Kisses Darling!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Iman: Not Just Another Pretty Face........

On Monday night at Lincoln Center, Iman will be on the biggest fashion stage of the year, the awards gala for the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She will be recognized as this year’s Fashion Icon, a special award that goes to “an individual whose signature style has had a profound influence on fashion,” according to the council. Iman chose her friend Isabella Rossellini to present the award.

The choice of Iman by the council’s board wasn’t obvious — it’s not as if she is known for her distinctive way of dressing, like the recent honorees Kate Moss (2005) and Sarah Jessica Parker (2004). But the decision seemed to have come almost spontaneously, according to Diane von Furstenberg, the group’s president: “Somebody, I don’t remember who it was, mentioned Iman’s name at the meeting, and everybody said ‘Wow.’ The vote was unanimous.”

The designer Michael Kors, who was at the meeting, said that Iman instantly clicked with the board because she is “an icon for our times.”

“It’s not just enough to say that she is beautiful or beautifully dressed, although that is a part of the equation,” Mr. Kors said. “Iman cuts across all ages and experiences. Today women are out there trying to juggle and to make sense of it all. You look at the way Iman looks, her success in business, her need to try new things and to have her own point of view and be a wife and mother — well, not many people have come full circle like that.”

DURING an interview at the Seventh Avenue office of her cosmetics company, where she works three days a week, Iman — 5 feet 9, 133 pounds and a fit size 6 — is soignée in flared denims, wedge peep-toes and a navy jacket over a white T-shirt. The walls are covered with images of herself by the likes of Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber and Helmut Newton, a testimony to her stellar career.

The fashion designers’ award, which came as a surprise to her, “does the ego good,” she admitted. Among the well-wishers was Alexander Wang, the hot young designer, who offered to dress Iman in something special. “I plan to take him up on that,” she said, chuckling.

She tells the well-documented story of how she arrived in New York in 1975, the daughter of a Somalian diplomat. She spoke five languages but had never worn makeup or high heels.

She credits the nurturing she got from designers, who gave her confidence in an era when model-muses were prized for their individuality — and their own ideas. “We were allowed to talk and to change things,” she said.

Designers like Yves Saint Laurent or Mr. Mugler expected her to speak up. “ ‘Do you like that? Would you wear it that way?’ ”she said. “You could be your own person. And nobody walked the same way on the runway.”

“Don’t get me wrong, there are great girls today,” she said, listing stars like Raquel Zimmermann, Coco Rocha and her namesake Chanel Iman. “But they have lost that role, of collaborating with the designers. There is not that relationship anymore.”

It’s an opinion shared by Mr. Kors, who recalled his first fashion show in 1984, when Iman restyled a shawl her way before she hit the catwalk and how much better it looked.

“No way would that happen today,” he said. “It’s hard for a 16-year-old model to have an opinion.”

After 14 years of modeling, Iman made what was a breakthrough move in 1994, starting her own cosmetics line, featuring impossible-to-find foundation shades for women of color. More than just the pretty face on the package, Iman was the brains behind what was inside those tubes and bottles. She knew what she was doing; for years, she’d been mixing her own formulations for makeup artists to use on her.

Today Iman Cosmetics is a $25-million-a-year business centered on $14.99 foundations in 4 formulations and 14 shades; the brand is among the top-selling foundations sold on “At the end of the day, my legacy will not be modeling, but my cosmetics line,” she said.

Read the rest of the New York Times article here.

Vintage Charles of the Ritz........

Monday, May 31, 2010


A fascinating book edited by David Wills full of quotes by friends and admirers (including yours truly) with photos by Richard Avedon and Ara himself (see cover above). All beautifully woven together telling the story of one of the super star hair stylists of the fashion world. You can buy the book here.

"He was born Ira Gallantz in 1932 in the Bronx, but later changed his name to the more exotic-sounding Ara Gallant-and the life he led was indeed an exotic one. Gallant began his professional career in fashion as a hairdresser, working at Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York as one of the city's top colorists. In the mid-1960s, he was approached by Vogue and began to work exclusively on photo assignments, the first hair stylist to be paid to fulfill such a role. Gallant went on to work with many of the great fashion photographers of the period, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Bert Stern among them. Perhaps his most notable contribution as a stylist was the introduction of "flying hair," an effect he first used on an Avedon shoot with iconic model Twiggy in 1966, and which is still widely employed today. By the early 1970s, Gallant had begun shooting his own pictures, his first assignment being a set of celebrity portraits for Interview magazine. His work often juxtaposed classic Horst-like compositions with contemporary scenarios. In the early 1980s, Gallant moved to Los Angeles to pursue a directing career, which never happened; in 1990, he committed suicide in a Las Vegas hotel room. This new book tracing Gallant's life and career is edited by David Wills and features photographs by Richard Avedon plus a foreword by Anjelica Huston."

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Model Sun Fei Fei in Vogue China Beauty ‘High Knots Classroom’.

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"Being a makeup artist is not only about applying makeup. It’s about everything around you, people, places, colors, all the things that inspire and affect your life."