Celebrity Fashion Sightings: Week of November 27, 2017

With the 2017 Billboard Magazine Women in Music award show, World AIDS Day Benefit, and the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors there was lots of Celebrity Fashion Sightings to go around. And though this week, Fashion Reverie highlights some of celebrity favorites, there are some interesting additions this week.

                    Images courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates and fashionsizzle.com

Mary J. Blige is letting no grass grow under her feet after her very public divorce. Mary gave evidence by wearing a sheer, lacy form-fitting spring 2018 Julien Macdonald jumpsuit at the 2017 Billboard Magazine Women in Music Awards.Mary J. Blige was beautifully accessorized wore Dvani diamond drop earrings, a Le Vian black diamond ring, as well as a Djula diamond ring and Hueb diamond ring. Now, who wore the sheer jumpsuit better, Mary J. or the model? Fashion Reverie concedes it is a hard choice.

                                     Image courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates

Maya Rudolph paid homage to Carol Burnett ‘The Queen of Comedy’ at the Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special in Los Angeles. Rudolph wore an eye-catching canary yellow Maria Lucia Hohan dress.

                        Images courtesy of MAO PR and D’Orazio and Associates

Mariah Carey always shows of her feminine curves. And that is a good thing!! Mariah’s curves are on full display at the 2017 World AIDS Day Benefit Concert in a Georgine sleek black dress with safety pin details.Mariah sets off her sexy look on stage with Butani ruby hoop earrings, a Dvani ruby and diamond bracelet, and a Harry Kotlar ruby ring. Not to be catty, but doesn’t Mariah dress look a lot like Versace’s iconic safety pin dress worn by Elizabeth Hurley in 1994? We are just saying!!

                      Image courtesy of C&M Media

Speaking of Missoni, Jennifer Lopez was recently spotted in Missoni on the set of the film “The Second Act” in New York City.

             Image courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates

Singer Becky G wore a Maria Lucia Hohan gown at the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors Gala.

                         Images courtesy of celebmafia and D’Orazio and Associates

Rihanna wore a sunshine yellow Hellesy dress to the commemoration of Rihanna Drive in Barbados. Rihanna was beautifully accessorized in Hearts on Fire bangles, Noudar rings, and a Narcisa Pheres.  And though Rihanna has definitely put on some pounds, she still wows and knows how to dress for her new size.

                           Images courtesy of hawtcelebs and D’Orazio and Associates

Wide, padded shoulders are back. And singer/songwriter Kehlani proves it a wide, padded shoulder ribbed silver dress at the 2017 Billboard Magazine Women in Music Awards.Kehlani also wore an Anabela Chan pearl ring on the red carpet. Can anyone say “Dynasty”?

                     Images courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates and gotceleb.com

“Modern Family’s” Sarah Hyland was definitely the ‘Lady in Red’ at Capital One’s KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball at The Forum in Inglewood California. She was accessorized in Le Vian ruby with diamond earrings and rings.

           Image courtesy of Preface PR/redcarpetfashionawards.com

Singer Julia Michaels wore velvet burgundy strapless bustier dress by WINONAH while attending the 31st Annual ARIA Awards in Sydney, Australia. Who wore it best the model of Julia Michaels?—Staff

The Evolution of Ballet Hispanico

                                 “Bury Me Standing” image courtesy of Paula Lobo

Tina Ramirez founded Ballet Hispanico in 1970 to give Latin choreographers, dancers and the Latin community at large a place to hone their craft and give voice to the Latin experience in the new and old world. Where under Tina Ramirez’s leadership Ballet Hispanico evolved into dance company that is recognized internationally and attracts some of the most talented Latin global artists, Ramirez put lots of emphasis on recognizable Latin movement styles from flamenco, indigenous Hispanic folkloric dances and dance styles that form the diasporic bridge between the old world and the new.Under Eduardo Vilario aegis Ballet Hispanico is presenting a much larger embrace of the Hispanic diaspora, seen through the lens of ever-evolving movement styles, accurately expressing this larger embrace to modern audiences. Ballet Hispanico’s short season at the Apollo Theater wholly demonstrates this evolution. Vilario recognizes that Latin culture is no longer ‘the other’ or the exotic; it is the here and now.

This modern perspective is made all the more evident in the musical choices found in the company’s current repertoire. In most dance companies the choreography and the performance level of the dancers is front and center and the main attraction; however, in this outing the music is the driving force behind the ballets with the dancers serving as supportive component to the music. This is not only an evolution for Ballet Hispanico, it is also a good thing. And a manifestation that perhaps the dance world is moving beyond personality-driven artists that drive box office—consider the dance phenomenon of Nureyev and Fonteyn in the 1960s; Baryshnikov, Jamison, and Kirkland in the 1970s, and other dance stars in the 80s and 90s— and moving toward a more integrated approach where all elements that make a performance possible are equally important.

