“Mahogany” Draws Inspiration from Opera, Dance, and Art

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There are several classic films that come out of the archives folder during Black History Month. “Sounder,” “Claudine,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” and “Raisin in the Sun” are just few films that give voice to the African American experience resurrected during Black History Month. Most of us have seen these films countless times with some us able to recite lines word for word.

Of all these classic films that speak to the African American experience in the diaspora, perhaps, “Mahogany,” is one of the only films that speaks to navigating success in a white world and the cost of the success. Another unusual aspect of “Mahogany” is that it one of few films of the 1970s that uses fashion as backdrop for a storyline about the African American experience. And the fashion montages in “Mahogany” draw inspiration from theatre, dance, and opera.

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One of the most significant fashion injections in “Mahogany” is the charity auction runway scene that uses beautiful jersey and silk chiffon gowns designed by Princess Irene Galitzine. Princess Irene Galitzine is actually in the film. Princess Irene Galitzine came to prominence in the fashion industry in the mid-1950s, establishing her atelier in Rome in the late 1940s.  Galitzine saw the launch of her palazzo pyjamas which were wide-legged evening trousers made of soft silk. Evening pyjamas became a firm fixture of the fashion scene during the 1960s. Galitzine dressed many top celebrities, aristocrats, and society ladies of the 1960s—Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onassis, Princess Lee Radziwill, the Duchess of Windsor, Marie-Helene de Rothschild, Claudia Cardinale, and others.

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“Mahogany’s” opening fashion montage contains a lot of fashion inspired by Asian culture. All of the garments in that opening fashion montage were designed by Diana Ross. (Special note: Pat Cleveland is one of the models in that opening fashion scene. In fact, Pat Cleveland coached Diana Ross on her runway walk for the film.)

In the photoshoot montage, it is very clear that the fashion references are based on opera, ballet, and art. Which is where most stylists and fashion photographers go to find incredible sources of inspiration.

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The Cleopatra/Nefertiti reference that inspired said look in the fashion montage, may have come from the beautiful costumes in Samuel Barber’s opera “Antony and Cleopatra.” This opera premiered in 1966 at the Metropolitan Opera House starring the great African American dramatic soprano Leontyne Price. It should also be noted that Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra” opened the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center.

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The “Mahogany” costume and wardrobe department also looked to dance for inspiration. In 1967, the Joffrey Ballet premiered the ballet “Astarte” at New York City’s City Center. “Astarte” is the first multimedia ballet of its kind and referenced the sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, hippie culture of the late 1960’s. The unitard worn by ballerina Trinette Singleton in the ballet looks very close to the unitard worn by Diana Ross in the “Mahogany” fashion montage.

Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham was known for expanding the lexicon of modern dance. From her “Letters to the World” to “Medea” to “Appalachian Spring” Martha Graham has set a standard in dance world that cannot be surpassed.

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In Graham’s modern dance solo “Lamentations,” the dancer is enveloped in this very stretchable fabric as she goes through signature Graham emotive contractions. Ross is similarly attired in stretchable fabric and goes through familiar Graham movements.

“Mahogany” is, perhaps, the first film with fashion as a backdrop that draws heavily from the worlds of dance, opera, and art. And though this film was not recognized as a critical success in 1975, “Mahogany” is now a cult classic enjoyed by generations of viewers.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie Celebrates Cicely Tyson

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Television and the stage recently lost Cicely Tyson, the trailblazing actress who died at age 96 and appeared in more than 100 film, television, and stage roles. She was born in Harlem in a religious household and grew up singing in the choir. So, it was not unexpected that her mom was not very happy to hear her daughter wanted to become an actress. In fact, Tyson’s mother threw her out of the house. Apparently, the two didn’t speak for a while until her mom saw Cicely on stage. 

“There was no sense in arguing with my mother. What she was forbidding me to do I was already headlong into doing, with no intention of reversing course,” Tyson wrote in her memoir. Tyson added, “Mom had hoped to douse my burgeoning dream with her condemnation, prayed she could snuff it out with a stinging decree. But she’d inadvertently lit a match beneath me.”

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Cicely Tyson was a model first before became gainfully employed as an actress. Tyson got her start as a model working for the Grace Del Marco modeling agency, a black modeling agency in New York City. Later, Tyson was discovered by Ebony magazine and became a successful fashion model. Her sense of fashion and her connection to fashion remained and was obvious on red carpets and awards shows. One of her favorite designers was B Michael America and we could often see the two of at the events together.  


Her Daughter

Cicely Tyson was very private about her personal life, not letting anyone know her age for a long time. She was also very hush hush about her daughter.

