ph: Coliena Rentmeester
Stylist: April Hughes
Hair: David Cruz
Producer: Bobby Kopp
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Verushka, wearing Bill Blass, photographed by Richard Avedon, January 1967
By Eric Wilson
Nearly a decade after Bill Blass retired from Seventh Avenue, the company that bears his name is closing, with many of its remaining staff expected to leave this week. According to current and former designers who have carried on the collection in recent years, the company will close its showroom at 550 Seventh Avenue and eliminate about 30 remaining jobs there as early as Friday.
Craig Hoffman, the president of Bill Blass, declined to comment on Wednesday.
Michael Vollbracht, who designed the line from 2003 to 2007, said that several of his former colleagues had informed him of the company’s plans to close, given the economic climate. The label was put up for sale earlier this year by its parent company, NexCen Brands Inc., which announced in May that it was facing a severe cash squeeze. Bill Blass has since canceled its spring collection, and its latest designer, Peter Som, left the company in October and has not been replaced.
According to executives and designers still at the company, NexCen is still trying to sell the Bill Blass name with the hope that another company will later revive the runway collection.
This week, the company has been selling samples from Mr. Blass’s collections, along with boxes of Manolo Blahnik shoes that were used in runway shows, at discounts of 90 percent, but the broader archives appear to be headed to Indiana University in Bloomington, where a retrospective of Mr. Blass’s work was held shortly after he died in 2002.
“The demise of Bill Blass is not just saddening,” Mr. Vollbracht said.
“It’s another rude awakening to this industry, I think.”
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Beyonce performs "Get Me Bodied", wearing Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière spring 2007 leggings.
J-Setting is a form of dancing has been a part of black gay culture for at least a decade, and was inspired by the famed Jackson State University band’s dance line, which is known as the Prancing J-Settes. The lead-and-mimic style of dancing—actually an interpretation of Bob Fosse's style in All That Jazz and Chicago— has been re-appropriated by black gay youth across the country, but is particularly popular in the South.
J-setting is a fixture in black gay clubs across Atlanta and other parts of the country—especially in Atlanta clubs such as Traxx and Chicago clubs like the Prop House—, with teams of dancers engaging in fierce battles against one another on the dance floor.
Jaquel Knight, a 19 year old choreographer from Atlanta choreographed Beyonce's video "Single Ladies". Jaquel was chosen by longtime Destiny's Child and Beyonce choreographer Frank Gatson.
“[Being a gay icon is] definitely my goal, and my dream,“ Knowles revealed during a 2006 interview with Here! TV. “That’s the ultimate thing I could be. That’s the ultimate compliment for me.”
Tracy Garraud of Vibe Magazine asks: Beyoncé: The New Queen of Queer?., and says: How Beyoncé became the gay man's best friend, and why it's important.
This queer did not elect Beyonce queen. She is not my best friend.
Friendship is a term used to denote co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more people. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis. Friends will welcome each other's company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behavior, such as exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship. A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors. Yet for many, friendship is nothing more than the trust that someone or something will not harm them.
My friends stick by me, support me, and love me. They don't use me when its convenient and then deny me to my face.
It is all very grand of Beyonce to utlize the talents of gay choreographers, fashion designers, makeup artists, and hair stylists. Without the gays she would be wearing her mothers tacky clothes, dancing the running man, and washing and setting her own wig.
And really, what has Beyonce ever done for the gays?
Where was Beyonce when Propositon 8 was put on the ballot in California? Why hasn't she spoken out against this bigotry and hatred?
Christina Aguilera, a true friend of the gays, spoke out against Proposition 8.
"Last night, there was a whole rally that I saw for Prop. 8," she told MTV News. "A lot of people came out with their signs, and I think [Prop. 8] is discrimination and I don't understand how people can be so closed-minded and so judgmental. We chose an African-American president, and it means so much ... [it's] a time in history of great change and open-mindedness. Why is this any different? It just doesn't make sense to me. Why you would put so much money behind something [aimed at] stopping from people loving each other and bonding together? I just don't understand it. It's hard for me to grasp. But I would've been out there with my rally sign as well."
George Clooney, a different kind of gay icon, told E!'s Ted Casablanca, "At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won't be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black."
Beyonce's silence on Proposition 8 is deafening. Jaquel Knight and Jonte are the real deal. Beyonce is the new Pat Boone: taking the fierceness of gay culture and watering it down for the masses.
Beyonce J Setting:
Beyonce dancing with Jonte:
Jaquel Knight's Choreography Reel:
Jaquel's Ladies night:
Bob Fosse's Sweet Charity:
Bob Fosse's All That Jazz:
Bob Fosse's Chicago:
Christina Aguilera speaks out against Proposition 8:
Proposition 8 The Musical:
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Bettie Page, a legendary pinup girl whose photographs in the nude, in bondage and in naughty-but-nice poses appeared in men’s magazines and private stashes across America in the 1950s and set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious ’60s, died Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 85.
