Amazon Prime Video series ‘Making the Cut,’ starring Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, announces Season 1 contestants

February 24, 2020

The following is a press release from Amazon Prime Video:

Amazon Original series “Making the Cut” reveals its first official look at the upcoming season, hosted and executive produced by Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn. The series will premiere on Prime Video on Friday March 27, 2020. The 10-episode fashion competition series, which brings together a diverse group of 12 talented entrepreneurs and designers, will premiere two new episodes each week, culminating in an epic finale on April 24, 2020.

In this first-ever global and instantly shoppable series, limited editions of the winning look from each episode will be available for purchase exclusively on Amazon in the “Making the Cut” store. During the course of the season, those who do not “make the cut” will be eliminated, with the winning designer from the finale receiving one million dollars to invest in their brand and the opportunity to create an exclusive line available on Amazon.

The dozen designers featured on “Making the Cut” will visit three of the world’s fashion capitals – New York, Paris, and Toyko – and face challenges and assignments that will test not only their design skills but also their ability to run all aspects of a business. Judging their looks and industry acumen are some of fashion’s most recognizable and influential names, including Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Joseph Altuzarra, Carine Roitfeld and Chiara Ferragni. The series is executive produced by Sara Rea, Page Feldman, Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn and Jennifer Love, directed by Ramy Romany and produced by Amazon Studios and SKR Productions.

As previously announced, the 12 designers competing for an opportunity of a lifetime are:

Sander Bos, 24, Hasselt, Belgium: Featuring avant-garde inspired looks, Bos is a young designer who runs his namesake line. Raised in a small town in Belgium, he is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and is eager to make his mark on a global scale.

Rinat Brodach, 35, New York City: Brodach was a fan of fashion from an early age while growing up in in Israel and later came to the US to study design. Her eponymous line features a minimalist chic, gender-free aesthetic, reflecting her own straightforward personality. She recently dressed Billy Porter for the Critics’ Choice Awards and her designs have also been worn by Laverne Cox and Adam Lambert.

Ji Won Choi, 26, New York City: The Parson graduate is a designer of elevated, active streetwear that she sells under her namesake brand and has collaborated with Adidas, with pieces worn by Beyoncé and Kendall Jenner. Born in Seoul, South Korea, raised in Oklahoma, and educated in New York City and Paris, her work is a reflection of how Choi sees herself in the world.

Jasmine Chong, 31, New York City: Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Chong is the owner of her self-titled feminine ready-to-wear line, has previously shown at NYFW and her line has been featured in a number of fashion magazines. Inspired by her seamstress grandmother and her fashion designer mother, she is focused on creating beautiful clothing that appeals to all body types.

Jonny Cota, 35, Los Angeles, CA: The self-taught owner of the elevated streetwear brand Skingraft, Cota produces two men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections yearly and has shown five times at New York Fashion Week. In addition, he has dressed celebrities including Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé.

Martha Gottwald, 28, Richmond, VA: The Louisiana native and mother of two is owner of the womenswear brand Neubyrne and has been featured in British Vogue and shown at NYFW. Like Gottwald herself, Neubyrne embraces color and whimsicality. The survivor of a near fatal car accident that taught her about strength and endurance, she is a relatively new designer who was inspired by artisans she met in Singapore.

Troy Hul Arnold, 34, New York City: An adjunct professor at Parsons, Hul Arnold was born in Trinidad and Tobago before coming to the US as a child. His brand, Hul Arnold, features minimalist, avant-garde menswear inspired looks for women; one of his designs was worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on Glee. Hul Arnold takes an artisanal approach to his fashion, and he refers to his pieces as functional sculptures.

Joshua Hupper, 38, Shanghai, China: Founder of BABYGHOST, a wildly successful e-commerce fashion brand based in China, Hupper’s designs have been featured in Vogue and on runways around the world. His line features youthful, feminine ready-to-wear fashions for the “mischievous girl.” Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Hupper’s talents were shaped by his artistic upbringing and internships with Diane Von Furstenburg and Thakoon.

Esther Perbandt, 43, Berlin, Germany: Founder and namesake Esther Perbandt was born and bred in Berlin, toughened up in Moscow and polished in Paris. Owner of her eponymous line, which features edgy, menswear-inspired separates, Perbandt has created more than 30 collections over the brand’s 15 year history and has been running her highly successful boutique in Berlin for ten years. As an artist, she has also collaborated on countless music, film and theatre projects.

Will Riddle, 31, New York City: Riddle’s design skills, featuring a modern take on old glamour, have led to a series of impressive jobs, including Atelier Director at Oscar de la Renta, 3.1 Philip Lim, and now men’s designer at Kith – a far journey from growing up in a trailer park in Ohio. With an impressive resume under his belt, Riddle is ready to start his own label.

Sabato Russo, 64, Milan, Italy: A seasoned designer with a 25-year career in the industry, Russo is owner of the brand Satorial Monk, which focuses on high end simplicity. A former model who is able to speak four languages, Russo has a global point of view that is reflected in his sophisticated, timeless looks. Russo is currently working on his “Made in Italy” line entitled Sabato Russo.

Megan Smith, 38, Los Angeles, CA: Born and raised in Kansas City, KS, Smith first discovered her love of fashion design while creating clothes for her Barbie dolls. After designing private label for several major bands and retailers, Smith branched out and launched her own line “Megan Renee.” The response to her first runway show during Los Angeles Fashion Week was so overwhelming, she launched her online boutique to sell her collections to customers worldwide. Her line features feminine, 70’s inspired cocktail attire.

