The Illusion Of Bareness

I love tennis. I been playing for about five years. I follow it religiously and watch it whenever I can. I don't play as often as I would like to but I'm getting there. I think tennis is one of those sports that has come a long way. It used to be a play for the rich, elitist, white socialites while blacks were not even allow to hit a ball, but in deteriorated courts located in ghettos or run-down parks. The pigmentation of skin was unfortunately a factor whether someone was eligible to play competitive professional tennis, but thanks to the likes of Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson players today such as James Blake and the Williams sisters can compete in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and WTA (Women Tennis Association) respectively. 

It can be puzzling trying to understand the amount of traveling these athletes endure due to the hectic schedule of tournaments played around the globe. From Melbourne to Miami, and Germany to Qatar. I think I once heard that tennis professional spend most of their career on a plane than on land. Right at this moment, Roland Garros (French Open), one of the four Grand Slams is unfolding in Paris. A tournament that has been a struggle to most American players since their game does not naturally nor smoothly transcend from hard courts to clay courts. Also the fact that they are not accustomed to playing on a clay court, in comparison to their South American and European competitors can be a factor for this drought of 8 years that an American has won the title (Serena Williams back in 2002)

I'd like to watch a few players, including: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, James Blake, Feliciano Lopez, and Fernando Verdasco, but the ones that I been a huge fan of are Venus and Serena Williams. They've have set new standards for women's tennis on and off the court. Their aggressive game and sense of fashion are just a few of the things that have gained them my admiration. It's thrilling yet inspiring to watch these two ladies from Compton who started playing in courts fitted more for a battle than a regular tennis practice session while a shooting was unfolding just feet away from where they were practicing, competing in the biggest tennis stages in the world, leaving their hearts and souls on the court with every breath and grunt, and it's even more exciting when they're are competing against each other. But in this year's Roland Garros, which started on May 23, the talk has been not on the depredatory style of play of Venus or Serena but of what Venus was wearing on the court.

On Sunday 23, after Venus Williams defeated the Swiss player Patty Schnyder on her 1st round match, the buzz of the tournament was about what she was wearing (see above) than the fact that she was seeded #2 and was seemingly back in clay-court-form, in such condition to reach the finals and even take the tittle for the first time (unfortunately Venus was defeated by Russian player Nadia Petrova on the 4th round). 

Venus chose a non-traditional dress for this occasion that in fact she designed for her Eleven line. It was a black lace bustier-top dress with a flirty skirt and red hot pipping that is perhaps reminiscent of a can-can chorus line in the 19th century. Now that I look at the dress in close-up I see the details I missed when I initially saw the dress. The flowers or roses motif the dress exhibits it's actually a lovely touch. But what she wore underneath even created a much bigger media ruckus. In press interviews, when asked about her ensemble she was wearing on court, Venus confidently responded she wanted to create the illusion of bareness, which has been her "motif this year". That "illusion" translated into flesh-colored hot pants, or undershorts, whatever you call them. As she's on the motion of serving, the flimsy skirt lifts with the help of the wind and reveals a deceiving image of "bareness" from behind (see below). It appears as if she's not wearing any underpants but if you look closely, the woman is actually wearing an almost blending colored undershorts. Venus acknowledges the fact that the underpants highlights her derriere, which she describes as "very well developed" as most guys would agree. 

There is no need to expand my penchant for this dress. I think it has a hip, young and sexy attitude that only Venus can do them justice. And that body!!!! When I saw Venus playing on TV, it brought back nostalgic memories from the 2008 Fall/Winter Prada show, where Miuccia used laced in the most unsexy way, but it was still a beautiful collection. And one of the best of the entire season. It's clear that Venus has a passion for fashion (she has a fashion design degree from Fort Lauderdale Art Institute in Florida). I remember she did a collaboration with Diane Von Furstenberg and Reebok back when she was being sponsored by them. And she attends shows during New York fashion week with Andre Leon Talley conveniently while she's in NYC for the US Open. So I can assume she knows her stuff. The choice to don this particular design for this particular tournament is a smart one. Paris, capital of fashion, seems to be a befitting occasion for this fashion-forward ensemble. Perhaps this is the most riske outfit I seem Venus wear. In an interview she mentioned that lace was never done for tennis, so she wanted to be the first and made it happen. Kudos to that.

