NEW YORK — From her ultra-blond hair to her super-high heels, Donatella Versace uses every inch of her being to embrace glamour, and she wasn’t going to put the Versace name on anything — and certainly not a collection for global fast-fashion retailer H&M — that didn’t do the same.
The clothes that debuted Tuesday night on the catwalk lived up to the hype surrounding the limited-edition collection as well as Versace’s own glitzy standards: There was a metallic disco dress, a studded leather bomber jacket and an animal-print-meets-tropical-sunset tank dress for women; and a hot-pink suit, studded tuxedo-style shorts and a palm-tree, second-skirt T-shirt for men.
The runway at the huge and historic Pier 57 in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District attracted a crowd that included Blake Lively, Uma Thurman and Jessica Alba. Nicki Minaj and Prince took their front row seats just before the show started, and then emerged on stage at the after-party that recreated a Miami nightclub. Minaj did swap the green feather fascinator she wore to the show for a crystal-covered trucker hat when it came time to perform.
“She’s a legend. She’s amazing,” Minaj said of Versace on the red carpet.
She added: “I said in an interview recently I remember Biggie Smalls rap about Versace and wanting to know what that was. So I told Donatella today, you don’t understand how many little girls are jumping for joy now that you’re introducing a more affordable line. So I’m just happy to be here.”
Swedish fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz AB has partnered with big names before, including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz, and Target Corp.’s joint line with the Italian knitwear brand Missoni earlier this fall caused a frenzy, causing its website to crash the first day items were offered. None had a launch quite like this, though.
Versace said in a backstage interview that she thinks it’s this sort of production, coupled with clothes embellished with sequins, studs, leather and lace, will serve as the antidote for the struggling economy. “It was done totally wrong the last time the economy failed,” she said. “Everyone said, ‘Let’s do safe clothes of a good quality that people will invest in and wear year after year.’ That couldn’t be more wrong. The companies that survived the most were the ones that were recognizable, that stuck to their DNA, and our DNA is glamour.”
She added: “This is a very joyful collection.”
Tropical floral patterns were splashed on tight leggings and tunic tops, and heart-print dresses were covered with beaded fringe. Many models wore hot-pink strappy sandals and carried printed handbags with the South Beach motif and Versace’s Medusa logo.
Many of the styles were updated (and, with top prices of $299, less expensive) interpretations of signature looks of the house as it was first designed by the late Gianni Versace and for the last 14 years by his sister Donatella. “I really wanted iconic moments of Versace,” she said. There even was a black dress with gold hardware reminiscent of the label’s safety-pin gown made famous by Elizabeth Hurley.
“I’ve always been such a fan. The dresses that she makes, all the things she makes, they’re always such amazing shapes for women,” said Lively. “And she always has such unexpected things between the colors and the patterns, the detail, the beading, it’s always shocking — and I love that.”
Versace said she thinks head-turning styles are the right introduction to the next-generation shoppers — the ones who know how to mix top-tier designer labels with inexpensive trendy pieces.
“Young people like to dress up and look cool.” Versace said.
With 20-somethings as children, Versace said she has done her fair share of shopping with them at stores such as H&M. “I know this customer. I know what they want. They follow music, fashion. For the new generation, it’s all pop culture.”
She pays attention to it, too, she said, and she mines it for inspiration. “Creativity comes from quantity and quality of information. I want to know everything: politics, music, movies. Only this way can you come up with each new collection.”— (AP)
Salamishah Tillet is assistant professor of English and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a regular contributor for the online magazine, TheRoot.com, and in 2006, Ebony named her one of America’s top 30 Black leaders under 30. As a result of her 2010 Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Tillet was able to finish her debut book, “Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in Post-Civil Rights America” (Duke University Press, $23.95).
More than 40 years after the major victories of the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans have a vexed relation to the civic myth of the United States as the land of equal opportunity and justice for all. In “Sites of Slavery,” Tillet examines how contemporary African-American artists and intellectuals — including Annette Gordon-Reed, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Bill T. Jones, Carrie Mae Weems and Kara Walker — turn to the subject of slavery in order understand and challenge the ongoing exclusion of African Americans from the founding narratives of the United States. She explains how they reconstruct “sites of slavery” — contested figures, events, memories, locations and experiences related to chattel slavery — such as the allegations of a sexual relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, the characters Uncle Tom and Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” African-American tourism to slave forts in Ghana and Senegal and the legal challenges posed by reparations movements. The book will “examine how post-civil rights, African-American artists, writers and intellectuals reimagine slavery both as a metaphor for post civil rights citizenship and as a model for racial democracy, in their art and in their rhetoric,” explained Tillet.