Making The Cut Social Handles: #MakingtheCut
Twitter: @MakingtheCutTV
Instagram: @MakingtheCutTV

Amazon Prime Video Social Handles:
Twitter: @PrimeVideo
Instagram: @AmazonPrimeVideo

Amazon Fashion Social Handles:
Instagram & Twitter: @AmazonFashion

Making The Cut Talent & Judge Social Handles:
Heidi Klum: Twitter and Instagram @HeidiKlum
Tim Gunn: Twitter and Instagram @TimGunn
Naomi Campbell: Twitter @NaomiCampbell and Instagram @Naomi
Nicole Richie: Twitter and Instagram @NicoleRichie
Carine Roitfeld: Instagram @CarineRoitfeld
Joseph Altuzarra: Instagram @JosephAltuzarra
Chiara Ferragni: Twitter and Instagram @ChiaraFerragni

Victoria’s Secret majority stake sold by L Brands to Sycamore Partners

February 20, 2020

by Daphne Sorenson

Models at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC)

Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands (based in Columbus, Ohio) has sold a 55% stake in Victoria’s Secret to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, for a reported $525 million. L Brands will keep the remaining 45% stake in Victoria’s Secret, which will revert back to being a private company. As part of the restructuring, L Brands chairman/CEO Les Wexner will step down from his position, after founding the company in 1963.

L Brands will continue to have full ownership of Bath & Body Works.  According to the Associated Press: “Sycamore manages a $10 billion portfolio including such struggling retailers as Belk, Hot Topic and Talbots.”

Victoria’s Secret and its Pink spinoff brand have been experiencing a sharp decline in sales in recent years. The $525 million price tag is far lower than the $7.6 billion that Victoria’s Secret was valued at in 2015. The brand’s sales peaked during the 2006-2016 CEO leadership of Sharen Jester Turney, who left the company in 2016.

The sale comes after a turbulent 2019 for Victoria’s Secret and L Brands. In August 2019, more than 100 models and several of their allies (including Models Alliance and Times Up) signed an open letter to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas to demand an end to the sexual abuse and sexual harassment that has allegedly been running rampant against Victoria’s Secret models.

The letter was published just two days after L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek publicly announced he was leaving the company. Wexner and Razek had close ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested again in July 2019, for sex crimes, specifically, for sex trafficking of women and underage girls. Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on August 10, 2019. According to the Associated Press, he died of an apparent suicide by hanging.

Razek came under fire in 2018, when he said in a Vogue interview that Victoria’s Secret was not interested in hiring plus-sized or transgender models. In August 2019, Victoria’s Secret hired its first transgender model: Valentina Sampaio, who posted the news on her Instagram account. But that milestone was apparently too little, too late.

The open letter blasting Victoria’s Secret was among several blows to the company in 2019.  The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was completely canceled only a few months after it was announced that the show would not be televised anymore.

In addition, about 15% of Victoria’s Secret employees (about 50 people) were laid off in October 2019, the same month that Victoria’s Secret head of stores and store operations April Holt stepped down from her position after 16 years working for the company.

Meanwhile, rival lingerie brands such as Aerie, ThirdLove, Adore Me and Lively have experienced an increase in sales in recent years. Many market analysts have noted that Victoria’s Secret alienated many customers by having only tall and thin models in its marketing, while newer brands embrace a more diverse variety of body sizes in their marketing and in their product selections. In addition, websites that track customer feedback for retailers have noted that there have been numerous complaints about the decreasing quality of Victoria’s Secret products and customer service.

Review: ‘The Times of Bill Cunningham,’ starring Bill Cunningham

February 14, 2020

by Carla Hay

Bill Cunningham at a Patou Collection in Paris in 1970.
Bill Cunningham at a Patou Collection in Paris in 1970. (Photo by Jean Luce Huré)

“The Times of Cunningham”

Directed by Mark Bozek

Culture Representation: Taking place mostly in New York City, the documentary “The Times of Bill Cunningham” chronicles the life of celebrity/fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, who came from a middle-class background but rubbed shoulders with society’s elite for most of his career while still maintaining a connection to street life.

Culture Clash: Cunningham kept his integrity in an increasingly tabloid-oriented media landscape, and in his early career as a milliner, he experienced sexism in this female-dominated part of the fashion industry.

Culture Audience: This movie will appeal mostly to people interested in a fascinating story about how a hat-designer-turned-photographer became one of the most respected figures of fashion and celebrity media.

Bill Cunningham at a fashion show in Paris in 1971
Bill Cunningham at a fashion show in Paris in 1971. (Photo by Harold Chapman/Topfoto/The Image Works)

If you’re aware of the most prominent American photojournalists of the 20th century, then you already know who Bill Cunningham was or where you were the day that you heard he died. Cunningham, who spent most of his career as a New York Times photographer, passed away from a stroke in New York City on June 25, 2016, at the age of 87. He never retired from working. And he was a rare fashion photojournalist who didn’t limit his work to one segment of society. He captured a wide variety of cultures, from haute couture lifestyles to street life of everyday people.

The insightful and somewhat worshipful documentary “The Times of Bill Cunningham,” which revolves around a rare 1994 video interview that director Mark Bozek did with Cunningham, takes a chronological look back at Cunningham’s life story. Sarah Jessica Parker provides voiceover narration. Because Cunningham was the type of photojournalist who didn’t seek attention and glory for himself, he rarely gave interviews. This documentary is probably the closest thing to a Bill Cunningham memoir.

The documentary consists almost entirely of archival footage, including some never-before-seen photos taken by Cunningham. In Cunningham’s own words, we hear about his childhood, growing up in Boston in a strict Catholic family. From an early age, he had a fascination with women’s hats. As a teenager, he worked as a sales clerk at the Boston location of luxury department-store chain Bonwit Teller. At age 19, he dropped out of Harvard University to move to New York City and pursue a full-time career in fashion.