                                 “Espiritu Vivo” images courtesy of Paula Lobo

The ballet on the program seen at the Apollo Theater that best expressed this evolution of Latin movement styles is Ron Brown’s “Espiritu Vivo.” Brown has established an oeuvre for creating ballets that infuse popular dance styles into choreography that is also steeped in more codified movement disciplines. This melding of dance forms is an integral part of Brown’s “Espiritu Vivo.”Originally made for Ballet Hispanico in 2012, after a five-year absence, gratefully this fully realized work is back in the company’s repertoire. And it is currently danced with passion and soulful vibrancy. Exploring the intersection of African and Latino diasporas, Brown seamlessly melds Horton, Graham, and Dunham techniques with dance styles that come out of Santeria, later becoming more recognizable Latin Caribbean cultural dance styles.

“Espiritu Vivo” opens with an almost monastic restraint and builds toward ecstatic exuberance. For those lucky enough to translate the Susana Baca’s music used in this work, the messages of bondage juxtaposed against the liberating spirit of freedom as seen against the African and Latino diasporas comes across loud and clear. Standout dancers in “Espiritu Vivo” include Lyvan Verdecia, whose movement quality was grounded and fully invested, and newcomer Garbrielle Sprave, whose majestic presence filled the stage.

                             “Bury Me Standing” images courtesy of Paula Lobo

With Ramon Oller’s “Bury Me Standing,” Ballet Hispanico looked almost like a completely different company. Though this ballet is over 20 years old, Ballet Hispanico performed the work as though it was made brand new on the company.The ever-evolving Ballet Hispanico is demonstrating every season that they can handle almost any movement style and a variety of movement styles in one work. In “Bury Me Standing,” Oller not only used a wealth of movement styles but also ingeniously incorporated mime and words for dramatic effect in reference to the alien status of gypsies and the Roma people. Oller’s use of the innovative ‘airplane’ partnering really gives this work a signature look. Standout dancers include Diana Winfree and Nick Fearon.

                                “Con Brazos Abiertos” image courtesy of Paula Lobo

Creative director Eduardo Vilario brought back Michelle Manzanales’ “Con Brazos Abiertos” from the company’s 2017 season at the Joyce Theater earlier in the year. This hilarious and thought-provoking exploration of the Mexican-American experience in the US melds folkloric details with canned dialogue from Cheech and Chong and the music of Selena and Julio Iglesias.Like all the works in this season at the Apollo Theatre, “Con Brazos Abiertos” demonstrates that Latin American culture is not an addition to the American mainstream, Latin American culture is an integral part of the mainstream. Viva Ballet Hispanico.

—William S. Gooch

Editors’ Pick: Cargo x Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi Nail Polish

                                         Image courtesy of engadget.com

We may be living in dark times, but there is still light at the end of tunnel. During a holiday season that can be stressful, as well as expensive, it is comforting to know that at those very special holiday celebrations you can be look chic and on-trend. Looking great can be your light at the end of busy tunnel of holiday hustle and bustle.Cargo Cosmetics’ light at the end of the tunnel is its new Cargo x Star Wars Episode VIII the Last Jedi Nail Polish. In this eighth “Star Wars” episode “The Last Jedi,” having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn, and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.

                                           Image courtesy of TPR Holdings

Inspired by the fierce division between the light and dark sides of the Force, Cargo x Star Wars Episode VIII the Last Jedi Nail polish delivers opaque coverage in just one to two coats. The colors offer a mix of richly pigmented, high shine lacquers and metallic chrome and shimmer finishes. The limited edition 4-piece kit of ultra luxurious nail lacquers offers a quick-drying, high gloss, chip resistant formula that is formaldehyde free.Nail polish shades are Restore the Republic (Silver Shimmer), Praetorian Guard (True Red), The Force (Cobalt Blue), and Rule the Galaxy (Metallic Gold). The 4-piece kit retails for $22. And for more information about other Cargo Cosmetics’ products, go to cargocosmetics.com.

“Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi” opens nationally in theatres on December 15. May the Force be with you!!


Social Media Influencers or Celebrities, Which Nod Brings More Value?