Tillet is currently working on two other projects: a co-edited book on musical responses to the deaths of 1960s civil rights leaders and a new book of her own on Nina Simone, the civil rights icon and musician. “This comes out of my desire to go back to the period of the Civil Rights Movement and look at how Black radical thought and African-American artists, like Nina Simone, were using both their poetics and their politics to change the world,” said Tillet.
“‘Sites of Slavery’ is a meticulously researched, persuasively argued, beautifully written and intellectually daring study of contemporary narratives of slavery,” said Valerie Smith, author of “Toni Morrison: Writing the Moral Imagination.” “Through her dazzling readings of fiction, drama, dance, cinema, visual art, heritage tourism, reparations legal cases and critical race historiographies, Salamishah Tillet demonstrates how a range of African-American artists, writers and intellectuals respond to the contemporary ‘crisis of citizenship’ by foregrounding a ‘democratic aesthetic’ in their representations of slavery. This book will transform the way we think about the place of African-American cultural production in relation to ‘post-civil rights era’ political discourse.”
It was the best seat in the house.
From where you were, you could see it all: every footstep, gesture, movement and every player there. Looks of joy, grimaces and effort, you saw them all. You didn’t miss anything from where you were sitting.
Yep, you had the best seat in the house, which is good because you paid dearly for it.
Paul Jennings paid dearly for his seat in history, too, as you’ll see in the new book “A Slave in the White House” by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor (Palgrave Macmillan/$28). Paul, in fact, paid for his vantage point with most of his life.
When Paul Jennings was born in late 1799, it might’ve seemed that his future was already set: At a time when slavery was matrilineal, Jennings, the son of a mixed-race enslaved mother and a white father, automatically inherited his mother’s status.
Because she was a house slave on the plantation owned by Virginia legislator (and later President) James Madison, tradition held that little Paul would work in the house, too. For curious, quick-to-learn, young Jennings, that meant opportunity to learn to read and write, and to observe. Perhaps, because of that, when James Madison became president and moved to Washington, he took 10-year-old Jennings along.
Madison was an “exceptional” statesman but a “garden-variety” slaveholder. Though he paid a certain amount of lip-service to anti-slavery movements, he followed established practices for slave’s living conditions and family situations. That meant that, when Jennings was of marrying age and took a wife, his bondage kept him from his family — sometimes, for months at a time.
One can almost imagine Paul Jennings “gnawing on the possibility of escape,” but he stayed with the Madisons, traveling between Washington and the plantation in Virginia. He embraced a leadership role in the household, made valuable contacts in Washington, and managed to father five children.
James Madison had indicated in his will that Paul Jennings was to be freed upon Madison’s death, a wish about which Jennings knew. So, as documents show, did Dolley Madison, but she had other ideas…
Did you ever finish a book with a dozen questions still swirling through your head? As I read “A Slave in the White House,” I often wondered what, for instance, Paul Jennings might have thought about a Black president?
Like most of us, author-historian Elizabeth Dowling Taylor can only speculate, since slaves like Jennings had to keep such notions to themselves. Still, Taylor gives her readers a general idea of the character of the man, enough for us to make inferences. To do that, she unearthed documents, oral histories and photographs that make Paul Jennings’ story one that’s both lively and bitter. She also includes the full text of the book that Jennings wrote about his White House days, so we can see history for ourselves.
You might think you know our nation’s past, but this book may surprise you. If you’re up for a great historical biography, “A Slave in the White House” will surely keep you in your seat.
It’s been said that if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. It is without question that a mythical history of the role “American Bandstand” played during the early Civil Rights Movement has seared itself onto the national psyche. One of the most popular television shows ever, “American Bandstand” broadcast from Philadelphia in the late 1950s, a time when the city had become a battleground for civil rights. Although host Dick Clark’s claims that he integrated the dance show, “The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia” (University of California Press, $27.95) reveals how the first national television program directed at teens discriminated against African-American youths during its early years and how Black teens and civil rights advocates protested this discrimination.
Author Matt Delmont, assistant professor of American studies at Scripps College, never questioned Clark’s claim that “American Bandstand” was racially integrated in the 1950s until his research turned up new evidence. He chose to write a book about the popular TV show because it was one of his mother’s favorites, and he grew up listening to her memories of “American Bandstand.” While Clark, now 88, has described himself as a brave individual who broke down racial barriers, in reality there were immense economic and social pressures that made segregation the safe course of action.
