The Talk with Jean-Claude Biver

Interview by Carolina Rodríguez Hernández for JOLIEGAZETTE.
Photo courtesy Jean-Claude Biver.

Jean-Claude Biver is known for many things. The CEO of TAG Heuer, President of the LVMH Watch Division and also Chairman of Hublot, rejuvenating the Blancpain, placing Omega brand watch on James Bond and is known for his own exclusive cheese, yes cheese. Biver's cheese is made from milk collected only during a short few week period of the year when the cows aren't grazing on grass, but rather flowers. The milk is heated over an open fire using hand-cut wood and then aged for the entire summer. Biver's farm produces around five tons per year, but he doesn't sell any of it. Instead, he gives it out to friends and family. How amazing is that? Today we talk to Jean-Claude Biver about his career in watch industry and his passion in making cheese.

C: Can you describe to us a childhood experience, which influenced your business career, especially your relation with watch industry?

JCB: I tried to enter the world of work after my studies without getting ever the impression to work. In order to achieve this, I believed I had to combine work and passion in one. As my passion was for steam machines as a boy, I believed that this toy would become once adult a watch. That’s why I joined the watch industry and got my first job ever in a watch brand.

C: Could you give us an insight into the creative process behind TAG Heuer?

JCB: The creative process is a mind game, creativity must come from the CEO and must be everywhere (like water falling down from the top to the bottom). To be more precise the creativity process really starts with our R&D boss and myself. We exchange constantly ideas nearly on a 24hours base 7 days on 7. Then we have at different levels people who try to transform ideas in reality and then we have people who are implementing the processes, the ideas, products etc.

C: Which philosopher has inspired you throughout your career? Why?

JCB: Khalil Gibran inspired me when I read «The Prophet» because I realized on a very simply and down to earth what was important in life. I was also inspired by Jacques Lafontaine who tells you through poems how human being behave.

C: What is a good personal experience in defining your Swiss Alps cheese?

JCB: My cheese is a piece of history of Swiss Tradition and goes back to the 14th Century. I love connecting back to the past and believe that with my cheese we have a wonderful product to experience Swiss Tradition and Swiss History. 

C: What are your challenges?

JCB: My challenge is to leave my business one day with the impression having done my best and having left traces of love among my people. I am working on that project everyday and it is giving me hard time.

C: What is the single most inspiring video you have seen addressing today’s biggest challenges, which include: climate change, food security, poverty reduction, and quality of life for all?

JCB: Everybody, every human being living on Planet Earth should see the  documentary made by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent called - Demain.

C: What role does music play in your cheese process inspiration?

JCB: Its an essential asset and component of our tradition and of our cheese. Without our traditional mountain music, I believe the cheese would not be the same and would not taste the same.

C: Was there a particular human exchange you can describe which inspired you towards taking charitable action regarding the causes you love?

JCB: No, there was nothing particular and its just my conscience and my age which is helping me to become slightly wiser and see things from another perspective.

C: What advice can you share with the world on the importance of empowering others to reach one’s full potential? How do you empower others in your daily life?

JCB: The most important factor in life is to share. We are all born through a sharing process of a women who during nine month has shared with us her body, her blood, her oxygen, her pain, her doubt, her joy and her hope. That’s why it so important that once we are born we can give back all the love we got and which helped us to get born. This explanation of Love is clear like water and there cannot be a single doubt that Love is all we need.

C: Would you describe yourself as a spiritual person? If so can you share with us one of your more profound spiritual experiences?

JCB: No, I just love Planet Earth and I love people. That’s enough to be a good person ! I like simplicity and I am not a technocrat, but rather a pragmatic lover of life and people.

C: What is your message to entrepreneurs who struggle to launch their ideas?

JCB: Have the courage to be wrong, have the courage to change mind, have the courage to listen, to learn, have the courage to be yourself, don’t crack under pressure and trust yourself

C: How is a normal day for Jean-Claude Biver? Which are your hobbies?

JCB: My main hobby is my job (thanks God), but I also have my family, my sport, my wine, my cheese and my friends as hobbies. That’s why 24 hours a day are not enough for me.

C: What is your greatest hope for the future? What is next for Jean-Claude Biver?

JCB: My hope and my goal is to die naked, meaning that I have given back everything I received in life. My love, my passion, my experience, my visions and my hope.

C: How would you like to be remembered?

JCB: As a man who loved people, who respected people and who shared with people.

C: Who are your top three living thought leaders?

JCB: Mr. Bernard Arnault and Elon Musk.



The Talk with Carly Steel

Juliet: How did you get into tv hosting?

Carly: Gosh that question requires a long and convoluted answer. Asthe honest answer is I never intended to get into TV hosting, it was always film I wanted to pursue. The abbreviated version is after graduating from University in England with a law degree, I was very young when I graduated and took what is popularly referred to as a ‘gap year’ and ended up working at Vogue in NYC and never went back to England or law! I really enjoyed the glamour and interviewing people and the day of the Met Ball I met Giuliana from E! News --- after a quick chat she kindly set me up with an interview at E! and I ended up applying for an entry level producer position there and moving to LA. After a year I transitioned to on-air – my first interview was with Richard Gere and I just took to it quite quickly and loved it, so from there I started hosting for a digital site then became a film expert for TV Guide Network. From there I worked up to becoming a correspondent for the Live Awards show red carpet coverage, then a host. The Royal Wedding was the first time I got to anchor and after 4 years there I started hosting for The Insider then Entertainment Tonight. Along the way I've done quite a few acting jobs and sold a show with Lionsgate so things continue to evolve.

