Since I am technically a ‘plus sized’ girl that can wear clothing from a size 14 ( the national average) to a 16, and between a medium and XL. Needless to say finding stuff that fits is insanely difficult for me. Let’s not even get started on shoes finding an 11 is like finding a needle in a haystack, but finding wide calf boots on top of that, forget about it.
So I’m here to give my larger sized fashionistas some hints on where to get clothing that fits and looks just like what we see in the magazines that we love. So let me start with a magazine that I love, Elle. I love this magazine because it has a lot more clothing than copy (written material), not that I don’t love written material it’s just that I buy the magazine to see the styles. However, the September issue had a MUST READ article on Jennifer Aniston! Anyways, they had a list of around 20-ish must have things, but of course they were all over priced and do not come in our size. So after doing a little research and digging through my own information I have found ways to get you some of those must have items, because regardless of size we should all get the opportunity to wear what we think expresses our style best.
Here we go !
1. Camel Coat
Now there are not many options for plus sized capes simply because they do nothing for out figure. However there are some options that look like a cape but give our body a more flattering silhouette.
Bow-Tie Cape,$29 Spiegel.com sizes up to XL
swing coat $74, silhouettes.com sizes up to 3X
Swing Jacket $69, silhouettes.com sizes up to 3X
4. Robe Tie
Generally I do not like bigger women in coats that are long and cover the buttocks because they give a really rectangular shape to our body. However, the robe tie coat is a very hot look this season and while some body types can get away with out, not all can. Avoid this coat if you have a really large bottom half.
Also dont be fooled by this “trend” you can definitely robe tie any coat that comes with a belt attatchment. Some coats are just made for this type of thing and others aren’t. Be creative !
Miss Sixty $235.00, Size up to 2X
Spiegel.com $99.00 Size up to 18
5. Mini Dress
Let’s be real, many of us need to stay clear of this look. A mini dress can be a heart ache, the constant pulling down the bottom or pulling up the chest. IF you have the figure that suits this look, go for it, otherwise here are some alternatives.
Faith21 Plus size, $22.80 Size up to 2X
Spiegel $59.00 Size up to 14
6. Neon Colors
Again, not too great of a choice for large women, but if we mix up the colors a bit it should come out great.
Faith 21 $24.80 Sizes up to 2X
Faith 21 $22.80 Sizes up to 2X
Faith 21 $22.80 Sizes up to 2X
There are some gorgeous Grecian like dresses that would be fabulous for our body type.
Anne Klein$147.99, sizes up to 14
Faith 21 $17.80 sizes up to 2X
Spiegel $159.00 sizes up to 18
Spiegel $49.00 sizes up to XL
8. One Sleeve
ehh i am on the fence about this look because I am sure it is a trend. However here are some options that I believe may be timeless.
( this has potential with a belt and a curvy body !)
Alloy.com $19.99 sizes up to XL
Anne Klein $198.00 size up to 16
Ok so there is a little preview of some looks that I think are appropriate for this must have list and fit your body types. Tomorrow’s entry will continue the list and I will show you were to get over the knee boots for wide calves, leggings with slashes, and leather jackets… so check back tomorrow!
August 21, 2009
omg, did you miss me? I know I know! 🙂 I’m back now, so I have to give you, your blog fix.
So I have been thinking about my ” Million Dollar Question” post on black designers after the huge/great response it received in addition to the release of the Italian Vogue ” Black” issue. I am going to address both topics today.
So I am not retracting my beliefs that there are no black people doing what I believe we are capable of in the fashion industry, making it to the Gucci, Fendi, Prada status, because there aren’t any. I just believe that black designers face a lot of challenges and disadvantages when it comes to the industry. As you have read many of the designers I have featured came from or married into money. Those who didn’t, like Oscar de le Renta, had to work extremely hard to get to where they are. They also had strategic business moves and connections that helped propel them into popularity. A lot of black designers didn’t have those luxuries, but some designers did try.
Aside from the few designers I named in my previous post, there are a few more that deserve mention. I don’t want to forget to at least acknowledge reality TV designers, Mychael Knight and Korto Momolu from project runway. They were good designers and still are. They are both making a name for themselves in niche markets, Mychael in ATL and Korto making accessories.
The problem there is that they didn’t win these shows so they really haven’t had the opportunity to make it big like, say….
There are also the designers that I am not always too proud to mention, those are the entertainers/entertainers family members turned “designers.” Now the reason I feel I need to talk about these people is that they made up the majority of ” BET’s list of Top Black Designers.” Which included people like the Simmon’s sister for Pastry, Beyonce and her mother for House of Dereon, Jay Z for Rocawear, Kimora Lee Simmons for Baby Phat, and the list started to taper off into the real “street fashion” like Apple bottoms, Vocal, and Billionaire Boys Club by Pharrell. While I am proud of all the designers for doing what they love and for what they have accomplished, I never believe in making clothing that I would never, ever wear. I know there is a market for everything, but morally I don’t want to be responsible for young woman exploiting their bodies and some of these lines I think contribute to and profit from that epidemic.
Ok, so the list did include 3 designers that I think are worth mentioning, Sean Combs, Benjamin Bixby, and Tracy Reese. Now Sean Combs, believe it or not, is a member of the CFDA and has won an award in 2004 for menswear designer of the year. In case you don’t understand what that means, no black people have won that yet, sooo. I mean we all love to hate him but the guy is doing his thing ! His fragrance ‘I AM KING’ won the Fragrance Foundation 2009 FiFi Award for Fragrance of the Year for men as well. He must have a great team helping him along. He also has the money to be the best and I’m glad he is taking advantage of that.
