Couture Musings

COUTURE 2017 Flashback!

Maybe it’s the desert air, or maybe it’s that “summer camp” feeling you get when you’re seeing new and old friends for that one time of the year; whatever it is, COUTURE always seems to exist in some sort of time warp! The days seem to fly by, but you also feel you’ve been there for a full month an hour after landing in Las Vegas.

There were many obvious highlights of COUTURE 2017. Most notably, people loved the new Encore Theater location for the COUTURE Design Awards! It really was a fantastic event and the venue gave the competition a level of gravitas that it has long deserved. Seeing Remy, Cindy Edelstein’s daughter, up on stage in all of her sparkly fabulousness was definitely one of the evening’s biggest moments! Another touching moment came when self-proclaimed “shy introvert” Sara Freedenfeld from Amali took the stage to accept her award with her 6-month old nugget wrapped in a baby carrier, further proving that this really is a family business!

Before the winners and finalists are decided, it is my privilege each year to witness the judging process. After careful deliberation on their own, our 5 judges meet in a room early on the morning of the awards. While a small number of the COUTURE team are present in the room, we are merely there to facilitate (and once in a while, in the case of Jan Mohr, to act as jewelry model!). It’s always so interesting to eavesdrop on their thought process while managing to keep a completely straight face. (Yes, I can do poker face!) We’re also often charged with running to the display cases to pull something that didn’t make it into the judging room initially, but ended up placing or even winning!

Speaking of winning…this year CJDG kicked off what we hope will become an annual event. They hosted an online auction featuring CJDG members’ jewerly, and the proceeds of the auction went to both Jewelers for Children, and the WJA Cindy Edelstein Memorial Fund. During cocktails on Saturday, they announced that the auction made nearly $22,000 for these deserving organizations! Kudos to them for all their efforts and for their generosity, we can’t wait to see what’s up for bid next year!  

Meanwhile at Encore….COUTUREtime was spectacular! After officially launching last year with a number of heritage brands in the ballrooms and villas, this year saw the addition of individual salons within the Encore Ballroom. While it’s still in it’s initial stages of growth, you could already feel a palatable energy and excitement in the room, which was further enhanced by the presence of RedBar Group and free-flowing Bloody Mary’s! For those not in the know, RedBar is a group of watch collectors and enthusiasts who get together at locations across the country to, well, talk watches. RedBar Group founders were in attendance, and they invited a few of their most enthusiastic members to join us at the show to mingle with one another, as well as with the watch brands and attending retailers at our “pre” event on Thursday evening, at our big Opening Night Event, and on the show floor.

And at our Opening Night Event….Aloe Blacc did an outstanding job wowing the crowd, and the food and wine and candy was flowing! I was especially delighted by the decor in the pool. Balloons and floating swans were just begging for people to make the decision to cool off, even in their resort attire, but alas, I didn’t see anyone take the plunge (pun intended)!

We were delighted to work with Platinum Guild International again this year. We lined up a full day of back-to-back interviews with their targeted wish list of COUTURE brands, retailers and press and they collected a bunch of content that they’ll be utilizing on social media, on their website, and for in-store promotions. Look out for those interviews at a social media outlet near you soon!

For those so inclined (healthier, stronger and braver than me?), Anne Sportun hosted a yoga session on Sunday morning on the Sunset Terrace. While the 7am call time was a bit daunting for me personally, I’ve long thought our community has been getting healthier, swapping out donuts for green juice and being mindful of their peace of mind and body, even during the hectic pace of COUTURE. I’m so glad that Anne introduced this idea, and that so many people showed up to enjoy it!

As always, the amazing team at Kingswood Company blew us away. Not only did their space, once again, resemble a tranquil lounge just begging to be lounged in, this year’s product giveaway included a traveling cleaner that I have no doubt will live in the handbags of everyone who received one.

Speaking of handbags….our show tote this year was a raging success! Kudos to Erin O’Donnell and her marketing team for designing such a fantastic product that everyone was clamoring for. (And that has basically become an appendage of my body at this point!)

All in all, it was a fantastic week, and memories of the many belly laughs had and of course, all that fabulous jewelry and mind-blowing timepieces, will tie me over until we meet again next year!


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Michelle Orman

Michelle Orman

Michelle Orman is the president of Last Word Communications, which spearheads the public relations for the COUTURE show. A 15+ year veteran of the COUTURE community, Michelle is obsessed with all things jewelry and watch related! To be included in COUTURE Musings, email Michelle at

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