Juliet: Your new show "Jet to the Set" such a fresh idea for TV. Tell us a little bit about it. Who came up with it?

Carly: My co-creator and co-host Laurie Feltheimer and I were having lunch at the Cannes Film Festival 2 years ago and we’d been talking for a while about wanting to work together as we had done a couple of shoots in the past and have great on-air chemistry which can be rare for 2 female hosts together. We decided an ideal vehicle for us would be the combination of Laurie’s Hot in Hollywood company concept which takes hot Hollywood trends and translates it for every woman, and my background in film and TV and interviewing, plus our combined love of travel. And from that, JET TO THE SET was born. I was a brand ambassador for a well-known hotel company for a few years and through that learned that there was a microcosm of tourism where people wanted to travel to iconic film and TV locations, and not only visit those places and take selfies, but also go to all the hotspots – stay where the stars stayed, ate where the stars ate – drink what they drank, and hang out where they hung out in their down time. It’s a way of getting cool local knowledge through the eyes of celebrity and productions. So the concept is essentially travelling like the stars and living like the movie, both on set and off, and showing that even seemingly nondescript locations in the US can be as glamorous and cool as international jet setting, as there are so many hidden treasures at these locations that are attainable and don’t require spending a lot of money to visit. Laurie and I are on a Thelma and Louise style escapade exploring all of these aspects and the stars themselves are our tour guides so we explore these things with them in a fun, adventurous way.

Juliet: What is the best part of working on this show? 

Carly: The best part of working on this show is getting to work with Laurie who is one of the most incredible, inspiring and fun women I know, so to share these adventures with her is the best! And also to go on mad cap adventures themselves – I like doing things with an element of danger and discomfort and this show enables me to explore that. I also love that we can show fans really cool places to go that I didn’t know existed and I’m such a huge film fan that to visit and spend time in the actual locations – I geek out over that every time!

Juliet: Let's talk about fashion. You are a red carpet regular. Whose style do you absolutely love?

Carly: I love Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Kate Hudson – they nail sexy feminine elegance with a twist.

Juliet: Who is your favorite designer?

Carly: Alice & Olivia – Stacey Bendet creates the perfect blend of vintage inspired feminine with an edge which is very much my style.

Juliet: Leather or lace?

Carly: Both! And sometimes together. I love a prim and proper DVF or Dolce & Gabbana lace dress juxtaposed with a shrunken soft leather moto jacket and ankle biker boots.

Juliet: How do you take off pressure before going out on the red carpet or in front of ET cameras?

Carly: As I’m British I would say a great source of calm is a good long hot bath with Epsom salts and lavender. I also love going to Pilates classes on the reformer, hiking in the hills (beautiful scenery always helps give perspective) a massage or, if I’m brutally honest, watching The Real Housewives shows on Bravo – I’m obsessed and it requires absolutely no cerebral activity so you can just switch off for an hour which is very relaxing. I also find that researching and preparing for shoots keeps me calm as the more I prepare, the more excited and confidant I feel about the shoot. To me, there is no such thing as being too prepared, unless you get overwhelmed.

Juliet: Who was your favorite interviewee and why?

Carly: Another tough question because everyone I meet and interview has a unique quality that I enjoy. My most memorable interviews are my first ever one - Richard Gere – such an elegant, charming gentleman, he put me at ease, I loved chatting with him and that interview cemented pursuing this career, Kate Hudson is a repeated favorite because if you could ever pick the ultimate gal pal to be friends with it would be her – she is so fun to be around, has an incredible energy, she just lights up every room and you have a great time with her.

Juliet: You were handpicked by Tom Cruise to fly with him on his jet for two international press tours co-hosting IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION premiere. What was it like? Tom Cruise! Insane! Were you nervous?

Carly:Hosting the Mission Impossible Rogue Nation NYC premiere was initially quite a daunting task because it was coming off the back of a fast paced European tour, I was jetlagged and we shut down Times Square. It was Live, and being on a huge podium, broadcast on Jumbotrons to tens of thousands of people, just a sea of faces, was quite overwhelming. I don’t do a lot of audience interaction / addressing crowds, so keeping them warmed up and entertained, is a very different format to simply talking to an actor and the camera. It was the closest thing I’ve experience to a rock concert, and that’s a testament to the star power of Tom Cruise. But I wasn’t nervous about working with Tom himself because he has such a magnetic energy, a lovely, gallant quality that instantly puts you at ease, so when he arrived and came up on the stage I was relieved because he is in his element at addressing the crowd, and the pressure was off me. He’s one of the most inspiring people I‘ve had the privilege to encounter.

Juliet: What do you think your secret is in being a successful tv host, interviewer?

