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Rocky Gathercole - Art Hearts Fashion NYFW Fall/Winter 2016
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Rocky Gathercole - Art Hearts Fashion NYFW Fall/Winter 2016

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LUPITA NYONG’O in conversation with Michaela Angela Davis at the MIST HARLEM

LUPITA OSCARProduced by:  The Public Theater, New Heritage Theater Group and MIST Harlem

I am filled with excitement and anticipation at the entrance of Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o at the sold out, full to capacity MIST HARLEM for conversation with Lupita with Michaela Angela Davis.  With this type of electricity, who need Con Ed.

The intro video does not play but who needs it, everyone knows her.  She has taken the Acting and Fashion world by STORM, she is a FASHION ICON.

As she walked on stage, I am emotional.  Her skin is rich dark mahogany and smooth as Nat King Cole’s voice.

As the conversation gets under way, she proves she is not just a beautiful face, she is an intellectual.  She takes her time to think before she answers questions and does not fail to let us know she is not “special” she says “there are lots of people that look like me”.

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She speaks about her life, her return to her home in Africa and how she plans to use her platform.  This is more than I can hope for, I am satisfied that the future is in good hands.

She thanks all her mentors, friends, family and supports that help guide her thru this (almost) instant fame.

On October 20, Congressman Charles Rangel and Voza Rivers, the head of the New Heritage Theatre Group, announced the day is officially “Lupita Nyong’o Day” in Harlem, New York. The honor was announced as a surprise during an open discussion between Nyong’o and image activist Michaela Angela Davis at Mist Harlem.  Thank you MIST HARLEM for such a wonderful event.

Background:

Nyong’o was born in Mexico City, Mexico, to Dorothy and Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o,  a college professor turned politician from Kenya. Nyong’o identifies as Mexican-Kenyan.  It is a Luo tradition to name a child after the events of the day, so her parents gave her a Spanish name, Lupita (a diminutive of Guadalupe).  She is of Luo descent on both sides of her family, and is the second of six children.  Her father is a former Minister for Medical Services in the Kenyan government. At the time of her birth, he was a visiting lecturer in political science at El Colegio de México in Mexico City, and her family had been living in Mexico for three years. They returned to Kenya in 1983. Lupita dedicated her Critic’s Choice Award to the memory of her uncle, Aggrey Nyong’o, a noted pathologist who died in a car accident in 2002.  Her family was forced to leave Kenya because of political unrest. Another uncle, Charles Nyong’o, was thrown off of a ferry-boat in 1980.

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Nyong’o and her family moved back to their native Kenya when she was less than one year old, as her father was appointed a professor at the University of Nairobi.  She grew up primarily in Kenya, and describes her upbringing as “middle class, suburban”.  When she was sixteen, her parents sent her to Mexico for seven months to learn Spanish.  During those seven months, Nyong’o lived in Taxco, Guerrero, and took classes at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’s Learning Center for Foreigners.

Education and early work:

Nyong’o grew up in an artistic family, where family get-togethers often included performances by the children in the family, and trips to see plays.  She attended Rusinga International school in Kenya and acted in school plays, with a minor role in Oliver Twist being her first play.  At age 14, Nyong’o made her professional acting debut as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet in a production by the Nairobi-based repertory company Phoenix Players.  While a member of the Phoenix Players, Nyong’o also performed in the plays “On The Razzle” and “There Goes The Bride”.  Nyong’o cites the performances of American actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple with inspiring her to pursue a professional acting career.

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Nyong’o later attended St. Mary’s School in Nairobi, where she received an IB Diploma in 2001 before attending college in the United States.  She graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in film and theatre studies.

Career:

Nyong’o started her film career working as part of the production crew for many films, including Fernando Meirelles’s The Constant Gardener, with Ralph Fiennes, Mira Nair’s The Namesake and Salvatore Stabile’s Where God Left His Shoes.  She cites Fiennes as another person who inspired her to pursue a professional acting career.

She starred in the short film East River (2008), directed by Marc Grey and shot in Brooklyn.  She returned to Kenya that same year and appeared in the Kenyan television series Shuga, an MTV Base Africa/UNICEF drama about HIV/AIDS prevention.  In 2009, she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary In My Genes, about the discriminatory treatment of Kenya’s albino population.  It played at several film festivals and won first prize at the 2008 Five College Film Festival.  Nyong’o also directed the music video The Little Things You Do by Wahu, featuring Bobi Wine, which was nominated for the Best Video Award at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009.

She enrolled in a master’s degree program in acting at the Yale School of Drama. At Yale she appeared in many stage productions, including Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, and William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale.   While at Yale, she won the Herschel Williams Prize for “acting students with outstanding ability” during the 2011–12 academic year, and graduated.

Acting breakthrough:

The next year Nyong’o landed her breakthrough role when she was cast for Steve McQueen’s historical drama 12 Years a Slave (2013).  The film, which met with wide critical acclaim, tells the historical account of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwitel Ejiofor), a free-born African American man of upstate New York who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in Washington, DC in 1841.

