With over half a million people in attendance, this year’s 2018 Essence Music Festival blew the roof off the city of New Orleans with record-breaking tourism throughout the region for the magazine’s 24th annual event. With the success of Hollywood’s box office smash Girls Trip, scores of women from around the country descended upon the city taking it by storm. Attendees were treated to 3 Day Empowerment sessions which were free and open to the public at The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. With a plethora of booths, musical performances, panels and open forums; topics such as finance, business, education, health & wellness, and beauty enriched the mind, body and spirit.
Major sponsors included the likes of Ford Motor Company, Walmart, State Farm, and Coco Cola, having staged areas were celebrity presence and performances were in full effect. Endless giveaways and swag bags were in abundance to keep the festival goers appeased, along with several vendors with unique and one of kind items to commemorate the event.
Essence Festival Center Stage: HBO’s Insecure cast members Yvonne Orji and Y’lan Noel
The nighttime portion of the Essence Festival, is of course, the music. This year, all 3 nights of concerts were sold out at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Night One Mainstage held performances from artists such as Ledisi, Miguel, Snoop Dogg, The Roots featuring special guests, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton and Kirk Franklin. Night Two brought girl power with performances by Xscape, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Salt & Pepper, ending with showstopper, Mary J. Blige. Night Three ushered in an old school vibe with Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Curation featuring SWV, Wrecks n Effects, Blackstreet, Keith Sweat and Guy. Fantasia moved the crowd to tears with an emotional performance ‘Lose to Win’ and last, but certainly not least, the one and only legendary, Janet Jackson bringing the house down and the festival to an ignited close.
All in all, the Essence Festival is a delight for the senses, offering encouragement and empowerment, good vibes, fun, laughter and surprises. An almost obligatory trip, it’s a must for girlfriends, couples or just those wanting to have a cultural, enlightening experience with memories to last a lifetime.
Reported from New Orleans, LA
All Photos: Anique Monae
Now in its seventh year, The Woolmark Company is reinforcing its commitment to supporting the very best emerging design talent by appointing an expert Advisory Council, who were responsible for selecting this year’s International Woolmark Prize nominees.
The 2018/19 International Woolmark Prize Advisory Council included:
· Tim Blanks, Editor-at-large, Business of Fashion
· Jefferson Hack, Founder, Dazed Media
· Christine Centenera, Fashion Director, Vogue Australia, and Co-Founder WARDROBE.NYC
· Alison Veness, Editor of 10 and 10 Men Australia
· Rebecca Khoury, Associate Editor of 10 and 10 Men Australia
· Catherine Baba, Stylist, Designer, Consultant & Costume Designer
· Sara Sozzani Maino, Deputy Editor-in-chief, Vogue Italia and Head of Vogue Talents
· Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, Co-Founders, Diet Prada
· Gert Jonkers, Co-founder and Editor-in-chief, Fantastic Man
· Christiane Arp, Editor-in-chief, Vogue Germany
· Colin McDowell, Fashion Journalist and Commentator
More than 300 emerging fashion designers from across 46 countries applied to take part in this year’s International Woolmark Prize. The most promising 42 designers, who showcased creativity, originality of design, innovation and brand recognition, have now been nominated to present their brand to a panel of experts at one of three semi-final events in July. The 2018/19 International Woolmark Prize nominees from Australia are Albus Lumen and Jacinta James.
Advisory Council member Tim Blanks said, “The name says it all. The International Woolmark Prize is a genuinely global snapshot of emerging talent, and I can’t wait to meet this year’s nominees.” Diet Prada’s Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler added, “Having built the presence of Diet Prada through thoughtful commentary on both established luxury players and small independent brands, it was an amazing experience to actually contribute to the selection process for the Woolmark Prize. There’s such a large pool of fresh, forward-thinking talent using materials in remarkable ways. We hope that the Prize will drive all of the designers to continue their innovations and propel their businesses further.”
Semi-finals will be held in Hong Kong on 5th July, London on 10th July and New York on 12th July, with nominees invited to pitch to an esteemed judging panel for investment in a capsule collection crafted from Merino wool. These events will then identify the 12 finalists to take part in the International Woolmark Prize global final to be held at an international fashion week in early 2019.
Finalists will each receive a financial contribution of AU$70,000 to invest in the development of their capsule collection alongside mentoring, business training and showcasing opportunities. One menswear and one womenswear designer will each receive AU$200,000 at the global final along with guaranteed placement in some of the most important boutiques around the globe that have committed to supporting the award. The Innovation Award will also be presented, for a second year, to one finalist, with a financial contribution of AU$100,000. All International Woolmark Prize finalists will receive sales support and mentoring for commercialization opportunities.
