Vogue Italia Responds to Criticism

Only days since the launch of the new Vogue Italia, the internet has been abuzz with criticism about the separate and allegedly “segregationist” channels: Vogue Black, Vogue Curvy and Vogue Talents.

A commenter on our post about it described the expansion as “bittersweet,” explaining that she’s thrilled for the attention on black and curvy Fashion, but insulted that it had to live separately from the main website.

Well, Vogue Black, as well as Vogue Black Contributor Afrobella (who Ferocia interviewed about her fab new gig!), took to the web to address the criticism, particularly the Cut Blog post condemning the site. Check out excerpts from their responses below:

From Vogue Italia:

Rodarte‘s success story, as seen in Vogue Talents, celebrates the creativity of the Mulleavy sisters and aims to set an example of how, with true talent, one can succeed in a short time. Vogue Talents is a channel dedicated to young designers: we couldn’t have found bigger encouragement. Or must we keep thinking that young people should not be given space?

Vogue CurvyTyra Banks in her first post for Vogue.it wrote that “beauty comes in many shapes, and especially in many sizes.” Unfortunately, however, there was no magazine – or site- that covered “other sizes” before.

Finally, two years on from the publication of A Black Issue, surrounded by Eastern European models, we ask ourselves: how long will it take before we see more black beauties on the runway? As summarized by Afrobella in her blog, they deserve their own spotlight.

From Afrobella:

Why does Vogue Italia feel the need to separate into different channels? My answer is, because throughout the history of fashion, black and curvy has been overlooked. We deserve our own spotlight. Of course, ideally black beauty and full figured beauty would be part of the mainstream – BUT IT’S NOT. Someone please share a link from The Cut about plus size fashion bloggers or black beauty bloggers. Please. I’d love to read it. Because I’ve been reading them for a minute and I’ve never seen one. And who’s to say that material from Vogue Black or Vogue Curvy won’t make it into Vogue Italia? For me as a reader, I think it’s refreshing to find a channel that exclusively caters to what I’m looking for — beauty and fashion inspiration that relates to my reality.

“We deserve our own spotlight.” I just like the sound of that!

What do you think? Does that explain away the separation of “Vogue Black,” “Vogue Talents” and “Vogue Curvy?”

I get it. I think a spotlight on black culture, young designers and full-figured women in Fashion is deserved and way overdue. And Vogue Black, Curvy and Talents offers just that.

At the same time, full-figured and African-American designers, models, beauty needs, etc. should be incorporated into mainstream publications and sites regularly, as well.

Why? True diversity is showing the work of a black designer and white designer side-by-side in an editorial spread. Featuring a plus-size model and thin model in every issue. So eventually that model or designer surpasses racial/size boundaries and becomes accepted and praised by everyone for their talent alone. And then, everyone can start to see the beauty in different cultures and sizes.

Let’s move toward including black and curvy models, bloggers and designers regularly in Vogue Italia…and Vogue…and V Magazine…and Elle Magazine…and every fashion mainstream publication.

That’s not to say I’m not happy about Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy. I’m glad that the channels exist and agree that the spotlight is truly deserved.

But I would hate for Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy to become sites only visited and produced by women of color…or women with curves. 

And I would love for women of all backgrounds to be exposed to the beauty, richness and enormous talent that exists in black and curvy Fashion…on the main channel AND on the “spotlight” channels…and in every issue of mainstream magazines.

What are your thoughts? Discuss.

Also, I feel I should repeat this, that is not to say I am not thrilled about Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy. I am beyond happy that Vogue Italia—a publication with connections, resources and talent—is paying attention to black and curvy women. In fact, my hero, who I had the pleasure of interviewing at The Magazine, Bethann Hardison has been named Editor-at-Large of Vogue Black. That makes me want to do back flips down my Brooklyn street with my sprained ankle.

But I do believe this discussion, about incorporating black and curvy fashion into the mainstream, needs to be had. 

Okay. I’m done.




10 Minutes with Micah Jesse, Celebrity Blogger

He’s loud. He’s fabulous. He’s amazeballs. And he’s newly platinum blonde.

I’m talking about none other than celebrity blogger, Micah Jesse!

