Lupita Nyong’o, From Unknown to ‘It’ Girl in Less Than a Year

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Lupita Nyong’o has shot into fame in recent months with her fashion and her acting skills. When Steve McQueen started to despair after seeing over 1000 actors for the role of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, he came across the tape from this unknown Kenyan actress. He was in disbelief, but she was perfect for the role. Her humility shines through even after starring and winning awards for the first feature film she was in after drama school. She says it is “not a badge of honor” but only a lucky break. Fast forward to present day, Lupita is a standout star, having won SAG and Critics’ Choice Awards and receiving nominations for the Golden Globes and Oscars. Red carpet season is in full swing the fresh faced beauty walked the Red Carpet with bold, eye-catching, elegant gowns.

From a prominent Kenyan family, Nyong’o was born in Mexico City, where her father had relocated her family after her uncle went missing. Lupita received her name in Kenyan tradition, being named after happenings at the time of birth. Being in Mexico, Lupita, a form of Guadalupe and the country’s patron saint, was everywhere. Although carrying a bit of Mexican culture with her, she moved back to Kenya with her parents before she was a year old. During college, she returned to America and after some soul-searching, applied for the Yale School of Drama. Weeks before graduating, her manager encouraged her to audition for 12 Years a Slave and a week later she was meeting the casting director in LA and then McQueen in Louisiana. She got the part and six weeks later was rehearsing scenes in New Orleans. It was a whirlwind of events to get her where she is today. McQueen went on to say “You know, there’s been a lot said about dark-skinned black actresses and the limitations they have within film. Well, I just hope that directors and other creative people have the idea of putting her in great and interesting projects, because she’s extraordinary.”

Since her film debut, she’s become one of the faces of Miu Miu, filmed the upcoming action-thriller Non-Stop with Liam Neeson, has been nominated for an Oscar and had her first run-in with the paparazzi heading home from L.A. “I don’t know who they were waiting for, but they definitely chased me down, which is a startling, disturbing experience,” she says as her driver navigates the frigid Manhattan streets on his way to the Brooklyn Museum, where Nyong’o plans to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit. “I did not expect it. I went into flight mode.” Nor did she imagine that she’d practically become a national hero in Kenya, where one Nairobi church reportedly held a thanksgiving Mass in her honor and the president sent out a tweet to congratulate her on the nomination. “There are so many highlights that are no longer highlights,” she says evenly. “I’m living a very swollen life.”
Refering to the recent overwhelming awards season, Nyong’o says, “I’ve been in a bubble. I haven’t been out much. I haven’t gotten used to being recognized.” More than that, “I was blissfully ignorant of the magnitude of the project I was in or what it was going to mean for the world.”

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Steve Stoute Debuts “Tanning of America” Docu-series

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There have been a lot of conversation about marketing/advertising mastermind and mogul Steve Stoute, who is known for his expertise in hip-hop culture and branding. In an interview today with Power 105.1′s The Breakfast Club, Stoute talked about his book Tanning of America, which has been repurposed into a four-part documentary series airing on VH1.

During the interview Stoute talked about some pop culture icons like Jayz, Kanye, 50 Cent, Nas, Drake and Rick Ross and the deals they have been able to close or are working on. He credited these stars for their contributions to his business and society at large.  He was asked to comment on various brands, but the one where he shared some great gems for was World Star Hip-Hop. Lee ‘Q’ O’Denat, a Hollis, Queens-based high school dropout, founded the site in 2005 calling it the “CNN of the Ghetto.” Stoute recommended that Q begin to rate the videos in order to pull in move advertisers for the kinds of content they were interested in and differentiate the “ghetto” from the important. He also spoke about record labels who try to sign 360 deals, encompassing marketing, sponsorship, endorsement and other kinds of deals, without the proper resources or human capital to do so. There is clearly a shift happening in the worlds of marketing, advertising and entertainment as the lines become more and more blurred.

“We all like hip hop culture. That culture has no color,” he said. “I think that lead to a generation of kids who don’t see color anymore. That mental complexion is what I dubbed of tanning and when I wrote the book a it was a good way to discuss race without sounding racist.”

Part three of the docu-series airs tonight (Feb. 26) at 11pm on VH1.