 In her book, Just As I Am, Cicely discusses her daughter and their relationship for the first time. According to USA Today, the book reveals Cicely had her daughter, Joan, when she was only 17.  Cicely dedicated this book to her daughter, which is a very revealing title.  She wrote about their relationship “as fragile as it is precious.”

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Big Screen, Television, and Stage

Cicely Tyson’s first role in a television series was in 1951 for “Frontiers of Faith” and her first film role was in the 1956 film “Carib Gold.” Tyson followed those roles with other numerous small roles and finally appeared on stage at the Harlem YMCA in the 1958 production Dark of the Moon.” 

Stage roles kept coming! She was a part of the original cast of Jean Genet’s “The Blacks,” acting alongside James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Brown, Roxy Roker, and Maya Angelou which was the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade! 

Tyson received her first award the Vernon Rice Award after known as the Drama Desk Award for her outstanding performance in another off-Broadway production, “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl.

Soon after, Tyson became a well-known celebrity. Once she was nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and won the NSFC Best Actress and NBR Best Actress Awards for her role of Rebecca Morgan in the movie “Sounder.” In this period in the 1970s, Tyson portrayed several strong black women in film and television, Rebecca Morgan in “Sounder,” Jane Pittman in “The Autobiography of “Jane Pittman,” and Harriet Tubman in “A Woman Called Moses.”

Other performances that should be noted is her performance in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, “Fried Green Tomatoes,”  The Women of Brewster Place,” “Sweet Justice,” “Hoodlum,” “The Help,” and a recurring role on “How To Get Away With Murder.” And at the age of 88 Cicely Tyson became the oldest recipient of the Best Actress Tony Award when she won for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Miss Carrie Watts in “The Trip to Bountiful.”

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File


Cicely received several honors and was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and was honored at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball. Many of us still have a crystal-clear memory of when Tyson was awarded the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama in November 2016.

Always happy, always smiling and always super stylish, Tyson loved ruffles and big sleeves, bright colors, red and purple. Her petite figure was always wrapped up in beautiful fabrics with more than few wise things to share. Cicely was an inspiration and she raised a bar high when it comes to being an honorable and successful, independent woman.

—Tijana Ibrahimovic

What Are Broadway Performers Doing during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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2021 certainly looks brighter; however, we did bring some luggage from 2020. Many businesses are still struggling, and the entertainment and fashion industries are adjusting without film debuts, red carpets, live concerts, live fashion shows, and live Broadway shows. The experience of live performances is simply impossible to improvise.

Last spring, 41 theaters turned off their stage lights,  actors left their dressing rooms full of their personal belongings as if they would be back soon from a long weekend and almost a year later we are all wondering when will Broadway be back ?“I think Broadway will definitely be back at some point in 2021. I’m sure there are going to be some changes—while you can’t exactly distance—or seat every other chair in a Broadway theater (it won’t be profitable); I bet we’ll be seeing some plexiglass—or even an added matinee or two if some seats do have to be removed. Not only is New York City missing the $14B a year that live performances bring in, but over 200,000 arts workers in New York City alone are without a job and health insurance —we cannot keep them from working, or from their livelihood,”says Lauren Conlin, Host  and Producer, “Red Carpet Rendezvous” Podcast.

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“I miss the theater SO MUCH! I had tickets to “Company” and “Hadestown” before the [COVID-19] pandemic, and I was very excited for the play “Drift” to open off-Broadway. The sad part is, I don’t even think “Drift” will come back—and that’s upsetting, because I’m not sure when I’ll be able to see it—especially with the cast they had (Joe Pantoliano as the lead.) So many shows shut down before they could even open,” continues Conlin.

Lauren recently interviewed Claybourne Elder for her “Red Carpet Rendezvous“ podcast about who was starring in the ‘woke’ version of “Company’” on Broadway opposite Tony Award winners Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone before the Broadway shutdown. He is an ambitious home chef, so during this pandemic shutdown he became a spokesperson for kitchen products!

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Talented Broadway performers have had to simply reset and explore other options of utilizing their skills. Cicily Daniels most recently seen in the Tony-award winning revival of “​Once On This Island​” and was also an original Broadway cast member of ​Disney’s “The Little Mermaid​,” where she performed the leading role of Ursula, the Sea Witch has been off stage since March of last year.

I don’t think that Broadway will return until fall 2021, at the earliest.  I wonder how it will be done, especially at first—will there be pods inside the theater, will the tickets be extremely expensive?  I am hoping that there aren’t too many changes to theater, but perhaps, there will be a greater commitment to maintaining actors’ health and creating a safe environment onstage and off,” explains Cicily Daniels.  “Unfortunately, like in every industry, there are theaters, theater companies, and shows that will have been unable to survive the pandemic.  There are several Broadway shows that have closed and will not re-open.  Some theater professionals will also not return to Broadway—some have moved away or changed industries.  More tragically, there are several members of the Broadway community who have died,” Cicily continues.