Nyong’o played the role of Patsey, a slave who works alongside Northup at a Louisiana cotton plantation; her performance met with rave reviews.  Ian Freer of Empire wrote that she “gives one of the most committed big-screen debuts imaginable,” and critic Peter Travers added that she “is a spectacular young actress who imbues Patsey with grit and radiant grace”.  Nyong’o was nominated for several awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and two Screen Actors Guild Awards including Best Supporting Actress, which she won.  She was also awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the sixth black actress to win the award, the first African actress to win the award, the first Kenyan actress to win an Oscar, and the first Mexican to win the award.  She also became the fifteenth actress to win an Oscar for a debut performance in a feature film.

She also played a brief role portraying a reserve flight attendant alongside Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore in the action thriller Non-Stop (2014).

Nyong’o was cast to star in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). On May 4, 2015, photographer Anne Leibovitz revealed Lupita’s character as Pirate Maz Kanata in Vanity Fair’s June Edition issue. In the spread, Nyongo was pictured wearing CGI gear with dots on her face, confirming that Kanata’s character will be done via motion capture. Lupita later revealed on instagram that she will be playing the newly announced character.  Lupita revealed in an interview at Disney Expo that her character won’t be seen until the movie; though her character’s voice over can be heard in the final trailer.

Lupita joined the cast in Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (2016), a live-action/CGI hybrid movie. Nyong’o was cast as Rakcha, a mother wolf who adopts Mowgli.  She made an appearance at Disney Expo in August 2015 with Favreau and castmates, Neel Sethi and Ben Kingsley to discuss with Bob Iger about the movie and reveal of the trailer and teaser poster for the film.

Nyong’o will also produce and star in a film adaptation of the novel Americanah.

Deadline.com announced back in January 2015, that Nyong’o were in negotiations to star in Mira Nair’s The Queen of Katwe, a biopic based on the true story about the rise of a young African chess prodigy.  Phiona Mutesi, whose rise to prominence in the international chess circuit was documented in a 2011 ESPN: The Magazine article by Tim Crothers. Nyong’o will be playing Phiona’s mother, Harriet Mutesi. Lupita arrived in Uganda in March to begin filming and wrapped up in South Africa in July.  Lupita made a three-time stage appearance at Disney Expo to discuss The Queen of Katwe.

Lupita Nyong’o will headline the New York premiere of Eclipsed, directed by Liesl Tommy and written by Danai Gurira. The production, which has been added to The Public Theater’s 2015-16 season, will begin off-Broadway previews on September 29. Opening night is set for October 14 at The Public’s LuEsther Theater. Nyong’o played The Girl, a fifteen year old orphan. Eclipsed is to take place through the chaos of the Second Liberian Civil War, where the captive wives of a rebel officer band together to form a community, until the balance of their lives were upset by the arrival of a new girl. The New York premiere of Eclipsed made its final extension to November 29.  Lupita’s performance received many rave reviews. Charles Isherwood, theater critic of New York Times, called her performance a tremendously accomplished performance that “CUTS TO THE  BONE.”  Eclipsed will extend to Broadway at the John Golden Theatre. The Broadway production will begin with previews on February 23 and opening on March 6.

Promotional work:

In 2014, she was chosen as one of the faces for Miu Miu’s spring campaign, with Elizabeth Olsen, Elle Fanning and Bella Heathcote. She has also appeared on the covers of several magazines, including New York’s spring fashion issue and the UK magazine Dazed & Confused.  Nyong’o is on the July 2014 cover of Vogue, making her the second African woman and ninth black woman to cover the magazine. Nyong’o also appeared on the cover of July’s issue of ELLE (France). She has also been a regular on Harper’s Bazaar’s Derek Blasberg’s best dressed listing since the autumn of 2013.  In April 2014, Nyong’o was announced as the new face of Lancôme.  Nyong’o appeared on other covers of magazines such as, March’s issue of Lucky Magazine, Harper’s Baazar’s (United Kingdom) May issue, Spanish Magazine MujerHoy, Paris Match, Elle (Indonesia), and Glamour (South Africa). She also appeared on the American October ’15 issue of Vogue, making it her second cover in a row.

In June 2015, Lupita returned to her native Kenya and announced that she will advocate globally for elephants with the international conservation organization WildAid, as well as promote women’s issues, acting and the arts in Kenya. WildAid announced Lupita as their Global Elephant Ambassador.

Personal life:

Nyong’o resides in Brooklyn.  She is fluent in Spanish, Luo, English, and Swahili.  On February 27, 2014, at the Essence Black Women In Hollywood luncheon in Beverly Hills, she gave a speech on the beauty of black women and talked about the insecurities she had as a teenager. She said her views changed when she saw South Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek become successful.  She mentioned receiving the following letter from a girl she had inspired in turn:

“I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”

In 2013, her father was elected to represent Kisumu County in the Kenyan Senate.  Nyong’o’s mother is the managing director of the Africa Cancer Foundation and her own communications company.  Other family members include: Tavia Nyong’o, a scholar and professor at New York University; Dr. Omondi Nyong’o, a pediatric ophthalmologist in Palo Alto, CA; Kwame Nyong’o, one of Kenya’s leading animators and leading technology expert; Isis Nyong’o, a media and technology leader who was named one of Africa’s most powerful young women by Forbes magazine.

