This week, the top names in Black Hollywood and entertainment gathered in Los Angeles for Essence’s 16th annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon.
As one of Black culture’s most coveted tickets during awards season, the awards ceremony recognized the extraordinary achievements of Black women who are helping diverse Black stories to be told, including Sheryl Lee Ralph, Danielle Deadwyler, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Dominique Thorne, and Tara Duncan. The inspiring event was hosted by Boris Kodjoe, with appearances by Chloe Bailey, Viola Davis, Yara Shahidi, Quinta Brunson, Chinonye Chukwu, Daniel Kaluuya, and Ryan Coogler.
While the honorees shined on stage, the luncheon’s attendees shined just as brightly on the red carpet!
Fashion Month included fewer curve models
Although social media has embraced the body positivity movement in recent few years, Spring-Summer ’23 Fashion Month revealed that the industry still has a long way to go with regard to inclusivity. Only 31 out of the 3,200 models cast during New York Fashion Week fell within the guidelines of “plus-size” this season — a notable decrease compared to last season, which included 49 plus-size models.
“Usually, I’m sent to maybe 10-15 castings for NYFW, but this year there were 0-2 castings that I heard of that were inclusive,” model Roseline Lawrence told Nylon. “I felt very unseen and also worried…what does that mean for the rest of the year? Outside of plus-size brands, am I even going to work?”
London Fashion Week noted 71 plus-size models out of 2,640 who walked. Similarly, Milan fashion week reported 77% fewer plus-size models than London, with only 14 curve models.
“It’s really disheartening to witness a return to a very singular celebration of body types on the catwalk after the last few years of greater inclusivity across the spectrum,” said Naomi Pike, fashion writer and former Vogue editor, per Independent UK. “Looking at the casting this season so far, in London and New York, it really seems like we’re regressing.”
Coming into this new year, many predicted the end of the “BBL era.” With celebrities like the Kardashians drastically changing their once curvy silhouettes in favor of slim, “heroin chic” physiques, the industry turning its backs on the curvy models it once tokenized is little surprise.
Oscar nominee Brian Tyree Henry loves his curves
Actor Brian Tyree Henry might just be our body-positive style king.
Ahead of the 95th Oscars Awards this Sunday, in which Henry is up for Best Supporting Actor, the “Causeway” actor spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about his red carpet style, fashion icons, and how much he loves his curves.
The Emmy winner’s style has gone through quite an evolution since he first entered the scene. Henry’s style has gone from, as he puts it, “someone who gets dressed in the dark” to a vibrant celebration of color and fashion. He also has never been concerned with molding his body into a type designers and stylists typically want to style.
“I love every curve that I have. I love the build that I am, and I want to make sure I accentuate all those things,” Henry said.
Let’s hear it for the stylists!
Before we commemorate another Oscars ceremony and our feeds begin to fill with red carpet and after-party looks from our favorites, we would like to take a moment to celebrate the stylists who bring us all that glamour — especially when it comes to breakout style icons like the creator and star of “Abbott Elementary,” Quinta Brunson, and actress Zendaya.
In the case of Brunson, since “Abbott Elementary”’s premiere in 2022, she has been showing up and showing out on the red carpet for petite girls everywhere, wearing head-turning looks from Dolce & Gabbana, Prabal Gurung, Bibhu Mohapatra, and more. Old rules warning against floor-length gowns and dramatic trains have been completely — and thankfully — thrown out by Brunson’s stylist, Bryon Javar. When speaking to HuffPost last year, Javar said Brunson’s height has been a fun challenge to work with.
“I love that because Quinta’s 4-foot-11, and I’ve been able to make her seem not so short — and enter the chat as a new fashion girl,” he said.
Javar’s trailblazing looks for Brunson and her rise to the top of best-dressed lists in such a short time (no pun intended) reminds us of what celebrity stylist Law Roach has done for Zendaya, who in 2021 became the youngest person ever to win the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Icon award.
Both stylists appear to have an eye for not just style but also the ability to recognize star power in emerging talents. Zendaya became a style icon during her Disney transition years, setting the stage for more mature roles that have made her a household name. Brunson endured an awkward red carpet and magazine cover novice era and has now arrived packing style as elevated as her talent.
“I love being able to show the world what we’ve already known,” Javar said, adding, “I love being able to make a woman, in general, feel good, especially a Black woman. It just does something to me when a Black woman feels amazing.”
Raid top stylist Aleali May’s closet
In celebration of Women’s History Month, NTWRK is gearing up to host “The Archives,” its first female-focused live auction show with stylist, model, and sneaker designer Aleali May on Monday, March 20 at 7 p.m. (ET). The Archives is one of NTWRK’s newest programs, predominantly featuring celebrities and star-studded hosts.
According to a press release to theGrio, May will auction off over 50 of her most prized possessions straight from her closet, including some of her greatest design collaborations. Those who check out the auction will have their pick from a range of items, including jackets, denim, track pants, hoodies, tees, sneakers, slides, gloves, sunglasses, and luxury home items. Clothes will range in size from S to size L, and shoes from size 5 to 11.
In order to participate, bidders will need to download the NTWRK app. For more information, follow @NTWRK and @alealimay on social.
Flawless by Gabrielle Union’s inaugural grant initiative
Gabrielle Union and longtime stylist Larry Sims have partnered up to support small minority women-led businesses. Flawless by Gabrielle Union is offering a grant initiative awarding three Black female beauty and fashion entrepreneurs $25,000 each. In addition to the financial support, the co-founders have partnered with LinkedIn to offer mentorship sessions for the grant recipients.
“We are so grateful to have a platform to support other Black female entrepreneurs,” said Union in a press release. “For these founders, the barrier to entry is often unreachable, and we are proud to be a supporting anchor in their climb to success.”
Industry experts like B. Pagels-Minor of DVRGNT Ventures, the first Black trans-VC founder, and Antoine Gregory, founder of Black Fashion Fair, will assist Union and Sims in evaluating participants and selecting the six finalists who will move on to the virtual pitch on May 10. The official winners of the grant will be announced on May 17th. In the meantime, applications are open for submissions and close on April 19, 2023.
Halle Berry’s winning dress makes the Academy Museum
Ask any designer, and they’ll most likely tell you it’s an honor to see their dresses strutting down the red carpets on Hollywood’s biggest names, but it’s an even greater triumph to see those duds up on the stage as the actor or actress collects a coveted award. Designer Elie Saab’s name has become synonymous with the historic night Halle Berry became the first-ever Black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress at the 74th Oscars in 2002.
As she clutched her award, Berry was memorably dressed in a burgundy gown designed by Saab with a sheer embroidered bodice and crescendoing taffeta skirt that enveloped her. Berry herself recently announced that this glamorous piece of cinematic history will now be on display at the Academy Museum in Los Angeles, where she said it will “be accessible to generations of people while forever being a reminder that all things are possible.”
Billionaire Girls Club celebrates Women’s Month
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Billionaire Girls Club, the sister brand to Pharrell Williams’ Billionaire Boys Club, launched its Women’s Month capsule. Designed by collaborative partner Jillian Evelyn and in-house creative director Pan Jin, the collection features Evelyn’s artwork. From graphic tees to embroidered bowling shirts, shorts, and sweatshirts, the capsule captures the effervescence of spring and is lightweight enough for summertime layering. In addition to the capsule collection, the brand will also be hosting three unique experiences in NYC, Miami, and Atlanta throughout March.
Shop the collection at bbicecream.com.
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