Sunday, March 18, 2007


Finally, I am able to sit down and write about the last couple of weeks (ok, well maybe a month). I have been going nonstop since I returned…but that’s not what you want to hear about.

Paris Fashion Week was an amazing departure from my life in DC. Of course, the shows were beautiful. The first one I saw the day I arrived was Valentino. It was classy and chic (the word for the week) and I just absorbed the experience – I was at Fashion Week – in Pairs – in the Valentino show – at the Louvre! How exciting, but wait, why does it feel a little like the Superbowl?! OMG – some security guard just tackled a PETA activist. Awww, man, I couldn’t help but stare, ya’ll. He took this woman out on the floor - in football, I think they call it a sack. It occurred almost discreetly, silently talking place in the front corner of the runway. It was odd how the show still moved fluidly so the audience could choose which to watch. I could still focus on the runway, but I didn't want to. Oh - and another woman was tackled immediately after the first. Both naked women were defeated and forced out of the room. (Yeah, they were both naked except for the "NO FUR" sign painted on their backs.)

In the days that followed were Mark, Fay, and Carly - three personalities I can't even begin to summarize. Mark, a handbag designer and my mom's stylist. Fay, a personal shopper/stylist from New York City. Carly, Mark's muse, client, and friend - a Lindsay Lohan look alike (Carly on the left).

Together, we saw the Stella McCartney, Celine, Giambattista Valli, and Alexander McQueen shows.

Everyone keeps asking me how the seats were. Well, the shows are not very big which is a plus, so there were usually no more than 5 rows on either side of the runway and sometimes 3 or 4 rows in the middle. That said, we were never far from the action. I took some less than fabulous pictures, but, to me, they are priceless because I was there! has pictures of every look from every show so people like Anna Wintour never really have to get out of bed if they don't want to. And yes, I saw Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley. Jessica Beil was there for God know why and Scarlett Johansson was in attendance representing Louis Vuitton.

In addition to Fashion Week events, I met many fantastic Chicagoans (Mark is from Chicago, so many of his friends and colleagues were in Paris) and my friend Porsha was working in Paris so we got together as well. We went to some clubs, we lounged in tourist friendly hotels, and we went to a great house party, thanks to a french jewelry designer named Natalie.

Aside from the beauty and excitement of Fashion Week, there were a few reminders of my true feelings on Europe:

1) The shower system. Why do French people have that stupid shower head that you must hold over your body? Who doesn't want water pouring down on them from above?! Who wants to HAVE TO hold the water over them just to get clean? I mean, I understand having the option is great, but as soon as I checked into the hotel, I had flashbacks from my time spent in Italy sitting in a sad, empty tub with one hand holding the shower head over my body and the other trying to keep a healthy balance of soap and water on my loofa....not ideal.

2) European outlets! Why did no one remind me before I left that I would not be able to flat iron my damn hair?! And don't think that a converter helped me any. I BLEW OUT my flat iron. It is useless now, something about the wattage. I am without a flat iron (even as I write this a month later). I was pissed to remember that little detail. Blogging, emailing, skype phone calls, itunes in the morning - didn't happen, because I couldn't even charge my computer.

I really can't complain though - I had a fantastic time watching Fall 2007 Paris Fashion Week on display before my very eyes and I will never forget it. Oh! And the coolest thing about Fashion Week is that press photographers take pictures of the people that attend the shows. Carly constantly got her picture taken and of course it was fun to watch BUT Japanese Vogue took a picture of me before the Stella McCartney show. It was amazing!

Here is a picture of me and Mark the day of the Stella show. You really can't see my outfit but it's MY memory :)
What did I learn?

Of course when I left the country, I was the designated civilian to report back to my friends with the hottest trends from Paris and the fashion forecast for the upcoming seasons. I was apprehensive about this, because as much as I do consider myself a fashionista, I have never been one to listen to what someone else said was the new IT-item. I observe what people are wearing: people on the street, the magazines, celebs and I separate my likes from my dislikes, but I have never been one to say "I HAVE TO HAVE THAT" just because some magazine tells me it's in this season. That said, I didn't absorb the runway looks dissecting the fall colors and shapes. Honestly, they all looked like slight variations of today's looks. I did, however, notice a street look that I was not ready for.

My wardrobe has been a union of two influences for about 5 years. Thanks to Carrie Bradshaw's eclectic and colorful wardrobe (courtesy of Sex & the City costume designer Patricia Field), I live with the knowledge that not matching is what's HOT, use bright many colors and mix them! Secondly, my sister Leigh told me a long time ago to never wear black shoes, and if you know my sister you would listen to her fashion advice. She was Carrie before Sarah Jessica was Carrie. I understood that no matter the outfit, black shoes just weren't necessary - Spice it up. Anyway, equipped with this wisdom, I have lived happily for quite some time. But in Paris, I kept seeing everyone in black...all black: black shoes, black outfit, black bags. At first, I thought, "OK, that looks nice on her."
"Ooh, nice bag...and I typically don't like black."
"Oh, I love that black coat."
and then it became,
"Where the hell are my black tights?"
"I need a black bag. I wish I had a big black shoulder bag."
"Oh! Black is so chic, so simple, so classic."
Now, I'm hooked. I am dedicated to finding the perfect black oversized bag. I don't shy away from black clothes anymore, as a matter of fact, I recently purchased some perfect skinny black slacks by Theory. I love them! I have a new little black dress and I am also hoping for a black Burberry trench. Believe me, I am so shocked that I have done this 180, but I love the look. It's fabulous! And I am not over color - I still love bright, attention grabbing shades, but I definitely admire the fierceness that black can bring.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Congratulations to Tracee Ellis Ross for winning an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series!

