Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Art Apprentice

Lara Stone Playing Art Apprentice for Bruce Weber. Courtesy Vogue Ilalia. 

Romantically, I suspect there are still opportunities to learn the craft of beauty in parts of Europe (teasingly, UK site confirms this), but in these grand States of the Americas, what happened to apprenticing outside of bricklaying and boilers? Yes, design is very much a lucrative business, but if you believe in beauty and the importance of its preservation and evolution, how can you trust the next generation to learn the craft of beauty without these young guns sitting first at the master's feet?

1896 Print of Sculptor Auguste Rodin in the studio with Assistant Henri Lebosse & Apprentice. 


Yes, some of my friends are white (tittle to a great book) and let me be the first to brag--MAD Talent. Bess Greenberg is Director of art gallery 25CPW and the fly chick who gets to play host to The Global Fashion Fight during cancer awareness week. If you are in NYC Oct 25-27, stop by 25 Central Park West for inspiring art, covet-worthy fall pieces (as pictured scarf, designed with cancer patients) and truly beautiful people. Go Ahead, Bess!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

K'naan: A Love Letter

Courtesy G. A. Hussein, 2007. 

K'naan's New York Times op-ed is an open love letter for his homeland, for the thing that consumes it and most likely, for the best definition of his humanity as he so eloquently ties it to the life struggle in the Horn of Africa today. You will weep reading it and easily, weep even more if you ponder it's meaning first read. But the real challenge, I suppose, is how we bottle those tears into a bottle of something so tough to swallow, we don't stop at tears?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Song For A Lioness: Dr. Maathai

Ethiopian wisdom: "One’s name remains above the grave". I sing of you, Mme Wangari Muta Maathai and know my voice is strong as part of a loud and growing choir of prayers. Wangari Maathai. Your Name Is Alive.

EBONY Mag Gets Glossy

THEN & NOW. All Photos Courtesy Ebony.
I was just so delighted this w/e to revel in an absolutely freshened and re-spritzed for modern living EBONY Magazine. I grew up thumbing my way through the riots and struggles that connected my people to african-americans' collective experience. But that was some time ago...during apartheid! As we moved past that decade and trauma, it got harder to pick up a copy of EBONY and see my daily experience reflected in its pages. So you can imagine my pleasure being unable to put a copy of the magazine down at the store this w/e and of finding myself curled up at home with a revamped EBONY and glass of wine in hand. (Confession: like any good nerd I was tipped off about the hopeful comeback giant Johnson Publishing, by a great NPR story).
The Very Bold Black Beauty posing for EBONY, March 2011. Photographed by Ruven Afanador. Courtesy Ebony
BRAVO to the beautiful and brave Bellas broadening EBONY's definition and celebration of self--including Former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, now CEO of the publishing house and editorial powerhouse Amy DuBois Barnett. Amy sums it best, "It was (IS) time for EBONY to be the voice of the new black America: an empowered, informed and optimistic legion of folks ready to get things done"I love seeing women like me in any publication, but ultimately, I love a magazine that delivers on the reason I pick up a glossy in the first place--for a sting of gloss, glamour and today's culture! Thank goodness these power divas are injecting style and glamour back into a household black bible!

Friday, September 23, 2011

iWant: mustLUST

Courtesy Style Sight.

Inspired by Geekigirl Canadian blogger of IWantIGot, me been lusting nonstop for Peter Pilotto's spring/summer 2012 resort line. Sweet jesus in the fire bush them dresses is fine...remind me of true nyc love Boxing Kitten. And in other news, great green/style ethics Guardian article discovered by way of said geekigirl. Thanks Canada chick!

Courtesy Boxing Kitten

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Origin of Beauty: Ethiopia

Courtesy Raven & Lily. 

Ethiopia seems to seldom disappoint supplying us things (and people!) of inordinate beauty.  I am thinking of the sumptuous cup of something black and very Ethiopian I sipped from addicts' heaven, Blue bird. I am also thinking of the enchanting line of jewelry Raven & Lily (how cool is that name? Raven & Lilly. Lilly & Raven) sourced from Ethiopia. Being the soft sucker i am, love Raven & Lily even more for working with women artisans in countries like Ethiopia and India, for making modern must-have jewelry that brings Ethiopian women's stories of love, struggle, life and good coffee closer to our ears and thankfully chic necklines! To Ethiopia, with love.