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“That said, I believe that the Broadway community is extraordinarily resilient, and will be back.  Broadway and theater are an integral part of New York City, and Broadway will still be a mecca of theater across the world.  I also think that all of this time self-isolating is going to make people hungry for the ability to experience live theater, so hopefully, it will mean more shows and more opportunities for Broadway professionals.” 

There is a positive side to every story. “Fashion Reverie Talks” has a Broadway star Cicily as a co-host!! “Fashion Reverie Talks” keep Cicily busy with fashion coverage while she has been working on “The Loving Project,” with her husband, composer Brett Macias. “The Loving Project “examines interracial relationships and other social issues from The Loving Supreme Court case until today. Because downtime due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cicily has become an even better baker, to the excitement of her husband and 3-year-old daughter, “but to the detriment of my waistline,” she noted laughingly!

Alex Brightman in “Beetlejuice” image courtesy of themarysue.com

“Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Warren Leight has explained several times that the show’s producers are trying to hire as many Broadway actors as possible during the pandemic. Some of the stars we have already seen on “Law & Order: SVU” are Tony-nominated “Hadestown” actor Eva Noblezada and “Beetlejuice” lead actor Alex Brightman.

Stage actors already cast in parts for this season of “Law & Order” include the Tony-winning Adriane Lenox,” Doubt: A Parable,” and  “After Midnight;” Elizabeth Marvel, “King Lear,” “Picnic;” Jane Bruce, “Jagged Little Pill;”  Jelani Alladin, “Frozen;” Michael Mastro, “Love! Valour! Compassion!,”and Betsy Aidem, “Steel Magnolias,” as originally reported in deadline.com.

What New York State is anxiously awaiting is the “New York Arts Revival” that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced couple of weeks ago. This project will offer more than 100 performances in parks, public plazas, museums, theaters, and trucks all over the state. Some highlights include the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival with the opening of Little Island, a new 2.7-acre public park on Pier 55 in the Hudson River. The show must go on!!

Tijana Ibrahimovic

Gadgets, Apps, and Online Services for Healthy Habits in 2021

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We all thought we were so smart in 2021. During last year’s lockdown everyone vowed we’d finish our novels, learn to speak Japanese, join that online workout class, and get in prime condition. Instead, we started drinking gin with breakfast, binged the same television shows we’d already seen, and put on 20 pounds from depression snacking. 

It was such a relief to put 2020 in the past. However, with 2021 barely two weeks old, and it feels like this new, third-wave lockdown will be going on for months!

Fashion Reverie is here to help. It’s so easy to get stuck in depression, but there are little things that can do, that really could make this a better year. Shouldn’t all our New Year’s resolutions been put in place weeks ago? We’re living in a new reality, time to be flexible. Check out this list of gadgets and apps to support you in your goals. Take a deep breath. It WILL get better.  And don’t give up if you skip a day or decide to change your goals. Progress, not perfection is the aim.

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Somnox Sleep Robot
Many financial advisors will tell you there are places to cut corners, but your sleep hygiene is not that place. Lack of sleep is becoming a serious public health issue and can have a dramatic impact on one’s physical and emotional health. Somnox sleep robot retailing for $500 to $600 is not an inexpensive way to get a better night’s sleep, but many insist it’s worth the money.

You hold the bean-shaped device while sleeping–like a stuffed animal—and it mimics your heartbeat lulling you to sleep. Users have said it’s not for some people but many users report after only using it for a week or so they can’t imagine sleeping without it.  Shop around for discount codes.

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Noom App
Classic New Year resolutions; no sugar! No fat! One hundred percent vegan totally organic food! And that resolutions last for 10 hours.

Noom is an easily affordable app that helps you monitor your food, learn about your eating habits, and teaches you better skills for fitness. You can join online groups for support and tips. It’ not about being on a “diet” it’s about revamping eating habits and learn what works for you.  Make this the year you establish your good health and fitness habits with workable goals.

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Madison Reed Hair Color
When all the hairstylists were forced to shutter their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone was forced to be their own stylists. But watching our hair color fade can be so depressing. So, after a few months, we had Amazon send us boxes of drugstore hair color. One problem, while better than nothing, drugstore hair color is not good! Some stylists say they can spot it from a mile away.  Is there an option to using cheap dye while in quarantine? Yes! Madison Reed is top-notch salon-quality color delivered straight to your door at a reasonable price.  You can take an online quiz and speak to customer service to find the perfect shade. You can even set up a subscription service to make sure you never run out! Make 2021 the year your roots are never visible on ZOOM.

