Real Housewives of Miami star Lea Black unveiled her new line of bejeweled evening bags and bracelets at boutique Rene Ruiz in Coral Gables, Miami, on Wednesday night. Above, Lea holds one of her favorite designs. The event was filmed for the Real Housewives of Miami and, as is wont to happen when that clique gets together, the cameras brought along some drama.
Lea's bags, which she describes as "timeless," are representative of Lea's personal style — sparkly yet classic. Lea has been seen wearing her bags to events featured on the hit Bravo reality show and decided to now market her one-of-a-kind designs to the public.
As much as the evening tried to focus on fashion, the ladies couldn't help but be sidetracked by drama, fueled by the Bravo producers. In the middle of the lovely event decorated with orchids, one of the producers went up to Real Housewife Lisa Hochstein and told her something one of the other girls said about her. Lisa then pulled fellow Housewife Alexia Echevarria aside and had a heated conversation. Before the end of the evening, Lisa made a dramatic early exit, storming out of the event. Lisa plays the Real Housewife role so well!
By the end of the night, not many of Lea's pieces were sold — but the crowd seemed to be there more for the spectacle than to shop. But Lea's latest endeavor does seem promising, the purses are really beautiful (think a more practical, sturdier Judith Leiber) and the price point is great, running around $300 for a clutch. The prices go all the way up to about $1500 for the more unique made-to-order Swarovski encrusted purses.
Below, I strike a pose with former RHOM Karent Sierra and my friend Kristin Ducote, wife of racecar driver Chapman Ducote and the author of the book Naked Paddock. I'm modeling some of Lea's gorgeous designs on my wrist — love the sparkle!
For more photos and an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the event, head to MiamiFashionRevolution.com.
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She died from a heart attack at her home in Madrid on 3 January (13), according to the New York Daily News.
Born in South Carolina, she moved to Spain when she was 18 to study philosophy, but got swept up in the culture and never returned to America.
She then launched a career in modelling, appearing in several television adverts before landing her big acting break in 1966's La Ciudad No Es Para Mi (The City Is Not For Me).
Shepard went on to star in A Date in Navarra, where she met her future husband Maunel de Blas, while her other film credits include El Monte de las Brujas (The Witches' Mountain) and El Karate, el Colt y el Impostor (The Stranger and the Gunfighter).
Her younger sister, Judith Chapman, is also a notable actress from hit U.S. TV shows The Young And The Restless and Murder, She Wrote.
The tragic opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerald Butler) who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera waging a reign of terror over its occupants [cue the organ music]. Think The Elephant Man meets The Hunchback of Notre Dame--except this particular "monster" has some serious sex appeal. I mean honestly his only "disfigurement" is some scarring on one side of his face which he covers with a rather classy mask. No big whoop. But I digress. When he falls desperately in love with the lovely ingénue Christine (Emmy Rossum) who has lived in the opera house for most of her life the Phantom devotes himself to molding the young soprano into a star exerting a strange sense of control over her as he nurtures her extraordinary talents. But when Christine falls for the dashing Raoul (Patrick Wilson) all hell breaks loose as the Phantom's growing jealousies threatens to tear everyone apart [OK now it's really time to cue the organ music].
Fans will no doubt be happy their favorite musical has finally made it to the big screen but the musical's original stars Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman have been replaced in the movie version by hot young actors. This is a very wise decision considering the film's rather longwinded nature. In other words even though the Phantom performers keep singing and singing and then sing some more at least they are appealing to watch (and they did do all their own singing). Butler (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) is particularly effective as the Phantom all brooding mysterious and far more intriguing a suitor than pretty boy Raoul played blandly by Wilson (HBO's Angels in America). With her alabaster skin and long luscious locks Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow) also does a nice job as Christine. But she is unfortunately limited to only a few range of emotions--either all doe-eyed and somber over her Phantom doe-eyed and gushy over Raoul or just plain doe-eyed. As for the supporting players Minnie Driver nearly steals the show as the Italian soprano diva La Carlotta. As the only breath of fresh air in the musty opera house you definitely crave more of her.
