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  • Jun 30th 2014

    Photography by: Aminah Decè and Trulei Versatile

    A quick glance at San Antonio based designer Daiquonne Lanier will give you the impression that he has IT; that special something that the French like to describe as “Je ne sais quoi”. There is a sense that he is going places. He is bright-eyed and eager, yet poised. He also manages - despite his confidence - to be impeccably mannered and humble. Further confirmation comes in the form of witnessing his design work.


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    At the outset of the show, which premiered on Saturday June 14, 2014, at the Veranda - a historic estate and event venue in San Antonio, Texas, the young designer addressed the crowd, saying:

    “This collection represents my idea of femininity and how I would dress the Women of the world.”

    In this modern society we live in, Women are often made to feel that femininity must either be completely eschewed or, by contrast, exploited to gain power. This collection challenged that notion by offering a different take. Every single piece was powerful because of the feminine appeal, not despite it. 

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    The show opened with a slinky column gown in a warm pink-hydrangea hue topped of by a capelet fit for a super-heroine. Inverted darts placed at the breastbone, coupled with the tulip-like sleeves of the cropped cape exuded strength from every angle. The scene in every James Bond movie when 007 attends a soiree where his eyes fall on an alluring and mysterious woman; she would likely be wearing this dress. It should be noted, also, that the designer constructed the gowns in his collection from a combination of mono-elastic and bi-elastic fabrics. It is not an easy feat to make a gown made from stretch fabric look elegant, and yet... this designer did.

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    It will not  take a stretch of the imagination to envision Daiquonne\'s pieces up on the big screen or on a red carpet. His gowns are fresh and forward with attention to the line of the garment, rather than an abundance of fussy details and embellishments that are often seen in evening wear. A printed, floor length sheath scattered with a garden of violet, pristine white, and cobalt flowers was tastefully done by contrasting the bold print with a simple, sleeveless silhouette and high neckline. A rectangular rear keyhole cutout added a little “Watch me as I walk away” glamour. To add to the whimsy of the piece, there were … Gasp!! Pockets!! 

    Another dream-of-a-dress was done in a breezy “seafoam green meets sky blue” color. Once again, the designer offered a a high neckline – this time with delicate cap sleeves- but the piece was still undeniably slinky and alluring. Delicate pinch pleating at the bust also softened the contrast of the sinewy line formed by the body conscious silhouette. And a third gown, done in a semi-sheer, gauzy white fabric with a dot and line pattern boasted a deeply plunged back cutout that exposed the cleft of lower shoulder blades and small of the back. Yet again the front was conservative in the way of having yet another high, round neckline. A nontraditional bride could easily wear this for her beach wedding in Mykonos, Tulum, or St. Barth\'s.

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    Part of Daiquonne\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s strength lies in the fact that he not only designs exquisite gowns but hits the mark with his fun and flirty cocktail dresses too. Hemlines that flit about when you walk, high cinched waists, soft pastels juxtaposed with strong tailoring, and dropped-waist minis with pleating just above the derriere are some of the touches that set this collection apart from the usual offerings of bedazzled, glittery offerings found in many department stores. Each fun little frock is a testament to the fact that it is not just girls who wanna\' have fun...Women do too! One moment that gave a glimpse into the designer\'s penchant for drama, the good kind, was when one of the models casually sauntered out onto the walkway wearing a strapless sweetheart neckline dress with a graduated peplum, and a for a headpiece – a showstopping Victorian lampshade! 

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    There was a collective “Ooohh” heard from the audience. It spoke to the designer\'s vision and sense of whimsy. The dress, although in a thoroughly modern cut, was made of fabric that was printed in a dusky floral print almost reminiscent of Victorian parlour wallpaper. It all provided a nice contrast to the expanse of leg and hint of cleavage in this short, elegant party dress. 

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    A standout piece among the cocktail dresses was a classic mid-thigh sheath in matelasse. This was a dress of intent; every line and detail was planned: darted bust, princess sleeves, and a sculpted collar-line resulted in a superbly chic dress that could be worn among the brunch set or jet set.

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    The overall styling was executed brilliantly as well. Perfectly oversized pearl necklaces, veiled headpieces and retro-nouveau toppers created by local artist Erica Segovia were presented alongside towering power-platforms in shimmering shades of gold, nude and bronze. 

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    I spoke with the Designer prior to the show, when it was still in the planning stages. He shared with me that he has goals for himself that include having his own company one day. He is a budding designer who is , admittedly, still on the learning curve but will - without a doubt - be in full bloom in the near future. Remember the name: Daiquonne Lanier. He is one to watch.

  • Jun 20th 2014

    THE STORY: A black sheep returns to the fold when life-long drug abuser Robye Porter musters the courage to face her family. Newly sober Robye has struggled through rehab and cancer alone. Though she’s been a repeat offender of emotional injury, Robye's homecoming leads us to wonder if there is space for the sobriety of forgiveness.

  • Jun 17th 2014

    When we talk about healing in the Black community, the first question I must ask is, “Healing from what?” In order to heal we must assume that something happened to cause an injury. I believe that there has been a serious injury done to African-Americans and the main cause of this injury is the Trans-Atlantic-Slave-Holocaust. The trauma caused by the slew of events associated with this period has caused catastrophic disharmonies in all areas of the African-American experience: emotionally, physically, psychologically, economically, politically and spiritually. Traumas can upset our equilibrium and sense of well-being. And it is quite clear that we, as a collective entity, are still not well.

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