Narciso Rodriguez is a Cuban-American designer who has seen his share of ups and downs in the industry. When he first announced to his parents that he wanted to become a designer, they were less than thrilled. He applied to Parsons anyway. From there he went on to design for a handful of designers like Anne Klein, Calvin Klein, Cerruti, and TSE. He gained super-stardom after he designed Carolyn Bessette’s wedding dress. After some bad business dealings, he fell into debt. Thanks to fashion industry and celebrity friends, he was able to get back on his feet again. He has even designed some clothes for Michelle Obama.
Nina Garcia was born on May 3rd, 1965 in Barranquilla, Colombia. Garcia is best known as a judge on the hit show Project Runway, but her career in fashion started over 20 years ago. She came to the United States a a child to attend boarding school. From there she attended Boston University, Ecole Superieure de la Mode, and FIT. Before she worked in magazines, she worked for Perry Ellis in the public relations department while Marc Jacobs was the designer of the label.
Soon she moved to Mirabella as a stylist and market editor. Garcia became the fashion director at Elle in 2000 and moved to Marie Claire in 2008. Nina Garcia has written four books, all of which I think you should look into buying. The books are The Little Black Book of Style, The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, The Style Strategy, and Nina Garcia’s Look Book. I own The One Hundred and think that is the best book for those who don’t know how to build a wardrobe. The coolest thing, besides writing style books, that I feel Nina Garcia has done, is to make a Tumblr. Her Tumblr is just as cool and stylish as she is. Check it out for some great inspiration. Photo from Full Issue.
Alexander Wang is one of America’s hottest designators. At the age of 27, he has already mastered the art of designing cool garments with a sleek, sophisticated design edge that models, hipsters, fashion mavens, and the chic adore around the world. The downtown NYC look is a staple of his main line Alexander Wang , and his basics based men and women’s line T by Alexander Wang.
I remember the very first time I saw a picture of Shala Monroque. I didn’t know much about her except that she was black, fierce, wearing cute kitten heels, and was featured on Tommy Ton’s siteJak and Jil which meant that she was somebody. As a matter of fact, the caption under her photo read in all caps, “KEEP YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN FOR SHALA MONROQUE. SHE’S ONE TO WATCH.” From there I knew I would be seeing more of her, for when Tommy Ton’s camera deems you a fashion star…you are a STAR!
By now I’m sure you’ve heard the news that Patrick Robinson is out at The Gap. Most people were shocked to hear it but not surprised as the designer had never found his groove at one of the world’s most famous mall chains.
Robinson started out as a fashion phenomenon in the mid-nineties after graduating from The Parsons School of Design in New York City. He worked for Paco Rabanne, Perry Ellis, Anne Klein and Giorgio Armani (where he managed to make the line profitable and popular). He then went on to become a member of both the CFDA and Vogue’s 100 Rising Stars. He is also married to Vogue’s Virgina Smith.
Like me, Anna Sui has known she wanted to work in fashion since she was a tiny tot. My love of fashion came at the age of three, hers at four. Anna Sui moved to New York City from Detroit, Michigan to attend Parsons School of Design. While in New York, Sui hung out with Steven Meisel and models like Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista. They encouraged her to produce a fashion show after years of working out of her studio, and her brand exploded from there.
Photo from Retro Fit.
Iman was born in Somalia in 1955 to a diplomat and doctor,. She moved to Egypt as a child and later went to college in Kenya. While in Kenya she was spotted by photographer Peter Beard. That moment helped jump start her modeling career. On the set of her first job, which was also her first job with Vogue, the makeup artist asked her if she had brought her own makeup. At the time models of color brought their own makeup because there weren’t a lot of shades out there to match them. That moment would inspire Iman to start a multimillion dollar cosmetics empire two decades later.
Native New Yorker Patti Wilson is known the world over for her fantastical fashion styling. She began her career over 20 years ago but first gained international recognition for her work with i-D magazine in the mid 90s. Always one to push the boundaries of creativity by using vivid imagery and raw sexuality, Wilson has worked with many of today’s greatest fashion photographers including Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Peter Lindbergh, Terry Richardson, Ellen von Unwerth, and David LaChapelle.
It was her work with LaChapelle that got her noticed by Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. Recently, Wilson styled a glamorous editorial for Sozzani called “Dress Code: Evening” shot by Miles Aldridge. The colorful images feature model Yasmin Warsame as the second coming of Donyale Luna in a Vidal Sassoon-style wig and colorful evening wear in an all-white luxury apartment. Check out the rest of the editorial here on The Fashion Spot.
Main photo from here.
Everyone (including my Dad who knows nothing about fashion) seems to know Andre Leon Talley because he’s everywhere these days. He’s on TV with Tyra Banks judging America’s Next Top Model, in Vogue magazine writing his monthly column and now he’s starring with Banks again for a set of informational fashion videos for her new website TypeF.com. But it wasn’t always this way.
There are several duos in fashion that get me every time. Not so much the design duos, I’m talking more about the loving partnerships like Grace Coddington and Didier Malige, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin or Isabel and Ruben Toledo.
This week’s Of Note post will be brief due to my travels for Charleston Fashion Week.
Liya Kebede was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1978. Like most famous models, she was spotted out of the blue at the French Lycee by a film director who introduced her to a French modeling agent. From there she began a journey towards a prosperous modeling career by becoming the first woman of color to model for Estee Lauder Cosmetics and landing on the American Vogue cover multiple times.
Joe Zee was born on November 23, 1968 in Toronto, Canada. While growing up in Canada, Zee memorized fashion magazine mastheads and studied popular culture with a maniacal zeal. That zeal is what has helped Zee become a popular fashion figure. In 1990, Zee moved to New York to attend FIT and soon became an intern for Polly Mellen at Allure. From there he moved Details and House & Garden. Next Zee was fashion director at W and editor-in-chief of Vitals magazine. Most people are familiar with Zee’s styling work for the Gap’s (Project) RED campaign and his work at Elle magazine.
Bethann Hardison has done so much for people of color in the fashion industry – where do I start?
Let’s start at the beginning. Hardison was born and bred in New York City to a devout Muslim family. And from that point on, she was destined for greatness. She was the first African-American cheerleader at her high school and the first African-American salesperson in the showroom of her first job in the garment district. One day in an elevator, Hardison was discovered by African-American designer Willi Smith who encouraged her to start a successful modeling career. Iman, Pat Cleveland, and Naomi Sims were the top Black models of the time, and Hardison worked along with them.
This week’s Of Note post on KCD casting director Michelle Lee is the second post in the new series. The first post was of make-up maven Pat McGrath. I hope you are enjoying this new series. If you have suggestions/feedback, let me know in the comments section or email me.
Casting director Michelle Lee was born in New Jersey and thought that one day she would become a lawyer, but fate had other plans. She moved to New York City and became a fashion show producer with top fashion firm KCD. Through producing fashion shows and a brief stint with renowned casting director Jennifer Venditti, Lee found that she could make a living finding models for editorials, ads, and fashion shows. She never knew that the role of casting director even existed before that time.
After looking at last Thursday’s Prada show, I think we can all say that Pat McGrath is THE Mistress of Make-up, which is why she is the first in a new series I like to call “Of Note.” The look was natural with pinched pink lips, pink cheeks, and light,natural brown eyes. Whenever you see an editorial or runway show with spectacular faces, it is usually her creation. The self-taught beauty queen from England was inspired by her Jamaican mother’s love of fashion, make-up, and old movies. Those influences taught her more about make-up artistry than the few art foundation courses she took at Northampton Art College ever did.