Perennially chic: the idea that style is constant, consistent, habitual, preternatural. It hardly erodes, but withstands the mercurial nature of trends, fads, and phases year after year to defy the annals of time. The women and men I have tapped as LADYPANTS and LADpants of the YEAR embody such a politic in every ounce of their dress and spirit. From photographers, songstresses, editors, writers, to bloggers, these individuals are style iconoclasts, possessing a fearless approach to fashion and an inspiring vision for all 365 days of the year. Read on to see who made the list…
I am very pleased to offer you a preview of my featured interview with songstress/style star/beat-thumping DJ/hot mama, Solange Knowles, for LURVE Magazine’s Fall/Winter issue.
LURVE’s editor, Lyna Ahanda, approached me about the project last Spring and I immediately went to work, pouring myself over research on the style maven and developing questions that would underscore the wit, intellect, and artistry of this young creative on the brink.
I have found that when interviewing people, niceties should be thrown out the window: a conversation should be had, a dialogue started; all walls should collapse. And so with Miss. Knowles, I obscured the surface and dug deep. What she reveals here is expressly her own voice, and with it a very honest, endearing story emerges that works perfectly in concert with the imaginative and transformative images of Ellen von Unwerth.
After reading on, I think you’ll find that “Solo” is on to something fantastic, insightful, and very necessary.
**An excerpt from the fourth installment of my Huffington Post series, “The Black Girl Crush Series”–an awesome new index of interviews with Black female iconoclasts.**
In the recently published third issue of the provocative art/fashion magazine, GARAGE, there is no dearth of fascinating images. The magazine, ferocious in size, literally opens itself up to page after page of expressive and intellectual visual dialogues on the subject of time. Simply checking the contributing page you’ll find a roll-call of the fashion industry’s top imagemakers; famed lensman to the beaumonde, Juergen Teller, shot one of the issue’s multiple covers.
However, for me, one of the most striking visuals comes in the form of a small black and white photo of our fourth Black Girl Crush, Shala Monroque. She, GARAGE’s Creative Director, is shown as a young tot, her hair perfectly plaited, and her cheeks plump and ripe with baby fat. I suspect the editor and style maven is no more than two when this picture was taken, but her expression here is one she has carried through her adult-life, and one I know well.
Almost inscrutable, I can still tell Shala is deep in thought–as she always is–and I’d like to believe this is why she has become, in turn, the “thinking woman’s” style icon some years later.
Declared the “muse of a generation” in 2011 by New York Magazine and the moment’s “It Girl” by Town & Country, the St. Lucian editor and writer has dazzled the international art and fashion crowds (and the infamously unflappable designer, Miuccia Prada), with a signature flare and statement-making approach to dress. The term “fashion risk” doesn’t really exist in her sartorial lexicon, as she can easily make the unthinkable (i.e. a bejeweled beetle brooch) the very necessary (i.e. Vogue did a full feature on the now must-have accessory).
But it is really when Shala opens her mouth does she make the most powerful impact. A soft, almost undetectable Caribbean lilt gives way to candid discussions on books, gender, race, art, politics, sex, relationships, and more books–her library seemingly as rare, vast, and precious as her shoe collection. Ebbing from the serious to the irreverent, no conversation is quite the same with Shala: a spirit I infused into the Q/A below, where she reveals the influence of writer Maya Angelou, how to navigate New York as a young creative, and her endearing (albeit secret) fascination with celebrity blogs.
Click HERE to read more…
Photography by Tommy Ton.
**An excerpt from the third installment of my Huffington Post series, “The Black Girl Crush Series”–an awesome new index of interviews with Black female iconoclasts.**
To be sure, the allure of the tomboy has stretched over time, mediums, and cultures, the beguiling assemblage of female magnetism and male dominance funneled into a single physical embodiment. Simply look at screen god(desses) Marlene Dietrich and Diane Keaton, jazz chanteuse Billie Holiday, or even Joan of Arc for verifiable proof: the bold, unconventional, yet glamorous sway of gamines has seemingly always had an impact on art, society, fashion, and history.
Within a modern context, though, no one seems to embody tomboy style quite like Downtown New York’s polymath/”sweetheart”, Vashtie Kola. The artist, designer, video director, brand consultant, professional party hostess-with-the-mostest, dominates the hip hybrid scenes of fashion, hip-hop, and art in denim cutoffs, Air Jordans (of her own design), a tee (also of her own design), and a flip of her enviable bushel of curls.
Such an effortless uniform still makes quite a statement while she’s busy directing music videos for the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Solange Knowles, Kid Cudi, and Justin Beiber, designing haute streetwear for her clothing line VIOLETTE, or amping up the crowd of her weekly 90′s-music dance party, “1992″. Like many young women of our generation, Ms. Kola has masterfully transformed her passions into her occupation, shirking a single job title instead for several proverbial hats. The Trinidadian beauty reveals in the third installment of the “Black Girl Crush Series” how she balances her limitless interests, the female powerhouses that continually inspire, and what advice she would offer her younger self–all whilst being the only girl in the crew.
Click HERE to read more!
A special thanks to Vashtie for participating in this growing project!