Top 5 Outerwear Looks For Winter

outerwear-600x600.jpgOuterwear is a particular highlight as we move into winter. Noteworthy styles with treatments in boiled wool, rich deep reds, and a stunning powder blue to black Ombre highlight the uniqueness of this category. The cocooning comfort of the Wrap Up Coat is on trend. The overwhelming impression, though, is one of a new softness, and a heightened understanding of what might feel good to a woman to wear.

A special fusion of creativity, craftsmanship, and intelligence go into creating such fine attention to detail that these pieces could easily be worn inside out. In the end, the big takeaway:

There is grace and beauty to be found in comfort.


Five Perfect Coats for the Season

Coats are to winter what dresses are to summer – a.k.a. the most essential part of your wardrobe. That means you should have more than one! So we’re bringing you 5 of the best styles to keep you warm (and looking cool) all season long.

From more structured versions, to softer ones with fabric to spare, these picks will keep you on point all season.

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Dharma Talk at Stella Studio

IMG_9324Vivian here all aglow about the special event on Sunday at the Stella Studio. The Dharma Talk with Lama Lakshey Zangpo & fundraiser for The Joru Foundation was a great success!

If you missed it, check it out here:
Stella & Kersten’s Intro (audio)
Lama Lakshey’s Dharma Talk (video)

Kersten Ancheta is one of the Directors of The Joru Foundation. She shared that Tibetan Buddhism can help us deal with and solve issues we face everyday such as depression, anxiety, violence, and environmental destruction. The distinct lineage of “Vajrayana” Buddhism cannot be found anywhere else in the world, but the Tibetan culture is close to extinction. The Joru Foundation is dedicated to caring for and educating orphan and impoverished children so that they may reach their full potential. They are also teaching the Tibetan culture, traditions and language, and in doing so, preserving the Tibetan way of life.

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Lama Lakshey Zangpo expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to dialogue and share the story of Joru.

He studied under some of the greatest Tibetan Masters and became a monk at the age of 11. He now lives in Spokane, Washington where he heads the Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Center. Two of the Joru children are also attending university in Spokane on 3-year scholarships, which is no small feat to say the least. Imagine raising and educating 2 children under the extreme conditions of remote Tibet, and then bringing them to the United States to attend college — ALL on donations (and we haven’t even begun talking about the 300 children back in Tibet at the Sengdruk Taktse School…)!


There were many nuggets of wisdom from Lama Lakshey Zangpo, so check out the video if you are interested in hearing more. Here are just a few from his main talk, but there are more from the following Q&A session!

* We may be different in terms of background, language, culture, etc., but we are all human beings. We all share human emotions such as frustration, anger, anxiety and depression, so we can share our experiences and help each other.

* Be content and enjoy what you have, and be mindful of constantly pursuing materialistic things. Material things are not qualified to satisfy human desires. Don’t rely on it for your happiness, peace and joy.

* It is our birthright to be successful and have a happy life. Happiness and joy rely on our internal world, not on the external material world.

* We need to learn “preventative care” for our internal world. Just like we go to the dentist for checkups to take care of our physical hygiene, we need to meditate and have tools for “mental hygiene” (love this one!)

* Meditation will help calm our mind and take care of negative responses before they arise. We have marvelous human intelligence. The consequences of anger and negative responses can create damage in one’s own life and that of others. We can prevent this from happening (don’t add fuel to the fire!)

* Watch your thoughts, focus on your breath, and view things optimistically. Optimism gives us the hope and courage we need to deal with difficult situations. Watching our breath without distraction is enjoyable. We can expand on these moments of enjoyment and mental ease, which bring clarity and calmness, so we make decisions we won’t regret.

* Breathing is precious, that is life. We can make breath more precious. You are precious.


What I most appreciated was Lama Lakshey Zangpo’s humility and humanity — he spoke to all of us like equals, like friends. He was not “teaching from up high”, but rather sharing what he’s learned from his vast life experience dedicated to helping others live a happier, more peaceful and fulfilled life.

All in all, there was much to ponder and digest. He inspired me, and I’m sure many others that day in different ways.

Thank you all who attended this special event — we raised some great funds from the donation and sales for the day! If you did not have the opportunity to attend, please check The Joru Foundation website. You can provide one-time contribution, or you can sponsor a child with a monthly contribution.