Benjamin Bixby, better known as Andre 3000. I just wanted to mention him because his style is so quirky and I love it. He also got into Barney’s and was featured (positively) on The Cut blog. His line never got a lot of hype and is practically dead now, but he had a nice shot. He stuck to what he liked and he designed clothing that I know he would wear which is respectable. Do him a favor and buy his last shirt from Barneys.com, please !! 🙂
Last but not least Tracy Reese. See now , our girl Tracy Reese is really doing her thing. She, too, is a member of the CFDA ( one of literally the handful of black people that are members) like Diddy. Well like many of the other successful designers, she studied in Paris as an apprentice. She attended Parsons School for Design and she also worked as the design director for the Women’s Portfolio at Perry Ellis. She has become known for her flowy, feminine dresses and vintage inspired separates that were and still are picked up by Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and other high end boutiques as well as in Europe and Asia.
One of her dresses was also worn by Michelle Obama on the cover of People Magazine. This is a huge deal because First Lady Obama has come under a lot of heat for not wearing African American designers. She chose to wear one of the best African American designers she could find. In fact her hubby, Mr. President himself, wore a suit by Oswald ( remember, from my previous post) in Ghana. Now all the critics can calm down because they have done their part. It’s not there fault there aren’t many options.
Anyways, Tracy Reese has a profile on NYmag.com and everything. Her Jazz Age inspired style has been a big hit across color lines and I can only hope she continues to grow. Check out some looks from her recent lines.
Another designer that was not mentioned on BET’s list, but should have been, is Edward Wilkerson. From the age of 10 he knew he wanted to design. He went to an Art and Design high school in Manhattan and then on to Parsons School of Design. He worked with top designers like Donna Karen and worked in successful fashion houses like Anne Klein and Calvin Klein. He received the honor from Donna Karan to become a designer for the Donna Karan collection. After working with Donna for 13 years he was fired, but later told he could join her again at anytime.
In 1998 he joined Lafayette 148 New York as Design Director. While at Lafayette he uses his inspiration from Africa and his passion for photography to guide him in the clothing creation process.
What I love about him is that he built up the Lafayette 148 and he also has plus sized clothing which don’t look like crap. However, I do think his price points are EXTREMELY high for a designer that is not that well known. I also am very confused about Lafayette 148’s ownership . No where does it say he started it, but merely he built up the brand. He didn’t join until 1998 and it was started in 1996. With that said, I am strong advocate of ownership, and I hope that he has some in that company because his designs are great and I would hate to see him taken advantage of like so many other designers ( black and other races).
Finally, let me not forget to tell you how I feel about the black Italian Vogue. I think it was a good thought however if they wanted to give black people the chance in the fashion industry that we are so often denied, they could have done it all the way. I think it should have featured black designers, black stylists, black make up artist, black editors, and black writers. I mean, I know the Vogue people are giving us an inch and I am taking a mile, but who says we don’t deserve a mile? Who knows, people might actually like what black people have to offer to the fashion world, wouldn’t that be a shocker? ( sarcasm)
ok loves, until next time. Sorry for the opinion overdose, but hey I’m sure you learned something lol.
Citations: within entry
Emilio Pucci, who hasn’t heard of this man? You know him from his geometric prints and world renowned scarves, but this Italian born designer wasn’t always into fashion.
Born on November 20, 1914 in Naples, Italy, Marchese Emilio Pucci de Barsento was the son of a wealthy and noble family. Given his luxurious surroundings, he became interested in hobbies that only the rich enjoyed; skiing, swimming, fencing, playing tennis, and racing cars. His love for sports led him right into fashion. He took part in the 1932 Winter Olympics as a part of the Italian Skiing Team, but he didn’t compete.
Unlike a lot of other designers, he went to quite a lot of schools. In 1933 he went to the University of Milan and then the University of Georgia. In 1935 he earned a skiing scholarship to attend the Reed College in the United States and got a Masters in Social Science. In 1937 he earned his doctorate in Political Science from the University of Florence.
As if that was not enough, he joined the Italian Air Force and served as a pilot during WWII. He returned home to Italy because of health concerns that kept him from flying.
He did play a big part in the War I mean, he was the confidant of Mussolini’s oldest daughter. He drove her to the Swiss border to ensure her escape as well. Crazy right ?
Well, enough of the history lesson, let’s talk fashion. Though he designed the clothing for the Reed College ski team, he didn’t get noticed until he was skiing on the slopes of St. Moritz. A Harper’s Bazaar reported noticed him and his outfit and found out that he made his own clothing. He was invited to make a few pieced for a photo shoot with the magazine in 1948 and that is when the world got their first look at what Emilio Pucci could do.
Pucci, using stretch fabric in ways that Europe had never seen before, opened his first shop in Capri in 1949. In 1950 he created his first couture line of clothing and showed it in France. He was using his knowledge of stretch fabric and bold prints to set him apart from other designers and people loved it. Having his own fashion house was a big step fro Emilio because he would be the first in his family to hold a job in over a thousand years.
He leveraged his resources in order to get his line started. He used his family’s palace as his ateliers and used the grand ballrooms to show his collections.
As quick as his career began, he got recognition even quicker. By the early 1950’s he was winning awards from Neiman Marcus and his clothing was worn by Jackie O. The popularity of his dresses could be accredited to the lightweight fabric and their ability to remain wrinkle-free.
Fun Fact: Marylin Monroe was buried in one of his dresses.
It was also during the 50’s that Pucci began to develop his signature : Graphic Prints. Known as “the prince of prints” his clothing didn’t need to bear his name as a logo, his prints could be recognized as the work of only one man: Emilio Pucci.
In 1959 he began to make lingerie, in 1965 he began making stewardess uniforms that came complete with helmets that would protect their hair from rain and wind. He also designed the Apollo 15 mission patch even though the crew replaced the original colors of blues and greens with red, whites, and blues. He even designed Cappellini furniture and a 300 foot hand painted sail for the Wally Yachts.
In 1966 he released a perfume called “Vivara.”
Pucci must have been a man who had a list of things he wants to do before he dies because this man has seriously done everything. I am starting to feel like designing was just a side hobby. Did you know he was he was on the Italian Parliament in 1963 and in 1968.
Sadly in 1992, Emilio died at the age of 78. His daughter Laudomia took over as the head designer of his house. Followed by others such as Julio Espada, Christian Lacroix, and Matthew Williamson. Now Peter Dundas will take over as creative director. In 2000, LVMH acquired 67% of Pucci.