What bothers me a bit is the fact that tennis commentators, especially the Americans ones, with no fashion knowledge come to criticize Venus for her fabulous design and go to such heights as to call it "inappropriate". The nerves some folks have to call something "inappropriate" when yourself is wearing an ill-fitting suit with the wrong tie. I don't want to hear anything fashion related from any tennis commentator, probably from Bud Collins (goggle him), but that's not what they been hired for, they were hired for their tennis wisdom or tennis experience. But then again, I guess people have their own opinions about style and at times I tend to disagree and get irritated. What's obvious and what these people are completely oblivious of is that fact that underwear as outwear, or lingerie-inspired clothing was one of the biggest trends for this season. It was present on the Dior, Pada and Dolce & Gabbana collections and many others that don't come to mind at this time. I don't expect tennis commentators to know that, thus they should stop brining up the subject and focus more on the tactics Mr. Federer is using to beat his opponents and how "Rafa" Nadal is not coming back as the defending champ after 4 years. 

Regardless, I still enjoy that fact that fashion still stimulates people and brings a reaction out of them. This is a great example on how an idea is well executed and brought to life and got people talking and received much worldwide attention which was probably Venus' initial intentions. I admire people who take risks and run with it and defend their stance on it. I love creativity and the results of it. Fashion is an ambiguous subject and it means different things to different people, and I come to realize that at times we don't see eye-to-eye. I guess that's what makes the world go around. 

I'm still excited to what she's going to wear at Wimbledon in just a few weeks. I hope she sticks with the lace and gives the people another reason to talk about. Oh yeah! In Serena news, she went with a more traditional with a simpler silhouette with a punch of aqua and and neon green. I was going to post pictures of her outfit, but it interfere with the subject of this post. However, I still lover her.


If You Follow My Blog (Please) Do It Publicly

Just a few days ago I was perusing through other blogs that are in some way related to mine, those who are fashion-based or have similar qualities to mine and out of curiosity I clicked on each respective bloggers' profile and I was somewhat surprised that most of these folks follow my blog privately. I look at the amount of followers I gain everyday, in some occasions I gain more followers than others, and I'm ok with that. But if I really thought about the amount of people that follow my blog, it would add up to more than 49 followers as it indicates on the side column widget. Perhaps even 10 or so more. I never understood why would this server would even have that option. Are some of these people embarrassed to be seen as a follower? Are they trying to keep an anonymous alias? I don't really know the answer, if there is one (let me know if you have one on the comment section). I love meeting new people, that's just part of my personality. Therefore, I wished the people who follow me would do it publicly, not privately so I know who you are and what your blog(s), if you have any, is all about. The amount of views or hits my blog gets is something I can't control, of course, the more the better, but I do keep track of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a control freak, but I'd like to know what is going on at all times. 

And one last thing, if you haven't noticed yet, I been getting spam on the blue box dubbed "Give Me Some Love" which was initially meant for you guys to drop me a line vs. dropping a comment on a post. The spammers are spamming daily, which is ok, because they are unconsciously giving me more views and hits, but I wish you guys don't click on them, most of the time they're just pointless ads and even worse can harm your computer with spyware or viruses, so don't do it, unless you have to. 

As always I'll promise to be a good blogger and update daily, or twice a day. I'm working on this piece that is going to get some tongues wagging so just wait and see. 



Marc Jacobs Gives Us a Bang!

There is no need for me to give you a spiel on this matter since I'm sure you heard or read about it already, for the ones that follow fashion in a non-label-whorish way, if you know what I mean. However, I thought to pin down my 2 cents on the whole frenzy. I do receive WWD newsletters to my e-mail, but for some reason I never read them since I find informative, yet tiring. But I very frequently read news-related blogs, which is where I found out about the whole "Marc is naked" hysteria. While reading the blog, without expecting nothing out of the ordinary to pop up, I find this image (see below) of Marc laying in a Mylar bed in his birthday suit (butt naked, for those slow ones) with a giant deformed silver colored perfume bottle covering up his manhood. The image looked certainly like an ad so I digged up the scoop on it. 

