Documentary highlights fashion world


Andrew Rossi’s fashion-filled documentary is taking audiences into fashion’s most exclusive party. Last night marked the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival and, with that, the premier of “The First Monday in May

The documentary, directed by Andrew Rossi, focuses on the orchestration of the 2015 Metropolitan Museum’s annual Costume Institute Ball and pays full attention to the curator of the exhibit, Andrew Bolton, and his partner through the planning, Anna Wintour, the infamous editor-in-chief at American Vogue.

Vogue editors, models and fashion royalty alike hit up the red carpet at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center last night to witness the events leading up to the Super Bowl of fashion.

Both Bolton and Rossi sat down with fashion industry rag Women’s Wear Daily to talk about the film and the process to which they filmed.

The two told WWD that shooting began in fall 2014 and that Rossi “…thought it was a fascinating opportunity to revisit what we qualify as art, why we have museums, and how they are changing, through the work of Andrew Bolton.”

Bolton, the curator for the costume institute at the Met told the publication that, “fashion is highly performative, as is film, and there’s a strong connection between the idea of creating identity.”

I have only seen the trailer, but from the looks of it, Rossi did and his team did an impeccable job of taking the audience on this journey of how this spectacle of a night is planned, as well as what happens when the lucky guests enter fashion’s most exclusive party. As The Guardian said it best, “Rossi pulls out all the stops to offer what amounts to ultimate VIP access.”

The Met is the epitome of all museums, and these costume exhibitions get better and better each year, I am really looking forward to getting a peak into a night that has fascinated me since I could fathom what the Met Gala was. The film is out in theaters tomorrow and there’s only a few more weeks left until Vogue and Bolton do it all again.

Amy Schumer slams Glamour Magazine


The Condé Nast publication Glamour Magazine has included Amy Schumer in a special “plus size” edition without permission.

Earlier this week, actress-comedienne Amy Schumer, called out Glamour Magazine on Instagram for including her in their special-edition issue for plus-sized fashion.

Schumer, 34, is best known for her Emmy-Award winning show, “Inside Amy Schumer” and summer 2015 hit, “Trainwreck.” She has certainly been received well considering her accolades in comedy and in Hollywood. She is the reigning funny lady, and even when it comes to body image, has joked about it herself, but I think this cover line pushed her limits a bit too far.

The line read: “women who inspire us,” and the list included voluptuous super model Ashley Graham (who also graces the cover), Melissa McCarthy and Adele. Schumer wrote back in response to the line that she, “…thinks there is nothing wrong with being plus sized. Beautiful healthy women. Plus sized is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8.”

Being included in this list of women obviously came as a shock to Schumer, who also wrote that, “@glamourmag put me in their plus size only issue without asking or letting me know and it doesn’t feel right to me.”

Eventually, Schumer took her frustrations to Twitter, asking her followers what they thought of the flub that the Condé Nast publication made, leading to the mag’s editor-in-chief Cindi Lieve to respond.

Lieve wrote in her tweet that, ““We love Amy Schumer, & would never want to offend her,” wrote Leive. “To be clear, @glamourmag special edition never called her plus-size.”

According to the Toronto Star, the special edition issue of the magazine included Schumer in their pages due to the fact that in a 2015 cover-interview, Schumer talked in length about body positivity and that talking back to body shamers IS inspiring.

Schumer also got a ton of support from Lena Dunham, star and creator of HBO original series GIRLS. Following Schumer’s strongly worded message to the publication, Dunham spoke to People Magazine that there should not be categorization in fashion.

“I think fashion should be for women and it should be for all women,” says Dunham, 29.

Schumer’s reaction disappoints me, just as much it did her following: it amounts to body negativity for the young girls who look up to her for her confidence in herself, no matter if she was a size 0, 6, 8 or 16.

Hyzagi strikes at publishers, editors


This week’s fashion story has gone viral.

You’d never think a fashion industry insider would rip his peers to shreds, let alone publicly, but this week, one did.

The now deemed “blacklisted freelancer,” Jacques Hyzagi did the unthinkable; he went on a tirade, going after the publishers and editors that put his eloquent stories in their magazines, in a now viral story published by the Observer on Thursday.

He went after any major fashion publication you can think of, Vogue, The Atlantic, GQ, New York, but the most important one of all is Elle. Hyzagi described in his 4,000-word piece what it was like to work at a fashion magazine through a story in which he snagged an interview with the notoriously shy Comme Des Garcons designer, Rei Kawakubo. (Hyzagi calls her the “Bob Dylan of the fashion industry…”).

