MEETING MISTY COPELAND

Every generation or so, there are people who arise whose purpose is to share their gifts, inspire and plant seeds for the future. One of those people is American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland.

A prodigy in the world of classical ballet, Misty got her start late (by industry standards) at the age of 13 but is a natural talent that has been taken the world by storm. Today, she shared her journey with an intimate crowd at the Dwyer Center in Harlem where she was a featured speaker as part of the annual May Week Celebration of the Arts sponsored by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority New York Almunae Chapter.

Misty Copeland (center) with fans at the DST May Week Celebration in Harlem

Ms. Copeland shared the joys (living your passion, travel, accomplishments, etc) and the pains (long hours of training, injuries, and more) of being a professional ballet dancer with fans and aspiring ballerinas alike. She also shared the unique pressures that also come with being one of a handful of African American women in classical ballet and the first Black female soloist for the American Ballet Theatre in two decades.

On June 12th, Misty will debut in the lead role as the Firebird at Lincoln Center.

Misty Copeland as the Firebird

The Curvy Socialite was on a billboard in Time Square (well sort of….)!

The Curvy Socialite was on a billboard in Time Square (well sort of....)!

So a few weeks ago I got a marketing email from Dove (I’ve been using their products for years) talking about using “real” women in their upcoming campaign entitled “Show Us Your Skin.” Being the ambitious former plus model that I am, you know I had to submit my photo.

On a recent trip to Florida, I snapped a quick photo in the bathroom (ummm not one of those type of pics) of me with a fresh, unmade-up face to send to my significant other back home– as he is always trying to “see” how I’m feeling as my face is an open book to my emotions. So not having a recent “professional” picture, I said, what they hey, why not submit this one. It was accepted and I forgot all about it.

Fast forward to today….I got an email from Dove saying that my picture is part of their “living billboard” in Times Square! Check out my headshot in “the crossroads of the world.”

So I guess now I can add a Dove campaign to my model resume. LOL!

NEW ARTICLE ON THE EXAMINER: No Longer Underwraps

I recently got a chance to talk to Brooklyn-based  designer, Nailah Lymus, about hew newest venture…the launch of the first modeling agency exclusively representing Muslim female fashion models. Yes, I said Muslim models.

Nailah talked to me about setting the record straight about Muslim women, their role in the fashion industry and of course how they are viewed in the non-Islamic world.

Check out this sneak peek from a recent shoot for the UNDERWRAPS site and my article on the Examiner (click the picture to view the article).

I will be attending the official launch for the agency during New York Fashion Week and will be bringing more news about UNDERWRAPS as part of event recaps. Untile then….ENJOY!

Underwraps Model Dion as shot by AK Photography

 

FASHION WEEK RECAP: Special Guest Blogger, Nadia Daeng!

By Nadia Daeng (@nadiadaeng)

How did I start my Monday for New York Fashion Week? I didn’t spend my time wishing I could fit into sample size dresses; I was introduced to food that is “GOODNESS with a touch of BADNESS”. Model/ philanthropist Elettra Wiedemann (pictured below) has teamed up with restaurateur/Michelin star chef Ed Brown to bring a full service pop-up restaurant that provided New York fashionistas with the fabulous of option of fast, fresh and healthy cuisine! From September 11th through the 14th, GOODNESS served up not only healthy and delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts by Ed Brown but also more “sinful” options created by daily guest chefs from a stellar line-up of New York’s up-and-coming culinary talent scene.

Delectable specials to look out for included Pan-Seared Bream Mash with Truffle Vinaigrette and Montauk Swordfish with Zucchini Succotash – it all tastes as good as it looks. The equally stunning Elettra explained her rational behind GOODNESS is to provide a highly convenient, healthy and fast option for the Lincoln Centre fashion crowd. What are you waiting for? Time to dine among the models, designers, industry insiders and epicureans of New York Fashion Week. This little piece of culinary heaven was open for breakfast and lunch from 7am to 3pm at 44 West 63rd Street. For more information, visit http://www.goodnessbadness.com

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK S/S 2012: Plus Model Magazine Presents The “As U Are” Blogger Conference

A gloomy September evening found me venturing to the very chic, Hudson Terrace for Plus Model Magazine’s Bloggers Conference as hosted by As U Are (www.asuare.com).  With a similar setup as the blogger conferences during Full Figured Fashion Week earlier this summer, invited guests had a chance to preview and critique the new Fall outer wear collection.

