TALENT Q&A: Davina Reichman

Art Design Fashion Shopping & Acquisitions Talent

By Carlos Aparicio

Davina Reichman is an amazingly talented Australian-NYC entrepreneur & fashion scene queen. Strong and confident in both her various businesses and her creations, Davina is definitely one you should keep your eye on!

Get to know more about her work and passions in the following interview we had the pleasure to do with her.

Women’s Mafia (WM): You moved to New York not so long ago and you already have established your name in the NYC fashion scene. From your impression so far, is there a big difference between Australia and New York in the way the fashion industry works?

Davina Reichman: Photo by Christine Knight Thomas - cktphotography.com

Davina Reichman (DR): Globally, fashion-industry eyeballs seem to fall on the American market. Catwalk shows are dominated by American designers and the ‘seasonal’ trends seem to surge from the northern hemisphere into the southern hemisphere.

The Australian summer dress runs in-line with the beach lifestyle, healthy frames, originality and natural spirit. Even though the very latest Australian fashion trends are taking into account the designs of New York’s most recent fashion week, Australian designers are developing their own take on this, creating designs in which the climate remains temperate and sunny, where it never snows and the locals play beach volleyball till the sun sets.

Australia’s international reputation for generating some of the dynamos in the fashion scene is gaining greater momentum. Initiatives such as Being Born Again Couture and Austrade are helping to raise the profile of Australian fashion, particularly our emerging designers, and serve to highlight their design capabilities to the New York fashion industry. These events include retail buyers, fashion editors, stylists and agents and serve to foster links for Australian designers in NYC.
WM: Where do you find your inspiration?

DR: I am either designing practical, functional clothes or eccentric, quirky couture garments. The focus is on the crazy, yet the beautiful; the obsessive, yet the controlled.

D&Em By Davina Corset with Bejeweled Stockings

I am a fashion entrepreneur, amongst other things. I find cool concepts that have never been done before, like my first in the world iClothing range: iPad compatible clothing with pouches like kangaroos and koalas. The iTee and iDress are a hands free way to store your iPad on the move – a stylish solution to carrying the iPad.

iClothing: iPad compatible clothing

Now that I have lived in NYC for under a year, I carry a more global vision – it’s like 10 cities in one. The excitement is just exhilarating. The streets of Manhattan shape my ideas.

WM: What would you say to a young person who wants to make it in the fashion industry?

DR: Develop your own style and break the barriers. Innovate: don’t blend in with everyone else. Like so many glamorous jobs to which so many aspire, there’s a lot of hard, exhausting work, but it is worth it.

Be polite and pleasant to everybody, no matter what their position. You never know when somebody you have met could be the key to your future.

WM: You certainly cover various aspects of the industry, from design to management, producing fashion shows and even public relations. What’s your favorite part of your work?

DR: My favorite part of the job is when fashion designers that I’ve worked with make a name for themselves, thrive and be successful.

Recently, Natalie Imbruglia said of a Being Born Again Couture collaboration, “It is one of my favorite pieces”. It was very gratifying to have a result of one of my shows get such high profile attention. When I am able to take such talented people as Michael Lo Sordo and Chris Horder, and help them get the attention they deserve, that is very rewarding.

Natalie Imbruglia in Being Born Again Couture by Michael Lo Sordo and Chris Horder

Being Born Again Couture Lo Sordo Spring Summer 2010 seen at Australian Fashion Week

Nicola Finetti, an Australian fashion designer collaborated with the artist Guy Peppin for Being Born Again Couture. They followed suit, creating a Being Born Again Couture range by Nicola Finetti Spring/Summer 11/12 by creating Arrow Peplum Full Circle Dresses and Pastel Mermaid gowns shown at Australian Fashion Week 2011.

Natalie Gruzlewski wore the Being Born Again Couture Finetti/ Peppin gown to the Logies in Australia in May.

Being Born Again Couture Collaboration by Nicola Finetti / Guy Peppin

Being Born Again Couture Finetti Arrow Peplum Full Circle Dress shown at Australian Fashion Week 2011

I am so proud of Finetti and Lo Sordo to take that extra leap into wearable art.

WM: If you could work with any person, in your field, alive or dead who would it be and why?

DR: I would time-travel to the 1950’s, when Dior and the prime of Givenchy and Balenciaga were ubiquitous. I would work with Coco Chanel, the couture designer who revelled in expensive simplicity. Chanel set the stage for modern fashion by creating a signature style, brand awareness, and a social buzz around herself like no one had ever done. What I admire most about Chanel was her ability break from the pack and set trends rather than follow them.