Overall, Pucci was driven by the desire to liberate women and granting them the freedom and movement. This has to do with his fabric choices that are undoubtedly his signature. Hailing from a luxurious family bloodline, he was able to capture the essences of beauty and elegance in his designs and every woman wanted that, nick named the “Pucci Look.”
Pucci Quote :
“When you put on something with color, suddenly you feel happy and rested. You go out with a man, and he gets joy from how you look. I’m not giving you a dress. I’m giving an element of joy to you, which is much more important than a stupid dress.”
I am so feeling this guy let me tell you why ( yes, I am a poet lol). I really love how he pursued other careers than fashion design. It really showed how well rounded he was. I mean I am impressed that he even decided to get such an extensive education and career given that he was royalty. I mean I know I would have been temped to just chill at the palace :-), but not him. He wanted to design, study, change laws, do everything he ever wanted and then some. His clothing, in a way, is reminiscent of that. They are free and unpredictable but yet still have a purpose.
I love his clothing and I love that even without a logo, it is recognizable. I mean who wouldn’t know a Pucci scarf from a mile away.
I know it is hard to learn from him because he was very brief with his fashion career but I think we can take the phrase ” Carpe Diem” from him. He definitely seized the day with all the things he accomplished in his life. His fashion career basically fell in his lap and he took it and ran with it. So when even an opportunity presents itself, take it and milk it for all its worth by using all your resources and abilities to take advantage of it in the best way possible. That’s what Emilio did and look at his legacy!
August 13, 2009
So to stray away from our typical NY born designer, let’s talk about Venezuelan born Carolina Herrera. Born as Maria Carolina Josefine Pacanins y Nino on January 8, 1939 in Caracas, Venezuela. Her fashion life began at the tender age of 13 when she attended the Cristobal Balenciaga fashion show with her grandmother, her first of many.
Born into the traditional world of Latin American Aristocracy, she was one of four daughters in her family. Her father was the governor of Caracas and served as the country’s foreign affairs minister. Her mother and grandmother gave Carolina her fashion DNA, they traveled regularly to Europe to get their clothing made by prestigious design houses like Balenciaga and Lanvin.
Herrera grew up very privileged with a governess ( like Maria in sound of music 🙂 ) and lavish surroundings. She lived in a disciplined household that she remembers as being very organized. As she grew up she became interested in sewing clothing for dolls, but as she grew older she shifted her interests and became a skilled equestrienne ( horseback rider) and read a lot because her mother believed a woman had to be cultivated. She would become world traveled and socialize with the world’s royalty, but to her that wasn’t enough.
After being married at the tender age of 18 to Guillermo Behrens Tello, a wealthy Venezuelan family she had two daughters. Soon after the marriage because, it ended in divorce, the first in her family. She moved back with her parents and worked in her first fashion gig as a publicist for Emillio Pucci.
In 1968 she fell in love with Reinaldo Herrera( a Vanity Fair editor) and the got married, he too was from a wealthy Venezuelan family. They traveled in the social circles of the world’s elite and lived a romantic, high priced lifestyle. With Reinaldo she had two daughters.
It wasn’t until her 30’s when she began to pop up on the fashion radar. She was on the International Best Dressed lists. Feeling the fashion fever, her, her husband, and her children moved to New York in 1980 from their lavish estate in Carcas.
Almost 40, she decided to dip her toes into a fashion related business venture and began to think about fabric design. With friends in high places she was quickly talked out of designing fabric and talked into making a line. Acquaintance and fashion icon Diana Vreeland was supportive of her decision. However her mother in law and her husband were not so much. Her husband was most notably skeptical. He said “I was supportive because I thought this would last fifteen minutes,” Reinaldo Herrera told Town & Country‘s Tapert. “If she had said it would be fifteen years, I would have asked her, ‘Are you out of your mind?'”
Regardless, Carolina wanted to move forward. In fall of 1980 Herrera brought 20 dresses that she had made in Caracas by dressmakers. For her trunk show, she borrowed a friend’s Park Avenue apartment and invited everyone she knew. In attendance were buyers ready to by her whole line but it would be hard since she didn’t have a company at the time. Luckily she knew a publishing powerhouse, Armando de Armas who backed her business, Carolina Herrera Ltd. She opened a store on Seventh Avenue and her first full collection was shown in NY’s Metropolitan Club in 1981.
Once again her leveraged connections brought her success, her socialite friends got wind of her collection and became her best customers. Jacqueline Kenned Onassis became one of her first renowned clients. Caronline’s success was also because she was one of the first people to use padded shoulders because of the affect that big shoulders have on making a women’s waist look smaller. She used her knowledge of the effects of shapes on a women’s body to further her success.
Herrera’s company got really big after she made the wedding dress for Caroline Kennedy, Jackie O’s daughter, in 1986. This expanded her line from only ready to wear, to bridal and to a lower priced line called CH. In 1988 she launched a fragrance line inspired by the jasmine bush scents from her home in Venezuela, in 1991 she debuted her Men’s fragrance, and in 1994 she released her third scent.
She was then smart enough to get licensing deals for accessories, costume jewelry, and eyewear. In 1990 her wholesale business reached $20 million.
To celebrate, in 2000 she opened her first store, located at Madison Avenue and 75th Street in Manhattan and soon after she opened stores in Europe. Her first store outside of New York was in Madrid’s Salamanca district.
After dressing Jackie O for the last twelve years of her life she was inspired by her impeccable taste and her knowledge of what looked good on her. She also had the honor of dressing Nancy Reagan, Mrs. Bush, and every ones fav MICHELLE OBAMA.
Though she has built an empire on her own, she still maintains a regular lifestyle. She claims that she never works past 5 pm and makes sure that the line is drawn between work and home. She doesn’t want work to be her entire life, but merely a part of her life.
Another important part of her life is her charity work. She is a Goodwill Ambassador and a Facilitator for the Intergovernmental Institution for the Use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition. I am not going to explain that to you because it is a little intense, but all you need to know is she does want to save lives and give back to children and she loves it.
