The group dredg was formed in 1993 and its members, vocalist Gavin Hayes, guitarist Mark Engles, bassist Drew Roulette and drummer pianist Dino Campanella, had gigs in local clubs before they graduated from Los Gatos High. The definition of a modern progressive rock band, dredg debuted its first studio album, Leitmotif, in 2001 which gained them cult status; but it was their third album, Catch Without Arms, that brought them national attention reaching the top of the Heatseekers Chart, Billboard’s compendium of up and coming performers. The single release from that album, “Bug Eyes,” is this week’s featured Listen Up. Click on the video and you’ll hear why Progressive Archive described their music as “…haunting and powerful, if not a bit inspirational…”
Header above: exterior of Los Gatos’ art deco movie theater
Los Gatos California (the cats in Spanish, historically referring to the bigger, wild varieties such as cougars and bobcats) is a wealthy Silicon Valley town surrounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains. Home to Netflicks and other tech giants-in-the-making, we spent an afternoon checking out Los Gatos’ main drag, Santa Cruz Avenue. The three-star Michelin restaurant, Manresa, wasn’t open for lunch, so we headed straight for Manresa Bread to pick up an almond croissant as a treat during our walk and one of their famous classic sour dough boules – the latter has proved to be the perfect chewy accompaniment to a winter stew or soup. The street was lively, with people shopping, children in tow, or rushing off to yoga class with brightly colored mats tightly rolled and tucked under their tanned, taught arms. Shopping is sweet in Los Gatos, with storybook candy shops and patisseries like Lolli and Pops and Fleur de Cocoa on Santa Cruz and, for the cake lover, Icing on the Cake tucked around the corner on Main Street. Steve stopped to get his hair cut and beard expertly trimmed at a classic barbershop with an edge, Royal Shaving Parlor, before we headed to Haute Bride to see their collection of couture gowns for tech savvy 21st century brides. Sierra Toy Soldier Company, representing the world in miniature, and Village House of Books, featuring handmade books by local children, are quirky finds, though Village House of Books is currently in search of a new location. There’s more shopping in the Old Town center, a small mall with national chain stores from Anthropologie to Sur la Table.
Nick’s Next Door is the place to have lunch in Los Gatos. Located off Main in a hidden away bungalow, Nick’s is an easy-going, small restaurant (it seats 59 people) that is popular with the locals. It’s modern, monochromatic design in shades of grey and black has a crisp white edge like a vintage photo. The food is farm to table, simply prepared and delicious. The salmon salad with citrus and lentils was excellent – every bite held a variety of textures and flavors that melded perfectly. Nick himself makes sure to check in with everyone in the restaurant and the staff is friendly and equally attentive.
After lunch, it was clear that California spring was about to burst wide open during our walk through nearby Oak Meadow Park and Vasona Lake County Park. The vintage Bill Mason Carousel and Billy Jones mini Wildcat Railroad were closed for the winter when we visited, so be sure to check their schedule for days and hours of operation.
There is nothing more beautiful than a bride in the right dress. Over the course of my design career, I created three very personal wedding dresses and one headpiece. Two of the women wanted ultra-contemporary dresses: one entailed a pair of culottes and a sexy, low cowl-back top all made of lightweight natural-colored silk shantung; the other was a thoroughly modern mini made of crystal pleated white handkerchief linen. They may sound a bit out of the ordinary, but they suited each of the women perfectly and they looked stunning. And it was the ‘80’s, after all.
The third gown I designed was for our good friend, Veronica. Classic Grace Kelly-inspired in ivory silk charmeuse, the gown was strapless, accessorized with vintage opera gloves in cream kid leather. It could have created a bit of a controversy at her traditional Catholic wedding in Spring Lake, New Jersey, so I added a silk organza floor-length veil trimmed in the same charmeuse (with a sparkling scattering of Austrian crystals) to cover her shoulders as she walked down the aisle. She was a vision of beauty.
The headpiece I fashioned for our friend, Lisa Post, was created with handmade silk flowers and crystal peps on a silk headband. The flowers were made in a NYC studio that specialized in exquisite custom flowers. The French owner worked with all of the high-end houses on 7th Avenue. I’m sorry to say that she, along with most of the artisans whose handwork skills had been passed down for generations, are now gone from the NYC garment center.
Today, the wedding gowns I’m most inspired by are embellished with re-embroidered lace, pearls and crystals, and fashioned with silk tulle. I prefer silhouettes that have a waistline or are slightly empire with a full skirt. And don’t forget the most important accessory, a dramatic veil!
I need to go on record to say that, despite their popularity, I hate mermaid dresses. Unless you have an amazing figure like Charlize Theron, you run the risk of looking like Kim Kardashian. I would stay clear of this trend.
In recent collections, white-white gowns are not as popular as ivory and soft pastels, and the color choices are extraordinary, especially for romantic, candlelit weddings. As we all know, wedding gowns can be exorbitantly expensive: the average Carolina Herrera gown is between $7-10,000 and one of my favorite designers, Elie Saab, sent a wedding gown down the runway in 2016 that costed out at $300,000. Fortunately, there are many options for gorgeous, less expensive gowns, including vintage and pre-owned. Always look for the best fabrics and workmanship your money can buy during your search. You can also email Dr. Style at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice or a design consultation.
On our trip to Los Gatos we visited a terrific salon, Haute Bride in downtown. They have frequent trunk shows featuring local designer, Hayley Paige (who now lives and designs in New York) and they also create their own line of jewelry and accessories made of Swarovski crystals to complement their wide selection of gowns. A special thanks to Mallorie for her advice and assistance.
Dr. Style’s wedding gown recommendations are shown below. You can also e-mail Dr. Style at email@example.com for advice or a design consultation.