Keeping Up With Popstar Erika Jayne

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Not many artists can say that they have had seven, #1 hits on the Billboard charts, while surpassing the likes of Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. Dance song sensation Ekira Jayne landed on the charts in 2007 with “Rollercoaster,” and has been taking over the music scene ever since. The Los Angeles native will be in Chicago this week to perform at Roscoe Night Club on November 7th. She let us in on where she likes to shop, eat, and play in the big city, as well as what it’s like to write her songs and the thrill she gets from performing.

 

Alex: Thanks for chatting with us today! How would you describe your personal style?

Erika: I always wear body conscious clothes and I’m always thinking of curvy, curvy and sexy, sexy and woman, woman, woman. That’s just what I’m drawn to and what I’ve been known to wear.

Alex: If you could only wear one brand or designer for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Erika: Definitely Alexander McQueen.

Alex: You’re in Chicago this week for your show on Friday. What are your favorite places to shop, eat, and play in Chicago?

Erika: Let me tell ya! We stay at the Waldorf, which is like, the best hotel in the world! Right out front that door, is amazing shopping. Hermes, Barney’s…there’s the Adidas store. Everything is within walking distance, it’s fabulous. I love Chicago, I’ve never had a bad trip to Chicago. My whole team can’t wait to be in Chicago. We’re already talking about it, where we’re going to eat…where we’re going to shop. It’s just awesome…awesome people, awesome food. It’s an awesome city.

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Alex: Where do you find your inspiration when creating a new song?

Erika: My album that’s coming out, the things that were happening to me at the time were a great influence on this album. Experiences, people, things that I’ve seen, places I’ve been. I take everything and put it into what I write about. If I get stuck, I walk away and take a break and then look at it.

Alex: Who are some of your favorite artists that you look up to?

Erika: I am a Madonna fan, I’m a Prince fan, I’m a Michael Jackson fan! Beyonce! All of the people that put on shows. I love the showman.

Alex: I read that you went to a performing arts high school?

Erika: Performing arts high schools was an amazing experience, and I wish that all young performers could go to a place where they could hone their skills and really figure out what they like, and do something they enjoy. That experience is incredible.

Alex: You collaborated with Flo Rida on “Get It Tonight.” What was it like working with him?

Erika: He was a cool guy. He’s a very big star, and was kind to me. I think “Get it Tonight” turned out great.

Alex: What’s the best experience you’ve had thus far in your career?

Erika: I don’t know if I’ve had one single moment sticks out, but I know some of the best experiences are when you’re on stage looking out at the audience and they’re singing the song. Or you get messages afterwards like ‘hey, you really brought a smile to my face, I loved the show.’ That’s really what it’s all about. It’s taking people on a journey. We all live in a reality where things possibly aren’t the best. But if you can go to a show and escape for an hour, hour and a half. That’s what it’s all about.

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Alex: Do you have any upcoming projects you can give us some details on?

Erika: I just released the song “You Make Me Want to Dance” in Asia. I’m going to tour Asia starting December 5th, so check my website! It’s such a great part of the world. The music fans there are so hungry for dance music and they love to have a good time. I’m super excited for that.

Alex: A lot of my readers are college age and trying to break into fashion, music, or some form of the arts. What would be your greatest piece of advice for them?

Erika: Two things: study your craft, and get a great mentor. Great mentors make careers, and they shape who you are as a young artist or a young professional. Be incredibly good at your technique, craft, whatever it may be. Make sure you know your craft, have your technique down, be flawless, and get a great mentor. Those two things are what I think are the most important. You have to know what you’re doing. You need a mentor to show you how things are done properly. Let me tell ya, nobody got to where they are without someone helping them in some way.

Erika Jayne will be in Chicago on November 6th to perform at Roscoe Night Club, make sure you get tickets!

Talking Ten Years of e Drop-Off With Corri McFadden

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Alex: So Corri, congratulations on The Collection. I’m sure a ton of planning went into putting it together, how long has it been in the works?

 

Corri: We started this project about five months ago. The biggest thing was our clients. There are different shoppers out there and we heard that there are so many people that want to walk away with it now, like why can’t I buy it now? So, being ten years, it was kind of a way for us to thank our clients as well as extend a different arm of the business. Now that we’ve been established for quite a while and understand auction from A to Z, this was a way for us to have a retail presence here in Chicago. When people come from out of town, they can come and shop these amazing pieces.

 

Alex: Is this long term? If so, how often will we see new pieces in the store?

 

Corri: It’s not going anywhere, the whole mindset is that it being “The Collection,” each piece is highly curated and it’s not just a bunch of stuff on racks and the floor [products]  will turn over twice a month. Basically if you come in at the beginning or the end of the month, you will see different merchandise every time you come in.

 

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Alex: So basically there is always going to be something new that I want to buy…

 

Corri: Yes, always something you want.

