​Luxury designer BJORN VAN DEN BERG designs Limited Edition bottles for evian®

Gemma has had the fabulous opportunity to cover several of Bjorn Van Den Berg’s collections before. He is known for his glamorous and luxurious designs. Bjorn is a highly respected couture designer with an innate talent for craftsmanship, creativity and the unexpected. Today marks history for Bjorn Van Den Berg: evian® (pureevian.com) and Bjorn van den Berg have joined forces and created a new collection of evian® Limited Edition bottles. The purity of Evian water and a crystal pendant come together for a chic statement and unique collaboration with authentic meaning for the holiday season. It is an incredible combination of art, design, and fashion — and what every designer aspires to. Eleven years ago, evian® collaborated for the first time with a fashion designer, Christian Lacroix. This year, Bjorn van den Berg has given the evian® Limited Edition an added twist. The latest collection symbolizes elegance and exclusivity, thanks to the refined and creative touch of Bjorn.

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                             Inspiration

Being inspired by the holidays, together with Evian,® the designer developed a unique concept: ‘Something to give ‘, ‘Something to share’ and ‘Something to cherish.’ The bottle is wrapped in a beautiful package (to give) and adorns the Christmas table during the holidays, where family and friends drink the water (to share) with each other. For a final touch, the exclusive crystal pendant can be disconnected from the bottle and given as a gift to a loved one (to cherish). The chain to which the crystal pendant can be attached can is in the box. This component is perhaps an essential element of the bottle; during the holidays it is all about sharing precious memories with family, friends and loved ones.

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One of Bjorn’s latest collections, called ‘Fragile,’ which Gemma covered, inspired the look and design of the bottle. In this collection, the purity and vulnerability of humanity are central and clear crystals play the main role. The ‘Fragile’ collection appeared in several American television shows, including the talk show by “Ellen DeGeneres” and “America’s Got Talent.” Celebrities such as Mel B and Viktoria Modesta have graced the collection. Also, the pendant featured on the bottle comes from the exclusive prêt-a-porter collection of Bjorn, which he launched this fall.         

 

             

              The Classic Fashion Fusion

The evian® Limited Edition by Bjorn van den Berg is a timeless standout, a jewel on every table. Bjorn designed a special bracket for the evian® Limited Edition, made of rhodium, on which he carefully placed crystals. The neck of the bottle is provided with beautiful decoration in the form of a cachet, also embracing the symbol of togetherness.
Evian’s overall brand and vision combine seamlessly with the ‘Fragile’ collection and Bjorn’s aesthetic exudes quality couture and pure beauty — every single drop. Bjorn Van Den Berg has an internal vision that is incredibly unique and it speaks to him.

Evian ® natural mineral water originates from the heart of the French Alps, a unique geological area in the world. The brand has always had a pioneering spirit and is the epitome of her iconic live young state of mind: an enthusiasm to discover the wonders of this world and open our eyes to new and inspiring experiences with the ability to marvel as a child. Since 2007, evian® has created an annual Limited Edition bottle together with the world’s most prestigious designers, including Paul Smith, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, and Kenzo. In every collaboration, purity and playfulness are brought together in a festive way – a reinterpretation of the evian® spirit in art and design.

Bjorn is a luxury designer in heart and soul. His love for luxurious materials and refined finish is unprecedented, and his designs exude intricate details, international allure, and glamour. Bjorn’s work emulates authentic artistry through its craftsmanship and ability to stay a few steps ahead within the fashion industry. In 2011 his adventure started as a designer, and in 2012 he launched his first commercial label. His work has appeared in international magazines, such as Harpers Bazaar, BASIC magazine, Schön magazine, and many other publications. On behalf of Gemma, I am so impressed by Bjorn Van Den Berg’s talent and vision.

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The success of Bjorn has not gone unnoticed, even in Hollywood. His exclusive custom-made designs are adored by stars like Nicki Minaj, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Rowland, and Demi Lovato. His clients greatly appreciate his extravagant style, eye for detail and ability to think out of the box. Van Den Berg is the ultimate designer, style collaborator, and storyteller. On behalf of Gemma, I am so impressed by Bjorn Van Den Berg’s talent and vision and was honored to cover this timeless collaboration.
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www.bjornvandenberg.com

https://www.instagram.com/vandenbergbjorn/

Carry a Masterpiece with Exclusive Clutches: Wearable Art with Mercedes Brunelli

How would you like to Wear Art? Be Art? Then you must discover Mercedes Brunelli. Mercedes is an amazing up-and-coming clutch designer with pops of color and true artistry! Her clutches are strong statement makers and we are in love. Most importantly, Mercedes is has created an incredible niche and specifically within the fashion industry; this is important and smart. Most women adore accessories — especially couture cluthes.
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Mercedes has always had a love for fashion and the Arts, even as a young girl growing up in Upstate New York. Her greatest inspiration came from her grandmother, whose love and enthusiasm to create influenced her own passion for design.Because of her long term battle with Multiple Myeloma, which never hindered her creativity, Mercedes donates a percentage of each bag sold to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in her loving memory.

