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Archive for BWE

Meet Janet Jackson’s Arabian Knight Heartthrob…Wissam al Mana via [necolebitchie]

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Janet Jackson’s Boyfriend: “I’m Fortunate To Be Dating My Dream Woman”

by Bitchie Staff |

“I don’t date Janet Jackson. She is my girlfriend; there is a difference. She is a very special and talented woman who never ceases to amaze me” -Wissam Al Mana in VMAN

I don’t know much about Janet Jackson’s boyfriend Wissam Al Mana, but he seems like a special type of guy who’s not afraid to openly express his feelings for her. In a recent feature for Harper’s Bazaar November Issue, we find out more about the 36 year old billionaire including what he does for a living, how he likes to dress and what he considers his dream girl.

I think a man’s dream woman changes as he goes through different stages in his life. I’m fortunate to be dating my dream woman now.

Read his Harpar’s Bazaar feature below:

Career in a nutshell:
I work in a family business founded by my late father over 60 years ago. Today our group comprises over 50 companies in the Gulf region in real estate, automotive distribution, engineering and construction, retail, food services and media, and is managed by my two brothers and I. In 2004 I wanted to expand our retail division nto luxury. Today, our luxury division comprises of over 40 stores in the Gulf, representing brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Hermès, Balenciaga, Chloé and Roberto Cavalli. We have also developed two Saks Fifth Avenue department stores, one in Dubai and the other in Bahrain, with plans to open more.

How did you pick your career path:
I spent many years growing up in London where I developed an early love of fashion and remember applying for a job at every fashion boutique on the Kings Road. At 14 I finally found a weekend job at a multi-brand store. I really enjoyed it and began to acquire an insight into the world of retail that would prove crucial for my career.

Who is your career role model:
My father was a very humble and down to earth man, and was known for being very honest and trustworthy. He taught us many great values such as to treat our employees with dignity and respect.

What ambitions do you harbour:

I would like to get more involved in art, photography and design. I would also like to get more involved in philanthropy and maybe take some time off everything to do just that.

What do you wear to work:
I’m usually wearing a pair of jeans by Dior, PRPS or Dolce & Gabbana. An Hermès or Balenciaga hoodie, Rick Owens tank top and leather jacket with a pair of sneakers or Louboutin hi-tops. Sometimes I wear a suit – only Giorgio Armani made to measure – with an Hermès shirt, belt and shoes. When I’m in the GCC I like to wear my traditional attire; thobe and ghutra, which is so comfortable and I love the fact that it’s tailor made and you can choose between different fabrics. Besides, it’s part of my culture and heritage.

Who is your dream woman:
I think a man’s dream woman changes as he goes through different stages in his life. I’m fortunate to be dating my dream woman now.

What is your dream boy’s toy:
Ha! That’s funny because my girlfriend [singer Janet Jackson] just bought me the most amazing gift; a 1964 Lincoln Continental convertable with suicide doors… and it’s in mint condition. That’s my ultimate boy’s toy.

Is greed good:
Greed is terrible. I think we need to learn how to be content with what we have. Money doesn’t buy happiness, nor do material things.

Via BV & Rhymes With Snitch

The OpuluxeLtd.com™ Style Muse of The Year is ……The Forever Alluring Shala Monroque!!!

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Style Spotlight – Shala Monroque via [redcarpetfashionawards]

Shala Monroque is a fashionista who shouldn’t be under the radar.

The fashion writer, Editor-at-Large for Pop magazine and blogger has impeccable taste.

She’s not afraid of fashion often wearing bright bold pieces, but she can also been seen wearing more timeless classic pieces like the look above.

I love how she accessorizes with stand out pieces to add a touch of pizazz to some of her looks.

Like most fashion editors footwear is vitally important. Her Prada studded heels are still one of my favourites of that Spring 2010 season.

Her trademark has to be her turbans. She’s been donning this head-wear long before they were deemed cool.

This simple strapless LBD is instantly transformed with Shala’s Delfina Delettrez skeleton hand belt and black satin Prada turban.

I love the dark smokey Grace Jones-esqe make-up Shala wears here, as you’re more likey to see her without much make-up.

Her shortened modified Miu Miu dress suited the sexier look she was going for which she paired with bronze platform heels.

With her trademark turban and statement necklace, this Miu Miu maxi print dress is transformed into a more ethnic look.

Not many people would pair a Prada turban with a Rodarte Fall 2009 mini dress, but Shala is bold enough to do just that.

Love her Prada heels.

Shala does seem to favour Miuccia Prada’s work as you can see from her love of both Prada and Miu Miu.

Here are those stunning chartreuse Prada heels I referred to earlier, which she wore with a Prada ensemble.

Her love for Prada heels continues as she goes from an edgy look wearing Christopher Kane.  Her sophisticated look of a red dress was paired with a mustard bag, and my favourite was this chic Prada look.  I just love that tiered skirt.

Credit: Style.com, Jak&Jil & Getty

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Shala Monroque + Industrie Magazine

via [bryanboy]

The incredibly chic and gracious Prada Ambassadress Shala Monroque (who I first met at the Miu Miu show in Paris a few months back) hosted an intimate soiree for the very smart folks over at Industrie Magazine at her apartment in New York last week.

Shala Monroque

Click click click!

To be honest, it’s been quite awhile since I was last captivated by someone’s beauty, both in and out. With her tall, lithe figure, amazing bone structure, beautiful skin and high-voltage infectious smile, Shala Monroque is STUNNING! She’s the woman who lit up the room, the woman you’d want to know… assuming you didn’t know who she was. THANK YOU SHALA FOR YOUR EXISTENCE!!!

Shala Monroque

Shala Monroque

Shala Monroque

Jason wu

Christian Remrod

Stephanie LaCava

Greg Kessler and Jane Keltner de Valle

Derek Blasberg

Industrie Magazine

Bryanboy

Thank you Shala and Industrie Magazine for the lovely evening.

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Girl of the Month: Shala Monroque via [WhoWhatWear]

When trying to articulate the style of bon vivant Shala Monroque, a few bon mots come to mind: daring, vivacious, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, eclectic, well-traveled, elegant, and unique. In a rather dizzying pace, Monroque, whose post as editor-at-large of Dasha Zhukova‘s incarnation of Pop magazine, has made waves on the international party circuit for her fearless taste and boundless joie de vivre. Whether Monroque is reporting on the Amelia premiere at the Doha Film Festival in Qatar (her very inspiring blog is a must-read), dancing the night away at a speakeasy in St. Petersburg, or hosting a fashion week fête attended by the jet set and art world elite, one thing becomes very clear: Shala Monroque’s wonderful wardrobe is a collection of great beauty and her artfully crafted ensembles have made quite a bold impression! 

Speaking of fashion week, it seems as though no one racked up more invitations (and best-dressed nods) during the S/S 10 season than our gorgeous GOTM. Spotted outside of the Miu Miu show in Paris (above, far left), Monroque looked magnificent in a head-to-toe Prada ensemble. This particular outfit highlights one of our favorite aspects of Monroque’s artistic assemblages: her fearless approach to incorporating color and patterns into her picks. (Though our subject du jour claims to be experiencing a post-fashion month shopping hangover, she did cop to having a serious velvet crush this season.) We love her bright yellow printed skirt and the way it plays off the Mohawk-inspired heels from Prada’s F/W 08 collection and tribal beaded necklace. Try Loeffler Randall‘s Loop Skirt ($325) and Jenni Kayne’s Roll Sleeve Tank ($350) with Fiona Paxton’s Metallic Necklaceicon ($375) or the Beaded Collar Necklace ($58) from French Connection.

Monroque offered yet another great skirt-and-top outfit at the Museum of Modern Art’s 41st Annual Garden Party last May in New York City. Though her Prada tiered skirt and chemise aren’t bold and bright, the satin and cashmere combination certainly showcase Monroque’s deft ability to weave luxurious textures into one killer look. The aforementioned pieces are no longer available for purchase, so try Theory’s Carmela Sweater ($100) tucked into Forever 21‘s Exposed Zip Mesh Skirt ($29) for a close approximation. Though Monroque’s jeweled sandals are from Prada’s S/S 09 collection, make sure to achieve a similar final polish via snakeskin platforms like Chinese Laundry’s Tied Python T-Strap Sandals ($80) and lots of faux-pearl baubles—Monroque’s are from H&M—but any costume jewelry piece will do the trick!