When he moved to New York City to live with an aunt and to pursue his fashion dreams, it’s no surprise that, after a brief stint as an ad associate for Bonwit Teller, he became a milliner, first for Bonwit Teller and then striking out on his own. Women in New York’s high society, as well as Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Joan Crawford, became his clients. His fashion career was interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War, when he spent some time in France, and then he left the Army to return to New York in 1953.

However, even though his talent was recognized, Cunningham said he faced a lot of sexism because being a milliner was traditionally a woman’s job. And he was initially afraid to tell his family back home in Boston that he was in the fashion industry, so he began his career using an alias: William J.

Cunningham eventually was fired from Bonwit Teller, and he says in retrospect, his dismissal from Bonwit Teller was the best thing to happen to him, because it led him to start his own milliner business. He charmed his way into renting a studio space for a big discount, even though he hadn’t proven himself yet as a successful entrepreneur. Through his hat business, he met Bernadine Morris, who was The New York Times’ fashion critic at the time. She introduced him to a whole new set of clientele and eventually played a role in Cunningham switching careers from milliner to journalist.

But during his hat-designing days, Cunningham had some memorable moments, including times when actor Marlon Brando would hide out in the studio when he was being chased by female fans. Bill also remembers that writer Norman Mailer and his third wife, Lady Jeanne Campbell, shared the studio with him. And his most famous neighbor was photographer Editta Sherman, who later did some modeling for Campbell in his early years as a fashion photographer. Cunningham also remembers meeting former King Edward VIII of Great Britain and his wife, Wallis Simpson. Cunningham describes him as charming, down-to-earth, and willing to put people at ease instead of using his royal lineage to intimidate people. 

Cunniningham closed his hat shop in 1962, and he began working at the New York City boutique Chez Ninon, which catered to the wealthy. As for which type of fashionistas impressed him the most, Cunningham says it wasn’t the Hollywood celebrities (he thought most of these stars didn’t have style in real life), but the New York high society women who were the ones with the most elegant style and best fashion taste. Jackie Kennedy was one of his favorite clients. Cunningham says that the pink Chanel outfit that Kennedy wore on the tragic day in 1963 that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated was actually not a Chanel original but a knockoff from a Balenciaga outfit.

Just like at Bonwit Teller, Cunningham was eventually ousted at Chez Ninon, and he says it was because the women who worked at Chez Ninon weren’t entirely comfortable with him as a milliner because he was a man. It was around this time that Cunningham got his first professional photographer’s camera, in 1967. He worked for a time as a fashion critic for Women’s Wear Daily and the Chicago Tribune, but photography turned out to be his true love.

He began taking photos of New York street life, but the photos of celebrities are the ones that got him the most attention. (Cunningham never considered himself to be part of the paparazzi, because he didn’t stalk people.) In 1978, he took a famous photo of Greta Garbo, who was a recluse at the time, while she was walking on a New York City street. The New York Times published the photo. And from that year onward, he worked for The New York Times until his death in 2016. It was during his long stint working for The New York Times that Cunningham began to wear his signature item of clothing: a blue jacket.

In the documentary’s video interview with Cunningham, he shares a lot of his thoughts on fashion, by saying that fashion can be described in three categories: what is shown, what is written about, and what is worn. “I don’t think of myself as a photographer. I think of myself as a fashion historian,” he says. He also says that he doesn’t have a favorite era in fashion because “fashion makes people feel good. As long as there are human beings in the world, there will be fashion.”

The first time that Cunningham covered the Met Gala (the annual fashion fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art), it was during the era when Diana Vreeland was editor-in-chief of Vogue. He chronicled the Met Gala, for 11 years when it was under Vreeland’s supervision, not only through photos but also through audio recordings and notes. The documentary includes a rare audio recording of Vreeland and Andre Leon Talley talking during preparations for a Met Gala. The one Met Gala preparation he didn’t cover extensively was the one in 1976, which had the theme “The Glory of the Russian Costume,” because Vreeland and the Russians clashed too much over the exhibit.

Speaking of conflicts, Cunningham also remembers how his presence wasn’t always welcome when he would take pictures. He tells a story about how the head of a perfume company (he didn’t say her name) called the police on him because she was sure that Cunningham was a pickpocket posing as a photographer. Although he was able to avoid being arrested, the incident was so unnerving that he remembered it in full detail all those years later.

One of the highlights of his career, he says, was being at the Battle of Versailles Fashion Show in 1973, when French designers and American designers who represented fashion’s A-list competed against each other in a fashion show to raise money for the Palace of Versailles in France. The French designers were Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Emanuel Ungaro, Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent. The American designers were Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, Oscar de la Renta, Halston and Anne Klein. (The Americans won.) Cunningham said that Burrows was his favorite designer at the event because his designs were truly unique from everyone else’s.

Cunningham undoubtedly got to experience many glamorous events and take photos of many celebrities, but he felt it was equally important to document the street life of everyday people, including the homeless. He also covered news events happening on the streets, such as protests and parades, including the first Pride parade in New York in 1970. He breaks down and cries a few times during the interview: When he talks about things he saw on the street that he didn’t have the heart to photograph (he didn’t go into details in the interview) and when he talks about the devastation of the AIDS crisis.

Throughout the interview, Cunningham also shows his boyish wit and humility. He constantly downplays the importance of his work, and says at one point, “I’m not talented.” He also says that he’s basically shy, so he never got over being nervous about working on the street or meeting new people.

Cunningham was also very eccentric and very frugal, since he we would always stay at cheap hotels when he traveled for business, while many of his colleagues and peers would travel first-class. His only spending indulgence was for his art collection. Cunningham, who was famous for getting around by bicycle, also reveals his philosophy on how he chose which bikes to get: “The cheaper, the better.”

And he also explains what he loves most about his work: “The freedom.” He adds that “New York is an extraordinary city,” and The New York Times was like a “blank canvas” where he could display his work. And the hardest part of the job for Cunningham? Spelling people’s names correctly.

