At last year’s Salone you may have heard about an old tram carriage that underwent a very Milanese makeover: Cristina Celestino was the designer behind that vision. This year she’s got another surprise up her sleeve: she’s turned her attention to a landmark pasticceria. This design week the famous Cafe Cucchi on the corner of Corso Genova has had a lavish makeover, with plush red velvet seats and embroidered wall paintings, thanks to Celestino’s innovative imaginings. Interiors come naturally to this designer; she first trained as an architect in Venice before moving to Milan in 2009 to found her own design brand ‘Attico Design’. The spirited shapes of Attico’s unique furniture and lamps feel indebted to Celestino’s architectural training, a training that saw her win the special jury prize at Salone del Mobile back in 2016. This year she’s got a lot on her plate. We managed to steal a moment of her time to find out which designers inspire her and where she likes to go to escape the noise of the city. If you’re in Milan why not read this while sipping a macchiato at the revamped cafe?
Can you tell us a little about what you’re up to this Salone in your own words?
For this year’s MDW I am presenting many projects. I continue my personal reinterpretation of the symbolic locations of Milan – reinventing in a contemporary way the interior of a historic Milanese pasticceria with the project “Caffè Concerto Cucchi”. With Besana Carpet Lab, I’ve completed an interior project dedicated to the strong come-back of the “moquette” material, inside the Brera Design Apartment, lightened up by lighting projects of the historic company Esperia, for which I designed two new lamps. Among the others, a collection of furniture for FENDI Roma and FENDI Casa under the artistic direction of Silvia Venturini Fendi, characterized by Pequin, a historical pattern of the Maison and inspired by the atmosphere of the 70s and the interiors of Willy Rizzo.
We know you’re involved with several projects this year, has the process on working on them simultaneously (if you did?) posed challenges or has it caused a kind of creative cross-fire with ideas from one fuelling or changing others?
Working at many projects at the same time, from the creative point of view, is very interesting and stimulating and often the research interweaves between one project and the other. I find the management part the most difficult, especially when the projects are presented in the same moment.
What originally drew you to design and how did you start out?
Before being a designer, I was an architect and a passionate collector of Italian design masterpieces. From this passion I started to imagine my own design pieces, and since I’ve had a strong interest in interior design from my university days the crossover to furniture design felt very natural to me.
Can you remember your first design week in Milan? What was that experience like / how has it changed over the years?
I still remember the first time I was at Milano design Week. It was just very inspiring and I felt it was the best place where I possibly could have been in that moment.
What’s been the most challenging and most rewarding parts of the experience of these projects so far? (If you like you can focus on just one!)
The hardest and most rewarding part of every project I think is to understand the client’s needs and heritage, and connecting it to my design vision and aesthetic with respect and mutual trust. For example, I am very happy with the work I am doing with Fornace Brioni, who have truly trusted me: it is in fact a very traditional company that started a completely new journey of the cottowith me and my new design, and now we are seeing the results of this great collaboration, and we are all enthusiastic about it.
What are you excited to see this design week?
Everything! There are so many fascinating projects and a very interesting international audience.
At the end of last year some pretty shocking research from the Design Museum revealed that just one in five designers in the UK are women. As a designer do you feel there remains a gender problem within the industry at large? Or are there just fewer women that achieve public recognition in design?
Maybe there are fewer, but the ones arriving at the edges are amazing. I’m thinking of women like Patricia Urquiola, Nanda Vigo, Cini Boeri. I think it’s a problem that’s not only alive in the design field. In many countries, the society does not help women for their personal achievements, and sometimes it’s more difficult for a woman to focus only on her own work.
Which designers inspire you (past and/or present)?
Since university, I was always attracted by the interiors of the great architects, such as custom-designed furnishings by Carlo Scarpa: I got passionate, and I still am, about the work of Ettore Sottsass, Gino Sarfatti, Caccia Dominioni, to name just a few of them.
What would be your tip to someone heading to Salone this year?
I would recommend to be very focused and plan your visits ahead!
Do you have any secret spots in the city you’d recommend?
Rotonda della Besana has always been one of my favourite spots in Milano, since I first arrived in the city. Its beauty and calm atmosphere is a peaceful place to recover from the frenzy of the Salone.
