Nadine Ijewere for Stella McCartney

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For her creative project #StellaBy, Stella McCartney invites different artists and photographers from around the world to work with the brand’s fashion. Recently, McCartney chose to collaborate with the captivating lens of fashion and portrait photographer Nadine Ijewere. Nadine is a South Londoner and is part Jamaican, part Nigerian. Nadine’s work reveals hidden depths in her subjects, shining a light on their strengths and vulnerabilities. We cannot get enough of her subtle yet striking use of colour, while her sense of storytelling leads our imaginations on a journey of discovery. Embracing diversity and untouched beauty, the photographer explores orientalism in fashion – the result is bold eclecticism and pure creativity on the Nigerian rural landscape.

All clothes in the shoot are from McCartney’s latest women’s and men’s collections.

Respect. Marc Jacobs AW17

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Marc Jacobs‘s autumn-winter 2017 collection praised the diverse street culture of New York – and it deserves respect.

Not only did the cast feature an impressive number of black models, but also, Jacobs decided to invite transgender girls to walk the show. Exceptionally, this ground-breaking fashion show wasn’t a venue show-off, as we’ve all got used to. A narrow aisle of chairs for the show’s guests crossed the huge Armory. No music, but the sound of models’ walk. A sudden exit to the streets of New York, where Adwoa Aboah, Lineisy Montero, Winnie Harlow and other models integrated with the city. If you ask me, I’m still awestricken with  the way Marc handled the collection, sparking one of the brightest moments of the entire New York fashion week. The clothes were all about tweed, corduroy, fur and Stephen Jones’ chic hats. Golden chain necklaces were designed in collaboration with artist Urs Fischer, nodding to the bold culture of hip-hop, while round bangles – perhaps to R&B. While other designers, like Alexander Wang or, eww, Philipp Plein, tend to repeat popular  stereotypes, Marc presented his own interpretation. The show’s theme could lead to something too literal, like a line of hoodies or sweatpants – but Marc ventured into the topic subtly and with heart.

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The Book – Maske

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I am obsessed with ethnic minorities’ culture and costumes – and when I hear that there is a new book coming up about this very specific type of fashion, I am drooling. Photographer Phyllis Galembo travelled across west and central Africa documenting the tradition of masking for his new book / album, Maske. New York-based photographer has a deep interest in costuming and masking in various cultures around the world, and the effect of five year-long photographing of locals at rituals or traditional masquerade events in  Africa and the Caribbean is portrayed in her newly published book by Aperture. There are over 100 photographs of ancient voodoo clothing and masks, coming from such remote places as Cross River region of Nigeria or Kaoma in Zambia. Moreover, it’s worth to mention that Galembo, a white, Western woman, has been travelling alone, and had to negotiate all the permissions to photograph the rituals in pretty uncomfortable conditions. But the result of her long-term project is breath-taking, and the chosen photographs from the book (below) make me already covet this book, and wish to have it in front of me. I wonder if it will be as good as the cult photo-album Natural Fashion by Hans Silvester…

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Cultural Appropriation. Valentino SS16

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The main inspiration behind Valentino‘s SS16 collection was the “wild Africa”. The house, however, sparked the cultural appropriation topic following their show. “Primitive, tribal, spiritual, yet regal”, the collection was a “journey to the beginning of time & the essential of primitive nature” as the show note said. Indeed, the collection was truly beautiful, and I appreciated it because I love ethnical fashion. Associated with the continent the collection included bone necklaces, Kikuyu textiles, raffia, belts made from African beads, embellishments, fancy embroidering, feathers and fringing. But Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli missed the point at some level – the collection was presented on a majority of white models. And this just reflects one more time the major problem in fashion industry – lack of diversity. Hopefully, the brand did not have any racist intentions – but for the next time, cast more models of colour!

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