Carolina Herrera has been and remained on international best dressed lists since her 30’s and here clothing has been critically acclaimed almost from day one. Her style is timeless and packed with class and elegance that one can not find in any other line. Her clothing is a direct reflection of Carolina as a woman and I have every reason to believe that she would wear EVERYTHING she makes. That is not something one can say for every designer.
What I like about Carolina Herrera is that she continuously works through any adversity. Her husband, mother-in-law and countless critics were not fans of her work( including Cathy Horyn who she banned from her shows for negative feedback), but she kept on going because she knew she was on to something. I also love how she leveraged her connections in order to succeed. There is nothing wrong with getting your friends, who already like you as a person, to support your dreams. True friends will do that for you.
However she does keep her affiliations to a minimum. She never likes to mention her clients names because she believes that “If you have to sell a dress because an important client is wearing it, then that means that the dress was not good,” and I could not agree more.
As a studio 54 regular and a close friend of Andy Warhol, Carolina has seen it all and everything she has seen she translates into her clothing. Compared to the likes of other fashion greats like Oscar de la Renta, she simply started her path to success with passion, hard work, and dedication.
I am definitely starting to believe that those traits, that cant’ be taught, can take you much further than a degree can take you. Think about it !
The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence
2004 Women’s Designer of the Year
2008 lifetime achiever award by the Cosmetic Executive Women UK.
“Today, people want to be free to wear what they like, in any combination they like, to be confined by no rules, and to set their own standards – yet they all end up looking exactly the same.” – C.Herrera
Ralph Lauren is a designer whose clothing and other products that have been embraced by the Hip Hop and Rap communities . Not only do artists wear his signature big ponied Polos, but they also include him into their rap songs. I even heard in 2005 Lauren made a back door offer for Jay Z to lend his name to a line of menswear and home furnishings because Lauren is tired of Tommy Hilfiger and Sean Combs making money off of urban youth.
In urban communities you can see his influence on street fashion, adding a new spin to the preppy look that is sported from corner to corner. He is even really huge in the counterfeit market, unfortunately, but he is still making money. ( The way you can tell a counterfeit is throught the button holes on the shirts. The Fake ones have cheap looking buttons with up and down stitching while the real Polos have marble buttons with cross stitching.) The reason he is still making money is because he knows what he is doing and he does it very well. Enough small talk, let’s get down to business.
Born on October 14, 1939, Ralph Lauren’s original name was Ralph Reuben Lifshitz. He was born in the Bronx to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Belraus, Fradl and Frank Lifshitz. He was the younger of 4 children. In the 7th grade he became interested in clothing working after school in order to buy clothing and suits. He was the best dressed 12 year old in his neighborhood.
He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in New York and coincidentally grew up in the same neighborhood as Calvin Klein, but it’s unclear whether or not they knew each other.
In the 1950s he changed his name to Lauren. While in high school he sold ties to classmates and in his yearbook he stated that he wanted to be a millionaire. He graduated from high school in 1957 and worked as a salesman during the day and went to Baruch College at night for business. He quit school shortly after and went into the army ( 1962-1964) before looking for a fashion job, these jobs would give him the experience he needed to become one of the most successful designers and fashion businessmen in America.
While working for Brooks Brothers he was inspired to make his own neckwear, and in 1967 he did just that. He designed a napkin-wide Beau Brummer neckwear. He got a $50,000 loan from Norman Hilton to design wide ties and begins his Company Polo fashions in 1968. He started his men’s line in 68 and offered styles that mixed American and English trends and expressed sophistication.
In 1968 he also married Ricky Low-Beer. They had two sons, Andrew and David, and a daughter Dylan. David is an executive at Polo and Dylan owns an upscale candy store called Dylan’s Candy Bar. She was recently featured on a Fabulous Life Episode.
In 1987 Lauren was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and had it removed that year and luckily made a full recovery.
In 1971 he introduced his first women’s line with four groups: collection, classics, country, and active. It was this same year that he opened his first retail store on Rodeo Drive.
In 1972 he released his famous short sleeved mesh shirt with the Polo logo, which is now a classic. His clothing gained more exposure after he was brought on board to design clothing for the movie The Great Gatsby.
In 1986 he made fashion retail history with a large store in the former Rhinelander Mansion in New York. Today all his stores have the feeling of a regal home upon entering, which makes his stores very unique and maybe one of his keys to success because by 1997 he was selling $5 billion a year worth of merchandise which made him the best selling designer in the world.
In June of 1997 Polo Ralph Lauren became a public company and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RL. Lauren’s success was only growing and it was because of his attention to detail and his carefully crafted and consistent brand image. He now have over 25 licensing contracts and sub brands. He also expanded into perfume and skin care
In 2000 his website Polo.com was launched and allowed for immense Internet success.
Today Forbes Magazine claims his wealthy is at $2.8 Billion, which makes him the 224th richest person in the world.
- 1998- Donated $13 million to Smithsonian Institution in DC
- 1998- Raised money for a cure for breast cancer
- Donated $5 million to establish the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention and Care at North General Hospital in Harlem, NY
- Created Polo Volunteer Program
- 1970- City Award for Menswear
- 1986- Coty Hall of Fame
- 1992- CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1995- CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award
- 1996- CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year
- 7 Coty Awards
- Tribute from Woolmark Awards
Though Lauren has had his share of praise and success he has had some criticism. For example his uniforms he designed for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics were deemed cheap in addition to making them walking billboards for Laurens brand because of the large pony. I can see where these claims are valid, but come on, do you think that anyone was going to mention that they were made by him? He needed to get his name in so who can blame him. And to the cheap comments, he made these uniforms in a rushed manner and sent them to Chinese ” tailors” at the last minute. Now not to knock China’s craftsmanship, but we all get a little weary when we see ” made in china” on the tags of anything. Either way, people say Lauren embarrassed America making them look like rich snobs, but if I am not mistaken, that is how most of us here act anyways, let’s be real. Personally I liked the uniforms, I like to look like I have class and hey if you think I am a snob, that’s on you. But I never hear any complaining about Nike and their logos, I mean let’s all be fair here.