Her grandmother’s  passion inspired Mercedes to create the exclusive “Jewel Collection.” Mercedes also created the Outre Collection, more of a nod to pop culture.

When Meredes had a a moment, we chatted and now Gemma Magazine is even more inspired.
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GM: Thank you So much for joining Gemma Magazine! Firstly, your clutches are gorgeous! VDid you always know you wanted to be in the fashion industry?

MB: Thank you! I always had some type of idea that I would be involved in the Fashion industry. When I was younger I never wanted to look or dress like anyone else, so my grandmother bought me a sewing machine. I would go to thrift stores looking for unusual items and tear things apart and make my own designs and clothing. I eventually expanded to making clothes for my girlfriends and then word got out, and people would contact me to design garments for their special occasions. My ideal scenario was to design avant-garde runway looks. I always had a love for the idea of wearable art. Unfortunately the out of the box looks of the runway are not normal everyday attire, making it hard to make a living on those types of designs. When the opportunity to make wearable art clutches came about, I took it and ran with it!

GM: What inspires you as a designer?
MB: Really anything can inspire me, I thrive on coming up with unusual and never seen designs. I’m always looking to think outside the box and keep setting the bar h
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GM: Tell me a bit about your realtionship with your grandmother
MB: My grandmother was an amazing woman who inspired and touched anyone who met her. She was my biggest source of inspiration in not only art but life in general. Everything that she touched and did she created something. Simple, everyday tasks like cooking, writing a letter, planting a garden, celebrating holidays, you name it, was done in such an amazing and artistic way. I was always encouraged to be creative and we were always making and “creating” together.
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MB: I am currently working on a new collection, something very distinct and different from my other designs. You can expect very artistic and detail oriented designs, taking my favorite term “Wearable Art” to a new level.
GM: Do you want your brand to expand into other areas of fashion?
Absolutely! My ultimate goal is to have a matching “Wearable Art” Shoe line.
GM: I noticed so many actresses wear adorning your clutch at the Daytime Emmy Awards. What was this experience like?
It was such a fantastic experience, It’s so gratifying to see peoples reaction to my designs.  Putting together an outfit for a red carpet event like the Emmy’s I think is every designers dream. Everyone has their own sense of style, and with so many different components its exciting to see the final finished product that walks down the red carpet.
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GM: If you were not in fashion, what would you be doing?
Honestly I don’t think I would be doing anything else. This is who I am and what I Love to do.

I genuinely admire when a designer lives and beathes her brand and is always aspiring to grow. I cannot wait to see the new collection and what’s next! Mercedes is represented by Now PR LA and I thank her for joining us!

You can follow Mercedes through the following links:

Madame Methven ~ The Sophisticated Seduction of Couture Lingerie

Kaila Methven has awakened the Dominatrix in every woman through her timeless and sensual lingerie line. Kaila is a true artist in how she creates, designs and thinks. Entrepreneur Kaila Methven might be a KFC heiress; (Methven’s family owned Rainbow Chicken Unlimited, a South African Company that at one time supplied 90% of KFC’s chicken), but Kaila Methven is a success in her own right. She now runs two high-end lingerie brands: Madame Methven and Lactrodectus (LDKM)(madamemethven.com). Kaila is also gorgeous — both inside and out and extremely generous. How can you not be inspired by a woman who goes after exactly what they want?

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Through her knowledge, training, and talent, Kaila has created a stunning couture lingerie line. The fusion of high fashion and lingerie is a brilliant aesthetic.  ‘Madame’ is the stage name for Kaila Methven. It refers to women in artistic occupations or a dominatrix. Methven is a dominatrix when knowing what sells and how to create an incredibly successful company. She represents women’s empowerment, sensuality, and the magical experience of one’s sexual desires through her lingerie. Her line is classy and couture. It might all look effortless, but Methven never stops working or learning. It has paid off. Methven has combined her romantic and seductive style with fine intimates to create one timeless lingerie brand. Each piece is custom-made and represents authentic artistry.

