Wednesday, February 15, 2017

From NYFW Fall 2017 Day 6: Adrienne Landau Opens Utopian LANDAULAND and Everybody Is Welcome ... THE MUMMY Is Disentombed and Dressed to Kill at The Blonds ... Modesty Does Not Have to Be Dowdy If You Don Anniesa Hasibuan ... We like it When Miguel Vieira Puckers ... Is Mimi Prober Dressing the Stevie Nicks of the World?

From the Fall 2017 Adrienne Landau collection. Photos by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

Some of the players on Day 6: Jil Sander, Josie Natori, Tory Burch, Badgley Mischika, Claudia Li, Naeem Khan, ICB, Barbara Tfank, alice + olivia, Rodarte, Adrienne Landau, Sally LaPointe, Dennis Basso, Gabriela Hearst, Moncler, Coach, Carmen Marc Valvo, threeASFOUR, Mansur Gavriel, Anniesa Hasibuan, Brandon Maxwell, Reem Acra, Miguel Vieira, Monique Lhuillier, Mimi Prober, Narciso Rodriguez, Vaquera, CAAFD Emerging Designers Showcase, The Blonds

BY VW

YOU
can wave at the bride and groom leaving their Wedding on a horse and admire the lovely Mom & children. Next, head to the beach and join the Sun Bathers.

These are a few of the adventures on offer at LANDAULAND. Pray, tell, what is LANDAULAND, you ask?

It is none other than the utopia created for Adrienne Landau by true republican and event planner extraordinaire Susanne Bartsch, to celebrate the brand's 40th anniversary. No doubt, this spectacle will go down as the most clever presentation of New York Fashion Week: The Shows Fall 2017.

"At this point in time, we all need to rise up and continue embracing EQUALITY & INCLUSION despite all the social constructs," the designer says in the run of show. "...For fall/winter 2017, ADRIENNE LANDAU persists in celebrating and supporting LOVE, UNITY FREEDOM of expression!"

What an ingenious way to show one's collection of colorful and colorful fur (stoles, vests, jackets, coats) and a few sweatpants! Walk into the darkened, cavernous room and see the aforesaid newlyweds. To the left, along the wall encased in glass are fierce-looking Warriors of various tribes got up in fur, accessorized by exquisite, massive, headdresses. Go right toward the phone booth where a Graffiti Artist, in denim utility vest, is plying his trade.

Across the way along the other wall, the hot beach bodies are lying amongst ginormous Chiquita banana floats getting their tan on. Keep wondering the space and encounter the Working Girls and Club kids, all dressed appropriately for their respective activities.

Half the fun of being at LANDAULAND is figuring out who are the amusements and who are the ones here to be amused. All of the models (and some of the guests) appear to be drag queens, including Amanda LePore and Violet Chachki, whom the designer believes may be perceived as "strange" or "different." Choosing this demographic to model her latest collection could be economically risky, leading some to presume that Adrienne Landau is not for them. They would be wrong.

"I don't design for a particular woman - I design for everyone," AL says. Among celeb clients: Steven Tyler, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Taraji P. Henson. 

Equality and inclusion ... Do add LANDAULAND to your travel itinerary.

On deck today, DAY 7: J. Mendel, Nebark, Fashion Hong Kong, Michael Kors, Vivienne Tam, LaQuan Smith, Delpozo, Kimora Lee Simmons, Brooks Brothers, Bibhu Mohapatra, Derek Lam. Anna Sui, Marchesa, Assembly New York, Rookie USA, Thom Browne, Ralph Lauren, Irina VitJaz

Follow us on YouTube at WRIGHT WREPORT, Twitter at #WrightWreport and on Instagram at #thewrightwreport for additional coverage of New York Fashion Week. Visit the following websites to learn more about NYFW, including show information, installations, videos and livestreaming:

New York Fashion Week: The Shows
http://www.fashionweek.com/

Style Fashion Week
http://www.style360fashionweek.com/newyork

Art Hearts Fashion
http://www.artheartsfashion.com/

CAAFD
http://www.caafd.org/


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

From NYFW Fall 2017 DAY 5: Zang Toi Is Feeling Royally Blue … Nina Tiari Has Every Reason to Be Elated

From the Zang Toi. Photos from Getty Images.