Making Pretty Pieces. Raven & Lily. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Handmade w/LOVE: Pretty & Practical

Photo Courtesy, Momchil-Hristov. Stolen from the inspiring gentlemen's (and admiring ladies) blog,

A perfect Sunday probably includes discovering a vintage treasure in an unlikely boutique at a smug-inducing smile along with making something  creative, something that leaves even me unexpectedly delighted by what a bit of time and imagination can weave together. Most people who've deep dived into embracing fashion have some kind of D.I.Y (no shame in asking, it means do it yourself...had no clue forever even as i found myself fumbling through dyi projects, without any pretty manuals!) distorted dna about them, and it usually does not stop simply with beading a cool necklace around their neck.

I love the sassy wave of craft that's come alive through blogazines as hip as P.S. I Made This and Make Grow Gather--the fly chicks behind these blogs prove only what is already proven as an infallible truth:
today's crafts and creative projects are all about the even more self-satisfied than shopping smug that comes with making something pretty, practical and pretty phreggin modern! Something grandma would think you bought in a store and love you even more for, knowing you made it the old fashioned way and with a touch of something sassily spelling by hand and with love. Now if you'll excuse me, Make Grow Gather's guru in residence Kelley Wilkinson has a sweet little book out that I need to attack with abandon--will not rest tonight until achieving nirvana through a smug, i-made-that Look of superiority!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Marchesa Primavera=LOVE

The ephemeral dream quality of this collection is truly spellbinding. Any one of these creations is surely a deep dive dip of LUV to wear. Send me something Marchesa spring 2012 when you think of me...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NYFW-Front Row Seats

Carolina Herrera SP/12 NYFW. Getty Images.

So, what's your take? Appalled by fashion show zoology (when the attention at a show is who's in the front row) or applauding an industry for knowing how to capture the spotlight (although I'm not sure anyone can share it with Ms. Minaj) through star-studded mayhem?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Power Pouting

Blue Marine at Richard Chai Love. Yeah or Neah?
Getty Images.

Zimbabwean Nyasha for Richard Chai, Spring Collection 2012, NYFW.
As a woman with very full, very round, ultra botox-free African lips, I've always shied away from crazy lip colors and honestly considered red lips purely too much information. But then Mad Men mania made me put on a fuller skirt, which had to be complemented with beet red nails and after that, well, I clear lost my mind with orange/pink/flaming red roulette lips.

Never been cheesier!

If you also have a pretty full pout, you'll be encouraged by some of the hot beauty dictations coming down the runways at New York Fashion Week--Loving for example the florescent purple Zim Chick Nyasha wore for Richard Chai. And in my Mad Men Moment (nominated for Best Costume Designs at the 2011 Emmys) of infatuation, crazy for all things screaming red on rounded lips right now.

If you are going big on lip color, there are so many fun ways to play--tease out the dominant color of your getup, as in the more more purple pop in Nyasha's Richard Chai look; put on something even crazier on the color-wheel, i love red lips against forest green sweaters for fall, but red lips against a bold yellow cable sweater would make me even happier. And what's ever been more of a power play than all black everything against red lips & red nails?

Ajak & Ataui Deng for Arise. Courtesy Arise Magazine

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Viva Blk Jks & FNO

Fashion's Night Out Black Power Salute. Provocative Much? Image Courtesy Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

'Tis the eve of fashion's blockbusting splashout--a party born during the financial nosebleed of 2009. Calm reigns supreme tonight as NYC prepares for Fashion Night Out. Stocks and sovereign accounts may crash and tumble tomorrow but come night time my dears, we will let them eat cake and even more cake in the best celebration of fashion, glamour, decadence, shopping and celebrity ever concocted to buoy spending and feed an industry the type of cake that keeps economies alive. FNO caused quite a stir in 2009. I love how it awaked an awareness that fashion is not just about pretty finishings and under-linings. Fashion is an industry that keeps 165,000 people employed in NYC alone; that's 5.7 percent of the city's workforce and  $9 billion worth pay. That's a well-heeled power play of there ever was one. 

