7 times a celebrity has made a social statement with their style – Modern Diplomacy

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Celebrity fashion has always been talked about in the media. From Gaga’s iconic VMA meat dress to Jason Sudeikis’ statement suit about racism in football during the Ted Lasso premiere, celebrities know how to use the red carpet as a platform for political activism.
Fashion is about so much more than a label, style can tell a story in seconds, making it the perfect outlet for opinion leaders with popular platforms.
Look closely at seven key moments in fashion history when a celebrity outfit made the next day’s newspaper.
The 2010 VMAs will always go down in history thanks to Lady Gaga’s most iconic fashion statement, the meat dress. Known for her quirky style and her passion for using her platform for good, she’s not s stranger to an out-there outfit, but this one came with a social cause behind it.
In a protest against the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prevented military workers from being open about their sexuality, Gaga used the meat dress to speak up about sexuality not being a choice.
“If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights…pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones,” she told Ellen.
Less than a year later, the same policy was fully repealed in September 2011.
Second up is Laverne Cox, with her statement style choice at the 2019 Emmy awards. Carrying a rainbow clutch designed by Edie Parker, she sported the statement #TransIsBeautiful to draw attention to the discrimination of Trans people in the US Supreme Court.
Protesting against the discrimination of employment rights in the LGBTQ+ community under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Laverne Cox stated that “A lot of people aren’t talking about this case, and it has implications for the LGBT community. But it has implications for women and anyone who doesn’t conform to someone else’s idea of how you should be… A man or woman or neither,” in a recent interview with E!
Just a year later, the Supreme Court rectified the act, ruling that LGBTQ+ employees would be protected from work-based discrimination.
(Image Source: Instagram)
Ted Lasso actor Jason Sudeikis also made a statement during the premiere of the newest season of the hit football-focused show Ted Lasso.
Choosing to sport a black top with the names of three black England team players on it, the star started a conversation about racism in football after the three players showcased faced racial abuse on the back of the 2020 European cup.
“They caught a lot of guff online, the three young Black men,” Sudeikis explained “And our show is rooted in both, you know, despising things like bullying and racism or whatnot, but it also is rooted and takes place in London, in England. And so yeah, it was just our way to use this big fancy premiere to spotlight them and let them know we got their back.”
(Image Source: Instagram)
Who says political figures can’t make statements with their fashion too? At the 2021 Met Gala, American politician Alexandria Ocasio Cortez did just that with her “TAX THE RICH’ dress.
In an attempt to get the attention of NYC elected officials who would be attending the event, she took to the red carpet to share her options on the healthcare system and climate action.
“The medium is the message,” she said on Instagram. “The time is now for childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all. Tax the Rich.”
Fashion statements don’t always have to be political. American filmmaker Spike Lee gave us an example of that at the 2020 Oscars after walking the red carpet in a fashion tribute to the late Lakers player Kobe Bryant.
Laced in Lakers colours, purple and gold and embodied with the number 24, the emotional message paid tribute to the work Lee did with Kobe in his last documentary, Kobe Doin’ Work.
Lizzo is known for her extroverted personality and strong moral compass, so fans were not surprised to see her rocking her own fashion social statement at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards.
With just a few months left before the presidential election, Lizzo used her platform to encourage young fans to get out and vote.
Wearing a black Christian Siriano dress plastered with the word ‘VOTE’, she definitely stood out amongst the crowd.
Better still, after winning the award for Top Song Sales, she used her acceptance speech to further enhance her fashion statement.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about suppression and the voices that refused to be suppressed,” she said. “I wonder, would I be standing here right now if it weren’t for the big Black women who refused to have their voices suppressed? …Whether it’s through music, protest, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice, and refuse to be suppressed.”
Last but not least, international pop star Harry styles has also had the media talking with his newest fashion statements. After dressing up as Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ during his Love on Tour, Madison Square Garden performance, the singer came under fire for wearing feminine clothes.
Styles has since used his platform to remove gender stigmas from the fashion world. As the first man to appear on the cover of American Vogue in a dress, he uses his stage to campaign for LGBTQ+ rights, especially in the fashion industry.
“I’m not just sprinkling in sexual ambiguity to be interesting, I want things to look a certain way,” he told the Guardian. “Not because it makes me look gay, or it makes me look straight, or it makes me look bisexual, but because I think it looks cool.”
As long as fashion exists, it will be used to tell a story and make a statement. If you want to see yourself better, it’s time to take a look at what your own style says about you.
