Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gibson Girls, pinup beginnings

I love history, love imagining how previous periods felt and how different, yet the same people were. When delving into the origins of pin up there is often mention of the link albeit small of First Jules Cheret, french artist and secondly the American Gibson girl, a photograph, or illustration of a high society,new renaissance victorian woman.
French artist and lithographer Jules Cheret is considered the first pin up artist, and inventor of the modern day poster. During the 1890's his artwork of frolicking women earned him the title "the father of women's liberation." It wasn't long before this new artistry inspired Americans.

Poster featuring Loïe Fuller, a dancer with burlesque beginnings at the
Folies Bergères by Jules Chéret.

In America, Charles Dana Gibson gained popularity for his illustrations of the freshly coined "Gibson Girls, " high society women depicted with a "sporty jaw," slender waist, accentuated curves, upswept curls and a look that gave she was at least equal, if not superior, to the gentlemen who called on her. Although these images were not yet called pin ups, they explored the quiet power of the new emerging woman. She was demure yet revolutionary, innocent with a knowing eye, unmistakably pin up!

Irene Langhorne Gibson wife and muse to Charles Gibson, this picture
makes me eager to star waist training!
Now this all leads down one path, I had to explore gibson girls from the butterscotch prospective, I mean surely there were black high society documented somewhere in America....right :/ ? I found some pictures out there in cyber world but feel it will require some real old school get off your a$$ and go to the the library...wait people still ACTUALLY do that? type of commitment but I have a little free time and inspiration in my heart, so we'll see... In the meanwhile I found these lovelies for you to feast on.

Brown pin ups, black Gibson girl, Gibson girl
Although her garments don't appear to be especially fashionable but her hair definitely is. Classic Gibson Girl silhouetted hair and high bun, eerily resembling our recent high, forehead like bun. I appreciate her natural texture as well being that many women black and white were starting to experiment with straightening their hair turn of the century.

Bustle, African American Victorian, black Victorian
A more fashionable version, but without the usual updo. I think its highly likely she wanted to show off her lengthy straightened hair instead, but I have been known to over think things.

Aida Overton Walker, black Victorians, African American Victorians
Aida or Ada Overton Walker a leading performer of the day with burlesque influences plan to do a post about her. Anyone else interested in Black Victorians?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Loosen that curl girl

Although we often see "pin up hair" in these ultra silky straight styles, there are many new style pin ups emerging, those of the natural persuasion, myself included of course. I love the idea of embracing my natural beauty but still portraying a very polished look and all curly girls know the challenges that can arise with that. So I wanted to highlight this wonderful new curl restructuring service be Design Essentials called Strengthening Therapy System. Here are the goods, it defines and stretches tight coiled textures while reducing frizz and all with the acidity level of a lemon! Basically it restructures and lengthens your curl, making it easier to style in its curly state or straighten with ease, staying straighter longer, and all without a chemical!

The product is bonded onto the cortex of the hair with heat so hair must be washed with sulfate free shampoo to maintain look. Best of all the entire process is reversible so no fears of over process, or overly straightened curls! I wanted to experience the product myself as a stylist before I offered it to clients and I was so pleased I wanted to blog about it. I personally LOVEDDDDD it, unfortunately the process only lasts 12 weeks. :( I was so accustomed to my easy luxurious curls when it started the reverting process around week 10 I was surprised, forgetting about my original tight curl.

As a licensed professional stylist I found the health and curl pattern of my hair uncompromised and think this is a better process than the harsh chemicals of keratin and keratin-like processes. The process alone is $200 but for $260 bucks first time out you get the 2-3 hour process (hair must be straightened and washed twice) and all the products you need to maintain at home, Sulphate free shampoo, Express conditioner, and Silk Essentials oil all by Design Essentials. Here are some real life results:

I realized I rarely wear my hair out, I can't lie I love a weave, and therefore have virtually no pictures except this one. My curl pattern is usually much tighter but this is after my installation take down.

Here's my textured curled maybe 3-5 days old after a light blow dry, and two strand twist.

Me with the beautiful Sherhara whom I met at the grand opening of the new Salon 804, curly girl pin ups owwwwww. This curl pattern was done with a light blow dry and flexi rods, the blue ones. Just in case your wondering her hair looked to be wash and go in its natural state, speculation of course.

Here is the lovely Zaianee with her original curl pattern...


Here's her after, the straightened version and her wash and wear hair.

