A while ago, if you had a flaw, people would often criticize you for being and looking different. Boy, have times changed!
Nowadays, if you don’t have something that’s incredibly unique about you, you’re sure to get lost in the crowd. And by unique or by a ‘flaw’ I mean, something that’s unconventionally attractive. Ideas of beauty have shifted to be more inclusive. And we can thank social media, believe it or not, and more people wanting to be heard for this.
(photo: Getty Images & Gabriel Perez Silva)
Model and activist, Ashley Graham broke all boundaries by not letting her plus-size define her but empower her. Model Winnie Harlow celebrates and flaunts her Vitiligo as one of the most sought-after models.
These women are both beautiful and I love their ‘flaw’!
(photos: Biel Parklee and Getty Images)
Model Ralph Souffrant flaunts his beautifully freckled self all over magazines and runways. Meanwhile, model Shaun Ross exudes confidence by putting albinism front and center, as something to be admired and desired.
These guys are both beautiful and I love their ‘flaw’!
And It’s Not Excluded By Gender
(photos: Twitter and Instagram)
Leyna Bloom is the first trans model to grace the pages of Vogue India. And trans actress Laverne Cox, known for her work in Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black”, has helped bring trans women further into the gaze of mainstream media.
These trans women are beautiful and I love their ‘flaw’!
Directed by François Rousselet for Diesel, the movie is set to Edith Piaf’s famous track, ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ (translation: No, I Regret Nothing), which is apropos at best. If you have a flaw, you should damn well not have any regrets!
Above, we see a still from the film where a person obnoxiously and proudly, shows off their braces. Now that’s a flaw I know all too well, having had braces for most of my childhood – good times!
Whereas, below, we see another person with another kind of flaw, a unibrow. Frida Kahlo would be proud.
(film still: ‘Go With The Flaw)
I just hope that we continue pushing that envelope and accept and love everyone. Every inch of a person, whether a flaw or not, should be applauded, exalted and admired. But I say, we reclaim that word and flip the script. Turn flaw from a negative into a positive, for if you have a flaw baby, you’re beautiful!
And Now, The Film
Here’s a quick description of the film:
The film tells the story of a half blind editor who’s having a go at making his first film. Cinematic perfection, masterful editing skills that tell a clear story – he’ll have none of that. And he will regrette rien, proving that there are beauty and success off the beaten path that everyone’s taking, expecting to do things “right”.
This treasure of a film won for the following awards at this year’s Berlin Fashion Film Festival:
Cinematography – Gold
Music – Gold
Production Design – Gold
Direction – Silver
Casting – Silver
Best Film – Clothing, Footwear and Accessories
Best Film from Europe
Hope you enjoyed that.
If you have a ‘flaw’, I’d love to hear about it below.
To imagine not having animal print as part of your Fall style just won’t do! Especially when it comes to leopard. Now, most people might agree that animal print is asking a lot of them. To wear this type of print will make you stand out in a crowd. And that in and of itself means stepping out of your comfort zone in a huge way. But you don’t have to go head-to-toe animal print crazy. You can do it in small doses and with leopard, it’s not hard.
Why Leopard Print?
Leopard print has always been synonymous with all that is sexy and powerful.
The late Azzedine Alaïa was a designer that knew the curves of a woman. I swear, he created women himself. And HE celebrated leopard like no other as seen in his collection above.
But when I think of leopard, I think ‘Bond Girl’, the way iconic model Veruschka von Lehndorff looks here
(photo: Franco Rubartelli)
in a sick vintage look, wearing a cutout leopard swimsuit.
Leopard print also sparked my memory with images of Eartha Kitt. And how could it not?
(photo: Michael Ochs Archive and Rex Features)
Eartha was the only ‘Cat Woman’ that played that role best, commanding your attention with her unique voice and purr. Leopard print has even made an appearance with Kate Moss on more than one occasion, throughout her career.
You see, wearing leopard, shows defiance, power and commands attention, when done right. And as I’ll say it again, it can be done in small doses. However, in large amounts, it’s always great for dramatic effect.
So How Can You Wear Leopard?