Julie Naughton from WWD did a piece on the men's fragrance "Bang" Marc and his team are introducing to the market, set to be in Bloomingdale's and Marc Jacobs stores nationwide on July 30. In the article Marc discusses on how he came up with the name at the gym, "I was in the gym, and the name Bang came to me. As a word, it has so many connotations, including a sexual connotation. And I loved the immediacy and the sound of the word. "Bang" was the catalyst for how this fragrance came to be. You're drawn to try it, to experience it." I think the name has some commercial catchiness to it. It's quick, memorable and fun to say it. It will most definitely would have a worldwide appeal. Moreover, the article talk about the "concept" behind the shoot, "Robert and I worked closely with Coly on these projects and he said, 'Marc you look so great now -- you should be the model for men's fragrance.' My immediate reaction was, I don't know. But then I came to see that it made sense. Men's fragrance, unlike women's in a certain way, is very personal. It's a layer on top of skin -- for women, it can be like changing a makeup color, but not for men." Robert Duffy, as I found out this year, is Marc's business partner, and I was surprised to learn that he's been Marc's right hand since the beginning, through the ups and downs (Marc is still human, a genius but human) so he's liable to make business mistakes, and through it all, they've sticked together, how cool. 

Then Marc explains on the idea of him appearing stark naked on his ad, "Once I agreed to be the model, I couldn't see what I would wear to express this. We tried it with clothes, but it didn't work. Then Juergen (Teller, who shot the campaign) had the idea for the silver mylar, and it all came together. The silver mylar also gives it that flash, that bang." I think the decision for Marc to go naked was the right one. I don't envision how the concept could come out successfully depicting the right message with clothes on, only perhaps with one of his super sharp suits  he wears on occasions, but then the suit may have conflicted with the concept of the ad. I love all the shiny reflective light from the pictures, it sort of grabs your attentions and maybe lures the folks to go get a perfume bottle. Undeniably, Marc is in shape and he's not ugly at all. Actually he's really good looking, dare I say, very sexy. So the idea of him starring in his own ad is not a surprise, his personality alone needs a reality show (Bravo, hint, hint) and I commend him for baring it all out there (well almost) and pose for Juergen Teller, who I came to be more familiar with through his Marc Jacobs ads, for the whole world to see.

Furthermore, having said that I'm having difficulty fathoming why the bloosphere is so appalled/shocked/mad at the whole Marc being naked on his ad scandal. In case some of you might forgotten, this is not the first time the world has seen Marc in the nude, or semi-nude. Let's take a short trip in memory lane. In 2006, him and Mr. Duffy appeared naked on the cover of the September issue of WWD. In 2007, a casual shot of Marc shirtless surface online, where he was presumably at tattoo shop getting inked up. In 2009, he was shot by Terry Richardson completely naked for the January edition of Harper's Bazaar to celebrate the second collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Stephen Sprouse. Of course, since Harper Bazaar is not Playgirl, the bags and accessories from that collection served to cover up Marc's manhood, once again. Also just a few years ago, Marc appeared on his white undies for the New Yorker and Interview Magazine. So why so surprised my friends?

There were also some comparisons made with the super controversial and sexually-fueled Tom Ford's ads. And if you seen those, which I'm sure you have, then you know what I mean. Sure Mr. Ford raises the bar to a whole new level, his campaigns have a very strong sexual connotations that I won't be surprised to find out that some publications have rejected them. His images are also very controversial, objectifying women in the nude, wearing nothing but lipsticks, and in one case, placing his perfume bottle between her breast or on her crotch (Do I really need to link up these pictures?). But then if you think about it, Tom as well as Marc (sounding a tad colloquial) have a firm stand on their business. Their fashions are at times misunderstood by the public, and the message gets lost in translation. Their work is not meant to be easy to understand, more in the case of Marc, but somehow he finds a way to get into the brain and hearts of his loyal followers, including his friends. I think throughout Marc's career he has managed to do so successfully and still remain one of the top visionaries in the world. 

