(photo: Model Aamito Stacie Lagum modeling Marc Jacobs at the designer’s Spring 2016 show).
by Eric Darnell Pritchard (photo credit (above): Hannah Thomson via vogue.com)
From Venus and Serena Williams and Gigi and Bella Hadid, to Solange Knowles and big sister Beyonce, and Jessica and Ashley Simpson, we have learned time and time again that sisters who slay together, stay together. This a photo essay dedicated to another dynamic duo: The Quann Sisters.
At the recent 2015 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Awards, a number of fashion luminaries took to the red carpet serving opulence, fierceness, elegance, and of course, luxury. A standout among the crowd at the awards, and in fashion, style and music generally, are Cipriana Quann and TK Wonder/Takenyah “TK” Quann, known affectionately to many as “The Quann Sisters.” The pair, as a result of their red carpet looks, made it onto yet another best dressed list wearing gorgeous ravishing purple (TK) and green (Cirpriana) Ohne Titel dresses to the awards event. The sisters have long been among my personal favorites in the style world, and thus their fierceness on that night was no surprise to me (or anybody else, really). As I said of Grace Jones in a recent post, The Quann Sisters too epitomize the fierceness, beauty, brilliance, and courage that is a “black girl arrogance” that deserves praise, as they are defining genius, sophistication, and style against the grain and on their own terms in a world that has not and does not always celebrate Black women and girls.
Cipriana is founder and editor-in-chief of the lifestyle website Urban Bush Babes. TK is a musician (check out her music video “Van Gogh”) and a contributing writer for her sister’s website. The sisters, Baltimore natives, reside in NYC and in recent years have been featured in a number of print and online publications including the venerable fashion institutions Vogue and W Magazine, respectively. Both have done much to educate people about the importance and beauty of natural hair care via their writings and visual archive as they also model as well, and are represented by IMG.
Here the Quann sisters had the following to say about their view of fashion:
“Fashion to us tells your personality, it speaks to who you are inside. I mean, some people may say style is superficial, but I think there is so much more to fashion than just appearance. Women find confidence in the clothes that they wear, so we find there is something very empowering knowing what works for you. ” – TK Wonder
“My twin and I have always been into fashion. We always joke and say in the womb we were best friends.”
– Cipriana Quann
What follows is a photo essay of the slay-age known as The Quann Sisters, who are amassing a virtual archive of photographs that will sure to be favorites in the fashion and style histories written by the future:
And now that your edges are all snatched and collected into little dime bags, do know that your hair will only be redistributed back to you in said bags with receipts that you have read and shared this photo essay. Also, as I am sure this photo essay will leave you wanting to see more of the Quann Sisters putting in that WERK!, you can follow them on Instagram: @ciprianaquann and @tk_wonder.
by Eric Darnell Pritchard
“I wanted to say something about weight, and I’m never allowed to do that,” said legendary fashion photographer Steven Meisel, as quoted in a June 2008 story by New York Times by fashion critic Cathy Horyn. “I met Toccara and thought, she’s beautiful. What’s the deal with her? She’s great and she’s sexy.”
Meisel was speaking on photographing plus-size model Toccara Jones, for what is now remembers as an epic moment in recent fashion history. In August of 2008, Vogue Italia published a special issue of the magazine in which they only used Black models in its editorial pages. The magazine cover featured model Liya Kebede on a fold-out cover, with models Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn and iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell on three additional covers unfurling like an accordion from Kebede’s. In addition to Campbell, many other legendary Black models including Iman, Tyra Banks, and Veronica Webb were featured, alongside a number of emerging model talents of the time.
The issue, conceived by Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, featured over 100 pages of editorial content shot by Meisel. In press reports Sozzani stated that the inspiration for the issue was then Senator Barack Obama, with the internationally adored Michelle Obama with him, winning the Democratic Party nomination for President, but also, and Meisel conquered, the lack of diversity in fashion on the runway, in advertisements, editorial spreads and throughout the fashion industry.
While the focus of most press coverage on the issue was initially about the fact that the magazine would be using all Black models, and lots of speculation on what models would be featured in such an iconic issue, once information on what much of the contents of the issue was previewed the clear stunner to shut down the entire issue was model Toccara Jones. Jones, a former contestant and fan-favorite on Tyra Banks’ popular reality competition show “America’s Next Top Model,” was photographed by Meisel in a sexy, luxurious, fantasy ride of an editorial in a fashion story in which the model is depicted wearing almost nothing but a variety of fur coats. The representational and historical significance of featuring Jones is that she was a plus-sized model, so while the media frenzy that the issue was featuring Black models was fully on, here comes Jones in the issue killin’ it for Black girls and curry girls everywhere. But don’t take my word for it, here is your trip down memory lane below, but first, a shout-out to Toccara Jones! YOU DID THAT!
Valentino followed very impressive Fall’15 collection with equally gorgeous one for Paris Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2016. I liked the cornrow hair look selected for the show, and want to especially highlight the Black models for the show given this cultural origin, though the show did feature it on all models as well.
It’s here! Well, there’s goes my weekend. I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting for two years, when I first heard that Grace Jones was writing her memoir. Everyone should read this book by one of the most significant artists of any generation.
Nevermind the naysayers. Behold the intellect, talent, excellence, perseverance, courage and beauty of Black women. Congratulations to Uzo Aduba, Regina King, and the history making Viola Davis on their Emmy wins. And congratulations to all of their, OUR ancestors and elders who’ve worked so hard for us to have a night like last night. Yes, there is work still to do. Viola Davis’ speech said as much, and he fact that she is the first in 2015 to win this award says as much. But, dear hearts, there is also joy. Today is about joy. Set any negative comments aside.