Politics:

In 2014, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recruited Nyong’o in an effort to oppose development, including a new minor league baseball stadium, in the Shockoe Bottom area of Richmond, Virginia.  The historic neighborhood, one of Richmond’s oldest, was the site of major slave-trading before the American Civil War. On October 19, 2014, Nyong’o sent a letter to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, which she posted on social media sites, asking him to withdraw support for the development proposal.  (source: Wikipedia)

VOGUE COVER

Pat McGrath Transforms Kim Kardashian West into Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra for The Violet Files

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Today, (8/12/15), on the latest cover of The Violet Files, the editorial site of Hollywood insider and beauty guru Cassandra Grey, Kim Kardashian West is transformed into the iconic Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra through the artistry and makeup design by Pat McGrath.

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“I would have done anything—I would have trusted Pat’s vision no matter what she wanted—but I was really excited that it was the Cleopatra vibe,” says Kim Kardashian West of the collaboration with makeup artist Pat McGrath.

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“Elizabeth Taylor’s makeup in Cleopatra has been re-created countless times, but for Kim I wanted to create an interpretation that has never been done before, a futuristic 3D version,” Ms. McGrath explains. “I wanted to portray a luxurious decadence by using elements of ornate facial jewelry constructed into shapes that pay homage to Egyptian culture,  and  of  course  to  the  rich  exotic  character  that  Taylor portrayed in this role.”

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“Her eyeshadow was made from ground lapis stone and gold pyrite flecks,”  notes  Ms.  McGrath.  “Incorporating  three-dimensional  gold metal into the makeup design explores the concept of makeup as jewelry. I wanted the images to be luxurious, evoking a modern take on the opulence associated with Cleopatra’s makeup.”

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The images, shot by Ben Hassett, are the first installment in a series for VIOLET GREY in which Ms. McGrath will reimagine paragons of old Hollywood glamour with new faces.

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Violet Grey Editorial Credits (@violetgrey)

Makeup: @patmcgrathreal Model: @kimkardashian Photography: @benhassett

CFDA discusses race issue in fashion

Blk White Models VMoore

Though strides have been made in recent years to address the lack of colour on the runways, race remains a touchy subject within the fashion industry.

In an effort to tackle the issue head on, the Council of Fashion designers of America (CFDA) held a panel discussion in New York recently on the subject led by industry activist Bethann Hardison. With heavyweights like Prabal Gurung, Edward Emninful, casting director Anita Britton, Elle’s Samira Nasr and Laird+Partners’ Hans Dorsinville participating in the conversation, the scene was set for a lively exchange, through the resulting candid manner in which the talk played out.

“It has been something that concerns me as I grew up in the industry,” Hardison, a pioneer of diversity in fashion said at the discussion, according to a blog on the CFDA website.

“The fashion industry has struggled a great deal with diversity,” the former model added. “If television can be diversified, so can we.”

Hardison pointed to the late 1980s and early 1990s as a moment in fashion when the ethnic makeup of modeling began to diversify, but that didn’t last long, prompting Naomi Campbell and Talley to approach her with the plea to champion change. The first town hall meeting on the topic was held in 2007.

A takeaway was how different people have different takes on diversity, which can range from models and designers to age and size.

Bitton, a native of England, recalled how, when she started out back home, “It wasn’t a question of race but class. I came to New York very neutral and green. There’s a lot to be said for the word inclusive.”

Enninful said that when he plans a shoot, he looks for a character that fits the concept. “Beauty for me is beauty — whether it’s black or it is Asian, it doesn’t matter for me. I only use whoever is right for the story.”

Dorsinville said there is a “continuum” from runway to advertising—when it’s a mass brand, there is an opportunity to create a campaign feature a diverse group of multiple models, whereas a designer may just be looking for a face – a muse – to represent the brand, limiting options.

Gurung added that “Race is an issue that is not just in fashion. We need to address that immediately. As a designer, I want to work with the best girls, who are the best girls for me. Sometimes, an agent says ‘If you want this black girl, you have to use this white girl,’ whom I may not like.”

“Diversity, not just in race but also age and size, is very important to me,” he added.

Nasr, who is Lebanese and Trinidadian, said the issue of diversity reaches beyond models, and includes the designer community and other professional fashion environments. Addressing the audience, which also included models of diverse backgrounds and modeling agents, she noted, “This is most colorful room I ever seen in the fashion industry, and I want to say if we want to have change, we need to grow this room.”

FASHION AVENUE NEWS – THE LUXURY, GLOBAL MAGAZINE HAS 3 FABULOUS COVERS FOR MAY

For the month of May, Fashion Avenue News magazine features three fabulous covers.  Our international Paris Cover done by Aurelien Bru and team;

FAN MAY 2015 PARIS COVER

 our Beverly Hills/Hollywood Cover done by Omar Harris & the LA team;

FAN MAY 2015 ROCKY COVER

our domestic cover done by Erich Capras and team.