Seeing as how leopard might be foreign to some of you, I’m here to help. I’ve put together three looks that will help you see how easy it is to wear this print.
Animal Print, Leopard Look One
I live to clash and love wearing contrasting patterns if you haven’t already noticed. The contrast in the patterns as well as in textures is what I love here.
The pink midi dress with allover eye print, known as the Eyeconic Sun Dress, by Romance Was Born, just had me at the eyes. But the different colors set against that pretty pink hue just called to me. Besides, pink and brown are a timeless color pairing that complements each other very well. Which brings me to the leopard in this scenario.
Balenciaga’s Knife Booties in leopard are the perfect boots for this dress. Part of the AW18 Balenciaga designer collection, these leopard printed booties in brown, black and beige, are simply divine. Its slip-on style, in a mid-calf length, shows just enough skin. Add a pointed toe, and high stiletto heel and you’re all set. I then chose to offset the brown a bit, by way of this Ryan Roche Bisque Furry Cardigan. This fringe cardigan will make the dress appear to be more delicate thanks to its fuzzy appearance. Hand crocheted with an extra loose base weave, of 100% cashmere, makes it perfect for those chilly nights indoors.
Now, Accessorize Me
As for accessories, I thought that these green Enameled Teardrop Earrings would pick up the green from the dress. Besides, green paired with leopard are a classic color combination. And no look would be complete without a purse, so why not keep pushing the texture envelope? Which brought me to this Clare V. Flore Clutch, in navy faux fur with a gold removable chain strap and gold push-lock closure.
Animal Print, Leopard, Look Two
Here, you have a more muted version of the leopard print with this Leopard Shift Mini Dress. With a hidden back zipper, it manages to show off the leopard print without any distraction. But with this look, I saw the leopard as a neutral to mix with what else, the color red. How’s that for spicing things up?
Wearing this bright red Nanushka Hide Faux Leather Puffer Jacket, in bright red super soft vegan leather, you’ll not only keep warm but look extra cool doing so. The bulbous silhouette of the puffer jacket mixed with the tight leopard dress is a surefire hit. But to intensify things, even more, I’ve paired these items with Saint Laurent Niki 105 Leather Boots in “hot” red. Bearing a coveted conical heel, these slouchy up to the knee soft leather boots will surely get you in trouble. Plus, don’t get me started on its pointy toe.
Now, Where Do I Keep My Lipstick?
But like most shift dresses, your waist needs to be accentuated just a pinch. Enter a belted bag to do the trick. Of course, with the futuristic look of the puffer jacket, I wanted something similar in feel like this Bao Bao Issey Miyake Waist bag(shown on dress and bottom). Featuring its signature geometric pattern, it has an adjustable shoulder strap with a buckle fastening for easy wear. Add silver-tone hardware, a top zip, several internal compartments, and you’re all set. This is the perfect bag for when you need your hands free when playing after dark.
As for style icon, Iris Apfel can attest, “More is more, less is a bore,”, I finished things off with these oversized mismatched shiny gold Texture Earrings. Measuring approximately two inches long, their wrinkled texture adds interest to the ears. A back clip closure, guarantees they’re big.
Animal Print, Leopard Look Three
I channeled my inner rocker chick, by way of some Janice Joplin and David Bowie when styling this look.
The leopard in this ensemble is bold, daring and way flashy with the help of Manley’s Luna Bomber Gold jacket. With a metallic gold and sky-blue leopard print body and gold shoulder panels, you can’t go wrong. The addition of elasticated cuffs and back hem give it a sporty appeal. Add this lime Ottoman Cropped Jumper, slightly front tucked into these Ann Demeulemeester cropped Striped Cotton-Blend Trousers, and this jacket gets cast as a supporting actor. Teal blue and black vertical stripes, make these pants a winning teammate. Featuring a front button fastening, belt loops, side, and rear pockets, they offset the jacket’s brightness quite nicely.
To be a total badass ‘rocker chick’ I obviously need boots and what better pair than these Nina Ricci 90MM Leather Cowboy Boots?! With their pointed toe, and seam and stitching details, these boots are too hot for riding a horse!
Any Finishing Touches?
