Style is a statement of individuality, of identity, and of pride. Style is the great art of living manifest by our desire to beautify, to adorn, and to express a great inner being in tangible form. Style most readily finds itself expressed through fashion, hair, and makeup, though it is also evident in the very act of documenting one’s self. To have style is to give unto the world, to share it not only in the present tense but to capture it for future generations to enjoy.
In The Way We Wore: Black Style Then (Glitterati Incorporated), Michael McCollom chronicles African-Americans fashion from the 1940s through today. Featuring snapshots of over 150 black men and women’s most unforgettable “style moments”, The Way We Wore includes personal photographs taken from the author’s own family and circle of friends, a circle of 100 fashion insiders, outsiders, and beautiful people that includes Oprah Winfrey, James Baldwin, Carmen de Lavallade, Iman, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Tracy Reese, Patrick Kelly, Kimora Lee, Bobby Short, Bethann Hardison, Tookie Smith, and Portia LaBeija, among others.
The late, great Geoffrey Holder eloquently observes in the book’s foreword, “One should not enter a room and expect ambiance; one should enter a room and become it. Those that grace the pages of The Way We Wore took that concept and ran with it. Through the reader will witness the evolution—and, in some cases, the faux pas—of fashion and design, it is in the personal flair that an individual bestows to each outfit that creates the look…. Like a yearbook, you will come back to this work again and again. Though you may not know the people personally, you will recognize them. Michael has carefully chosen pictures and people that exhibit the historical framework of African-American influence on fashion, design, and culture.”
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