Safra

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Fashion Icon: Robin Givhan

In Fashion, Icon on August 16, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I’ve had many mentors in my life. And the fashion authority I admire, well, they are as cliché as Tim Blanks, Hilary Alexander, and Godfrey Deeny. But recently, I’ve developed a slight addiction to Ms. Robin Givhan, fashion editor for the Washington Post.

That’s another cliché , as we are both black women. However, in Ms. Givhan’s case, the depth in her stories stem from archaic libraries in that tiny storage disc that is her brain. You can taste the richness of her knowledge; like a slice of red velvety cake. Conservative? Definitely. (That’s okay. I’m an advocate of British Vogue, I enjoy the Financial Times’ Fashion section, and I’m pro-Lisa Armstrong.) Ms. Givhan is a by-product of the 90s. The Princeton graduate started a Reporter covering Detroit’s techno music scene in the late 80s before transitioning into fashion. She’s won a Pulitzer Prize for her fashion criticism, and her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and The New Yorker. She currently reports exclusively on the Obama family – in my opinion, the highest honour in North American standards – among her other journalistic responsibilities. Now, Ms. Givhan should be seen as a role model to women of all creeds. But I digress.

My focus is clearer now than it was yesterday. I don’t want ephemeral respect. I want to be known as someone whose tight grasp of fashion’s history translates into a cohesive analysis of its future. Is it ambitious to aim for award-winning applaud? Perhaps appearances in the publications I so admire? I’m not concerned with being a “wordsmith,” but rather, making you feel full from what I  write. Among the true intellectuals on my radar are Alexandra Shulman, Harriet Quick, Tim Blanks – who cannot be left out of the equation – and Robin Givhan. Particularly Robin Givhan. She gives me what I will one day give you.

Designer Spotlight: Ara Jo

In British, designer, Entertainer, Fashion, Fashion Heat, In the Know, London, One to Watch, Trend on August 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm

After musing over some ridiculously talented designers, it’s time to extend the platform. You see, of course a designer’s clothes are their main cred, but it’s the OZ – the creative genius with the fuel to tackle this business – that shapes the industry. So, come on now, let’s hear it for the future of fashion.

As much as I am a fan of fresh paint splattered (neatly) within Vogue’s coveted pages, I’m also a fan of the artist who smashes a window. Or, in Ara Jo’s case, adamantly gets her shit on Lady Gaga.

Ms. Jo, a 24-year-old Londoner and Central Saint Martins alumna, has a way with forging her own opportunities. Like I said, Gaga — for one. Then there’s the audacity of turning the surrealist, un-wearable side of fashion into an enticing ensemble of glam-rock pieces. Ms. Jo has evolved since her graduate collection which showcased an infectious cobweb of nude hues and sequenced sculptures. Though it’s clear that a woman’s anatomy is still Ms. Jo’s thing, the concept has taken on a more tangible form: a Gothic collection of body-con attire.

Ms. Jo works abundantly. In conjunction with new releases each season, she’s joining forces with some other new talent by way of music, and the cerebral. And no, not more mind-bending clothes, but she’s “collaborating with a Jewellery Designer – publishing a fashion book.” When asked if she has her sights on other big name prospects – obviously, she’s on it. “Roses Gabor (Gorillaz vocalist). [Hopefully] a customised outfit for the Red Bull Festival,” she explains. And so the hustle continues…

Safraonfashion: What was it that inspired you to become a Fashion Designer?

Ara Jo: When I was thirteen [I would read a lot of] fashion magazines, [and I noticed] when most people see the nice clothes in them, they’d want to buy them – or try them on. But I wanted to make them! That’s how I started to create clothes. Yep. I wasn’t good at it – considering I was only thirteen – and [I had] never made clothes before. But I was really into creating something that I could wear!

SOF: What do you want people to think of when they see your designs?

AJ: I want to be told that my work is crazy and different. That’s what I always seek, and I express that through my work. And actually, that has always been my biggest goal as a fashion designer: to be noticed as a different.

SOF: What have you learned about the fashion world that you were not taught in school?

AJ: That communication with people [is imperative]. And building contacts with [like-minded] people. But it can’t be taught, so I have learned this all by myself through this tough field. It was tough to study in Central Saint Martins with such competitive creators when I was a student. But I have been through so many things since I’ve graduated (Dealing with people, working with people, collaborating with people). I just have to experience everything that happens in fashion world. The real fashion world.

SOF: In an interview with Dazed Digital, you said you wanted to work with Lady Gaga. How did you go about bringing that idea to life?

AJ: Since my garments were worn by Lady Gaga, a lot of things have changed in my life as a fashion designer – of course. More people have curious about me, my work. So I am still keeping trying to create something cool, by designing for celebrities not just Lady Gaga. I don’t want to limit myself, now. There are so many creative people whom I want to collaborate with, and who want to collaborate with me. There are a lot of upcoming projects happening: collaborating with Buttafly – a new British singer – Junior Brat and more!

SOF: Based on a theme, which four songs would be at the top of your runway show playlist?

AJ: Oops, I always listen to hip hop and R&B, but I don’t have particular favourites in mind – it always changes. So I would say it all depends on what kind of theme I have. I will [either] select or literally make some unique tunes for the show.

Ara Jo’s Price tag: High End (from £100.00 as a little piece ~).
Where to by : Not Just a Label.

You can also contact Ara Jo here.

Musing: Freja Beha Erichsen

In Fashion Heat, Good Look, Icon, In the Know, model on August 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm

When British Vogue’s Sarah Harris asked supermodel Freja Beha Erichsen how she spent her first pay cheque, the Danish beauty jokingly claimed that she “ blew it all on strippers and cars.” Joke?

No matter. Erichsen is the girl/boy wonder stirring envy among guys, and collecting serious lust points from girls. Much like her predecessor Gia Carangi, this girl is hot, hot heat for putting the rock star back on the runway. There’s a debate, though – she’s thin. Probably too thin. But it’s not her fault, she’s just molded this way. And she’s handsomely pretty. The fashion world and beyond could easily build a Bieber fascination with her. She’s a “woman crush” – with the exception of her boyish sensibility. Who are we kidding, it’s because of it. She’s started a haircut craze, too. Unlike the androgynous Tilda Swinton who is sculpted with curves, Erichsen is as “toothpick” as they come. In a movie, she could be a he playing a she.  And she looks vulnerable. That bad boy/girl chicks aim to tame. (Hmmm, once again, Gia Carangi anyone?)

Erichsen has admitted to wanting a family someday. Probably true. But I doubt it will be conventional. And there’s no time to think about that anyway – she’s having too much fun at the moment. (Despite a drink,  smoke and club-free diet. Well, she’s having fun somehow I’m sure.)

So, OK, Freja. Let us not have any of those tragic lives in our lifetime, all right? You’re fun. You may be a bit lame in the flesh – I don’t know – but you’re a symbolism of a bourgeois rebellion that is keeping fashion interesting. We’re experiencing a grunge/punk resurgence, and that’s you. You weren’t just “plucked”, your trajectory is as strategic the marketing campaign for a Chanel fragrance. Your scent is unique. It’s divine. The top note is husky at first smell; but when you get to the base note – it’s a bed of heavenly petals.