Carly: Hosting and interviewing are two very different skills, and to be successful in this industry you must master both. I would say my strength is interviewing because that’s where I started, and the best advice I can give is to be interested in your interview subject, make it about them, not you, your top priority is to make them feel comfortable and put them at ease so they have a good time and to connect with them on a deeper level. Really listen to what they are saying throughout, instead of thinking of your next question (or if someone is talking in your ear via IFB) as that is where you can have a real moment with that person and get the gold. And no matter what is going on around you during the interview – whether you are on a red carpet with screaming fans and photographers, or in a room full of people, block all of that out and create a bubble around you and your subject so that it feels like it’s just the two of you. Make sure you use your intuition to feel them out, and see where they are at energy-wise then match your energy to an appropriate level and then you can bring them to where you need to be through your own energy. People react to genuine thoughts and emotions – don’t be fake, and don’t talk over your interview subject as that not only annoys your editor, but also your audience, who are ultimate tuning in to hear them, not you. In terms of advice for hosting overall – connect with the camera and your audience, don’t be afraid to be yourself, but always be mindful of your audience and respectful of who you are talking to, and above all – tenacity is imperative (and try not to take things too personally).

Juliet: Karl Lagerfeld's cat Choupette, a spoiled #Chanel pussy whose maids pamper her every need as her own book. Do you think she's got competition?

Carly: Well, there is no competition, Khaleesi is clearly the superior feline in every respect ;-). Well, I like to think so at least. She may not fly private but she is treated like a princess in every other way. She is Siberian and therefore hypo-allergenic, has stunning fur and features, but more importantly she has the most incredible personality – playful, mischievous and insightful and very, very funny, we are very similar in a lot of ways and she has changed my life, she is great company! Everyone who meets her is won over, even people who normally prefer dogs. No matter where I go in the world, no matter how glamorous, nothing compares to being back in LA with Khaleesi. There is a reason ancient Egyptians worshipped cats! They are incredible, and being a single girl with a cat should not be stigmatized.

Juliet:What is next for Carly Steel?

Carly: Gosh that is an excellent question – every day is different and things keep shifting, which is kind of how I like it. In addition to continuing correspondent duties for ET, I’m working on some more scripted projects and building my production company and producing more unscripted content too. That is definitely going to be a focus for 2016. And I’m excited for my movies to come out too!


Photos by Lauri Levenfeld

To learn more about behind the scenes story of Carly Steel,  visit The Project For Women.


The Talk with Zanna Rassi

Senior Fashion Editor of Marie Claire magazine and E! News Contributing Fashion Correspondent, Zanna Roberts Rassi  talks Style, NYFW and her new skin line - MILK Makeup.

Read More

The Talk with Chudney Ross

The youngest daughter of music legend Diana Ross, Chudney Lane Silberstein is  a mom to the adorable three year old Callaway Lane and an owner of a little bookstore gem in Santa Monica, called Books and Cookies,  where Chudney  teaches music class to toddlers. I sat down with Chudney at her Santa Monica store to talk  about her life, her business and her personal style.

J. You started as a model. What inspired you to open kid's bookstore business?

CR: I was actually a teacher first! I taught for 3 years in the Washington DC and Los Angeles Unified public school district. When I retired from teaching (at 22 years old), I was focusing on trying to be and writer and got an opportunity to try modeling, as well. Though, I had a few exciting opportunities on runways in LA and NYC, I truly was never very successful as a model, but it gave me the opportunity to find confidence in my beauty, to walk a little taller and strut more gracefully. In the end, I knew my life would steer back to working with children as it did!

J: You are the youngest daughter of legendary Diana Ross. Was your mother your role model when you were growing up?

CR: My mother has always been my role model. I am constantly in awe of her strength, talent and beauty. She is a hardworking, passionate, loving independent woman, which I too strive to be.

J:  Is she your role model for style?

CR: My mother is known for her style for the stage. She does costume changes of sequins, sparkles and extravagant ball gowns. I was always in dazzled by how she shined on stage, but took to a much more understated style of my own. I do love to get dressed up in pretty dresses, though and I got to play with a bigger, more extravagant version of my style at my recent wedding (this past June in Maui). I worked with the amazingly talented designer Lazaro on a custom two-piece ball gown with ornate gold leafing. It was spectacular!

J: Do you follow fashion trends ?

CR: I love to watch fashion trends, but I would only follow the ones that suit my body type! You would never find me in a crop top or high waisted, booty baring shorts. I do love however, to try new things and see what is hot right now.

J: I heard your voice in the music class for kids at your bookstore, you have an amazing voice. Have you ever thought about being a singer like your mom?

CR: Thank you very much, but absolutely not! I sing strictly for children. I think my tone just works for tiny ears! HA! I can definitely carry a tune and I have rhythm, but I am not pop star!

J: What brands will we find in your closet ?

CR: Sadly, I am usually in workout clothes, but I do love dresses! Party dresses, floaty beach dresses, Strapless dresses, Mini dresses!  My closet has dresses from Top Shop, Alice and Olivia, Keepsake, Marc by Marc Jacobs, but most of all, I love a boutique find!

J: On what do you spend the most: clothes, accessories, perfumes, lingerie, or anything else?

CR: Truly, at this point in my life, I spend the most on my daughter! She is an ultra-girly girl and I love to buy the tutus, sparkly dresses, tiny ballet flats… I can’t resist! For me, it is definitely shoes! I can always justify the expense of a perfect boot or heel (even though I spend the majority of my days in flip flops and sneakers)!

