Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moises de la Renta to Launch Fashion Line

Viewimages, The Cut

Moises de la Renta, the son of famed fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, will be launching his own line, called MDLR, this year in spite of the sharp economic downturn. In addition to working as an assistant for his father, he spent a short time working for Phat Farm. He describes his new collection of clothing and accessories (with prices retailing for just shy of $1K) as "simple,elegant and practical."

The Dominican Republic born designer was adopted by Mr. de la Renta in 1984 after being discovered abandoned in a dumpster by his birth parents. He has described his childhood as typical and boring. On the subject of race The Observer remarked :

He grew up in quaint Kent the only black kid at the local public school. His best friend was the only Jewish kid. He thinks racism is more the province of previous generations.

Unlike many up and coming designers who seem to have a real passion for the industry, Moises' interest in fashion has only blossomed in the last few years. Up until then, he seemed to be more interested in the party scene and women. He has been romantically linked to a number of models and socialites, including Vogue favorite Genevieve Jones (they broke up late last year, according to reports.)

Personally, I'm not very excited by the look in the photo above but I am curious to see the rest of his lookbook. I guess only time will tell if he really has talent for design.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On Other Blogs....

Ariel Meredith struts in the Barbie show during NY Fashion Week

Jezebel lists the figures on how many models of color were represented on the runway during New York Fashion Week:

There were 116 labels that held shows at the recently ended New York fashion week; that's 3,697 spots in runway and presentation lineups. Of those, 668 were given to models of color — which, at just over 18%, is 6% better than one year ago. (And certainly better than in the fall of 2007, when WWD reported that one-third of the New York shows used no models of color at all.)


There were 7 shows that had no models of color at all. Those designers were: Altuzarra, Davidelfin, Jenni Kayne, Julian Louie, Koi Suwannagate, Temperley London, Vera Wang Lavender Label.

And there were 19 shows that had some models of color, but no black models. They were: Alexandre Herchcovitz, Behnaz Sarafpour, Costello Tagliapietra, Erin Fetherston, Halston, Marchesa, Max Azria, Milly, Miss Sixty, Monique Lhuillier, Nicole Miller, Philosophy, Reem Acra, Tibi, TSE, United Bamboo, Vena Cava, VPL, Vivienne Tam.

Legend: Yellow = Black models/ Red = Asian models/ Blue = Latina models / Green= Other ethnicities

The biggest winners (in terms of numbers of shows booked) contain the expected names: Sessilee Lopez and Jourdan Dunn*. Each appeared in 20+ shows while Arlenis Sosa's number was in the teens. Also spotted on multiple runways were Chanel Iman, Wakeema Hollis, Sessilee Lopez, Gracie Carvalho, Kinee Diouf, Georgie Baddiel, Mia Aminata Niaria, Ubah Hassan, Shelby Coleman, and Ataui Deng. One notable, 17 year old Lyndsey Scott (represented by Click) made a splash when she became the first woman of color to score an exclusive for Calvin Klein.

The rest of the article is here

*Edited to correct bad numbers on my part. It was Sessilee Lopez (and not Chanel Iman as I originally printed) who scored 20+ shows. Thanks to a careful reader for pointing out my mistake.

Michelle Obama Covers People Wearing Tracy Reese - Spring 2009 (modified)

I couldn't find a photo of Mrs. Obama's modified version of the dress (Guipure Lace Kimono Dress in Dried Azalea) the runway but it retails for $395.

S: nitrolicious

Sorta African ELLE

Africa is everywhere in the collections of many designers this season. It seems like every other page in this month's Elle magazine is layered with influence of the motherland. Model Christy Turlington wears a Ndebele style ring necklace* in current Escada ads while other designers like Max Osterweis and Junya Watanabe, reference African inspired textiles on the runway.

Elle also lauds Frenchwoman Lydia Courteille's turn to to a more "primitive style for spring" in the jewelry news section. The artists "African" collection features mask rings that mimic African busts and sculpture, combining them with precious jewels like turquoise, diamonds and pearls. Says Courteille, "It's incredible that now the trend in fashion is Africa, because I've been working on this idea for two or three years."

In spite of the efforts by publications like Arise to publicize African artists and designers, in the fashion world, their contributions are rarely acknowledged in the mainstream fashion world. It kind of reminds me of all the press actress Bo Derek received for wearing cornrows in the movie "10" even though black women had been wearing the style for ages.

The fashion world doesn't seem to take notice of uniquely African styles and trends unless the persons delivering them are non-Africans.

Hopefully magazines like Arise will make homegrown African talent household names. I'm hoping to get a copy soon. Which reminds me, does anyone know if Uzuri, Haute, and Clam are still being published?

* This style of ring necklace is also worn by the Kayan tribe in Thailand.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Halle Wears Reem Acra - Spring 2009

I'm undecided. I think both Halle and the model look flawless in this dress though they have dramatically different body types. What do you think?