As celebrities make movements with their clothing choices, could it be time for you to make a style statement too?
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Stephen and Jared Silver, principals of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, are opening Silicon Valley’s most significant new luxury retail and dining destination in Fall of 2023. In a prime location near downtown Menlo Park, CA, the ultra-luxurious 35,000+ square foot development, known as Middle Plaza, marks a significant evolution for the region’s luxury experiences and is the first upscale development of its size and scope. The Middle Plaza development creates a centralized shopping and dining destination in the SF Bay Area, complete with world-class boutiques, Michelin-star award winning chefs, and spaces designed by acclaimed designers.
Stephen and Jared Silver and the late visionary real estate mogul John Arrillaga Sr., in partnership with Stanford University, set out to radically evolve the local community by creating a new cultural hub showcasing high-end shopping, dining, and art in the heart of world-leading technology companies and venture capital firms.
Although this $100+ million development is called “Middle Plaza”, the zip codes the new development serves are anything but middle-of-the-road, and consistently rank among the nation’s most affluent. According to NBC Bay Area KNTV Channel 11, almost half the USA’s 100 most expensive zip codes are located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“In 2018, John (Arrillaga), Jared, and I agreed that the Middle Plaza development should answer the local community’s need for a new gathering space and destination that remains locally grounded yet rivals the world’s great shopping cities,” says Stephen Silver, CEO and Chairman of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry.
“Middle Plaza marks the next chapter in the evolution and growth of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry,” says Jared Silver, “and, with the help of our brand and local project partners, we will create a new standard of experiential luxury retail and dining in the Bay Area.”
To help him manifest the vision, Jared Silver recruited iconic Bay Area-based interior architect Jon de la Cruz to design uniquely different experiences on each floor of the three-story development. The ground floor will host six to seven mono-brand boutiques: one dedicated to Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and others to partners including a new BVLGARI boutique concept, and a number of Switzerland’s most exotic watchmakers including MB&F, H. Moser & Cie, Roger Dubuis, and additional brands to be announced shortly.
The second floor will host a ~4,000+ square foot indoor-outdoor apartment-lounge styled showroom featuring a world- class selection of watch and jewelry partners including MESSIKA, Hermes, Urwerk, Greubel Forsey, Laurent Ferrier, Bovet, Ressence, Louis Erard, Arnold & Son, and many more. The third-floor penthouse level of this grand townhouse- style building will host Stephen Silver’s high jewelry salon and their new corporate headquarters.
Middle Plaza will also be home to multiple dining experiences, including restaurateur Ayesha Thapar’s newest culinary experience, called Eylan, a highly anticipated encore to her Michelin-acclaimed Cal-Indian fusion Palo Alto-based restaurant named Ettan.
Previous Mayor and current City Council Member of Menlo Park, Betsy Nash, states, “The City of Menlo Park is looking forward to the opening of Middle Plaza. Its new residents, offices, retailers such as Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, and Ayesha Tharpar’s new Indian restaurant, will be exciting additions and a new center of vitality in our town.”
Ayesha Thapar: “We are excited to bring our new restaurant concept to life in Middle Plaza, that promises to become a landmark destination for the community. El Camino is going through a complete revival with developments like this infusing a vibrance to Menlo Park with new and exciting dining and retail options.”
Jon de la Cruz: “The spaces where you shop and dine should be as luxurious as the goods you purchase and the food you eat. Working with the Silvers to create this environment brings a new aesthetic to shopping in Menlo Park. As a San Francisco native, we worked to make sure the identity of the Bay Area compliments this new upscale retail space, making it both luxurious and local.”
This once-in-a-lifetime project, set to open in fourth quarter of 2023, represents only the latest milestone in the growth of the family- owned company, helmed by Stephen and Jared Silver. Stephen has been a driving force in the jewelry world for over 45 years, acquiring, selling, manufacturing, and trading in some of the rarest and most precious jewelry and gemstones. Jared Silver, President of the company, led the opening of its retail division in 2014 and quickly positioned Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry as one of the world’s leading retailers of high-end independent watches and fine jewelry.
Fashion industry advocacy group and career incubator Fashion Group International (FGI) has revealed its official 2023 Rising Star Awards finalists with a new slate of inclusive fashion, beauty, and related categories. The 27th annual ceremony – a ticketed, red carpet luncheon – is set to take place in New York City on May 8, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers.