With all the die hard wellness enthusiasts I come to contact with on a daily basis here in Los Angeles, let’s just say little shocks me in terms of the latest health trends. Activated charcoal may not be new to the scene, but when you start going to restaurants and charcoal water is on the menu, or that the incredulous wall of beverages at Erewhon has a whole section dedicated to this supplement, you know we have an obsession on our hands. Still hesitant to actually taste it, I have used it in my beauty regime.
Activated charcoal is carbon that has been treated to increase its absorbency. Just so you know, activated charcoal is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. It has been, however, in use by the medical field as a treatment for certain cases of poisoning and overdose long before the current wellness boom. The carbon in charcoal acts like a natural binder and therefore is super absorbent. Its main job is to attract other substances it comes into contact with in your gastrointestinal tract so your body does not absorb them. So just like that, this detoxing absorbent has made its way into the beauty and wellness industry to soak up all the gunk that you don’t want floating through your system.
What makes charcoal so appealing in the beauty world? Well, it seems to effectively remove impurities from the skin, unclog pores by pulling dirt and bacteria to the surface and mattify oily skin. It basically acts like a magnet attracting the dirt and oil we come into contact with on a daily basis.
I’ve tried a few activated charcoal products myself and here is a selection of my favorites:
I may have already raved about Konjac Sponges, swooning that they are some of the best exfoliators on the market. But, with added Bamboo Charcoal Powder, these sponges now draw out additional impurities leaving you with soft, radiant skin.
A sugar scrub with activated charcoal that gently exfoliates, detoxifies, and cleanses your scalp in efforts of promoting healthier hair. The charcoal removes impurities and product buildup without stripping or drying out your hair.
Formulated with bamboo charcoal, this soap bar draws out impurities and toxins from your pores. We adore this brand because, besides the minimalistic packaging, the product lines are vegan, cruelty-free and noncomodogenic.
This cleansing oil balm does just as the name suggests: it melts into your skin to remove your makeup (yes, including your waterproof mascara) while deeply cleansing and hydrating at the same time. The sunflower oil carries the black and white charcoal to make sure there is a gentle detox with no pulling.
It is hard to for me to venture beyond the fragrances at Le Labo, but this face mask is actually unscented to narrow in on its main duty – detoxifying and cleansing your skin. It’s also infused with Bitter Almond to cleanse and Radish Seed for repairing your skin.
This jammed packed nutrient dense masque was was formulated to help you realize your most radiant skin. The unique formula of antioxidant rich raw cacao, activated bamboo charcoal, salts, and exotic spices helps brighten, heals inflammation and irritation, stimulates collagen production and treats breakouts.
Today we spoke to the writer, design critic, and curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein. You may have heard of Alice from when The New York Times peeked inside her palazzo with its “17th-century silk-covered walls” last year. She’s a woman who turned an exclusive ancestral home – a 12th-century castle no less – into a thriving design community. Schloss Hollenegg for Design is now an international project which supports young emerging designers. Set in Austria, where Alice herself is also based, it’s one of the few residency programs in the world that focuses on nurturing designers in the early stages of their careers. At this year’s Salone Alice isn’t changing her tune, she’s back to her university town presenting a group of new designers and putting them centre stage. We hear there’s a painted marble table; need we say more? We caught up with the multifaceted curator to find out what drew her to design and what she’s excited to uncover in Milan this year.
Can you tell us a little about what you’re up to this Salone?
I collaborated with Fondazione Kenta and the Alcova team (Space Caviar and Studio Vedet) at the project Alcova Sassetti at Fabbrica Sassetti. We have selected a number of emerging designers who will be presenting new work in the former cashmere mill, preserved in its original state.
A former cashmere mill! It must be amazing to curate and create in a space that holds so much history. You must work with so many new and emerging designers now; what made these ones stand out?
I find it very interesting to work in spaces with layers of history and use, I think it is interesting to work in a contextual way. That’s also how we chose the designers for the show: they needed to add to the space and be in dialogue with it. It’s also important when I choose designers for the program at Schloss Hollenegg – apart from being talented and capable of working in different mediums they need to have an interest in uncovering hidden aspects of the history and architecture of the castle.
How did you originally get into curating and what drew you to design?
I trained as an exhibition designer and always worked in the field of design, mostly producing exhibitions for other designers. I love the medium of the exhibition as a way of telling stories, so at some point it felt natural to move from designing the scenography to selecting the content.
Can you remember your first design week in Milan? What was that experience like and how do you think it’s changed over the years?
