As part of the Bellevue Collection Fashion Week I attended a press preview of the Front Row Fashion Show presented by Vogue, the week’s biggest event, to meet and greet the producers and directors of the show, Anne Vincent from Vogue and Live with Regis and Kelly’s make-over man, Lawrence Zarian as they showed us a sneak peak of the show’s hottest look. I had the opportunity to interview Anne a few days before and was scheduled to interview Lawrence after the press preview. Anne and Lawrence came out to take their seats and show us a few of the looks. Anne was impeccably dressed in a black jumpsuit, and a purple fur scar with some key accessories while Lawrence was casually dressed in a look that said “effortless chic”. But both were excited to share with us their take on the current fashion trends.
After seeing four looks and hearing from them about fall’s hottest trend, I was excited to be the first to get my 15 minutes with Lawrence. Although his movie star good looks and his 10 year standing on the Regis and Kelly show along with numerous red carpet coverage, trend shows and celebrity styling could be quite intimidating, Lawrence made it a point to put me immediately at ease. A former top model living in California and hob knobbing with Hollywood’s A-list, I could not believe how down to earth “the Red Carpet Guy” was. But as the interview progressed, it was clear to me, that he was in fact, a very balance, and approachable individual who feels it is his mission to help men and women feel better about their bodies, their wardrobes, and themselves.
I enjoyed every minute of my interview and have a new found respect for a guy I didn’t know much about until I interviewed him. So if you still don’t know who Lawrence Zarian is, read on and pay attention. He is not only fashionable, he is very insightful.
FNS: Is this your first time in Seattle?
LZ: No, I have been here before. I actually did some local TV shows a while back and loved everything about it. I love it up here.
FNS: What is your perception of Seattle fashion?
LZ: I think many times in Seattle the weather dictates the fashion. So often many times you wear what is going on outside. I live in California and you see everything, because people are outdoor, they don’t really have to worry about the elements. Due to the rain here I think more people tend to cover up more. From what I have seen so far, I have seen solid colors with shots of trends. I was at the Nordstrom Preview show last night with Anne Vincent from Vogue and I was very impressed by the women, I thought the women knocked it out, they were very stylish, very chic and I thought I was at a show in New York City.
FNS: How did you make the transition from model to celebrity stylist?
LZ: I saw a lot of people on television talking about fashion that didn’t look the part. Due to the fact that I modeled all around the world for a long time, I felt like I was a messenger that could come back once I worked the runway and show men how to look like the walked off the runways of Europe, and then I transition from men into women. And it became where producers were asking me to do trends stories and somebody one day said “hey, do you mind doing a make-over” and I said “absolutely”. I did a make-over on a woman, I saw the way she looked, I saw how much better she felt and thus my career started as being the make-over man on Regis and Kelly. And then doing all these red carpet pieces.
FNS: Do you have a preference on making over a man or woman?
LZ: No, I like people feeling better about themselves. I like taking a man or a woman and showing them another way of doing something, because we all get stuck. We all dress a certain way because we feel safe. I think clothing is like a uniform and it’s like armor. If we are feeling heavy, we put on something looser, if we are feeling fit, we wear a tighter t-shirt. We wear clothing that dictate how we feel during the day. So I want to add pieces to people’s wardrobe to dictate how they are feeling.
FNS: I read that felt that you have learned a lot from Regis Philbin. What is the single most important thing that you have learned from him?
LZ: Regis Philbin is my mentor. Regis Philbin taught me how to listen. Regis Philbin said not only when you interview someone but in life you need to listen. When you listen you hear the jewels and once you hear someone, you can take any conversation somewhere else because you are listening and you are present. And when you listen people feel important. When we sit and listen and we are in the moment, not only are they giving you a gift but you also get to take their gift and open it up and do something else with it. It changed my life. Next to my father, Regis Philbin is the most influential men in my life.
FNS: Who has been your biggest fashion influence?
LS: I would say Patty Fox. Patty Fox was the fashion director for the Academy Awards. Patty Fox was the head of Sak’s Fifth Avenue on the West Coast, the Fashion Director. Patty Fox was probably one of the most beautiful women I have ever known. She taught me about classic, timeless elegance.
FNS: What celebrity would you like to style the most that you have yet to work with?
LZ: I would say the one person I would love to dress is Helena Boham Carter. Helena Bonham Carter does her own thing which I totally respect but when I see her in films, many times, like with The King’s Speech, they dressed her in some really beautiful pieces. She is a beautiful woman so I would like to dress her for a red carpet event and go old Hollywood glamour. I would love to have her hit the red carpet and everyone say, “oh my God”. Having said that, I respect her choice, I respect that fact that she says I am not a cookie cutter and I am going to do it my own way.
FNS: What are some of your favorite red carpet fashion moments?