Ralph Lauren has a lot of things here that we can learn and take with us as the lovers of fashion that we are. For one, he was untrained but his love for nice clothing and his sense of business was impeccable, even if he doesn’t posses a degree. Secondly, he doesn’t believe in fashion he believe in style… the very thing I live for. I believe this is evident in his clothing because no one has ever said ” oh, polo is played out.” That is absurd. Ralph Lauren has made his clothing so that each piece is an investment into the longevity of your wardrobe. I can by a dress today and wear it 20 years from now and still be the best dressed. Finally, he is a man that remains very low key. Through his career his controversies were minimal and he hardly let the fame get to his head. I appreciate that because many designers loose their sense of self to being a celebrity. He has remained very grounded with his family and his career without distractions.
Ralph Lauren is really a designer to emulate. He knows exactly what he is doing and even without a degree he gets his career to further heights then those that possess a formal education. That is inspiring because image the possibilities for the rest of us. They are endless. We just have to work hard, be true to ourselves and be true with others and nothing can stand in our way. I don’t know about you but I am ready to get working !!
Let’s close with two quotes from our guy:
- “I’m interested in longevity, timelessness, style–not fashion.”
- “I believe in clothes that last, that are not dated in a season. The people who wear my clothes don’t think of them as fashion.”
August 12, 2009
So today’s mini post has to do with the ever so controversial SELF magazine cover with Kelly Clarkson. She was heavily, heavily photo shopped, but that is not the issue. The issue is, this is a health food/ lifestyle magazine thats main objective revolves around the idea of eating right and getting in shape . One of the headlines on the cover was : Slim Down Your Way.
Problem: Kelly did not slim down her way, she slimmed down the way the editors wanted her, which was through air brushing.
To top it off, the editor was justifying her actions, comparing it to vacation photos, some of which you keep and others you choose not to show. Confused? Me too. This woman is insane if she thinks it is justifiable to photoshop Kelly in such a way that takes her back to her American Idol days when we all clearly know she looks like this:
All I am saying is that of all the magazines, the ones that are here to motivate the health conscious to get in shape should go light on the photo shopping. I mean it is one thing to remove a zit or read eye, but it is another to basically cut Kelly in half. Especially if Kelly clearly proclaims her confidence in her body as is. I mean really guys.
I know you are thinking how this relates to fashion. Well, the fashion industry get so much heat for photo shopping and now I want to let you all know there is another player in the sinful act of downsizing a persona via computer, and that is health magazines. I rather not be encouraged to reach unobtainable goals. If the people featured in the magazines don’t even have a six pack what makes you think that I will be able to get one in 10 days doing a 5 minute ab routine . Let’s get real.
Oh, please read the editor’s blog that justifies why the photoshop was necessary and should be acceptable. More importantly, read the comments. People are really unhappy about this and they are not afraid to curse the editor out. It’s actually quite funny.
I believe that style doesn’t only include your choice of wardrobe but your also your body and your presence in the world. If your style is confident, exude that in every way possible. Your body is unique to you and that is where your style starts. So honestly, live it, love it, and own it because no one else can appreciate you the way you can appreciate yourself.
August 10, 2009
After my trip to New York as a personal shopper this past Wednesday- Thursday I came across a bunch of designers collections first hand in their flagship and branch stores. One store that I was particularly impressed with ( as I am always) was BCBG, so it is only appropriate that I dig a little deeper to see what the designer behind these garments is all about. Let’s dig in shall we?
Born in Sfax, Tunisia on January 1, 1949, Max Azria founded BCBGMAXAZARIA. When he was 13 years old he moved to Paris to work as an actor. Eleven years later he moved to to Los Angeles, CA in 1981. In 1989 he launched his line BCBGMAXAZARIA, BCBG meaning “bon chic, bon genre” translated meaning ” good style, good attitude.” I don’t know about you, but I never knew that.
In 1998 our guy, Max, was inducted in the CFDA and that same year he brought Herve Leger fashion house. The next year, in 1999, Max launched a plus size line in the fall. In the Spring he launched a new collection of men’s footwear.
In 2004 he launched Max Azria Atelier for couture gowns. In 2006 Max launched his Max Azria collections which has more practical clothing.
Many years passed and in 2007 he launched a Herve Leger line with his own designs.
In 2008 Azria launched a contemporary collection called BCBGeneration. More recently, in 2009, Max and Miley Cyrus came together and create a juniors line for Wal-Mart. Higher end clothing by Max and Miley can be found in Macy’s. That makes me feel like maybe Macy’s is one step up from Wal-Mart when we all know that Target and Kohl’s are in between the two.
some of the clothing
What we need to appreciate about Max is that he was one of our designer/business people. He redefined designing and fashion by offering his high end collection at contemporary/affordable price points. He also has so many stores around the world it is insane. After opening 3 stores in Europe in 1999 he took off like a rocketship opening stores in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Venezuela and other countries. Not to mention he has a vast and immense presence in specialty stores.
In his stores you will not only find designs that he dreamt up himself, but designs that have inspiration from fashion giants such as Coco Chanel, Versace, and many others. You will be over whelmed by the gowns that bear a startling resemblance to the gowns you see on the red carpet, because most of his clients come to him for special event garments.
In regards to Max Azria’s personal life, he is married to his second wife, Lubov, who was also once a ballerina. She now is the creative direct of his billion dollar company. Max has 3 daughters from his first marriage names Chloe, Anais, and Agnes.
1995- California designer of the year
1996- Atlanta designer of the year
1997- fashion performance award
1997- Spirit of life award from the city of hope for his contributions to research on the treatment of life threatening diseases
1998- Women’s Designer of the year b Divine Design
2000- Otis College of Art and Designer’s Fashion Achievement Award
2000- Top 50 Private Companies in Los Angeles
2007- Wells Fargo Century Fashion Achievement Award
2008- Fashion Excellence Award at Dallas Fashion Awards
Max is a pretty clean cut designer, one whose story is not unfamiliar to us by now, but what I think is absolutely strange is that he has never won an award from the CFDA. I wonder really what the criteria are… don’t you? Well here, I looked it up:
DESIGNER OF THE YEAR AWARDS:
The Womenswear, Menswear, and Accessory Designer of the Year Awards: Awarded to a designer working in America who has made the most outstanding contribution to and has influenced the direction of women’s ready-to-wear fashion, men’s ready-to-wear fashion, and accessory design, respectively, through his or her most recent Spring and Fall collections. The designer selected in each category must have his or her business based primarily in America.
The Swarovski Awards: Awarded to a designer working in America who has made the greatest impact as an emerging new talent for his or her womenswear, menswear or accessory design through his or her most recent Spring and Fall Collections. The Swarovski Award was established to recognize and support the talent and creativity of the next generation of designers. The designer selected in each category must have his or her business based primarily in America.
Eugenia Sheppard Award: Awarded to a writer, photographer, or editor who has used his or her craft to further the profession of fashion reporting and coverage, or to a creative director, fashion editor, stylist, or artist whose exceptional creativity has shaped fashion visually.
International Award: Awarded to one designer (in womenswear, menswear or accessories) working outside of America who has made an outstanding creative contribution to the world of fashion.
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Awarded for a “lifetime” of consistent, creative influence and dedication to fashion.
Fashion Icon Award: Awarded to an individual whose signature style has had a profound influence on fashion.
Eleanor Lambert Award: Awarded for a unique contribution to the world of fashion (and/or deserves the industry’s recognition and does not fall under any existing award categories).
Board of Directors’ Special Tribute: A special tribute by the Board of Directors of the CFDA, given from time to time to acknowledge significant contributions and commitment to fashion.
Now given his contribution to fashion world, the fact that he did not finish any type of schooling, and that he built his empire from the ground up is reason enough for him to have at least won one award. Not to mention, he dresses every best dressed celebrity to hit a red carpet. I mean goodness people !
Either way we have nothing but respect for Max Azria because of the passion and influence he has given to the fashion industry. With the help of his wife, he was able to build an huge brand that hold fragrances and fashion lines. His pricing strategy has been recession friendly since before the recession and that alone is reason enough to embrace him and where his clothing. Oh and yeah, his clothes are also insanely gorgeous… reason number 2.
August 4, 2009
So if you don’t already know, Jeffrey Campbell is the MAN. He has been designing shoes for 9 years with a strong focus in vintage designs and now he is finally getting the shine he deserves. His shoes are original, sexy and affordable!
He is based in LA with his small team that includes some family members. Jeffrey began designing shoes in his garage in 2000 and is now one of the most sought after shoe designers. He specializes in conceptual vintage recreations, reworked runway looks, revamped and re-amped current must-have trends, alongside his continual best selling ballet flats and boot. Obviously very family oriented, Jeffrey considered his children, Amber and Brigitte, his muses and main inspirations.
Jeffrey is helping all us fashionistas out during this horrid recession with his over the knee, economy fighting boots, distressed leathers, and over embellished classics for affordable prices, encouraging us all to “WORK.”
Let’s do a flash back: While in high school , Jeffrey started off working in a stockroom at Nordstroms in Seattle. He worked for other stores until he was in his 30’s and then began his own line with the support and help from his loving wife and his brother who are both still contributing to the company today.
Back to Now: Jeffrey is very hands on in the conception and creation of his line. He gets a lot of inspiration form vintage collections and from designers for the color or treatment of the shoe. He has an employee in new york with whom he emails back and forth for inspiration from the chic city dwellers.
I love JC because he is not feeding into the hype that surrounds his lovely designs. He loves to read fashion blogs and his website features a contest allowing JC lovers to take pictures of themselves in his shoes which will allow them a chance to win free stuff. He even shouts out his fans in his biography. I mean, how adorable can he be right ?
When a website that sells shoes in London asked Jeffrey Campbell to describe his line or inspiration in twenty words or less,he responded: EDGY. SHORT-SHORTS. LA. BROOKLYN. AFTER-PARTY. W-O-R-K. INDEPENDENT. UNDERSTOOD. DOWNTOWN. VINTAGE. CHIC. 1970’s. MUSIC. SIENNA. MARY-KATE. LUCKY. STYLE Vs FASHION.
Speaking of Style vs. Fashion, the good thing is that JC doesn’t work by collection he works on an item based system. this means that his fall line, for example, doesn’t all have to have the same theme. If he were to catch a drift of a new trend tonight and produce a shoe tomorrow it wouldn’t have to follow the same blue print as his other shoes, which I think is the way everyone should work.
JC shows a lot of love to the streets by selling his shoes to mostly smaller boutiques as opposed to department stores because they know what their communities like and what they may not like so much. JC keeps his ears to the streets by insisting on hearing from each of his accounts ( stores that sell his shoes) any feedback they may have, whether good or bad. His business is very close knit and family like which is a reason that he will go far in this business.
I soo wish I could show you a picture of our beloved JC but I simply CAN NOT find one. I remember reading that he was shy and didn’t want to take a pic for one of his interviews, but darling we need to see your brilliant face! Don’t worry, I have plenty of pictures of your creations that will be sure to hold us all over.
… and remember, according to JC, we all betta “WORK!”
I spent a good solid hour and a half searching the internet for a Black fashion designers that are as influencing as the people I have already written about.
I have to say that this was a challenging task. I did find some designers, but they were all problematic. This brings me to today’s blog post.
Enough explaining, let’s get started.
I am extremely impressed with Byron because his designs are very chic and elegant. He only gives us subtle hints that he is trying to reach out to the urban market, but he doesn’t make that his platform like other designers we know ( won’t name any names).
