Monthly Archives: September 2010


This weeks “FAB FIVE FAVS” are all exclusive to BOUTIQUE FLEA and feature the talent of our artistic team!

-CORK KOTURE of Mr. & Mrs. John Kohan bring new life to the concept of “Green” and to the concept of saving ocean/marine life with this exclusive twist on your traditional pearl necklace!

-1930s FULLY BEADED SHIFT DRESS is a proud find of Zenobia, owner of BOUTIQUE FLEA, where this sensational garment is available for only $55!

-LEGACY LUXE by PIA RAYMOND stays right on the fashion pulse for F/W2010 with this stunning “RED” faux crocodile clutch with coordinate hand crocheted wire earrings!

-VINTAGE RED SATIN JACKET WITH PLUMES was one of Zenobia’s first vintage purchases over 25 years ago, and is available for viewing pleasure only at BOUTIQUE FLEA 7 Rutland Road (off Flatbush Ave)

-FELICIA BEYOND CUSTOM DESIGNED FEDORA pour moi was presented to me for our event, “FALLING FOR BOUTIQUE FLEA” where we had a Press Conference/Pop Up Shop for the Official Launch of our new designers.

7 Rutland Road (between Bedford/Flatbush Ave.)
Brooklyn, NY 11225 Continue reading

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This weeks FFF’s are sourced from New York Times Style Magazine
MAD MEN men’s fashion fall 2010 one of my Fab Five Favs this week. I’m just lovin the new look. It’s so “Black!” Hat’s off to REM DUPLESSIS, Art Director for NYTM, and his team for a job well done.

BOW TIES are back in a big way in all textures, colors, and sizes. Self tie is my preference because there’s a certain sophistication that comes with the perfect bow. The bow tie finds it home with the Croatian mercenaries during the Prussian wars of the 17th century. No longer are bow ties reserved for the intellectual, but have come into there own corky yet dapper sexiness. “But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.” -Warren St. John, The New York Times

OVERSIZED TWEED COATS, the new trench for F/W2010 and I’m lovin the Lanvin cut! Hats off to Lady Dunmore who back in 1946 created the catalyst now know as the Harris Tweed Industry. For centuries the islanders of Lewis,Harris, Ulst, and Barra have woven the magical cloth the world knows as Harris Tweed, Clo Mohr in the original Gahlic- ‘The big cloth’. The great thing about tweed coats is their versatility from work to play, always elegant.

KNIT CARDIGANS are emblematic of a casual lifestyle and unpretentious modernity. To this day, I still have fond memories of the gray and homely sweater Mr. Rogers stowed in his entry closet.
Historically speaking, meticulous single-strand handwork for socks or caps dates thousands of years, but large items such as cardigans were not produced until the 1500s, when blacksmiths had new materials to make thin knitting needles. Knitting spread through Europe, but as late as the 1700s, knit items were typically small: socks, caps or mittens. The cardigan sweater is truly modern apparel.

PLAID returns in it’s metamorphosis from rustic grunge to elevated sophisticated chic. I was truly impressed with this fact at the Michael Bastian for GANT presentation,, viewed with Kamau Ware ( Whether it’s a tartan jacket or flannel shirt, plaid is no longer just for lumberjacks. Since it’s initial appearance on Scottish kilts in the early 18th century plaid has come to be adored by everyone from politicians to gay men. A lovely collection of vintage plaid flannel shirts are now available at BOUTIQUE FLEA 7 Rutland Rd. (off Flatbush Ave.) Rumor has it that plaid is the new black!

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headed up their team to realize their vision for the premiere of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. By turning the flamed Sardo Beige granite walls of Lincoln Center from Sardinio, Italy into cloth, they where able to create the ultimate gown to reinvent LC and welcome us to FW2011.
Some of the firms noted works are;
THE BRASSERIE at The Seagram Building
THE HIGHLINE along Manhattan’s West Side
LINCOLN CENTER Multi Phased Makeover

JOAQUIN BALLABRIGA from the house of CHRISTIAN LACROIX invited me to my first viewing of a fashion show at The Louvre Sunday, October 10, 1993 at 11:30AM. I was swopped away on a moped scooter from my dance performance at the renowned “Kit Kat Club” downstairs from “Le Privilege” to Christian Lacroix’s presentation which was absolutely breathtaking and definitely worth sacrificing breakfast in bed. Mistaken for Grace Jones, I was transposed from the standing area to be seated next to Cindy Crawford for my initiation into the world of runway. This initial experience of viewing fashion on the grounds of a Museum made total sense to me. It was as if I was viewing a painting or sculpture in motion on the runway. Christian Lacroix has a way of using fabric as his canvas to teach us the beauty in the mix of patterns and colors as only he can do!
Fashion Week ever since has been an occasion to celebrate the freedom of “Artistic Expression” and many times I felt as if I was attending a Halloween celebration or Mardi Gras!
This is what excites me, and so I salute the newfound marriage of FW & LC where we finally bridge the gap between Art & Fashion. I always felt that although the Bryant Park Tents was conveniently located in the heart of our fashion district, there was a definite feeling of disconnect being dumped in a park behind a library? It is definitely worth the extra mile to now have The Tents nestled in the heart of the “World’s Leading Performing Arts Center”.
After ten years of living abroad as a model, I can truly say that the runway is a foundation for another form of “Performing Arts”!

