Descanso hosts holiday jewelry show

The work of entrepreneur and stylist Mark-Alan Harmon will be featured at Descanso Garden' semi-annual "Botanic Bling" this weekend.

The event, organized by Descanso Gardens, is a trunk show of botanic-themed jewelry and accessories. This year's theme is "Holiday 2010: What to Give and What to Get."

Harmon, along with other vendors and promoters, will be showcasing designs for those who are interested in either purchasing a few items or learning how to coordinate accessories.

"When putting out the call for jewelry makers, we normally encourage inspiration from nature or botanic themes of some sort," said David Crocker, buyer and manager of the Descanso Gardens gift shop. "It's nice to see the vendors come with a range of things, see many different peoples' interpretations, and creating from that direction. There will be a mix of some things that are very natural and some very polished and the extreme of both ends, from youthful and playful to serious and sophisticated."

Celebrity stylist Harmon will be presenting jewelry. "I was inspired by what Descanso Gardens was doing and offered my support in any way I could," Harmon said. "It's really this awesome opportunity for people to get and give fabulous jewelry. There's nothing to stimulate an economy like supporting small businesses."

Harmon, a native Californian, has been working as a personal stylist and personal shopper for more than 12 years.

"I always had a love for fashion and style," he says. "When I was 19 years old, I made up a business card that said 'wardrobe and design consultant.' I started to notice what a difference lifestyle makes in someone's life. When you walk into a room, within five minutes, people have an opinion about you. I had an idea of that when I was really young."

After working independently for four years and developing his position in the fashion world, Harmon extended his career to television, working on shows such as "Style Court," "How Do I Look?" and "Look for Less."

"My clients' favorite thing is my closet cleanout," he says. "I go into a closet and help them get rid of all the things that just aren't them. It's amazing how freed and fabulous you feel at the end of it. One of the things I'm really good at is jewelry, taking old pieces and making them new and current again."

Harmon will be lending his talents and knowledge of style at Botanic Bling. "During the event, I'm doing presentations on how to spice up your look with your jewelry and bringing people up from the audience," he said.

Of the many fashion tips Harmon will be sharing, he says the most important is to double up on pieces of jewelry. "Never wear just one necklace. If you're wearing a string of pearls, add a pendant necklace. If you're wearing a crystal necklace, add pearls. Keep texture alive and try different things."

Harmon also suggests good old-fashioned borrowing. "Get together, bring jewelry you won't be wearing and trade with your friends. It's a great way to get yourself wearing different things and not feel wasteful."

Among his upcoming work with a local magazine and various television projects, Harmon is also working on next year's Botanic Bling, which will be held on May 1. He has recently launched his own website,

Harmon will be presenting at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday.

"I love the gardens," he says of Descanso. "It's an important part of the community."



Who: Mark-Alan Harmon

What: Botanic Bling

Where: Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada

When: Dec. 11-12

Hours: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Harmon will make presentations at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. both days.

Admission: Free with Gardens admission, $8 adults, $6 seniors/students, $3 children 5-12

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