Fierce

Fans Of Michelle Obama Mourn The Death Of Her Beloved Cuban-American Designer

Ben Gabbe / Fotógrafo autónomo / Chip Somodevilla / Fotógrafo de plantilla / Getty Images

In 2009, the world watched with excitement as the U.S. made history by electing the first Black president to office. On the day of his inauguration, however, all eyes weren’t solely on Barack Obama who was being newly sworn in. Instead, most were occupied by the soon to be iconic look worn by First-Lady Michelle Obama. Her look was a lemongrass dress and coat paring designed by Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo, a woman who devoted her career to designing for all women.

Today, the fashion world is mourning the death of the designer who styled an icon after she lost her battle against breast cancer.

Toledo died of breast cancer at age 59 in Manhattan, her husband announced on Monday. 

There is no denying her influence in fashion especially considering only4.3 percent of the 2017 Business of Fashion 500 list, which ranks the fashion industry’s most influential individuals, were Latinos. She was born in Cuba, where she learned to sew at the age of eight after she “I couldn’t find anything I loved,” she said in 2012. As a teenager, she immigrated to West New York, New Jersey and eventually attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design but never graduated instead she interned for fashion editor Diana Vreeland, who was the editor in chief of Vogue.  

In 1985 she presented her first collection and quickly made a name for herself as a “designer’s designer,” known for her focus on the art of crafting the clothing, letting the fabrics guide her instead of sartorial themes. 

“I really love the technique of sewing more than anything else…the seamstress is the one who knows fashion from the inside,” she said in a 1989 interview, according to Vogue. “That’s the art form really, not fashion design, but the technique of how it’s done.”

In the late ’90s, Toledo also rejected the runway, presenting new collections in museums instead, emphasizing more the art and less the pomp and circumstance that typically surrounds fashion shows.

  Despite her desire to pave her own path in fashion and rejecting the flashiness of fashion, she was respected in the industry, with fellow Cuban designer, Narciso Rodriguez voicing his support of her works. “I admire her technique, her individuality, and her incredible eye. Her clothes are always right,” he told Vogue in 2003. 

She’d dressed celebrities including Demi Moore and Debra Messing but it was Michelle Obama’s 2009 inauguration dress during President Barack Obama’s historic win that skyrocketed her to fame. 

She met her future husband, acclaimed Cuban artist and illustrator Ruben Toledo, in high school and they married in 1984. 

He sketched her designs including the lemongrass dress with the matching overcoat that Obama wore. 

We’re levitating – we really are,” he told WWD at the time. “It’s just another shock, but a great shock.”

They had not been informed beforehand that she would be wearing the dress and first saw it at the same time everyone else did during the inauguration parade. 

“With her incredible creativity and masterful talent, Isabel designed a beautiful lemongrass outfit that I just loved,” Obama told the New York Times. “She more than met the moment — for that day and for all of history.”

One aspect of the dress, in particular, was somewhat controversial – the color. Media descriptions changed from apple green to yellow to gold but Toledo called it lemongrass, which was the fabric color that served as inspiration for the dress and said it was an “optimistic color.” She told the Associated Press that the various interpretations of the color allowed for an individual experience of the clothing, giving the moment more “depth.”

 “There is nothing that comes close to this moment. It’s not just my moment and hers, but it’s the world’s. It’s not only what she’s wearing. It’s what the moment represents,” she told AP. 

She and her husband collaborated for decades and won the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2005 and she also received the third annual Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion from the Museum at FIT in 2008.

They had recently worked on an exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) entitled Labor of Love. It’s central focus was the relationship between fashion and art, showcasing sculptures, paintings, and drawings that they created together, using the DIA’s collection as inspiration. The centerpiece was “Synthetic Cloud”, a series of dresses she’d sewn from layers of multi-colored tulle including sky blue, hot pink, orange, lavender, and neon green, according to Vogue

I’m not supposed to say I’m not a fashion person, but I’m not. I just, I love design,” she told CNN in 2012. “Design is so different than fashion. That’s why design lasts forever. It’s like an engineer. I love to engineer a garment.”

In 2012, she published an autobiography entitled Roots of Style, illustrated by her husband, where she discussed the influence growing up in Cuba had in her designs and how fashion became a form of art that allowed her to express herself. 

Toledo may be remembered for the inauguration dress but throughout her career, she made her designs available to the average woman as well. 

She served briefly as creative director for Anne Klein, from 2006 to 2007 and designed a series of boots, pumps, flats and handbags in a collaboration with Payless Shoe Source which has since shuttered.

