Is Fashion Finally Alongside the Curve?
Political climate and literal climate of the world aside for a haute couture minute; I am encouraged. As New York Fashion Week wrapped up and we ride along the taffeta train to the other cities – London and then Paris – I am thrilled by some of what I see.
First up, how amazing was the lock down that Rihanna rolled out for her latest Savage Fenty presentation? Mobile phones on lockdown; photos on lockdown; music on lockdown; and chatter – mostly – on lockdown until she gives the world what it needs: all access via Amazon Prime starting September 20. She is no stranger to Amazon Prime as she featured in Donald Glover’s “Guava Island” earlier this year. This, to me, is just another example of her strength in business and strategic thinking. She has been building anticipation in her work and we, the people, are thirsty. Come Friday, I know I can expect to see people who are shaped like me and many more that aren’t. Some may have my skin tone and most of the others will not. That’s the whole point. All types of people want to wear lingerie and Rihanna is deliberately showing us that yes, you and your body, belong at Savage Fenty. Yes, they have that shape, size, and shade and would love to sell you it. Let’s watch to see how the revenue rolls in.
As we shift into fall, I am proclaiming summer 2019 was the summer of Lizzo. For those living under a rock, Glastonbury Lizzo should have woken you up to all of her amazingness. Musically, she’s no joke, and for the children both young and old, she is teaching us what self-love looks like. She wears what she wants, she says what she wants, and she’s not apologizing for being. She is reteaching us that you do not have to apologize for being outside of the whitewashed so-called norm. One is perfectly imperfect and more than likely, is telling “perfection” to go fuck itself. She plays the flute, she sings, she dances, she motivates, and she acts. Cut to…
Hustlers. Oh yes, Hustlers. I was delighted to see Lizzo as a stripper in the now hit status film, Hustlers. Maybe you came for JLo. Holy moly JLo. Perhaps it was Constance Wu or Cardi B who drew you in. But weren’t you tickled pink when you saw all of Lizzo holding down that stage? I sure was. There were a few clips in the movie where I saw women of all different hues, sizes, and shapes being seen as desirable and beautiful. Some may argue that stripping is demeaning and objectifying women is wrong. To that I say, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” While many of you are eye-rolling now, I would encourage you to brush up on exotic dancing and maybe even get yourself over to learning more about sex work in North America. It is fascinating and the safety and rights of those sex workers should no longer be ignored. A friend of mine says that sometimes you just need a tiny crack wedging in light to someone’s firm (traditional), closed minded dark basement-like opinions to help them see different. Maybe this movie can help create some cracks. And isn’t it nice to see a movie about hustling that isn’t centred around another white dude’s “journey”?
Finally, I’m thrilled about some more joy, served disco fresh from my beloved Zendaya (with the help of stylist, Law Roach, and using the platform provided by Tommy Hilfiger). It’s just so wonderful to see a variety of women, all ages, sashaying down the Tommy x Zendaya runway. Perhaps a side note, I do love hats and blazers and pants – it’s so cold in the winter it’s nice to have some stylish coverage, am I right – in so many combinations. It’s new/old America with a poster gal that is both stylish, and hella thoughtful in her actions. She’s a soft, yet firm advocate both on and off the stage. Don’t think I didn’t notice they went back to the Apollo in Harlem. Don’t think I didn’t notice her deliberate model casting celebrating all ages. Don’t think I didn’t notice she leveraged Hilfiger’s first-hand experience designing 70s era clothing for right here right now, and don’t think I didn’t notice those high waisted leather wide leg trousers. And I can’t even with the velvet suiting. I just can’t.
All of this awesomeness is hopeful. It’s hopeful that we are embracing and celebrating the future that’s long, long overdue. It’s been here right in front of us the whole, frustrating time, and it seems like mainstream is finally seeing it. It’s a future unfolding right in front of us where diversity is seen as a strength. A future when younger and older can learn from each other and work as a team. A future that isn’t so basic yet doesn’t throw away our history. Rather a future that’s respectful of our past and makes it worth seeing in a new light.