Friday Fashion Feature: Danimal Deville

This stunning person caught our eye the last week at the Chicago jBar lobby. It was about the hair at first, and then it was the outfit. And what completely sealed the deal was the sweet and charming personality of this gorgeous person….

Friends, meet Daniel. Freelace stylist, occasional model and cast member on popular fashion reality series House of Consignment on VH1 as the show’s E-Tern! Stay tuned, they’d love the support! Wednesdays@ 10/9c. And of course, Daniel has a blog as is on twitter, so follow him!!

The outfit:

‘My style can be described as whimsy.’

Pants: Pink Metallic Cropped Trouser-Womens Top Shop
Salmon Button Down- Mens American Apparel
Blazer- Mint Green Vintage
Floral Cut Out Canvas Oxfords- Dr. Martens-Womens
Neck “tie”- fresh florals arrangement (taken right off a tree!)

I have been living in Chicago my entire life, I studied Architecture in Chicago at UIC, and studied in Copenhagen, of which I fell in love with. I am an aspiring Architect, Conceptual Designer, Fashion Stylist, and also a Retail Visual Installation Artist.

 

With my style, I am always looking for a chance to shift the expectations and perceptions of what ‘fashion’ and ‘architecture’ can be vs. should be, with a twist of art, humor, theory, and creativity, of which I ultimately call my ‘whimsy.’ In such serious times, fashion is here to remind us of what makes us human, our ability to shine, and a sense of humor to keep those Mondays more upbeat!

 

Fashion sometimes is taken too seriously, and we need a reminder that it’s good to laugh at ourselves because this world is too stiff, and that fashion should be easy, not over thought or looked over. You either get ‘it’ or you don’t. I’m a firm believer you are born living fashion, it’s in your blood and is a part of your soul. You can try to learn ‘it,’ but you will never embody fashion like a true stylist.

 

I say, ‘Dress yourself everyday as if it were your last.’

 

You can catch Daniel on House of Consignment on VH1 every Wednesday at 10EST/9C as the E-Tern whose always getting in some sort of trouble with his snazzy commentary. We love the show and we love watching him!

Racial Backlash to The Hunger Games: A Few Personal Thoughts…

Normally with our blog we try to stick to Art, Fashion, and Events, but recently there has been a lot going on in the media and online with respect to racism and injustice that we’d like to bring awareness to, and what better way than with our blog.

We do not want to sway anyone because of our strong opinion on these issues, but we are enraged; our anger has compelled us to speak and bring more awareness to these social trends so that we all can strive to do and be better in our personal lives. Hopefully that will inspire change in way we all interact with each other, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, class or any other discriminating category. Bullying is never acceptable nor should it ever be tolerated.

The Hunger Games, the movie that opened last weekend to rave reviews and a staggering $155 million box office, has been accosted with racial tension in regard to their casting. Many ‘fans of the book’ were outraged that two of the most beloved characters were cast as black people, despite the literary description of them having dark skin. In fact, Katniss Everdeen, the main character and protagonist, also was described as having dark hair and olive skin…..which if you think about it, leaves her ethically ambiguous (the term olive connotes something other than white).

This is problematic both in how people may have subconsciously imagined favorable characters to fit within the white majority, the ways that media represents people of good and evil as white and black, and then of course the blatant hateful, racist names and slurs that the actors of color have been called since the release of the film. Aside from Hunger Games ‘fans’ having difficulty reading and remembering the book accurately, it is both sad, disturbing and ironic that the whole running metephor in the entire book about oppression, hunger, and excess is meaningless if none of the main characters are people of color. Think about it.
If you haven’t seen or heard the ‘discussions,’ read a bit here: http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/the-hunger-games-amandla-stenberg-responds-to-racist-tweet-scandal-2012283#ixzz1qWBu4jXb

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/the-hunger-games-elicits-racist-reactions/2012/03/28/gIQANOVrgS_blog.html

Read the most outrageous comments here: http://www.complex.com/tech/2012/03/the-25-most-racist-tweets-about-the-hunger-games

People, racism is disgusting! Hatred is ugly. NEITHER are fashionable.


