#OnTrend: Fe Noel’s NYFW statement, Michael Strahan’s bet on skincare, and more
TheGrio's weekly style folio features the best, buzziest and Blackest fashion news. So, who wore it best this week?
Greetings, tastemakers! Welcome to theGrio’s weekly style folio, #OnTrend, your one-stop shop for all of this week’s Black-tastic fashion news. Friday marked the official start of September’s New York Fashion Week which will have a record-breaking 28 Black designers on the official calendar produced by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. TheGrio will be following the action all week, but an early standout was Fe Noel, who closed her Friday night presentation with a literal financial statement. More on that below, as well as style moments featuring Michelle Obama, Michael Strahan and more—so scroll down, and catch up!
Fe Noel shows us the money
Designer Felicia Noel first appeared on our radar as a protégé of Harlem’s Fashion Row. This position not only earned her her first New York Fashion Week appearance, but also gave her the opportunity to co-design LeBron James’ first women’s sneaker for Nike. This NYFW, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist staged her own presentation for her eponymous label, Fe Noel, closing out an array of elegant looks with her first couture piece, a gown and coordinating robe covered in $1.6 million in artificial money (seen above), in partnership with financial services firm TIAA. Earning the apt moniker “the Dre$$,” the garment wasn’t just a showstopper but a statement on the earnings disparity that leaves women with an average of 30 percent less in retirement savings than men.
“When you first see the dress, it’s like this ridiculous, massive piece of art,” Noel told Women’s Wear Daily. “And the reason why I use the word ‘ridiculous’ is because when I first found out the statistic and the disparity between men and women in retirement, I gasped and I was like that’s insane, that’s ridiculous. Why didn’t I know this before? Why are we just learning about this? And I wanted to display this information where people can really understand how crazy that is.”
Even the gown’s corseted bodice is intended to evoke “constraint,” and the robe’s 16-foot train also has a message. “[I]t’s like we have a long road ahead, but we’re still going to carry it, we’re still going to walk that, we’re still going to do everything we can to continue to close this gap and let women know about this information and what they can do to essentially create life for themselves, create wealth for themselves,” said Noel.
Michelle Obama kept it cute for the culture
Former first lady Michelle Obama reminded us why she remains our all-time favorite this week, as she stepped out to unveil her official White House portrait on Wednesday alongside husband Barack Obama. While artist Sharon Sprung painted our forever first lady in her oft-worn relaxed, shoulder-length bob, Mrs. Obama gave us another look for the unveiling, stepping out in a braided style with a low bun.
“Something that will mean ALOT to Black people across the country: Former First Lady Michelle Obama wearing braids at the unveiling of her official White House portrait,” tweeted White House Correspondent Eugene Daniels (h/t People). CROWN Act co-architect and advisor to President Joe Biden Adjoa B. Asamoah also praised the look, tweeting in part, “I lift a beautiful Michelle Obama in braids, which means a lot to Black girls [and] women—including ME…We’re not JUST changing laws. We’re also shifting culture!”
Target kicks off a new brand with Kahlana Barfield Brown
Fashion expert and former InStyle editor Kahlana Barfield Brown is helping Target step into the future. The Bullseye has partnered with Brown, a prior collaborator on its Black Beyond Measure initiative, to launch her first-ever collection as the inaugural style partner for its new apparel and accessories brand, Future Collective.
Per a press release, Future Collective will be a first-of-its-kind initiative “featuring collections in partnership with a rotating roster of style and cultural influencers with diverse points of view in fashion.” Launching Sunday, Sept. 11, the Future Collective with Kahlana Barfield Brown collection “features 120 items across four seasonal refreshes including matching sets, trousers and outerwear, inspired by Kahlana’s own closet and personal fashion formula of putting a unique spin on classic pieces.” The inclusive collection will be available in stores and online in sizes XXS to 4X, with most items priced under $35.
Michael Strahan mounts a Daily Defense
NFL Hall of Famer turned in-demand TV host Michael Strahan, who already has an eponymous collection with Men’s Wearhouse, is now getting into the skincare game. As reported by Women’s Wear Daily on Wednesday, the serial entrepreneur has launched Michael Strahan Daily Defense, a men’s skin and shave line created in partnership with biotech company Evolved by Nature.
“Taking care of your skin is an important component of developing a daily routine,” Strahan told WWD. “Michael Strahan Daily Defense grew out of my own need for a quality, hassle-free daily skin care regimen that really works.”