Some of the players on Day 5: The Row, Carolina Herrera, Rosie Assoulin, Zimmerman, Lela Rose, Alice & Olivia, Kathy Xiomara, Proenza Schouler, Yeohlee, Zadig & Voltaire, Elley Orem, Miranda Kurtishi, Wicked Things Boutique, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Libertine, Mara Hoffman, Frame Denim, Veronica Beard, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Oscar de la Renta, Official Made in Italy x CAAFD Cocktail Presentation, Fleur Kelinza, Vavci, Resty Lagare, Zac Posen, Zang Toi, Chi Zhang, Eckhaus Latta, Hale Bob, Elie Madi, Rocky Gathercole, Philipp Plein

BY VW

AS
each ensemble glides by, I am affixing my keyword to it: elegant.

The Zang Toi Fall 2017 on the runway on Day 5 of New York Fashion Week: The Shows is nothing less. Nor is it nothing more. A colleague laments that he has not “enjoyed Zang in years.”

I am not that distressed, but this collection, titled “Brilliant Royal Blue,” does not plague me with goosebumps. Many of the elements for a great collection are here: fine fabrics, superior cuts, pleasing silhouettes ...

What is missing, however, is that wow factor that the designer usually produces ... More shortly; enjoy the photos for now.

ZANG TOI





NINA TIARI


From the Nina Tiari Fall 2017 Collection. Photos by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

OUT with the blue; in with the new.

“They gave us a quote and I told them that I couldn’t afford that,” Nina Tiari discloses when this reporter surmises that she must have some serious backers to make possible a debut at the Fall 2017 rendition of New York Fashion Week: The Shows.

Not an offshoot Week. Not an emerging label showing in the hinterlands during fashion week. But showing at one of the official venues – Skylight Clarkson.

“We did everything,” down to arranging for food, she recalls during our chat at her afterparty at The Bowery Hotel. “I wasn’t even nervous – everything was done – I was triple-checking things.”

Not at all a bad way to start. Watching NT's very first collection, inspired by the modern woman, I am impressed with the construction and her tweaks to familiar garments, making them seem fresh and new … More shortly; enjoy the photos for now.

On deck today, DAY 6: Jil Sander, Josie Natori, Tory Burch, Badgley Mischika, Claudia Li, Naeem Khan, ICB, Barbara Tfank, alice + olivia, Rodarte, Adrienne Landau, Sally LaPointe, Dennis Basso, Gabriela Hearst, Moncler, Coach, Carmen Marc Valvo, threeASFOUR, Mansur Gavriel, Anniesa Hasibuan, Brandon Maxwell, Reem Acra, Miguel Vieira, Monique Lhuillier, Mimi Prober, Narciso Rodriguez, Vaquera, CAAFD Emerging Designers Showcase, The Blonds

Follow us on YouTube at WRIGHT WREPORT, Twitter at #WrightWreport and on Instagram at #thewrightwreport for additional coverage of New York Fashion Week. Visit the following websites to learn more about NYFW, including show information, installations, videos and livestreaming:

New York Fashion Week: The Shows
http://www.fashionweek.com/

Style Fashion Week
http://www.style360fashionweek.com/newyork

Art Hearts Fashion
http://www.artheartsfashion.com/

CAAFD
http://www.caafd.org/

Monday, February 13, 2017

From NYFW Fall 2017 DAY 4: Basking in the Glorious Light with Custo Barcelona … Saku Espouses Some Concepts That Want More Contemplation … If Lujin Zhang Is The Future, It is Bright Indeed … Marcel Ostertag’s Woman Has Something to Say


Some of the players on Day 4: Victoria Beckham, Public School, Rosetta Getty,Tome, Elizabeth Kennedy, Chloe Gosselin, Hood By Air, Sies Marjan, Tracy Reese, Diane von Furstenberg, Beaufille, J. Crew, Sandy Liang, Lujin Zhang, Vivienne Hu, Leanne Marshall, Jenny Packham, Prabal Gurung, Gypsy Sport, Altuzarra,Custo Barcelona, Marcel Ostertag,Namilia, Anthony Rubio, Madeline Stuart, Ana Ono, Temraza, House of Byfield, Saku New York, Willfredo Gerardo, MonnaLisa, Wanda Beauchamp, Lulu Et Gigi, Emma Viedma, Rene & Immanuel Clothing, Vasilije Kovacev

BY VW

AFTER
a few seasons of dragging her feet, someone is now doing a happy dance, for Custo Barcelona is back and has turned the light way up for Fall 2017.