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Prose Hair Care
We’ve all had a hair reset in 2020. Since we rarely left the house our crimpers and blow dryers stayed tucked away. Our hair had time to rest and repair. Keep that going in 2021 with Prose Hair Care. Prose Hair Care is geared preciously toward your hair needs and type. You control everything and get exactly what you want. Take the online quiz or chat with customer service to find out what will give you your best hair.  Stop destroying your mane with $3 shampoos. Pro tip? You’re probably using too much product. No more than a quarter-sized amount of shampoo and a dime of conditioner.

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Ritual Vitamins

Something as simple as taking a good multivitamin can really help your health. Ritual has created vitamins with a traceable supply chain to ensure quality and ethical sourcing. Setting up a subscription is easy, so you never have to worry about running out.  Plus, with their published scientific research you’ll know you’re getting top quality ingredients for optimum health.

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When keeping your New Year’s resolutions one tip is to be additive rather than subtractive. Instead of saying, “I will never drink juice/soda again!” which can make them more attractive try saying, “from now I will drink 1 liter of water every day.” The extra liquid will eliminate your thirst and reduce your cravings, essentially crowding out the bad stuff.

 Ulla is perfect for this. It’s a rubber band that fits around any bottle. If it hasn’t been picked up after 20 minutes, it will start to glow. It’s a simple gentle reminder to keep you meeting your hydration goals.

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Daily Harvest

Trying to have a healthier diet in 2021? Instead of banning certain foods one way is to commit to making one vegan meal each day. Daily Harvest is a fast, inexpensive way to get a delicious selection of easy to prepare healthy meals shipped directly to your home. With dozens of options to choose from, you’ll find stuff you love, and they will always be in your freezer ready to consume in minutes. You’ll discover that healthy organic vegan food can be insanely delicious. 

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Yoga with Adrienne
That’s it. It’s 2021!  You’re committing to health! You’re going to do 2 hours of Physique 57 every day! No, you’re not. You might do it for 3 days but then you’ll give up. When it comes to fitness, you want to start small.

Yoga will Adrienne offers a 30-day plan for you to ease into your fitness goals. Or start even smaller. Download her videos from Youtube for free. If after two weeks you stick to three times a week, maybe consider kicking it up a notch, or just stay at that level. One idea is to pair up with a friend so you can remind the other one to stick to the plan. Keep that up for a month, reward yourself with a new sweater or lipstick.

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Practical Meditation for Beginners by Benjamin W. Drecker

Meditation can sound awfully new age to people who simply don’t believe crystals can align your chakras. Some meditation courses charge an astronomical sum of money to teach basic skills. But the truth is meditation isn’t as complicated or difficult as you might think.  It can be simple to get into a routine for just 10 minutes a day. Benjamin W. Drecker’s book can take you through comfortable steps to creating a healthy habit. One big bonus? There are dozens of used copies available, so you can get the book for half price.

—Cameron Grey Rose

Holiday 2020 Northeast Resort Destinations

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If you are a celebrity you might have a lavish home that you can transform into a winter wonderland, Halloween adventure or a tropical island, just like Kim Kardashian. With this transformational ability, you can keep your kids and family entertained without jetting to a private island getaway. Celebrities of course fly on private jets, but what are the options for the average consumer? How do you take a safe, socially distanced vacation during the COVID-19 pandemic, from road trips to private vacation rentals and remote campsites and feel just like a celebrity? Surprise, surprise, surprise, it is possible!!

From remote hotels near beaches, mountains, lakes, and islands, to private vacation rentals and road trips, Fashion Reverie has curated a few close-to-home vacation ideas to consider during this current health pandemic.  The holiday season is here, and as pandemic fatigue is setting in US travelers are eager to get out of their homes and have a little R&R. However, many states are currently experiencing spikes in COVID-19 infections.

Without a vaccine no place is safe, and it’s impossible to guarantee any safe place other than your home, so remember to practice safety measures: wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. There are quarantine restrictions to consider so we recommend avoiding COVID-19 hot spots.

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Virginia Wine Country

If there wasn’t COVID-19, we would maybe never find time to explore a USA-based wine county other than in California.  Consider the Virginia wine country.

Most of Virginia’s wine country is in the Shenandoah Valley, Appalachia Virginia, and historic Monticello. There are great bed and breakfasts in these places. All easily accessible by car or airplane—Virginia has four airports. Just remember, masks must be worn indoors and where there is good wine there is good food!!