 

Alex: So this was a major surprise, do you have anything else coming up that you can tell us about?
Corri: I do, but nothing I can really speak about right now! We are just relishing in ten years and the launch of The Collection right now, and I just had a baby! That in itself has just been a huge adjustment, but absolutely amazing.

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Alex: How do you balance it all?

 

Corri: If you have a really good team, and a solid partner…I always credit back to Spiro [Tsaparas, Corri’s fiance.] You need someone to motivate you on the days when you feel like you can’t. That’s my biggest thing, having a solid support at home.

Alex: A great partner makes all the difference. One last question and I’m done torturing you. You, as well as Christian, started your businesses at 21/22 years old. What advice can you give our readers entering the work force or looking to start their own business?

 

Corri: The biggest thing, is that you have to find what you’re passionate about. You also have to stick with things long enough to figure out what you’re good at, as well as nothing comes quick. It takes a lot of hard times and a lot of sweat equity, and the biggest thing is that not everyone is intended to be their own boss. There are these misconceptions, and so much pressure on entrepreneurship now and that you have to work for yourself, and if you can do that, that’s amazing! But don’t forget that all these amazing companies out there would never be in business without the support of amazing employees. There is so much pressure now that you need to found something, and you can brand yourself and be your own brand and stand for what you represent, but that doesn’t mean you have to work for yourself.

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Alex: The pressure of owning your own business, especially as young as you started it, would be very difficult.

 

Corri: It is so, so hard, and you are always the last priority, and you are always the last paid. Everything around can look like it’s so easy and glossy  from the outside, but at the end of the day there is so much behind the scenes…it’s nuts. It’s rough, but at the end of the day, it’s awesome. It’s moments like this where I think “Alright, this is cool.”

 

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Photos: Kohl Murdock

Catching Up With Christian Siriano

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Elle Magazine called him a “Karl Lagerfeld in training,” and that description could not be more fitting. American designer Christian Siriano won Emmy nominated show Project Runway at the ripe age of 21, and the rest is history. Christian launched his namesake label, “Christian Siriano” in 2008, and his designs continue to woo the world of fashion in 2014. Siriano just released his first fragrance, Silhouette, and already has another one in the works. Siriano held his fragrance launch party in partnership with e Drop-Off’s Corri McFadden this past Thursday night, and we got a chance to chat with him and his fashionable bff, Chicago wonder woman, Corri.

 

Alex: Congratulations on the launch of Silhouette, that’s amazing!

Christian: Thank you!

Alex: So what was the inspiration behind the name, Silhouette?

Christian: Well Silhouette…it was a tough name to figure out because we want it to be able to last 30, 40, 50 years. The real challenge was how do you figure out a name that can last forever, but still feel modern? I think every woman celebrates her silhouette. You can be any shape and any size and any age to wear the fragrance and to really celebrate it. We needed it to be timeless in a way that’s still cool. So that was my feelings…I’m always going to be creating silhouettes, so that was the idea behind it.

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Alex: I was reading a little bit about the fragrance earlier and I have to ask, how did you wind up coming up with this scent? What was the inspiration behind the notes and smell?

Christian: I wanted it to be a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy and kind of an earthy tone, but still very fresh. I wanted it to be very wearable, so it also has a little citrus to it. Mandarin, green apple, that kind of feel, and the sandalwood notes is what makes it have a little kick to it. My goal was to have it be everyday and not overpowering…it smells pretty great.

Alex: The candle also smells great. Sounds like a very long process between making the fragrance and producing it. What was that like?

 Christian: It was a long process, it was not fun! The picking of the fragrance notes was really cool because everything that I thought would smell great, didn’t. And everything that I thought would smell terrible, smelled great together, so that was hard because it’s totally different smelling things from the pure form because everything is so strong. So a touch of something makes the fragrance smell totally different. That was a challenge, but a cool one, and the rest is just a lot of work. Between the packaging, making sure the bottle was right. We have an ombré effect on our bottle, and there was about 100 times that ombré went back and forth. The cap comes completely off, so that was just a logistics thing. I felt that if you could take the cap completely off, that was just a moment. It was great.

Alex: After all of that, would you produce a second fragrance?

Christian: Yes, I would! We are already working on another one. In the fragrance business, you usually launch one and then you need to have something in the next year or two to kind of go with it, in a way? So that is what we are working on now, figuring out what Silhouette’s partner can be.

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 Alex: What’s the first thing you do when you come to Chicago?

Christian: I don’t do anything! I don’t have much! To be honest, I would say that the Barney’s here is very good, so I like that. Corri [McFadden] always takes me to such great places and she always takes me out to eat and we always have fun. That’s what I love, I don’t come that often but when I do come I get to go to new places and she’s always like “this restaurant just opened, let’s try it” and that’s that best part. Everyone in Chicago is so nice, I get a great vibe when I come here.

 Alex: How do you think Chicago is different from New York?

