Contact Us

We would love to hear from you.  Feel free to send us a note.

.

 

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

square logo-1.jpg

BLOG

This journal is a creative outlet of all the things Kali Brown loves, from fashion, diy's, art, museum galleries to even food.  I am not a professional blogger and the things I share are my sole opinion. Enjoy my creative voyage!

Filtering by Category: Fashion

29 Rooms

Kali Abdullah

29 Rooms-Gurls Talk-1

This past weekend Refinery29 created one of the coolest interactive installations I've been to in a long time.  My favorite art enthusiast and adventure sidekick Cory and I were so stoked for this event that we talked about it for days and made sure we arrived there early to avoid a long wait and major queuing. Open for only three days (September 9-11) visitors had the opportunity to explore 29 Rooms and immerse themselves into a wonderland of fashion, beauty, design, art, and technology while being able to capture and share the amazing moments and obligatory selfies on social media platforms.

29 Rooms

The 29 Rooms event took place in a massive 80,000 square foot warehouse in Bushwick Brooklyn.  Each room had a different theme, some were designed by individual artists, and others collaborated with various brands such as Perrier, Ulta, Papyrus, Google and Michael Kors.  Some of the collaborators included artist Baron Von Fancy, Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson, singer Tinashe, actor Adrian Grenier, artistic director for Diesel Nicola Formichetti, RuPaul, makeup artist Ryan Burke, and interactive artist Daniel Rozinare.

"Show Your Pride" room, photo by Kali Brown

"Show Your Pride" room, photo by Kali Brown

Ulta's "Beauty Wonderland" Room, photo by Kali Brown

Ulta's "Beauty Wonderland" Room, photo by Kali Brown

Lonely Whale Foundation "Turn the Tide" room, photo by Kali Brown

Lonely Whale Foundation "Turn the Tide" room, photo by Kali Brown

29 Rooms - Cory
Adwoa Aboa's "Gurls Talk" room, photo by Kali Brown

Adwoa Aboa's "Gurls Talk" room, photo by Kali Brown

The most popular rooms were those that combined interactivity with great photo opp's, such as the Gurls Talk room created by founder Adwoa Aboa.  The room had an installation with over 500 old-school pink telephone receivers hanging from the ceiling. 

When you put the gold phones to your ears you heard various voices. Later I learned that the people speaking through the phone were women that Aboah admires like activist Erica Garner, model Cara Delevinge and Denise Gough.

In the “You-niverse” room you could get an "aura photo" taken or a Polaroid portrait that reads your spiritual energy through color.  The line for this room was very long and you had to pay a $15 fee for the picture so I skipped that and just took cool photos in the room decorated like a moonscape, with tons of brightly lit stars and moon-like sand covering the floor.  

Perrier "Beyond the Bubbles" Room, photo by Kali Brown

Perrier "Beyond the Bubbles" Room, photo by Kali Brown

One of my favorite rooms was the “Beyond the Bubbles” room created by Perrier. It was filled with hundreds of balloon displays to give the illusion of bubbles. Also, I loved  RuPaul’s “Wig Out” room, which had these amazing over the top wigs that you could pose under in a salon chair.

Here are some of my favorite flicks while at 29 Rooms.

Ford's "Garden of Energi" room, photo by Kali Brown

Ford's "Garden of Energi" room, photo by Kali Brown

Ford was promoting its environmentally-friendly Fusion Energi car, in a glowing garden installation.  But what made Ford really win was the complimentary rides they offered to guest as they were leaving the event. Our driver Joe was awesome and got us to our next destination in less than ten minutes.

29 Rooms-Ford -1
In our complimentary Ford car

In our complimentary Ford car

Overall it was a wonderful experience. Some rooms were more interesting than others and it was a little sensory overload, but Cory and I had a blast.  It was a great event and I can’t wait until next year! 