Her death was reported by her agent, Mark Roesler, on Ms. Page’s Web site, bettiepage.com.
Ms. Page, whose popularity underwent a cult-like revival in the last 20 years, had been hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released Dec. 2 when she suffered a heart attack, said Mr. Roesler, of CMG Worldwide. She was transferred in a coma to Kindred Hospital, where she died.
In her trademark raven bangs, spike heels and killer curves, Ms. Page was the most famous pinup girl of the post-World War II era, a centerfold on a million locker doors and garage walls. She was also a major influence in the fashion industry and a target of Senator Estes Kefauver’s anti-pornography investigators.
But in 1957, at the height of her fame, she disappeared, and for three decades her private life — two failed marriages, a fight against poverty and mental illness, resurrection as a born-again Christian, years of seclusion in Southern California — was a mystery to all but a few close friends.
Then in the late 1980s and early ’90s, she was rediscovered and a Bettie Page renaissance began. David Stevens, creator of the comic-book and later movie character the Rocketeer, immortalized her as the Rocketeer’s girlfriend. Fashion designers revived her look. Uma Thurman, in bangs, reincarnated Bettie in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” and Demi Moore, Madonna and others appeared in Page-like photos.
There were Bettie Page playing cards, lunch boxes, action figures, T-shirts and beach towels. Her saucy images went up in nightclubs. Bettie Page fan clubs sprang up. Look-alike contests, featuring leather-and-lace and kitten-with-a-whip Betties, were organized. Hundreds of Web sites appeared, including her own, which had 588 million hits in five years, CMG Worldwide said in 2006.
Biographies were published, including her authorized version, “Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend,” (General Publishing Group) which appeared in 1996. It was written by Karen Essex and James L. Swanson.
A movie, “The Notorious Bettie Page,” starring Gretchen Mol as Bettie and directed by Mary Harron for Picturehouse and HBO Films, was released in 2006, adapted from “The Real Bettie Page,” by Richard Foster. Bettie May Page was born in Jackson, Tenn., the eldest girl of Roy and Edna Page’s six children. The father, an auto mechanic, molested all three of his daughters, Ms. Page said years later, and was divorced by his wife when Bettie was 10. She and some of her siblings were placed for a time in an orphanage. She attended high school in Nashville, and was almost a straight-A student, graduating second in her class.
She graduated from Peabody College, a part of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, but a teaching career was brief. “I couldn’t control my students, especially the boys,” she said. She tried secretarial work, married Billy Neal in 1943 and moved to San Francisco, where she modeled fur coats for a few years. She divorced Mr. Neal in 1947, moved to New York and enrolled in acting classes.
She had a few stage and television appearances, but it was a chance meeting that changed her life. On the beach at Coney Island in 1950, she met Jerry Tibbs, a police officer and photographer, who assembled her first pinup portfolio. By 1951, the brother-sister photographers Irving and Paula Klaw, who ran a mail-order business in cheesecake, were promoting the Bettie Page image with spike heels and whips, while Bunny Yeager’s pictures featured her in jungle shots, with and without leopards skins.
Her pictures were ogled in Wink, Eyeful, Titter, Beauty Parade and other magazines, and in leather-fetish 8- and 16-millimeter films. Her first name was often misspelled. Her big break was the Playboy centerfold in January 1955, when she winked in a Santa Claus cap as she put a bulb on a Christmas tree. Money and offers rolled in, but as she recalled years later, she was becoming depressed.
In 1955, she received a summons from a Senate committee headed by Senator Kefauver, a Tennessee Democrat, that was investigating pornography. She was never compelled to testify, but the uproar and other pressures drove her to quit modeling two years later. She moved to Florida. Subsequent marriages to Armond Walterson and Harry Lear ended in divorce, and there were no children. She moved to California in 1978.
For years Ms. Page lived on Social Security benefits. After a nervous breakdown, she was arrested for an attack on a landlady, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a California mental institution. She emerged years later as a born-again Christian, immersing herself in Bible studies and serving as an adviser to the Billy Graham Crusade.
In recent years, she had lived in Southern California on the proceeds of her revival. Occasionally, she gave interviews in her gentle Southern drawl, but largely stayed out of the public eye — and steadfastly refused to be photographed.
“I want to be remembered as I was when I was young and in my golden times,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2006. “I want to be remembered as a woman who changed people’s perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form.”
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Edward VIII abdication crisis occurred in the British Empire in 1936, when the desire of King-Emperor Edward VIII to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite, caused a constitutional crisis.
The marriage was opposed by the King's governments in the United Kingdom and the Dominions. Religious, legal, political, and moral objections were raised. Mrs Simpson was perceived to be an unsuitable consort because of her two failed marriages, and it was widely assumed by the Establishment that she was driven by love of money or position rather than love for the King. Despite the opposition, Edward declared that he loved Mrs Simpson and intended to marry her whether the governments approved or not.
