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Evening Gown

Fashion, Glamourtunist, On the Carpet, WERK!

Black Women STAY Saving the Met Gala Red Carpet

May 2, 2017

by Eric Darnell Pritchard

To remix the first line of Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s novel “Paradise,” they SLAYED the white girls first, with the others they took their time.

When people say “it’s no shade,” they usually mean it’s shade, but what follows is not shade it’s just a fact. Black women stay saving the Met Gala red carpet. And before you come for me please know, to quote another verbal genius Ms. Nene Leakes, “I said what I said.”

Come on ya’ll, if Rihanna, Solange, and Beyonce all collectively decide not to attend there is probably not a reason to hold this thing.

Everyone should phone it in, ring up Mother Anna Wintour of the House of Vogue, and call in sick that day. This red carpet is the Oscars of fashion, it should not be anything like any other red carpet, and yet the only people who dress to make it feel that way are pretty much Black women. And this year, with Tracee Ellis Ross, Helen Lasichanh, and Zendaya all deciding they to have come to collect our edges, it is ever more undeniable and this year, just like every year, there are receipts.

For those who do not know, every year since 1971 the Met Gala is always built around a theme. It is usual that the theme intersects with the theme of an exhibit that has been curated for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute. Themes in recent years include 2013’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture,” 2014’s “Charles James: Beyond Fashion,” 2015’s “China: Through the Looking Glass,” and 2016’s “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”

The theme of this year’s gala was “Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons,” a retrospective of the work of the legendary fashion designer and her fashion label which has been at the forefront of fashion for 44 years. Kawakubo, who the New York Times calls the “oracle of fashion,” has always sat atop her perch pushing fashion beyond the boundaries of how they think about the shape, texture, color of a garment, but also beyond the limits of the industry and its preconceived notions of the body itself.

With such an imaginative, courageous, and exciting sartorial visionary as the theme everybody was ready for this Met Gala to take us to and over the edge, just like Kawakubo. WEEEEELL, I am not sure where everybody else’s memo about the theme of the show went, but apparently only Black women got it. 

As I watched the red carpet unfold, one person after the next took to the carpet in pretty gowns, wonderful make-up, hair done for the Gods (or in the case of Jaden Smith, hair cut off and fashioned into a bouquet of locs), and I was completely and utterly surprised and also bored, bored, bored. Only a sprinkling of people seemed to dress with Kawakubo and Commes des Garçons in mind.

There were only a sprinkling of folks who rose to the occasion, which is great, but they are the same people that ALWAYS rise to the occasion.  Rihanna, who is basically a couture wonder woman at the Met Gala EVERY. DAMN. YEAR.

Rihanna at the Met Gala 2015-2011 (left of screen to right)

Riri read her mail and was like, I don’t know what the rest of these people are wearing to the Commes des Garçons-themed Met Gala, but I think I’ll wear…wait for it…Commes des Garçons!

No, I am not saying all you have to do is wear the designer that best fits the theme in order to slay. That could go basic and wrong too. There are tons of examples of that in previous years actually. But, it would be a great start, especially with an aesthetic so well defined, known, and celebrated throughout the industry for over four decades.

I don’t know who these stylists who sent people to the Met Gala in junior prom dresses are. Whoever told them that if their client wore the same basic thing one could (and they do!) wear to the twenty thousand awards shows before and after the Met Gala that they would win them the “Gag Award” LIED, lied big time. Why they put their clients in looks that are violently opposed to Kawakubo’s own aesthetic or the idea of avant grade is a mystery only Jessica Fletcher can solve, but either way they are definitely doing their clients a disservice.

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe they take a medicalized “first do no harm” approach to fashion, and are more content to be on the safe list and not the standout list, but in the economy of celebrity isn’t standing out actually the point? You can’t stand out with no risk. As my grandmama taught me, you gotta bring some to get some.

Next to Rihanna was also Tracee Ellis Ross, who must have heard that Zendaya was gonna come dressed like her mama circa the 1970s (and that’s no shade, Zendaya looked amazing and was, aesthetically, still in the wheelhouse of Comme des Garçon serving us volume, volume, volume head to toe in Dolce and Gabbana!) …

Zendaya

 

… and so Tracee decided she, like Rihanna would work with the fashion challenge for the evening and wear Commes des Garçons too. And thank God she did!