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Kaila’s interest in haute couture was inspired in Paris at the age of sixteen. While spending time in the “city of lights,’ Methven interned at a Paris fashion show held at The Trocadero, home to the Palais de Chaillot. Methven trained in the art of design from the distinguished Fashion Institute Esmod. Kaila went on to earn a Master’s Degree from the International Fashion Academy Paris and completed advanced training at Polymodo in Florence. Kaila’s European influences and advanced training in fashion and design have transitioned seamlessly to the states, especially Los Angeles.

When Methven returned to Los Angeles in 2014, she had the passion and confidence to create, design and tailor luxury lingerie with the powerful and sensual woman in mind.
“As a designer trained in haute couture, you have to know how to shape the women’s body. In designing a made-to-order piece, I am careful to customize my clothing to suit women’s distinct body types and the looks they want to express,” said Kaila. This is refreshing. As a designer, it’s so important to take each woman’s body type into consideration and envision what each client wants to express. This is why Methven is a true visionary. She is able to tell what looks good on a woman, what fabrics and trim curve to her appeal. Kaila feels all women are beautiful in every shape and form that’s how you design the lingerie for them- when it emphasizes her values.

Kaila’s creations have not gone unnoticed. Kaila has won Best International Designer Haute Couture and lingerie twice. She was also awarded the Most Dynamic Woman of the year by Angeleno Magazine as well. Methven was also featured on the cover of  Maxim South Africa, which historical and personal meaning to her. She won best international design awards in Pret a Porter for lingerie twice, in which Madame Methven has many collections from high-end haute couture to affordable and desirable.

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Madame Methven’s dominating online presence will allow powerful women of discerning tastes to add prêt à porter or bespoke pieces to her boudoir with ease and discretion. This new relationship ensures that leading women wishing to express their feminine prowess will have access to collections specifically for them.

Kaila Methven has designed three collections to date: the infamous  Lactrodectus Collection, The Mademoiselle Collection, The Made to Adore Collection and The Bridal Collection. 

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She debuted the Lactrodectus Collection at the Orange County Fashion Week as well as LAFW. Almost immediately after, she was receiving fantastic attention from the press and fans. Her work has appeared in countless publications and celebrities such as Demi Lovato, the Kardashians, Katharine McPhee, Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Abigail Ratchford have worn her designs. Designs by her company, Madame Methven, have been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Love, and the buxom beauty has modeled the sultry attire herself for Maxim, Most and Femme. Overall, Kaila has designed and created a masterpiece regarding her entire company. In the fashion industry, it’s not easy to focus on a specific niche and stay consistent, while pushing limits as well. She has done it and very successfully.

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The Methven brand has woven themes of childlike innocence, erotic playfulness, and female power into the most elegant lace and textiles from Paris, along with brocade corsets, jackets, and top hats. Her new bridal collection will combine an array of pearls and colors in a dichotomous expression of innocence in provocative high-end lingerie. Kaila continues to stay inspired and take necessary risks. I truly believe it is the combination of her talent, her eye for high-end material, her love of details and a genuine desire to make women feel beautiful that produce successful and gorgeous results.

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The Latrodectus Collection (LBKM)

The Latrodectus Collection is a tribute to a secret elite that embraces the erotic thrill of male and female principals in an esoteric manner. The word Lactrodectus is definitive for black widow spider and Greek for “biting in secret.” Kaila’s Lactrodectus line has woven a web of timeless intrigue and artistry by crafting each stunning piece into an exquisite collection. Latrodectus is an haute couture line, made from the most beautiful beaded fabrics, laces, and other materials designed by Methven with her suppliers in the South of France. Kaila also works with feathers, bouquets, and accessories that she develops as well and dyes per the design she creates. Since the designs are haute couture, there is a process when clients order. Our team has seamstresses that create those pieces for the customer, get the fabric, the feathers, and put the art together.

LBKM is the more affordable line with pieces ranging from $20.00 – $60.00 per item which will always contain the same quality in design and fabrics used. Madame Methven’s Made to Adore is an exclusive VIP and private membership.

 

     Madame Methven’s customized Made to Adore Collection of Lingerie.