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CFDA Discusses New Strategy: New York Fashion Week Makeover, Stronger Partnerships, More

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2014 has brought about many changes including a new strategy for the CFDA, the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Last year, they hired Boston Consulting group in order to revamp its mission and overall brand for the years to come. “[The mission] needed to be clarified,” Jean-Marc Bellaiche, managing director at Boston Consulting Group(BCG), told Business of Fashion.”We needed to paint a precise picture of what each member, and all of the stakeholders, get from the association.”

The consulting group worked closed with the council’s Steven Kolba and Diane Von Furstenberg to rework the mission statement. They were able to reduce it from 6 sentences to one line: “The mission of the CFDA is to strengthen the influence and success of American Fashion Designers in the global economy.” The mission statement is reflective of the four areas that the CFDA will target: NY Fashion Week, education, partnerships and the manufacturing industry in the city. New York fashion week should be easier to navigate with a schedule that is less crowded and jammed with shows, while also taking into consideration the multiple locations throughout the city in which the shows are held. The Culture Shed at Hudson Yards is being considered as the main show space upon its completion in 2017.

“What’s the value of a centralized venue? How do you make that meaningful to designers? That’s where Diane as an individual – and as the president of the CFDA and part of the Culture Shed board – comes in, and what the BCG study has helped us understand,” Kolb said.

In the arena of education and partnerships, the CFDA has plans to strengthen relationships with existing partners, scholarship initiatives, and international schools. Through the consulting project, the CFDA became aware of the weak partnerships that lacked structure and strategy. “Some of the partnerships had been ad hoc because the CFDA was getting hit up every day with different offers,” Sarah Willersdorf, principal at BCG, told Business of Fashion.”We gave different suggestions on how to categorize [these partnerships], understand the value for the designers, how they should be priced and which should be strategic versus one-off.” President von Furstenberg was please with the outcome of their work with BCG, comparing it to working with a therapist.


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Cultivating Your Personal Style

We all know her: the well put together women that seems to have an effortless signature style. However, it is difficult for those who consider themselves to be less stylish to develop their own personal style. How exactly do you even develop a signature style in the first place? Realize that that effortlessly chic woman has been developing her personal style through a process of trial and error over a period of time. She has learned about what looks work for her, what doesn’t and how to incorporate the latest trends into her wardrobe without losing sight of who she is. She has a creative mind and likes to express herself visually.

The one thing that all creative people have in common is the search for inspiration and a muse. This does not mean to copy someone else’s style, but instead study what some of your favorite celebrities are wearing, creating Pinterest boards to collect some of your favorite items and outfit ideas as well as read magazines to see what’s in style and how you can incorporate it into your wardrobe.

Below are 10 quick tips for helping you to cultivate your own personal style.

1. Know the character you want to portray. In the same way that a costume helps to define a character in a movie or show, the clothes you choose are a way to showcase your personality and character to others. By knowing what you want to communicate, you will be able to find your signature style easier.

2. Following the trends can be expensive and pointless. Every single trend will not work for you, therefore, you have to be more selective about what you invest your money in and how it fits into your already existing wardrobe.

3. Always be mindful to remain consistent in your style choices but also modern.

4. An often ignored part of your personal style, but a very important one is your hair. Your hair style is equally a part of your signature style as your clothing is. Learn what works for you and what you feel comfortable in. Are you going to stay conservative, get a new cut, color, style? Whatever you choose, it should speak to the personal style you are attempting to cultivate.

5. Style is not only about fashion, it’s a lifestyle. From the phone case that you carry to the perfume you wear and the music you listen to. All of the pieces of your personal style should work together to tell a story.

6. Don’t be afraid to experiment or bring trends back. If you haven’t realized, fashion is recycled each and every season, so what may not have worked for you a few years ago, may be perfect now. Fabrics have changed, your body has changed and the way you wear it will be totally different. Take some time to keep classic pieces. They will be staples in your wardrobe for years to come.

7. Make sure the clothes you have fit immaculately, meaning that they do not lead to constant tugging, fussing, and fidgeting. The fit of an article of clothing is what differentiates it between being mediocre and being great. Have you seen a man in a tailored suit, compared to one he just wore off a rack? Fit is everything. Be mindful of how the clothes fit before you purchase them. Ill-fitted clothing affect your confidence and your attempt to be effortless will be a failed one.

