Afros, Community and Acceptance at CurlFest 2019

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes

CURLFEST 2019, RANDALL’S ISLAND, NYC

“The only natural beauty festival in the world that was created by five Black women for Black women.” ~Simone Mair, co-founder of the Curly Girl Collective and CurlFest

Glistening, pride, power, natural, love. The only words needed to describe the scene at Randall’s Island in NY this past weekend. The throngs of natural hair beauties, at least 100,000, covered the green grass of Icahn Stadium for the sixth annual CurlFest 2019. The music throbbed non stop, as you heard inspirational words at the Empowerment Stage.

Hair, skincare and drink sponsors offered free braiding, entertainment and products to all the attendees. The early birds left with Creme of Nature gift bags filled to the brim and didn’t mind waiting on the long lines for product.

Mack Wilds, Yandy Smith-Harris, Tiffany M. Battle, Jacque Reid were just a few of the celebrities and influencers to grace the CurlFest Empowerment Stage.

The encore to Saturday’s festivities was the RollerFest, sponsored by Target at the LeFrak Skating Rink at Prospect Park. The venue decorated with every primary color in existence and a ball pit, showcased a throw back skate party with Top DJs on stage and in the rink.

There were smiles and laughter at every turn. A successful event indeed! Visit http://www.curlfest.com for information on their next event in Atlanta this fall.

#curlfest2019 #curlfest #curvygirlcollective

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes http://www.jovannareyes.com

NYFW 2017-Project Runway Season 16 Finale

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes

Who made that amazing multicolor bathing suit with the removable skirt?  Who made the beautifully embroidered modest bridal ensemble?  Those are the questions left unanswered after the Project Runway Season 16 NYFW Finale.  Six of the Project Runway finalists were chosen to showcase their best collection for NYFW at the Skylight Clarkson Square.

The show began with four judges walking the runway hand in hand.  Zac Posen,  the very pregnant Jessica Alba, the newly appointed Editor in Chief of Elle magazine, Nina Garcia and the always vibrant and youthful, Heidi Klum.  Heidi wore a shimmery, large bow tied mini dress, while the rest of the group wore darker shades in black and browns.  Jessica Alba wore a body-con, off the shoulder black dress that accented her adorable baby bump.  Ms. Garcia wore a chic black beaded jumpsuit and Zac Posen wore a brown suit with an aubergine tie.  At the top of the runway, Heidi declared “fashion is for everyone”.  A perfect anecdote for the upcoming show that included models of all races and sizes up to a size 22.  Tim Gunn, mentor to the designers, made an appearance at the conclusion of the runway show.

The first collection to hit the catwalk featured metallic fabrics in blue, silver, mauve and purple in dress shapes and forms reminiscent of the nineties.  The most memorable garment of the collection was the feathered coral headpiece with matching feathered mini skirt.  The comfortable ivory sweater made the look wearable along with white bobby socks and silver heels.

The second collection was sleeker and more modern with plenty of textured pencil skirts, pretty black bow ties and waist cinching tops. The hair was styled in three cornrow braids with a slight lift in the middle.  The faves from this collection were the pearl and crystal accented fabrics made into a pencil skirt, oversized blazer and duster.

The third collection you could fairly assume is the work of Ayana Ife of Salt Lake City, Utah, a Muslim modest designer.  The first model on the runway wore a deep taupe hijab(headscarf worn by Muslim women) and a three piece tunic pantsuit in a circular textured fabric.  Modesty at its best. Floral patterns, prints, layers and ruffles were preeminent in this collection.  The bridal gown with embroidery and tulle accents was breathtaking.  You could hear the crowd gasp as the model walked down the runway.

The fourth collection started with an extra large tea length, layered tulle skirt in black, coupled with a white, loose-fitting top.  The looks in the collection varied from cotton origami shaped tops to silk camisole dresses that draped beautifully on the models of all sizes.  The stand out garment was the deep orange, layered mini dress that combined the look of a camisole dress and an eighties, pouf prom dress.  The designer chose sleek hairstyles to go with the fluid and tailored styles within the collection.

The fifth collection showcased a flamingo print textile with loose fitting design elements.  The accents were loops that trailed down the models legs or extra long strings that dangled and moved as the models walked.  The first look of the collection was the most wearable and complementary to the average woman’s body.  It did help that the model also looked like a young Whitney Houston.

The final collection was a sea of vibrant color and fish prints.  The colors were a nod to the Afro-Latino cultures found in the Caribbean.  There were beaded print feathered tunics and fish print maxi dresses, that may all seem too much on one garment but really looked amazing on the runway.  The designer accessorized the collection with one of a kind, colorful acrylic sunglasses that were trimmed with gold chains.  The memorable moment of the finale was during this collection’s presentation.  A plus model caused an uproar when she removed her ruffled skirt to reveal a bathing suit underneath.  You could assume the designer of this collection was Margarita Alvarez of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  She wore a blazer in the same fabric and beading as the final collection.

After the runway show,  all the cast members of Project Runway Season 16 graced the runway.  You could see the feelings of joy and triumph on their faces.  A dream come true for all.

The finale will air at the end of the season on the A&E networks where the winner earns a prize package of $100,000 to help launch their line, an opportunity to launch a capsule collection with a department store, a trip to Japan and a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine.