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The 50 Best Photos of Naomi Campbell and Her Looks

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There are few people who truly live up to the term icon, and Naomi Campbell is one of them. On Friday, May 22, the supermodel celebrated her 50th birthday, which is hard to believe, considering that she’s just as busy as she was when she began her career in the late ’80s.

Since the beginning, Campbell has been a force in fashion. Her powerful runway strut was incomparable — even when she fell. She was the first black model to appear on the covers of both British and French Vogue. She befriended powerful designers like Gianni Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, and Azzedine Alaïa. And in 1990, she was declared “the reigning megamodel of them all” by Interview magazine.

Today, she’s still untouchable, whether she’s walking the Paris runways or wearing a hazmat suit on a plane. No matter where she goes, she’s always dressed for the occasion, no matter if the occasion is community service. Below, a look back at a half a century of Naomi Campbell looking incredible.

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Fashion & Style

Protest Fashion History – Protest as Fashion, Fashion as Protest

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According to art historian Quentin Bell, “the history of dress is a history of protests.” Though this statement was first made in 1951, it holds just as much truth today with protests erupting across the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and activists demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless other Black American lives lost to senseless acts of police violence. Dress and protest have gone hand-in-hand for thousands of years, and oftentimes clothing speaks just as loudly as words. In the spirit of protest and in solidarity with those fighting for Black justice, CR looks back at the history of protest symbolism in fashion, and how certain fashion garments themselves have become symbols of protest.

Earning Your Stripes in the Middle Ages

jester

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Our modern-day concepts of sartorial modesty date back to the Middle Ages, when the Church was the main governing body, and Christian morals were the common thread of society. The God-fearing people all knew the story of Adam and Eve, who were given clothes after their expulsion from Eden. To atone for the original sin, people had to wear modest, discreet garments that clearly depicted their social status and gender.

In the 12th century, people seen as social deviants including jesters, jugglers, executioners, and prisoners retaliated against the Church by donning stripes. The bold, outlandish pattern was a form of protest because the people who wore them conflicted directly with Christian morality. While jailbird stripes still evoke their miscreant origins, the trend eventually spread from the margins to mainstream fashion.

Dress Codes Breeched During the English Restoration

In 1660, after King Charles II was restored to the English throne, a new chapter of the theater began. Female performers graced the stage for the first time, and like their male counterparts (who previously played the women’s roles), would sometimes act as the opposite sex. Women cross-dressed in tight pants to play male characters, becoming targets for male audience members because breeches, which emerged in the 1640s, displayed the wearer’s calves. In the 17th century, this was considered a scandal. Aristocratic audiences found the practice visually and morally arresting, and instances of women wearing pants were largely considered rebellious until the 20th century.

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Fashion Revolution in France

Survivors of the infamous Reign of Terror in France turned to fashion to overturn dress codes associated with the French Directory in the late 1790s. These men and women were called Incroyables and Merveilleuses, respectively, names that translated to “unbelievables” and “marvelous women.” They belonged to an aristocratic subculture in Paris and shocked the French First Republic with their decadent displays of protest. Men wore earrings, green jackets, and wide trousers, and spoke with a lisp to avoid the letter “R,” as in “revolution.” Women channeled the silhouettes of Greek goddesses in gauze-thin dresses that exposed their bodies, and wore blonde wigs because the Paris Commune had banned them. Their exaggerated fashion mocked that of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s court, and while many considered the Incroyables and Merveilleuses’ clothes immoral, they made a political statement through satire.

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“Paris Ladies In Their Winter Dress” by Isaac Cruikshank

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Suffragette White

By the onset of the 20th century, the women’s suffrage movement in America had found its footing under the direction of female leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Women fought for the right to vote by organizing parades and marches, and established three defining colors of their movement, one of which has stood the test of time. Purple represented loyalty, gold paid homage to Kansas as a campaign site, and the ever-famous white stood for purity. Marchers wore white dresses with colored sashes to events, and the universal color allowed for a wider participation in the movement.

