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  • Come Closer

    Since Oliver El-Khatib premiered Wizkid's eclectic single, "Come Closer" featuring Drake on OVO Sound Radio episode 37 back in February, the world couldn't get enough of it!

    The song was officially released on all platforms 2 months after its debut, so to make up for lost time the Star Boy himself surprisingly unveiled it's visual yesterday. Drizzy was a no-show but there are a slew of fine nubian queens showcased for our viewing pleasure.

    Check out the video below:

    P.S   Shout out to Justin Amoafo for providing the legendary flick of Wizkid at the top of the post.  If you haven't read my Original Story on him, click HERE.

  • Champion Hoody Music EP. 1

    The homie Remy Banks has released a full project right on the heels of his fiery single with fellow New York lyricist Bodega Bamz.

    Coined Champion Hoody Music ep. 1, the eight-track EP is filled with a mélange of head-knocking and soulful jams that'll make any "true" Hip Hop-head reminisce about the genre's golden age. "I feel like the soundscape that the EP creates is different from anything that anyone is currently putting out in rap right now... especially different from what's coming out of NY at moment and I say that in the most humble tone," says Remy to Billboard

    The Queens spitter's latest project is loaded with talent including Hodgy, his World's Fair crew (Nasty Nigel, Cody B Ware, Lansky Jones and Prince Samo), Jesse James Solomon and Isaiah Barr.  Furthermore, Black Noi$e, Knxwledge, Cities Aviv, Stoney Willis and Samiyam provided the beats making the sonic compilation a feast for the ears (I hope what I just wrote made sense, if not y'all know what I meant).

    Sit back, relax and enjoy the east coast vibes below:

  • The New Givenchy

    When it comes to the legendary Parisian couture house of Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller is in and Riccardo Tisci is out after 12 years in charge of the brand. Though the change has added fuel to the rumors surrounding the possibility of Tisci taking over at Versace, Waight Keller’s ascension has been less discussed yet no less important. So what might we expect from this talent who is largely known only to those within fashion? It has the potential to be a more exciting shakeup than anyone has anticipated.

    While Clare's time at Chloé was critically and commercially successful with her designs in-demand at the world’s most rarefied luxury retailers, she did not enjoy the kind of blockbuster success her predecessors like Karl Lagerfeld and Phoebe Philo experienced. Hers was a time of quiet consistency that drew heavily upon the French label’s heritage of hippie-tinged glamour in the form of louche fur coats, breathy peach chiffon and slouchy leather bags. One gets the sense that this new appointment may bring with it the opportunity for her to shine brighter than ever before.

    The British designer worked as Chloé’s creative director for six years following her time with the famed knitwear label Pringle of Scotland, but her experience working with revered names predates even that. She, along with Christopher Bailey (of Burberry) and Francisco Costa (most recently of Calvin Klein Collection), was part of a talent triumvirate culled together by Tom Ford to work on womenswear in 2000 during his tenure at Gucci. That was after stints working for both Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren immediately after graduating with her master’s degree. All this is to say that Waight Keller is a designer with an exceptional resume and the sales figures to back it up.

    Givenchy’s new head signals an important shift as the brand’s aesthetic growth seems to have faltered over the past few years. It remained a fixture on red carpets and received countless social media impressions thanks to Tisci’s signature blend of Catholic icons and Rottweiler-emblazoned sweaters, but the surprises had ceased with a stale formula taking their place.  Clare knows how to design for a wide breadth of women well-heeled enough to afford her clothes and has ample working experiences  at labels large enough to prepare her for the multifaceted challenges of bearing so much responsibility. But this position also makes her the first female creative director in the house’s history and one of only two women now leading legendary couture houses founded by men--a rare reversal of roles that has never before happened.

    Waight Keller's success will be dependent on many factors--the level of control she’s given over store designs, her influence on branding/advertising and the support received from executives--but if she can revitalize the kind of femininity the great Hubert de Givenchy, who is still alive and well at 90 years of age, built his name upon for a contemporary world, there may be no stopping her.