In 2014, she debuted a capsule collection for plus-sized retailer Lane Bryant, saying to Jezebel:

“For me, it’s really important that women are given the opportunity to be eccentric… The liberty, the freedom, the right to be eccentric, to be their size, and to have the freedom or the opportunity to enjoy fashion at any size […] I can’t imagine not having that, so I feel a duty to provide it.”

Fashion Nova Has Celebrity Copy Cat Costumes And They’re Insane

Fierce

Fashion Nova Has Celebrity Copy Cat Costumes And They’re Insane

Fashion Nova dropped it’s Halloween collection and it is massive. However, there’s one particular section that is causing a stir: celebrity dupes. While Fashion Nova has had multiple run-ins with celebrities over copying their looks and the looks of independent designers, that hasn’t stopped them one bit. This time around they want you to dress up in your favorite celebrities’ most iconic outfits — with slightly more skin showing. 

Some people like to make their own costumes, others like to buy their own costumes. If you fall into the latter group and don’t mind baring it all, you might want to check out the internet retailer’s Cardi B, Selena Quintanilla, Jennifer Lopez, Aaliyah, and Lil Kim costumes.

Fashion Nova launches Celebrity Halloween Costume Collection

Fashion Nova has launched its new season of Halloween costumes. They’re claiming they have the “sexiest” costumes on the internet. Because you know, that’s the most important thing, being sexy. I personally, couldn’t care less how women dress on Halloween, but I do think we should have options other than essentially walking around naked during one of the colder months of the year. 

All your faves are available

This time around, Fashion Nova has continued to dupe celebrity outfits. Although Kara Nesvig of Teen Vogue makes an important point, “As fun as these costumes may be, Fashion Nova has landed in hot water after being accused of knocking off clothing designs from both independent designers and big names, like a look-alike of the Mugler dress worn by Kim Kardashian West that was made the brand and sold just days after she wore it, causing Kardashian West to speak out. While these Halloween designs are ‘celebrity-inspired,’ it’s worth remembering where each came from and honoring the designers and inspiration behind each look as you rake in the Halloween candy come October 31.”

Jennifer Lopez

https://www.instagram.com/wwd/?utm_source=ig_embed

This look is so iconic — and you may not know this – it is the reason Google image search exists. When J. Lo wore this super-duper low-cut Versace dress to the 2000 Grammy Awards so many people were searching for it that Google came up with the idea for a way to search for specific images. Her impact! 

“People wanted more than just text. This first became apparent after the 2000 Grammy Awards, where Jennifer Lopez wore a green dress that, well, caught the world’s attention,” Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said. “At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen. But we had no sure-fire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: JLo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born.”

Lil Kim

When Lil Kim wore her purple one-armed (and one-boobed) jumpsuit and matching wig to the 1999 VMAs, it caused quite a stir. While announcing an award with Diana Ross, Ross grabbed Lil Kim’s boob. It’s hard to believe that Janet Jackson was ostracized from Hollywood years later for exposing her pasty-covered nipple at the Super Bowl, but life makes no sense.

Selena

This controversial reinterpretation of Selena’s iconic disco outfit had some fans last Halloween clutching their pearls on social media. “What would Selena’s father think?” Many asked. Who cares? He was always controlling of her body in the most sexist way with regard to how she dressed. Or are we blinded by machismo here? Selena herself never agreed with him, so why do we care what he thinks? 

Saying her dad would have abused her if he saw this makes the argument kind of null. We don’t know if Selena would have liked or hated this. Sometimes that’s just how it be.

Aaliyah

The “One in a Million” costume pays homage to Aaliyah’s “Try Again” music video outfit. This is probably the most accurate of the bunch. 

Cardi B

Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy album cover comes to life here. I am assuming that because the cover only features the top of Cardi’s body, Fashion Nova just assumed she wasn’t wearing pants? The rapper has had multiple collections with Fashion Nova so it is no surprise to see her included here. 

“You’re going to see a lot of skin,” the rapper said. “A lot of cleavage. But yet it’s so pretty and so elegant. I made sure it was sexy but also beautiful,” Cardi said of her second Fashion Nova collection, which sold a $1 million worth of product within 24 hours of its launch. 