Obviously, I wouldn’t let you out of my sight without giving you a little something special, so I opted for these Marni Crystal-Embellished Clip-On Earrings. A large gold disk surrounds a bright pink plastic circle. It’s then attached to a crystal-embellished stud fastening, sure to spark conversation.
But wait, there’s more.
I managed to have more pink trickle into this look by adding this dramatic Bebop Loop Handle Clutch by Valentino Garavani. In bright pink calfskin leather, you’ll make a statement alright. Flashing a fan of ostrich feathers of the same color, you won’t be missed. And if you forget to wear a bracelet, no worries. This little treasure’s golden loop handle tipped with signature pyramid studs will come to your rescue.
So there you have it! Three looks that are easily achievable by anyone. Still on the fence? You can always opt for a simple leopard belt or leopard slip loafers, which are both classic and timeless.
When you think of Spring/Summer clothes, many could easily name the same adjectives to describe them. Fun, relaxed and effortless would be my top three and how I would describe Area’s SS/19 collection. And it’s no wonder, when VOGUE RUNWAY cited Libuše Niklová as this collection’s muse.
‘Who is Libuše Niklová?’, you ask? (I know, I was in the dark too but always love to learn something new.) She was the Czech genius artist and inventor that created the first inflatable toys for children in the Sixties. ‘Playing’ was critical to this collection and for Area designers Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg, making her the perfect muse.
‘Playing’ Was Key For Area’s Summer
So how do you reinterpret inflatable creatures and strangely proportioned toys into a collection? Simply, by focusing on the fun and playful aspect of it all into everything that makes an outfit. Area’s designers told VOGUE RUNWAY, “We started thinking: What is important for us in fashion? I think as designers, in design in general, our core value is play. Playing is something so intellectual but also so pure,” which was very obvious from their designs. Thankfully, as much as fashion is all about having fun, Area took it literally without being kitschy or obvious.
As seen in the designs throughout, Area’s designers manifested fun in several ways. There were fabrics in unexepected tones similar to the orange long trench with a shiny pearlescent pink sheen (right) while the inflatable toys were reimagined by way of a pink bag (left) and other accessories.
A clear plastic mini apron, complete with crystal embellishments (left) amped up this tailored white shirt’s playfulness. Similarly sparkly strappy sandals in a geo-pattern complemented the look. Then came the fun of playing with proportions as seen in the oversized colorfun turban that finished that look.
Fun With Proportions
Area continued playing with fun in mixing silhouettes with texture. Kelly green, one of my favorite greens, made this pleated look (right) really stand out. A straplesss top in a pleated fabric, captivated with its drape across the chest from the left. Accentuated by a ruffled hem on both sides, it commanded attention. With its long length, it glided down to the floor, giving the effect of a long train. Add shorts in the same fabric to the look and you can easily wear this for evening or day.
Another fun green look that played with proportion was the one below (right), thanks to the brilliantly structured big hat. Area’s iteration of a newsboy cap with a Sixties influence, mixed together with a brimmed turban effect, is a hat that would be hard for one to want to take off. A fun cropped sleeveless top with a neatly tied oversized bow at the center gave the outfit sweet innocence. To complete the look, embellished kelly green cigarette pants with crystals down the sides in a diamond line pattern were added.
The sparkle of the crystals made their way to a similarly patterned choker necklace, further accentuating the beauty of the green big hat. And no look is complete without the right bag, which in this case was a turquoise handheld mini trunk purse and matte Cookie Monster blue long nails.
Can’t Play Without Some Shine
Lurex came flirted with play in some of the looks. Below, you can see silver in a geometric pattern on biker shorts and its matching three-quarter sleeveless jacket. What I love about this look is how easily it can be a standalone look with a vacancy for addition.
The matching biker shorts could be paired with a long-sleeved or tee shirt, a tank top, or a sports bra, worn underneath the jacket. Whereas a sheer slip dress or sheer tunic over the biker shorts, in a contrasting color, with the jacket worn over it, to give the look more depth. But the key here is to have fun!
