TheGrio Style Guide: Bey drops visuals, Michaela Coel covers Vogue, and Fashion Week’s finale
This week in Black style: Off-White goes blue, Pharrell gets into the auction game, Black models are celebrated with a new docuseries, and more.
October has only just begun, but in the world of fashion, it’s the end of a very full month, one replete with miles of runway, countless parties and street style for days — or Fashion Weeks, if you will. The four-week marathon known as Fashion Month came to a close on Tuesday, having kicked off in New York City in early September with stops in London and Milan before its grand finale in Paris. As always, there was plenty to see, plenty of folks there to be seen and more than a bit of controversy before the month came to a close. We’ve got a recap of its highlights and much more of this week’s fashion in TheGrio Style Guide.
Vogue’s November cover star may destroy you
It’s fair to say “Wakanda Forever” fever is officially upon us, with the highly anticipated sequel to “Black Panther” dropping in a little over a month. Fueling that fire is one of the franchise’s newest stars — and Vogue’s November cover star, screenwriter and actress Michaela Coel. The BAFTA and Emmy-winning creator and lead actress of streaming hits “Chewing Gum” and “I May Destroy You” is clearly ready for her big-screen closeup, styled by Off-White’s Ib Kamara in a chartreuse sequin made-to-measure gown by Gucci and photographed by Malick Bodian in Accra, Ghana.
Teasing the character Coel will inhabit in the upcoming sequel, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler told Vogue: “Aneka, the character Michaela plays, is kind of a rebel…It made a lot of meta sense with Michaela being someone who is pushing the industry forward and carving out her own space.”
Comic-book heads will recognize Aneka as a Dora Milaje captain and combat instructor, as well as the first openly queer character to be introduced to the film franchise. The latter was a selling point for Coel, especially in light of Ghana’s deeply anti-gay political policies, which are becoming increasingly dangerous to LGBTQ+ citizens. “That sold me on the role, the fact that my character’s queer,” she tells Vogue’s Chioma Nnadi in the cover story. “I thought: I like that, I want to show that to Ghana.”
However, Coel’s involvement was equally about furthering the legacy of the late Chadwick Boseman. “There was a sense that we have to bring this baby home in the name of Chadwick,” she told the magazine. “I thought to myself, I’m rolling up my sleeves and I’m getting in. I don’t need to be front and center, I’m here to support.”
Read more of Coel’s journey through Accra, which includes a sweet cinematic moment with her Ghanaian father and grandmother, in Vogue‘s November issue.
Beyoncé revives summer for Tiffany & Co.
Okay, so they may not be the visuals we’ve all been anticipating since the release of “Renaissance” in July, but Bey is back to let us know summer isn’t over yet. On Wednesday, she released a new promo with luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. titled “Lose Yourself in Love.” Set to “Summer Renaissance,” the black-and-white visuals give us a minute-long glimpse of the wall-to-wall party hosted by Beyoncé that we’ve been envisioning since the album dropped — a version of which apparently occurred as Fashion Month’s closing event in Paris on Tuesday night.
“This made me want to relive the party,” commented Kerry Washington in response to the promo on Bey’s IG page, cruelly reminding us exactly what we missed out on, our invite clearly having been lost in the mail). So please, Bey — release the visuals!
Fashion Month’s French Exit
From Sept. 8 to Oct. 4, fashion’s four global capitals once again rolled out their red carpets and runways for Fashion Month. But Paris remains the pinnacle of luxury fashion, and its Fashion Week did not disappoint, teasing the trends and collections that will be dropping for Spring-Summer 2023, as well as attracting some of the world’s most stylish celebrities — including Zendaya, Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Doja Cat, and more. Oh, and for the grand finale, Tiffany & Co. hosted a party in honor of its campaign star, Beyoncé.
So, who all was at Paris Fashion Week?
The #BoF500 celebrates its Class of 2022
Who are the true forces of the fashion world? BoF — an acronym for the industry outlet Business of Fashion — celebrated its 2022 class of the #BoF500 during Paris Fashion Week, adding 103 new members to its “influential global community based on their leadership, creativity, innovation and impact” across eight categories, as selected by the outlet’s editors.
Among its Black honorees are Vogue Global Fashion Editor-at-Large Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Supreme Creative Director Tremaine Emory, TikTok influencer Khaby Lame, Good American co-founder Emma Grede, model Paloma Elsesser and more, many of whom were present at the #BoF500 gala during Paris Fashion Week on Saturday night; view them all in our carousel below.