If you don’t know the name, you should. At only 23, Micah has interviewed the top celebrities of our time: Elton John, Beyonce, Rihanna, Heidi Klum, Kanye West, Gladys Knight, Kelly Ripa, Cuba Gooding Jr. and more! But he’s a star in his own right. Besides sharing his talents with Us Weekly and OK! Magazine, he manages a wildly popular blog, MicahJesse.com, which is one of the only sources of positive celebrity news on the web. And he’s adorable!

Micah Jesse cracks me up, and I told him as much when I finally met him backstage at the Heart Truth Red Dress Collection fashion show. We’ve been fans of each others ever since.

Yesterday, I caught up with the superstar, fresh from an appointment at the Ricardo Rojas salon, to chat about everything from tips for making it in the entertainment biz, to boys we love, to Rihanna’s special nickname for him, to Adrienne Bailon’s beauty secrets. Read on!

Coutura: Okay, can I just say I looove your new look! What made you go platinum blonde?

Micah Jesse: I was getting my nails did because the publicist for this salon was like, “Come in, and get your nails Mynxed from Beyonce’s manicurist [Lisa Logan].” And I was like OMG, I would die. So after I got it done, I was talking to the hairstylist [Richard Rojas] and he was like “With those eyebrows, you can look like Jean Paul Gaultier with bleached blonde hair.” I was like I’ve never done it in my life but at the end of the day, change is good. [Editor’s Note: Check out Micah Jesse’s Youtube video and read his ‘Blonde Ambition’ post here.]

Coutura: Ohhh I love Lisa Logan, she’s done my Mynx before too. Leopard print Mynx for my birthday. Oww! So how important is your look to making it in the entertainment industry?

Micah Jesse: I have a big personality so I need a look to match my personality. Things like Mynx nails and a new blonde look are attention grabbing. They get people to start talking. I never expected my site to blow up the way it has. I’m just a small town guy from Georgia who moved to New York with a dream and now, I have all these opportunities and meet these new people. I think a lot of that stems from being unique and having a unique look.

Coutura: So cool that you’re from a small town in Georgia and moved to the city and now you’re a huge, famous, red-carpet blogger.

MJ: Thanks. Atlanta was hard for me. I was still in the closet. I had dreams of moving to NYC. Even when I was young, I was always onstage. As soon as I got out of the car, I’d do cartwheels. I was a huge showman. I did plays too. But that didn’t do it for me. My heart wasn’t complete until I moved to New York for college. And at Hoftstra, I was like a local celeb. My site first became popular there.

Coutura: Your site is huge!

MJ: Thanks! I do everything myself. Blogging, video editing, graphics, everything. And tweet. And facebook.

Coutura: Whoa. You must be super busy. Walk us through a typical workday.

MJ: There is no such thing! And that’s what I love about it. I go out every night so there’s no set time that I wake up. I have lunch meetings with execs. At nighttime, I hit the streets hard.

Coutura: How important are these events? Because a lot of time, when people aren’t in this business, they look at us like ‘Why are you partying? On a Tuesday?’ They don’t get that it’s for work.

MJ: Oh no, it’s not partying. Most nights, I don’t even drink. I look at it as work. But then, I also see it as WERQ, W-E-R-Q. It’s my time to Werq it…and mingle, bat my eyes a little bit. Whether or not I talk to people, I make sure that I’m noticed.

Coutura: Speaking of not drinking, I always sideeye the person acting a drunken fool at industry events. What are three common mistakes up-and-comers make in the entertainment biz?

MJ: First, trying too hard. Begging for Twitter followers. Mass spamming magazines like People, Us Weekly. They’re not going to write about you if you do that! Or trying so hard to get your picture taken. Even if you do make it on a photo agency site, a mag editor isn’t going to say “Who’s that?” and google you. They’re going to say “Who’s that?” and keep it moving. Number 2, not working hard enough. Success is not handed to you. Number 3 is like you said, getting drunk at events. If you’re trying to make a name for yourself, be very careful about your image because everybody is watching you.

Coutura: People think you have the coolest job, but what was your most un-cool, embarassing red-carpet moment?

