The Funk Boutique: Untouchable Forces in Fashion

The Funk Boutique: Untouchable Forces in Fashion

Bethann Hardison, Regina King, Andra Day
Bethann Hardison, Regina King, Andra Day
Photo: Sharif Hamza, Sonia Szóstak, Lelanie Foster

There are women who paved the way in fashion, and there are trailblazers—and then, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll encounter fashion’s “Oracle,” Bethann Hardison. A model, advocate, agent and activist, Hardison is a force of nature who has worked tirelessly to change the way the industry engages with race and ensure that Black talent can thrive, and has done it with the grace and poise of the icon that she is—and it’s safe to say that her moment is ongoing. As writer Joan Morgan recently sat down with the 2021 TGU 50 honoree in her Gramercy Park home, she began to unpack the legend that is Bethann for British Vogue.

Illustration for article titled The Funk Boutique: Untouchable Forces in Fashion
Photo: Sharif Hamza

Hardison has paved the way for so many Black women in the fashion industry, most notably, Naomi Campbell. Hardison explains how she headed straight into Campbell’s London home looking to represent the then 14-year-old Naomi. Her eponymous model and talent agency, Bethann Management, “was the first of its kind helmed by a black woman and unique in an industry that frequently turned a deaf ear to demands for diversity,” writes Morgan.

“I just saw such sincerity,” remembers Campbell. “This woman’s more than just a model agent. This is someone I want in my life forever. If I’m honest, Bethann has been a mother to everyone that she embraces. And as you know, she’s not a pushy mother. But she is going to tell it to you like it is. She doesn’t mince words.”

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2 / 5

Regina King is Unretouched and Untouchable

Regina King is Unretouched and Untouchable

Illustration for article titled The Funk Boutique: Untouchable Forces in Fashion
Photo: Sonia Szóstak for Vogue Greece

For the first time in the history of any Greek fashion magazine, Regina King’s May cover of Vogue Greece is untouched. This includes both editions of the cover—where she is shrouded in light and shadows and photographed in black and white—and all of the editorial photos within the magazine. Not a single method of retouching has graced these pages and I for one am living for it. The fact that a major publication is breaking down walls by having an incredibly influential Black woman raw and relatable is something women everywhere will resonate with.

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3 / 5

Andra and Angela Talk Billie and Tina

Andra and Angela Talk Billie and Tina

Balenciaga tank, boot, pant, and chain dress. Chopard jewelry.
Balenciaga tank, boot, pant, and chain dress. Chopard jewelry.
Photo: Lelanie Foster for The Cut

Effortlessly lounging by a poolside dripped in Balenciaga chains and Chopard jewelry, the lady of the hour Andra Day speaks with Angela Bassett for the cover story of The Cut’s April edition about how her life has changed since the release of The United States vs. Billie Holiday this past February. Day, who portrays Billie Holiday in the film discusses the strength of Black actresses and the work that goes into their roles with Bassett, who became a critically acclaimed actress after her portrayal of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Visually, Day stuns us with effortless poise and sensuality throughout the piece; she dances through the cover shoot shifting from slinky and tight Chanel bodysuits to a black feathered gown by Aliette, captured against a backdrop of a lush green garden scattered with tropical plants and flowers—a stark contrast to the backdrops she became accustomed to on set. Speaking with Bassett, she gives us a glimpse into moments of possibility and joy, as the veteran actress ask the new Oscar nominee, “what was it like for you, carrying a movie as No. 1 on the call sheet, darling?”

“Up until now, I would just drop in movies to sing a song and then I was done. So because I didn’t have a frame of reference, it was just pressure, period—the pressure to honor Billie, get it right, be present for my cast. It was a lot for me as one person to take on.”

Day’s performance of Holiday was so raw and real it’s hard to imagine the amount of work she had to put in to bring the legend to light.

“I cannot quit even if I’m scared!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t even watch the movie until a day before it came out on Hulu. I was so nervous and self-conscious. When I finally did, it was a range of emotions. I felt sadness. I felt anger. I felt fear. I felt joy. I felt peace. I felt discomfort. But more than anything, I fell in love with Lee and with my cast all over again. It made me want to watch it a hundred times just to relive those last days on set,” Day added.

Day’s nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Holiday marks the first time since 1973 where two Black women are up for the Best Actress award, with Viola Davis also nominated for her role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

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4 / 5

Christopher John Rogers Is on Target

Christopher John Rogers Is on Target

Whew, Christopher John Rogers has been doing the damn thing! From bright and vibrant collections to winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2019 to the 2020 CFDA Award for American Emerging Designer of the Year, Rogers is also a semifinalist for this year’s LVMH Prize and dressed Vice President Kamala Harris for her inauguration in 2021. Best of all, Rogers is also one of The Glow Up 50’s honorees for Fashion.

Got all that?

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. The stuff that we non-celebs can all get really excited about. Last week, Target announced an initiative to spend over 2 billion dollars on Black-owned businesses by the year 2025. So if your favorite store to aimlessly wander around in wasn’t already doing the most, it just got a whole lot better. In case you (like me) are averse to color and print and prefer black and neutral clothing, that adversity will be thrown out the window when you see the limited edition designs by Rogers that will be available at Target for—are you ready for this?—under $60.

The dresses are an explosion of color and different silhouettes and sizes, (oh my!), with prints ranging from gingham to floral to geometric. The drop date is TBD, but they hit the stores later this spring!

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5 / 5

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