Of course, what is a sophisticated social without a few strong and standout frocks? Fortunately, in Monroque’s case, we’ll never have to know, as she has a wardrobe packed with directional dresses from daring designers, such as these two stellar examples from Rodarte. The cobweb Hand Knit Dress she wore to a Mike Myers-hosted benefit late last year (second from left) has been an editorial and celebrity favorite; we like how Monroque styled it with a wide black belt and ombre ankle boots. Make sure to try ASOS’ Loose Stitch Knitted Dress ($68) for a look-a-like alternative and pair it with Georgina Goodman’s Riva 1 Booties ($665) to achieve Monroque’s enviable ensemble. Last but not least, we have another cleverly crafted Rodarte design, specifically their Rafia Fringe Dress ($2500) from the spring collection. This plum-colored creation, which she wore to sit front row at Narciso Rodriguez’s S/S 10 show (far right), incorporates organic material such as fiber tassels, as well as bold colors and patterns too, and is the perfect piece to steal the show. And though this exact style is not yet in stores, we think Anna Sui’s Ditzy Floral Print Dress ($374) or Vena Cava’s Mandala Dress ($495) would be equally vibrant additions to your holiday rotation. Just make sure to slip into a pair of complimentary hued heels, like Nine West’s Fuchsia T-Strap Platform Sandals ($79) and you will be the object of outfit-centric attention everywhere!—KM

Photo of Shala Monroque from Getty Images.

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Shala Monroque: Girl About Town via [harper’sbazaar]

The chic art maven takes her singular style to the streets. Check out some of our favorite candid shots of Monroque on the fashion party circuit. By Anne Monoky



“I don’t have a high threshold for pain,” jokes Shala Monroque. No, the slender 31-year-old isn’t speaking about exercising or medical procedures; she is talking about her heels. “I have to have comfortable shoes,” she insists. Her preference? Well, Monroque hasn’t been named the proverbial queen of the kitten heel for nothing. In fact, the striking St. Lucian has been wearing the barely there heel for several seasons now, long before they were deemed in style again for fall. Such daring decisions have grabbed the attention (and admiration) of the fashion world, gradually landing Monroque on the It-girl map. 

Proenza Schouler dress, by special order. proenzaschouler.com. Dannijo necklace, $595. Miu Miu shoes, $990. Hermès bag, Monroque’s own.

As venerable designer and close friend Miuccia Prada puts it, “She has an incredible sense of fashion, and, more importantly, it’s all very instinctive and natural. It’s really a gift.” Unlike her boyfriend, art mogul Larry Gagosian, whose more reliable style she describes as “preppy — he has worn the same look his whole life,” Monroque is continually pushing the boundaries. 

Monroque in artist Tom Sachs’s studio. Miu Miu sleeveless coat. Prada shoes.

She wore full midcalf ’50s-style skirts before Marc Jacobs sent them down the runway, turbans before Mrs. Prada reinstated them, and cat’s-eye sunglasses before Alexander Wang made them cool again. And for fall, she has her very discerning eye on a specific set of runway looks that she is coveting: the belted autumnal trenches at Dries Van Noten, the vivid glow-in-the-dark linear outfits from Balenciaga, and the fun, flirty party dresses from Giambattista Valli. 

Chris Benz jacket, tank and pants. Marc Jacobs shoes.

As for accessories? She can’t get enough of Fendi’s animal-print-lined Peekaboo bag or the luxurious snakeskin heels from Lanvin. And while her out-on-a-limb fashion sense may be innate, Monroque is banking on another theory. “Ironically, some of the outfits that receive the most attention from the fashion crowd are the ones that are a little off,” she admits. See, this girl on the go hates to pack and is actually quite bad at it, often forgetting key components of her ensemble. So she improvises. 

3.1 Phillip Lim cardigan. Louis Vuitton skirt. Tory Burch necklace. Delfina Delettrez cuff.

For best friend and fellow fashion favorite Dasha Zhukova, Monroque’s innovative style can be summarized with a simple anecdote. “One time, Shala was hosting a party for a designer whose clothes she didn’t have in this particular remote location,” says Zhukova. “In order to be politically correct, she found a random piece of fabric, belted it, and turned it into a cute minidress.” 

Trying on a chapeau at the Hat Shop in SoHo, New York. Prada dress. Yestadt Millinery hat. Delfina Delettrez cuff.

Such occurrences are de rigueur for this jet-setter, who spends less than six months a year on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where she lives. Instead, she’s in Paris, sitting front row at the Valentino couture show in a leggy lace number; in Rome for the opening of the Maxxi museum (“It’s unbelievable,” she reports back); or off in Colombia for an intimate dinner party honoring young designer Esteban Cortazar. 

3.1 Phillip Lim blouse. Rodarte skirt. Tory Burch necklace.

But international expeditions aside, New York City still holds a special place in her heart. She arrived in the city 10 years ago, and after several jobs (she was a maître ‘d at 60 Thompson’s eatery, Kittichai), she found her footing as both a Pop magazine editor at large and blogger and as an art consultant. Through the latter, she has forged strong bonds with artists like Taryn Simon, Ellen Gallagher, and Tom Sachs, who opened his awe-inspiring studio for Monroque’s photo shoot. During which, for effect, she slipped on a pair of jeweled Miu Miu stilettos, Cinderella-style. As is true for any ardent follower of fashion, if the shoe fits and is divine, she’ll wear it. 

In Giambattista Valli.

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Shala Monroque: Fashions Newest Muse Speaks via [Divalocity]

As one of NYC’s hottest “Uptown Girls” who is now reaching fashion icon status with her elegantly-chic look. Shala Monroque, writer and Editor-at-Large for The Pop Magazine has been rising to the top of the fashion heap for the past three years. With her ever-changing coif and sophisticated lady like vibe, the fresh faced beauty and St. Lucia native is making her mark as a writer and a modern-day muse. 

This fashionable beauty is all over the web and her chameleon like traits are getting her noticed. Whether this fashion renegade is jetting off to Paris, France or to St. Petersburg, Russia on choice assignment’s for her job or off to the many art exhibits, she’s often found in NYC where she is a part of the cultural scene.

I was interested in talking with Shala to find out a little more information about her, so I got up the nerve and asked her for an interview. As the saying goes, ask and you shall receive and she was gracious enough to allow me to interview her. No, I didn’t fly to NYC, which would have been great, but I conducted the interview the way we do them in these modern times-over the phone or via the web.

I’m sure there will be more from other individuals in the future because she is now, one to watch. And everyone wants to know who is this Shala Monroque? She’s not a singer. She’s not an actress. She’s not a model, but she sure looks like one.

Fashions newest muse gives us a taste of who she is.


Shala in front of one of artist, Richard Princes,
Naughty Nurse Paintings.


Shala looking fabulous in Valentino.
(Photos:The Pop Magazine)

Divalocity: “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview you.
First of all, how are you?”

Shala: “Very well, thank you.”

Divalocity: Give us a little history about yourself. What is your occupation and where were you educated? It doesn’t matter where you attended school, I just want to show women that they can do and be anything that they set out to be with or without a higher education, just as long as they have the desire and determination to succeed. We tend to concentrate on the superficial of women and dismiss their intellect and accomplishments and I want to show them that how we think and act counts first before how we look.

Shala: I grew up in St.Lucia and went to secondary school there. I’ve attempted college, and I’m still in the process of slowly getting a degree. It’s taking forever but I’m also learning a lot by travelling as well. That works for me. I’m not going to advise anyone against pursuing higher education, I would encourage it. I’m very curious and have lots of questions and so its possible I may keep going to college for life.

Divalocity: Vogue magazine and other’s are labeling you as a socialite, do you consider yourself only a socialite? If not, please elaborate about the various philanthropic endeavors that you are involved in.

