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Showing posts from January, 2011

Macy's Celebrates Ebony Fashion Fair Founder Eunice Johnson

In my haste to escape the snow and slush, I almost missed a brush with glamour greatness. But thanks to a tourist snapping photos of a Macy's Herald Square window display, I slowed my rush hour roll down 34th Street long enough for a fashion history lesson. In honor of Black History Month, Macy's and Ebony Magazine have created a fabulous display celebrating the signature style of Ebony Fashion Fair founder Eunice W. Johnson .  During the '80s, I attended an Ebony Fashion Fair show with my mother.  The elaborate gowns and suits with architecturally stacked shoulder pads.  The dramatic hair and makeup.  The model sashays and twirls. For a young African-American woman, this traveling fashion show was better than Fashion week. Macy's tribute prompted me to learn more about Mrs. Johnson.   The store's website describes her as "a great couture client, friend of designers and voracious advocate for black women."  Not only did the Selma, Alabama native s

Oprah and Young Designers Put Australia Back on America's Radar

Australia has never been on my top ten list of places to visit. The trek just seemed too far.  Watching Oprah and her choice viewers explore the alternately beach-and-desert-riddled terrain, however, has made me rethink an excursion to the land down under. Lola & Bailey designers, Cheri and Theresa. Recently, I found even more reason to take a trip to the Outback.  Australia is home to a talented pool of young jewelry and fashion designers.  I had the privilege to meet many of these designers at the "G'Day USA Designer Preview" sponsored by Woolmark, the world's most recognized textile symbol.  Most of the designers showcased don't have a retail presence in the America...yet. But they will. Here are a few of my favorites: Lola & Bailey "Sun Dial" necklaces. Lola &  Bailey : This quirky brand is the brainchild of BFFs Theresa Nguyen and Cheri Flewell-Smith, who used their background as graphic designers to make a bold line of costu

Spring Fashion Trend: House Rossil African-Inspired Fashion

One of the hottest trends for spring 2011 is clothing accented with African fabrics, patterns, and textiles.  I'm a big fan of the look, which was exhibited on the runway by Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. spring line at New York Fashion Week.  It's always a pleasure, however, to give shine to an authentic African designer like Wayne Illuyomade (pronounced ill lu yo mod day).   I had an email chat with Wayne, whose contemporary dress line, House Rossil , will be introduced to the fashionista-buying public via a series of trunk shows.  The first scheduled trunk show will be in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Jan. 28-30 at Maris Elaine Gallery  at the National Harbor. ESW: What is the significance of the name House Rossil?  I decided to name the company after my parents who were my first fashion inspiration as a child and also because of the non-stop support they have always and continue to provide to my siblings and myself. "Rossil" is a combination of my father'

Reviva's Natural Beauty Products with Spa Quality

As I mature, blemishes and fine lines are my skin's biggest enemies.  So I'm thankful whenever I discover natural products that effectively help me keep a youthful glow. Reviva Labs is an affordable health food store brand that's been around for 37 years and is used in over 1200 professional skin-care salons.  I received a few samples and I've been using Reviva's gentle Glycolic Acid Cleanser ($12) and Glycolic Acid Toner ($12) to help unclog pores and control pesky blackheads and blemishes.  Reviva's glycolic formulation is made with non-toxic, fruit-based Alpha Hydroxy derivatives without mineral oil or any other pertrolatum derivatives. Each night, I also apply Reviva's Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($22), a high-potency daily moisture booster. The professional strength serum helps keep your skin hydrated in dry climates and heated rooms that rob skin of moisture (New York City apartments are notorious for this). Reviva has been a part of my daily skin-

Brazilian Keratin Treatment Pros and Cons

Recently we posed the question, " Is the Brazilian Keratin treatment safe ?" Well, the University of Illinois-Urbana laboratory teaching specialist I interviewed sure doesn't think so.  She asserts that by adding a fixative like formaldehyde to keratin protein, the hair can lose elasticity and flexibility and easily break.   Dana'a Loft Hair owner Dana Gibbs. New York hair stylist Dana Gibbs of Dana's Loft Hair , however, thinks the Brazilian Keratin treatment is an excellent option to "straighten" your hair.  Dana especially recommends the treatment for her African American clients with natural hair to give them less frizz and more manageability. We're still skeptical but asked the stylist to give Everything She Wants a more in depth look at the treatment process. Do you still recommend the Brazilian Keratin treatment and use it on clients?  And if so, do you use a formaldehyde-free version?   Dana Gibbs: Yes, I do recommend the Bra

Is the Brazilian Keratin Treatment Safe?

Last we heard, most Brazilian Keratin treatments are made with carcinogenic formaldehyde.  Judge Joe Brown even did an episode about it. So we're puzzled when we still see salons offering the controversial treatment. We recently received an email offer from a New York City beauty and spa deal site.  Here's how the site's snappy copy spins the straightening treatment: "Brazilian Keratin Straightening is a revolutionary process that transforms curly, damaged, or frizzy hair into wash-and-go, silky-supermodel-locks. Unlike other processes, this treatment involves no harsh chemicals; only keratin, a plant-derived protein that actually protects your hair from further damage (while making it Selma-Hayek-perfect). Your friends will be jealous of your soft, shiny, glamorous hair for months and months." Image credit: Sure, it will de-frizz your hair, but over time will the treatment damage your scalp and cause your hair to break off or fall out?

Finding the Right Bra Size at Wacoal

I've been wearing the same bra size since college.  And since I'm on the smaller end of the boobie spectrum I hadn't noticed any problems with fit or comfort.  After I went for my first professional fitting ever, however, I received some shocking news. Image credit: Wacoal Not only had I been wearing the wrong bra size for at least 15 years, but I'm a full cup size smaller than I thought.  So instead of a 36B, I'm actually, er , a 34B or get this, a 32D! I'm not alone either.  It's estimated that 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong-sized bra. The best way to determine your accurate bra size is to see a professional. For comfort, I've been wearing wireless bras for years. But with the assistance of my helpful Wacoal fit consultant Gail Oliver, I learned that under-wire bras don't have to be uncomfortable if you wear the right size. As a parting gift, I received the pretty French Garden Seamless Underwire Contour Bra ($62) in black. To m

Ring in the New Year with Fashion for a Cause

Get the new year started on a good note by shopping for a cause.  Here are a few fashionable items that will make you look and feel good: Glass-Beaded Tear Drop Earrings from Africa by Thanda Zulu ($22):  All Thanda Zulu jewelry is handmade using glass beads  by women in income generation projects, bringing economic sustainability to communities in need. In addition, all proceeds from your purchase support Thanda's projects for orphans of AIDS in Africa. These lovely beaded teardrop earrings come in a variety of colors and measure about  2.5 inches long. FEED 2 Bracelet, Forever 21 ($4.80) :  The purchase of a FEED 2 Bracelet --sold exclusively at Forever 21 -- will provide 2 school meals for children through the United Nations World Food Program. FEED 2 Guatemala Bracelets are handcrafted by artisans in Guatemala. These charming glass-beaded, nylon-strung bracelets come in six cool colors: red, yellow, blue, gold, silver, and black .  Mix and match with other bracelets