Saturday, 30 July 2011
Oscar de la Renta Interview...This is a can't miss!

Oscar de la Renta...and me!

As you can imagine, meeting one of my fashion icons would be an amazing event even if I only had the opportunity to shake his hand so you can understand my excitement as I found myself alone with him, his beautiful step daughter, Eliza,who is the vice-president of the $250 million licensing department, and her husband, Alex Bolen, who is the company's CEO.

I'm not one of those people who squeals around famous people having worked in the music industry, I was able to meet and befriend someof the greats…and I can assure you, there was no squealing.  Meeting Mr. de la Renta was a bit different though his clothing and designs have always been a form of art that inspired me.  I have consistently been drawn to his designs if I am flipping through magazine and suddenly go ooohhh,' you can bet that I have paused to look at a de la Renta design.  So truth be told, I was excited to be sitting with him, without any distractions and all the time in the world to ask him anything I wanted without any distractions.  WOW.  Below are a few of the highlights - maybe I will write a part II at a later date!

I hope this interview inspires you as much as it did me.  I agree with Mr. de la Renta - Being a woman is our greatest asset in our personal life and in the workplace.  We should celebrate our individuality and shine with confidence as we wear clothing that highlights the unique, beautiful women that God created us to be.  If you have ever worked with me, you know that I LOVE color.  The trick for professional women isn't that we can't wear or shouldn't invest in bright hues - we should make sure that the clothing has a professional, timeless 'cut,' so that we can show our personality with color but also make the statement that we are showing up to work.  Professional wear is determined by the CUT of your clothing...The secret is that you can be feminine and powerful at the same time! 

When I asked him about why he chose to create a line of clothing for Macy's, he answered, "(I design for) a woman who cannot afford to buy the expensive clothes now, but perhaps one day will be able to."  He added, "Obviously, I try to create the same kind of clothes that I do for the expensive line. You know,I can only design clothes one way.  That is always doing the best that I can to make a woman look her very best." The Oscar de la Renta woman is defined as elegant and sophisticated, and the Macy's lineexemplifies this statement.  

When I asked if he had any tips for the everyday woman and by this I mean, not a celebrity…he quickly answered, "What is most important for a woman today is to express her own sense of individuality.  I say this is the best time, EVER, to be a designer because there's never been in history a woman who is more in control of her destiny as a woman is today.  You know that a woman has a lot of choices." He continues, "Obviously there is no loyalty among the consumertoday, because what is most important is a projection of her own sense of individuality and an expression of femininity.  A woman knows today that even in the workplace to be a woman is a great asset." 

The purpose for the fashion show was to highlight his fall collection…which was truly exquisite.  To choose which glamorous piece of clothing actually makes it to the runway, he tells me it is a process of working with his assistants in his design studio.  The pieces that make it to the runway he feels are going to be the most commercial and will appeal to thebroadest group of women in the right price range.  He adds, "The dress has to merit being on the runway."

Is there a deciding factor of why one dress is chosen?
"A part of it fulfills and represents something that I feel is very important to be part of the picture whenI present the whole collection."  When I askif he has any favorites, he smiles and says, "I have no favorites, you know, I like them all.  Probably I like the one that nobody likes because I feel sorry for the dress."  Running his business is truly a family affair.  He continues, "It is wonderful because I see a continuation of the brand which is important.  We are about building a brand and obviously having my family involved I know that it will continue and always be there."  Alex Bolen, worked in finance, founding and then selling an asset-management company before joining Bear Stearns.  As the market stalled, Alex consulted part-time for De la Renta while the designer searched for a new CEO. "It took a very long time to convince Alex to work in the business.  Eliza has been working with me now for a very long time in the beginning she wanted to work in causes that had to do with the environment.  Eventually they decided that this was their business."

With this new collection, is there ever a fear that it won't be as good as or better than your last one?
"There is always a fear the day that you don't have that fear then you should stop working.  Every day is a learning process, everyday.  People say, oh my goodness, you have been doing this for so many years, and you must have a sense of confidence with this collection.  No, every time is more difficult because you demand more of yourself.  Every time there are younger designers, new designers. Knowing that you have competition makes you try to excel and do your best."

New designers are they really competition for you?
"Any business is a competitive business."

Are there any major challenges that have come with the growth of this empire? (Fragrances, home goods, the Macy's line etc)
"Every day is a challenge. The exciting part is to accept the challenge and then try to conquer the challenge."

As we drive through downtown Nashville he takes a moment to look at Tootsie's sign that is flashing at us…a few moments later he turns to me again and I ask him if he enjoys Nashville.  He grins and says, "Every time I come here it's for a very short time, but to see downtown is exciting with all of the lights."

Do you like country music?
"I love country music in the beginning not as much because I didn't understand it.  My wife and I love Johnny Cash.  I never really paid any attention to Johnny Cash until I saw Walk the Line.  Now we are big fans."

What do you do to relax and find peace?
"I move on to something else.  I never stop moving. I'm involved in everything, so I take breaks by doing something different."  He tells me about a project he is working on in his beloved home of Punta Cana.  He is invested in the Punta Cana Resort & Club as well as the large ecological reserve to go along with it.  "My favorite place on earth is being with my family.  I don't like to be alone, I like to be surrounded by people and the most important thing to me is to be able to share time with my family.  What I love most is really what I do on a daily basis which is to create clothes.  I don't look at it as work I look at it as something that gives me tremendous pleasure."

At the age of 18, he moved to Spain, where he studied painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid.  He admits that his first love was painting and I wanted to know if he still enjoys picking up a brush.  "I am very competitive…If I were to be a painter I would want to be very good. It is pleasurable, but I would not do it if I could not compete and be the best at it."