Of course I remember! I had just moved to Milan and was studying design. It was 1998, and the fair was still in town. It was the first year of the Salone Satellite and I remember feeling exhilarated at seeing experimental projects by young independent designers. The displays of the larger companies did not interest me as much. The Fuori Salone was already a thing, but mainly as a pilgrimage from showroom to showroom. Zona Tortona felt like a new and distant frontier and because Internet was in its infancy, you had to get your hands on the very important ‘Interni guide’ to know what was happening. Now you need to plan the weekdays in advance and hope you don’t miss what everyone will talk about!
What have been the most challenging and most rewarding parts of the experience of this project so far?
I am Italian, but after so many years living abroad I tend to forget how messy and bureaucratic it can be to get things done in Italy. The reward hopefully will come on the last day, when you see the designers exhausted but happy. For me it is 100% about offering them a platform, an opportunity.
What are you excited to see this design week?
I’m super curious about the cooperation between Calico wallpaper and Faye Toogood – I am a huge fan of both! I’m also looking forward to visiting the Triennale, but most of all I am hoping to be surprised and discover new talents.
Of course! You work with a lot with emerging designers. From your perspective do you see a gender problem in the design world? If so how can we fix it?
I think there is a general gender imbalance in the workforce, so of course there is one also in the design world. There are plenty of women who study design but as they get older more and more drop out. The only solution I can see is for more men to take paternity leave, and for women to learn how to delegate. I have the impression fewer women rise because they find it hard to delegate.
Which designers inspire you (past and/or present)?
SO many! The past ones are Gio Ponti, Bruno Munari, Achille Castiglioni, Tomas Maldonado, Victor Papanek. The present ones are Enzo Mari, Constantin Grcic, Nendo, Mischer’Traxler, Katie Stout.
What are your staple Salone tips?
Plan before and leave space for surprise after.
Don’t forget to enjoy friends and food. Find the benches in the pockets of green, and look inside all the courtyards!
Image by Federico Floriani
Please read about other Brilliant Women Working Behind the Scenes:
Design Week is upon us! The wisteria is in bloom and Milan is following suit, as secret doors open one by one across the awakening city. To celebrate this year’s famous Salone del Mobile we spoke to some of the brilliant women working behind the scenes. First up is La Repubblica journalist Laura Traldi. When she’s not working for the renowned Italian newspaper she’s still writing away on her own design blog. This year she’s turned curator with a special project at the Cascina Cuccagna ‘a natural oasis’ hidden in the heart of Milan between Fondazione Prada and the Marni showroom. We caught her for a precious few minutes to find out more about her work and steal some tips on surviving Salone in style.
Tell us a little about what you’re up to this Salone?
The MDW19 is very special for me because for the first time I am curating an exhibition. It’s called DESIGN COLLISIONS | The Power of Collective Ideas. It’s a collection of projects that illustrate the ways in which design can foster the creation of a collective intelligence to tackle today’s most pressing issues and to mend divisions: between man and nature but also between citizens and institutions, between those who have means and those who don’t, and amongst populations and migrants.
I’ll also be following the week as usual on my blog Design @ Large – which is my joy. So I will be running around as I normally do, and spend the (late) nights writing up what has been exciting and interesting and posting it for my readers. I won’t get much sleep!
How did you originally get into curating and what drew you to design?
I have a Master’s degree in Museum management from the Ecole du Louvre so I suppose I am familiar with the theory of curating but this is the first time I am actually doing it.
I studied history of fine arts prior to that (medieval art, actually) so I was very far away from the design world until I got a job at Philips Design in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, as Communications Manager. This was in 1996, when the studio (headed by Stefano Marzano) was working on staging visionary projects on the future of technology. Drawing on input from scientists, and working with psychologists, anthropologists and sociologists, the designers were creating scenarios for the future that were not only possible but also preferable. I was working very closely with them, setting up traveling exhibitions about the concepts and writing the catalogues and texts. My love for design was thus born within an industry that had a very particular, conceptual approach. For me design has always been the realization of ideas more than a styling exercise, a discipline that builds bridges: between technology and people, between objects and people, and also amongst people themselves.
Can you remember your first design week in Milan? What was that experience like? How have you noticed it change over the years?
My first design week was in 1999 when Philips Design showed its concept exhibition The Home of the Near Future at the Salone Satellite. I was living in Holland back then, and I had left Italy in 1992 and had never been at the Fuorisalone. A friend showed me the INTERNI guide and explained to me how to use it. It was like discovering a new city in the city where I had lived for 20 years and that I had left. I came back to Italy in 2002 after my first child was born and have been at each Fuorisalone ever since.