J: Leather or Lace?

CR: Lace! I am definitely more girly then edgy.

J. Do you love art? Who is your favorite artist?

CR: I do love art. Art is like a story, where anything is possible. Right now, I’m digging Classic and Modern Pop Art like Warhol, Asquint, Lichtenstien, Haring, but appreciate all art forms and eras.

J: What is next for Chudney Ross?

CR: Who knows? Isn’t that what makes life exciting! Of course, I would hope to continue to see growth with Books and Cookies. I would love to get back to writing and to continue to build my family! Truly, I am not sure where my future will lead, but I have found that being open to change and new experiences can bring exciting growth and development and for that I am ready!

To learn more about behind the scenes story of Chudney Ross visit The Project for Women.






The Talk with Catherine McCord of Weelicious

She has appeared on the covers of Glamour and Elle magazines, and walked the runway for Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. From 1999 to 2000 she was one of the female co-hosts of MTV's Loveline television show. FHM magazine readers voted her one of the sexiest women in the world for 2001
Today she is the mother of three adorable kids and the creator of the super popular blog,  andjudge on Guy's Grocery Game.  I sat down with Catherine at her home in Los Angeles to talk about modeling, personal style and her delicious business.

 Photo by  Lauri Levenfeld





















J: How were you discovered as a model?

CM: When I was 13 years old I had an injury from running and a friend signed me up for a modeling contest which I ended up winning. A few months later I got a card in the mail for a local modeling school. I walked in and they signed me up for a contest called Elite Models Look of the Year. I ended up being a national finalist and going to Japan for a month to compete as it was televised on ABC. It was quite a whirlwind adventure for a 14 year old. 

J: What were some of the challenges for you while working as a model?

CM: Traveling around the world for years was incredibly exciting, but became very lonely after a while. 

J: Many models are fighting the food habit. Was food ever a challenge for you while modeling?

CM: I lived with many models who had food issues so it was always around me, but learning about food through the countries I visited was extremely exciting to me. 

 Photo by  Lauri Levenfeld

J: What inspired you to start successful culinary business Weelicious?

CM: After I had my son, Kenya, I couldn’t find interesting homemade baby food recipes online as well as information about how to make kids great eaters from day one. We had always bought our food at the Hollywood farmers market, so I started blogging a different recipe everyday and my feeding adventures. The recipes eventually expanded to toddler, big kid and then recipes for the entire family. 8 1/2 years later there are over
1200 recipes and 350 cooking videos on the site. 

J: You area judge on a culinary TV show called Guy's Grocery games. Do you have a stylist or do you put together your own look?

CM: We have an amazing stylist, Joey. I bring the clothes and jewelry I want to wear and she jazzes it all up!

J: Does the fashion world still feel like a family to you?

CM: I have a few amazing friends in the fashion industry. Like all things, times moves on. I’m so lucky to have had a great experience, but this side of life is just as if not more thrilling, but in a different way. 

J: Do you follow fashion weeks, latest trends?

CM: I’m still fashion obsessed, but sadly don’t have as much time for it to be my focus. 

J: What is your personal style like?

CM: When I’m on TV I like to wear bright colors and bold jewelry. When I’m in NY I wear lots of black, high heels, boots, dresses and coats. At home big sweaters and jeans. In LA when we go out I wear leather pants, an array of fun handbags and more upscale casual pieces. 

J: Who are your favorite designers to wear on the Red Carpet?

CM: I’ve worn Marchessa, vintage Halston and Yeo Lee and Naeem Khan. 

J: What is Catherine McCord’s style advice?

CM: Wear what suits you, but make sure to always have fun with it. 

J: What is next for Catherine McCord?

CM: Right now I’m focused on my food delivery company, One Potato. It offers 3 organic family friendly meals a week that take less than 30 minutes to prepare. It’s been such a life saver for me and hopefully will be for other families! 

J: Brilliant idea for busy moms. I can not wait to sign up for mine!

To learn more about behind the scenes story of Catherine McCord and find out how to win a signed copy of Catherine’s latest Weelicious cookbook, One Family. One Meal.  visit The Project for Women.

Photography by Lauri Levenfeld






The Talk with Nordstrom SPACE buyer, Raul Becerra

 Photos by  Lauri Levenfeld

Photos by Lauri Levenfeld

Designers today are up against more competition than ever and it is easy to miss an amazing, unique and fun designer from the crowd of many. If you are willing to give emerging designers a chance (we recommend that you do) then Nordstrom's SPACE boutique is the place to go. They've got the best selection.

Raul Becerra is a buyer at SPACE Boutique @ Nordstrom and his job involves a true mix of the creative and the practical.  Together with Nordstrom's Director of Creative Projects, Olivia Kim, Raul is looking for emerging and advanced brands that are getting industry buzz and brings them to Nordstrom. SPACE carries Ellery, Paskal, Shrimps, Mira Mikati, Rosetta Getty, Simone Rocha, Isa Arfen  among others.
We met with Raul at Nordstrom San Francisco store during SPACE opening party and asked about his personal favorite designers and his work for the most exciting boutique.
J: Describe your current role

RB: In my opinion, I am buying for one of the most exciting boutiques within a major U.S retail company – SPACE @ NORDSTROM  

J:  What is the selection process like for the designers you’ve chosen to feature at SPACE?

