The Untold Story of Supreme Style Mary Wilson, a founding member of the rock trio, is ready for her fashion close-up.

Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, is not the only contestant on the new season of “Dancing With the Stars” with a special kind of celebrity wattage.

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, is also a competitor — at age 75. Viewers should get ready for liberal lashings of old-school dazzle and a sense of déjà vu. There is barely a black female pop act — Destiny’s Child, Janet Jackson, Janelle Monáe, Solange Knowles — (let alone a white one) that hasn’t taken a page from the Supremes look book.

“Millennials love our style,” Ms. Wilson said during a recent interview in London. For anyone wondering why this younger generation has joined older fans of the group’s look, a new book, “Supreme Glamour,” out just in time for the show, makes it all clear. The volume chronicles how the Supremes in their original incarnation (Diana Ross, Ms. Wilson and Florence Ballard) and in their later form as Diana Ross and the Supremes (or DRATS) became agents of cultural change in the 1960s, breaking the race ceiling by weaponizing fashion and defining the way many women — black women, white women — wanted to look. It has photographs of mannequins in 13 of their designs, plus dozens of concert snaps, promotional portraits and album and magazine covers. It is replete with seed pearls and mushroom pleats.

Before the Supremes, as Harold Kramer, the former curatorial director of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, notes in the book, no black act “had ever set out to utilize visual signifiers that made them palatable to a white audience.”

Ms. Wilson agreed. “Our glamour changed things,” she said. She was wearing all black — leggings and a stretch top with cold-shoulder cutouts — and one of her many wigs, a dead-straight chestnut number with full bangs. “We were role models,” she continued. “What we wore mattered.”

Her claim is that she and her partners knew exactly what they were doing from the beginning.

Ms. Wilson said that when she, Ms. Ross and Ms. Ballard were signed to Motown Records in 1961, they already had style. “They had a lot to work with,” she said. “As Maxime Powell, who ran the label’s famous finishing school, used to say: ‘You girls are diamonds in the rough. We are just here to polish you.’”

Ms. Wilson remembered that one of the earliest Supremes dresses, with a fitted bodice and stiff balloon skirt, “Diana and I sewed from Butterick patterns.”

When the Supremes broke in 1964, black singers like Lena Horne and Eartha Kitt performed in deliberately seductive evening dresses, but they were older, solo artists. Ms. Wilson and her colleagues were barely out of their teens and wielded the visual power of three, often in grown-up second-skin gowns freighted with beads and sequins.

DRATS maximized the look with increasingly baroque confections, some with improbable wings and trompe l’oeil jewelry, like paste crystals sewn into the neckline. Anyone who saw them live will recall the frisson produced by such young women in such sophisticated designs. Then, just when you thought you had them figured out, they turned up on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1969 in fantastical, swishing ponchos and pants seemingly made of dégradé tinsel.

For Whoopi Goldberg, writing in the foreword of Ms. Wilson’s book, the Supremes “were three of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. These were brown women as they had never, ever been seen before on national television.”

Ms. Goldberg said she was encouraged to think that “I too could be

well-spoken, tall, majestic, an emissary of black folks” who, like the Supremes, “came from the projects.”

Oprah Winfrey had similar memories, as recounted in “Diana Ross: A Biography” by J. Randy Taraborrelli. “You never saw anything like it in the 1960s — three women of color who were totally empowered, creative, imaginative,” she is quoted as saying. As a 10-year-old black girl “to see the Supremes and know that it was possible to be like them, that black people could do THAT …”

READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/18/style/mary-wilson-supreme-glamour.html?action=click&module=Features&pgtype=Homepage

23 Ways to Flex on the Beach This Summer

Today’s hype-fueled fashion landscape yields a mountain of fresh menswear drops every month. Which is why every issue of GQ now includes a guide to the best of the best new gear as it hits stores. June is all about the Triple S of summer: sunglasses (like the royally good pair by Cutler & Gross and Paul Smith), sandals (like Dries Van Noten’s crunchy-chic strappy versions), and swimsuits (scroll down for the seven flyest pairs money can buy). Come shop with us.


