Erykah Badu is the New Face of Givenchy

“People can be so avant-garde, so advanced, but actually not, because people are still making differences between skin color.” – Givenchy’s Riccardo Risci

Riccardo Tisci is known, among other talents, for having one of the keenest eyes in casting. So when he puts an unexpected face in his ad campaigns for Givenchy, the world takes notice. Expect tremors on this one. Presenting the new star of the label’s Mert & Marcus-shot campaigns: neo-soul singer Erykah Badu.

“Erykah, she’s an icon—come on!” Tisci said by phone from Paris. “What I want to do with my advertising campaign is spread the love. Already now it’s been three seasons that I’ve been using people that express something—they are great artists, or beautiful women, or stylish women, or models that I really believe in. It’s kind of a family portfolio.”

Tisci had known Badu slightly but had never worked with her. Still, he said, he’d had her image in the back of his mind when he was designing the Spring 2014 collection, a mash-up of African and Japanese influences. “She’s one of the most stylish women I’ve met in my life,” he said. “She’s got such a good sense of proportion, of colors.”

What may attract as much attention as the unexpected Badu cameo is the fact that all of the campaign’s female models are women of color (the models Maria Borges, newcomer Riley, and Asia Chow). It follows a season with a noticeable uptick in the use of models of color on the runway, following scathing condemnations of homogeneity in fashion from Bethann Hardison and Iman, sounding off from certain casting directors, and coverage of the issue in The New York Times.

“There was a lot of talk this season in fashion,” Tisci said. “Me, I was one of the persons who ended up not being touched by this. I discovered Joan Smalls, I discovered Maria [Borges]. I discovered a lot of black girls, and I’ve been always supporting them. For me, I grew up in a family and I grew up in a culture, an education, that we all are the same.” (He was already working on the collection, and had Badu in mind, when the first articles came out.)

It’s true that Tisci has been active in promoting women of color on his runway and in his campaigns. (Besides Smalls and Borges, he has championed Grace Mahary, Dalianah Arekion, and Daniela Braga, among others.) Does he think the world will catch up to his lead? “I hope so,” he said. “It’s 2013. Everybody’s being so cool about Instagram, about Facebook, any media—everybody’s being so open. At the end of the day, why are not so many black girls or Latin girls in shows? When you have an American president who is black! When I see this happening, it’s quite sad, I think. People can be so avant-garde, so advanced, but actually not, because people are still making differences between skin color.”

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Soda vs. Pop vs. Coke

But of all the important topics on which Americans disagree, nothing sparks more debate than a seemingly simple question: Is a carbonated beverage called soda, pop or coke?

If you sit down a group of people from different parts of the United States, you’re bound to come across a few cultural differences. But of all the important topics on which Americans disagree, nothing sparks more debate than a seemingly simple question: Is a carbonated beverage called soda, pop or coke?

The Atlantic created its own version of the famous 2003 Harvard Dialect Survey, in which former Harvard professor Bert Vaux polled thousands of Americans about how they pronounce certain words.

The Atlantic recreated the project by calling people across the country and asking them a few of Vaux’s questions. Then they layered the answers with North Carolina State University graduate student Joshua Katz’s heat maps .

Hear the various ways Americans pronounce the word “pecan” and the country’s divisive stances on what to call a foot-long sandwich.

[via Mashable]

America Fashion Powerhouse The GAP Shows Solidarity and Understanding To Sikhs and Muslims

Gap earns some serious points for its quick, classy response after Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor at The Islamic Monthly and founder of TheMuslimGuy.com, alerted the retailer that vandals had defaced one of its NYC subway posters featuring Indian Sikh-American actor and fashion designer Waris Ahluwahlia. Hooligans changed the campaign’s “Make love” tagline to “Make bombs,” and added the slogan, “Please stop driving taxis.”

“I wanted the world to see how millions of brown people are viewed in American today,” Iftikhar writes in the Daily Beast. “So I proceeded to post this photograph to my 40,000+ Twitter and Facebook followers and asked them to share this photograph with their friends to try and create some social media buzz and overall awareness. After hundreds of re-tweets and Facebook shares by people of all colors and backgrounds around the country, there was so much social media buzz in less than one day that Gap contacted me directly after hearing about its vandalized advertisement and wanted to know the exact location.”

gap-solidarity

 

Then the company took its response a step further. “In addition to Gap’s rocket-fast attempt to find out more details about the situation,” writes Iftikhar, “I have to say that the best part about the company’s response to this social media campaign is that it currently has the Sikh model as their current Twitter background photo.”

That show of solidarity and understanding is generating gobs of positive press and good vibes. In a world so often divided, it’s a great way to bridge the gap.

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