In the article, Hyzagi explains that the sought after meeting with the Japanese designer was called on and off within such a short time span, that he describes his thought so perfectly, you can imagine it yourself: “You would think that the extremely rare interview of the most sought after and talented living designer in the world would be of importance to ELLE.” But clearly, do to the unknown fate of the interview, the importance factor became less apparent.

When hunting around the Internet for reactions, fashion mega-blog Man Repeller was right on it. Deputy editor Amelia Diamond had incredible insight into the article: “I am not in the position to make fun of another’s writing or editing, nor am I remotely qualified to question another human’s mental state. Snark, no matter how tempting, is unhelpful. But I will say this — a vague, politically correct understatement for the sake of my take on professionalism: There are many things odd and off about Hyzagi’s piece that have me questioning its validity on multiple levels.”

Later she answers the question as to why the story exploded for fashion insiders and lovers. Did it explode due to the fact that the author of the article spews forth so much anger and hurt that we can’t do anything but assume it is honest? Or because we want an insane amount of honesty or this hostile kind of honesty?

From DIamon’s point of view in answering these posed questions, she states that you obviously cannot believe everything that you read, but that she is pretty sure that it’s not an accurate picture of reality.

Former CBC host acquitted in assault


Jian Ghomeshi has been no stranger to the spotlight in the last few years. Cameras have consistently been on his trail, as well as his family, since news broke from the Toronto Star that he allegedly assaulted three women, including one of his co-workers at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The former CBC host was charged with four counts of sexual assault in 2014.

Following the speculation, the CBC dismissed Ghomeshi from his high profile position, in which he got to interview actors, musicians, politicians and other public figures. As a one-time listener, he was good at his job, but leads me to wonder, especially with his female guests and coworkers – maybe he was a “little too good” at his job.

On March 24, Ghomeshi was acquitted of his charges, following his first court date in early February in Toronto. He plead not guilty to assaults that supposedly taken place in 2002 and 2003. The trial lasted eight days.

According to CBC News, his team of lawyers released a statement saying that he had been “rightly acquitted of his charges” and that “our system of justice, that is what must happen in every case regardless of who is accused or what crime is alleged. That is precisely what occurred in this case.”

Since CBC was Ghomeshi’s former employer and the crimes he had committed to these women took place in the public-broadcaster’s headquarters in Toronto, they had the best coverage of the events. The CBC was there every single step of the way.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 12.44.01 AMIn the light of the events that took place on Thursday, Ghomeshi’s acquittal comes as a shock.

It had been revealed that the witnesses gave inconsistent testimonies; ZK2the only testimony that remained somewhat accurate was Lucy DeCoutere, leaving the judge to believe that her statements undermined her credibility.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 12.51.29 AMAccording to the Toronto Star, the key factors that led to Justice William Horkins to letting Ghomeshi go included:

  • The unnamed witnesses claimed that they did not know how to navigate the Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 12.51.56 AM“proceeding.”
  • Justice Horkins said, “all 3 witnesses had similar stories’, but the ruling had to made individually rather than a part of a pattern.
  • In the end, all Justice Horkins had for evidence were the three witnesses accounts, if he couldn’t believe them true he could not convict Mr. Ghomeshi of his crimes.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 12.52.20 AMAs mentioned before, due to Ghomeshi’s high profile career, he had the opportunity to interview several actors, politicians, and other public figures on his radio show.

Zoe Kazan, an actress Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 12.52.42 AMGhomeshi interviewed back in 2013, opened up on her Twitter about the treatment she received from the now “free man” and how she now feels about it.

It is truly absurd in my opinion that the judge felt there was not enough evidence to indict Ghomeshi on his crimes. There is evidence from the CBC that he did commit these acts, even from the witnesses, but maybe from these women, they did not speak up enough during the trial to put their assaulter away.

SXSW apologizes to Olympian


Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad took to her Twitter in disbelief. Muhammad is set to become the first American-Olympian to compete this summer in Rio sporting a hijab.

The fencer attended the opening weekend of the South by Southwest media festival last weekend in Austin. According to several news outlets, including the Huffington Post, USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, the athlete was forcefully asked to remove her religious headdress for her registration photo and ID badge.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.24.23 AMWhen she received her ID badge, she was given the wrong ID. Instead of her name Ibtihaj Muhammad, she was given one with the name Tamir and a working title at Time Warner. The 30-year-old took to her Twitter to share her disbelief in the treatment she received from the event’s staff and security.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.24.08 AMSXSW released a public statement, apologizing to the No. 7 ranked saber-fencer, saying: “It is not our policy that a hijab or any religious head covering be removed in order to pick up a SXSW badge.

This was one volunteer who made an insensitive request and that person has been removed for the duration of the event. We are embarrassed by this and have apologized to Ibtihaj in person, and sincerely regret this incident.”