Shala: To quote Whitney Houston, “I’m every woman, its all in me” I would hate to think that I am capable of doing only one thing, its just not me. I’m very fluid and enjoy being in various environments. It’s a good way to learn. I’m currently not involved in any philanthropic endeavours. I haven’t been moved that way yet, not that I don’t care but I like to do things genuinely. I sometimes donate to Doctors Without Borders.

Divalocity: Who are your fashion influences and icons?

Shala: I don’t know that I really have any. Everybody influences me. The list would be too long.

Divalocity: I believe that Haute Couture is an art form and should be protected and preserved for future generations to see. Do you feel that there is a relationship between fashion and art?

Shala: Art speaks, fashion speaks. That’s the relationship between the two.

Divalocity: Who are some of your favorite designers? You seem to have a penchant for fabulous accessories and I love how you play them up, who are some of your favorite handbag designers?

Shala: Right now, I’m over the “It Bag” phenomenon. Actually I was never really into it. I am not into “it-anything” for that matter. I like what I like no matter what anyone thinks. That said, I am into Hermès now because they are classic bags that are very utilitarian and chic. Some of which have been around for decades.

Divalocity: I saw the pictures on The Sartorialist Blog of you taken during PFW and every one commented wanted your Birken bag.

Divalocity: Who are your favorite artists? Which do you prefer, Modern Art or that of the Old World Master painters?

Shala: Difficult to answer, so I’ll stick with Picasso for the moment because he can never be erased. I’ve learned that sometimes the paintings I hated most are the ones I’ve come to love the most.

Divalocity: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Shala: I don’t really look at life that way, especially now. My motto of the moment is “Inshallah” God willing, what will be will be et cetera.

Divalocity: What words of inspiration can you give our readers?

Shala: “This too shall pass”

Divalocity: Jet-setting from place to place seems like a glamorous lifestyle, please tell my readers how important it is for women to travel the world and learn about other cultures.

Shala: Travel is important to learn about the world. But I also know people who have zero interest in travelling and are quite happy. So its all about knowing oneself and what one wants out of life. I’ve always wanted to travel, I was always curious and so that has led me down this path but before I could physically travel, I travelled by way of books and its also a great way to see the world. Read, read, read, ask questions, its like travelling through the minds of others.

Divalocity: What are some of your favorite cities in the world?

Shala: Paris, Rome, Venice, Marrakesh, and of course, New York City.

Divalocity: What simple health, fitness and beauty tips can you give us to continue looking fabulous?

Shala: I’m the worst person to ask that question. I’m all about a healthy mind, a curious mind, intelligence, these are the things that are beautiful to me.

Divalocity: What are some of your fashion words to live by and words of inspiration that get you through tough times?

Shala: It’s not that deep. Always Wear Confidence.

Divalocity: You are so right and that’s one of my favorite accessories.

Divalocity: What are some of your favorite home essentials that you can’t live without? Do you bring a touch of home with you when you travel?

Shala: Music.

Divalocity: What are some of favorite shopping destinations and why?

Shala: Souks, because there’s just so much to see. Prada because of the whole environment, the music, the art, you sometimes walk into a Prada store and every single person is dressed alike right down to the red lipstick. I like that sort of madness. But in general I love to shop, I always have and suspect always will. Growing up as a child I would save the bus fare just to walk around “town” and window shop. I could have told you where to find anything.

Even when I moved to New York and had no money, I loved walking into expensive or 99cent stores just to see what was going on. One can tell a lot about a people by the merchandise of their stores. Like I could tell there were Chinese living in Harlem because at Pathmark they sold chicken’s feet. I look at shopping mostly from that angle. So mostly its shopping for ideas and information.

Divalocity: You are indeed a style chameleon when it comes to everything about your style and there’s never nothing routine about it. When I first your picture in the NYSD, I was in awe of you because you wore your hair natural, now with many women of African descent embracing their beautiful hair, what is your favorite way of wearing your hair and why? Women of African descent have various ways that they can wear their hair styled and always have, I just feel it’s refreshing to see a woman self-define what she deems as beautiful by embracing who she is.

Shala: HAIR. The one constant is that my hair is always changing. Mainly because I’m easily bored. I had my hair short and natural then because at that point wanted one less hassle in my life. But then I wanted to look less like a boy and more “feminine.” Only black people truly understand the difficulty of black hair, and also the pride that black people take in their hair.

I have a book that documents the various hair-styles from Africa for maybe two hundred years, and basically black people have always had fun with their hair. None of these hairstyles are new. Afros, cornrows, Mohawks, dreadlocks, weaving, its centuries old. I don’t know why people take it so seriously. For black people hair is like the “It Bag” or a blank canvas, same thing.

Divalocity: How can I score an invite to NYFW, my daughter and I have been dying to get there forever?
Shala: I have to think about that one for a bit. I go because of work. Maybe you can do it through your blog, get a press pass.

Divalocity: I’ll do just that and I’ll start writing the PR’s of the designer shows that I want to see.

Divalocity: Again, thank you for your time and the wonderful opportunity to interview you.

Shala: Thanks.

Divalocity: There you have it ladies and gentlemen. Shala has given us a little information about herself and she seems to be just as down to earth as ever. She’s what I call, “Living Well” and that’s what we all should strive for because we deserve it.

You can read more about Shala’s adventures in the art world, travel and fashion world at her blog.

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Closet Crush: Shala Monroque via [clutchmagazine]

– By Audra E. Lord

There’s no question that the editor-at-large of Pop Magazine is a visionary. Just take a look at her personal style. Her coveted fashion sense is best described as classic meets edgy—a sophisticated yet eccentric blend of tailored designer pieces (think pencil skirts and flirty A-line dresses) and bold statement-making accessories (chunky necklaces and animal-print clutches with unexpected pops of color). She has definitely been on our style radar for a minute. This is one crush that’s not going anywhere. Check out her blog here!

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You Should Know : Shala Monroque via [fashionbombdaily]

by Claire

Hey Guys!

Today I wanted to profile a new Fashion Bomb worthy stylista on the scene, Shala Monroque:

Shala Monroque Fashion style

The young editor-at-large of Pop Magazine (and girlfriend to famously wealthy art mogul Larry Gagosian) has been busy on the party circuit, meriting a place as one Style.com’s Top Party People of 2009 and Who What Wear’s Girl of the Month, thanks to her fearless style, sick shoe collection, and indisputable beauty. We thought it was high time to see what all the buzz was about, and we weren’t disappointed!

Shala Monroque Fashion style

For international fashion weeks, Shala brings out the boldness in vibrant colored skirts and simple shirts, punched up with tribal heels and chic statement necklaces.

Shala Monroque Party

Shala Monroque Fashion style

At fashionable fetes she keeps the flavor going in fun mini dresses set off by cute feather adorned stiletto sandals or slim cut airy separates with interesting details.

Shala Monroque Fashion style

For more casual engagements, she skews towards simple in solid colored blazers worn over conservative shifts.

Shala Monroque the Fashion Bomb

But whatever she wears, it’s clear: homegirl is fierce!

If you want to channel a bit of her essence, do so with these fun picks:

She might give Genevieve Jones a run for her money on the socialite scene!

What do you think of this new Fashion Bomb addition?

If you need more Shala, check out her blog, Shala the Pop, here.

Photo Credits: Jak & Jil & Getty.

The Winter 2010 Haute Hair Restoration Project via [HueKnewIt]

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HAUTE HAIR: The Great Weave Debate

omarosa and hue knew it sophia alston and hue knew it celebrity hair stylist and hue knew it weaves and hue knew it pantene and hue knew it hellobeautiful.com and hue knew it

Photo Credit: Russ Einhorn/Splash News – Omarosa

To weave or not to weave. That is the question.

The level of discussion that surrounds a black woman’s hairstyle (relaxed or natural, short or long) is one that is never-ending. But whatever side of the issue you fall on, one thing is true – you still need to wear a style that you makes you look your absolute best and what better person to be the star of today’s discussion than reality television star, Omarosa.