LZ: I am always on the red carpet so I have hundreds in my mind but the ones that stand out the most for me as of late… Jennifer Lopez at the Grammys this year in that Pucci mirrored mini. That was sexy and she dresses for her body and she is all about confidence. Sandra Bullock in Marchesa at the Academy Awards the year she won. I think Sandra Bullock looked beautiful in that gold Marchesa gown and the Chanel lip that threw off the lip. That is a look that we are going to talk about forever. So when Hollywood hits the red carpet, they need to dress, I feel, in a way that will withstand the test of time. Halle Berry in Elie Saab when she won her Oscar. I also think Angelina Jolie in Elie Saab with those Lorraine Schwartz emerald cut earrings. Spectacular, and this is key, when a woman is beautiful like Angelina Jolie, dress in a solid color and throw it off with something, because the accessory for beautiful women, is their face. Don’t ever fight your face and Angie does that beautifully. Always a solid color because she knows the focus is right here (point to his face).
FNS: With that in mind, is there a celebrity that you think always hits it out of the park from a fashion standpoint?
LZ: I would probably say one of the women right now that is finding more of her own voice as she is getting order, I am going to go back to Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer Lopez is really finding more herself. She has always has had a strong sense of style but she has curves and I feel that she dresses for her curves and it isn’t afraid of her curves. So many women say to me that are petite, “oh, I am short, I don’t know if I can wear that”. Well, you are petite, wear it. You know what I am saying? Yes, there are fashion rules but set your own rules. You are the one who has to wear it. And let’s say you put something on and you feel amazing and people sort of look at it differently? Forget them. It is what you feel. You have to love who you are. God made you, you have to love who you are. You can’t lose the weight that you want to lose? You are never going to be who you were. Love who you are right now. Period.
FNS: Can you tell us about your experience interviewing Vera Wang?
LZ: Vera Wang rocks! I got to tell you something, it is the first time I ever interviewed her and, she is funny, she is insightful, she designs clothing as an old art form, she is one of the few people that makes it by hand, she is genius, she is an artist, she is funny, she’s got a lip on her and I love the fact that she designs clothing for women to add a piece here and piece there to define who they are. It is adding a shot of personality. I loved everything about her and I have interviewed hundreds of designers. Vera Wang is at the top of my list. Vera Wang and Reem Acra. Those are two designers I love and respect.
FNS: What can we expect from the trends forecast event on Saturday morning at the Bellevue Square Center Court?
LZ: Anne Vince from Vogue Magazine and I are going to showcase some really hot trends and women will love this, how to take that look and get the most for your look. How to transition from day into night. How to go from school into the weekend. It is about having pieces and you can create different looks for them, which I think it is really important. Do slight adjustment with accessories, with a scar, with a shoe, with a bag, just simple adjustment. It is creating more use for your wear.
FNS: What is the vibe for Saturday’s Front Row Fashion Show presented by Vogue?
LZ: We are bringing the hottest styles from Seattle and creating a full throttle fashion event. It is the hottest styles, it is what’s on trend. Great music, hottest looks, hottest models to show you what you can expect for fall. And the fact that all these pieces come from Seattle (retail store) I think it is fantastic! Texture, glitter, sparkle, simplicity and the hot trend with make-up, a nude eye and a powerful lip.
NOTE: Both of these events were last Saturday in Bellevue.
FNS: What is your favorite fall fashion trend?
LZ: Love an A-line jacket, love an A-line coat. I love the camel-colored A-line coat.
FNS: What are some of the pros & cons of styling an individual vs putting on a show like this?
LZ: The thing I love about producing a fashion show is that it is all about the trends, it is all about what is in season right now. It is fun, it is easy, it is effortless. In making over someone, it may be a hot trend but it may not be the right trend for this person. So you have to be a little more creative and you have to be a little more gentle. Because just because it is in style it doesn’t mean the right style for you. (many women say) It is in style, I got to wear, I got wear, well, you shouldn’t.
FNS: When is your style book coming out & what other projects can we look forward to?
LZ: My book is called The 5 Steps to a Perfect Wardrobe and it is just breaking it down on 5 easy steps to make your wardrobe work for you, not you working for your wardrobe. And it is also being realistic on who you are. So many women want to be 5’10, 5’11 and it is not who they are, you have to live first and foremost for you. I say in my first chapter, take-off all your clothes, stand in the mirror naked, look in the mirror, take a few deep breaths and say that is who I am. Once you accept who you are and where you are at today, then you can take the next step and adding pieces to your wardrobe that make you feel better.
Still Regis & Kelly, even when Regis leaves which will be the saddest day, I will still be there. I just signed my new deal. And I got two shows that I am developing. I am always updating what I am doing on twitter. So follow me @lawrencezarian
FNS: Tell us your #1 Style tip
LZ: Love who you are!
FNS: What is your advice for anyone coming into the fashion industry?
LZ: Fashion industry because there are things that everybody needs. Everybody needs to eat, and everybody needs to wear clothing so if you want to be in the fashion industry, I think the most important thing is to find out what it is. Do you want to be a designer, do you want to be a merchandiser, or do you want to be a stylist? Once you know exactly what that is, then you can build everything backwards from that. Know the goal, once you see the goal, then every step you take is towards that goal.