The widespread unwillingness to accept Mrs Simpson as the King's consort, and the King's refusal to give her up, led to Edward's abdication on 11 December 1936. He was succeeded by his brother Albert as George VI. Edward was given the title His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor following his abdication, and he married Mrs Simpson the following year. They remained married until his death 35 years later.
Before, during and after World War II, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were suspected by many in government and society of being Nazi sympathisers.
The Duke and Duchess lived in France in the pre-war years. In 1937, they visited Germany as personal guests of the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, a tour much publicised by the German media. Hitler said of the Duchess, "she would have made a good Queen."
In the 1950s and 1960s, she and the Duke shuttled between Europe and the United States, living a life of leisure as society celebrities. After the Duke's death in 1972, the Duchess lived in seclusion and was rarely seen in public. Her private life has been a source of much speculation, and she remains a controversial figure in British history.
The Woman I Love (1972, made-for-TV movie) focused on Edward VIII's love affair with Wallis Simpson. Wallis was portrayed by Faye Dunaway
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Narciso Rodriguez may be coming off a major coup—Michelle Obama wore a dress from his Spring show to her husband's election night rally, in case you were hiding under a ballot machine—but there's been no slowing down.
"This is our most polished pre-collection ever," Rodriguez said. "It has to be; we do so much more business now during the pre-seasons."
Perhaps taking a cue from Obama's red and black embroidered dress, the designer infused pre-fall with plenty of brilliant colors—fuchsia, ruby, deep purple, and inky blue. He also continued to play with the banding motifs that made his last collection so sexy. It wasn't all provocation, though.
There was an ice gray shift dress that the designer himself decreed "very presidential."
By Nicole Phelps
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
The New York Times has a fascinating preview of Alex de Looz' interview with Steven Meisel from the "Post-America" issue of 032c Magazine.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
PRINGLE’S NEW GUARD:
Pringle of Scotland has tapped Daisy Lowe — shot by Steven Meisel in spare, black-and-white tones — alongside male models Ash Stymest and Gordie Walker for its spring 2009 campaign.
“We were looking at iconic faces…we wanted it to feel young, vibrant and very British,” said Clare Waight Keller, creative director of Pringle.
Fabien Baron at Baron & Baron worked with Waight Keller as artistic director for the campaign, which was styled by Karl Templer with hair by Guido Palau and makeup by Pat McGrath.
Waight Keller said she wanted the campaign to have a “Sixties feel, in the way that Avedon and Bailey captured the spirit of the people of the time.” The campaign will break in March issues of titles including Vogue, W, Interview and Harper’s Bazaar.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Safe Sex is Hot Sex, 1990, ph: Steven Meisel
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007, and an estimated 33 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 2007,making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 2 million lives in 2007, of which about 270,000 were children. The concept of a World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. Since then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations and charities around the world.
The theme of today's World AIDS Day is "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise - Lead - Empower - Deliver"
What is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system must have to fight disease.
For more information view Questions and Answers on HIV/AIDS Science (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infections. When someone has one or more of these infections and a low number of T cells, he or she has AIDS.
For more information view Questions and Answers on HIV/AIDS Science (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Where did HIV come from?
Scientists identified a type of chimpanzee in West Africa as the source of HIV infection in humans. The virus most likely jumped to humans when humans hunted these chimpanzees for meat and came into contact with their infected blood. Over several years, the virus slowly spread across Africa and later into other parts of the world.
For more information view Where did HIV come from? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
How is HIV transmitted?
The most common ways that HIV is transmitted from one person to another are:
By having sex with an HIV-infected person
By sharing needles or injection equipment with a person who is infected with HIV
From HIV-infected women to their babies before or during birth, or through breast feeding
For more information visit How is HIV passed from one person to another? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
How does HIV cause AIDS?
HIV destroys a certain kind of blood cell (CD4+ T cells) which is crucial to the normal function of the human immune system. In fact, loss of these cells in people with HIV is an extremely powerful predictor of the development of AIDS. Studies of thousands of people have revealed that most people infected with HIV carry the virus for years before enough damage is done to the immune system for AIDS to develop. However, sensitive tests have shown a strong connection between the amount of HIV in the blood and the decline in CD4+ T cells and the development of AIDS. Reducing the amount of virus in the body with anti-retroviral therapies can dramatically slow the destruction of a person’s immune system.
For more information view How HIV causes AIDS (National Institute for Allergy and Infections Diseases, NIH).
How do I know if I have HIV?
The only way to know if you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection. You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether or not you are infected. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for 10 years or more.
To learn more about HIV testing or to find a local HIV testing site near you, visit the National HIV Testing Resources (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Additional Frequent Questions Resources
Questions and Answers on HIV/AIDS (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)This resouce provides a collections of answers of frequently asked questions regarding HIV/AIDS covering topics including Blood Safety, CDC’s Clinical Studies of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention, Coinfection with Hepatitis C Virus, HIV/AIDS Science, Men on the Down Low, Prevention, Rumors, Myths, and Hoaxes, Testing, and Transmission.