Capturing the raw essence and beauty of Kenya was truly a life-changing journey for me, as it was an opportunity to travel back to my roots for the first time in my life. Although I was aware of the current political and economic corruption that taints the country, the hustle of the people and indescribable beauty of the landscapes felt like magic to me.
Being a child of immigrant parents, raised in the US, it was imperative for me to experience just a small piece of their life. I stayed in the same village they grew up in, and listening to the stories of their youth from family members. It strengthened my appreciation of the life I have today.
Unlike the average tourist, I was meeting and living with my extended family, who stretch across different cities in Kenya, including Nairobi, Nakuru, Narok, Mombasa and Kilifi. I was submerged in authentic environments, and documenting the lives of the local people. Being taken to these locations made me realise what it takes to keep going in life amidst struggles and hardships. Kenyans are diligent and creative with their entrepreneurship; whether it be selling goods such as fruits, clothes, souvenirs and jewellery in the middle of the streets while dodging speeding traffic, to the dense marketplaces, the boda-boda motorbike taxis. Even the hand-carved wooden furniture sold on the side of the road left me in awe of the craftsmanship.
Although there are still so many places that my eyes and camera have yet to capture, I felt enriched knowing my solo journey to connect with my heritage continues to shape my mindset and passion for storytelling. It helped me understand and absorb all the emotions, colours, sights and smells that are all distinctive to a place and the people.
Ashish Gupta SS17 London Fashion Week
Jewel encrusted crowns, a live snake, vibrant colored veils embellished with glitter and sequins graced the runway models of Ashish Gupta's collection at London Fashion Week SS17. Gupta didn't shy away his emphasis on embracing the variety of culture when he greeted the crowd in a t-shirt stamped 'Immigrant'. The Delhi-born designer is acknowledged for making bold statements as he paid homage to his roots showcasing the beauty in diversity and the enriching understanding of multiculturalism. The illustration of such ornately detailed designs, each precisely arranged from head to toe, engulfed the audience with his expressive vision.
Accompanied by legendary make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench and stylist Anna Treveleyn, this dream team assembled stunning looks inspired by Bollywood pop culture and resemblances of Hindu goddesses. The presentation instilled the essence of matrimony between India and Great Britain to embrace the significance of unison with a spiritual and wholesome outlook.
Waist-length braids wrapped in dazzling jewels and floral trails, along with golden bangles stacked high on the arms, Gupta communicated an unforgettable presence of merging the relationship gap between cultures towards equality. His passion marks him as an iconic advocate for the progressive future of fashion and representation.
KENZO: Music is my mistress
Director Kahlil Joseph brings forth a stunningmasterpiece that is both stimulating visually and sonically; accompanied by creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim in this cinema exhibition titled "Music Is My Mistress" . Presented in a fragmented aesthetic that pieces a grander picture of the puzzle, the film continuously alternates between color and black and white, brewing a innovative think-piece that leaves viewers in contemplating awe of every scene.
Opening with a rating screen describing the film as rated-R for strong language and "overt blackness", it immediately asserts the tone and atmosphere of an exquisite all black cast. Joseph being artistically notorious for a non-linear avenue in filmmaking, as seen in his works for Beyonce's album"Lemonade" and Sampha's project "Process", his craftsmanship ties together the focus of praising music and blackness with a fashion driven appeal from KENZO designs.
Starring Tracee Ellis Ross as "The Princess" and Jesse Williams as the man who goes to great lengths in search for her; alternating between his journey with shots of the co-centerpiece stars Kelsey Lu and Ishmael Butler ("Ish") seen driving together and making music separately. Kelsey is the talented young cellist and singer-songwriter whose original song titled "Morning After Coffee" that is played as a recurring song and rapper Ish, whose band 'Shabazz Palaces' repeat the haunting lyrics, "escaping the bleak, pursuing a feeling", that serve as a symbolic theme throughout the film. "The Princess" seems to be a marveled embodiment of music itself with Williams’ flight being to find the heart and soul to connect himself to her.
“Music is My Mistress” resonates as a triumph for representation with a strong dynamic in talent and passion that breathed new life of creativity. Pulsating with unique storytelling from a visionary genius, various quotes were also featured on screen, including a couple from filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety. In one he stated, “I believe that Africans, in particular must re-invent cinema.” The gravity of those words directly entailed to the message and ideology that strikes Joseph within the cinematic experience entailing both music and fashion.
