Category Archives: Veronica Webb

Fashion Week: Arise Magazine Fall 2010

Hey Glamazons!

When a stunning garment, the perfect model and beautiful lighting come together, it’s like magic. All the editors, stylists and celebrities live for that rare Fashion Week moment. The Arise Fall 2010 show was full of them.

The show that featured Grace Jones on the catwalk in its debut season (a moment I will never forget!) brought out the most powerful names in Fashion on Saturday evening. Featuring three up-and-coming African brands, Black Coffee, Deola Sagoe and Loin Cloth and Ashes, the event was hosted by Arise Magazine, the first global style and culture magazine to celebrate African achievement (Please do yourself a favor and subscribe. It’s one of my favorite books).

In the third row with my girlfriends (see pic below), I sat directly across from legendary supermodels, Liya Kebede, Coco Rocha and Veronica Webb. To the left of me sat the Holy Trinity of African-Americans in Fashion: June Ambrose, Harriet Cole and Bethann Hardison. You could feel the beauty and power in the room before the show even started.

The Glamazons and Elaine from “Meeting in the Ladies Room”
Me, Beautylicious of Suite Suede and Sandrine of LDVAG in the third row

When the show finally began, the energy in the air was palpable.The lights dimmed and a hush fell over the elite crowd. The models were preceded by a lighted display of leaves against the wall. With light African-themed music playing in the background, the models stepped on the runway one-by-one with only their silhouette peeking through the light.

A sole spotlight hit the catwalk and the models, including the beautiful Chanel Iman, began to walk, wearing South African brand, Black Coffee. Taking inspiration from Pablo Picasso’s reinterpretation of African masks, designers Jacques van der Watt and Danica Lepen presented a line of flesh tone cocoon-shaped coats, structured shoulders in architectural shapes and fluid dresses in soft, mint green colors.

The second collection was presented by Tanzanian designer, Anisa Mpungwe, of the brand, Loin Cloth and Ashes. Inspired by her father’s hometown of Ifakara, Mpungwe’s collection was a melange of body-skimming dresses, billowy pants and flowing skirts, energized with touches of metallic gold, electric blue and sharp stripes.

And last but not least, I discovered one of my two new ‘It’ designers of Fashion Week (the other is Laquan Smith, more on him later!): Deola Sagoe. Hailing from Nigeria, the beautiful designer showed her collection of bodycon dresses, slim pants and military-inspired jackets with metallic, embroidered and lace flourishes. Inspired by East African Maasai warriors and 18th century European military uniforms, the looks were sharp, valiant, sassy and strong.

And who better to model that look than my favorite, Sessilee Lopez? Leading the army of models, Lopez stormed the catwalk with the fiercest strut ever (Rae Holiday of Stuff Fly People Like remarked, “Sessilee walked off the runway and took the show with her!”). Each model followed her lead and enraptured the audience, who applauded after every look. At the close of the show, designer Deola Sagoe walked out to a standing ovation from the crowd.

The designer, Deola Sagoe, walking out at the end of the show.

While mingling in the Tents after the show, I ran into the one-and-only, fabulous stylist du jour, June Ambrose! She turned the hallway outside into a catwalk, serving up the most ferocious runway walk while a crowd of bloggers cheered her on. Midway through, she stopped and posed for my pic like a pro. See why The Glamazons love her? Such a fun night!

What do you think of the Arise Fall 2010 designers? Who is your new favorite designer?

Kisses,

Coutura

Fashion Week: Zac Posen Fall 2010




The Fashion Gods love me. The day after Valentine’s Day, I woke up to an email inviting me to cover backstage at the Zac Posen Fall 2010 show—and started jumping for joy. This was better than chocolate, champagne and a dozen roses, since I’ve been smitten with the young designer for as long as I can remember. (Anyone who reads this blog is fully aware of my love for Zac…and yes, in case you were wondering, he knocked my boy toy out of the park and took the title for my Valentine this year).

I flew to the Altman Building on 18th Street faster than you can say “Posen” and was ushered downstairs and through a long corridor to backstage. The scene was chaotic with hairstylists, media, celebrities, models and make-up artists all scrambling hurriedly in preparation for the show. Check out Ferocia’s rundown of the backstage beauty looks here and some pics I snapped backstage of the scene below.

Sessilee Lopez getting her makeup done.

Zac Posen and head MAC makeup artist, Stephane Marias

Zac Posen greeting Alek Wek backstage.

The man of the hour, Zac Posen, showed off his charming, boyish good looks as photographers snapped away minutes before the show—which was styled by his true Valentine, boyfriend Christopher Niquet. Meanwhile, celebrities like Miss J of America’s Next Top Model, Veronica Webb and legendary supermodel, Pat Cleveland (whose daughter Anna walked in the show and is Posen’s new muse) chatted and smiled for the photogs.

Veronica Webb interviewing Miss J for her talk show.