S: Lipstick Alley and

Thursday, February 19, 2009


source: Marie Claire

Is it possible for fashion to borrow elements from a non-Western culture without obscuring that culture's identity? There is a difference in my mind between a designer incorporating a traditionally "ethnic" concepts (like beading for example) in his or her clothing and just copying something outright, stripping it of any cultural significance and say, placing it on the heel of a thousand dollar pair of pumps for some fashionista to hobble around on while not smiling.

Where that line is drawn is a trickier matter. Does it depend on how much the item costs or its function? I don't know for sure. I'm sure that I've bought ethnic "looking" things here and there without really stopping to think of who made it but there's just something about $1,400 pair of Dior shoes with graven images of mini-Africans that just seems to cross the line. Maybe I'm supposed to see something stylish and multi-culti when I look at these shoes, but in reality it just left me shaking my head in disbelief.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Arise/This Day: African Fashion Collective 2009

The show took place last night and featured the designes of Xuly Bet from Mali, South African Stoned Cherrie (designed by Nkhensani Nkosi,) Fati Asibelua of Momo, and Nigeria's Tiffany Amber.

Said the NYT:

... the show still gave the crowd plenty to get excited about. There was a surreal turn on the Xuly Bet runway by Grace Jones, whose exoticism has always been of the extraterrestrial kind. There was the vision of the Bryant Park catwalks filled with an array of black beauties and not, as the Memphis-born model Wa’Keema Hollis said, the “same old two or three token girls.”

Watch a video of the show here

S: MBFashionweek

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rachel Roy - RTW - Fall 2009

Rachel Roy's first few collections left me wanting more but lately, I haven't connected with her vision. Her new lined debuted recently at New York Fashion week and the first thing that popped into many observer's minds was that the presentation borrowed heavily from Stefano Piliati's YSL show last fall, right down to the bowl cuts and black lips.

There's not much in this lineup worth coveting in my opinion and I wonder if the recent buy-ins by TSM Capital and Jones Group (which left Roy with a minority stake in the company) have influence the overall direction of the line. Sales are definitely up, since former Givenchy CEO Marianne Tesler took over two years ago, but much of the spark seems to have left the building.

The inspiration?

Pics: Fashionista

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vogue - March 2009 - Michelle Obama

Snagged this from Jezebel.

To be honest, I'm a little 'meh' about the photo they chose but then this is American Vogue (which has never been accused of having much imagination when it comes to photo styling) AND Annie Leibovitz has been phoning it in for about a decade.

Still, I love the color of her dress and will be waiting with baited breath until this shows up in my mailbox.

I'll reserve furthur judgement until I see this one in person. The image makes it look as though her head is weirdly Photoshopped doesn't it?

I wonder if this issue will break their sales record the way Oprah's cover did back in 1998.

Arise Magazine Launches - Naomi, Liya and Alek Cover Premiere Issue

The new monthly magazine, published by Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, will be launched this Friday alongside a African Fashion Collective Show at Bryant Park at New York Fashion Week.

Says ThisDay CEO Nduka Obaigbena,“I think it’s about an opportunity.…Africa has been under-reported and under-recognized. Meanwhile, so many big talents have African origins. We think it’s time Africa gets the rightful recognition in the global cultural landscape, and its fashion contribution is one of them.”

According to WWD, the magazine "is dedicated to African accomplishments in business, politics, fashion, music and overall culture" and will be sold in cities such as New York, Paris and London.


Oluchi Onweagba for Liu Jo "BottomUp" Jeans

This is an commercial for Liu Jo Bottom-Up jeans sure is...interesting. I guess the point is that the "shape enhancing" Italian jeans will give you a head turning black girl booty for a fraction of the cost of booty implant surgery.*

Well, as long as the booty you desire isn't too large. I mean, Oluchi has a great figure but her butt isn't exactly busting any seams.

*Afro wig not included

Liu Jo

i-D Magazine - March 2009 - Multiple Covers (Jourdan & Naomi)

i-D Magazine March 2009 : "The Best Of British" photographed by Sølve Sundsbø

Is it just me or does Jourdan look like she just got hit in the eye? The winking thing doesn't seem to work out as well unless the eye is partially obscured, the wink is exaggerated or the head is turned slightly.

I do love Naomi's cover hair.

S: The Fashion Spot

Ayo for Banana Republic

I haven't been very impressed with Banana Republic clothing lately. To me it seems that they just put out the exact same cotton/silk blend tops and wide leg slacks season after season. This Spring, they're attempting to shake things up a bit by announcing that "spring gets spicy" on their website. "Spicy" to BR apparently means that one will see a lot of orange in the new collection of silk/cotton tops and wide leg work pants.

They've also debuted a new "City Stories" ad campaign featuring musicians and plan a flashy new website to go along with the promotion. I found the above photos featuring beautiful Afro-German singer Ayo in Lucky magazine this month.

Ayo really makes those Banana Republic togs look stylish and a bit bohemian at the same time. I particularly love the snakeskin belt and the print of the scarf she wears to cover her hair.

As of today, there isn't anything at the special site that BR has set up for the "City Stories" promotion but eventually, there should be some content that will include information about the nine artists chosen for the ad series and free music downloads.

