Monday, March 14, 2011

Natsuki Kishi: Hope & Revival

According to model & artist Natsuki Kishi, it means:
Never give up,

Natsuki Kishi

I ask all readers to join me in sending love and prayers for the people of Japan and for a Triumphant Revival in the aftermath of last week's earthquake ~ Rick/Icon Americana

For links to organizations providing assistance to Japan and ways to help, click here (via Technolog on MSNBC).

Image Credits: Top Photo Natsuki Kishi; Bottom Photo: Jason Ieda-Clarke (Photographer)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day: Celebrating with Style

Each moment is a celebration of women at Icon Americana. Still, when the President of the United States issues a Proclamation calling upon all Americans to commemorate the month of March and to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, 2011, with activities honoring the history, accomplishments, and contributions of women, we salute. On this 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, Icon Americana is celebrating with a few style inspirations who have graced its virtual pages. 

These women pack substance as well as style: hailing from the ranks of CEOs, Founders, International Supermodels, media experts, masters candidates, social enablers and authors. We asked each the question, "What Does Women's History Month Mean to You?" and their responses revealed that although women have made tremendous progress over the past 100 years, there is still work to be done as society strives toward full gender equality, including for future generations of women and girls. It is with honor to present thoughts on the matter from Marcy Clark, Erika Joseph, Maya Murofushi, Amy Palmer, Mara Schiavocampo, Monica Phromsavanh, Jocelyn Taylor, Carmen Wong Ulrich, Merina Vo and Alexa Winner. ~ Sincerely, Rick/Icon Americana

Marcy Clark, Founder of The Women’s Mafia and Director of Publicity for Yellow Sky Agency
“Women throughout history are often the lifeblood and heartbeat of the most important periods of social, civic and cultural change. The beauty of Women’s History Month is that it acknowledges both the women who are named in the history books and also those who are not: the women who dressed as men to fight in the Revolutionary War, the brave women who worked with Sojourner Truth on the Underground Railroad, the women who staged the Food Riots of 1917 to demand affordable sustenance for their families, the women in the government and politics who fought to ban child labor and include a provision for a minimum wage, and the women in the arts." 

Erika Joseph, Masters Candidate 2011, New York University
(Public Relations and Corporate Communication)
"Women's history month means empowerment. It means continuing to stand up for women's equality and using our power to lift-up women and girls across the world."


Maya Murofushi, Miss World Supermodel 2010
"The power of women is surging all around the world. And this power won't create any coercion, or competition. But it will create a harmonized, androgynous and balanced planet Earth."

Amy Palmer, CEO/Founder, PowerwomenTV
"This month is an opportunity to reflect on who has come before us to pave the way for our lives and opportunities; it's also a time to be conscious of our current actions and how they are paving the way for the next generation of women." 


Monica Phromsavanh, Creative Director/Founder, ModaListas LLC
"When I think of Women's History Month, I think of all the career opportunities that are available to women now that were not accessible in the past. In the early part of the last century, women were expected to be housewives, but now many are running their own companies in a wide variety of industries." 

Mara Schiavocampo, Correspondent, NBC News
"There's a saying that women hold up half the sky. That's something we see in individual relationships, in families, and in countless communities worldwide. It's so important to stop and recognize those contributions, even if just for 30 days. But this month shouldn't be about celebration alone. We must always remember the struggles of girls and women all over the world, and stay committed to working for their rights and freedoms."

Jocelyn R. Taylor, President & CEO,  JRT Multimedia, LLC
"As with Black History Month which was initiated to increase the general consciousness and knowledge of African American history by taking one month of the year to remember the contributions of notable and extraordinary men and women, the purpose of Women's History Month is recognized for these same principles. As a person experiencing the human conditions of both distinctions, I feel that this month should be viewed as a time of reflection of the true meaning of what the foundation of the women’s suffrage movement was built upon. On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  

We have come a long way. However, with the misogynist/stereotypical practices and “glass ceiling” limitations still brewing in corporate environments and the daily lives of women around the world, we still have a long way to go. Instead of relegating our thought processes to one month of celebration, I feel to really honor this special month, I encourage all people to focus on women's ongoing universal struggles and our current contributions 365 days a year." 