RB: It was a labor of love and respect .  Olivia and I wanted to bring in collections that we personally love and collections that are recognized within the industry;  We brought in established collections that are difficult to find, like Tricot comme des garcons, and collections that we are really excited about, like VETEMENTS, Faustine Steinmetz and KOCHE.
J: Who is the most exciting designer for you at SPACE right now?

J: From a retail standpoint, what do you see as the chief influence on customers today? Is it celebrity? Is it street style?

RB: It is a combination of the two
J: More personally, what are your own favorite brands right now?

RB: Personally, I love Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garcons and Undercover

 Raul Becerra and Juliet Belkin

Raul Becerra and Juliet Belkin

J: any must haves for spring?

RB: Anything oversized !
J: Can fashion really save the world?

RB: Fashion brings us all together, sort of like a universal unspoken language /  respected art form.  Thatsaid…… kinda : )
J: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

RB: Perfection does not equal success  ; Done is better than perfect

J:  Love it! What is your advice to designers trying to make it big in the fashion world.
RB: Stay humble

 Raul Becerra at Nordstrom San Francisco store. Photo by  Lauri Levenfeld

Raul Becerra at Nordstrom San Francisco store. Photo by Lauri Levenfeld

The talk with celebrity jewelry designer Maya Brenner

 On Maya sweater by  Pam&Gela . Photo  Lauri Levenfeld

On Maya sweater by Pam&Gela. Photo Lauri Levenfeld

What began as a hobby soon turned into a successful jewelry business for designer Maya Brenner, whose timeless, classic and chic jewelry caught the eye of celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore,  Rachel Bilson,  Mandy Moore, Anne Hathaway, Kathy Perry, Salma Hayek and made a number of TV appearances on the leading ladies of Sex and the City.  Her signature States and letter pendant necklaces can be found in Neiman Marcus and J.Crew. Maya is a woman of many talents. She is a mother, wife, designers and entrepreneur. I was fortunate to meet and talk to Maya about her personal style in her beautiful home in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

J: What is the DNA of Maya Brenner jewelry ?

MB: Versatile, wearable, whimsical, and personal. My pieces are on trend and classic at the same time. The States and Letters are fun to wear and major conversation starters.

J: What inspires you when designing your jewelry collections?

MB: I design what I want to wear. If I have an upcoming event or an outfit that needs a little something extra, I’ll create a piece that I’d want to pair it with. Recently, I was noticing all of the gorgeous ear bars out there. I wanted to try the trend out, so I made my own and then added it to my line.

 Photo by  Lauri Levenfeld

J: How much attention do you pay to fashion when designing your jewelry?

MB: Not too much. I’m lucky since I don't have to design on a set schedule or for a particular season. I make new things when I’m inspired or want something new to wear.

J: Do you think fashion allow people to express their individuality or does it force people to conform?

MB: I think in the past fashion was far more restrictive. Now there is so much out there to choose from—there’s truly something for everyone!

J: As a jewelry designer how much jewelry do you wear daily?

MB: I have my stacking rings from my line that I never take off, “M” and “B” stud earrings that I rotate with my Petal Bar earring, Shark Tooth and Geometric Circle necklaces and sometimes I’ll throw a bangle into the mix—is that a lot?

J: How do you feel about statement jewelry?

MB: It’s not something I design but I definitely appreciate the bold and intricate styles I’ve seen. Irene Neuwirth uses the most gorgeous, eye-catching stones and Stella & Dot, another company that I design delicats for, offers amazing statement necklaces.

 Maya Brenner and Juliet Belkin. Photo  Lauri Levenfeld . On Juliet dress by  Ralph Lauren , poncho by  711 , loafers by  Gucci .

Maya Brenner and Juliet Belkin. Photo Lauri Levenfeld.
On Juliet dress by Ralph Lauren, poncho by 711, loafers by Gucci.

J: What is the most important part of wardrobe for you?

MB: A versatile, everyday purse and flattering sunglasses.

J: What celebrity were you most excited about wearing your jewelry?

MB: Katy Perry was photographed frequently in our California State Pendant during her “California Dreams” tour, so we got a lot of coverage from that. My daughter is a huge Anna Kendrick fan, so when she wore one of my pieces, my daughter thought I was very cool!

 Juliet Belkin and Maya Brenner. Photo by  Lauri Levenfeld .

Juliet Belkin and Maya Brenner. Photo by Lauri Levenfeld.





















J: With holidays around the corner, what is a favorite piece of yours that you think would make a perfect gift?

MB: I love our simple gold bangle. It’s classic and understated, but so good.

J: What is next for Maya Brenner?

MB: Last year we launched a home-decor line of pillows. We’ve recently partnered with online retailer Mark & Graham to expand our lifestyle offerings with personalized catchall trays. Next up is a stationery collaboration with Paper Chase Press—which we’re beyond excited about.

J: Where can we find Maya Brenner jewelry?

MB: On our newly launched website, online at J.Crew and Neiman Marcus and in-store nationwide at Steven Alan.

 Photo by  Lauri Levenfeld .

Photo by Lauri Levenfeld.