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New York Catskills

The New York Catskills has great skiing, friendly mountain region, lots of cute lodges to rent where you can enjoy fireplaces, guided hikes, and a focus on outdoor and in-room dining. Visit Bear Mountain with some quiet time at the Abbey Inn and Spa in artsy Peekskill, way up on a hill overlooking the Hudson River.

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The Berkshires

The Berkshires in Massachusetts are a little further north, but a perfect place for the holidays if you don’t want to travel too far and don’t want to board a plane. You must have heard about this posh place. Embrace being a tourist at  “Tourists,” a former mid-century motor lodge turned 48-room resort, which recently reopened with strict COVID safety measures. 

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Mount Snow, Vermont

Get a taste of luxury in Vermont near Mount Snow. Treehouse Village Inn, A-frame treehouse is a perfect place to stay and enjoy lakes, waterfalls, and long walk. Sounds like a true retreat to us. Fresh air and gorgeous winter wonderland, who could ask for anything better!!

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Long Island’s North Fork

North Fork is a familiar place we go to and vacation during the summertime. That said; how about considering North Fork as a holiday vacation spot?  Enjoy ocean view suites where you can feel just at home with your family. There are great places to rent with private outdoor decks and private beaches.

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Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Lots of folks are huge fans of Cape Cod!! We know it more as a summer getaway, but there are still great restaurants and seafood shacks during the holiday season. It’s also a very creative place, very artsy and crafts friendly region.  And in the large town of Hyannis, you can visit the John F. Kennedy Museum. Heads up, you’ll need a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of arriving.

—Tijana Ibrahimovic

Despite COVID-19, American Ballet Theatre Dancers Are Keeping Busy

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a lover of the arts, you are aware that the arts are in a holding period while nations grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. And it seems as we contend with a second round of COVID-19 infections, it appears that stage performances in New York City and other international capitals are postponed or have very limited access until late spring 2021. That’s right no Broadway shoes, music concerts, and as we move to the holiday season, no “Nutcracker.”

That said; international artists are not sitting on their laurels waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine. Principal dancer Misty Copeland earlier in the year launched a relief fund for ballet dancers that were out of work due to COVID-19 pandemic. This GoFundMe campaign, ”Swans for Relief” is raising $500,000 for unemployed dancers. (Contrary to popular belief, ballet dancers do eat food.)

“In these unpredictable times, ballet companies—like many organizations—are fighting to survive,” Copeland and co-founder Joseph Phillips wrote in a joint statement. “Ballet companies are largely dependent on revenue from performances to pay their dancers and fund their operations, but we are now confronting the uncertainty of when we will return to the stage and once again fill performance venues.”

“Art brings people together to provide a beautiful escape, and ballet in particular is a very unifying experience both on and off the stage, filled with history and imagination,” Copeland said in a statement. “Throughout my career, it has been very important for me to bring more attention and awareness to this art form. The theater thrives on people coming together to experience a performance. Because of the coronavirus, the livelihood and careers of dancers are in jeopardy, and this will continue to have massive effects even after we start to re-open our cities.”

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Misty Copeland is not only ballet dancer keeping busy. (And in case you are not in the know, Misty Copeland 3.1 million-dollar Upper Westside apartment, you missed an elegant treat. During ABT’s layoff, Copeland had time to decorate her apartment, that she purchased in 2018 and have it photographed for Architectural Digest.) American Ballet Theatre soloist Gabe Stone Shayer has partnered with CHANEL to launch “Pas de Deux,” a limited documentary series exploring the intersection of dance and other diverse art forms.

Coco Chanel was big ballet fan, creating costumes for the Ballets Russes’ ballets “La Chatte” and “Le Train Bleu.” And we know that Coco Chanel had an affair with Igor Stravinsky, the composer of the music for the ballet “La Chatte.” In that respect, Coco Chanel was a true collaborator.

Gabe Stone Shayer at the Apollo Theater, courtesy of Gabe Stone Shayer. Alicia Keys by James Bailey.

The limited documentary series “Pas de Deux” are short 15-minute episodes takes viewers into the homes and workspaces of each dancer and collaborator, allowing these diverse creators the opportunity to connect virtually for an exchange of ideas. Pas de Deux is inspired by one of those nights in New York City where you meet interesting people who inspire you,” said Shayer.  “The idea first hit me when thinking about how I could continue to create in quarantine.  I wanted to highlight the innovation that is magnified by an artist feeling stifled.  I’m obsessed with multimedia collaborations and felt this was the moment where we could explore the intersection of art and artists.”