Y'all know I went to Paris, so I owe you an update. It's COMING SOON....

Something or Nothing?

Written February 19th
I absolutely adore movies and my father is a huge movie buff as well. He never vacations and is always working, but in the little free time he allots himself, he sees just about any movie. Sometimes it’s hard for me to keep up. Early last week, he called me to discuss Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, but I had not yet seen it. I was aware of the plot: A man trying to gain custody of his 3 young daughters is working as a driver and finds himself driving a successful attorney. Some how, some way love blossoms and the two must deal with scrutiny from her friends and, of course, her own self-consciousness. My dad was concerned. Does class discrimination exist in dating in the black community (or any community for that matter)? I pondered his inquiry and with cautiousness and replied, “Dad, I think, for women, it is important to consider whether or not someone can take care of you.” He wasn’t buying it and basically decided it’s a shame that we behave that way. Hmmm, I thought. I take my father’s thoughts very seriously. His words always move me to think, act, or reconsider a position. At this time I still hadn’t seen the movie.

Daddy’s Little Girls, starring Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from the Wire) and Gabrielle Union in the lead roles, Monty and Julia. The fabulous Tracee Ellis Ross played a supporting role as one of Julia’s scrutinizing friends (the other was Terri J. Vaughn). Julia, the uptight lawyer, is more than hesitant to date Monty…her driver…with 3 kids… a ghetto, crack-selling baby mama…and some serious prior legal trouble. Are Julia’s apprehensions reasonable? In the film, every situation is exaggerated. Julia is insanely uptight and judgmental and Monty’s circumstances are abruptly and dramatically thrown in her face. Obviously, their incomes were significantly different too. These are the things that any woman considers when choosing a partner, and even more likely for Julia, these are the observations she assesses instantly. Some people, like my father, find this thought process unfair. I thought very seriously about it all week intending to justify my position to my father.

I got a lecture from a male friend about the fact that black women, women period, will forever be unhappy because we won’t date the poor man. We fought all night because I refused to accept that factoring in a prospective mate’s present career and/or financial security in the selection process is negative. Well, he was very passionate about this. “I know there are [women] I have on layaway.” Meaning: There are women that, if his financial situation was different or when it is different, he knows these women will want him. He obviously feels this is ridiculously unfair, but accepts it as fact, assisting his conclusion that women worry about the wrong things when choosing a partner.

My opinion is, as I stated to my father, women typically want a man who can provide for and/or assist her in the lifestyle of her choosing. I am willing to bet that men think similarly. It is about more than money, too. We want to know that our partner isn’t uncomfortably placed in our social circles, professional activities, and interests. (I hope this makes sense in my attempt to be both diplomatic and precise in my assessment.) Additionally, any person that has an abundance of wealth probably doesn’t care what their partner’s financial or social status is – more than likely they 1) aren’t worried about being the financial stability of a significant other and/or 2) have no need to impress any professional superiors. Now, know that I believe in LOVE above all. I don’t care how much money you have (yeah, I said it). That is my personal belief, BUT first impressions are the world and while my father did make me feel a little bad for the prejudgment, it is no more superficial than judging someone based on their looks. As easily as we hope the ugly dude doesn’t come over and holla, I will avoid the Greyhound employee loading my bags on the bus (let’s not talk about the fact that I ride the bus). Unfortunately, we may not get to know a great guy, but just like your friends say when you have a bad break up – “there are lot’s of men out there.”

However, like I said, my dad’s opinion matters to me a lot. He is seldom wrong (in my eyes), so I did a little research. The most significant of which was Nanette* (clearly a fake name) who dated and is currently engaged to the security guard at her job, a man who held his security post while in law school and has since graduated. So, naturally, I asked her what she thought of him before she found out he was a law student. He was cute and that was the extent of it. CASE AND POINT – she would not have got into a relationship with this man had he not been pursuing higher education.

Many other women also confided in me that they shied away from the garbage man, the waiter, or the cabbie for the same reason I had expressed to my dad - security. But is this a female phenomenon? I analyzed many male responses to the quandary. I asked my coworker Lewis* if he would date the fine-ass cashier at McDonald’s. He said no and we established that we don’t mind paying for dinner every once in a while, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner on me when he or she is contributing only a McDonald’s employee discount is not whatsup.

I was frustrated by my research, because, to a certain extent, I wanted to see the injustice in my belief and show my dad I was behind his criticism. That just wasn’t the truth. My vetting process in the dating pool was nothing but natural and MOST PEOPLE with which I consulted agreed. It’s not that we can’t fall for the “poor” guy, but we have to consider compatibility and potential along with physical attraction and we have to do so as early as possible. If, somehow, you make it past the process of elimination, and your charm permeates my heart, that’s a whole ‘nother’ conversation. DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS SPOILER: Of course, the succesful lawyer and her driver with the three kids made it work and it was all beautiful in the end...but what you didn't see was what happened the next day. Did the relationship work? Was Julia able to survive the instant family a man with 3 kids brings? Was Monty ok with Julia making tons more money than he did? Who knows the answer to these questions. I only set out to discover if there was something wrong with women screening potential dates based on their job or career and I found that it was as shameless as the first look.