To learn more about behind the scenes story of jewelry designer Maya Brenner, visit The Project for Women

Celebrities in Maya Brenner Designs.


The Talk with Fashion designer Laura O'Dell of The ODells #ODells

Among many shops that stretch through Silver Lake part of the Sunset Boulevard stands a stylish gem by the name of Bucks & Does. It is owned by power couple Laura and Jason O'Dell. The boutique features an "eclectic mix" of designers and charming, Porridge and The ODells lines. If you ever shopped at Anthropologie, you may have seen comfy and stylish basics from Laura O'Dell's Porridge. The store’s pride and joy is Laura and Jason’s label, The ODells. The ODells is the epitome of California cool and today we chat with the designer, Laura about her work and her personal style.

JB: Tell us a little about how Bucks and Does was born?

 On Juliet Floral Clementine Capsule jumpsuit by  O'DELL , hat by  LOVELY BIRD . On Laura,  O'Dell multi-colored dress .  Image by  Lauri Levenfeld   

On Juliet Floral Clementine Capsule jumpsuit by O'DELL, hat by LOVELY BIRD. On Laura, O'Dell multi-colored dress.  Image by Lauri Levenfeld  

LS: When we decided that our location was just  too killer to only put a studio/work place in Jason and I determined that we would open a small retail shop.  We toyed around with the idea of opening an O'Dell's store however I'm such a big fan of denim and shoes and jewelry and everything else so we came to the conclusion that Silver Lake really needed a great down-to-earth boutique that had a good  mix of both men's and women's because oftentimes Jason and I shop together and he never likes being dragged into a store that has nothing for him.

JB: What is the DNA of your brand?

LS: The O'Dells is very chic in a casual way.  I love the concept of dress up/dress down.  Almost every style in my line can be worn with sneakers OR heels which is so essential in my mind.  I'm a busy mom so being able to go from day to night is really key for me.  I love looking polished and sleek in a sloppy sort of way.  I'm a big fan of wearing vintage Levi's with bad-ass jewelry and a white tee or an amazing wacky O'Dells silk printed tunic.  My line Porridge is whimsical and flirty.  When I want to lunch with my girlfriends or take my son to soccer nothing beats throwing on a Porridge cotton printed maxi and sandals and calling it a day.

 On Laura sweater by  CALLAHAN ,  MOTHERDENIM  jeans, shoes by  NINA Z .  On Juliet,  TYSA  jumper,  LOVELY BIRD  hat and  GUCCI  loafers. Fringe bag by  HARTFORDPARISIAN  . Image by  Lauri Levenfeld.

On Laura sweater by CALLAHAN, MOTHERDENIM jeans, shoes by NINA Z.  On Juliet, TYSA jumper, LOVELY BIRD hat and GUCCI loafers. Fringe bag by HARTFORDPARISIAN . Image by Lauri Levenfeld.


JB: Biggest design influence? 

LS: Vintage but mostly vintage from the 1970's.  I've been a lover of bell bottoms since I came out of the womb.  I also love native American culture and colors but really all cultures.  When I went to India a few years back my mind was blown by all the beauty and creativity.  
Do you follow fashion week ?

JB: Do you follow fashion week?

 Image by  Lauri Levenfeld   

Image by Lauri Levenfeld  

LS: Ha, No, not at all actually and I'm really glad you asked that :-).  The fashion industry is funny and oftentimes I'm in conversation with another designer or a store and they reference something from the runway and I'm like "say, what?".  I have no clue what's going on in the world of fashion and I'm cool with that.  I design what I want to wear in my given moment and what I'm dreaming of wearing 6 months from now.  

JB: Any favorite details from SS 2016?

LS: Ikats and colorful dobbies.  I'm obsessed right now with yarn-dyed cottons and hand-loomed fabric.

JB: What three words would you use to describe the ultimate O'Dells girl and Porrige?

LS: Confident, carefree, sexy-tomboy for O'Dells girl. Rugged-gentleman, laid-back, no-nonsense for Bucks & Does boy

JB: Which celebrity muse would you collaborate with to wear your designs?

LS: Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller or Kate Moss (duh) would be pretty cool

JB: What is your personal style? 

LS: Very laid back in a chic way.  I'm a big fan of 18k gold jewelry and love to layer it.  I'm also pretty simple in my approach to dressing.  You don't need to try to hard to look cool.  I'm not a fan of the whole mid-calf skirt with oversized sweater look worn with sneakers and no make-up.  I hope I'm not offending anyone by saying this.  I went to Catholic high school for 4 years and this is how the nuns dressed.  I'm surprised fashion has somehow made this look seem "cool".  In then end I think a woman likes to feel sexy even if she's a tomboy which I am. Confidence is sexy too.

JB: How much does your personal style influence your work as a designer?

LS: It's everything especially considering I don't pay much attention to what's going on in the world of runway designers.

JB: What designers do you love / wear?

LS: Mother Denim is a staple for me.  I also love Pepin, Rachel Comey and Cali-Dreaming makes the best swimsuits in the world.

JB: What is next for Bucks and Does?

LS: Possibly an expansion (once we outgrow our current studio which is inevitable), possibly another location and continuing to expand our own-brand offerings under the B&D Silverlake label.  We're currently making some exclusives for the store which are mainly tee's for men and women at the moment but we're expanding on this concept and developing more awesome basics like bras/undies as well as cozy sweatshirts and button up's for men.