                      Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

Fashion is never static. And that can be a good thing. One season ruffles could be the big trend and the next season boxy shoulders and oversized jackets could be trending. The mercurial nature of fashion is expected and constant. What is not a constant, particularly in this age of technology is a fashion brand maintain and expanding its consumer base.For the past few decades, some fashion designers/brands have looked to celebrities to expand the brand’s market viability. Over twenty years ago, Elizabeth Hurley wore Versace safety pin dress, known as “THAT Dress,” demonstrating that when a popular celebrity wears a designer’s garment, the combination can give the brand more market viability. (Elizabeth Hurley was becoming an A-list celebrity with starring roles in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Passenger 57.” The safety pin dress helped make Hurley and Versace household names.) Lady Gaga helped further catapult Alexander McQueen to fame by wearing many of his custom designs. And Madonna increased Jean-Paul Gaultier popularity by wearing his cone bra on her ‘Blond Ambition’ tour.

    Lady Gaga in Alexander McQueen image courtesy of vogue.com, Elizabeth Hurley in  Versace image courtesy of vogue.com, and Madonna in Jean-Paul Gaultier image courtesy    of glamour.com

Lately, Fashion Reverie and many fashion publications are pondering a difficult question: does a celebrity nod still bring value to fashion brands? That depends on how you pose the question or whose opinion matters.Some fashion brands opinions are changing as they continue to turn their attention more towards digital and social media influencers. In a recent article in WWD, it was revealed that eighty percent of brand collaborations for the first half of 2017 were co-ventures with influencers, not celebrities. As influencers continue to gain followings as large, or even in some cases larger than celebrities, companies have shifted their marketing dollars.

Images of Hailee Steinfield for Miu Miu spring 2011, Rihanna for Balmain fall 2014, and Jennifer Lawrence for Dior fall 2015 courtesy of realstylenetwork.com, justjared.com, and thefashionspot.com, respectively

That isn’t to say that celebrity presence has disappeared entirely, or that these fashion design houses will ever stop dressing celebrities, but there is a cultural and economic shift in marketing. Where some years back, A-list actress would be the first choice for store campaign, fashion brands and some fashion houses have become much more interested in Instagram partnerships with bloggers and influencers who boast six and seven figure followings.This marketing business model concentrates on the relatable factor of influencers versus celebrities to younger consumers. However, this business model doesn’t always work or having staying power. When asked, Fashion Week and editorial stylist Anthony Leroux contends, “Balmain is one example of how [celebrities] run a brand. Look at what the Kardashians did [for] it. You can just put a face on a brand and call it a day. I don’t buy clothes because of a face, so I don’t care if it’s Beyoncé or Kendall [Jenner] up there. Celebrities dilute brands.”

     Kendall and Kylie Jenner in Balmain campaign image courtesy of harpersbazaar.com

The truth is while most influencers give the impression of leading these normal, everyday lives, lives comparable to consumers, with a bit of fashion and glamour thrown in, many of them are highly compensated, and often come from affluent families or have accumulated their own wealth. As tight-lipped as the fashion industry is about the payout for collaborations and campaigns, it’s no secret these influencers are well compensated. According to a recent article in Forbes titled “Earning Power: Here’s How Much Top Influencers Can Make On Instagram And YouTube,” influencers can make up to $5000 per post, and up to $100,000 per campaign for Instagram. For Youtube, where beauty vloggers have found major influence, it’s even more, with rates going up to $300,000 for a video partnership.With the average worker earning $51, 939 yearly, the average social media influencer is earning more. Still, what is the return on investment (ROI) for these fashion brands?

           Images of influencers Chiar Ferragani, Bryan Boy, and Manny Mua courtesy of    theblondsalad.com, accessoriesmagazine.com, and youtube.com, respectively

While most brands decline to reveal how much ROI they get from influencer collaborations, according to an April 2017 Forbes article “How To Measure The ROI of an Influencer Marketing Campaign,” influencer campaigns can net 11 times the ROI of banner ads when done correctly. Influencers are also at an advantage because they can work with multiple brands to build credibility.“If you become a face of a brand like Selena Gomez for Coach, you’ll see sales rise immediately after someone like that is signed,” said Alex D’Alessio, a New York City–based advertising art director. “However, an influencer has the power to sell more types of clothes from more than just one brand because they are not signed or contracted to an exclusive deal, so more brands can work with them. Those influencers can reach millions of people with different brands, rather than one celebrity signed to one brand where the majority of those interested are already consumers of that brand.”