“My research reveals how ‘American Bandstand’ discriminated against Black youth during its early years and how Black teens and civil rights advocates protested this discrimination,” said Delmont. “My book explains how ‘American Bandstand’ shaped the image of American teenagers while also becoming a battleground for segregation and civil rights.”
Delmont’s exhaustive research includes speech transcripts, government reports, census data, editorial cartoons, high school yearbooks, photographs, songs, popular histories of “American Bandstand” and other original sources. He also interviewed 21 individuals who grew up in Philadelphia and attended, watched, or protested the TV show.
“Through these sources I explore the choices ‘American Bandstand’s’ producers made in their specific contexts, the choices other Philadelphians made under similar circumstances, and the ongoing struggle over how this history of racial discrimination and anti-discrimination activism is remembered,” explains Delmont. “All of the people who make up this history understood the daily lives of teenagers and the representations of these lives as important sites in the struggle for racial equality in postwar Philadelphia. Thanks to ‘American Bandstand,’ images of Philadelphia teenagers became meaningful for young people across the country. This project reveals how ‘American Bandstand’ reinforced, rather than challenged, segregationist attitudes, and how this discrimination has been repeatedly disavowed over the past half-century.”
For more book information and to view early clips of “American Bandstand,” visit Matt Delmont’s website: http://mattdelmont.com.
You just don’t want to talk about it.
Whatever it is, better nobody ask you because it’s a sore subject. You’re keeping your mouth shut on that topic. Don’t ask: Mum’s the word, and all that. And if anybody dares say something, well, they’re going to get the stink-eye for sure because you don’t want to talk about it.
Just remember that tender topics have a way of coming to the forefront eventually. And if not, as you’ll see in the new book “Creatures Here Below” by O.H. Bennett (Agate Bolden/$15) words left unsaid can crack a family wide apart.
Mason Reed always wondered why his mother, Gail, never stuck up for him.
She was always yelling, grabbing him, smacking him upside the head. She was always angry, and maybe it had something to do with his father, Pony, who left Mason and his mother when Mason was just a baby.
Whatever the reason, her anger lingered and on the night that he almost smacked her first, Mason caught himself, then left the house for good without saying goodbye.
Not knowing where her son went made Gail frantic. She couldn’t stand to lose another child.
Years ago, when she was just 14, she got pregnant and her mother lied, saying the baby died at birth — but Gail knew better. She saw tiny fists waving and heard a cry. But in dreaming of how life might’ve been with a daughter, Gail also ached for her firstborn son.
Annie Gant knew what it was like to have empty arms. Once upon a time, Annie helped another family raise their boys and keep their house, but she gave the job up to marry her Joseph. Those were good years but now everyone was gone, and 89-year-old Annie lived in an upstairs room in Gail’s boarding house, left only with memories and a dozen phantom dogs.
Jackie Bell never planned on getting pregnant by a white boy, but she did. And she never wanted to be tied down, living in a rooming house with her baby, an addled old woman, a ticked-off landlady, and boy gone missing, but she was.
And what Jackie did about it almost blew Miss Gail’s household apart.
I almost put “Creatures Here Below” aside — twice.
At the beginning, this book is a jumble. Very little of the story makes sense, and there’s a lot of back-and-forth without warning. I struggled with what seemed like a plot gone wrong. I hoped it would get better.
And, boy, did it.
After that initial confusion, author O.H. Bennett grabs his readers by the hand and leads them through a house of miscommunication where everybody thinks too much and talks too little. Despite what I thought was a rocky start, Bennett’s characters become likeable in their frailties and failures, and the back-and-forth ripens into a welcome addition.
Grab this book, and if you’re willing to be patient for a few pages, you’ll be rewarded by a bold story. In the end, “Creatures Here Below” is a novel you’ll be talking about.
This fall, the region will witness the world premeire of the first major presentation under the Association for Public Art. “Open Air,” by Mexican-Canadian media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, will combine public art with mobile technology to create a spectacular, interactive experience that will illuminate the night sky from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Created specifically for Philadelphia, the project is designed for personal contributions. Using a free mobile app developed by Lozano-Hemmer’s studio, participants’ voices and GPS positions will control 24 powerful robotic searchlights placed along a half-mile section of the Parkway, creating giant three-dimensional “light sculptures.”
Forming a canopy of light over the city, the project will be seen up to 10 miles away each evening from 8 to 11 between Sept. 20 and Oct. 14. A dedicated project headquarters, including app download and free mobile loan stations, will be located at Eakins Oval, 24th Street and the Parkway.