You have to check out the site. They don’t go by sizes but rather by measurements. You plug in your stats and they come up with the perfect coat for you–very innovative for a company that’s been around for 70 years. Though a mainstay in the outwear world, As U Are is just starting to foray into the plus size world. Can I say I’m in love? Their coats are very fashion forward and en trend yet, they each enhance and fit our curvy shapes perfectly. Based in Montreal Canada, they are not found in boutiques and retailers but rather are only e-commerce. Very 21st Century right?

Oh yeah, did I tell you each attendee is getting a free winter coat???? I’m so geeked right now. This turned out to be a nice pre-birthday gift.

Check out the images below (courtesy of Plus Model Magazine).

 

As U Are Zebra Wrap Coat

Jones Magazine and Avenue Pink's Chasity Saunders was one of the models for the evening.

FASHION WEEK 2011: BeSpoken Fall/Winter 2011

By Shani Faure

On Saturday, February 12th, BeSpoken held their  Fall/Winter 2011 presentation at Pier 59 Studios. A British import,  BeSpoken put together not only an impressive collection but an amazing presentation as well. The models stood on display in what seemed like an old photograph backdrop from a more rustic, old western era. The set was  created by Aux Armes– a fantastic job with the set design.

The attention to detail between the set and the collection was seamless. Every piece within the line was a winter warm color that was tailor fitted to the model’s body.  The jackets had unique buttons that gave the coat a unique, custom-made appearance. One of the trends noticed at the show was a cuffed trouser sported by each model giving the vintage men’s look a more modern twist. Styled by Julie Ragolia, many of the looks were paired with hats by Worth & Worth and jewelry by Anna Sheffield providing the jewelry. 
To see more of BESPOKEN go to http://bespokenclothiers.com

Images from the collection:

FASHION WEEK RECAP: Celebrating Curves with One Stop Plus

A NEW ERA IS UPON US…CURVES ARE “IN” (AGAIN). Well…at least for a little while. It seems that the fashion community is making a move to be more accepting of the curvaceous figure. Or at least that is what appears to be happening.

During New York Fashion Week, One Stop Plus, the “online fashion mall” catering to the fuller-figure, held the first ever plus size show (to actually be a part of the fashion week festivities) to rave reviews. Big deal, you may be saying to yourself. But indeed it was. A much coveted ticket, the One Stop Plus event was a much needed step in the right direction of acceptance. With the average woman in the United States wearing a size 14, it’s amazing how what is a “common size” is so stigmatized.

The standard of beauty for a very long time was something that was not a reflection of reality. What was considered beautiful was a woman who was 5’10” and a size 0/2. And one point it even seemed like a 00 was even more appealing. How many women do you know how actually fit that standard? Fashion and fashion retailers seemed to think that everyone looked like that and that was the norm. When you walked into shopping centers, all you found were clothing sizes 0 to 10 (with a 12 and a 14 (one piece each) thrown in for good measure. But one of the largest (no pun intended) untapped markets out there is the plus-size community.  Curvy girls spend millions each year on clothes—ironic when there are so few outlets that cater to their bodies. But there is hope.

I was one of an eclectic group of people to have been invited to witness this moment in fashion history. Showcasing at the Time Warner, the guest list for the event was a who’s who of the plus, fashion and entertainment communities.  Seated front row at One Stop Plus were plus size celebs Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray and Huge), Emme, the full figured supermodel, and Academy Award nominated actress, Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). Walking in the show were model faves Tocarra (America’s Next Top Model alum) and Lizzie Miller. Spotted in the crowd were stylist Steffany Bready Edwards, celeb plus model Asia Mone’t, curve-loving designer, Monif C.,  Maddie Figueroa Jones from Plus Model Magazine, Tiffany Tucker of Manik Magazine, model Fluvia Lacerda, Shante Gordon and Jamie Litt of VH1’s Money Hungry, Kim “Philli” McCarter of Skorch Magazine, the diva behind The Big Girl Blog, and more. I even ended up getting interviewed by the New York Post for a video about the show.

http://publish.vx.roo.com/nypost/viral/2010/flashembed/

Check out some of the photos and video from the event below. More pictures can be found on my Facebook page.