As the Chicago Tribune reported, Muhammad was sitting on a panel called “The New Church: Sport as Currency of American Life.” She told the audience about her ‘crappy’ check in experience. “…Asking me to remove my hijab isn’t out of the norm for me.” Muhammad left a lasting remark on the panel regarding the treatment she received, “Do I hope it changes soon? Yes, every day.”

‘Spotlight’ restarts conversation


Since its release in November, the latest Academy Award winner for Best Picture, “Spotlight,” is still causing quite the conversation.

The film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival back in September 2015, focuses on the Boston Globe’s investigative journalist team and its exploration into cases of extensive child sex abuse in the greater Boston area by a large number of Roman Catholic priests.

The film won top prize at this past Sunday’s Academy Awards, as well as best original screenplay, and the English newspaper, The Guardian, is calling it “a great thing for journalism.”

The author, Alicia Shepard, says that the film is and should do wonders for the news business, but also better the public’s understanding of journalism to “ultimately inform and do good.”

Marty Baron, who is the former executive editor at the Globe, portrayed in the film by Live Schreiber, said that the film expose a whole new generation about why journalism is still so important. He also spoke to the British publication about how “…painstakingly demonstrates how difficult it is to penetrate a powerful institution such as the Catholic Church- but it proves that it can be done.”

Baron went on to say that endeavors such as this are critical and time-consuming, and that we as journalists need to do more of it, not less.

Following the films big win in the ‘best picture’ and ‘best original screenplay,’ Baron Tweeted:

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 12.55.55 AMThe wins were even followed up by commentary from the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley.

He says to Vanity Fair, “Spotlight is an important film for all impacted by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse. By providing in-depth reporting on the history of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, the media led the Church to acknowledge the crimes and since of its personnel and to begin to address its failings, the harm done to victims and their families and needs of survivors…. The media’s role in revealing the sexual abuse crisis opened a door through which the Church has walked in responding to the needs of survivors. Protecting children and providing support for survivors and their families must be a priority in all aspects of the life of the Church…. We continue to seek the forgiveness of all who have been harmed by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse and pray that each day the Lord may guide us on the path toward healing and renewal.” 

Additionally, the L’Osservator Romano Vatican newspaper published a front-page editorial on the film’s Oscar win, earlier in the week.

Hollywood industry rag, Variety, calls the highest honor in film, a “triumph of excellence over ego.”

Facts in ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’


The 10 o’clock time slot Tuesday nights on FX’s hit series “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” instantaneously take you back to the mid-90s, a time when America was spellbound with the proceedings of the “Trial of the Century.”

I’ve been hooked on the anthology series for the past four weeks, consistently looking for more information to understand the events leading up to and following the murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Much of my understanding has come from multiple media outlets, which every week dissect the series for what the writing staff and production team, lead by Ryan Murphy from “American Horror Story,” got right about the trying time.

The series, which is based on the true events from June 4,1994, through Oct. 3, 1995, also follows suit with the book, “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson” by Jeffrey Toobin. The author told E! News that the series is by no means a documentary, but gives as true to life insights into each of the characters involved.

If you look up the show’s title on Google, the first five news headlines always have seemed to be, “what is fact and what is fiction,” getting attention from multiple publications including The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair and many more. Khloé Kardashian even took to her own talk show “Kocktails with Khloé” to say she’s never watched it and doesn’t plan to. She also told James Corden on his “The Late Late Show,” that the show has been “sensationalizing” the Kardashian name. She also spoke about a scene in which Simpson, portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr., tries to take his own life in Kim’s childhood room at her father’s house, was actually her room.

It’s interesting in dissecting what the show has chosen to fictionalize and stay true to, and each week the fact checks and the media interest will continue to grow.

The Bowie tribute of all tributes


There’s no question that every time Lady Gaga makes an appearance anywhere, she goes all out. I mean, from the hair, the make up and the outfit, she’s always making a statement.

This year, Gaga was asked to perform a tribute to the late, great, David Bowie, and she certainly did not disappoint. From the moment she walked on the carpet in custom Marc Jacobs and a flaming red wig, paying homage to Ziggy Stardust.

When the time for her performance finally came, the crowd that filled the Staples Center went absolutely wild. She ran through 10 of the artist’s hits from the 1970s and 1980s, making it one of the longer, but more technologically advance performances of the night.

During the telecast Monday night, Intel released commercials featuring the singer on how the company collaborated with the star, 29, to bring her performance to life. As ABC News reported, in one of the commercials Gaga explained, “we wanted to create an expression of not only David Bowie’s magic, but also to show that there is magic that can be made with technology.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 9.33.58 PMAccording to Fox News, Gaga told them that it was one of the most difficult things that she’s ever done, as the icon served as an extremely influential person in her life.