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Suffragette white has not lost its influence since the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1919. After spurring a century’s worth of long-awaited dress reform, women are still sporting the color white to draw attention to gender biases in politics and beyond that still exist today. A sea of white was visible at the 2020 State of the Union Address, where female members of the United States Congress used the color to silently protest gendered economic inequality.

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Congresswomen at the 2020 State of the Union Address

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Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Stands Out in White

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Peace Signs

Another ubiquitous symbol of protest is the peace sign, which emerged in fashion in the 1960s. Originally created by British graphic designer Gerald Holtom, the peace sign symbolized the fight for nuclear disarmament in London at the height of the Cold War. The following decade, it made a transatlantic journey into an era of antiwar protest. From American youths protesting the Vietnam War to the Civil Rights movement, peace signs were turned into jewelry, worn as pins, decorated guitar cases, and replaced the stars on the American flag.

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Newport Folk Festival, 1963

The Week

Today, peace signs remain an important symbol of hope and protest against violence and political upheaval, including the V-shaped hand gesture, which signaled “victory” in World War II Europe. Though not always tacked to a specific cultural event, the sign has flourished on catwalks, such as in Moschino’s Fall/Winter 2008 collection, which featured peace signs made of rhinestones and safety clips.

Berets

One of the most historically and culturally rich garments in fashion is the beret. Most typically associated with French culture, the beret has been a symbol of protest and power for groups of various identities. In the ’60s, Cuban political revolutionary and Marxist leader Che Guevara sported the hat during speech campaigns against the Batista government along with Fidel Castro, the leader of the Communist Party. It became a defining feature of Guevara’s public image, and a symbol of his politics.

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At the time of Guevara’s death in 1967, the beret had begun to take shape in a different movement as part of the uniform for the Black Panther Party. Founded in 1966 in Oakland, California, the Black Panthers were a socialist political organization that fought for Black rights across the U.S. Under a 10-point mission, the Party sought to end police brutality and provide land, housing, and justice for African-Americans. The black beret was often worn with leather jackets and fastened with political pins. The distinctive hat mirrored the green berets worn by soldiers in the Vietnam War, suggesting that Black Americans, too, were fighting a war of their own: one of injustice. Members wore their natural hair under the beret, which one Black Panther once said acknowledged the “awareness among black people that their own natural physical appearance is beautiful.”

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Members of the Black Panther Party in 1970

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By the 2010s, politics and fashion were inextricably linked, and the beret epitomized this connection as seen in Beyoncé’s 2016 Super Bowl halftime show. The music icon paid homage to the Black Panthers, marking the 50th anniversary of the group’s formation. Backup dancers were clad in black berets and leather suits with natural hairstyles, and the show also referenced the Black Lives Matter movement and the words of Malcolm X. That same year, Karl Lagerfeld sent models down the Chanel Cruise 2017 runway wearing sequined black berets. Presented in Cuba, the collection was a direct nod to the revolutionary spirit of Guevara.

havana, cuba   may 03  a model walks the runway during chanel cruise collection 20162017 on may 3, 2016 in havana, cuba  photo by thomas concordiagetty images

Chanel Cruise 2017

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Slogan Tees

Since the 1970s, slogan tees have been used to easily display messages to the public. It is a form of protest that demands attention, and an open invitation for discussion. The idea of a politically-charged tee came from British designer Vivienne Westwood, who used the shirt as a blank canvas for her punk ideology. In her famous Anarchy in the UK design, Westwood created a distressed tee printed with a torn Union Jack flag and a reference to the Sex Pistols rock band.

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In 1984, designer Katharine Hamnett took things a step further when she wore a slogan tee that read “58% Don’t Want Pershing” while shaking hands with then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The shirt was an anti-thermonuclear war statement and drew loads of press attention. Thatcher was visibly rattled by Hamnett’s outfit, and the meeting made the front page of nearly all British newspapers the next day.