MJ: OMG. It just happened a month ago. I interviewed Gabourey Sidibe, who is Oscar nominated for her incredible role in Precious. I was so enamored by her. My final question to her was something along the lines of “How are you going to celebrate all your success?” And she said, “Well, I just got two tickets to Mariah Carey’s show at Madison Square Garden, I couldn’t be more excited.” And being so enamored by her, I said: “OMG, are you going to meet her?” And everyone in the room started hysterically laughing because Mariah was in Precious. (laughs) But now, we’re really close. We message back and forth and that dumb comment was the start of a great friendship.

Coutura: That’s so cute. And it happens to the best of us. I’ve definitely had moments like that.

MJ: Yeah, it was cool. And she’s the sweetest thing. Put that in your article. I just adore her.

Coutura: What was it like interviewing Rihanna on top of the Empire State Building?

MJ: I’m glad you asked that. I’ll never forget that. She’s so young, people forget that, and such an amazing person. I was working at OK! Magazine at that time…as an intern! I was such a superstar intern that they sent me on a job to interview this pop star. Rihanna loved my Cristina V. necklace so much that she calls me “Necklace Boy,” whenever I see her. Which goes back to what you said about looks. Celebs love fashion and are so enamored by my style, they forget that I’m an interviewer and we start chatting like friends.

Coutura: Who is your celebrity crush?

MJ: Adam Lambert. We’re pretty much married, he’s doesn’t know it yet. Just kidding. I’ve met him quite a few times. Last time I saw him was at a Z100 concert. And he told me, “I like your studs,” because I was wearing a studded jacket. And I was like, “I like you stud.”

Coutura: Hahaha, smooth! I love it! Adam Lambert is so cute! What would the public be surprised to know about you?

MJ: That I’m also quite introverted. Vibrant and red-carpet ready when I’m out on the scene. But when I’m in, I’m IN. Right now, I’m wearing undies, a t-shirt and no makeup. Very introverted.

Coutura: Really?! Could never imagine you being introverted.

MJ: Yeah, I’m a Cancer in the truest form. Also, I’m very sensitive.

Coutura: Oh, I’m dating a Cancer now. He’s great.

MJ: Aren’t they the best?

Coutura: Oh, he’s amazing. Speaking of amazing, Give us some Micah-isms.

MJ: Ooo, Micah-isms! Ok, the first one I want to speak on, is the famous “amazeballs.” My first slogan for the site was “Quench your thirst for amazingness.” I shortened it to “amazeballs.” I said it so often, that my friends and celeb friends started saying, “OMG. That’s amazeballs.” And then (clears throat) Perez Hilton started saying it.

Coutura: (laughs) But everyone knows it’s yours! I was going to say, your positive spin on celebrity news puts you on the other end of the spectrum in relation to what Perez and others do. I’m sure celebs appreciate that you don’t slander them. So, we’re going to play a positive name game. I’m going to say a celeb’s name and you say the first thing that comes to mind.

Coutura: Lady Gaga.

MJ: Trendsetter.

Coutura: Khloe Kardashian.

MJ: The new Nicole Ritchie.

Coutura: True! Lindsay Lohan.

MJ: Troubled. Being honest. She’s an incredible actress but if her parents were more involved, and out for her best interest as a human being, rather than a celebrity, she’d be better off.

Coutura: Preach! Adam Lambert.

MJ: Hubba, hubba, hubby.

Coutura: Hahaha. Angie and Brad.

MJ: The epitome of Hollywood.

Coutura: Definitely. People don’t realize you have talents outside of the celebrity world. Like makeup.

MJ: (laughs) There’s a lot of things people don’t know I can do. Like I also sing.

Coutura: Shut the front door!

MJ: Have you heard my song with Aubrey O’Day? Go to YouTube and type in Micah Jesse Fashion Week. [Editor’s note: Check out the song below]. I’ve never taken classes but I love to sing. Also, for makeup, when I was in high school, I’d have my girlfriends over for a sleepover and do their makeup. And I’ve been doing it ever since. I started experimenting on myself. I’d put on makeup and club in Atlanta. Not a lot. A little bit of eyeliner. And would rub it off as much as I could before I got home to my somewhat conservative parents.