What’s been the most challenging and most rewarding parts of your project so far?
The greatest challenge was to make the exhibition come true with a tiny budget. But it also turned out to be the greatest reward. It’s not easy to find sponsors when you’re working with ideas that are not commercial. I was also invited to do this rather late, it was early February, by Matteo Ragni, a designer I greatly respect. And companies normally have already allocated their budgets by then. The exhibition has come to life thanks to the contributions of a handful of partners and especially through the beliefs of all people involved. So it’s actually great that the power of the message made so many people work, engage, get enthusiastic with no gain in sight. It strengthens the meaning of the exhibition itself. So in this way it was also a great reward.
What are you excited to see this design week?
I’m very curious about Oltre Formae by A&B Living, an installation in Brera showing off the manual knowhow of applying hay on furniture (to obtain very precious, very “design” pieces), and about how Giulio Iacchetti reinterpreted the Danese collection (Ricuciture at the Danese showroom in San Nazaro in Brolo), and the OMA Bauhaus show at the Knoll showroom. The Cassina showroom is also amazing.
At the end of last year some pretty shocking research from the Design Museum revealed that just one in five designers in the UK are women. The statistics must vary in other countries but do you think there remains a gender problem in the design world? If so what can we do to counter it? How do you think we can encourage more women to pursue a career in design?
It’s a tough question. But the issue is not just related to design but to all careers and it’s a giant one. Because women do get to the top and people say: look how many women make it. But if you look just below, there is a desert. And accessibility and equality doesn’t mean that you either get to the top or nothing.
I once wrote a story on festivals and music for a daily newspaper, and I found out that even in music, you have Adele and Beyonce earning huge amounts but all the rest at the top earners are men. In architecture, you had Zaha, Liz Diller, Amanda Levete, in design you have Urquiola. There are women at the very top (Urquiola dominates the whole Design Week in Milan, she will be everywhere), but a handful of powerful women are not enough; we should fight to grant all women access to the middle and top layers, where they normally work hard and earn less than men. I recognize the issue, and I think it will actually get worse, at least in Italy, where we have a backwards-thinking government who is trying to convince women that their place is at home. But I don’t have an answer to solve it.
An interesting remark: I recently spoke to Liz Diller who told me she never felt put behind in architecture because she was a woman but, rather, because she was working as a conceptual architect. I thought that was interesting.
Which designers inspire you (past and/or present)?
Past: Achille Castiglioni: I love the way he used objects to talk about people and society. Present: Giulio Iacchetti, who is in my opinion, the last of the contemporary Italian maestros: he is down to earth but very philosophical at the same time, obsessed with making design a democratic exercise.
What are your tips for surviving Salone?
Don’t get stressed about seeing it all (there are 1500 events, so you can’t). Get a companion: it’s nice to share ideas. Do one area at the time and keep one day for the events that are not in the districts. If you really want to see a show, avoid the cocktail evening. If you want to have a good time, go to the cocktail evening.
Do you have any secret spots in the city you’d recommend?
A nice place to eat, where you have a nice 1950s Italian atmosphere, is Riso e Latte, near Piazza Duomo. Also I know I’m involved in the Cascina Cuccagna but it is a beautiful place to spend time during the Fuorisalone: its beautiful garden, terraces, and the ancient walls make it a real oasis from the crowds.
Security forces in Sudan killed at least 14 people, activists involved told the Associated Press. The security forces fired tear gas at peaceful protesters in an attempt to break up a demonstration in front of the defence ministry and outside the army headquarters, witnesses said.
Backlash against the economic hardships and rising living costs have taken the form of anti-government protests. The economic concerns have become political demands, and protesters want an end to the 30-year-rule of President Omar al-Bashir.
Al-Bashir has refused to step down, saying his opponents should seek power through the ballot box.
In an official statement The United Nations states that it “stands ready to support any efforts agreed by the Sudanese to peacefully resolve the current crisis”.
The House of Representatives voted to extend the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Thursday, with some new protections for transgender people, survivors of domestic violence, and stalking victims.
The new legislation would prevent people convicted of domestic abuse or stalking charges, including dating partners, from purchasing a gun. The new bill would also expand existing VAWA protections to include transgender survivors of violence and give them the ability to access shelters and serve in prison based on how they identify.