At the end of the day, Marc is just an addition to the list of designers who have taken this route. In 1971, Yves Saint Laurent posed in the nude for photographer Jeanloup Sieff for his Opium perfume ad, which turned the whole industry upside-down. The American, Parisian-based designer Rick Owens have been shot shirtless by Nick Knight for Arena Homme Plus not too long ago. There is also the case of Dolce and Gabbana, though they have not appear naked in their ads, they've been featured in a few magazines leaving not much for the imagination. Traditionally, their campaigns elicit a strong sexual connotation. There is usually the buffed guy with chiseled abs making out with some other dude, while the rest of the models are meticulously dressed. But I loved that. They're italian, so they love sex, I get that. But they also, come up with well-thoughout concepts that tell a story, or they even have their models play a character as if they were in a movie. And think that has been one of the key elements that have gained them much notoriety in the industry. So after all, Mr. Jacobs is not the first and won't be the last designer to show  some flesh for us to see, and as long as they have the goods to show off I'm ok with that. 

Expect the ad to pop up in the September issues of lifestyle and men's fashion publications, but if you happen to live on the Middle East, it's not's likely you'll get the naked Marc version, instead you'll see just see the bottle ad. Sorry.
If you haven't noticed yet, I finally have a new banner, thanks to the dopest graphic designer Nick Fulcher. I been trying to get him to do it for a while now, and I been waiting patiently since I know he's a very busy man, so just yesterday he finally he sent me a few samples, got my feedback, fixed it and got it done. Thanks again Nick, check his blog out here

Pictures via wwd and homotography


It's Azure Not Blue

I wake up this morning and the moment I saw this fashion spread I felt sort of enamored with these photographs featuring Isabeli Fontana and shot by Mikael Jansson for the June/July edition of Vogue Paris. I don't know if it's the exotic beauty from Isabeli or the nonchalant glamour mood that these pictures depict that attract me so much. I love juxtaposition of the sensuality of the gowns shot against these stale rocks, which takes the spread away from the banality of a beach shoot. I think the addition of the divers was smart, it gives the pictures a new dimension and it just makes the whole thing more interesting, there is a story here. For this season I didn't see so much blue, or should I say azure. But I guess the editors felt it was a color that needed a fashion spread, which is great. I love the first blue marine dress from Pucci and this turquoise colored asymmetrical gown from Versace. These are what I called "killer" looks. 



It's hot out and everybody is feeling themselves, meaning people wanna show skin, even at times when they shouldn't but I guess that's one of the effects of summer. Clint Mauro (see above) is featured on the Spring/Summer 2010 campaign's Bodies of Summer for Armani Exchange photographed by Matthew Scrivens. Both pictures are for the same brand, but they were published for two different campaigns. What caught my attention was how similar the two pictures look, besides the obvious fact that he's beyond SEXY, he makes for a great picture, albeit the lack or presence of clothes. I personally love the first one the most, I can see it framed and hanged in one of the walls in my bathrooms, I'm serious. My birthday is coming (hint, hint)

I found this new single called "Commander" from David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland. The song just feels good, the beat is hot. I won't be surprised if this becomes some sort of anthem in gay clubs everywhere in America. And the outfit? Kelllly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Two Australia's Beauties in Two Covers

photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Fashion objectives women and GQ puts them on their covers so all those straight men can get a kick. And interestingly enough, every time a woman is in the cover, she is half-naked, maybe wearing a top revealing part of  her chest, and I don't know what going on down there. In addition, to bolster up the erotic factor, she looks ready to go to bed but no to go to sleep, so I hope you know what I mean. This cover shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin featuring Victoria's Secret Miranda Kerr just proves my point. Nonetheless, the girl looks hot. Her eyes are captivating and her body is just sick.