How Designers in Their 20s Are Making It

Today, the blueprint for starting and running a fashion brand isn’t black and white. These designers have built strong labels, and they haven’t hit 30. Here’s how they did it.

The fashion business has changed quickly over the past few years, and the blueprints set by designers like Ralph Lauren or Bobby Hundreds are, in many ways, no longer applicable. It’s difficult to say whether younger designers today have it easier or harder than their predecessors, but with stores closing, an oversaturation of product, and consumers’ continuous desire for something new, standing out and running a viable business takes more than a design degree and a lot of money.

To run a fashion line today you have to be an inventive designer, a nimble entrepreneur, and a savvy storyteller. Everyone in the list below is in their 20s, but each of their brands is at a different phase. There’s Esper, 25, from Come Back as a Flower, who only started his line a few months ago but has received early co-signs from Big Sean and ASAP Rocky and is figuring out how to work with retailers in an environmentally friendly way. Then there’s Michael Cherman, 28, who started a successful brand, ICNY, then lost control of it because of an investor. So he introduced Chinatown Market, a line that’s grown quickly and sits in retailers ranging from Urban Outfitters to Browns.

READ MORE: https://www.complex.com/style/

True Religion Is Making a Comeback With Help From a Menswear Influencer

True Religion used to be the denim brand of choice for rappers like Jim Jones—the jeans were a key part of his uniform during the “We Fly High (Ballin’)” era—and 2 Chainz, who released a mixtape in 2011 named T.R.U. REALigion. According to Forbes, between 2007 and 2012, True Religion’s revenues almost tripled, reaching $490 million in 2013. But then the line,  best known for its horseshoe pocket embroidery and white stitching, fell off.

They are hoping Allen Onyia, who co-founded UpscaleHype in 2008, can usher in a new chapter for the brand as artistic director for the men’s and women’s collections. Onyia, who is based in Houston, has no formal design experience, but he’s spent the last decade identifying what celebrities and athletes like LeBron James, ASAP Rocky, and Pharrell Williams are wearing—and building relationships with them.

“I wasn’t necessarily looking for somebody who’s got technical design chops because I’ve got a whole design team here that has that,” said Chelsea Grayson, True Religion’s chief executive officer, who joined last November and was previously the CEO at American Apparel. “For me, it was about looking at the person and saying, ‘How does this person live every day authentically? How is this person dressing themselves?’ Because if you’re not dressing yourself in the way that I want to dress my customer, how can you possibly relate to my customer organically?”

Best New Music This Week: YG, Blueface, Young Nudy, and More

Between the NBA playoffs and the final season of Game of Thrones, we’ve had plenty of entertainment options lately. But we can always find time for new music, too. This week’s album release schedule was relatively light (outside of PnB Rock’s TrapStar Turnt PopStar and Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride), leaving plenty of room for artists to drop singles and begin larger rollout campaigns. After initially delaying his next album due to the death of close friend and collaborator Nipsey Hussle, YG unveiled his Tyga and Jon Z-assisted single “Go Loko” on Friday. Meanwhile, Tyler, the Creator has been sharing new music snippets on social media, adding credibility to those rumors that his next album will arrive by July. Looks like it’ll be a busy summer. Until then, these are the best songs of the week.

Buried under the lede of all the 21 Savage vs ICE fuckery was the detail that his cohort Young Nudy got popped alongside him. Free the slimeball! Thankfully Nudy is out, and he isn’t wasting any time flooding the game with what we’ve been missing. Under delightfully spooky production from Pi’erre Bourne, Nudy slurs his way through an absolute banger, before Uzi comes in and unleashes his fully-loaded retirement clip. Can’t wait to see what the slimes do next. —Frazier Tharpe

READ MORE: https://www.complex.com/music/best-new-music-this-week-yg-blueface-young-nudy