8. We all need that go-to item that is in our wardrobe. Make an effort to find something that works great on your body shape and makes you look and feel confident. Once you have found this item, purchase it in multiple colors and stock up on it. That way, you will always be ready for any last minute outings, events and dates.


Beyonce Drops Surprise Album with Fashion We Adore

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Beyonce shocked fans and the entire world after releasing a surprise visual album late Thursday night via iTunes. The self-titled album contained 14 songs and 17 videos and sold 80,000 copies in just three hours. Social media went into a frenzy as fans tweeted, instagramed and facebooked pictures of the album’s videos shortly after its release. She did 17 videos within a four-month period and the project was styled by Lysa Cooper, Ty Hunter, B. Akerlund, Marni Senofonte and Karen Langley. Each stylist brought their own twist to videos, each of them working on a different group. Some highlights included a bedazzled bikini,  a large silk muumuu, her signature leotards, and other designer styles from the likes of Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, and Anthony Vaccarrello. One of the album’s most talked about video is “Drunk In Love,” featuring her husband Jay-z on a private beach in Miami. Lysa Cooper, stylist for this video said she was originally supposed to wear three different outfits, but Jay Z had a different idea after seeing her in her sheer number. He said, “You’re wearing that the whole time.” In this shot she is wearing a vintage Eres bathing suit from the 90’s, Wendy Nicohl dress and all the jewelry is by Jennifer Fisher.

As you go through the videos you think the fashion can’t get any better until you see a compilation of supermodels in the ‘Yonce video. Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman joined Beyonce for this song. Beyonce and Chanel Iman are both seen wearing Herve Leger bandage swimsuits. Beyonce’s suit is from Leger’s 2011 collection, while Chanel’s is strikingly similar in gray from the brand’s resort ’14 lineup and available here.
With its ’70s disco flair, “Blow” is depicts a good time at the roller rink and features a fun and flirty Beyonce sporting everything from fluorescent green two piece with orange lipstick to riding up on a bike in a giant neon yellow tiger-print fur coat from Versace and patchwork denim jeans. You can see her in the scene above wearing a Missguided Jayden Tropical Print Bralet.

The look in “Haunted” was on of the most eerily striking one as Bey, rocks a Saint Laurent Fall 2013 Menswear Fur Coat and Saint Laurent Blue Pinstripe Tailored Wool Trousers with her flapper-inspired, finger- waved blonde bob and polished red lips. She is also seen wearing a Michael Cinco Fall 2013 Lace Cape in another scene.

Tom Ford’s Fall 2013 boots have been a celebrity favorite with Rihanna being one of the first to sport them. Beyonce wears them with Grown Woman video with her signature bodysuit.

Take a look at our slideshow below of 10 designer looks from the Beyoncé album videos.

by: Malikah Kelly

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[Recap] Art Basel Miami 2013

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Art Basel just wrapped up in Miami Beach this past weekend as artists, collectors, and the curious flocked to the Sunshine State to get a glimpse of modern and contemporary works. Art Basel is an independent art show founded over 40 years ago by three gallerists from the Swiss city of Basel. This production has grown to become a cultural event welcoming the leading galleries across various continents. The audience has also grown internationally to include collectors, museum directors and curators and happens annually in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong.

At this year’s event, paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs and films were on display at the Miami Beach Convention Center, while other artworks and performances were viewed across the city at galleries, museums, tents and private events. The 12th annual Miami art week featured events hosted by Dom Perignon, Maserati and Ferrari just to name a few.

On Saturday, I attended the Southern Freeze party featuring photography by Ben Watts, Montauk-based English photographer whose work has been featured in publications like Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. The Southern Freeze party took place at Freehand Miami and guests were able to enjoy art works and Watts’ WattsUp Rosé. Afterwards, I attended the Empty Kingdom X Select Fair Art Expo. Each room in the Catalina Hotel was transformed into personal galleries featuring the work of emerging artists around the world. Originally, I came to Art Basel just for the experience, but actually ended up buying a Lauren Rinaldi piece that I absolutely fell in love with! So I am officially an art collector now.

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Before flying back to NYC on Sunday, I visited the Versace Casa Casuarina on Ocean Drive and had breakfast at The News Cafe, where it is rumored he would stop by daily for breakfast and to buy the morning paper. Take a look at some of the photos below.

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