    Written by: Martin Lerma

  • Moron

    I don't know about you but I'm still grooving to Steve Lacy's debut EP Steve Lacy's Demo.  Despite pulling an April Fool's Joke on Twitter by saying he was going to release a new project, the multi-talented crooner did let go of a scorching track that didn't make make the cut on his solo effort.

    The tune titled, "Moron," received no explanation from Lacy for it's absence on his initial sonic compilation so all we can do is be appreciative.

  • Frendy's Flashback Friday

    On March 31st, 1889 the Eiffel Tower officially opened in Paris.  It was built as the entrance way to the Exposition Universelle, an international trade fair celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution and the birth of the Republic.

    At 300.65cm high it retains the record for the tallest man made structure for 41 years.

  • Irreplaceable Alaïa

    Genius. Legend. Master. Even the most extreme superlatives are all but inadequate to describe Azzedine Alaïa. He has toiled away for decades in his Parisian atelier creating clothes that women absolutely adore. Alaïa receives criminally little press, but that is of no consequence--just check with the sales associates at any of the world’s greatest luxury retailers to see if they have trouble unloading his seasonal inventory. When it comes to the Tunisian-born couturier, $4,000 day dresses fly off the racks in a flash. The numbers simply do not lie.

    So what is it about Azzadine that makes his clothes turn into collector’s items the moment they are available for purchase? Why are his prices so high yet act as no impediment to the health of his business? Why is he so universally adored and admired by both clients and professionals in the fashion world? To answer those questions an insider’s eye is needed. Luckily, internationally revered stylist Joe McKenna has put together a 25-minute black-and-white film that blends new interviews of Alaïa’s respected colleagues with beautifully grainy archival footage to give some insight into his rarefied world.

    “There are very few people who have this capacity for innovation and this is something I truly admire in his work,” said Louis Vuitton women’s artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière. “In painting, in music, in art in general, you reach that point where you become a master. Azzedine is a master so it’s timeless and it’s the most fashionable clothes at the same time. It is something that every woman wants to wear and seems so exclusive at the same time,” he further states. What Ghesquière astutely points out is that every woman who knows about Alaïa wants to wear his clothes, not just because of a specific look or feel, but rather because he has established an oeuvre unmistakably his own, which miraculously includes nearly every kind of woman. There are the body conscious dresses with slashes of revealed flesh for the toned and youthful, the crisp shirting and razor sharp tailoring for those who prefer something other than the traditional trappings of femininity, the dresses that hit just below the knee and sport two full-length sleeves for older women who prefer not to show their upper arms, and so much more.

    Fashion critic Suzy Menkes echoed Ghesquière’s points and said, “Azzedine, contrary to what people might imagine, is one of those people who has really given confidence to women through their clothes. Confidence and strength and the ability to express your sexuality, your body, but never, never in a vulgar way.” His love for women and the female body is palpable, but it is never fetishistic.

    If there’s one thing you can’t escape in this short but moving documentary, it’s Alaïa’s ever-present hands--nimble, experienced, always searching, forever busy. Such a perfectionist is he that he hasn’t shown during the regular fashion schedule for years preferring to show only when things feel exactly right.  “It does take huge discipline, and the ability to say, ‘I’m not having a show this season ‘cause it’s not there yet.’ You can’t say that if you’re at a big house,” said Vanessa Friedman, the fashion director and chief fashion critic at The New York Times who was filmed wearing one of her many Alaïa dresses. In reference to the immaculate construction of each and every piece, she said, “It all comes from inside the garment and that’s what I always find so mind boggling. You know, nothing is added on afterwards. It all comes from the beginning. And I don’t think anyone else does that.”

    New York Magazine’s critic-at-large Cathy Horyn participated in the short and recounted the events surrounding a story she wrote on Alaïa a few years prior. “I didn’t know that he had designed garments for the girls at the Crazy Horse.  And I thought, God if you have to get in there and really measure those women, you’re really not worried about women. You’re not intimidated by them. You don’t have any fantasies about them. And that, we all know, is a problem with many designers, male or female. They have a fantasy about women that doesn’t jive with reality.” Horyn’s statements sums up Alaïa’s most potent design quality: He knows women and loves them, but for how they are, not how he’d like them to be.