From the Fall 2017 Custo Barcelona collection. Photos by VW.

Meanwhile, emerging label Saku shows some promise (the flounces are adorable), but the collection is too elementary (for instance, bedazzle those pants a bit more) and lacks enough oomph (simple can also tend toward boring). Emerged out of Parsons School of Design a few months ago was Lujin Zhang. She knows her way around asymmetry, deconstruction and repurposing.

Elsewhere, Marcel Ostertag is among numerous designers this season at New York Fashion Week thinking about various protests movements spawned by recent shocking, troubling events. He has women on the move/march; they appear dressed appropriately for the occasion.

And that’s the way some of it was on Day 4 … More shortly; enjoy the photos for now.

CUSTO BARCELONA









SAKU



From the Saku Fall 2017 collection. Photos by VW.

MARCEL OSTERTAG





From the Marcel Ostertag Fall 2017 collection. Photos courtesy of Marcel Ostertag.

On deck today, DAY 5: The Row, Carolina Herrera, Rosie Assoulin, Zimmerman, Lela Rose, Alice & Olivia, Katty Xiomara, Proenza Schouler, Yeohlee, Zadig & Voltaire, Elley Orem, Miranda Kurtishi, Wicked Things Boutique, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Libertine, Mara Hoffman, Frame Denim, Veronica Beard, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Oscar de la Renta, Official Made in Italy x CAAFD Cocktail Presentation, Fleur Kelinza, Vavci, Resty Lagare, Zac Posen, Zang Toi, Chi Zhang, Eckhaus Latta, Nina Tiari, Hale Bob, Elie Madi, Rocky Gathercole, Philipp Plein

Follow us on YouTube at WRIGHT WREPORT, Twitter at @WrightWreport and on Instagram at @thewrightwreport for additional coverage of New York Fashion Week.

Visit the following websites to learn more about NYFW, including show information, installations, videos and livestreaming:

New York Fashion Week: The Shows
http://www.fashionweek.com/

Style Fashion Week
http://www.style360fashionweek.com/newyork

Art Hearts Fashion
http://www.artheartsfashion.com/


CAAFD
http://www.caafd.org/

Sunday, February 12, 2017

From NYFW Fall 2017 Day 3: Taking the Heat for Georgine, and Not Regretting It … Taoray Wang Suits Up in Some Unexpected Ways


Some of the players on Day 3: Georgine, Francesca Liberatore, Paul Andrew, Lacoste, Adam Lippes, Jill Stuart, Taoray Wang, Creatures of the Wind, Romeo Hunte, Ryan Roche, Yuna Yang, Tibi, Son Juan Wan, Dion Lee, Banana Republic, Christian Siriano, Johnathan Simkhai, A Detacher, Simon Miller, Area, Mac Duggal, Julianna Bass, Sheguang Hu, Alexander Wang, Laurence & Chico, Mason Sylvester

BY VW

I
am silently quoting Nelly:

It's getting hot in here, so hot, so take off all your clothes.

At Skylight Clarkson, where a number of Fall 2017 New York Fashion Week: The Shows are being staged, it is sweltering.

Alas, a thousand times alas, those responsible for temperature control did not take into account that all of the equipment necessary to make the warehouse operational would generate as much heat as that emanating from the hundreds of bodies also therein, therefore making it absolutely imperative to install air conditioning. Even though it is winter.

So everyone is overheated. I am especially so, squeezed in on a secondary front row of the Georgine show.

It's getting hot in here, so hot, so take off all your clothes.

From the Fall 2017 Georgine collection. Photo by VW.