Born on January 19, 1965 in Oakland, CA he was destined to design after making his own baggy pants in the tenth grade. In high school he made extra money by sewing prom dresses for friends in high school. He attended Brooks College in CA and studied fashion design before heading to FIT. He took an apprenticeship with Kevan Hall and freelanced for Ronaldus Shamask and Gary Gaytas. His strengths in pattern making began to surface quickly. WWD picked up on this young designer and named him Rockie of the year in 1991 after he launched his first collection in 1990. He was working out of his home and a strict budget before calls began to flow in from Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and other high end department stores. Next thing he knew, Bloomingdales was giving him a boutique section in its Manhattan store. Sakes Fifth Avenue held an unconventional launch party for his line. For a young designer he was selling better than and outlasting his peers. His fall of 1992 line confirmed him again as a force to be watching in the fashion world.
Why You Don’t Know Him: Licensing his designs to a company called San Siro in 1995 was his mistake. This then made his clothes available in discount stores and outlets. It was the beginning of his first decline in sales since his success. Why go to Bloomingdales and buy his stuff for $230 when you can get it for $39 at an outlet? It was way too early for that.
He then had to quit his business and work for Mattel designing for Barbie. Soon after he gained some of his fame back and began his label called Beauty Mark Label which is a collection of tailored shirts for women. Now he is expanding to include knits, sportswear, dresses, and sexy shirts.
He is doing fairly well in his business now. Thought he was destined for bigger and better things before the licensing mistake, he still pulled himself back up and is trying to make a way for himself, even if he had to sacrifice his run with all the major departments stores for the little boutiques he is sold in now.
His first collection was a Men’s contemporary line that was picked up by Marshall Fields in Chicago ( which is not replaced by Macy’s I believe). His success inspired him to move to NY and take up a entry level job with a women’s apparel designer. With the new job he learned skills that allows him to launch his own label CD Greene, which cloth a lot of Hollywood stars today.
Now he designs exclusively for private clients using each of their personalities to inspire his designs. He still sells some dresses for a couple of thousand of dollars.
Why You Don’t Know Him: To me, the idea that his website is barely functional, he has no collection past fall 07, and the idea that he has stayed in his comfort zone regardless of how much potential he had, kind of bothers me.
His dresses are beautiful and he has the potential to be awesome, but I can not understand why he is limiting himself so much. I do not think there is any excuse why he isn’t a household name like many of his peers who may not be as good as him.
In 1971 and 1972 he was nominated for the Coty Award as the industry began to take notice. He was then asked to participate in a fashion show in 1973 that would be a collaboration between well known French and American designers. This is when Burrows finally won the Coty Award 3 times , 1983, 1974, and 1977. Quickly he left Henri Bendel to open his store on Seventh Avenue and licensed products like fragrances, sunglasses, and furs.
In 2002 he reopened his Stephen Burrow’s World Boutique in Bendel’s with the party of the season, as dubbed by Vogue. This was followed by a successful run in 2003 on Home Shopping Network. In 2006 he was give The Board of Directors Special Tribute from the CFDA.
He is most known for the “lettuce hems” which was his signature and remains widely used in addition to his bold use of color, structure and fabric weight.
Why you don’t know him: Honestly, there really isn’t any excuse for not knowing Stephen. However, his collections are not heavily publicised. I also believed that not having his own stores around the country to really put his brand in the eyes of the public was a mistake. He worked under different powers for most of his career, for example in Bendels and on HSN, and that took some of his edge off. I wouldn’t buy anything from Bendel’s if it was on HSN all watered down and discounted. I don’t know if it is the money or what that is driving these people to Walmart-ize their clothing before its time.
He won an award in 2004 for Young Avant Garde Designer of the Year in London and in 2006 when he won first place in Fashion Fringe, a prestigious award in London. With his win he was able to get business, legal, and technical support and was able to show his collection at the London Fashion Week in March 2007.
He took a course called Prince’s Trust Business Start Up Course which helped him make a business plan for his label of urban couture, fashion for women who want to express themselves through their clothing.
He showed his debut collection in 2005 at the Caribbean Fashion Week and at the Barbados Fashion week in 2006. He took part in the Mayor of London’s Kulture2Couture show that featured the talents of designers. He show cased his second collection at the Paris Fashion Week in Oct. 2006 and later that year in Brooklyn Fashion Week.
Why you don’t know him: Simple, Press. I have NEVER EVER heard his name mentioned. His clothing is very original and was really ahead of his time. His Spring 08 line has things that I can see celebs and regular people trying to get their hands on today. But if we don’t know him, how do we support him?
I mean he doesn’t even have a website I can look at, his NY mag designer profile is skimp, and I googled,binged, msn searched, and yahoo searched him and only found 3 websites that told me nothing ! I hate to see him fade away forever because he has a lot of potential. Someone get him some PR STAT!
In 1999 he had the privilege of being the first designer to appear on Question Time with David Dimbleby. The next year he was honored with the British Fashion Award of Top Menswear Designer.
He got his American break when Will Smith work his bespoke to the Oscars and was named best dressed. That same year he won Best Male Designer by the Cologne Fashion Awards.
Why we don’t know him: It is because he did not keep his name out there for a long time after winning all his critical acclaim. He dove very quickly into the creative director position which hinders a person from their own creativity. While he is still making suits he does not have a store in the US and that is why his name is not heard. I still respect his work, but I really wish he would have become his own Givenchy and not gone to work for them.
Born in Detroit, Kevan wanted to be a designers from the age of Seven. After studying at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, there he won first place as “Designer of Tomorrow” which gave him a scholarship to FIDM. When he graduated from FIDM he won the Peacock Award for Outstanding Fashion Design.”
In 1982 he and his wife launched Kevan Hall Couture which is carried in fine department stored nation wide. He received the Great American Designer award from the NAACP in 1989. In 1992 he was honored by the Center of Performing Arts in Southern Cali. He won designer of the year from Gold Coast Fashion Awards in Chicago and in 2005 the “Style maker of the Year” award by Life & Style Mag.
What is really good about Hall is he rejects trends and fads to make a lasting look that comes to life when women wear his clothing.
Why we don’t know him: I have no idea. I think its another case of publicity. His shows are chic and elegant and better than a lot of his peers but he just doesn’t have a lot of hype surrounding him. I can’t understand why, I mean his runway looks are amazing so what is the deal? Though some of his clothing are if-y, that is no different from everyone else’s collection. Let’s support him because he is soo worth it.