    The film closes with the 77-year-old Alaïa joyfully dancing to music accompanied by his comically large St. Bernard Didine. May it always remain so.

    Written by: Martin Lerma

  • Sabbat x Hemincuff

    New York City is inhabited by millions of people, but somehow the six degrees of separation rule binds us all together. At my old workplace I became acquainted with Noel Veloz, model Luka Sabbat and his fashion designer father Clark Sabbat.  By divine intervention,  all three have crossed paths and has now smashed their heads together to conjure up a brilliant product.

    Coined the Dylan Bag, the multi-functional leather briefcase is a collaborative effort between Clark and Noel’s New York-based accessories brand, Hemincuff. According to Hemincuff, the bag is “made for those who exemplify freedom of expression and a maverick mindset.” The unisex briefcase is made with Aniline leather, fitted with handles, an adjustable/removable leather strap and complimented by sleek silver hardware.  Furthermore, it consists of double zippers, two generously sized outside pockets and inside padded pockets.

    I recently spoke with the young accessory brand founder about his latest business venture, how he connected with the famed designer and Luka’s involvement in the entire process.  Check out our dialogue below:

    FRENDY:  Man, congrats on the epic collaboration! How did you link up with Clark Sabbat?

    NOEL:  Thank you very much. I feel like the Universe connected us at the right time. I reached out to him via email and the rest was history. I followed my gut. I first messaged him to send Luka a bag to travel with. He viewed the Hemincuff website and loved what he saw. He then approached me to collaborate with him and Luka on a bag instead. They always say collaborate with people you can learn from. I'm blessed to have Clark as my mentor now and to have Luka and Noah Dillon shoot our campaign.  They are all amazing!

    You know what's crazy! When I first sent him that email I attached the article you wrote about me on your blog.

     

    FRENDY:  That’s amazing. What goes around comes back around at the end of the day.  What was the initial step taken to bring the bag to life?

    NOEL:  Clark and Luka had a bag design they wanted to create for a long time. We both combined our concepts and made a very special bag. I added two square panels, which gives the bag a Hemincuff aesthetic shape to it.  Our staple bags will have this concept this year. We created them via my factory in the U.S. and used hardware sourced from Italy. Our beautiful leather was tanned in Italy as well.

    The leather we used is exclusively made for this bag. It will age well through the years with its polished rich transparent look.  The whole concept behind it was really to create an everyday bag that's unisex and functional. The bag has many pockets to stay organized, 2 laptop sleeves and shoulder strap. It is military inspired and no other bag in the market is like it.  Furthermore, Everything is done by hand and takes about 24-48 hours for an artisan to make.

    FRENDY:  Sounds intense but very useful, especially for the fast-paced New Yorker. How much will the bag cost?

    NOEL:  $895 for a 100 percent leather bag handmade in the U.S.  Many bags in the luxury market are made out of canvas and non-leather materials go for $1200 plus.

    We are giving the consumer a timeless and beautiful bag that can be worn for years. It can even be passed on to future generations due to it’s durability + classic design. This isn't a bag that will be hot for one season and die. This is a style and design that can be used every season. We want to create items that will forever remain relevant.

    FRENDY:  I totally respect that notion.  We live in a time where clothing brands are created at an accelerated rate, what compelled you go to the leather goods route?

    NOEL:  Vadim rebranded Hemincuff to a luxury brand since I sucked in branding.

    FRENDY:  Who is Vadim? And what kind of brand was it before?

    NOEL:  Vadim is my Creative Director/Cofounder.  Hemincuff was first a t-shirt brand, but my intentions was to flip enough shirts to make money so I can buy leather.   I had the ambition but my branding was wrong.  Vadim recreated my logo, directed my first lookbook and gave my vision a clear direction.

    FRENDY:  You obviously have a great relationship with Vadim. How did you guys meet?

    NOEL:  I met him while working at Diesel and it was like meant to be. We clicked right away. He's honestly my backbone in this whole operation.

    FRENDY:  What is the inspiration behind the name Hemincuff?

    NOEL:  I got the name from my dad.  When I was seven years old, he said you could see good quality in an item between the hem and the cuff. That was when he starting tailoring. It stuck with me ever since.