I am not certain why this show is so crowded. Is it because designer Georgine Ratelband is inspired by famous hotels and the mythical hotels of song and film titles: The Ritz, The Bates Motel, Hotel California?

Perhaps, it is because the secret is out about the designer. That GR is quite the little craftsman. Or is it craftswoman. Craftsperson?

In any case, she can sew well or has the eye for detail to direct the seamstresses to so well. Yet, her craft goes deeper than that. She seems to possess an innate understanding of the characteristics of fabric.

This is dawning on me as I observe some dresses and skirts in what appears to be a lightweight silk or satin. Forgive me, I am unable to say which hotel they represent because I am too squashed in to consult the run of show (show program). Plus, I am trying to capture some decent images on my mobile phone.

What is apparent is that the designer understands that this particular fabric must be cut in a particular way to produce the undulating effect achieved when one is in transit. I should add that GR is not trying to reinvent the wheel; she merely gives it a fine polish.

That alone is worth one’s momentary discomfort.

TAORAY WANG

From the Taoray Fall 2017 collection. Photos from Getty Images.

DESIGNERS can't resist gender interplay: the idea of mixing and matching, comparing and contrasting, merging and marrying feminine and masculine shapes fabrics, etc.

This is the treatment, as it regards the suit's long history, that Taoray Wang designer Wang Tao recommends for her modern, professional woman. In this latest collection, the designer also further seals her reputation for craft and construction.

Meanwhile, she makes those aforesaid observations in expected ways. For instance, demure lace blouses are paired with rather bold-shouldered, assertive jackets.

Seamlessly, WT also takes that notion sideways a bit, creating winning silhouettes. More specifically, a manly burgundy jacket poured into an slightly undulating girlee black maxi skirt with a slit. An olive wrap dress that once upon a time was a trenchcoat is shortened, wrapped, bedazzled at the hem with asymmetry and firmly belted. A boatneck black lace top with panel down the front, simulating a tie included.

On deck today, Day 4: Victoria Beckham, Asia Fashion Collective, Public School, Rosetta Getty,Tome, Elizabeth Kennedy, Chloe Gosselin, Hood By Air, Sies Marjan, Tracy Reese, Diane von Furstenberg, Beaufille, J. Crew, Sandy Liang, Lujin Zhang, Vivienne Hu, Leanne Marshall, Jenny Packham, Prabal Gurung, Gypsy Sport, Altuzarra, Custo Barcelona, Marcel Ostertag, Namilia, Anthony Rubio, Madeline Stuart, Ana Ono, Temraza, House of Byfield, Saku New York, Willfredo Gerardo, MonnaLisa, Wanda Beauchamp, Lulu Et Gigi, Emma Viedma, Rene & Immanuel Clothing, Vasilije Kovacev

Follow us on YouTube at WRIGHT WREPORT, Twitter at @WrightWreport and on Instagram at @thewrightwreport for additional coverage of New York Fashion Week.

Visit the following websites to learn more about NYFW, including show information, installations, videos and livestreaming:

New York Fashion Week: The Shows
http://www.fashionweek.com/

Style Fashion Week
http://www.style360fashionweek.com/newyork

Art Hearts Fashion
http://www.artheartsfashion.com/

CAAFD
http://www.caafd.org/

Saturday, February 11, 2017

From NYFW Fall 2017 Day 2: Hakan Akkaya’s Black Series Is Wonderful, Marvelous, Beautiful! ... Taking It to the Streets and More Refined Locales on Tour With Concept Korea Designers ... Get-Ups Assume Shape-Shifting Forms at Telfar ... Raul Penaranda’s Dame Will Take You Out

From the Raul Penaranda Fall 2017 collection. Photo courtesy of Hakan Akkaya.

Some of the players on Day 2: Dan Liu, Calvin Klein Collection, Theatre Products, Oday Shakar, Lanyu, Kate Spade New York, Yigal Azrouel, Hakan Akkaya, Tanya Taylor, Hellessy, LRS New York, Ohlin/D, Milly, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Concept Korea, Cushnie et Ochs, Pamella Roland, Linder, Sachin & Babi, Chromat, Jason Wu, RTA, Vaishali S, Ellena De Luna, Dair by Odair, Club Monaco, Monse, Nicole Miller, Jeremy Scott, TELFAR

BY VW

TURKISH
designer Hakan Akkaya delivered a mesmerizing mediation on black in a collection called “Freedom!”