Miranda Kerr walked last season for Balenciaga, a shock to everybody. A Victoria's Secret model walking for one of the oldest and most un-sexy fashion houses in Paris? It seemed dubious, but when she came out almost walking in such robotic form, with a straight face and lack of grace wearing a black leather jacket and skirt, it washed out our previous notion of what a model in general truly is. It's ok to sell lingerie and walk down a runway wearing angel wings or even wear that million bucks bra with sparkling diamonds, and expect to become a supermodel just by being that? Where's the high-fashion gloss? I don't think Naomi now can't fit into a size 0, or even Giselse into a size 2, well now that she just delivered a child, sounds unfair, but you get the point. I don't think big designers were going to cast these type of Amazonian women to their shows along with the regular spaghetti-skinny models until now. For the fall shows there was a sense of desire to embrace the "real" women. The one with curves, and hips and breast. Not the girls. And that's where these type of women (though she looks very innocent and angelic, to me she looks like she had this naughty side, you know what they say, the innocent ones end up being the freakiest one) come in, who in ended up in shows like Prada and Louis Vuitton.

I like how the spread has nothing to do with the clothes, but with the girl. I seen editorials where the girl in it has no clothes and still evokes a story that has a sense of fashion or is printed in a high-fashion magazine, but in this case I just see a lot of tanned tender flesh. I mean in one picture she has a bikini, there is the other one where she is laying in her stomach revealing a very obvious tanned-line, which looks kinda hot, with her breast blocked by a sign that says "angel", and the last one she's wearing a white set with tiny flower cut-outs. I don't think straight men would even care if she's wearing this season's Versace, which they're completely oblivious of, but then again I want more clothes, but I still want the sex. In another note, I was also wondering how GQ now, or at least this particular issue can be taken as a soft-porn issue. I can perfectly picture some old country mom in the middle of Mississippi discovering this issue under her the pillow of her 16 year old son, "For Goodness' sake, Bob is reading this!?!" And, who is this girl anyways?" Priceless

I love this cover of the June edition of Australian Vogue for two reasons. One, because Samantha Harris, who is an aboriginal model from Australia is in it. Right now, this girl is like Britney in Australia, everyone wants a piece of her. Just imagine a native american girl somehow making her way to the top and for some odd reason she lands the cover of American Vogue, sort of like a Gisele moment. But it's that massive. She just walked for 18 designers in Sydney for Australian Fashion Week, one of those designers was spotted by Vogue's Lynn Yaeger, his name is Dion Lee, apparently the next big thing in Australian fashion. I'm glad people are willing to make the change in the other side of the world. I think Australians also know that beauty is a wide spectrum and appreciate all its aspects. When interview by The Independent, Samantha said, "I spend my childhood wondering why you had to have blonde hair and blue eyes to do well in modeling competitions, so I'm proud that a girl with my looks might make it" she adds, "My aboriginal heritage is very important to me. I'd like to be a role model to other indigenous girls." How inspiring, I hope to see her face more often come next season.

The other thing I'm excited about this cover is that yellow Pucci long sleeve gown. When I saw it walking down the runway I just knew it had to either end up on the cover of some edition of Vogue or in some hot red carpet. I mean the dress just screams "GLAMOUR AND SEX!!!" And it looks amazingly good on her. Next to it, there is a picture of the layout page where she's wearing Balenciaga of this season. Love it. I can't wait to get the issue. 


Madonna: Like A Virgin All Over Again

The last time we saw the "material" girl on the cover of Interview Magazine was in April 2008, where she was holding onto the cords on a corner of a boxing ring, wearing black Chanel boxing gloves, high-heeled lace-up boots and a gilded "champ" belt with a big "M" emblazon on the front. Photographed by none other than Steven Klein. Now Madonna is back for the double-cover May 2010 edition shot by the dynamic duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott and styled by Karl Templer. Unlike many artists of her generation, Madonna has this uncanny ability to reinvent herself time and time again imposing her very influential persona in the entertainment, music and fashion realms. Now a mother of (how many kids now?) and still appearing as rebellious and controversial as ever, she reveals to Milk's Gus Vant Savant on her initiatives to build a school for underprivileged kids in Malawi, which is where two of her kids were adopted from:

"He's (Jeffrey Sachs) starting a global education initiative, and I'm going to be his Girl Friday, so to speak. We're holding a press conference to talk about the school for girls that I'm building in Malawi. It's kinda our way of making sure that every kid has a chance to have an education-more specifically girls, but boys as well. Girls, though in a lot of developing countries don't have the opportunity to go to school, nor are they encourage to go to school, so what we're doing is the beginning of a dream. But I'm going to Malawi for lots of reasons".

