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Gowns

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!

Editor's Aesthetics, Fashion, History

Serving Bob Mackie Realness

October 17, 2015

I’m gonna wear this Bob Mackie gown to go get me a gallon of milk, some sunflower seeds and a loaf of bread. And ya’ll will deal. This photo is from the recent exhibit “Inspiring Beauty” about the Ebony Fashion Fair. I saw it in Milwaukee but it is traveling all around the country. If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend the show. It’s phenomenal and a great fashion history lesson.

Fashion, Runway Review

#MirabellaRomae @ Valentino: Paris Couture, 2015

October 17, 2015

What more do I need to say than “Mirabella Romae ?!” The couture show of Rome based legendary fashion house Valentino was so superb it earned a standing ovation. Everything was glorious, from the set built for the show on the streets of Rome, to the #beautiful gowns with ornate flourishes like an embroidered gryffon on a poncho or gorgeous gold jewelry by Alessandro Gaggio. And the gorgeous hair swept back to the act with a long braid at the end. It was a great achievement!

Some of the other truly exquisite looks at the Valentino show were these:

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Fashion, Runway Review

Elie Saab: Paris Couture, Fall 2015

October 17, 2015

Elie Saab was, thus far, my favorite runway show at Paris Couture so far. 58 looks and I loved every single one, and all of them ready for the red carpet for awards season! This fantasy of the take no mess, rule breaker Princess was working for me. Especially gorgeous were the #tiara and #crown headpieces work by all the models. Royalty never looked so street chic !

The Elie Saab look in the middle and far right (below) were my favorite of the show.

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Fashion, Runway Review

Schiaparelli: Paris Couture, Fall 2015

October 17, 2015

Schiaparelli! These are three of my favorite six looks from the runway. Also, I have to find a photo of the labels signature surrealist work seen most clearly in the accessories they showed.

The texture of the ornate fabric in all three of these Schiaparelli looks is divine.

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I especially like the sleek and sexy presentation of the black and white ensemble, while the floral pattern on the other two is equally as chic and sophisticated.

Also, the Schiaparelli clutch (below) shaped like a manicured hand is one of my favorite accessories seen on the Paris Fashion Week runway now, maybe ever. So clever and working the legendary houses archive and surrealist aesthetic.

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Fashion, Runway Review

Chanel: Paris Couture, Fall 2015

October 17, 2015

So ya’ll know I love Chanel. These are my fave looks from the Paris Couture show for Fall 2015. Now honestly, the last couple of collections I have struggled with feeling like things look like beautiful versions of the Chanel signature, but also wanting some innovation in textiles, design, make-up, anything! They always put on a good show in terms of the theme, and this year’s casino theme was equally as fabulous in its execution. But still … I need an element of surprise from them real soon.

Runway Review

NYFW: Tadashi Shoji (Fall 2015)

April 22, 2015

Tadashi Shoji has been one of my favorite designers on the award show red carpet scene for some time. I have most loved the gowns he designed for Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, who always looks #magnificent in his designs on the red carpet. For Fall 2015 New York Fashion Week Tadashi Shoji does not disappoint, giving a collection of pure romance with flashes of edge (like the black dress in the middle) that are lovely, and the two looks on either end are both dreamlike ethereal and exquisite. A stylist of celebs might want to make sure some of these looks are available and see to it that they walk off the runway and onto the red carpet worn by their client. Below are my three favorite looks from among many!

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