Tracee Ellis Ross

And there were others. Helen Lasicanh, the partner of Pharrell Williams clearly read her mail:

Solange, another person we can count on every single year. I present the receipts:

2016

2015

And this year she continued to bring it, gave us something to talk about, and was gorgeous as always.

Solange wearing Thom Browne at the Met Gala, 2017

 

Do note that this is NOT Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons. This look Solange is wearing is by the always exciting Thom Browne. When I saw it I thought for sure it was Rei Kawakubo’s work, and I was wrong. But the fact that I even thought it was Kawakubo is a good look on Browne and Solange, they get it. This look is totally in the Browne wheelhouse and plays with some of the house codes of Kawakubo’s aesthetic. Thom Browne, someone who like Kawakubo pushes the envelope in menswear and womenswear season after season, gets why you can’t be basic on tonight and gave us something memorable. Sure, Buzz feed joked that Solange’s look was reminiscent of a sleeping bag for a camping trip, BUT they also said she still looked better than everybody else throwing her shade for her REI fashionS. She wins. I rest my case.

To be fair, there were some Black women who came on this beautiful but predictable red carpet too. Kerry Washington, Naomi Campbell, Halle Berry. All wore fabulous gowns and on any other night would be on a best dressed list for me, but on THIS NIGHT they faded into the background. They know better and needed to do better. Also, let me acknowledge that not all white women came to be safe and sad, but I just think Beyonce called them and was like “hey Katy Perry, hey Julianne Moore: I’m not going to make it this year, I am too busy posing in a couture toilet paper hat and bikini for my baby shower pictures. Can ya’ll come to slay and help my sister and Rihanna out?” And they was like, “yeah, we got you.” So we gonna log that too under Black women saving things, even if this conversation only occurred in my head (paints nails). Shout out to Katy Perry and Julianne Moore who came with it too. I was intrigued for sure, I mean it.  And Pryiyanka Chopra, I see you in that Ralph Lauren trench coat dress. You too came to slay!

Anyway, Beyonce, we’ll be waiting for your return. We would have loved to see what you would have done with the theme, and we missed all of this last night:

 

Here’s hoping at Met Gala 2018 you, Rihanna, Solange, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Helen Lasicanh will have even more company.

Beauty, Fashion, On the Carpet, Pop Culture, WERK!

Dominique’s Oscars 2017 Recap

February 27, 2017

by Dominique Michelle Davis

Jimmy Kimmel’s witty and clever one-liners infusing political commentary with Hollywood elite was right on time and made this Oscars much more fun and funny to watch than in recent years. Though many were understandably not happy with his handling of the cast and crew of “Moonlight ” almost leaving the evening without the award that was rightfully theirs, Kimmel did shine with comic moments like his tweeting President Trump live and referencing the “overrated” Meryl Streep tweet from the petty President. One of my favorite moments of laughter.

The other highlight of the evening was Moonlight receiving awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture. The 2017 Oscar Awards brought a refreshing and much needed perspective in presenting inclusivity. I was in awe and admiration of Mr. Farhadi’s refusal to attend the awards because of the ridiculous and outrageous ban that President Trump has enacted against immigrants – documented and undocumented. It was inspiring to see Hollywood Celebs using this platform as a means to promote human rights and speak in opposition of laws that go against the very nature of the founding principals of the United States of America.

On the fashion front, here are my Best Dressed Looks for Oscar Night 2017:

Tony, Emmy, and now Oscar winner Viola Davis wearing Armani Privé.

 

Janelle Monae wearing Elie Saab Couture.

 

Last year’s Best Actress winner Brie Larson, wearing an Oscar de la Renta gown.

 

Nominee for Best Actress, Ruth Negga of the film “Loving,” in a glorious custom Valentino in the signature “valentino red.”

 

We always love Chrissy Teigen, and we also always love her in Zuhair Murad. A perfect match.

 

The “around the way girl” herself, Taraji P. Hensen, stealing the show as always in a sexy, sophisticated, Alberta Ferretti gown.

Fashion, Runway Review

Bottega Veneta: Milan Fashion Week, Spring 2016

October 19, 2015

Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier presented edgy/chic looks for Milan Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2016. Flounce on the two gowns & mixed prints on model Grace Bol divine. And look at the design of the back on these gowns. They are so so special, and beautiful. These are #redcarpet ready. And the romance of it all!