Not only Madonna is unquestionably musically gifted but she also seems to have a noble heart and a humanitarian side, as well. And that's admirable. I think she recognizes that as several celebrities and public figures, she is in a platform to help those who are not as privilege as her, and seeing that generous side from such an icon is great to watch. Furthermore, Madonna continues on and talks about his first encounter with a gay man, staples in her lengthy career: 

"The character that Richard E. Grant plays in the film I directed, Filth and Wisdom (2008), is this blind professor who was based on my ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn. Growing up in Michigan, I didn't really know what a gay man was. He was the first man-first human being-who made me feel good about myself and special. He was the first person who told me I was beautiful or that I had something to offer to the world, and he encourage me to believe in my dreams, to go to New York. He was such an important person in my life. He died of AIDS, but he went blind towards the end of his life. He was such a lover of art, classical music, literature, opera".

She also confess that she felt at "home" when she stepped into a gay club for the first time:

"He (Christopher Flynn) brought me to my first gay club -- it was this club in Detroit. I always felt like a freak when I was growing up and that there was something wrong with me because I couldn't fit in anywhere. But when he took me to that club, he brought me to a place where I finally felt at home".

It wasn't not that long ago when I heard Lady Gaga say the same exact words in the Ellen DeGeneres show, "I felt like a freak when I was growing up" and I'm not surprised these two women felt that way growing up in a conservative or/and secluded environment. I believe great artists, whether in music or fashion, have traditionally found road-bumps and major obstacles when growing up, trying to express themselves in a world where they are commonly misunderstood. It's a shame that the world we in live in today, or certain parts of it, have not reached up to a level of tolerance, acceptance or have no sense of being open-minded. Madonna also touched on the idea of collaborating:

"I quite like the idea of collaborating in general. Not only is it lonely to do things on your own creatively, it's also kind of arrogant. I guess some people are great enough to be brilliant on their own and never doubt anything and come up with the fabulous things. But I think it's good to get into arguments with people and have them say, "That sucks" or "You're crazy" or "That's cheezy" or "What do you think of this?" If anything, it helps you understand what you believe in and what you're passionate about and what is shit. I think it's important to have a  sounding board."

Furthermore, she briefly talks about a very influential person in her career, Seymour Stein, vice president of Warner Bros. Records: 

"Oh my God. Yeah, of course. he believed in me. Seymour Stein is the person who signed me in and gave me my first record deal, which was my only record deal I stayed at Warber Bros. until five minutes ago. He listened to my demo. He was in the hospital, he had me come in to visit him. He was hooked to all these weird devices -- I don't know what was wrong with him. But he made me bring my boom box and play my music for him. He was laying there in his boxer shorts and a wife-beater. But he was a champion during the first decade of my career. So he's a very important character".

I hope you noted she mentioned "boom box" so you can imagine how long  ago this encounter was. 

The two covers look amazing, sort of reminiscing to what they did to her "boy-toy" Jesus Luz, but the one on the left, where she's holding a crucifix right in front of her face looks more enticing, like an iconic Helmut Newton photograph. I like this red crossed seemed on the center, which I thought at first looked like blood. I just love the two covers, very strong photographs that make two very strong covers.

The video clip below is the behind-the-scenes of the shoot with the aforementioned photographers and stylist. I mean how many people you know who get a "behind-the-scenes" video of their cover? Well besides all the Vogue celebrities. And isn't the music in the background so hot?

The fashion spread looks as good as the two covers. As I mentioned before, I love the idea of the whole thing being black and white as a backdrop and having Madonna pose as seductive and daring as ever. I really like the attitude and strength of the pictures, I mean what's not to love Madonna in Dolce and Gabbana? One thing that caught my attention besides her amazingly well-kept figure (the woman is 51 years old, I know women half her age and don't even look as good as her) is the use of the crucifix. The religious symbolism behind a crucifix is very important to the catholic church and its followers, and placing on her stockings it can be misread as an insult. I don't mind for a controversial picture. Matter of fact, the top fashion magazines today have had controversial moments at some period in their existence. But I guess we will have to wait and see if any preacher is caught with the magazine under his robe (just saying). Click on images to enlarge.

