 213-626-6222
Photograph courtesy MOCA
Great Father's Day Gift: Casa Dragones Tequila
Blue Agave Joven tequila offers personalized bottle and cigar pairings for dad.
June 04, 2012
Toast to dad on Father’s Day with a limited-edition bottle of Casa Dragones Joven tequila ($275). Handcrafted from the finest blue agave plants, the smooth sipping tequila is a one-of-a-kind find as each bottle is numbered to signify the particular batch.
Internationally recognized for its meticulous crafting process, which allows for only a small amount to be produced every year, Casa Dragones tequila is one to savor. For Father’s Day, a Casa Dragones bottle comes with an added personalized touch. Available in LA through upscale wine and spirits shop, Wally’s, each bottle offers calligraphy and suggested cigar pairings from Cigar Aficionado. 2107 Westwood Blvd., LA, 310-475-0606
Photograph courtesy Casa Dragones
Brunch Plans: Barbrix
Silver Lake wine bar adds brunch menu to already-noteworthy lineup.
June 01, 2012
Barbrix's mouth-watering French toast is loaded with strawberries, crème fraiche, pistachios, and Vermont maple syrup.
Tucked away in the picturesque Silver Lake Hills, Barbrix is a neighborhood staple known for its exquisite wine and dinner menu, all enjoyed against its stunning skyline views. Now serving weekend brunch, the restaurant is packing its 1940s-style house with both breakfast and lunch-style dishes.
Early risers will appreciate brioche French toast topped with strawberries, crème fraiche, pistachios, and Vermont maple syrup; or the Dungeness crab hash offered alongside poached eggs and tomatillo salsa. And patrons craving a midday meal can order up the short rib grilled cheese sandwich, stacked with cheddar cheese and pickled chilis on sourdough. Whatever you order, complement your meal with Champagne cocktails or, of course, a delicious glass of signature wine. Brunch service runs Saturday and Sunday (11 AM-3 PM). 2442 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake, 323-622-2442
Photograph Courtesy Barbrix
Ultimate Dress: Magda Berliner Vintage Frock
Our lust for a lovely lace shift dress, offered as part of an exclusive shopbop.com collection.
June 01, 2012
For a vintage, one-of-a-kind ladylike frock, look to LA designer Magda Berliner’s hi neck vintage lace dress ($2,640). A connoisseur of heirloom-quality lace, Berliner’s custom pieces have created a loyal following in celebrities like Ashley Olsen and Amanda Seyfried.
With delicate layers and intricate lace designs, the dress itself should explain that popularity. Part of her three-piece capsule collection for shopbop.com, it’s handmade in a Victorian-inspired style but boasts modern updates like a shorter hemline and semi-sheer yoke. And, although all three cuts come standard, each piece's vintage lace varies slightly.
Weekend Recommender: May 31-June 3
Celebrate Red O with Rick Bayless, get fit for a cause, and attend a celebrity-studded charity event.
May 31, 2012
Giada De Laurentiis poses with daughter at last year's Kidstock.
Red O Two-Year Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, May 31-Friday, June 1; Social Hour: 4PM-6PM; Dinner: 6PM-close
Chef Rick Bayless hosts a special Street Food Social Hours cocktail party, dinner, and book signing to toast his Mexican eatery Red O’s two-year anniversary. Pick up a copy of Bayless’ Fiesta at Rick’s cookbook for signing, and stay for dinner to indulge in the menu of signature dishes, tequila cocktails, and a complimentary dessert. 8155 Melrose Ave., LA, 323-655-5009
The 4th Annual Shape Magazine Summer Beach Tour
Saturday, June 2, 8 AM-3 PM
Head down to Hermosa Beach for a day of fashion, beauty cabanas, surfing lessons, and fitness classes like Bikini Boot Camp taught by celebrity trainer Jeanette Jenkins. American Idol singer Jordin Sparks will also stop by at 2:30 PM, and an after-party at nearby Gastro pub American Junkie makes for a fun finale. Fitness class proceeds will benefit the Skin Cancer Foundation and surf lesson proceeds will go to the Jimmy Miller Foundation. Class tickets start at $10 and are available at shape.com. 1 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach
Hudson Jeans Hosts Sixth-Annual Kidstock Music and Arts Festival
Sunday, June 3, 12-4 PM
The gorgeous grounds of Greystone Mansion serve as the backdrop for the Kidstock Music and Arts Festival benefiting The One Voice Scholars Program. Join host committee members such as Reese Witherspoon, Giada De Laurentiis, and Jane Buckingham for a day of interactive kids booths, arts and crafts, gourmet food, and performances. For tickets, contact email@example.com. 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills
Photography by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
'Made In LA' Honors Emerging Modern Art
Underexposed LA artists show painting, sculpture, statutes, and more in coming-soon exhibit.
May 31, 2012
Meg Cranston, California, 2006 on display at 'Made in LA.'
The first Los Angeles biennial, "Made in LA" gives a modern-day look at the city’s arts scene. Running from June 2 to September 2, this showcase focuses on 60 underexposed and rising local artists in the fields of painting, installation, sculpture, video, statute pieces, and abstract works.
Held across three venues—LAXART in Culver City, Westwood’s Hammer Museum, and Barnsdall Art Park in Los Feliz, one of the participating artists will also be awarded the Mohn Prize. The accolade offers $100,000 to put toward the winner’s work, and will be voted on by the public and a group of professionals. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, 310-443-7000; LAXART, 2640 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, 310-559-0166; Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz, 323-660-4254
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.