Off-White goes blue in “Celebration” of Virgil Abloh
Off-White’s Spring-Summer 2023 collection was a colorful celebration of late founder Virgil Abloh, resounding with African rhythms and centered on a vibrant blue hue heavily favored by the Ghanaian-American designer. Taking place on Thursday, the eve of what would’ve been Abloh’s 42nd birthday, the first collection designed by his successor and collaborator Ib Kamara debuted on the Paris Fashion Week runway in a presentation aptly titled “Celebration.”
“We’re embracing blue as a color in the brand, and it’s something we are passionate about as we move forward,” the Sierra Leonean designer told Women’s Wear Daily. “Blue is otherwordly. It’s alien, but it’s human. It’s explorative. It’s a vulnerable color.”
“Off-White Blue” — best described as an emotion-inducing electric blue — will reportedly also be registered with proprietary color specialists Pantone. As WWD notes, the hue would no doubt have Abloh’s approval, as it’s the same shade he used on the cover of his “Figures of Speech” exhibition catalog in 2019 and on the opening garment of his Fall 2021 Off-White presentation in Paris.
“He really created conversation and disruption in the most beautiful way, so there’s evidence of that in this collection, I think,” said Kimara, who is also editor-in-chief of Dazed magazine and a sought-after stylist in the luxury arena. “A beautiful thing that [Virgil] did was [that he said] luxury doesn’t have a color, it’s for everyone, and he really investigated that to the very end.”
The Met Gala — but (why) make it Lagerfeld?
Via media partner Vogue, the Met Gala officially announced its 2023 theme on Friday, which will be an homage to the late Karl Lagerfeld, one of the fashion industry’s most legendary — and controversial — figures. Lagerfeld’s over 65-year career included helms at European luxury houses Balmain, Patou, Chloé, Fendi, Chanel, and his eponymous label, making the German designer one of the industry’s most influential up until his death in 2019. It’s a legacy Jared Leto has newly announced he will be exploring in a biopic, and one the Met is also eager to commemorate, even if doing so somewhat contradicts Lagerfeld’s own ethos.
“[H]e was always looking to the future in his own work — he hated looking back at the past,” Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, told Vogue. “It was something he had a very conflicted relationship with.”
Similarly, many have conflicted feelings about honoring Lagerfeld on the first Monday in May, given the designer’s often “cruel” and insensitive demeanor. As pointed out by Buzzfeed, this included Lagerfeld’s vocal disdain for more inclusive casting in fashion; in 2009, The Guardian quoted the designer as saying “no one wants to see round women.” Confusingly, he also said of thinner models: “They aren’t deliberately skinny because they want to be models, they’ve probably had family problems or suffered from other traumas.”
As Buzzfeed further notes, Lagerfeld’s not-so-hot takes also extended to sexual assault; he reportedly sent flowers to accused rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn and openly scorned the #MeToo movement. Also showing little respect for ethnic differences, Lagerfeld infamously put supermodel Claudia Schiffer in blackface and yellowface for a 2010 editorial campaign and derided Muslims as the “worst enemies” of Jewish people in 2017.
So why does The Met or Vogue feel this is a fashion icon worth celebrating? Amid numerous calls to boycott the event on the official Met Gala Instagram announcement, neither entity has issued a comment on the growing controversy. But it will be interesting to see which celebs show up for “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” on May 1.
Black beauty reigns “Supreme” in new docuseries
“I’m constantly challenging the status quo,” said Iman in a recent interview with People magazine. The legendary supermodel and fashion equity advocate is one of the trailblazing Black beauties featured in the six-part docuseries “Supreme Models.”
“Supreme Models” was inspired by the 2019 art book of the same name by journalist, stylist and media personality Marcellas Reynolds, who executive produced the docuseries with YouTube Originals and the Black Voices Fund. The careers of Iman and fellow living legend Bethann Hardison — who turned 80 on Friday — as well as groundbreaking 1973 fashion event The Battle of Versailles are the primary focus of the series’ second episode.
“It’s timely, and I wanted us to tell our story,” said Iman, now 67, of her involvement in the project, which she also co-executive produced. “So, as much as it is historical and as much as it is based on the culture from the civil rights era, that is beautiful. We are that tribe who are still carrying that torch from one generation to the other.”