Photos via fashiongonerogue.com


In The Meantime

I been getting a few different responses, though they might not show up on the comments section, about my previous post on Kobe's spread for LA Times Magazine. And they seem fair, but the ones that made me stop and wonder were the ones that had some type of reasoning behind it. After all, fashion makes sense to some but not all. 

While I'm working on my next post, I want to leave you all my sexy readers with a song that you probably heard on the radio already (means that I'm super late, yet again), but it's going to be added on my ipod as soon as I can fix this iTunes problem. It's "Memories" by David Guetta featuring Kid Cudi. (Guetta is one of the most commercially successful and musically-gifted  DJ's in the world, enough said). I like Kid Cudi not only for his "soft" approach to a genre of music that is known for its machismo and by soft I don't mean sissy. In the past from what I seen from this young man (sounding like I'm old, but I'm younger than him) is that he has fun with fashion and he's not afraid to take chances (so he's good on my book). I think I read somewhere that he got discovered working at a Bape store in NYC, I might be wrong but it's a compelling story. As Cudi freely expresses his sense of style, I wish more artist would naturally demonstrate that as well, instead of letting a stylist pull all their clothes and leaving them with no voice. But then that's another story for another post. 

Photos via interviewmagazine.com


Kobe Bryant in L.A. Times Magazine: A Little Too Artsy?

I was perusing on this popular celebrity blog when I stumbled upon a batch of, say, "eerie" looking photographs of an initially unknown but strangely familiar man. I thought, "is that Kobe?", "the NBA player?", "Kobe Bryant?". The article posted below the pictures reaffirmed my doubt, "that's definitely Kobe Bryant". Frankly speaking, I did not not what to think, I was distraught, confused, surprised. I wasn't at any moment loving the images, but I wasn't sure hating them...yet. I was too excited to find the source and purpose of the photographs so I clicked over a link provided on the article. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that these images are part of the May edition of LA Times Magazine (the one on the upper left ended up being the cover). The images seem to depict an "avant-garde" feeling to be printed in the pages of Dazed, Officel Hommes or even any international edition of GQ. The photographs shot by Rube Afanador just don't quite fit the mold of the newsy, down-town look of the LA Times. However, I can clearly understand why Kobe was asked to do the cover. The man is the maverick of the Lakers, his towering, intimidating presence commands respect on and off the court and he's shown a strong penchant for style. And the editor seems to like him for his "phenomenal amount of natural ability for the game" calling him a "basketball savant". Not to mention he's straight up eye-candy.

So what's the problem? If you haven't noticed yet, there is something "out-of-context" about these pictures. First, I was disgusted with the amount of photoshopped, or as Mr. Bryant himself calls it, "doctored" the images clearly look. I mean when did the photographer said,"ok, he looks like he been on the sun-tanning salon for the whole weekend, and all these white ensembles just emphasize that", or I guess he didn't, obviously. I just don't get it. Why are all these glossy magazines digitally fixing the hell out of all these models and actors they put on their covers? When we all know the majority of their readers don't look nearly as the models/actors they feature within that magazine, and supposedly all these editors are claiming that they're trying to present a more realistic product that relates to their readers beyond the surface. But I'm still hopeful that one day I can ignite a change on how folks in America look at magazines, especially fashion ones.

But the the aspect that bothers me the most is the styling, done by James Valeri. Though I'm firmly believe that white clothes always look great against a black pigmentation I was distraught to notice how these pictures mimic minstrel characters wearing blackface, or even on the cover shot where I can't erase the word "slave" out of my mind. I'm just appalled that Mr. Valeri did not do any type of research on black history, mistakingly putting clothes on the subject that resembles a 19th century slave working on some planation or a cotton field on the south. When the images surfaced the net, the reactions were not pretty for the most part. The public resented them. His teammates were on the limbo about the pictures, some were interview, and one that seemed very animated was Lamar Odom, "it's different, it's hot, I like them", and Ron Artest added, "He's a star, he's Kobe Bryant, he can do what he wants" but the rest of them tried to somehow evade the question or give a "wishy-washy" response, which can be assumed that they weren't to thrill for the results. I mean, asking an NBA player to critic a "high-fashion" shoot is like letting the Pope drive a Nascar car, so their answers are not necessarily a determining factor whether or not the images are going to be publish or not. As any publication of such scale, they don't want bad publicity or negative comments towards their business so they took matters into their own attempting to soothe the situation. 