“It is our honor to welcome the fashion industry to the FGI Rising Star Awards each year as we gather to celebrate some of the most promising new talents in the fashion, beauty, and business sectors,” said Maryanne Grisz, FGI President and CEO. “FGI has always sought to support the industry and our members, whether well-established or emerging talent. Over the years, past FGI Rising Star honorees have risen to become some of the leading voices in the business, and I cannot wait to cheer on our finalists in their next successes.”
2023 Finalists
Andrew Kwon, Andrew Kwon
Bach Mai, Bach Mai
Kate Barton, Kate Barton 
Terry Singh, Terry Singh
Manuel Tiscareño, Tiscareno 
Autumn Adeigbo, Autumn Adeigbo
Stephen Mikhail, Atelier Cillian
Kelsey and Cassidy Tucker, Deviate
Marrisa Wilson, Marrisa Wilson New York
Alex and Michael Toccin, Toccin
Marusya Tamboura and Burkindy, Jahnkoy
Nicholas Raefski, Nicholas Raefski
Joseph DeAcetis, Potro
Teddy von Ranson, Teddy von Ranson
Beauty Entrepreneur
Stephanie Miklosvary, Lucky Chick
Michael and Diana Wilson, Saints & Sinners Haircare
Raquel Riley Thomas, Raquel Riley Thomas Beauty
Accessories – Hard and Soft Goods Categories
Celia Torvisco, Celia Torvisco
Chris Donovan, Chris Donovan Footwear
Jennifer Rose Smail, Cuddigan Leather
Megan Key Campos & Nick Lucio, Oncept
Rowell Concepcion, Binata Millinery
Metri Holliday,Metri Holliday LLC
Lei Li / Yiren Zhou, Monsecret New York
Fine Jewelry
Hakan Orrling, Arild 
Burkindy, Burkindy
Ritika Ravi, Ivar Jewelry
Maika Rivera Tanpoco and Melizza Jaune Tanpoco, Jaune Pearls
Collab Name: Jared Jewelers x NBA Cleveland Cavaliers “Junkyard Dog Chain”
Dan Hines, Marketing Director, Jared
Collab Name: Wolverine 1000 Mile x Old Rip Van Winkle
Scott Schoessel, VP, Global Marketing – Wolverine, Bates & Hytest, Wolverine Worldwide
Collab Name: AMER_ICAN and various designers
Vesna Cremona, Founder, AMER_ICAN
FGI Special Awards for 2023
The Hilldun Business Innovation Award
Recognizing Marcelo Guimarães and Jordana Guimarães, Fashinnovation
FGI Rising Star Entrepreneur of the Year
Recognizing Kimberly Carney, The Wires
The annual awards event, now in its 27th year, is a vital extension of FGI’s ongoing mission to connect and support the global fashion diaspora with vital career resources and connections for long term success. In many cases, the competition offers first time brand exposure for finalists. In order to be nominated, participants must not have been in business longer than six years. Past Rising Star Awards winners have gone on to great acclaim and success, including Jason Wu, Tory Burch, Joseph Altuzarra, Phillip Lim, Brandon Maxwell, Thom Brown, Bond No. 9, Warby Parker, Dylan Lauren of Dylan’s Candy Bar, and Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman of Rent the Runway, to name a few.
Leading up to the event, FGI will fete the finalists at a pre-awards party on April 4 at Sartoria Studio made-to-measure haberdashery in Soho, located at 65-69 West Houston Street in New York.
2023 FGI Rising Star Awards Sponsors include Hilldun Corporation
Confirmed RSVP required for event entry and on-site coverage.
When: May 8, 2023, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: The Lighthouse, Pier Sixty-One on the Hudson
Press RSVP: [email protected]
Founded in 1928 by a group of seventeen women leaders, with original charters including Helena Rubenstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Edith Head, and other renowned fashion icons, Fashion Group International (FGI) was established as an industry forum for career advancement. Today, the non-profit organization remains dedicated to connecting and supporting fashion professionals at every level, from startups to seasoned professionals. By providing access, education, and connection, FGI seeks to spark creativity, fuel innovation, and advance the business of fashion.
FGI maintains a headquarters in New York City, chapters in numerous regions worldwide, and a roster of over 5,000 active members in fashion and related design sectors including apparel, accessories, beauty, retail, and lifestyle. Vital member benefits offered to FGI members include ongoing professional development opportunities, forums for discussion and networking, market insights, mentorship opportunities with industry leaders, business directories and resources, and high-profile event platforms for professional recognition.