But it was all about shine with the first look. A simple toffee colored pant set, comprised of a criss-cross cropped fitted top with slightly cropped trousers, set the stage for some sparkle. A fun large diamond pattern sleeveless tunic worn over the top and pants, added drama hemmed with long crystal strings down to the ankles. Throw in a silver handheld purse to the ensemble, made sure to say this neutral color came to play!
Chic And Fun Continued Playing With Ease
Now who can say they can have fun if there’s too much effort involved? I surely can’t, which is why I have plenty of dresses in my closet. And this was key for Area, as noted in two of the looks below.
One look, had simple white long trousers that were slim on top with a stovepipe leg. But here’s where it got interesting – the top! ‘Barazoku magazine, the first commercial Japanese gay magazine, is where the designers found inspo,’ said VOGUE RUNWAY. But for what exactly – the top’s print.
The designers recruited an artist to repaint a cover from the magazine for a print. In bright colors, the all-over print on white, decorated a three-quarter length sleeveless shirt. The shirt, that crisscrossed along the front, had long panels that would mimic the movement of the pants when walking.
Long trousers in the pink geometric pattern with silver lurex played up the fun factor, yet again. Paired with a cropped hot pink long-sleeved top decorated with crystals, prompted the fun. The embellishments made their way down the sleeves, from the top of the shoulders down to the wrist. But this Area woman was busy indeed, as noted by the pushed up sleeves. A bubble gum pink rounded mini trunk purse with a hot pink handle and hot pink lattice detail made this practical look scream ‘fun, fun, fun!’
There’s no denying I love designer shoes, especially when it comes to this Fall season. And WHY do you ask? Simply, variety, variety, variety and boy, is there plenty for everyone!
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, there will always be predictable contenders to be coveted by all. It’s Fall after all, so there’s no denying the presence of boots. Sure, open toes are reserved for the ‘my feet look too pretty to cover up’ category, but with consistent care and caresses during months full of scaly and itchy skin, those beautiful feet could still use some warmth when covered up in such decadence like these shoes here.
Now, as much as I love to challenge the cold with open toe shoes, for this post, I’m going to focus on styles that keep the chills away like these white beauties by Prabal Gurung.
(photo: GETTY IMAGES)
At a glance, you might think they’re just anothet pointy toe ankle boot, but it’s all about the form and detailing. Let’s pick it apart, shall we?
Upon close observation, the pointed toe gives it that YES, I’M HERE effect worthy of stiletto high heel shoes, but as your eyes trace the top of the foot right before you make your way up to the ankle, you notice that deep stop, into a boxy shape. The boxy shape then takes on the look of spats minus the buttons, completing the boot effect. And just when you think the ride is over, there’s that heel. Boy that heel, that gives me all the right feels. It’s a sculptured heel, but it’s SCULPTURE! The heel commands attention as it rests on top of a sphere. Then that sphere connects to a thin yet sturdy cylindrical shape, cut on a bias, held together by a golden rod. Bravo, I say, Bravo!
Look One – Designer Prabal Gurung Boot, Fall 2018
What’s best of all about this designer boot for Fall is that it can easily be dressed up or down. So I thought, “What would be a good look to go with this boot?” Of course pants would show off these boots a lot faster, but I always love the element of surprise, which is why I opted for a dress, specifically this one.
The dress though, for this coveted ankle boot, had to be special, which made me select this number by Monse (Farfetch). Taking a page out of the The Saville Row Fall trend, this Off Shoulder dress with it’s houndstooth pattern is sure to catch someone’s eye. What makes it even more of a hit for me, is its ruched three-quarter sleeves, folded-over strapless detail, and it’s bias-cut skirt, with varied length skirt panels. One cross of the legs, would accentuate the dramatic flair of the skirt, as a way to announce ‘HERE’S MY BOOT, WHERE’S YOURS?’.
But What More Can I Add To My Look?
But I wanted to keep highlighting the boot’s details, particularly the sphere that made up the other part of the heel. Enter Proenza Schouler’s Grateful Dead Turtleneck (FARFETCH), in white, covered entirely in large black circles bearing a red bolt right down the middle. I felt a chill thinking about my shoulders exposed and loved the idea of that pattern peeking from under the dress’s houndstooth ruched sleeve. Throw on a white, red and black Plaid coat with silver detailing and jeweled buttons (ZARA) and I’m out the door!