Images clockwise courtesy of fashiongonerogue.com, popsugar.eu, and eonline.com, respectively

Though some fashion industry professionals might disagree, social media influencers have become the new celebrities. Especially, with some influencers being known by millions of people globally, and becoming the primary association with certain brands (Marcel Floruss at Hugo Boss, hello!). And while some of the old fashion guard might not feel influencers’ fire, they have become the new go-to. Social media is the new mall and Instagram is the new billboard.— Kristopher Fraser

Wednesday Sample Sales: Week of November 27, 2017

Fashion Reverie seeks to keep its loyal readers informed of great samples sales. Just remember, product disappears quickly, so it is important to get there early.

                                              Image courtesy of fashionisers.com

BRAND: J Crew Men’s 2017 Sample SaleWHEN: 11/27–12/03, Mon.–Sat. (10am–8pm), Sun. (10am-5pm)

WHY: Enjoy up to 60% off Fall and Winter collection 

WHERE: 151 Wooster Street


BRAND: Nancy Gonzalez Sample Sale

WHEN: 12/02–12/05, Sat.–Mon. (9am–6:30pm), Tues. (9am–5pm)

WHY: Luxury handbags at a discount

WHERE: 317 West 33rd Street

          Image courtesy of wwd.com

BRAND: Marchesa Stock & Sample Sale

WHEN: 12/04–12/06, Mon.–Wed. (10am–6pm)

WHY: 33 East 33rd Street, bet. Madison & Park Avenues, 12th Floor

WHERE: Couture gowns and cocktail dresses up to 80% off.




Fashion News Alert: Sarah Jessica Parker’s New Gig, Alessandra Ambrosio Retires, Is Emily Ratajkowski’s a Copycat, and Pornhub’s Pop-up Clothing Store

                                              Image courtesy of wwd.com

Sarah Jessica Parker has a new job. In addition to her success as an actress and producer, Parker has also garnered success as a fashion designer. In 2010, Sarah Jessica Parker become creative director of Halston and in 2014 launched her footwear line, SJP Collection, for Nordstrom. Parker is also the spokesmodel for Jordache Jeans as of 2015. And in 2017, Parker launched her handbag line, The Seven Essentials.That said; Parker will have a new collaboration with GapKids, launching in spring of 2018. This limited-edition collection will be at Gap stores in the US, Canada, Japan, Greater China, Hong Kong, France, Italy, as well as online. Parker has formerly starred in Gap campaigns.


     Image courtesy of popsugar.au

Bye, bye Alessandra

After 17 years of strutting her stuff on the runway for Victoria’s Secret (VS), supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio has retired her angel wings. Ambrosio took her final Victoria’s Secret catwalk on Sunday at the Victoria’s Secret televised show in Shanghai.

Alessandra Ambrosio has had one of the longest VS careers of any supermodel. Ambrosio has a burgeoning acting career with an upcoming role in “Daddy’s Home 2” and her successful swimwear line, Ale. Ambrosio also has two children Anja aged 9 and Noah, aged 5.

      Inamorata Swim images courtesy of        harpersbazaar.com

Is she a copycat?

A career as a fashion model is very short, and most top models, after a certain amount of time, look to transition into professions where how they look is not their source of income.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And for supermodel Emily Ratajkowski it might not be working.

Emily Ratajkowski’s six-piece swimwear launch ‘Inamorata Swim’ has been accused of copying silhouettes from New York–based designer Lisa Marie Fernandez’s swimwear collection. The two silhouettes in question are Ratajkowski’s ‘Cardiff’ one-piece and ‘Vulcan’ top that closely resemble Fernandez’s ‘Poppy’ one-piece and ‘Leandra’ top. According to fashionnetwork.com, Fernandez’s Leandra bikini retails for $595, and her multi-bow Triple Poppy one-piece retails for $455 to $535. Inamorata’s Vulcan top sells for $80 and its Cardiff one-piece is on the market for $160.

The copyright for Fernandez’s collection was registered in Germany in 2015, and Fernandez has sent Ratajkowski cease and desist letters, asking Ratajkowski to stop selling the designs in question. Fernandez has also filed suit in New York federal court.

             Image courtesy of bizj.us

Fashionable porn

There were many surprises on Black Friday, and one of the biggest fashion shocks was the opening of Pornhub’s first-ever, pop-up fashion store in NYC’s SoHo district. NYC’s SoHo district contains such luxury brands as Chanel, Moschino, Versace, Stella McCartney, Louis Vuitton, and others.

For those not familiar with Pornhub, Pornhub is a very popular adult entertainment site that receives over 75 million visitors daily. And for the most part, the video content on the site is very explicit adult entertainment.

This is not Pornhub’s first time at the fashion rodeo. In 2015, Pornhub launched Pornhub Apparel. Also, Pornhub has produced fashion collaborations during New York Fashion Week with Hood by Air and Richardson.

