#ThrowbackThursday: Liu Wen Walks the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, 2009

Liu Wen walks the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (Zimbio)

Liu Wen walks the 2009 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (Zimbio)

I’ll be honest: Sometimes my posts are born from a random thought. This post comes from my Googling to find out who the first Asian supermodel was. This led me to Liu Wen, whom The New York Times called the “first Asian supermodel” in 2012.

Three years before The Grey Lady bestowed that moniker, Liu walked in the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She was the first Asian model to do so. That’s hardly the only first Liu has racked up throughout her career: She’s also the first East Asian model to be a face for Estee Lauder, cover American Vogue in 2017 and make Forbes‘ annual list of highest-paid models. (Liu ranked #5 on Forbes’ list in 2013 with $4.3M.)

 

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Trends: Latex Dresses

Beyoncé, Met Ball 2016 (US Magazine)

Beyoncé, Met Ball 2016 (US Magazine)

The 2016 Met Ball (that is, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit’s annual swanky party) took place this past Monday, and all eyes were on the stars to see who wore what. The theme “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” ensured that attendees and fashion obsessives would see some futuristic outfits.

And what could be more futuristic than latex?

Beyoncé wore a light-pink long-sleeved beaded latex dress. Model Bella Hadid wore a tight black spaghetti-strap bustier and pencil skirt, designed by custom latex couturier Atsuko Kudo, to the after party.

The latex dress trend isn’t limited to real life. Taylor Swift wore a white two-piece latex outfit in her “Bad Blood” video, and the aforementioned Beyoncé has a bright red minidress as one of her current “Formation” tour costumes. Both of these were Kudo pieces.

But neither of the aforementioned ladies started this trend. That honor goes to Kim Kardashian back in 2014. She wore a peachy-pink Kudo creation (can you tell he’s got the custom latex market on lock?) to the Australian launch of her fragrance. Incidentally, her outfit was the identical forerunner of Hadid’s (though Kardashian has also worn the black version of the outfit).

Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian (Wetpaint)

Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian (Wetpaint)

Why is latex having a moment right now?

It’s possible that this is part of the long-range ripple effect from “Fifty Shades of Grey” that began ramping up last year. Everybody remembers (and was intrigued/titillated by) the playroom scenes, whether they read the book(s), saw the movie or both.

The book and movie’s success can be traced to many women’s hidden desires to be more sexually daring. However, in real life, some women may not feel comfortable completely putting themselves out there, sexually-speaking, in all their freak-flag glory. Donning a latex dress (or any fetishwear) can feel liberating, as if a woman is letting her “bad” side out to play. But it’s also safe in that the wearer can take it off at the end of the night (or session).

“Fashion Police” co-host Tim Gunn (also of “Project Runway” fame) hit the nail on the head when critiquing Beyoncé’s Met Gala look: “It has S&M written all over it.”

Well, yes. That’s sort of the point.

 

 

Black Women Covering the September Issue for “Vogue:” By The Numbers

Beyonce's 'Vogue' Cover, September 2015 (PopSugar)

Beyonce’s ‘Vogue’ Cover, September 2015 (PopSugar)

Sadly, the number of Black women covering the famed September issue of “Vogue” is very short. It really needs to be longer (how the hell is it 2015, and we’re still talking about this?!), and I have no doubt that it will be. Someday. But not soon enough.

As everyone knows by now, the ***Flawless Beyoncé will be covering the fashion bible’s September issue, which comes out Aug. 25th. It’s her first time covering the issue, though it’ll be her third time around as a “Vogue” cover model.

3: The number of Black women covering the September issue solo

1989: Supermodel Naomi Campbell covers the September issue

2010: Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry covers the September issue.

The fashion industry is notoriously slow to change its ways (look at how many Black women were on “Vogue” covers in 2014). I hope Queen B’s new issue means we’ll see more diverse cover models, and soon.