After leaving the backstage area and securing a spot in the Standing section (Yes, I stood in my studded boots with a sprained ankle to see the show. Clearly, I’m a fashion addict), I mingled with friends until it was finally time for the show to start.

Celebrated hip-hop violinist, Miri Ben-Ari, stood to the left of the runway and gave a rousing rendition of songs by rapper, Styles P of the Lox, and Run DMC. While Ben-Ari’s electric violin filled the room, backed by a thumping beat, Alek Wek, Sessilee Lopez, Anna Cleveland and Coco Rocha (who closed the show), stormed the catwalk. I love that Zac directed the models to bring some life and personality to their strut, smiling and flirting with the crowd as they walked. Sessilee Lopez even modeled with her hands on her hips, swaying them from side-to-side. (I met her backstage and she’s a sweetheart! And totally, my new favorite model. She KILLED the Arise show, which I’ll fill you in on later). All in all, it made for a youthful, fun, flirty show!

The front row was just as star-studded with industry legends, Sex and the City wardrobe stylist, Patricia Field, American Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington, The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan and Elle Magazine’s Joe Zee absorbing the fashions. Oh and a Glamazon Blog fan, Joy Adaeze of www.fashiondivalicious.blogspot.com  made sure to say Hi to us at the show. Check out her fabulous blog! 

And now for the Fashion: The collection was fresh, vibrant and lavish with luxurious, colored furs, bright, flouncy skirts, swing coats and sleek pantsuits! The 40’s style trousers were a study in exquisite tailoring and proportions. The colors were vivid and energetic with hot pink, purple and mustard hues invigorating muted camel tones. Posen experimented with texture with fur booties (a trend on the runway!) and velvet dresses and suits.

While his Fall 2009 collection (which I also had the pleasure of attending) centered on opulent, lavish gowns, Fall 2010 is decidedly wearable by comparison. My educated guess is Zac ventured away from more elaborate designs in an effort to curb recent financial troubles, as chronicled by the February 3rd New York Times article blasting the designer’s business management. With a new collection for Target on deck, and the affordable line Z Spoke, Zac should be back to economic stability in no time.

What do you think of the collection, Glamazons?! Do you miss Zac’s gowns or are you on board with his new “wearable” looks? 

Kisses,

Coutura

Racism on the Runways: Bethann Hardison and Naomi Cambpell Demand Change


Hey Glamazons,

With New York Fashion Week days away, the discussion about African-American visibility in Fashion has resurfaced—thanks to Bethann Hardison. The former model and agent, who also happens to be my hero, hosted an informal meet-and-greet with models and casting directors last night called the Paradigm Shift. Held at the Deitch projects, the meeting is the latest effort in Hardison’s crusade to give models of colors a significant presence on the runway.

Designer Sophie Theallet famously used only black models in her Fall 2009 runway show.

The mother of actor, Kadeem Hardison, Bethann is responsible for initiating the discussion with industry heavyweights about diversity in Fashion, which indirectly led to the wildly-popular Vogue Italia issue and the i-D magazine September cover that features four rising supermodels, Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn, Sessilee Lopez and Arlenis Sosa. Hardison acknowledged how her efforts made the i-D magazine cover a possibility: “…the fact that they can find four girls is genius. That means something,” she told Modelinia.com. “It’s much improved from 2007. i-D’s always been cutting-edge. But the fact that you can find four girls? That’s a tribute to the work we do.”

Here are recent covers depicting black models from Trace’s Black Girls Rule! issue to the legendary Vogue Italia “All-Black” issue.



Bethann Hardison’s own career is just as groundbreaking: a successful model in her own right, she’s guided the careers of such prominent African-American faces as Tyson Beckford and Veronica Webb. Though her strides toward diversity in Fashion should be heralded, she acknowledges that racism on the runways persists. For example, Naomi Campbell made headlines recently by asserting that ad execs, in fear of losing consumers during a recession, refrain from using black models for their campaigns: “I don’t see any black woman, or of any other race, in big advertising campaigns,” said Naomi. People, in the panic of the recession, don’t dare to put a girl of colour in their campaign, full stop. Nor of any other race. It’s a shame. It’s very sad.”

When I interviewed Hardison last September, she explained that yet another impediment to creating diversity is that designers don’t see their aversion to use black models as racist. “Though their actions aren’t necessarily racially motivated, there are racially-conscious results,” she said. “Designers claim they want uniformity simply because it’s editorially appealing, but they have to modernize their thinking. Uniform-looking models don’t reflect the world.”


Why aren’t designers using black models for campaigns or runway shows? Do you think it’s a product of racism, because they want uniformity or because they fear that they’ll lose consumers?
Do you think diversity in Fashion increased after the Vogue Italia issue proved that black magazine covers sell? Do you anticipate that more designers will use black models this Fashion Week? Discuss.

Kisses,

Coutura