Where can future brides and grooms sample a piece of Sylvia Weinstock cake, admire the latest Vera Wang couture wedding gown, and get Bobbi Brown beauty tips, all under one roof? At venues from Los Angeles to New York, where The Wedding Salon founder, Tatiana Byron, has organized a one-day luxury wedding showcase boasting some of the top vendors in the industry, introducing big-day ideas from top area vendors such as The Registry at Bloomingdale's, AMResorts, Lancome at Bergdorf Goodman, The Container Store, Magnolia Photo Booth, and celebrity wedding experts. Each event is designed to make attendees feel like guests at a sophisticated wedding, only the fellow partygoers might be celebrity wedding planners David Tutera or Colin Cowie, or dessert connoisseurs from Carlo’s Bakery —the bakery behind TLC’s Cake Boss.
Byron has been cultivating her all-star connections for more than a decade. After working at Turner Broadcasting System and directing sales, marketing, and production for a trade-show company, she created her own planning company, 4pm Events. Byron began coordinating parties for famous faces including Joan Rivers, Mary J. Blige, and Lionel Richie—no easy task, given the limited number of vendors willing to build dance floors on the ceiling. Byron went on to create The Wedding Salon expos to give future brides a taste of celebrity-caliber elegance. She also offers educational wedding boot camps that help duos avoid hidden costs and learn tips for planning their special day. Byron's services have been highlighted in numerous media, including features in the New York Times, the New York Post, and Fortune Small Business.
In 1991, the surprise discovery of a Lomo Kompakt Automat—a compact Russian camera—in a Vienna shop struck inspiration into a group of local students; they reveled in the shadowy corners, lo-fi graininess, saturated colors, and light-leaks that riddled its photos. The group traveled to the camera's birthplace in St. Petersburg to meet with the original manufacturers at the Lomo PLC factory, and forge a contract for global distribution. Over the next 20 years, the students' venture expanded into Lomography, a global company that develops experimental cameras and accessories and operates stores in 17 countries.
Whether on gallery shop shelves in an online store, Lomography boasts full-size and compact analog cameras, many in hues such as bright blue, green, and goldenrod. Classic cult picture-takers such as the Diana F+, Lomo Kino, and Lomo LC-A+ join experimental eight-frame and fish-eye cameras, pocket cameras, and kinoscopes. Accessories such as flash, wide-angle lens, and fish-eye lens attachments, and a line of darkroom equipment, spur creative exploration and provide justification for annexing the shadiest corners of the basement. Lomography fuels its cameras with film types such as 35mm, 120 medium format, and instant that can be developed at professional studios or through its online development services. The store also compiles photography books and city guides, and fashion such as shirts, bags, and button sets.
When Stephanie Elhayani answered a help-wanted sign at her neighborhood flower shop as a high-school sophomore, she hardly imagined that floral arrangements would become her life's work. Several years and scores of bouquets later, Stephanie’s Seed Floral Couture artfully nestles local and organic blossoms into unique vessels-—such as teacups, wooden boxes, and overturned tricorn hats—to celebrate weddings, parties, and other special events. Custom centerpieces and tablescapes situate objects such as coral and fruit amid lush bouquets of orchids, hydrangeas, dahlias, and chrysanthemums. The boutique also hosts a series of classes designed to equip novice florists with a wealth of firsthand botanical knowledge. Lessons cover the vast spectrum of seasonal blooms, review complimentary colors and species, and demonstrate how to fend off jealous honeybees in a relaxed classroom setting.
The crew at Sunset Hills Cleaners ousted grime from its first garment in 1968. Today, a litany of services pampers soiled textiles. Odorless dry cleaning purifies sensitive fabrics, letting the gentle rustle and hush of textiles fill the shop as staff hand finishes and presses threads. Javier, the on-staff stain expert, draws upon 22 years of experience in unsullying clothing to extricate evidence of overzealous meals and secret alliances with the Blue Man Group from apparel. A nine-point inspection ensures each garment returns to near factory-issue form, and laundry, alterations, and other services ready even suede, leather, and silk items for rides in the company’s chartreuse delivery vans.
The gifted tart architects at Früute incorporate myriad fresh and organic ingredients inside handcrafted modern incarnations of the classic French treat. During the 60-minute tart experience, paired patrons can whet their whistles with coffee or tea and admire the harmonious construction and aria-inspiring tastes of a flight of signature tarts. Each flight includes an arrangement of six of Früute's 16 miniature varieties—which range from the classic passion fruit, a vanilla crust donning a tropical macaroon hat, to the curiously flavored wasabi, spicy Japanese horseradish housed in a pistachio crust and topped with a tempura mint leaf. As guests sample the wares, knowledgeable tartists will thoroughly explain each square-shaped selection's ingredients, core flavors, and unsuitability for use as earrings. Guests can conclude their experience by relaxing in Früute's sleek, minimalistic interior and heading off with a quartet of to-go tarts, tucked into a stylish box made from recycled paper.
Shirts 'N' Skirts' friendly staff of garment-cleaning technicians deodorize duds, evict stains, and alter ill-fitting hemlines with eco-friendly cleaning methods, offering free pickup and delivery for homes within 5 miles of one of the store's locations. Using state-of-the-art products and machinery, these thread techs disinfect, steam, and press clothes to leave them neater than Mr. Clean's accounting ledger. They'll expunge pants ($4.95) and shirts ($4.75) of lingering odors, hem up elongated pants ($12), or shine ($6) and restore heels ($12) on aging shoes. Garments make their way back into their owner's care within 24 hours, ready to fill up closet space like a skeleton soiree.