Although Cunningham doesn’t talk about it in the documentary, Parker’s voiceover narration mentions that during his lifetime, Cunningham was extremely generous with his money, by donating millions to AIDS charities and the Catholic Church. When Cunningham’s close artist friend Antonio Lopez was dying of AIDS and didn’t have health insurance, Cunningham bought a painting from Lopez for $130,000, and then gave the painting back to Lopez.

The one thing about Cunningham that the documentary doesn’t discuss is his love life. He never married, didn’t have kids, and he never publicly disclosed what his sexuality was. Whatever his sexual orientation was, it’s obvious from the documentary that Cunningham was married to his job. If he ever did have any serious love relationships in his lifetime, they definitely would’ve been less of a priority for him than his work. The documentary shows that he spent so much of his waking hours devoted to his work, that it’s no wonder he didn’t seem to have any time to settle down with someone special.

Although the documentary certainly reveals a lot about Cunningham (except his love life), it comes across as a little too fawning. He was certainly a beloved media figure, but the documentary could have been more well-rounded by interviewing people who were his rivals to get their perspectives. And because the basis of the documentary is a video interview that he did in 1994, the interview looks extremely dated. Had the interview taken place in a later decade, Cunningham would have been able to offer his thoughts on how digital technology and the Internet have transformed the photography profession. However, the documentary does have a treasure trove of archival footage, which is one of the main reasons to see this movie.

Cunningham’s legacy is a reminder that it’s possible to be a street photographer and be a well-respected gentleman, which is a rare quality when photographers who do their work on the streets are rewarded for being pushy and aggressively obnoxious. And in this day and age of smartphones and social media where people can curate and Photoshop their own images any way that they please, Cunningham represents a bygone era where photographers had more gatekeeper influence in the fashion industry. As more journalists than ever before have a tabloid “look at me” mentality, Cunningham always maintained the ethics of a true journalist, by observing and reporting truths, instead of trying to put the spotlight on himself.

Greenwich Entertainment released “The Times of Bill Cunningham” in New York City on February 14, 2020. The movie’s U.S. theatrical release will expand to other cities in subsequent weeks.

Coach launches ‘Originals Go Their Own Way’ Spring 2020 campaign, starring Jennifer Lopez and Michael B. Jordan

January 21, 2020

Jennifer Lopez in Coach’s “Originals Go Their Own Way” Spring 2020 campaign (Photos courtesy of Coach)
Michael B. Jordan in Coach’s “Originals Go Their Own Way” Spring 2020 campaign (Photos courtesy of Coach)

The following is a press release from Coach:

Coach launches “Originals Go Their Own Way,” its campaign for Spring 2020. Starring award-winning actor, singer, producer and new face of Coach Jennifer Lopez in her first campaign for the house and global face of Coach menswear, actor and producer Michael B. Jordan, the campaign tells the story of authentic self-expression through the lens of its powerful cast.

Set in New York City, Coach’s home since 1941, “Originals Go Their Own Way” communicates Creative Director Stuart Vevers‘ evolved vision for the house. Spontaneous, real and playful to reflect the inclusive and optimistic spirit of the house and New York City, it celebrates authenticity, individuality and those who forge their own unique way in life. Emphasized by the inspiring stories of Lopez and Jordan, both known as courageously independent individuals who have paved new paths while staying true to themselves, the campaign advocates for doing things your own way and expressing yourself through purpose and style.

To bring the campaign to life, Vevers worked with photographer Juergen Teller, whose partnership with Coach began in the fall of 2019 and has continued through its holiday and spring campaigns. Shot in iconic locations around the city, including the Edge at Hudson Yards and the High Line, where Coach held its show for the Spring collection, the images also feature the sculpture “Brick House” by the artist Simone Leigh. The public artwork, a 16-foot tall bronze bust of a Black woman which references numerous architectural styles, is a symbol of inclusion, optimism and strength that sits beneath the house’s headquarters, and was featured in its recent show.

“At the start of a new decade, I felt instinctively that it was right to celebrate the color, energy and optimism of New York, our hometown and inspiration as a house,” said Coach Creative Director Stuart Vevers. “I loved working with Juergen to bring my vision for Spring to life, and to tell the stories of Jennifer and Michael in a unique and authentic way.”

“I have a unique history with Coach that dates back to ‘All I Have,'” said Lopez. “It is a brand that embodies the essence of being born and bred in New York and I, of course, deeply relate to that. In all it creates, Coach promotes individuality and optimism in its style as well as a sense of authenticity and inclusion. Like me, we’re both New York originals, who create a unique mix of high-fashion with street edge. With Stuart’s designs and Juergen’s photography, we captured special and unique visual moments for this campaign with the iconic New York City skyline as the perfectly tailored backdrop.”

“I’m proud to be part of the new spring campaign,” said Jordan. “The story of what makes an original is very meaningful to me for many reasons, and it was a great experience working with Stuart and Juergen to tell that story in a way that feels fresh and powerful.”

“Originals Go Their Own Way” spotlights the house’s new Spring bags, including the Hutton, the Rambler, and the men’s Pacer Backpack and Belt Bag—and a ready-to-wear collection featuring a bold new statement in leather, a reference to the house’s roots.

ABOUT COACH
Coach is a global design house of modern luxury leather goods, apparel, footwear, fragrance, eyewear and a full range of lifestyle accessories.  Founded in 1941, Coach has a longstanding reputation built on quality craftsmanship and is defined by its confident New York style.  The brand approaches design with a modern vision, reimagining luxury for today with an authenticity and innovation that is uniquely Coach. Coach products are available in approximately 55 countries through its network of directly operated stores, travel retail shops and sales to wholesale customers and independent third party distributors, as well as through coach.com.

