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This week in Pittsburgh society+society: Hot parties and a live New York Fashion Week report

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Greetings from the Big Apple!

SettingSEEN NYFWIn this week's "Setting the SEEN," style editor Sara Bauknecht reports from inside the tents at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side and shares with SEEN editor Natalie Bencivenga fashion trends she can try at some of Pittsburgh's hot parties this weekend.

Sara also catches up with Pittsburghers hairstylist/product artists Philip Pelusi, fashion designer Sheena Trivedi and shoe designer Emily "Emy Mack" Jamison of Emy Mack Shoes, who all took part in Fashion Week.

Watch it all here or in the video box below. Until next time -- we'll be seeing you!

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"Setting the SEEN" Heads to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week!

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

Check out this week's "Setting the SEEN" as Sara heads to fashion week in New York City. We dish on all the Pittsburgh designers (including one of my fave shoe designers, Walnut Street's Emy Mack) and talk about trends to wear on the red carpet for all the big fall events coming up! #wheresNataliePG



Follow us on Twitter! @NBSeen and @SaraB_PG

Follow us on Instagram! @NatalieBenci and @SaraB_PG

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Dispatches from Italy: The stunning topiary gardens of Villa del Balbianello

Written by Doug Oster on .

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"It's great to be king," Joseph DiLuccia of Bangor, Pa said while over looking Villa del Balbianello in Lenno, Italy on Lake Como.

It wasn’t actually a king who built this place in the 1700's, but Cardinal Durini who wanted a quiet summer residence.

He couldn't have picked a better place.

blog villa arriving by boatOur group felt like kings when we pulled up to the villa in a boat.We felt like kings as we were taken by boat to the estate. Gentle waves rocked the boat as we stepped off the craft and into paradise.

We’ve been lucky as we’ve toured these last few gardens to be lead by Italian garden designer Carlo Maria Maggia who has enlightened us to their secrets. In broken English his passion for these places always comes through.

This is a garden of topiary art of the highest sort. The scenic view of Lake Como is often framed through trees, shrubs or vines which are expertly trimmed.

It's not a big garden, but it's a spectacular one. Villa Balbianello is the ultimate summer hideout.

Walking up the first path, we were greeted by cheery rose colored cyclamen hugging the ground. It seems every space is filled in this garden.

Tiny daisies cling to rock walls, pretty pink roses are intertwined with pointed greenish gray agave. But it is the topiary which takes your breath away. Light posts covered in spiral green vines, columns and walls covered in the same. I wonder how long it must take to prune each one to perfection. Out in the courtyard we hard the gardeners arguing as they snipped at the plants on the wall. We wondered if one had trimmed too closely and was reprimanded for doing so.

On a lower level, overlooking the lake, it's hard to guess how long gardeners have worked to prune a spectacular-looking tree into an oblong oval. This tree stops you in your tracks and for once the lake and mountains must take center stage. It's wonderful to watch visitors linger under it’s tightly pruned leaves.

As our boat sped away, I wished I had the summer to spend at this incredible villa.

Our tour of Northern Italian gardens keeps getting better, with each garden topping the last.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring as we venture to Lake Maggiore.

 

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Above: One of the first plants to see were these cyclamen in full bloom along the side of the path to the villa.

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This huge tree in the lower courtyard is something special and attracts visitors.

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It seemed that every crack and crevice was planted with the just the right species. These little daises grew along a rock wall.

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When was the last time you saw roses planted with agave?

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One thing that makes these Lake Como gardens something special is the mist, fog and clouds which seem to come and go every hour or so.

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I wonder if this statue has been watching the villa since the very beginning.

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With each turn this garden provides topiary surprises.

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These gardeners are in charge of keeping everything trimmed to perfection.

(Top image: It was amazing to see the villa from the boat as we approached. Doug Oster photos/Post-Gazette)

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Models 'take the plunge' in Betsey Johnson's 'Prenup' fashion show at NYFW

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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NEW YORK -- You knew Betsey Johnson had something unique in store for her runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week when the invitation was a pouch of rice.

For her spring collection, she sent drag queens, "Real Housewives" and models down the catwalk (or, the aisle, in this case) in a wedding-themed show. Transgender model Isis King and Sharon Needles (a Pittsburgher!) from "RuPaul's Drag Race" also were among the models.

In true Betsey style, there was lots of color, ruffles, over-the-top accessories and slapstick style. Lingerie in pretty pastels, floral baby doll pieces and a tuxedo-style body suit also paraded down the runway.

While it was lots of light-hearted fun, it carried an undertone of commentary about marriage in today's society, with references to same-sex weddings and traditions in other cultures that kept it all from feeling cliche.

Besides Fashion Week, Ms. Johnson is gearing up for her turn as a celebrity on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and closed the show with her partner for the program, professional dancer Tony Dovolani, and her signature catwalk cartwheel and split.

Photos: Dan Lecca

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Pittsburgh-based fashion designer Kiya Tomlin to be featured on 'Entertainment Tonight'

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Designers showing their collections at New York Fashion Week aren't the only ones in the spotlight.

Pittsburgh-based fashion designer Kiya Tomlin will be featured at 7:30 p.m. tonight on television show "Entertainment Tonight."

A crew stopped by her studio in East Liberty to film (pictured above via Instagram). The segment will include looks from her "Uptown Sweats" collection, paired with footwear from Emy Mack Shoes (which is having a strong week in its own right with an appearance on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week).

Ms. Tomlin specializes in customizeable apparel but recently has been expanding her reach into the ready-to-wear world with "comfy-chic" pieces, such as her signature sweatshirt dress.

Find when and on what channel "Entertainment Tonight" airs in your community here.

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