FAN MAY 2015 BLK WHT COVER

Fashion Avenue News magazine is a global luxury monthly print and digital publication, reaching an audience of over 375,000 per month.  We bring you emerging and established fashion industry talent as well as the most up to the minute fashion news.

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Kohl's partners fitness brands to launch new activewear

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American department store chain Kohl’s, under its Make Your Move initiative, has expanded offering in the well-being and activewear product categories.

In a bid to encourage a more active lifestyle among its consumers, the retailer has launched several new fitness apparel collections in association with leading brands like Nike, Fitbit, NutriBullet, Adidas, Fila Sport and Asics.

Aiming to make yoga more accessible, the purveyor is prepping up to release an exclusive women’s range, which will include comfy performance-driven yoga fit tops and bottoms, on April 23, 2015 in partnership with yoga, fitness and wellness company Gaiam. Laura Kasperzak and Masumi Goldman, the joint founders of popular fitness website Two Fit Moms, have been signed on as the new range’s ambassadors.

“Kohl’s is the go-to destination to Make Your Move, and we have inspired thousands of families to embrace a more active and well life. This spring, Kohl’s will offer new fitness gear that gets them energized, tips on how to change things up and try new activities, details on great yoga poses from Gaiam and Two Fit Moms, and so much more,” Michelle Gass, chief customer officer of the Wisconsin-based retailer, said while speaking about the new product category in a press release.

The retailer has also added some 200 items including, T-shirts, shorts, pants, capris, jackets and tanks, available in sizes up to 3X, from Tek Gear brand. Also new outdoor apparel and footwear solutions, under outdoor gear label Columbia, for activities like hiking, camping and swimming will be introduced from late April, 2015.

Under the Make Your Move initiative, the department store chain, in collaboration with various fitness programs, promotes healthy and active living.

Kohl’s partners fitness brands to launch new activewear

KOHL

 

American department store chain Kohl’s, under its Make Your Move initiative, has expanded offering in the well-being and activewear product categories.

In a bid to encourage a more active lifestyle among its consumers, the retailer has launched several new fitness apparel collections in association with leading brands like Nike, Fitbit, NutriBullet, Adidas, Fila Sport and Asics.

Aiming to make yoga more accessible, the purveyor is prepping up to release an exclusive women’s range, which will include comfy performance-driven yoga fit tops and bottoms, on April 23, 2015 in partnership with yoga, fitness and wellness company Gaiam. Laura Kasperzak and Masumi Goldman, the joint founders of popular fitness website Two Fit Moms, have been signed on as the new range’s ambassadors.

“Kohl’s is the go-to destination to Make Your Move, and we have inspired thousands of families to embrace a more active and well life. This spring, Kohl’s will offer new fitness gear that gets them energized, tips on how to change things up and try new activities, details on great yoga poses from Gaiam and Two Fit Moms, and so much more,” Michelle Gass, chief customer officer of the Wisconsin-based retailer, said while speaking about the new product category in a press release.

The retailer has also added some 200 items including, T-shirts, shorts, pants, capris, jackets and tanks, available in sizes up to 3X, from Tek Gear brand. Also new outdoor apparel and footwear solutions, under outdoor gear label Columbia, for activities like hiking, camping and swimming will be introduced from late April, 2015.

Under the Make Your Move initiative, the department store chain, in collaboration with various fitness programs, promotes healthy and active living.

FASHION AVENUE NEWS MAGAZINE HAS 4 FABULOUS COVERS FOR APRIL

FAN APRIL 2015 COVER AUSTRALIA FAN APRIL 2015 COVER BODY PAINT TO FBK

Fashion Avenue News magazine has 3 FABULOUS COVERS for the month of April.  We feature Angela Robins of Tyler Perry’s Have and Have Nots, Robert Coppa, Director of the Australian Division of Fashion Avenue News provided the beautiful international cover and we have our Beauty Cover – Body Paint….. take a look, http://www.FashionAvenueNews.com,  kindly like our page.  Fashion Avenue News magazine “THE BRAND” brings you Fashion News from all over the WORLD.  We have one love…. FASHION…. We have one focus…. FASHION…

Fashion Avenue News magazine is the home for emerging fashion industry talent, contact us today and find out how you can be on our pages/covers.  www.fashionavenuenews.com

FAN APRIL FBK U FAN APRIL 2015 COVER ANGELA

Fashion Avenue News Magazine is an independent, Global, Luxury monthly print publication, featuring emerging and established fashion industry talent.  We are your “go to it magazine” for upcoming fashion industry happenings.  Support Fashion Avenue News by liking our Facebook Page, Fashion Avenue News, or follow us on twitter FashionAveNews.  You can also visit our website and sign up for FREE FASHION INDUSTRY EVENTS and get on our mailing list.

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THE ONE & ONLY OSCAR de la RENTA

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 Courtesy of WWD

NEW YORK — He led a charmed life.

