Friday, September 28, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Iman "Tigress" ad from 1977

via Gawker

This ad is intriguing to me for a couple reasons. First because, it's Iman. Who doesn't want to look at her all day? Second, because in spite of her incredible beauty and grace, this is so horribly styled, even by 1977 standards. If they were going for the "looks like she was just attacked by a tiger" look then I suppose they succeeded but really, why the bed head? This doesn't say wild and sexy to me, it says just rolled out of bed, a bed which just happens to be a bus terminal. Also, Tigress? I've read that many Black models complain that the fashion machine exploits race, using images of Black women as a negative construction. Instead of being presented as the beautiful women they are, they are instead presented as animalistic and exotic, something other than beautiful. Lastly, the ad immediately made me think of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" video.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I freaking loved that video when I was a preteen. I lived, breathed and dreamed Duran Duran and when I first saw that video, I was floored. I mean, it had an honest to God dark skinned Black woman in it and she got to kiss Simon Le Bon. I so wanted to be her. It's so funny how once just accepts things at face value when one is a child. Thinking about that video now sorta makes me cringe.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another Look at Cavalli for H&M

Just as we all suspected, Cavalli for H&M means lots leopard and gold. This party collection makes me happy that I no longer live a short walk away from H&M. If I was still in Luxembourg, I would probably buy every piece of this...and then never wear it.

That said, I like what he's done here, which essentially was pirate his other line on the super cheap. The whole thing just makes me think of New Year's Eve. I'm curious to see the accessories collection.

Photo Source: Annie NYC blog

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Post-modern Elegance: Ports 1961 Spring 2008

Ports 1961 collection at fashion week this year was the meeting of classical styling and global village. I think this is really wearable stuff that is also fun and inspired. While most designers seem to think that "African inspired" means throw a bunch of loud colors together, Tia Cibani chose to go with warm rich colors and metallics. Even a color phobic person like myself could get down with these garments.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Style Star: Serena Williams

I never thought I would write these words but Serena Williams looks amazing. What a difference figure flattering clothes, her natural hair color and dumping her makeup gun have made. I don't know what stylist of the gods got a hold of her but s/he deserves an award, his or her own clothing line and a book deal. Bravo! Source: TFS

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Little Diversity in Fashion: African-Americans Bemoan Their Absence in Industry

Excerpts from WWD

...By not including more blacks in their shows and ads, Ivan Bart, senior vice president of IMG Models, said designers and other fashion companies are missing out on black women's spending power. "By not having black women represented, those luxury brands are saying they can't afford it," he said.

...[Bethann] Hardison, who has modeled, run her own modeling agency and handled casting over the years, said, "In the United States of America, this is the one industry that still has the freedom to refer to people by their color and reject them in their work."

...Daniel Wolf, a Washington-based attorney who specializes in civil and human rights, said the assumption being made in the fashion industry is that it is legal to discriminate — however false. Wolf recommended that modeling agencies hire the same percentage of black models that are in the entire modeling industry.

...The lack of blacks in all aspects of fashion — from the runway to the executive suite — comes as there is a noticeable increase in the number of Asian models, designers and executives in the industry. Among designers, for example, Thakoon Panichgul, Peter Som, Doo-Ri Chung, Derek Lam, Phillip Lim, and Benjamin Cho have all sprung onto the scene. Of course, designers like Vera Wang, Yeohlee Teng, Anna Sui and Vivienne Tam had already helped pave the way.

...Of the 101 shows and presentations posted on, 31 appear to have no black models. Most of those who did use black models opted for one or two. However, Heatherette, Diane von Furstenberg, Charles Nolan, Tracy Reese, Yigal Azrouël, Philip Lim, Marc Jacobs, Jenni Kayne and Sue Stemp were among the designers who used more than two.

...[Naomi] Campbell, who flew in from London for the occasion, recalled how Christy Turlington once told Dolce & Gabbana, "If you don't use Naomi, you don't get us," referring also to Linda Evangelista. Campbell said that's how she also got into Helmut Lang, Prada and Versace. She used a different route with French Vogue, appealing to Yves Saint Laurent, whose campaigns she had worked on for three years running. The magazine relented after the designer threatened to pull his advertising, which at the time was reportedly the publication's largest advertiser.

...Bill Blass' former designer, Michael Vollbracht, recalled the days when booking Sheila Johnson, Pat Cleveland and other leading African-American beauties was a given. After returning to the industry after a 15-year hiatus, he was surprised to learn that was no longer the case. Age is also an issue, Vollbracht said. Cleveland's return to the Blass runway in 2004 was not well-received, Vollbracht said. "I was told, 'Don't ever put that girl back on the runway.'"

...On occasion [Tracy] Reese's booker has to request specific girls or the modeling agencies will not send them, Reese said.

Most of this, we've all read before so I won't bother to rehash my thought on the subject. The most striking thing about this article to me is that someone would actually complain about watching Pat Cleveland on the runway. Talk about a jaw dropping comment. To be fair, I know that everyone has their favorites in the modeling industry but... damn. That would be like me writing a pissy letter to Anna Wintour every time I saw Kate Moss or Gisele appearing in an advertisement. Personally, I'd pay money to watch Cleveland walk across the street.

