She’s a billionaire business mogul. He’s the most electric rapper in the game. How did they come together? How do they make it work? And can they survive the Kardashian Curse? Mark Anthony Green sits down with the world’s most powerhouse power couple.
“I don’t just do clothes, I write a story and then come the clothes,” Simon Porte Jacquemus explained to i-D back in 2014. It’s a design process that has propelled this self-taught Provençal-born talent from staging guerrilla presentations to winning the Special Jury LVMH Prize and becoming one of Paris’s hottest (and most successful) talents, with 230 stockists worldwide and over 40 employees. While each seasonal chapter focusses on different characters, the story can always be read as a love letter to France. Now that he has launched Jacquemus menswear for spring/summer 19, the offshoot will have its own narrative but will always be France, je t’aime. “They aren’t together, the man and woman,” Jacquemus explained as the sun set on his debut show. “He is much younger and more naive but in a good way; it’s about colorful, simple, and easy clothes.”
After a throwaway Instagram “I will do men’s” declaration and tongue-in-cheek #newjob teasing caused a social stir, he confirmed that he would be launching menswear when he took his bow at the end of his Le Souk fall/winter 18 women’s show wearing a sweatshirt that read “L’Homme Jacquemus.” “I fell in love and it pushed me to speak about men and realize my first menswear collection — it was very spontaneous,” Jacquemus explained. He wanted his debut menswear collection to celebrate Marseille. “I grew up here, where you don’t call them guy or boy but gadjo,” read the designer-penned show notes. “I grew up here, barefoot, bare chest, strong perfume. I grew up here, in the Mediterranean. My Mediterranean.”
As the collection was inspired by the sun, sea, and sexiness of his hometown, Jacquemus immersed us in the sun, sea, and sexiness of his hometown. Instead of joining the Paris men’s show schedule, he chose Calanque de Sormiou to debut his menswear. While the show was watched by family, friends, and locals alike, for many of us it was our first time in Marseille. “I’m happy to bring so many people here. The idea was not to just show a collection, it was to provide a real vacation moment.” The FROW consisted of a few towels on the sand and everyone else found a space on the rocks or in the sea to watch. It was magical. Not only did this #outofoffice opportunity provide the perfect punctuation to a long season of shows, it enabled us to experience the France that Jacquemus knows. We could see the world through his eyes. “I’ve always dreamed about doing a show in the South of France but never thought it would be possible to show here because it’s a national park,” he explained. “I had to fight but they understood that it wasn’t just a location for me, I care about this place. I live 45 minutes away and started coming here as a teenager with friends so to do an event here is unbelievable.”
“The collection, Le Gadjo, explores all the cliche boys of Marseille,” Jacquemus said. “I was obsessed by the different guys in Marseille — from the soccer player to the clubbers — and how they’re unknowingly fashionable with their blue tracksuits, blue hats, blue wallets, and gold chains. Everything is very precise.” Jacquemus and his design studio worked closely with The Woolmark Company in creating this debut menswear collection with 27 pieces in 100% merino wool, which covered every summer staple, from T-shirts to sweaters, jackets to shorts. Now, you might not think of wool as a holiday friendly fabric, but Jacquemus has demonstrated throughout this three season long collaboration that he can make it as light and as sexy as possible.
The path to discovering your true passion is rarely an easy road. Case in point: up-and-coming actor, dancer and musical artist Alvester. Before the African-American born performer realized his keen interest for the performing arts, Alvester says he is still a little boy at heart, to his detriment he says at times. But he is definitely self-assured. “It’s not a false self-assurance, not wrapped in arrogance, and cockiness”, it’s actually wrapped in humility and a calmness. He says he knows things are going to happen and it’s God centered. “I believe in myself and I have no self-doubt.”
SDM: Who is Alvester
AM: Alvester Martin is still a little boy at heart, almost to his own detriment at times. At this point in his career and his life, he says he is definitely self-assured.
SDM: How do you feel about doing interviews
AM: I have done a lot of interviews, with so much stuff coming out, he feels like he has a cult following and people don’t really want know who Alvester is. They see past things he has done, like pictures, his Instagram feed, social media posts, and they assume so many things. He says, with great expression, I am totally the opposite of what is depicted in social media.
SDM: How did you get started in the entertainment business
AM: When we first spoke to on the phone about the shoot and we talked about what I wanted, the photographer was surprised me by saying I wanted something basic, and not the “pretty boy” thing.