“What we’re going to do is place 24 of the world's brightest searchlights on the planet — 12 on Park Towne Place and 12 on the other side of the Parkway — and create with that a canopy of light,” explained the artist. “We’re going to create a mesh work of the whole Parkway, and then that mesh work is going to be controlled by people’s voices.”
A computer program will automatically analyze “Open Air” app users’ GPS positions and voices for frequency, intonation and volume, and will convert these characteristics into searchlight formations in the sky over the Parkway. The lights will react, both in brightness and position, to each participant’s voice and words as they are being spoken. Tens of thousands of individuals will be able to participate live during the project’s duration, and hundreds of thousands more will experience the project as viewers.
Lozano-Hemmer is an internationally recognized Mexican-Canadian artist currently living in Montreal. He has produced large-scale interactive art installations across the globe, including the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the 2010 Light in Winter Festival in Melbourne, Australia, and the 50th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2009. His work in kinetic sculpture, responsive environments, video installation and photography has been shown in museums and biennials in four-dozen countries. He also represented Mexico in the 2007 Venice Biennale. Lozano-Hemmer’s interest “is to create intimacy and not intimidation. While the project will be spectacular in scale, what matters to me is that individual participants can personalize their city with their contributions.”
The Association for Public Art (aPA), formerly known as Fairmount Park Art Association, commissions, preserves, promotes and interprets public art in Philadelphia. Since its founding in 1872, aPA has worked with artists, communities and civic leaders to make encounters with art a part of everyday life, creating a museum without walls that is free and accessible to residents and visitors.
“The Association is dedicated to creating opportunities for artists to respond to the issues of our time, while redefining public space and encouraging public engagement and interaction,” said executive director Penny Balkin Bach. “Our interest in the potential of new media as a framework for public art on an urban scale led us to Lozano-Hemmer, who is recognized internationally as a major figure in the evolving understanding of technology as a creative force. We’re excited to bring him to Philadelphia to create a work that will transform the skyline, engage the public in a unique experience and bring international attention to the city.”
“Open Air” is presented in conjunction with the 2012 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and 2012 DesignPhiladelphia Festival. The iPhone app will be available starting Sept. 19. For more information, visit openairphilly.net.
The son of Irish immigrants who grew up along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia at the turn of the 20th century, Jack Kelly became a three-time gold medal Olympian, a political maverick and the millionaire father of a princess. Danial J. Boyne’s intriguing biography, “Kelly, A Father, A Son, an American Quest” (Lyons Press, $16.96), follows the native son’s profound success in life and sports. Readers are introduced to members of the Kelly clan, including Jack’s daughter Grace, who becomes globally famous in her own right despite her father’s wishes, and his son, Jack Kelly Jr., upon whose shoulders is laid the greatest challenge of all — to carry on the Kelly tradition of championship rowing.
“The story of Jack Kelly Sr. and his long quest for international recognition in rowing is a colorful legend that has been passed along so many times in the sports world that it has become, like his statue, somewhat larger than life,” notes Boyne. “Yet, among the general public, the name Kelly registers very little, if anything, unless it is made in reference to his famous daughter, the actress Grace Kelly. Most people are unaware of how this Philadelphia patriarch rose from working-class Irish roots to become not only the most famous American oarsman of all time, but also a millionaire businessman whose brick company was one of the largest on the Eastern seaboard. Most are unfamiliar with his noteworthy political career, which paved the way for the Democratic Party in Philadelphia, or with his two brothers, George and Walter, who worked beside him in a local carpet mill as children and became famous as well — one as a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and the other as a popular vaudevillian. Many do not even realize that Kelly Drive, the long road that runs along the west bank of the Schuylkill River, was named after his equally lauded son, Jack Jr., or ‘Kell.’”
“Kelly” is a classic tale of grit and perseverance, and the clash between Old-World privilege and New World courage played out on so many fronts — including the watery battlefield of rowing, where Kelly first chose to forge his strength of character.
“Rowing was the cornerstone of Kelly’s life and the initial way that he developed the qualities of self-discipline and perseverance that lent him the ability to overcome many formidable obstacles in adulthood,” explained Boyne. “A gifted athlete who could have chosen any number of physical disciplines, Kelly settled on this ancient and odd sport where the athlete cannot see who or what lies ahead, and contact with another is forbidden. Under such restrictions, the oarsman’s focus almost by necessity travels inward, requiring intense concentration and a certain moral resolve. This mental and physical training may have given Kelly the ability to succeed at a high level in various pursuits, although it may have also left him blind, at times, to the impact of his success on those around him. Donning a green hat to proudly signify his Irish lineage, Kelly also chose a color that was appropriate in representing many other aspects of his character: his naivete, in assuming he could tackle any task put before him; his sense of competitive envy toward his rivals; a serenity that came from achieving financial well-being and finally, a sense of renewal in witnessing the success of his four children — particularity his son, Jack Jr. Roughly stated, these four qualities represented the four seasons of Kelly’s life.”