Creative pairings include:

  • ABT Principal Dancer Isabella Boylston with master chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson
  • ABT Principal Dancer Cassandra Trenary with Kat Sullivan, Artist in Residence at RLAB, New York City’s virtual and augmented reality lab
  • ABT Soloist Luciana Paris with visual artist Chloe Wise
  • “Pas de Deux” creator and ABT Soloist Shayer with Grammy Award®-winning singer, songwriter and actor Alicia Keys. Additional dance footage for this episode was directed and filmed by Pierce Jackson.

The first in this series of mini documentaries aired on October 29 on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel and IGTV.

—William S. Gooch




London Brown: One of the Chosen

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Launching a career in the entertainment industry is a daunting task. No matter what anyone tells you—particularly the celebrity wannabees on Instagram—having that desired career as a performer requires taking a lot of risks with no guarantees of success. Still, it can be done!! (The many are called; few are chosen scripture applies here.)

What may be even more of a challenge is maintaining that success. London Brown has done just that.

The Los Angeles-native started his career as a stand-up comedian, hitting all the major comedy venues—The Comedy Union, The Improv, The Comedy Store, and Gotham Comedy Club. In 2013, London Brown won the Robin Harris Rising Star award, as well as Best International Comedian for 2013 Black Comedy awards in the UK. He has also shared stages with Katt Williams, Tony Rock and Kevin Hart.

That said; London Brown’s career does not start and end with comedy. He doesn’t rest his laurels with folks’ bellyaching laughter. Brown cut his acting chops on the Fuse network’s comedy-drama “Hustle” as the character D, an aspiring hip-hop artist.

London Brown in Ballers.” Image courtesy of thesun.com

Probably Brown’s most memorable role to date is that of the character Reggie in HBO’s “Ballers.” And while “Ballers” really set London Brown on his path to cinematic greatness, Brown had experienced one of biggest losses prior to working on “Ballers.” Brown’s brother Wendell Lee, 25, was killed in the LA neighborhood that London Brown grew up in.

“[2013] was the best year of my life and the worst at the same time. I was living off my art. I was on one of the hottest networks, living in a Hollywood condo, and working in Miami where the weather is great. I’m like, ‘Cool, this shit happens.’ And then that happens, and it was a reminder that the things I do are bigger than just me,” Brown said in an undefeated.com article. “It’s not about me just working and getting a check to live a ritzy lifestyle. I have to make sure I’m working because I try to be some sort of assistance to my family and take the stress off of them.”

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2013 may been a difficult year for London Brown, but he has not been deterred, and he is currently riding strong. Though 2020 has been a down time for lots of performers, that is not the case of London Brown. Brown is currently starring on STARZ’s “Power Book: 3” and the third iteration of “Tales from the Hood:3.” Which comes out on October 6.

“Fashion Reverie Talks” was fortunate to get to interview London Brown about his career, his roles in “Power Book: 3” and “Tales from the Hood: 3.”


Summer 2020 East Coast Resorts for that Quick Getaway Vacation

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Summer 2020 will surely be a summer to remember. 2020 has been, to say the least, a very unpredictable year. Given the positive outcome of social distancing in New York and surrounding states, there is hope and opportunity to get out of the city in July and August. True, it might not be a trip to Europe, but this is an opportunity to explore some places that are a couple of hours car ride away. You can still feel safe sharing the ride with your family or friends you have already been exposed to and avoid crowded planes that have been an incubus of the COVID-19 virus.

Here are five  East Coast beautiful places you can visit without quarantine requirements upon your return.

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Mystic Seaport

The largest maritime museum in the US is in Connecticut. The perfect place for a little excursion for those that enjoy beautiful views and collections of sailing ships and boats. Mystic Seaport, founded in 1929, consists of more than 60 historic buildings. The Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. Mystic Seaport is in Mystic, CT, which is a great place for an overnight stay. By the way; don’t forget to try Mystic Pizza.

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The Pocono Mountains

Nature. Lakes. Valleys. All in Pennsylvania. There are many options in the Poconos. It all depends whether you are taking kids, a romantic date or you are group of friends just looking to spend some time in nature. This is a place each member of your family could have a day of fun. Golfing, hiking, dining and various adventures await along with many accommodation options. The Poconos are known for great resorts, but renting a house sounds like a great idea, too.

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Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in the New England state of Rhode Island. Its harbor is full of expensive yachts also known for the annual sailing regatta and some clam chowder famous spots. However, for some biggest attraction in Newport are the Gilded Age mansions on Bellevue Avenue. One of the most famous is The Breakers, an 1895 mansion built to resemble a Renaissance palace.

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Nantucket is a small island 30 miles out to sea. It is also a super popular tourist destination. This beautiful island is known for whaling, Nantucket bay scallops, fog, their three lighthouses, charming Main Street, and quite a few signature activities. The iconic cobbled Main Street extends from the waterfront at Straight Wharf to their iconic brick Pacific National Bank. There are many shops and restaurants, so Nantucket sounds like a dynamic vacation! 

