RTW Fall ’18 Wishlist

I know I’m late, but I’ve finally caught up (ish) on the Fall 2018 Ready to Wear coverage. It was a solid season: of the brands I check for first I was a bit disappointed with Yohji Yamamoto and Chanel, but I was in love with Versace and Off-White.

As I perused the collections I was struck by how many of the pieces were wearable and how many I wanted to own. Here are five pieces that are on my “wishlist” from this season.

Undercover Sweatshirt

Undercover Sweatshirt
via Vogue.com

Grey sweatshirts will always hold a special place in my heart and the addition of the graphic is amazing. I love the “Total Youth” message and the silhouette is super breezy.

Marine Serre Raincoat

Marine Serre raincoat
via Vogue.com

Red is a trendy color that seems to be sticking around. I don’t own many red pieces and most of them ironically are coats. I love loud raincoats and the sheerness of this one is really intriguing.

Sacai Top

Sacai top
via Vogue.com

The structure contrasted with the slouch of this top is beautiful. The sheer sleeves are a lovely detail and the whole vibe of this piece is just amazing. I’d wear this in a heartbeat with a black pencil skirt or light-wash denim.

Tosia Set

Tosia set
via Vogue.com

As a firm believer in nightwear for daytime, I was in love with Tosia’s collection this year. This blue pajama-like set is a dream: the tailoring, subtle print, and tie detail make for a stunning look. I would wear this so often it’s not funny.

Tabula Rasa Dress

Tabula Rasa dress
via Vogue.com

Aside from Off-White, Tabula Rasa was my favorite collection this season. The soft angelic knitwear is completely up my alley. Although I want most of the pieces in this collection I choose this dress because the silhouette is so flattering, and those who know me can attest that I have a thing for the color blush. I also adore the styling of this with the sandals and socks in luxe tones.

What did you think of my wishlist? Did you like this season’s looks?

Stay fly,

~Akilah

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Givenchy: Legacy

 

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Hubert de Givenchy Feb 21, 1927 РMar 11, 2018

 

91 years

you lived that long but did you realize while on earth

your legacy would live on?

“What is a legacy?

It’s sowing seeds in a garden

you never get to see.”

With your hands you sculpted beauty

Jackie O and Audrey

Tell me

Did you know that first day

When you stepped into the atelier

That the world would remember the way

You gave form

to elegance

You left

Earth

Some call it a mistake

You left

Earth

but you left beauty in your wake.

 

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

Let’s Talk About Black Panther

Because the king don’t cry, king don’t die
King don’t lie, king give heart, king get by, king don’t fall
Kingdom come, when I come, you know why
King, king, king, king
I am T’Challa! ~Black Panther // Kendrick Lamar

Black Panther

I saw Black Panther on opening night and it was amazing! Hands-down the best Marvel movie ever created: it was exciting, humorous, and inspiring. Not only do I want every single outfit worn in this movie but I lowkey wish I could move to Wakanda. Also, don’t be surprised if my future kids are named after characters in this movie.

I’ve seen the movie twice now and my thoughts have settled enough that I am prepared to analyze and share my thoughts.

Ok, you should’ve seen the movie by now, but I’m obligated to give you a warning: this contains spoilers.

Political Commentary

During the duration of the movie I got chills realizing just how much some of the narrative mirrored our world today. I don’t quite remember whose line it was, but one of the characters stated that if Wakanda opened it’s borders then people would come, bringing their problems with them and pollute the nation. This mirrors some people’s attitudes to immigration in the United States: we shouldn’t let them in because they’ll “pollute our society”. It’s a fear tactic, the Wakandans feared corruption by the world just as some Americans fear the loss of jobs, their way of life, and their safety.

Even in Erik Killmonger’s character we find a relatable element. Without a doubt Killmonger is evil, I mean he’s a murderer, however his philosophies themselves aren’t evil and that’s what makes him an amazing villain. Killmonger is angry that Wakanda chooses to stand by as black people around the world are being oppressed while they have the ability to help. This frustration is understandable but his solutions are wrong: arm the population with weapons and mercilessly kill the oppressor. As T’Challa said, Killmonger would have the oppressed become the oppressor. A lot of people in real life hold this philosophy: that oppressed people should give colonizers a taste of their own medicine, but while it is a very visceral response and a natural one: it won’t solve anything. We should treat people as we would want to be treated rather than how they treat us.