To learn more about behind the scenes story of fashion designer Laura O'Dell, visit
The Project for Women

The Talk with designer Julie Paskal of Paskal #PASKAL

 Photo: Anton Yeremenko

Photo: Anton Yeremenko

The flourishing name in fashion is Julie Paskal, whom I stumbled upon while browsing my favorite retail store in San Francisco, Nordstroms.   PASKAL label has been introduced to the international crowds in Paris and noted by the Vogue and Financial Times after winning LVMH Prize. 

Julie Paskal creates garments with high quality fabric, using creative laser-cutting and precision tailoring and is known for minimalism. A unique combination of architecture and fashion comes from Julie's background.  She entered architectural department and three years later fell in love with visual images and concept creation. PASKAL is in a number of the best fashion magazines today.
I've got an opportunity to speak to Julie Paskal of PASKAL label.

J: What started your interest in Fashion?

JP: When I was studying architecture I thought about how some of the techniques, shapes or different architectural areas could be involved in something more casual and practical. And then I came up with fashion or creating clothes at first. I was surprised how flexible this creative field is. Fabric is more sensual than marble for example. For me it is important to keep special intimacy during creating.

  Photo:   Lauri Levenfeld       Model Mila Givens                                                                                  

Photo:  Lauri Levenfeld     
Model Mila Givens

J:  How do you connect your background in architecture and fashion designs?

JP: Architecture not only gave me notion about lines, shapes and structure, but it was a starting point for me to become a fashion designer. As I was saying architectural materials was too solid and complex for me, but if I wasn’t trying to work with it I have never started to work with fabric. So in this attempts I realized that I want to start doing fashion design.

J: You were discovered only after two years. Can you share how it all happened?

JP: The turning point on the way to international scene became my participation in LVMH Prize. PASKAL was short-listed among designers that already had much attention. Then Sarah Andelman decided to present PASKAL in iconic concept-store Colette. At the same time I was discovered by Selene Collins who is my international agent. She turned out to be very supportive and passionate about PASKAL and together we brought new kind of attention to the brand.

J: What is the DNA of your brand?

JP: Laser-cut technique is obviously the most distinctive feature of PASKAL. We were first who started to use it in Ukraine. At first in the form of simple perforation and every season I complicate this method. But every time it helps me to bring new type of romanceto the collection, to make garments lighter, bring some kind of naivety and femininity.

J: Where do you find your inspiration?

JP: Sea is a blueprint of my collections and certainly my biggest inspiration. When I go to the sea I am soothing and relaxing. It helps me to wash off all negative feelings and bring new creative energy. Despite this the mechanism is still quite mathematical. First I capture the object, then process it in my head, then draw some sketches and after that I make real sketch of the garment.  

J: Do you follow trends?

JP: Not really. But it is hard to not follow some trends in modern world, because producers of fabrics dictate their rules in a special way. So when I choose fabric I follow some trends anyway. But when I start to create collection, draw sketches I don’t try to make something hot & trendy. I just follow my inner feelings about how collection must look in the end. Anyway I still understand that modern culture is around me and I absorb it one way or another. Just imagine if every artist or designer don’t follow global trends. In that case there would not have been cultural characteristics of the epoch.  


  Photo:   Lauri Levenfeld       Model Mila Givens    

Photo:  Lauri Levenfeld     
Model Mila Givens

J:  You are a mom of two precious kids. How do you combine motherhood and work?

JP: There are no specific combinations. My kids are the biggest source of energy that nourishes me and I have strength to create. In general family is my greatest support which directs me.

J: What is that one thing you can share with aspiring fashion designers?

JP: To be honest with yourself. To listen to advices, but have your own strong opinion. Don’t allow market too push you. To separate your own desires from brand’s development strategy.  

J: What is next for Pascal clothes?

JP: Spring / Summer 2016 collection is all about beach culture, naked body, spirit of you and love!


Photos Lauri Levenfeld                                                                                     
Model Mila Givens


The Talk with jewelry designer Alex Woo

Born and raised in New York City, designer Alex Woo runs a showroom and design studio in midtown Manhattan. Her father, Alexander Woo, was a master bench jeweler who began teaching Alex the basics of jewelry making when she was just five years old. She studied fine arts and jewelry design at an Ivy League university and abroad in Paris. Winning the National Women's Jewelry Association's design competition in 1998 led to the formation of her own company, Alex Woo Jewelry, in 2001. Alex Woo designs are of eco-friendly materials, fashionably fresh, contemporary and of the great quality. It is this dedication which has earned Alex Woo continual recognition from fashion editors, stylists and industry insiders, to celebrities and trendsetters. I met with Alex at Nomo Soho's "Kitchen" in New York, during New York Fashion week to talk about her jewelry and more.

J: How would you describe your style?