Omarosa (or Lady O as she is called on The Ultimate Merger), has worn a variety of weave styles as evidenced here, and has done so unapologetically. But many struggle to take the first step in donning a weave because they’re afraid of how they will be perceived by others. The entry entitled, Hair Problems Solved: Combat Premature Balding which talked about the damaging effects of neglecting one’s own hair while wearing a weave spurred some debate among women and some brave men – just check out the comments on:

Hellobeautiful.com.

Celebrity stylist, Sophia Alston shares her expert opinion on which styles do and don’t work for everyone’s favorite villain.

Off the face is a no-no: The first look isn’t the best style for her, however, the brown color is a do.

The bang is too severe: This weave looks well done, however, the black color is too harsh and the straight bang isn’t very becoming. An off-black color might have been a better choice.

Sophia loves Omarosa’s look with the side swept bang because it softens her appearance.

To keep your weave in the best condition for as long as possible, just follow Sophia’s suggestions:

1. Treat your weave like your own hair by shampooing it at least every two weeks with Pantene Pro-V Color Hair Solutions Color Preserve Shine Shampoo ($5.97, walmart.com) and sit under the dryer so your hair and braids avoid mildew. If you don’t let it dry, then you risk an odor-filled scalp which is a smell that’s hard to remove.

2. Keep the color of your hair looking shiny and healthy by using The Pantene Color Nourishing Treatment ($3.97, walmart.com). These Pantene products (and really any product from the entire color line) is perfect to use to keep your weave in tip-top condition.

Should you or shouldn’t you? Synthetic or human hair? These questions and more will plague you until you come to grips with not caring about what anyone else thinks and going for it.  Your concern should only be what style looks best on you.

HAUTE HAIR: How to Get Beyonce’s Volume

beyonce and hue kenw it long hair styles and hue knew it wavy hair styles and hue knew it samy fathair and hue knew it goody and hue knew it hot tools and hue knew it

Long, straight hair is one thing, but waves add an interesting textural element that also softens your look. To get cascading, sultry, sexy hair like Beyonce’s, you just need the right tools of the trade and to follow these steps:

Step 1: Divide your hair into 2-inch widths.

Step 2: Curl them in opposite directions with Hot Tools Gold Curling Iron 2” ($37.59, ulta.com). Make sure to curl the pieces along your hairline away from your face.

Step 3: Spray your hair with Samy FAT Hair 0 Calories Amplifying Hair Spray ($12.99, walgreens.com). Fat Hair shapes, holds and is an amplifying mist that adds extra volume and shine to all styles and leaves it feeling soft.

Step 4: Brush your hair lightly with Goody’s Pro Dual Bristle Oval Brush for Volume (walmart and target stores).

Step 5: Finish by raking your fingers through your hair for a slightly unfinished look.

HAUTE HAIR: Rehab Dry & Brittle Hair

kenya moore and hue knew it aphoghee and hue knew it dry hair and hue knew it brittle hair treatment and hue knew it hot oil treatment and hue knew it queen helene and hue knew it phytospecific and hue knew it

Hearing your hair snap as you comb through it can be as traumatic as having a loved one do the unthinkable and play in your hair and you hear the comment, “wow, your hair feels a little rough.”The horror!

Rather than worry yourself into a craze, concern yourself with reviving your dry & brittle hair and turn it into shiny & lustrous hair like Kenya Moore’s. If you don’t have an appointment lined up with your stylist, it’s easy to do a series of at-home treatments to make this transformation happen on your own.

No time. No problem. Do a one-step treatment if you suffer from hair breakage with ApHogee’s Keratin 2 Minute Reconstuctor ($9.99, sallybeauty.com). It’s made specifically for home use between salon visits, so there’s no way you can make a mistake. This product is a concentrated blend of keratin amino acids, botanical oils, and vitamins that does a wonderful job of restoring strength and softness to hair that requires a deep, penetrating treatment.  It’s recommended on tinted, bleached or relaxed hair. ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor even helps to repair damage caused by chlorine and hard water. It soothes irritated scalps and can be applied following each shampooing until the healthy condition of the hair is restored.

To use, just apply to clean hair in the shower and rinse to treat brittle hair with cuticle damage and moderate breakage.

If you need a root to tip treatment and you have no time commitments, Phytospecific Intense Nutrition Mask ($28, sephora.com) is a good option. It improves strength and elasticity. The ingredients include an interesting mix of (but aren’t limited to) mango seed, plaintain, quinoa oils which hydrates and fortifies and vitamin E which sooths the scalp. There is also wheat amino acids and wood cellulose which help lock in moisture and detangle your hair. After using this product you will notice that your hair will feel hydrated, soft, and very strong.

To use, shampoo hair and towel dry. Apply a generous amount of product to your entire head and then put on a plastic cap. Sit under a dryer for at least 10 minutes. Rinse and continue styling.

Queen Helene Hot Oil Treatment (local beauty supply stores) is a product that many have used in their homes for years, but for those of you new to the Queen Helene phenomena, a hot oil treatment is yet another way to lock some moisture into your otherwise, dry, drab hair.  It also restores softness, shine, manageability, breakage and split ends.

To use, simply shampoo your hair and towel dry. Place bottle in a cup of hot tap water for one minute. Massage 1 oz of warmed oil into hair and scalp. Cover hair with a dry towel for three minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Towel dry and style. This heat-activated treatment penetrates deep into towel-dried hair to control damage caused by chemicals, over-processing and weather exposure.

HAUTE HAIR: Turn Fine Hair into Fuller Hair 

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Not everyone’s blessed with thick strands of hair which is why weaves and wigs have become the norm, and in some cases an unfortunate crutch. What would you do if you had fine hair like the chanteuse Toni Braxton, who from her early years as a recording artist never had the fullness that she boasts as of late (with the help of a weave no doubt)? Would you treat your underlying issue and use some of the following products to bring some fullness to what nature blessed you with or add superficial fullness to give you a little extra confidence?

Folicure Moisturizing Conditioner ($6.39, sallybeauty.com) is part of line that was formulated to develop fuller, thicker hair for men and women. This particular moisturizing conditioner is the first everyday use, rinse-out Folicure conditioner. It leaves your fine, delicate hair smooth, shiny and full while it stimulates your scalp with a refreshing tingle.

Many of you have of the Bosley System for men’s hair loss, but there’s a line specifically made for women as well. Bosley’s Professional Strength Bos Defense Nourishing Shampoo for Normal to Fine Hair for Non Color Treated Hair ($18.99, haircarechoices.com) is a sulfate free cleanser helps to promote hair growth by removing buildup and toxins like D.H.T. (a male hormone that stops hair growth, in other words it stops hair growing from the roots) from the hair and scalp. This shampoo nourishes, strengthens and fortifies your hair follicles to result in thicker, fuller looking hair.

Marc Anthony’s Instantly Thick Hair Thickening Cream ($7.99, ulta.com) is a little different in it’s ability to thicken your hair. If you have what is typically called “wet & go” hair and you get blow outs then this may be the perfect product for you. This product is formulated with phytokeratin which wraps a secondary layer around each and every hairstrand. Also provides heat protection and shine. This heat activated cream is used after you shampoo and condition your hair. To use: Apply the cream from roots to ends on damp hair, the hair is thickened by the blow dry process. For added lift and hold, combine with other Instantly Thick™ styling products.

Hue Knew It? I did.

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Book Review: “French Women Don’t Sleep Alone” by Jamie Cat Callan via [zabeth’scorner]

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originally posted by Zabeth

In her book French Women Don’t Sleep Alone Jamie Cat Callan outlines the romantic secrets of French women that have intrigued and captivated men (and some women) for decades. Callan unlocks the secrets that have made French women so alluring.I did find the advice offered in this book to be good; however, it’s the same advice you’d find in The Rules. Both books concur that women should not chase men, that they should play hard to get and, not make themselves too easily available. That’s nothing new or revolutionary. Also when reading this book there are some obvious caveats that you should take into consideration. First, French men are not American men and French culture is not American culture so, not everything will “translate”
so to speak. Second, the French live in a much smaller much more intimate country; therefore, their “rules of the game” will be different from our own.