So FNO taps into this spending frenzy genius. Other corners of the world are also spreading around some of the cheer, but of course we're psyched to know IT brands such as Nicole Miller will be popping bubbly in support of African women through the sale of cheeky Indego Africa print shorts and accessories. And our rock star boys Blk Jks from mzantsi held things down in the meatpacking district last year with a show at Scoop during Bono's FNO with his sustainable brand, Edun. Sickest Sounds on that Track! "'Skulumelela labasekho"--we sing for those no longer with us. Nuff Said!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ghetto Glam: Soweto Wine Festival

The Tall Sultry Beauty is a KoKOFIFI Woman & GalPal from our Boarding School Days. Can you say Fierce?

Modern Mohawk. Loving The Do. 
Nothing says Viva! L'Chaim! FoSho! better than a glass of something tall and bubbly. And nothing affirms life louder than the bravado and style of Soweto, where a three day wine festival just celebrated its 6th year.

The festival is the brainchild of Soweto's first winehouse owner, Mnikelo Mangciphu and Marylin Cooper.

Beyond just wine, the festival also showcased good Sowetan grub.

Speaking of cool local food, you must pick up a copy of this month's AFAR Travel Magazine for an education on the culinary craze that's thankgoodness! swallowing Cape Town whole and threatening to make something  truly South African out of gasp! cape-grown cuisine that will leave any gourmand weeping in gratitude and African pride. 

There were roaring Springboks fans--don't you know we're taking the Rugby World Cup this year? And of course, Sowetan Fashionistas stepping out in style. Fine wine and finer wear--Yes, i'll drink to that!
Say It Like You Mean It! Springbok Fans Heard in New Zealand from Soweto Live.
I'd Be All Smiles Too...All Images Courtesy of the 2011 Soweto Wine Festival.

Todrick Talent

You know i actually do have a day job that does not include perusing youtube to find the most amusing funny sick slick stuff for your guffawing and heehawing. Okey, well maybe i lie maybe the lady doth protest too much about being forced to stumble upon raw talent and presenting it here to you--dear darling Sir mad kind Madam--for your infinite entertainment. Todrick Hall. Kid's got some funny bone chops. Laughed myself silly with this Dominos bit.

Talent--Always in Style.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sowetan Brides

Yes, Beauty Pageants are a Big Glamourous Deal in Africa. Former Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Looking Lovely in Kluk. Image Courtesy Sarie Magazine. Hot Hued dude in the background? TBD...

Loving the Bride's Vision here. Isn't it all about wearing the dress (not letting it wear you)? She'a Rockin It!
All Images Courtesy of Sowetan.
Like flipping through grandma's younger days, there seems to be something joyful about going through fun wedding pictures that celebrate African love stories and capture a temperature read of the times we live in and how we define them. Just discovered another treasure trove for all you brides to be this summer, Sowetan Brides and of course I had to whet your appetite with home made and loved pictures of the brides along with zesty mzantsi gossip--former Miss South African Jo-Ann Strauss is engaged and seeing as though it's springtime in South Africa, wedding bells could chime any moment now...

Themba & Victor's Wedding. Love the Simplicity.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ma Cherie! I Missed You

An African Ballet: Ninon Shoes Image Courtesy Ninon Shoes.

It's been a summer of crazy travel, hurricane heartthrobs (hello Irene) and a piece of mind (goodbye no reception zones)
Oh! I have missed you so...and I have twiddled my time twirling fantasies and fairy tales about fashion divas in white blazers, plain green fields to run through and hand-stitched leather swan lakes of fall color bags to dive into. In other words, I wrote you a fashion love song, and it begin with a shortlisted few favorite creatives & their pretty little things:

Ninon Louw is the bright bold creative behind Ninon handmade shoes, entirely created and loved to perfection in Cape Town. Mzantsi Fosho!

To know Enyinne is  Love Inspiration Alive. She is nothing short of tall insistent sips of sun. And intoxicatingly Nigerian! Her blogazine Heritage1960 is already a fashion chic's first Go-to.

The Fierce Nigerian Beauty Enyinne Owunwanne Launches this Fall. She has me and the likes of Arise Magazine's salivating already...Image Courtesy Arise.