Mark Medina, who writes the Lakers Blog for the LA Times went on to interview the stylist to get the whole "vision" behind the shoot. "The concept was about shooting everything in white. That was Ruven's idea (photographer Ruben Afanador). But I wanted to do something more modern and less conventional and less cliched... It's a modern silhouette. It's not like "let's put Kobe in a pair of pants and a shirt or in a suit" The clothing is all layered" I commend Mr. Valeri for trying take the look to a different level and make it modern, staying away from the banal suits we see in every issue of American GQ. But then the transition is lost. Modernity has to do with relativity and time, which is now, and I'm afraid to note that I don't see that in the pictures, I only see a man that is wearing layered semi-translucent white ensembles. I feel there was something missing here. 

Then he continues on and referring to the cover shot (first picture on the left), "I wanted to give a modern approach. I was thinking of rapper Tupac (Shakur) where I put a band underneath in the hat to make it look hip-hop, but... it creates a surreal look where it creates a strong image. It was something that hasn't been done before. It's mixing the inspiration of Tupac and a gentleman in a white hat... a mix of hip-hop and a conservative look." After I read this quote I HAD to find out who this man was, I saw his portfolio and he clearly has a sense of style and vision of fashion. His work has been publish V Man, Wonderland, Hercules and uber-gay magazine Out. But then where has all his experience gone when he was brainstorming for this spread? What happened? I'm not sure if he was thinking of Tupac just because he was styling a black man or he as he claims "there was hip-hop playing in the background and he was singing it and knew all the lyrics of the songs" but then. Was that Tupac has to do with the publication? I though it reminiscent Al Jonson. But then what sounded utterly ignorant was that mixing hip-hop and a more refined look hasn't been done. This just shows that Mr. Valeri does not read any type of american men's magazine, not less one that is hip-hop influenced. I hope in future projects this man does some research before attempting to create something that he's clearly is oblivious about. Isn't that what stylist suppose to do anyways?

I don't know how you feel about these images, but I see fashion as an confident booster, a friend, a confidante, an outlet. Conversely, fashion can be controversial, elitist, off-putting, ephemeral or as Karl Lagerfdeld once said, dangerous. If you play with fire you are going to burn if you don't proceed with caution and this is a perfect example of that. They got burned (no pun intended). Honestly speaking, if I was the editor of the magazine and it's my responsibility to decide what ultimately gets printed, this spread will hit the "reject pile"

Photos via latimesmagazine.com



Have fun tonight and if you decide to drink, don't forget about me, jk.
Looks from Jean Paul Gaultier Paris Spring 2010 


This is Why...


When Gaga was shot by a sea of paparazzi at a Tokyo airport carrying a white Hermes scribbled on the front of it 'I love little monsters" in Katakana in what seems to be sincere sign of devotion to her fans was just a glimpse of what was to come on her stay in Japan. On April 10, 2010 (so that means I'm super late) Ms. Gaga performed at a charity concert for people living with H.I.V and to support the MAC's Viva Glam campaign. Not only this women is amazingly talented but she also has a heart that at times is unfortunately overshadow by her plumery. As usual, she gives a show, and I mean A SHOW. The white powdery yellow big wig worn with this white lace bodysuit just added more drama to her show. I'm pretty sure her Japanese fans were satisfied. And check out the  last picture. YES!

Photos via gettyimages.com



I guess the message here is to "have fun with make-up", but I hope chinese girls out there don't walk out their house looking crazy, just 'cause they saw it in a editorial photographed by Liz Collins in the May edition of Vogue China. But wait a minute! Don't they already do? Nontheless, model Shu-Pei seemed like she had fun posing for the camera. And check out those pink Giles Deacon shades from his S/S 2010 collection. Hot!
Photos via nextmodelsblog.blogspot.com