So that is the end of my list. Now you can see the industry needs some diversity on the production end as well as in the displaying end ( models), but we are getting there. These designers need our support but they also need to help themselves. More press surrounding their clothing is a plus. You can still focus on the quality of your clothing while shouting off the rooftop that you have arrived, other wise how will we know who you are.
There are other designers like Tracy Reese who had a short run on her own until she ran into production problems then went to work for Magaschoni and made the company a lot of money. Peter Kea who had a lot of potential but stupidly signed over the rights to his name way too soon to his backers. He recently got back on his feet selling clothing in boutiques around the world.
A lot of the issues with these designers is the lack of help that they had getting up in the world. They didn’t have any financial helpers, they didn’t have rich people surrounding them, none of that. These designers are lacking in little areas that if fixed they would have gotten as big or even bigger as some of their peers.
What us rising designers can do is learn from their mistakes so that we can use them as guidelines as we tap into the high fashion world. Remember it’s not always about the money, it’s about making quality clothing and doing something you love, money will inevitably flow in when you work hard and do the best you can.
So to all my black designers, and struggling designers of all races, don’t give up and don’t sell out, just keep pushing to the top with your morals and talents to guide you.
This wrap dress queen was recently featured on MTV’s The City for one of her many reality tv show collaborations. But she is more than a boss or a fashion critique. Much, much more.
Born on December 31, 1946 in Brussels, Belgium, DVF‘s real name was Diane Simone Michelle Halfin. Her Jewish middle class family consisted of her father was Leon Halfin who was Russian and served in WWII and her mother was Liliane Nahmias, a Greek Holocaust survivor.
She attended finishing schools in Switzerland, Spain and England. In 1965 she went to the University of Madrid and transferred the next year to the University of Geneva in Switzerland and studied economics. It was there that she met Austro-Italian Prince Egon von Furstenberg, heir to the Fiat automobile fortune. They got married in Paris July 16, 1969. When she realized she was to be married to him she decided she wanted a career and make something of herself and not just the girl who married up. Of course, for her wedding she wore her own design that was made by the house of Dior.
In 1969 she worked as an apprentice with Italian textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti and began making his signature simple jersey dress .
Late 1969 the von Furstenbergs changed location and moved to New York City so the Prince could work on Wall Street. It was in New York that she was making samples out of her dining room of her Park Avenue apartment.
Her top cheerleaders Bill Blass, Kenny Lane, and Diana Vreeland encouraged her to put together a collection of her dresses. In April of 970 she had her first show at the Gotham Hotel in NYC within a moderate price range of 25-100 dollars.
In April of 1972 she established her own manufacturing business to make more clothing on a large scale. Richard Conrad and her father’s $30,000 loan were the keys to Diane’s first showroom on Seventh Avenue. It was there that she created her sweater dress named Angela after the black activist Angela Davis. She then birthed her wrap dress that topped $1 million dollars within the first few months. She was selling 20,000 wrap dresses per week.
Her business only continued to grow after the split. She added more to her line such as furs, jewelry, shoes, scarves, sunglasses and the works, even house wears.
In 1977 she published her book Diane von Furstenberg’s Book of Beauty.
Diane is much like our other business savvy designer, Liz Claiborne, in that she appealed to working women with her clothing. However her approach was to give them more luxurious clothing that would work for them during their work days. As if she wasn’t already doing enough, she even included nurse uniforms and eye glasses which contributed to her $1 billion in sales in the 80’s.
In 1985 she took an unexpected turn and moved to France to live with novelist Alain Elkann and founded a publishing house. 4 years later they broke up and she moved back to the US to her trusty farm in Connecticut that she lived in through her first marriage and break up.
In 1991 she made another book Beds and in 1993 The Bath for celebrity homes and bathrooms. Her commercial success only grew larger and larger with the years. In 1993 she also brought Lowel Nesbitts studio upon the death of the artist. The studio was famous for the figures and celebrities who once gathered there and even had a indoor swimming pool. She used this space until the early 2000’s until it was sold and demolished.
In 1997 she published yet another book, this time a memoir ” Diane: A signature Life.” She also relaunched her clothing line this year and her wrap dress was once again warming the hearts of women everywhere.
- 2006 President of the CFDA
- 2005 CFDA life time achievement award
- 1986 May of the City of New York’s Statue of Liberty Medal
- 1984- 1988 Savvy Magazine Award
- 1984 Einstein College of Medicine Spirit of Achievement Award
- 1983 City of Hope Spirit of Life Award
- 1977 Fragrance foundation award
More recently, actually from today, was the CFDA meeting held to discuss the future of fashion week. What was once a trade show is now becoming a burden for designers and their financially failing lines. It is costing them more then they are getting back and all the designers expressed their concerns to Diane, the president, in a town hall meeting style. Though no consensus was reached, Diane did reassure everyone that she will have a solution before she leaves office.
Well I think Diane is the B O M B D O T C O M because I mean who else do you know modeled a dress after a black activist ? I am honestly love everything she has done and I think she is a woman to emulate. She married up and decided that she wanted to work and be independent, how many times have you heard that. Usually woman take the lazy route when they marry royalty, but not Diane. I’m so loving her Bestey Johnson-esque, Lavin-like clothing. It is fun and well constructed. She knows what women want and she has been knowing that since the beginning of her career.
I am also impressed that she takes her business very seriously. For example she did not hesitate to sue Target and Forever 21 for copying her designs. She also speaks out against the unmentionables: underweight models and lack of diversity on the runways. Did I mention that she opens her studio regularly to host cultural events? Honestly, who could be a better role model ?
She is a woman who makes her own money, obtains her own success, stands up for what she believes in , and continues to grow as the years pass by and personally, I NEED to be like that. I’m also definitely not surprised that she is still making money through this recession, only the best of the best are. Her economics background, people-person personality, and eye for what women want are all factors that play into her success through out the years.
I am so impressed with her. That’s the bottom line.