Beyoncé... The African Queen?!

We've long known that music superstar, Beyoncé Knowles, can sing and dance (doing both extremely well), but we've also come to learn that she has a serious passion for fashion.

Growing up in Texas -alongside her equally fashionable sister, Solange Knowles- Beyoncé was entrenched in a household full of creative flair; her mother (Tina Knowles), was a beautician and dressmaker who designed and sewed the majority of costumes for Beyoncé's former pop group, Destiny's Child. Just a few, short years ago, Beyoncé -again- collaborated with her mother, to form a contemporary clothing label (House of DERÉON), that would give fans a virtual taste of Beyoncé's personal style and affinity for clothing. Not only have fans recognized her appeal, so has the fashion industry, she's been a spokesmodel for top companies such as Tommy Hilfiger and L'Oréal, and she's also graced the cover of almost every major, fashion magazine, i.e. Elle, V (Visionaire), Harper's Bazaar, W, VOGUE, et. al. Most recently she was tapped for yet another title, this time posing for L'Officiel, a French fashion magazine that's been published in Paris since 1921.

(L'Officiel, 1928)

(Beyoncé for L'Officiel, March 2011 cover)

Next month, L'Officiel will commemorate its 90th anniversary, and sought after Beyoncé to help carry out their celebratory theme of royalty... African royalty. As seen in the magazine's video footage, a spokesperson for the project says, "the idea of the shoot, is paying homage to the African queens through the ages."

(Beyoncé for L'Officiel, March 2011 editorial)

Moreover, with all of the magazine's good intentions towards creatively portraying Black culture, the content that features Beyoncé, has placed them -along with her- in the hot seat. There are several photographs -within the fashion spread- that depict the starlet not only in African-inspired ensembles, but also with her skin "voluntarily" darkened, appearing in blackface.

(Beyoncé for L'Officiel, March 2011 editorial)

The online community (fans and bloggers alike), has been in an uproar over the magazine's release of the images, calling them 'distasteful' and 'offensive,' especially because of Beyoncé's high-profile and the sensitive nature of the pictures. YouTube.com subscribers have viewed L'Officiel's video channel more than 42,000+ times (just to see behind-the-scenes footage of Beyoncé at the photo shoot). One user 'anavywife28' said, "Beyonce is already black, so why the black face? Strange times we're living in....," while 'buzywil' says, "I think Beyonce is beautiful, and I don't think the black face is demeaning, it wasn't used in that manner like Hollywood used it back in the day."

(minstrel 'blackface' poster, circa 1900)

Wikipedia.org describes blackface as "...theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows, and later vaudeville. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and propagated American racist stereotypes such as the 'happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation' or the 'dandified coon'... blackface minstrels not only played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide, but also in popularizing black culture... The minstrel show was appropriated by the black performer from the original white shows, but only in its general form. Blacks took over the form and made it their own. The professionalism of performance came from black theater. The black minstrels gave the shows vitality and humor that the white shows never had. The black minstrel performer was not only poking fun at himself but in a more profound way, he was poking fun at the white man."

(Bert Williams, African American 'blackface' performer, circa 1910)

(Bamboozled, a Spike Lee film, circa 2000)

So, is this the case for Beyoncé... poking fun at herself, while simultaneously slamming her critics... or is there more to the story?! You be the judge.

* Video (Beyoncé, L'Officiel: behind the scenes, 2011)

The 90th anniversary issue of L'Officiel (featuring Beyoncé), is currently on newsstands.

www.google.com, en.wikipedia.org, www.jalougallery.com, www.youtube.com/TheJalouTV (anavywife28, buzywil), www.beyonceworld.net


New York Fashion Week... Stevie Boi x "CoExist" F/W '11

* presented at Le Souk Harem Bistro & Lounge- New York, New York: February 17th, 2011.

Closing out NYFW with a bang, was the provocative collection shown by Steven Strawder a.k.a "Stevie Boi," best known for his "SB Shades" designer eye wear.

(Stevie Boi)

Strawder, literally, put his faith at the forefront this season, showing over-sized, emblazoned and etched-out crucifixes in some of his designs.

He's often quoted (via his twitter handle @SBshades), as giving praise to GOD for all of his newfound fame and fortune (as he's designed for Lady Gaga and has been featured in VOGUE Japan), so it's no wonder why 'the cross' would be the center of attention at his showcase.