It's taken about 15 years to bring Webber's smash hit to the big screen. Apparently after winning every known theater award for Phantom the legendary producer-composer approached director Joel Schumacher in 1988 to do the movie after being impressed by Schumacher's work on The Lost Boys. Hmmm The Lost Boys to Phantom of the Opera--I'm still trying to tie that one together. Anyway Webber had to postpone production for personal reasons and then Schumacher was busy doing such films as Tigerland and Phone Booth. Finally the time was ripe to make Phantom coming on the heels of the musical movie boom started by Moulin Rouge and Chicago. Schumacher certainly incorporates all the right elements from the young and talented cast to the opulent sets and magnificent costumes. The problem is the material: Phantom really isn't all that compelling of a story. Sure the stage production was and still is a theatrical event especially as the Phantom moves on catwalks all over the theater and the impressive chandelier comes crashing down on the stage. But for the film adaptation there needs to be something more than just grand posturing set pieces and operatic music. Maybe a little more dialogue? A sex scene? Anything?
Completely stripping Catwoman of her "Batman" connections the geniuses behind this comic-book movie--at least as bad as Spider-Man 2 is good--also stripped it of any pleasure. Neither campy a la Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt of the old TV series nor sexy vamp like Michelle Pfeiffer of Batman Returns Halle Berry's Catwoman is well one lost little kitty in the big city. Actually she's Patience Philips--an annoyingly mousy graphics designer for a top cosmetics firm who despite her job has no fashion sensibility no self-confidence and no boyfriend. (Yeah riiiight!) She is befriended by a mystical Egyptian Mau cat which--courtesy of lousy digital effects--often looks disturbingly like Toonces and sounds like Linda Blair in The Exorcist when it meows; moreover its way of befriending Patience is to lure her into a suicide attempt--one of many plot points lacking a rationale. When Patience discovers that the cosmetics firm's villainous owner (Lambert Wilson) and aging supermodel wife (Sharon Stone) are marketing a toxic disfiguring facial cream she is killed--flushed through a drainage system into the ocean. But here comes that darn cat again to revive her as she's lying in sludge and mud. Next thing she knows she's sleeping on her apartment's bookshelf eating tuna by the caseload looking longingly at Jaguar hood ornaments as if they're long-lost relatives and jumping about walls basketball courts and whatnot faster than a speeding bullet. She also takes to wearing a pointy-eared black-leather dominatrix outfit along with too much makeup but at least no whiskers. She also starts sniffing around that foul cosmetics firm which leads to a martial-arts showdown with Stone. What the Oscar-winning Berry doesn't do regrettably is get a CAT scan to see what kind of ailment convinced her to make this lamebrain movie.
I've seen better acting on 7-Eleven surveillance videos than in Catwoman. Berry is cloying in the film's early stages when she's playing insecure lonely Patience and she's more pathetically childlike than anything else. Once she's Catwoman though she's really terrible tilting her head for endless close-ups and giving lots of wide-eyed stares meant to conjure feline curiosity but that more recall George W. Bush's "deer-in-the-headlights" gaze. The screenplay makes a few lame attempts to observe the duality of women in the way Patience changes to Catwoman but it's not there in the performance. Yet Berry's turn is a career-peak gem compared to Stone who can't decide whether to play the power-mad Laurel Hedare as a broad cartoonish send-up or as someone connected to reality. Looking like a vampiric Susan Powter and barking sarcastic lines without a hint of emotional connection to her character Stone is just awful. On the plot's fringes Benjamin Bratt does his best as a police officer (gee what else) who is both infatuated with Berry and suspects her of murder.
The one-named French director Pitof (short for "pitoful"?) supposedly is a digital-imaging expert who has worked with City of Lost Children's Jean-Pierre Jeunet but you'd never know it here. Either he doesn't know much about directing actors or maybe he only gives directions in French. The effects--especially action scenes involving a digitalized version of Berry--move at such a chaotic breakneck pace that she looks completely phony. Plus there's absolutely no sequential logic whatsoever to where Catwoman moves and when--apparently invisibility is one of her superpowers. These awkward clumsy scenes are usually accompanied by distractingly loud music. Pitof's only other directing credit is some obscure French flick starring Gerard Depardieu…one hopes Catwoman will be his last.