Oscar de la Renta, who died Monday night at age 82 after a long battle with cancer, was fashion’s favorite ladies’ man. His Latin-lover good looks, fascination with feminine style, strong color sense and impeccable social skills — a wonderful sense of humor among them — made him a court dressmaker to a large portion of the international set and a designer for First Ladies from the time of Betty Ford. He was a particular favorite of three of the last: Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush — and Michelle Obama recently donned one of his dresses at the White House event for fashion students.

While de la Renta could design clothes that were editorial darlings, his genius was in making women, regardless of their own intrinsic pulchritude, look and feel beautiful. Romantic, glamorous styles were his signature: tastefully extravagant, Paris-influenced, with an undercurrent of Latin pizazz. He was best-known for his designs for the Ladies Who Lunch, the likes of Babe Paley, C.Z. Guest and Marella Agnelli, along with a glittering constellation of other aristocrats and socialites, performers, broadcasters and top executives, who often became, not just customers, but friends. Yet de la Renta always remained current and in recent years, a younger set — who included actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Garner and Lea Michele — fell under his spell.

RELATED STORY: Fashion Community Takes to Twitter to Recall Oscar de la Renta >>

De la Renta was born July 22, 1932, in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. (As he once put it, “I am the only Third World designer.”) At 18, he went to Madrid to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando. There he began sketching for top Spanish fashion houses; before long, he was working with the legendary couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga. De la Renta’s next stop was Paris, where he became a coutureassistant to Antonio Castillo, then designer of Lanvin. As de la Renta recalled in 1979, “When I worked in Paris, Castillo and Balenciaga always had evening dresses inspired by Spanish peasants, flamenco; dresses taken from paintings by Goya, Zurbaran, Zuloaga; the bullring colors; the Princess of Eboli [a 16th-century Spanishbeauty with an eye patch]. Balenciaga’s dresses never looked ethnic, like costumes.”

These descriptions also evoke the styles that made de la Renta’s name.

In 1963, he came to New York to design the made-to-measure collection for Elizabeth Arden. Nicolas de Gunzburg, a White Russian aristocrat who was an editor at Vogue, was one of his mentors. (De Gunzburg’s other designer proteges: Bill Blass and Calvin Klein.) Diana Vreeland advised de la Renta to take the position at Arden, noting that there, his own name would be promoted, since Arden herself wasn’t a designer. Vreeland, of course, was right.

Key to the designer’s success was a gift for feminine friendship and an elegant lifestyle, both of which he cultivated early on. De la Renta met C. Z. Guest in Spain, where they socialized with Francisco Franco. Another friend, Dominican playboy Porfirio Rubirosa, introduced him to the Kennedy clan. Even as a young man new in town as the designer at Arden, de la Renta was living on two floors of a New York townhouse filled with French and Italian period furniture and Spanish paintings. But, as his longtime business partner Jerry Shaw noted, it was the designer’s way with society women that made his career. “Oscar really caters to the ladies,” he said. “He knows how to design beautiful clothes and make women look very attractive.”

 


oscar-slideshow23RELATED STORY: Oscar de la Renta Spring 2015 >>

Almost overnight, it seems, de la Renta became the ultimate extra man, spending weekends with Guest and island-hopping with Babe Paley. The houses and gardens that de la Renta went on to create with his first wife, Francoise de Langlade, and his second, Annette de la Renta, were lushly chronicled in breathless articles in shelter and society magazines and newspapers over a period of 40-plus years. For his part, the designer revelled in the domestic pleasures he enjoyed in his sanctuaries in New York, the Dominican Republic and Kent, Connecticut, where he loved to cook and garden. In Kent, a dwelling modelled on an English country house was on nearly 500 acres, next to 600 acres of wildlife reserve. Fond of horticulture, which he said he found “relaxing,” de la Renta created remarkable landscapes at his estates and, in 2001, a garden at Lord Jacob Rothschild’s Waddesdon Manor that is open to the public. As the designer observed in 2008, “What is nice about a house in the country is that it’s the work of a lifetime. You see the evolution of your own life in a way. You never finish.”

When de la Renta arrived at Arden, Ben Shaw was a top entrepreneur and power broker in New York. Shaw, who was known as Mr. Seventh Avenue, helped launch the careers of or backed a remarkable array of American designers, including Halston, Norman Norell, Giorgio Sant’Angelo, Stephen Burrows, Donald Brooks and Dominic Rompollo. In the Fifties, he was at the helm of Jane Derby, a designer dress house.

Jerry Shaw began working for his father there in 1956. “My father was a pioneer in the designer field,” the younger Shaw said in 1994. “He had, among other attributes, a great ability for spotting and promoting talent. He felt that, at some point, young designers really had to be brought to the front. Their names could be put on labels, but you had to get it past the stores.

“We got to the point where business went to a certain level and we couldn’t get it past that, and that’s when Oscar got into the picture. The name became Oscar de la Renta for Jane Derby. A year later, Jane Derby died, and the company was restructured as Oscar de la Renta.” In 1969, the firm was sold to publicly owned Richton International, then sold back to Shaw and Oscar de la Renta. After Ben Shaw retired about a year later, Jerry Shaw and de la Renta became equal partners. In the late Eighties, the deal was restructured, giving de la Renta a controlling interest.