The International Woolmark Prize is a long-term program designed to nurture and support designers throughout their career. The 42 designer nominees are invited to attend a workshop hosted by The Woolmark Company to help prepare them for the development and manufacturing of their capsule collection to support with the commercialization of their collection ideas. Workshops will include detailed presentations by industry experts, with a focus on innovation across fabric development and processing to improve the overall impact of collections on the environment and the wearer to ensure the International Woolmark Prize continues to push the boundaries of global fashion.
“As the International Woolmark Prize continues to evolve, we have restructured our program to ensure emerging design talent receives the highest level of industry support and guidance,” explains The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough. “This year we invited designers to apply to participate in the program and this generated an overwhelming number of applicants, from New York, London and Tokyo through to Mexico, Russia and Nigeria. This reinforces our belief that the International Woolmark Prize has no geographical borders, that fashion has no boundaries and that Australian Merino wool will remain as relevant to fashion tomorrow as it does today.”
Design duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales launched Romance Was Born’s first book and their latest Resort 2019 collection, Opal Goddess, at an intimate salon-style presentation at Restaurant Hubert.
Guests were transported from Sydney as they descended down the diamond-pattered staircase and into the dimly lit, underground venue. Greeted at the restaurant entrance, re-imagined as an air-bridge, Etihad flight attendants in bespoke Romance Was Born printed silk neck scarves welcomed guests with champagne and traditional Arabic delicacies, providing a brief stop-over before the journey continued to the French-style bistro.
Guests entered the Theatre Royale landing space atop an auditorium of one hundred red leather seats, providing the perfect viewpoint to take-in the beguiling set which debuted the brand’s book Romance Was Born. The new release was stacked high on display for attendees to browse and enjoy before they were ushered into the 1930’s-style basement dining room to take their seats.
A short drag performance by Dame Gaynor Tension set the scene; serenading the crowd with a rendition of Judy Garland’s “somewhere over the rainbow”, before fifteen ethereal art-deco goddesses snaked their way around tables, pausing to pose amongst the bar benches and cosy banquettes. The Opal Goddess resort collection, the brand’s first collaboration with iconic Australian artist Jenny Kee, includes prints from her renowned archive – rainbow opal designs and silk collages filled with almighty female icons, from Gaia to Aphrodite, exploring female divinity.
“Our mutual appreciation of each other’s’ work led us to collaborate with our long-term friend Jenny Kee, and revisit some of her classic prints in a new way,” explains Luke Sales. Anna Plunkett adds, “We’ve always been interested in goddesses and Xanadu, and the inspiration and strength that they provide to women. Alongside the mysticism of opals, this spirit is at the core of the new collection.”
Renya Xydis, Wella Professionals ANZ – Creative Director comments “Working with Romance Was Born is (much like the collection) a dream for me. Anna and Luke’s creativity and openness towards design allows me to be experimental with the hair styling. We channelled ‘goddesses’ across multiple looks, using a spectrum of EIMI styling products and of course, glitter. All of the glitter. Congratulations Romance on yet another incredible show.”
Upon exit, all guests received the book Romance Was Born as a gift; the 200 page tome shares the stories and artistic collaborations that have inspired the collections of the iconic Australian label and celebrates the first 10 years of their journey together.
Photo Credit: Daniel Boud
Initial inspiration for Lee Mathews Resort 19 came from the iconic American architects Frank Lloyd-Wright and Eames, as well as minimalist artist Donald Judd. It was not only for their striking body of work but also their belief that design should be in harmony with humanity and the environment.
With this concept in mind, Creative Director Lee and newly appointed Head Designer Natalia Grzybowski began with a grounding palette of creams and clays punctuated with pops of mint, orange and blue. These colours appear across a hybrid of natural textiles and zero-waste fabrics — from organic cottons to a coated zero-waste Italian linen and ethically sourced silks.
Silhouettes revolve around fluidity and represent the curves of nature; sheer Summer dresses sweep the ground with river-like tiers and blooming sleeves shoot like flowers from shift dresses.At times a nod to artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude appears in gowns that roped and wrapped, like the artists well-known draped landscapes.
This human-nature theme deepened to explore more sustainable practices across the brand, and has resulted in Lee Mathews designing her most sustainable collection to date.Whilst continuing her signature use in natural textiles (biodegradable & organic) she is working with fabrics from mills at the forefront at waste, energy and water reduction. One discovery was EcoNyl, a material produced in an infinite loop system made from rescued nylon and discarded fishing nets. This has led to Lee to debut Swim Capsule of 5 timeless styles.
Collectively, these precise compositions represent the vision and hope of change in the Fashion Industry, one where the environment is no longer an absent factor in the manufacturing process.