Fashion

I think everyone can agree that the fashion was top-notch. Even those who never notice the costume design in a film had at least one thing they were struck by fashion-wise in this movie. For me, I was struck by everything. My favorite looks were Shuri’s white dress with the tulle ruffle on the back, Nakia’s green jumpsuit, and T’Challa’s Kente cloth edged robe.

I also loved the symbolism that was laced through the looks. For instance, I noticed Shuri’s clothes were a lot more modern-Western influenced than the other characters, I think this is because she’s the youngest and represents technological innovation and the integration of culture. There was also a huge contrast between T’Challa’s and Killmonger’s kingly garb. T’Challa always wore his robe closed while Killmonger wore it open to expose his chest. I think is portraying Killmonger’s eagerness to show his power and strength but also his tendency not care about acceptability and tradition. T’Challa is just as strong as (if not stronger) than Killmonger but more reserved, tactical, and discreet.

I watched a commentary where the director Ryan Coogler was discussing the symbolism in the casino scene. T’Challa is wearing black, Nakia green, and Okoye red, these are the colors of the Pan-African flag. Also, when in everyone’s favorite scene Okoye flings off her wig to expose her shaven head, she’s symbolizing the casting-off of narrow European standards of beauty and embracing her natural glory. I really feel that.

Female Empowerment

Finally, we come to my one of my favorite themes in this film: female empowerment and specifically black girl magic. The Dora Milaje were spectacular, the concept of an all female warrior/body-guard squad really peaked my interest but it was even better in execution. What I truly loved throughout this movie was that women were allowed to be fierce and vulnerable, strong and sensitive, to show the multi-faceted nature of femininity. Sometimes with modern feminism we end up exalting women at the expense of men, but in this film everyone was allowed to be who they truly are. Having female body guards didn’t diminish T’Challa’s masculinity or make him seem weak and incapable, rather it made him seem stronger and more secure.

Ryan Coogler has been continually discussing the concept of “femininity as a weapon”, which I can’t get enough of. When Okoye throws her wig and Nakia fights with her high heel in the casino they’re using femininity as a weapon. The fact that all of the Dora Milaje fight in dresses even further portrays femininity as a weapon. One of my favorite scenes is when W’Kabi asks Okoye if she would really kill him, her lover, she responds without hesitation, “For Wakanda? Without question”. This comment exemplifies Okoye’s loyalty to her country, her heritage, and herself first and foremost. It’s so powerful to see them standing there: Okoye with her spear pointed at W’Kabi who’s kneeling before her. By her courageous display of loyalty she eventually brings him back to his senses.

Showing black women as beautiful, kind, smart, and strong is one of the best things that Black Panther does. Just the fact that Shuri, a 16-year-old black girl is the smartest character in the Marvel Universe is monumental, especially for me: a 16-year-old black girl. I’ve heard people say that this movie changed their perceptions of black women: it caused them to realize that black women are truly beautiful. Any movie that can change people’s perceptions is a legendary one indeed.

I could go on and on about this film so there may be a part two in the future. But for now, tell me what you thought of Black Panther, did you enjoy it? What did you gather from the film?

Stay fly, Wakanda Forever!

~Akilah

What Went Down ~February + Monthly Mixtape

IMG_20180301_101324

February has come and gone, I’m sad to see it go but sort of relieved because I’m exhausted from blogging everyday. Let’s see what went down in February.

Food

  • We ate a bunch of gluten free pizza
  • Had breakfast at Firstwatch (I had lemon ricotta pancakes and they were the bomb.com)

I think that’s it actually, definitely not as cool as January’s food scene.

 

Fashion

I’m really ashamed to say that although February is fashion month I didn’t really follow any coverage of runway shows.

I know, I know, I plan to catch up in March but I was quite preoccupied this month. Anyway I get emails from Vogue Runway so I did see glimpses of some brands and I’m in love with Fendi so far.

I bought some jeans from Macy’s. This may not seem like wrap-up worthy news but these are definitively the best jeans I’ve ever owned and you’ll probably be seeing them in a million ootds in the future.

 

Books

I completed three books again, not for Brit Lit however (I still haven’t completed Pride & Prejudice or A Passage to India but we’re not gonna talk about it.)

  • A Girl Named Mister ~Nikki Grimes
  • Calling My Name ~Liara Tamani
  • The Skin I’m In ~Sharon G. Flake

A Girl Named Mister was my favorite, although all of them were amazing and you can click the links to see the posts I did about each one.