Brunei introduced a strict Islamic legal code mandating death for adultery and sex between men, as well as lashes for lesbian sex and amputation for crimes like theft. Brunei is the first country in Southeast Asia to impose capital punishment for crimes such as LGBT sex or adultery.
Sharia is a religious law forming part of the Islamic faith derived from the Quran and the hadiths, the words or actions of the Prophet Muhammad. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between conservative and liberal Muslims.
Celebrities and Los Angeles officials have called for a boycott against hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, an arm of the government.
Women factory workers producing clothing and shoes in Vietnam face systemic sexual harassment and violence at work.
Nearly half (43.1%) of 763 women interviewed in factories in three Vietnamese provinces said they had suffered at least one form of violence and/or harassment in the previous year, according to a study by the Fair Wear Foundation and Care International.
The research is the first to correlate violence and sexual harassment in garment factories with workplace factors endemic to the “fast fashion” industry.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won the Israeli national election, securing a record fifth term in office after a close race with his opponent Benny Gantz, the country’s three main television channels said.
Final results are expected by Friday. Netanyahu, 69, will be on track to be the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s 71-year history. Netanyahu said he had already begun talks with prospective coalition allies.
You may be well on your way to achieving nutritional balance, having identified the program that works best, but one of the biggest parts of improving your nutrition is adding vegetables and fruits to your diet and leaving behind processed foods. If you are going to splurge on something, organic produce avoids large amounts of pesticides that you would otherwise be exposed to with commercial farming. With that said, to assist us in navigating this part of our grocery shopping, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) – a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental organization – releases a list every year called the “Dirty Dozen”, which names the top 12 produce that contains the most pesticides.
We know pesticides include a range of chemicals in order to kill pesky insects, plants, mold and rodents. They may destroy insects and keep pests at bay, but unfortunately we are exposed to them in our diet. The types and amount of pesticides really depends on the pests that are found in the area where the crops are grown. Another major factor of the pesticides used is the weather; for example, wetter climates can call for an increase in fungicides.
For the most part, the list stays the same every year. However (this would be a good time to grab a seat), the one notable change for 2019 is that our beloved kale has made it onto the list. Say it ain’t so! Our favorite super green that we regularly load into our smoothies, juices and onto our salad plates tested positive for Dacthal, which is considered a potential cancer causing agent. More than 92% of kale sampled tested positive for two or more pesticide residues. Yikes! It Just. Ain’t. Right for a produce that is linked to such high health benefits to contain some of the highest concentrations of pesticides. Trust me, my frustration is sky high.
Strawberries have topped the list for four years in a row now. A recent report states that they are most likely to retain remnants of pesticide residue even after being washed. Testing had found that the dirtiest one to top the list contained 23 separate pesticides residues. 80% of conventionally grown strawberries contain diphenylamine, a chemical treatment that prevents the fruit from browning in storage – we’ve been conditioned into consuming only the biggest and brightest fruits and vegetables. This chemical has been banned in the E.U. due to its health concerns, when the US will follow in tow is unknown. Spinach, which came in second, had shown relatively high concentrations of permethrin – a neurotoxic insecticide that has shown potential brain damage.
EWG Dirty Dozen List 2019 1. Strawberries
Now that you know what to avoid, EWG also composes a “Clean 15” on what produce is OK to buy – if you are purchasing conventionally grown products that is. This produce reduces the exposure of consumers to pesticides and in some cases less than 1% of avocados and sweet corn tested positive for pesticides. We can thank Avocados thick skin to protect it from the pesticides.
The “Dirty Dozen” serves as a guide and can help you to choose which produce to consume and how frequently. Washing your fruits and vegetables is still a must, but rest assured since now you know what needs more attention. If your budget doesn’t allow you to eat organic, work the list for clean produce. In the long run you will appreciate the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. I promise, your skin will be glowing, your gut will be screaming I love you, and your energy reserves will be elevated. It’s like the saying goes: you are what you eat.
Natural hair is not just a moment, but a movement. I’ve been natural for almost a decade—attempting to grow out my relaxer in college to no avail, but succeeding post-grad. Since then, my mother and best friends have also opted for their natural coils and curls and so have countless other black women all around the world. It all feels quite reminiscent of the 70’s when my grandparents embraced the ‘fro, but this time around, the shift feels permanent and beauty brands the world over are either sprouting up to cater to our hair needs or are evolving to include a vaster texture range.