Naomi Campbell uncovers British Vogue 'snub'

Top black stylemakers pulled no punches Friday at a panel discussion that accused some top names in fashion of racism.

But in a thought-provoking discussion involving Iman, Andre Leon Talley, Tracy Reese and others, Naomi Campbell stole the show with remarks that make us wonder what, again, is she smoking?

"I've never been on the cover of British Vogue and I've asked a million times and they've always refused me," Campbell insisted at the Blacks in Fashion event.

"They'll put the same white model for half the year — I swear like six times, but wouldn't put me on once in my own country. But I still want my British Vogue cover!"

For the record, since 1987 Naomi has been on the cover of British Vogue eight times: twice with other models, once posing with Diddy and five times by herself.

That bizarre comment aside, Campbell spoke some hard truths about being a person of color in the fashion industry.

"The only time they care about black models is in February [Black History Month]," she said.

"Linda [Evangelista] and Christy [Turlington] would go to big designers and say, 'If you don't pick Naomi to be in your show, then I don't want to be in it.' That's how I got Prada and Helmut [Lang]."

She also said she appeared on the cover of French Vogue only because Yves Saint Laurent "called up ... and told them he'd pull his ads if they didn't. So of course I got the cover."

It must really have been a big deal — she remembers that one!

Source: NY Daily News

Strange. I wonder what Naomi was thinking? I do think it's a bit sad that so far this was the only newspaper article I could find referring to the "Blacks in Fashion" panel discussion, which it didn't even mention it by name. I hope someone gives a first hand account of what when on there, Naomi drama aside.

**EDIT**: I was just over at Clutch Magazine's site and it looks like the panel discussion received some ink from The Guardian.

Source: Lipstick Alley (MAR)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

If I Had a Thousand Bucks (and change) to Impulse

Impulse for me is the only boutique I've ever walked into and seriously thought to myself that I could wear every item on the the racks. Unfortunately for me, I am not in a financial position to buy every item off of those racks so instead, I have to fantasize about my favorite pieces and figure out how to scratch together the money to buy maybe one of two of those items.

Now if I could somehow scratch together $1250. I could hang these in my closet. I think it's time to Ebay some old clothes....or take in some borders.

Vanessa Bruno cowl neck sweater dress in pale mocha, 377.00
Humanoid zip up cable sweater, 248.00, Humanoid black racer back tank dress, 192.00
Roberto Collina Belted Cashmere Turtneck Sweater, 388.00

Source: Impulse

Friday, September 14, 2007

Loeffler Randall for Target

Loeffler Randall Minnie Slouch

I wasn't a big fan of of the handbags that Devi Kroell designed for Target but I think that the husband and wife team behind Loeffler Randall has produced some good looking stuff. Is it too much to hope that they do these up in leather instead of PVC? It is? Well, how about them doing a low cost version of the Minnie Slouch? Source: ELLE

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Brown Dress Project

This woman wore the same brown dress every single day for a year as part of performance art project. My first thought looking at the photo was "damn, why that sack of a dress?" but really I admire the spirit of the piece. I know that I buy things on impulse that I really don't need. In spite of all the clothes I have in my closet and in boxes, I still end up wearing the same outfits pretty frequently. For me, it's either my completely unimaginative combination of skinny black pants, flats, and a light sweater with a scarf; a shift; or my trusty denim. Very boring but it works for me, especially with a toddler running around my knees.

Sheila's Heels

When my family and I lived in Luxembourg, we subscribed had a SKY satellite dish so we could watch British TV. The Sheila's Wheels auto insurance for women commercial was on constant rotation so I still have their catchy but incredibly annoying jingle on permanent rotation in my head.

Anyway, in response to a study which showed that up to 80% of women drive while wearing "inappropriate" footwear, Shiela's Wheels has developed convertible driving shoes so that women don't have to choose between style and safety.

Jacky Brown, spokesperson for Sheilas’ Wheels, said: “Our Sheila Driving Heel design could provide safety-conscious female motorists with the ultimate driving shoe - allowing women to wear a safe flat shoe whilst driving, and a fashionable heel once they are out of the car.”

Personally, I'd rather wear JP Tod's pebble-soled driving moccasin but then, I gave up being a high heel girl awhile ago. I think these shoes are a little less than cute but I do like the idea. If they could get a tube of lipstick to fit into that heel they might be onto something.

Rosa Cha - Spring 2008

I spied pics from this show on 55 Secret and NY Magazine. These are seriously sexy bathing suits, Cha does a great job of selecting some models with great not-too-skinny figures. I think I might have to tape a photo of this model on my fridge for inspiration. If my legs looked like that, I would throw away all of my pants.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Something Shifty

I would wear a shift dress everyday if I could get away with it. I think it's an elegant shape that flatters most every figure and it goes from day to evening with ease. Diane von Furstenberg has some particularly beautiful shifts out this fall but it's not too hard to find something worth taking home at most price levels.

Source: Nordstrom

Monday, September 10, 2007

KLS by Kimora Lee Simmons

Honestly, there isn't a single thing in this collection that I would wear but I've got to give Kimora Lee credit because hers is probably the most racially diverse fashion show to ever take the stage during NY Fashion Week.