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From the Editor

David SendlerFor the past seven issues, contributing editor Diane Clehane has put on quite a fashion show for Gulfshore Life, getting the likes of Donatella Versace, Michael Kors, Badgley Mischka and Tory Burch (see p. 57) to respond to the questions from the magazine’s Style Council. It’s quite a coup for us, and we treasure this direct line into the thinking of the stars behind fashion’s hottest new looks.

So, thank you, Diane. Nice glamorous work, right? Well … I’d like to introduce you to Diane and track back through her career as a peek into this world. It may not always be what you imagine. She certainly has paid her dues working in retail at Saks, in publicity for Donna Karan, as a consultant for Tiffany’s and as a staffer at Vogue and Elle. As a freelance writer since 1989, she’s covered the red carpet at the Oscars and Fashion Week in New York for People, Variety and TV Guide.

Mention glamour, and Diane will tell you about the serious effort stars put in to get their fabulous looks. "Kate Winslet," says Diane, "is a good example of an actress who has worked hard to find the perfect style for her. When she burst on the scene after Titanic, she was young and not thinking about her image. So her look wasn’t refined. Now she knows the stakes are higher. Since this has been her year, she’s found that a classic, elegant style works well for her and enhances her star power. She’s never looked better."

Mention glamour, and Diane will tell you about danger and the time she was interviewing Beyoncé at an Oscar de la Renta show. "I got pushed down by one of those overzealous photographers shoving for a better angle," Diane recalls. "I was pinned to the ground by his boot, and others tripped over me." Quite a pileup, and it ended up as a gossip item on Page Six of the New York Post.

Mention glamour, and Diane will tell you about unfiltered ambition. Years back, she was in Los Angeles, where she had broken the story on celebrities being paid to wear the clothes and accessories of particular designers. At L’Hermitage Hotel, there were Oscar suites with designers and jewelers anxious to line up the stars. "A famous handbag designer came up to me there," Diane remembers, "and said, ‘Are you someone? Should I give you a bag?’"

It’s no surprise, then, that Diane reports big differences between the public and private personas of the designers and stars. But, on balance, she’s found most of the performers and designers to be quite pleasant. "My particular favorites," she says, "are Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas and Mariska Hargitay. They’re all terrific actors and great people. Among the designers, there are none nicer than Mark Badgley and James Mischka."

She has mined that world for a seductive service feature in this issue—"Dress Like the Stars" (p. 82)—including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman. And ever the fashion pro, she offers some style tips of her own for spring. Diane cites two themes: 1) nautical navy and white and 2) safari khaki (and you can use metallic accessories to update the looks). "In the current climate," she adds, "the classics are more important than ever. You want a couple of great dresses that you can wear more than one season and still look chic."

Diane clearly relishes the action on the front lines of fashion. "It’s not for the faint of heart," she says. "But if you love it, there’s nothing like it." You go, Diane. And thanks again for keeping us Southwest Floridians in the loop.

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