Brooklyn Garden Party

Kali Abdullah

KaliBrownBKGardenParty1

I can't believe how fast summer came and went, it's already September.  I've been slacking on my blog posts (sorry), but I definitely had to share this party I threw a few weeks ago.  So my birthday was mid-August and I wanted to have an intimate gathering with my close friends.  After perusing Pinterest for endless hours for cute ideas I decided on planning my own Garden Party.  Of course, there were a few hiccups to consider, I don't own a home with a yard or have rooftop access (just a studio apartment in Brooklyn) and most importantly I didn't have a big budget to throw such a fabulous event.  But that didn't really stop me and fortunately, I was able to find a way to pull it off.  

Screenshot_2016-07-20-09-49-37-1.png

Venue. My homegirl who has a beautiful home and backyard oasis in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn was gracious enough to allow me to use her backyard for my gathering.  Keeping my guest list to around 20 people, my next big feat was how I would decorate it to accommodate everyone.  

Photo by Kali Brown

Photo by Kali Brown

My original concept was to have a seated family style dinner amongst friends. However, my friend had a huge 10 ft x 12 ft pergola that took up most of her backyard, so in order to get that seated dinner feel I had to make a temporary table that could fit all 20 of my friends on the pergola.  I'm pretty handy with building things on the spot so I went to my local hardware store and purchased two 8 ft x 4 ft pieces of plywood and some cinder blocks to make a low seated T-shaped table.  I cut them down a bit and then added 2x4 studs to the sides of the plywood to keep the table from warping.  I then stained the table a dark walnut because I thought it would make the table settings pop more.  I also purchased a few canvas drop cloths to place on the floor of the pergola and a bunch of $2 pillows and a few small rugs from IKEA for everyone to sit on.  I'm telling you guys the hardware store is my best friend.  The diy table, flooring, and pillows in total were just shy of a $100. 

Ambiance. For the table setting, I got these really cool sturdy plastic plates that give the look of white china.  I paid about $16 for a pack of 50 dinner/salad plates from Costco and purchased the plastic cutlery that looked like silverware from Target for $5.  Cups and napkins were purchased from the local dollar store.  You're getting the pattern here, right?  There are ways to look fancy without paying a lot of money.  The centerpieces where faux hydrangeas from Michael's, I put them in white painted clay pots. I didn't really come out of pocket for those because I already had them in my home. My friend Cory who also has  a background in decorating and interior design brought the glass whirlies and candles to add nice accent lighting for when the sun went down, he hung them from the top of the pergola.

KaliBrownBKGardenParty3
Photo courtesy of  Cory Spotswood

Photo courtesy of Cory Spotswood

Photo courtesy of   Taneda Ashaolu

Photo courtesy of Taneda Ashaolu

Photo courtesy of  Cory Spotswood

Photo courtesy of Cory Spotswood

Now my favorite added touch was the place cards that I made and printed myself.  Once everyone was seated and it was time to give the sentimental thank you for coming speech, I instead told everyone to turn over their place cards. On the back of each card was a personal hand-written note to each individual telling them what they meant to me and how much I appreciated their friendship. (WINNING).

KaliBrownBKGardenParty7
Photo courtesy of  Wendy Correa

Photo courtesy of Wendy Correa

I asked that all my guest wear white or cream light colors. My dress also white was adorned with flowers.  I made it myself with 2 yards of $5 white fabric and some artificial flowers from Michael's, but I'll do a whole separate blog about that.  

KaliBrownBKGardenParty9

Menu. I didn't really feel like cooking so I had several friends who can throw down in the kitchen prepare a few things for me and honestly the amount of money I would have spent on groceries where better spent paying my friends for the ingredients needed for their delectable dishes. 

Photo courtesy of  Joi Addison

Photo courtesy of Joi Addison

Photo courtesy of  Wendy Correa

Photo courtesy of Wendy Correa

The menu consisted of grilled lemon pepper chicken (with a little sunshine and magic) and the best mac & cheese I have ever had in my life. I also had turkey meatballs, salmon cakes, curried potato salad and a traditional salad. The food was so good I didn't even have a chance to photograph it before it was all gone. For dessert, my friend Nekia of Feed Me Seymore made homemade banana pudding (my favorite) and mini sweet potato cheesecake. We also had the tastiest spiked ginger lemonade cocktail, with lots and lots of vodka.

