Monthly Archives: February 2011

GIVE ME BODY

Unconventional. Eccentric. Creative. The three words that come to mind when describing the Young&ng Fall Presentation held Tuesday night at BODIES: The Exhibition.  Launched in Spring/Summer 2010, the haute couture jewelry line was founded by New Zealand born Designer Michelle Ng; it features exquisite wearable art like embellished headpieces and beautifully crafted cuffs that would  instantly transform Wonder Woman from superhero to Queen B.

It was pure genius and quite befitting to hold the presentation at the Bodies Exhibit, which extensively celebrates and explores the

Bodies @BODIES

human body. The anatomical setting provided a haunting backdrop as I, along with other event guests, walked around the Exhibit gawking at displays of real human bodies that have been prepared through a process called Polymer Preservation.

For about 45 minutes we acted as museum spectators wondering where the fashion show would actually take place.  Would it occur by the halogrammed fats cells or digestive system?  Would naked models mysteriously appear from the belly of the beast, so to speak?  Would Frankenstein or Vincent Price rise like a phoenix to announce the show’s commencement?  These were the questions buzzing in my head.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the anticipation was delightful.

L-R: Models Aleksandra Semechkina, Kelly Brown and Alyssa Young

At long last the fashion show began with a haunting musical prelude by Cellist Meaghan Burke. After several minutes of the eerily enchanting serenade, bikini-clad models unceremoniously started their march down the ‘run-way.’  Covered from head to toe in chalky white body paint, the live-action mannequins put on an arresting performance as they each methodically sauntered along the catwalk before striking a pose.  The svelte posers would hold those positions (in 4-inch wedge heels) for the duration of the presentation while we ogled them, admired the Young&ng jewelry that adorned their bodies and relentlessly snapped photos.  Who said modeling was easy?

Antique Gold Window Cuff & Antique Gold w/Red Swavorski Blood Cell Cuff

To put on an incredible spectacle, it takes an incredible team.  Young&ng Designer Michelle Ng laid the foundation with her dynamic vision and distinctive works of art. Also on board were Makeup Artist and Creative Director for the show, Justin Tyme (Yep, say the name rapidly and it will bring a smile to your face);  The Warren-Tricomi Hairstyling Team on Mad Ave; Young&ng Staff including Sales Coordinator Annie Yaker; show sponsor Ramy Gafni of Ramy Cosmetics and the stellar PR firm LERPR.

Tracee Loran, YN Model Alyssa Young and YN Designer Michelle Ng

Like the Young&ng show, I too had help putting my look together.  The very talented Makeup Artist Karen Swaby dropped by to accentuate my face with nice golden hues.  As an ensemble I decided on a slinky purple mosaic dress with smokey gray wool pumps, plum-colored tights and a super cute Lucky Wang clutch.

Tracee Loran & Model Aleksandra Semechkina

Tracee Loran & Ramy Gafni

Mother/daughter duo Robin & Rachel Adler provided my jewelry for the evening.  Their Queens, NY-based company Mockfrog features handcrafted pieces designed with bingo chips and rare bakelite materials.  So cool!

Snapping photos was gifted emerging Fashion Photographer and Graphic Designer Breezy Conner, who perfectly immortalized the “spirit” of the show.

My New York Fashion Week experience started off with a bang.  Next stop – the Kimberly Taylor Fall Presentation and you know I’ll be here to tell you all about it! Until then, stay radically fabulous…

MUA Justin Tyme & Tracee Loran

P.S. You can purchase designs from or hire any of the artists/companies featured on The Socialite Design by simply clicking on their names and visiting their respective websites.

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DJ SPINNA BORNDAY SOIRÉE

 

DJ Spinna

Last Saturday night, I found myself in Soho at the Santos Party House celebrating the birthday of good friend and turntable assassin DJ Spinna.  This world-renowned mixologist and music producer has a record collection that would make Quincy Jones weep and boasts a serious fan-base in places like London, Paris and Tokyo.  He has collaborated with many major artists including Eminem, Stevie Wonder, Mos Def and jazz great Roy Ayers.

L - R: Tracee Loran, Marj Petion, Keita Petion-Williams

Along with his wife and my close, close homie, Keita Petion-Williams  (aka Kee-Ah-Tah aka The Mayor of Brooklyn) of KeiStar Productions, Spinna throws the hottest parties in New Yawk City! If you are not on the KeiStar invite list you are most definitely missing out.  This multi-hyphenated duo doesn’t just give a party; they host an experience!  Their theme-based events “Soul Slam: Prince vs. Michael Jackson”, and “WONDER-Full: Tribute To The Genius of Stevie Wonder” are legendary and have been frequented by many A-list entertainers such as Stevie Wonder, Spike Lee, Rosario Dawson, Judah Friedlander, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, Mos Def, R&B crooner Maxwell, Sean “P-Diddy” Combs and the Olsen Twins.