“If we were going to make a retail store, we wanted to make sure we were in New York in SoHo, where are the fashion brands are,” Vice President Corey Price told Metro. “We see this as a fashion store, it’s much of a branded store and a fashion store than a sex shop.”

The popup store products include Pornhub items like hoodies, tank tops, and accessories, clothing from Richardson fashion line, a range of items from Museum of Sex, a collection from porn star Christy Mack, and other brands. Consumers must be 18 years and older to enter the popup store. The Pornhub popup store is open until December 20.

—William S. Gooch


Celebrity Fashion Sightings: Week of November 21, 2017

This was a slim week for Celebrity Fashion Sightings. Perhaps, this was due to short week because of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That said; Fashion Reverie still had its fingers on the pulse of our viewers’ favorite celebs style as some of them still managed to slay on the red carpet, even during a holiday week.

                                                      Images courtesy of Mao PR

Lady Gaga has truly evolved her style!! Remember, back in the day when Gaga pushed the fashion envelope by having outrageous fashion choices style by Nicola Formichetti?This week Lady Gaga looked sexy and chic in a blue sequined Cheng gown during a photo shoot on right before the second leg of her ‘Joanne’ world tour. Now, who wore the blue gown better, Gaga or the model? Fashion Reverie places its ballot in the Gaga camp.

                                             Image courtesy of C&M Media

Missoni is doing a good job getting the brand’s garments on lots of celebrities. This week “Girls” Allison Williams cool and casual and a pink dress from Missoni’s spring 2018 collection at Universal Pictures’ special celebration of “Get Out.”

                                          Images courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates

“Hunger Games’” Elizabeth Banks brought some asymmetrical glam to her appearance on “The Voice” recently. Banks showed off her great physique in a David Koma off-the-shoulder black cocktail dress, beautifully accessorized in AS29 diamond earrings, Butani stud earrings. As you can see the designer altered the garment for Banks. Again who wore it better, Elizabeth banks or the model? You choose!!

 Images courtesy of gotceleb.com, celebzz.com, and D’Orazio and Associates, respectively

Supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio is calling quits with the Victoria Secret’s runway spectacular in Shanghai being her last show. The 36-year-old model looks great on the red carpet at Balmain event in Shanghai donned in a black Balmain garment, accessorized Borgioni black diamond stud earrings and a Djula diamond ring.

                              Image courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates

Supermodel Ashley Graham is making the most of her popularity. She is seems to be everywhere, and that is a good thing!! Ashley Graham wore a Hamel dress at the Miss Universe 2017 Pageant in Las Vegas.

                                   Images courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates

Last, but not least, Jennifer Hudson wore a Joelle diamond earring and Djula diamond rings while filming an episode of “The Voice” on November 27th in Los Angeles.—Staff

Fashion Reverie Model Exclusive: Michelle de Swarte

                Images courtesy of thejc.com, pinterest.com, and the uprise.org.uk

Is there a life after a successful modeling career? Just ask Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley, Heidi Klum, Jerry Hall, and Christy Turlington. Cindy Crawford has her skincare line; Heidi Klum has made a mint creating and producing “Project Runway,” licensing that reality fashion show around the world; Christie Brinkley has appeared on Broadway and had a reoccurring role on Parks and Recreation; Jerry Hall has married one of the richest men in the world, and Christy Turlington has a PhD.It is a given that a modeling career can be very short—lasting just a few years for most models. And while supermodels can have a career that may extend over a couple of decades, the smart ones are always looking to transition into other lines of work. Michelle de Swarte is one such top model.

Fashion Reverie first met Michelle de Swarte when she served on a recent panel discussion about mental illness and the fashion industry. Very outspoken and candid, Michelle impressed the Fashion Reverie staff with her honesty and sense of humor. We later learned that Michelle de Swarte has made that difficult transition from a career that centers primarily being seen and not heard to a career where she speaks her mind and finds humor in human behavior.

From having fashion campaigns from H&M, Burberry, Betsey Johnson, Cartier, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, MAC, Sephora, and many others to making folks laugh at everyday foibles, Michelle de Swarte is one of the few top models that have transitioned to successful careers outside of the fashion industry. And she is still building momentum.

Michelle de Swarte candidly spoke with Fashion Reverie about her life, modeling, and of course, being funny.

Fashion Reverie: How did you get into modeling?