Want more info? Check out

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Calling all natural pinups

Last Thursday was a great evening, For fashion's night out I was honored to be invited to the
Beautiful Textures Curl Couture event. I've been  having a bit of writer's block lately and this was
the perfect event to inspire any artist. It was a night of beautiful people beautiful personality and beautiful curly hair! The DJ was rocking on her two step flow playing songs like Entourage by Omarion and Beyonce. The food was great catered by a very couture version of Sylvia's Soul Food Restaurant. The delicious ever flowing menu included lamb chops, mini fried macaroni and cheese balls, mini crab cakes which my MUA friend Iisys announced were the best she ever had and much more. Had I not been so busy stuffing my face I could have taken pictures of the plating, it was beautiful, but eh hem Moving on...

Any curly gal can tell you there is sort of a sisterhood amid natural girls. We see each other all over the city with hair admiration and complements at the ready with a slight smile and head nod. Last night was an event to definitely celebrate that comraderie and I have to say I've never been more proud to be a natural curly pin up girl! insert snap and neck roll :)

My look for tonight was inspired by comfort so poodle skirt and skips felt perfect my skirt is thrifted, top is a promo t with the best fit ever. Feminine, classy, sassy and comfy. My hair right now is all about the super high Dr Suess, Who-like Afro puff with ultra slick sides, Afro punk greaser flow, check!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bathing Suit Jackpot

Here's the Lola Suit as shown at her store.
So it's been a while, I guess I haven't really been pursuing any pin up allure, shopping, movies, or sewing. I've been at an all around creative stand still, but now that I have some things in order I feel at liberty-and free of guilt to put some energy into my pure expression...

A few days ago I got the jump start I needed when my bathing suit arrived. My order was placed May 21, with the seller indicating it would take 2-3 weeks to make and ship, it arrived 1 week late but I allotted extra time being the busy season and it was well worth the wait. I ordered it on Etsy from Ava Bell Designs. I decided to go to Etsy because the pin up look is very big now, I never want to look like anyone else, so what better way to lessen the chances of "twinsies" than a made to order swim suit. I also wanted something tailored to hide the bad and accentuate the good. Ava Bell Designs had the perfect suit for me a tight skirted bottom that can draw up or down with the optional tummy control, yayyy!  You mean I don't have to worry about those bloated days? Or that healthy tummy on 5th day of eating on vacation?? Sign me up! The top has optional padding that I so desperately need although it wasn't as much padding as I thought it would be for the extra $18, I will have to add more :( . The bottoms are perfect, everything I expected. I adore this beautifully made suit and can't wait for the off season to order a customized one. Hopefully you can appreciate a real women with real curves.
Here you can compare the padding, the left side is shown with padding inserted.

Cute label, check out that sewing quality!

No cover ups here!
Notice The Wiz back there? I love that movie

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Where are all the black pin ups?

Did you ever wonder where are all the black pin ups? I mean you don't see many references of pin up culture in African American history, but surly it existed. Unfortunately there's not a lot out there, till this day we don't see many butterscotch pin ups, as if red lips are reserved for everyone but us. In the forties and fifties as a people we were still regarded as less than human to many, and certainly not openly regarded as sexy, but fear not I have a gem.

Not to validate our greatness with comparison to a white counterpart-yes I had to take it there- but Marilyn was undeniable a pin up icon, but did you know there was a " black Marilyn Monroe?" A black diva with killer curves known as the bronze bombshell with a four and a half octave voice described as the "voice you'll always remember." She was included in Ebony Magazine's list of the most beautiful women in Hollywood amongst Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge, AND she was darker than most of her mainstream counterparts ya'll. Her official biographer Jim Byers stated she was 'America’s first dark-skinned woman promoted as a love goddess.' Wow, I wanna be a love goddess when I grow up!

Her name is Joyce Bryant, she was a jazz singer raised in Los Angeles who's ultra sexy image and suggestive music eventually came under fire and even banned from the radio. It's said she adopted her bronzed coif to avoid being upstaged while performing with Josephine Baker. Now we all know 'Jo' (she's totally a friend in my head) is all extra with banana costumes and the likes. Not to be outdone Bryant sprayed silver radiator paint in her hair and completed the look with a silver dress. The crowd and even Jo was impressed. She never gained the fame of her counterparts, leaving the entertainment industry during career highs due to the internal conflict of her religious background and sexy image. I'm sure having to wash your hair with paint thinner, enduring a beating by a gangster who's advances were denied and owing the IRS didn't help... : /

There is soooo much more to her story as well as a documentary called The Lost Diva that will hopefully be available soon. It excites me to dig and discover some beautiful, glamorous, retro inspirations that look more like me, and hopefully it will inspire you also.

Black Dolls