ARENA Bikini Beach baby: Behind the scenes by Lucie Jane

This past Saturday I had the great pleasure of modeling for the 5th annual ARENA Bikini show! This year’s theme was ARENA Bikini Beach Baby! inspired by the vintage silhouettes of the 40s, 50s and 60s.  I walked for 5 designers: ArielSimone <3, Kelly Ver Duin, Drama Boutique, Nani Nalu, and Emma Berg. I loved working with all the designers and seeing everyone’s beautiful work!

Here are some behind the scene shots:


Lounging (Photo: Corey Tenold)

Kevin, myself, and Elijah Chhum. Elijah was the first agent/booker I worked with when I got into modeling! ❤ (photo: Corey Tenold)


Hair done, waiting for makeup (Photo: Kevin C Walker)

The ArielSimone models! (Photo: Kevin C. Walker)

Giggles backstage! (Stefani Arden)

My male model counterpart for ArielSimone, you can’t tell in this photo but Reid has on swim trunks that match my suit!  (Stefani Arden)

I had a great time and especially loved working with the lovely ladies of ArielSimone! Love you girls!

Xo, Lucie Jane

Dance, Environmentalisms and Mixed Media by Jesse Leaneagh

Nkechi and I went to Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s red, black & GREEN: a blues (rbGb) at the Walker last Saturday, and we both walked away pretty stunned. The piece opens with an interactive element where the audience walks onstage while the set is assembled and reassembled as the four performers mingle among the crowd. At one point, Joseph cut a watermelon and squeezed lemon juice on it, and we tried to get closer to smell it. Surprisingly, we were handed a slice and able to eat it while watching, taking our participation to an even more visceral place.

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rbGb as a performance explores the challenges and victories of connecting urban America and multicultural America to the green movement, including “the challenge of living green where violent crime and poor education pose a more imminent danger than ecological crisis,” according to Joseph. You can hear more from the artist in the full interview I conducted.

The piece took us through the journey of Joseph’s national work with the LIFE is LIVING Festival: A Tribute to Green Living project. Drawing together several political issues at the nucleus of progressive culture– environmental justice, the lives and communities of under-resourced people and people of color (what Joseph calls “urban America” and “multicultural America”), Joseph is a natural genius at combining art, politics,  public space, and community into one performance.

The piece opened with the lament of a mother whose son was tragically gunned down by a stray bullet, which was an anecdote from on of the LIFE is LIVING experiences.  And for me, it was difficult not to connect this to the recent tragedy of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The 17-year-old, African-American youth was carrying only a bag of skittles he had just bought at the convenience store when he was inexplicably shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. If you are unare of this cuurent event, there is no rational explanation for why Martin was shot, and the neighborhood watch captain is not being prosecuted. There is currently a change.org petition you can sign to pressure the Florida’s 18th District State’s attorney to investigate the murder and prosecute George Zimmerman.

I guess for me, rbGb reminded me of the potential for art to be connected to real life. The potential for art to be involved in discussions that led to actions that change peoples’ lives. We began out of our seats, on the set. Our position as passive audience members was challenged from the start. In that way, it was art that feeds back into life; it didn’t stay still and it asked me to think harder, make new connections, and question states of mind I had held previously.

You can catch rbGb next month in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art: April 12-14.

by Jesse Leaneagh

ARENA Bikini Beach Baby Recap!

Well , we certainly had a fabulous time Saturday night at the Calhoun Beach Club. If you missed the 5th Annual Arena Bikini show on Saturday, you missed a great production! The Beach Baby!  themed swimwear show was awesome, and packed with well over 300 people! This year we really loved how each designer was given the same vintage theme with the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s as inspiration. It really helped in producing a cohesive show, even with the dancing. Mathew choreographed great dance segments that really highlighted many of the popular moves from those eras.