I also don’t like the notion of European cultural superiority and the idea that Europe does things better than America, or that Americans need to learn something from Europeans. As a proud “can do” American I do get a bit defensive about that. Nonetheless there are many things in this book that American women can learn from French women:

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  1. Instead of going online or to a club/bar try throwing a dinner party.

    French women don’t meet men online or in bars. Instead they meet men through their existing social circle or “coterie.” Try throwing a dinner party at your home and have each guest bring one or two guests. This broadens your social circle and will give you a chance to get intimately acquainted with the people in your inner circle. Your friends and acquaintances will get to see you in a different light too- dinner parties give you a chance to show off your intellect and your cooking and conversation skills. There’s also an air of competition. When you’re online men already know you are available; when you meet at a dinner party they won’t and thus can’t take you for granted. They’ll also take note of other potential suitors.

  2. Go for a walk.

    Instead of going to a restaurant on a first date and confining yourself to that one person for 2 hours, go on a walk or a bicycle ride. This eliminates the quid-pro-quo where because the man is paying for something he feels entitled and you (may) feel obligated. Also when you’re out and about walking through town looking and smelling good other men will notice you…and don’t think your date won’t notice that. For the times when you don’t have a date, fill in the time by doing something else out and about in the world where you can be visible to the opposite sex.

  3. Dare to be feminine.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a woman and embracing your femininity. American women have had this beaten out of them for the past 40 years. French women on the other hand love being women and they don’t turn their sensuality on and off- it’s just always on. Second, French women don’t hide their intelligence. In fact they like to look brainy and appear intellectual. Intelligence isn’t a masculine trait and, real men know that smart is sexy.

  4. Take care of your body.

    French women put themselves first. Putting yourself first means taking care of your body both physically and emotionally. This is something we as BW especially, often neglect to do. Always know you’re beautiful and be happy with who you are. Exercise. Eat quality, nutritious food. Take good care of your skin. In other words, don’t neglect yourself.

  5. The myth of the French Mistress.

    Contrary to popular belief, adultery is not as tolerated in France as some people (men) would like to believe. Nor are French women as tolerant of a husband’s indiscretions as we are sometimes led to believe. Let’s also not ignore the fact that women are just as capable of being unfaithful. Affairs do happen in France but it’s really not much different than in the U.S.

Overall I’d give this book 2 and ½ stars out of 5. Callan often repeats herself- really just re-wording points she’s already made- throughout the book. However, I found it to be a cute and fast paced read that offered interesting advice and insight into another culture.



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Julie Powell Meets the Wine Divas via [oprah.com]

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By Julie Powell
O, The Oprah Magazine

What’s the best wine with hamburgers? With chocolate? And what does tannic mean, anyway? Julie Powell raises a glass to a vintage organization that celebrates wine, women, and friendship.

The Divas

Photo: Michael Edwards

They had hosted dinner for 150 people the evening before, then stayed up half the night making nametags and centerpieces for today’s luncheon, but the Divas Uncorked look amazingly serene as they greet their guests. Rosalind Johnson approaches me with a charming smile, a glass of Roselle Syrah Rosé, and a friendly exhortation: “Breathe!” she says. “You’re here now.” Though I’m frazzled from a long and noisy train ride to Boston, right away I begin to relax.

The event at which I have just arrived—a weekend conference featuring multiple-course meals with wine pairings, plus lectures, presentations, and a reception—is called “Wine, Women, and….” It is the highlight of the Divas’ year, and the culmination of nearly a decade of learning, planning, organizing, and sipping.

Divas Uncorked started in 1998 when a group of friends decided to learn more about what they were drinking. Now it’s a thriving business dedicated to educating consumers about wine, and educating winemakers about consumers—particularly women and African-Americans, who are often overlooked by the industry. To that end, the Divas organize frequent Divas Dine events in restaurants across the country, inviting the public to eat and drink while learning about wine. They act as marketing consultants to wineries and wine stores that become members of the Divas Uncorked Collaborative Consortium. They also manage a Web site, divasuncorked.com. They even have their own wine, Divas Uncorked Chardonnay, produced in partnership with the Mendocino Wine Company.

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All of this could be quite enough to occupy the friends, ten energetic women in their late 40s, 50s, and early 60s. But each of them also has a high-powered day job, ranging from executive consultant to educator. “We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we started,” says Callie Crossley, a commentator with NPR and WGBH-TV, as she walks with me to our seats at the luncheon.

As we dig into our appetizers, the conversation in the room grows raucous. Although I don’t know any of the hundred women gathered here, I feel as at ease as if I were sitting around with friends at a girls-only cocktail hour. And I realize the Divas have succeeded in doing what many of us fantasize about: They’ve built a business out of their favorite pastime.

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Before they were Divas, the women were friends who met doing volunteer work with a nonprofit organization, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. They started going out together after meetings. “We were always eating and drinking,” says Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard, executive director of the Boston Lawyers Group and the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity. “Frankly, we were spending a fair amount of money, and we decided we should know more about this wine thing.” They quickly got organized, as type A personalities will, and began hosting monthly wine-tasting get-togethers. At first they served cheese, crackers, fruit, and “little nibbles,” but before long they were planning elaborate, themed dinners.

“We were just having fun,” says Karen Holmes Ward, a producer at WCVB-TV. And learning a lot. Stephanie Browne, an information technology director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield and president of the Divas, learned not to serve her reds too warm or her whites too cold, for example.

The friends have become educated in more arcane subjects as well, such as vintages and sugar-to-acid ratios. But “wine savvy not wine snobby” is their mantra, and the most important lesson they pass along to consumers is to trust themselves when it comes to taste. “Pick wines that please your palate,” says Ward.

As the conference winds down, I ask the Divas how they balance work and friendship. “The one thing we’re not going to lose is what brought us together,” insists Hebsgaard. So on top of all their other responsibilities, they still plan monthly wine-tasting dinners, just for themselves.

No wonder, then, that where others might describe a wine in terms of its nose or finish, Browne compares it to something closer to her heart. “My aha moment was when I realized how a balanced wine tastes,” she says. “The fruit and acid and alcohol are all in perfect harmony. It’s like having your favorite food next to your favorite person in your favorite place.” In other words, delicious.

Julie Powell is the author of Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously (Back Bay Books).

The Wine Divas solve 7 great mysteries of the wine world!


7 Mysteries of the Wine World, Solved

By Brooke Kosofsky Glassberg
O, The Oprah Magazine

Grape connoisseurs, the wine Divas, educate us on wine bottling, serving, tasting and all around etiquette.

Wine tasters
Photo: Michael Edwards

O: How do you figure out what you like?

Divas: Taste as much as possible. Find a shop with helpful salespeople. Many stores are now organized by flavor instead of region or type of grape, making it easier to find winners based on your “flavor profile,” or the characteristics you enjoy. Another good way to start is to select a region—say, California or New Zealand—and then ask your salesperson to recommend five or six typical, affordable wines from there. As you try them at home, jot down notes about color, smell, and taste. There are no wrong answers: You’re learning what tastes good to you, not trying to impress others.

O: What’s the ideal serving temperature for wine?

Divas: The lighter the body and color of the wine, the cooler it should be. But avoid extremes: Excessive chilling can mask the flavor of a white; too much warmth heightens the alcohol fumes of a red. A rule of thumb is to take whites out of the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before drinking. Reds should go into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before opening.

O: Does the glass matter?

Divas: Look for one with a long stem so the warmth of your hand won’t heat the wine. The vessel should be clear and unfaceted so you can see the color and clarity of the liquid. Many experts insist on different glasses for reds and whites, but if you have a limited budget, make sure your glass has a bowl roomy enough to swirl the wine and release its aroma, and a rim that tilts inward so the aroma is channeled toward your nose. Ikea sells a great line of glasses that meet these requirements.

O: Are screw tops or wines-in-a-box any good?