Photo courtesy of Wendy Correa

Photo courtesy of Wendy Correa

KaliBrownBKGardenParty13

My background is in photography, production and event management so I really wanted to add those elements to the party. I had a seamless backdrop set up in the corner where I personally took portraits of all my friends.  This was fun because everyone loves a photo booth. I also had a few props that I'd made from past Halloween costumes for them to add in their portraits.

As the sun went down the candles were lit, the drinks still flowing and the conversations continued.  The party was a great success and one for the books to remember.  Overall it was an amazing DIY garden party with family, friends and loved one. 

KaliBrownBKGardenParty16
KaliBrownBKGardenParty14

  

KaliBrownBKGardenParty15
KaliBrownBKGardenParty16

Fairy Tale Fashion

Kali Abdullah

Fairy Tale Fashion Entrance

I finally had an opportunity to stop by my alma mater FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and take a glimpse at the Fairy Tale Fashion exhibit at their museum. I LOVE COSTUMES particularly those in correlation with fairy tales. Television shows like Once Upon A Time or movies such as Snow White and the Huntsman will always get a front row viewing from me because I am in awe at the craftsmanship and skill that is put into these wardrobes.  It is this fascination that turns me into a mad scientist around Halloween because I have to always top my much-involved costume from the year before (but we will get more into that closer to Halloween). Anyway I think you get my point, I love a good costume and this exhibit was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

The Little Mermaid, Jean Louis Sabaji sea foam evening gown.

The Little Mermaid, Jean Louis Sabaji sea foam evening gown.

Curated by Colleen Hill, Fairy Tale Fashion is a unique and imaginative exhibition that examines fairy tales through the lens of high fashion. The costumes were selected for its direct reference to clothing or its mention of important recurring motifs from 15 tales by prominent writers such as Charles Perrault, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Lewis Carroll.

(l to r) Snow White, Judith Leiber apple minaudier; Charlotte Olympia book clutch bag

(l to r) Snow White, Judith Leiber apple minaudier; Charlotte Olympia book clutch bag

This exhibition features more than 80 objects placed within dramatic, fantasy-like settings designed by architect Kim Ackert. Since fairy tales are not often set in a specific time period, Fairy Tale Fashion includes garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. There is a particular emphasis on extraordinary 21st-century fashions by designers such as Thom Browne, Dolce and Gabbana, Tom Ford, Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Prada, Rodarte, and Walter Van Beirendonck, among others.

I photographed my favorite pieces, sorry for the quality of the images I forgot my camera and had to resort to the cell phone and it was a pretty dark room. There's no need to go into detail about the costumes everything was awesome and I think the pictures speak for themselves. 

Little Red Riding Hood, Comme des Garcons (Rei Kawakubo) hooded ensemble

Little Red Riding Hood, Comme des Garcons (Rei Kawakubo) hooded ensemble

(l to r) Sleeping Beauty, Marchesa evening gown; Zuhair Murad haute couture gown

(l to r) Sleeping Beauty, Marchesa evening gown; Zuhair Murad haute couture gown

(l to r) Bibhu Mohapatra white evening gown; Zandra Rhodes gold dress

(l to r) Bibhu Mohapatra white evening gown; Zandra Rhodes gold dress

(l to r) The Queen of Hearts, Hideki Seo; The Bear Prince, Thom Browne

(l to r) The Queen of Hearts, Hideki Seo; The Bear Prince, Thom Browne

Sleeping Beauty's Court, Dolce and Gabbana

Sleeping Beauty's Court, Dolce and Gabbana

(l to r) The Snow Queen, J. Mendel hooded cape and evening dress;  Tom Ford mirrored dress

(l to r) The Snow Queen, J. Mendel hooded cape and evening dress;  Tom Ford mirrored dress

If you are in New York City definitely check out the show in person.  The exhibit is up until April 16th at The Museum at FIT on 7th Ave and 27th Street.

First Monday In May, Fashion's Biggest Night

Kali Abdullah

Magnolia Pictures

Magnolia Pictures

When I saw the trailer for this film "The First Monday in May" yesterday I got really excited. I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual costume exhibition. Since moving to New York, I think I've gone every year (my favorite show was Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty show).  However before the exhibit even opens to the public the big extravaganza is the Met Ball, where you have an opportunity to see major celebrities walk the red carpet in themed couture gowns and suits.  As André Leon Tally says "The Met Ball is the super bowl of fashion events".  So when it was announced yesterday that this film about the biggest night in fashion was premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival beginning in April I was ecstatic.