Words you hope to pass down to continue your legacy?
"That I love the woman."

Thank you Mr. de la Renta, we love you too.

Image | Brand | Fashion |
Direct: (615) 218.6831 | Office: (615) 567.6969

Consultations are always complimentary!

Posted on 07/30/2011 12:00 AM by Mila Grigg, CEO
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Summer Fun: Good Manners and Proper Dress Never Go Out of Style

I just love the summer months.  There are picnics, company outings, poolside lounging and days in the park.  What a great time to look your best and to enjoy the great outdoors.  We need to review a few items that seem to slip everyone's mind. First, let's remember we are not at the beach, so dress appropriately.  You can look great and still leave something to the imagination.  Just recently, I attended an event and I wasn't certain if one the ladies there was wearing a towel or a short dress.  This image is NEVER the one that anyone wants to portray.  Oh and one more reminder ladies…The old fashion idea of crossing your legs when you sit is still in style. There is nothing worse than sitting at the local ball game only to look in the stands and see a woman who forgot what she was wearing.  If you want to get attention - trust me you will - but not the kind you would probably want.  

Then, of course, there is the man who is wearing his son's small t-shirt.  I can appreciate a man who stays in shape just as much as the next person, but this new skin-tight look, regardless of how in shape you are, is not on anyone's hot look list. Men - get shirts that fit you according to your body shape.  If you buy the right shirt, it will hang slightly on your body, will help you stay cool and highlight your body shape.  One more unsightly item that we all deal with is perspiration.  Wearing the right colors can help shade the dreaded moisture display that we get when we sit out in the sun.  Be aware of the weatherconditions when you are heading out for the afternoon in the warm sun. Fashion is about preparation just as much as it is about style.  When it comes to presenting the best you, it is ok to take the extra time to prepare for your clothing for each day.  If you're a super sweater, then consider bringing a change of clothing and slip away at the right time and freshen up with a changed shirt or pants.  This is true for men and  women.

Now my last point is basic etiquette.  What has happened to the old sayings "Do not chew your food with your mouth open," or "Don't talk while you're eating," or "Use a napkin and not your shirt."  I do not care how great your outfit looks or how fit you are when it comes to your body and health.  It only takes about 10 seconds of watching someone chew their food for all to see, or the dreaded let me talk and eat at the same time, to create a strong image that turns people off.  Even at the most relaxed summer picnic, remember etiquette is always the same including eating with your elbows on the table.  Picnic table or dining table, same rule applies.   Everyone can use a lesson and reminder about great manners from time to time.  

Basics we can all remember:

1. Thank the host for having you and bring a gift for the host/hostess.

2. Only eat what you plan on finishing and do not go back for seconds until everyone has been served.

3. It's just a meal.  Please do not eat as if it is your last meal on earth.  There will be more food when you get home so do not be a glutton. One plate should be enough.

4. Do not chew food with your mouth open or talk while your mouth is full.

5. Use the napkins; not shirts or table cloths.

6. Do not drink more than you should.  A drunken guest is really no guest at all!

7. Clean up after you eat and offer to help when appropriate.

8. Do not stay later than the other guests unless your part of the cleanup crew.  The hosts do not want to entertain you for hours on end after everyone else has left.  Know when to leave.

Summer tends to be a more relaxed season and can be great fun between all of the outdoor parties and picnics and days at the ball parks. Remember, you are always presenting an image to the people around you.  Make certain you are sharing the one that says the best about you.  It takes just one bad image to change someone's perception about your personal life and professional ability.  Look great, have a wonderful time and remember; good manners and proper dress never go out of style!

Nashville Business Journal

If you missed my guest column in the print edition of the Nashville Business Journal, please click on the link below to read the full story online! 

Dress for success in the office: Clothes do make the man … and woman
Nashville Business Journal - by Mila Grigg, Guest Columnist

Date: Friday, June 24, 2011, 5:00am CDT

Every professional must ask themselves, what does my wardrobe say about me? What is the personal brand that I am projecting to my company, peers and customers? Do I look reliable? Do I look trustworthy? Do I look detail oriented? Do you successfully project who you are and what your corporate brand is or what your clients expect you to be?

The last thing you want to do is create any doubt in your ability or the ability of the company because your image and fashion are saying something negative about you. Within mere seconds of seeing you, people have ...To continue reading, click here!


Our latest blog has everyone talking - good or bad, it's the truth!  I hope you enjoy it!

Ok men, this is a subject that every woman wants to discuss with you - but few will actually tread.  Why is it as men age they seem to care less about where the hair is growing as long as it is growing on their head?  I am here to tell you about a few areas that need your attention.  We women love our AMERICAN MADE MEN, but we do not want to be seen out with a Gorilla and I can assure you that your employer is not too excited about the image you leave someone when they look at your body as though it reflects a rain forest jungle from the Amazon.  Here are the trouble spots that THE BEAST inside of you must deal with... 

Click HERE to read more!


Weekly Fashion and Image Column
I am so happy to have partnered with Brentwood Home Page; an incredible publication.  My weekly column will include fashion tips, image suggestions and so much more.  If you have image or fashion questions, please e-mail them to me and I may just answer your question and share the answer with our readers.  Please visit for more information!

Read this week's column by clicking here! Finding the perfect jean takes time, effort


Image | Brand | Fashion |
Direct: (615) 218.6831 | Office: (615) 567.6969

Consultations are always complimentary!

Posted on 07/21/2011 12:00 AM by Mila Grigg, CEO
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