The problem with meeting MS Crown is that when she walks in the room you immediately go “OK, the model’s here. Where’s the designer?” And then you realize that the stunning Amazonian standing in front of you clutching a dozen silk dresses is Ms.Crown herself AKA Stephania Ayiotou, the designer. I meet Steffi for breakfast to discuss her new collection and her recent stint at the VIP gift suite at the Luxe Rodeo for the Golden Globe nominees. We grab cappuccino’s and eggs while we talk.
“Why did you leave?”
“I got accepted at Lee Strasberg where I had secretly auditioned and moved to NY despite my dad’s wishes. He cut me off for two years after that.”
“He cut you off? So how did you survive as a struggling drama student in NY?”
“My Greek Auntie Bia in Astoria! She’s awesome, she’s so tough. She fed me gemista and taught me to bake kourabiedes.”
“Ok, you survived and then what?”
“I did two years at Lee Strasberg and then went on to act in my first film….. shot in Montreal. After that I went back to Cyprus to spend time with family and while I was there my good friend Donatella Felice called and said that if I wanted to see her I had two days to write a script so her management team would let her come to Cyprus. So we made a job of it. I had a friend with a camera, my cast of talented friends and a van. We made the movie, edited it, composed the music and it got accepted as a short that year (2011) in Cannes.”
“So up to now you’ve been pretty successful at following your dream, despite your father. How did that segue into designing dresses for the Hollywood A list?”
“Dimitris. My ex boyfriend. He broke my heart and I got sick so I sat in my bed in Nicosia and recuperated by drawing sketches. I found myself repeatedly drawing beautiful dresses. When I felt better I got up and had one made. I wore it to a party and Panayiotis Neocleous, the owner of Ammos, a bar/restaurant by the sea in Larnaca saw me in it. Basically he loved the dress and asked me to design a summer collection for a fashion show at Ammos in May.”
“Just like that, he said , “do me a collection.””
“Yes, more or less. I had no idea if I could pull it off. To be honest, at the start I was a little lost. I went all over Cyprus looking at fabrics and was uninspired by what I found. It was my mother who urged me to contact Angela Hooker, a textile print designer I knew in London. I sat up one night and collected all my inspirational material and sent it to Angela. Lava fields and deep ocean creatures. I was interested in the juxtaposition between earth and ocean surfaces. When Angela sent me her ides I really got excited because we had an immediate artistic connection and it suddenly became an creative collaboration, like an art piece. I had the fabrics and i could see how to make them move and the rest was easy.”
“So the first collection was launched in May 2011. What brought you to the VIP lounge for the Golden Globes less than a year later?”
“After the first collection premiered I took my short film to Cannes and it was there that I met Natalie Dubois Sissoko, the founder of the DPA Celebrity Gifting Lounge which invites the stars to sample luxury goods from around the world. So I ended up bringing my second collection.”
“Who came by the lounge and got to sample your designs?”
A severed head belonging to an Armenian male (sic) was discovered by two women walking their dogs under the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles on Tuesday Jan 17th. The head was in a plastic bag and the dogs started playing with it until the women realized what it was. They alerted a ranger, he called LAPD and a crime scene was set up. The next day cops discovered two hands – not in a plastic bag and later on, two feet just before they packed up for the day.No shoes, socks or jewelry. They are currently looking for other body parts.
The grisly discovery was found near Bronson Park, a popular children’s playground. I remember watching a man bury a bag under a log in the bushes, about a decade ago, while I stood pushing my son on the swing. I was curious, but resisted the temptation to check out his stash. Probably wise.
The dismembered head was lolling in the bushes along a trail busy with hikers. Presumably (the head was fresh) it had been dumped fairly recently, perhaps by that man in a jogging suit you passed at the gate. Maybe the three girls with too much make up on and great abs.
So here’s the question. Who done in the bloke with salt and pepper hair? Where is the rest of him? Is this mob related or has someone been watching too much of the Shield? And how come the cops identified him as Armenian and suddenly went silent. And what else lurks in the bushes along the sunny trail that leads up to the sign? Little Armenia is only down the road…