This exclusive collection is a private and personalized shopping experience for women that appreciate the world of luxurious lingerie. Mademoiselle is a semi-couture line, more accessible to the public, but still using high-end fabrics to create the products. Madame Methven’s Made to Adore is an exclusive VIP and private membership. Private clients attend lingerie fittings with trained specialists in the Madame Methven showroom or location that works best for the client. The benefits of being a Mademoiselle member are invites to special events, fashion shows, and much more which, overall, makes for an intimate Methven experience.

However, the turnaround is way faster than it would be with Latrodectus, as the fabric is not a product that has to be ordered; with pieces being made to order. Madame Methven has established a reputation for gorgeous quality fabrics and intricate craftsmanship with attention to detail that makes each piece of lingerie a wearable piece of beautifully crafted art. These are pieces to be cherished because they can’t be copied in look or feel. It is a complete high-end aesthetic that cannot be replicated.

20841750_1884553911797849_4573175555041761528_nThe custom fittings are not like the generic fittings.  They are more of a magical experience. While you are fitted by one of the trained specialists in the comfort of your home,  you are invited to sip on a chilled glass of Dom Perignon, paired with Osetra Caviar, and Pierre Herme French macaroons. The love of your life is to welcome to join while he sips on a glass of our most excellent whiskey paired with a fine cigar. The intimate experience is up to you whether you prefer an afternoon to yourself or a sensual fitting with someone special.

You will discover the brand’s extensive Silk Library and select embellishments such as hand-corded dentelle lace appliqués, gold, Tahitian pearls, (In any color) or pure diamonds, emeralds, sapphires individually hand cast in Beverly Hills, California. The luxurious fabrics and high-quality embellishments will surely make this experience feel like a fantasy. The custom fit is so comfortable you will be tempted to wear nothing but Madame Methven.

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Madame Methven’s knowledge of delicate fabrics and her attention to detail sets her apart from just another luxury lingerie line. Madame Methven also offers Made to Adore Bridal appointments. She has put all of herself into her brand. She is the Brand Ambassador (she only promotes her brand) of her company, the CEO, and founder of her company. Methven designs, creates, and manages everything from A to Z, from business and to the creative aspect.

When Kaila is not busy building her empire, she is a proud advocate for LGBT and women’s rights, feeds the homeless every Monday, and hopes to create her own Madame Methven charity foundation through a percentage of its sales.

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Kaila Methven’s collection could potentially be the world’s most expensive lingerie. It makes a beautiful tribute to women. There is both an elegance of vivacious dominance and innocent beauty in the collection, and this line is exclusively for the leading lady who wishes to express that confidence with feminine prowess. Kaila Methven invites us to embrace our inner goddess. That is empowerment for all women.

To view her beautiful designs: www.madamemethven.com

To follow Kaila on Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/kailamethvenofficial

https://www.instagram.com/madamemethven/

 

 

The Definitive Designer: Debbie de la Cueva

 

                                                    Debbie de la Cueva Jewelry

Debbie de la Cueva is one my forever favorites, I have known this jewelry designer for over 10 years and she remains a wonderful friend to this day. She has grown into an incredible artist and one that is constantly inspired. She resides in Mexico and is completely committed to her work. I genuinely adore her bohemian designs and she will always be an inspiration in following one’s passion. The best and only way to wear her works of art is to layer. You will see a lot of Antique Venetian beads, rare semi-precious and precious stones and tiny pearls. These are just a few of her creations and the colors are magical. More importantly, she’s constantly growing as a designer.

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Layered bracelets


                                               About Debbie de la Cueva

At 8 years of age, Debbie spent her next 3 years living in Paris and traveling through Western Europe with her father. Debbie’s academic life revolved around a number of boarding schools. It was there that Debbie began developing her talent with her handwork. Through the years this early skill developed into the creation of her very personal and unique style of jewelry. Each piece represents a signature creation that cannot be replicated.

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Many of the materials used in each design are of a very limited quantity. A “trademark” of Debbie’s work would be specifically the use of rare 19th-century Venetian beads in exquisite colors coupled with precious and semi-precious stones, tiny pearls and equally diminutive 18K gold connective pieces combined in unusual shapes and designs. In keeping with the size and scale of each piece, the gold wire used is of a very thin gauge. Debbie has succeeded in obtaining the elements that make each piece of jewelry a signature creation. Through skill alone, it would be impossible to replicate by anyone else.

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Debbie manages her own boutique in Sayulita but she is expanding beautifully to other exclusive boutiques. Debbie also stays inspired by traveling and constantly sourcing stones and exquisite materials that appeal to her. She then envisions the design. Her collections are one-of-a-kind and very unique, whether it’s a necklace, earrings or layered bracelets.