WM: Why fashion? Did you always know that this was what you wanted to do?

DR: I have long dreamt of working with fashion, designing one-off pieces for my own personal collection. I used to be in the corporate world but I have always followed my own path and instincts when it comes to design, creating styles that are whimsical, contradictory, yet confident with appealing feminine aesthetics. My passion is fashion – I live and breathe it. I always wanted to start my own businesses. I wanted to do something new, novel and creative.

Davina Reichman at Couture Fashion Week

WM: What can the Women’s Mafia make happen for you?

DR: I am always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities.

Women’s Mafia can assist to forge a solid connection to emerging women designers who have been seeking out a woman who knows what’s what in the fashion industry, giving you valuable advice on producing fashion shows, marketing, PR and events.

Patricia Field & Women’s Mafia Present: SPA WARS Benefit for GLAAD

Altruism Beauty Events Fashion Featured
Celebrity Hairstylist Eric Alt, Music Impressario Lori Michaels, SPA WARS author Lora Condon, Television Personality Cognac Wellerlane

By Carlos Aparicio

After months of anticipation we could barely hold our excitement on the day of this colorful, rambunctious evening. In the company of colleagues from the beauty and fashion industries, TV personalities as well as friends and family, author Lora Condon officially launched her book SPA WARS: The Ugly Truth About The Beauty Industry on a night filled with glamour, joy and delicious treats from Empanada Mama, Butternuts Beer and the royal Château de Chambord (actually, throw some glitter in that equation to get a better mental image).

Hosted by Sex and the City’s Patricia Field and the Women’s Mafia at the House of Field (known for its fashion extravaganzas) to benefit GLAAD, people walking by wondered what the fuss what all about “Are they filming a movie?”, “Is it a rave?” were some remarkable guesses. In actuality, guests were enjoying something much better: Shopping at special rates, Music by DJ Sharri Model, makeup by Alicia Oliveri, Salon Services by the renowned Salon at Patricia Field and a Fierce Photo Contest with photographer Montana.

VIP Guests at the Event included: Project Runway Lead Hair Stylist George Ortiz, Celebrity hairstylist Eric Alt, Gossip Queen Flo Anthony, Music Impresario Lori Michaels, Award Winning Beauty Queen Miss Tiffany, Television Personality Cognac Wellerlane, “The Salon Guy” Stephen Marinaro, top tier Beauty and Fashion Editors and many more guests.

Enjoy some pictures from this magical evening after the jump.

SPA WARS author Lora Condon with Gossip Queen, Radio Host and Columnist Flo Anthony
Project Runway Hair Stylist George Ortiz, Women’s Mafia Founder Marcy Clark and Blair from Glamour Nerd
Our Media Partner Stephen Marinaro “The Salon Guy” and Project Runway stylist George Ortiz
Author Lora Condon with Designer Lace Rose Allenius
“SPA WARS” special guest judge Miss Tiffany Richards

Women’s Mafia Founder Marcy Clark
Women’s Mafia Writer Carlos Aparicio and Stylist Patricia Parenti
Writer Hillary Devers and Astonish Magazine Editor-At-Large Jenny Baker
The Salon Guy, Lora Condon, Makeup Artist Alicia Oliveri, Our “Fierce Photo Contest” photographer Montana and Marcy Clark
The amazing styling and management team at Patricia Field

Our wildly popular DJ Sharri Model, Marcy Clark and Photographer Montana
Astonish Magazine VP Brandon Leong with editor Jenny Baker, publicist Marcy Clark, author Lora Condon and Stephen “The Salon Guy”


RED CARPET FAVORITES: The Academy Awards 2011

Design Events Fashion Nightlife

By Carlos Aparicio

The 2011 Academy Awards took place this past Sunday at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California and as usual, there were lots of rather interesting looks. This is a recap of our favorites from the red carpet:

Photo by: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

Sandra Bullock looked absolutely stunning in this scarlet red Vera Wang gown, accesorising with a red crocodile clutch and jewelry by the designer Harry Winston.

Photo by: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Everything about this look screams “goddess”. There is a beautiful harmony going on, this head-turner strapless Marchesa gown with crystal detailing and silk organza and the delicate diamond earrings she paired it with were definitely a “match made in heaven”. On a scale from one to amazing, Halle Berry was beyond.

Photo by: Ason Merritt / Getty Images

This one was a total crowd pleaser, Mila Kunis in a lovely lilac lace Elie Saab gown, surprising all the fashion police officers.

Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Cate Blanchett looked immaculate in this to-die-for Givenchy Couture gown, pairing it with Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry.