Elegant: Men’s sequin tunic under a dinner jacket.
Inspired: Men’s plunging off-the-shoulder jumpsuit, revealing jacket, shirt and tie
Arresting: Women’s blouse with bell-shaped pleated sleeves and bare back.

And on and on and on … More later

CONCEPT KOREA


THE three designers deliver everything from reimagined cocktail frocks to streetwear turned sideways.

TELFAR


DECONSTRUCTED streetwear turned any which way but loose; fur motifs.

RAUL PENARANDA


THESE dames are dressed to kill.

On deck today, Day 3: Georgine, Francesca Liberatore, Paul Andrew, Lacoste, Adam Lippes, Jill Stuart, Taoray Wang, Creatures of the Wind, Romeo Hunte, Ryan Roche, Yuna Yang, Tibi, Son Juan Wan, Dion Lee, Banana Republic, Christian Siriano, Johnathan Simkhai, A Detacher, Simon Miller, Area, Mac Duggal, Julianna Bass, Sheguang Hu, Alexander Wang, Laurence & Chico, Mason Sylvester

Follow us on YouTube at WRIGHT WREPORT, Twitter at @WrightWreport and on Instagram at @thewrightwreport for additional coverage of New York Fashion Week.

Visit the following websites to learn more about NYFW, including show information, installations, videos and livestreaming:

New York Fashion Week: The Shows
http://www.fashionweek.com/

Style Fashion Week
http://www.style360fashionweek.com/newyork

Art Hearts Fashion
http://www.artheartsfashion.com/

CAAFD
http://www.caafd.org/

Friday, February 10, 2017

From NYFW Fall 2017 Day 1: Snow Can’t Keep Down a Good Show … Looking Back: Nicholas K, Desigual and Tadashi Shoji; Looking Sraight Ahead With Zero Regrets, Michael Costello’s Vixen; All in One Day’s Work at Style Fashion Week – in a Garden

From the Nicholas K Fall 2017 Collection. Photos by VW.

Some of the players on Day 1: Nicholas K, BY. Bonnie Young, Erin Fetherston, Colovos, Cinq a Sept, Haus Alkire, Brock Collectin, Helen Yarmak, Tadashi Shoji, Malan Breton, Michael Ravel, Creatures of Comfort, Honee, Shalini Couture, Patricia Michaels, Commatted, David Tupaz, Mario de la Torre, Zoan Ash, Adrian Alicea, ADEAM, Noon by Noor, M the Movement, Ydamys Simo, Richard Hallmarq, Wangliling, Ulla Johnson, OAK, Adam Selman, Thakoon, Rag & Bone, La Perla, Eddie Eddie by Billy Tommy, Rich by Richie Rich

BY VW

IN
one respect, fashion is like theater: the show(s) must go on.

And they did, on Day 1 of New York Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2017. Various shows on the New York Fashion Week: The Shows roster as well as Style Fashion Week, one day this season, sent out emails, assuring one and all that the shows were going on, snow and travel difficulties, be damned.

It was a good start for those who ventured out.

NICHOLAS K



MY overall impression watching Nicholas K FW17 is that the whole is greater than the parts.

The Kunz siblings are the creative forces behind the label and have a love jones for layering. It is perhaps the strongest tool in their wheelhouse. This is particularly relevant in this latest collection, which through the prism of recent, troubling events, revisits the 90s and their "promise" of a united global village.

The most visible nod to 90s style is the series of sweaters and shirts wrapped around the waist. A most clever usage of this motif is in the form of built-in shirtsleeves at the waist of a couple of dresses, doing the job of belts. Quite an aesthetic victory.

A series of engaging maxi dresses – some off the shoulder – in various fabrics, also hints at the 90s, as do military-style jackets, which enjoyed a resurgence during that decade. Ditto for the massive hoop earring the models are rocking in one ear like the around the way girls back in the day. Red ensembles are remarkable for being conspicuous in a largely taupe/tan palette.