Christian:  It’s very different from New York. It’s still a big city but it feels like you can get to know people which is nice.

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 Alex: I’m going to pull Corri in for some questions! So how did you two meet?

Corri: We met…

Christian: When you were filming your show!

Corri: No…we met when you were talking at Columbia!

Christian: That was a longgg time ago

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Corri: Wow that was three, maybe four years ago?

Christian: Yeah I was doing a little speaking thing at Columbia about fashion, and Corri came and she was amazing and super chic.

Corri: I remember what I was wearing. I was wearing bright blue pants, Brian Atwood shoes and an oversized top.

Christian: Yeah, you looked amazing.

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Alex: So I know you’ve been dressing Corri for quite a while, she always looks fabulous. You made her baby shower dress and are designing her wedding dress, what is that process like?

Christian: Corri is very easy to work with.

Corri: I’m sure that when I was a sample size it was easier! Things are a little different after a baby! They’re getting back to normal.

Christian: You look great!

Corri: I even pulled out my Siriano gold heels for 10 years [of e Drop-Off.]

Christian: Corri has a lot of really great Siriano pieces. It’s always exciting and I like to see that they stand the test of time. I love that dress of mine that you wore to a gala…that was one of my favorites dresses ever.

Corri: The black jeweled one!

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Christian: Actually nobody else has that dress either, because we only made one. That’s kinda cool. I love that dress. I need to visit it actually.

Corri: I sold it! No, I’m joking, I still have it!

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Alex: Thank you so much for chatting with us Christian!

Check back on Tuesday, October 28th, when we finish our chat with Corri. She lets us in on launching The Collection, balancing life as a Mom and successful entrepreneur, and gives us some tips on entering the real world after college.

Photos: Kohl Murdock

Chatting With Kristin Cavallari

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It is safe to say that Kristin Cavallari is far from her days on MTV’s The Hills. She is now a wife, mother, designer, entrepreneur, and the list goes on and on. Cavallari just released her fall collection with Chinese Laundry, and it will leave you lusting after every pair on the shelf. Somehow, between caring for Jaxon and Camden, designing her next collection for Chinese Laundry, and rooting for her husband, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Kristin had time to sit down with us and chat shoes, The Fabulist, and Chicago.

Congratulations on your fall collection with Chinese Laundry! Where did you get the inspiration for this collection?

Well, with every line, I want my shoes to be trendy, while still being affordable . I think it’s important for girls to know that you don’t have to spend $900 on a pair of shoes to look and feel great. Everything in my line, for the most part, is a staple. They’re all classic shoes that you’ll wear forever. But, you know, we still have the trendier items like the thigh-high boots which are one of the biggest pieces for fall.

What is the design process like?

I work with Shana, over at the Chinese Laundry design team. She’s really great about knowing the hot colors and that sort of thing, and I just send her all of the inspiration I gather throughout the year. After that, we just come up with everything together, I tweak everything, and then I always have the final say on every shoe. It’s fun.

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What is the best, and most difficult, thing about designing a shoe collection?

The hardest part is that even if I love a shoe, it’s ultimately up to the buyers, so take Nordstrom for example, to decide if they want it or not. There was one shoe in particular that I am obsessed with, but they didn’t want! I tried to bring it back again, and push for it, and they still don’t want it! It’s hard! I could love something, but it really doesn’t matter. The best part is being able to design the shoes that I love and seeing girls wear my shoes and see how happy they are. It’s the best feeling in the world.

How do you like Chicago, has it influenced your sense of style at all?

For style alone, I like that in Chicago you can actually wear boots and jackets and layer, and all that fun stuff that you can’t do in California. I guess its influenced my line in that I have a lot more boots and booties than I probably would if I was still living in California, just because I wouldn’t even be aware of it. Chicago has been great, the people are all so nice. I like having seasons even though it can be pretty brutal come January. Even right now, the leaves are all changing and we don’t get that in California. And my family is here, my Mom is here, so that’s really nice. Especially with babies too, they help out a lot.

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You’re hosting E!’s “The Fabulist,” what is your favorite thing about hosting “The Fabulist?”

It’s a lot of fun, we talk about all the latest trends in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. It’s everything that I love talking about, and it’s great because, you know, I think when you initially hear about the show you think it’s just about fashion, but there’s a little something for everyone because we do talk about trends and food and travel and all kinds of things. It’s fast paced, it’s thirty minutes, and you’re left with a ton of knowledge.

You are always one step ahead of everyone else. What can we expect to see from you coming up?

Well, for my shoe line, we are working on Fall 2015, so we are working far ahead. We actually were just looking at Spring samples yesterday, which was fun. I just launched a jewelry line about two weeks ago with Planet Blue out in LA, it’s called Emerald Dove and I’m working on a couple other things, but nothing that I can really talk about yet.

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Photos: Kohl Murdock