Curiously enough none of the ones that aced the red carpet in our eyes managed to get an Oscar (or a nomination), but that’s a whole different story. What were your favorite looks?


Top 5 Most Impressive Red Carpet Looks (Besides Lady Gaga and her slaves)

Design Fashion Featured Nightlife Performing Arts

By Carlos Aparicio for Women’s Mafia

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards took place this past Sunday at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This is our round-up of the looks we loved!

Janelle Monae (TMZ Photos)

Some artists wear pretty gowns, some don’t! Janelle Monae looked super chic in her glittery pseudo-tuxedo. She says she likes this look because it’s classic and she’s “all about being trascendent”.

Julianne Hough (Photo: Twirlit.com)

Julianne (Ryan Seacrest’s girlfriend) looked amazing in her colorful print Catherine Malandrino dress, not following the trend of the night, which were metallic, shiny gowns.

Nicole Kidman (TMZ Photos)

Not only is this strapless floral Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2011 dress gorgeous but it also really flatters her figure, all the emphasis going to her curves.

Heidi Klum (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images – POPEATER.com)

Heidi Klum looked heavenly in her gold sequined Julien MacDonald gown. The German supermodel always seems to pull off whatever she chooses to wear!

Ciara (Photo: Huffington Post)

The performer showed up at the red carpet looking like a sexy, modern version of a Greek Goddess. Not many would have the body to pull this outfit off but she definitely does!

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Mik Cire FW 2011

Design Fashion Fashion Week Shopping & Acquisitions

By Carlos Aparicio for Women’s Mafia

In Mik Cire Fall/Winter 2011, the conversely named menswear collection by Eric Kim, only two pieces were made in a different color other than black, white or grey. The two pieces were both exciting red leather jackets that would definitely add some spice to your closet.

Now, creating an entire collection using such a small range of colors is a big challenge because all the focus goes directly to the different materials and textures used, and the harmony that exists between them.
The way he managed to make every outfit interesting to look at was by contrasting various materials that you wouldn’t usually see together. Leather, fur, cashmere and wool are examples of the materials he incorporated into the pieces.
Accesories used to enhance the looks include chic black leather backpacks and scarves used as belts, proving Mr. Kim enjoys experimenting when it comes to his collections.
Photos by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for Mercedez-Benz

Venexiana FW 2011 by Kati Stern

Design Events Fashion Fashion Week Featured Shopping & Acquisitions
Photograph: John Lamparski/WireImage

By Carlos Aparicio for Women’s Mafia

Lights out, the sweet tunes of “The Nutcracker” playing, followed by an explosion of rock n’ roll lead to the begining of the Venexiana Fall / Winter 2011 show, which was not any less of a diverse combination.

With its cutting-edge coats and dazzling gowns and dresses, this 69-pieces collection was definitely an unexpected leap from previous shows. Every little detail was meticulously thought of, from the immaculate hair-do’s (created by our friends at Tela Design Studio) to the pieces themselves, giving the show a curious uniqueness.

As the presentation evolved, it was not hard to notice the wide variety of styles that were featured. Ranging from metallic gold and silver sequin dresses to colorful one-shouldered and pristine white gowns paired with beautiful headpieces, it seems as though the designer, Kati Stern, somehow managed to include something for every taste. By the end the crowd was more than pleased, receiving this wonderful artist with a standing ovation.

Photograph: John Lamparski/WireImage via Guardian.co.uk

Women’s Mafia TALENT Q&A with Celebrity Makeup Artist Kat Sumners

Beauty Design Exploits Talent

By Carlos Aparicio

Kat Sumners is a revolutionary make-up artist and style guru that has taken her talent to a whole new level, working all over the world with highly popular publications (such as US Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Emirates Woman and GTQ), celebrities, important figures such as Nelson Mandela and photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Lorenzo Agius, David Bellamere and director Stephan Gaghan. Enjoy this exclusive Q&A with Kat and get to know the genius behind the art.

Kat Sumners

Kat recently created a custom “Event” look for Women’s Mafia Founder Marcy Clark for her presenting duties at the GLAAD OUTAuction. We sat down with Kat to talk about how she created that look and where she gets her inspiration.

Marcy Clark with Carlos Aparicio. Hair & Makeup by Kat Sumners, Dress by Engie Hassan.

Women’s Mafia: What is your favorite part of your work?

Kat Sumners: Constantly working with different people and always learning and growing is definitely a plus of being a makeup artist.  I also love discovering new techniques.  There is no way you could ever know everything about makeup artistry.  You have to completely love the industry and live it.  I love that every day is completely different from the next.