The Fashion Group Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Fashion Group International and is dedicated to nurturing the fashion talent of tomorrow through education, scholarships, internships, and career counseling services. The FGI Foundation also promotes charitable partnerships and impactful public service initiatives.
Non-profit organization and fashion career incubator, Fashion Group International, has released its semi-annual FGI COMMUNIQUÉ report following the end of the New York Fashion Week. FGI taps key industry experts to chronicle the latest trends from New York’s Fall / Winter 2023 runway shows, connecting the dots with a look at overarching themes and influences. Sponsored by Hilldun Corporation, the FGI COMMUNIQUÉ serves as an extension of FGI’s legacy established in 1936 – to serve as an indispensable industry resource for the fashion industry and related sectors.
“With excitement and creativity in the air, Fashion Group International is delighted to present our semi-annual FGI Communiqué Report, detailing key New York fashion week highlights of the fall 2023 collections,” says Maryanne Grisz, FGI President and CEO. “The FGI COMMUNIQUÉ is required reading for anyone seeking expert insight into next season’s offerings – from recurring influences and themes spotted on big-name runways to up-and-coming designers poised to make their mark on the industry.”
FGI COMMUNIQUÉ curators for Fall-Winter 2023 are Sharon Graubard, Founder and Creative Director of MintModa online trend service, and Nicole Fischelis, Fashion/Art/Forecasting consultant and FGI board member; both create the daily Fashion Report during NYFW as well as the Global presentation. Gary Wassner, Hilldun Corporation CEO, authors the feature, ONES TO WATCH.
The Fall / Winter 2023 Fashion Group International COMMUNIQUÉ includes day-by-day thematic highlights from established brands and up-and-coming designers:
Dopamine dressing — clothes that make you feel good — kicked off NYFW with joyful looks that combine handwork with brilliant color. Jahnkoy put an emphasis on craftsmanship and cultural heritage for textural pieces with a sporty, streetwear edge.
Emerging designer Bulan layered up super-dimensional knits that managed to be both avant-garde and wearable at once. All Beneath Heaven’s gender-neutral separates were enlivened with crafty embroideries and hand-painted prints that express designer Jimmy Alexander’s interest in the metaphysical for a collection that brimmed with joy-inducing imagery.
Just looking at these minimalist shapes in serene neutrals brings on a sense of order and calm, a welcome relief from all the free-wheeling self-expression and super-dimensional crafts on runways these days. Michael Kors delved into the feminist icons of the 70s for his Michael Kors Collection, but here the era’s bellbottoms and miniskirts were pared down and purified to their very essence.
Korean designer Son Jung Wan referenced the 90s along with futuristic shapes to come up with a funnel-neck cape-sleeved crop-top ensemble. Brandon Maxwell refined his own peplum looks from earlier collections, as in a shapely strapless top over camel pants. Tory Burch continued her journey into the roots of American sportswear this season; her hourglass top over tweedy trousers was the perfect melding of midcentury allure with modern practicality.
Folkloric costumes offer endless inspiration, as designers celebrate (rather than appropriate) worldwide culture. Burkindy and Marusya Tamboura of Jahnkoy believe that “craft is an ultimate tool towards the healing of mankind”; that idea is captured in desirable pieces that draw from vintage as well as cultural heritage. Carolina Herrera’s Wes Gordon was inspired by the 19th Century Viennese court for a richly embroidered border.
Terry Singh used an Italian red-and-black jacquard for a precisely cut cropped jacket. Monica Paolini and Sean Monahan of Sea explored Bavarian themes as well as Americana for boldly patterned statement pieces. Ulla Johnson, who has long incorporated global handicrafts into her aesthetic, showed a wonderfully dimensional crochet sweater over a trapunto-appliquéd skirt.
Elevated cargo looks are having a moment. Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada used a blurred plaid for slouchy cargos that got even more dimension from a box-pleated peplum detail. Rag & Bone polished up the look by topping cargos with a tailored blazer.
Cross-Eyed Moose offered outdoorsy ensembles that stayed true to cargo’s utilitarian roots, while Preston Heron used a multi-pocket approach for a distressed leather set. Marc Jacobs paid homage to the recently departed Vivienne Westwood with romantic Old Masters-inspired silhouettes, here made modern in a crystal-studded olive drab detailed with oversized cargo pockets.
Lingerie looks come out from under with opulent fabric and plenty of lace. Phillip Lim showed Chantilly-trimmed pajama pants topped with a draped tunic. Dion Lee showed off his knack for revealing and concealing with a paneled shocking pink slip-dress, detailed with a triangular cutout.
