Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal & Rosy

Look, I'm South African. I don't really understand the concept of someone being royal, unless that someone is me. But I do understand an opportunity for style drama--which kindda predictably fell flat at the royal hoo-ha this morning. One light shone bright though and it wasn't an English rose--it was Spanish Miriam Gonzalez! I knew I fell in love with that country for good reason.

But you know you can always count on Hollywood Royalty to bring in the show--adore that Vic Chick and her clean takes on classics. That look is so simple, but so chic.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Story Is The Light

Remembering Tim's Burning Light That Cannot Be Put Out. Image: Tim Hetherington, Liberia. Courtesy, The New Yorker.
"...You are the dew on the morning grass/and the burning wheel of the sun/You are the white apron of the baker and the marsh birds suddenly in flight." For Tim& His Beloved. For Libya.
An excerpt from Litany by Billy Collins.

Mississippi Microphone Might

Country Classic--You Should See This Chick Move, I mean, "Swurve". Genesis Be. Courtesy: Listenin Pictures.

So when was the last time you showed up at a spot and all the DJ blasts was female HipHoP? Matter of fact, can you name three, just three top charting women MCs on the billboards today? Got you stumped, right? If you believe that Lady Gaga was born that way, then you also have to believe there is a monster-load of talented women who choose spitting as their poetry and as Adelle puts it--have the chops to "make music for ears". So Adele-dazed right now. And with that I give you Genesis Be ladies and gentleman. Straight-up Southern Girl-Queen ripping the mic to shreds and dishing it up deep fried Mississippi style with church choir-laced inspiration (killer track: Strive Till I Rise) and dirty-South country raw tunes--try listen to Swurve without a gyrating hip-curve. Just try! Genesis rocked the Casbah tonight at Katra, where we celebrated her album release, Mississippi to Manhattan. and right back to this Mississippi microphone Might. Genesis--Numero Uno--Word?

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Kidz Is Awllight

Getting Gothic City Glitz& Giddy. Courtesy: NYU Fashion Business Association

NYU is famous for many things. The school the Olsen Twins took on, right after the rinse and rise of Lady Gaga at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, the same said that gave you the likes of Matin Scorsese and let us not be remiss and forget the great Spike Lee...Mo'Better Blues/She's Gotta Have It/Inside Man/ ok spike i know good things come in small pkgs but this post is not about you...Malcolm X/Do The Right Thing...i mean it, it's not.
Hemma Collection by NYU Alums Cindy & Edna. Courtesy: Hemma Collection.
So, subject at hand. NYU--many things to many more but did you know it's also got a fashion fixation?  But just why NYU kids+fashion? Because they know business. Because they're educated in a global school and know how to speak to the confluence of that emerging language. But don't just buy my alumnus-souped up stump. Check out NYU Fashion Business Association's 2011 fashion show for yourself tomorrow. And be warned--these kids are serious. Eco-edged line Of Rags gear literally outfits development work in Ghana, where the pieces are produced. Of Rags founder is Branson Skinner, among other things this junior is an NYU Reynolds Scholar for Social Entrepreneurship--talk about slacking! Last time Class of '08 alums Cindy Gaston and Edna Bissoon showcased their kente-inspired Hemma Collection at the FBA's fashion show, they soon found their designs in an Essence spread and gasp! Vogue. Like I said--The kids are awl-light!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Headline: African Boy Rescues Cat!

Congolese HairStyles. From Afroklectic

The best Blogs capture something at the essence of our cultural zeitgeist today--everyone the creator, user/producer. It's liberating and all-consuming to be able to dive into and be eaten whole by so much information. It's also an intoxicating, heady and powerful idea that (almost) anyone can tell their story. Just think, in under a 100 years, we've moved from most of us not being able to read someone else's take on our story to being the authors of that story ourselves. Hallelujah!
Mirian Kihongo by David Yea
And I'll throw in an Amen! when all 900 million Africans are participating in this telling of our tales; when a panel discussion titled, "Africa Beyond the Headlines" is redundant and an empty catch-phrase, given the deluge of competing, off-headline and contradictory information we'll be bombarded with. When was the last time you came across this one, "African 7-year old Rescues Stray Cat from his Tree Garden", LoL...When will that day come?

Some inspiring Afrocentric blogs giving first take on their own African story: AnotherAfrica
Afroklectic; Heritage1960; Marian Kihongo Am moderating a conversation tonight, Africa Beyond The Headlines. Join if you can, 45 E. 69th Str.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Got Friendship? Enliven Life

Enlivened! Friends First, Ethan & Annie Power Couple of ListenIn Pictures. Image: M. Makhene.

Desert Flowers: Waris Dirie & Liya Kedebe.

I cling to two Persian loves in meditations on friendship--Rumi &Shams-e Tabrizi; Gilgamesh &Enkidu.  Rumi, “The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.” And Gilgamesh grieving Enikdu, "How, O how could I stay silent, how, O how could I keep quiet? My friend whom I love has turned to clay: Enkidu my friend whom I love has turned to clay. Am I not like him? Must I lie down too, never to rise again?"

Friendship enlivens life--creating an ocean's ripple from our fleeting passage and electrifying forgettable moments with silly gossip and giggles. A friend is a shared smile and lightened little secret, how else to explain the unlikeliest coincidence that my Albanian friend and I both dreamed of joining a nun at the exact same time, inspired by the exact same convictions from two very separate corners of the earth? A friend is recurring humility and loving yourself compassionately and deeper still, how else to look at you after seeing yourself the way only a friend does? 

And a friend is someone I owe Van-Leeuwen Artisan bourbon and Tahitian vanilla ice-cream and thick chocolate fudge worth worshiping for the KoKOFIFI post ListenIn Pictures greeted me with this morning. 

Hope you're finding mischief with friends and emboldened by the example+love of your friends. Am still in LOVE with H&Ms beautiful ode to friendship--2010 Winter Holidays Campaign. Can't all Campaigns be this democratically orgasmic?


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

SHAPE Shifting

Lanvin harem pants. Courtesy Marie Claire.

Nicolas, Prince of Congo 1899. Courtesy: NYPL Archives.
Sherwal (harem) Pants--actually based on menswear in Turkey and the Middle East--are not so fast a thing of the past. I'm thinking of them this week as all things voluminous balloon inside my head, that's what you get for flipping through this month's issue of Vogue--the SHAPE issue that has the likes of Gisele dishing on their curves! Fashion has a very amusing and voluminously vacuous sense of humor.

In other news, the New York Public Library (how much do I love this institution!) is rolling out a phat favor for all us card-carrying NYPL fashion fundis. NYPL will offer online access to the coveted Berg Fashion Library for its members beginning this week. Yeah!

NYPL celebrates the rich Berg archives tomorrow with Tim Gunn's co-author of two books, Ada Calhoun.