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Turquoise​and​d Gold Drop earrings

A wish from Debbie to you is to wear her jewelry in good health and to treat each piece as you would treat anything that is special and with the utmost care. Debbie currently resides with her family in Sayulita, Mexico.

To learn more about this artist, you can visit, www.debbiedelacueva.com

Debbie sells online and in exclusive boutiques.

 

Social media: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieDeLaCueva/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debbiedelacueva/

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De la Cueva Boutique in Sayulita, Mexico

 

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Debbie de la Cueva

 

An Artistic Expression of Fashion and Style

Fashion posts can be fabulous and magical; yet if you look closer, there is usually a story behind them. Sometimes certain profiles have a special and intimate effect and must be shared. Such is the case with James Daugherty and his stunning designs. Do you happen to know who James Daugherty is? Well, I am about to enlighten you.

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My mission in fashion and writing has always had always stemmed from original trailblazers. I like to cover designers and artists (fashion, jewelry, contemporary artists) that make an innate, original and emotional impact upon people. Hopefully, designers that inspire others the way they inspire me through their endless creativity, dedication, and passion for creative expression.

James Daugherty set the tone for style, fashion, and individualism during a time when this was not considered “the norm” for an African-American man. He and his designs were the definitions of elegance and grace but unfortunately, Daugherty has not embraced the way he should have been. This post is not a “trend of the month” (and I love trends) but rather a profile of passion, humility, and talent. I am honored to tell the story of James Daugherty.

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James Daugherty was an African-American man who had a burning desire to express himself through his designs (that to this day many people have not even seen). You will see a handful of them now. His natural talent in his sketches is breathtaking. When I saw the sketches myself, I was shocked at his sense of artistry. It was almost as if each sketch represents a character that comes to life with Daugherty’s sense of composition, embroidered details, and never-ending creativity. If you notice, each individual sketch features a model with flawless makeup, a unique hairstyle, and jewelry that all blends seamlessly with her apparel. I love that each always a signature — the red lipstick. Actually, the seamless thread is a trait of a true artist. His designs (even though created in the 70’s) are so chic and timeless that I could see the modern and style-savvy woman wearing his designs today!

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So who is James Daugherty? He was the classic underdog. Not in his innate talent to design, but in his background, skin color and unfortunately, the era he peaked in (the mid-70’s). Daugherty was born in Los Angeles, the son of James Sr. and Pollyanna Daugherty, who were, respectively, a maintenance man and a maid. They did not have much money, but the rich women Daughtery’s mother worked for handed down all of the designer clothes that they no longer wanted. With the assistance of her son, James Jr., Polly would take the garments and redesign them to suit her needs. According to Daugherty, “By the time she would finish with these she would look like she stepped out of a fashion magazine.” James noted, “Momma would get all dressed up and I would sketch her.” Even from an early age, Daugherty was fascinated by his mother’s off-duty style, and he sketched her wearing the pieces — crepe dresses, veiled hats, and fox-fur chubbies that she had been given. When she left for work, James was off sketching an entire wardrobe for her. His mother had incredible style but his father had the technical artistic ability which James felt he inherited. The combination of these two characteristics attributed to James’ interest in women’s fashion. His mother’s unconditional support planted the seed and his talent just blossomed. She constantly told him that he belonged in New York.

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Over the course of this project, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Denise Orso, Daugherty’s daughter. She is lovely and stylish, but even more importantly, she loved her dad. Orso said. “My grandmother altered the clothes she was given and was always very stylish,” Denise emphasized that between her grandmother’s interest in fashion and her grandfather’s inherent artistic talent is where James probably got his inspiration to work in fashion design. She is proud of his work and takes great pride in it, but Denise also loves her dad for being a wonderful father to her. I think that was the most striking characteristic about Daugherty after speaking with her. Even though James and Jaqueline divorced, he was still an exceptional dad. Denise explained that he never missed one holiday, one Birthday or a special occasion. Denise also described her father as “a kind, soft-spoken man who loved people and enjoyed life.”

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James later attended the Chouinard Art Institute, which much later became Cal Arts. He completed his three-year course but at the time, the only job available was that of a maintenance man at Paramount and MGM. Apparently, the employees of where he worked even noticed a special touch. This eventually led to him leaving sketches of his work in the offices of the costume designers he cleaned for. The famed Edith Head of Paramount Pictures gave him his first job as a sketch artist on the films The Ten Commandments, The King and I and Funny Girl. He also worked on many of the costumes for “I Love Lucy”. “We had to design things that framed the face,” he said, Daugherty added, “That is why I loved sketching faces. The face comes first.”