In the mood for love (2000) Directed by Wong Kar-Wai
Allured into the sensual world of betrayal, unfulfilled desire and loneliness, "In the Mood for Love" tastefully exhibits the beauty of profound love and pain entwined with intuition and impulse. Director Wong Kar-Wai incorporates an intoxicating style of storytelling into an abstract outlook on human pathos; enticing visuals wrapped with intricate framing and a slow-pacing, illustrate the splintering feeling of knowing a shared infatuation will never flourish.
"In the Mood for Love" is set in the early 60's of a dreary, picturesque Hong Kong, where two lonely-hearts, Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) and Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung), become next door neighbors upon moving into the same apartment building on the same day. An untapped fate. As their lives intersect due to the infidelity of their spouses, whom are never shown, a transient friendship and love unravels. Wong vividly captures those romantic moments in a fashion that is imprinted in memory and fueled by overwhelming nostalgia. The pair faced many encounters: in a cab ride with the air thickly imbued with passion, when their dancing eyes met while dining for an evening meal and brushing pass each other through the street corridors. These instances are slowed down to submerge us in that familiar feeling of wishing a moment would last forever.
The film claims its power through tying societal principles and flushed emotions with Wong's vibrant color palette; compelling in both wardrobe and scenery, the striking reds paired with yellows, greens and subtle blues are draped in heavy shadows as it seduces the eyes. Cinematographers Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping Bin crafted a colorful world of intimate dark secrets accompanied by the gentleness of Nat King Cole into a melancholic dream. A timeless tale of love that can never touched nor forgotten.
'Romance Was Born' - The Whispering Angel Resort 2017 Collection
Romance Was Born, by Australian duo designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, is renowned for masterly infusing fine art and a glimmering fashion paradise to submerge the audience into an illustrious world of theatrical runaways and extravagant themes. Boldly expressing their individuality through a fantasy realm soaked in vibrant imagery, their collections feature lively prints, needlework details of appliqué, intricate beading and embroidery and detailed sequined elements.
The Whispering Angels collection was revered as, "a heavenly host of angels sent on a wing and a prayer to deliver us a secret celestial correspondence from yesteryear", presented at the Carthona House in Darling Point, Sydney, Australia. The sandstone front wall of the waterfront building, ornamented with red roses and lush vines, was the perfect backdrop for a constructed dreamscape collection. Fueled by the variety of striking looks by famous individuals with a luxurious lifestyle while revealing their everlasting impression, Plunkett and Sales were particularly influenced by Liberace. He was the celebrated American pianist, singer and actor known for his extravagant costumes and trademark candelabra placed on the lids of his flashy pianos, to provoke an emotional response. “Liberace is the bravura for the entire collection,” said Luke Sales. “His over the top and lavish lifestyle and opulent costumes, all rhinestone encrusted and festooned with feathers encapsulate the inspiration that shapes this season.”
Romance Was Born chose the finest in silken laces and the richest in dark velvets that were transformed into stunning cut silk dresses, peplums skirts with soft swinging hems and bell-sleeved blouses draped in elegance. The models graced the courtyard dripped in rainbows of texture and color, covered with loud prints of feathers, fringes and ruffles for an explosive celebration of seasonal prints. With their hair in tight curls, red-painted cupid bow lips, bejeweled teardrops, shimmery pastel eye-shadow or bold glitter brows by make-up artist Linda Jefferyes, the magic in the Whispering Angels left the audience in awe of the spectacular minds of both Plunkett and Sales.
Gucci Pre-Fall 2017 Campaign
"What does it mean to have soul?" Gucci stunned with their pre-fall campaign with bold colors, patterns, sequins and all things that glitter, but most notably for their celebration of diversity with an exclusive all black cast. The campaign was hinted at earlier this year in January when Gucci released teasers of a series of audition videos. Titled "Soul Scene", Alessandro Michele ,the creative director for the Italian fashion house, drew inspiration from the 1960s including famed photographer Malick Sidibé, who is recognized for his images of the young culture in his native homeland of Bamako, Mali. The campaign also drew influence from England's underground Northern Soul movement from the sixties. This was a music sensation garnered from the popular genre of black American soul; "[it] explores the freedom of expression found in music and dance," stated by the press release.
Photographed by Glen Luchford in the Mildmay Club in London, the models are showcased wearing the brand's signature accessories while stunting with their moves on the dance floor. Platform shoes, vintage jackets and the friendly iguanas made the party all the more inviting. Featuring models and dancers, Nicole Atieno, Elibeidy, Bakay Diaby, and Keiron Berton Caynes, we'll look forward in seeing more inclusion and diversity in Gucci's upcoming collections and the industry as a whole.