The influence definitely showed in her performance.

The Telegraph from U.K. picked up on the fact that Gaga’s performance was a hybrid of her unique stage presence, along with that of Bowie’s with wide-eyed facial expression and fluid movements. The true strength that the U.K. newspaper thought was her vocals, immaculately imitating Bowie’s strong accent that shined on “Space Oddity,” “Suffragette City,” “Fashio” and “Rebel Rebel.”

Though the performance seemed to be a favorite among the crowd inside and audience watching at home, the one person that did not seem overly thrilled was the late singer’s son, David Jones. Billboard reported that Jones’ Tweeted a cryptic message, which many thought to be a diss to Gaga’s stellar performance. I think he got the idea for this from searching Lady Gaga on Urban Dictionary…

Fashion Week’s top ticket


Every September and February, American designers prepare to show their freshly minted collection for the spring-summer and fall-winter collections ahead, bringing fashion lovers, bloggers, and celebrities to New York from all over the world.

Every designer has hype over his or her show or presentation: Who’s sitting front row, what bloggers are in attendance, and so forth. Even though New York Fashion Week just started Wednesday, the show that everyone could not stop talking about was Kanye West’s “Yeezy Season 3” fashion extravaganza at Madison Square Garden.

In addition to his fashion show, he debuted his newest album, “T.L.O.P.” or “The Life of Pablo,” which in the past few weeks has undergone multiple title changes until landing on this one.

The fashion show-concert was very much different from his show last season; where models were ushered in by the calls of drill sergeants. This time, Kanye started the show by thanking the individuals who helped and supported during the making of this album, as well as his wife and kids.

The models were ushered in on two large platforms in the center of Madison Square Garden and, according to Vanity Fair, were still for a good amount of the show. They just stood there, with about 100 others dressed in Yeezy on the floor beneath them.

I knew as of last week that the Yeezy show would be the hot ticket of the week, but I still did not understand what all of the hype was about. Yes the Kardashian-Jenner clan would be there or, as Kanye calls them, “the new Jacksons” on one of his tracks, but still?

I guess it’s because people have lusted after the looks of the K-family and editors like Anna Wintour of American Vogue and Carine Roitfeld of CR Fashion Book adore Kanye. Evidence enough can be found  in interviews and documentaries by both fashion moguls.

The other hype: I guess that the clothes sell for hundreds of dollars in the stores and the shoes go for a few thousand when being auctioned off online. The exclusivity of these items is over the top.

Does the sound “I wanna be like Kanye,” ring a bell?

SAG Awards places diversity on display


Diversity was the night’s Big Winner. 

Last Saturday, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, or SAGs for short, aired on TBS and TNT. The ceremony, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, is probably one of the most special evenings to take place during award season.

Why, you may ask?

It is because the small and big screen stars are voting to nominate the work of their peers and later send a few home with the night’s top honors. When the nominations were dolled out in early December, the contenders for the infamous Actor statue came from all walks of life, creed, color and sexual orientation.

It is a great deal of difference compared to the controversial list of all white nominees for this years Academy Awards.

The nominees, which influenced the hashtag #OscarSoWhite, getting the news media and a slew of black actors talking about a boycott of the award show that is set to air on ABC on Feb, 28. Legendary filmmaker Spike Lee took to his Instagram account to say, “we cannot support it and I mean no disrespect.… But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches.”

With the sound of the public and media outrage, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs has even stated to industry publication Deadline that she was disappointed in the way the nominations turned out.The controversy lead the media and the public’s attention to the body of voters that make up AMPAS, mostly “older white males that are out of touch with today’s movie goers.”

Again, this is extremely different from the body of voters that make up the Screen Actors Guild, which is why I think the SAG awards gain so much attention, because actors are giving awards to their peers, making it all that more special.

I remember watching the award show and having actor Idris Elba be a fixture at the podium, having won awards for his work in Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation” and the BBC’s “Luther,” and saying, “ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV.”

According to reports from South Florida Times website and the Associated Press, Elba did not make a direct reference to the crisis that has been sweeping through Hollywood over the last few weeks.

There was so much diversity seen through the night at the awards ceremony, and it especially hit home for so many watching at the Shrine or at home on the couch, when “Orange is the New Black” took home gold for the second year in a row for ‘outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.’”

Laura Prepon, who accepted the award with her cast standing beside her, said, “Look at this stage. This is what we talk about when we talk about diversity. Different race, color, creed, sexual orientation.”

Diversity was definitely a surrounding theme of the evening and no one said it better than Viola Davis, “we’ve become a society of trending topics. Diversity is not a trending topic, it’s just not.”