Divas: Yes to both. Once associated with cheap vino, screw caps are becoming increasingly popular for wines of all prices. The tops are simple to open and close wherever you are—think picnics—and allow you to easily save an unfinished bottle. Boxed wines also once had a bad reputation, but today’s options are often good quality. Try Delicato’s Bota Box Merlot or Shiraz.

O: Does the vintage matter?

Divas: Not necessarily. The climates of wine-growing regions like California, South Africa, and Australia don’t fluctuate enough from year to year to matter. In Europe, where the climate does vary, the best vintages can be quite expensive; top bottles are collected by aficionados and aged for many years. Lesser vintages are often fine for immediate drinking, however.

O: How do you store wine at home?

Divas: Many fancy cabinetmakers feature built-in wine racks above the refrigerator, but these are pointless—rising heat can ruin the wine. If you can’t afford a cellar or wine refrigerator, find a cool, dark space with a consistent temperature. Try underneath basement stairs or on a closet floor. If you’re going to drink the wines fairly quickly, countertop racks are fine so long as they’re not in direct sunlight or near a heat source, like the oven.

O: How do you overcome being intimidated by restaurant wine lists?

Divas: Easy. Don’t read them. When a multipage wine list hits your table, ignore it. After you’ve decided what to eat, ask the waiter what goes well with your food. Either he’ll be able to make suggestions, or he’ll send over a sommelier to advise you. Eating at places that serve a good selection of wines by the glass will also allow you to experiment without investing in a full bottle.

For more information visit their website!




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An Insider’s Affluent Report: The Black Supermodel Mega Success Stories via [MyraPanacheReport]

The Black Supermodel Mega-Success Stories

*I notice a pattern emerging with black
supermodels of today and the past, they tend to date and marry well and
they also invest their money well. I once knew a black model (born in
Compton) who didn’t achieve supermodel status but worked on a regular
basis on the European catwalks.

When she first started out, she had an edge,
after spending considerable time working in Paris and Italy, she became
polished, cultured and well traveled (she also learned languages) and
became engaged to a millionaire doctor, despite the engagement, wealthy
playboys and businessmen were in constant pursuit of her and she
invested her money quite well after her modeling days ended.

NAOMI CAMPBELL:

Naomi Campbell has never had financial problems
and she never will because she surrounds herself (like Halle Berry)
with the right people. Not only does she continue to date rich but she
also takes advantage of the money and investment tips given to her by
rich boyfriends, wealthy associates and powerbrokers in the political
arena.

Allegedly, like Baby (from Cash Money) and
Condoleeza Rice (former Secretary Of State), Naomi also has her money
invested in the oil industry (including oil rigs). This is how it works,
according to a close friend who works in the oil industry. (Keep in
mind, all investment opportunities are structured differently).

You or an investment group invest anywhere from
$1.8 million to $2 million in the oil industry (including oil rigs)
and you are guaranteed a “high” a of $56-$58 million over a seven year
period. This isn’t a ponzi scheme but an great investment opportunity
that’s available on a very rare basis.

Naomi also had an agency (not advertised) that
represented stylists and makeup artists in the entertainment and
modeling agencies on an exclusive basis.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell rarely drives, she’s
usually driven in a Rolls Royce or limousine by a chauffeur/bodyguard
supplied by her boyfriend. Surprisingly, she was recently spotted in
France (Champs-Elysees) departing from a blue Lamborghini.

Few people outside of Europe know the
following: In the 90’s, Campbell developed “The Design House of Naomi
Campbell.”

Through this house, Campbell has created seven
fragrances for women, most of which were released and sold in Europe
exclusively.

The following fragrances were created by Naomi
Campbell: In 2000 Campbell dropped, “Naomi Campbell,” and “Naomagic.”
In 2001, Campbell introduced her third perfume, “Cat Deluxe,” and in
2003 released “Mystery.” A year later a fifth fragrance was made,
“Sunset,” and in 2005 another fragrance was released, “Paradise
Passion.” Campbell’s latest fragrance is a new version of her Cat
Deluxe perfume called “Cat Deluxe at Night.”

Campbell is paid between $25,000-$50,000 per
runway show.

IN RELATED NEWS:

Former model/actress Maria McDonald used to
have food (her favorite meals) flown in from Switzerland to New York via
a private elite air cargo.

McDonald was also known to hop a private plane
enroute to the Swiss Riviera to view the Montreux Jazz festival on Lake
Geneva.

McDonald remains close friends with Iman and
Beverly Johnson. She says Johnson was very generous and helpful to her
in regards to her career. When McDonald was just starting out, one
evening Johnson called and asked her would she like to replace her for a
Harper’s Bazaar fashion shoot?

When McDonald arrived in Los Angeles, Johnson
called the top modeling agencies and asked them to consider signing
McDonald.

Despite both of McDonald’s parents having brown
eyes, all of the McDonald girls (4) have green eyes and their one
brother has brown eyes, all of the girls are model types and stand 5’9
and up, the brother stands 6’7.

In her prime, McDonald often ran into Gia at
auditions (the model who died of AIDS). She said Gia was often withdrawn
and kept to herself.

“MODEL TRIVIA & UPDATES”

(Stunning TV Couple)

When actress/model Maria McDonald appeared on
“Miami Vice,” off set, strangers would often ask her if she was related
to actor Philip Michael Thomas because they share similar features
(they’re not related). Others told them, they were a stunning pair.
Maria will be appearing in an upcoming Tennessee Williams play in New
York. One of Maria’s sisters is Suze Lane, she had a smash disco hit in
the 70’s “Harmony,” which was recently voted the number #2 dance record
of all-time.

Model Maria McDonald (above) once said that
Iman is very business savvy and smart. Iman proved her business savvy
when she launched a successful and lucrative makeup line aimed at women
of color.

Black supermodel Mounia (above) attained her
supermodel status overseas. She equaled Naomi Campbell on the runway and
she was a favorite of designers Versace and Yves St. Laurent. They
considered her exquisite, elegant and classy.

Early in her career, Mounia showed up for
fashion bookings (she wasn’t booked for), before the day was over, she
had the booking!

She is extremely business savvy with solid investments
and she frequently travels between Paris and Martinique (where she
owns a fashion boutique).

(UPDATE!)

Black model Mounia (above) was the first
African-American model to write a book on modeling, “Princesse Mounia.”

Mounia’s actual name is Monique-Antoine, she
felt that the unusual combination had power, granting her a special
connection.

She worked as the airport in Fort-de-France as
an announcer and she was also an on-ground hostess at Orly airport in
Paris.

It wasn’t until 1976, when an important
American client withdrew her patronage from Givenchy after Mounia had
modeled a suit before her, that Mounia was slapped in the face by the
ugly realities of racism in the modeling industry.

Suddenly, she was forced to see that history
was not separable from the present and that she was part of them both.

As she developed her career, Mounia began to
work with designers other than Givenchy. They included Emanuel Ungaro
and Karl Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld, an iconoclast who did “not detest
provocation” hired her to do Chloe and his own line. When he took over
the design responsibilities at Chanel, he hired Mounia for that house as
well.

She became the first Black model to present the
Chanel collection.

It was her connection with Yves St. Laurent,
however, which was to prove the most fruitful and long-lasting of her
career. Not only was Mounia his star runway model for almost a decade,
she was also propelled by Saint Laurent’s fame onto the pages of fashion
magazines around the world.

Source: Barbara Summers

 

(PAT EVANS)

Black model Pat Evans was a trailblazer. Her
bookings increased significantly when she shaved her head and went bald.
During the late 70’s and 80’s, Evans was a top model. She appeared in
all the major black magazines and she also received exposure in skin
care and makeup ads.

Evans and Isaac Hayes caused a stir when they
were often photographed walking down the street with gleaming bald heads
in full length furs.

Evans also posed for album covers, most
notably, the Ohio Players (above).

After Evans’ retired from modeling, we heard
she became a teacher.

A famous quote from Pat Evans that appeared in
Essence Magazine: Evans herself was a bold as her personal style. She
sent tongues wagging when she criticized the racist attitudes in the
industry and predatory photographers. She said that modeling would never
be an “open” profession for black people until there were more black
owned agencies, products, magazines and above all “black owned minds.”