REM DUPLESSIS, and his team caught my eye with the new face of The New York Times Magazine, especially with the Obama and “black politics” black cover. Resurrecting the concept of “Less Is More” Rem once again captured my attention with the simple yet powerful “Mad Men” black cover for the NYTM Style issue. Yes, “Black Is Beautiful” and might I add Effective. Within it’s covers I was visually satisfied with the layout, and here I feature the advertisements of Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs as two of my favorite examples of the power to reinvent.

DAVID AGBODJI, referred to as “the Gisele of the modeling world,” brings new meaning to the word reinvent here in the new campaign for CALVIN KLEIN photographed by Steven Klein. Reminiscent of the controversial yet legendary work of Robert Maplethorpe, David captures our attention with his Grace Jones statuesque ebony presence. Hats off to the Klein’s for finally realizing the power of BLACK! I hope to see a continuum of this realization way after the recession passes.

JUERGON TELLER is called upon by MARC JACOBS using her talent to reinvent Marc transforming him into a bold, assertive, sexy modern day “Pamela Anderson” provoking us to add some “BANG” into our lives! Once again, “Less is More” as Juergon states, “It’s really just about him, him as a man-the bottle.”

AL COLLELO, & PATTY ABEL of Gotham, New York team up with photographer Matthew Rolston to capture my attention in the subway on the way home from MB Fashion Week closing night and bring more shape and age diversity to Fashion Week with the Maybelline face-lift that includes this smart new $35 million dollar “Fit Me” make-up line ad campaign. As one of the grand divas of the cosmetic industry, second only to Procter & Gambles Cover Girl, “ELEMENTS of FIERCE” includes them in our celebration to reinvent as they bring in “The Greats” according to Cathy Wills, executive vice president for marketing at Maybelline. Included in “The Greats” with Christy Turlington, is Jessica White who says she is “honored to represent the African-American community for a brand I have grown up with.” Maybelline and Matthew take the concept of “Ebony & Ivory” to another level!

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… and the winner of the “Doin Your Thang!” award goes to

“ELEMENTS of FIERCE!” celebrates Kamau Ware for his vision in helping us change the way we see ourselves and the world through the eyes of his lens. I had the privilege of being invited to the GANT by Michael Bastian presentation. It turned out to be a photographers dream. The large cold cement warehouse like space was converted into 15 intimate photo shoot ready sets. The lighting was flawless! I was able to see the man, Kamau, at work. I share with you some of our shared highlights from the collection. As someone who is a little jaded by the whole fashion week thing, I have to say that Kamau’s adventuress, and Star Trek attitude “to go where no man has gone before” allowed me the opportunity to witness the sheer genius of Michael Bastian who has taken Gant out of the realm of commonality and breathed into it a certain sophistication, class, and authentic sexiness. His bringing together of the old and new was seamless. As a loyal lover of Tom Browne, I would definitely wear select pieces from the collection. It’s always magical when I work with Kamau, he takes me beyond my self induced limitations and helps me tap into my reservoir of unlimited potential.

note: fashion worn for “Little Big League” listed below;
RYAN K wears seersucker jacket, nylon pennant vest, sport check contrast button-down shirt, vintage skinny jeans, nylon d-ring belt and baseball cap
SOSHEBA wears lace up rugger dress, broderie anglais scarf and postcard straw bag
FLORIAN B wears mini check suit, short sleeve rugger, banker linen button-down shirt and stripped webbing belt
REMINGTON wears madras blazer, chambray pintuck button-down shirt, long sleeve rugger, fleece gym shorts and aquarius tie
MARIO L wears cotton herringbone blazer, regent print contrast button-down shirt and tennis shorts bathing suit
MIKAYLA wears cashmere cardigan, lace up rugger, chino shorts, broderie anglais scarf and skinny patent belt Continue reading

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“BREATHTAKINGLY REFRESHING!” In two words, I express how overcome with emotion I was walking into the 6th floor of 535 West 24th Street. The DANESE gallery was a most welcoming space to celebrate and present Spring Summer 2011: Persephone
It’s amazing how one friendly gesture can become so magical. This wonderment all started with Renato Danese stopping by to say hello to his new neighbor on the third floor, Barbara Tfank. The rest is fashion history! In my interview with Barbara and Renato for a short film collaboration with Kamau Ware, I found out about their mutual connection to RICHARD AVEDON, and love of CRAIG KAUFFMAN.
“ELEMENTS of FIERCE!” applauds Barbara Tfank for once again, taking us outside of the box with her authenticity. Ever since I first met and worked with Barbara Tfank at BARNEYS NY, I was so moved by her passion and commitment to her vision. The client she attracts is definitely a person of divine class and individuality. She never ceased to amaze me with how she brings to life classic, clean silhouettes with colorfully exhilarating, and bold print vintage fabrics. Maybe that’s why it’s the first fashion show I choose to attend for Fashion Week 2011!