Our segment of six looks ran first, complete with three men’s and three women’s looks; the theme being vintage lingerie swimwear. We are still waiting for our photos in color, which we will upload to facebook. In the mean time, take a peek at a few b&w photos:

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I really wanted to show the different styles of that time but still mix in current trends. So we showed the white bridal one-piece as something a beach bride could wear today, and classic high waist that speaks of a past time, but I also still wanted to keep the ‘sexy’ aspect of lingerie with the garters and micro mini skirt!

Here is a video of the final walkthrough– would have been amazing if Corey had captured the begining since we were behind stage and did not get to see our models. http://youtu.be/hscYohwVDbM

All of these styles and more will be available for purchase on our site in a few weeks, but until then feel free to contact Adrienne directly via email if you need one sooner: Adrienne@ArielSimone.com.

{All photo and video credit goes to Corey Tenold Photography}

ArielSimone Making and Baking

Hey everyone! As you know, we are having a beautiful time in Chicago. The weather is unseasonably warm and before we spent a day out in the sun, we worked along side Jamie Arlin of Cake Bite Girl to assist with our fashion show tonight. We made a little video (our first time ever using imovie, OMG) capturing her process and our assistance. We are so excited for the show tonight, we are hoping to have some more video from that as well as some amazing photography! If you are in the Chicago area, the event details are on facebook.

Voila!

ARENA Bikini Beach Baby!!!

We are so excited for the upcoming Arena Bikini Beach Baby! Event this Saturday. The event is supporting local dance company ARENADances, which is directed by Mathew Janczewski. We have participated in Arena Bikini for the last three years, and each year has been better than the previous. Going on its 5th year, Arena Bikini is an event celebrating the art of modern dance and fashion. The evening will be segmented with dance performances by Mathew’s company members commingled with short runway shows.  Each designer/ boutique will present three men and three women looks. And the best part?!? It’s all swimwear.  Details for the event are as follows:

This year’s event will be held at the beach – the Calhoun Beach Club, doors open at 8pm and the event will feature a silent auction and cash bar with the biggest and most bodacious beachwear fashion show yet. Models from Arquette & Associates will strut their stuff on the runway wearing fashions from local designers and boutiques including, Emma Berg, Adrienne Yancy, Jay Anderson, Kelly Ver Duin, Anita Jensen, Nani Nalu, Drama, and ARENA Bikini sponsor, Martin Patrick 3. Tickets for the party are just $35.00 and can be purchased in advance at www.arena-dances.org. VIP tickets are available for $50.00 and will get you a reserved runway side seat. VIP ticket packages that include access to the VIP lounge are available by contacting arenadances@gmail.com.

We teamed up with Carly Aplin of he CW to create a short video, which allows you to see where our inspiration for this collection came from. Not only is she an amazing live/ on-air host but seriously  fantastic at making videos– thanks Carly! Enjoy and feel free to let us know what you think! We hope we are able to see you at the show.

Adrienne and Nkechi Take Chicago!

Wouldn’t THAT be a great BRAVO TV show?!

Too bad its just us two (with our little flip camera) that are heading to Chicago this week for a fun little trip of fashion, food, and hopefully the beach! As we mentioned last week, we have an event this Thursday but we thought we would use a couple days to enjoy the city. On our list of things to do, we have scouting for Chicago boutiques to sell our line as well as checking out the Chicago fashion/ shopping scene (All Saints and Zara, here we come!).

Chicago is a city that I happen to have spent a lot of time in and absolutely adore. Allow me to get a little nostaligic for a moment…

One of my all time favorite designer boutiques in THE WORLD (but also in Chicago) is Gamma Player, which I discovered several years ago (2007) when I spent a summer in Chicago during a graduate school break. It was my informal introduction to the fashion industry– so many great things happened that summer. I walked into Gamma Player and was mezmerized by the collection, the store owners (legendary techno DJ and producer Jeff Mills and his beautiful wife) as well as their staff.