 

 

Life

The Olympics happened in PyeonChang South Korea. I will say the highlights for me were CL and EXO performing at the Closing Ceremony. But in terms of events I loved Short Track and couples skating.

Seeing EXO perform was truly amazing. I mean the Growl remix was off the chain! I even liked their rendition of Power this time even though I lowkey can’t stand that song. Their outfits, their dancing, their singing all was on point. I did really miss Yixing though, I hope Idol Producer is going well for him!

We watched The Jacksons: An American Dream which is a docu-drama miniseries about Michael Jackson and the Jacksons early life and career. It was really good and Angela Bassett slayed as always.

We also watched two French films this month Les Chorsites and Kirikou et la Sorciere. Both were spectacular but I especially loved Les Chorsites, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone (it has English subtitles if you can’t understand French).

My sister and I also started watching the Kdrama Hwarang. We started it because Taehyung from BTS and Minho from SHINee were in it and because my little sister is learning Korean. But we soon got hooked on the story. We’re only on episode 4 but I can’t wait to get farther into it.

I also colored my hair for the first time ever this month. I went from my natural dark brown color to a deep violet. It’s not actually that noticeable: more like a slight blue-black but I like how it gave my hair more sheen. Anyway I’ll probably do it again later this year.

I also got new glasses! You may see them, you may not: I like to be mysterious…

Ok and now for the most exciting thing that happened this month Black Panther!!! I saw it with my mom, dad, and little sister on opening Friday and it was hands-down the best Marvel movie ever. I can’t wait to see it again this Saturday. Also, I’ll be doing a blog post about it pretty soon so look forward to that!

 

Kpop

Seventeen released their Thanks MV and Performance Video

I love the calming vibes of this song so much! Also S. Coups and Woozi slayed vocals. And please tell me how Minghao looks cool with a mullet?

NCT-U came back with Boss and released a dance practice for it

Not gonna lie I was literally screaming watching this video. It’s spectacular and I may or may not have made my sister watch it 5 times with me when it first came out. Every single member was bias wrecking me at every possible second: the choreo was bomb, the outfits were amazing, and the rap and vocal performances were life. I think there’s always at least one video where you’re rewarded for stanning your bias and this video was that one for me. I mean Taeyong really showed out. Also the new members Jungwoo and Lucas are so amazing, I especially love Lucas’ rap in this song and I look forward to seeing more from them!

NCT-U (Taeyong & Ten) released Baby Don’t Stop

Not to be confused with EXO’s Baby Don’t Cry or NCT 127’s Baby Don’t Like It. Anyway seeing Ten again was amazing and he and Taeyong make a lit duo. I love the dance in this, Taeyong singing is life, and him rapping in Spanish is pretty cool. I don’t love the song so I don’t think I’m gonna download it but the video is nice and the song is super catchy.

Monsta X released a Tropical Night self cam video

MX are kings of self cam and this one did not disappoint. My highlights were Kihyun cleaning the studio while dancing, all the Showhyuk moments, and Changkyun with the Supreme money gun. They’re dorks and I love them.

SF9 released Mamma Mia

Ok… this was not my favorite video. They were doing the most the entire video but it was kinda cute kinda funny I guess. I did really like Taeyang’s dance part, his dance is the reason he’s my bias.

Got7 released a special video One and Only You feat. Hyolyn

I’m already in love with this song and I need a full length version. The video is fun and Yugyeom’s singing part is the best ever.

 

February Mixtape

I listened to a lot of music this month and a lot of great songs came out this month.

Fun ~Coldplay ft. Tove Lo

She’s Mine ~VAV

Same Drugs ~Chance the Rapper

U + Me (Love Lesson) ~Mary J. Blige

On the Loose ~Niall Horan

Black Gold ~Esperanza Spalding

Miss You Much ~Janet Jackson

Unravel Me ~Sabrina Claudio

Grenade ~Bruno Mars

Black Panther ~Kendrick Lamar

So Sick ~Ne-Yo

Electric Kiss ~EXO

Tomorrow ~BTS

Boss ~NCT-U

Beautiful ~iKON

Love Story ~Suran ft. Crush

Someone Who Can ~Yuna

Too Much Sauce ~Chloe x Halle

Pay My Rent ~DNCE

Blessings (reprise) ~Chance the Rapper

La Modelo ~Ozuna ft. Cardi B.