In the meantime, here is Ayo perfoming "Down on My Knees" live:

Halle Berry Unveils "Halle by Halle Berry"

photo: cinematicpassions/wordpress

Not a very imaginative name is it?

I'm a recovering perfume junkie. When my husband and I lived in Europe a few years back was when the addiction was at its worst. Europeans are crazy about fragrance and we lived literally a stones throw from four different perfume boutiques, not counting Sephora. I spent hours perusing those isles looking for my "signature" scent. In the end, I settled on Un Jardin sur la Nil (Hermes) as my summer scent and Ungaro's Diva for the fall but I still like to dabble with other scents as the mood strikes. 

Now that we're back in the States, I haven't kept up with perfume news as much so I was surprised to read the other day that Coty has developed a new fragrance with Halle Berry that will debut this March. It's called "Halle by Halle Berry" and according to Lucky magazine has notes of pear blossoms, fig leaves, amber and sandalwood which piques my interest a bit. 

The actress claims to have been working on every aspect of the frag for the past two years and has called it her "second baby." 

The bottle isn't very impressive. There are probably a half dozen other perfumes on the marked now (including an Estee Lauder scent) that have the exact same bottle.  The lettering is typical Coty with "Halle" etched on the glass in that classic "Stetson" font.  

"Halle" will retail for just under $30 and be sold at drugstores and retailers like JC Penny. I'm really looking forward to seeing the accompanying ad campaign. With all the celebrity fragrances on the market, it's a shame that more deals aren't inked with non-white celebs.  The only ones in recent memory that come to mind are Jennifer Hudson's deal with Avon and Naomi Campbell's line of frags which I haven't seen Stateside in years. 

I would just die if someone like Grace Jones came out with a perfume. I can't even begin to imagine what that would smell like. Base notes of latex, black orchid and alligator?

Halle is also on the upcoming Essence Magazine for like the 400th time. Not much to say about that except that I kind of like the cover photo this go round. One doesn't even have to open Essence to know exactly how every article will read.

Do you have a favorite fragrance? Who would you like to see come out with a perfume?

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Vagaries of Fashion - Italian Vogue

The good news: Vogue Italia used another black model in an editorials.

The bad news: She's just an unnamed prop in a decadent multipage editorial featuring white model Anja Rubik.

This is yet another example of how people of color can occupy the same space as white subject but not the same status.  When I look at this photo, all I see is the maid. In contrast, all she sees is her employer, eagerly waiting for the next order. It's almost as if the photographer (Miles Aldridge) decided to flip the script on the more common 'white woman in Africa' imagery and instead drop a brown person into a white person's world. Unfortunately, in this case, the brown woman is still just window dressing. 

 I would go on about this but I think I'd just be repeating myself and to be honest,  the ladies over at Threadbared said much more succinctly in  fantastic post titled "Background Color" that appeared on their blog last year.

Perhaps a better title for this spread would have been "The Vulgarities of Fashion."

Source (and remainder of photos) here.

Model of the Moment: Diandra Forrest

One new model that is causing a lot of tongues to wag on message boards is Diandra Forrest. Discovered by Shameer Kahn who said of her:

It was a couple of months ago when I first met Diandra. She was walking down 34th street and I took one look at her and was like "Wow... That girl is beautiful!" She was moving soooo fast and I was not going to let this one slip by! So I finally caught up with her and spoke to her about modeling and she was very interested. We met up a lot of times after that and then I started to take pictures of her as often as we can. There was something specific that I wanted to do with her because I knew she was a special girl and we both worked towards achieving that. I finally presented her to agencies when she was ready to be revealed, and it was such a pleasure for me to finally share this precious diamond that I have been keeping under the radar. I am proud to say that Diandra is now signed to Elite.

There's a certain "ick" factor to what he says there, at least in my reading. I especially don't like the part where he speaks of her being "revealed" to agencies like she's some exotic bird.

Generally speaking, the depiction of albinos in the media hasn't been very positive. Chances are that if a movie has an albino character, that person is usually the bad guy or something not quite human and witchy.

This is not to say that the woman is not striking. She has truly beautiful features that have nothing to do with her skin color. If she were brown skinned and this beautiful, I wonder if Kahn would have walked right by her without a second glance.

That said, I think she photographs beautifully and I sincerely hope that she's just not used as this season's latest runway gimmick next season. I hope that her presence will change, if even just a little bit, the average person's perception of albinism and beauty. Most of all my hope for her is that she gets to work with designers and photographers that will see her for more than just an "interesting contrast shot" and book her because she's a lovely model and not just to exploit her looks in the same manner that some very dark skinned black models have been exploited.


source: TFS, Elite

Thursday, February 5, 2009

GILT Groupe Private Sales Invites

Every week a new "private" sale online boutique opens its doors. This one is called Gilt Groupe and like the others, offers deeply discounted prices on luxury brands such as Marc Jacobs, Ports 1961, and Jil Sanders that last for 24 hours. Like Ruelala and Ideeli, the best stuff usually sells out quickly so it's important to be online every morning when the new sale starts. I'm still mad that I missed out on a very cute Ports 1961 minidress earlier today.

If you are interested, I have invites available here.