“the summer moon shone brightly down upon the sleeping earth, while far away from mortal eyes danced the Fairy Folk. Fire flies hung in bright clusters on the dewy leaves that waved in the cool night-wind; and the flowers stood gazing at the little Elves who lay among the fern-leaves, swung in the vine-boughs, sailed on the lake in lily cups, or danced on the mossy ground, to the music of the hare-bells, who rung out their merriest peal in honor of the night… Louisa May Alcott 1854
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Dec 1969 I was seven years old and already loving fashion! For Fashion Week 2010, I salute & honor Diana Vreeland of VOGUE & Everett Mattlin of GQ for honoring the contributions & influence of African Culture on the world of fashion!


Cover: Surprise from Courreges that’s all snow and glow for Christmas:
The simplest sleeveless white wool jersey dress with its own spectacular jewel of a collar–a shining brass turtleneck that starts under the arms and curves up to the chin, framing the face in a dazzle of reflected light.
At Bonwit Teller
Photo: Irving Penn
Sakowitz; I. Magnin
The coiffure, by Carita.

KIRDIS of Cameroon
By Mary Roblee Henry

It was quite refreshing to stumble upon this issue of VOGUE after all these years. I remember, at seven years of age, the impact seeing one of the most ancient civilizations in the world featured between the covers of VOGUE had on me, and how I perceived myself in the world. In these rare photos, Irving Penn shows us the beauty of the jeweled adorned bodies of the Kirdis in which they avert evil as they “still live in concert with their own fantastic universe.”

-Seraglio of Oudjila
Splendid in their ornamental headdress and jewels, seven of the wives and daughters, left, of the cheiftain of the Podokwo tribe, who, influenced by Western mores, insisted on their posing partly clothed.

-Warriors and Virgins
of the Guider tribe who dance to flute and drum at the Festival of the Harvest in the village of Lam. Graceful, lithe, each girl carries a threshing tool. The young men their ankles bound in iron rings, their hunting spears flying fur, wear plumes above their cowrie-shell masks.

April 1969 when I was six years old, I came across this issue of GQ. Being the impeccable dresser that my father still is, it’s no surprise to me that I was exposed to men’s fashion at such a young age. It was a rare occasion for me to see Africans connected to fashion, and so this issue of GQ made a profound impression on me.

APRIL 1968 GQ $1.25

Cover: The Masai are an East African tribe of great dignity, serenity and humor. It is the latter, perhaps, that convinced this Masai moran, or warrior, in a village some 120 miles from Nairobi, to wear an American summer fashion: a pullover cotton hopsack shirt with a bright and cheerful primitive print. By Catalina Martin, About $11. Browning Fifth Ave., N.Y.

-MASAILAND choose TURTLENECK, Even in Masailand the choice is the turtleneck. For this formal reception the turtle soups-up a French-cuffed dinner shirt of silvery blue rayon, nylon and–to make the evening sparkle–metallic thread. By Prince Ferrari. About $27.50. At Kallen’s, New York. The dinner jacket is by After Six. Continue reading

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This weeks FAB FIVE FAVS pays tribute to Fashion Week 2010!
I dug up a 1968 GQ out of my friend, Dale’s archives and choose five essential “Elements of Fierce” every wardrobe should not be without.

DANTE CUFFLINKS – I’ve always preferred dress shirts that required cufflinks because it set you apart from the masses, and allowed yet another opportunity for a statement to be made following the choice of your tie or bow tie. I love the connection it allowed me to my father and grandfather. It also allowed an opportunity to wear jewelry without direct contact to the skin.

DELTON BLAZER – With a British worsted blazer you can travel very far! It’s delicious with slacks or denim, and quite debonair. There is also something magical about the cut of this blazer which celebrates the male torso.

ASHEAR 3-IN-ONE – When traveling, it’s always best to do so lightly! With an Ashear 3 in one you are get ready, set, go. Ashear compliments any blazer or suit taking your look up just a notch.

MAJORICA PEARLS – If you want to add a touch of class and elegance to any look, pearls are your answer. Have fun with color and size when making your selection, and yes, I love wearing pearls the bigger the better!

ALMALFI WEATHERCOAT – Luxury, elegance, and individuality just about sum it all up for me. The clean lines, the perfect length, and silhouette make this the perfect compliment to any wardrobe. Continue reading

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