It was 2001. I was searching through the fashion collections when I came across a model with birds literally coming out of her head. I was transfixed. It was then I decided that the designer behind the birds was a visionary—creative, crazy and amazing.
Alexander McQueen was one-of-a-kind in that he was daring and rebellious in his designs. He was inspired by punk-rock street fashion and gave that marginalized crowd credibility, transforming them from weird street kids to purveyors of high-end style.
His imagination was rare, unbound and brave. He was a fashion dreamer, and remained that way throughout his career even when a crippling recession would encourage him to do otherwise.
He wasn’t without his share of financial and business troubles, but they never defined him or hindered his creativity. His designs were always brimming with energy, creativity and life—which makes it all the harder to imagine him lifeless.
Alexander McQueen sparked a generation of fashion renegades and rebels, including Christian Siriano, who design for the adventure and beauty of the art—not for the money or fame. His brilliant mind and vivacious spirit live on not only in his masterful pieces, but in the way he changed and inspired fashion as a whole.
Today, there is a dark cloud over New York Fashion Week as the industry struggles to make sense of Lee (Alexander) McQueen’s untimely passing. In his memory, I think we should celebrate the designers that dare to dream and experiment in Fashion. That energy, passion and brilliance is what keeps the art of Fashion alive. It will never die.
RIP Fashion Legend, Alexander McQueen.
A memoriam of flowers outside Alexander McQueen’s NYC boutique.
The Glamazons are saddened by news that the legendary Naomi Sims, one of the first African-American supermodels, has passed away from Cancer at the age of 61.
A businesswoman, entrepreneur and author, Naomi Sims paved the way for black women in fashion as one of the first dark-skinned models to be accepted by the mainstream. Her presence in popular culture encouraged women to embrace their dark skin tones and kinky hair, which at the time was considered less than beautiful. “Black wasn’t beautiful then,” she shared in an interview with Black Enterprise. “The darker your skin, the less good-looking you were considered.”
Not only did Sims turn the perception that dark skin was ugly on it’s head, she made a sizable profit from selling skin products and wigs as founder and CEO of the Naomi Sims Collection. She will be missed dearly but her immeasurable contribution to the fashion industry, and society, will always be remembered.
The Glamazons are devastated by news that Vibe Magazine, a publication with it’s imprint on the pulse of hip hop, is no longer running. As readers, subscribers and lovers of everything Vibe, we feel the void. We haven’t been this upset since Suede Magazine folded. On top of the edgy fashion spreads, the political essays, the artists who got their first taste of exposure (when no one else would cover them) and the genius 20 Questions franchise, we lost the very first platform for our music, when it was considered a passing fad by the mainstream. Around the age of 7, in 1992, when I was seduced by this alluring music form, scratch that, lifestyle called hip-hop, Vibe was my handbook. Now, sixteen years later, we’ve lost a staple of our adolescence, our voice and our culture that will never be forgotten or replaced. RIP
RIP Vibe Magazine, the voice of our culture before it was cool to like hip-hop!
Today we lost a brilliant performer and extraordinary man, whose contribution to entertainment is incomparable. Michael Jackson‘s ability to triumph over racial boundaries at a time when MTV didn’t play black artists will forever impact the African-American presence in the mainstream. His spirit was infectious, his enthusiasm and eager to please us was evident in every performance. He revolutionized the recording industry, influencing everyone from Britney Spears to Usher, but his trend-setting ways transcend the realm of music. In military jackets, dark aviators, shiny black loafers, white socks, glittery gloves and top hats, Michael Jackson catapulted himself into the highest stratosphere of pop stardom, shared only perhaps by Elvis and Madonna.
A giant in American cultural history, Michael Jackson redefined what it meant to be a superstar. I remember getting goosebumps as a young child watching his forward leans that defied gravity and his impossibly smooth Moonwalk. I remember learning every dance move to Remember The Time (when he appeared out of gold dust! too cool!) and being terrified of the haunted house scene in Thriller. Now that I’m a young adult, he represents the wonderment of my youth, a time when I was filled with joy, and excitement, and promise. In his passing, I recognize him as the best star of my generation but he was so much more. A friend who connected to my soul and captured my innermost thoughts through music. A part of my youth and spirit, present at every milestone in my life. A beautiful, complicated person who I love, despite any rumor or eccentricity, and will miss dearly. Below, a fashion tribute to the purveyor of cool, our beloved entertainer, Michael Jackson. And a nod to the generation that will follow in his legendary, loafer-clad footsteps.
The glittery glove, military jacket and aviators were all a part of his otherworldly, larger-than-life persona. His over-the-top style quickly made him into a fashion icon.
No other man could make thick white socks and loafers look as cool. The extravagant take on formal menswear became Michael’s signature. Though singers like Ne-Yo mimic MJ’s style, no one can pull it off with as much finesse as he did.
Before pop stars of today donned metal bodysuits, MJ’s metallic, robotic moment was a foray into the future of fashion. Michael Jackson was truly ahead of his time.
Details like the one-gloved hand and studded pants add an edgy appeal to his glamorous sequined jackets. Now, the glove—sometimes, glittery, sometimes, white—is an enduring phenomenon
copied by celebs to this day.
The same pop stars that mimic Michael Jackson’s captivating dance steps and infectious hits turn to him when it’s time to get dressed too. Celebs like Kanye and Rihanna take their cue from the King of Pop’s fashion wardrobe, rocking the military jacket trend he made famous.
Rihanna in Balmain (one of MJ’s fave designers)
Editrix Nina Garcia in a military-inspired jacket at Bryant Park
Kanye West with girlfriend, Amber Rose, at Fashion Week.
Beyonce in a Balmain jacket in NYC
Michael Jackson left an indelible imprint on music and fashion but is just as well known for his videos. Always groundbreaking from plot development to dance sequences, his work helped to establish music videos as a respected art form, paving the way for shows like TRL and 106 & Park. Enjoy some of his greatest music videos, including the greatest of all time: Thriller!
Rock with You
Scream featuring Janet Jackson
Remember the Time
Superbowl Performance 1993
Glamazons, what trend are you rocking in honor of MJ? What is your favorite Michael Jackson memory? What song or video of his do you love the most? What did he mean to you? What do you think the impact of his death will be on pop culture? What legacy do you think he’ll leave behind?