Michelle de Swarte: I got into modeling when I was scouted. When I was about 17, a friend of mine wanted to model but it didn’t work out for her. She took me along to a casting and I got signed to a British modeling agency. I didn’t understand how the fashion industry worked at the time, so the first time around modeling didn’t really work out that well for me. I shaved my hair off and that particular agency dropped me. I thought modeling was over for me at that point.

Some years later, I bumped into a booker from Select Models at a shopping mall and she wanted to sign me. (Now, remember Select, as well as many model management companies were not interested in me when I was 17.) At any rate, I was signed to Select Models and moved on from there to Storm Model Management. I was sent very quickly to the US and in my first month in the US I booked Harper’s Bazaar and a few more things. I originally was only supposed to be in New York City for two weeks, but I loved it and stayed.

                   Images courtesy of vogue.it, pinterest.com, and runwaymayhem.com

FR: Why did you like New York City?Michelle de Swarte: I didn’t necessarily like New York, but it looked like this was going to be the first time I was going to have some sort of career as a fashion model. At that time in Great Britain—we are talking the early 2000s—there wasn’t really a career to be had for models of color, to actually live in the UK and make a living as a model. Models in the UK at that time got the odd job, but you couldn’t make a good living as a model.

FR: That is very interesting because in the US we all think of British models like Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn doing very well in the United Kingdom.

Michelle de Swarte: They have, but Naomi’s fashion career is mostly in the US and other European countries. Even to this day, when has a British fashion brand hired Naomi Campbell to front their campaign? Additionally, Jourdan Dunn has made most of money in the US. UK clients came on board after Jourdan Dunn became a big success in NYC.

FR: What was your initial impression of the fashion industry when you started having a serious career as a fashion model?

Michelle de Swarte: My first impression was one of chaos. I also found it really had to get my head around things that had great relevance in the fashion industry but had very little importance to folks outside of the industry. The urgency around those fashion particulars really blew my mind and I also found very funny. But, I learned early on that to be successful I had to take the industry seriously, even if it seemed ridiculous.

FW: Could you name some of the famous fashion brands you worked with early on in your career?

Michelle de Swarte: Early on I worked for Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Missoni, Gap, H&M, and Versus, just to name a few.

FR: Wow, that is a very prestigious list early on in a modeling career.

Michelle de Swarte: Yes, it is. But, but at the time I wasn’t thinking about the prestige of the fashion brands. I was more excited about the paychecks.

    Images courtesy of pinterest.com, fwmagazine.com, and fashionmodeldirectory.com

FW: Who were some of your favorite designers you loved working for, and why?Michelle de Swarte: I loved working for Issey Miyake; he is one of the nicest men you will ever meet. Tom Ford was great to work with. When I first walked in his show—Tom Ford was designing for Gucci at the time—I fell three times. Tom Ford was so nice about it; he was so lovely about me falling down. This was my first runway season. I have also worked with some really nice photographers, like Steven Meisel.

FR: I know that this is a taboo subject in the fashion industry, but could you talk about the kind of money you and other models were making at the start of your career?

Michelle de Swarte: I remember a booking agent telling me once after I booked one of my first jobs that I had to go out and purchase an expensive handbag. I couldn’t understand why this was necessary for my career. This bag was going to cost about $2000 and I had just gotten a check for $5000, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a designer bag. The agent explained to me that it takes money to make money. In other words, I had to look like I was making a lot of money to book the jobs that paid well.

That is one of the reasons that a lot of models don’t want to talk about what they’re really making. They want to appear as though they are making more than they actually are to keep their day rate up.

Magazine editorial rates at magazines are quite low; you are fortunate if you get paid $250. If you are walking in a show and getting $10,000 to walk in that show, if you are from another country, you are lucky if your take home pay is $4000 after they take out taxes, other deductions, and agency fees. A new model coming to NYC from another country is lucky if she is making $30,000 her first year.

When I first came to NYC, I helped out a lot of model friends financially because I was booking a lot of commercial jobs that paid very well, while some of my model friends were booking editorial jobs that don’t pay well. A good example of this is a friend of mine that was seen everywhere. She had tons of editorial work and really had her moment. However, she wasn’t paid well because most of her work was editorial work. She only had one big commercial campaign that was a Jean-Paul Gaulthier fragrance campaign.

How a lot of new models, particularly from other countries, survive in NYC the first few years is getting money advances from the model management companies. The advances keep you in debt to the management companies, plus they charge you interest on your debt—5% to 15%. The model management companies now charge models for everything, from test shots to comp cards, travel expenses to everything. When I first got in the industry at least test shots were free of charge.

FR: In your experience, what fashion brands did you not have a good experience with?