Magnolia Pictures

Magnolia Pictures

The film, directed by Andrew Rossi, documents the process, planning and what goes on behind the scenes leading up to the major event.  It was filmed during the prep for last year's exhibit "China: Trough the Looking Glass", which was a beautiful exhibition. The movie follows Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton and Vogue EIC Anna Wintour who is responsible for organizing the entire gala.  The film will be in theaters April 15th, I can't wait.  Here is the trailer below.


Double Bind

Kali Abdullah

Backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show (credit: Kali Brown)

Backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show (credit: Kali Brown)

This weekend (February 13, 2016) I had the opportunity to assist backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 Fashion show "Double Bind" presented by designer Kerby Jean-Raymond and styled by singer Erykah Badu. A double bind is an emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, and one message negates the other.  The show addressed a powerful message regarding the issue of depression and mental issues, which is often "swept under the rug" in black culture.

"I think the whole world is depressed," Badu told Huffington Post, but noted that she hasn't personally suffered from any type of clinical depression. "We mask it in different ways -- technology is one of the ways we've found as a group to mask it. Normal bouts of depression are very common -- for all of us -- and we don’t really discuss it and talk about it, we just kind of numb it some kind of way.”

Erykah Badu talking to Wale backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show (credit: Kali Brown)

Erykah Badu talking to Wale backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show (credit: Kali Brown)

The models were accessorized in police/chauffeur style hats, fitted with buttons reading names of various medications such Prozac, Xanax, and Lean; while walking to a choir composed of classically trained opera singers performing operatic renditions of popular hip-hop songs such as Fetty Wap’s “RGF Island” and Future’s “Trap N-----”

Backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show. (credit: Kali Brown)

Backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show. (credit: Kali Brown)

Backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show. (credit: Kali Brown)

Backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show. (credit: Kali Brown)

Backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show (credit: Kali Brown)

Backstage at the Pyer Moss AW16 show (credit: Kali Brown)

The show ended with the last model walking out holding a sign that read: “My demons won today. I’m sorry.” That was the last Facebook status shared by MarShawn M. McCarrel II, a Black Lives Matter activist and founder of Pursuing Our Dreams, who killed himself outside the Ohio Statehouse on Monday.

(credit: Pyer Moss)

(credit: Pyer Moss)

Black History Art: Malick Sidibé

Kali Abdullah

 

Malick Sidibé (born in 1936) is a Malian photographer noted for his black-and-white images chronicling the exuberant lives and pop culture, often of youth during the 1960s and 70s in Bamako.  His work documents a transitional moment as Mali gained its independence and transformed from a French colony steeped in tradition to a more modern independent country looking toward the West. He captured candid images in the streets, nightclubs, and sporting events and ran a formal portrait studio.

Malik Sidibé 1.jpg
Malik Portraits 2.jpg

Malick Sidibé is a generation behind Seydou Keïta and I’d like to think that he was influenced by Keïta’s photography.  Similar to Keïta, Sidibé was a studio photographer known for his black-and-white portraits, but what set him apart is the sense of youthful pride and fun captured in the photographs. He enjoyed using the studio as a way to pretend and create new lives for his subjects. Also people enjoyed coming to his studio because unlike the others he had electricity, which was a luxury at the time. When talking about his studio portraits he states in an interview:

“As a rule, when I was working in the studio, I did a lot of the positioning. As I have a background in drawing, I was able to set up certain positions in my portraits. I didn’t want my subjects to look like mummies. I would give them positions that brought something alive in them. When you look at my photos, you are seeing a photo that seems to move before your eyes. Those are the sort of poses I gave them. Not poses that were inert or lifeless. No. People who have life need to be positioned that way. It was quite different at my studio. It was like a place of make-believe. People would pretend to be riding motorbikes, racing against each other. It was not like that at the other studios. That’s why my studio was so popular, already by 1964, 1965. The studio was a lot more laid back.”