The recently concluded Philadelphia Collection 2011 events showcased the region’s fashion-forward focus with a series of thought-provoking, fashion-themed events featuring experts from across the country. Evoluer Image Consultants culminated the City of Philadelphia’s second annual Philadelphia Collection festivities with a cocktail and fashion event to raise funds that will help Evoluer House continue to address issues that affect the self-esteem of today’s girls and their ability to succeed in life. Exclusive guests witnessed the Philadelphia preview of “The Tents,” a documentary chronicling the evolution of New York Fashion Week, inside the posh Sofitel Philadelphia Paris Ballroom. In this flashy, sexy documentary, guests had a behind-the-scenes look at all the hard work that goes into making New York Fashion Week a hit every year. From the designers, the models, the journalists, the fashion royalty, “The Tents” offered the inside scoop on New York’s fashion event of the year, featuring interviews with Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen, Isaac Mizrahi, Hal Rubenstein, Nina Garcia, Betsey Johnson and other industry luminaries. The preview screening of the documentary drew dozens of special guests including internationally renowned fashion designer Loris Diran, Sarah Dash of the famed group LaBelle, and the Premier of Bermuda, The Hon. Paula A. Cox JP, MP.
“This event is taking young women who need to see the genie in the bottle to help them be who they are,” said Cox. “And that’s also what fashion and style does — and we shouldn’t trivialize it, because it really helps to revolutionize how we think and also reflects our social condition.”
The Philadelphia Collection 2011 is an annual series of fashion and style events that will take place throughout the city and is designed to promote the city and all aspects of its fashion economy, including its impressive “collection” of retailers, boutiques, stylists, designers, modeling agencies, design schools and fashion/design students. The non-profit organization Evoluer House empowers at-risk girls by nurturing positive self-expression and personal development. Since 2004, Evoluer House has served over 600 girls from the city of Philadelphia and Delaware Valley region in its programs. Girls participate in a series of structured workshops, designed to challenge them to develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, such as leadership, being goal-oriented, having strong values, social consciousness, and having conviction about their own potential and self-worth.
“This was the ultimate merger of fashion and philanthropy,” said Evoluer Image Consultants founder, Cheryl Ann Wadlington. “And the same momentum of educating the future generation of hopefuls was in full effect. For instance, Loris Doran offered one of the Evolour girls an internship or a day to shadow him for a day in New York. This event will enlighten audiences about how the real fashion world navigates, and it has the ability to inspire the future generation of fashion leaders while at the same time giving back to desperately at-risk girls.”
Terrance Dean more than just created controversy with the 2008 release of his Essence best selling book, “Hiding In Hip Hop.” He fostered a dormant conversation within the Black community about the “down low” culture that still takes place today.
“Hiding In Hip Hop” was Dean’s personal memoir which detailed his life in the entertainment industry as a gay man and his desire to live openly. He not only gave himself a voice, but in the years since, has used his journey to help others break their silence.
“I felt it was time for a conversation because our communities are in dire need of a voice as well as direction and leadership as well as an outlet to discuss openly without any judgments or criticisms about sex and sexuality and we’ve been struggling so long with this issue,” Dean said.
“We’ve seen so many people succumb to the hardships and the devastation and to the deadly diseases of HIV and AIDS that has crippled our community, thus making us the largest infection rate in the country.”
Dean continued about the importance of why homosexuality in the Black community was such a paramount one.
“If we continue to turn a blind eye towards sex and sexuality, we’re gonna continue to see the destruction of the Black family and the Black community,” Dean said.
“So, I really wanted to just bring light to some of the people who are hiding, who are fearful and who are tired and I feel like this is the appropriate time to lay claim and put a face and a voice to such an issue an a topic that is so deep within our community.”
In addition to being an author, Dean is also the founder and creator of Men’s Empowerment Inc., and co-creator of The Gathering of Men with Adeyemi Bandele. Recently, he became a columnist for the website, Bossip, doling out advice to readers. This past summer, his latest novel, “Mogul,” hit bookshelves and ushered in another frenzy as the main character was a closeted Hip Hop producer.
Three years after his water cooler tome almost threatened to derail a career which has spanned more than 10 years in the entertainment industry and allowed him to work with the likes of Spike Lee, Rob Reiner and Keenan Ivory Wayans, Dean has firmly established himself as a mainstay.
