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How Lil’ Kim’s most memorable manicure ended up in the Museum of Modern Art

In the mid-1990s, manicurist Bernadette Thompson was working on a fashion shoot with Lil’ Kim, who was then on her way to becoming a hip-hop fashion icon and still years away from becoming a jailbird. It wasn’t the first time she’d worked with the influential rapper, so Thompson was feeling a bit of self-imposed pressure to come up with something new and jaw-dropping — something creative enough to compete with the makeup, the hair and all the rest.

The shoot was for a denim campaign, but Kim was also surfing a wave of enthusiasm for her contribution to the Junior M.A.F.I.A. single “Get Money.” That became the manicurist’s source of inspiration. She reached into her little nylon wallet, pulled out a dollar bill, cut it into pieces and strategically applied bits of currency to Kim’s acrylic nails to create an eye-popping manicure by way of the U.S. Treasury.

“There were a lot of people on the photo shoots who know about fashion and beauty, but they didn’t really know that much about nails,” Thompson says. “So they left it up to me.”

Soon Thompson was riffing on her original idea, upping the flash by using hundred dollar bills. She charged that added expense to her clients; while Thompson might have been manicuring the nails of millionaires, she was still a woman of modest means. Eventually, the U.S. government sent Thompson a gentle reminder that you’re not supposed to deface money, even if it belongs to you. So Thompson started using fake bills, which were thinner and more flexible than the real thing and thus easier to apply to nails.

Thompson’s creative flash transformed into a trend. Google “money nails,” and an array of currency-adorned talons will pop up.

Now, those nails are part of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, “Items: Is Fashion Modern,” which runs through January 28. The show examines 111 garments and accessories that have had a lasting impact over the past century. The assembled collection includes the little black dress, the pencil skirt, Levi’s jeans, the hoodie, the Wonderbra, stilettos and Converse All-Star sneakers. The idea is to explore the ways in which fashion speaks to politics, culture and identity — all the ways in which fashion is woven into our lives, shaping and reflecting who we are.

Thompson’s re-creations of her original money nails are one of the few examples of beauty products or rituals in the exhibition, which also includes red lipstick and Chanel No. 5. The nails are also a rare example of an iconic look that comes directly from the world of black women.

“Black girls always added things to nails, like they added things to clothes,” says Thompson, 48, who is black and grew up in Yonkers, N.Y. A manicure “is not super expensive. It’s less than an Hermès bag. And you wear it every day.” It’s a form of pampering, and a grooming flourish. It’s a weekday extension of the pride a woman might find by slipping into her Sunday best, and all the identity, self-respect and defensive vanity those clothes help provide.

“It was huge in our community. I’m not the first to create nail art. I’ve been around a whole bunch of creative nail artists who are Hispanic, black,” Thompson says. But “I introduced it to fashion.”

In the beginning, the nails were a part of hip-hop style, which was a separate category from what was then considered mainstream fashion. Whatever it was called, it was a sensibility that came naturally to Thompson, who once considered law school but always had an affinity for hair styling and beauty. She got her start working on videos and album covers for Mary J. Blige, with whom she’d grow up, as well as Kim and Sean Combs. Once she stepped outside the world of urban entrepreneurs and started to work for corporate brands, she saw that a manicure still meant neutral tones, pale pink or the occasional red. Thompson helped to change that. One of her earliest corporate clients was Louis Vuitton. She painted the nails to match the monogram of the bags.

Today, thanks in large measure to Thompson, manicurists are regularly credited in fashion shoots. And nail art is as common on a European runway or corporate fashion shoot as it is in a Detroit or Harlem nail salon. For Thompson, it has become harder to recreate the atmosphere of no-rules creativity of her early days. Breaking the rules led to her success. Success led to expectations, deadlines and discrete parameters. So she’s looking forward to opening a new salon. A fancy one that is members only. “I feel like I can get back to that feeling of art,” Thompson says.

In the meantime, her money nails are at MOMA, sitting alongside Calvin Klein briefs, Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses and an Hermès Birkin bag. All of these things are modern because they tell us something about the aesthetics that currently animate us. They transcend tradition, rewrite rules and create a new baseline. In different ways, they all introduced a new point-of-view into an ongoing conversation. The brief offered a new view of male sexuality. The sunglasses exuded gender-neutral swagger. The Birkin codified privilege in calf leather.

Thompson’s nail art scrambled our assumptions about femininity, beauty and class. And those issues remain at the center of our cultural dialogue. Thompson’s work is modern. And will be for the foreseeable future.Read more | cocktail dresses

04:41 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Actress Esha Gupta gets mistaken as South American

Actress Esha Gupta, who feels Bollywood is going places, said she often gets mistaken for a South American. Esha was present at an event on Wednesday in Mumbai.

Talking about the initiative, she said, "I always talk politically incorrect rather than being politically correct. Now we are living in war-torn world where people are fighting for land, but it's a really nice thing that India and America are coming together."

"In times where people are talking about building walls, America and India are forming a relationship. It's all about culture and unity, so I am happy that we are building bridges and not building walls, and people who know this... will understand the pun intended. I am happy that India is taking a step forward on that front."

Talking about the Hollywood-Bollywood connection, Esha said, "Now Indians are also taking their films to America and, after Hollywood, people recognize Bollywood as a popular film industry in the world."