The docuseries, which Iman told People is “based on Black beauty and the impact on our culture,” also features luminaries like Edward Enninful, Zendaya, Indya Moore, Joan Smalls, Law Roach, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Olivier Rousteing, Pat Cleveland, Precious Lee, Sergio Hudson, Pat Cleveland, Veronica Webb, Joan Smalls, Cindy Bruna, Paloma Elsesser, Duckie Thot, and more.
The first two episodes of “Supreme Models” are now available on YouTube.
Style was ‘en pointe’ at the New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala
The big news of the 10th annual Fall Fashion Gala was undoubtedly the debut of the “dynamic” ballet “Play Time,” scored by Solange Knowles. But with a well-heeled roster of guests and event chairs that included Laverne Cox, veteran journalist Deborah Roberts (wife of Al Roker), Sarah Jessica Parker and Elaine Welteroth, the evening was equally about fashion.
Proud mama Tina Knowles-Lawson and big sister Beyoncé may have skipped the event’s red carpet (although the latter did treat us to a peek via Instagram), but there were several familiar faces in attendance, including those of Billy Porter, Nicole Ari-Parker and more. You can peep the highlights in our carousel below.
Pharrell bids on the resale market
Call it the most glamorous garage sale ever: Pharrell Williams is launching an online auction platform to part with his massive collection — reportedly 11 storage units’ worth — of fashion rarities, collaborations and designs. Called Joopiter, the new online platform will “sell the fruits of his journey through the fashion world,” according to Financial Times, which spoke exclusively with Williams about his newest venture.
Explaining that current auction formats feel too siloed for his diverse and undeniably luxe collection, Williams told FT: “I’m not going to sell furniture on StockX … I’m not going to sell, you know, 20-plus-carat diamond rings on [The] RealReal.”
Joopiter, which Williams describes as a “high-touch, white-glove’ operation,” will launch on Oct. 11 with an array of the multi-hyphenate mogul’s own “cast-offs,” some of which can be previewed on the new brand’s Instagram page; prospective buyers can also sign up for updates on the Joopiter website. Future plans include selling other highly curated, high-end collections and an as-yet-undetermined philanthropic element.
Williams’ closet clean-out may be well above most of our pay grades, but his perspective on selling a portion of his fashion legacy is relatably cathartic. “Spiritually it’s a very rich experience, an enlightening experience, to let … stories go,” he told FT.
Sotheby’s celebrates Black brilliance
Pharrell’s not the only Black excellence hitting the auction space. As reported by Women’s Wear Daily, Sotheby’s London is hosting “a selling exhibition of jewelry by Black designers from around the world” titled “Brilliant & Black: The Age of Enlightenment.”
Curated by British jewelry expert, curator and journalist Melanie Grant and timed to coincide with Black History Month in the U.K., “jewelers taking part have created at least one new piece in response to the Enlightenment, the movement that swept through Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and focused on individualism, intellectual reason, and skepticism,” reports WWD. The exhibition is the second annual installment of its kind, having debuted in New York last year. For 2022, the array of jewelry is even larger, featuring over 70 pieces from 25 contemporary designers reportedly ranging in price from a surprisingly affordable $420 to over $1 million.
“Historically, Sotheby’s has represented the curation and presentation of the highest quality and excellence throughout history, and their role is integral in creating generational wealth and value,” New York City-based luxury jewelry designer Sheryl Jones, who created three pieces for the exhibition, told WWD. “As they showcase designers like me in shows like ‘Brilliant & Black,’ they are expanding the ‘tent,’ and are partners in creating a valuable legacy of Black designers for generations to come.”
Munroe Bergdorf brings her moxie to British Vogue
Munroe Bergdorf first came to global attention when she took on L’Oréal after the cosmetics giant fired her — its first transgender U.K. campaign model — for calling out “the racial violence of white people.” Three years later, when she pointed out its hypocrisy in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, L’Oréal rehired Bergdorf in 2019, clearly understanding she was a force with which to be reckoned.
After co-starring on British Vogue’s August 2022 cover, Bergdorf is now bringing that firebrand energy to the magazine as its newest contributing editor, penning an essay that both praises what has become a “richly diverse industry” and recognizes how much further it has to go, writing:
Fashion shapes us as much as we shape it, which is why it’s crucial we ensure that all are represented, that difficult subject matter isn’t shied away from, diluted or censored, because fashion is for everyone. Fashion does more than predict and form trends, it can help to shift engrained mindsets, expand beauty standards and spark conversations that hold the potential to combat social stigma and increase visibility through the representation of marginalized groups and experiences.Source: British Vogue
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