Big shout to my Gurl, fellow April Baby and P.I.C. for many KeiStar events, Marj ‘aka Lula aka The Sarge’ Petion.  We perfected our fist-pumping moves and are def ready to go to “Jersey Shore, bee-yatch!” Watch out, Snooki.

Spinna and his co-conspirators, DJ Scratch and Kenny Dope certainly didn’t disappoint as they spun a funky mix of classic hip-hop & soul, deep house and contemporary hits.  The energy was good, the music was hot and the night was a blast!

Stayin' Alive!

Photographer Nicholas Small came through to capture all of that goodness, and he didn’t miss a beat.  He immortalized much of the essence that blankets a KeiStar production.  If you don’t believe me just look to your left and right.

Mama Say, Mama Sa...

To help select a wardrobe for the evening, I enlisted the assistance of up and coming stylist Scot Louie whose client list includes Danielle Staub of Real Housewives of New Jersey fame and new docu-series Social.  I kept it simple donning a black

Oh You Fancy, Huh?

tie-neck blouse, pair of skinny jeans and black studded flats.  Despite the party “heat” I maintained my cool and exited the soiree with my gear in tact! And I managed to “find” some cash when two party animals offered me forty bucks to babysit their coats. Ahhh, I NY!  Don’t hate, socialites need cash too. 😉

Do yourself a favor, go to Amazon right now and add some DJ Spinna joints to your cart (one of my fav Spinna records is “Boogie-Back: Post Disco Club Jams”). Then finagle your way onto the KeiStar Productions invite list.  All the cool people do it.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll see you at the next experience.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week begins next Thursday and my calendar is already full! You don’t wanna miss out on my exploits, so make sure you click the “Sign me up!” button in the upper right hand corner to follow along. Until the next party, stay radically fabulous…

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Getting Back to Me

 

Norwood Young

My second night out on the town took me to the UWS for a book launch party at R&B legends Ashford & Simpson’s hotspot, Sugar Bar.  The memoir, ‘Getting Back to Me’, chronicles the escapades of Norwood Young, infamous Hollywood socialite and former lead singer of the jazz group, Pieces of a Dream. I knew the night was gonna to be delish when I spotted Sir Norwood gliding down 72nd Street in a white floor length fur coat.  Divo! But I’m not mad because if you can’t make a grand entrance you might as well not make one at all. Play on, Playa (just don’t let PETA know where you live cuz they will stab a homeless man to save a rat!)

In his salacious book, Young addresses his past addictions to

Norwood Young & Tracee Loran

drugs and plastic surgery; the sexual abuse inflicted by his cousin; his time spent in jail; his association with Wendy Williams, and the demise of his friendship with Karinne “Superhead” Steffans.  In case you’ve been living under a rock or in Vermont, Karrine is a former music video girl who penned a tell-all book, ‘Confessions of a Video Vixen’, which depicts her sexual exploits and alleged trysts with many famous rappers and actors.  According to Young, he befriended Steffans and she reciprocated his benevolence by stabbing him in the back. Hmm, this book has the makings of a…reality show. Well, Norwood did appear on E! docu-series Maintenance 90210. If you want to know more scrumptious deets about his ‘Young’ life, you have to scoop Norwood’s book, ‘Getting Back to Me.’

Tracee Loran

With all of this juicy divoness I was sure to have a Red Carpet moment so I had to look just right.  I selected one of my favorite dresses, a long denim number from Exodus by Jon Berry.  Oh how I miss Jon in Brooklyn. Jon, come back!  His designs are made just for me.  To complement the dress I wore a gold belt that cinches in the waist, because the waist can NEVER be too small, right ladies? The gold vintage purse I clutched all night once belonged to my Grandmother (every time I visit I return with a gem.)   The ensemble was topped off with a pair of tall leather mahogany boots and a  stunning necklace that I found for a steal (it garnered lots of attention.)  (Have you noticed that I love to be parenthetical?)

To document the event with wonderful photos, emerging fashion photographer Patrick Brassard came along for the ride.  Patrick, who can easily be confused

Brandon Davis & Tracee Loran

for a Calvin Klein model himself, is a star on the rise with a portfolio that includes The Hills starlet & author Lauren Conrad and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (Ok, she’s not exactly a model, but I’m sure she’s dreamed of it).  Patrick works under the tutelage of renowned photographer Sante D’Orazoi who’s shot every major supermodel and celebrity in the world for popular publications like Vogue, Vanity, and GQ.  So yes, Mr. Brassard is definitely one to watch.

Tracee Loran & Publicist Andy Diaz

Also, snapping pix was Queens-based photographer Nicholas Small. Nicholas has ill skills, a good eye and a steady shot!  Unfortunately, he was hampered by the guest-list nazi and

Tracee Loran & Monroe Shannon

missed much of the evening.  But he eventually managed to get in and grabbed a couple of good shots.  Worry not,  more of Nicholas’ work will grace these pages in the near future!