So seeing as my dress pick has no pockets, where was I going to put my phone and things? I wasn’t about to be tacky and carry my phone and other in my hands, so what’s a chick to do? Prada and Zara of course!
Accessories Drum Roll
By pairing Prada’s Mini Cahier Leather Shoulder Bag (LUISAVIAROMA) in red and black with gold metal detailing and gold chain along with Zara’s red Embossed Crossbody Bag with gold metal details (ZARA), would just make the red bolt on the turtleneck pop. But what’s even cooler about this Prada bag are its cowboy influences shown by the metal accent panels on its front. And I know what you’re thinking-‘HOW COULD I MIX METALS LIKE THAT?’-all because the dress belt has silver metal detailing? What can I say, I like stirring things up a bit.
Still in the clutches of golden fever, I submit once more and opt for mismatched earrings in gold – an oversized matte gold heart with a dangling pearl (ZARA) and a Chloé Reese Drop earring with its double hoop design (MYTHERESA), just to give the ears, some graphic appeal to match the top.
(photo: GETTY IMAGES)
Like a moth to a flame, Ports 1961 silver shoes became my ‘precious’, for a brief moment, as I live for anything shiny. A high heel pump covered entirely in silver tinsel and silver beading just screamed one word to me – PLAID! Call it intuition, call it madness or maybe I’m just gifted or twisted – take your pick.
Look 2 – Designer Ports 1961 Pump, Fall 2018
If you didn’t know this already, I’m a huge pattern whore and pattern play is the best way for pieces inside looks to flirt with one another. I especially love it when it’s done using different plaids, in different colors, as seen above – another trend for the Fall season. Besides, what else would go better with shiny silver than plaid, right?
With orange, royal blue, grey and white Turned-Up Hem Plaid Pants (ZARA) and it’s matching Pleated Plaid Top featuring an asymmetrical pleat (ZARA) paired with a TALL Tartan Check Puffer Jacket in a teal, yellow, black and white plaid pattern (TOPSHOP), who can beat that?
What accessories would complement silver tinsel and plaid?
Iridecense and more silver of course! For earrings, all you need is one of the Neogem Diffraction Drops earrings designed by Nikki Couppee (VALERY DEMURE). Lightweight faceted holographic plexiglass and brass make this earring extra special. Complete the look with this Binder Clip shoulder bag by Off-White (MYTHERESA), that cinches the high and low brands together seamlessly.
(photo: GETTY IMAGES)
Tibi’s designer boot, in salmon red, a color not often seen in a boot looks like it feels soft as buttah! But it’s the shape of it that really caught my attention. There’s the pointy toe with a sloping dip on the top of the foot and if you took the long leg off the boot, you’d be left with a mule. Then you have it’s heel that looks like an even wider cylinder, underneath the heel of the foot.
Look 3 – Designer Tibi Boot, Fall 2018
For this Fall designer shoe, I chose to pair it with a Mary Katrantzou Sequined Block Dress (FARFETCH). A silk dress, covered in clear sequins to highlight its mostly pastel colored rectangle print,. With a round neck, long sleeves and its maxi length, it plays up Fall season’s trend of modesty. Pair that with a white Mensy Blazer by Boutique (TOPSHOP), another Fall trend, and the mix of masculine and feminine will just add that something extra to the mix. Yet, besides it’s masculine silhouette, I love how one pocket flap is slightly higher than the other, mimicking the different heights of the rectangles printed on the dress.
To round out this look, I recommend wearing Alessandra Rich’s Crystal Draped Circle Clip-On earrings (LUISAVIAROMA), with its rows of layered crystal rows. Not only would these earrings add a little more sparkle and high drama to your look with their large size, they would also punctuate the geometric depth of the dress. And finally, I would opt for The Volon’s Cindy Leather & Velvet Clutch in Velvet Pink (NORDSTROM), to carry my phone, lipstick, keys etc. Inspired by Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage, with its rounded silhouette, this beautiful little number has pink velvet and metallic pink leather panels, gathered together by a drawstring gold chain, that can be worn long or short. If that’s not dramatic enough, it has a dark olive feathered tassel at it’s base held together by a wide gold band. Finally, your effortlessly chic look is complete!