Oribe is one such brand: long a favorite of icons of color including Naomi Campbell and Jennifer Lopez and women with curls all over the globe. The industry was rocked this year when its Cuban-born founder, Oribe Canales passed, but it seems fitting that one of the newest launches after his untimely death is one that embraces and seeks to care for textures that would broaden and deepen his legacy.
The brand’s Highly Textured line specifically caters to Type 4 coils and curls—a first for Oribe as it hasn’t previously centered or targeted natural hair with its past collections.” This collection is a passion project for the brand, and a line that Oribe Canales always dreamed of creating,” a spokesperson for the brand told All The Pretty Birds. “In the last 10 years, there has been a universal movement toward wearing hair naturally. Market research and our expanding global footprint have encouraged us to expand our curl line and product portfolio.”
The range features four products that are focused on conditioning and styling—a masque, detangler/leave-in, styling butter, and curl gelee. Oribe’s Product Development team interviewed natural hair bloggers, consumers, and stylists to understand their holistic lifestyle, as well as how much of an emotional and physical impact styling has on their day-to-day. They also spoke with chemists who formulate textured hair products to understand the unique science and structure of the type 4 textures.
Oribe also brought in the expertise of hairstylist Stacey Ciceron to ensure a professional well-versed in textured hair could weigh in and ensure the efficacy of what Oribe was releasing. “Before James Pecis, who I’ve known and worked with for 14 years, introduced me to the team, I was already a fan of the brand, especially its product performance and how it’s received by my peers in the industry,” Ciceron stated. “When they came to me, the products hadn’t been produced yet, so I was involved from the start.” From the beginning, Ciceron knew the Oribe team was very serious about coming out with the best products for type 4 hair textures—refreshing to hear and a relief as so many already established brands approach catering to natural hair as a gimmick and not a long-term business strategy. “Oribe’s goal is to provide high-quality, performance-driven products for every hair type and this launch fulfills that need for those with highly textured hair,” she stated, ensuring that the brand now has 360-service. “I was happy to work with the brand and see that this movement is happening in the industry.”
Ciceron spoke in great detail about the fundamentals with Oribe: the differences across hair types, understanding the different type 4 texture, density, and porosity were all essential. “You have to be able to address all different combinations” she confirmed—absolute real-life proof of this in a conversation amongst my friends mere days after in which we discussed all having multiple type 4 hair textures on each of our heads.
She also discussed both the emotional and psychological challenges that people with textured hair still face: case in point a recently-passed New York City law that prevents hair discrimination. “We addressed their mindset, the struggle, the time commitment, spend, budget and industry beauty standards.” Once the development process began, Ciceron and the Oribe team narrowed down the products they wanted for the initial launch and came up with the four in the collection that best work on women with type 4 textures. “What I appreciated was that we were testing on real hair and real models with the right type of hair.” And they did a lot of testing: in the office, on Ciceron’s clients, and she even tested it on her own curls.
I put it to the test as well and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The line doesn’t feature a shampoo, conditioner, or co-wash, so I cleansed and conditioned my 4B coils with Crème of Nature’s new charcoal line of products. And upon trying the Oribe masque, I was engulfed with a sweet aroma that literally smells like luxury. I could see the masque defining my curls as it worked its magic and my hair felt unbelievably soft after washing it out. I then used the leave-in conditioner and curl-defining crème post-shower, which upped the moisture and softness quotient. And the gelee got maximum use during my twist-out. When it was all said and done, my hair was soft, shiny, and my curls looked amazing.
This collection is a great example of how any brand (no matter the size) can take an active and well thought-out approach to inclusivity in their business. Though products that just happen to work for type 4 hair textures—if a natural-haired influencer or consumer does the work and makes the discovery—are nice to find, companies can take a mindful path to creating products that work well for specific hair, without alienating others. The idea is to be so comprehensive and so diverse that there’s something for everyone. Oribe is certainly on the right track and we can’t wait to see what the brand does next.
“The Firsts” is a series of conversations where women share those moments that aren’t always talked about, in the hope that they inspire, encourage and comfort.
As Deputy Editor of British Elle, Kenya Hunt is the name on a lot of lips right now. At the time of writing, Elle’s Editor had just announced her departure from the magazine, and no replacement had been announced publicly.