Hymn for the Weekend ~Coldplay

Thanks ~Seventeen

My Flower ~JBJ

 

That was a long post for February to be the shortest month but I hope you enjoyed seeing my highlights.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

What were your February highlights?

 

 

28 Days of Black Authors ~Day 28

Walter Dean Myers

I was around 12 years old when my dad told me to read Walter Dean Myers’ Monster. I picked it up, kind of stunned to see a cover with a black guy on it. It’s funny because looking back I expect to have felt slight electric shocks as I opened the first page. But honestly, that page was just like any other book…except it wasn’t.

Unable to put the book down, I devoured those pages in about a day. Having the main character: Steve Harmon, write his own story as a screenplay was an excellent choice on the part of Mr. Myers, it adds a personal flavor to the narrative. We get to peer into Steve’s mind as he’s in jail and on trial for murder.

This narrative questions the American legal system and explores the innocent until proven guilty mantra. Looking at who Steve truly is versus how the public perceives him allows this book to connect with all types of people. Part of being human is being misunderstood and the pain and frustration of that misunderstanding comes across clearly.

I like to think of my reading life as pre-Monster and post-Monster because it changed so much for me. It was one of the first books I’d read since picture book age that featured a black main character. However, there’s another Walter Dean Myers book that impacted me even more than Monster.

To tell the story of his childhood and adolescence Walter Dean Myers wrote Bad Boy: A Memoir. Not only is it an entertaining story, but it grapples with deep, sometimes messy questions about life. Young Walter questions who God is, what it means to be black, and what it means to be a man. When he looks around him he only sees one way to be a black man and wrestles with the fact that he doesn’t fit that image.

But on top of wrestling with conventional blackness and masculinity, Walter deals with constantly being labeled as a bad boy by his teachers. Again, he doesn’t fit the mold that’s already in place and therefore from grade to grade a distorted reputation of his character follows him.

Even grazing mental illness, this book caused me to think so much about so many things. Thoughts of the detrimental nature of inaccurate cultural stereotypes, the power and danger of words, and the importance of understanding Christianity and clearly answering the questions surrounding it were all catalyzed by this narrative. That’s what Walter Dean Myers books always do. It’s no wonder that he inspired a whole generation of black authors: many of the other authors I’ve featured in this series were inspired to write by this one man.

The whole reason I’ve read enough black authors to fill the month of February is Mr. Myers. He is an icon and his works will forever live on.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

 

28 Days of Black Authors ~Day 27

Jacqueline Woodson

I still remember the day I turned the final page of Miracle’s Boys. I still remember the tear stains on the page. I still remember the presence of the characters as if they were in my room. I still remember the hunger that gripped me to read more. More books that impacted me, more books about people like me, more books by Jacqueline Woodson.

Miracle’s Boys tells the story of three brothers: Lafayette, Charlie, and Ty’ree, struggling with the aftermath of their mother’s death and the pain that comes with growing up. The pain that oozes from these pages is balanced only by the joy that lines them. Jacqueline Woodson creates a beautiful narrative that speaks about the truths of life and death and family.

For some reason I’m always drawn to melancholy stories, especially those about death and pain. I think partially because seeing character’s deal with pain helps us as readers adequately handle our own. Each brother grieves differently and this shows how people grapple with tragedy realistically, Ms. Woodson writes in a way that we can find ourselves in Lafayette, Charlie, or Ty’ree. And what I’ve found in Ms. Woodson’s narratives is a space to take in and release pain along with my favorite characters. I don’t think I’ve ever cried over so many books by one author as I have with Jacqueline Woodson, the depth and beauty with which she writes is awe-inspiring.

Miracle’s Boys not only examines death and pain though, it looks at the duality of the human personality through Charlie’s character. Lafayette constantly refers to him as “New Charlie” because he seems to be a different person. Tough experiences have changed him for better or worse and this book seeks to show both sides of that better/worse coin.