Fashion Nova refuses to acknowledge that sometimes the weather is cold, but anyone who is going to buy one of these costumes probably doesn’t care either. Check out Fashion Nova’s Halloween collection here

Nicole Richie’s Style Evolution Will Leave You With A Serious Case Of Whiplash

Fierce

Nicole Richie’s Style Evolution Will Leave You With A Serious Case Of Whiplash

Nicole Richie, who is of English, Mexican and Creole African-American ancestry, has had quite the style evolution. This party-girl turned entrepreneur has cycled through trends in a way that would make the average person’s head spin. Richie entered the spotlight around 2004 when she burst onto the scene in the trailblazing reality show “The Simple Life”. After the public recognized how cute, witty, and downright watchable this girl was, she pretty much has never left our screens since.

Throughout Richie’s tenure in the public eye, she’s always brought her own personality to everything she does. Back in her reality days, it was her biting, deadpan humor. Now that she’s older, her personality is reflected not only in her personal style (which is always on point), but her fashion projects as well (she’s the founder and creative director of the House of Harlow 1960 fashion line). Here at FIERCE by mitu, we’ve compiled a list of classic Nicole Richie trends that will make you realize why this Latina entrepreneur is such a force in front of and behind the camera. Take a look below!

1. Two-Toned Hair

@PetiteAnge_/Twitter

When the hit reality-show “The Simple Life” aired in 2003, Nicole Richie was rocking a really on-trend hairstyle at the time: two-toned hair where the “low lights” were much darker than the rest of the hair. We can’t say this is our favorite look of hers.

2. Tube Dresses

@ShamirBailey/Twitter

In the early aughts, Richie also gravitated towards monochrome tube dresses that looked just as at-home on the red carpet as they did in the club circuit.

3. Bright Orange Faux Tans

@missemilyjayx/Twitter

Even the naturally darker-complexioned Miss Richie wasn’t immune to the early-2000s allure of a spray tan back in the day. As you can see from the above picture, she may have gone a bit over-board with the trend (we’ve all been there).

4. Blunt Bangs

@Kamaria24k/Twitter

Richie has never been one to shy away from bold hair experimentation (see her Met Gala look from 2017). We love how she always changed up her tresses, like when switched her usual hair-do to some chic blunt bangs. She really can’t go wrong.

5. Smudged Eyeliner

@ITSPARISBXTCH/Twitter

When Richie first hit the scene in 2004, she had a signature makeup look that always turned heads. She rocked a “grunge-chic” look that included tousled, bedhead hair and a smudged smokey eye that looked like she had been up all night partying.

6. Super-Sized Sunglasses

@ccyeez/Twitter

Once Richie started to transition out of her reality TV days, she really began to come into her own, style-wise. We have a feeling that Richie began donning mega-glasses because it successfully shielded her from the paparazzi, but it also cemented her as a style icon. One could argue that it was Richie who put the over-sized sunglasses on the map for good.

7. Over-Sized Clothing

Pinterest via Amy Joyce

Not only did Richie develop a penchant for over-sized sunglasses, she also started to gravitate towards baggy clothing around the same time as well. This was a massive change from her previous style which consisted of mini-dresses and skin-tight polyester.

8. Side Bangs

@wmag/Twitter

If you look through a catalogue of Richie’s past fashion experiments, a common thread will weave through all of it: bangs. Richie has always been a big proponent of a fringe, whether it’s an aforementione blunt cut or her signature side-swept style that she usually opts for. In fact, it’s hard to think of a look as classically Nicole unless the bangs are both prominent and sideswept.

9. Boho-Chic

@TangerOutlets/Twitter

There may not be a celebrity in all of Hollywood that does Bohemian as well as Nicole Richie does. Not only is she tasteful and fashionable with her choices, but she’s also adventurous and playful. Richie’s bohemian phase was the look that launched a thousand copy-cats–celeb or otherwise.

10. Scarf Headbands

@ccyeez/Twitter

Richie has been a fan of the scarf-as-a-headband since her “Simple Life” days, and her affinity for the accessory doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. These days, however, she sticks to smaller, top-knotted headbands as is evidenced by her most recent Instagram posts.

11. Curly & Natural

@MJHIStorySource/Twitter

Although Richie has opted to straighten her hair since her early days in the spotlight (no judgement from our side), she’s recently gone the au naturel route, leaving her mane to reveal its curly glory. We love how Richie is never afraid to experiment in any aspect of her look

12. Sleek and Simple

@nicolerichie/Instagram

Lately, Nicole Richie has been all about simplicity when it comes to her personal style–especially when it comes to her hair. This is a big departure from her bygone days when her mantra seemed to be “the more the merrier” when it came to hair and makeup.