Ahh, my Red Carpet moment arrived and it was as yummy as my Mother’s Snow on the Mountain Cake! Snap, snap. Flash, flash. “Tracee over here,” “Look here.”  And I made it into the Associated Press photo archives. Oh my, I’m weary from all of the media attention (said while patting my forehead, of course.)

Before I leave you, I must send a shout to all of the radically fabulous people I met at the party; Andy Diaz of Cobalt

Model/Boxer Ngo Okafur

Public Relations; Monroe Shannon, a cool brother rocking a super fresh tee;  Steven Styles, a stylist who won my vote for Best Dressed of the night hands down; Hottie Brandon Davis and Model/Boxer Ngo Okafor, who seemed to be annoyed by my sarcastic humor. Ahem, I learned some moves from watching Rocky (my FAV movie) so a sistah was ready to duck the left hook & then counter punch. 😉

Stacey Holman & Tracee Loran

That’s it for now Dudes and Dames.  The party continues…

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The Debut

As fate would have it, my very good friend Professor Tracey Walters (or Dr. Professor as I like to call her) gave me a Kate Spade Spiral Desktop Calendar for Christmas.  Perhaps she had visions of my new socialite life!  With snazzy calendar in hand, I diligently poured over social websites like Guest of a Guest and The New York Social Diary that provide a listing of private and open events to see where my journey would begin.  I selected a low-key function for my debut, a book signing at the ultra fan-tabulous Clic Gallery in Soho (you must visit!) for photographer Mike Schreiber’s ‘True Hip Hop.” After all I shouldn’t aim for the Tinsley Mortimer high society galas right off the bat. Right?

NYC Socialite Tinsley Mortimer

Selecting the right ensemble was crucial.  What would I wear?  For this event, I definitely wanted to be artsy chic. I went through my selection of new clothes (My Grandmother the Foxy Socialite still loves to shop and still has good taste!) and vintage gear.  I finally decided that since I was embarking upon uncharted territory, I wanted to cloak myself with something very comforting and familiar.  I chose a brilliant vintage coat that took me years to pry away from my Mother; a pair of ankle cowboy boots, skinny jeans; a gold & brown Bon Bon Vie t-shirt that reads “Brown Skin Lady” (in case there was any confusion) and some beautiful accessories that were bestowed upon me by my BFF and enormously artistically dexterous friend Angela (Her hand-crafted cards are divine!  Check out one of her paintings below).

Untitled by Angela Ford

The night before my inaugural socialite experience I was super excited and wanted to make sure that I was dazzling from head to toe.  I exfoliated my face; trying something new and natural, I whipped up some honey and sugar in the raw.  After about 60 seconds on my face the concoction began to itch feverishly. It was at that moment that I remembered I was allergic to honey.   So much for that particular natural remedy.   I used the same recipe on my hands (apparently my digits are much more resilient) and chased it with coconut oil.  To polish off the pampering of my hands, I manicured my fingernails.  It was like Bliss Spa up in here, up in here! (Shout out to DMX.)

Wednesday finally arrived and it was time for me to paint the town!  Michelle and Nadia were unavailable that evening.  But Stacey said she would be in attendance, albeit a bit late because she’s diligently working on a new documentary about Jesse Owens (more on that in a later blog).

I arrived at the book signing on time (my need to be punctual is hard to shake), but I didn’t want to be the first one in the spot, so I didn’t go in right away.  When I finally entered the gallery, the room didn’t part and there were no rumbles.  In fact, not one person noticed the new socialite on the scene. Ok, I exaggerated; one person did notice me – Photographer Leila Jacue, who agreed to attend the function & catch all of my good sides.  Senorita Jacue hails from Spain y ella es sumamente talentosa! Muchos gracias, Leila!!

Mike Schreiber, Tracee Loran, Tyson Hall

I ran into my boy Tyson Hall.  Tys and I go waaay back.  We were in an Amiri Baraka play together at the famed Nuyorican Poet’s Café.  I’m happy to say we are still doing it! He is a super dope artist and he has the flyest Mother!   Tyson is cool with ‘True Hip-Hop” author Mike Schreiber, so he made an intro.   Mike is good people; we chatted it up, talked about hip-hop and took pictures. Good times.  If you love hip-hop and have a grand appreciation for photography, you must pick up “True Hip-Hop”…now!

Chris Rucker, Tracee Loran, Van "The World Traveler"

The night made way for some interesting encounters.  I met Mike’s friend and an extremely gifted artist & furniture designer, Chris Rucker and Van, the World Traveler, who was not impressed with the fact that I guessed he had just returned from Brazil.  Hmph! The live action version of Squidward (Go ask your kids who that is…if you don’t know).