Malick-Sidib--Nuit-de-No--001.jpg

I was first introduced to Malick Sidibé in 1997 when Janet Jackson put out the “Got ‘til It’s Gone” song featuring Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell.  The music video, directed by Mark Romanek used African photography as a motif, creating what he called a "pre-Apartheid celebration based on that African photography."   The video wanders a massive house party and includes scenes inspired by the work of photographer Malick Sidibé. After falling in love with the video and being an aspiring photographer at the time I dove deep into finding out what Sidibé was all about. I love how Sidibé captured the essence of that time period and the sixties and seventies fashion.  It gave me a whole new perception of African culture, which before then I thought was very traditional and tribal.

Joni Mitchell, Janet Jackson & Mark Romanek discuss the Music Video "Got 'Till It's Gone" Includes music video by Janet Jackson w/Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell - "Got 'Til It's Gone" (Def Radio Mix). (C) Virgin Records. Directed by Mark Romanek. From the album "The Velvet Rope"

I also learned that Malick Sidibé was like the original club photographer in Bamako (days before social media).  In an interview with lensculture.com he states:

“At night, from midnight to 4 am or 6 am, I went from one party to another. I could go to four different parties. If there were only two, it was like having a rest. But if there were four, you couldn't miss any. If you were given four invitations, you had to go. You couldn't miss them.  I'd leave one place, I'd take 36 shots here, 36 shots there, and then 36 somewhere else, until the morning. Sometimes I would come back to parties where there had been a lot of people.  Afterwards I had to develop the photos and print them out. Sometimes, right up to 6 in the morning, I would be at the enlarger. For the 6 x 6 films there was a contact printer, but the 24 x 36 had to be enlarged.  You could work in the morning, but, by Tuesday, the photos had to be ready for display. The proofs were pinned up outside my studio. Lots of people would come and point themselves out. ‘Look at me there! I danced with so-and-so! Can you see me there?’  Even if they didn't buy the photo, they would show it to their friends. That was enough for them. They had danced with a certain girl, and that was enough. I wasn't happy, though. I wanted them to buy these photos!”

The true hustle of a photographer hahah.

Sidibé’s work has been exhibited extensively.  His photos are in numerous public and private collections all over the world and he’s received several honors and awards.  He has become a true inspiration in portrait photography for me especially in men's fashion and style.

In a 2010 interview with John Henley in The Guardian Sidibé explained, “To be a good photographer you need to have a talent to observe, and to know what you want. You have to choose the shapes and the movements that please you, that look beautiful. Equally, you need to be friendly, sympathetic. It's very important to be able to put people at their ease. It's a world, someone's face. When I capture it, I see the future of the world. I believe with my heart and soul in the power of the image, but you also have to be sociable. I'm lucky. It's in my nature."

Malick Sidibé presently resides in Mali.

Blanket Scarf (DIY)

Kali Abdullah

(courtesy of Cory)

(courtesy of Cory)

So I love a good scarf. It's on the top of my list of favorite accessories after bags and sunglasses. And it's not just a winter accessory either, it's something you can literally wear all year around. A popular trend right now are these oversize blanket scarves which are huge.  One of my very good friends Cory is scarfologist (yeah I made that up). No but seriously this man can take a sheet and wrap it around his neck and make it look like art. I'm am always intrigued and watch with fascination as he is wrapping them. I couldn't even tell you how many he actually owns. 

Cory's sculpted scarf.

Cory's sculpted scarf.

When we go shopping together I'm often the girl who looks at the price tag and say's "I can make that".  Well boys and girl here is the quickest and easiest DIY on the planet.  A blanket scarf is nothing but a really cool piece of fabric.  Before you go to the stores and drop a crazy amount of money on a scarf that someone else will most likely be wearing, hit up your local fabric store first.  A good blanket scarf is about a 1.5 to 2 yards of fabric.  You can sew the edges or leave them raw.  I often like to let mine fray a bit. 

This scarf above is 2 yards of 100% wool and only cost me $6 versus the $15-$35 you would spend in the store.

 

Supplies:

1.5 - 2 yards of fabric of choice

THAT'S IT! Easiest DIY yet!!