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Instantly making friends, I was invited to a fashion show in their space, where I met the amazing AggaB and tried on the most beautiful quilted dress. I’ll never forget the words she said to me when I stepped out of the dressing room: ‘This dress was made for you to wear.’

(It took me a minute but I was able to unearth this from iphoto…I think I put it on and cried, and then cried again when I couldn’t afford it had to take it off)

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That event lead to more fashion show invitations, more parties and more industry friends. It was the first time my photo was published  in a social magazine (Chicago Social), the first time I was invited to parties with celebrities, the first time I hung out with models, writers and stylists and had no idea that (as a neuroscientist) this was the universe’s way of revealing to me that this was my community and a place where I actually belonged professionally.

I am so excited to go back and revisit Gamma Player and some of my other favorite boutiques. I am even more excited at the prospect of selling ArielSimone in Chicago! It will be an incredibly proud moment to find a home for ArielSimone in Chicago. Wish us luck and stay updated on facebook and twitter!

by Nkechi Njaka

Friday Feature: Realia by Jen

Finally! We have the full feature of our interview with Jennifer Scheffler of realia by jen! Sorry to keep you waiting, but I think it was worth the wait!

AS: Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you started in this field?

J: My name is Jen Scheffler and I am an educator, creator and a jewelry designer.  I am from a small town in Minnesota called New Prague.  I have dabbled in the arts ever since I could dabble!  I have taken a variety of classes over the years in jewelry making and have figured out a number of things on my own.

AS: How would you describe your personal style?

J: I would describe my style as an eclectic mix of subtly sexy, revived vintage and Parisian-inspired.

AS: How would you describe the style of your work/art? How has this changed over time?

J: I would describe the style of my work as innovative and dynamic.  I think that like all artists, their work changes over greater periods of time, and from moment to moment as well!


AS: When did you first discover your creative talents?

J: I was “that girl” in grade school…possibly even elementary school…you know the one?!  The one that people wanted in their groups if there was going to be some sort of visual presentation required…kind of nerdy, but very outgoing.  I could always make things look good by free handing my own big block letters.  Even back then visual organization was something I loved and seemed to excel at.

AS: Did you always know you want to be an artist?

J: I would say that I always knew it, but it took some time for me to accept it.  For a long time, there was an internal battle between my desire to be constantly creating with no real outlet and the pragmatism of the every day grind of life.  As with everything, I strive to find balance with this.

AS: What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

J: I am inspired by so many different things – and I think that is what helps me stay motivated!  I love helping people accessorize and creating pieces that hold a lot of sentimental value and can tell a story, whether past, present or future!  Artistically I am very inspired by color and light.  I love going to various exhibits and exploring paintings, photographs, music, movies and the history of all of the different cultures of the world.

AS: What is your creative process like?

J: Circular, cyclical……something like that.  I see something, get inspired, sit down wherever I am and work away at it until something calls me away.  Then I come back to it, tear it apart or add to it and at a certain point declare it done…enough!

AS: What is something that you always carry with you?

J: Something that I wear every day and hold near and dear is my AIDS bracelet.  It was given to my by my aunt who passed away from the virus in 1996.  She was a very special person to me during some of the more formative years of my life.  It reminds me of her and reminds me not to take things for granted.

AS: What do you find is the hardest part about your work? 

J: Finding the time to get it all done!  Isn’t that the case with any job worth having?!

AS: What is your approach to artistic work? Or your method or ritual?

J: I am the ever lovely juxtaposition of organized chaos!  I am a “station” worker.  I get started on something and if I don’t have creative flow I ditch it and move on to the next thing.  If I have creative flow there, then away I go!  Later, I will come back to all of the discarded “stations” and if I have creative flow at that point – work on it and if not, keep it moving!

