Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Closet Envy: Veronica Webb

Closet Envy: Veronica Webb by Alexandra Phanor-Faury Growing up on the East side of Detroit, Veronica Webb took special interest in clothes. Even before the supermodel’s phenomenal rise to the top of the modeling world, Webb took great pride in how she presented herself. She may have been wearing clothes sewn by her mother but she treated them with as delicate a hand as one would couture gowns. Webb, who broke barriers by becoming the first African-American model to land an exclusive contract with a major cosmetic company, Revlon in 1992, possessed an understanding of style versus fashion early. Looking stylish had little to do with brand names but lots to do with confidence for Webb and she has plenty of that. While she would eventually collect an arsenal of designer duds over the years as a top model, Webb continued to apply the same amount of care and thought into everything in her closet from her sweats to her one-of-kind pieces. And it showed. “She can have on jogging pants for an informal lunch and yet she will have the little touch of chic that will make it stand out,” says designer and friend Sophie Theallet. Webb, who has graced the covers of countless magazines and served as muse for designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Azzedine Alaia, doesn’t have a signature look on the red carpet. That’s too safe for Webb who loves to shake things. When everyone expected her to be just another pretty face with a short shelf-life, Webb surprised the naysayers by parlaying her modeling fame into a number of opportunities that included being a TV host, a journalist, actress and author. Titles are irrelevant when it comes to Webb’s creative spirit and the same applies to her style. The mother of two can as easily steal the spotlight in an elaborate gown as she can in a conservative shift, a sexy metallic mini-dress or a whimsical gingham frock. Her eclectic closet has something to please every woman. Take a look at our Veronica Webb most memorable fashion moments…

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Closet Envy: Celeb Stylist June Ambrose

June Ambrose by Alexandra Phanor-Faury It’s nearly impossible to have a discussion about the relationship between music and style without mentioning one of the mavericks of celebrity styling, June Ambrose. Ambrose, as we’re sure many of you already know, is an iconic stylist who has been instrumental in creating the looks of some of the music world’s biggest stars like Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, P. Diddy and Jay-Z. It was the ingenious Ambrose that came up with the idea of putting then new artist Missy Elliot in a blown up garbage bag in the video for “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”. That’s just one of Ambrose's many looks she created for her clients that will forever be etched into music video history. You would think assisting celebrities in developing their image, dressing them for every occasion from press conferences to world tours, giving out style tips on her numerous TV appearances and running Mod Squad- her successful branding firm- wouldn’t allow any time for the premier stylist, and mother of two, to devote to her own personal style. Nevertheless, for a fashion addict and clotheshorse like Ambrose, taking pride in how she presents herself is as important to her as making sure her clients’ sartorial needs are met. In fact, her personal style has garnered her as much attention and rave as her impressive resume. Getting first dibs on designer collections and new trends for clients keeps Ambrose’s own personal closet full of stand-out pieces. Firmly rooted in the classics like wide-legged trousers, pencil skirts, silk shirts, black turtlenecks, sheaths, LBDs and fur, Ambrose’s lust-worthy wardrobe includes designs by YSL, Chanel, Hermes, Diane von Furstenberg and Chloe. Being one of the architects of pop-culture style and imaging, Ambrose is privy to a slew of trends, but her studied approach to fashion keeps her from jumping on everything that she comes across through her work. Ambrose’s fashion choices are not driven by what’s in but rather what fits her mood and personality. She has a good grasp on what she likes to wear, what looks good on her and how to inject trends into her superbly curated closet without coming off like a fashion victim. Her high-wattage ensembles are kept fresh by layering sophisticated separates, paying attention to texture, choosing pieces in interesting shapes and always using lots of accessories to smartly elevate any outfit. Big sunglasses, beanies, statement necklaces, embellished belts, killer platform shoes and her signature Birkin bag are Ambrose’s go-to accessories to complete her confident looks. Despite her bevy of high-end pieces, we love that Ambrose doesn’t turn her nose up at affordable mass market stores like Gap, JC Penney and Target where she can be found shopping (tweeting) about recent cheap and chic finds that will bring much personal flair to her high looks. We’ve been intrigued with Ambrose’s style repertoire for years. Judging from what we’ve seen , it’s a safe bet that Ambrose’s closet is fire!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Closet Envy: Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Ellis Ross by Alexandra Phanor-Faury Since the last episode of Girfriends aired, we’ve been experiencing serious Tracee Ellis Ross withdrawal. Our weekly ritual of dissecting her character Joan’s on-screen wardrobe and style pales in comparison to the occasional paparazzi spotting, for which we wait with bated breath, of Ross’s equally real-life fashionable ensembles. Girlfriends may not have garnered as much attention from the media as Sex and the City did for its to-die-for fashions, but the show was inspirational to Black women when it came to dressing the part. We all had our favorite on the show. While Joan may have been anal to a fault and corny at times, she never missed a beat when it came to looking très chic. She blew us away with an elegant array of well-cut suits, high-waisted pants with wide hems, draped leather jackets, towering heels and, of course, her signature pencil skirts that fit her amazing figure like a glove. Joan may have been a fictional character but her on screen taste seemed to crossover into Ross’s personal wardrobe or was it vice versa? From her affinity for bright hued lips, years before it was deemed trendy and safe, to her daring mix of colors, prints and her eye for wearable fashion-forward silhouettes, Ross has made it unto Hollywood’s best dressed list without the aid of a stylist. Not that there is anything wrong with cultivating your taste and approach to style with a paid professional, but it’s always exciting to watch Ross showcase her very own interpretations. Although she may have more cash to play with it than most of us, it’s obvious that Ross has a confident, impeccable sense of style that doesn’t just rely on the current hot fashions. Her mother, fashion icon Diana Ross, has no doubt been instrumental in Ross’s passion for expressing herself through clothes from a young age. What more inspiration could a girl need to be glamorous? A healthy magpie mélange of sophistication, edge, vintage (Diana’s, of course!) and a dash of trendiness has kept Ross’ evolving look from becoming predictable or boring. Ross is confident enough to always throw in a quirky or ‘off’ piece to keep her outfits from appearing too put together and more visually stimulating. A favorite style trick many designers follow when putting together looks for the modern sophisticated woman. One of Ross’s signature menswear looks has been popping up all over the runways these past couple of seasons. For years, we’ve watched and drooled when Ross, or Joan, would pair oversize bottoms, like olive cargo pants or black trousers, rolled up at the hem with sexy high heels and a cropped, fitted tuxedo jacket or sometimes a leather jacket. This is a silhouette Ross has been rocking for years and she’s recently been spotted updating the look with harem pants and vintage leather trousers. Other Ross staples in her wardrobe include lots of print dresses and voluminous shapes from pants to shoulders. Ross loves to steal the spotlight in those details on the red carpet. We bet Ross, who worked as a fashion editor for both New York magazine and the defunct Mirabella before embarking on to a career in Hollywood, would have excelled in the world of fashion with her trend setting style. Breaking the rules with flying colors comes easy to Miss Ross. Her closet which Ross refers to as “the happy place with all the treasures" is one we’d definitely want to raid!

