Beauty Begets Beauty: Marlene Lillian in Present Tense

by Jackie

Talent is often spoken of in the abstract. It is a term used to describe the enigmatic force that sets the architects of art apart from the spectators. I am honored to know talent embodied.

Marlene Lillian captures Marlene.

Marlene is my co-conspirator in wanderlust. When we first met, we were both starting out in the working world, unable to afford the many whims of our imaginations. We would message each other with full travel plans to Cuba, Brazil, and South Africa. We would travel the world over in our cubicles. While I thought these were just fun distractions, Marlene fully intended to swing her camera strap over her shoulder and take off to capture the beauty that most of us are often too busy, or too blind to see. Every Monday after work, we would meet with fellow plotter Estacy to plan our futures and check each other’s progress. No goal was too high.

Marlene’s dreams for others were often bigger than what they could ever imagine for themselves. It was common for me to tell her what I wanted to do, and for her to respond, “Pfft, you will.” And I believed her. I believed her because of how easy she made her endless hours of hard work look. That infectious smile and refusal to “sit still,” took her all the way to Hong Kong to further pursue her art from behind the lens. I followed her adventure through her blog and our mistimed Gchat messages (we never got that time difference thing right).

Her camera is her voice, and she continues to speak to us through her pictures — those raw snapshots that make the mundane seem magical, those images of love frozen at its sweetest, those depictions that make dreams seem reachable.

We will love you always, amiguita.

A*cute was honored that Marlene offered to shoot our looks.

Marlene asked me to be her “photo guinea pig” for a class project. She was doing her homework, but she made me feel like we were at a high-fashion photo shoot.

Kindred spirits.

PHOTOS: A*cute Clothing Exchange & Trunk Show

The photos from the A*cute Clothing Exchange & Trunk Show are up on the A*cute Facebook page! Check out some of our faves below! (Click to enlarge and scroll)

Photos by Almenia J. Photography

A*cute Clothing Exchange & Trunk Show

 

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We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a Clothing Exchange & Trunk Show featuring Fezelry Jewelry and Almenia J. Photography on Saturday, April 21 from 1:30-4:00 p.m. at Mad Hatter in the Dupont section of Washington, DC.

Items not exchanged and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Crittenton Services of Greater Washington, an organization dedicated to strengthening the ability of young women to achieve their goals.

Click here to buy tickets!

AND, that’s not all! Buy your ticket now, and receive an exclusive A*cute deal from Marlene Lillian Photography.

Receive a $35 print credit towards your boudoir session when you purchase a clothing exchange ticket AND receive a $25 discount + print credit when you book a session with a friend!

A*cute Clothing Exchange & Trunk Show Tickets On Sale!

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a Clothing Exchange & Trunk Show featuring Fezelry Jewelry and Almenia J. Photography on Saturday, April 21 from 1:30-4:00 p.m. at Mad Hatter in the Dupont section of Washington, DC.

Items not exchanged and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Crittenton Services of Greater Washington, an organization dedicated to strengthening the ability of young women to achieve their goals.

Click here to buy tickets!

AND, that’s not all! Buy your ticket now, and receive an exclusive A*cute deal from Marlene Lillian Photography.

Receive a $35 print credit towards your boudoir session when you purchase a clothing exchange ticket AND receive a $25 discount + print credit when you book a session with a friend!

Learn to love the skin you’re in.

I believe that we are all created beautifully, no matter what shape or size we are.

Whether it’s for your significant other, or for yourself, intimate photography sessions allow you to channel that beauty and feel comfortable in your skin.

– Marlene Lillian

An A*cute Look at NYFW

by Jackie and Sherria

Here’s our round-up of NYFW!

IFB Conference

We were involved with the Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference at Milk Studios in Downtown NYC. The Conference was a great way to kick off the style marathon otherwise known as New York Fashion Week.

We worked with fellow bloggers who not only had a great sense of style, but also a fun sense of humor. All of the panelists offered honest advice for fashion bloggers which can be pretty much summed up as follows: Know your worth, be original, be collaborative, and have a work/life balance.

Here are some of our favorite shots from #IFBCon. Check out the A*cute Facebook page for more pics from the event!