A big THANK YOU goes to the amazing Stella community for your support and enthusiasm!! More to come in 2014!!

Stella Studio Food & Toy Drive

Vivian here kicking off the holiday season with a Food & Toy Drive at the Stella Studio! We have a goal to raise 500 items of canned/dry food and new toys for the Alameda County Community Food Bank and Toys for Tots through December.

So, help us shoot for the stars and bring in some donations on your next shopping trip! To make giving a little sweeter, we are offering our local customers specials on select Fall styles and an additional 10% off on purchases if you bring in food and toys. The bins are ready to be filled now!

In closing, a note from the heart: Share the LOVE and GIVE, no matter where you are or who you are. There are always people who have less and are in need. A little can make a big difference, whether it’s a few cans of food, one new toy, or a smile on a cloudy day 🙂

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Picturesque Prints with a Solid Pop

More style tips from Allegra! Picturesque prints add a pop of pizzaz to this week’s blog. The fall prints are warm and the solids are inviting as the weather is cooling down.

The Over Everything Cardigan in coriander is an easy "go to" piece for the Double or Nothing Tunic worn as a dress. Simple and cool with flats or unique and feminine with sleek tall boots this look can complement most body types.
The Over Everything Cardigan in coriander is an easy “go to” piece for the Double or Nothing Tunic worn as a dress. Simple and cool with flats or unique and feminine with sleek tall boots this look can complement most body types.
A clean and sharp look is the Sandbar Tunic paired with Look Sharp leggings in black and throw the edgy Perfect Compliment jacket over it for a head turn. Accessorized with the Meet Halfway Scarf in haze adds a whimsical touch to this look.  Another stunning look for all body types.
A clean and sharp look is the Sandbar Tunic paired with Look Sharp leggings in black and throw the edgy Perfect Compliment jacket over it for a head turn. Accessorized with the Meet Halfway Scarf in haze adds a whimsical touch to this look. Another stunning look for all body types.
You can't lose if you slip on the Over Achiever Tunic with the Slimming Ankle Pants in mink and top it off with the Play Your Cards Right Jacket. A "no brainer" look that is fun and flattering on most figures.
You can’t lose if you slip on the Over Achiever Tunic with the Slimming Ankle Pants in mink and top it off with the Play Your Cards Right Jacket. A “no brainer” look that is fun and flattering on most figures.

Life is too short don’t be afraid to live it…in style!

Fall: Arriving in Style

What should you wear this Fall when there are so many beautiful styles to choose from? At Stella Carakasi, we are eagerly anticipating more beautiful Fall clothes from Stella next week! New arrivals will include romantic felted lace coats and funky alpaca sweaters. I am plotting my wardrobe staples for the months of cooler weather to come…

But, before I get too overwhelmed with the possibilities, I always start with my accessories. We have many new accessories in-store at the Stella Studio, so there is much to choose from. They all go perfectly with the new Fall styles and are luscious and affordable to boot!

Jewelry for any budget.

Why are accessories the perfect place to start a Fall wardrobe?

1. I can wear accessories now while I plan my clothing purchases for the season. Besides, being in California, I do not have a need to bundle up yet, except for mornings and evenings!

Silk and Cotton
Indulge in handmade wearable art.

2. The easiest way to update a seasonal look is with a couple of new scarves, some great earrings, and three new garments to add to the weekly rotation.

Yummy colors at the Stella Studio!

3. If accessories aren’t your thing, you still need a great bag to go with your clothes. We have wonderful neutral and jewel tone bags to choose from in all sizes.

Fall knits & fall handbags. We love this time of year when all the fall styles arrive.

I can’t wait to highlight some of our new arrivals next week!

~ Yarra

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Dizzy Busy September

September is a super BUSY month! With Fall 2013 goods coming in and going out, Spring 2014 collection debut at New York Fashion Market Week, and Fall 2014 in development — what more excitement can you ask for? And can you believe we are running low on Fall inventory already ?? All I can say is: “Get your favorites now!”

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We are riding this dizzy busy time with style and smiles all around! Top rows: Ernesto, Efrain, Pauline & the QC team processing stacks and stacks of Fall product. Bottow rows: Stella Studio is looking good, and yesterday we enjoyed mixing and mingling with customers at our Fall Transition Style Party!