Strahan’s new line includes activated silk in its skin barrier technology, but he’s taking an accessible approach to his entry into the industry. The initial product offering will range from $12 to $14 and launch this month at CVS Pharmacy online and in stores.
British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful gets personal
As the first Black editor-in-chief in British Vogue’s history, Edward Enninful has given visibility to a legion of Black models, designers, photographers, and other industry creatives who were long overlooked by the legendary fashion magazine. Now, with the Tuesday release of his highly anticipated memoir, A Visible Man (Bloomsbury/Penguin Random House), it’s Enninful’s turn to be in the spotlight.
From his 1980s arrival in London alongside his siblings as a teenage refugee from Ghana, Enninful recounts his unlikely rise through the ranks of fashion as a young, gay upstart who would not only become one of the industry’s most influential figures, but one of its most progressive disruptors.
Black women-owned brands Dur Doux and Melanin join forces for NYFW
When mother-daughter fashion label Dur Doux returns to New York Fashion Week, they’ll be bringing another Black women-owned brand with them. For a second season, Melanin Haircare, founded by sisters Whitney and Tafetta White, will be Dur Doux’s official hair sponsor when its Spring-Summer ’23 collection hits the runway on Monday, Sept. 12.
“We love the creative energy in the air. It’s the culmination of years of hard work on the part of the designers, makeup artists, and hair stylists, and being immersed within that environment with everyone focused on creating for a common goal is so motivating!” said Whitney White in a press statement, adding, “The entire Melanin Haircare line was created for all hair types and textures, from coarse and coily, to curly, fine, and straight…The Dur Doux team loves diversity, and so do we; our hair products will help them create the looks needed for models of various ethnicities.”
Fashion Week cred aside, you don’t have to have a luxury budget to try Melanin’s high-quality formulations; the celeb-favorite brand is available at Ulta, Sephora, and now Target.
Gucci debuts in Detroit with designer Tommey Walker
As Fashion Week kicked off in New York City this week, Gucci touched down in the Motor City, opening a boutique in downtown Detroit on Sept. 8, during the Detroit Month of Design. In celebration of its new location, Gucci Changemakers also announced the second phase of its partnership with Detroit designer Tommey Walker’s streetwear label, Detroit vs. Everybody, to be sold exclusively at its local outpost.
According to a press release from the Italian luxury brand, “the second iteration returns with custom Detroit vs. Everybody patches featured on Gucci’s Off the Grid collection…[which] was created to support the House’s vision for circular production that uses recycled, organic, bio-based, and sustainably sourced materials.” The three-piece, limited-edition collaborative collection includes a baseball hat, backpack, and belt bag.
Walker said in a statement: “I am even more excited by and proud of my 2.0 collaboration with Gucci as Gucci continues to walk the talk; and now demonstrating its long-term commitment to Detroit as a changemaker in its own right.”
Woman King fever heats up
The wait for the Viola Davis-led film “The Woman King” will soon be over, as the epic reflecting on the woman warriors of West Africa’s Dahomey reaches theaters on Friday, Sept. 16. Its starring cast made a splash this week on the September 2022 digital cover of Essence, serving Black elegance in an array of shapely gowns, reportedly hard-earned by their nine months of intensive training for the film. “My body went through hell,” Davis told CNN in a behind-the-scenes of the transformational workouts – so, could this be the beginning of the next big fitness craze?
Puma scores with Flau’jae Johnson
Global sports brand Puma is doing it big this season. The brand will make its long-awaited return to New York Fashion Week on Tuesday, with a collection designed and curated by legendary stylist-designer and PUMA Hoops Women’s Creative Director June Ambrose. And to stoke further excitement, Puma Hoops announced its newest ambassador on Thursday, 18-year-old college athlete and rising rap star Flau’jae Johnson.
The McDonald’s All-American already made headlines when she released the single and video “All Falls Down” featuring Lil Boosie to announce Louisiana State University (LSU) as her school of choice. Now, she’ll join fellow basketball phenoms LaMelo Ball, Breanna Stewart, Deandre Ayton, Jackie Young, NaLyssa Smith, and Scoot Henderson in representing the legacy brand.
“PUMA is trailblazing in every aspect and so I’m very excited to join the PUMA Hoops family to help tell my unique story on and off the court,” said Johnson in a press statement. “PUMA has already been supportive of my career, both in basketball and musically, and about overall helping to push the culture forward, which is very important to me.”
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