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paris, france   september 30  a model walks the runway during the christian dior show as part of the paris fashion week womenswear  springsummer 2017  on september 30, 2016 in paris, france  photo by jacopo raulegetty images for dior

Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2017

Jacopo M. Raule

Since Hamnett’s protest, slogan tees have made a resurgence in the 21st century as a cornerstone of fourth-wave feminist activism. In her Spring/Summer 2017 collection for Dior, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri presented a now-famous slogan tee that read “We Should All Be Feminists.” The slogan is a reference to Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book of the same name, and graced the runway as a product of Dior’s first female artistic director. Paired with a floor-length skirt and flat sneakers, the outfit juxtaposed ideas of femininity and masculinity.

Additionally, in 2018, before midterm elections in the U.S., brands such as Prabal Gurung and Diane von Fürstenburg collaborated with Moda Operandi to make politically-charged slogan tees encouraging consumers to vote.

Women’s March and #MeToo

The worldwide protests during the 2017 Women’s March marked the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Many of the marchers donned pink pussyhats, which were also worn by women across America the day after President Trump’s inauguration. The knitted hats were first crafted by the Pussyhat Project, a nationwide effort to create the hats en masse for march-goers to create a jarring visual effect. The hats purported to reclaim the word “pussy” as was used in a derogatory manner by President Trump, and were widely worn as a symbol of power and femininity at the march. They later made their way to the Missoni Fall/Winter 2017 catwalk, featuring a colorful ribbed knit stripe.

washington, dc   january 21  protesters gather at the womens march on washington on january 21, 2017 in washington, dc  photo by mike coppolagetty images

Women’s March on Washington 

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milan, italy   february 25  models walk the runway at the missoni show during milan fashion week fallwinter 201718 on february 25, 2017 in milan, italy  photo by tristan fewingsgetty images

Missoni Fall/Winter 2017

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Later in 2017, protesters again used fashion statements to spread their messages against the Trump administration. Outside the White House, supporters of Planned Parenthood protested anti-abortion legislation while wearing the red gowns and white bonnets from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. That summer, women in Austin, Texas protested Senate Bill 4, an immigration enforcement law, by wearing their colorful quinceañera gowns, a symbol of Mexican-American tradition.

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Book Riot

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At the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, women in Hollywood wore all-black to protest sexual assault and stand in solidarity with survivors. The sea of noir also raised awareness for the Time’s Up Movement, created in 2018 by celebrities in response to allegations of sexual abuse against film producer Harvey Weinstein, and a general lack of justice for survivors of sexual assault in Hollywood. The night proved that clothing can speak as loudly as words, and shifted the focus awards nights typically place on fashion–red carpet looks, superlative rankings–to a more poignant and timely discussion. “The reason we’re here, the reason we didn’t just stay home is because we feel we shouldn’t have to sit out the night, give up our seats at the table, our voice in this industry because of bad behavior that wasn’t ours,” actress Kerry Washington said.

beverly hills, ca   january 07  l r actors natalie portman, america ferrera, and emma stone, and former tennis player billie jean king attend the 75th annual golden globe awards at the beverly hilton hotel on january 7, 2018 in beverly hills, california  photo by frazer harrisongetty images

Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Emma Stone, and Billie Jean King

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Yellow Vest Movement

In France, the yellow vest was dubbed the symbolic uniform of protestors demanding democracy, and social and fiscal justice. The movement originated in 2018 in rural areas as a reaction to a spike in fuel prices and housing costs, but has since spread across the country in the form of protests against poor living standards under the leadership of President Emmanuel Macron. The yellow vests, “gilets jaunes” in French, come from a 2008 law that requires all French motorists to carry a yellow roadside safety vest in case of emergencies. The vest is inexpensive, durable, associated with working class industries, and stands alone as a symbol of distress, making it the ideal match for a movement rooted in labor reform.

yellow vest, france, labor movement

Alain Jocard / Bloomberg

Cannes Film Festival

At the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing dressed 16 Black actresses for the famous red carpet steps at cinema’s most prestigious festival. The women, all part of a multimedia project titled Noire N’est Pas Mon Métier, which translates to “Black is not my profession,” graced the red carpet together, dancing and holding one another up. Spearheaded by French actress Aïssa Maïga, the powerful entrance raised awareness about and condemned the discrimination Black actresses face in the French and American entertainment industries.