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Martha’s Vineyards

Martha’s Vineyards is a bucket list place to visit this summer. Located South of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard is a popular summer colony. You can access the Vineyard visit by water or air. There are very charming towns and lighthouses, sandy beaches, and great restaurants. That said; Martha’s Vineyard is rather expensive, so if you don’t have deep pockets a short weekend vacation there is ideal and will not break your bank.

Tijana Ibrahimovic


Club Quarantine, The Hottest Summer 2020 Party

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As the globe adjusts to a new reality, the summer music festival season is officially canceled. In its place, the world has been invited to the biggest party on the planet, virtually. The COVID-19 pandemic has given birth to a new type of party, born on social media. “A new temporary way to bond with fans until a return to normal,” says Billboard Magazine. Who knew the power of music and dance could bring people together in times of need? It brings hope as an expressive relief to change the world. With venues and bars shut down from coast to coast, Fashion Reverie helps you jam out to all the hottest live streams and virtual parties during the coronavirus crisis. Without a cover charge, dress code, or drink minimum, feel free to tune in to the ultimate social-distancing dance party.

“I’m excited to see what artists will do following this pandemic,” stated Khyran Shank, a Los Angeles-based artist. It’s safe to say this current pandemic is pushing for not only change in society, but pushing our creativity as well. Integration is nothing new to the fashion world, constantly blurring lines with industry crossovers and brand collaborations. As fashion presentations have started to take place on digital platforms, we recall past fashion shows that utilized influencers, social media, and celebrity guest appearances to their advantage for promoting their seasonal collections. One might ask, how can the fashion industry continue to push the status quo while paving the way for new beginnings during trying times?

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Increasing popularity by breaking the internet, social media platforms give brands access to millions of active users worldwide. Finding creative ways to engage their fan base, fashion brands are prioritizing engagement over sales as an extension of their brand personality and voice. In a branded opportunity for retailers, fashion houses are partnering with music streaming services as a way to remind listeners of in-store experiences. Companies, such as H&M, Forever 21, and Starbucks are shifting social media strategies, using musical platforms to offer more of a lifestyle approach to their marketing.

As one of the favorite music streaming platforms and social networks, Spotify is slowly becoming the music hub for fashion accounts. “People don’t just listen to Spotify, they live it,” says Spotify. As brands have become more receptive to the growing influence of social media, technology, and digital apps, the fashion industry has become hyper-connected with new audiences. Dominated by millennial consumers, Spotify speaks to a magnitude of the fashion-conscious target audience. In collaboration with brands such as H&M, Pull&Bear, and Victoria Secret, companies identify Spotify as a promotional tool for a content strategy to reach and engage with their community.

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Other platforms have gotten in on the action as well. Making stay-at-home a little more bearable, Mashable notes “Instagram has announced a series of features. Co-watching allows users to view Instagram posts together with their friends over video chat. Yes, a watch party for Instagram posts.” Whether you’re working from home, seeking daily motivation, or taking a mental break, many creatives such as designer Timo Weiland, Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh, entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman, and even Ellen DeGeneres are hosting weekly breakout sessions on Instagram Live. Stuck indoors, live-streaming digital parties promotes social distancing while eliminating the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus and endangering anyone’s health. Described by Refinery 29 as “the creative genius responsible for the international experience that is Club Quarantine,” DJ D-Nice told The New York Times,“Musically we found a way to use tech to unite people, that’s a beautiful thing.”

Be sure to head to The Roots’ YouTube channel on Saturday, June 27 for The Roots Picnic 2020. In its 13th year, the concert is partnering with Michelle Obama to urge voters to use their voices at the ballots this year. Performers include The Roots, H.E.R., Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby, G Herbo and many others. The event will also feature appearances by the former first lady, Janelle Monae, Kerry Washington, Tom Hanks, and more. The Picnic will be streamed here

Also, tune in on July 4th, as PBS will livestream “A Capitol Fourth” at 8 p.m EST, hosted by John Stamos and Vanessa Williams, and featuring performances by Patti LaBelle, John Fogerty, Renée Fleming, The Temptations, Yolanda Adams, and more.