SDM:Even though he is a pretty boy.
AM: I have been groomed since the age of 5, and have been trained in acting, singing, dancing etc. I feel it’s a gift and a curse. Now that social media is the norm, your judged on who people think you are, and rest on the fact that you are good looking and literally, want to be paid for looking good. However I want people to know that I have much more to offer, than my good looks. When I audition and books gigs, people are so surprised, that I have talent. He says he literally has people contacting him through his social media, and once they have connected they are astonished that he is well spoken. Alvester says he is sometimes bewildered, annoyed and frustrated. Because today’s values place so much emphasis on the looks of person as opposed to their metal. They write you off, before they even find out who you are.
SDM: How did you get involved with Black Magic
AM: I feel, society, the casting directors, and the gatekeepers in the industry have said to him when he walks into a room, “Oh I didn’t think you were going to be that good.” It used to bother me! Alvester says and subsequently, he went through a 4-year depression. “I hated doing Black Magic, I felt they mislead me in the pitch and the script”. I thought it was going be great exposure for me and an excellent opportunity to showcase my skills. They knew him as a background dancer for Beyoncé as his body of work to this point. “I felt the transition had already been hard enough to transcend the title of just a dancer, as well as the financial toll, my artistry took a hit, and my Psyche.” I began to turn down jobs, although I needed to eat. “I feel currently there is already a lack of respect in Hollywood, for dancers generally, however I pressed on.” Ultimately, the show was re-pitched and presented again, it took a few times before I said yes! Once the final pitch was presented, I felt that this was going to be a great opportunity to move away from being a background dancer to a recording artist, which was always in the forefront of his journey, In his mind there was always his mindset that he didn’t move to LA to be a background dancer, although he is grateful for what he has done its just he wanted more!
“I went into a deep depression once again and felt I had hit rock bottom and committed career suicide. I had worked years and his parents had sacrificed their monies, and time to get me my training and go forward.”
During the filming, it became quite apparent that it was not what he signed up for. The show was about being a stripper, which wasn’t his world. People connected with the show who were on the show were making him feel bad for having worked so many years in the industry and having a standard of expertise. As a result of this experience I went into a deep depression once again and felt he had hit rock bottom and committed career suicide. He had worked years and years and his parents have sacrificed their monies, and time to for my training so I could go forward.
SDM: What is your mindset today and what are your future goals
AM: In final, I’m in a whole different place, I have new music, it’s moodier, and it has an edge its more me. It’s what I like, how I feel, and what I think. My music is my diary in life, I accept my acting career now, I hate slashes, I can sing alone and rest on that, I can act alone, and I can dance alone. It is a blessing to be able to stand on my two feet. My actor career is taking off and its great, I have self-discovery and at this point I feel I am walking into the unknown but in a positive way, and its OK to not always feel OK and be OK, but whatever I feel I put that shit in my work and art.
“My acting career is taking off and its great, I have self-discovery and at this point I feel I am is walking into the unknown but in a positive way, and its OK to not always feel OK and be OK, but whatever you feel and whatever I feel put that shit in your work and art.”
There are musical innovators and then there’s Frankie Knuckles. The Bronx, New York born DJ/producer turned Chicago-based dance visionary, who is widely recognized as the architect of house music, died Monday afternoon at the age of 59. And with his untimely passing comes a flood of tributes from the U.S. (The Roots frontman tweeted of Knuckles’ death, “He was the DJ that DJs aspired to be. True dance pioneer.”) to overseas (BBC Radio 2’s Pete Tong added: “RIP gentleman genius, groundbreaker, inspiration. Blessed to have worked with you…”). And while Knuckles trumped his cult hero status as the man that made Windy City dance venues the Warehouse and the Power Plant landmark attractions in the ’80s—by the next decade he reigned as the go-to remix king for the headlining likes of Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson and Depeche Mode—his death is being felt the hardest back home.
“He made what I call wonderful garage music,” Southside Chicago native and local DJ Demetrius Lawrence tells VIBE. “He is one of the most original DJs that we’ve ever heard bringing in the establishment of house culture on multi-levels from music to fashion to philosophy. Frankie’s death is a huge loss.” Indeed, his impact on the EDM world and beyond cannot be overstated. VIBE presents the ten greatest Frankie Knuckles tracks of all-time. Dance on!