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SPOTLIGHT: AALIYAH – A STYLE ICON THEN & NOW

21 Aug

aaliyah

This Sunday marks the 12th anniversary of the death of Aaliyah. In honor of Miss Haughton, this edition of Spotlight pays tribute to her stylish influence then and now.

At just 22, Aaliyah had accomplished more than her peers, having successfully managed to transition from music to acting. Her music, which consisted of three albums, was what she was known for, however, her style was not to be missed. Aaliyah had a magical way of innovating trends, which are still very relevant today.  As she matured so did her music and ultimately her style as well. It is so easy to spot her influence in the artists of today, such as DrakeRita Ora, and Rihanna to name a few. I’d like to think that if she were here she’d be a triple threat, in music, acting, and fashion. She is a trendsetter in every sense of the word. Let’s take a look at 3 distinct trademarks that made Aaliyah who she was and what she will always be remembered for.

HAIR OVER THE EYE.

You can’t think of Aaliyah without thinking of her signature trademark. She had the best hair in the music industry, even now, no one’s hair has ever come close! I was always fascinated with how full, healthy, and layered her hair was. And she always kept things interesting by cover her eye, giving a mysterious and sexy vibe without even trying.

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  SUNGLASSES.

Aaliyah was always spotted with a stylish pair of shades, adding more mystery to her private persona.

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MASTER OF MENSWEAR

 What made Aaliyah stand out from other songtresses of the 90’s were her fashions, “street but sweet”  described her music and her style as well.  She had effortlessly mastered the craft of appealing to all sexes, with a crafty ability of wearing tom boyish attire while still remaining sexy and sweet, a feat that not many have been able to carry. She was known for her baggy jeans, mid driff baring tops, bandanas, and boxer briefs. Now, if you have paid any attention to the trends as of late, all of what she was wearing back then is now back in style.

“I stay true to myself and my style and I am always pushing myself to be aware of that and be original.” 

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This post is bittersweet for me. I really admired Aaliyah so spotlighting her influence is an easy one, however putting together a montage of her life brings forth sadness. I can’t believe it’s been 12 years. I, as well as all of you, can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news. For me and the many people of my generation, her death was hard to grasp. Other than Biggie and Tupac, we had never had a young, female artist die in such a tragic way. It’s a constant reminder that death has no age limit and to cherish the time you have because you never know when that time is up.

One of my all time favorite pictures of her. Taken from the 'We Need A Resolution' video. Stunning!

One of my all time favorite pictures of her. Taken from the ‘We Need A Resolution’ video. Stunning!

A trendsetter in every sense of the word. Aaliyah rocking an ombre hairstyle.

A trendsetter in every sense of the word. Aaliyah rocking an ombre hairstyle.

On August 25th, as you reminisce about Aaliyah, play her music, watch her videos, and search through countless photos of her on the internet, take the time out to say a little prayer for her mother and brother, as well as, the 8 other victim’s families. This day is hard for her fans, but extremely hard for them as well. I leave you with a poem that her brother, Rashad Haughton, dedicated to her.

Written by Rashad Haughton. Courtesy of Aaliyah.com

Written by Rashad Haughton. Courtesy of Aaliyah.com

SPOTLIGHT: JOAN SMALLS

7 Feb

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Spotlight segment. That’s because I haven’t been inspired or motivated by anything or anyone as of late. The last segment was on ColorBlind Magazine and before that, the very first one, was on fashion illustrator Hayden Williams. This months spotlight will feature Joan Smalls.  joan smalls 1

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the name Joan Smalls, especially if you follow the fashion industry, and even if you don’t I’m positive that you have seen her gorgeous face.  The 24 year old Puerto Rican stunner, has been modeling since 2007 when she signed with Elite Model Management, now she resides, like the greats before her, at IMG. Having walked in countless runway shows for some of the biggest names in fashion, Ms. Smalls got her exclusive high fashion start in Paris for the Givenchy couture show, the rest is supermodel history. Now, you cannot turn a page in a magazine without seeing her featured in an ad. She is the face of Gucci, David Yurman, Estee Lauder, and did a fabulous spread for Fendi shot by Karl Lagerfeld to name a few. Joan Smalls for David Yurman

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For a long time I have always been captivated by Ms. Smalls but aside from her  striking presence and signature walk, I could never figure out why I was drawn to her, until I saw her on MTV’s “This Is How I made it”. The interview she gave, telling how she made it, her setbacks and how she persevered was so inspiring, I felt as if she was speaking to me. I will always be motivated by hard working women who strive for greatness and never give up on their dreams. That is why February’s Spotlight  is flashing brightly on Ms. Joan Smalls.