Former Halston supermodel Alva Chinn was the
first African-American woman to purchase a Ferrari (in cash) in the
United States; her Ferrari was red.

Fashion designer Oscar De La Renta (3rd photo)
is the godfather of black model Alva Chinn’s son. De La Renta also
adopted an African American son who is now his spokesperson.

(BLACK MODEL BREAKTHROUGH-VERSAILLES)

For black models, the defining moment of change
took place at Versailles on a date to remember: November 28, 1973. For
the first time ever, a group of Black American models-no longer
isolated, individual stars-walked off an unusually opulent runway and
onto the pages of history.

The scene was set: The stage of the Opera House
at the Sun King’s imperial chateau. Five American fashion designers
were invited to show their work along with five French couturiers. The
home team: Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint
Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro. The American visitors: Bill Blass, Stephen
Burrows, Halston, Anne Klein and Oscar de la Renta.

Although the numbers were even, the match
seemed to favor the Europeans. They were, after all, playing on their
own court.

But, the American designers had a secret
weapon, Black women. African-American women were the surprise element,
the shock troops on the runway. Billie Blair, Alva Chinn, Pat Cleveland
(above), Norma Jean Darden, Charlene Dash, Bethann Hardison. Barbara
Jackson, Ramona Saunders and Amina Warsuma.

The most dramatic moment came when Bethann
Hardison stalked down the runway in a tight-fitting yellow silk halter
by black designer Stephen Burrows. Hardison held a floor-length train by
a tiny ring on her pinky, wrote reporter LaVerne Powlis. “When
Hardison made reached center stage, she made a dramatic turn and
haughtily dropped the train. The audience exploded in a frenzy of
approval. They stomped, screamed and tossed their programs into the
air.

According to NY Daily News photographer-Bill
Cunningham: “The bejeweled Paris audience was stunned by the showmanship
of the black models from America. The aristocrats were even thrilled.”

Fashion was never to be colonized in the same
ways again. And Black American models, who had moved over the previous
25 years from near invisibility to grudging recognition, now commanded
center stage, never again to be ignored.

Alva Chinn described the Versailles gala as a
gift from God. Our side was so simple. We didn’t have props and things,
we just had us.

Norma Jean Darden added, “Stephen Burrows stole
the show. People were just clapping for days.”

Charlene Dash said simply: “We killed them!”

The Black girls led the Americans to such and
overwhelming uncontested victory that one important American socialite
present at the gala enthused: “Not since Eisenhower liberated Paris have
the Americans had such a triumph in France.”

Source: Barbara Summers

“FASHION SENSE CONTINUED” (KHADIJA)

Khadija (above) originated from Nairobi, Kenya.
She was a beauty queen (Miss Africa) and in 1985 she went to London to
do the Miss World pageant where she selected as an finalist.

A photographer called her up and suggested that
she go to Paris to meet fashion designer Yves St. Laurent.

Her debut with Saint Laurent led to the cover
of Cosmopolitan (above). She received tremendous exposure and won an
exclusive makeup contract with Saint Laurent cosmetics, the first
transracial line to feature a Black model and the first to be named
after an individual (Khadija).

Unfortunately, in the 1980’s, people wrote
nasty letters because a black woman represented this line. Sales went
down and the line didn’t last long.

At her peak, Khadija generated $350,000 per
year in income.

In the 1990’s, Sonia Cole (above) was a huge
runway star in Europe, the United States and Japan.

Before her success, she worked at Caesar’s
Palace dressed as Cleopatra. She walked around handing out money to big
winners, giving directions, greeting people and posing for photos with
tourists.

While working a casino hosted-private party,
Cole met Bill Cosby. He asked her what she really wanted to do and she
told him: “I want to go to Paris to model.”

Within two weeks of meeting Cosby, Cole was in
Paris (with her husband) doing shows.

The rest is history!

 

BACKSTORY: (PAT CLEVELAND-RUNWAY QUEEN)

According to supermodel Janice Dickinson: “Pat
Cleveland (above) was one of the greatest runway models ever!  When she
moved, she painted the air around her with the clothes-a veritable riot
of living color.”  She was Halston’s favorite model!

 

Author and former model Barbara Summers
described Pat Cleveland (above) as the model who dominated the stage,
“the stage belonged to her.” Flights of fantasy were her specialty.
Airy, winged spins and long, liquid gestures were standards in her
repertoire. Impossibly ethereal, she could, as model Rene Hunter said,
“tell a story in a dress.”

Pat also spoke fluent Italian and liked to
frequent outdoor European cafe’s that served freshly squeezed orange
juice.

Pat says, “My aunt was a dancer with Katherine
Dunham. When I was five years old, I used to dance with her, too.”

“My great aunt was Josephine Baker’s Sunday
school teacher. So I always heard these stories about this little girl
who went away to Paris and never came back. And that’s what my plan
was.”

“During my modeling years, I was looking for
fun. I used to go out dancing at Le Club and Cheetah because I had the
right clothes. If you want to get famous, dress up! Yes, fame was on my
list. I had to get out and get famous because those people were the
ones who were having all the fun.”

Pat recalls of the more intense days spent
traveling with the Ebony Fashion Fair in the mid-60’s.

“I was in a bus in Arkansas not long after
those little girls got killed in the church. People were throwing bombs
around our hotel. Disgusting things would happen.

Another time we were pulling out of Arkansas,
and the Ku Klux Klan were coming, and they were throwing things at our
bus with flames and fire, trying to kill us. I’ll never forget that.

They didn’t want to hurt us, they wanted to
kill us because of our color. People threw rocks at us because we were
Black. They tried to rape this one girl. It’s so awful to see what can
happen.

PAT CLEVELAND & STERLING ST. JACQUES

Pat Cleveland (pictured above with late
designer-Halston) and Sterling St. Jacques had become so popular and
famous on the NY party scene; including Studio 54 that several magazines
did interviews on them; including “After Dark,” magazine. They also
created a stir at the “Black & White,” ball in New York with their
sophisticated dance and runway moves.  They were also in demand on the
European dance circuit and were very popular in Champs Elysees and they
were a hit at Halston’s masquerade ball.

After a fashion show in Paris, the legendary
Josephine Baker was so impressed with Pat Cleveland that she went on
record as saying, “If my story is ever brought to film, I want Pat
Cleveland to portray me, she even resembles me.”

In Paris, Pat was roommates with Donyale Luna
(above), the first black women to grace the cover of Vogue. Luna became
so popular in France. Four French boys would camp outside of her
apartment each night and follow her throughout the day. When she wore a
dress with a long train, the boys would walk behind her, carrying the
train of her dress. Luna died in 1979 of an accidental pill overdose in
Rome, Italy.

Pat would go on to marry a multi-millionaire
Park Avenue executive. They have homes in Italy and Switzerland. In the
summer, you can find them relaxing on their luxury yacht.

Pat has a son who stands 6’5 and her daughter
is 6’0.

I left America the first time and said I wasn’t
coming back until I saw a Black model on the cover of Vogue. It took
me a long time. In 1974, that’s the year I went back.

Just living it up in the South of France or
taking off with backpacks and going to Egypt. The opportunity to see the
world is definitely there.

“You have to keep your fantasies alive. If you
think you can be something, go for it. If you think you can go
somewhere, try. You have to be a bit bold.

Darnella Thomas was the first African-American
woman to model for the “Charlie,” ad campaign. One day, while she was
shooting a fashion catalog, she said to herself, “This is boring, I need
something else, something that’s really stimulating.”

A friend on Wall Street was into coal tax
shelters and he had coal mines in Kentucky. He told Darnella if she was
looking to get out of modeling, he could set her up in
business-brokering coal.

Darnella got a chance to go into some coal
mines. She says, “You had to crawl down there. Some people went in and
got scared, and they had to be taken out, but I was fine.”

“It was really exciting. We even visited the
Department of Defense. We got our first contract through the Southern
Alabama Power and Light Company for 25,000 tons of coal.”