AS: Any influences or anyone you look up to when it comes to your work?

J: Absolutely!  I am a student of the world so I am constantly seeking to learn all aspects of my business from the design end to the flow charts and inventory spread sheets.  I am also a student of human nature and love to travel and see the sights, eat the food and meet the people!  I also love all things vintage.  A few of my fashion icons include Coco Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior & Anna Sui.

AS: If you weren’t creating (or designing) what would you be doing?

J: I would be in education.  Growing up I was constantly playing teacher.  I went on to get a Masters in Education.  Hopefully some day I can join my two passions!

AS: Where do you see yourself in the next ten years either personally or artistically?

J: Creating new and dynamically innovative things!

AS: How do you bridge the gap between business and art?

J: With lots of support and consultation.

AS: Describe yourself in 5 words.

J: Witty, genuine, fast, focused and fun!

AS: Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring artists?

J: If you want to make money – make sure you have a business plan!

We love working with Jen– her creations are so amazing. Shop realia by jen online and become a fan of hers on facebook!!

Bachelor Finale Recap: What I Think about Courtney and Ben

Like many other women between the ages of 20-35, I was watching the popular, albiet ridiculous, season finale of the Bachelor on Monday evening.  I was perfectly situated in the home of a best friend from college (who shares my love obsession), seated comfortably next to her and her husband, who was appropriately wearing this under his lululemon loungewear:

{You can buy your guy one too}

We had the DVR set, we ordered pizza, drank vodka infused cocktails. It was perfect. We planned to take shots every time anyone said “journey” but we were too distracted by the drama.

What drama? Well if you have been keeping up with the season, then you probably shared America’s hatred for model (and probable aspiring actress) Courtney Robertson. When it came down to engagement time, we were desperately hoping that he wouldn’t choose either, if he wasn’t going to choose Lindzi. But, alas, Ben asked Courtney to marry him. Are we shocked? The heart wants what the heart wants. And Ben wanted Courtney from the moment he heard she was a model. Or maybe it was after the numerous times he (and we) saw her naked on the show. Despite what all the other girls were saying about how awful she was, Ben just needed the approval of his sister (anyone notice that Courtney is just a prettier version of her??). And after his sister’s initial judgmental hatred for Courtney, she passed the test. And Ben got down on one knee.

 After the show, there is an after-the-show show, which allows all the other girls to speak their minds, hate on the woman Ben choose and grill Ben for not picking them because they thought what they ‘had was real.’  Despite how much I disliked Courtney, I actually felt bad for her getting berated, ripped apart and booed relentlessly by the audience. When Ben saw the aired episodes, he felt duped. And they broke up for a minute. But after apologizing for abandoning her and insisting that he did not cheat on her, they are in a ‘good, happy place.’ I think Ben even said something along the lines of ‘Nothing was ever wrong with us. What was wrong was what surrounded us’ before announcing that the two were, in fact, engaged.
Will it last? Courtney sure seems to think so, trying on wedding dresses the day the photos leaked that Ben was cheating on her….Plus, Ben put the ring back on Courtney’s finger, and says they are in a good place….so that must mean they are. (Um, did anyone else think it was weird that Chris Harrison had the ring with him for almost the entire show????)
All in all, it was entirely awkward and uncomfortable to watch Ben sit and try defend himself and watch Courtney try and answer whether or not they were together (she honestly looked confused and like she didn’t know where they stood). Show and ratings aside, I was not pleased how Ben handled his relationship with her after the proposal. So I didn’t really feel that bad that Ben looked kinda like a hot mess. Courtney looked like a better made up version of herself on the show in a fabulous dress.  I’m glad its over– I’m ready for next season!!
Tell us your thoughts if you’ve been keeping up with the Bachelor. Also, let us know if you happen to know where Courtney’s amazing white dress is from (photo above).
by Nkechi Njaka