Rodarte showed a sweep of emerald green for a lace-inset maxi dress, and Anna Sui used a pale matcha tone for a lustrous cami and slip set. Piotrek Panszczyk of Area was inspired by the beauty of fruits, as in a melon-pink underwire bra matched to a curvilinear miniskirt, both studded with faceted crystals.
Silvery finishes reign as the metal of choice. LaQuan Smith, maintaining his commitment to high glamour, cut a crinkled metallic leather into a bra-plus-column-skirt ensemble. Anna Sui used a slightly greenish silver for her 60s-inspired mini-trench, worn over sparkly tights and silver cowboy boots.
Bibhu Mohapatra’s sterling tweed pantsuit was shown with a pearly organza bow blouse, perfect for special occasion dressing, and classic shearling outerwear at Coach got a fresh edge when awash in silver. A standout of the season so far was Proenza Schouler’scrinkled silver-plated sheath that was styled over a raw-edged underskirt, creating a look that managed to be opulent and subtle at once.
The newest denim looks have a quirky, individualistic charm that comes from artisanal treatments and appealing new shapes. Derek Lam used the American Art and Crafts movement as a starting point for his Derek Lam 10 Crosby line, resulting in denim pieces that were both practical and slightly novel, as in a shearling-trimmed vest over cropped jeans.
Marc Jacobs used a luxe mix of denim and velvet for a patchwork coat, and Sally Lapointe showed the must-have wide-leg silhouette, ornamented with shredded rips and topped with a fur-trimmed maxicoat. Heron Preston was inspired by the cool kids on the streets of New York for his bleached denim corset top over mended 5-pocket jeans. Rag & Bone founder Marcus Wainwright was also inspired by real New Yorkers for his chore jacket and pencil skirt ensemble; the shapes are simple, but the mottled bleach treatment makes it special.
Like jeans and trench coats, motorcycle jackets can be infinitely reinvented while still retaining their iconic quality. For next fall, Jonathan Simkhai played with both deconstruction and toughness, resulting in a biker jacket split into two to become a cropped jacket and matching miniskirt.
Rag & Bone went lean and mean, while Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler added contrast as well as luxury to their version, with a flurry of snow-white fur trim. Omar Salam of Sukeina offered an elegantly tailored pantsuit embellished with gold zips for a look that was more boardroom than biker.
The maxi-coat, that 1970s favorite, is back with a vengeance for next fall. Michael Kors showed a covetable camel version, matched to a slim poor-boy sweater, hot pants, and knee-high boots. Christian Cowan’s muse this season was Judy Garland; he did the maxi-over-mini proportion as well, but his coat and short-shorts were jazzed-up with jet beads and layered over a wide-collared white maxi shirt.
Joseph Altuzarra went long-over-long with a spectacularly dyed topper over a matching ankle-skimming silk column. Proenza Schouler’s double-breasted version was cut from nubby wool in a toasty brown, and ensembled with matching sweater and chocolate leather pants. Young-Eun Lee of  FromWhere did a soft ivory coat worn over a sweet pajama pant-and-bralette set (bras are an ongoing must-have). And Catherine Holstein of Khaite offered a luxe sweep of fur in an intense shade of bottle green.
Leather loses its rugged outerwear demeanor and becomes sensuous and supple for next fall. Brandon Maxwell tailored burnished skins into a plunge-neck maxi-dress, while Proenza Schouler gathered scarlet leather into an easy strapless number. Hanako Maeda of Adeam went for a soft-punk look with a harnessed camel leather frock over a matching bandeau and flare-leg “chaps”.
Coach’s Stuart Vevers was true to the house’s leather-craft history with body-skimming separates in a 70s-inflected patchwork. Bibhu Mohapatra used vegan leather for a midi-skirt that was emblazoned with crystal-studded embroidery, and Ulla Johnson enlivened an oversized leather shirt-jacket with big hand-painted flowers.
Gary Wassner’s “Ones to Watch” feature – highlighting ascendent fashion designers and brands –  includes RENTRAYAGE, Bach Mai, Custo Barcelona, Puppets and Puppets, DUR DOUX, and Victor De Souza.
“It is critical to the continued development of American designers to support and acknowledge their creativity and innovation,” says Gary Wassner, Hilldun CEO. “Every season I am awed by the emergence of such incredible new talent during NYFW.”
Discover More New York Fashion Week Insights at fgi.org.
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