WM: How did you create Marcy’s look for the GLAAD event? Is that a signature look of yours?

KS: When I did Marcy’s look for the event, my focus with her makeup and ultimate goal was to enhance her face in a way that she hadn’t seen before but still recognized herself. I don’t like to accessorize people, I like to enhance them.

I didn’t want her to feel like she had a mask on and I wanted her to feel ten times more beautiful than she already was.

I appreciate beauty, that’s why I’m in this industry.

WM: Did you always know that this was what you wanted to be?

KS: I was brought up by my grandparents and as a little girl, I loved the smell of my grandmother’s lipstick. I was constantly told off for climbing onto her commode to look in the mirror and play with her makeup.  My grandfather was an artist and I used to watch him oil paint for hours.  I was totally fascinated and very influenced by his artistic world. He was my absolute hero. I’ve always wanted to follow in his footsteps and have a career in the arts.  I guess I ended up painting faces instead of flat canvasses.

WM: Where do you find your inspiration?

KS: I buy A LOT of fashion magazines. I try to take something I’ve seen, read about or heard about and throw my own twist into the overall makeup look.   Sometimes I’ll go for a walk through the city and just look around and see what inspires me.  You have to adopt trends to fit into a person’s makeup personality and be versatile.

For the last fourteen years I have been working mainly on makeup but I also work on the hair. I have been blessed to work with many amazing photographers and stylists. I am very optimistic and I have unconditional love for beauty.

WM: We understand that you have lived in worked all over the world (The Middle East, U.S., U.K, Holland, Greece, South Africa…), where do you feel most home?

KS: At the moment I travel between Dubai and New York City.  A lot of my work is in Dubai and I have my agency Bareface, who represent me over there and I travel there at least every 6 – 8 weeks right now.  But my heart and my flat are right here in Manhattan.

WM: If you could work with any person, in your field, alive or dead who would it be and why?

KS: Mario Testino because he makes everyone he photographs looks the best they ever will.

More about Kat Sumners – Her Official Biography

Kat Sumners, born in Belgium, boasts an impressive portfolio of work as both a make up artist and hair stylist.  Her 13-year career has included assignments in the  U.S, United Kingdom, Holland, Greece, Belgium, South Africa and, most recently, the Middle East.  Her vast repertoire includes fashion editorial shoots for US Vogue (1 cover), Grazia, O Magazine, L’Officiel (4 covers), Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, FHM, Unfair, Men’s Health, Wedding (3 covers), VIVA (1 cover), Bride (2 covers), Ya Hala (4 covers), Jumana (1 cover), Visitor (1 cover), GTQ (1 cover), M Magazine, Emirates Woman, Society and Insider.    Kat is also sought-after for her work in both television and print campaigns.  A few of the campaigns she has worked on include Diesel, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Rolex, Oil of Olay, Dove, Brut, Lipton Tea, Colgate, Adidas, Wonderbra, Toyota, Nissan, Nokia, Emirates Airlines, Coca Cola, Landrover, Atlantis Hotels, Harrods of London, Nescafe, Gillette and Pepsi, amongst others.

Her career highlights undoubtedly comprise of the work she has done with top New York photographers such as Fadil Berisha (on the Rolex campaign), Vanity Fair’s Annie Liebovitz (for US Vogue: cover and editorial) and celebrity photographer Lorenzo Agius.  Other notable assignments include working alongside such luminaries as distinguished French fashion photographer David Bellamere (for Unfair magazine: cover), Alexa Singer (Oil of Olay campaign) and Giorgio Armani on his fashion show for the recent prestigious opening of the Armani Hotel, Dubai.  She recently worked on the prestigious advertising campaign for the Abu Dhabi Tourism Association with award winning British photographer Simon Stock.  Kat has also assisted Linda Cantello, one of the world’s most respected and experienced make-up artists, who has worked in high-luxury advertising campaigns (Yves Saint-Laurent, Givenchy, Cerruti, Ungaro and collaborated with top photographers (Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier) as well as with the best fashion and beauty publications.

In November 2003, Kat also had the rare opportunity to groom Nelson Mandela for this appearance at the launch of his AIDS charity 46664 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Kat also supports numerous charitable causes by offering her professional services on a complimentary basis, the most recent example being ‘The Gansta*r Project’ (in conjunction with MyLife Charity), which aims to prevent impoverished youths being recruited into the notorious street gangs of the Cape Flats, in Cape Town, South Africa.  Kat is a passionate, engaging and focused professional who brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise.  Her portfolio showcases her versatility as an artist and highlights her talent in high fashion and editorial work, as well as her aptitude for television commercials, feature films and special effects.