Whilst Lee Mathews is far from perfect, she is striving as a brand to grow and change; challenging her team to act more responsibly, produce more thoughtfully and continue to create beautiful clothing that can be passed on to future generations.
‘The most aristocratic of French designers’
Hubert de Givenchy was the most aristocratic of French designers, renowned for his own personal elegance and impeccable manners. He was born into a noble French family, and destined initially for the law. But at the end of World War Two, he persuaded his family to let him pursue his passion for clothes.
Fame came in the 1950s, and for three decades, he dressed some of the most beautiful women in the world to include the iconic, legendary fashion styles of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy.
He’s credited with introducing the notion of separates to give women greater freedom to choose, and with being one of the first clothes designers to create his own perfume.
In 1988, he sold his fashion house to the luxury brand LVMH, and a few years later he retired to a life of comfortable discretion. He came from a world of fashion which he acknowledged has now all but disappeared – an age of elegance, where clothes were created out of a unique personal relationship between client and couturier.
Source: Hugh Schofield, BBC News, Paris
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British designer Claire Tagg launched her eponymous label for AW18 showcasing a dramatic, oriental inspired fauna and flora collection. The AW18 season is inspired by a personal story of her travels as an Air Hostess, combining glamour and destructed textures to creative a dramatic yet opulent range.
The AW18 collection sees cut and silhouette inspired by formal airline uniforms. Structured jackets and blazer style dresses are juxtaposed with over-sized full skirts and ballgowns constructed in luxurious Duchess Satin. Despite the more grown-up aesthetic of the collection, the core identity of the brand remains.
Eponymous label Amy Thomson launched her playful AW18 collection ‘Chasin’ Dreams’, inspired by youthful aspirations. Each look in the collection presents a character based on a profession seen from a child’s perspective. Thomson poses the question – what does a Princess, Baker and Hairdresser look like through a child’s unaffected eyes? How are these career paths defined in the mind of a child without any preconceptions?
From this conceptual beginning, Amy has created eight complete looks that embody a magical aesthetic, bringing to life the idea of focusing on your dreams. Thomson creates this magical feel with her larger-than-life hand rendered drawings that hold a distinctive and charming naivety, ensuring no two garments are the same. With dreamlike prints, motifs and illustrations referencing each character appear throughout the narrative of the collection.
TriBeCa Film Festival. It can be describe as the perfect medium between an art gallery opening and a music festival. You can choose to go to a more lively interactive film screening or just relax and watch a document or simply just roam around the streets of the festival! I spontaneously went here for a day and seriously was one of the best decisions of my life.
Festival does not do enough justice in describing what this is all about. It’s an experience.
The TriBeCa Film Festival is such an amazing time. You can enjoy it even if you’re not a film buff, but really you should watch more films. (Not popcorn flicks)
You have an opportunity to catch some great films and shorts that generate lots of buzz and could be potential Oscar recipients. They also have events for the public. This past year my girlfriend and I hit up the Saturday fair. It was lots of fun. They had lots of games, exhibitions, vendors giving out merch. Even the restaurants around the area were getting in on the action. They offered deals and specials all day long to attract the crowds. Food trucks galore as well.
This past year we saw The Bomb. It was a 360 experience, surrounded by floor to ceiling screens, and a live band in the middle doing the score. It was breathtaking.
If you’ve never been to the TriBeCa film festival before you’re missing out.
What I love about this Festival is that it’s almost like a hidden gem (but not). This is my chance to see great films that aren’t mainstream, hobnob with the celebs (ahem, I talking to you Quinn from Homeland, Sam Rockwell and others) as well as meet some interesting people.
For example, I see the same beautiful woman come solo to every movie for the past four years and sit in the same seat every time. She gets the baller VIP package and reserves her seat ahead of time. She’s an icon. Every year we chat it up and it’s almost something I look forward to (cheeeeezy I know) but, hey it happens.
This year I met a super cool movie buff from Philly who spends his time hitting up Film Festivals – NYC, Toronto, Nantucket – all on his free time. That’s his thing, and he was pretty friggin knowledgeable about his movies. We ended up sitting next to each other at another movie and had a lovely time.
A few pro tips:
1. Try to see the premieres at BMCC. You’ll need to get there an hour before to reserve a space in line to just get a seat but usually these are the red carpet premieres and the actors and director are there for a Q&A.
2. Again, once tickets are purchased still get in line early to reserve prime seats.
3. I think that’s it.
This review is prompting me to want to make a documentary on people who are super into Film Festivals and travel the world going to them. A movie about movies about movies. Too much?
Regardless, if you’re into movies, have an AMEX card with a few hundred bucks to spend (each film is about $25) do it, it’s definitely a memorable and fun experience.