Coutura: In New York, so many guys wear makeup. And even straight guys do now, like Pete Wentz. What makeup tips can you share with us?

MJ: Bronze skin always makes you look skinnier. If you’re against tanning, try spray tanning. They’ve perfected it so people don’t look orange. Also, use color that compliments your eyes, whether green or blue or brown. And lastly, I recommend falsies, fake eyelashes. Adrienne Bailon wears them and she has the most beautiful eyes. They always make her eyes pop.

Coutura: Yes! She has the most gorgeous eyes! I need some falsies. Well, thanks so much for sharing your secrets with us.

MJ: Sure!

Coutura: And enjoy your new blonde hair!

Check out Micah Jesse’s transformation here:

And check out his song “Fashion Week” with Aubrey O’Day and O’Neal McKnight:



Would you wear…Solange and my two-toned leggings?

Lindsay Lohan has an entire leggings brand. Laquan Smith’s cut-out leggings are a celeb favorite. And jeggings (jean leggings) are flying off the shelves. Take one guess what the trend of the winter is.

And leggings aren’t going anywhere soon. Designers are coming up with innovative ways to keep the trend going, from graffiti and spray-painted designs to two-toned leggings. And I just have to buy every last design! (I’m a leggings fanatic.)

My latest purchase was a pair of two-toned leggings from American Apparel. The front part is black and white striped and the back is pure black. Cat-in-the-hat meets Rhythm Nation.

When I bought them, Ferocia told me, she likes them for me but wouldn’t be able to pull them off herself. Admittedly, I’m drawn to crazy, wild fashions and wear whatever attracts me at the moment (this is why I totally fit in in New York!) so I picked them right up.

Check out Solange and I rocking the American Apparel leggings below. Solange paired them with a white tank and off white blazer. I wore a black tulle, babydoll top under my leather McQ for Target vest.

They retail for $40 at American Apparel stores and on the web.

What do you think? Would you rock them?



Designer Crush: Laquan Smith

Sure he’s famous and Andre Leon Talley-approved NOW, but I’ve always had the hots for new designer, Laquan Smith.

It was April of 2009 at Paper Magazine‘s Beautiful People party (where Katy Perry performed…with a blow-up lipstick case) where I first laid eyes on Laquan’s work. And his leggings were indeed beautiful.

It was the kind of fashion that’s so amazing you can’t really describe it. They were sort of metallic, kind of leathery with to-die-for cut-outs. (Rihanna rocked a similar style Laquan Smith jumpsuit in her Rude Boy video). And I couldn’t stop staring. And on top of everything, he was tall, skinny and uberfab.

In true Coutura form, I walked right up to him. “Umm, I need your leggings. Who makes them?” While chatting with Prince playing in the background, I learned I was speaking to the designer behind those fabu leggings, Laquan. He was a sweet, softspoken up-and-coming designer from Queens and I was a Fashion Assistant at The Magazine. Match made in fashion heaven.

Though his leggings are the definition of edgy, Laquan is much more than another purveyor of ‘downtown cool.’ He creates wearable art: one-of-a-kind pieces that warrant a second, and third, look. Since our chance meeting in April, Laquan has had the pleasure of seeing pieces from his line, LaQueue by Laquan, end up on Lady Gaga, Amerie, Jaslene from America’s Next Top Model and Rihanna (Andre Leon Talley thinks Michelle Obama should be next).

And he totally deserves the attention. His vision is fresh, creative and brilliant, perfect for the celebrity, or fashionista, who commands the spotlight.

The inspiration for his latest collection? A water goddess. The color palette reflects sand and sea with oceanic tones of blue intermixing with camel hues. The silhouettes range from avante garde (hello puffy shoulder dress!) to red-carpet sexy (I died and was reborn in that blue fitted frock). Oh, and of course he included his famous leggings in blue. Check out his Autumn/Winter 2010 collection pieces below and go to http://www.laquansmith.com for more info on the designer.