Michelle de Swarte: There were not many. I have had an all-around good experience for the most part. I had a great experience with photographer Terry Richardson, but a lot of models can chime in on that. My experience with Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) was not great because they can be very rude.

I walked in a show for D&G and later shot a lookbook for the brand. For D&G, the hair and makeup team picked the models that they wanted to work with. Being a model of color, I was the last one picked. It felt like being in a gym class and picking sides. The makeup artist who got stuck with me was angry because none of his makeup matched by complexion. He didn’t know how to style my hair. My hair ended up looking like tumbleweed or a bowl of oatmeal with no water. Because my hair and makeup looked horrible, D&G didn’t want to pay the agency fee for my services.

FR: You have always been outspoken, where does that come from?

Michelle de Swarte: Maybe my being outspoken came from my being from South London; maybe it came from starting modeling at the age of 20, which is considered a late start. I never put all my eggs in one basket, realizing that a modeling career can be very short. Now, I can say what I want and it doesn’t affect my career.

FR: You have transitioned from modeling to hosting television programs and doing stand-up comedy. Why that transition?

Michelle de Swarte: In my late 20s I became really aware that I didn’t have a formal education and I wanted to do some other things. I had always been told that I was funny. Now, being told that you are funny in the fashion industry doesn’t necessarily translate to being funny in the regular world. Still, I thought I would give comedy a go.

I started doing stand-up comedy in NYC. I found an agent and I now do standup in the UK and the US. Stand-up comedy doesn’t rely on the way you look. In fact, being easy on the eye doesn’t help you at all in stand-up.

                            Images courtesy of youtube.com and kmestudio.com

FR: Could you talk about some of your stand-up gigs?Michelle de Swarte: I have done stand-up on the BBC and I have appeared on Comedy Central.

FR: But you still model.

Michelle de Swarte: Yes, I do. Modeling is like a bad boyfriend you have a good time with. You talk about leaving, but when a great job comes along, you dust off your heels and dive right in. I am still on Wilhelmina Models board, so the work still comes in.

FR: What’s next for you?

Michelle de Swarte: I have been a part of Gloria Steinem’s initiative “Woman with Gloria Steinem,” I am still a part of that. And I am continuing to write and do stand-up.

—William S. Gooch





Fashion Reverie’s 2017 Black Friday/Cyper Monday Roundup

                                            Image courtesy of Getty Images

In this season of uncertainty, political unrest and a down retail market, nothing perks up the spirits better than market wide sales. And there is better opportunity to take advantage of these sales than on Black Friday/Cyper Monday.As an introduction to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday dates back to the early 1960s when in Philadelphia there was some much foot and vehicle traffic the day after Thanksgiving that the highways and downtown sidewalks in Philadelphia were disrupted by the heavy shopping traffic. Since 2005 Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the holiday season, though in 2014 spending volume fell for the first time in ten years.

That said; Fashion Reverie has assembled a list of great holiday finds that will keep you in the festive spirit and not break the bank.

                                              Images courtesy of fashionisers.com

Tadashi Shoji has been the business for over 40 years, and is a favorite of celebrities from former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, Sheryl Lee Ralph, M’onique, Heather Graham, Supermodel Miranda Kerr, Octavia Spencer, Mena Suvari, Regina Hall, and many others. Tadashi has been a first in several categories and the depths of his experience in the fashion industry ranges from making stage costumes for The Jacksons and Earth, Wind, and Fire in the 1970s to dressing M’onique for her Academy Award win. Tadashi was also one of the first designers to expand his ready-to wear line to include plus sizes.For this holiday season, Tadashi Shoji is a great choice for a wide range of women looking for feminine designs in ready-to-wear, evening wear and bridal that are modern, fresh and figure flattering for all sizes, from petite to plus. For Black Friday, Tadashi Shoji is offering his collections at 40% off (exclusions apply) at Tadashi Shoji Boutiques (King of Prussia Mall, PA; Tysons Galleria, VA; Valley Fair Mall, CA; South Coast Plaza, CA; Fashion Show Mall, NV). This great discount extends through Cyper Monday online.

Ok, you may think sunglasses are only for warm and tropical locations; not so. Sunglasses are currently trending very strong and can be worn during all seasons.