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One of the breakthrough moments for de la Renta, and indeed for American fashion, came in 1973. It was supposed to be a friendly, festive evening between two groups, one of American and the other of French designers, but “An Evening at Versailles,” a fashion extravaganza held to raise funds to refurbish the royal chateau, turned into a bit of a competition. Five French designers — Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro, Andre Oliver (then at Cardin) and Marc Bohan (then at Christian Dior) — had picked the five U.S. designers: de la Renta, Halston, Anne Klein, Bill Blass and Stephen Burrows. The Americans stole the show with their jazzy, upbeat presentation, staged by Kay Thompson. WWD called it an “American triumph,” and it did much to raise these designers’ profiles on an international stage.

Doing business could be a pleasure, too. “We had a lot of fun over the years,” Shaw recalled. “I remember a show we did in Japan sometime in the late Seventies or early Eighties. It was a big, extravagant stage show and they spelled out Oscar de la Renta on these moving glass panels. I was amazed how they did it, so I went backstage and there was this old Japanese man spinning them on rods. It worked perfectly. Today, it would all be computerized and it wouldn’t work.”

According to Shaw, it was Gordon Franklin, president of Saks Fifth Avenue, and Adam Gimbel, who was chairman, who started putting names on the labels, including those of de la Renta, Bill Blass, Donald Brooks and Anne Klein. At the time, only the names of the manufacturers, such as Ben Zuckerman, or department-store private-label monikers, like Saks’ Sophie — named for Sophie Gimbel, Adam’s wife —appeared on the label. Shaw also called the Oscar de la Renta Boutique line, opened in 1967, the first secondary ready-to-wear line for a Seventh Avenue designer.

After Shaw retired, Jeffry Aronsson, an attorney who had served as general counsel for the company, became the firm’s president and ceo. During his tenure, Aronsson revamped the firm’s licensing, helping build the business in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America and overseeing the introduction of bridal, intimates and furniture lines.

To complement the signature line, the firm launched Oscar de la Renta Accessories for fall 2001. Cosmetic cases, scarves, eyewear, jewelry, furs, lingerie, and sleepwear were also available. For men, de la Renta licensed products included hosiery, sports coats, suits, and trousers. In South and Central America and Mexico, there was a sportswear line for men and boys and Oscar Jeans for men and women. In fall 2004, de la Renta launched O Oscar, a moderate women’s sportswear line, which was later discontinued. Most recently, bags, shoes, and sunglasses have been added to the mix of his main collection. In 2002, Oscar de la Renta Home inaugurated a furniture collection and home fragrance collection. Wallpaper, fabrics, tabletop pieces, bedding and rugs have followed.

De la Renta launched his first perfume, Oscar, in 1977. Today, Oscar, which won the Perennial Success Award in 1991, is a best seller in over 70 countries. In 1980, he created a fragrance for men, Pour Lui. In 1995, de la Renta was the recipient of the Living Legend Award from the American Society of Perfumes. In fall 1999, Oscar for Men was introduced and 2002 marked the debut of Intrusion. In 2004, de la Renta introduced Rosamor for women. But he later would take his fragrance business in-house to relaunch his signature fragrance. In order to do so, de la Renta sold a 20 percent stake to GF Capital Management.

De la Renta received the Council of Fashion Designers of America Women’s Wear Designer of the Year Award in 2000.

In February 1990, he was honored with the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award. From 1973 to 1976, and from 1986 to 1988, Oscar de la Renta was president of the CFDA. He won the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award twice and made it into the Coty Hall of Fame in 1973.

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In June 2013, he was given the CFDA Founders Award, which was presented to him by Hillary Clinton. In his gracious acceptance speech, de la Renta said that he still had lots of design ideas and, while honored, didn’t want an honorary award — he wanted to win the Women’s Wear Designer of the Year Award.

From 1993 to 2002, de la Renta designed the couture collection for the house of Pierre Balmain, becoming the first American of that era to design for a French couture house. He was awarded the Legion d’Honneur as a Commandeur. The Dominican Republic also honored him with the order al Mérito de Juan Pablo Duarte and the order of Cristóbal Colón. In 1996, de la Renta received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Heritage Society, and in 2000 he was the Grand Marshall of New York City’s Hispanic Day Parade. That same year, de la Renta received the Gold Medal of Bellas Artes from the King of Spain. Oscar de la Renta helped to build a school and day-care center in the Dominican Republic for 1,200 children, from which he adopted his son Moises de la Renta. Another of his projects there was the luxurious Punta Cana resort.

He was long a patron of the arts. He served as a board member of The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall and Channel Thirteen/WNET. He also served on the boards of New Yorkers for Children, the Americas Society, and was chairman of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute.

