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Karen Salkin Out to Lunch

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When I was skinny, I was all about fashion. But nowadays, I get a tad insecure about dressing for events in this industry. So, thanks to Kenny Simkins, the ultra-witty manager of the restaurant Mark’s, for telling me recently that “fat is the new black,” I was able to confidently attend a few LA Fashion Week functions. Here are two of my favorites.


This ginormous warehouse party kicked-off Fashion Week for about a thousand LA fashionistas. I usually eschew social situations of this size, but I didn’t know it would be so, and I had a fabulous new top designed by Cherella USA, and my GabrielXXO necklace, so off I went. The negatives were the number of people, which makes me nervous, and the fact that there was no food, always a no-no in my book, but understandable in this case.

The best part was the unbelievably creative tresses on the models, designed by uber-hip hairstylist to the stars, Michael Haase of Christophe in Beverly Hills. I had met Michael at the Main Event Oscar Lounge, and in about ten seconds, he ever-so-subtly re-shaped my do, making it so much better, but the same way that I like it. I thought he was a genius for that, but couldn’t have guessed the artistry he was capable of!

This fashion show was avant-garde, with sack kind-of clothing that I would be so comfortable in. The models were wearing the death-bed style of make-up that looks good only in fashion shows and the end of “Wuthering Heights,” and I would never have envisioned the hair that Michael created. It was fabulous and brought the whole look together so that the ensemble was somehow now very attractive. I was awed by what he was able to accomplish. I made an appointment with him on the spot.

I just bided my time for the duration, while my friend, Vanessa, was fun enough to take advantage of the little side activities for the night. She got her make-up done (though she didn’t need it), had pictures taken by a fashion photog, and played dress-up for video in a new car. I just stood around, cowering from the crowd.

I finally perked-up when I spied the goodie bags. My love for all things goodie borders on sick! At least I’m appreciative. I always wait to open them until at least the car, if not when I get home or the next day. Vanessa and I are both Capricorns, but we have the opposite philosophies of gift discovering. When I have a birthday party, my unopened presents sit there for days, so I can admire the wrapping my guests went to the trouble of doing. (Actually, nowadays, that amounts to placing the gift in a pretty bag, except for the stunning creativity of Estelle Idino, who always wins in that category. And you foolishly didn’t even realize that life is a series of contests.) Vanessa lays into hers the instant she receives them.

So, we hadn’t even made it to the curb when she dug into her new treasures. I’m usually willing to try something new, for just a second, so I joined her. It was actually fun doing it her way. (But I’m sticking with mine.) We got a ton of good stuff, but my favorite was the smallest item; a tiny, flat mirror! I no longer have to use the knives in restaurants to check out my post-meal smile. That alone made this party a success for me. And you all thought I was high-maintenance, didn’t you?

Michael Haase Cristophe Salon 348 N. Beverly Drive BH 310-274-0851



paper plates
Jeffrey's Art

Oh Ma Ga! This party at The Crescent Hotel was so fun! I loved every aspect of it! It was a cocktail party that included children, which I have rarely experienced before, if ever. And they were well-dressed, and more importantly, well-behaved. And in a relatively small space.

It celebrated the fabulous art of Jeffrey Fulvimari, the illustrator of English Roses, Madonna’s 2003 children’s book, which is just the tip of the iceberg with him. For this particular event, he created clever and mouth-watering designs of mainly beautiful females uttering clever sayings on, of all things, basic white paper plates! The old-fashioned kind that food leaks through, but is a perfect medium for art. Who would’ve thunk it??? Hence the “Fashion Plates” moniker for the event.

karen and jeffrey fulvimari and their artwork
Karen, Jeffrey Fulvimari, and their artwork

The Crescent Hotel is a smaller venue, which added to the fun by making it easy to mingle with the other guests. There was a big turn-out, but we never felt locked-in and claustrophobic due to the use of the patio and the flow of the bar and lounge area. And every single space had something happening.

Let’s start with the patio. There was a long table set up with the plates that Jeffrey used for his art, and all different colors and sizes of Sharpies. It was a dream come true for me. For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with all my quirks (and trust me, they are truly too numerous to mention), I’m a total crayon maniac. Seriously. I’ve even asked to be buried in a coffin painted as a 48 Crayola box. (I know 64 is better--it’s just that the 48 box is the right configuration for a body.) Too much information for most of you, I’d guess.

Karen's art
Karen's art

Anyway, the kids, and I, of course, got to create our own Fashion Plates. I had a blast! I hadn’t even realized Sharpies exist in colors other than the black ones used for signing autographs. I was thrilled when they came out with fine points and thought that was the extent of it! I was even happier to discover that I was wrong. Jeffrey’s art was being sold this night, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services. I think MY art may have just made them want to investigate me.

The set-up at the hotel was beautiful. There was something different at each station, including one with caviar and another with my new favorite treat, chocolate-covered strawberries from Berry Elegance in Studio City. I had actually stopped by the boutique the previous day for a dozen of their hand-dipped creations. I’ve never really liked them anywhere before, but Amy and Todd, the proprietors, seem to find magic strawberries. Each one is a meal in itself. (I’m not exaggerating; when I got them for myself, I was on the way home with a sandwich. When I got there, I had a strawberry instead and was full for hours!)

Berry Elegence's Creations

The hotel served passed hors d’oevres, but I was on my way to review a restaurant, so I was able to sample only the shrimp spring rolls and the mini-burgers, which were the best ones I’ve ever had. I sadly had to pass up the mini chocolate banana tarts and brownie bites. I can’t wait to go back there for a real meal.

The place looked gorgeous and colorful, between the vibrant plate art on the walls and artistically placed Fiji Water bottles, that are predominantly blue, and new cans of Tab Energy, that are pink, with white polka-dots. I seriously wish that I could have stayed the whole time.

All the personnel, from Ellen Miller, the hotel manager, to the PR people to the servers, were super-pleasant, which is always a welcome surprise in this town. The guest host for the event was Dayna Devon, of the entertainment show Extra, and you wouldn’t have even known she was on TV because she just sat at the art table with her daughter, as down-to-earth as can be. How different! I was near-by when the party coordinators gave her a beautiful gift basket, and she thanked them sincerely. That’s the way it should always be, but rarely is.

Speaking of gift baskets, the evening was ended perfectly for me when we received goodie bags on the way out. This one included cleverly named and packaged nail polishes from Nailtini, skin care by Skyn Iceland, mineral eye-shadow by Larenim (“mineral” backwards) and, my favorite thing, a colored Sharpie. Now all I need is 47 more of those, and maybe I can become a Fashion Plate, too.

The Crescent 403 N. Crescent Drive BH 310-247-0505

Missed one of Karen Salkin's previous restaurant reviews?
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Karen's year-end wrapup
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Karen reviews Deli Boys
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Locanda Del Lago review
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