Chapter 1 is in the can!

Writer’s block was conquered and a decent draft of chapter 1 is complete. Summer is off to a good start.

This photograph Marlene Dietrich wearing her tuxedo from Morocco (1930) and this sketch by the Hollywood costume designer Travis Banton didn’t make it into the chapter so I thought I would share them here.

Viva deco dandies in tuxes!

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Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong'o

Afrochic now, done right: Lupita Nyong’o by Christian McDonald for Vogue magazine.

“THROUGH A LENS DARKLY” to Premiere at Sundance Film Festival

I am supposed to appear as a talking head in this documentary about black photography.

Epic Documentary is First Film to Examine the Role of Black Photographers in Shaping Identity of African Americans from Slavery to the Present

Award-winning filmmaker/director/producer Thomas Allen Harris’ recently completed documentary film, THROUGH A LENS DARKLY: BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS AND THE EMERGENCE OF A PEOPLE, will make its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014. This epic film, about contemporary artists and scholars probing the recesses of the American dream by interrogating images of stories suppressed, forgotten and lost, is the first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present. The film brings to light previously hidden and largely unknown images by both professional and vernacular African American photographers which add to our understanding of history by providing a window into lives, experiences and perspectives of Black families that is absent from the traditional historical canon.

“My whole team and I are extremely excited and humbled by this honor,” says Thomas Allen Harris. “Inspired by the work of our co-producer Deborah Willis, this project has been ten years in the making. We’re looking forward to audiences experiencing this incredible content, much of which has never been seen before.”

Ophelia Devore, founder of first black model agency, teams up with Emory University

How to Whitewash A Dandy: A Colorless Account of Queer Fashion History

By Tiffany Mott-Smith

http://taggmagazine.com/a-colorless-account-of-queer-fashion-history/

Queer Fashion History Exhibit: The Museum at FIT, 2013

Queer Fashion History Exhibit: The Museum at FIT, 2013

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Queer Fashion History Symposium. I spent six and half hours preparing for this event. Three minutes checking in with my editor for the event, 55 minutes looking for my press badge, two minutes watching my boifriend find my press badge hanging from my doorknob, 30 minutes dropping off my favorite pair of boots at Phillips Shoe Repair, 30 minutes spilling the tea with my favorite shoe repairman’s wife, 30 minutes re-adhering crystals to my favorite pair of boots, four hours deciding on approximately three outfits to match my favorite pair of boots. In case you are wondering, yes dear, these boots are everything!

Arriving at the symposium with my boots and badge in tow, I scanned the room with an immediate furrowed brow. I had imagined wild hair under elaborate chapeaus, statement necklaces and new romantic inspired street fashion. Instead I saw almost exclusively plain shoes, muted colors and dulled accessories- perhaps foreshadowing the day to come.

Continue reading “How to Whitewash A Dandy: A Colorless Account of Queer Fashion History”

CHIC Fancy Black History Through Fashion and Style: Dorothea Towles Church

Oh CHIC Fancy Huh!?

I am a loyal reader of various fashion magazines. I love flipping through the pages, reading the various articles and fashion tips, but most importantly seeing the most beautiful clothes and the gorgeous women that wear them oh so well. Although the representation of african american models can be quite scarce, I can still get a glimpse of some of the cocoa brown beauties that have the opportunity to grace the pages and the runways of major publications and fashion houses. That is certainly more than I can say for my ancestors before me. Seeing a black face on the runways or inside the magazine issues were unheard of until the beautiful Dorothea Towles Church gracefully made her way into an industry, that at the time saw no place for her kind beauty.

Dorothea Towles Church became the first successful black model in Paris is the 1950’s.

Mrs. Church originally set out to become in actress, however…

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Thanksgiving Tidbit

Why I Am Thankful: Survival, Fashion, Language and Family

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/11/26/why-i-am-thankful-survival-fashion-language-and-family-152449

This costume seems to be part of an intriguing project that I likely won’t get to in my book this go-around, alas.

Avant Tut interest in all things Egyptian Redux

Egyptomania is part of a broader afromania within my cultural imagination, but I will be focusing more on “black Africa” for the book. Nevertheless my recent perusing has revealed a much deeper and richer vein of unexposed and unstudied material that warrants further research and reflection. Unfortunately, there is so much that will be left on the cutting room floor when Afrochic is published. Here, therefore, is another tidbit that I wanted to shine a little light on – one day I may get to explore fin-de-siècle Egyptomania more thoroughly:

While touching upon dress I only mention that we have a little Egyptian figure whose dress is “accordion pleated” from throat to feet; it also wears a little “accordion-pleated ” cape. So the fashions and arts of dress come round.

“Art.” by Mrs. Emily Crawford.
Publication: Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed. The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman’s Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U. S. A., 1893.. Chicago, ILL: Monarch Book Company, 1894. pp. 87-89.

We’re Obsessed With These Vintage Hair And Beauty Ads (PHOTOS )

Since we were talking about black models:

The Huffington Post  |  By Julee Wilson

Posted: 11/21/2013 4:04 pm EST  |  Updated: 11/21/2013 4:37 pm EST

There’s something about old ads that make us long for days gone by — and we’re not just talking about the low retail prices. There was a level of sophistication that we rarely see these days. It seems like women with perfectly coiffed and wearing chic gowns have been replaced with half-naked, photoshopped wannabes .

But thanks to the internet, we’re only a click away from reliving the glory days or advertisements. We did some digging on our favorite Tumblr page, Vintage Black Glamour , and unearthed a few swoon-worthy ads for your view pleasure.

Happy Throwback Thursday (#TBT)!

vintage ads

A 1969 Revlon ‘Colorsilk’ advertisement.

vintage ads

A 1976 advertisement for a fragrance called Noir.

vintage ads

A 1970s Ultra Sheen advertisement.

vintage ads

Whitney Houston in a 1980s Max Factor ad.

vintage ads

Iman in a 1976 Avon advertisement. She is wearing a dress by Giorgio Sant’ Angelo.

vintage ads

Helen Williams in a 1960 Helene Curtis ad.

vintage ads

Beverly Johnson in a 1970s Max Factor advertisement.

vintage ads

A 1965 Ultra Sheen ad.Aren’t you glad these vintage ads don’t look like this...