Fashion Reverie’s Curated List of Who’s Who to Follow on Spotify:


Marc Jacobs Mixtape Mondays

Alexander McQueen


Victoria’s Secret




D-Nice’s Homeschool Playlist on Spotify


Jean Touitou


Pyer Moss

Paris Fashion Week

—Courtney Wilkins

2020 Books for the Beach, Summer Outings, and Your Summer Downtime

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It’s summertime and the living is, well, it’s not easy. But as COVID-19 restrictions are being eased, you may find yourself wanting to head to a park or a beach to relax, catch some rays, and lose yourself in a book.  Fashion Reverie has curated a list of new and exciting books that you won’t be able to put down. Make sure you bring some SPF lotion, water, and masks. Because we’re not out of the COVID-19 woods just yet, wash your hands, social distance, and wear that mask! Just make sure you put SPF on your face. You thought tan lines on your shoulders was unseemly, mask lines on your face will be really embarrassing.  

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Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley

The larger than life former creative director of American Vogue details his career from working with Diana Vreeland at the Costume Institute to stints at Ebony, Interview, WWD and finally working with and developing an unlikely an intimate friendship with Anna Wintour.  Talley pulls no punches in describing the backbreaking work that goes into producing a magazine whose subscribers’ number in the millions. He also broaches the delicate subject of race and how he not only survived but thrived as a black man in the cutthroat world of fashion. There is an entire chapter on Eunice Johnson, and her groundbreaking Ebony Fashion Fair which made it possible for black communities to see haute couture fashion. This man has stories to tell and he is a skilled and talented wordsmith. Fashion Reverie cannot recommend this book enough.

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 The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh

Award-winning writer Laura McHugh returns with another compelling mystery novel set in rural Kansas.  As the town of Blackwater is overrun by the opioid crisis and rampant crime, the local police can’t even fake interest in the death of Sadie Keller’s brother. But Sadie is determined to find out how her brother died, even if no one else thinks it’s worth investigating. Long-buried secrets boil over as the danger intensifies and Sadie comes closer to discovering the truth.

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Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters unable to be in the same room together. Their community is rocked when a 9-year-old goes missing. When Dara disappears, Nick is determined to find her sister and reconnect, but uncovers far more than she bargained for.

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#MurderTrending and #MurderFunding by Gretchen McNeil

While these books were written a few years ago, their themes of police corruption and false convictions seems painfully timely. Welcome to an America where a reality star is the President and good citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0. The book cuts back and forth between the POV of the falsely convicted Dee Guerrera and the message boards where she, her fellow convicts, and their wildly creative executioners, aka Painiacs, are discussed. Action-packed and surprisingly funny, #MurderTrending and its sequel #MurderFunding are engrossing reads. The third book #NoEscape is due out in September.

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Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from my African American Kitchen by Alexander Smalls

Celebrated chef and world-renowned opera singer Alexander Smalls combine his two passions”—food and music”—in Meals, Music, and Muses. Smalls takes his readers on a mouthwatering tour through the South, exploring the recipes that have shaped the area. Each chapter is named for a type of music, guiding readers into the heart and soul of these delicious foods.

This book contains many classic Southern recipes as well as twists on old favorites, including Hoppin’ John Cakes with Sweet Pepper Remoulade, Carolina Bourbon BBQ Shrimp, Okra Skewers and main dishes like Roast Quail in Bourbon Cream Sauce, and Prime Rib Roast with Crawfish Onion Gravy.

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Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino Rios is excited for the summer when her father will visit her in the Dominican Republic. But when she goes to meet his plane, she finds crowds of people weeping. Meanwhile, in New York City, Yahaira Rios is summoned to the principal’s office, her mother is waiting to give her the bad news that her father, her hero, has died. Separated by miles and their father’s secrets, the two girls try to adjust to a new reality only to find out they have a sister.

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What We Inherit by Jessica Pearce Rotondi

This stunning nonfiction book centers around a real-life mystery. When her mother passes away, among her belongings Jessica finds, letters, declassified CIA reports, and newspaper clippings shedding light on a family ghost; her uncle Jack who disappeared in 1972.  A memoir, a spy novel, a travelogue, and an investigative report that moves with the energy of a thriller, this haunting true story will stay with you.

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The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward

With restrictions on international travel pretty much killing all of our summer plans, why not take a literary trip through Athens and Rome?  When Charlotte Perkins wins a family cruise, she decides to use the time to reunite with her estranged children. Delicious and smart, this book was chosen by Reese Witherspoon for her book club.

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Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life by Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez

Tom and Lorenzo, of the eponymous enthralling fashion blog and deliciously sassy podcast, have written a fascinating tome that looks at last century of queer history through the prism of the gayest show on television, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Like settling in to hear stories from your favorite bitchy uncles, this delightful book takes you through the queer history that has been left out the mainstream academia. It’s not a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” book. It uses the show as a jumping-off point and a connection to the mainstream—as arguably it’s the largest connection to queer culture. Really though this is a history book full of color, life, and determination in the 20th century.

—Cameron Grey Rose

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