Riverside California is a town known for its late 19th and early 20th century Mission Revival architecture, but more recently Riverside has been home to its fair share of punk, alternative rock and metal bands including Alien Ant Farm. Formed in 1995 by lead singer Dryden Mitchell, guitarist Terry Corso, drummer Mike Corso, and keyboard player Tyle Zamora, Alien Ant Farm’s style has been defined as nu metal. With five studio albums that have sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, the band won Best Independent Album at the LA Music Awards in 1999 (for their debut album, Greatest Hits) and they have topped the charts in Australia and New Zealand.
Keyboardist Tim Peugh replaced Tyle Zamora in 2014 and the popularity of the band is on the rise once again with a new album in the works for 2017, along with upcoming national and international tours. For this week’s Listen Up we’ve selected the video for their single “Attitude” from their second album ANThology released in 2002.
An hour and a half drive from Los Angeles, Riverside California is the Queen of the Inland Empire. Dry and hot in the summer and sun kissed year round, it’s the birthplace of California’s citrus industry (where one of the original navel orange trees from 1874 still bears fruit today). The first California golf course and polo grounds were both created in Riverside and elegant Victoria Avenue remains lined with orange trees and mansions, holding fast to the glamour that has attracted Hollywood celebrities and robber barons for more than 125 years. Popular with retirees, Riverside is also a college town. UC Riverside has a current enrollment of 22,000 students and is known for the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy, “the largest publicly accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian and dystopian literature in the world” (Associated Press, 2014).
At the center of it all is the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, the largest Mission Revival style building in the United States with 238 rooms in a sprawling structure that was pieced together from 1902 through 1935. The Mission Inn is a most unusual hotel with Tiffany windows, a glockenspiel clock, catacombs, a 5-story Rotunda, flying buttresses and treasures collected from around the world by creator Frank August Miller. A fascinating place to explore, it’s also a wonderful place to stop for lunch. There are several restaurants on site from which to choose, but the magic spot is the Spanish Patio off of the Mission Inn Restaurant. Shaded by oversized red umbrellas and surrounded by castle towers and minarets, the courtyard will transport you to another world as you watch the glockenspiel figures mark the time. We hate buffets, so our hearts sank when the waitress pointed out the buffet set up. The good news is the restaurant has a regular menu as well with an emphasis on classic comfort food. In a word: terrific.
On the recommendation of our good friend, Alan Mullen, we ventured out to lunch at the Mission Inn in Riverside California. Feeling transported to European café life – a little bit of Germany, a pinch of Italy, a sprinkling of Paris joie de vivre, all framed by the hotel’s Spanish Mission style architecture — the surround of tables of women reminded me of the 1980’s and the culture that was once referred to as “ladies who lunch.”
Just off the lobby is the Presidential Lounge with black and white photos of U.S. Presidents who have visited this landmark hotel over the last 125 years. Pat and Richard Nixon were married here, Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymooned in one of its beautiful suites and I’m sure there were many secrets shared and deals brokered by the other 8 Presidents who spent time at the Mission Inn. Which reminded me of the ‘80’s again and the rise of women in powerful positions, in turn giving rise to the “power suit.” For nearly 20 years, the suit became de rigueur for the working woman and the socialite –some wore Anne Taylor interpretations, while others donned haute couture.
In the early ‘80’s, I was designing suits and coats for Nipon Coature, a licensee of Albert Nipon (I wrote about Albert’s jail time in a previous blog). It was the very beginning of the trend and suit silhouettes were crisp and tailored and the shoulder pads made everyone look formidable. My supplier for this ubiquitous fashion staple was Majestic Shoulder Pads and the owner was known in the industry as “The King of Shoulder Pads.” Together we gave Joan Crawford a run for her money. We dressed Donna Mills of Knots Landing for the cover of TV Guide and outfitted Joan Mondale on the campaign trail during her husband’s Presidential bid. A shy teenager, Elle MacPhearson, modeled our suits for fashion editorials long before she reached supermodel status. We showed our suits on live models in a showroom promenade a la Coco Chanel. And it was all very glamorous.
Now more than 20 years later, the power suit has made a comeback. Many houses are even toying with exaggerated shoulder silhouettes, especially Balenciaga. One of my favorite suit collections this season comes from Thierry Mugler – sharp, precise, razor edged, just like the halcyon days of the late ‘80’s. The collection reminds me of designer Claude Montana (a roommate of Mugler’s back in the day) whose work embodied the power of the woman’s suit, with a strong dose of sexuality. Breaking with the tradition of the suit as men’s domain, women are embracing the suit once again as they continue to demand equality in the workplace. In the board room and around the negotiating table, woman often wear a suit to command attention and to say, “I’m smart, I’m qualified, and I’m in control.”
If I were going to suggest one must-have suit for 2017, it would definitely be black and slim. A lightweight (often referred to as tropical weight) wool crepe or gabardine is appropriate all-year round. The silhouette of the jacket should have a strong shoulder, a slightly suppressed waistline with a slight curve over the hips, and either an elongated shawl or notched collar. My favorite woman’s suit pairs a jacket with tailored pants that have a slightly flared bottom or a very narrow straight leg. The overall look is clean, polished and sophisticated.
If you do decide to buy a suit this season, here is one important caveat: make friends with an excellent tailor. A well-hemmed jacket sleeve and the spot-on pants length are essential. And a nip and a tuck here and there can make a good off-the-rack suit look like a custom design that was made just for you.