AW: When it comes to my personal style I am a huge fan of timeless basics that are then updated and made personal with great jewelry, bags and shoes – of course as a jewelry designer, I can never leave home without layering a few necklaces.  My wardrobe consists of mostly solid colors – lots of clean lines and not a lot of prints.  I love finding that great dress that can be worn to work with a blazer and then transitions into cocktails with an editor and later dinner with my husband.  Quality and fit are everything when it comes to a classic wardrobe purchase, and I believe in spending on something that will stand up to both frequent wear and trends – nothing beats a DVF wrap dress, a Burberry Trench, or a blazer from The Row.  Fast fashion is totally fine for a trend piece here and there, and I like mixing high and low.  But I also love supporting fellow designers and investing in classic pieces that will last.

J: How did you get into jewelry making?

I've always had an appreciation for sculpture, because it's so tangible and three dimensional. But I eventually came to the realization that with jewelry, I could create and design in the same way that I sculpted, but have a wider appeal and be able to reach a bigger audience.  I really love the sculptural aspect of what I do and jewelry fused so many different aspects of what I loved – precious metals, sculpture, sketching. My designs are bold and personal, but you can look at each piece as a mini sculpture.  Many of my designs can literally stand up on its own, like my little letter "a" for instance.  It can sit on a table on it's own like a miniature sculpture.  Being able to feel the weight of a piece in my hand and have it transform into something more than just a piece of jewelry, something with an emotional connection, that’s what inspires me.  It is thrilling to take a concept, draw it out, make a model, and then ultimately that have it end up as someone’s heirloom or personal talisman.

J: What materials do you use for your jewelry?

I mainly work with Sterling Silver and 14kt Gold and Diamonds.  They are precious metals that I love because they are versatile and valued, and yet affordable.  Being that my jewelry is personal and holds a lot of meaning for people, I think those materials need to precious metals that will hold their value, and be something that can be passed down for generations to come.

J: What is the DNA of your jewelry line?

AW: All my jewelry is made locally in NY, something extremely important to me.  As the child of an immigrant who came to the US to achieve his American dream, being fortunate enough to live here was something that was instilled in me from day one.  Growing up, we always tried to support local businesses whenever possible. It became second nature to have a sense of pride in what we owned, and where it came from was important.  As a minority female entrepreneur, I now feel that it's also my opportunity to support that same feeling in what I do and what I provide to my customers.  
But from a design aspect, storytelling is at the heart of the Alex Woo DNA.  Each one of my pieces can have thousands of meanings to whoever wears it– a Little Icon can signify a birthday, a personal milestone, an anniversary, a talisman of good luck…anything!  Finding out the story of  how and why someone wears one of my necklaces is ultimately what gives me a thrill every single day.

J: How do you feel about statement jewelry?

AW: I love statement jewelry and how it adds to the entire look of a wardrobe, but it is not what I am known for in my collections.  I love designing jewelry that is more personal and classic and will complement any wardrobe choice.  I also believe that when something holds that much personal significance or meaning, it's actually more of a statement than any necklace twice, or three times that size! For example, I launched two collections, Little Cities and Little MLB (Major League Baseball) that are both very much connected to showing pride, memories and personal ties to the cities we grew up in, or shared memorable experiences with.  

J: Do you wear other jewelry apart from your own?

AW: Since I have thousands of designs, that it's hard to not wear my own all the time.  They are my babies, and I always want to keep them close to my heart.  But that doesn't mean that I don't love and admire the work of fellow designers.  I am always a fan of excellent workmanship and creativity.

J: Who are your favorite designers?

AW: Like my jewelry, I love timeless designs, but I also love having fun with them and making my own modern interpretations.  That is why I love Elizabeth and James, All Saints, and DVF - as they take classic looks and update them with a modern details to flatter and enhance a woman's body.  I'm also a huge fan of Diane von Furstenberg on so many levels - as a designer, entrepreneur and visionary. As an entrepreneur, I think she's fascinating - to have this longevity, success, and energy to continue what she does year after year is just remarkable.  As for accessories, YSL and Givenchy have also built remarkable businesses with designing bags and shoes that I always covet.

J: Who are your muses?

 AW: Audrey Hepburn has been someone I have admired in so many ways.  She was not only beautiful and elegant, but also so well known for her efforts as a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef. Besides being as beautiful on the inside as well as out, she made everything look effortless.  One of my favorite dresses was that gorgeous black and white Givenchy ball gown that she wore in Sabrina (my favorite film of all time!) It was classic and elegant, but a real head turner (and what in this day in age would be that perfect "Oscars" Red Carpet Gown).  In other scenes in the movie, when she dressed down in black capris and flats, she still looked equally chic. I just love her, and her style!

J: What is next for Alex Woo?

AW: I am always designing something new –  I am launching a sweet and modern version of a charm bracelet called the Mini Moments for holiday – as an extension of my mini additions collection, this bracelet can be customized with interchangeable mini addition charms so people can make it their own story.  This past year, I also launched an luxurious new 18K bespoke fine jewelry collection called Origins that takes inspiration from the renaissance.  Inspired by a golden egg, each design has an old English letter hidden within, and the back is intricately carved with a personal pattern with hidden shapes. Between those debuts, my mix-and-match studs and new Little Icons and Little Words, there’s always something in the works here, so you have to just keep checking in!

Alex Woo jewelry is sold at Macy's Herald Square, select Jared's, fine boutiques and jewelry stores nationwide.

Head over to The Project For Women to read more about Alex Woo.


Celebrities wearing Alex Woo jewelry