 

2020 Miss America Competition: Miss Virginia Camille Schrier crowned the winner

December 19, 2019

Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier
Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, December 19, 2019 (Photo by Eric Liebowitz/NBC)

The following is a press release from NBC:

Miss Virginia, Camille Schrier, was crowned Miss America 2020 live on NBC at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on December 19, 2019. The Miss America competition, which returned to NBC this year, was broadcast on NBC and live-streamed on NBC.com in a two-hour live special.

The 99th Miss America Competition was co-hosted by Kit Hoover And Mario Lopez from “Access Hollywood.” “Superstore” co-star Lauren Ash, “Queer Eye” culture expert Karamo and singer/songwriter/actress Kelly Rowland served as judges for the broadcast.

As Miss America 2020, Camille Schrier earns a six-figure salary as she travels across the country for her year of service. She will use her national platform advocating for drug safety as an opportunity to inspire others and impact lives. Camille Schrier is a graduate of Virginia Tech where she majored in biochemistry and systems biology, she is currently studying to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree. Along with the coveted title of Miss America 2020, Camille won a $50,000 scholarship to continue her education. Through her social impact initiative, Mind Your Meds: Drug Safety and Abuse Prevention from Pediatrics to Geriatrics, she will educate the public on drug safety and abuse prevention. For the talent portion of the competition, Camille performed a chemistry demonstration.

First runner up in the competition was Miss Georgia Victoria Hill, who earned a $25,000 scholarship.

The show was executive produced by John Irwin, whose Irwin Entertainment is producing the new NBC late night show “A Little Late With Lilly Singh.” His credentials include stand-up specials for Adam Sandler, John Mulaney, Norm MacDonald and Nikki Glaser as well as “Red Nose Day,” “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” and “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks.”

The show was led by a female director, Emmy Award-nominated Sandra Restrepo, who has directed a multitude of live shows, including the first live televised musical performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway sensation “Hamilton,” the Radio Disney Music Awards and MTV’s live music series “Wonderland.” Restrepo also served as the show director on over 250 episodes of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Also joining the Miss America 2020 production team was Meredith McGinn as co-executive producer. McGinn is the Senior Vice President of NBC-owned COZI TV, news brand LX and LX.TV, an award-winning production company that produces weekly lifestyle programs in addition to live specials and red-carpet specials such as the Golden Globes, Emmy Awards and Rose Parade.

Other leading names behind the scenes include Tim Bock as co-executive producer, lighting design by Oscar Dominguez of “The Voice,” production design by Joe Stewart and writer Jon Macks, whose previous credits include the Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmy Awards.

“Saturday Night Live” choreographer Danielle Flora also joined the production team to enhance the show’s new format.

Join the #MissAmerica conversation on social media at Facebook.com/MissAmerica; Twitter @MissAmericaOrg; Instagram @MissAmerica; and YouTube.com/MissAmericaOrg.

 

Final results Contestant(s)
Miss America 2020
  • Virginia VirginiaCamille Schrier
1st runner-up
  • Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia – Victoria Hill
2nd runner-up
  • Missouri Missouri – Simone Esters
3rd runner-up
  • Oklahoma Oklahoma – Addison Price
4th runner-up
  • Connecticut Connecticut – Jillian Duffy
Top 7
  • Alabama Alabama – Tiara Pennington
  • Colorado Colorado – Monica Thompson
Top 15
  • California California – Eileen Kim
  • Florida Florida – Michaela McLean
  • Hawaii Hawaii – Nicole Holbrook
  • Kansas Kansas – Annika Wooton
  • New Jersey New Jersey – Jade Glab
  • New York (state) New York – Lauren Molella
  • North Carolina North Carolina – Alexandra Badgett
  • Texas Texas – Chandler Foreman

2019 Miss Universe Pageant: Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi crowned the winner

December 8, 2019

by Yvette Thomas

 Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi is crowned Miss Universe at the 2019 Miss Universe competition in Atlanta. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Fox)

Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi  was crowned Miss Universe 2019, in a ceremony that took place December 8 at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. Fox had the U.S. telecast of the show, which was hosted by Steve Harvey. Former beauty-pageant queens Olivia Culpo and Vanessa Lachey provided commentary, while Ally Brooke (of Fifth Harmony fame) was the show’s musical performer. The annual Miss Universe ceremony (now in its 68th year) is produced by the Miss Universe Organization.

The new Mouawad Power of Unity crown made its debut at the ceremony this year. According to Mouwad,  the crown was created with 18-karat gold and handset with more than 1,770 white diamonds and three golden canary diamonds. The crown’s centerpiece is a shield-cut golden canary 62.83 carat diamond.

Contestants from 90 countries and territories were at the pageant, including Swe Zin Htet of Myanmar, who was the first openly lesbian contestant to compete for the Miss Universe title. Ultimately, she did not place in the Top 20. Bangladesh and Equatorial Guinea made their Miss Universe debuts this year.

The all-female panel of Miss Universe 2019 judges were:

  • Gaby Espino, Venezuelan actress
  • Sazan Hendrix, American businesswoman and social media personality
  • Riyo Mori. Miss Universe 2007 from Japan
  • Cara Mund, Miss America 2018[39]
  • Bozoma Saint John, American businesswoman and marketing executive
  • Crystle Stewart, American actress and Miss USA 2008
  • Paulina Vega, Miss Universe 2014 from Colombia
  • Olivia Jordan (only as preliminary judge). American actress, model, and Miss USA 2015

Internet voting from the public returned after a two-year absence. The public Internet voting was for the contestants who placed in the Top 20.