I hope you find inspiration from these three looks I’ve pulled together for you and just remember, DON’T LET THE CLOTHES WEAR YOU!
Let me know in the comments if you like or hate the looks – I’d love to know.
Zac Posen is preparing us for a Spring where romance conquers all with looks reminiscent of Sixties glamour + ladylike appeal, with a sprinkling of modern flair. Sweetened by floral embellished shoe heels in contrasting colorways, to florals on dresses, further romanticized by embroideries, most pieces could easily make their way from the office to a night out, just by switching up your accessories + maybe adding a strong eye or lip. Sometimes, these floral details appeared as colorful line drawings on top of sheer fabrics, depicting other parts of a flower like large leaves all over the strapless midi dress far below. Other times, you would just find a pattern complete with flowers, bold strokes of color, further enhanced by hints of metallic accents.
There were some dresses that played up a woman’s modesty with its midi skirt + short sleeves with tie detail, while simultaneously, submitting to a woman’s figure with a heavily darted torso, highlighting the waistline + slightly accentuating the bust. Although, a similar dress in white reminded me of a vintage nurse’s uniform, minus the tie detail + wider short sleeves, by undoing a few more buttons on top, would deepen the neckline, to expose the hint of a lacy or mesh bra + adding sexy high heels, would definitely change the mood to effortless sizzle.
But in true Posen form, there were gowns for days, which he always masters. By now, I’m thinking he does this wearing a blindfold. I’m sure with awards season underway, how could he resist? Some reminded me of something that would make us all swoon by seeing actress Shanina Shaik walking down the red carpet or even Amal Clooney with all her elegance. Of course, if a gown is considered to predictable, there’s a perfect long gray column skirt embellished with same colored floral accents, perfect to pair with a voluminous blouse sporting open shoulder detail or a plunging backline.
However, my favorite takeaway from the whole collection had to be the satin T-strap heeled shoes, that had what looked like floral still lifes encrusting the heel in contrasting colors. The floral elements looked like brooches attached to the heel due to how far out they protruded from the shoe.
A few weeks ago, after attending an early morning Saturday dance class at Spec-Chuan Movement & Arts Center (SCMA), I started crushing on Queens in a big way. I took my first ever Bollywood class (part of their World Series classes), taught by Sankalp Sharma. Much to my surprise, not only did my body break a sweat but it also made me regress back to my days back in daycare, running around the dance space, in every direction, to warm up. But you’ve been warned – to be in a room full of strangers, that early in the day and running around like a small kid, is sure to cause giggling + leave you with a huge smile.
Once Sharma began describing the first part of the choreography, I came to appreciate Bollywood dancing that much more, likening it to a form of interpretive dance, where your dance moves become a type of sign language to describe song lyrics. We danced to a love song on how the lead singer was trying to seduce their love interest, re-enacting their every move to ensure he or she would take notice. From waving our hands while walking forward to highlight our swagger, to dipping biscuits in tea, our love was not going unnoticed. A few moves later, we cooled down with deep breathing + quick stretches.
But what made SCMA so special to drag me out of my bed in West Harlem to make it all the way to Queens on a Saturday morning? Quite simply, its founder, Xiao Chuan Xie (a.k.a. Chuan, pronounced ‘Truan’), seen below, + her journey that led to opening such an incredible place.
Chuan started her dancing career in the Nanjing Jingling Arts Organization in China + trained as a ballerina before her 2009 descent into New York to join the Martha Graham Dance Company(a modern dance institution), which led to rave reviews from the New York Times. In 2015, Chuan then made her way to Broadway starring in the Tony award winning production of ‘The King & I’, part of Lincoln Center’s Theater 2015 revival, with critical acclaim. Yet, this newfound success came at a price, which I further explored when interviewing Chuan.