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Although the forms and faces of protest have changed throughout history, one thing remains certain: fashion is a reflection of our changing times. Whether it be the peace sign infiltrating fashion for decades on end or the color white on the Senate floor, protest symbolism has persevered, and fashion remains a means for protest groups to demand their message be seen and heard.

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Stylist Jason Bolden calls out Celine for racial bias

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Fashion insiders are speaking out against brands who are all talk.

The latest is celebrity stylist Jason Bolden, whose clients include Yara Shahidi, Cynthia Erivo, Taraji P. Henson, Janet Mock and more.

On Wednesday, Bolden called out French luxury label Celine on Instagram after the company posted a message in support of Black Lives Matter.

“Wait really, u guys dnt dress any black celebs unless they have a white stylist @celine 🤷🏾‍♂️✊🏾🧐 FACTS,” he commented.

Many fans showed their support for Bolden’s post and pointed out the lack of diversity in creative director Hedi Slimane’s runway shows.

When fashion watchdog Instagram account Diet Prada shared Bolden’s comment and added that the percentage of black models in Celine’s fashion shows under Slimane has never topped 12 percent, the stylist stated that Celine is far from the only guilty party.

“NOT JUST THIS BRAND BUT TO ALL OF THEM, BE HONEST ABOUT HOW YOU’VE SUPPORTED THIS TYPE OF TREATMENT OF BLACK PEOPLE! WE SEE YOU AND WONT SUPPORT YOU UNTIL YOU SUPPORT US,” Bolden responded, also name-dropping Saint Laurent as an offender.

Celebrities who have worn Slimane’s Celine include Lupita Nyong’o and Amandla Stenberg; however, Brie Larson, Dakota Johnson, Lucy Boynton and Lady Gaga are most often seen in his designs.

Bolden’s colleague Kollin Carter also recently called out fashion brands who were “begging” to dress his clients yet stayed silent about the killing of George Floyd and other Black Lives Matter initiatives, while fellow stylist Law Roach has started a fund for black business owners whose stores were destroyed by looters.


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Vanessa Morgan Vows to Wear Black Designers at Public Events Going Forward

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Riverdale star Vanessa Morgan is making a momentous change to her red carpet dressing. Going forward, the actor is determined to show up at public events representing Black designers.

In a tweet posted on June 3, Vanessa made her position clear, writing, “From now on any red carpet or event, I will be wearing and supporting Black designers. Any aspiring Black designers hit me up. I got you. I see you.” Further highlighting how much this change means to her, Vanessa also made the tweet her pinned.

Vanessa’s message instantly racked up a lot of support on Twitter, with both fans and aspiring Black designers filling her mentions. “I couldn’t have asked for a better role model. This is amazing Vanessa,” replied one fan. “I’m always excited to see your pictures from events but now I’ll be extra excited because I’ll know you’re supporting so many talented black designers,” another person wrote.

Vanessa has made it her mission to use her platform to elevate young and aspiring Black designers who, unfairly, often struggle to find their feet in the world of fashion. Despite Black culture playing a vital role in the industry, Black designers continue to be under-represented on the red carpet and inside the design studios of major fashion houses. Vanessa is doing her part to make sure that changes.

The tweet comes after Vanessa opened up about pay disparities on the set of Riverdale, as well as her thoughts on the portrayal of Black people in our everyday lives and on screen. “Tired of how black people are portrayed in Media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous, or angry scary people. Tired of us also being used as sidekick non-dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show,” the actor also tweeted.

Aside from advocating for Black designers, Vanessa also voiced Black actors deserve more than “token” Black roles. Vanessa’s commitment and stance are not only admirable but commendable and her words will hopefully make a long-lasting impact — both on and off the screen.

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