Here are the Top 20 contestants of the 2018 Miss Universe pageant:

Zozibini Tunzi, Miss South Africa — Winner
Madison Anderson, Miss Puerto Rico — First runner-up
Sofía Aragón, Miss Mexico — Second runner-up
Gabriela Tafur, Miss Colombia — Top 5
Paweensuda Drouin, Miss Thailand— Top 5
Maëva Coucke, Miss France — Top 10
Birta Abiba Þórhallsdóttir, Miss Iceland — Top 10
Frederika Alexis Cull, Miss Indoensia — Top 10
Kelin Rivera, Miss Peru— Top 10
Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA — Top 10
Cindy Marina, Miss Albania — Top 20
Júlia Horta, Miss Brazil — Top 20
Mia Rkman, Miss Croatia — Top 20
Clauvid Dály, Miss Dominican Republic — Top 20
Vartika Singh, Miss India — Top 20
Olutosin Araromi, Miss Nigeria — Top 20
Gazini Ganados, Miss Philippines — Top 20
Sylvie Silva, Miss Portugal — Top 20
Thalía Olvino, Miss Venezuela — Top 20
Hoàng Thùy, Miss Vietnam — Top 20

Fashion to Figure launches Gabrielle Union x FTF collection

December 5, 2019

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

The following is a press release from Fashion to Figure:

Fashion To Figure, (FTF) one of the first fashion retailers catering to the plus-size market and specializing in on-trend clothing and accessories, announces a partnership to offer Gabrielle Union in plus-sizes 12-24. The first Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection features holiday styles curated to reflect Gabrielle Union’s glamour and edge paired with FTF’s unapologetic celebration of curves.

“My line’s availability at Fashion To Figure is a critical and personal moment for me. This is for my family and all the plus-size women who have messaged me asking for Gabrielle Union. This partnership goes beyond offering a more inclusive and extended size range, it was a deliberate effort to focus on a technical fit that celebrates curves.”

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

“It was a natural first step to offer the size range that FTF currently offers, but we are also working on getting the fit right for sizes beyond a 24 for future collections. I am so excited to be on this fashion journey, every collection levels up and I am closer to my personal goal of having a brand with bomb clothes that fit all bodies.”

Gabrielle Union has an amazing fashion sensibility and we are so excited to welcome her to the FTF family,” said Nick Kaplan, president and co-founder of Fashion To Figure. We are thrilled that Gabrielle choose our fit and brand to continue to evolve her collections with.”

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

The Holiday 2019 Gabrielle Union Plus-Size Collection available at FTF.com includes:

  • 13-pieces featuring sequins and bold holiday separates in plus-sizes 12-24
  • Price points range from $69.95$199.95

Follow the conversation @FashionToFigure, @Gabunion and #GabunionxFTF

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

About Gabrielle Union
The Gabrielle Union Collection was launched exclusively by New York & Company in Fall 2017. In partnership with the Company’s senior designers, Gabrielle’s vision was to create apparel for the modern woman that included a range of sizes and affordable price points while still offering styles that are COOL, FLY, and DOPE. The collection includes a range of dresses, tops, bottoms, denim, outerwear and accessories. Known for supporting and advocating for women, Gabrielle has invited her friends and cast mates to participate in several campaigns since the collection’s inception. Previous campaigns have included: Ajiona Alexus, Essence Atkins, Margaret Avery, Raven Goodwin, Valarie Pettiford, and more. In Spring 2019, Gabrielle launched the Kaavi James capsule collection, inspired by her daughter, Kaavia James. The capsule featured a variety of unisex baby clothes from 0-24 months. In Fall 2019, Gabrielle launched the Red Carpet Collection—a capsule of limited-edition, high-fashion pieces made with elevated fabrics at a higher price point. Gabrielle is also the face of New York & Company’s 7th Avenue Design Studio Collection.

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

About FASHION TO FIGURE
Fashion To Figure, founded in 2004 is a leading retailer of on-trend, plus-size apparel and accessories, operating 11 stores nationwide as well as a substantial eCommerce business. Following the brand’s relaunch in 2018 as part of the RTW multi-brand portfolio, Fashion To Figure has accelerated its growth by capitalizing on its fashion heritage while also executing against the brand’s strategic vision, resulting in a double-digit comp rate year-to-date driven by growth in the eCommerce channel. RTW Retailwinds, Inc (NYSE:RTW) includes New York & Company, Fashion To Figure, Eva Mendes Collection, Gabrielle Union Collection and Happy x Nature by Kate Hudson alongside its subscription services, NY&Company Closet and FTF Closet. Its branded merchandise is sold exclusively at its retail and outlet locations and online at www.nyandcompany.com, www.fashiontofigure.com, https://www.happyxnature.com/, www.nyandcompanycloset.com, www.fashiontofigurecloset.com

2019 DOC NYC movie review: ‘Martin Margiela: In His Own Words’

November 18, 2019

by Carla Hay

Maison Margiela fashions in "Martin Margiela: In His Own Words"
Maison Margiela fashions in “Martin Margiela: In His Own Words” (Photo courtesy of Dogwoof Pictures)

“Martin Margiela: In His Own Words”

Directed by Reiner Holzemer

World premiere at DOC NYC in New York City on November 8, 2019.

If you think about how much the fashion industry relies on photography and a designer’s image to sell products (it’s why designers always come out on the runway with the models at the end of a designer’s show), it’s pretty remarkable that Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela could spend 20 successful years in the business and avoid being photographed or interviewed. Yes, there are a few random photos of him that you can find in an Internet search, but he wasn’t a complete recluse at the time he was in the fashion industry. He was backstage at his fashion shows, where there were photographers galore, and somehow, he convinced them and other people around him not to take photos of him. At the height of his success, Margiela abruptly quit the fashion industry at the end of his last fashion show in 2008, and then he really becoming a recluse.

“Martin Margiela: In Own Words” is a documentary that tracked down the elusive Margiela and interviewed him in his home, but only his hands are seen on camera. For many fashionistas watching this movie, it might be the first time hearing him speak. (He has a very soft-spoken, almost sing-song voice.) During the course of the movie, he shares his memories of his life in fashion and what he’s been doing in the years since he “disappeared” from the scene.