When we first sit down to talk ‘Firsts’, Kenya lets me know, and wants the readers to know, that she’s in the final weeks of maternity leave, and is therefore feeling like she’s in a ‘weepy place’. Read on to find out more about the truly awe-inspiring life of this Virginian-living-in-London. A life that, by the way, includes: being Global Style Director of Metro Newspapers, winning a New York Association of Black Journalists Award for Feature Writing, completing a Masters in Literature in Art at Oxford University (while on maternity leave!) and being the founder of ROOM Mentoring.
The first time I…
Felt fashion move me, was the first time I was covering shows in Paris. I had scored a ticket to the Alexander McQueen show; there’s nothing like that feeling when you get to go to your first big show. I remember feeling so pleased that a ticket had come through. It was the collection that coincided with the release of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. It was quite futuristic and a really big moment at the time, as the video was also premiering on SHOWStudio while they were livestreaming the actual show. It not only felt like a moment because of those incredible amphibian-like shoes, but the show was such an immersive experience. It was this opportunity where you got to see the video, hear the song, and experience this digital moment, which really opened the floodgates for livestreaming of fashion shows. I just remember feeling goosebumps. It felt like a moment in history in terms of the way we consume fashion. We didn’t know it at the time, but that turned out to be Alexander McQueen’s last show.
I knew I wanted to be in fashion was when I was six years old. I was just in Virginia, visiting my parents, not so long ago. My parents had kept a school book, where, each year, I would fill out who my best friends were, the names of my teachers, what I wanted to be when I grew up, things like that. I hadn’t looked at it since I was in high school, but I was showing it to my son, and looking back I saw that, at the age of six, I had written that I wanted to be a fashion designer and a ballet teacher. I just found it so ironic that I wound up working in the fashion space. My mom was an avid reader of Elle and Vogue, as well as Essence and Ebony, and my parents bought a lot of youth magazines for me, so I grew up consuming magazines from an early age, being fascinated by them as a medium for story-telling. Also, movies were such an influential factor; like Mahogany, which has become such a definitive black girl magic reference point, for everyone from Rihanna to Solange.
I felt homesick. My first weekend away from home when I was at University. I grew up in the Virginia Beach area and went to school about three and a half hours away by car – far away enough that you had to stay in a dorm. I remember feeling so homesick and missing the comforts of home, but also being excited. It definitely prepared me for travelling abroad.
I realised beauty was a thing that could be measured or compared. I think, growing up, I was conscious of it because of conversations that would happen around magazines. The fact that we weren’t represented as women of colour. I remember questioning why and pointing it out. It became a talking point with my mom, or I would hear her discussing it with her girlfriends. That’s when I first became conscious of this notion of beauty. I grew up in the South in the States, at a time when ‘good’ and bad’ hair was a real talking point. My mom was so good at giving me a really strong sense of self that didn’t rely on any of that, and she did a great job of teaching me that beauty comes in all shades and textures. It gave me this desire to promote healthier, more positive images that show that femininity, or blackness, does not rest on one particular look.
I travelled solo. The first time was in my mid-twenties, after a break-up. I just decided to fly to the Bahamas. I think the flights were on sale, and we had discussed potentially taking a trip. I decided to go on my own to purge the relationship out of my system. Something interesting happens when you travel solo; you have to have dinner alone, go out alone. I just remember feeling like it was peak-adulting – sitting in a restaurant on my own, with a book in hand. You feel like you stick out like a sore thumb, and also, it can be boring at times, but it ended up being a really nice experience. And that was before we were completely addicted to our phones…
I felt like yes, this is the thing I’m meant to do. When I started ROOM, a mentorship program for students of colour, who aspire to work in media in fashion. I remember the first or second group gathering, watching them bond with each other, connect with each other and give each other jobs. It was a memorable time that really made me realise: this is why I’m here. I’m a big believer in the fact that those of us who are fortunate to end up being in a certain position, have a certain responsibility to help bring people up with us. Travelling the shows and wearing fun clothes are a nice perk, but the most important part is being able to see this new wave of people come through.
I felt racism in my career. There was a real blatant, awkward moment when I was really quite young. I had pitched a story on the spike in the number of teenage moms in a certain area. It wasn’t a fully fleshed-out pitch yet, but it was an idea. The reason why she [my editor] shot it down wasn’t because it wasn’t fully fleshed-out. She said: ‘that piece won’t work because it will just be about black girls in inner cities, and no-one wants to read that.’ It was pretty shocking. I haven’t experienced something as blatant as that since; it’s more nuanced now.