Meanwhile, layers abound: blouse/shirt, pants, jacket; shirt, dress/skirt jacket, etc. Like the Borg, rather formidable as a unit. Disconnect a silk taupe blouse from the whole, however and it is not so impactful.

DESIGUAL

From the Desigual Fall 2017 Collection. Photos by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

In a collection called EXTRAORDINARY, the Spanish label pays homage to a woman inhabiting subcultures of the 60s through 80s. Of course, a woman living and dressing outside of the box.

The brighter the color, the better. Prints (florals), bring them on, as many as you dare. And why not wear dark skirts and on the legs wear white tights overlaid with fishnet tights. Speaking of tights, they should be floral, too. A bonus if they resemble a piece of impressionist art. As for that little denim sleeveless dress, it wants a black lace top underneath and some bedazzling in the form of a floral pattern.

Here is a woman to admire and emulate.

TADASHI SHOJI



A woman who may join others raising their voices against some injustice or dancing the night away in some swanky nightclub. She will be turned out rather baroquely in fine brocade and shining, sparkling. And velvet. An exquisite creature.

MICHEAL COSTELLO



A devil sporting a huge ‘fro and got up in a killer white dress/gowns revealing much, concealing little. Those silver sequin numbers seemed grafted onto her. A showstopper, she doesn’t have a care in the world, least of all you, you, you and you.

On deck today, Day 2: Dan Liu, Calvin Klein Collection, Theatre Products, Oday Shakar, Lanyu, Kate Spade New York, Yigal Azrouel, Hakan Akkaya, Tanya Taylor, Hellessy, LRS New York, Ohlin/D, Milly, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Concept Korea, Cushnie et Ochs, Pamella Roland, Linder, Sachin & Babi, Chromat, Jason Wu, RTA, Vaishali S, Ellena De Luna, Dair by Odair, Club Monaco, Monse, Nicole Miller, Jeremy Scott, TELFAR,

Follow us on YouTube at WRIGHT WREPORT, Twitter at @WrightWreport and on Instagram at @thewrightwreport for additional coverage of New York Fashion Week.

Visit the following websites to learn more about NYFW, including show information, installations, videos and livestreaming:

New York Fashion Week: The Shows
http://www.fashionweek.com/;

Style Fashion Week
http://www.style360fashionweek.com/newyork;

Art Hearts Fashion
http://www.artheartsfashion.com/;

CAAFD
http://www.caafd.org/

Friday, January 13, 2017

Watching ‘Hidden Figures’ (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe), and Recalling Life Lessons From One’s Own Past

MASTER MINDS: Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) have a reason to smile – they are the brains behind major operations at a NASA facility in “Hidden Figures.” Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

BY VW

IT
is difficult to watch "Hidden Figures" as just a movie.

Indeed, it is extremely difficult, because I am witnessing history and recalling childhood memories, which spawn several observations.

Based on Margot Lee Shetterly's book of the same name, "Hidden Figures" tells the story of mathematician Katherine G. Johnson who was instrumental in the success of NASA’s Project Mercury and other space missions, as well as the story of two other black female mathematicians working at a segregated NASA facility in Hampton, VA.

The film opened in limited release on 25 Dec. and widely on 6 Jan. and stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as the title characters.

"Hidden Figures" is set during a period that is all-too often forgotten in this culture where too many folk believe we live in a post-racial society. Of course, that notion was obliterated, the recent presidential campaign being a glaring and disturbing example to the contrary.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I identify, not as African-American, but as black or a black American. In vogue since the mid ‘90s, African-American is the latest appellation for black Americans. Before that we were Colored, which was preceded by Negro, for instance.

To aid the understanding of foreigners and/or those in New York City who have had little exposure to Americans of African descent who did not grow up in one of the five boroughs or the TriState area, when I invoke the moniker black American, I mean that my West African ancestors were snatched from West Africa and brought and enslaved in what we now know as the United States of America.

