The Ins and Outs of Personality on the Runway

Hey! Glad to see you back,

For today’s Freestyle Post, I decided to write about a realization I made a while ago (as I’m sure many others may have), the In’s and Out’s of personality on the runway. Most people that stake claim to “loving fashion” more than likely take a liking to runway. It’s sort of the big shebang in the fashion industry where designers get to showcase their designs that once only resonated as ideas, but now come to life for onlookers to interpret, criticize, and… wear of course. We know that with the seasons’ change, new trends are introduced in addition to styling techniques and projections from forecasters, but what about the muse? The model.

I’m no model connoisseur, but I am keen on the history of many and being an observer, I have realized that models’ presentations have changed drastically over the years. Let’s think back for a minute to 1987 (No, I wasn’t to be born for another 3 years, but that’s why I love the Internet), Oscar de la Renta’s spring/summer show, which included Supermodels like Iman, Veronica Webb, Yasmin le Bon, Paulina Porizkova, Dalma Collado and more, was a lively show full of models with various backgrounds, looks, and personalities that all had a chance to shine on that runway. It wasn’t taboo to twirl and turn until the model’s heart was content, it was encouraged! They did just that, as they still kept in mind that the ultimate goal was to model the beautiful dresses and gowns to be marveled over. Take a look at some footage from that show below. The quality is not so good, but hey…it was over 20 years ago!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0cAh2js8Uc[/youtube]

As you can see, the models seemed full of joy, grace, and simply did their own thing. If you go even further back to the early 70s, specifically the fashion event that changed the face of American fashion in the light of our European counterparts, The Runway Battle of Versailles ’73, we see that this marked the change that allowed for models to be more expressive on the runway and move away from the very robotic old European way of modeling. This is a perfect indicator of the fact that the fluctuation of expression on the runway has been occurring for some time, but that the constant wave seems to continue it’s pattern of “In and Out”.

Throughout the 90s, the notion of “fun on the runway” was popular, and I believe it is what allowed models the chance to prove themselves and create signature aspects of their work to later gain them the title of Supermodel. Think Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and even Tyra Banks, they are known for their quirks and namesake signature walks, turns, and smiles on the runway, but what has happened to that element of character and life on the runway?

Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Tyra Banks

90s models, they brought character to the runway!

 

Today’s runway seems to be on a downward sloping trend toward the “Out” end when it comes to models being “themselves” on the runway. Yes, I understand that it is about the clothes, but as a consumer and lover of the visual imagery that runway shows bring, personality brings the lively theatrical element back to the runway. It’s fun, unexpected, and personable! I guess they don’t want that? Besides the Victoria Secret fashion show and Betsey Johnson’s fashion week shows, traces of smiles, excessive but properly executed spins and twirls, and “I’m not just  a number” odes are nonexistent. The sad truth. Now, the runway has went back to its robotic ways, everyone is the same. Yeah, there are one or two models every season that get a little more shine and gets bumped up to supermodel status overnight, but it’s just not the same. Not like back in the day where it wasn’t really based on hype, but when models earned their credibility and star status by becoming trusted muses of famed designers who cherished the ground they walked on. In a Q & A I did with Iman a couple years ago, she stated “Unfortunately, models are no longer muses! When I used to model, designers always asked me how I felt about the clothes or how I would style it. Our opinions mattered then but unfortunately now the girls are all told to walk the same hence making them more like mannequins.” See, it’s not just me, guys! I would love to see life resume on the runway, smiles and winks and extra hip dips, all of that!

 

New York Fashion week

Today’s runway! They all look the same!

 

I’ve had the pleasure of attending a few runway shows at New York Fashion Week, so I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, and although the shows are exceptionally beautiful with aesthetic genius, I can’t help but wonder why after  the light tricks, runway illusions, and apparel designs have left the runway, people lend a little hand clap and rush off quickly to their next destination. I think the missing element is the character and life models used to be encouraged to bring forth on the runway, the things that people can feel and want more of. That’s what it is. It troubles me to think of how long it will take for the trend to head toward “In” again, or if it will land at a plateau where only a few designers and models will continue to employ this entertaining style of runway, while the rest continue to line up by who can be the most robotic. Is anyone else with me on this one? Do you want to see personality return to the runway or are you cool with today’s norm of the unwritten uniform policy?

Let’s have a conversation!