Stacey Holman, Tracee Loran

Stacey made her grand entrance; we took more photos, mingled and headed out. Our next mission was to crash an event at the Carlton Hotel hosted by Ne-Yo, Estelle and real estate guru Avi Oster.  Earlier that day, I’d acquired the cell phone number of the person in charge of the invitations.  When I called he was naturally taken aback that I had his number.  Oh I have my ways!  He told me to stop by and he would “see what happens.” Hmm, that was vaguely promising.  We followed his instructions, but when we arrived there were about 5 different guest list sergeants who didn’t seem to have a clue. Honestly, did there need to be so many?  I called my contact but he failed to answer the phone.  Hmmm. I don’t want to put Ciro of the Carlton Hotel on blast but, um. Wait I just did, didn’t I?  Oops! Well, that was fine with us because we took notice of the party guests and decided that it was too cold and they were too corny-looking to waste more time.  In the end, we were satisfied with the book signing and called it a night.

Mike Schreiber, Tracee Loran

I’d say my first night of being a socialite was a smashing success.  I had a great time and met some pretty funky people.  I think my Grandmother would be proud.  And if not, she will surely let me know.  She’s not shy!  Make sure you subscribe by clicking the “Sign me up!” button in the upper right hand side so you can check in on my next adventure. Until we meet again my friends, stay radically fabulous…

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A Socialite is Born in Brooklyn

It all started with a simple photograph project.  For several years I had been promising my lovely Grandmother that I would organize the hundreds and hundreds and thousands of photos that she’d collected over the past 8 decades.  The albums that housed the pictures were ratty and old; the pix were spilling out and many of them were just thrown in without a real purpose. There was no method to the madness!

So finally during my vacation this past Christmas (my Grandmother lives in Mississippi, my fav place on the planet.) I got busy.  I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.  My Grandmother had way more pictures than I could have imagined!  Photos were, in the immortal words of R. Kelly, “coming out of the Woolworth!”  She had boxes of them! I was working 12-hour days into the wee hours of the morning to complete the task.  It seemed like I would never finish. But after four long days and over 60 hours, I finally crossed the finish line!  The result was eight full photo albums of glorious history. (There is still a box left, but I will get to those…one day).

My Grandmother the Foxy Socialite

As I started looking through the books to admire my handy work, I had an “aha” moment.  I realized that my Grandmother and her Sex and the City clique were super hot; they were real socialites. When they stepped out on the town (which was all the time) they always looked like a page straight outta Vogue.   “Goodness,” I thought to myself, “my generation in comparison…we are bums and boring.  No class!”

I called my dear BFF Alicia to share this epiphany.   She co-signed my sentiments, “We are bums! “ We decided that we would do something about it.  We would play dress-up and hit the streets as much as possible.  The only catch is Alicia is located in Charlotte, North Carolina and I’m in New York.  So we agreed to take pictures of our individual experiences and share them.

But as I kept thinking about it, I decided that I wanted to take it a step further.   Once I returned to New York City, things would be different.  I was going to start living the life of a “socialite.”  I would transform into a fashionista and attend every gala, film premiere, fashion show, launch party, book signing, charity function and art opening that I could sashay into, and document the experience! But I didn’t want to set out on this fabulous mission alone. So I reached out to my single NYC friends, Nadia Vassell, a Celebrity Hairstylist who boasts Chrisette Michele and One Life to Live starlet Tika Sumpter as clients; Michelle Stoddart, Director of Tourism for Queens, NY and Stacey Holman, award-winning Director and Producer (Freedom Riders, Dressed Like Kings).  They were all on board.

Lady in Red

This project began to take on a whole new life (that usually happens with me).  How in the world could we be fabulous and take our own photos? Socialites don’t do that.  So I put an ad on Craigslist seeking up and coming photographers who were willing to accompany us to these events and snap away.  I received some great responses and the photographers were set.

But then Nadia says, “What about a stylist and designers?  If we’re going to have our pictures taken we MUST look good!”  Ah, she was right.  So I turned to Craigslist once again for aspiring stylists and emerging designers. Again, I received some good responses. I LOVE CL!

My Aunt Ann & Grandma

The entire team has been cemented, so I’m ready to roll! This blog will focus on my year of living the life of a socialite; who I’m wearing, where I’m going and the many wonderful people I encounter along the way.  Never wanting anything to be just about me, I will showcase emerging artists of fashion, art, photography, film and music.  It is my sincere desire for my sojourn to lead to an opened door for many.

I invite you to take this journey with me; click on the “Sign me up!” button in the upper right hand side.  If you have some extraordinary events that you think I should attend, drop me a line. Together, we can paint the town and be radically fabulous!

Aunt Ann, Uncle Timmy & Grandmother Take Manhattan

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