Moreover, one can't help but to question, in which way does Strawder want us to coexist?! Is it to come together, as humans, with all of our varied differences in ethnicity, religion, sex and sexuality... or is he thinking a little bit more above the clouds?! You be the judge...

* Video (Stevie Boi, CoExist. New York Fashion Week, February 2011)

(Stevie Boi & guests)

(event MC & guests)

(designers, Jeantrix. www.jeantrix.com)

(designers, Tamika and Tamara Albertini. www.albertiniaddiction.com)

(designers, Faye Heart Violet. www.twitter.com/fayefashion1)

(event guest)

(event guests)

New York Fashion Week... Rosa Pushér F/W '11

* presented at Juliet Supper Club- New York, New York: February 17th, 2010.

In the midst of one of NYC's most enthralling nightspots, Tammy Pushér (Creative Director of the "Rosa Pushér" label), put on a show.

(Tammy Pushér -centered- with event guests & models)

The design house (named after Pushér's mother), is a childhood dream come-to-life and echoes the style of Pushér's mother. Each season, Pushér designs a collection that is centered around an iconic beauty from the past, and for Fall/Winter 2011, she took inspiration from the late actress Rita Hayworth, who starred in such films as Gilda, Salome, and Down To Earth.

(Rita Hayworth)

(Rosa Pushér designs for Fall/Winter 2011)

In addition to offering beautifully tailored clothes for next year's cold months, we can also look forward to a highly-creative collaboration between Vikram Pathak (of VOGUE India), and the house of Pushér... stay tuned for more to come!

(event DJ, Rosa Pushér after-party)

(Tammy Pushér with a guest & event model)

(event guests)

(male model Randy Singleton with a guest)

(event model wearing a Rosa Pushér design for Fall/Winter 2011)

New York Fashion Week... Stephen Sprouse x JET BOY Drawings

* presented at Dorian Grey Gallery- New York, New York: February 17th, 2010.

New York's lower east side (LES), has given birth to many a great talent and protégé (Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Debbie Harry, et. al.), but during this year's fashion week, the locale decided to pay tribute to one of its brightest stars; the late artist, Stephen Sprouse.

(Stephen Sprouse, Polaroid by Andy Warhol. 1984)

With an exhibition titled "Stephen Sprouse: Jet Boy Drawings" (curated by Carol McCranie), the Dorian Grey Gallery currently houses 35 selected drawings by Sprouse, from the years he collaborated with Bill Blass and Halston (1974 to the late 1980's); several of Sprouse's drawings reference iconic figures from that era, including David Bowie and Jacqueline Onassis.

(sketches by Sprouse, circa 1974-1980's)

Executed via the use of ink markers, the works (chosen from out of 1500 individual Sprouse items including some 600 drawings), are largely sketches and Xerox's, but -as history has shown- these sketches would eventually materialize into sought-after fashion designs for men and women all over the world.

(sketches by Sprouse, circa 1974-1980's)

Even leading up to his death, Sprouse was still heralded as a creative genius, he famously forged a 'one for the road' collaboration with Louis Vuitton, on behalf of longtime friend Marc Jacobs.

(a Sprouse design, at Dorian Grey Gallery)

(Sprouse x Louis Vuitton collaboration)

The Sprouse exhibition is currently open to the public and will run until March 6, 2011.

(event PR, Stefanie Skinner, from Bravo TV's 2010 series Kell on Earth)

(DJ, Miss Guy)

(event guests)

(event guests)

For more information, please contact:
Christopher Pusey, 1.516.244.4126
Dorian Grey Gallery
437 East 9th Street, NYC 10009

New York Fashion Week... Elene Cassis F/W '11

* presented at The Studio at Lincoln Center- New York, New York: February 17th, 2011.

Pleated shoulders... Fox-fur neck pieces... Lamb suede asymmetrical dresses, oh my! And, all within one sitting; these were the makings of Elene Cassis' NYFW collection.

Strutting to a bluesy-electro soundtrack (à la Santigold, Mary J. Blige, et al.), models proudly wore Cassis' vision for next year's cold months...

With our slightly comparing her brand to that of an early-stages Narciso Rodriguez, we can definitely envisage a prominent future for Cassis... ROCK ON!!!