News, WERK!

Congrats to Tina Knowles and Richard Lawson!

April 23, 2015

 

Happiness looks good on you Mama Knowles! Tina Knowles, mother of Beyonce and Solange, just married actor Richard Lawson, father of actress Bianca Lawson. I’m also a big fan of Lawson from his days on “All My Children” which I used to sneak and watch when I was a kid, and his daughter is on “Teen Wolf” which I am addicted to as well (don’t judge me!). I noticed that mama Knowles, Beyonce and Solange each had their guests all wear white to their wedding as did the bride (and groom in Solange and Mama Tina’s case). I love this because it shows a confident bride who is gonna stand out and snatch trophies regardless, so she don’t need to be the only one in a white dress to slay us! But she looks good in this Romona Keveza gown. Congrats to the lovely couple who are both looking quite sexy I might add, and who I am confident will not end up being written a letter from your truly on “Unsolicited: Celebrity Therapy.” Proving as Bevy Smith always says: “it gets greater, later!”

News, WERK!

Serena Williams Serves in Vogue!

April 23, 2015

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Serena Williams serves it on the court and off the court too! Here she is in a breathtakingly gorgeous red Donna Karan gown, photographed by Annie Leibovitz as part of a story for the April edition of Vogue.

Runway Review

MFW: Alberta Ferretti (Fall 2015)

April 23, 2015

Photo Mar 03, 3 41 34 PM

It’s Alberta Ferretti dear hearts, serving us O-P-U-L-E-N-C-E, Opulence! This woman owns the whole world, and is looking damn good while doing it! The look to the far left is nightlife ready at the most #upscale club you can find; the center needs to make an appearance on a socialite at a gala in NYC immediately; while the look on the far right, my favorite, is doing the most to push fashion here. The #embroidery on embroidery on embroidery here is just exquisite, sophisticated and still youthful! This whole show was full of romance and I live for it!

On the Carpet

Oscars Red Carpet Wrap-Up: “Glamourtunists of the Night” (Best Dressed)

April 14, 2015

The fashion successes in the Oscars redcarpet were plentiful (thank goodness!). Here are our six “Glamourtunists of the Night,” beginning with Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Felicity Jones.

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Lupita Nyong’o is officially the overall ruler of the red carpet. She NEVER gets it wrong. Never!  I know this may bring up some curse where she may be doomed for every red carpet forever now, but she has given us enough to love forever in my book. This custom gown, embroidered with 6,000 pearls, was made by Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein. It was the dress of the night and eclipses even the fabulous powder blue Prada she wore last year, which was memorable in its own right. David Oyelowo wore a wine colored custom tux by Dolce and Gabbana. This was by far one of the best looks of the night worn by a male or female, and one of the best I’ve ever seen worn by a male on the red carpet in my decades of watching the #Oscars. And finally, Felicity Jones stunned the world in this fabulous Alexander McQueen  gown by Sarah Burton. The color appears silver but photographed various colors on the red carpet and all looked beautiful. The bodice is so intricately placed and ornate. It was a wow moment for sure.

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Our final trio of “Glamourtunists of the Night” are Eddie Redmayne, Emma Stone, and Faith Hill. Eddie Redmayne chose a wonderful color that made what could have been another dull #tuxedo a great look. Plus he is super handsome. Emma Stone wowed in a divine chartreuse Elie Saab. It perfectly matched her hair. And Faith Hill looked so sexy and #fashion forward in a fierce J Mendel gown and new haircut. My fave detail was the string of diamonds that followed the plunging neckline on the gown.

On the Carpet

Oscars Red Carpet Wrap – Up: “Scene Stealers”

April 14, 2015

We have six “Scene Stealers” from the Oscars red carpet, meaning all were wonderful and almost stole the show from everyone, including those we name best of the night. The “Scene Stealers” are: America Ferrera, Katie Cassidy, Chrissy Teigen, Jennifer Lopez, Georgina Chapman, and representing for the men, John Legend! We’ll take these three at a time.