“I’ve gotten tons of emails from young people and people in general who say how the book has affected them and empowered them to come out, as well as women who say they look at men differently,” he said. “It gives them an insider’s look to men who are struggling with their sexuality. So, they felt more empowered as opposed to not villainizing, demonizing men who are struggling with their sexuality.”
Dean has embraced the recognition of role model by some.
“It’s very humbling. I’m very grateful and I don’t take it loosely or with any less responsibility. I truly am grateful to be responsible and to be held in such a regard. That lets you know that I’ve done something great and inspiring,” he said.
Dean has also received praise from his peers for helping to break down walls despite fears of reprisal. Stanley Bennett Clay has known Dean for five years now. The author, playwright and filmmaker approved of his friend daring to open a Pandora’s box.
“I love controversy. So, I loved the idea that he could be coming out with something that pull the covers back over something that we all know in this industry has been going on,” Clay said.
“If any kind of artist is worth their salt, and I believe that he is, that you understand that when you create good art, the entire genre of creating art is to provoke an audience and sometimes that provocation is positive. Sometimes, it’s negative but that’s okay. It’s all good as long as you’re moving them. When the audience is not moved, then you’re screwed.”
He elaborated further.
“I think if really closely at ‘Hiding In Hip Hop,’ that much of it was really an autobiography was him growing up under some really difficult circumstances way before he got into show business,” Clay said.
“So, what I think one can learn from Terrance’s example is perseverance. That for him to have gone through all the trials and tribulations of his life that he was still able to come out and be a major success, that’s a wonderful story and a wonderful message. Don’t give up and preserve.”
Ebony Utley, a professor at California State University Long Beach, agreed.
“I think he is very courageous as an individual. I think that Terrance has seen a lot of life and yet he’s so full of life,” Utley said.
Utley has known Dean for a year now and has held him in the highest regard.
“He’s not bitter. He’s not jaded. He’s not judgmental. None of those negative characteristics that can come along with someone who’s survived everything that he’s survived, and I like that his characters are survivors, too,” she said.
“They go through their ups and downs but yet they still whole people, real people, well adjusted people that are just working through their life challenges.”
More information on Terrance Dean can be found at www.mrterrancedean.com and Twitter @ terrancedean. His books are available in bookstores and can be ordered on Amazon and the Simon and Schuster website.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The latest swimwear takes a nod from the past, from high waist briefs and the pinup girl look of the 1950s to the Studio 54 and Dolce Vita eras of the ’60s and ’70s.
Retro-inspired looks were seen throughout the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2013 in Miami Beach, where more than two dozen designers showcased their latest collections. The five-day event that ends Monday also cemented some new trends, including crochet, foliage prints, ruffles and fringe.
Also making a splash next summer will be the one-piece and cowgirl-themed suits, boots and all. For the wild-chic look, snakeskin is the animal print to choose.
Kicking off swim week was the Lisa Blue collection, where Australian designer Lisa Burke featured five very different styles.
The Enchantress collection opened the show with a white monokini with gold trimmings. The blue color of the ocean was also seen on the goddess-like models walking slowly — enchanted — down the runway.
Karina Smirnoff of “Dancing with the Stars” picked up the pace as she danced in a bright pink, ruffled-top bikini and a Flamenco-style long skirt for the second Flamenco-inspired collection, which included a one-shoulder bikini top with ruffles on the bottom piece.
Models in cowboy boots, denim-printed swimsuits with injections of red and lace came in for the third collection called The Cover Girl. The Pinup followed with cheeky girl prints and blue and white nautical stripes, with fuller-coverage bikini bottoms.
A martial arts group danced with a paper dragon for the collection inspired by the Year of the Dragon. Burke, the designer, was the last model to walk down the runway in a black two-piece with a Chinese-influenced headpiece.
Cropped jackets with military hardware or maritime accents were part of the Lovely Heroes collection for Agua Bendita. Designers Catalina Alvarez and Mariana Hinestroza wanted to pay homage to the 700 men and women who work on each of the hand-made garments in Colombia.
“They know how to do embroidery. They know how to do crochet. They know how to do an infinite number of things by hand that in the end brings us inspiration,” Alvarez told The Associated Press in Spanish backstage before the show.
The collection included military, maritime, cowboy and neon-inspired styles that were embellished with beads, appliques and sequins. The “AB” logo was emblazoned on the espadrilles the models wore and a hot pink plastic handbag that opened the show.
