6 posts tagged "Erykah Badu"
The whirlwind Met gala went down on Monday evening, which—in the fast-paced fashion news cycle—feels like eons ago. After repeated viewings of our epic 152-slide red-carpet report, there’s just one look worth revisiting, and that’s the tour de force that was Erykah Badu. She was clearly the coolest person at the event, and her “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude made her impact all the more persuasive.
Nearly a week later, I’m still trolling photo agencies for unseen Badu Met images and relishing in the candid selfies she shared with Style.com. So what’s behind my obsession with the neo-soul queen? I’m by no means a fangirl, and could maybe hum along to some of her bigger hits. But in addition to Badu’s Givenchy Haute Couture look (more on that momentarily), it was simply her unanticipated, fundamentally vital presence at one of the industry’s biggest nights that provoked my reaction: “This is everything!”
In a sea of ball-gown-clad starlets well versed in the step-and-repeat paparazzi routine, Badu was a breath of fresh air in her embellished topcoat and strapless black jumpsuit designed by Riccardo Tisci (who recently cast her in Givenchy’s Spring ’14 ad campaign). And let’s not forget that statement-making hat, which was the crown jewel of her outfit. The tall, wide-brimmed lid quickly earned its fair share of Pharrell comparisons, but many didn’t realize Badu has been rocking major top hats long before Pharrell debuted his now-signature Vivienne Westwood style at this year’s Grammys—after all, she’s got to be able to stash that mass of all-natural hair somewhere. Completing the effect were a pair of bling-y diamond chandelier earrings, Badu’s own gold grill, and a fistful of rings by Lillian Shalom. All in all, Badu’s look was inspired, her personality shined, and her presence was memorable, which is why I still can’t get over her.
You two are good friends with Kate Moss, and have been working with her for years. How was the Playboy shoot different from your previous collaborations with her? Did you have any hesitations?
Mert Alas: Oh, my God, it was a no-brainer. When Kate asked us to shoot her for Playboy‘s sixtieth anniversary issue, you know, we had to do it.
Marcus Piggott: We didn’t have any hesitations. We were all in from the start. We’ve done a lot of things with Kate—a lot of role-playing, a lot of fashion pictures, a lot of personal pictures—and when we started this project, we asked ourselves what not to do. We wanted it to be really Kate. It wasn’t about the hair or the makeup, it wasn’t about styling or fashion. It wasn’t about all the frivolous tools of our industry. It was about her—her lips, her charisma, her body, her skin, her eyes…
What makes this shoot stand out from a typical Playboy spread?
MP: She’s dressed more than the girls in most Playboy editorials. It was a bit of a striptease. We wanted to leave a little bit to the imagination, and we wanted the reader to get excited imagining what’s underneath. But there are a lot of crazy pictures that you haven’t seen…
Oh, really? What kind of pictures?
MA: They were just fun pictures—a bit ruder and crazier than what’s in the magazine. Someday they’ll come out! Marcus and Kate and I were laughing, and we told her that we’ll get them out there when she’s 60.
You mentioned that you didn’t want this to be like a fashion shoot, but you can find naked women in pretty much any high-end fashion magazine. Do you think there’s too much nudity in fashion? We are selling clothes, after all.
MA: First of all, we must appreciate what a fashion magazine is. I don’t like calling them fashion magazines. I just call them magazines. In the old days, you’d see a great article, a great fashion picture, and a great nude all under one hat. So, no, I don’t mind seeing a naked girl in a fashion magazine as long as the photograph represents something beyond meat, flesh, and sex. If it’s about an object, or creating a beautiful print, or there’s a message in it, or it inspires you, or makes you happy or angry, then it has substance. And as long as there’s substance, I think, why not? Continue Reading “Mert and Marcus Talk Playboy, Lady Gaga, And Why They’re Better Together” »
The fashion biz has had quite a year. 2013 was jam-packed with major designer shake-ups, groundbreaking ad campaigns, celebrity collaborations, and pop-star performance wardrobes filled with custom-made designer duds. In the final days leading up to 2014, we’re counting down Style File’s most popular twenty stories of the past year. So sit back, relax, and relive 2013′s unforgettable moments. Read our top five stories, below. To see all of our most popular posts from 2013, click here.