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Being the ambitious man that he was, he then headed east. His goal was to do costume designing on Broadway but ended up finding work in manufacturing on Seventh Avenue. Instead of sketching for great costume designers, he worked in the fashion houses of Maurie Rentner, Pat Sandler of Highlight Fashions, Bill Blass, Anne Klein and Richard Cole. When he left Highlight Fashions, he was still determined not to let his skin color be an issue. He stayed with Jerry Silverman for seven years , but frustration grew since he still had to obtain final approval on his designs. Jerry Silverman hired Daugherty with ground rules: There would be no identity in the showroom and certainly no credit on the labels. James then started to really worry about his future.

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After taking a position to make ends meet in Women’s Contemporary clothing, again, he was grateful to be working in the fashion industry; yet, his name was not allowed on the label because of his skin color. This might be hard to believe but it is a reality. When I saw the pictures of the Contemporary Women’s Line, they were wonderful and featured wrap dress, silk skirts, and classy pantsuits. After watching an early interview with him on his contemporary line I got a hint into his thinking, his method. He wanted women to look like women. James believed in women tapping into their femininity and wanted them to be proud of their figures. His day wear and evening dresses were usually synched at the waist, he liked pockets and there was always a comfortable flow and natural fit to the garment. James also liked silk a lot. He loved the color and didn’t want women to be afraid of it. If he designed pants (and if women had to resort to them), they were lightweight as well. I loved how he stated, “It is just as important how a woman enters a room as when she leaves the room.” Other words, one must know how to make a statement with her choice of style.

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One element that I find fascinating is that his designs are incredibly elegant with a modern edge. Look at the structured fit, the colors, and composition. These are gowns that I envision many of today’s stylish actresses, musical artists, and models wearing. I can easily see Lupita Nyong wearing the first, Angelina Jolie gracing the second, Charlize Theron in the third, Marion Cotillard would be wonderful for the fourth, Nia Long in the fifth and Uma Thurman stopping traffic in the sixth and Cate Blanchett in the last. It would be stunning. I love how the clothes he designed fit the models. They hug the body proportionately. James understood that women do not want a complicated fit. They want to feel feminine but not in an arduous way. There is a very modern and beautiful aesthetic to the Daugherty look.

Orso told me how he enjoyed working for women’s contemporary lines but his real dream (obviously) was to have his own label versus having other designers stick their names on his. Yet, within this dynamic, Daugherty was known to be very gentle and mild-mannered and never seemed to “push back.” With his amazing talent I do not understand how he could not have fought back. Yet I am from the south, and I know the limitations (even today). Was this part of the reason why I was attracted to this story? Maybe. When I watched his television interview, I saw the gentle soul behind the designer. Times were different then and he was grateful to be working in the fashion industry, even though society was missing out on a fashion icon. After studying his sketches and the emotions that they evoke, I feel that was his heart and passion were within the evening gowns featured here. They are personal. Not to mention, there are tons of them. I can almost envision James in his New York apartment sketching away at night and dreaming of his name being on the label.

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Finally, after working for years to reach this point, Daugherty was able to open his own store on 7th Avenue in NYC. Ben Shaw, an entrepreneur who backs designers, gave him a call and it was a go! James opened up his fashion house at 550 Seventh Avenue in September of 1974. He knew times would most likely change in terms of being well received by the public as a black fashion designer; yet, James considered himself the “Jackie Robinson of Seventh Avenue.” His first collection was well received by the buyers and press…and that is what counts in the fashion business. It was still hard though and his business eventually did not survive. In 1976, James Daugherty was named Designer of the Year by the Fashion Sales Guild. From 2003 until his death, James Daugherty was an adjunct professor in the Fashion Design-Art Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he genuinely enjoyed teaching Beginning Fashion Design to teens. I am sure it was a fantastic class and would have loved to have taken it.  This is one story I am sad to leave. I sort of fell in love with this beautiful man and his journey. At least I got to tell part of it. I will probably never look at fashion the same way again, and for that James Daugherty, I thank you. I thank you for giving us beautiful designs, grace, elegance and paving the way for other African American fashion designers.

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Lastly, it is hard to believe the sketches featured here are only a small portion of his fantastic creations. Apparently, there are 740 in total. Whoever gets first shot at an exhibition of his stunning sketches will be very lucky and in for a magical surprise.

James Daugherty
James Daugherty