The Runway Battle of Versailles ’73: A Story That Needed to be Told

Just like everything else in the world, fashion has a history. A very elaborate history that is often told through stories passed from generation to generation, “he say, she say”, carrying the tradition of those old fables you learned as a kid. Only this time, the tortiose and the hare are substituted with real people trying to make their dreams come true, back stories of the lives of once struggling designers and models trying to make a name for themselves, all while doing everything in their power (on purpose, or not) to leave their mark in fashion. Even as we marvel at the stories we’ve heard over the years, and get even more giddy as we learn of new tales of old stories, we all know that all stories don’t get their chance in the limelight and that many times, they are the ones that deserve it the most. The events of what has been named Versailles ’73, is one of those stories, and it’s finally being told.

Versailles '73

Last evening I had the pleasure of being invited to a private screening of Versailles ’73, a documentary, directed by Riley Draper, about an event in fashion that was so monumental and life altering (for some), that someone….forgot to tell the story. Neither here nor there, the story of Versilles ’73 is now being told in a exciting and attention grabbing documentary, with intention to either make you feel like you were there, wish you were there, or say to yourself, “…and why did it take so long for them to tell this story?!”.  I asked myself all three of those questions, and with much purpose. To give you a brief synopsis without telling the whole story (I promise, no spoilers…although I want to soooooo badly!) Versailles ’73 tells of an EPIC–people usually use this word for non-epic moments, but this is one that’s deserving– fashion show that would put five well known French couturiers against five, then less globally recognized and respected, American fashion designers in an initial effort to raise money to repair the Palace of Versailles. I emphasize the word initial because although that was the primary purpose of the show, the end result of what happened that night would forever change fashion, the lives of the designers involved, and the models that served as muses that night; especially the African American models who came onto stage and dazzled the predominantly French audience like nothing they had ever seen before.

Versailles '73 on stage

Bethann Hardison and Daniela Morera with designer Stephen Burrows,  Versailles '73

Bethann Hardison and Daniela Morera with designer Stephen Burrows, Versailles ’73

Versailles ’73 is an electrifying account of the magic that took place in Paris on that November evening in 1973 , and only those involved could tell the story with such excitement, accuracy, and step-by-step detail, captivating the audience in such a way that it pulls you to the edge of your seat! Just talking about it has me excited again, and being able to hear the story told by those who were actually there that night makes it all the more thrilling. The model muses include Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison, China Machado and Carla Lemonte just to name a few, and the five designers that would ultimately prove American fashion were Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, and Halston. These designers put ready -to-wear on ‘the map’, and took fashion in a new direction, away from the elaborate haute couture that only the noble and, well, rich could wear, and opened everyone’s eyes to a new way of dress, that was fit for all. If I go on, I will tell the whole story and you’ll be mad at me, so take a look at the trailer to get a piece of what Versailles ’73 was and is all about and why this story needed to be told. Thank me later after you see it!

This story needs to be told, heard, and appreciated. It will make you laugh hysterically, gasp in shock, and clap in glee as the story unfolds! I hope you all get to see this remarkable documentary, and that you share it with others.

There will be a public screening of Versailles ’73 tonight at 7:30pm ET at Temple University’s Center City campus, 1515 Market Street room 222 organized by the Philadelphia Collection. Mikki Taylor, Editor-at-large of ESSENCE Magazine and Author of Commander in Chic, and fashion Philanthropist and style maven Cameron Silver will also be doing a Q&A after the screening, so come out! It is open to the public and free of charge, hope to see you there!

ps, the models and some attendees of Versailles ’73 recently had a reunion, don’t they look FAB?!

Models of versailles 73 now

Models and attendees of Versailles ’73 in 2012, beautiful!

Visit Versailles ’73 for more info.

Sincerely,

with style~ Sharontina B.

Next Stop, Destination IMAN!

Hello there awesome people!

It’s a great Friday, and all is well on The Runway Times’ … runway. Any who, I come to you today with some banter (my new favorite word) about a little vacation I went on recently. I was minding my own business one day, and the fashion goddess, Iman, comes sauntering–y’all know, her signature prowess of a glide-strut– all up all in my Twitter timeline, like “Hey y’all, check out my new website!”– in a much better and elegant all-caps-everything way Iman says things– and you know I was on the site before she could even send the tweet… (insert giggle).

So, I take my curious Georgina self on over to Destination Iman, as it is affectionately named with much purpose, and that was it guys… my bags were mysteriously packed and I was on vacation! I’ll break it down in points, because if I don’t, we could be here all night and I know y’all have stuff to do.