In a speech at the WWD/DNR CEO Summit in June 2001, de la Renta recalled his days in the City of Light as a young man. “‘I remember all the big stores, the American stores and American manufacturers used to come to Paris and they would come to the collection,” he said. “They were able to see the collections and buy some of the clothes. I remember Norman Norell coming to Balenciaga and buying clothes and then making them for the American market with the signature of Norman Norell.”

The turning point for him: getting his own signature collection. He also noted the retail breakthrough at Saks. “‘I remember back in 1966 when I was summoned together with Bill Blass, Donald Brooks, Geoffrey Beene and Pauline Trigere to Adam Gimbel’s office at Saks Fifth Avenue,” de la Renta said. ‘Mr. Gimbel wanted to announce very, very important news to us: The news was the store was no longer going to remove our label and would carry [that of] the designers.’”

De la Renta’s affinity for women — and for the feminine — seemed to come naturally, since the designer was the sixth of seven children and the only boy. His matriarchal clan included a formidable mother, who, as he noted, “Was a central figure in my life, much more so than my father,” and an even more formidable grandmother. She was a stylish woman whom he described as always wearing stark, floor-length white cotton dresses, each with a flounce at the hem, along with her trademark cameo and diamond earrings. When she was young, his grandmother had married a considerably older widower with eight children — de la Renta’s grandfather — and then went on to have eight of her own. When she was 35, her husband died.

As de la Renta said in 1967, “I wanted to study painting, but my father did not recognize that as a profession. You see, there had been many doctors, lawyers and diplomats in my family.

“My mother was sympathetic to my wishes, though, and she helped me go to Spain when I was 17. I stayed there for 10 years, and while I was there, my mother died. My father [who was in insurance] was still not too pleased about my intended career, but then I got into designing clothes by accident.

“One day, a friend came by on her way to the dressmaker. She said she didn’t know what to do about a certain dress, and I sketched out a few ideas for her. Later, she was wearing the dress and Ambassador Lodge’s wife saw it. Mrs. Lodge introduced me to Balenciaga. He agreed to train me, and that’s how it all began. I later went to Paris for a time, and then came here [New York].” Soon he had become famous; his father, as he put it, “doesn’t mind now [about his career].”

In the Sixties, de la Renta designed such looks as a windowpane plaid cape over a matching suit and a tunic over short-shorts, both strewn with flowers; jumper jumpsuits, and long, full skirts for evening. A shirtdress with a matching cardigan was one of his Seventies formulas for evening. Rich gypsy looks were among his signatures, appearing throughout the years, along with flamenco dresses, peasant scarves, spangles and ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles. The flounces might turn up in layers on a tiered skirt, at the hem of a dress, at the top of a one-shoulder gown or in piles of satin-faced organza, gauze or gazar. In the late Seventies, patterned, yoked and tiered evening skirts — sometimes in wool challis, worn with jackets of fabrics in contrasting patterns — were the order of the day, along with the likes of an allover lace Lillie Langtry dress, its slinky shape following the body.

Tailored suits were long one of de la Renta’s trademarks, and in the Eighties they might turn up in opulent brocades trimmed in fur. In the Nineties, his evening dresses and separates became more streamlined, but more colorful and jewelled. De la Renta dressed Nancy Reagan in the Eighties and outfitted Hillary Clinton in a gold lace gown for the second Clinton inaugural in 1997, for appearances as Sen. Clinton and for her daughter Chelsea’s wedding in 2010. De la Renta also created Laura Bush’s silver evening dress for her husband’s second inauguration in 2005.

Many attempts have been made over the years to decipher de la Renta’s appeal to women. A W magazine article, for instance, from December 1984, titled “Heavenly Harem: Oscar de l’Amour,” somewhat heatedly anatomizes it: “‘Hello, my sweet,’” a voice croons through the telephone. ‘When do we dine, my beloved? My car will be at your house at 7:30.’ Oscar de la Renta smiles with comfortable intimacy, slipping down into his chaise, and looks off dreamily, imagining the eager feminine face on the other end of the phone. He has just made a dinner date, and yet another woman in the world is ecstatic.

“When he is with her, he will fix on her, and her alone….He will tease her, perhaps a bit too relentlessly, then coax and cajole her to good humor again. They will discuss menus, flowers; he will pause to nip a wilted bloom from a plant. Although he is one of the canniest, most efficient maitres de maison, he will convince her tenderly that he needs her advice and supervision, leaving her delirious, for this, after all, is one of the things women want most from a man.” Women such as Grace Dudley, Marie-Helene de Rothschild, Mica Ertegun, Casey Ribicoff, Evangeline Bruce, Helen Rochas, Nancy Kissinger and Naty Abascal found him “handsome, sexy, but most of all a good, caring friend.”

For all his charm and beautiful manners — not to mention his dancing skills — de la Renta was no pushover. He engaged in some notable fights in his time. He tangled with Calvin Klein in 1979, when both men went to Japan at the same time and got into a squabble about models. “If one of my girls came out in a dress that was a broom and one of his girls came out dressed in gold, my girl would make mincemeat out of his girl,” de la Renta said. In 1991, de la Renta unintentionally alienated Karl Lagerfeld when he attended a Chanel show that had a racy bondage theme, and at lunch afterwards, as someone informed Lagerfeld, said that such a motif would never fly in New York. It took years for the two designers to make up.