I felt powerful. When I birthed my first son. There is nothing like popping out a little human. I just had the experience six months ago of popping out a second one, so maybe it’s still fresh in my mind! Often people are like, ‘oh if I can get this job, or work in this city, I can do anything.’ But I think, if you can grow a human out of nothing, and pop that person out, and manage to stay present and look after that person, then you really can do anything. That working mother juggle struggle is real. The first time I had my son I wanted to roar! I was so happy I survived it, but then, you realise there’s a long road ahead of keeping them well-adjusted, and alive. It made me feel powerful in a scary but awe-inspiring way.
Lori Lightfoot made history as she defeated Toni Preckwinkle in a runoff election to become the next mayor of Chicago, becoming the first black woman and first openly LGBT person to hold the position in the city.
Lightfoot, 56, has never held elected office, but has served as the head of Chicago’s police board and its police accountability taskforce, which was established by current mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2015 amid criticism of his administration’s handling of the murder of Laquan McDonald by the former police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted in 2018.
In electing Lightfoot, Chicago will become the largest US city to be led by a black woman mayor.
France Becomes First Country In Europe to Ban All Five Pesticides Killing Bees.
France becomes the first country in Europe to ban all five pesticides researchers believe are killing off the insects. Farmers warn it could leave them defenseless in protecting valuable crops against other harmful insects.
France is going further than the European Union, which voted to outlaw the use of three neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, in crop fields. France has banned these three, along with thiacloprid and acetamiprid, not only outdoors but in greenhouses too.
Despite campaigns to reduce pesticides, France increased their use by 12 per cent between 2014 and 2016.
The United Nations warned last year that 40 per cent of invertebrate pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction.
Zuzana Čaputová, a 45-year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner, won 58.4% of the votes and will take office in June.
Prior to her entry into politics, Čaputová was a civil activist best known for blocking a planned landfill site in her home town in 2016. She also played a role in anti-government protests that broke out after the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová.
The Kuciak murder threw a spotlight on links between officials and corrupt networks. Police have charged five people, including a millionaire with alleged links to Smer, the wealthiest political party in Slovakia, of ordering the killings. Čaputová has promised to make changes that will strip the police and prosecutors of political influence.
New York State lawmakers have agreed to impose a statewide ban on most types of single-use plastic bags from retail sales.
The plan, proposed a year ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would be the second statewide ban, after California, which banned bags in 2016. Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, since all the state’s counties bar such single-use bags.
New York’s ban, which would begin next March, would forbid stores to provide customers with single-use plastic bags, which are nonbiodegradable. The ban would have an additional element allowing counties to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, revenue that would go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund as well as a separate fund to buy reusable bags for consumers.
Measles spreads across the U.S., with outbreaks in four states infecting more people in the first three months of 2019 than in all of last year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has confirmed 387 cases across 15 states from Jan. 1 through March 28, compared with 372 cases in all of last year.
Measles is highly contagious, infecting up to 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Move over gingham, and make way for houndstooth. For as long as I can remember, gingham has reigned supreme as Summer’s check of choice. But this season, the perennial after-Labor Day pattern has got some sharp competition from another woven hero: houndstooth.
When I think of houndstooth, gorgeous tailored coats and suits come to mind. Smart, power tweeds that command meetings during the week and cozier versions to lounge in while taking leisure in the countryside on the weekend. You know, the mood is inimitably English and the vibe is not even within a mile of your life Parisian chic. However as a proud Jamerican, I encourage everyone to embrace this previously sartorial-heights only pattern. Wear it all over your body like I do here, especially mixing and matching your color ways for graphic emphasis. Meta moments are always a plus in my book, and you definitely want the on-looker to do a double take to make sure they are even in the right season. Think of it as your civic duty to stimulate your fellow human, it’s like a brain exercise really. And if you are so inclined, channel your inner Julie Andrews in the “Sound of Music” and sing full praise to the rising summer star of this super print – I swear that was not the pose that I was aiming for. I’m just absolutely mad for this Rixo look!
I’m also obsessed about the potential that this summer break-through pattern poses. Look it could go really far: first swimsuits, then ribbons on straw hats, beach towels, and OMG, it could totally become the new picnic table dressing. What, have I gotten ahead of myself? I’m all about change in this last year of the twenty-tens and if ushering in the summer appeal of houndstooth is a part of that transformation, I am all here for it.
I’ve selected the prettiest houndstooth pieces for just for you below. Enjoy!