Darnella did very well financially in this
industry.

Source: Barbara Summers

Former model Grace Jones has defended infamous
New York City nightclub Studio 54, insisting “moderation” was always
practiced by its patrons.

During her modeling days, the singer was a regular
fixture of the 1970s hot spot, which became known for sexual activity
and rampant drug use that occurred after hours.

But Jones maintains the discotheque was a far more
civilized place than its notorious reputation suggests.

Jones claims she had wilder nights at Big Apple
gay bar the Paradise Garage-because venue bosses allegedly provided
partygoers with drugs instead of serving liquor.

She adds, “At the Garage, there was a big bowl of
whatever concoction they had there. The Garage was the club that opened
at four, with a blend of juices or something and they used to spike it
with acid and stuff. Because actually they didn’t have a liquor
license so you know, hey let’s put acid inside!”

Renowned modeling scout Claude Mohammed Haddad
had an exceptional eye for potential models.

“I went to New York,” he says, “I found Grace
Jones, the one black girl, in an elevator. She was coming down from an
agency. She looked so angry.

She said, “They don’t like black people in this
country.” I said, come to Paris.

Grace arrived in Paris and became a success!

(THE WOMAN WHO HELPED CREATE THE BLACK MODELING
INDUSTRY)

Madame Ophelia DeVore (above-both photos) is an
institution. She was not only the first model of color in the 1940’s
but she used the power of the media via her fashion column in the
Pittsburgh Courier to showcase black models. Although the major New York
City department stores had never done so before, they lent her clothes
for Black models to wear in photographs in the paper.

Doing what no others had done before on such an
ambitious level, she took it a step further by refining skills and
expanding into public relations, fashion shows and television. She took
the black modeling industry to its zenith.

“I started putting on contests so the models
could get experience walking on a runway and on stage to develop stage
presence.”

DeVore was the teacher, agent and promoter.

In 1959, and again in 1960 and 1961, her
protege’s were crowned Queen of the International Film Festival in
Cannes. Cecilia Cooper was the first Black woman to win. When she won,
she had the seat of honor over all the top movie stars. According to
Madame DeVore, “UPI (the wire service) almost died because a Black
American had won the title.” Devore models LeJeune Hundley and Emily
Yancy won in succeeding years.

Source: Barbara Summers

BACKSTORY:

Madame DeVore began modeling at the age of 16.
As a fair-skinned African American, Madame Devore gained contracts
throughout Europe. In 1946, determined to create a new market for
non-White women in the U.S., Madame DeVore would establish The Grace Del
Marco Agency.

In the agency’s early days, it was a stepping
stone for countless household names; Diahann Carroll, Helen Williams,
Richard Roundtree, Barbara McNair, Cicely Tyson and others. Racism was
rampant in New York’s fashion business and the Grace Del Marco Agency
was one of the few places non-White models could gain work.

Her agency’s shows took place in churches,
college campuses, and in the ballrooms of the Diplomat and
Waldorf-Astoria hotels. Like many non-Whites in the mid-twentieth
century, DeVore’s breakthrough came in Europe; specifically through the
French fashion world.

The initial impact took place at many of the
Cannes Film Festivals during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Madame Devore also
seized media for business equity by co-hosting ABC’s Spotlight on
Harlem. Her intensity to “make it” demanded relentless dedication and
work ethic; enough to cause her a heart attack while still in her
twenties.

In the agency’s later years, it was renamed
Ophelia DeVore Associates, and then the Ophelia DeVore Organization. In
1985, DeVore broadened her enterprise globally to include Swaziland as a
client, and published her late husband’s newspaper The Columbus Times.

“Her specialty is polishing black diamonds
(models),” declared one newspaper article.

Due to her business acumen, she has served as
consultant to many of America’s Fortune 500 corporations. DeVore has
received more than 200 awards and honors from corporate, political,
educational, governmental and social agencies.

It was already bad enough that the Ford Modeling
agency was nicknamed “The White House,” but agency head Eileen Ford put
her foot in her mouth when she told the author of “Skin Deep,” that a
book about Black models would be a short one.

Barbara Summers’ is a former Ford model who proved
Eileen Ford wrong. Summers traveled to three continents to do research
for this book and she doesn’t disappoint.

Summers’ also provides interesting and insightful
information on black model Donyale Luna.

By the end of the 60’s, Naomi Sims (who we
featured last week) was earning $1,000 per week and now Sims wasn’t
alone.

When Donyale Luna (above) was asked where she
hailed from, she answered, “I’m from the moon darling.”

Her feline looks and wild behavior made her a
sensation in London and Paris.

Although she was the first black model on the
cover of British Vogue, her career was cut short. She died in a clinic
from an accidental pill overdose in 1979. She was 33.

Source: “Model,” by: Michael Gross


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Around the Town in A Day With Miami’s Most Vivacious Socialite, Barbara Becker

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OPULUXE Lounge GroovesPlayList

On the Town with Barbara Becker

For the German-born socialite, actress and model, a day isn’t complete without caviar, wallpaper, Warhols and barbecue ribs.

BY Bill Kearney

Clockwise from top left: Becker (left) shows Sam Robin her latest collection of wallpaper; With Sandee Saunders at Caviar Kaspia; With Saunders at The Webster; With Dorothy Blau in front of Blau’s portrait by Andy Warhol; Chef David Whyko heads the table at Delishe; From left, Saunders, Author Lynn Gallow, Maryel Epps, Becker and Robin at Delishe

2:30 PMBarbara runs around the toy-strewn front yard of her Venetian Causeway colonial in bare feet with the kind of frenetic yet unflappable demeanor of someone who’s used to wrangling children.

https://i1.wp.com/www.gala.de/asset/Image/artikel/talk/2009/kw37/becker-quinze-miami.jpg Barbara with her handsome husband Arne Quinze

She has been back from Russia for 24 hours (there to help artist/designer hubby Arne Quinze scout for an event), the kids are still overseas, and right now we’re off to kibitz with mentor/ interior designer Sam Robin, who was mistaken for Barbara’s mother at her wedding last fall in Germany. Bulldog Rocco and cocker spaniel Diva Baby Girl greet us with Sam, and we’re immediately offered glasses of Blanc de Blancs. Billie Holiday plays on the stereo and the girls discuss Barbara’s latest collection of wallpaper (she’s huge in Germany). Soon the conversation turns to kids and weddings, but they both stop and listen to the music a moment, singing together, “If I should take a notion, to jump into the ocean, ’tain’t nobody’s business if I do.”4:30 PM

We hit friend Dorothy Blau’s Bal Harbour condo. Dorothy was the first to bring Andy Warhol’s art to South Florida, and he gave her her signature haircut. Barbara’s in the market for a Christopher Makos. There’s a triptych portrait of Dorothy that Warhol painted in the dining room, and a Jasper Johnsin the kitchen. Dorothy offers white wine and advice about dealing with the death of loved ones, which is pretty much to celebrate that you even knew them. She and Barbara talk art, how to manage expectations and happiness, and set up a meeting between Dorothy and Arne.

6:30 PM

We rush into The Webster to catch BFF Sandee Saunders. Barbara goes gaga over Sandee’s Krelwear dress (she must have one), and there’s an impromptu runway strut. After a caviar session with chef Todd Adkins at Kaspia and a quick shopping excursion for a new bag, we’re off to a gal-pal dinner party at Delishe.

8 PM

At Delishe, chef David Whyko’s private dining spot on the Upper Eastside, Barbara meets with Kiki Kuhnert, president of Dolphin Aid (Barbara is a spokesperson), photog Iran Issa-Khan, singer Maryel Epps and some other friends for a gourmet soul-food dinner of collard greens, truffled mac and cheese, barbecue baby backs and wings. David’s wife, Author, takes music requests, and before long the girls are up and dancing. When the Temptations’ “My Girl” comes on, they all form a kick line, arm-in-arm, and sing along, but change the lyric to “My Girls.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY BILL KEARNEY

via [YouTube]

More on Barbara Becker here

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