Living it up

Haute couture from around the world landed at the University of Miami Convocation Center last Thursday as the 2005-2006 Ebony Fashion Fair took over the runway and models strutted some beautiful lines.

“It’s not about blending in, it’s about getting them to check you out,” says Jada Collins, a model and commentator. This initiative caters directly to the black public and most of the ensembles are suitable to the fashion fearless who can afford it. Ten black models, including a full-size and a male model, are taking it to the road until May claiming runways all across the western hemisphere.

One word to describe this show is versatile. From the designs to the strut of the models, everything presented a special feature. If names like Lacroix, Oppio, Versace or Kate Mack catch your attention, you want to keep on reading.

The office wear was showcased at the beginning of the show with boldly printed suits, boots and jackets, and various assortments of black and white were presented. Five-inch thigh-reaching platform platform boots and mini skirts made their entrance shortly thereafter. Perhaps the most memorable and popular displays were those of hoods. A notable one was Thierry Mugler’s oversized hood that changed into a trail at the wearer’s convenience.

Cat suits, veils, form-fitted and transparent gowns were affluent in many designs such as Bob Magi’s stunning red, leopard-printed assortment. Line sequences and geometrical figures followed in designs from Renato Balestra, Missoni and more. Ruffles are back, meaner than ever, and hip-hop takes a turn for the glamorous with “iced out” jeans elaborately adorned and tailored with velvet and other materials. Beach fanatics who were looking for the next best thing to touch the sand might have been disappointed for winter coats and coyote fur quickly replaced the tropical-wear presentation. Kooky head gears complemented wildly colorful party dresses with extravagant birthday hats by Givenchy. Hats were intricate parts to many of the attires and even turned into purses in a vibrant and edgy Issey Miyake ensemble.

The 47th annual Ebony Fashion Fair honored its legacy, showcasing a variety of styles in an interactive and theatrical manner with a choreographed show full prepared and unprepared surprises.

Marli Lalanne can be contacted at