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Lupita Nyong’o

Fashion

Can Fashion Heal?

November 16, 2015

Can fashion heal? — Fashion Conscious: A Column 

by Dominique Michelle Davis (photo credit: wellandgood)

Given all of the research and benefits of art therapy in the healing process, there stands to be a lot of advancement in promoting the therapeutic benefits in the world of fashion. In a culture shaped upon promoting unrealistic standards of beauty, there lies an opportunity to use creative expression in the healing process, but we are starting to hear more about the conversation of how fashion can be healing. In the September issue of Elle Magazine, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, spoke about her use of fashion as therapy. The Arthur Centre at the University Hospital of Marseilles in the United Kingdom offers fashion therapy to teenage patients to improve self-esteem and treat symptoms of depression and anorexia through dress up in garments of local designers. Richards Garnier, a psychiatrist and designer, has his own label, Dr. Jekyll.

According to the American Art Therapy association, “art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self- awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.” A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal wellbeing. Today, art therapy is widely practiced in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, forensic institutions, schools, crisis centers, senior communities, private practice, and other clinical and community settings. Research supports the use of art therapy within a professional relationship for the therapeutic benefits gained through artistic self-expression and reflection for individuals who experience illness, trauma, mental health problems, and those seeking personal growth. Art therapy helps people resolve conflicts, improve interpersonal skills, manage problematic behaviors, reduce negative stress, and achieve personal insight. Art therapy also provides an opportunity to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of art making (American Art Therapy Association, 2015).

Fashion Coloring Book by Carol Chu and Lulu Chang; photo credit: http://kidcrave.com

Fashion Coloring Book by Carol Chu and Lulu Chang; photo credit: http://kidcrave.com/entertainment/the-fashion-coloring-book/

The use of the creative expression to start dialogue about self esteem and self image, diagnosis of depression and anorexia, trauma and other disorders provides an opportunity to transform a culture stigmatized in superficial ideology into a space that embraces differences and acknowledges the human experience of suffering. If we can remain conscious about our behaviors, understand and acknowledge our emotional states, this may also decrease process addictions and other mental health disorders by allowing individuals to not stifle their creative concepts. The use of art to reduce anxiety and improve social skills can continue to serve as a tool for those who struggle with challenges and other disorders. We have witnessed many artist who struggle with addiction and depression among other mental health disorders, designers Alexander McQueen, and actor Robin Williams to name just two of the legendary artists who suffered from depression. Creative arts is not a panacea for all mental health disorders, but it can serve to be a platform to create dialogue and promote social consciousness if used as a tool to start the conversation and ask deeper existential questions about life, happiness and self acceptance. I’m personally pleased to see the medical profession incorporate arts, fashion design, as a healing tool in the therapeutic process.

"Fashion Conscious" with Dominique M. Davis

“Fashion Conscious” with Dominique M. Davis

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

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

February 20, 2015

Here are our six Golden Globes “Glamourtunists of the Night”: Anna Kendrick, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, Julianne Moore, Kate Hudson, and Emma Stone. These are looks I thought exemplified what I mean by “glamourtunist” in that they fully met the moment of one of the biggest stages in fashion, and gave us looks that are fabulous, chic, and memorable.

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Anna Kendrick in this dreamlike Monique Lhullier fantasy gown, with Brian Atwood heels and Fred Leighton gems, looked amazing. She does the princess thing at times to detrimental effects, but this looks grown up, regal, and a stand out in color. Lupita Nying’o held onto her crown as the reigning queen of the red carpet in Giambattista Valli. Her hair is marvelous, and when she presented an award in those glasses and the Valli. Yaaaasss! That’s all that needs to be said. WERK, Lupita. And the last in our trio is another red carpet favorite of many, Viola Davis. Here she is wearing Donna Karan Atelier, and clearly DK knows still knows what many women want. This gown is great at any age, skin color/complexion, sitting and standing. I love red. I love red on the red carpet. And I love Viola Davis in red.

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The final trio of Golden Globes “Glamourtunists of the Night” are Julianne Moore, Kate Hudson, and Emma Stone. Moore looks so fashion forward, spirited, and fierce in custom Givenchy. Moore is in my top three looks of the night along with Kate Hudson, who made my list multiple times (see previous posts) in this look, and I think she is making a good run for Lupita Nyong’o’s red carpet queen crown in this white Atelier Versace. So, sexy. And last, but not least, Emma Stone in a Lanvin  jumpsuit. Very original, very fashion forward, different than others, luxurious, sophisticated, just EVERYTHING. The bow was a bit more than I desired, but still makes for a great look.