I was truly changed by this narrative and each of Ms. Woodson’s books that I’ve read have become a small part of me. I hope that you’ll read Miracle’s Boys and that you’ll find something in it to love the way I do.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

28 Days of Black Authors ~Day 26

Sharon G Flake

“It takes a long time to accept yourself for who you are. To see the poetry in your walk. To look in the mirror and like what you see even when it doesn’t look like anybody else’s idea of beauty.” ~The Skin I’m In

I just finished reading The Skin I’m In and let’s just say I’m shook. Sharon G. Flake wrote a phenomenal narrative that needs to be read. It tells the story of Maleeka Madison, a girl who is bullied for her dark skin and homemade clothes, and her encounter with a teacher who is bullied for her skin condition. Neither one expects that the other would change them so much.

Heart-wrenching descriptions of Maleeka’s experience show just how detrimental bullying can be and the deep psychological scars it can leave. I could never imagine being bullied in the ways depicted in this story but not always seeing myself as beautiful is something I can relate too, and something I’m sure most of us can. Focusing on a realistic view of self-love and confidence, I like how not everything is completely perfect at the end of the narrative. Learning to love who we are and how we look is an on-going process and can’t be totally grasped in the snapshot of one’s life that a book could capture.

This story also exposes the danger of toxic friendships and how people who appear to love us can be antagonistic or passive when it counts. It’s beautiful to see Maleeka’s growth in courage and resolve over the course of the book and to witness how writing in her diary helped her handle all the pain. Truly beautiful and unapologetic, this novel is one that I will probably come back to again.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

28 Days of Black Authors ~Day 25

Kwame Alexander

I’m not a sports person.

So why is a book about a basketball prodigy one of my favorites? Because of Kwame Alexander’s writing genius. In his book The Crossover he tells the story of a kid obsessed with basketball through gorgeous bits of poetry and hip-hop verse.

But this story doesn’t stop at basketball, it touches on death, love, and brotherhood. It focuses on the importance of family using basketball as a metaphor for life. One of my favorite quotes: “I am unprepared for death. This is a game I cannot play. It has no rules, no referees, you cannot win.” I can’t get this part out of my mind, it puts our mortality as humans into perspective and it mirrors everything I’ve been pondering lately.

This is what I mean about Mr. Alexander’s writing. It hits you. It grabs you. It holds you. Thinking deeply but writing clearly Kwame Alexander draws all kinds of people into his narrative.

Building on the sports theme comes another of his works Booked. A soccer narrative about Nick, a strong character with a clear voice, Booked is another story I’d recommend. I played soccer when I was younger, and though I have no connection to the game whatsoever, I do appreciate the storyline and character development of this story. Nick truly grows over the course of the book and we witness how the events in his life shape him.

Kwame Alexander is swiftly becoming one of my favorite authors and I’m looking forward to reading his other books Solo and Rebound. Definitely look for reviews of those in the future.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

28 Days of Black Authors ~Day 24

Booker T. Washington

It’s crucial for each individual to tell his or her story, especially in a world where everyone voices opinions on who a person is and who they should be.

Booker T. Washington’s autobiography Up From Slavery chronicles his life from childhood in slavery to his success with Tuskegee Institute. Seeing an in-depth look at his journey allowed me to realize how his circumstances influenced his philosophy.

Some fault Booker T. Washington for being too sympathetic to white people after slavery or not thinking that black people were capable of more than labor. But reading this narrative, I see how big of a transition it must have been to go from slavery to freedom in one lifetime. I admire his reconciliatory spirit and his emphasis on education. And I see the difficult spot he was placed in, trying to raise money for his school.

Booker T. Washington was a resilient and dedicated person: walking for miles just to get to Hampton to get an education (shout-out to my Uncle: a Hamptonite), never giving up on Tuskegee Institute, and working hard to help lift up his people.

I recommend that everyone read this autobiography and hear the story of this great man from the man himself.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

28 Days of Black Authors ~Day 23

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Novels in verse always hold a special place in my heart. Something about the beauty of poetry flowing through a storyline will always draw me. The magic of novels in verse is illustrated in Andrea Davis Pinkney’s novel Red Pencil.

It tells the story of Amira, a Sudanese girl, who longs to go to school but must instead escape her country’s war-torn scene to journey to a refugee camp. Amira’s voice comes through beautifully and the short poems never seem detached or lifeless. It’s so eye-opening to follow Amira on her quest and experience her hopes and dreams.

For those of us who live in America it can be hard to realize how vital education is because we can access it so easily. This novel expertly demonstrates the hunger we must all have for education, it shows the value of knowledge and the right of all people to learn. I’d definitely recommend this quick but impactful novel.

Stay fly,

~Akilah