5. Diamond Girl: Behind the Scenes of Rihanna’s World Tour Wardrobe
Rihanna had a banner year when it came to fashion, culminating in becoming the face of Balmain’s Spring ’14 campaign. Back in March, the star kicked off her Diamonds world tour, and thanks to her stylist, Mel Ottenberg, her onstage wardrobe, which was comprised of mega-watt looks by Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Dior’s Raf Simons, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, and her River Island co-designer, Adam Selman, had just as much sparkle as the tour’s title would suggest. Style.com’s Katharine K. Zarrella spoke to Ottenberg about all seven of the singer’s custom costumes and what it takes to dress the pop-culture force that is RiRi.
4. Marc Jacobs Bids Adieu to Louis Vuitton
After sixteen years at the helm of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs stepped down from his post as creative director following his Spring ’14 show for the storied house. Following his epic Spring presentation, whose all-black set incorporated pieces from his most memorable shows (remember the escalator? that carousel? the baroque elevator? they were all there), LVMH announced that Nicolas Ghesquière will be filling his shoes come Fall ’14. Jacobs, in turn, will be taking his eponymous company public and further expanding the MJ empire. As the news of his departure broke, Style.com took a look back at Jacobs’ greatest hits for Vuitton.
3. A.P.C.’s Jean Touitou on His New Collaboration With Kanye West
What a year it has been for Kanye West—a new album, a baby, a fiancée, a cornucopia of Margiela masks…but his most notable contribution to the fashion biz in 2013 was no doubt his collaboration with cult favorite French label A.P.C. The range of sweatshirts, tees, and denim sold out in a matter of hours and caused a veritable frenzy of discussion on the Internet. Style.com’s Matthew Schneier broke the news of the team-up in July and interviewed A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou about working with Yeezy and the “Kingdom of Dopeness.”
2. Roller Girl
In May, L.A.-based jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth enlisted actress Alison Brie—of Mad Men and Community fame—to put on some roller skates and show off her bohemian-luxe wares in a short film. Shot in a roller rink in New Jersey, the flick features a cameo from the designer (who admitted that her skating skills are a little shaky) as well as an original song by electro-pop trio Au Revoir Simone. The video debuted exclusively on Style.com.
And the number-one story of 2013 is…
1. Erykah Badu Fronts Givenchy’s New Campaign
Riccardo Tisci surprised and pleased us all when he chose neo-soul singer Erykah Badu to front his Mert & Marcus-lensed Spring ’14 Givenchy campaign, which debuted exclusively on Style.com. Matthew Schneier spoke to Tisci about the new ads, why Badu is “an icon,” and the presence of women of color in fashion.
Riccardo Tisci is known, among other talents, for having one of the keenest eyes in casting. So when he puts an unexpected face in his ad campaigns for Givenchy, the world takes notice. Expect tremors on this one. Presenting the new star of the label’s Mert & Marcus-shot campaigns: neo-soul singer Erykah Badu.
“Erykah, she’s an icon—come on!” Tisci said by phone from Paris. “What I want to do with my advertising campaign is spread the love. Already now it’s been three seasons that I’ve been using people that express something—they are great artists, or beautiful women, or stylish women, or models that I really believe in. It’s kind of a family portfolio.”
Tisci had known Badu slightly but had never worked with her. Still, he said, he’d had her image in the back of his mind when he was designing the Spring 2014 collection, a mash-up of African and Japanese influences. “She’s one of the most stylish women I’ve met in my life,” he said. “She’s got such a good sense of proportion, of colors.”
What may attract as much attention as the unexpected Badu cameo is the fact that all of the campaign’s female models are women of color (the models Maria Borges, newcomer Riley, and Asia Chow). It follows a season with a noticeable uptick in the use of models of color on the runway, following scathing condemnations of homogeneity in fashion from Bethann Hardison and Iman, sounding off from certain casting directors, and coverage of the issue in The New York Times.
“There was a lot of talk this season in fashion,” Tisci said. “Me, I was one of the persons who ended up not being touched by this. I discovered Joan Smalls, I discovered Maria [Borges]. I discovered a lot of black girls, and I’ve been always supporting them. For me, I grew up in a family and I grew up in a culture, an education, that we all are the same.” (He was already working on the collection, and had Badu in mind, when the first articles came out.)
It’s true that Tisci has been active in promoting women of color on his runway and in his campaigns. (Besides Smalls and Borges, he has championed Grace Mahary, Dalianah Arekion, and Daniela Braga, among others.) Does he think the world will catch up to his lead? “I hope so,” he said. “It’s 2013. Everybody’s being so cool about Instagram, about Facebook, any media—everybody’s being so open. At the end of the day, why are not so many black girls or Latin girls in shows? When you have an American president who is black! When I see this happening, it’s quite sad, I think. People can be so avant-garde, so advanced, but actually not, because people are still making differences between skin color.”