"Whenever I go there, people feel that I am South American but when I introduce myself as a Bollywood actress, they are amazed. So it's not that only Hollywood is coming to India, but Bollywood is also going places."

Asked about what she likes about the US, she said, "America is great in their food and education... I feel people are really nice and warm, at least those with whom I have interacted."Read more at:red cocktail dress | white cocktail dresses

08:58 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei goes global with army of artisans

Despite having been in the trade for more than 30 years, Chinese couturier Guo Pei finds herself at the starting line again.

“Many of my friends are planning their retirement, but for me, it’s only the beginning,” Guo, 50, says at her Parisian showroom in Place Vendôme, just a day after her July couture show at Hotel Salomon de Rothschild.

Guo started her career as a fast fashion designer in the 1980s and opened her own made-to-order atelier in 1997. She went on to become one of the few Chinese designers invited by Fédération de la Haute Couture de la Mode as a guest member to take part in Paris Haute Couture Weekalongside heritage couturiers such as Chanel, Dior and Valentino.

Although Guo had already built a strong fan following in China, counting A-listers the likes of Zhang Ziyi and Fan Bingbing as clients, she didn’t get in the international spotlight until 2015 when Rihanna attended the Met Ball in one of her designs. The spectacular, yellow fur-trimmed cape gown with a lavish train decorated with Chinese embroideries took Guo two years to create.

The wide coverage from fashion magazine spreads to internet memes earned Guo overnight fame, which unlocked more opportunities and possibilities.

She was invited to show in Paris two years ago, and her creations were featured in exhibitions at prestigious institutions such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.

Being invited to show at Paris Haute Couture Week as a guest member, Guo says, was a steep learning curve.

“I respect the values of the couture federation as they respect their members’ passion, craftsmanship and how they can contribute to the living art – haute couture – in the future,” she says. “Being on the official couture calendar has really taken me and my team to new heights. I feel that we are growing with every collection.” Following her breakthrough overseas, Guo received a warm welcome from her clients at home.

“Chinese clients who doubted whether my designs could rival the Western designers’ were very impressed and proud of my [global] recognition,” she says.

Affluent Chinese customers’ growing appetite for sophisticated luxury has fuelled the development of home-grown designers, Guo adds.

“Although China’s modern fashion industry doesn’t have a long history, customers are learning fast,” she says. “Their growing knowledge and appreciation of quality designs have kept me going. Without the clients who have grown with me, designers like me won’t have the capacity to grow and the possibilities to prosper. They have learned to look beyond the price tag and understand the values of couture.”

One of her clients was, in fact, the matchmaker for her recent collaboration with Chopard for her haute couture autumn/winter 2017 collection. The client asked for a piece of Chopard high jewellery to match a couture wedding gown by Guo Pei for her big day. The client brought Guo and Caroline Scheufele – Chopard’s artistic director and co-president – together.

At Guo’s July haute couture show in Paris, models donned Guo’s statement couture gowns matched with Chopard’s multicarat diamond high jewellery accentuated with colourful precious stones such as rubies and emeralds.

“The big challenge for us was to create our own collection – be it couture or high jewellery that truly complements each other,” Guo says.

The starting point for Guo was the bright colours and elegant curves of high jewellery. “The jewellery makes a strong statement,” she says. “They are complicated yet feminine. The jewellery really reminds me of my embroidery.”

Inspired by the golden age of haute couture, Guo opted for classic ball gown silhouettes with feminine asymmetrical shapes and cut-out details. Echoing the shimmer of high jewellery, Guo incorporated metallic fabrics into the collection.

The labour-intensive details in the embroideries, floral appliqués and embellishments that Guo’s best known for elevated the classic gowns to a whole new level, which suited the taste of the couture clients and high jewellery collectors on the front row.

The mesmerising details could not have been achieved without Guo’s army of artisans – 500 of them to be exact – 300 of which are expert embroiders.

Guo has been recruiting artisans since 20 years ago when she started her own atelier called the Rose Studio.

Based on traditional artisanal skills such as su xiu (special embroideries made famous by artisans from Suzhou) and gong xiu (literally palace embroidery, often seen in garments of imperial families in ancient China), Guo has discovered her unique skills.

“The artisans are my most precious assets,” says Guo. “I nurtured them from day one. When we first started, we didn’t have many references or role models that we could follow. We started from scratch and I’m very proud of the work they do today.”

Da jing (literally magnificent gold) for example, the dress which took artisans 50,000 hours to make and one of Guo’s signature designs that was exhibited at the Met museum, demonstrated the level of craftsmanship in her work.

Despite being a Beijing-based Chinese designer, Guo deliberately didn’t highlight her Chinese roots in her designs, but was inspired by her time in the West, such as a visit to an 18th-century Swiss cathedral last season, and the Russian princess or art deco diva in previous seasons.

“I think [Chinese influences] are in my blood,” Guo says. “It’s my design language. I don’t want to be labelled as a Chinese storyteller. I think about a global audience.”

Guo says she has built a solid foundation and that she’s excited about what the future will bring.

“I have faith in my future because of the customers who have grown with me,” she says.

“Now that I have gathered my 30 years of experiences and resources, I’m ready to take it further. I’m ready to fly.”Read more at:formal dresses online | bridesmaid dresses

09:03 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)