How can you not crush on Laquan Smith with these amazing looks?! Laquan, if you’re reading, call me. =)



10 Minutes With Celebrity Hairstylist Ursula Stephen

Hey Glamazons! You all know that we can’t get enough of Rihanna. (That hair, those clothes!) So, I was super psyched to finally catch up with her amazing hairstylist Ursula Stephen in between her crazy, non-stop traveling schedule. Here’s what she had to say:
Ferocia: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not busy traveling?
Ursula: Shopping, eating.
Ferocia: Where do you like to eat at?
Ursula: Where do I like to eat? Oh my god! I like everything. Right now, I’m really hooked on this one Thai restaurant in Brooklyn. And all I eat from there is calamari. I have spots in the city like obviously Philippe Chow’s and, you know, it changes. Whatever I crave when I’m away and I can’t really get it, I always try to get it when I’m home.
Ferocia: But, when you’re home, what is your favorite thing to do? Because you’re always traveling.
Ursula: I definitely love to catch up with friends. It was hard for me at first, but now I’m definitely getting back into it because I was always like I’m so tired. I gotta sleep for two days. But now I’m really trying to go out with my friends again. Just going out. Trying to do sociable things. Comedy shows. You know, whatever. Just doing whatever.
Ferocia: What is your favorite thing about being on the road so much?
Ursula: The one favorite thing is actually shopping. Because you get to find different things. That’s fun. I actually do like room service. [laughing] And it’s funny because we went to Korea and we had to do this thing with Rihanna where they like, follow her on the street and we didn’t even realize that we were like on this street with like crazy vintage stores. And we found some dope things! Meeting different people is always good, too.
Ferocia: Do you speak any other languages?
Ursula: No. I don’t.
Ferocia: Have you ever thought about looking into it since you’ve been all over the world?
Ursula: I do, but then you get there and you have a translator and people are trying to speak English so there’s really no need. I know how to say “hello” in many different languages, obviously, but I don’t really know how to speak in full conversations.
Ferocia: So, out of all the hairstyles that you’ve created for Rihanna, what’s your favorite one?
Ursula: Oooo. My favorite would be, I think, maybe her American Music Awards hairstyle. There’s a couple of them that I really liked. Oh! I liked the one at the Video Music Awards, about three years ago, when she had on the hot pink dress and she had like a bob. That’s one of my favorites because I got to cut like crazy and that was fun.
Ferocia: What do you like most about working on celebrity clients? When you start, do you look at their outfits first, do you work with the stylists?
Ursula: It’s so different every time. It could be the outfit, or the hair first. It depends on what we’re doing as well. Like, if we’re doing a video there’s usually a direction that we’re going in.
Like when we did ‘Rude Boy’ it was a Jamaican pinup. So, that was our direction.
Ferocia: Was that fun?! P.S. That video was hot!
Ursula: Yeah, that was one of the most fun video that we’ve done. Everytime we did do a video, it was always more realistic hair and makeup and just real life stuff. So, we finally got a chance to like do more characters. Like [Rihanna] wore a red wig and even though I’m known for changing up her hair so much, it’s still basically short, funky, edgy. This time, I got to take it to a whole other level. Like the whole puff that we did, the wig. It was fun!
Ferocia: So, what’s next for you?
UrBoldsula: Wow. I’m trying to figure that out now. I used to always try to have a plan. It’s weird because I’m always that person that tries to have a plan, but when I didn’t have a plan, things would just always just work out for me and fall into place. I didn’t really know that I would be doing this or traveling the world with Rihanna. Now, I’m like do I still not do a plan and just let God gives me what he gives me? I think my plan is to always walk in the right direction. And never turn down an opportunity.
Ferocia: That’s a good idea! So, what’s your favorite fragrance?
Ursula: Oooo if I told you, I’d have to kill you. I’m so sorry, but like my best friends are still trying to figure out what my fragrance is and I won’t tell them. I wear it every single day.
Ferocia: Is it some ‘ole ghetto stuff that you got on the corner somewhere? [laughing]
Ursula: No, it’s not ghetto! I have like 25-30 perfumes on my table and I only wear that one every day. Like that’s my signature scent.
Ferocia: And you’re not going to tell anybody what it is?
Ursula: No, sorry.
Ferocia: Ursula has a signature scent.
Ursula: It’s very expensive. And it’s very rare.
Ferocia: Really? Is it Hermes?
Ursula: No.
Ferocia: I’m gonna sniff you and figure out what it is. And I’ll just whisper it in your ear once I figure it out because you know I have a good nose for things like that.
Ursula: That’s fine. [laughing] I went to a club with it on one day and this girl in the bathroom was like ‘What are you wearing? I smelled you from downstairs?’ I said that is so nice, but I can’t tell you. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t tell Rihanna. I won’t tell Mary J. Blige. I won’t tell anyone. You can be Michelle Obama and I’m not telling you.
Ferocia: So, if anybody could give you a gift, what would you want it to be?
Ursula: People see me wearing all this name brand stuff, but that’s what I buy for myself and I would never expect people to buy things like that for me. I just like really thoughtful small things that I wouldn’t buy for myself; that I just wouldn’t have the time to find it. One of my friends bought me a travel set about 2 years ago and it was like the best Christmas gift I ever got. It was like the holder with a cashmere blanket and cashmere socks and I was like oh my god I really need this to travel in! My friend bought me a passport holder which I needed because I was like a bum with my passport. So, you know, just like little things that are thoughtful, I just love it.
Ferocia: And what are some hair tips that you can offer to our readers for both permed and natural hair? For the everyday girl.
Ursula: For natural, I’d say to maintain your hair by wrapping it at night. People think that you can’t keep your hair straight because you don’t have a relaxer but wrapping it actually preserves the straightness. And for the permed girls that do wrap their hair at night, you should switch the directions up every two days. When you do that same circular motion everyday, your hair tends to just stay like that. What happens to the girls that do keep in the same motion, that left side is always breaking and thin. You have to switch it up. And sometimes, don’t even wrap it. Just throw it up into a ponytail. It doesn’t have to perfect every day, you know?
Ferocia: What about the girls that wear extensions alot?
Ursula: Try not to do the same hairstyle all the time. Like, if you wore a middle part this time around, next time you should do a side part. Then next time, wear it all back. And then the next time maybe you shouldn’t even do a weave at all. When you keep doing the same hairstyle, that hair that you’re using to cover up the track or use as camoflouge becomes stressed because it’s that same hair used every time. You have to give it a break.
Ferocia: Anything else that you want to add to our amazing Glamazons readers?
Ursula: Um, nope. But I love The Glamazons! Those chics are hot.

