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single black female, addicted to retail

...thanks kanye west for writing a line that so accurately describes me.

since i lacked funds to feed my retail addiction this weekend, i went and checked out the black style now exhibit at the museum of the city of new york yesterday.

i really thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. while some folks would find the fascination with fashion to be merely superficial, it's funny how well fashion documents the cares and concerns of an era. magazine covers from the 50s and 60s featuring black women models who somehow had to obscure their blackness - hats and scarves completely covering their hair (naomi sims on fashions of the times), hands covering their noses and mouths (donyale luna on vogue). how very telling for the era.

another interesting aside: i always knew about bayard rustin's politics and civil rights activities, but i had no idea he had an extensive collection of canes and clothing from around the world.

it was equally interesting to read about the social impact of fashion phenomena that i am familiar with firsthand: cross colors, karl kani, fubu. i loved how music played into the exhibit, i found myself walking around singing along to chaka khan & rufus (tell me something good), and when the exhibit moved toward an exploration of hip hop music, song lyrics were prominently posted alongside the clothes: run dmc's "my adidas," nelly's "air force ones," cash money millionaires' "bling bling," and, yes, kanye west's "all falls down," from which i borrow the title of this post.

this might be nitpicky, and maybe it isn't, but i wish they'd styled the mannequins a bit better. this was an exhibition about fashion, so i'd think the mannequins should be impeccably styled. instead, the some of the outfits themselves seemed ill considered, as if someone had simply called up mecca and said give us an outfit, any outfit, any size. i also wish there was more about shoes...they had authentic manolo blahnik timbs, and a display case with 6 pairs of sneakers (of the ones i remember, they had some adidas shelltoes, the wu-tang clan dunks, a pair of vintage puma clydes, and a new pair of reebok classics)...i wish it hadn't ended on what it proclaimed "the universal uniform of hip hop," a white tee, a pair of jees, a fitted hat, and a pair of timbs...that was a bit of a letdown ending. they definitely should have had more than a passing mention of hair, one of the most consistently provocative and loaded topics in black style. but hey, they don't have room for everything.

and at the end, i bought a book by the fabulous women of sistahs of harlem, the t-shirt makeover, a book of instructions for de- and re-constructing t-shirts. i love a good, cut up t-shirt.

and since we're on the subject of fashion and style, check out kelis talkin about her thoughts on the subject. kelis is pretty fabulous in life. and i hear she's coming out with a clothing line...


About me

  • I'm call me aja
  • From nyc
  • 20something, black, woman, reader, writer, about to be a student again. i think i'd like to be heard (or read). child/grandchild of immigrant folk. yearning to travel. desirous of wisdom. a little bit ordinary, but working at being less so.
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