Destination IMAN

Destination IMAN

  • When the web page opens, it feels like you just landed on an isolated island that only the “invited” crew get to go to. The site is very clean and easy to navigate, yet has an cultural aesthetic about it that makes me want to turn on some caribbean tunes and whip out my sarong. Iman calls it ‘authentic chic’ and I agree… something that can’t be duplicated.

 

  • All of Iman’s brands are right there, in one place. Iman has literally built an empire that stands on her four-letter name, and boy does she do it justice. From Iman Cosmetics, to Global Chic, to Iman Home; she does it all, with class , style and grace of course. The site displays pages for each one of her stellar brands, with the option to “explore” if you dare (I added in the “if you dare” part for dramatic effect!).

 

Destination IMAN

Explore the brands!

 

  • It’s set up by issue, so each month you can expect something new, can’t wait to see how it changes each month! Along with monthly issues and articles about fashion, style, and the like, Iman will write a monthly blog called ‘Ageless Chic’, where she states that she’ll be “unapologetically sharing the secret to not looking frumpy without looking shamefully trendy.” I don’t know about you, but I’ll be in the front row… and I know a few other people who need front row seats as well (insert large tree for shade).
  •  …and my favorite part, the “About” page, which is usually loaded with lots of words of the events of one’s life and blah blah blah, but in this case, Iman showcases through imagery and snippets of attention grabbing articles, her philanthropic efforts, the legacy she’s built through fashion, and ‘IMAN TV’ where you can see her in action as a mogul and businesswoman.

 

Okay, I think I’ve ‘talked’ enough, time for you to tag along! Now, I’ve already booked your ticket, so all you have to do is click HERE! In the snap of a finger, you’ll be here –Dorothy clicking her heels three times style–, living that good Destination Iman vacation life where they serve fashion cocktails, Afterglow replaces the sun, and you have a different bag for every occasion. See ya there!

 

Thanks, Iman, for continuing to show us how it’s supposed to be done! You inspire me because of…

Iman

Your elegance…

 

your beauty…

your sophistication…

Sincerely,

with style~ Sharontina B.

 

 

America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion!

Tyra Banks is back with another season of her hit show, America’s next Top Model, but this time there’s an interesting twist! A British invasion…literally! I have to say that I commend Tyra for having such a big pool of ideas to have this show be in it’s 1000th season (exaggerating), but honestly, she always finds something she’e never done before and goes for it! For this season of ANTM, Tyra brought past contestants from Britain’s Top Model across the pond to America and will have them compete against the American girls. the premiere episode aired last night, and let’s just say that these girls are at each other’s necks already! It was actually hilarious.

For the first challenge, of course it was the Brits against the Americans where they were paired and each had to embody a powerful celebrity from their respective countries. Amongst the celebrity look alikes were Michelle Obama, Elton John, Madonna, and others I’ve never heard of. Ultimately, I think this season will be MESSY( in a good way), because these girls are so competitive and willing to stop at nothing to get that title! Some of the American girls feel it’s a little unfair that the Brits have already had experience with being on Britain’s Top Model, but I think that it just poses more of a challenge and that if the American girls can beat the Brits with experience, it says a lot about their work!

Ok, so I just LOVE that Tyra banks will be showing her judging outfits before the show comes on and giving the credits!!! For the premiere episode judging, Tyra wore an ivory on-shoulder gorn by tadashi Shoji, tassel earrings by  Bijou, and black suede Platform pumps by Giuseppe Zanotti! Love it!!! To view Tyra’s judging outfits before the show airs, “like” her Facebook page and get exclusive access!

Tyra wearing a gown by tadashi, earrings by Bijou, platform pumps by Giuseppe for the first judging of ANTM: British Invasion!

Here are a few images from last night’s episode, courtesy of CWTV.com.,

 

ANTM British Invasion: AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL Pictured (L-R): AzMarie, Mariah, Candace, Kyle, Eboni, Seymone, Laura, and Tyra Banks (US); Louise, Annaliese, Sophie, Jasmia, Catherine, Ashley, Alisha (Brits

 

Team U.S..

 
 

Kelly Osbourne as guest

 

Team U.K.

 
 May the best country win!
 

May the best country win!

 
Be sure to watch America’s Next Top Model: british Invasion Wednesday nights at 9pm ET. For more photos and to watch full episodes, visit CWTV.com
 
Sincerely,
with style~ Sharontina B.