The Little Scrublet That Could

Hey Glamazons! I’m very picky when it comes to face washes. From creams to scrubs, I think I’ve tried just about every face wash on the planet. The criteria of a winning face wash (in my opinion) is actually fairly simple: does it wash away the mascara and stubborn black eyeliner that I wear daily; does it not leave my skin feeling tight and dry; and (most importantly) does my skin feel clean and not slimy? (Yes, it’s true. I’ve tried some face washes that left my skin feeling like it had a layer of sludge on top. Yuck.) The winning face wash of the moment for me is L’Oreal’s Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser. Although I think the formula is great, it was the little Scrublet that put the icing on the cupcake. You just pop it out of the bottle, dab on a bit of cleanser (you don’t even need to use much) and scrub away. At first glance and feel, it seemed as if this flimsy little piece of material with its raised pattern would do nothing to properly clean my skin. But, a couple of strokes and one rinse later, I knew that the scrublet and I (oh, and the face wash, too) were going to be good friends! Has anyone else tried it yet? If so, what do you think?



New Fragrance Accessory On The Block

Hey Glamazons! You should know by now my small obsession with fragrance accessories. (Ok, it’s not really that small…in fact, it’s quite ginormous in that I own just about every super cool fragrance accessory that was ever invented…including the Marc Jacobs Lola fragrance ring, which is one of my personal faves.) So (with that said) I’m excited to share with you news about the latest fragrance accessory to hit my boudoir: the Stella McCartney Solid Perfume necklace.

It’s a super chic silver round shaped locket on a long and stamped with the Stella McCartney logo. With one discreet flick of the your finger, the top part opens to reveal a light pink solid version of the fragrance Stella. I wore mine during NYFW and not only was it a cute addition to my outfit, it was also a great way to keep me smelling good at the tents. (Because, let’s be real here, running from show to show and hanging out backstage in hot, tight backstage areas do not always make for the best smelling me.)