The Crowd: A day at Newport's 'lifestyle university'

It is about 8 a.m. on a Saturday in Newport Beach.

The town is still quiet, but at a swank Irvine Co. office building in Fashion Island cars are pulling up in the front circular drive. They are full of a diverse group of people who have signed up for "Master Class," produced by a company known as STYLE 2020.

Founded several years ago by O.C. entrepreneur Kathryn Moore, STYLE 2020, headquartered in Newport Beach and with a global reach, is a personal branding company. Its mission is to assist both men and women in recognizing the elements of style, with particular emphasis on fashion, which create their own personal image.

Moore is fond of stating, "Life is your runway, walk it in style."

And "style" can be defined differently for each individual client's needs and desires. This is the essence of the STYLE 2020 model.

Moore works with an accomplished team of fashionistas to deliver individual style advice to clients. Her team includes lead stylist Zeena Abidi and sales team executive Lisa Marmorino, who comes to STYLE 2020 from the legendary house of Chanel.

Impeccable credentials are essential. Clients who enroll in STYLE 2020 programs expect expert advice. They are busy, accomplished individuals seeking professional guidance. And they are buying advice and counsel much in the same way individuals enroll in courses of higher education.

This is not a one- or two-hour fast-track experience on how to dress for success at the next event or office party. Rather, as Moore states, it is an experience she would like to label as attending a lifestyle university.

Clients enroll in sessions that encompass weeks and even months of training, shopping, evaluating and restyling an image as is deemed appropriate.

To that end, this "lifestyle university" is not just a personal shopping session, nor just a closet reevaluation experience. Experts in such areas as color selection, wardrobe, hair and makeup, voice and diction, business and personal etiquette, health and wellness, posture, poise and confidence, and the psychological element of inner beauty and attitude play into the overall experience.

Introducing the approach to clients is one of the goals of Master Class, the first of what will become a regular STYLE 2020 offering, which unfolded on this recent Saturday morning in Newport Beach.

It is not inexpensive.

For a fee of $499 (reduced from $1,000 for the first 25 enrollees), students spend an entire day with invited guest experts imparting insider information on a wide range of personal subjects.

This is all about the ultimate quest for self improvement. The class schedule is frenetic. A lineup of lectures follow an early morning breakfast elegantly served in the posh STYLE 2020 headquarters. As the final croissant is served, speakers including Linda Stephenson, founder of Mereadesso Women's Skin Care Products; Richard Dalton, personal hair stylist to the late Lady Diana Spencer; etiquette and civility expert Diana Olson; vocal coach Steven Memel; and respected cardiologist and internist Dr. David Abrahamson deliver advice to the rapt audience of Master Class participants.

At the midday luncheon break, a gourmet meal was presented to students with civility coach Olson serving as hostess and instructor covering both domestic and continental manners. Even the most sophisticated among the class picked up a tip or two on the proper fork.

Moore and team are not in the business of selling fashion or any product for that matter. Instead they are marketing an intangible luxury service that is meant to change a person's life.

Some people attending Master Class were in the process of changing careers, reinventing their business image. One man had lost his wife of many years and wanted to reenter the world of dating. Another young man came to sharpen his image skills enabling him to be more competitive in his very fast paced financial work environment. Yet another woman, 40-something and married with children, wanted to put some glamour back in her daily life lost to years of practical necessity.

As 5 p.m. arrived and class was dismissed, students approached the experts for some final words of wisdom. International makeup artist Tyler Wright joined dance and Pilates instructor Kelly Saxon, who trained with the Paris Opera Ballet, delivered last-minute suggestions to the crowd who had come to invest in their own health and well being.

Founder Moore summed up the STYLE 2020 goal best: "Personal branding is critical for success in the global marketplace. We remember moments in our lives when we were at our best. Why not give yourself that feeling everyday?"

To learn more about the services of STYLE 2020 call (949) 219-2360 and ask for Lisa Marmorino, or visit

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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