        Images courtesy of Rogers and Cowan PR

Privé Revaux Eyewear was built on a shared passion for style and quality with the goal of making it accessible in ways never seen until now. Serial entrepreneur David Schottenstein took aim at disrupting the eyewear market, and he enlisted an elite team around him to ensure the brand’s success. With the help of celebrity visionaries Jamie Foxx, Hailee Steinfeld, Ashley Benson, as well as VP of Celebrity Relations Dave Osokow and Creative Directors Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn, they’ve done just that. For Black Friday/Cyper Monday, Privé Revaux has a couple of deals for the savvy consumer. Buy 3 pairs of sunglasses for $75 (no checkout code needed on PriveRevaux.com). Buy 4 pairs of sunglasses and a face case for $150 (no checkout code needed on PriveRevaux.com). And on November 27 only, 15% off all single or double product purchases on PriveRevaux.com (no check out code needed).

                                             Images courtesy of tobi.com

Are you are millennial or Generation Y and looking for great holiday deals but the pockets are not as deep as they were last season? Ready. Set. Go, Tobi.com to the rescue.With 50% to 70% off of product sitewide, you cannot go wrong with the wide range of product on the site.

TOBI been bringing West Coast style and laid back attitude to over 1.5 million TOBI babes since 2007.TOBI is fast-paced, forward thinking, and fashion centered at its core, and our products are designed and curated in the heart of LA, with these ideals in mind. We strive to bring customers the trendiest fashions.

Fashion Reverie has a couple of TOBI faves, which include their Vienna velvet wristlet clutch, the back-me up, halographic mobile charger, and TOBI’s holiday dresses.

If you are a fashionista, there is a constant thirst for fashion-forward clothing that most stylish folks cannot get their hands on. Well, if that is you, Fashion Reverie has the perfect solution for you. On this Black Friday/Cyper Monday the prices will be greatly reduced.

                                         Images courtesy of anyoldiron.com

Any Old Iron opened on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan eight years ago and exclusively carried the music-inspired collections of Vivienne Westwood, Religion, Taschen, Tatty Devine, Bolongaro Trevor, Sons of Heroes, Horace, and many others. In 2015, Any Old Iron moved to Nashville, Tennessee, connecting to the music community in Nashville.For Black Friday/Cyper Monday Any Old Iron is offering 80%–90% off of original prices in the store or online. Enter code SHAZAM at checkout. Rock on!!

OK, you have the office party or holiday party coming up, right around the corner. No matter how great your holiday ensemble looks if your makeup is out of sorts, it’s a lost opportunity.

Image courtesy of Rogers and Cowan PR

Created more than 25 years ago, Palladio is renowned for its line of color cosmetics enriched with herbs and vitamins. Fashioned for women with all types of skin, Palladio helps you look radiant while helping protect your skin from the signs of aging. With a diverse selection of products and shade availability, Palladio allows you to create the variety of looks you desire. Palladio is a fun, pretty, exciting brand and users are loyal and happy to use the product! Among the ingredients used in Palladio products are antioxidants such as Ginseng, Green Tea, Gingko Biloba, Vitamin E and natural humectants and skin soothers such as Aloe Vera and Chamomile.

For Black Friday through Cyber Monday (Nov. 24–27): 30% off site wide with code: BLACKFRI on palladiobeauty.com.


Wednesday Sample Sale: Week of November 22, 2017

Wednesday Sample Sale: Week of November 12, 2017

Fashion Reverie seeks to keep its loyal readers informed of great samples sales. Just remember, product disappears quickly, so it is important to get there early.

Also, some sample sales won’t let you try on garments, so know your size. Happy Shopping!! For information on Fashion Reverie’s Black Friday roundup go to:

                                   Image courtesy of HEIKE NYC

BRAND: HEIKE 2017 Sample SaleWHEN: 11/20–11/23; Monday–Friday (11am–7pm) after 6pm, call 212-764-0878, and the staff will open doors.

WHY: Fashion at a major discount, especially on Black Friday

WHERE: 306 West 38th Street, # 1502

   Image courtesy of thebestfashionblog


BRAND: Stepher F Black Friday Sample Sale

WHEN: 11/23–11/26

WHY: Trousers in wool and velvet in a diversity of colors up to 60% off

WHERE: Stephen F Flagship Store, 36 Little West 12th Street

Image courtesy of wwd.com


BRAND: Romona Keveza Sample Sale

WHEN: 11/24–11/28; By appointment only. Call 212-207-1080 or email onerocknyc@romonakeveza.com to set up an appointment.

WHY: 50%–90% off

WHERE: One Rockefeller Plaza, The Penthouse



Image courtesy of thedesignscene.net

BRAND: Escada Sample Sale

WHEN: 11/25–11/30; Sat. (9am–6:30pm), Sun.–Thurs. (10am–6:30pm)

WHY: Women’s clothing and accessories at a discount

WHERE: 317 West 33rd Street, (just West of 8th Avenue)




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