Camouflage suits with military patches and intricate hardware were seen throughout the maritime collection. Prints of anchors and pinup girls showcased the maritime theme, and the childhood game “Cowboys and Indians” came to life with a bolero-style jacket and a touch of Mexican influence in multi-colored beaded suits.
With pops of tangerine and green foliage prints with gold hardware and soda tabs, Brazilian designer Paola Robba stuck to her roots for her latest Poko Pano collection.
The 40-piece collection of bikinis, maillots, caftans and pants was influenced by the rhythm of Salvador, Brazil. Other influences included prints of Bonfim, the Brazilian wish bracelet, the architecture of the historic buildings, and the lush flowers and tropical hibiscus and coconut trees of the region.
A foliage print bandeau had gold hardware detail and a tangerine-banded hipster bottom in a similar foliage print. Soda tabs were chained together and overlaid a printed V-style bandeau.
A gorgeous color block one-piece had a sweetheart neckline and removable straps. Enamel hardware was also seen on a delicate white micro terry bandeau top with a hipster bottom in Bonfim ribbon-inspired print.
Retro looks included high-waist hipster bottoms and a ’60s inspired A-line dress with white chained circles and high-gloss patchwork.
Miami Beach was the inspiration for Spanish designer Dolores Cortes, who used vitamin colors and a touch of neon in her sophisticated collection.
“My team loves Miami Beach,” she said in Spanish. “We feel very welcomed here.”
Now in her third year showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim, Cortes said the biggest difference between the beaches of Spain and South Beach are how women wear their swimsuits.
“We in Spain, we look for a lot of perfection in the top. And the bottom part, it is more covered. Here it’s reverse. Here, they pay less attention to the top but the bottom is much smaller,” she said.
Golden reflective laminates were superimposed on some pieces, while others had a mix of animal prints and bright stains to give the wild yet chic look. There were a ton of prints, some with a tie-dye effect. Bikinis included a multi-colored bandeau top with an animal print bottom. Multiple patterns took over a one-piece and a monikini with bright pops of color, and crochet and mesh also made appearances.
The Nicolita collection can be described as a collection of sexy swimwear with curve-flattering styles reminiscent of Cuba’s alluring 1940s era — but with a California twist.
The Havana Nights Collection by designer Nicole Di Rocco drew inspiration from her Cuban roots and experiences in Malibu with the help of singer Christina Milian, who said finding the right fabrics was more difficult than she had expected.
“Other than finding a pattern that you like, there are so many different materials that actually work on the body,” Milian said of her first collaboration on a swimwear line. “We actually changed the whole look twice.”
Models donned a bouncy ponytail and curled up bangs — pinup girl style — with ruched bikini bottoms and bra-like tops with underwire are perfect for the Latina figure. The crowd, including actor Wilmer Valderrama, cheered as one model in a red strapless bandeau top folded her matching high waist bottom to reveal an animal print.
The collection had plenty of cover-ups that can transition from day to night, including a short layered animal-print skirt and high-waisted blue pants.
Slimmer cuts for Miami and Brazil are new this season for Tory Burch. Prints inspired by worn ceramic tiles and florals scaled up and down are also new for the collection. There are also reversible styles and four different looks for a rash guard.
In an email, Burch said she was inspired by a trip to the Amalfi coast: “I was drawn to all of the beautiful colors, from green and ivory to navy and pink.”
Models lounged poolside in a patterned one-piece and bikini with matching chunky necklaces. One rash guard had the navy ceramic pattern running up and down the sleeves while a bright floral print with pink covered the front.
A Brazilian-cut bikini bottom was particularly cute with its seahorse print. And the reversible style included a black print as one option and a cool orange on the other side.
AQUA DI LARA
The one-piece made a big splash at the Aqua di Lara show by designer Reyhan Sofraci.
“Monokinis are very popular but we decided to reintroduce the one-pieces but with a different cut out, like fabrics as opposed to holes,” the designer said. “We really wanted to go back to that because we have been finding a lot of people commenting on tan lines. We still wanted to create that sexy one-piece, so you will see that a lot in this collection.”
The White Label collection touches on the feminine look with pastels and lush vibrant colors, detailed prints in luxurious cuts. Among them was a one-piece with a sweetheart neckline with halter straps in a pastel blue on the sides and a flattering print cut that created an hourglass figure.
The Black Label is bold and graphic with jewel tones and metallic prints. The resortwear, including flowing dresses with a deep V cut, can be worn day or night and complement the suits.
Feathers were big for the desert-theme collection by Mara Hoffman, the designer known for her boho-chic looks and unique prints.