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Closet Envy: Fashionista Constance White

Constance White by Alexandra Phanor-Faury eBay Style Director Constance White has been living and breathing fashion since her days as a young reporter for Women’s Wear Daily. White’s preoccupation with fashion and style and her genuine love for educating women on ways to look beautifully stylish has made her one of the industry’s leading experts. On any occasion, you can catch White sharing her valuable fashion tips on television programs like “Oprah” and “Project Runway.” White honed her fashion journalism chops and contributed to the analysis of the industry at a number of impressive publications. In her 15 year career, White has been a fashion reporter for The New York Times, one of the founding fashion editors for Tina Brown’s defunct Talk, and the first and only Black woman executive fashion editor at Elle (or at any of the fashion glossies). She’s also written for Essence and British Vogue .Her accomplishments don’t end there, the revered fashionista hosted Metro’s “Full Frontal Fashion" and added author to her desirable resume when she penned a style guide for Black women, Style Noir, while covering the fashion beat at the NYT. In addition to exploring trends set by Black women, the contributions of influential Black designers, White offers style advice on everything from the core pieces that women should own, the importance of a great cut and quality fabrics and ways to incorporate African touches to your ensembles. While the book cover could have featured one of the many fashion trendsetters she explores in the book (like Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Naomi Campbell and Erykah Badu), it is White who graces the cover. She may not have been instantly recognizable as those famous women, but she looked as stylish. The embodiment of style noir, one look at a beautiful White sporting a crop natural dressed in black a leather blazer, black turtleneck and a bold necklace, it was evident that this woman definitely practices what she preaches. White has been on our fashion radar for some time now and as the years have gone by she’s continued to dress the part. Despite her noir ensemble on the cover of the book, White is huge fan of color and prints. Her enviable closet boasts a rainbow of dresses, trenches and tops. “Black people are glamorous. We love color!” She’s been spotted in a lavender draped gown with a white fur chubby and a gold trench with a long flower print skirt. While White, whose personal style icons include Diana Ross, Rita Marley, Tina Chow and Nina Simone, may be one of the industry’s power players, we admire her reluctance to being a slave to fashion. Indeed, the sign of a true independent spirit whose style is worth celebrating. Check out Constance White's knockout looks…

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