Then there was the disagreement with his longtime client and friend Nancy Reagan, who, de la Renta said, became angry when he began designing for Hillary Clinton. “I mean, she was really very, very nice to me, but I was really very, very nice to her,” he noted. “I vote for the people I like; I don’t vote for parties. I voted for President Reagan, but I voted for President Clinton. I think that, regardless of your political inclination, if the First Lady of your country asks you to do something, you don’t say no.” De la Renta went on to become great friends with the Clintons, with whom he shared a passion for cards, which they would play at Punta Cana when the Clintons stayed with him. “I like them a lot,” he said. “First of all, he is so bright, and second, he is just so unbelievably warm. He just sort of engulfs you.”

In January 2011, the outspoken de la Renta criticized First Lady Michelle Obama for wearing Sarah Burton’s red and black dress for Alexander McQueen to a White House state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. He felt that she should have worn something by an American designer. “This is an important issue,” de la Renta said. “Do you think Kate Middleton is going to be married in Marc Jacobs? Mrs. Obama does look great. She should take that and do something. She could do a great good for our industry. We need to create jobs here, create jobs on Seventh Avenue, too.”

A year later, de la Renta would further stir controversy when he appointed fallen Dior couturier John Galliano to a temporary residence in his design studio. The collaboration — evident in de la Renta’s fall 2013 collection — stirred an outcry given Galliano’s anti-Semitic statements. But de la Renta was firm in his belief that everyone deserved a second chance.

He and his firm’s chief executive, his son-in-law Alex Bolen, would hold discussions with Galliano about the British designer joining the House of de la Renta on a permanent basis. But those talks broke down earlier this year over Galliano’s demands. Instead, de la Renta recently appointed Peter Copping as creative director, luring him from his successful stint at Nina Ricci.

In 1967, de la Renta had become the third husband of Françoise de Langlade, an editor in chief of French Vogue. Born in Bordeaux and raised between Paris and Martinique, she worked for Elsa Schiaparelli and Harper’s Bazaar before joining French Vogue. After she married the designer, de Langlade became a consultant to Elizabeth Arden and opened a decorating business; among her clients were fashion executive Marina Schiano and actors Helmut Berger and Florinda Bolkan. De Langlade’s previous husbands included French businessman Jean Bruère, by whom she had one son, Jean Marc Bruère, and diplomat Nicholas Bagenow. She died of cancer in 1983.

In 1989, de la Renta married Anne France Engelhard, known as Annette, the former wife of New York banker Samuel Pryor Reed and the stepdaughter of American minerals tycoon Charles W. Engelhard Jr. The story of how the philanthropist became his second wife is a classic Oscar tale. As WWD’s Executive Editor Bridget Foley wrote in a W article in November 2001, the two had been together for awhile, but Reed was reluctant to tie the knot. De la Renta, however, thought that, since they were living together, they ought to get hitched. He “engaged in covert plans for a Christmas wedding, stealing away to the records bureau in the Dominican Republic with Annette’s passport and papers. He invited her mother and sisters, but given the holidays and Annette’s December 24 birthday, no one grew suspicious.” The Erteguns and the Kissingers were among the guests. “The night before we were married we had dinner, and after dinner I stood up and made a toast: ‘I want you all to know that tomorrow morning, Annette and I will be married.’ Annette gasped. Her mother went to her room for salts.

“Annette told Henry Kissinger that she didn’t want to get married. According to de la Renta, the savvy diplomat then advised her to say no, but to make sure she meant it. He said to her, ‘Now, let me tell you, Oscar is Latino and very proud. He is going to ask you to make a public statement, and, if you don’t marry him, he will leave you,’” de la Renta says. “So I knew she was going to marry me.”

In addition to his wife, de la Renta is survived by his three step-children Beatrice Reed, Charlie Reed and Eliza Bolen; his son Moyses de la Renta; three sisters, all of whom reside in the Dominican Republic, and nine grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements could not be immediately learned.​

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Courtesy of WWD

Supermodel Naomi Campbell to turn fashion designer

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Naomi Campbell, the internationally famous British supermodel, is soon going to take her love for fashion a step further by foraying into the world of fashion design.

According to The Cut, the 43-year-old catwalk diva, who started modelling at the tender age of 15, has announced her new career choice of becoming a fashion designer at the just held third edition of Vogue Fashion Festival in London.

The designer’s first collection, which will be aimed at women of all colours and ethnicities, will be released sometime in the year 2015.

Considered as the most famous coloured model of her times, Campbell has walked on the ramp for designers like Gianni Versace, Azzedine Alaïa and Isaac Mizrahi.

Attended by the likes of Franca Sozzani, Karlie Kloss, Edie Campbell, Jourdan Dunn, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Sarah Burton, Grayson Perry and Nick Knight, the latest two-day instalment of Vogue Fashion Festival included style and fashion masterclasses as well as talks conducted by key fashion industry movers and supermodels.