#ThrowbackThursday: Beyoncé’s “Vogue” Covers, 2009 and 2013

Beyoncé's 'Vogue' covers, April 2009 and March 2013 (Celebuzz)

Beyoncé’s ‘Vogue’ covers, April 2009 and March 2013 (Celebuzz)

Last week, fashion bible “Vogue” announced its cover star for the always-hotly-anticipated September issue: the one, the only Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. But you may know the acclaimed singer solely by her first name.

This will mark Beyoncé’s third turn as the magazine’s cover model: She had previously appeared on the April 2009 and March 2013 covers. But this time is significant: It’ll be the first time she’s covered the September issue. Beyoncé will be only the third Black woman to cover the biggest issue of the year solo. (Her predecessors are supermodel Naomi Campbell and Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry.)

The issue will hit newsstands Aug. 25th.

 

Joan Smalls is “Porter” Magazine’s First Woman of Color Cover Model

Joan Smalls for 'Porter' Magazine (Fashion Week Daily)

Joan Smalls for ‘Porter’ Magazine (Fashion Week Daily)

Supermodel Joan Smalls covers the summer edition of “Porter” magazine. She’s a model, she’s gorgeous; no big deal, right? Except, this time, it is: Smalls is the first woman of color to grace the cover.

The Puerto Rican beauty joins fellow supermodels Gisele Bundchen and Karlie Kloss in the “Porter” cover girl pantheon.

This isn’t the first time Smalls has made history, even in this decade: She became the first Latina model for Estée Lauder cosmetics in 2011.

Fashion companies and publications are finally recognizing to the fact that white isn’t the only skin tone that exists (“Vogue” has had a particular problem with this), and realizing that customers want to see models that resemble themselves. I just hope it’s not a trend but a step towards a large-scale change.

#ThrowbackThursday: Carmen Dell’orefice for Rouge, Fall/Winter 2012

Carmen Dell'orefice for Rouge, Fall/Winter 2012

Carmen Dell’orefice for Rouge, Fall/Winter 2012

At 83 years old, Carmen Dell’orefice is the world’s oldest supermodel.

She began her career at age 15 in 1946, when she signed a modeling contract for “Vogue.” Dell’orefice posed her first solo cover the next year, becoming one of the youngest cover models in the magazine’s history. In her youth, Dell’orefice worked with Condé Nast’s stable of fashion photographers: Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and Horst P. Horst. After befriending Surrealist painter Salvador Dali, she became his muse.

After retiring in the later 1950s, Dell’orefice returned to modeling in 1978, and has been working ever since. Within the last five years, she’s modeled in advertising campaigns for Missoni for Lindex, Rouge and Rolex. Her last magazine cover was for “Harper’s Bazaar Thailand” in September 2014.

 

Black Stars on “Vogue” Covers in 2014: By The Numbers

Lupita Nyong'o, 'Vogue' Magazine Jul. 2014 (IB Times)

Lupita Nyong’o, ‘Vogue’ Magazine Jul. 2014 (IB Times)

A recent “Daily Mail” article points out that (American) “Vogue” had more black cover stars during 2014 than during any previous year.

While this still isn’t ideal in terms of diversity, it seems the magazine is on the right path in including equal representation, both on the cover and within its pages. Let’s just hope things keep progressing upwards.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

Number of “Vogue” issues in 2014: 12

Number of cover stars in 2014: 15

Number of black cover stars: 4 (26%+)

Number of black models: 1 (Joan Smalls, who shared the cover with Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss)

Number of black actresses: 1 (Lupita Nyong’o)

– Number of black musicians: 2 (Rihanna and Kanye West)

 

Number of black cover stars in recent years:

– 2013: 2 (Michelle Obama and Beyoncé)

– 2012: 1 (Serena Williams)

– 2011: 1 (Rihanna)

 

Most recent time the September issue featured a black star: 2010 (Halle Berry)

Previous to 2010, the last time the September issue featured a black star: 1989, 21 years previously (Naomi Campbell)

 

Number of “Vogue” publications that did not use any black/people of color cover stars in 2014: 5 (“Vogue UK,” “Vogue Paris,” “Vogue Ukraine,” “Vogue Netherlands,” “Vogue Russia”)