(photo: Paul Kolnik)
From Chuan’s bio, I learned how Chuan’s mind + body disconnect led to her birth of SCMA. According to her, the grueling non-stop eight-hour days of dancing/rehearsal as a professional dancer (with Martha Graham Dance Company) kept chipping away at her body in ways a lot deeper than what lied on the surface. Once on Broadway, while doing intense repetitive movements on autopilot, regardless of her flexibility, led to a hip injury in 2015. During her recovery period, she discovered many ways to connect her body with her mind.
Chuan’s various therapeutic methods included Physical Therapy + Acupuncture, which made her aware of herself where she told me she was experiencing how the body can restore so many of our childhood traumas + memories without the conscious mind knowing it. She added, “ I found out that I would unconsciously lock my arms close to myself as a result of locking my rib cage as well as if I was over-protecting myself. I discovered that my tail bone was always tucked under first because of my ballet training, second I believe it’s because the female protection (I am still studying this fact, which is fascinatingly happening to a lot of females); I also explored that I could connect with my organs, fluids, + nerves when moving so I would be more fully supported.” (See diagram below) So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that other classes taught at SCMA include Pilates, Yoga, Mindfulness Practice, Joy Flow + Evening Stretch.
Of course, being a Certified Movement Analyst from Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, Chuan deepened her understanding of the human body + how movement relates to our health + mental state, which brings us back to the importance of the mind + body connection. As the diagram above shows, when moving your finger, your toe or hand can affect your brain. This, in turn, is why I should’ve taken my dance class barefoot, to really feel the energy reverberating throughout the bamboo floors up into me.
According to Chuan, Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) is a tool to observe and experience human movement in a detailed + multilateral way. Dance/Movement Therapy’s main observation method is based on LMA. Chuan explained, “I am able to see people’s movement pattern clearly + provide a suitable exercise or class for different people,“ + what better place to celebrate different people than in Queens for SCMA’s location over a spot in Brooklyn, the hub of NYC cool or even Manhattan.
Even in deciding on the name, Spec-Chuan Movement & Arts Center, the inclusion of differences was one of the main components. Originally set to launch in 2016, at the time, Chuan told me how she asked friends to brainstorm ideas for the name. She mentioned to a friend how much she loved the rainbow because of how it always makes people smile + it contains so many colors + that friend suggested the word ‘Spectrum’. Chuan said it sounded like Spec-Chuan. “I didn’t know the meaning of the word at the moment. Then I checked the meaning + I fell in love with it! Especially the Latin word ‘specter’ means ‘vision, apparition’,” said Chuan, whereas Chuan means river in Chinese. Chuan added, “I have this vision of light shining on a body of water, the water reflects the different colors of light back to the sky, + the water is flowing and the colors are changing constantly. The name fits my belief of the inclusiveness in an ever-changing world.”
Now what I found to be so fascinating is Chuan’s timing for such a place. Considering the political climate that we’re living in now, where immigrants have become pariahs of American society, SCMA is a safe place where different cultures are celebrated. With various dance classes offered including Bollywood, African/Caribbean, + Chinese Folk Dance, what better way to check your stress at the door than through dance, the great equalizer where everyone is the same? I even noticed for myself, through a quick neighborhood tour led by Chuan surrounding SCMA, you couldn’t ignore the heavy enclave of Chinese, Indian/Pakistani, Hispanic + Caribbean people that live there. So for as much as these people might pass each other on the street on a daily basis, imagine them coming together to meet one another + shower each other with accolades through their different cultural dances? (Exploring dances from other cultures is in the works for the future.)
But Chuan isn’t the only one that’s noticed the impact wellness has on people’s lives, as immigrants themselves have taken notice, pointing out to me various stops during our tour, of the different fruit markets selling organic, freshly made juices + smoothies. It just seems that SCMA’s presence in this Queens hood has added more synergy to a place already harmonious with the change of the times, even though parts of it have remained untouched for almost thirty years.
So when you think of Queens, don’t just think about all you can eat but rather how much more you can experience + visit Spec-Chuan Movement & Arts Center for a dance class. Not only will you not regret it but you’ll leave relaxed, smiling + maybe make a few friends. Click here to schedule your first class.