Meet some of our Stella Women — (second row) Michelle & Denise walked out of the dressing room, both stealing the scene with the Scene Stealer Top. Kai with Yarra, our Director of Customer Engagement, in the Nonchalant Tunic at the counter. (bottom row) Michelle in the Inspired Top with Stella wearing the Must Have It Sweater & Allan (in a new shirt as well). We are soooo excited to invite Denise & Kai to the Design House for their Stella Women photo shoot in the next few weeks!

For the Fall Transition fashionistas, here are some styles suggestions from Yarra, who will be heading out to New York to show our Spring collection in a few days:

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Future Perfect Top (Desert Rose) + Look Sharp Leggings (Mink)

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Next In Line Sweater (Ceylon) + Epiphany Skirt (Black)
Marlyn Schiff Necklace (in-store only)


At Ease Top (Black) + Love it Cropped Pants (Sandstone)

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Gotta Getaway Tunic (Ink) + Must Have it Sweater (Ash)
Infinity Scarf by Lizou (in-store only)

Enjoy more news from Yarra from New York Fashion Market Week next week! In the meantime, do you have a favorite look to bridge Summer and Fall?


Stella Studio Grand Opening Celebration!!

Vivian here feeling guilty because I’m late on this post regarding our Stella Studio Grand Opening, but I do have a good excuse. After our fabulous event, my husband Jeff, daughter Jordan, and I drove 8 hours down to Newport Beach for our 2-day photo shoot. Now that we are done, I’m back to where I left off, so join me! (and yes, I promise more on the shoot early next week when I get back into the office…)

Back to Day 10: Wednesday, July 31st – GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION!!

Our team worked hard up to the last minute before our grand opening. The crew was still in the store installing curtain rods, fixing electrical, and building a mannequin stage until 4pm when our doors opened. Our store associates were merchandising, accessorizing, and finessing the store, while folks in the Design House were preparing food for the party. That’s Emily below, our Director of Development & Sourcing helping out with signage. Say “cheese” Emily! She hates having her photo taken 🙂

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At 3:30, we were ready for our special guests and welcomed Lama Lakshey Zangpo and Kersten Ancheta from the Joru Foundation, Julia Hannafin from Berkeleyside (check out the article!), and Berkeley Councilmembers Susan Wengraf and Laurie Capitelli. Stella gave them a short history of the company, along with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Stella Carakasi Design House.

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Admittedly, we were a little nervous that we’d be celebrating by ourselves, and we were delighted when so many folks showed up to celebrate with us! We chatted with lots of friends and customers, some who have been with us since our inception. The buzz at the party was palpable, and the food was both delicious and gorgeous (thank you Allegra, Charlene & Stephanie!)

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At 4:30, Councilmembers Wengraf and Capitelli presented the Mayor’s proclamation recognizing the company’s 20th anniversary and celebration of the Stella Studio. They acknowledged the importance of supporting local businesses, as well as the revitalization of the Gilman area. Thank you for supporting our business, City of Berkeley!

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Stella also welcomed everyone and introduced Lama Lakshey and The Joru Foundation. We were thrilled to be able to present a donation to support their cause. A portion of our online sales are dedicated to efforts such as this one, so remember that shopping is good for the soul, but also good for community and humanity!

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Everyone started winding down around 7pm, except for our wound up children. To the left: my fashionista son, Brandon, and me. To the right: my daughter, Jordan, next to Lexi, Stella and Steven’s daughter. The little ones get along famously BTW. The three of them represent the next generation of Stella Carakasi 🙂

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Before we cleaned up, we all plopped down on the couch to savor the moment. It was a monumental effort on all fronts to get to today, and the team was elated. We want to thank EVERYONE who has supported us along this journey, including our customers, friends and family members, and especially our partners in crime: Ramon Garcia & Crew (painting & construction), Bart Schultz/Vital Signs + Graphics (new signage), Kumar/VPrint (new biz cards & envelopes). We couldn’t have come this far without you!!

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THANK YOU ALL for celebrating this very meaningful moment in our company’s history with us. We hope you will be there for many more to come! CHEERS!!