Carmen Wong Ulrich, Author of "The Real Cost of Living"
"We juggle so much and many of us struggle so much.  This month everyone, no matter the gender, can take time to appreciate and reflect on all our accomplishments, in every field.  May it motivate us to go even further!"

Merina Vo, Artist/Model/Motivator, Haute Rooster
"As a woman and a mother I have come to realize the power I have. We are the force of life and we are our own creator. Today let us celebrate. Happy Woman's Day to all woman around the world, especially my mother."

Alexa Winner, CEO of Alexa Winner Inc., A Styling and Design Company
"I think the fact that America dedicates an entire month to the appreciation of women, both in present context as well as historical, is as beautiful as the women themselves who have helped us achieve this notoriety, equality, and respect in our culture. The feeling of empowerment is what drives the most creative and educated minds to accomplish the most fascinating of achievements. As a stylist and designer myself, I take particular note of women both past and present who serve as terrific role-models and inspiration that no matter what you hide under your skirt, given the affirmation of empowerment (and a months worth celebration at that!) I feel that myself or any other woman can strive to be as great as some of my favorite female icons, particularly innovators and risk takers in the world of fashion today such as Liz Claiborne, Maggie Norris, Fern Mallis, Rachel Zoe, and Sarah Burton to name a few, as well as acknowledging a great respect and appreciation for female fashion risk-takers of years past, the likes of which include Coco Chanel, Isabella Blow, Jacquelline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Diana and Edna Woolman Chase."

Thank you, Ladies. Enjoy the celebrations, and congratulations on your remarkable achievements!

If you are interested in supporting International Women's Day events in your community, visit:

Fashionable Friends: What Does Women's History Month Mean to You?

Photo credits: courtesy of guests. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stacy London: Embrace Who You Are

Look into a mirror, preferably one of full length. Now, take a look at yourself - an honest look. Do you like what you see?

If you are like most people, you can probably pick out things about your body that you do not like and that you would change. But, it's "OK."  When it comes to personal style, the trick is to fully embrace who you are and make choices that flatter the positives making each of us unique. This was the central message from Stacy London, co-host of TLC’s ”What Not to Wear” and a celebrated style expert who earned her stripes in fashion editorial for publications including American Vogue and Mademoiselle. She spoke at 92nd Street Y on March 3 in remarks entitled "On Style and Self-Esteem" covering how we form our own “sense of style” and how we use of it to reflect our unique characteristics.

External Factors & Self Esteem

Messages from the fashion world could have the effect of reducing a person's self esteem if these are the only metrics for comparison. For example, the fashion industry develops standards of beauty that are not achievable for most people, according to London. Comparing oneself to Natalie Portman can easily lead down the road of despair, since few can possibly measure up.  Meanwhile, trying to keep pace with the latest trends amidst ever shortening fashion cycles is another "impossible standard" being set before us. Few have those types of resources.

Societal influences can also have a negative impact on how we view ourselves, London added. Indeed, at an early age, children can be teased quite mercilessly if they have physical features that make them appear "different" from their peers.

But it's OK to be different. Step one is to take inventory of physical features that make us unique and accept them, according to London. The next step is to add to our wardrobe pieces that flatter and embellish these features -- all in a way that makes you still feel comfortable. This in turn leads to confidence, which is attractive to the outside world.

During her presentation, London remarked that she resisted, for example, selecting an outfit that was very trendy. Instead she went with a "post modern" look that made her feel comfortable while speaking. (Note: The DENISON Pant by Theory and black platforms were definitely a "good look" in this writer's opinion. The flare leg adds a little "flair." The height from the platforms enhanced her presence on stage, which she naturally commands through her ability to engage with people).

Know Thyself  (Other Advice from Stacy London)
  • Find out what works for your body type; cut is always more important than color
  • But, don't be afraid to splash color in your wardrobe
  • With age comes wisdom, and age appropriate attire
  • Accept who you are, not what you have seen in the world 
  • Style can't replace how you feel about yourself, which comes from the inside. Style can, however, enhance how you feel. What you wear is a communication to the outside world.
Fashionable friends: How did you develop your own “sense of style”?

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to staff at 92Y for providing press access to this event.

Photos: Rick/Icon Americana