Influenced by the exotic, lush landscapes of his childhood years in Hawaii, “Slonem has noted that he first was fascinated by parakeets when he was ten, + at sixteen bought some birds in a market in Nicaragua,” as writer, reporter, + cartoonist Anthony Haden Guest points out. When visiting his New York studio once myself, a work of art on its own, with various rooms completely painted in one singular color, briefly captured in the book, you seem to feel like you’re being transported into another reality, comprised of colorful spaces inhabited not only by Hunt’s variety of parrots, parakeets, macaws + cockatoos, but also by different groupings of the artist’s paintings + sculptures (below).
Repetitive imagery, a motif synonymous with Hunt’s work, would bring to mind Andy Warhol, which Hunt himself once mentioned in an Interview magazine December 2011 interview, by Claire Stein, as an influence saying, “I was influenced by Warhol’s repetition of soup cans + Marilyn,” adding, “But I’m more interested in doing it in the sense of prayer, with repetition… It’s really a form of worship,” which is quite evident in his attention to detail applied to most of his paintings with deep crosshatch marks made throughout. These indentations, a signature of Hunt’s work, further the theory of repetition giving the image a sense of movement, but as mentioned in Guest’s BIRDS essay, ‘You’re In Wonderland’, regarding this repeat technique, “Slonem will usually paint them in profile, as did John James Audubon, + he often arranges them by species + in multiple images, but not so as to emphasize their sameness in the manner of most painters of multiples, but rather to bring out at once their abundant presence + their lively uniqueness.”
(‘TOCOS 1’, 2008 | ‘HERB’S CARDINALS’, 2014 )
Author Jacqueline Bograd Weld describes Hunt’s paintings as “literally a whirl of paint-a thick impasto that Hunt grids or swirls at will. The birds + images appear and reappear in a purely visual space, an all-over style, in which there is no clear beginning or end or edge or corner,” reminding her of his stylistic roots in the recurring imagery of abstract expressionism + in Jackson Pollock’s gestural painting, in the Foreword A Fond Sonore. This clearly sets the tone for every masterpiece he assumes to create, always proving to be triumphant upon applying that last stroke of paint + or that last line cutting through it.
Called the ‘Interchangeable Workwear for the Hybrid Worker’, designer Olivia Le Blanc’s AW 2017 collection not only breaks gender barriers but also repurposes utilitarian looks with futuristic appeal under her brand ØBLANC.
Deconstructed to be worn multiple ways, by using various fasteners, bag straps + zippers, different pieces get to show some skin or distort one’s silhouette, by allowing the user to change the item’s fit every time. Let’s face it, who likes to be seen in the same thing twice, let alone pay more money to own more than one of the same? According to HUNGER magazine, this all ties into ‘ØBLANC’s focus on longevity + multi-purpose fashion, as well as paying homage to the functional + historic styles worn for work.’
If you love really long sleeves, why not just attach longer ones to it with the help of straps, that can later be removed to avoid getting them dirty when you reach for your hot cocoa come Fall? But what would inspire New York’s own to create such beauty with items most dismiss as looking too much like a uniform? Simply, Le Blanc told HUNGER how “the functionality + durability of workwear combined with interchangeability + unconventional materials” inspired this collection. That said, Le Blanc’s sensitivity for the environment is made possible by using recycled materials + giving them that ‘little extra something special’ with her own spin to the final creation. In fact, Le Blanc told HUNGER how she’s been repurposing items dating back to her high school days. Le Blanc said, ” I think it is a great way to eliminate over production + influence DIY creativity for the masses,” adding, “I also think using unconventional materials such as inflatables +d rubber boots are an interesting trend in sustainability.”
Of course, don’t think for one second that Le Blanc is on the gender fluidity bandwagon simply because it is popular + the direction of the future, but it’s part of the founding philosophy for ØBLANC. As she told HUNGER, “The philosophy for ØBLANC is creating iterations of hybrid gender through the clothes. There is a need in American fashion for reducing the divide of femininity + masculinity in fashion. There needs to be more boldness in this realm of style.”
(gif: cause and yvette)
Overall, ØBLANC’s AW 2017 collection is not only interesting, unique + wearable but definitely one to keep watching for seasons to come.