Margiela (whose real name is Margiela Statin) also opens up his archives, as the documentary shows him flipping through many of his original sketchbooks and showing some of his early illustrations. We also see that Margiela loves Barbie dolls, which served as his earliest models (mini-mannequins, if you will) when he developed an interest in fashion as a child. He still keeps many of his handmade Barbie-doll fashions from his childhood, including his first amateur design: a gray flannel blazer inspired by Yves Saint Laurent. (Yes, it’s shown in the movie.)

As a child, he says he was lonely but had a vivid fantasy life. His earliest memory of wanting to be a fashion designer, he says, was when he was 7 years old and saw a Paris fashion show on TV. His grandmother, who was a dressmaker, was an enormous influence on him—someone whom he considers to be the most important person in his life.

As an adult, Margiela teamed up with business partner Jenny Meirens to launch Maison Margiela, a Paris-based company that had its first collection in 1988. He says of Meirens, who died in 2017, at the age of 73: “We both had a fascination with Japanese designers, which was very intense.” One of Maison Margiela’s early signature looks consisted of shoes designed to look like animal hooves. Another signature Maison Margiela look was to have four stitches in odd places on his clothes.

Sandrine Domas, who modeled for Maison Margiela in the early 1990s, is one of the people interviewed in the documentary, and she remembers how people often thought those four stitches were a mistake and wanted to remove the stitches. It’s an example of Margiela’s eccentric humor that he liked to play with people’s expectations on what should and shouldn’t be part of haute couture.

Other people from the fashion industry who are interviewed in the documentary (and, quite frankly, do nothing but gush over Margiela) include former New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn, who says that Margiela is “definitely in the top 10” of the greatest fashion designers of all time. Jean-Paul Gaultier, who used to be Margiela’s assistant, marvels at how impressed he was with Margiela’s first runway show, and admits that, at the time, he didn’t think the show wouldn’t be as good as it was. The NEWS showroom founder Stella Ishii compared that first Margiela show to Andy Warhol “shattering the art world in many ways.” Pierre Rougier, who was Margiela’s publicist from 1989 to 1991, raves that Margiela “was ahead of his time.”

How so? Carine Roitfeld, who was editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris from 2001 to 2011, says that one of the things that Margiela pioneered was to do street casting for models, by randomly inviting people off the street to model in his shows on a first-come, first-served basis. He also encouraged his first street-casted models to smile and interact with the audience, which was the complete opposite of the runway norm to have models walk stone-faced and aloof from the audience. There’s footage in the documentary of these street-casted models in action.

So with all this praise, glory and success, why did Margiela shun the spotlight? He explains in the documentary: “Anonymity was my protection as a person.” Later in the film, he says of the fashion industry: “I’m too serious for that world.” Nina Nitsche, who was Margiela’s assistant from 1998 to 2008, said that when Diesel came in as a major investor in Maison Margiela in 2002, things started to change—and not for the better. Diesel’s emphasis was on the Margiela brand being “sexy” instead of “mysterious.”

Margiela essentially confirms that his disillusionment with the fashion industry was around the time that Diesel started controlling his company. He also wasn’t keen on Diesel’s push to have more of the business on the Internet, and that’s when he knew the fashion industry was going into a direction that he didn’t like. As he says in the documentary: “I felt like an artistic director in my own company, and that bothered me, because I’m a fashion designer.”

There are two moments in the movie where Margiela gets emotional. First, when he talks about the night in 2008 when he shocked everyone by quitting the business right after his runway show. He says his biggest regret was how he chose to leave because “I never had a chance to say goodbye to my team.” The documentary then shows him writing a note on the screen that says, “Thanks to everyone who helped my dream come true!”

The other time he gets emotional is when discussing how flattered and awed he was that the ModeMuseum in Antwerp, Belgium, had an entire retrospective exhibit for his fashion. There’s some footage of the exhibit’s grand opening in 2009. But, ever the recluse, Margiela wasn’t there, although he obviously knew what was in the exhibit.

“Martin Margiela: In His Own Words” director Reiner Holzemer shows an admirable amount of restraint, by staying true to the movie’s title, and not putting himself on camera or having a director’s voiceover narration to steal some of the spotlight from Margiela. Many documentarians who would do a film where they’re the first to interview a famous recluse on camera wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to show off how they achieved this feat, and make sure the audience could see their other investigative journalism skills.

The movie’s main shortcoming is that it’s a non-stop praise fest of Margiela. The worst thing that people say about him is that he’s a perfectionist. A little less fan worshipping and a little bit more of objective viewpoints could have made this a more balanced film. However, that minor flaw does not take away from the fact that Margiela is a fascinating subject, who is a lot more open in telling his life story than people might think he would be.

Although he spends his creative energy nowadays by painting and making sculptures, at the end of the movie, he hints that there’s always a possibility that he might return to the fashion industry. Whether or not he ever does, this documentary serves as an exemplary capsule of Margiela’s fashion legacy, told from his perspective.

UPDATE: Oscilloscope Laboratories will release “Martin Margiela: In His Own Words” on a date to be announced.

Ashley Stewart partners with Loni Love for holiday 2019 collection

November 7, 2019

Loni Love
Loni Love at the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Finale Event at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Ashley Stewart)

The following is a press release from Ashley Stewart:

Ashley Stewart®, the leading lifestyle, fashion and social commerce brand, is excited to announce an exclusive holiday collection in partnership with Loni Love, long-time friend, two-time Finding Ashley Stewart finale host, Emmy Award winning comedian, actress, author and Celebrity Host of The Real.

Launching just in time for the upcoming holiday season, the 2019 Fall/Winter collection consists of trend-focused pieces curated by the comedic icon herself, offering the perfect holiday wardrobe for the modern day woman.