Check out a clip of her on ‘This Is How I Made It’

http://www.mtv.com/videos/misc/873016/sneak-peek-cant-live-with-regret.jhtml#id=1700391

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US VOGUE May 2012

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Mugler SS 2012

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Victoria’s Secret

Ranked #1 model in the world by models.com

Salvatore Ferragamo

Ranked #1 model in the world by models.com

Ranked #1 model in the world by models.com

SPOTLIGHT: COLORBLIND MAGAZINE

22 Oct

Enlighten. Encourage. Empower.

Three words with so much meaning. Three words that exude positivity. And three words that describe the basis of COLORBLIND MAGAZINE. 

ColorBlind magazine is an online publication “devoted to celebrating and recognizing the beauty and strength of minority teen girls and women”. Based out of the Metro Detroit area, the magazine will highlight local and national events, news, culture, education and more. The founding ladies, Leah Johnson, Veronica M. Grandison, and Brittney Moore, attended The University of Michigan- Dearborn, where they met, became friends, and eventually conceived the idea of ColorBlind.

From a dream to reality, after a long 9 months, ColorBlind has officially launched! Now, I understand I already flashed the Spotlight on Hayden Williams (fashion illustrator), however I feel that it is only fair to Spotlight a fabulous trio of beauties that I am very pleased to know.

This month’s second Spotlight will shine brightly on COLORBLIND MAGAZINE!

  History has been made!  The empire has begun! Congratulations ladies, you have arrived!! So so proud of you!!!

Be sure to check out ColorBlind Magazine’s first issue and the many more issues to come!     www.colorblindmagazine.com

SPOTLIGHT: Fashion Illustrations: Hayden Williams

17 Oct

What I really love at the moment is fashion illustrations. Obviously I am obsessed just look to the left and you’ll see why. There’s such simplicity and elegance to the art of the illustration, a legacy that has left an impression for nearly 500 years. Wikipedia defines fashion illustration as ‘a form of communication of fashion that originates with illustration, drawing and painting. In other words these illustrations are a form of art, an art that exudes class, style, design, and vintage all at the same time.

Watercolor Fashion Illustration

Sadly, what once played a major role on the covers of magazines is
practically nonexistent today. Fashion illustrations have been on a decline since the
late 1930’s when Vogue began to replace the illustrated covers with
photographic images. Now in the present day, publications like Vogue, Harper’s
Bazaar, and InStyle use actual photographs, of celebrities no less. (Side note:
what happened to the Supermodels? That’s a post for another time).

It is always
refreshing to see illustrations, makes me wonder why publications refuse to use
them. With all the photo shopping that is constantly being done, they may as
well use a drawing, it would definitely save the magazines money and save
millions of women from the  insecurities
of not looking like the women that are featured on the covers, who don’t even
look like that themselves.  Fashion illustrations,
brings back a time when fashion was classy, when there was only high fashion. A
sense of elegance and intrigue all brought on by a drawing. And I want to see
more of it.

Vintage Harper’s Bazaar July 1950

Hayden Williams aka “Stylish Prodigy”

One illustrator that has granted my wish and left a major impression on me is Hayden Williams. Williams, a 21 year old British designer and illustrator is known for his drawings. He showcases a variety of his awe inspiring work on his Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram pages. He has drawn everyone from singers such as Beyonce and Rihanna, to celebrities, magazine covers, and models. His most recent work consist of the Disney Princess characters, appropriately titled ‘Disney Divas Collection’, his work is being viewed by fashion lovers, art enthusiasts, and people who are just pegged by curiosity. Williams hopes to “conquer the world one fashion sketch at a time”, and with talent and a name that is memorable, it is easy to see that his dream is quickly becoming a reality.

This month’s SPOTLIGHT shines brightly on Mr. Hayden Williams, and the many talented illustrators before him. Thank you for bringing the high back in high fashion, and for giving me yet another to reason to love fashion and the many aspects that make up this fabulous industry!

One look and you’re hooked! Check out Mr. Williams Tumblr page: haydenwilliamsillustrations.tumblr.com  

‘Disney Divas Collections’

Rihanna ‘Diamonds’