Shante, Emme & Jamie
Kim McCarter& Steffany Bready-Edwards
Fluvia Lacerda
Asia Mone't
Gabourey Sidibe

http://www.youtube.com/v/QPIPnsQ1W2g?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0

FASHION WEEK RECAP: Candela, Elise Gug, & LaureLuxe

So let the festivities begin!

Today was the pre-cursor to the Fashion Week festivities—and after being cooped up at home fighting a nasty cold for the past two weeks, it was nice to spread my wings and be out amongst the masses. Never one to hold back, I jumped right back into the social scene with 4 appearances today.

First stop, downtown at the Jane Hotel for the Candela Spring/Summer 2011 Presentation.

I met up with Shatonia Amee, the style maven behind Pink Suede, Inc. and together we headed over to view Candela collection. As we walked into the venue we were met by bright lights, flashing bulbs and something that looked like a scene right out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. A reflection of the collections title, the first floor of the Jane Hotel had been transformed into a trading post for the Candela presentation. Aux Armes, who designed the set, did a wonderful job.

On three staged scenes, models looked like they were right out of the pages of books in what was a blend of rustic versus Native American with a modern twist and a little hippie chic thrown in for good measure. Sounds busy, but it so worked. The collection had a very natural feel with cotton, silk, leather and crocheted pieces. Even the coloring of the clothing was very “natural and organic” with white, navy, wheat and olive tones. The collection featured floor length prairie dresses and skirts paired with saddle shoes and boots, knee military like shorts paired with very fine, very femme cotton tops and silky, ethereal dresses coupled with latticed leather boots– tough by very feminine at the same time.

Shatonia snapped a few pics of well dressed models (styled by Kate Sebbah) before we headed north to Nexus Showroom for the second stop of the evening.

We headed to midtown for our second stop at Nexus. There we got an up-close- and-personal look at Elise Gug.

Elise Gug is a Danish designer that caters to the ultra femme and ultra chic, but also to those who desire comfort and a sophisticated simplicity. Drawing inspiration from the Italian Riviera, the collection featured sun-kissed hues mixed with neutral tones (beiges, creams, whites, blush pinks, and black).The line featured dresses that emphasized the waist, A-line jackets, pants, shorts and skirts—all designed to be mixed and matched and all made to flatter the shape. Looking at the collection inspired thoughts of Lucille Ball, Grace Kelly and Jackie O with their quiet sophistication that spoke volumes. I also saw hints of design greats like Elie Tahari and the classic Yves Saint Laurent. Definitely a line to watch.

After grabbing a cup of ice-coffee at Prêt-A-Manger, Shatonia and I headed downtown to Tela Design Studio in the Meatpacking District for the Women’s Mafia Fashion Show. Though time didn’t allow us to stay for the actual show, we ran into a few friends including styling diva Mary Lafayette of Fashion Luv Joenz and retro-chic designer Shantell Richardson of Shauntele.

After showing our face at Tela, Mary, Shatonia and I headed over to the Gates in West Chelsea for the Laureluxe fashion show. The famed metal Jewelry designer’s event was another reunion opportunity. Before even walking through the doors, we bumped into Fashion Week mainstay, Aminah Benjamin. Inside, we ran into Shelly Castro, jewelry diva Tammiko Beasty, Arthur Donaldson of Arabelle Modeling, and Devora Wooden of Dig Deep Inc. Scanning the room we saw other faces we knew including famed stylist Spry Lee Scott and hip hop couture designer Lexx Perry, After a few cocktails, we all ushered to our seats where we were greeted by host, Amanda Diva. Then the show started….

Laureluxe opened sporting the men’s pieces first which included chainmail tees, metal plated skinny ties, chained suspenders, arm and shin guards and “spiked” shoulder pads that would make any defensive lineman shudder. Definitely more than just “jewelry,” the men’s collection brought simple, classic looks to a whole new level with pieces that brought to mind 300 and the Gladiator. Definitely couture. But the best was yet to come…

The women’s collection for Laureluxe was phenomenal. Evoking memories of Grace Jones and Tina Turner in Mad Max, the line was surreal—chain mail dresses and hoodies, swimwear pieces made of chain mail, even lingerie (garters and even a chained “legwarmer.” There were definitely pieces that I could see Amber Rose and Rhianna glamming on a VMA red carpet.