“As someone that has been wearing Ashley Stewart for as long as I can remember, collaborating with the Ashley family on my first-ever fashion partnership has been a dream come true,” said Loni Love. “Ashley Stewart is so much more than a clothing brand; it’s a movement and a lifestyle empowering and changing the lives of every day women. After serving as the host of the Finding Ashley Stewart finale for two consecutive years, I’ve experienced that sense of community firsthand. I’m honored and so excited to grow my partnership with Ashley Stewart by curating this year’s Fall/Winter holiday collection, and can’t wait to see how my curvy community rocks these looks all season long!”

Incorporating festive holiday colors, textiles, and textures, the exclusive Ashley Stewart X Loni Love Holiday collection includes 10 special occasion styles hand-selected by Loni. Offering consumers a peek into Loni’s Ashley Stewart closet, each of these pieces aims to seamlessly fit into Loni’s lifestyle and yours with festive loungewear for hanging out with family at home to statement styles ready for the spotlight, so everyone has the chance to rock their favorite style just like Loni Love this holiday season. The Loni Love x Ashley Stewart Holiday Collection is available for purchase beginning today in-stores and online at AshleyStewart.com in sizes 10 – 3X, and ranging in price from $40$80.

“Ashley Stewart has always strived to be more than a retailer, standing for individuality, community, and fun,” said James Rhee, Ashley Stewart Chairman and CEO. “Loni Love has been a great friend and ally in our mission for years.  Partnering with her on this holiday collection and her first fashion partnership was a natural progression of our friendship and we couldn’t be happier to share her collection with the Ashley family.”

For more information and to shop the new Ashley Stewart X Loni Love holiday collection, visit AshleyStewart.com and follow @ByAshleyStewart and @ByAshleyTV on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

About Ashley Stewart
Ashley Stewart is a global fashion and lifestyle brand that has propelled itself to be on the vanguard of social commerce and purpose-driven business. Since its founding in 1991 in Brooklyn, New York, Ashley Stewart has always stood for uncompromising style, fashion, confidence & empowerment for the woman who flaunts her curves. Today, Ashley Stewart offers the hottest looks with 88 stores across the United States, a leading and global  e-commerce presence at www.ashleystewart.com, a powerful social media presence @byashleystewart and a growing multimedia and events arm at AshleyTV. Every year, through the Finding Ashley Stewart Tour, Ashley Stewart traverses the country looking to recognize women who embody the ideals of the Ashley Stewart women: kindness, resilience, confidence, and community leadership. Through #ASGives, Ashley Stewart engages in programs such as the #AshleyCollegeTour to make long-term investments into the communities that have supported the brand for close to 30 years.

About Loni Love
Loni Love is a comedienne, actress, 2-time NAACP Image Award and Emmy winning co-host of TV’s “The Real” and the nationally syndicated radio show “Café Mocha”.

Coach has Kate Moss, Spike Lee, Yara Shahidi, Megan Thee Stallion and more in ‘Wonder for All’ holiday 2019 campaign

November 4, 2019

Kate Moss in Coach’s “Wonder for All” Holiday 2019 campaign (Photo courtesy of Coach)

The following is a press release from Coach:

Coach unveils “Wonder For All,” its campaign for the 2019 holiday season. Starring a fun, diverse cast that includes actress Yara Shahidi, model Kate Moss, rapper Megan Thee Stallion in her first-ever fashion campaign, Spike and Tonya Lee, and more friends of Coach, the campaign follows the band of revelers as they gather at an impromptu party at a New York brownstone. Capturing the magical mood of the season, it champions the belief of coming together for the holidays and the inclusive, authentic spirit of New York.

Kate Moss in Coach’s “Wonder for All” Holiday 2019 campaign (Photo by Juergen Teller for Coach)

Photographed by Juergen Teller, who debuted his first campaign for Coach this fall, the colorful, irreverent print campaign highlights the individuality of the campaign’s cast members. Set on the Upper West Side and featuring Shahidi, Moss, Megan Thee Stallion as well as model Fernanda Ly, actor Miles Heizer and an unexpected feathered friend, it sees the cast in joyful, unfiltered scenes that highlight the house’s spirit of playfulness and the authentic self-expression that defines New York City.

The campaign also introduces the house’s new Horse and Carriage collection. Seen on Kate Moss and a new version of the Kat Saddle Bag, the collection reimagines Coach’s iconic Horse and Carriage motif as a cool, colorful pattern on bags and ready-to-wear. First introduced in the 1950s, the Horse and Carriage is a symbol of Coach’s legacy of leathercraft and New York heritage, and the house’s first-ever code.

“Wonder For All” is also a series of short films written and directed by Bunny Kinney. Featuring Spike and Tonya Lee, actress Camila Morrone, winner of Season 8 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race Bob the Drag Queen, and writer, actor and producer Ben Sinclair, as well as special appearances by the Shahidi family and the Newark Boys Choir, the films celebrate the magic and spontaneous fun of being together during the most festive time of year.

Coach customers in Japan will be able to play a limited-edition Rexy holiday video game where the house’s beloved mascot snowboards through animated Coach worlds with the goal of reaching the holiday party.

ABOUT COACH
Coach is a global design house of modern luxury leather goods, apparel, footwear, fragrance, eyewear and a full range of lifestyle accessories.  Founded in 1941, Coach has a longstanding reputation built on quality craftsmanship and is defined by its confident New York style.  The brand approaches design with a modern vision, reimagining luxury for today with an authenticity and innovation that is uniquely Coach.  Coach products are available in approximately 55 countries through its network of directly operated stores, travel retail shops and sales to wholesale customers and independent third party distributors, as well as through coach.com.

Coach is a Tapestry, Inc. brand.  Tapestry is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker TPR.