Ainsley Fall 2012 Presentation/Collection

All photos by Scott Pegram from NYEsq. for A*cute.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene  // The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear // Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, // And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
-Thomas Gray (Source: @ainsleyny)

This refreshing collection took its cues from Mother Nature with natural fibers and tribal designs. The designs are reminiscent of the frontier spirit of the Westward Expansion of the 18th and 19th centuries.

What’s appealing about this collection is its practical point of view and apparent wearability. It seems like A*cute and Ainsley have the same philosophy: Fashion is a right, not a privilege. Everyone should have the opportunity to express themselves through their fashion choices.

Fashionista and designer Angela Simmons made an appearance at the show.

Visit NYEsq. for more pics from the presentation!

Justin Bridges of Tucked Style Featured in Black Enterprise

Congratulations to friend of A*cute and men’s fashion blogger Justin Bridges for his feature in “Fashion Week Highlight: 5 Top Black Professionals Behind the Runway”.

Photo credit: Black Enterprise

Journey to the Past: Online Fashion Archives of American People of Color

Guest Post by Jaira J. Harrington

Jaira J. Harrington is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Chicago. She is a West Side Chicago native and Spelman College alumna who is currently conducting dissertation field research in Brazil.

Iconic model Grace Jones

There’s something special and gratifying about taking a peek into the past to see the fashion of yesteryear. The thrill of seeing unusual fabrics and skillfully coordinated pieces under brushed sepia tones in a photograph from decades ago. If you look closely, you can see a fire in the eye of the subject. You are witness to confidence captured in a single moment that doesn’t fade even if the Polaroid has started to yellow. You look once more to see it clearly: fly never ages. Flyness is timeless. It’s an even better experience when you can see yourself through your ancestors represented in such images. Here are a few Tumblr websites that express just that: their emphasis is on people of color and their untold contributions to the fashion history of the United States.

 


Ebony Magazine Tumblr

Ebony is a monthly lifestyle magazine in publication since 1945. For many black families in the United States, Ebony and Jet were indispensable magazines that you’d find practically everywhere: in your own home, at the grocery store, at the hair salon…all over! When I wasn’t engrossed in Highlights children’s magazine, I remember leafing through Ebony magazine with my mom and admiring the positive images of black women, men and families. Ebony magazine has developed a tumblr website dedicated to these images which includes an array of covers and advertisements over the years. It’s refreshing to see the fashion evolution of black celebrities like Michael Jackson, Dorothy Dandrige, Aretha Franklin and Sister Sledge. Classic.

Vintage Black Glamour Tumblr

Vintage Black Glamour is another collection of similar, but broader style. This site displays magazine covers, celebrities and other fashionable people at notable historical moments. One cool aspect of this site is that some of these photographs appear to be from personal archives. Here you’ll see playful vacation images of Nat “King” Cole and wife Maria, and candid, on-set snapshots of Sammy Davis Jr. and Eartha Kitt. Gorgeous.


Of Another Fashion Tumblr

The last Tumblr of important note is “Of Another Fashion”. It is a website developed by University of California, Berkeley professor Minh-Ha T. Pham. Her wonderful and diverse collection of photos come from sources as large as the Library of Congress and university archives to the personal family collections of individual contributors. Here you won’t see many famous faces, but you will witness an online celebration of the rich diversity represented by these beautiful, fashionable American women of color. You can’t help but smile looking at these images.

Va-Va-Va Vintage: Styling the Birthday Girl

by Jackie 

My roomie, sisterfriend, and confidante Jenn, is usually behind the camera, capturing everyday beauty and turning it into works of art. For her birthday, the photographer is photographed and styled by A*cute!

I decided to create a look for Jenn that was an ode to vintage glamour. She’s a girly girl who loves pearls and clean silhouettes, so the genre was perfect for her. We set out to find reasonably priced items based on the style storyboard I created for her birthday party at Chi-Cha Lounge on U Street.

A red pump is instant vintage glam and added a sexy touch to Jenn's pale pink dress.

This gold clutch was a perfect fit for the theme of the look.

Some red lipstick, lightly winged eyeliner, and Voila!

Simply Beautiful! Happy Birthday Jenn!

Have a special occasion coming up? Want to build the perfect work wardrobe? Transitioning your closet for the fall/winter seasons? Email acute.consulting@ymail.com to book your A*cute styling session!