    Since was a child I was around my father while he created wallets and bags at home. I found it so cool! I just loved watching the process and picking leathers & hardware for his creations. My dad had a manufacturing business and lost it due to shady partners robbing him. We went from living in the lower east side in a clean building to the hood in the Bronx where people pissed in the elevators and got killed in the lobbies. It broke my heart to find out what happen to my dad and from that time I realized my life purpose was to create a luxury leather goods line. I'm living the dream my dad always wanted and for him to be 75 years old watching me do it brings tears to his eyes.

    This is not about money and fame man! I just wanted to pick off where my dad left off and be able to share my story with the world of why I went this route. It's a legacy I wanted to build and carry on. I give thanks to my creative director Vadim for helping me bring my vision to life. Without him I'll be nowhere.

    Behind the name Hemincuff, we aim to display progression with every new design and bring new concepts to life in order to separate ourselves from the standard. We strongly value freedom of expression through products that can be used as a display of personality and individualism. We want to show the youth that you can have all the odds against you and still become successful! In order to get whatever you want in life, you have to have vision and stay persistent. Once you stick to those principles and add HUSTLE to it that will set you up for success.

    FRENDY:  Clark is well respected in the fashion industry. Were you intimidated when he stated his interest in working with you?

    NOEL:  Not at all intimidated. I saw it as an opportunity to work with a mentor I can learn and get advice from. Clark is an amazing person and his work is phenomenal. I see him as another father figure to me because he cares about my future. We both clicked so much with each other because we come from the hood. For us to come together to create is a blessing that I will always be grateful for.

    FRENDY:  Any stores stocking the collaborative bag?

    NOEL:  At the moment we are waiting to hear replies back on a few boutique exclusives to carry the bag.  We will love to be carried overseas and in the U.S. We just have to wait and see. 1-3 stores will be ideal to keep the exclusivity.

    FRENDY:  Where is it available for purchase then?

    NOEL:  You can buy the bag on sabbataccessories.com.

    FRENDY:  Are you and Clark planning to work on any more products?

    NOEL:  I feel like in the future we will create other products that will compliment this bag. We both are passionate to create luxury products and to push design to new heights.

  • That's What I Like RMX

    It was great to hear a PartyNextDoor feature on Drake's record-breaking album *clears throat* playlist More Life, but its even better to know that he has finally released a new chune on his own...well, sort of.

    PND's latest sonic effort comes in the form of a remix of Bruno Mars' electrifying single "That's What I Like."  Theres not much else to say because the song is too damn hot to keep you waiting!

    Check it out below:

  • Frendy's Flashback Friday

    On March 24th, 2002 Halle Berry became the first black actress to win an Oscar for her leading role in Monster's Ball, while Denzel Washington became only the second black actor (after Sidney Poitier) to win in the Best Actor Category for his work in Training Day.

  • Pray Everyday

    Goldlink is releasing heat after heat, which are all getting us fired up for his forthcoming project At What Cost.

    The D.C spitter's latest scorcher comes in the form of "Pray Everyday (Survivor's Guilt)," an introspective tune that finds him..well..praying everyday (duh)...to make it in this crazy world.

    Check out the banger below and look out tomorrow for Goldlink's major label debut album.

  • More Life

    What can I say? Drake has yet again smashed it with his new album More Life. Unlike Drizzy's previous sonic offerings, this one is heavily influenced by his trips across the pond with features from English Grime artists, such as the highly regarded Skepta and the Godfather of the genre himself Giggs.

    Looking at the project's title, the '6 God' could be declaring his love for the UK. Even on his Boy Meets World Tour he still is able to produce an album of this calibre, which really is a credit to how hard he works and how important it is for him to keep the fans happy.

    This album proves that Aubrey's career is far from ending and truly shows he is ready to set the benchmark for any rapper who wants to challenge him. Additionally, the project clearly served as his platform to showcase noteworthy talent from England.

    More Life is an all-round incredible album and definitely worth keeping on repeat, as you will immensely appreciate the quality of the chunes after each listen.

    Written by: Joshua King