A bikini top had a beaded feather print on the straps and a feather temporary tattoo was seen on the models calves’ peeking out from above the short cowboy boots they comfortably wore down the runway.
The “Desert Outlaw Gypsies” collection includes pops of neon.
“I didn’t want it to overwhelm the collection, but it really does so well for us,” Hoffman said backstage. “Our girl responds to a pop of color and it’s a fun time to actually put those colors into your wardrobe.”
Hoffman added a custom-designed feather print to her pieces, while a snake print was introduced in slouch pants paired with a black crochet top. Braiding and beading were also big in this collection, as seen on multiple straps and U-shaped necklines. A crowd favorite, Hoffman’s resortwear included a beaded maxi dress, chiffon dashiki and a cropped top with a touch of Aztec and Egyptian art.
Tropical foliage, shimmering waters and stunning beaches were the inspiration for Benny Rossett’s Cia.Maritima collection. The Brazilian designer said he was inspired by a trip to the Hawaiian islands, with its different colors and shapes and designs.
“The environment is similar to Brazil, it’s a tropical island,” he said. “But what I like is the people are very warm like Brazilian people. I was very welcomed there and I love the place.”
Yellow made a splash in this collection in multiple styles. An animal-print monikini with bright yellow straps opened the show, followed later by a yellow tie-dye top tied in a knot to the side and a curve-hugging one-piece with an open back.
Models seemed to be walking on air as their long dresses and printed skirts flowed down the runway.
The story of Red Carter’s life and recent move from Miami to New York City inspired his latest collection, which included shiny disco balls and chunky geometric heels.
“We are giving homage to art deco in the first stanza. And then the second is going to be ethnic tribal while also adding a little disco into it,” he said of the glitz and glamour of legendary night club Studio 54.
The art deco looks included black and white pieces in architectural shapes and a hint of vintage feeling with geometric hairstyles. There was a tangerine deep-V ruffle one-piece and art deco-inspired demi-underwire and skirted hipster bottom. Many had hints of glitter or gold such as in the black and white “glitter bomb” monikini.
The second part, the “Brazil-esque with disco balls” looks included a safari bandeau and hipster bottom, a black handkerchief bandeau and safari hipster bottom.
Fringe was big again for Monica Wise, who uses the “swing” of the texture to add movement to her pieces.
“It’s all about the human senses: seeing, feeling ...” she said of the fringe look among the reversible textures, high-waist briefs and corset tie backs. Wise included fringe in her looks last year and appreciated how “the whole look and swing of it was different than a form-fitting bikini.”
A snakeskin print halter top with fringe was among the first pieces of the show. It was paired with a print-matching bottom. Handkerchief-style bikini tops also created movement down the runway.
Her new luxury swimwear line MAIO Swim by Monica Wise includes 27 pieces of mid-kinis and one-pieces with a sophisticated silhouette.
Melissa and Joe Gorga of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” were front row for the show.
“I can’t wait to see the new fashions that come down,” Melissa Gorga said before the show. “It’s a lot different than New York, but there’s a lot of sexy bodies around here this weekend.”
WHITE SANDS AUSTRALIA
Romantic looks were seen on the runway at White Sands Australia.
“It’s very, very girly,” said designer Leah Madden. “I always try to do things very pretty but sexy and with an edge. But this year it’s more pretty and more feminine.”
Madden kept it simple for The Violet Hour collection. She used touches of ruffles, neon pastel colors (green) and a vintage floral print with large violets over a white palette to create the blissful looks.
Black and pink floral prints were also seen throughout, as well as a pink chiffon-looking bandeau top with a high waist pink and black bottom. A gold sequined top (to be used either as a shirt or fancy cover-up) rounded out the show.
The Luli Fama show was a showstopper, complete with actors in 1960s attire and flapper dancers.
Inspired by the 1960s cult classic “La Dolce Vita,” designers Lourdes “Luli” Hanimian and brother-in-law Augusto Hanimian wanted to show how that era was in Italy is now the lifestyle in Miami.
Italy’s influence was seen in bold, baroque-style prints and romantic laces. Vibrant colors are reminiscent of Miami. And as for the retro, ’60s vibe we saw crochet, fringe, tie dye and kaleidoscopic floral prints throughout.
Brazilian-cut bottoms were among the sexy looks. “If Luli Fama does a high-waist bottom it has to have ruched-backed bottom and cheeky butt,” Lourdes Hanimian said of the collection, which also included a few thongs.
The mix of retro and modern was seen throughout the collection in girly accents such as ruffles and gold hardware. — (AP)