My African ancestors were not dropped off on a Caribbean island, therefore I am not Dominican, Haitian, Jamaican or Puerto Rican, for instance.

Now an “official” supervisor, Dorothy (Octavia Spencer) leads her ladies to the NASA computer lab.

It is on the backs of my ancestors that this great country was built. It was they who were on the frontlines of the movements that have made our republic reasonably livable for all non-European people and a good deal of European-descent Americans.

The experiences of the women in "Hidden Figures" reflect stories that I grew up hearing in the home of my grandparents who raised my brother and me. They often spoke with visitors to our home about the struggles they and others faced and still did. When I was as young as 10, I was programmed to believe – like the hidden figures – that I would have to be twice as good at a job as a white person to be considered equal.

I did not grow up in post-civil rights America with the notion, either overtly or covertly, that there is inherent superiority in whiteness or that blacks get jobs, not because they are competent, but because of Affirmative Action, regardless of their level of competence.

On the contrary, I was generally socialized to believe that black people were often overqualified and were passed over for jobs by less-qualified whites. That black women, in particular, knew better than anyone else how to run whatever office in which they were employed. So often, they would train a white male who would become their boss.

This is the workplace that is so much in evidence in "Hidden Figures." Do note that I do not believe in the inherent superiority, inferiority, competence or incompetence of any ethnic group.

Meanwhile, another observation. The events in the film are unfolding in the early '60s. Some of the most explosive developments of the Civil Rights Movement have yet to take place. The March on Washington has not been organized, nor the Montgomery boycott. Roe vs. Wade is not yet law. Abortion is illegal. It is very much a WASP man's world.

Except for NASA and a very few other places, women in the workplace were mainly secretaries or cleaning ladies. The former must adhere to a strict dress code. In this environment, it is not at all exceptional for John Glenn (Glen Powell), a progressive in the main, to refer to Katherine Johnson as a girl. Not only is she just as educated and older than he, she is a widow with three children.

Katherine, is in the current vernacular, a grown-a_ _ woman. To paraphrase Walter Cronkite, "That's the way it was."

Without exception, the performances in "Hidden Figures" are solid, particularly TPH as Katherine, the “computer” who wrote the schematics that launched JG into space and back safely down to earth. Fans of "Empire" may be surprised to learn that girlfriend is an actor with a capital A and was thus long before that popular series.

Mary (Janelle Monáe) and other Hampton, Virginia residents watch and worry as the Project Mercury mission experiences a snafu.

My lone quibble with the film is that it focuses too much on the lead-up to the Mercury mission and the white characters, particularly that of Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) at the expense of more of the interior lives and interior struggles of the three protagonists.

These dynamic women are living under Jim Crow, state-sanctioned discrimination, racism and separatism. It's highly doubtful that they returned home and uttered nary a word about the overt unfairness they endured at the office. Undoubtedly, Katherine complained – perhaps bitterly even – at least once about the half-mile journey she was required to make several times a day just to relieve herself. No doubt, all three railed against various indignities at some point.

A final and striking observation about "Hidden Figures" is that it offers a depiction of black womanhood in the guise of a lady. It is one of three films to open recently about which this claim can be made. The others are "Loving" and "Fences."

How refreshing it is to see black women on the big screen who share a marked resemblance to the kind of women I – and no doubt, countless others – knew growing up and with whom I am still acquainted. Certainly, the hyper-sexualized, hypo-intellectualized vixen and the coarse, crass, corpulent neck-roller are a sad reality. But far more black women are class and dignity personified.

It is utterly possible for black women to deal with stressful situations without elevating their voices and raining down an avalanche of expletives. They can calmly explain why they are not where they are not expected to be. Certainly, sisters make cool, reasoned arguments to attain what should be rightfully theirs.

Katherine (Taraji P. Henson) reads to her daughters after a long and challenging day at the office.

And when they are laboring under extreme righteous indignation, they have the wherewithal to express it and remain every inch a lady, though their hair is a mess.

The film brings these women, and so much more, out of the background, to front and center. Hidden figures no longer.

“Hidden Figures” is rated PG for thematic elements and some language; visit http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/hidden-figures to learn more about the film.
 
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