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America Ferrera, Katie Cassidy and Chrissy Teigen are all on that list for me. They looked fantastic, elegant, and gorgeous. Teigen has worn Zuhair Murad much of this red carpet season, and ends it on a high note. Katie Cassidy was scene stealing this whole awards season, while America Ferrera always looks so beautiful and I wish we saw more of her at these events.

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Our final three Oscars “Scene Stealers” are Jennifer Lopez in Elie Saab, Georgina Chapman in Marchesa and the always dapper and debonair John Legend. Some said JLo had on the same dress as Robert Duvall’s wife. However, the dresses, while similar and lovely on both, were not both made by Elie Saab. Jennifer Lopez looked great. I liked that she went for a different moment than her usual role as sexiest on the #redcarpet and chose the Oscars to do it. Georgina Chapman looks splendid. I love everything about his gown, especially the gold leaf embroidery. And John Legend was one of my fave males on the Oscars red carpet last night.

On the Carpet

Oscars Red Carpet Wrap-Up: “Warning Citation”

April 14, 2015

We here at Glamourtunist are of a charitable nature. Before you end up on the list of “Missed Glamourtunity” offenders we fire some warning shots. So, Cate Blanchett, Kerry Washington, and Gina Rodriguez … here is your warning and below are our reasons why.

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These are three actresses I love, but who’s fashion needs to step it up. I say citations because the looks aren’t horrible, but because they are slipping from great in some cases and just are repeatedly boring in others. All three are talented, smart, and beautiful, but here is the issue. Cate Blanchett is usually winning in the red carpet but last night she showed up looking so damn basic in this black dress. Yes, the necklace is beautiful and the fit of the dress is impeccable, but you must give us more for fashion dear heart. Her stylists should have thought about how common this would look in photographs. The same for Gina Rodriguez, who is a repeat offender in a similar way. Her dresses always look beautiful, but they are doing nothing for fashion or for her lovely figure. Step it up! And Kerry Washington was also always a favorite in the red carpet, but the last few times at these big events she has left much to be desired. She was overheard on red carpet saying how she wanted it to be no fuss and easy. Sweety, this is the Oscars. Bring the fuss or stay home. She has so much more style than this.

On the Carpet

Oscars Red Carpet Wrap-Up: “Missed Glamourtunity”

April 14, 2015

Six celebs had a Missed Glamourtunity on the Oscars red carpet are Chloe Moretz, Lorelei Linklater, Will.i.Am, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jared Leto, and Zoe Saladana. Let’s discuss Moretz, Linklater, and Will.i.Am first.

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Chloe Moretz was in Miu Miu. The dress was fit poorly in the bodice and their is way too much fabric on the bottom. The pose she went for on the red carpet didn’t help because it only expanded what already looked like a blanket at was awkward. Her hair also looked undone and not in an effortless chic way. Lorelei Linklater is on our worst dressed list for the second time this award’s season. While this Gabriela Cadena gown is an improvement from her look at the SAGs, it isn’t working. The bottom is poorly fit. Her leg looks awkward sticking out as it does and the print on the bodice and side panel of the bottom half of the garment is confusing. Her hair also looks really thin and thirsty. I do like the edgy #styling with the jewelry, shoe, red lip and earring. Finally Will.I.Am. Worst of the worst. Sir, you tried it! Or better yet, you didn’t. This jailhouse train conductor hybrid look was too casual, too strange, and just an insult to the red carpet. For someone so creative and supposedly into fashion, you gave us no fashion or style to speak of last night, darling. No good. And now for Paltrow, Leto, and Saldana.

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s hair and make-up are lovely, as are the earrings. But the Ralph Russo Couture gown is just the wrong color for her skin tone. In another color and without the flower (especially in that color) which looks so gaudy and without purpose, it may have worked. Jared Leto was having a wonderful awards season on the #redcarpet, but he got to the Oscars and just said “aww, f- it.” The color of this suit and the white shirt and tie with the pale pink flower lapel pin looks like a #nightmare Easter suit from the 60s. And I just don’t get the white shoes at all. A clunky mess. And lastly, Zoe Saldana in Atelier Versace. This is a dress that doesn’t know what it wants to be, and the spaghetti straps are giving me a 90s bridesmaid dress effect. I am not a fan of the spiral curls which also look very old too. I also don’t think the color works for her beautiful complexion either. Usually these three are all at the top of any fashion lovers list of red carpet winners, but not this time around.